As usual, Ben is adding value to the conversation about money and investing. In particular, his comment on the merits of buying the "haystack" certainly rings true for me.
Notably, the S&P 500 "haystack" is not static. Each year, new stocks get added and some get dropped. But, the core process for identifying the constituent stocks remains substantially consistent year in and year out.
That being said, even a haystack like the S&P 500 has some very strong stocks that stand out as being stronger than the rest over extended periods of time. So, I look at that particular haystack as a filter and use it to find a smaller and hopefully higher quality haystack -- but a haystack nonetheless.
It's a tedious search process but no one said it would be easy -- unless you're Warren Buffett.