YouTube – The World’s Second Most Popular Website is also one of the Most Underappreciated Investor Resources by Andrew Hunt author of Better Value Investing: A Simple Guide to Improving Your Results as a Value Investor.
Since its founding in 2005, YouTube has grown to become the world’s second most popular website. With 177 million visitors and over 2 billion page views every day, the portal now accounts for a staggering 17% of all US internet traffic.
When you think of YouTube, it’s probably cute cat videos that come to mind rather than serious investment research. However, what I’ve found over the past few years is that YouTube is an increasingly valuable resource for investors, and something I’m using more and more.
I first started using YouTube for research when I realized its value in terms of better understanding companies’ products. Almost regardless of the product, there’s probably someone who has posted a review of it on YouTube. This is especially so for tech products – such as new handsets or gaming accessories. Here an expert perspective can be especially valuable. YouTube can also be great for learning how specialist products (such as new drugs or aircraft parts) actually work, or how they are manufactured.
YouTube: So much more than just cat videos
Later on I discovered another use for YouTube. The site is full of interviews with directors, chairmen and management teams. Unless you’re a very big investor, you may not always be able to get access to management teams or have a record of what they’ve said in the past. Fortunately, you can often get a lot information and insights on them from YouTube. And it’s not just big companies – surprisingly often there are clips or interviews with owners and managers of small and overseas companies too. Now I use Google and YouTube as a matter of course when I’m researching management.
The third and probably most valuable aspect of YouTube is its contribution to investor education. Most serious investors spend a lot of time reading books and derive huge benefit and pleasure from doing so. While this is something I still do, increasingly I am learning from YouTube as well. It is packed with interviews, lectures and profiles of all the top investors – Buffett, Munger, Schloss, Klarman, Prem Watsa, and so on – there are hours of footage on all of them. Indeed, it seems that many of the keynote lectures given at investing conferences quickly end up on YouTube. This really is a great place to learn.
If I’ve piqued your interest, here are some links to a few my favorite, genuinely enjoyable videos for value investors:
- The Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing has in-depth lectures by many of the greats, including Seth Klarman, Prem Watsa, Tom Russo and Mohnish Pabrai.
Two of my favorites are by the late Walter Schloss and Richard Lawrence of Overlook Partners.
Walter J Schloss - Ben Graham Centre Value Investing 2008
Richard H Lawrence Jr, Overlook Investments - Ben Graham Centre Value Investing 2015
- There is a four-part series titled “The Best of Value Investing.” Composed entirely of clips of great investors, this is a great introduction for anyone wanting to hear the basic principles explained by some of the best in the business.
- Investors at Google is a series of twenty hour long lectures on investing. These are great talks from an incredible line-up. I’d especially recommend the talks by Jason Zweig, Howard Marks, Toby Carlisle and Tom Gayner:
- Cliff Asness, the quant and founder of the hedge fund AQR, has some great talks on the big market anomalies, as well as how to use and apply quant research and back-tests:
- For any investor who also has a leadership or managerial role, Simon Sinek’s talk, “Why Leaders Eat Last” is one of the most insightful, fascinating and inspiring presentations you will ever hear. It describes how to lead others well and is especially relevant to investment management as it explains how great leadership can avoid the sort of destructive competition and short-term behaviour that is frequently encountered:
- Lastly, the film-maker Adam Westbrook has some beautiful 5-minute films that convey important ideas through fascinating stories and historical examples:
My favourite of these is “The Long Game”, in which Westbrook explains how long it takes for even the most talented to become really good at what they do. It describes the importance of perseverance, patience and the will to push through what Westbrook dubs “The Difficult Years.” This is educational story telling at its most inspiring.
In his other films Westbrook covers topics as diverse as the difficulties of linking cause and effect, how technology changes us in unexpected ways and why bananas are so cheap.