There are not many great businesses that come along in a lifetime. In 1954, television was just starting. People were losing a lot of money in the business, but it was about to explode. Because of the limited availability of licenses, there was limited competition, and so it exploded over the next thirty or forty years. I was very fortunate to be in broadcasting. The business is not capital intensive, nor is it labor intensive. There was a little government involvement but never any price controls. In the last forty or fifty years, broadcasting has been one of the great businesses of this nation. It’s less so now because of synchronous satellite, cable competition, and things like that, but it’s still a very good business.
Checklist for thinking about great businesses
- they are scarce
- clear and long runway of growth
- limited competition
- not capital or labor intensive
- minimal government involvement
- [a major plus to have a great manager like Tom Murphy]
It is a powerful idea that finding just one business like this and having the courage of your convictions along with patience can produce wealth.