Is technology improving our productivity? Is that where we should invest?

Sometimes personally I feel the answer is no to both.

My digital detox I mentioned in early June had mixed success. I did get away from the smart phone and read some investment books, well via an iPad anyway, that I look forward to discussing more later. Working for myself requires plenty of discipline that I am still learning about and yet to fully master. I have done ok in this aspect but there is much improvement to be had.

These days there are so many apps on the average smart phone that often take away your attention it can be a distraction. Offsetting this to some extent is that it can be very convenient that I can accomplish work whilst traveling lightly at times using an iPhone. My preference though is to work on my laptop which has very few distractions and to only check emails at the end of the day.

At the time I didn’t foresee myself being too active in the markets over June & July yet things have moved around a lot since and I still ended up checking the daily gyrations too much, and even wrote a few things on the blog in the end!

The books I read recently now enable me to provide some book reviews on the blog at a later date. As Pokemon fever rages lately it made me think how technology can weaken our brain power (apologies anyone who has this fever, I honestly really don’t know what it is about). I embarrassingly admit though I could review the game app candy crush also which got an occasional work out over the last month as I did spend a lot of time on long bus trips in Vietnam of late. It’s an addictive game but I still prefer my game console our family had circa 1982. The flexibility was huge. To the untrained eye many thought our family only had purchased the games of soccer, basketball and tennis. They thought we were fools paying that much. But no, we also received hockey, netball and table tennis for free! 6 games, not 3, who were the fools now I hear you say?

It has also got me thinking how for quite a few years now it has been the big tech names in the U.S. that have been the out-performers. Growth investing has outperformed value investing significantly for quite a few years now and historically such a long run is rare. There is no doubt technology is having a big effect on our lives now more than ever. Remember though that this was the case also around in 1999/00 during the tech boom. There is no doubt the years immediately after 99/00 continued to see technology having a huge impact about the way we go about our lives. However, at that stage we had just gone through a long period where growth investing had outperformed value investing. If you had realised that was more of an anomaly and focused on value areas of the market you would have done substantially better over the next 7 years. I feel we are now at a similar stage. Dangerous areas to invest I feel are in high quality names experiencing a lot of growth, which I’ll discuss more on the blog soon. That is playing a part in making the U.S. market riskier than other global markets. Although it probably doesn’t feel this way the lower risk and higher reward strategy over the next decade is probably more likely to come from lower quality, deep value (low price to book) investments.

Below is a link that is a couple of months old but illustrates things quite well I feel.

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