6 | Saket Mehrotra, Paid for Your Passion

My guest today is Saket Mehrotra. Saket is a Senior associate at Tusk Investments handling FMCG & Pharmaceuticals for their Indian Public Equities portfolio. He also shares his thoughts on investing on his website, saketmehrotra.com, and as the host of Stock Room Sunday presented by Stocktwits. He also somehow manages to find time to contribute as a writer for Investing.com and MoneyControl.com! In this conversation, we cover trends and areas of growth in Indian Equities, his writing process, and how he converted fans online into paying subscribers.

In this conversation, we cover trends and areas of growth in Indian Equities, his writing process, and how he converted fans online into paying subscribers.

Show Notes:

[00:00:32] – [First question] – Background and influences in investing
[00:06:40] – Trends in Indian stocks, pockets of growth
[00:08:13] – Advantages of Retail Investors 
[00:10:53] – Situations to avoid as an investor in India
[00:14:39] – Market cap as a restriction to investing?
[00:16:41] – Saket’s decision to write in public
[00:18:53] – Saket’s information diet
[00:20:51] – How writing has affected his career 
[00:22:00] – Advice for others thinking of writing online
[00:24:18] – How he converted followers into subscribers 
[00:30:45] – Keys to building a community  
[00:32:51] – Plans for the future?
[00:34:21] – Underrated skill or experience?
[00:37:05] – [Final Question] Biggest opportunities for youth today?

Connect with Saket:

Listen to this episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherCastboxGoogle Podcasts, or on your favourite podcast platform.


Kalani Scarrott: [00:32] All right, so how are you doing? So my guest today is Saket Mehrotra. Saket is the senior associate at Tusk Investments, handling fast moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals through their Indian public equities portfolio. He also shares his thoughts on investing on his own website, saketmehrotra.com, and also manages to find time to contribute as a writer for investing.com and moneycontrol.com.

In this conversation we cover trends and areas of growth in Indian equities, his writing process, and how he converted fans online into paying subscribers. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Saket Mehrotra.
Saket, thank you. I appreciate you being here today. I’d love to just dive straight into the weeds and just ask you, when did he know that you first wanted to start working in investing? What was that process like?

Saket Mehrotra: I think I have fairly been around in the world of finance ever since I think, right from say my schooling days into my college and ultimately doing the chartered accountancy course. I think in my house, so my dad used to teach stocks a lot. And during those days he would get these physical copies of annual reports delivered to your house before these went digital. I think the world of stocks always intrigued me. Back home here, we have the CNBC TV 18 channel that which is like the equivalent of NBC there. And that would play a lot in my house. I think I was always around that space. And although I didn’t distinctively know I would end up being in the investing world, but somewhere I think I was always surrounded by that.

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah, for sure. And I think that’s probably what a lot of other people would echo as well. To follow up, who were your early influencers or role models that you looked up to? What have been your biggest influences on your investment journey?

Saket Mehrotra: I think I seriously started pursuing investing and reading about investing when I came across this book called the Unusual Billionaires. It was written by Indian fund manager called Saurabh Mukherjea. And I think that was my entry into understanding how investing works and what do you look for in companies. And then that was a very Indianized, focused view. But then in order to get a global perspective, I started reading books by Peter Lynch. So One Up On Wall Street, Beating the Street, Learn to Earn. Those were the, I would say the three building blocks of the books that led the foundation for investing.

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah. Is there anything in particular that attracted you to investing in first place? Is it the intellectual challenge or is it just being around it from a young age? Do you think, just like a duck to water? What was the process like in terms of… Sorry, from academic to where you are now, what were the steps involved for you? How does that look like?

Saket Mehrotra: Yeah, so I think growing up, so I actually grew up in a city called Calcutta in India. How things here are, is that when I was pursuing my chartered accountancy course, so like the building of ICAI or that’s the ethics body of this course, their office is in a place in Calcutta called Russel street. And that is also the street where ITC Limited, which is one of the leading conglomerates in India, they have their head office there.

