Interview with Deepak Shenoy

The fuel prices are rising. Inflation is increasing day by day. The Real estate prices have touched the roof. Many of you would be wondering, what are the causes and factors for this? What is the effect of international markets in our day to day life? How do we invest money in the correct way?  Keeping all this in mind, we have invited a very special person at your Adda. He is one of the top bloggers from India who blogs on Finance, Market, Economics and much more. We are pleased to welcome Deepak Shenoy at your Adda. Are you ready to understand Indian Finance in a simple way and know more about Deepak and his life? Read on…

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

My first record of blogging was 2003, though I’ve written a few random pieces before that. I wrote at The Unknown Indian as a personal blog, largely because I needed a break from work. Then writing became fun, so I started a work blog on technical topics (Shenoy At Work). Eventually, I created Managing in the Tropical Zone for insights on management.

I had gotten very interested in finance and have been writing at Capital Mind (other names earlier) since 2005. This is now the only blog I maintain.

Q: What topics do you generally blog about?

Money, Markets, Trading and Economics in India.

Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?

I usually write too much, so I have to go back and delete stuff. I use a lot of filler words and sentences; brevity isn’t my strong point. If I get stuck, I take a break. I draft post and go back later. I have a lot of draft posts, stuff that’s waiting to be written!

Q: Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?

  1. Twitter. I post a link to each post as a tweet.
  2. Facebook – on my page.

I don’t do much marketing. There is feedburner and there’s daily email, but that’s about it for distribution – and I don’t advertise, cross-link or otherwise. Of course where I comment on other people’s blogs it brings people in, but that’s a side-effect.

Q: Market Vision is a company that you have co-founded. Tell us what kind of service does the company provide? How do you filter and collate the useful information on your website? Please educate the readers with the process.

MarketVision is a commercial service about Money, Markets and Trading. Other than private consultancy, we will soon have a premium newsletter that will provide investing opportunities, data, knowledge and videos on the markets. (The current newsletter is free)

Much of our site is completely automated – what I find interesting, I mark it, and the links automatically appear in our Editors Picks section. I manage our short-takes videos which are short videos on a financial concept each. The filtration process though is largely manual.

Q: Entrepreneurship involves lot of risks. You have co-founded 3 companies – Market Vision, Agni Software and Moneyoga. What were the hurdles, risks and opportunities that came along the way? What was your source of inspiration or goal that you had set, which motivated you to overcome those hurdles?

Oh I could write a book about this. In short, the goal for any business is to be successful, and that almost always has to do with money. But the idea for each business was to get there in a way that is scalable. The hurdles were the obvious culprits – money for one, lack of skills for another, market pressures for a third. Inspiration wise, it was just the will to go on, to give it the best shot I had. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t but that’s the nature of the game.

Q: What other things interest you, than watching stocks, shares, increasing and decreasing numbers? We know that you like to learn dance, salsa in particular, and also like to go trekking and rock climbing. 🙂 How are these things shaping up in your life?

They’ve all been replaced with babysitting. 🙂

I do the salsa at home nowadays, but rock-climbing and trekking have gone down to near zero. But, I get some exercise while running and catching up with my four year old son! Still love all those things, but have added swimming to the list, which I learned last year.

Q: Recession and Inflation has recently been discussed all over. What are the factors, according to you, which are causing inflation and what could be the possible solution for it? You have an area dedicated for Visualising Inflation of India on your website. Explain the model and how does it simplify understanding the subject?

Inflation has many reasons to it – most of which will take tomes to explain, but here’s the short story. Inflation is when you pay more for the same thing. When a kg of potatoes ends up costing you more this year than last year, you’ve just experienced inflation. Factor wise, you can consider that supply and demand are huge factors – a drop in supply (due to, say, increased government procurement and then rotting of such supply in warehouses) can cause a price rise. An increase in demand – from more people wanting things more – also scales prices.

Now look at it another way. The RBI prints rupees constantly, and if they provide more rupees to us, we will, as a country, have more rupees available to chase goods, which will effectively increase prices as well.

My models help determine where inflation is high, and how it might flow. For example, when the prices of rubber go up, the prices of tyres should also go up soon, otherwise the tyre manufacturers will suffer. Plus, inflation isn’t really a one-timer; it’s a trend, and only when you see inflation as a graph can you identify whether inflation is rising or falling. Finally, I provide constant input on how inflation data collection tends to be inaccurate, which can make precise analysis difficult.

Check out more at http://capitalmind.in/category/inflation/

Q: 10 years down the line, where do you envision yourself to be? Would you be setting up more companies?

I think so. But, I can’t see 10 years down the line. All I know is that I want to be running a company, managing money (my own or otherwise) and investing in businesses.

Q: What kind of support do you receive from your family and friends after getting so much of success? Do some of your batch mates from NITK (National Institute of Technology Karnataka) also work with you?

In Agni, one of my co-founders was Arun Kumar, my batchmate at KREC/NITK. I have very close friends from college and I have worked professionally with many of them. Support wise – my family and friends are there when I need them, and are all happy that I’m doing what I want to do!

Q: Does your son, Varun, also likes to play with numbers? What do you think his career path would be? Is your wife, Sunila, also working in the same industry? What does she have to say, looking at your career graph?

Varun is too small (just four!) to be evaluated as a numbers-guy or otherwise, and I honestly have zero expectations for his career. I’d like him to choose what he wants – after all, that’s what I did. Sunila doesn’t work in this industry – and I’m happy about that, because work is work, and personal life needs to be different. We’re both very accomodative of our careers – so anything goes.

