I've been doing equity research for 13 years, and my favorite part has always been learning about a company's technology. This way I found out how gold is mined (which meant I had to learn how deposits formed in the first place), how wine barrels and bottle corks are made, how budget airlines work, how a vanadium mine is planned, and many other things. It's like being paid for watching the Discovery Channel.
I love learning new stuff. It keeps my brain engaged and hopefully will help me delay dementia. And several years ago, I slightly changed my focus, partnering with a VC syndicate that needed someone to do startup due diligence for them. This was a dream job! I could now actually talk to the people on the bleeding edge of discovery about their breakthrough technology!
But of course, every job comes with unwanted baggage. For me the main fun killer is the routine. Every startup due diligence task follows the same pattern: searching for information about founders and the company, checking out documents supplied by them, and - importantly - making sure they are not trying to scam the investors by pitching a technology (or a business) that either is not real or just isn't as good as they claim it to be. This means running dozens or hundreds of web searches to find specific information. It also often means trying to grasp complex concepts without special training, at which point you can't be 100% certain you understand them correctly and have to either find trusted experts in the field or trust the company itself. And trust is something we can't always afford.
Even a simple google search often is an uphill battle against hype-driven BS and an exercise in frustration where you can't really find anything worth reading because the SEO skills of those second-rate sites are much better than of scientists. I mean, how many people have looked past the 3rd page of google search results?
And then there's the note taking and copy/paste and references. You need to diligently document the process and build a thesis, supporting it with bits of information, making sure it's all traceable to the source. Copy -> Switch apps -> Paste -> Save -> Switch back is not the best job description.
This is also where the Pareto Principle reveals itself: 20% of your work will take 80% of your time and energy. The routine and mechanical things, the "small stuff" take a lot of time. What's worse, these things repeat for every company you need to check out. I've always felt like a piece of me dies every time I do boring stuff. And the human brain will try to avoid unpleasant experiences as much as possible. Thus, it will conveniently forget to check out a specific resource, or will begin wandering off when reading a boring document.
Avogadro One is an attack on the things that suck investors' time and energy. We want to filter out noise and kill the routine, allowing investors to spend more time on actual research and to make meaningful decisions. I will set our vision for Avogadro One in future posts.