So every time I used to go to that Institute for some paperwork or something, you could actually see that head office right across the street from a bird’s eye view, or from a stone’s throw view. And that was somewhere in me that, “Okay, once I qualify as a CA, this is the place where I want to work.” And all throughout my college, I used to read about how this company went from, say just being a tobacco company, into being a conglomerate and getting into FMCG, hotels and the whole history.

I was quite fascinated and intrigued by that whole journey of that company. And somewhere in me was this dream that once I became a chartered accountant, I would want to work here. And luckily I ended up working there for close to four years before I moved to Phillip Morris. And then full-time into the buy-side presently working with Tusk Investments.

Kalani Scarrott: [04:37] Yeah. To focus more on Indian public equities as well, I’ve read a bit about through your investment writing and I’m sure we’ll touch on it later. How do you view Indian public equities, their strength versus international counterparts? What do you think they can offer that? Or what do you find the biggest strengths of the Indian market is?

Saket Mehrotra: I think that in the Indian market there is a lot of, I would say opportunities. I would say there are a lot of pockets of opportunities, which maybe if you look at say the listed world in countries elsewhere, if you compare it to the U.S., there’s still a lot of pockets of opportunities in the Indian market which has not yet been discovered by say institutions or the Dalal Street as we call it here. And I think until that process happens, investors or retail individual investors have a big opportunity to capitalize on say that 10 X or 50 X growth story, right?

Because typically what happens is while there are alliances and HDFC banks of the world, in the Indian spaces it’s very known to investors not just in India but abroad. But there are still a lot of these opportunities. I would say maybe there’s a company that does ticketing solutions for airline companies, or maybe, I have recently been thinking about music streaming a lot, so there are a few of these record labels which are almost available at the multiples, which are probably one-fifth of what a WNG or attention music is.

I think there are these big pockets of opportunity available. At the same time, if I look at Indian equities top-down, just the participation of the retail individual investor in Indian equities is very low, and the way things are moving globally, we’ve seen interest rates being slashed to record low levels. There is an increasing tendency of people taking on some amount of more risks as far as investments are concerned. So yes, in terms of generating risk adjusted returns from a perspective of an investor, equities is the asset class of choice for investors. I think until that process happens, there is a big opportunity which lies in the Indian equities space.

Kalani Scarrott: [06:40] Do you think there’s any overall themes or trends that you see are really right away. Like I know India has got a much greater tech adoption happening, and even I saw the age demographics today, like it’s pretty much a classic pyramid. So what are you most excited about in India as an investor? What pockets?

Saket Mehrotra: Yeah, so I think consumption is one basket that has managed to lead in terms of creating value for shareholders and might just continue in the future. That’s a pocket that has been discovered well with investors, both retail and institutional. But going forward, I still feel there’s a big runway of growth for financial companies. Whether it’s banks, whether it’s insurance companies, whether it’s asset management companies, but these companies will have a big runway for growth because even in India right now, even though as a country we have a very high savings rate compared to say other countries globally.

Most of those savings get channelized into real estate and gold, that those are the two asset classes Indians love to put their money behind. As in when the financialization of those savings happen, I think these companies will have a big run way for growth ahead. That’s a space I’m very excited about. And along with that, there is technology led adoption that’s happening. So whether it’s getting access to a streaming service, a GOS put the ground for these companies to trade. So whether it’s lets say, companies going ahead which use technology to get to users, these companies will also do well going out into the future.

Kalani Scarrott: [08:13] Yeah. You mentioned before that the retail investor verses institutional. What do you think some of the advantages or edges that retail investors might have in India? Is it just closer to the boots on the ground being a consumer or…

Saket Mehrotra: [08:26] Yeah, so I think there are multiple things. I think the first thing is as a retail individual investor, you might, as you said, you have boots on the ground. So you might as well discover the story very well in advance than say the institutional investor would, because typically an institutional investor would get interested irrespective of whatever sort of strata of market capitalization yada, an institution investor would typically invest in a company once it reaches a size.

