Be inquisitive. Continue to learn.
Kenneth Orr is the chief investment officer of KORR Acquisitions. At 52, Kenny is discovering life’s treasures. Kenny may be the best investment advisor you never heard of, with a track record that would make other fund managers green with envy, but he is much more than a hedge fund guru.
Kenneth graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University in 1988. He has continued his education by doing case studies from Harvard Business School and completing Columbia Business School’s Value Investing program.
Kenny discovered his talent for painting two years ago. As a former college football player and a kick boxing and cross-fit hobbyist, Kenneth Orr hardly fits the stereotype of an artist. However, it just may be the best hobby to relax his otherwise obsessive, mathematical mind. Married for 27 years to Cori Orr and a father of four, Kenneth finds time to balance his love of family with his love of his work. Kenneth lives in Old Westbury, New York.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
After having many successes and failures in the venture capital space, I decided to go back to the basics of investing and sticking to my core skill sets of math and reading of financial statements. I have always been a big fan of Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and value investing. I started value investing in the late 90s, only to get distracted with some venture investments. I decided four years ago to refocus strictly on value investing with the idea of investing in companies that, if possible, would be great to take over. Thus, the name KORR Acquisitions was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
No day is typical. However, I do have a routine that I generally follow. In the morning, I like to read and respond to emails from the night before, review notes I may have jotted down the night before, read the news of the day, and adjust my schedule for any required changes. I almost always enjoy a cup of coffee with my wife before I head off to the office. Depending on the day, I may work out. I will speak with each of my kids every day, sometimes a few times a day.
Daily, I will look for any relevant news about companies we have invested in and ones we are researching to invest in. I will constantly look and test our thesis on each long position. Weekly, I will scan our database of thousands of companies, looking for one that stands out. Monthly, I may send out letters to CEOs of the companies we have an interest in, offering suggestions and/or asking questions. While many consider us activist investors, we prefer to be known as constructive investors.
I would say that my days are productive because I bring passion to everything I do. Whether it is researching a company, sitting in on a charity board meeting, or speaking with my family, I try and focus on what is present and not drift off. Clarity, focus, and passion I would say help make my days the most productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I plan and execute. I will look at an idea from different angles. I will look at the path from beginning to end in execution. Then I look at where I want to end up and I will reverse it as to how I might get there. I prioritize my to do list in order of importance. And depending on my mood, I may take on the most difficult tasks first, or I may check off a few easy ones first to gain momentum.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Quant fund investing, momentum trading, and the mentality that comes with both. These investment styles create opportunities for value investors like KORR. Markets in the long term are efficient. But quants and momentum investors create inefficiencies and that’s when we do our best.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Learning. I constantly want to learn. I have a hunger for it. This helps me be a better listener.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell the younger Kenneth Orr to be patient. Every bad move I have made was when I rushed things.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Time does not heal all wounds. In time, we may just deal with our pain better. And that may not be a bad thing. Our hardships help make us who we are and teach us valuable lessons. To say we get healed makes me think that the wounds are gone. That is just not true.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be inquisitive. Continue to learn.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Believe in my work, but always admit if something has changed that may affect the outcome
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had many failures. I overcame them all the same way. I chose to move forward. And I tried not to be too hard on myself.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Invent an app that I can use to curse out Siri. She frustrates the heck out of me.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Buying a bottle of scotch and talking about life with my two older boys. It was one of the best nights of my life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Gurufocus.com. Their financial information on public companies goes back 30 years.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Ken Langone’s “I Love Capitalism”. It is a great American success story. I have met Ken and he is as authentic as one can get.
What is your favorite quote?
“There is more of him in the front stoop, than in all the sales he ever made.” Biff Loman talking about his father Willy Loman, in “Death of a Salesman”. This quote reminds me to do what you love in life.
- Have passion
- Ask questions
- Do what you love
- Make time for family
- Be patient
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.