I am a former investment advisor and owner of several businesses, and consequently everything related to business - including investing, macro-economics, and emerging products and services come under my research and interests radar. The most interesting and important to me are the entertainment industry, commodities, BRICs, and the impact of loose money policies on businesses and investors. These days I invest only for myself, while continuing to write on a variety of financial and economic topics.
Acting Man has been named after the title of the first chapter of Ludwig von Mises' book "Human Action" - the best treatise on economics ever written. The blog's main author is Pater Tenebrarum, an independent analyst who has been involved with financial markets for 34 years and is writing economic and market analyses for independent research organizations and a European hedge fund consultancy. Acting Man presents articles on the markets and the economy, a mixture of commentary on current events as well as economic theory and history, mainly from an Austrian School of Economics viewpoint. As more authors have joined the site, we have begun to broaden our palette a bit, but our orientation remains the same: pro-free market, anti-state, pro peace.
Dr. Ahanotu is a graduate of Stanford University with over twenty years of experience doing analytic modeling, executing pricing strategies through price optimization, and implementing, developing, and selling enterprise software. He adds to this industry experience another five overlapping years of research in knowledge management and organizational learning. Duru Ahanotu, Ph.D. founded Ahan Analytics, LLC to deliver sustainable, data-driven approaches for improving business performance. He recognizes the unique challenges companies face in leveraging their data to increase revenues, become more efficient, and drive profitability.
Before launching Ahan Analytics, LLC, Dr. Ahanotu was last a Sales Consultant in the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions (APS) group within Microsoft Advertising. In this capacity, he provided product knowledge, functional expertise, and technical support to APS account executives who sold APS’s suite of media monetization products. He led product demonstrations and increased the productivity of the sales team by training and certifying employees on the use and demonstration of the software. Dr. Ahanotu took on this role after Microsoft acquired his former employer Rapt, Inc. Rapt provided software solutions for maximizing revenue and yield for online media publishers.
With Rapt, Dr. Ahanotu last served as an Engagement Manager for a software implementation for a $100 million on-line publisher with a rapidly growing business. With his project team, Dr. Ahanotu created and coordinated novel approaches to inventory forecasting, structuring of product hierarchies, and ETL across software systems for order management, advertising delivery, and Rapt’s software. He also generated a step-by-step methodology for interpreting and using the results of price optimization.
As a Solutions Architect, Dr. Ahanotu served as the lead Solutions Consultant on client engagements and provided technical assistance and guidance to Solutions Consultants on other projects. Dr. Ahanotu designed and implemented price optimization solutions, demonstrating expertise in mathematical modeling, pricing, data analysis, SQL, and relational data models. He led discussions with customers and internal teams to improve implementation processes and product design.
Dr. Ahanotu held oversight responsibility for the analytic modeling for two projects using Price Director, Rapt’s price optimization software. Each project supported pricing decisions in Fortune 50 businesses: one business was a leading online media publisher, and the other was a rapidly growing technology company in a low margin business. Dr. Ahanotu helped the latter client integrate Price Director into pricing workflow. As part of this first-ever client implementation of Price Director, he worked closely with Product Management, Analytic Development, and Software Engineering to ensure that early-stage product functionality met client needs.
Dr. Ahanotu contributed several new methodologies for implementing Price Director analytics and conceptual frameworks for training clients on these analytics. He is a contributor on a related Rapt patent: “Method and System for Producing Optimized Prices for Products for Sale.” Dr. Ahanotu presented a white paper on the pricing of New Product Introductions at the 2006 INFORMS Annual Meeting. The Professional Pricing Society published this paper in The Journal of Professional Pricing (Vol. 16, No. 1, First Quarter 2007) as “Pricing New Products: Turning Portfolio Uncertainty Into Profits.”
Prior to Rapt, Dr. Ahanotu was a consultant with Integral, Inc, a small strategic management consulting firm. During his three-year tenure, he consulted on product development and technology strategy focused on high tech and pharmaceutical companies. Prior to Integral, he developed mathematical programming algorithms for managing and optimizing “Y2K” projects as an independent contractor. Prior to this work, he implemented expert systems for diagnosing and troubleshooting automotive and semiconductor manufacturing equipment as a Business Solutions Project Manager and Consultant for Expert Edge, Inc.
Dr. Ahanotu earned a Master’s and Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems (1999), a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and Honors in Values, Technology, Science, and Society (1991) - all at Stanford University.
Having always been a learning machine, I speak five languages, have worked as a sales agent, project manager, translator, computer consultant, software engineer, built a house with my own hands, published books and essays on literature, philosophy and art, have written for magazines of various kinds in different countries.
After retiring early in 2004, little by little, I have become a fund manager for some friends and myself, following the principles of value investing laid out by Benjamin Graham, Phil Fisher, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett. You can read about my thoughts on a suitable portfolio structure for early retirees here.