Whether it’s a billion dollars or $500 million. Until that happens, a retail individual investor, if he can get on in a study very well ahead of time, and maybe just stay invested in that, for him he can have exponential gains compared to what the institutional investor would have. The other thing to understand here is an institutional investor is also answerable for yearly performances, for quarterly performances, right?

And a lot of times the incentives of the whole asset management industry, whether it’s a fund manager or whether it’s a distributor, it’s a link to the performances that you are able to deliver on a quarterly or an annual perspective, or a quarterly and an annual timeframe. That is also a, I would say, innate characteristic for you to keep churning your portfolio, to ensure that you beat the benchmark. And this is for you to cash in on your bonuses.

Compared to that, a retail individual investor need not have these sort of, I would say goals or benchmarks to meet. So there could be a possibility that you hold onto a stock for four years, it moves nowhere, and in the fifth year, it just moves 10x or 15x, and you’ve made your money. Again, all of this is on talking about the bull case scenario. There can also be a bear case scenario. Maybe you got the assumption so wrong that no one ever got interested in it and the stock never moves.

So it’s important to have a balance of the two when I talk about music streaming, and when I talk about two or three stocks in general in the Indian space, for me, the immediate compatible are say companies like Tencent Music or Warner Music or Universal Music. I do not have examples specifically in the Indian space who’ve made it big. So for me, that is the comparable universe and it’s not companies which are necessarily in the Indian space. I think that also as a retail investor, you can get some perspective on in terms of making these comparisons.

Kalani Scarrott: [10:53] For myself and maybe other outsiders looking into India, do you think there’s any specific situations to really avoid or look out for? Like, and I’d love to hear just your general thoughts maybe on founding family companies, which may not be as common in the west, but maybe in India they’re a bit more common.

Saket Mehrotra: [11:06] Yeah. So the other thing which has happened, in the past, there was a lot of regulations, or I would say there was a lack of regulation, I would say. I mean, as far as you want to maybe get into the tax net or maybe be in the formal economy compared to say the informal economy. So I think there were a lot of these, I would say arbitrage opportunities available in the country, which made people from really participating in the formal side of things.

But I think UPI, if you look at say the UPI technology in which India pioneered, which there in payments space, and that actually led the groundwork for enabling a lot of payments. Today I think we are clocking close to what one and a half billion transactions a day. That lays the benchmark for what technology can enable things to do. So again, going a little top down here, whether it’s getting into the tax net or ensuring you spend money more to formal channels and dis incentivizing the use of cash.

We’ve had some watershed moments in the past with respect to this. But I think the risk, I think a lot of times, today, I mean earlier there was a case that yes, you would be a little suspectable to maybe investing in companies which are run by families and first generation or second-generation entrepreneurs. But I think there is a good way that these families or these businesses have found, that if you’re able to set high standards of corporate governance, ensure that your numbers are reported the way they should be, because there have been instances of books not being clean, or money not being used optimally, or capital not being allocated efficiently. The market sort of rewards you with better multiples.

And I think a lot of families, again, even in the listed universe, I’m not saying everyone’s doing it or everyone’s not doing it. They realize that if they’re able to do these three or four things properly, the market will reward them with higher multiples. And the tradeoff there in terms of getting a higher market cap and a higher valuation is much, much higher than what you will be able to do by doing some funny accounting entries here and there. I think there is a growing trend of that that I see.

Without naming specifics I would say that maybe earlier, there were 100 companies who were not doing this. Maybe today, there are probably 1,000 companies wanting to do this. So, there is this trend that I see. As an outsider what I can tell you is obviously the benchmark stocks whether which are say, the Sensex 30 or the Nifty Fifty will give you some sense of comfort because we are in the benchmarking businesses.

