Chancing

How does one discover the missing ingredient?

By chancing it. 

One keeps trying different mixes…

…till something hits. 

The hit is then fine-tuned…

…such that it is reproduced again and again.

Once the hit can be reproduced at will, one has got the strategy all together. 

A successful strategy is then let loose. 

At first it is on manual.

Ultimately, it comes on auto, or semi-auto, whatever best is possible. 

There has come and passed a stage, when this same strategy has not been winning. 

Aha. 

What is the difference between the mix of that stage and the current – winning – mix?

It’s some kind of a twist you’ve discovered. 

Something you are adding, or doing differently. 

This something is making the strategy win. 

Congratulations!

You’ve kept trying. 

You’ve been in the field. 

You weren’t away from the field, ruminating. 

You were getting action. 

Losing action, but action. 

Losing action has huge educational value. 

It tells you how not to do it. 

You keep twisting, fitting, tuning, upon loss. 

You chance new stuff.

Eventually, something clicks. 

You develop that something further and take it to the nth. 

Where does that leave you?

You have to keep chancing it. 

There is no way around this. 

Make funds available for the R&D. 

Have the courage. 

Don’t be afraid of a hundred losses. 

Winning is around the corner. 

Small Shoots to Big Trees

What do I see around myself?

Lots of small shoots. 

Wherever I look, there are small shoots. 

Does this make me happy?

You bet. 

Why?

Why not?

I mean, you don’t see any trees. 

So?

You’ve been at it for a while.

So?

All you’re seeing is shoots. Does that satisfy you? None of your efforts is a big tree in all this while.

That’s a very narrow-minded, greedy and fast-buck remark. 

Explain. 

For each of the shoots I see around me, twenty efforts have died their death. However, one shoot managed to entrench itself. This one shoot is firm, and goes very deep into the ground. It’s roots have become very strong. It is now ready for the world and has decided to show itself over the ground.  Over the next many, many years, with my meticulous nurturing, this very shoot shall grow up into a mammoth tree with unprecedented positive consequences.

I see. And, you’re saying that you see many such shoots around yourself?

Yes, many many.

Wow.

Yeah, i’ve been busy. I’ve tried and discarded many things. What remained didn’t want to leave me. It got planted and grew roots. Now that the shoots are growing, they are mostly on auto-pilot. Some need tending to once a day, some once a week.

Does that give you empty spaces in between?

Yes.

How do you fill these empty spaces?

I do, and I don’t.

Meaning?

Unless something new refuses to leave me, I don’t wish to plant another tree.

Why?

I’m happy enough tending to what I have.

So you’ve reached the…what’s that called?

Sweet spot?

Yes, you’ve reached the sweet spot. But nobody knows about you. You’re not famous or anything.

That’s why the spot is sweet.

Meaning?

Nobody disturbs my privacy. I can go where I choose. Do what I want. I don’t need to share my time with anyone if I don’t want to. There are no compulsions imposed upon me. 

Do you think you will be famous one day?

When these shoots grow into big trees, that might happen.

Do you want it to happen?

I want my trees to grow. Not sure today about fame. It kills personal life. I like my life and its pace.

Any regrets?

Sometimes, I get lonely. It’s the nature of the path. Despite family and a decent social life, loneliness is still there. Applied finance requires a lot of alone-time. 

How do you deal with that?

I start tending to a different shoot. Financial. Non-financial. Recreational. Creative. Gap gets bridged, and then the loneliness is gone. 

Wealth-Generators often go Contrarian

You knew that too, right? 

Sure. 

Going contrarian is a buzz-phrase. 

We hear it again and again…

… till we begin to start thinking… 

… that we know what it means. 

Well, try going contrarian. 

Yeah, try actually doing it. 

You’ll see what I mean. 

It’s real hard. 

Going against the crowd takes all the strength you might have… 

… and then some. 

Most humans aren’t able to go contrarian. 

Most humans aren’t wealthy. 

When there’s blood on the streets, there’s no telling how much more there will be. 

Under such conditions, the contrarian investor lets go of his or her hard-earned money into an investment, knowing perfectly well that the Street might even value the investment tomorrow at a huge discount to today’s price.

That’s ok too, says he or she.

Why?

Because homework’s been done.

Underlying is strong.

Debt-free.

Management is stellar.

Balance-sheet is robust.

Projections are paramount.

