On September 16, 2009, Warren Buffett slapped a gravestone on the Great Recession: "I think the odds are very much against getting significantly worse. [The economy] has sort of plateaued at the bottom right now."
We see it all the time. Companies say they possess a competitive advantage because of (fill in the blank). If it were only that easy, I could just read through a handful of annual reports, plunk down my money, and call it a day. Alas, it's not so simple. Much like waking my daughters up for school in the morning, sussing out a real competitive advantage will require some work, some finesse, and most of all, some time.