Those Obvious Things Everyone Skips

I’m still working on my investing lessons from 2020. It’s taking a while. It was a wild year guys. You can read my previous notes here.

While writing down some ideas, I thought about unexpected events that really weren’t all that unexpected if we just slowed down and looked a little harder. These aren’t Black Swan events, actually the opposite. These are the things people have been looking at for a while, but decided not to act on until it happened.

As I write this, the Suez Canal is blocked by a single ship. I like to think that any normal person could look at a picture of the Suez Canal and assume that at some point, for whatever reason, a canal like this will probably get blocked:


Now, add in the fact they are floating ships down this Canal that are as long as the Empire State Building. I mean, if I told you they were floating Empire-State-Building-sized ships down this not-very-wide-canal every day, 10+ times a day, you would probably say: “Stef, that seems like it could go wrong at some point.”

But for whatever reason, we ignore it. Then it happens. Markets, especially, like to freak out at this stuff.

Covid-19 is another example. First of all, Covid-19 is crazy. I still don’t get it. But also, people have been talking about pandemic preparations for years from Gates to Taleb and even in February a Twitter maniac like myself was tweeting about it. It’s not a Black Swan. It’s actually something we ignored for whatever reason until suddenly it happened.

I’m calling these events, the ones that actually have been discussed before, spoken about or researched, yet nonetheless ignored: Those Obvious Things Everyone Skips or TOTES for short. I’m excited to write about more TOTES in my future investing notes as I come across them. I may even have to start a list.