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  • 美国著名基金经理Tren Griffin:你可以从《成功方程式》学到的东西(上)

    2016-10-17 04:31:00 来源: 港股那点事


    编者按:这篇文章的作者是Tren Griffin,他是美国知名私募Eagle River的合伙人之一。Tren Griffin对投资有着极强的兴趣,经常在其博客上分享一些他自己最新的观点和感悟。这篇文章就是其阅读完《成功方程式》之后的感想。

    Tren Friffin:如果要我选一本我最喜欢的Michael Mauboussin写的书,我一定会选 The Success Equation(《成功方程式》)。在我看来Michael Mauboussin是头脑最清晰的企业家之一,他的言论能最大程度上让我有醍醐灌顶之感。他是一位完美的老师,十分慷慨、且十分乐于分享。

    接下来我们一起梳理一下书中的精华

    1. “There’s a quick and easy way to test whether an activity involves skill: ask whether you can lose on purpose. In games of skill, it’s clear that you can lose intentionally, but when playing roulette or the lottery you can’t lose on purpose.”

    1. 检测一项活动是不是个技术活有个简单的方法:问问自己能不能故意输掉。需要高技巧的比赛很显然是可以被故意输掉的。不过在玩轮盘赌或者彩票的时候,你是无法故意输掉的。

    Luck is easier to describe than skill. Luck is best thought of in terms of an activity like roulette. With roulette you know the all potential future states and the probability distribution. Because the house takes a rake in roulette, there are no professional roulette players. Very few things in life involve just luck. The probability distribution of outcomes in the real world is rarely known. Mauboussin writes that luck has three core elements:

    形容起运气往往要比形容技巧来得简单。在轮盘赌这样的活动中是最容易发现运气的。玩轮盘赌的时候你知道所有潜在的结果,和结果分布的可能性。赌场靠轮盘赌敛集钱财,所以根本没有什么生活中没什么事情是只跟运气挂钩的。在真实世界里,结果的分布都是未知的。Mauboussin写道幸运有三要素:

    1) It operates on an individual or an organizational basis;

    2) it can be positive or negative; and

    3) it is reasonable to expect that a different outcome could have occurred.

    1)它在个体或者组织的基础上产生作用;

    2)它可以是积极的,也可以是消极的;

    3)预料不同的结果有发生的可能性也是合理的。

    Skill is harder to define, but Mauboussin believes a dictionary definition works well. Skill is: “The ability to apply one’s knowledge readily in execution or performance.” Mauboussin writes that activities like chess rely almost wholly on a player’s skill. Mauboussin explains that each sport has a different mix of skill versus luck. You will note that in this picture below investing finds its home closer to luck than skill (see the placement of chart icon).

    技能是很难被定义的,但是Mauboussin觉得字典式的释义其实也行得通。技能是指:“将个人的知识快速地用在执行活动上的能力。” Mauboussin写道,像下棋这样的活动就完全依靠下棋人的技巧。他还说,每种运动都需要有不同的技巧组合。在下图中你可以看到投资其实更靠近于运气那一端,而不是技巧。


    2. “Much of what we experience in life results from a combination of skill and luck.” 

    2. “我们在生活中经历的大多数事情都是技巧和运气的组合。”

    The mix between skill and luck in a given business or investing activity is always different and is constantly changing. Exactly where investing falls on that continuum depends on the style of investing involved and the business environment at the time. Investing in the stock market is an interesting case to consider when thinking about the mix between luck and skill since it is hard to do better than an index and it is also hard to do worse, especially if you are diversified.

    在一个商业活动或者投资活动中,技巧和运气的占比组合总是不一样的,而且时刻在变。投资的结果具体落在哪个点,其实取决于投资的风格和当时的商业环境。就运气和技巧的混合比例而言,投资股市是个有意思的案例,因为要做得比指数好很难,但是要做得比指数差也难,尤其是当你的投资很分散的话。

    Venture capital investing is a more a skill driven activity since it involves things like coaching founders and significantly more uncertainty. Starting a business also involves more skill than investing in pubic equities. When Mauboussin was writing The Success Equationwe had an email conversation about the role of luck in the success of Microsoft. I recall that we did not agree completely about the mix in that case. I recall that saw less luck that Mauboussin did.

