Ben Gordon: The Hunt For Extraordinary Returns

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Alright, now onto this week’s show!

This week I had the privilege to talk with Ben Gordon. He is the founder and head portfolio manager at Blue Grotto Capital. This episode is a deep dive into Ben’s process of researching and finding ideas, why he started Blue Grotto, his prior work at GMT, why he went long on Spectrum Brands and Cedar Fair Entertainment, and why shorting is a dark art.

Here is the time-stamp:

  • [0:00] The Story Behind Blue Grotto
  • [3:00] Who is Ben Gordon?
  • [6:40] From Analyst to PM: Emerging Markets Wireless Carriers
  • [10:00] Reply S.p.A and Smurfit Kappa
  • [12:05] Using Regressions to Find Ideas
  • [16:30] The IT Business
  • [18:20] Lessons from Bad Investment Ideas: Michael Kors
  • [22:10] Importance of Walking Away from an Investment Theme
  • [30:00] The Catalyst to start Blue Grotto
  • [36:05] Spectrum Brands
  • [46:00] Cedar Fair Entertainment: The Theme Park Business a Regional Monopoly
  • [49:10] Shorting: The Dark Art
  • [55:30] Shorting Orthopediatrics $KIDS
  • [1:00:00] Position Sizing while Shorting
  • [1:04:00] VMware: Optionality and Themes Case Study
  • [1:12:40] Ben Gordon’s Investing Mosaic
  • [1:22:00] Improving Weaknesses
  • [1:27:10] More from Ben and Closing Questions

If you liked what you heard, check out Ben’s website here.

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Brandon Beylo

Value Investor

Brandon has been a professional investor focusing on value for over 13 years, spending his time in small to micro-cap companies, spin-offs, SPACs, and deep value liquidation situations. Over time, he’s developed a deeper understanding for what deep-value investing actually means, and refined his philosophy to include any business trading at a wild discount to what he thinks its worth in 3-5 years.

Brandon has a tenacious passion for investing, broad-based learning, and business. He previously worked for several leading investment firms before joining the team at Macro Ops. He lives by the famous Munger mantra of trying to get a little smarter each day.


Investing & Personal Finance

AK is the founder of Macro Ops and the host of Fallible.

He started out in corporate economics for a Fortune 50 company before moving to a long/short equity investment firm.

With Macro Ops focused primarily on institutional clients, AK moved to servicing new investors just starting their journey. He takes the professional research and education produced at Macro Ops and breaks it down for beginners. The goal is to help clients find the best solution for their investing needs through effective education.

Tyler Kling

Volatility & Options Trader

Former trade desk manager at $100+ million family office where he oversaw multiple traders and helped develop cutting edge quantitative strategies in the derivatives market.

He worked as a consultant to the family office’s in-house fund of funds in the areas of portfolio manager evaluation and capital allocation.

Certified in Quantitative Finance from the Fitch Learning Center in London, England where he studied under famous quants such as Paul Wilmott.

Alex Barrow

Macro Trader

Founder and head macro trader at Macro Ops. Alex joined the US Marine Corps on his 18th birthday just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He subsequently spent a decade in the military. Serving in various capacities from scout sniper to interrogator and counterintelligence specialist. Following his military service, he worked as a contract intelligence professional for a number of US agencies (from the DIA to FBI) with a focus on counterintelligence and terrorist financing. He also spent time consulting for a tech company that specialized in building analytic software for finance and intelligence analysis.

After leaving the field of intelligence he went to work at a global macro hedge fund. He’s been professionally involved in markets since 2005, has consulted with a number of the leading names in the hedge fund space, and now manages his own family office while running Macro Ops. He’s published over 300 white papers on complex financial and macroeconomic topics, writes regularly about investment/market trends, and frequently speaks at conferences on trading and investing.

Macro Ops is a market research firm geared toward professional and experienced retail traders and investors. Macro Ops’ research has been featured in Forbes, Marketwatch, Business Insider, and Real Vision as well as a number of other leading publications.

You can find out more about Alex on his LinkedIn account here and also find him on Twitter where he frequently shares his market research.