That the world is pricing the investment wrongly is a problem with its vision.

Underlying is not going under. With above credentials, this alone matters.

Times change. Vision of the majority changes. Investor makes a killing. Cashes out some, principal and what have you. Leaves lots of free-standing shares… forever… or till parameters change.

Wealth-generators repeat this behaviour-pattern many times in their lives.

They’re not afraid of going against the grain.

They know otherwise.

Also, the money they use has been freed up.

Its being out of action for a long time is not going to change their lives even a bit.

They will have the last laugh.

Wealth is the reward of going contrarian. 

It Boils Down to Good Governance 

India’s at the Olympics and all. 

We’ve had near misses. 

Sure. 

Athletes qualified fair and square. 

Not a word against India’s squad. 

They’re really trying very hard. One of our gymnasts has even risked her life by vaulting a successful Produnova. Rio-presence is achievement-based, not nepotism-based. It’s tough. It’s incorruptibly monitored. Footfall is highest ever. Indians have made the international cut in many events, like never before. Finishes are all decent. A few finishes are very, very decent, missing the podium by decimals. Our athletes deserve some podium finishes. 

However, what are 80 Indian officials doing in Rio, accompanying a squad of 119? Only a few of these 80 are allowed arena access. The rest are what? Long live the exchequer? We build up the exchequer by paying our taxes. We’d like to see its contents used judiciously. 

Let’s cast a glance at how our officials are conducting themselves at Rio. Actually, we’ll leave it at the official warning they’ve just received to behave themselves. SHAME SHAME. 

Is this good governance? 

NO. 

Do our officials deserve a podium finish?  

No. 

We’ll have to spend where it counts, on facilities, proper diets and trained physios. We’ll have to save on useless paraphernalia. Red-tape be damned. We’ll have to embrace good governance. We do want podium finishes, don’t we?

One looks up to one’s peers. If they’re corrupt, out of shape and / or out of whack, even the best athlete suffers a psychological downer. Our officials will need to trim down and get their acts together. All of them will need to behave like exemplary ambassadors of the country. They will need to give their wards that psychological boost. Coaches will themselves need to be in shape, to set good examples. Podium finishes will then be around the corner. 

Cut to stock-selection. 

The biggest and first thing to look for is good governance. 

Just cut all the nonsense out of the way, first up, because where you find good governance, you won’t find nonsense. 

It all boils down to good governance. 

The Department of no-frills 

Markets can be played in holes. 

No disrespect to the “hole”. 

Let’s put it this way. 

I trade the markets from a “bucket shop”. It’s actually a small brokerage. Parallels a bucket-shop, and all legit. 

There’s twenty odd people. 

Basic desktops. One gets to use them even with medium-sized accounts. A large account holder can walk into the manager’s office and get the manager to trade his or her strategy for him or her for the day. A three minute daily discussion is all it takes. This discussion can even happen on Whatsapp. 

If required, food comes from the street-vendors below, in newspapers and plastic cups. 

Welcome to the department of no-frills. 

No business-class travel or fancy-schmanzy wining-dining is required here. It’s sheer trading with no BS. 

Why? 

No overheads. 

No headaches. 

No constant terminal monitoring. Someone’s doing it for you.

Safety? Yes. Trust. Long-term relationship. Email and sms security measures. No nonsense. 

One doesn’t talk to the twenty odd people. 

One just trades. 

Trading for you isn’t really about building a consensus. You just trade. If then the market builds a consensus, that’s a different thing. You then trade the consensus. For or against is your call. 

This is as raw as it gets. 

You ask a question. 

You put your money where your mouth is. 

If your inquiry is in the correct direction, you get rewarded. If not, you lose a part of your money. 

Goes without saying, that overall, you try to win more than you lose. 

Department of no-frills cuts to the chase without useless paraphernalia. 

The Thing with Focus

Depth. 

Confidence. 

Proper entry. 

Decent exit, if required. 

Understanding. 

Lack of panic. 

Overall picture. 

These are some of the things that focus is capable of giving. 

Swagger? 

One-basket attitude. 

Over-depth. 

Narrow-mindedness. 

Loss of overall picture due to over-chewing one subject. 

Robotic mindset leading to freeze. 

Yeah, these too. Within the capabilities of focus. 

We want the former qualities. 

We’re discarding the latter ones. If they come knocking at our doorstep, we’re shooing them away. 

