Good morning everyone! It’s been a minute but I’m back again with another Off The Handle. I spoke with *Top Contributor @LucTenHave recently and picked his brain for our collective edification. I have always admired and appreciated his contributions to CEO.CA and my interactions with Luc on CEO.CA and at conferences have made me a better investor, period.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect from our conversation:
- CEO.CA in the blog only days - [00:00:56]
- Best CEO.CA functions: Push notifications - [00:02:39]
Anomaly tracker - [00:03:40]
- Who Luc follows/reads for insights on CEO.CA - [00:05:19]
- How to be among the first investing in successful companies - [00:07:39]
- Finding the time to do the work - [00:12:07]
Thanks for taking the time to check it out and good luck to everyone in your investments!
Vaughan: Good morning, everybody, and welcome to another episode of Off The Handle. With me on the line today I have Luc Ten Have. Luc has been a member of this community for at least five years now and was a name that I noted even before I was a moderator on the site.
Luc, how ya doing?
LucTenHave: Good morning, Chris. Thanks for having me. I'm doing very well and I'm pleased to be on your program.
Vaughan: I do appreciate you taking the time. I don't want to take up much time from you, so I'll ask just a couple of short questions. You found CEO.CA before me, how did you find CEO.CA?
LucTenHave: Yeah, when I found it, it was not the website as it is right now. It was only a blog. I don't know if there was a version even before that, because I know that Tommy was doing other things also in the media at the time. But I think he started the blog with several writers, writing interesting articles. It's interesting to go back right now and look up a couple of those articles from 2014 or 2015.
That's when I found CEO. I don't know exactly how I found it, but I got on the blog and was reading a couple of those articles. I think when Tommy and I - Tommy being the founder of CEO.CA - really connected is when Mariana Resources made their big discovery in Turkey, the Hot Maiden project, with an intercept of something like 100 meters at 10g/t and then 80 meters of 20g/t of gold.
When I shared the intercepts with Tommy, he of course liked them as well. I mean, they are the type of intercepts everybody's looking for. But the company was listed in London, so Tommy decided to publish it on his blog and made reference to my name. That was the first time he basically mentioned me on the blog. I don't know exactly how much later the chat started.
Vaughan: Aside from the general chat and connecting with people, are there any tools or functionalities on CEO.CA that you find of interest and that newcomer's should consider looking at?
LucTenHave: Yeah. I don't even think that most people use or know about the best features because a lot of people think about CEO.CA only as a chat site. I think there's certainly value in seeing what the public is thinking and to have a chat with people every now and then about certain topics, but the value is also in getting alerts when there is a Sedi filing or when a company releases news. You get a push message on your phone immediately. I don't know about any other service, especially for retail investors, where you can really get a push message the moment the news comes out.
Sometimes it's crucial to act immediately, at least to take a small position in a drill play if you think "whoa, this is big news". It helps to have an immediate push message instead of finding out an hour later. The Sedi messages are important. If you follow a company you'll notice when insiders are buying again.
You've also got the anomaly function. An anomaly means a stock is trading much more volume than on average days, so you can look into the list of anomalies and you'll notice companies that didn't necessarily release news, but they just started trade differently. As an example, let's say a company trades 200,000 shares a day on average and suddenly out of the blue 2,000,000 shares trade, and then another day 2,000,000 shares. I think it's very useful to find out which companies are popular without the general public even knowing that they are popular yet. That's often the first phase of a company, some insiders getting in or some close people getting in.
So there are several functionalities that CEO.CA offers where people may not even know that those services are available.
Vaughan: Those are good points. Those functions are taken for granted. Even when you've been on the site for a while and you've had access to all those data points. Definitely useful functions for the retail crowd.
I just checked and you have 572 followers, which is no small number for CEO.CA. What it doesn't show is who you follow. Is there anyone on the site who others might not be paying attention to and who you have found brought you value in your investing?
LucTenHave: Well, maybe I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I'm not following many people on CEO. I do use the trusted user filter a lot. It's not that other people don't add value, but there is sometimes just too much stuff to go through. If you set a filter of trust users only that helps a lot. Of course, the obvious names that everybody knows come to mind: @MiningBookGuy, @HRA-Coffin, @JamesKwantes... I'm certainly forgetting a couple of names here.
I follow them because they find things that other people may not find. Like @MiningBookGuy: he finds discoveries in Africa and I think he is probably one of the key people to follow if you want to find the best discoveries in Africa. These days you have a couple of them that are really interesting, like Roscan ($ROS) and he had a couple of Australian names as well.
The nice thing is everybody has their own speciality, their own type of style. But I don't follow people on every post, I just scroll through the trusted users on channels and then find the names I'm looking for.