And Nifty Fifty is also being subjected to a lot of churn. I think the last inclusion exclusion which I saw almost three to four months back was GAIL, which is a company that has the biggest gas network in India in terms of gas pipelines and producing gas, was removed from that index, and Tara consumer products was brought inside that. And Tara consumer products is the company that has a treaty with Starbucks in order to sell Starbucks in India.

Those are the companies you would ideally want to look at because these companies would want to look at India for the next leg of growth, as the larger economies of the market don’t get saturated.

Kalani Scarrott: [14:39] You spoke about the Nifty Fifty, but how do you view… Is market cap in terms of investing, is that ever a restriction for you, or how do you view market cap when investing in a company? Is there any limits you won’t go below or above or…

Saket Mehrotra: [14:52] Yeah. Typically I’m quite agnostic that way. I can again, for the purpose of putting the disclaimer out, Kalani and I would probably name certain stocks or certain sectors, these are not investment recommendations. I’m not a savvy registered investment advisor. So please do not constitute this as investment advice. And please do your own due diligence before you invest your money. So I think Kalani, to answer your question, yes. Typically I do not have any preset rules or criteria that I’ll only look at this market cap.

Because there’s this big trade off, right? So if you were to use a private equity mindset in public market, and what do private equity guys do, they want 10x, 20x, 100x return. You may not be able to do that by buying [inaudible 00:15:30] or HDFC bank, right? These stocks could give you some level of, I would say comfort or sense as far as maybe protecting the downside risk is concerned, but on the upside, you may have some sort of comfort that you might beat inflation year on year, by the risk that you’re taking it.

And when I look at companies which are lower in the market cap order, or market cap of 1000 crores or 1500 crores, if they are really able to do things well, they might go four X or five X or 10 X in maybe two years or three years. So my portfolio typically has a mix of these stocks. Whether it’s the fund that I’m managing or whether own personal investment portfolio. And I generally stay away from putting this, I would say a constraint first, and generally look at businesses and see what companies are promising in what space, and then maybe make my investment.

Kalani Scarrott: [16:41] Yeah, For sure. To do a slight pivot, I’d love to hear, because you write on your own website and you’ve written for investing.com and moneycontrol.com. I’d love for you to tell me just when you decided you wanted to write. Was that a natural process for you or was it a big decision to just write in public? How did you go about it?

Saket Mehrotra: So I had been writing for quite some time in college. So in my college magazine, I think I had written two articles. That was probably, I would say the groundwork for when I knew that I could write. And after that, I used to write a lot, but these used to be just random word documents saved in my computer, never published anywhere. The decision to start writing and to put work out started last year during the lockdown. Remember in March 2020 we went into lockdown. And that is when I resigned from ITC for my new job at Philip Morris.

So I actually had some time in my hand, I just thought, let me pursue this and see how it works. So the first article I actually wrote was on Quora, and it was on Nestle India and why I think it’s a great business, this and that. And I just saw that the kind of feedback I got for that article was something which surpassed my expectations. So I just took a conscious call that I’ll make an effort probably write one article once a month, and then this go distilled down to writing one article once a week. And I’ve managed to keep everything even with the writing style.

Earlier I used to write more long form content. Then I just discovered it takes up a lot of time to just go through that thinking process of filtering data, organizing your thoughts and writing. So then I switched to a video format, which works well for me if I do weekly webinars covering say a particular company, and I go down from say the sector to the company, the financials, the valuation. So throughout the journey, I think I pivoted a lot. So the only writing that I do publicly these days is a newsletter I send out every Sunday that has constraints of, okay, what do I find interesting? What is the book that I’m reading? Or this is the podcast I found interesting.

So it’s more of a, I would say curation of great stuff that I found on the internet. Yeah. That’s how the whole writing process started and where I’m at right now.

Kalani Scarrott: [18:53] Yeah. To follow on with your curated content, what does your information diet look like? Like where are you looking and what do you find most valuable online or wherever?