We spoke about diversified focus. 

Whatever we do in life, let’s do it well. 

We’ll have our many baskets. Why should we take the risk of having just one basket? 

And, into our many baskets, we’ll delve deep-deep-deep. 

Period. 

Sheer Moat Investing is not Antifragile 

There we go again. 

That word. 

It’s not going to leave us. 

Nicholas Nassim Taleb has coined together what is possibly the market-word of the century. 

Antifragile. 

We’re equity-people. 

We want to remain so. 

We don’t wish to desert equity just because it is a fragile asset-class by itself. 

No. 

We wish to make our equity-foray as antifragile as possible. 

First-up, we need to understand, that when panic sets in, everything falls. 

The fearful weak hand doesn’t differentiate between a gem and a donkey-stock. He or she just sells and sells alike. 

Second-up, we need to comprehend that this is the age of shocks. There will be shocks. Shock after shock after shock. Such are the times. Please acknowledge this, and digest it. 

To make our equity-play antifragile, we’ll need to incorporate solid strategies to account for above two facts. 

We love moats, right? 

No problem. 

We’ll keep our moats. 

Just wait for moat-stocks to show value. Then, we’ll pick them up. 

We go in during the aftermath of a shock. Otherwise, we don’t. 

We go in with small quanta. Time after time after time. 

Voila. 

We’re  already sufficiently antifragile. 

No magic. 

Just sheer common sense. 

We’re still buying quality stocks. 

We’re buying them when they’re not fragile, or lesser fragile. 

We’re going in each time with minute quanta such that the absence of these quanta (after they’ve gone in) doesn’t alter our financial lives. We’re saving the rest of our pickled corpus for the next shock, after which the gem-stock will be yet lesser fragile. 

Yes, we’re averaging down, only because we’re dealing with gems. We’ll never average down with donkey-stocks. We might trade these, averaging up. We won’t be investing in them. 

Thus, we asymptotically approach antifragility in a gem-stock. 

Over time, after many cycles, the antifragile bottom-level of the gem-stock should be moving significantly upwards. 

Gem-stock upon gem-stock upon gem-stock. 

We’re done already. 

What’s the Advantage of “Out of Sight”?

Trigger-fingers?

We are.

At some stage or the other, in our market-life. 

Is it good?

No. 

Why?

When we are in this mode, we shoot. 

We don’t look too much. 

We just shoot.

Why?

Either we don’t know any better. 

Or, we’re not able to control the impulse. 

We want to do something. 

We want action. 

If we’re not getting it, we forcefully create it. 

Is this wrong?

You bet. 

How do we rectify it?

Simple. 

Huh?

Yeah, just use the “out of sight” principle. 

Pray what’s that?

Well, if funds hit your bank account, pick up your smart-device and transfer them online to your liquid fund account. 

Advantage?

Funds are not present in your feeder account. 

Try firing now.

Nothing happens. 

No funds. 

However, the funds are not far away. In fact they are just a few button-clicks away. 

These few button-clicks are activation-barrier enough. 

They make you stop and think. 

You do your proper due diligence before moving them out of your liquid mutual fund account back to your feeder account. 

You use them for proper investing opportunities. 

You’re not trigger-happy anymore. 

All it took was a simple trick. 

Use it. 

There’s no law against liquid mutual fund accounts. Probably never will be.

Those five or six button-clicks have converted you from trigger-fingers to duly diligent!

🙂

What is an Antifragile approach to Equity?

Taleb’s term “antifragile” is here to stay.

If my understanding is correct, an asset class that shows more upside than downside upon the onset of shock in this age of shocks – is termed as antifragile.

So what’s going to happen to us Equity people?

Is Equity a fragile asset class?

Let’s turn above question upon its head.

What about our approach?

Yes, our approach can make Equity antifragile for us.

We don’t need to pack our bags and switch to another asset class.

We just approach Equity in an antifragile fashion. Period.

Well, aren’t we already? Margin of safety and all that.

Sure. We’ll just refine what we’ve already got, add a bit of stuff, and come out with the antifragile strategy.

So, quality.

Management.

Applicability to the times.

Scalability.

Value.

Fundamentals.

Blah blah blah.

You’ve done all your research.

You’ve found a plum stock.

You’re getting margin of safety.

Lovely.

What’s missing?

Entry.

Right.

You don’t enter with a bang.

You enter at various times, again and again, in small quanta.

