Saturday, March 28, 2020

Perdoceo

If you've been a value investor for some time, you might recognize online education provider Perdoceo (PRDO) as it is formerly known as Career Education Corp (CECO). CECO appears to have been a bad actor in the for-profit education sector that was forced to clean up its act after a series of scandals rocked the industry several years ago.

The structure of the industry (uneducated and often poor customers/students, government financing of tuition) made it possible for snake-oil salesmen and swindlers to make a lot of money while returning little of value to society, and the industry paid for its sins in the form of bankruptcies, fines and...brace yourself...lower multiples! This latter is what attracted me to the industry, and I struck gold by recognizing and buying one of the few ethical players around, Strayer Education. Sadly, I sold it too soon, as the market eventually recognized it as a stand-out and restored its lofty multiple.

Now, I might be getting another chance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Everybody Lies

Official stats show no changes in child abuse during the Great Financial Crisis. But Google searches for "Why does my dad hit me" (and other similar searches) spiked during that period! In Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, the reader is shown new means of collecting and slicing data that can shed a light on things we thought we knew, but don't.

It's a lot like Freakonomics. It goes deep into some unique data to offer insights that either weren't available before or weren't thought of. I highly recommend the book.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bees, her

So you people have started buying guns and ammo. Maybe it's a good idea. If the virus gets really big, you might be able to shoot it. I took advantage of the short-term spike to exit my position in Smith & Wesson maker American Outdoor, a lonely green shoot in an otherwise burning sea of red that is my portfolio.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Team of Rivals

I have been meaning to learn more about the revered Abraham Lincoln, and I found a great book to do it with. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln takes you through the lives of Honest Abe and his allies/rivals as they grew up, took power and eventually presided over a civil war.

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