Vaughan: I follow all kinds of people, both for my own investing and obviously for moderation purposes. I am one of the 572 people following you because I too put you in that category of people able to find some interesting companies and interesting opportunities before most seem to be looking. You just mentioned Mariana Resources but I also recall with Aurion ($AU) that you were very early on that one, and I was actually watching that company myself at .20c but didn't buy.
I want to pick your brain a bit about how you find these opportunities. What is it that you're looking for that others aren't? Why is it that you're getting there first?
LucTenHave: First, doing a lot of boring work. I don't think it’s boring because I enjoy it but I go through hundreds, probably even thousands of names every week. I'm not doing extreme due diligence on hundreds of names every week, but I scroll through activity looking for news, seeing if something changed.
I load lists with the best performance of the week, the worst performance of the week, and then try to find out what were the reasons for these companies to perform so well or so poorly. Sometimes you know that a company you actually like a lot just had a four month hold come off. So you think "OK, what was the purchase price? It makes sense that these people are selling". Sometimes the selling gets a little bit overdone and you still like the asset. I've seen companies that were dead in the water for a couple of months but when you think about it and you look into it again, then you see the company is going to come back. It's not a death knell it's just a combination of maybe not the best deals together with the financing coming free and suddenly it's back at absolute lows again. That can give you the opportunity to accumulate at absolute low prices.
The other thing I do is call the companies. In the case of Aurion, @MiningBookGuy mentioned the company was interesting, but that he couldn't connect to the company. I was calling them and I also didn't succeed. I called them probably 30 times until I got the CEO on the line.
I expected him to be a bit mad after so many phone calls, but he took the time to explain exactly what they were doing. He was referring to the right people helping them out which I thought important as I found it a bit odd that they had a very negative working capital position. He said "yeah, somebody is supporting us. We don't want to issue shares at this price" which is something I like if it's true - and you never know if it's true what a person is saying because I didn't know him. You investigate more and you find out what property they have, that they have been expanding the land package. For this reason, I bought it at .15c or .13c. Later I found out that David Lotan was involved as a shareholder and I looked up what he did in the past. He really supports a company well when he gets behind it.
I started to believe more and more that they had the right mix, you need the right ingredients, like a good technical guy which Aurion had in Mike Basha who was running it at the time. He founded it, he put all the land packages together in Finland. He had some good support in Finland as well. They already had a good impression of what they owned and they really believed that they owned the best ground at the time. They had people helping them restructure, doing the financings in the right way, not issuing warrants, etc. Things that most juniors are not doing - really making sure that you set it up right.
After making phone calls and a lot of reading, I thought "OK, this might be a good opportunity", but I didn't really have an inside track as I wasn't close to the company. I just that I had a good feeling about it. I started to buy, then more and more. $AU was very illiquid. It moved up to .20c, .25c, .30c. So that was a good story. They made the boulder discovery half a year later and it just jumped to $2 dollars. I didn't see that coming to be honest.
That was a very good story. I think it's still one of the best run companies out there. Their neighbour made a big discovery but Aurion still has to get there. I think they have everything they need. They just need to continue and they will probably become the hot story of the day again. I don't know when, but I think it will happen again... Rupert ($RUP) has this big discovery 100 meters from their property border...
You find good companies in different ways, but you need to go through lots of companies, understand each of them, and then just follow them. That's the best thing you can do. I'm a little bit of a data geek, so I really want to know more than most people I think want to know but it helps you in understanding why companies are doing what they are doing.
Vaughan: It must take some effort to go through that boring part. I know that you enjoy it and so on, but it still must consume some time.
LucTenHave: Well, the good thing is you can do this work anytime. I do it on the weekends as well. On Saturdays I wake up early in the morning, I like to not be bothered by anyone. During the day, and for me in the evening as I'm in Europe, you see all the stock quotes popping up. It's not really useful to look at them too much. Twitter is nice, but you will not get much smarter by seeing all these memes, emojis and jokes. It's fun to be there every now and then, but I'd rather spend the time on closing all those social media platforms off to just read and go through data. Use your time wisely instead of chatting too much. Once you get a handle on the data, call the companies and try to get a better understanding than the average investor will have.
You always want to be earlier or understand the story better. I need to have the feeling that I'm not investor number 2,000 that is looking at it. That's not my style.
Vaughan: Right on. Well I'm not going to take up any more of your time today Luc. What I'll say as a sign off is for anyone new to CEO who hasn't come across the handle @LucTenHave yet, I suggest that you subscribe and put him on the "to consider" list. He's definitely one that I listen to along with a couple others - @MiningBookGuy included.
Luc I appreciate your time and I'm sure I'll reach out to you again in the future.
LucTenHave: Thanks, Chris, good to talk.