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Visionary CEOs


tnathan
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Wanted to start a thread on companies with visionary CEOs that actually give a company an edge, both on strategy and execution. To start by naming a few, I think Reed Hastings at NFLX, Gary Friedman at RH, and Zuck at FB. Are there other CEOs that you believe truly add value to a stock?

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The obvious candidate is Elon Musk. He clearly is a visionary, and clearly created massive value at SpaceX and Tesla. The question is whether he continues to add value.

 

At Tesla it's mostly a production problem now. Musk's overpromises don't appear to be doing anything other than pumping the stock price, Semi, Cybertruck, FSD, etc are all years away. And he's creating regulatory risk, from SEC violations ($420 assured, Hertz contract, fake FSD video) to safety issues with full self driving beta with random customers on public streets. Tesla's struggling to reach it's production goals, factories are delayed, etc and it's EV market share continues to fall (below 14% now). It's only moat is the Supercharger network.

 

At SpaceX his recent contributions appear to be far more valuable, but he's also leading them down super risky paths. Starlink is going to require a huge amount of capital to build and operate, and a large customer base to reach positive free cash flow. Starship was already designed to be the largest launch system in history and he just made it significantly larger in the last week. It makes sense given the efficiencies gained with larger mass launchers, but what's the market for a 150 tons to orbit system, even if it's priced at under $50M a launch? Starship has to solve some tough problems including re-entry, in-orbit refueling for deep space missions, and it's got to be cheaply refurbishable between missions. If they have to inspect and replace tiles like the Shuttle did, it's not going to be cheap.

 

So maybe the go for broke risk taking that made Musk the wealthiest man on earth might not be the type of leadership these companies need now they've achieved critical mass.

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How can you forgot to have mentioned Warren Buffett?

 

Maybe too early to tell, but maybe Forrest Li of SE.

 

Thinking about companies I've owned in the past, besides some already mentioned, there was Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company and Selim Bassoul at Middleby, Steve Jobs at Apple although Tim Cook has done a great job too.

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The top guys at Palantir I think are in the discussion...as for adding value to shareholders...that remains to be seen. But what they have been able to achieve through their government side operations and their views on pro-western civilization (aren't afraid of sharing their views) is actually a breath of fresh air even if you don't necessarily agree with them. 

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26 minutes ago, Dean said:

The top guys at Palantir I think are in the discussion...as for adding value to shareholders...that remains to be seen. But what they have been able to achieve through their government side operations and their views on pro-western civilization (aren't afraid of sharing their views) is actually a breath of fresh air even if you don't necessarily agree with them. 

 

What does Palantir do?

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14 minutes ago, ValueArb said:

 

What does Palantir do?

Looking into a palantír allowed one to communicate with anyone else looking into another such stone. In addition, beings of great power could manipulate the stones to see virtually any part of the world.

 

A wielder of great power such as Sauron could dominate a weaker user through the stone, which was the experience of Pippin Took and Saruman. Even one as powerful as Sauron could not make the palantíri "lie", or create false images; the most he could do was to selectively display truthful images to create a false impression in the viewer's mind. In The Lord of the Rings, four such uses of the stones are described, and in each case, a true image is shown, but the viewer draws a false conclusion from the facts.

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Proven

 

Leonard at Constellation Software 

Malone at TCI and Liberty 

Warren Kanders - Sold company after 100 bagger and now doing it with Clarus again 

WEB - Berkshire 

 

Emerging -  This is the more fun category! 

@wabuffo Rick Hermmann - HireQuest - TBD, but it is fun to try to spot them before it becomes a 10 bagger 

 

I'll add more as I think of more 

 

 

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On 12/21/2021 at 4:57 PM, Dean said:

Looking into a palantír allowed one to communicate with anyone else looking into another such stone. In addition, beings of great power could manipulate the stones to see virtually any part of the world.

 

A wielder of great power such as Sauron could dominate a weaker user through the stone, which was the experience of Pippin Took and Saruman. Even one as powerful as Sauron could not make the palantíri "lie", or create false images; the most he could do was to selectively display truthful images to create a false impression in the viewer's mind. In The Lord of the Rings, four such uses of the stones are described, and in each case, a true image is shown, but the viewer draws a false conclusion from the facts.

 

Sold, establishing large position in PLTR tomorrow.

 

More seriously, every time I run into someone who owns Palantir I ask that same question and I've never gotten a convincing response that they know what PLTR does.

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  • 1 month later...

Daniel B. Gilbert from Rocket Company $RKT certainly qualifies. He was able to build out his company as the largest mortgage company in the US. He was also clever enough to take his company public when the  margins for gains on sales for mortgages were the fattest in recent history.

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8 hours ago, Spekulatius said:

Daniel B. Gilbert from Rocket Company $RKT certainly qualifies. He was able to build out his company as the largest mortgage company in the US. He was also clever enough to take his company public when the  margins for gains on sales for mortgages were the fattest in recent history.

 

eae.jpg

 

Also is a fan of comic sans

 

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^ LOL, sounds like I am missing out on drama sometimes by not following US Sports. Just reading about RKT and his letter above, I get the distinct impression that working for him is not for everyone.

 

As for RKT, I think it's an interesting company, but it went public when margins for mortgage gains on sale blew out far above baseline, so earnings were temporarily elevated, Gilbert also was smart enough to do his own cash our refinance and pulled a couple billion out of his own company before the IPO, if I recall correctly.

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I left a sarcastic response earlier, but in all seriousness I think Reed Hastings qualifies. First he took video stores DTC and scaled it for cash flow. Then he took that cash flow and spent it buying content for streaming, inventing a new category. Then he realized the studios would figure that out and started producing internally.

 

I looked at Netflix when streaming started and figured the tech barriers were too high and passed. Oops.

 

The only strategic mistake I see is a lack of M&A. They should have bought more established content. If they had bought Lucasfilm and MGM they'd be in a better position. 

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