Leonardo da Vinci was a prolific investor in himself and unlike fellow 16th century painter, Filippo Lippi (who despite his artistic brilliance and fantastic name, is little remembered by today’s society), da Vinci continues to be celebrated. Why the disparity in enduring success? Da Vinci demonstrated outstanding commitment to diversification.
Da Vinci was a painter, mathematician, engineer, architect, botanist, sculptor, geologist, anatomist and musician. Inevitably, not all his investments were successful; we speak little of his music career or “walk-on-water shoes”. But these failures did not matter when da Vinci had the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper to fall back on. Today’s investors can learn from da Vinci’s ‘style’: diversify to prepare for multiple potential scenarios.
It is equally important not to over diversify. Had da Vinci attempted to take on the newly established medium of ballet, he might not have had the time or capacity to excel in his painting. In the same way, an investor who dips their toe in every single industry is unlikely to experience significant profit from anywhere.