Interview, Yegor (aka from100kto1m) | #30
Father. Business Owner. Founder. Investor. Student of life.
Today I am glad to share a conversation between me and Yegor also known as from100kto1m in socials.
I had the pleasure of knowing Yegor for 2 years now and have seen him grow both as a person and an investor. In today’s conversation, we chat about the journey, rules we created for investing, time management, and so on. I hope you will like it.
Investor from Nepal: First of all thank you Yegor (from100kto1m), I think we started the journey together and you were one of my first investing buddies. We also held a clubhouse meeting together. I know a lot about you and your investing journey but I would love if you could introduce yourself to my audience in terms of your past experience, hobbies, type of investor you are, etc and anything that you think would be ideal.
Yegor: It’s truly my pleasure and honor to have this chat/interview with you.
Yes, indeed we started our own journeys (which are similar and yet different) at similar times. I still remember the first ever Clubhouse meeting I did and it was with you and a few other people. It was a bit weird and yet so awesome to be able to speak to folks who enjoy investing and talk about the stock market knowing no one had any secret agendas to push!
As you mentioned my name is Yegor and I go by Mr. Zaye or From100Kto1M on social media and I’m documenting my journey from (taking my hard-earned money) $100,000 and doing my best to turn that 100K into $1,000,000 in ten years or less. Due to this being my money and knowing some folks get weird about others' money I am semi-anonymous on social media.
I guess you could say, I have always been interested in investing without really “knowing” it because I never had an actual teacher/figure to educate me on it. Everything I have learned has been self-taught (via books, audiobooks, youtube, personal trials and errors, and taking lessons from others’ experiences) although I will say there have been many people who have taught me things indirectly.
When I was around 19 I did some trading on Wall St (mostly related to Technical Analysis) while going to college (spoiler alert never finished it) and at around 22 I start investing via the Acorn app (I even got invited for a chat to their office in Brooklyn) with whatever money I had which was not a lot. But everything I could I was putting in pennies and dollars. After some time I transitioned to Betterment and Wealthfront.
You might notice that all of it has been “passive” so far. I really started my journey around 2018-2019 when I started messing around with M1 Finance and buying individual stocks, most well-known companies. From there I bought companies that fell in price but I had “a feeling” that they are good companies that should at some time in the near future rise back to the top. The best example would be STMP which “had an event” and was cut from 200 ish to 30 ish (I bought around 30 ish and sold around 70ish I believe) later on STMPs got taken private at 320ish. I did a few such plays and it was all nice but I knew I didn't have a real foundation, not until I took Phil Town’s three-day seminar where I learned about Warren Buffett and Value Investing.
After doing the three-day seminar I started to work on my own way of investing style but with a Value Investing foundation and lessons from Phil Town and Warren Buffett. From there I started to get obsessed with learning anything and everything by investing in “good” sources aka books and audiobooks. I read Howard Marks, Benjamin Graham, Seth Klarman, Guy Spier, Mohnish Pabrai, Charlie Tian, John Mihaljevic, Nassin Taleb, and many many more. I can’t claim that I have memorized everything that I have read or listened to but I can say that my intuition towards value and “the right” has been established and lessons have been learned and the framework started developing.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to take all money I had from different sources (Betterment, Wealthfront, M1, etc) and pour it into my Webull account and start documenting my journey while doing that and being semi-in cash, the COVID pandemic started.
With many lessons under my belt, this was the perfect time to test things out in the market WHILE running my own business with employees and taking care of my wife with a small child. Not to get too detailed (as I can see I already took quite some “space” to write) I believe that I have maneuvered COVID well enough and that is mostly due to discipline and the good people that surround me.
I started my substack from From100Kto1M and started to document my journey on a weekly basis, and after a year moving to monthly as things were getting a bit too hectic to manage. There are a few points for this. 1) I think for the first time I really truly found something that I love and enjoys doing is it’s paid work or free when it comes to investing. 2) I want to share my journey with others and find like-minded people to chat with about investing and life. 3) If I can 10x my money I would like to transition from my current business to opening up a fund and do it full time.
Nowadays I spend most of my time still doing pretty much the same things, reading/listening to books/audiobooks/podcasts, working my business, and investing/researching companies while documenting the good and the bad via my substack.
Investor from Nepal: Sweet, thanks for the details. Loved how you transitioned from passive to actively investing and you are killing it. I remember at some point you had the best gains in all of Commonstock - which is of course great to see. I also love how you experimented with different brokerages and settled down to Webull now - I love the platform as well. So, regarding the substack from100kto1m, I know you have been really transparent about your trades. What I want to know is does it get difficult when you are down certain percentages or incur a heavy loss to be transparent. Especially on Twitter, it can get toxic. Also, what pushes you to write the substack and how do you manage time to write substacks on a consistent basis given your hectic schedule with reading, business, family, and investing?
