Wow, that's big. You know what, I said this yesterday and it's funny but people don't laugh at it because maybe they're just puzzled by it. The board, after '08, the board asked me to list what they called "inevitable surprises," what are the big bad things that can happen out there on the horizon? The best way to describe it is here in California, the San Andreas Fault. We know it's gonna go off. When it does, it'll be a surprise, but we all know it's gonna go off.
I listed a global pandemic for almost 15 years as a major risk we had to look out for it. I'm thinking Ebola or SARS or one of those. I had no idea there was a thing called COVID.
We had a global pandemic, and yet stocks were one of the, you know, we were up 25% that year. In the end, it was (monetary and fiscal) stimulus. But what surprises me is, even if you anticipate risks, you don't know how things are gonna happen, so that's one surprise, is just how uncertain, as much as we think we can predict the future.
That humbled me to realize we have no clue, you know in, we joked, in 2018 and '19, even my staff's No. 1 request was telework. Who even uses that word anymore? I know, telework. No, they wanted to work remote — now we call it remote. Back then, it was telework. And I push back and push back and push back, and then suddenly, you know, between February and March of 2020, the strange thing that fall named Zoom, which I had never even tried or heard of, and now we all live on it.It humbles you as much as you have to spend time in these markets, trying to predict the future, you realize you have no idea, so that's kind of the biggest surprise, even though it sounds silly that you can't predict the future.