Questions to Understand a Company?
Compiling Patrick OShaughnessy's tweet replies
Patrick’s tweet below says it all, what questions would you ask to deeply understand a company?
I’ve just gone through the answers and compiled them into a simple little two-page Google doc.
I’ve also included the questions below as just text so you can grab and choose to format for your liking
Product & Business Ops
If you were to start over (or start a competitor) which part of the business would be most difficult to replicate?
Why would people not use your product or service?
What problem does the company solve? And why does this problem persist?
What about your business can & can’t be replicated? Why are you different?
If the business overachieves, what does it look like in 5 years? / If you miss, what might have gone wrong?
What is your special insight or your edge?
What’s a feature request that you get a lot, but that you will never build?
What’s the most misunderstood thing about your company and industry?
Industry & Competitors
If you had 1 bullet, which competitor would you shoot with it?
What are you doing that your competitors aren’t doing yet?
Who do you envy in the industry?
Where and how are you building relative advantages vs peers?
Why is your cost structure different from your competitors?
What are the critical trends in the industry?
How do you compete & think about competitive advantage?
What do you see as the biggest near-term and long-term risks to your business?
Why do customers choose you, and will it continue?
What system is in place to ensure growth and returning customers?
Tell me about your favourite customer?
Where do you go to listen to what your customers are saying?
People, Management, & Culture
What are the 2-3 key metrics that management looks at to drive the business?
If the current management team left, would the business lose its moat – why or why not?
If a friend of yours was joining the company today, what would you tell them about how to be successful here?
What capabilities on your team are you most confident in, and where might you want to supplement?
Who are the last few people you hired and why/how did you assess and hire them?
How do you incentivise learning in your team?
What percentage of your employees exhaust their annual leaves?
Who is your ideal employee?
What challenges does the company face to recruit top talent?
How do you make $1 profit? Run me through it from top to bottom.
How do you determine pricing of your products/services?
What is your view about leverage?
Would you repurchase shares and if so under what conditions?
What is your ROIC, how can it be expanded and how much more capital can be invested before it falls?
If you had unlimited capital – what initiatives would you take on that you currently are not able to
What were the hardest moments in the life of the company? And what did you do about it?
Is your value reinforced over time and with size?
What was the closest you got to closing up shop, and how did you overcome it?
What’s one aspect of your business that keeps you up at night?
What is the one thing you would change about your company if you could? What’s preventing you?
What do investors never ask you that they should?
What do other investors not understand about your business/product?
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