In my early days in finance, I was given the opportunity to invest in one of two businesses. The first business was selling a branded product for which the demand was very high. The second was selling a product that the business both produced and sold to the consumer. That product, however, lacked brand appeal, something that inevitably leads to slower sales growth. Failing to do any further analysis, I chose to invest in the first company. I soon realized this was a big mistake, as that business eventually failed while the second business went on to achieve remarkable success. But I learned a valuable lesson from this, something that Wall Street has been teaching for years and that has stuck with me ever since. Basically, ...

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