Blogs to watch (part 18): Mostly Borrowed Ideas

Blogs to watch (part 18): Mostly Borrowed Ideas
16 April 2021

Twelve research reports per year, long-form analysis, and a focus on large-cap stocks – does this concept sound familiar?

The idea behind "MBI Deep Dives", or "Mostly Borrowed Ideas" as it's also called, is amazingly similar to the concept.

It's a truly great investment blog and it comes at an entirely reasonable price.

"Blogs to watch" is all about featuring the world's best investment and finance-related blogs, so that others find it easier to locate these publications. Obviously, I am literally sending traffic the way of my competitors. Even if this means occasionally losing one or the other readers to other publications, I'll keep featuring any website that I believe will be of interest to you. Investment blogs supporting each other will help broaden the reach of the entire sector. I rank this a higher priority than short-term traffic maximisation for my own blog – more about this at the end of this article.

Here are five reasons why I really like Mostly Borrowed Ideas:

1. Interesting selection of companies

MBI predominantly features companies that you would have heard about already. Etsy, Uber, Shopify, and Lululemon are the kind of companies you would often come across in your day-to-day life, and they've all been featured on MBI Deep Dives.

Focussing on such well-known companies makes the investment analysis easier to relate to and more relevant to read.

2. Detailed financial analysis's occasional weak point is where MBI excels.

I am a big picture person, and I mostly lean on the work of others (such as the innumerable research reports from investment banks that end up on my desk) to drill into balance sheet details.

Abdullah Al-Rezwan, the author of MBI, on the other hand, had majored in finance, followed by an MBA. As if that wasn't enough already to provide him with a solid understanding of finance, he eventually also became a Certified Financial Analyst and a Financial Risk Manager.

Check out this article explaining his research approach.

If you are looking for a website that is a bit more technical on the financial analysis side, MBI may be for you.

3. A genuinely curious mind as author

As the 30-year old author puts it, he is a generalist who enjoys understanding and connecting the dots.

He picks the targets of his analysis purely on the basis of what he is curious about. As he puts it, of the 12 companies he features each year, only two or three will likely be great investments - some might not be worth buying at all.

Make no mistake about it, MBI is not a tip sheet that aims to give you 12 investable, highly-promising ideas per year. It's about exploring, learning, and showing the process of solid investment analysis. Its author simply takes you along on his journey and he lets you see the world through his eyes.

This means he will not appeal to the typical tip sheet audience, but to other curious minds who appreciate intellectual exploration.

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4. And a likable author as well!

I have never met the author of MBI, nor have I even emailed with him ahead of this article.

Nevertheless, he seems like a really nice chap:

  • Driven and self-motivated (as us bloggers are).
  • Self-deprecating.
  • Seemingly leading a quasi-nomadic life and living off his blog.

Check out his CV or his Twitter feed.

5. A website with enviable clarity (and timeless gems)

At times, I question whether is as neatly arranged as it could be. As I accumulate ever more content, this question regularly comes to my mind.

When it comes to locating content, MBI is a model case of brevity and neatness. If you want to sift through the miscellaneous content that the author has produced outside of doing deep dives on companies, simply visit this section and scroll past the Twitter threads. Towards the bottom, there are a lot of timeless gems you can learn from.

Mental note to self, I will revisit how to better arrange and present the content on (Suggestions are always welcome.)

Not for free – but great value

At USD 10 per month, MBI Deep Dives is a tad more expensive than Then again, which investment website isn't?

I view my payments to blogs as a worthwhile investment for the wider good. We do need more independent thinkers and writers, and the sources that offer such writing are drying up.

As of late, the long-standing gradual decline of mainstream media has accelerated - and the reason isn't difficult to locate. The mainstream media sector has been bleeding talent. Websites like Substack (which MBI Deep Dives is based on) allow journalists and anyone else to build an audience and make a living out of writing. A growing number of journalists has recognised that they don't need a conventional employer anymore. The truly outstanding writers can gain much more control over their work AND make more money if they set up their own shop.

Abdullah Al-Rezwan of MBI Deep Dives is one of them. He provides the kind of honest, high-quality and relevant reporting that I appreciate as a reader, and which I am happy to pay for.

I am pretty sure that quite a few of my readers will feel the same.

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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