Q2 2014 Outlook: Canceling Out the Noise

In the course of humanity, there have been many great inventions. Considering just the realm of communication, the printing press, the radio, and the Internet are only three examples spanning centuries that have transformed our ability to share information faster and more broadly than before. Along with invention must come adaptation. Case in point: noise-cancelling headphones.

As the “marginal cost” of reaching another person or sending out another message has declined, so has the judgment associated with whether the communication is useful. We feel confident that we are not alone with email inboxes that clog every day with hundreds of messages, most of which seem to have been sent on autopilot. It does not stop there. It seems we have a talking screen everywhere we go, including at gas pumps and in our airplane seats.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” as the old saying goes and, so we say, tongue in cheek, that the proliferation of communication must have been the inspiration for noise-cancelling headphones. We have invented so many ways to receive communication that we had to invent a way to cancel out the noise!

This is an appropriate metaphor for investing. We must actively work to filter the data we receive so that we can concentrate on what matters and not be distracted by the talking heads.


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