Friday, July 25, 2014

Random thoughts: To copy or not to copy

I remember when I was in secondary school, my CCA took up a lot of my time. For 4 days a week, we trained after school till around 7 p.m. (I am not kidding), and for days without my CCA, I would go play basketball or videogame at my friend house.

There were times when I could not finished my homework. In fact, although I was in a top class in a very "neighbourhood" school, none of my classmates except the girls were hardworking. So what did I and my buddies do? We copied the girls' work. When the girls couldn't do it, we told the teacher to go through it.

That is why I find it bewildering so many have problems handing in homework after all the scolding, meeting of parents. Talk about creative solution.

When we copied, we copied and tried to understand, it is actually a short-cut way to learning, the girls didn't seem to mind then, so kind and innocent. We laterally formed copy groups. We did well in our exams. Heaven is blind? Did I hear you say?

When I went to junior college, which I never thought I will make it, I decided to "turn over a new leaf" I stopped copying. I insisted that I do it and learn it the orthodox way. My grades suffered greatly, whereas my friend simply continued to just listen and copy what the teachers write on the board, I tried to figure it out myself, ended up I learned less than my friend. I am too stubborn for my own good. I couldn't figure it out and didn't concentrate when my tutor is re-teaching, double whammy.

It is much later in life, when I heard the concept of copyright. Nah, you cannot take the shortcut, the creators will eat grass. It is the case for some start up, for big corporation like Disney, the copyrights allowed them to eat abalone every meal.

Now, come to trading/ investing. There is no copyright issue if you just buy what Warren buys, or what you favorite "zai qiu" (steady)blogger buy. There is no issue of copyrights.

Convention wisdom says, do not copy from others. There are good reasons why. I took such a long time to figure out the balanced way.

When we are in school, when you copy, do you copy from a single pupil or from many people?

Do you copy all the questions and steps or do you cherrypick what you want to copy?

Do you skip steps/workings unless you totally understand how it work?

SO you copy from a guru, scholar, or do you copy from someone who you know is smart enough to get the answer right and will not "bao toe" (betray) you if you are questioned by the teacher for copying. "We discussed the question and did it together" will not work if you copy from an guru.

Do you insist on DIY on every piece of homework, thinking self-discovery is the only path to learning?

Do you copy every homework? Or you copy when you have difficulty managing your time, and have difficulty in certain topics. Do you understand what you are copying?

Apply these to investing, do you see some similarities in the universal rule of copying? Seem like I am more intelligent when I am in secondary school. hahahah


  1. We can learn from Mohnish Pabrai in investing. Shameless copying. LOL!

    You can google on him and his lectures on investing.

  2. Hi CW, I read his book the diabolah investor after u introduce him. Could not sustain the interest after 3 chapters... LOL

  3. Value investing is damn boring. Ha Ha!

  4. Actually is a long story .... I borrow the book thinking I will finish reading during the holidays. Then I left it at a friend place. Once I got hold of it again, I am
    Not so interested anymore. I remembered reading a lot of concepts found in warren book, except he used different examples. The concept of moat, distressed industries can be found elaborated at other books, and another book caught my attention, so ...

    But I dun feel value investing boring, I find it intriguing ... The book, er... I cannot say the same

  5. sillyinvestor,

    By asking all those questions above, it shows you already know HOW to tell the difference and know WHO to copy from.

    If you can tell which book on Value Investing to put down, which to continue reading, and which to recommend others, there's already some wisdom involved.

    Not just rote knowledge from copying anyone and everyone.

    You got filter ;)


  6. SMOL,

    I thought u will comment, but thought u will leave a comment about my writing style or my secondary life. LOL

    So the filter that u say i have is highly biased ....

    I am thinking if I am telling my colleagues about the same story, they will talk about my sec life, my learning then value investing...

    We all have our biased filters... LOL

  7. sillyinvestor,

    I'm not a one trick pony ;)

    How to keep the birds interested with just one trick?

    By the way, having some bias or opinions can be good ;)

    If you keep changing your positions, how to convince yourself? Never mind about "selling" to others?

    It's bloody Zen again...

    Too stiff cannot (bigot); too flexible even worse (no mind of your own!

  8. Hmm.. SMOL
    I have no doubts u have a bag of tricks. I only hope I can have a bag of contentment.

    Recently felt life is too short and predictable to be wasted.

    Dun know why... Maybe too free...

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