By Charles Roques
The notion of streamlining has existed since the late 19th century, originally used as a term to describe resistance of airflow or water fluid dynamics over and around a surface. It also became popular as a design element for many everyday objects that had no real advantage to being streamlined other than perhaps a smooth optical flow to the eyes. But for automobiles it was an advantage and could reduce air drag and allow for better fuel economy and performance. It could also be beautiful.
In 1953 Paul Hoffman, then president of Studebaker, commissioned Raymond Loewy to design a car for the “younger segment of automobile users.” Loewy, who referred to most American cars as “jukeboxes on wheels,” welcomed the opportunity. The actual design of the car was largely done by Robert E. Bourke who worked for Raymond Loewy Associates in South Bend, Indiana, from 1944 to 1955.
The innovative appearance of the model was manufactured as the Commander Starliner Coupe and was based on streamlining. It came out in 1953 and included, a longer, wider and lower appearance, limited use of chrome, a sloping nose, and a concealed radiator. It was and remains one of the most beautiful cars of the 1950s or any other decade and a favorite of collectors and custom-car aficionados.
Another meaning of the word streamline is to improve the efficiency of, often by simplification. There’s no substitute for knowing the company in which you’re investing. Better yet, create your own files and history. You definitely need information about the cannabis companies you invest in, but do you need everything you read? One of the important goals of collecting information should be to objectify your knowledge of a company so you can make your own investment decisions, but you don’t have to create an encyclopedia.
Consider airflow as the way that history is accessible to you. Can you get to this smoothly and read it quickly to get up to date, and more importantly put it in context? Is this important information or is it just garnish and window dressing? Sometimes the history of a cannabis company appears to be written by its promotors and press releases. New investors starting out can easily be seduced by these noisy, boastful tunes pumped out by the jukebox press releases. On the other hand although they may not always tell you important facts about a company, they do contribute to the flow of information. Sometimes they may even refer to important data in SEC filings. Maybe you could call them a necessary evil, but also one that can clog up the files.
One of the most tedious parts about research is the sameness of the pages, endless black type on a white ground, lists of numbers, or worse, much unnecessary and repeated legal verbiage about company missions and disclosure statements. So, for starters, don’t clog your histories with any unnecessary data. In your own personal files, saving that legal disclosure at the end of the latest company news is not necessary, nor is the mission statement that is also constantly repeated. Once you delete this oft-repeated legalese and promotional language, the actual relevant information is fairly short.
It’s easy to compile lots of contrasting and revealing information about a company in a fairly short file, easy to read and access if you trim the fat. Establish a simple format of name, address, company officers, contact info, description, etc. Then just cut and paste the core of the info as you receive it. Timelines can be important so date your entries, most recent first. Use your fonts and colors if necessary to make things stand out so you can easily see where one entry ends and the other begins—you’re creating a history and it’s important to be able to scroll to past information quickly. A quick read might be all the reminder you need. SEC filings reveal important data about the company’s finances, among other areas of interest, but they can also be cumbersome to file away so just copy the SEC url address into the file, clicking into it whenever you need it.
Don’t be shy about being quirky if it helps keep the information flowing, but above all trim the fat. You might be surprised at how much you can condense relevant information. Why save a full page of type for four lines of relevant information? Use common sense and edit out the extraneous. The most important thing you notice from cutting and pasting info isn’t always about the content being saved but something more subtle, or not, like patterns of repeated statements and empty boasts, and even financial losses or gains.
History is made by the historians. It is also revised, amended and deleted by them. We believe it until it is corrected or revised. Unfortunately, in the cannabis sector, sometimes it can be more like fiction based on a true story. The best historian of the company is you. Act on the information immediately, read it, write it down, then move on. Don’t dismiss it, whether negative or positive, but don’t trust your memory.
This data might seem mundane and inconsequential now, but later it could turn out to contribute to the historical thread. The small details you save could add up to be important details of the bigger picture. New information at the beginning of your investment research can all seem to be of great importance until you learn more.
The best streamliner of your files might also be you. Make some simple categories for your files, like “good” companies, “bad” companies, “maybe” companies, whatever works, but start with a system and adjust it as you learn. If you don’t have the important facts of a company, you can’t make a good investment decision. Succinct, edited, tidy files could make for easy access to company information and timely investment decisions, not to mention a smooth ride.