Friday, March 9, 2012

Rahul Dravid - The role model

To my biased mind Rahul Dravid who announced his retirement today, has been one of the greatest cricketer that this country has produced and unfortunately will get the least credit for his contribution to the game. I had put out a post in 2008 which I felt deserves a repost as a dedication to Dravid. 
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
What does Sachin Tendulkar have to do with Investing? I think a lot and to me forms the basis of how I approach investing.

Sachin Tendulkar is a phenomenonal batsman and a thinking cricketer. He clearly the best batsman this country has produced if the not the world. I think he was born gifted and has a amazing sense of timing and hand eye co-ordination. He showed it, way early in his career and progressed by building on it. He is, as I would say a “natural”.
Every single Indian who picks up a bat aspires to be like Sachin Tendulkar. Mother pray and fathers bray in coaxing their litters into wielding the willow. But for every Tendulkar, there are a million who fall by the wayside and are left selling credit cards and writing blogs :-).
Let me examine another cricketer - Rahul Dravid. I wouldn’t by any stretch of imagination call him a natural. Dravid is the hard working, technically correct cricketer who puts in a lot of effort and displays tenacity. He unfortunately is not gifted with the raw natural talent that Sachin has ( This is true for 99.99% of us ). So he has made that up with sheer hard work and getting down to the basics. I would put Anil Kumble in a similar bracket as Dravid.
Dravid will not be as great as Sachin but he has left his indelible mark on Indian cricket.
The problem is that all of us aspire to be like Sachin when we are as talented as Dravid, if not worse. We walk in believing that we are potential god’s gift to mankind and leave the field with dreams shattered and egos hurt.
The key to success is to realise whether you have the natural talent of Sachin and if not, to change tack and become like the hardworking Dravid. Strategy No 2 clearly has a higher probability of success.
So what does this have to do with stockmarkets?
I think most people behave very similar when it comes to the stockmarkets. We all believe that we are the Sachin Tendulkars of the market with inborn insights and natural stock picking abilities.
There are people who have those abilities and I have met people like that. People who have the right instincts in terms of timing the market or the ability to look at a trading screen and see patterns. I have met people who can look at a balance sheet’s and come up with amazing insights.
Unfortunately these people constitute just 0.01 % of the population that exists in the stockmarkets. The remaining 99.99 % of us are not born with natural instincts. And a significant chunk of this population enters the market believing that they are the next Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s of the world.
They leave disheartened and disillusioned by the experience and unfortunately some a lot poorer.
The way I look at the markets for myself is to position myself as a Dravid ( Knowing fairly well that I m not a Sachin). Nudging here and there, scoring those singles and twos and hopefully a few fours and sixes along the way.
The key to scoring runs is to retain your wicket or your portfolio to play the next day.