    风险投资更是个看重技巧的活动,因为它还牵涉到为创始人提供指引,伴随着更大的不确定性。创业需要的技术含量也比股权投资的要多。当Mauboussin写《成功方程式》的时候,我们发邮件讨论了一下微软成功背后的运气成分。我还记得我们对案例中技术含量和运气含量的混合比看法不一致。我在微软成功背后看到的运气成分比Mauboussin看到的少。

    But I am too close to the story perhaps to be objective. Mauboussin includes writes in the book: “When asked how much of his success he would attribute to luck, Gates allowed that it played ‘an immense role.’ In particular, Microsoft was launched at an ideal time: ‘Our timing in setting up the first software company aimed at personal computers was essential to our success,’ he noted. ‘The timing wasn’t entirely luck, but without great luck it wouldn’t have happened.’

    但这可能是因为我跟微软距离太近,以至于无法客观来看。Mauboussin在书里这样总结道:“当被问道成功有多少是归因于运气时,盖茨说它(运气)发挥了‘巨大的作用’。”尤其是微软的成立时间恰到好处:“我们建立第一个针对个人电脑的微软公司时,时间点很好,这对我们后来的成功至关重要,”。“时间点选得好不仅仅是因为运气,但是要没有运气,这一切也不会发生。”

    3. “Great success combines skill with a lot of luck. You can’t get there by relying on either skill or luck alone. You need both.” 

    3,“巨大的成功往往是技巧和大量好运的结合。单凭运气或者技巧之一,是无法取得那样的成功的。两者缺一不可。”

    Sometimes you will hear people say things like: “the harder I work, the luckier I become.” Mauboussin easily demonstrates these statements to be a non sequitur with a few well-chosen words: “there is no way to improve your luck, because anything you do to improve a result can reasonably be considered skill.” This Mauboussin turn of phrase reminds me a lot of the classic Howard Marks line: if risky investments could be counted on to deliver high returns, then they wouldn’t be risky.

    有时候当你听到别人说:“越努力工作,就会越幸运。”Mauboussin两言三语就可以把这种论调推翻:“你是不可能提高自己的幸运值的,因为你能做的一切追求更好结果的事情都可以看作是技术活。” Mauboussin的此番话让我想起了霍华德·马克思说过的:如果高风险投资确定能带来高回报的话,那么它就称不上是高风险。

    4,“So here’s the distinction between activities in which luck plays a small role and activities in which luck plays a large role: when luck has little influence, a good process will always have a good outcome. When a measure of luck is involved, a good process will have a good outcome but only over time.” 

    4,“运气作用不大和运气发挥重大作用的区别在于:当运气起到的作用很小时,好的过程往往会带来好的结果。当运气因素影响较大时,过程好结果可能会好,只不过是偶发性的好。”

    Mauboussin believes a wise investing process has three elements:

    1) you must find something the market does not believe and you must be right about that belief;

    2) you must have control over your behavioral biases; and

    3) you must not have organization issues that get in the way of a sound decisions.

    “Mauboussin相信聪明的投资过程有三个要素:

    1)你必须找到一些市场不相信的东西,并且你必须确信它;

    2)你必须控制住自己的行为偏见;

    3)在一个安全的决定之前必须没有组织的条条框框限制。

    One way to find things that are true that the market does not believe is to find areas of the market that are less well known and popular. In other words, what you want to do is find a game where the competition is weak. This is exactly what investors Warren Buffett and Howard Marks recommend. What you want to do is find a bet where the other bettors are making decisions based on things that are the equivalent of the patterns made by sheep guts at a slaughterhouse or a Keynesian Beauty Contest.

    如果想找到一些明明是真的,但是市场却不相信的事情,有一个方法就是去找市场那些不知名的不被关注的区域。换而言之,你想做的是找个竞争没那么激烈的比赛。这就是沃伦·巴菲特和霍华德·马克思这些投资者推荐的。你要做的就是找到一个别人很轻易就下了注的赌注,他们下注基于的模式,可能跟在屠宰场发现羊肠、或者凯恩斯美女投票这类模式一样。

    Munger says: “For a security to be mispriced, someone else must be a damn fool. It may be bad for the world, but not bad for Berkshire.” Warren Buffett makes the point that the way to beat a chess master is to play them at something other than chess. Buffett adds: “The important thing is to keep playing, to play against weak opponents and to play for big stakes.” If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.”

