Structurally challenged earnings

Structurally challenged earnings essentially means that the company in question, their products and/or services are likely to lose earnings power through disruptions. 

You can usually spot an industry in which disruption is likely; If you can identify a glaring hole/problem in an existing product or service, it's certain that someone else has identified this problem and will attempt to profit out of it. 

For example, the Telecommunications industry was overpriced for many years, everyone knew it and it was only a matter of time before more players entered the market. 

What we must remember though is not to pay attention to potential unicorns. Unicorns meaning make-believe, too good too be true disruptions that are nothing more than a pipe dream. So often you will see financial 'experts' publishing articles about fantastic new technologies that are going to change the world. 

These articles are interesting, but unfortunately they are clickbait crap. Human's have an abysmal track record of predicting the technologies that will shape the future, we certainly haven't got any better at it. 

For example, it would be foolish to not invest into a car company because of the threat of flying cars, that is a unicorn disruption. 

A few examples of unicorns I've come across include:

  • Cryptocurrencies (if you believe in efficient markets, explain crypto's..)

  • Self-driving cars (no chance they are coming anytime soon) 

  • Medical Marijuana (sorry stoners, it doesn't cure cancer)

  • Cell phone implants (people actually believe one day self phones will be digitally inserted into our brains)

  • Solar powered economies (solar powered technology isn't as efficient as fossil fuels, and isn't likely to ever become our main source of energy due to its unreliability, cost to set up, and ironically the massive carbon footprint building them has)

  • Artificial Intelligence (this is a science fiction pipe dream, robots aren't overtaking human thought in our lifetime)

NBSInvesting