I went through a phase where I was listening to podcasts none stop. I thought that if 1/day made you smarter, then why not go for 5 or 6/day. Well, I realized that my brain can’t absorb that much new information constantly. It takes time for me to digest information and actually learn something, let alone recall what I learned. So, I don’t listen to that many podcasts. Maybe 3-5 per week unless I’m on a flight or long road trip.

Having said all that, I found a particular podcast from Freakonomics around maintenance to be particularly useful. It resonated with me on so many levels.

So many things in our life require boring, mundane maintenance. Our health (both mental and physical), our relationships, our car, our house, and of course our portfolio. Performing required maintenance isn’t sexy. No one is lining up to hear how I go to the gym several times per week, how I spend hours each week just “checking in” on companies in the portfolio, watching me enter my receipts and bills into a budget sheet or watch me brush my teeth twice a day. That’s ok with me. I’ll just keep doing it quietly in the corner by myself.

Neglecting maintenance rarely has immediate impacts. I could probably perform no trades and not check up on any of my companies and you may not even notice a change in performance after a year. After 3 or 5 years, you can bet that there would be implications. My operational background emphasizes continuous improvement, but what’s forgotten regularly is the maintenance required to battle entropy. Entropy is persistent and the fight against it is never ending.

The human brain doesn’t appreciate executing consistent recurring tasks that don’t have immediate benefits. It’s probably why maintenance is underappreciated and not really discussed.

Anyways, that’s enough of me rambling. Listen to the podcast.

In praise of maintenance




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