    芒格说过:“看被错估的股票时,肯定有人是傻瓜。对于全世界而言这不见得是好事,但是对于伯克希尔来说很好。”沃伦巴菲特点明了这一点:打败一个下棋高手的最好办法就是不要跟他比下棋。他还说:“重要的是要不停地下,跟比你弱的对手下,为高的赌注下。如果你打了半个小时的牌还不知道谁是被骗的,那被骗的就是你自己。”

    There is no substitute for a sound process in an activity like investing.

    在投资这类活动中,过程安全比什么都重要。Mauboussin写道:

    Mauboussin writes:“If you compete in a field where luck plays a role, you should focus more on the process of how you make decisions and rely less on the short-term outcomes. The reason is that luck breaks the direct link between skill and results—you can be skillful and have a poor outcome and unskillful and have a good outcome. The point is that the outcome didn’t reveal the skill of the player, only the process did. So focus on process.”

    “如果你是在运气因素起决定作用的领域竞争,你应该更关注下决定的这个过程,而不是短期的结果。原因是运气因素把技能和结果之间的直接联系割断了——即便你技术高超,结果也不见得好;有时候就算你没什么本事,结果反而也会好。关键点在于结果并不能反映参赛者的真实实力,只有过程才能反映出来。所以重视过程吧!”

    5,“When everyone in business, sports, and investing copies the best practices of others, luck plays a greater role in how well they do.” “It’s not that investors lack skill. As investors have become more sophisticated and the dissemination of information has gotten cheaper and quicker over time, the variation in skill has narrowed, and luck has become more important.” 

    5,“如果在商业界、体育界、或者投资界,人人都去复制别人最成功的实践模式,那么决定他们自身成就的绝大多数是运气因素。”“并不是说投资者们技艺不精。当投资者们变得日益老练,当消息传播变得更方便快捷时,个人能力造成的差距会缩小,此时运气因素就更为重要了”

    Mauboussin calls this idea the paradox of skill. Mauboussin。For example, as the skill levels of portfolio managers rise the greater the role of luck becomes in the outcome. The classic example of this idea that Mauboussin cites is the .400 batting average of Ted Williams. Mauboussin points out: “The average of all batting averages in Major League Baseball is generally in the range of .260 to .270.

    Mauboussin把这个叫做技能的悖论。比如:基金经理的能力越高,那么运气因素对收益的影响越大。Mauboussin曾经举了一个特别经典的例子——泰德·威廉姆斯40%的击球率。他写道:“职业棒球大联盟赛参赛选手的平均击球率是26%-27%之间。

    In 1941, when Williams achieved his feat, the standard deviation was .032. Today it is about .028. Saying this differently, Ted Williams had an average that was 4 standard deviations away from the average, getting him to .406. If a player were to be 4 standard deviations away from average in 2011, he would have hit .380. Awesome, but nowhere near .400.” Charlie Munger once said, “If you don’t get this elementary, but mildly unnatural, mathematics of elementary probability into your repertoire, then you go through a long life like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. You’re giving a huge advantage to everybody else.”

    在1941年,当Ted达到职业生涯最高的击球率时这个平均值是32%。今天这个数字是28%。换而言之,……”。查理·芒格曾经说过“如果你不在你的技能单里加上这种基础算术能力,那么在你一生中,你将会像一个独腿的人……。你让给了别人一个巨大的优势。”

    As investors increasingly move toward buying index funds, unskilled investors are removed from the game which makes the task of a manager trying to earn alpha harder. As investment skill levels rise, luck gets more important.

    当投资者越来越倾向于买指数型基金,涉世未深的投资者撤出资金,这样一来基金经理想要寻找alpha股就更难了。让投资能力提升时,运气因素的作用会凸显出来。

    6,“If you take concrete steps toward attempting to measure [the contributions of skill and luck to any success or failure], you will make better decisions than people who think improperly about those issues or who don’t think about them at all. That will give you an enormous advantage over them.”

