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Moats Versus Boats - Part 2

Chetan Parikh on why one should avoid the circle of illusory competence

Competitive advantage
Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the ‘real’ subject of an image. In graphic design for printed or displayed materials, where effective communication is the objective, the use of negative space may be crucial. The best storytellers can artfully shape the narrative like designers make use of negative space. The Buffett/Munger way of investing is a bit like looking for negative spaces. What lies beyond the numbers is more interesting than the numbers themselves. And in this process, when one is dealing in shadows, one can go wrong. I think, in India, return has not only been about current or emerging moats, but to a large extent also on the addressable growth and market opportunities that have been present in industries. Competitive advantage comes in a variety of ways — cost advantages, network effects, intangibles like brands, regulatory advantages, switching costs and even things like the culture of a company. But having a competitive advantage is not enough. It must be an increasing competitive advantage.

For huge return, a large market opportunity is also necessary. And I will show you why through this example. Imagine that you have found Aesop’s goose and it is not going to die, not going to mate, not going to eat or fall sick and will keep laying golden eggs worth ₹1 crore every year. There are no taxes and interest ra

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