My articles should not be considered to be any kind of investment advice. What suits me well is not necessarily good for others, as successful investing is somewhat like a marriage: If only one is perfect, the marriage won’t work. So please do your own research and remember Benjamin Graham's advice: “The investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”
I run a very concentrated portfolio with 10-15 positions and invest for the long term. As of 12/2016, my largest position is Theravance Biopharma (TBPH), a company I had intensively and extensively researched long before any sell-side analyst noticed the stock. You can find my early work on TBPH on this site and my comprehensive in-depth research reports on all important pipeline assets here. I correctly predicted the evolution of the new GOLD guidelines for COPD, the sales trajectory of Vibativ and GSK's new Ellipta product range. My reports have been far ahead (in terms of depth, scope and reliability) of all sell-side work on TBPH. That said, I obviously make mistakes as well, although I've yet to make one that costs me serious money.
Other long-time favorites of mine are DaVita (DVA), IBM and a few European small caps which I have also partly covered on Seeking Alpha, e.g. Admiral (AMIGF), Fuchs Petrolub (FUPEF).
Dallas currently owns and operates as CEO an Austin-based enterprise consulting firm that specializes in private company lifecycle management, up to and including taking companies public, and in helping consult publicly traded companies ranging in market cap from $100 million to $500 million. He has a specialization in deal flow management and is often the referring and closing source of Joint Ventures and broader M&A. Dallas often works directly with management teams and Boards of microcap and stressed equity companies in which he or members of his professional network are heavily invested. This includes helping with overall strategy, helping with capital structure management, helping facilitate liquidity, helping facilitate Joint Ventures and broader M&A, and helping restructure the business segments if necessary. Recently Dallas has been interviewed by The Pittsburgh Business Times, The Banker, Columbus Business First, Houston Business Journal, The Deal, Energy Intelligence, and his tweets have been used by CNBC to highlight hot button issues regarding Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman, Nelson Peltz’s takeover attempts at DuPont, etc. Dallas has also been quoted and sourced to by StreetSweeper.org, Marcellus.com, MarcellusDrilling.com, Bakken.com, OilOnline.com, and other physical and online publications. "One place of great inefficiency is in the stressed equity markets – or the markets in which a company appears as bankruptcy or a breakup is inevitable. As equities become stressed they often sell down to absurd levels of value that present, should there be value to be unlocked, opportunities for “venture level” returns. These often range in the 3X-10X range. With my unique ability to actually improve business outcomes by working directly with a company and management/Board I’m in a position, should I view the underlying business as salvageable, to directly improve the long-term viability of the company. I am NOT simply an investor in these names but an acting consultant. This allows me to “overlay my network” and to move the company away from a stressed or defaulting outcome and into an outcome probability that allows the equity price to move substantially higher. Identifying these opportunities has generated shareholders and investors thousands of percentage points in aggregate and is something I’m often recognized by paying subscribers for."
David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.
At the podium, Stockman’s expertise and experience cannot be matched, and he has a reputation for zesty financial straight talk. Defying right- and left-wing boxes, his latest book catalogues both the corrupters and defenders of sound money, fiscal rectitude, and free markets. Stockman discusses the forces that have left the public sector teetering on the edge of political dysfunction and fiscal collapse and have caused America’s financial system to morph into an unstable, bubble-prone gambling arena that undermines capitalist prosperity and showers speculators with vast windfall gains.
Stockman’s career in Washington began in 1970, when he served as a special assistant to U.S. Representative, John Anderson of Illinois. From 1972 to 1975, he was executive director of the U.S. House of Representatives Republican Conference. Stockman was elected as a Michigan Congressman in 1976 and held the position until his resignation in January 1981.
He then became Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, serving from 1981 until August 1985. Stockman was the youngest cabinet member in the 20th century. Although only in his early 30s, Stockman became well known to the public during this time concerning the role of the federal government in American society.
After resigning from his position as Director of the OMB, Stockman wrote a best-selling book, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed (1986). The book was Stockman’s frontline report of the miscalculations, manipulations, and political intrigues that led to the failure of the Reagan Revolution. A major publishing event and New York Times bestseller in its day, The Triumph of Politics is still startlingly relevant to the conduct of Washington politics today.
After leaving government, Stockman joined Wall Street investment bank Salomon Bros. He later became one of the original partners at New York-based private equity firm, The Blackstone Group. Stockman left Blackstone in 1999 to start his own private equity fund based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
In his newest New York Times best-seller, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America (2013), Stockman lays out how the U.S. has devolved from a free market economy into one fatally deformed by Washington’s endless fiscal largesse, K-street lobbies and Fed sponsored bailouts and printing press money.
Stockman was born in Ft. Hood, Texas. He received his B.A. from Michigan State University and pursued graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School.
He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with his wife Jennifer Blei Stockman. They have two daughters, Rachel and Victoria.