Taking Long Positions

Amazon is a fascinating organization. I love this particular quote by Bezos.

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

Jeff Bezos

It’s important to ask that question every once in a while, not only about your business but also in context to your life.

What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?

For my life, I can clearly see that my dependency on technology will increase. The skill gap and the corresponding income gap will become deeper. Stress will be a constant background in life. We will continue to see waves of Covid-19 and the health of the family will see more and more challenges given our lifestyle. Climate change will start impacting us more directly in ways we can’t imagine and our dependency on petrol cars is going to bite us in our ass.

This simply translates into –

  • Make health – both physical and mental a top priority. Invest aggressively both with your time and resources to ensure that I am able to build a sane mind and a healthier body.
  • Investing continuously without expectations in a set of peers to build a support system that rescues you in the most difficult times and becomes your default safety net.
  • Learn skills that will challenge the mind (like building apps or setting up a vegetable farm)
  • A healthy diet not just for the body but also for the mind. Read books that stimulate the brain.
  • Continuously hone timeless skills (like creative expression, teaching)
  • Switching to a lifestyle that depends less on technology and closer to nature. Lesser carbon footprint and lesser dependency on petrol.

This list now allows me to make better decisions. Decisions that would be tough but would be aligned with my personal long-term goals. So if I buy a bike trainer worth 10K that allows me to cycle at home – it’s okay because it’s an investment into my health which will remain my top priority for as long as I can imagine. It also means that I don’t dwell too much on whether I should buy a book or not. It means that getting a solar plant installed on the rooftop is not a “How Much” question but a “when” question.

The default answer to some of these questions is – Just go for it.

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