Saket Mehrotra: So I’m still a little old school there. I still prefer reading the physical newspaper because I feel it’s just free from all distractions. I just can’t read news on the web or on my mobile phone. I have no news apps on my mobile phone. Sounds a little 1950 in the world of 2021, but I stick to that, and that is something which has managed to work well, because it allows me to think and actually put on my thinking caps when I’m reading. And I typically stay away from all my devices when I’m reading the newspaper. So that allows me to also relate things.

So say for example, there was an article recently was Carlyle, which is again the global private equity company. They were investing in a company called PNB Housing Finance in India. So immediately in my mind I was able to relate that, okay, Carlyle had initially bought a stake in a pharmaceutical company, [inaudible 00:19:43] was the ex banker in HDFC bank, was retired. [inaudible 00:19:47], he is now on the board of Carlyle, and he might just sit on the board of PNB Housing Finance.

So I was able to draw this mental mind map by reading that news? Maybe that wouldn’t have been possible if I was probably reading it on a news app or on my mobile phone and suddenly there’s a pop-up ad asking me to buy something from somewhere and I just keep getting distracted. I think to ensure that the train of thought flows well, it’s important to maybe be in an environment where you can read a lot of this data on news distraction free. There are two or three newspapers that I read actively on a daily basis. I stick to reading maybe transcripts of earnings calls, look at a few annual reports from time to time. So I would say those are the few sources from that I gather data. And that helps me to write clearly.

Kalani Scarrott: [20:51] Yeah. I’d love to follow on in here. How has writing and building in public, I guess, effected your career? What’s been the benefits or changes that you’ve seen once you’ve started posting in public?

Saket Mehrotra: [21:01] Posting in public actually allowed me to connect with a lot of like-minded folks, whether it was Twitter or whether it was LinkedIn. So these were ultimately the two mediums I doubled down on. I stopped writing on Quora because I just felt that the moderation policy there was not that great. From time to time, I would see my answers just get vanished and then I could just appeal to the moderator and get that answer back. So then I switched to writing on my website and from time to time I would share links either on Twitter, on LinkedIn.

And that allowed me to connect with people who were interested in investing, or connect with people who had a very strong opinion on that space, or were actually the thought leaders of that space. And that helped me expand my horizon in terms of thinking, at the same time also ensure that, okay, these are the new areas, or these are the new part of dimensions one can look at when you’re looking at a sector or the company or something in particular.

Kalani Scarrott: [22:00] Would you have any advice for someone thinking about going down a similar path in terms of writing online or posting in public?

Saket Mehrotra: [22:05] Yeah. I think today the tools that are at our disposal, going online is no longer the challenge. And a lot of people have these inhibitions or they have these reservations that this is not the perfect article or there is some grammatical error filled out there. Even I had it. Even today when I publish, I know that there could be two or three potential errors grammatically from an editorial perspective. The fact that you can keep shipping or the fact that you can keep writing is the only way you will make your writing better.

And to answer your previous question, what have been the benefits? I think I was able to get up when I was booking in ITC, I think one reason I got a better job offers from Phillip Morris was probably because of writing. Someone had read my piece somewhere on something, and then they reached out to me on LinkedIn through a cold call. And even when I was working in Philip Morris, the next job opportunity, which is by the way right now full-time working on the buy-side and managing the fund, also came through a cold call on LinkedIn, which was again, someone having read my article somewhere and having discovered me from there.

So I think once you start putting your work out in the public, do not think of what the downside is. The downside could be one or two trollers might just write something here and there, and that might just affect you negatively. The risk which is there is so, so less than the benefits that can potentially come from there. Whether it was my article getting published in investing.com, or me writing a guest piece for Moneycontrol, or me ending up giving an interview with a Turkish news channel. All of those things wouldn’t have been possible if maybe I had not put out my work in public.

So I think that those benefits far, far outweigh from what the potential risks that can come. And you know if you start writing and if you don’t enjoy the process, or if you don’t like writing it you will probably not write more. So the only way for you to find out whether this is something which is meant for you, or if this is something you’re comfortable with is to just maybe write your first post.

