Kingsmill's Investment Miscellanea - Friday April 5th, 2024

April 05, 2024 | Joshua Kingsmill


I love this photo below. It captures children at school watching a total eclipse, over a hundred years ago. Don’t get me started though… My kids have the day off school on Monday. I’m not sure what that says about today’s society, but most school boards, rather than making the day a memorable one, have decided to close schools down out of safety concerns. Or perhaps it's fear that the students won’t listen and look up at the sun, and parents will sue them? Anyway, I can recall as a kid in Yellowknife, watching a spectacular total solar eclipse. They scared us all, telling us that even just peaking up, our “eyes would burn”. We watched it on TV in the safety of the Gym, with everyone, and it was a collective experience filled with anticipation.



This solar Eclipse also got me thinking about something I heard last week, about progress, and how it pertains to investing:


  • In 1902 there was a total Solar Eclipse. That same year, the Wright Brothers built the Wright Flyer, the first powered aircraft: it flew up to 120 feet, for 12 seconds, at 6 miles per hour.
  • In 1919, 17 years later, the first transatlantic flight happened.
  • In 1947, Chuck Yeager exceeded the speed of sound in an aircraft.
  • In 1969, 22 years later, the 1st Man on the Moon (as well as the Concorde starting transatlantic commercial flights, cruising at twice the speed of sound).
  • In 1981, 12 years later, manned Space Shuttle flights to outer space became regular occurrences.


That is an incredible string of scientific and technological breakthroughs, that changed the world. If you are reading this today on your phone, it is at least 100,000 times faster, and 5,000 times lighter than the computers that were used for the Apollo mission to put man on the moon.


As this pertains to our investment portfolios: many of the names we invest in, didn’t exist, or were completely different companies 20, 30 years ago. While we aren’t going to be investing in brand-new start-ups, we can’t ignore the companies associated with the growth in these sectors. I wish I had a crystal ball on Artificial Intelligence, and how that is going to look in 20 years. But as certain as we have gone from horses to space travel and electric vehicles, our investment holdings will be a lot different in 20 years as well.


Speaking of my bad Crystal Ball: I am certain that at least some of us, on Monday, will through squinted eyes, maybe through palms, peek at what is hopefully going to be a spectacular solar eclipse, without the appropriate protection (even if all the kids are at home!)


Have a great weekend.