What are these times?

You enter in the aftermath of shocks.

There will be many shocks.

This is the age of shocks.

You enter when the stock is at its antifragile-most. For that time period. It is showing maximal upside. Minimal downside. Fundamentals are plum. Shock’s beaten it down. You enter, slightly. Put yourself in a position to enter many, many times, over many years, upon shock after shock. This automatically means that entry quantum is small. This also means you’re doing an SIP where the S stands for your own system (with the I being for investment and the P for plan).

Now let’s fine-fine-tune.

Don’t put more than 0.5% of your networth into any one stock, ever. Adjust this figure for yourself. Then adjust entry quantum for yourself.

Don’t enter into more than 20-30 stocks. Again, adjust to comfort level.

Remain doable.

If you’re full up, and something comes along which you need to enter at all costs, discard a stock you’re liking the least.

Have your focus-diversified portfolio (FDP) going on the side, apart from Equity.

Congratulations, you just made Equity antifragile for yourself.

🙂

Focused Diversification : Mantra for all Times

I’m more into focus.

One can focus on one thing at a time.

Agreed.

What if after that one thing starts running, it doesn’t require any more focus?

Wow.

Then I focus on another thing.

Get it running.

Then another.

Till my focus window is full.

Let me tell you about my focus window.

I focus on cash, debt, equity, forex, gold, real-estate, arbitrage, and options.

With that, my professional focus in finance is full full full.

I get something running.

That’s it.

Then I don’t need to be with it. Mostly.

Let me run you through.

1). Cash – Bind it in a worry-free and accessible manner. Done.

2). Debt – Study the underlying very thoroughly. Reject 10 underlyings. Take up the 11th which passes all criteria. Be happy with a slightly better than FD-return. Done.

3). Equity – Invest for life. Study till you drop the stock or take it up. Only invest in what meets all criteria and offers margin of safety at time of investing. On top of that – SIP (systematic investment plan). Done.

4). Forex – Get a software robot to trade it for you. Or some human-capital. All available online. Requires a bit of fine-tuning. Keep tuning till you start making a return. Done.

5). Gold – Buy physical gold. Research your source. Needs to be impeccable. Bullion. Coins. SIP. Accessible. No jewellery. Done.

6). Real-estate – Make your real-estate yield you an income. Regular income? Done.

7). Arbitrage – Understand what this is, and why it gives you a tax benefit. Get an online MF account going with Kotak MF or DWS. Divert some funds into their arbitrage MF, either or. I prefer Kotak. Monthly dividend payout option. Done.

8). Options – Get the option-strategy going. You don’t require a desktop. Mobile is sufficient. All you now need to do is take care of square-off. On mobile. This means a slightly higher level of engagement than the above avenues. Only slightly. Are you ok with that? Fine. Done.

In a flow, it’s all doable.

And, you remain focused.

Why all this?

Times demand it. You never know what might come in handy, and when.

Yeah, times are tough.

However, you are tougher.

To use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, you are antifragile.

Limits will keep you Safe

Safety is under-rated.

People scoff… at safety.

Ask someone to belt-up.

Or, ask xyz to take a backup.

Emergency fund, anyone?

Insurance?

Plan B?

Is anyone really interested?

Ok, don’t have a plan B. Fine.

Then, you need to watch your plan A like a hawk.

You need to install safety nets.

One such net is a limit.

Limit movement of funds.

Nowadays, this takes but a few online clicks. Setting fund-movement limits in your netbanking is not difficult at all.

What does a limit do?

It says ballyhoo to your emotions.

Greedy?

Too bad, fellow, funds more than your defined limits can’t leave your savings account, in case you wished these to depart for your trading account.

So, greed is in check. With force. Order of the day.

Limits will keep you safe.

Over-optimistic?

Same check.

Limits will keep you safe.

So on and so forth.

A little self-control is required though.

You’re not going to tamper with your limit, right?

Right.

Patience and Nerves Anyone?

As someone I look up to put it recently – “It’s a game of patience and nerves!”

What is?

The stock-market. 

For whom?

The long-term investor. 

Do you have any?

What?

Patience, or nerves, or both?

You do?

Well, then you’ll do well in the markets, over the long-term. 

We look for complication. Meanwhile, we forget the basics. 

These are basics. 

If you’re not patient, you’ll for example jump into a stock at the wrong time, or you’ll jump out of it too early, or what have you. 

