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David Blanco @dblancoen
, 26 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Best fragments of one of my favorite books. Lessons from some of the best CEOs in history.
1) CEOs need to two things well to be successful: run their operations efficiently and deploy the cash generated by those operations.
2) What counts in the long run is the increase in per share value, not overall growth or size.
3) Cash flow, not reported earnings, is what determines long-term value.
4) Descentralized organizations release entrepreneurial energy and keep both costs and “rancor” down.
5) Sometimes the best investment opportunity is your own stock.
6) This led the outsider CEOs to focus on cash flow and to forgo the blind pursuit of the Wall Street holy grail of reported earnings.
7) Net income can be significantly distorted by differences in debt levels, taxes, capital expenditures, and past acquisition history.
8) Buffett and Singleton designed organizations that allowed them to focus on capital allocation, not operations. Both viewed themselves primarily as investors, not managers.
9) Buffett and Singleton focused their investments in industries they knew well, and were comfortable with concentrated portfolios of public securities.
10) “General Dynamics should only be in businesses where it had the number one or two market position” Bill Anders, General Dynamics CEO
11) The company would exit commodity businesses where returns were unacceptably low.
12) “Cash return on capital became the key metric within the company and was always on our minds” Ray Lewis, General Dynamic executive.
13) “We bought heavily when we thought we could take advantage of market mistakes in pricing our stock” Ray Lewis, General Dynamic Executive.
14) “Three things in particular caught his attention: the highly predictable, the favorable tax characteristics; and the fact that it was growing like a weed” John Malone, about cable television business.
15)“Cable television customers paid monthly and rarely disconnected” John Malone
16) There is an apparent inverse correlation between the construction of elaborate new headquarters buildings and investor returns. Not one of the outsider CEOs built lavish headquarters.
17) A virtuous cycle of scale: if you buy more systems, you lower your programming costs and increase your cash flow, which allows more financial leverage (Malone´s logic)
18) Malone was a pioneer in the use of spin-offs. Increased transparency, allowing investors to value parts of the company that had previously been obscured by TCI´s core cable business.
19)A dollar invested with TCI at the beginning of the Malone era was worth over $900 by mid-1998. TCI outperformed the S&P by over fortyfold.
20) “Computers require an immense amount of detail… I´m a mathematician, not a programmer. I may be accurate, but I´m not precise” John Malone.
21) Stiritz (Ralston Purina CEO) disdained the false precision of detailed financial models, focusing instead on a handful of key variables. “We knew what we needed to focus on. No massive studies and no bankers”
22) Stiritz was fiercely independent, and actively disdained the advice of outside advisers. He believed that charisma was overrated as a managerial attribute and that analytical skill was a critical prerequisite for a CEO and the key to independent thinking.
23) “We never issued any stock. I was like a feudal lord, holding onto the ancestral land” Dick Smith, General Cinema CEO.
24) “Unlike operations (which are very descentralized), capital allocation at Berkshire is highly centralized” Warren Buffett.
25) The outsider CEOs believed that the value of financial projections was determined by the quality of the assumptions, not by number of pages in the presentation.
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