Yegor: I must say that for me personally, it is not that difficult to keep going on down days. It seems to me that I attract people who understand that I’m genuinely doing this not for the likes but to share my journey and at the same time try to help other new investors see that this game comes with ups and downs. Whenever there have been big down days I’m usually down less than the overall market and my holdings for the most part are not that well known to Twitter so my guess is toxic people just don't want to look into what I own and try to bash me (I might be wrong on this theory). My goal is to buy good companies at or below the margin of safety price and be okay with whenever stock price might even go lower than when I buy. Sometimes I get lucky and I buy almost the bottom and sometimes I just have to be patient and know deep down that this too shall pass and my companies should see better days. I’m big on self-reflecting whenever something goes down and I get uncomfortable about it. If it happens I spend some time in my head thinking about what happened and what could happen and what I should be doing OR not doing about it. Plus remember it's not losses until you sell if you just have “negative” on your stocks but don’t sell, it's “paper losses' ' and doesn't count until you actually press that SELL button.
What pushes me to keep writing and posting my portfolio on substack is to try to keep myself locked into being liable for what I put out and also what I buy and sell to establish a personal track record. I understand this is not the best or most legit way of doing it, but I don't have an MBA or some HF firm that can vouch for me. I have to show who I am and what I can do in the market with my own money and show it to the whole world month by month, be it up or down months in the stock market. My end goal is to establish a fund, preferably for people that I don’t know (aka manage OPMs) or at least for friends and family. I can’t manage other people’s money if I am not being true to myself and showing something as evidence of my ability to execute and if you do not put it on “paper” or in this case substack, stories that we tell in your heads are much rosier then the actual events that happen. I noticed too many people that I was subscribing to on substack having to stock posting their portfolio updates. Some give no reasons, others saying they will do it occasionally while others say “they are moving to quarterly or yearly. Although it's none of my business why they do what they do (or don't do) this tells me there is no consistency in those individuals when it comes to sharing their portfolios, and if there is no constantly “how can you possibly establish trust and prove to others that you are capable of doing that which you have said you are here to achieve?” It’s kind of sad because I enjoy following others' journeys. To me, it's exciting when people can grow and you can be part of it, sometimes directly involved and sometimes just watching from the sidelines and cheering for them to succeed! Regarding finding time, it's still a work in progress but so far I have three buckets that I try to keep filled. 1 is my family, 2 is the business that I run on a day-to-day basis, and 3 is investing/learning. Family is very important to me so that I do not get moved to second or third place but in the other two I move around to accommodate whatever is the most important at the moment. I guess it helps that I can intertwine work and invest, find time to listen to audiobooks on the go, and spend time after kids are asleep to do my investing tasks. It’s not easy and sometimes tiresome but good things don't come easy, you have to work for them and that is pretty much what I spend my time on and I’m okay with that (family, work, investing). I have dedicated certain time slots for only family, only work, and only investing and it helps to be efficient and organized or at least try your best to do so. I know at least a few famous investors expressing pride in having no schedule and keeping their calendar empty, so far in my life I’m not like that and that is one of many reasons why I can run multiple businesses, do invest, and spend time with family all without going crazy. I’m not trying to show off (if some will get this idea) just trying to say that I put a lot into being “on point” with myself every day and trying to achieve as much as possible because we all get the same 24 hours, it's just some get more privileges than others to spend it differently. With that said it doesn't mean I don't get stressed out or get burned out, I do but not as much as before and whenever I start getting stressed out or feeling like I’m getting burned out, I try to slow down and take “baby steps” but keep going forward, life is a marathon not a race and we need to keep going at it for many decades. Still not always easy to juggle it all at once.
Investor from Nepal: I have always been a fan of your transparency, time management, and consistency. Thank you for putting light on it. I am always intrigued by the biggest winners and losses in the stock market, I would love to know what have been the biggest losses and gains (both paper and realized) and if you have learned anything from them.
