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Introducing Daehan Choi

Since I launched this site in November 2013, Vancouver Value Investing has been a one-man show. But even though his name hasn’t appeared on the website, I have been collaborating on my investing journey with my good friend and business partner, Daehan Choi.

Going forward, Daehan and I are going to be publishing articles together. So who is this guy Daehan, anyway? And can we trust him to co-publish the Internet’s greatest two-man Vancouver-based blog on value investing?

Look at that face. How could you not like this guy?

The first thing you’ll learn about Daehan when you meet him (speaking of which, drop us a line if you’re in Vancouver and want to go for coffee) is that he’s a major nerd. I mean, this is a guy whose self-described reason for loving investing is that it allows him to “stand on the shoulders of giants, like Isaac Newton.”

Daehan and I met when we were both undergraduate students at the University of British Columbia. He was studying neuropsychology at the time, while I was studying the history of science. We initially bonded over our scientific interests and our shared fondness for lengthy conversations, but it didn’t take long for us to discover another shared interest: value investing.

Both of us had had the experience of discovering value investing midway through our degrees, through the work of the Giant of Giants, Benjamin Graham.

Before Graham, both of us thought that “investing” was just a glorified word for gambling. But after reading Graham, we realized that investing can be rigorous and grounded in empirical evidence—much like the sciences which we both loved. Graham introduced us to three of the most important concepts in value investing:

  1. The idea that you can estimate the intrinsic value of a business by carefully studying its fundamental characteristics;
  2. The idea that the market price of a business’s shares can differ significantly from this intrinsic value; and
  3. The idea that market prices are driven by the same principles of human psychology that we observe elsewhere in society—including major cognitive biases that result in irrational choices.

This new perspective changed everything. Far from being a mere casino, we started to view the financial markets as being like a peer-review process in which you submit your investment ideas and receive a verdict in the form of either profit or loss. [1] In the short term, this “free-market peer review” is full of noise — it’s impossible to tell whether you’re “right” or “wrong” based on short-term investment performance. But as the process unwinds, the feedback from the market becomes increasingly incisive until the true merit of your investment thesis gets weighed in dollars and cents.

By the time we graduated from our undergraduate programmes, it was clear to us where we wanted to go next. We simply couldn’t think of anything as exciting as giving back to society by leveraging the power of value investing. To that end, we dedicated ourselves to the ambitious goal of launching an investment fund, with the ultimate goal of financing a philanthropic foundation.

Vancouver Value Investing is a part of that project. We see this site as an opportunity to share the insights that we’ve struggled to gain since we started on our journey in the world of investing.

Amazingly, about 30 of you visit this site each day; and ~400 of you have signed up to get our updates straight to your inbox. This is actually a pretty large community for a site whose recent publication rate has been “once per geological epoch.” We are honoured by the platform you have given us, and we want to create value for our readers.

Although we haven’t been publishing lately, we often think about our readers when we discuss the lessons learned from our experiences as investors. With every new investment, book, or conversation, we try to leave some breadcrumbs behind so that we can go back later on and translate those lessons into content for you.

In doing so, our guiding premise is that there are many people out there who are excited by investing but are struggling to find resources that offer practical wisdom without unnecessary jargon and pretentiousness.

Our goal, therefore, is to reveal the underlying simplicity in complex ideas. We want to empower our readers by sharing, in an intuitive manner, the principles of value investing that we find so exciting and empowering in our own lives.

So if you are reading this post and think this is something you would like to be a part of, stay tuned! We have a lot of content in the pipeline that we are excited to share with you.

And if you are a more experienced investor and have knowledge that you would like to share, please do! You can reach us any time with suggestions, criticisms, corrections, or just to say “Hi!”. We love hearing from readers, and have actually made quite a few friends through the process.

So with that in mind, please join me in welcoming Daehan to the site! Both of us are very excited to keep building this community with you.

 

Happy investing,

 

Jason Fernando and Daehan Choi

Footnotes
[1]: To be clear, investing is far more an art than a science! This analogy to the peer review process should not be taken too literally. Unlike scientists who evaluate research based on rigorous standards of evidence, market participants generally make decisions based on emotions, speculative expectations of future earnings, or simply a desire to not be the “odd one out” relative to the prevailing market sentiment.

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