If you don’t have patience, well, develop it. 

If you can’t, do something else instead. Trade. Don’t long-term-invest then. 

If you cannot develop patience, you are not cut out to be a long-term holder. 

One method to cause the tree of patience to grow in you is to create the correct environment. 

Just don’t do anything that will make you jump. 

Invest your sur-sur-plus, money that is then pickled away, money that you won’t miss, yearn for or require over the very long-term. 

Go in with margin of safety. 

Stay in a stock you’ve singled out and entered until there’s a glaring reason to exit. Try to exit upon a high. This is the market. Highs are its nature. So are lows. That means that highs come. Wait for them to come, to exit from anything you need to exit from. 

Nervers, well, they come into play if you’ve not invested with margin of safety. 

I do remember two instances though, where everyone’s nerves were tested. October 2008, and March 2009. At these times, stocks sold for a song. Good ones and bad ones alike. Fear did the rounds, extreme fear. That’s what fear does. It creates once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Take them. Maintain a clear head. Your nerves of steel will do that for you. Create an environment for your nerves to become strong. Or, perhaps expressed another way, create an environment where any weakness in your nerves is not required to show itself, and gets subdued into extinction. 

How?

Again, just go in with your sur-sur-plus. You’re not going to miss this money even if the sky is falling upon your head. And you’ve gone in with margin of safety. Your nerves will stay intact. 

Ensure your basics. Allow them to shine. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

Good investing. 🙂

Let It Come To You

Don’t run after the investment.

Let it come to you.

Let it breathe down your neck.

You’re not hungry for it…

…but, if it’s that good…

… you might take it.

Let it reveal its hidden goodness.

Let it ignite your curiosity to look for even more than basic goodness in the investment.

Play a passive-then-active role.

Some call this the sweet spot.

I call it the sweetest spot…

… which you really want to be in, in the world of investing.

Yeah, don’t be in a hurry.

Hurry spoils the curry.

Take your time, to the extent that…

… take time out of the equation.

Give your money the best possible chance…

… to make loads more.

Did You Hear About the Last Mile?

Yawn.

So you did, huh?

In investing?

No?

Yeah, I just thought about it.

Sharing it with you.

Churning, churning, churning…

… inside.

As you do your due diligence, information churns inside of you.

What is it that says yes, I’m investing?

Where does that go-ahead moment happen?

In the last mile.

Inside of you.

This is not to take away anything from your due diligence.

DD is central.

Very important.

However, last mile is important too.

One needs to respect it.

First, one needs to know about it.

Knowing about it will stop you from pushing an investment.

Don’t push… …in the markets.

Just be.

Take the shape of the container. Your container is your system.

Wait for your last mile to respond. Learn to understand its style of expression.

It’s a feeling…

… of well-being, …

… or something suffocating, nausea-like.

Embrace the former. Dump what’s causing the latter.

It’s as simple as that.

The most meaningful things in life are…

… exactly…

… SIMPLE.

Steps are the New Currency

Walking walking walking…

… steps.

We’re logging them.

We’re thinking more about them than dollars, pounds, euros or rupees.

How many steps’ve you done today?

And who’s we?

We’s a collective. People who’ve gotten financial basics sorted, but perhaps not health basics. However these people have realized that. Smart.

Why smart?

Simple.

To enjoy one’s financial basics, one’s health basics need to be in place.

Place health before wealth, and you enjoy your wealth.

No health, but wealth, well, then you don’t enjoy your wealth.

We’re also in it for quality of life, right?

Therefore, yeah, treat steps as a very valid currency that gives you the ticket to enjoy other physical currencies and their benefits.

Logged 10k for the day yet? Or 15k?

Yeah? Super.

No? Why not? What are you waiting for? Step up, buddy!

The Valuation Game

Value is a magic word. 

Ears stand up. 

Where is value?

Big, big question. 

Medium term investors look for growth. 

Long-termers invariably look for value. 

How do you value a stock?

There are many ways to do that. 

Here, we are just going to talk about basics today.

For example, price divided by earnings allows us to compare Company A to Company B, irrespective of their pricing.

Why isn’t the price enough for such a comparison?

Meaning, why can’t you just compare the price of an Infosys to that of a Geometric and conclude whatever you have to conclude?

Nope. 

That would be like comparing an apple with an orange. 