    如果你脚踏实地去估计技能和运气导致成功或失败所占的比重,你就会比那些想错了的,或者根本不去思考这个问题的人做出更好的决定。那么你会有巨大的优势。”

    The more data you have on your processes and outcomes the more you will be able to improve those processes and outcomes. What data is valuable?  I would rather have data and not need it, than need it and not have it. This quote makes me think of a quality that Mauboussin and I share. We both want to know why something is true. It is not enough to know that x is true. One way to know more about why something is true is to measure it. Of course people tend to ignore or hide data they do not like, which reminds me of an old joke told by Kieran Healy:

    在过程和结果中在尽可能多地搜寻数据,就更有可能优化过程或者结果。什么数据是有价值的呢?我宁愿有一些用不上的数据,也不想缺少自己需要的数据。这句话让我想到了我和Mauboussin的共性:仅仅知道某件事是正确的是不够的,我们还想弄清楚为什么是正确的。要想知道为什么是对的,方法之一就是去计算。不过,人们倾向于忽略或者隐藏自己不喜欢的数据,这让我希艾娜感到了Kieran Healy讲过的一个梗:

    A soldier is captured during a long-running war and thrown into the most stereotypical prison cell imaginable. Inside the cell is another solider. He has an enormous, disgusting-smelling beard and has clearly been there a long time. The young solider immediately sets about trying to escape. He is resourceful and possessed of great willpower. He bribes a guard with his emergency supply of cash.

    在一次漫长的战争中,一个士兵被俘虏,然后还是那个套路,他被关进了我们都知道那种监狱。在那间隔间里面,还有另外一个士兵,大胡子,散发着异味,很显然他已经在这儿待了很久了。年轻的士兵当即决定要越狱。他足智多谋,意念坚定。他用紧急小金库贿赂了一个哨兵。

    The guard gets him into a supply truck and he makes it to the prison garage, but is found during a routine vehicle search while exiting the compound. He is returned to his cell. His mangy companion says nothing about his departure or return. Undeterred, the young soldier works on the bars of the cell for weeks, filing them down with a shim made from a toothbrush. The whole time the old soldier looks on, silently. The young soldier finally breaks the bars, slips out the window and makes it to the outer wall, where he is spotted and recaptured. He is thrown back in the cell. He glowers at his grizzled companion, who still remains silent.

    这个哨兵让他上了一辆补给车,士兵最后到来了监狱的车库里,但是在试图逃出院子时例行巡车被抓住了。然后他被送回了监狱。士兵迎难而上,开始在监狱的铁柱上下功夫,他用牙刷做成小薄片然后磨铁柱,磨了几个星期。过程中,老士兵袖手旁观,沉默不语。年轻的士兵最终割断了铁柱,从窗户口子逃了出去,最后逃到了外围墙,在这儿,他又被抓了,再一次被丢回了监狱。他怒气冲冲地看着头发灰白的狱友,但是狱友还是一言不发。

    Calming himself and mastering his despair, he tries yet again, this time digging a tunnel with the narrow end of a broken plastic coffee spoon. After about two years of work he succeeds in escaping under the wall and making it to the nearest town, only to be captured again at the train station. He is delivered, once again, back to his cell and its taciturn occupant.

    淡定下来之后,士兵又开始尝试,这一次他想塑料用咖啡勺的尖儿挖一条通道出来。两年过去了。他终于逃狱成功,跑到了最近的村子里,不幸的是在火车站时又被抓住了。他再一次被送回了监狱,跟沉默的狱友共处一室。

    At the end of his wits, the young soldier finally confronts the old soldier, shouting, “Couldn’t you at least offer to help me with this?! I mean, I’ve come up with all these great plans—you could have joined me in executing them! What’s wrong with you?”

    年轻的士兵黔驴技穷,他终于开始正对老士兵发飙:“你就不能帮帮我吗?!我意思是,我想出了这么多妙点子——你本来可以上车跟我一伙!你是不是有毛病?”

    The old soldier looks at him and says, “Oh I tried all these methods years ago—bribery, the bars, a tunnel, and a few others besides—none of them work.” The young soldier looks at him, incredulous, and screams “Well if you knew they didn’t work, WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU TELL ME BEFORE I TRIED THEM, YOU BASTARD?!” The old soldier scratches his filthy beard and says, “Hey, who publishes negative results?”

    老士兵看着他说:“哦,这些方法我n年前就试过了——贿赂,铁柱,暗道,还有其它的——没一个管用。” 年轻的士兵难以置信,对着他怒吼:“你既然知道不管用,你TMD为什么早告诉我?!你这个混蛋!” 老士兵捋了捋脏兮兮的胡子:“嘿,谁到处乱广播没做成的事儿?”

    7.“Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.” 

    7、“并不是所有重要的东西都能算出来,当然能算出来的也不一定就是重要的。”

    People want to be able to predict the future. To satisfy that desire, humans have a tendency to grab what data can be measured and assume that what can’t be measured does not exist or does not matter. People who are mathematically gifted are particularly prone to this tendency.

