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Work and matter

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on January 11, 2008

Me and friend were talking about work.

Friend: Don’t disturb me with instant messages. Not all are lucky like you to get big salary and chat at work.

Me: But I work when it matters. You work or don’t work it doesn’t matter. Putting it in another way, I think there is probably no matter in your work.


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Brand New – Hare & Tortoise story

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on January 10, 2008

Modified to your benefit

Please read till the end!

The following is a story narrated by the famous Sh G. Narayan, which serves as a lesson for survival in today’s context.

A hare and a tortoise live in Ahmedabad. They are good friends and like all good friends sometimes have a dig at each other. One day in a light mood the hare ridiculed the tortoise for his slow pace. The tortoise reacted by challenging the hare for a race between Paldi to Navarangpura.

On the appointed day and time the two assemble at the starting line and start the race. The hare dashes off the start line like a flash. After crossing the midway mark he feels that a short nap would do no harm.

The short nap turned out to be a bit too long. Meanwhile the tortoise crosses the hare and reaches the destination. The hare wakes from the slumber, oblivious of the time, and dashes off towards the finish. To his dismay he finds the tortoise having a nap at the finish line.

The moral of the story is “Slow and steady wins the race.”

The story does not end here…..

The hare goes home and soon understands that complacency and overconfidence were the reasons of his defeat. He vows not to repeat the mistake again. He then invites the tortoise for another race. The tortoise agrees to his friend’s request. They meet at the appointed day and time at the starting point. The race starts. This time the hare dashes off to the finishing line without taking a break and wins the race comfortably.

The moral of the story is “Fast and steady wins the race”.

The story does not end here…..

The tortoise goes home and thinks hard. He was aware that the hare cannot be defeated in speed. He then ponders over his core competence. At last he finds a solution and invites the hare to another race. This time the course is changed. It is from Paldi to Airport. The hare agrees.

At the appointed day and time the two meet at the start line and the race begins. The hare dashes off like a flash. Soon he arrives at the banks of river Sabarmati and is overwhelmed by a sense of dejection as he did not know how to swim. The tortoise comes to the bank looks at the hare with sympathy and coolly gets into the water. He swims to the other side goes to the airport and comes back.

The moral of the story is “Core competence wins the race.”

But the story does not end here….

Both the friends decide it was enough of racing against each other. Why not think hard and find a way by which they together could travel from Paldi to airport at the minimum possible time. At the end of a brain storming session they come out with a solution and decide to try out the next morning. At the appointed time they meet at the starting line. The tortoise sits on the back of the hare. The hare dashes off form Paldi to the banks of Sabarmati. There the hare gets on the back of the tortoise and the tortoise swiftly crosses the river. On reaching the other side the tortoise again sits on the back of the hare. The hare runs as fast as he can to the airport. Thus they both reach airport in the fastest possible time.

The moral of the story is “Innovation and team work wins the race”

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5-step guide to locating a ‘wealth creator’

Posted by Sathyamurthy www.sathyamurthy.com on December 16, 2007

The first rule to investing is ‘Don’t lose money’. The second rule to investing is ‘Don’t forget rule no. 1’! It is essential to stick to these rules when it comes to investing, in order to avoid the possibility of capital erosion.


To apply these rules successfully and to create wealth through equity investing, Raamdeo Agrawal, Director & Co-founder, Motilal Oswal Financial Services identifies five parameters that you must evaluate. They are:


1. Assess the entry barriers created by a company


Entry barrier should be preferably intellectual in character


Remember, a stock is nothing but a stake in the company’s business. So, observe the company’s business and the entry barriers created by it. The entry barrier should be more ‘intellectual’ in character rather than ‘physical’. This is because while it is next to impossible to compete with a strong brand (an intellectual barrier), competitive advantage associated with a piece of land (a physical barrier) disappears when a competitor acquires one as well.


Strong brands such as ‘Thums-Up’, ‘Parle-G’, etc. have enabled their companies to retain the top spot. However, at times, there could be exceptions. For instance, the entry barrier associated with TISCO would be its large base of iron ore and coal, which allows it to lower its raw material cost drastically vis-à-vis its competitors for long time to come.


Entry barrier should be long-lasting


An entry barrier should not only be strong, but also long lasting. Such companies will keep making money because their entry barriers keep working for them. For instance, Britannia may not be the best managed company but its strong brand continuously earns money for it.


Buy into such companies at the earliest


As an investor, buy into such businesses ahead of the crowd. If an entry barrier has been established very recently, it may not yet be exploited by the business. Accordingly, the market would not have valued it in the company’s share price.


For instance, when Financial Technologies (promoters of MCX) got its commodity exchange license and launched it, the popular opinion held was that it would be unable to execute the business well. But, today, it has emerged as a premier commodity exchange. Investing in such companies before the market sees their potential delivers best appreciation.


“Though difficult to practice, think ahead of the crowd”


2. Management should be competent and passionate


Choose companies that are led by a team and are competent and passionate. Both these attributes are equally important. Competence or passion alone will not work. An individual with a local degree combined with passion would have greater growth prospects than one who has a Harvard degree but no passion. A company like Pantaloon Retail is a shining example of how passion can create wealth.


“The definition of a great company is one that will remain great for many years”


3. Management should have integrity


Integrity is the most crucial quality that a company’s management must have. Such companies not only run their businesses in an honest manner, but, are honest to all their stakeholders, whether they are employees, the government or the shareholders. 


If honesty is part of a company’s DNA, it will be fair to its smallest stakeholders – the minority retail shareholders. Companies such as Tata and Infosys have this quality, which has added to their growth and market attractiveness immensely.


“Without management integrity, no margin of safety can be high enough”


The above-mentioned three characteristics (long lasting intellectual entry barrier, competent and passionate management and integrity) must all be simultaneously present in a company that you choose to invest in.


4. Buy low


The price that you pay for a stock determines your rate of return. So, it is essential that you get your purchase price right. While some companies come out on top with respect to all the first three parameters, the returns falter when it comes to the purchase price.


For instance, HLL comes on top with respect to all the first three parameters but has not delivered as much as far as its stock goes. Its stock delivered a CAGR of approximately just 3 per cent over the last 5 years, when the market delivered a CAGR of approximately 44 per cent over the same period.


The quote – “In the bible it is said that love takes care of a lot of sins. In investments, purchase price takes care of a lot of mistakes” – is very apt. You can make mistakes on assessing the first three parameters, since they are subjective in nature, but getting the right purchase price covers up for all your mistakes. Hence, estimate the expected value / intrinsic value of the company and keep an adequate margin of safety in the purchase price.


“It is much more important to buy cheap than to sell dear”


5. Have patience


When you buy a house you don’t expect it to appreciate overnight. You look at its appreciation over a long period. The same goes with equity. After having bought a company that conforms to all the above four criteria, you need to have patience. Investing in equities is often driven by two emotions – greed and fear. And patience is the mantra that helps overcome these emotions. Patience makes the difference between investing and speculation. It’s like a fertiliser to the investment process.


“In reality, patience is crucial, but it is a rare commodity”


End note


Investing is laying out today’s money for more in the future. Its about performance of the underlying assets. Success in investing is the outcome of a disciplined approach.


Happy Investing !


Raamdeo Agrawal, Director & co-Founder, Motilal Oswal Financial Services

Credits: http://www.economictimes.com



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