Kalani Scarrott: [24:18] That’s great advice and, yeah. Completely echoed as well. Because sometimes the benefits you just can’t see is that classic right tail. We spoke of a little bit before recording about your transition to earning online. Could you just walk me through your steps and maybe a reasoning and maybe what you’re thinking at the time when deciding to start earning actual money online, and converting those followers into-

Saket Mehrotra: Into paying subscribers, yeah?

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah. Yeah. Into paying subscribers. Sorry, I just sort of blanked.

Saket Mehrotra: Yeah. So I think this whole process started, I actually also happened to know a few people who made a career online, and they actually now do this full time instead of their regular job, and they work on their terms, and they probably make five times the money they make in their regular job. So I think this whole idea started, there was a very popular influencer in India called Ankur Warikoo.

Yeah. So he… And he’s quite candid. If you have any questions, if you have any thoughts, you can just write an email to him. And he’s so nice, I think he’s responded to all my emails. So if you have any questions, feel free to write an email to him and he will answer back. So he had done a webinar on how to manage your time effectively. And that is when I had come across something called the money value of your time.

I mean, a lot of people don’t realize whether it’s a job that you are doing or whether it’s a business that you’re doing. You have to understand what is the worth of your time in terms of maybe an ad or maybe, whatever. So once you’ve understood what the money value of your time is, then you will start making decisions. So an example that he gave was what happens is say in India an average 25 year old is probably doing a job for what? Let’s say, 60,000 rupees a month. That’s almost 2000 rupees a day. And if you’re working eight hours a day, that’s almost probably you divide that by 2000 by eight, that’s almost…

Kalani Scarrott: 300 rupees, almost like 250, 270. [Kalani’s note: Holy shit my mental maths sucks. I should stfu more]

Saket Mehrotra: Almost 250 rupees an hour.

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah.

Saket Mehrotra: So your money value of time is 250 rupees an hour. Now say if you end up spending two hours trying to get the best deal on Amazon and you probably save 100 rupees, you’ve actually spent 500 rupees to save 100 rupees. That just hit me right in the head as to how I probably wasted a lot of time doing these non-essential or non-value-added things without realizing that I’ve actually lost money making these decisions. So that hit me really, really hard. After that, I actually follow a lot of these influencers whom I really like too.

And some of them had… And one of a very close mentor of mine or the senior of my college told me about how to go about this online goal or making money online, is that firstly, you have to be a thought leader in your space. You have to find your niche. And internet is a place that allows you to do that. Whether you’re passionate about drinking wine, or whether you’re passionate about dancing on maybe all songs of Justin Bieber, the internet gives you a forum to pursue that.

And once you’ve doubled down on what your niche is, so it has to be again, going into the concept of the Japanese Ikigai, what you do, are people willing to pay for it? And is there a market for it? I think at the confluence of all these elements is where your online journey lies. So once you’ve understood what is it that you’re good at, and if you feel like this is something that you like to do, because a lot of times if you actually pursue or try pursuing this, a lot of your time has to be spent around staring blank at a white screen. You have to get comfortable with that.

If you’re not, then you will probably not like it that much. The foremost important thing is you have to like it, and you need to have an inclination of doing that and you should be good at it, right? So once you’ve discovered these key things, you become a thought leader in that space by continuously publishing. And you have to be very, I would say, consistent in publishing. Whether it’s once a week, once a month or once a day, just stick to what you think you’re comfortable with. Because your followers or your subscribers expect a delivery at that interval.

And once you’ve started doing that on a consistent basis, your followers or your subscribers will keep coming back to you and asking you what next. They will give you that feedback. So when I started writing online, I used to get a lot of questions and a lot of comments, feedback around what do you think about this company? What do you think about this sector? Those were the kinds of questions which were probably in a week’s time would probably go up to say 20, 30 or maybe even 100 on certain things.