    人都是想预测未来的。在这种欲望之下,人会倾向于去获取那些能够被计算出的数据,也会假设任何算不出来的东西本身就是不存在、或者无关紧要的。有数学天赋的人尤其会有这种倾向。

    For example, if you just assume that the human world works like the world of physics you can use this assumption make beautiful mathematical formulas. But there may or may not be any tie of that mathematics to reality, which can create a host of major problems. As an example, one of my biggest problems with a lot of economic discussions today related to the fact that it is very hard to measure consumer surplus.

    例如:如果你假设人类世界跟物理世界的运行原理一样,你可以用这种假设创造出各种完美的数学方程式。但是这种数学跟现实世界的联系其实很少,或者根本没有联系,那么随之而来会有很多问题产生。比如我觉得当前经济学讨论里存在的一个问题就是说消费者盈余很难计算。

    Just ignoring consumer surplus because you can’t measure it well is a bad idea that can lead to unhelpful policy conclusions. Just as unhelpful are people who say that it can be accurately measured, based on a bunch of assumptions that are essentially guesses. Sometimes we need to accept that we do not or cannot fully know something. The policy choices must deal with that uncertainty.

    如果仅仅因为消费者盈余很难计算就忽略它,这会导致很多无用的政策被制定出来。这就跟那些空凭假设就说消费者盈余能够被精确计算出的人一样,都是毫无用处可言。有的时候我需要接受自己无法、或者不能完全弄清楚一些事情的现实。制定政策的时候必须考虑到这种不确定性。

    8. “Even if we acknowledge ahead of time that an event will combine skill and luck in some measure, once we know how things turned out, we have a tendency to forget about luck.”

    8、“即便有时我们事先明白了有些事情就是运气和技巧的结合,一旦我们知道了事情的发展前景后,我们也会倾向于忽略运气因素。”

    Survivor bias is a huge problem in human cognition. The tendency is for people to conclude: what I achieve is skill and what I fail at is luck. People love to tell stories, particularly about their successes. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we are skillful. Usually the result is some mix of both. What is particularly bothersome to me is when people ascribe luck to themselves in a way that they bestow themselves some moral measure superiority. As Warren Buffett points out, he won the ovarian lottery: “I was born in the United States. I had all kinds of luck.”

    生存者缺陷是人类认知上的一个巨大问题。人们倾向于认为:我成功是因为能力强,我失败是因为不走运。人是很喜欢讲故事的,尤其是说自己的成功事迹时。有的时候是因为走运,有的时候是因为个人能力。结果通常是两者结合带来的。我觉得很麻烦的一件事情就是人们喜欢把自己的运气归因于自己拥有某种道德上的优越性。像沃伦巴菲说的,他赢了Ovarian彩票,这是因为:“我出生在美国。我很幸运。”

    相关链接:

    精译求精系列之一:顶级大师霍华德马克斯谈投资秘诀:敢于成就伟大

    精译求精系列之二:卡尔伊坎卖出苹果,巴菲特买入苹果,你左右为难了吗?

    精译求精系列之三:昙花一现?科技新贵的刹那芳华(上)

    精译求精系列之三:科技公司的生命周期被压缩—投资者的一大挑战(下)

    精译求精系列之四:脱欧到底意味着什么?!

    精译求精系列之五:华尔街如何对优步(Uber)进行估值(上)?

    精译求精系列之五:华尔街如何对优步(Uber)进行估值?(中)

    精译求精系列之六:寻找十倍股的不二法门,投入资本回报率(上)

    精译求精系列之六:寻找十倍股的不二法门,投入资本回报率(下)

    精译求精系列之七:优步的主要竞争对手Lyft有什么独特之处?(上)

    精译求精系列之七:优步的主要竞争对手Lyft有什么独特之处(下)?

    精译求精系列之八:美国基金经理七月资产配置调查

    精译求精系列之九:巴菲特炮轰川普,川普“跌停”?(中英对照视频

    精译求精系列之十:华尔街太傅:风投,一个定价,而非估值的游戏(上)

    格隆汇声明:格隆汇作为免费、开放、共享的海外投资研究交流平台,并未持有任何关联公司股票。转载本文,请务必注明来源“港股那点事”及作者。

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    来源: 港股那点事
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