Today is the first time I am recommending a paid-for investment newsletter rather than a free blog.
Scuttleblurb is a product that I expect many of my readers will love, even at an annual subscription price of USD 210.
David Kim's investment website is very similar to Undervalued-Shares.com yet also very different.
I couldn't resist featuring it in my series about the world's best investment blogs.
The American alter ego of Undervalued-Shares.com?
The following might sound familiar to you:
- Deep dive into companies and industries.
- Focus on massive secular tailwinds and multi-year investments.
- An author who derives intrinsic enjoyment from writing lengthy pieces.
David Kim used to be a research analyst at a hedge fund, where he worked on a long-term, concentrated investment approach. He left to build his own fund management firm, Forage Capital.
Creating a new fund management company is anything but easy, and it doesn't usually pay immediate dividends. It does, however, allow the fund manager to spend lots of time thinking about investment ideas. Using his newfound freedom as fund management entrepreneur, Kim found himself with time on his hands to research and write.
Kim himself described it in a blog post:
"Writing is central to my investment process. I find it to be the most effective test of whether I really know what I think I know. It also jogs my mind and opens new avenues of exploration in a way that listing bullet points or checking off diligence items do not. So I figured if I was going to write for myself, I may as well see if others would pay to come along for the ride..."
Authenticity and intellectual integrity
Unusually for investment websites, Kim doesn't set out to research investment recommendations per se.
Instead, he goes on voyages of discovery.
Scuttleblurb is about understanding a company's advantages and disadvantages rather than an immediate focus on finding worthwhile investments. Kim does find outstanding investment ideas along the way, but that's more of a side effect.
As another article about Kim once described it:
"David Kim is a Magellan writing about his voyages rather than a salesman trying to get you to buy that shiny Dyson.
He dives deep into companies and industries, but not in the typical way of many financial writers: He's not trying to pitch you, he's not starting with a conclusion in mind that he's trying to justify by cherry-picking info. He immerses himself in a business for a while and then reports what he finds about industry dynamics, management quality, unit economics, competitive advantages, how historical developments have made things the way they are today, etc."
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To account for his way of working, he makes it clear to his subscribers that he will never stick to any publishing schedule.
Neither does he pick stocks from "hot" sectors just for the sake of making more people visit his website. Much as he does write about SaaS, consumer Internet, and other trendy stocks, he doesn't do it reliably. In between, he might write about a 100-year-old company that sells bacteria to dairy processors.
In Kim's own words:
"I hope you find scuttleblurb to be a welcome reprieve from the mêlée, a place where you can find sober, clearly articulated posts about what a company does, how it competes, and how it creates and claims value in its ecosystem. I don't always get it right but, without the pressure to pitch or to maintain the appearance of expertise, I can fess up to mistakes and explore ideas with sincerity. I try to stay humble about my state of knowledge and offer arguments as an informed amateur groping for good explanations."
His ways of differentiating himself are to be authentic and honest.
You couldn't say this about many other investment newsletters. Scuttleblurb is a welcome reprieve from the scammy and overpriced investment newsletters that the finance industry is littered with.
scuttleblurb.com is a website for people who like to get a little smarter about publicly-listed companies and the world of investing. It's a site for people who are curious, and who like to follow an analyst on a journey of learning and logical conclusions.
Full disclosure: I am a paying subscriber of scuttleblurb.com myself. Sending USD 210 towards David Kim seemed like a terrific investment to me, even though I have never even spoken to him (and he didn't know this article was coming – so rest assured it's not paid advertising in any shape or form!).
Further reading for you
If you simply want to get to know Kim's work, you can find a few sample posts on his website.
You could also follow his Twitter feed.
Last but certainly not least, you can read this excellent interview with him, a section of which I had cited above: Interview with David Kim a.k.a. Scuttleblurb.
I highly recommend studying David Kim's website if you are writing (or planning to write) your own blog. The success of scuttleblurb.com is an excellent case study of how to build a blog that stands out from the rest of the crowd. In his "scuttleblurb business update (2019)", Kim reveals much of the magic sauce that allowed him to build his website into a veritable income earner.
In this business update, he also describes how he built his business by using Twitter: "I estimate that more than 70% of my subscribers have come from Twitter word-of-mouth."
Which is something that piqued my interest! As it happens, I've spent a lot of time looking at Twitter over the past couple of weeks. How does the social network fare as an investment, and how can its unique ability to build audiences turn into a goldmine for Twitter shareholders?
My latest in-depth research report reveals it all. It's hot off the press (sent to my Members today), and offers some very surprising (non-consensus!) findings.
Blog series: Blogs to watch
There's more to "Blogs to watch" than this Weekly Dispatch. Check out my other articles of this 30-part blog series.
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