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Just Thinking Out Loud Here

For a long time the principals of Bluestone Financial Advisors, Nathan Irons and Andrew Cosgrove, have been avid readers of all things business, investing, and beyond (way, way beyond, in Nathan's case). Having recently launched a new web site, I (Andrew) have decided to regularly translate some of our reading and thinking into written form via this forum. I recognize that everyone and their pet llama has a blog today, and I'm not pretending that these notes are anything remarkable or special. Frankly, I don't expect anyone to be a regular reader, excited at the prospect of a new post to hitting their inbox (as I am with some letters and blogs). Instead, this blog has two objectives:

1. It's a way for me to better organize and articulate my thinking on various subjects. There's nothing like writing or speaking in public to force us to organize our knowledge, refine and justify our assertions, and deliver our opinions in ways that are more useful to the recipient or audience. I find it very beneficial and I'd like to do more of it. Through repetition and review I hope to improve over time.

2. It's an extension of the web site, a way to share our perspectives and the things that matter to us at a more granular level, in a way that's hard to glean from broad, high level web site content.

Anyone who has looked at our site will have noticed the "Philosophy" section and the references to Yvonne Chouinard and Warren Buffett. We must be the only advisory firm in the country that draws on the experiences and behaviors of these two businessmen as a key part of our philosophy! But both offer an enormous amount of wisdom to those willing to listen. Remarkably, it's all hiding in plain sight. And despite the obvious differences, there are aspects of their respective approaches that overlap. For example, time horizon: Chouinard's primary business, Patagonia, seeks to be the prototypical "sustainable" business - literally able to sustain itself (profitably) forever without depleting or negatively impacting natural resources; meanwhile Buffett's favorite holding period for an investment is "forever." To be able to own a business "forever" requires that it meet certain criteria, one of which must surely be that it cannot deplete (at some future time) the inputs that are indispensable to its output.

Long-term business ownership - whether as an owner/operator or as an investor - is really important to us. We think a lot about where the world is heading, the problems we've created for ourselves, and what it all means for our children and grandchildren. Truly long-term thinking can allow enterprise to take the lead in addressing the problems we face, to the benefit of business owners and their communities. We think we have a responsibility to leave our children with a society and planet that can endure eternally, rather than reaping ephemeral profits and rents for ourselves.


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