A Letter from Josh & Aaron

As many of you noticed, Aaron and I went radio silent more than a month ago.  This was due to the fact that we are spending nearly every waking moment in the final stages of establishing Kennon-Green & Co., the asset management firm that we hope to have open within the next sixty to ninety days if all goes as planned.  From evaluating custodians to writing the Form ADV, approving the Code of Ethics to doing interactive demos with various advanced portfolio performance software providers, preparing what will become the website to taking care of the things necessary to get the business itself operational (e.g., securing a business license, opening bank accounts, purchasing technology, changing over phone lines, et cetera), we pretty much get out of bed in the morning and dive straight into it until the early hours of the next morning, trying to cross as much as we can off the list.

All of it is about to pay off.  As a result, prior to Kennon-Green & Co. entering the advisory business, we decided it was time severely curtail, then bifurcate the remaining, online presence we maintain.  For those of you who were part of the community for the few years following 2009 when the site started as a way to keep in touch with my retired Aunt Donna, this isn’t new.  The site in those days was far more personal, and far less guarded.  Great Purge I resulted in a majority of the posts being taken private and the focus turning more toward academic and educational concepts.

As of this morning, Great Purge II is mostly complete.  The result is the blog is now a tiny fraction of what it was as thousands of posts have been removed.  Specifically, counting this post, the site now contains 4,158 articles.  Of these:

  • 2,151 articles have been taken private;
  • 1,238 drafts remain in various stages of completion covering a wide range of topics and that aren’t visible to the public, yet, as I haven’t finished writing them;
  • 769 articles remain visible and published at the time of this post

That means the nature of this blog is going to change.  We’ve been putting a lot of thought into how we want it to work going forward and considered deleting it entirely.  To be completely candid, that was my vote but Aaron put his foot down and said the community is something special that needs to be maintained, convincing me we could make the transition.  As a result, here’s what we are going to do:

  • Aaron will be coming out of the shadows and joining me as a co-author.  You’ll get to see how our perspectives differ and how our thought processes compare.
  • The site is going to become a repository for our collective case studies, mental model databases, book recommendations, strategy guides, and life management posts.  Think of it in terms of one of our favorite books, Poor Charlie’s Almanack.  In essence, we are going to be building our version of the same only in free, online format.  Within the next few years, our objective is to have the site turn into an incredibly valuable reference guide to rationality, logical fallacies, and life skills filtered through how he and I see the world.  We’ll also still discuss issues of politics, philosophy, and ethics.  In addition, you’ll hear from us more as individuals – the personal side of us – like you did in the Obergefell post.
  • We are going to seriously investigate launching a podcast in the coming year.
  • Except in highly unusual cases when looking at something from a broad, educational, and academic perspective, neither Aaron nor I will discuss individual investments on the site, in the comments, through the site contact form, etc.  We’ve always made sure to say we could not, would not, and had no intention of offering investment advice but if you even get close to the line and it’s spotted, your comment will be deleted, your message will be trashed, and you won’t even get an acknowledgement about it.  This site is a personal blog.  It is not a place to discuss investment advice.
  • With the aforementioned rare exception and the existing contractual requirements I have for Investing for Beginners at About.com, all of our writing relating to stocks, bonds, capital markets, etc. will be released through Kennon-Green & Co. either in the form of white papers, blog posts on its official site (it will have a blog much like this one), or through books we, as individuals, decide to publish.
  • The number of advertisements on the site has been severely curtailed and the blog post listings now contain 120 posts per page for easier navigation.  This should be a much better experience.  Though there are still several hundred posts we need to clean up and edit, ultimately, even the most casual post will follow the format we established in the newly renovated post about Coffee Prince, a South Korean drama.  No side bar.  Beautiful header image at the top (optimized for notebook or desktop, not always visible on phones and smaller tablets).  Minimal advertisements in the body of the page.  No advertisements in the Disqus comments section.  This is keeping with our personal project this year, Addition Through Subtraction.  Ultimately, we may find a way to get rid of advertisements entirely or have only one or two sponsored advertisements that run for a month on the site given the extraordinarily valuable demographics around here.  I realize this defies all of the rules of modern online content these days but I keep asking myself, “If I were in the reader’s position, what would I want?” and that’s minimal clicks combined with a focus on substance and simplicity.
  • Though we both largely avoid social media entirely, we are going one step further and reining in even the small footprint we have.  We will either shut down or take private our Instagram and similar accounts.  The only major social media account we expect to keep is my personal Twitter, which will not be used for the investment advisory firm but, instead, be a way to announce new blog posts here, at this site, when we’ve published another case study, mental model, or similar article.  Likewise, we will not engage on investment-related topics through social media, either.

There’s more but that’s the sort of high-level view that matters for now.  If you have ideas for the type of thing you’d like on the site going forward, let us know in the comment section.

Those of you who have been with us since the beginning and gone through this now twice, thank you.  Those of you who are experiencing it for the first time, it may seem like a lot of what made the blog special has been taken away but I’d ask that you trust us and have faith that we can make this now third incarnation of JoshuaKennon.com something of permanent value.

Joshua Kennon and Aaron Green Signature