Reason is, that the number of shares outstanding for each company are different. Thus, the value of anything per share is gotten by dividing the grand total of this anything-entity by the number of outstanding shares that the company has issued. For example, one talks of earnings per share in the markets. One divides the total earnings of a company by the total number of outstanding shares to arrive at earnings per share, or EPS. 

Now, we get investor perception and discovery into the game. How does the public perceive the prospects of the company? How high or low do they bid it? How much have they discovered it? Or not discovered it? This information is contained in the price. 

So, we take all this information contained in the price, and divide it by the earnings per share, and we arrive at the price to earnings ratio, or P/E, or just PE. 

Yeah, we now have a scale to judge the value of stocks. 

Is this scale flawed?

Yeah. 

A stock with a high PE could have massive discovery and investor confidence behind it, or, it could just have very low earnings. When the denominator of a fraction is low, the value of the fraction is “high”. You have to use your common-sense and see what is applying. 

A stock with a low PE could have low price, high earnings, or both. It could have a high price and high earnings.  The low PE could also just be a result of lack of discovery, reflected in a low price despite healthy earnings. Or, the low PE could be because of a low price due to rejection. What is applying? That’s for you to know. 

At best, the PE is ambiguous. Your senses have to be sharp. You have to dig deeper to gauge value. The PE alone is not enough. 

Now let’s add a technical consideration. One sees strong fundamental value in a company, let’s say. For whatever reason. How does one gauge discovery, rejection or what have you in one snapshot? Look at the 5-year chart of the stock, for heaven’s sake. 

You’ll see rejection, if it is there. You’ll understand when it is not rejection, because rejection goes with sell-offs. Lack of discovery means low volumes and less pumping up of the price despite strong fundamentals. You’ll see buying pressure in the chart. That’s smart money making the inroads. Selling pressure means rejection. You’ll be able to gauge all this from the chart. 

Here are some avenues to look for value :

 

– price divided by earnings per share,

– price divided by book-value per share,

– price divided by cash-flow per share,

– price divided by dividend-yield per share,

– in today’s world, accomplishment along with low-debt is a high-value commodity, so look for a low debt to equity ratio,

– look for high return on equity coupled with low debt – one wants a company that performs well without needing to borrow, that’s high value,

– absence of red-flags are high value, so you’re looking for the absence of factors like pledging by the promoters, creative accounting, flambuoyance, 

– you are looking for value in the 5-year chart, by gauging the chart-structure for lack of discovery in the face of strong fundamentals. 

 

We can go on, but then we won’t remain basic any more. Basically, look for margin of safety in any form. 

Yeah, you don’t buy a stock just like that for the long-term. There’s lots that goes with your purchase. Ample and diligent research is one thing. 

Patience to see the chart correct so that you have your proper valuations is another. 

Here’s wishing you both!

🙂

 

Less is More

Fill your plate.

Work.

Go all out.

Nobody’s asking you to work less.

Research.

Hit it with your best shot.

Do quality work.

Work with the best tools.

Enjoy your work…

…so much so, that time ceases to exist.

Yeah, that means you’ve found your calling.

However, connect less to live Mrs. Market.

Here, less is more.

Keep her away as much as possible when she’s live.

Only connect live when you really, really have to.

What are you achieving?

Minimal bogging down live market forces.

You’re away from the pandemonium, the confusion.

You’ve set your self up brilliantly, to think clearly.

Now, gather your thoughts, gather your research.

You get into the Zone.

You have a purpose.

It can be anything. A market instruction. An instrument alteration. A structural change. A query. A test. A probe. A check. Something small. Something big.

With your purpose right before your eyes, connect live.

Solve your purpose.

Disconnect.

Relax.

Let remnant market forces leave you, yeah, let them dissipate.

Do some other stuff for a while.

Then, when you’re ready, get back to your research.

If you’re not ready after a while, call it a day.

Go for a swim. Or something.

Loneliness of the Successful Investor

Walked alone?

No?

Please try.

Success needs original ideas. Original ideas need solitude.

Successful investors walk alone.

Sometimes, they’re lonely.

Investing is more about sitting than action.

Sitting around inactively breeds loneliness.

The antidote is activity – other activity. Not market-related.

Successful investors do other stuff to tackle this loneliness.

Buffett plays poker.

Branson is breaking into some virgin territory or the other.

Gates is busy souping up his home.

