Vincent’s Blog: Myopia does not show the whole picture

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Wow, it feels like I typed my last blog yesterday. Why is time so absolute and so relative at the same time? Which time should I really watch to gauge my life? I open my laptop; the sun is rising and I cannot help but scan another endless row of pre-fed “news” articles about our world in motion. The world still does not care that the sun will stop shining 5 billion years from now. We are too busy with today’s relative gains and losses. Would you invest in something that could help you escape the fate of our dying sun? “Ridiculous Vincent! Your writing is way off base here. We are busy people and have to build wealth; build our businesses; build our careers. Focus on something that can help us now. OK?”

Okay, Okay. Maybe you’ve heard of SolarCity, Tesla Motors or PayPal? These are all companies created by Elon Musk. He is a true renaissance man and a business genius with a huge risk appetite and a long view. He successfully sold and listed several of his companies on the stock exchange. We can expect to buy his shares in SpaceX, a company with a business plan to colonize Mars. Yes, I agree: it is still in our solar system but a really good start if he can pull it off… Now you would not invest in this company for the first space-tickets sold, right? But, how about you invest in this company for the last space-tickets sold before the sunlight goes out… Priceless!

You see, our world is in constant motion and we drown ourselves in information and events we think matter. We read about the weather in Kabul, when we live in Paris or New York; we focus on daily “news” events around the world and repeat the headlines at cocktail parties and water coolers, but have no clue as to how most things really work around us. It was only 1915 when the biggest components of the Dow Jones index were steel, copper and sugar. At that time General Motors, the new kid on the block, was added to the index. A century later or a lifetime, the largest components are technology, consumer goods and industrials. Space travel might become one of those components a century from now.

October 2014 and another month has passed with most stock indices closing lower. The headlines are full of numbers, explanations and predictions. The headlines keep pushing us into index funds. There is too much data for most of us to process or to worry about, so we do the obvious and follow the crowd. But, beware of the details: do you know how the S&P500 performed over the last 10 years? Yikes… only 5.6%. It pays to look at the details; it pays to check your timeframe; it pays to concentrate on what is and will be scarce. It pays to take the long view and follow people with vision. I am buying my space ticket soon. It may well not be for me, but it will be worth a lot to somebody else.