I had been living in London for six weeks when the tube bombings happened in 2005.
To get home from work that day, I had to walk for three hours. I assumed the people around me had the same fear as me, but they were calm in the face of it. Because of this, the next morning it seemed important to “keep calm and carry on,” as the British say (and do).
In the days after, the people around me — whether strangers, co-workers or public figures — seemed resilient, united by this event. But if the British media were to be believed, we were all in imminent danger, with each headline designed to stoke fear.
While at the heart of it, a truly frightening event had happened, it was hard to figure out how you should feel. It was reasonable to be afraid, but equally reasonable to defy your fear and continue living your life. Stick to your routine. Keep calm and carry on.
Fast forward to today, I look out the window of the Spaceship office and I see people scurrying along as normal. But the markets and media paint a seemingly different picture.
This week, we’ve seen Wall Street endure the worst day since the global financial crisis, fuelled in large part by coronavirus concerns and an oil price war. We’ve seen people fighting over toilet paper in the aisles of Woolworths and others hoarding pasta and rice.
At the heart of the matter, there is, once again, a truly frightening event. This coronavirus outbreak, now a pandemic, has spread across the world rather fast, and a vaccine is likely months or more away. There’s no doubt it will impact people, businesses, and industries, maybe for some time.
But it’s hard to know how you should feel.
It feels reasonable to be afraid, but it feels equally reasonable to continue living your life, stick to your routine, keep calm and carry on.
That’s what we’re doing at Spaceship. As I said a few weeks back, we’re not changing what we’re doing; we know markets go up and go down at times.
In particular, when we look at the companies that make up our Spaceship Universe Portfolio, we see forward-thinking companies that we think will benefit from future trends. And as long as they continue to meet our Where the World is Going criteria — that is, they are defensible and have sustainable competitive advantages — they’ll stay in the portfolio.
And truthfully, some of these companies might fare strangely well in a world challenged by coronavirus.
Think Slack. Slack offers a best-in-class communication and collaboration platform, and it might benefit as people are forced to work from home.
Amazon may face disruption to its supply chain and logistics network. But it might benefit from the fact people will still be shopping online and getting essentials delivered. (I can vouch for that; in the midst of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I packed my essentials in a go-bag, and then shopped up a storm (pardon the pun) while we still had power.)
And Amazon Web Services will be more important than ever! It helps keep the likes of Netflix online, so you can binge watch “Stranger Things” while you self-isolate.
On a more personal note, I am not immune to the noise around the markets; working at Spaceship means I’m seeing more news on the markets than I ever was before, and that noise can get loud. Trust me — I know how hard it is to block it out!
But I am sticking to my routine, keeping calm and carrying on.
Last month, when my payday rolled around, the markets were at an all-time high. I took a chunk of my pay and I invested it. Next week, when my next payday arrives, I’ll take the same amount and invest it — whether the markets are up or down or sideways.
That’s because I, like Spaceship, believe in the value of long-term investing.
We have a minimum suggested timeframe of five years for anyone holding an investment in a Spaceship Voyager fund because, generally, when equity investments are held for longer periods they tend to exhibit lower volatility than those held for shorter periods. (Although, naturally, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.)
Important! We’re sharing with you our thoughts on the companies in which Spaceship Voyager invests for your informational purposes only. We think it’s important (and interesting!) to let you know what’s happening with Spaceship Voyager’s investments. However, we are not making recommendations to buy or sell holdings in a specific company. Past performance isn’t a reliable indicator or guarantee of future performance.
The Spaceship Universe Portfolio invests in Amazon and Slack at the time of writing.
The Spaceship Index Portfolio invests in Amazon at the time of writing.