And this is when probably I had what three or 4,000 followers on Twitter. So one of them suggested, in fact, one of my subscribers slash followers suggested that, “Why don’t you do have a webinar on this right?” And I said, “Okay, let me just try and do that.” So when I ended my first webinar, I thought, “Okay, almost five people signed up and they were willing to pay me for it. So why not do this every week?” So again, one of the people from that cohort came back to me saying that, “I don’t like paying every week. Why can’t you make this into a subscription product?”

And this is where I could relate to what this mentor of mine from college told me is that, when you start putting your work out and when you maybe start monetizing, your subscribers will ask you for your $1 product. Once you’ve given them your $1 product, they’ll ask you, where’s my $10 product? And once you’ve upgraded them to $10 they’ll ask you where’s my $100 product? So maybe for me the scheme right now, or I would say this whole journey would be either weekly webinars series, or maybe working as a consultant with them.

So that in terms of the money value of time, is actually probably upgrading them from say 400 to 4,000 to maybe 40,000. So that’s the sort of journey I would want them to take if they’re willing to maybe get into some more high value output with respect to save time they are investing in.

Kalani Scarrott: [30:45] What do you think are the biggest keys in building that community of people who are paying subscribers, and how hard is it to turn someone from a follower into a paying subscriber? What do you think are the most underrated skills in building that close community?

Saket Mehrotra: Yeah. I think being authentic and being honest is very important. You cannot be person A in front of the camera and be person B behind a community. Because that’s quite important and the people who are ending up being subscribers to whatever product you’re trying to sell, it could be a subscription. It could be an actual product. Is that people are paying you because they have a certain degree of trust on you. Right? If you’ve promised something, try and deliver that consistently.

I remember when I started my weekly webinars series, and I had promised that it would be annually, these are the number of webinars that would be promised, and again, this is the amount you have to pay. There were weeks when I had to skip doing those webinars. So maybe I had some commitment, maybe I could go somewhere. And then I probably thought that somewhere in my head, I realized that I’m probably taking my subscribers for granted. And in fact, in one of the weeks when I actually again skipped, I actually got a thrashing on the public forum from one of these subscribers, again, within the closed community, is that, “You know you’ve probably promised us and this is the coming too casual.”

So I think being consistent, being honest and delivering on what you promise is very important. Because once someone has started paying you, they already have a certain degree of trust on you. So someone would probably not pay you right away. They’ll probably follow you on Twitter, or they’ll probably be a free subscriber trying to read your stuff and they see that, okay, it’s valuable. Let me just try and upgrade that to see what a paid product would look like. So I think that’s quite important. Underrated skill here would be just to be consistent and just be authentic.

Kalani Scarrott: [32:51] Yeah. That I totally agree. Yen Liow I remember saying, “To finish first, you must first finish.” You can’t, there’s no way around it. You just got to get it done. But I think that lends in well to my closing questions and one them. So what plans do you see for yourself going forward in the next five, 10 years? What are you curious about? And how do you balance, sorry to tack so many questions in here, but managing the buy-side versus working for yourself as well? Where do you see your future like? How do you want to go about it?

Saket Mehrotra: So presently I’m still exploring things. I’m not too sure. I’m Just wanting to take this one step at a time. Right now, or maybe what I’m doing actually compliments each other. I am actually full-time in the fund management space in the buy-side, and what I probably write is around markets and equities, right? So in a way, the two things actually complement each other. Now for example, an average day at my job I would probably be analyzing a particular company or a sector. Maybe going home, I’ll probably keep thinking about that.

Maybe on my drive back home, I’ll probably listen to earnings call, or what someone had to say about this or that, and try and get some insights in order to maybe get an edge in my thinking. I’ll get an edge in my insights on that space. So I don’t have a yes or no answer to that. Maybe somewhere in between. And as long as I can see both of these complimenting each other, I don’t see any reason of choosing one over the other.

Kalani Scarrott: [34:21] No. I love your thoughts. Because yeah, I’m a bit the same. I don’t quite know where things will lead but sometimes you just got to trust the process.

