A fireside story about the power of perspective
A long time ago, in a small village in India, there were six blind men. They were all of different ages and backgrounds, but over the years, they became friends. They spent many hours sitting under the shade of a large tree in the centre of town talking of politics, religion, and economics.
They became low-key celebrities in the village. People would wander by and listen to their arguments, perhaps add in an opinion or two, then go about their day. Eventually, the town council decided they would do something special for these men who added so much character to the village. They organized a trip to the palace so they could meet the Raj.
The men were excited. None of them had really travelled very much and they all agreed this would be a grand adventure.
When they arrived at the palace, they were informed that the Raj was having a nap and that they should wait in the courtyard. A servant led them through the gate and into a large enclosed grassy area. He told them that the Raj often spent his mornings here before the day grew too hot. As they walked through the yard, their host described the palace grounds. There were turrets on the walls and many giant palm trees swaying in the breeze. Then, he brought them to the centre of the yard where the Raj’s most prized possession was munching away on a bale of hay.
It was an elephant.
The men were beyond excited, for none of them had ever been in the presence of such an incredible animal. They were wildly curious about the beast and asked if they could touch it.
“Yes of course,” said the servant. “But please only one at a time. We don’t want to startle him.”
The first man stepped forward and touched the elephant’s side.
“It is broad and solid. It is flat but has a rough texture. It is very much like a wall,” he said.
The second man was standing in front of the animal, so when he reached out his hand, he touched one of the tusks.
“It is as smooth as glass and comes to a very sharp point like a spear,” he told his friends. “An elephant is a giant spear!”
The third man was standing right beside him, but the elephant had moved its head, so when he reached forward, instead of the tusk, he touched the trunk.
“It is long and muscular, and it bends and twists. It is like a giant snake,” he announced. “Yes, an elephant is a giant snake.”
The fourth man touched the elephant’s ear. “It is thin and velvety,” he observed. But then, as he tugged on it, the animal flipped its ear and it flew out of the man’s hand. “Oh my, it can fly!” he called. “It is like a magic carpet!”
The fifth man was quite confused by all these reports, so he decided to get to the bottom of it. Literally. He bent down on one knee and felt for the animal’s foot. He ran his hands up the thick leg. He even tried to lift it, and then push it, but it did not move. He decided that an elephant must be a kind of tree with rough bark and very deep roots for its trunk was clearly unmovable.
The six man was the last to get a chance to touch the animal. He was standing directly behind the elephant so when he reached forward, he grabbed its tail.
“Oh, my friends, we have been fooled,” he said immediately. “They are playing a trick on us. This is nothing more than a rope hanging from a tree branch.”
The servant led them to a shady corner where they could sit and wait for the Raj to come and greet them, but by this point, meeting the Raj was the last thing on their mind.
Each of them repeated with great certainty what they had felt. They argued long and loudly about whether an elephant was like a spear or a wall, or a rope or a snake. One man insisted it was immovable like a tree, while another believed it could fly like a magic carpet. Their voices rose, and they talked faster and faster until they were suddenly interrupted by a loud booming voice.
“All of you are correct, but all of you are also wrong.”
It was the Raj.
Distracted by their own bickering, none of them had heard the great leader approaching.
“Each of you are so certain that your own experience is the genuine one, but in truth you are all blind. And I don’t just mean you lack the ability to see. You are all blind to the perspective of others. You do not believe what they have experienced because it contradicts what you have felt. But true vision comes from combining everything you know, with the knowledge of others. Only then can you truly understand the majesty of an elephant.”
The story of the six blind men and the elephant has great relevance for investors.
We are all prone to being blind in our own way. We overvalue our firsthand experience and undervalue the observations of others. This becomes especially true for large complex things such as elephants. You can’t possibly see the front and the back and the bottom and the top of such a giant animal all at once: it takes time to fully understand something that grand.
Similarly, to understand the politics, economics, mechanics, personnel, and potential value of an investment opportunity, you need more than your own perspective. What we’ve found when talking to potential investors is that it takes a long time to explain all the elements of Scimar.
Firstly, they need to understand the science of hepatalin. That metabolic process underpins everything we do. But, it took Dr. Wayne Lautt decades to discover and identify the hormone, so we can’t expect people to fully grasp its role and impact during a short Zoom call.
Then, they need to understand our corporate structure. We are a family company with a small core team and a deep roster of specialized contractors. This allows us to be flexible as we grow and always have the best people in the right places.
And third, there is our mission. That isn’t simple either. Yes, there is potential for massive profits, but the focus of this company is not a short-term cash out. We are dedicated to ending the type 2 diabetes epidemic that impacts more than half-a-billion people right now. This includes developing four pharmaceutical products, but it also includes lifestyle interventions for First Nations communities, and running diet education programs for at-risk youth. These changes can’t come overnight.
Scimar is truly an elephant, and it needs to be examined from all sides, and those observations combined, to be fully understood.