Trump blares his trumpet on a TV show.

Jindal plays polo.

Mallya’s sole focus has been other stuff, so much so, that he’s become unsuccessful.

Mahindra loves to tweet.

Tata walks his dog.

Sachin watches Wimbledon live.

Mr. Bean is seen on the F1 circuit.

You get the gist.

These people follow one or more “other” activity / activities so passionately, that they forget about their main activity for a while.

Their system recuperates. Time is bridged to the next instance of main-frame action. While traversing this bridge, body, mind and soul have recuperated. System is fresh, ready and waiting for new action.

When you’re walking alone next time, you’ll be able to deal easily with any loneliness on the path.

One might make moderate returns, investing with the masses.

To outperform, though, one needs to walk alone.

The successful investor realizes that he can’t get out of this one.

Therefore, the successful investor creates a way to still come out winning.

This is human capital at peak performance!

Taking the Pan out of Panic

Panic – Pan = ic = i see = I SEE.

Times are unprecedented.

We’re breaking new lows of evil everyday.

Ours looks to be a hopeless nation.
Is it over for us?

Shall we pack up our bags and migrate?

Just take a deep breath. Bear with me for a moment. Try and cast your panic aside. Try and think clearly.

I’ll share with you an observation. Take any Indian. Doesn’t have to be an outperformer. Take an under-averagely performing Indian, for all I care. Weed him or her out of our pathetic system, and place him or her in a nation with good governance.

Lo and behold, our candidate will start performing. Not only that, soon, he or she will be outperforming. After a decade or so, he or she will probably have mastered the system and punctuated it with innovative short-cuts.

Get my point?

We are a resilient race. We might look fickle, frail and harmless superficially, but we can struggle, bear, survive, and finally break out. Just give us good governance.
Don’t panic. We’re not going down that easily.

What’s happening currently is a purge. Yeah, it’s a catharsis with a big C. While it continues, asset classes across the board will probably get hammered.

What does that mean for you?

Only one thing.

Stay in cash. Accumulate it. Learn to sit on cash. Sit on it as long as the purge lasts. Let its value depreciate, doesn’t matter. Park it safely with a conservative private bank. Fixed deposits would be the instruments of choice. Yeah, you don’t want to leave unattached cash lying around. Potentially, unattached cash could be susceptible to online fraud. Attach your cash, safely, and keep it before your eyes. Put some watch-dogs in place, as in sms and email alerts. Password-change attempt? You are immediately alerted. New payee added? You are immediately alerted. Watch-dogs bark.

As per my instinct, though we probably won’t go bankrupt as a nation, we might just go a long way down before the purge is over. After the purge, there will be tremendous bargains on offer, across the board, in all asset-classes. Cash will be king. Save your cash and sit on it – for that day.

Meanwhile, your wealth-manager will try to push you into panic purchases with your cash. As in, buying gold at 32k, and the USD at 65. Don’t listen. These are crazy levels. One doesn’t invest at crazy levels. These are not even normal trading levels. Yes, they are institutional trading levels. One does not invest at institutional trading levels.

It’s time to use your common-sense and maintain a cool head.

You can only do that by refusing to panic.

Organic is In

Is your institution “organic”?

What could organic mean?

Let’s try and answer this based on sheer intuition, without surfing the net or getting biased by other opinions. It doesn’t matter if we’re wrong. At least we’re thinking independently, and that is invaluable.

So, what kind of an institution is organic?

A non-synthetic one? Hmm.

One that’s alive? Not bad.

In sync? Better.

One whose left hand knows what its right hand is doing? Good.

One that tugs at the same string at the same time in the same direction. Yeah!

One that’s devoted to a holistic boss. You got it.

Are you part of such an institution?

Yes? God bless you.

No?

Why?

Never looked?

Looked and never found?

Looked, found, and then couldn’t fit in? Keep trying. If you don’t fit in fully into any such institution, firstly, don’t get worried. It’s ok. Found your own organic institution. On the other hand, maybe you are your own institution, but don’t know it yet. When you do discover it, try and be an organic one.

Organic growth is digestible. It sustains.

Short cuts are big in our world.

Why do we try and cut others short?

As investments, look for institutions where employees are not cut short. When talent is rewarded, it starts to perform beyond boundaries.

Apart from good valuations, corporate governance criteria and organic growth are critical factors that one must look for in an investment.

Organic is in, and will remain in.