Saket Mehrotra: Yeah.

Kalani Scarrott: [34:41] In terms of university aged students, what do you think is the most undervalued life experience that they don’t give weight to? What’s an underrated skill or experience that you think they should have or they should be trying to get?

Saket Mehrotra: So I think as a university degree, it’s actually quite important to get a sense of how the real world operates. Because a lot of times, if I actually specifically talk about the investing world, lot of things that I’ve actually learned in corporate finance are not implemented when it comes to the investing world. So you actually have to unlearn a lot of things. At a university grad level, I would say that you have the opportunity or you have the freeway to explore different things. So back when I was in college I was very passionate about marketing, and I would just spend my days or hours reading about what [inaudible 00:34:57] said, or what he created this biggest advertising agency in the world. And I was so intrigued by that space, I would actually read about digital marketing.

I would read about what CTA is, so on and so forth. But somewhere I would say that has given some sort of foundational lens when it comes to maybe what I’m doing in terms of writing today. This is also what Steve Jobs talks about in his Stanford speech, it’s that, “You keep doing what you like, and you can only connect the dots when look behind.” Looking forward you will never be able to connect the dots. I would say keep exploring whatever interests you, just try and go deep, because you have the liberty or the free way to do it. Don’t undermine your health. Take your health seriously especially around fitness.

It’s important to inculcate that as a lifestyle habit, because later in life, it kind of gets difficult to put that into your life structure. And finally try and do as many internships as possible, trying to explore how the corporate world works, if that is something that you’re planning to get into. If not, say for example, you want to be an influencer, right? So that’s the new thing that everyone wants to do. Maybe try and work with an influencer. Do not think more about what that influencer is going to pay you.

Even if he pays nothing, just the fact that maybe you can shadow with him and understand how his typical day looks like, you will probably get a sense whether you really want to do this or not. I think that’s very important in terms of doing these shadows roles to understand how things work.

Kalani Scarrott: [37:06] Yeah. I love it. And for my final question, but you also kind of touched on it there. Where do you think the biggest opportunities lie for the youth today? Like if you’re 18, where would you be spending your time? Whether it be internships, travel, building technical skills, what would you be doing if you’re 18 again?

Saket Mehrotra: I think the opportunities today, Kalani, there is no right or wrong answer to that. I think traveling or doing internships are important to increase your worldview. And getting a bigger worldview helps you think better and make better decisions, whether it comes to investing, whether it comes to your own life, maybe your health, your fitness, whatever. So getting that perspective is important, but it’s also important to maintain a balance between the two.

So do not necessarily do things at the cost of the other things. So say for example, if you have to maybe spend time with your family, ensure that you have time for your friends, try and balance things out, do not just double down on one thing because it’s so exciting. If I were to relate that to the world of investing now, I see a lot of first-time investors just going all in on crypto, not understanding what the risks are, not understanding what the returns are and just discounting all other asset classes.

And that is this something which is very important to try and get the sense of balance, what is important, what is not, and see where things are. And I think reading helps a lot. So if you’re someone who likes fiction, try reading nonfiction. If there’s someone who likes reading nonfiction, try reading some fiction to get a balanced view of things. Always try to challenge what you think. A big part of me writing online and putting my work out in the public is A, it shows accountability.

Who’s your followers or your subscribers and at the same time, you are also opening up the counter-intuitive or I would say the antithesis to what your thesis is, right? So that is also very important. In fact, even in my investing process, a lot of times if I’m bullish on a particular stock for the sector, I make it a point that I viewed what the better ship would have to say. So I don’t have blind spots when it comes to investing.

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah. No, I completely love that answer and I’ve loved the whole conversation. So Saket, I really appreciate your time today. It’s been great.

Saket Mehrotra: Thanks a lot, Kalani. Thanks for having me. I love this too.

Kalani Scarrott: Yeah. I’ll be happy to bounce on this again as well. That was great. I love that.
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