We’re never criticised as much as we are for holding Tesla. A hedge fund a week writes to tell us to sell, as many have bet against the stock. Is that what Henry Ford had – a bunch of people trying to short Ford?
Electric and autonomous cars are going to happen. I don’t understand why, on a 10 year view, people could be confident in the future of oil. I can’t see that exploring for oil at $60 a barrel will work in the future.
Lastly, we have been investing in more private, unquoted companies. Our viewpoint is that much of the next generation of innovation is going to come from thriving unquoted companies, that may or may not go public.
Is the fund’s size an issue?
No – the last thing we want to be able to do is sell everything in 20 minutes if there’s news on North Korea.
Our scale is helpful as unquoted stocks are now effectively choosing their shareholders. The combination of our size, reputation for patience, and the fact we’re well-known globally among technology companies, gives us access to companies other people don’t get access to.
How would the fund handle a market downturn?
I get flak for having had six or nine difficult months in the financial crisis, but it’s what I feel most proud of, as we stuck to the process. Our companies weren’t just surviving, they were getting stronger, as their competitors were going bust.
We may have volatile times, but as long as we believe our companies are enduring, we’re confident, and will keep doing what we’re doing.
My biggest fear is not a crash, but that we’re right and innovation becomes so fast it undermines everything else. Those who have “safe” stuff in their portfolio in that scenario will find it’s no longer safe.