Don't overthink it. Over the long term, just broadly bet on people solving problems to help other people.
A year ago today, Dr. Anthony Propst transferred a fertilized egg — that was designed in a laboratory — into my wife's uterus.
That is UNBELIEVABLE. Like the first time you got Internet on a plane (but now it feels perfunctory). In vitro fertilization (IVF) is commonplace, people talk about it casually, but...oh my gosh. How did we get here?
I can't believe some humans thought that this would ever be possible.
But they did.
The first IVF baby was born in 1978, and for the last 45 years scientists have continually refined the process. Shortly after the initial egg retrieval and lab fertilization, Dr. Propst called to let us know we had a healthy, viable embryo. He knew because his team had genetically sampled it.
GENETIC SAMPLING OF A MICROSOPIC BLASTOCYST.
IT WAS LIKE 128 CELLS TOTAL IN A PETRI DISH.
How can they possibly do that?
But they can.
I want to see the look on my face 50 years ago when someone says we can improve the probability that people struggling with infertility can have a baby...we'll just manage the process outside the body.
300,000 years of making babies inside the body? But some of you can't do it easily? Get the microscopes and pipettes, let's get to work.
And consider what's on the horizon: autonomous driving, biofuels and renewable energy, reusable rockets, immune system engineering, biohacking, humans on Mars, blockchain innovations, advances in quantum computing. This is a small fraction of near-term, future innovations — not to mention all those that are unimagined and undescribed, yet still remarkably, unknowingly, close.
I know "of these things" on the horizon, but I don't know much about any of them. But I know that other people do, and I know that most people are decent and motivated to help others (and themselves).
So yes, as an investor, you can study empirical models of valuation and economic theory. You can learn how to discount future cash flows to their present value, model stochasticity, and show back-tested efficient frontiers. You can analyze the likely path of interest rates, inflation, and the impact of changes to the tax code.
This stuff is what I studied and know how to do.
But a year ago some dude put an externally fertilized cell into my wife and now we have a freaking LIVING, HEALTHY baby. I am so optimistic on people solving problems for other people. So much of history is quite simply just that, and with the good actors eventually overcoming the bad actors.
My portfolio owns over 15,000 stocks across 44 different countries. I've spread my bets across you, my global compatriots. I am piggybacking on you to find the next big thing, and to help the next person. And you, and that idea, are in my portfolio.
And then, like IVF over the last 45 years, your ideas will be evolved, pivoted, and refined. And those businesses and ideas will still be in my portfolio.
What was once unthinkable becomes thinkable. Then realized. Then improved.
I don't know who, what, or when...but that doesn't bother me. How can people not get excited about broadly investing in everyone else bringing joy to everyone else?