Yegor: Regarding the biggest winner, I think it's a bit complicated to quickly count due to dividends and options PLUS being “paper” or realized, so to make it NOT complicated I will just go with two that just stand out to me every time I think about these things (I think about such questions maybe a bit too much). They are $OPFI and $OPBK. $OPFI is around -50% right now (but less than five percent of the portfolio). It’s what most would call failed SPAC. Got into it around May of 2021 because I got sold on the idea and yet I knew pretty much zero about SPACs. Side note, at one point I was even up with a good chunk of profit (around +20% ish?) but as I said, I got into the whole thing a bit too much and did not listen to my own rules. One of them is not to invest in companies that provide less than five years of open stock market data. I still own it as I think management still has a chance to provide themselves and if the market does not recognize it, my guess is management will just take it back privately. A lesson that I have learned is, to create rules and stick to them, no matter what. If you HAVE to bet, bet small. The problem is once you are in it there is a higher possibility of you getting caught up in it, in a bad way. On the other hand, my easily remembered “winner” was $OPBK. My first large one bagger (100%+ in a long-term gain) and at the time the thesis was very straightforward. The company is trading at around 50% of book value with management aggressively buying up stock with their money on a daily/weekly basis. A lesson that I have learned is when a company checks off all of the marks in its checklist (has to have no debt) and management is aggressively buying into macro uncertainty, there is a high possibility of this being a big winner. Although even that should be taken with skepticism as even the best management can become too confident and fail, even due to it not being their fault in anyways.
Investor from Nepal: Again, thank you for being transparent. Also, congrats on the first 1 bagger - a great achievement. I think all successful investors have their “rules” for making investments. I personally have categorized it and it is different for income, dividend, and growth parts (dividends and growth are mostly the same). If you could briefly talk about your rules and how you come up with them, it would be great for the audience to pick into your brains.
Yegor: I have studied A LOT of previous (or proven current) great long-term value investors and if they have written a book or if the books have been written about them I most likely either read them or have skimmed through them. Investors like Benjamin Graham, Seth Klarman, Joel Greenblatt, Mohnish Pabrai, Phil Town, Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Francis Chou, Guy Spier, Francisco García Paramés, and many many more. They all have their own way of investing but their rules to investing many times cross paths without them even knowing about it, and so whenever something sounded interesting or would repeat in a different format but with the same idea I would take notice of it and afterward would think if this is something that makes sense to me or maybe not.
Given that they are based on my own experience and my own way of investing, I would rather not give up all of my “rules” in detail, because 1) they are personal to me, and 2) they might be wrong as I don’t have a lot proven track record so I would not want to get someone in the potential wrong frame of thinking.
But here are some that I think are general enough that they are true and helpful and yet I think they are not being practiced by name or constantly enough:
Investing in public companies that have provided at least 5+ years of public data (5+ years of 10Ks)
Investing in companies that are high ROIC/ROE/ROA
Reading at least one 10K before investing in a stock
Listening to at least one Earnings Call before investing in a stock
Having high gross margins
Investing into companies that have little to no debt plus positive free cash flow
Visualizing where the company will be in 3, 5, 10 + years…
Knowing where the company’s HQ is located and where the company is doing business
Not doing any kind of options before an earnings release
I try not to buy anything the first hour or so of the “opening bell”.
I try to ignore short-term Technical Analysis on my stocks, but I do look (sometimes) at MACRO TA on Indices.
Buying with at least a 50% Margin of Safety.
I have “two buckets” for investing short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (3+ years)
Even simple things like trying to understand “why are the shares of company XYZ are down X% vs the market”, investing is simple but definitely not easy.
I have many more that I keep on my checklist and some just keep in my memory.
I have noticed most of the time when I did not follow most/all of my rules, I have not been satisfied with the outcome.
Investor from Nepal: Thank you for briefly touching on the “rules” that you have set for yourself. While we are nearing the end of the interview, I would be happy if you could give a few investment suggestions that you think would be helpful for investors at the start of their journey.
Yegor: A few musts for sure are, start early/now and start with no matter whatever amount you can afford. We all come from different walks of life but in our time with the tech, you can start with as low as 5 dollars in the beginning it might not seem much but believe me when I say compounding and good habits work. Train yourself to become the first saver/investor and only once you have accumulated “enough” spender. Anyone can spend, but not everyone can save.
Learn, learn, learn, be it via books, audiobooks, podcasts, youtube, whatever your way of consuming knowledge just keep learning and learn from people with some kind of proven track record first. As I mentioned before when I started I read everything I could from already successful value investors (and still learning) but also learning and comparing what I already know to other folks on social media, yet their “word” has less meaning as they are the unknown potential knowledge but sometimes those folks come in with hidden agendas. Most of the time famous successful inventors with good track records do not try to sell you something and you can get information from them (via youtube or podcast or books) for a low price or even better, free.
I can keep on going, but I think the most important suggestion is to have a worthy purpose. Something that is much bigger than you. Something that's far enough out that it seems very hard to achieve and yet close enough that you know if you put in a lot of hard work it is achievable. We all have our own individual reasons and purposes… I know mine, do you know yours?
You can follow Yegor at Twitter