Q: You suggest that it is best to keep only a few investments in one’s portfolio. We would like you to suggest the dos and don’ts, when one plans to invest. What kind of financial pitfalls are expected along the way?

Again, too much to write in a small area, but I have written a lot on the topic at my blog. Read, for instance, the Game of Dice where I talk about pitfalls and do/don’ts. For traders I’ve written pieces like Poker and Trading.

In effect you must:

  • Buy only what you understand.
  • Where you can’t spend the time, buy mutual funds instead, and get exposure to stocks and bonds.
  • Don’t buy insurance as an investment, but only for insurance.
  • Plan for your retirement, your children’s educations and your big ticket expenses (like a house/car).
  • Use money as a method to reach a goal, not for the goal itself.

Q: What kind of financial knowledge does a person require when he wants to use services of your company? What do you suggest an investor should opt for – short term investment or long term investment? Why?

We target people who know about stocks but don’t know how to, or don’t have the time to analyze them. Similarly for the economy, or for bonds and mutual funds. We do target short term investors – with a horizon of less than 3 years, because that’s where the paying market is.

Q: You have a phobia of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is fear of using long words. If you suffered from Numerophobia, which is fear of numbers, how would you make your way out? What would Deepak Shenoy be doing if he was not in this business?

I don’t know. Too many things I guess, because I was not in this business just five years ago. 🙂 I will change businesses again, I’m sure. One day I might have a coffee shop, and another day I could be manufacturing tractors. It’s all about what excites me long enough to make a living from!

Q: On Market Vision’s website, short takes is a brilliant feature where you provide videos, which explain financial concepts. Moving forward, what have you planned for the company? What other features would be included on the website?

We’ll keep adding free and premium videos. Further features that will come include high quality screeners that help you discover great stocks, and great analytics that help with market timing. The plan is to have fantastic content that provide actionable information in the financial markets. You should be able to do something with what you read.

Q: Life has been a rollercoaster ride, right from co founding companies, to managing a few now! In today’s challenging and competitive environment, what pointers would you give to a person who is planning a start-up? How can the upcoming entrepreneurs achieve success like you?

I wish I could call myself a “success”, but no, you need far more success than a guy running a web site. I would tell the starter-upper: – Don’t worry about your peers. Just by the experience you gain, even if you fail, you’ll get a much better job later.

  • Live your life. Don’t just work.
  • Embrace change. Write that business plan and be ready to tear it up every day.
  • Don’t listen to everyone’s gyan. There is altogether too much gyan.
  • Just do things. Yeah, you’ll fail, but you can’t get the learning of failure from someone else. And that includes me.
  • Be communicative. Talk, listen, write, speak publicly, present. You learn most when you communicate.

Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?

Almost all of them. I get over a 50 emails a day about my blog and other than the stuff like “Hello, what stocks can I buy today” I respond within a few days. While it’s increasingly tough, I don’t like sending canned mails, so everyone gets a personalized reply. That is more so for comments on the blog.

Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?

That people learn from the writing, and find their own interpretations and manage to save themselves from getting suckered. I have received many such mails thanking me for talking about a product that they were told to buy, but they didn’t know the hidden details until they’d read my blog.

The other thing is to continuously see traffic increase. 2011 has been the best year, and May was the best ever month. June looks good (even though I was on holiday for 7 days).

Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.

There are excellent blogs out there. The depth and breadth of financial content isn’t quite as much as the US, but there are great bloggers out there. Among them, are:

Financials:

Other generic theme bloggers:

Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?

Write on what excites you the most. And keep it updated.

Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?

Oh, nothing much. I am the worst person in terms of monetizing my blog. I do have ads on the site but that’s just random placement. The revenue pays for the hosting, that’s all I can say.

Q: Let’s conclude off with a few favorites.

Color: Neutral. That polishes all my shoes.

Movie: History of the world. Hilarious.

TV Show: Seinfeld.

Book: The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. Also, No Comebacks by Frederick Forsyth.

Time of Day: The fact that my son gives me some of it.

Your Zodiac Sign: Scorpio. Something like that.

Thank you Deepak for making Economics, markets et all so simple for us. Readers, hope you are ready to sign the cheques and invest for 3 years as advised by Deepak. Do let us know your feedback about the interview and anything in general and we will be happy to improve and serve you the best.

Connect with Deepak: Blog, BlogAdda, Twitter

9 Replies to “Interview with Deepak Shenoy”

  1. Hi Deepak, Loved your candid opinions..have been ardently following your blog/views for quite some time and I must say, You are a delight to read…way to go…
    Kudos..

  2. thanks for the mention…and ‘great blogger’ tag…we are on the race to the bottom in monetizing the blog…:-) i thought i was the worst.

  3. @Mritunjay: Thanks mate, and honoured. Cheers!

    @Subra: Heh – you know, we should form a financial blog network and do a collective deal with the banks and mutual funds. Cut out the googles.

    @Nerus: Capital Mind “About the Author” link at the bottom of each post talks about my fear of long words, except that was in jest. I’m not mortified by sesquipedelian vocabularies 🙂

  4. Deepak, that “incredible trader” thing was a bit too much! Anyway, thank you for your insights into the financial market. I always luv to read your posts on Capital Mind as well as on Yahoo. Thanks again bro.

  5. an interview with Mr shenoy is really very illuminating as per demand
    of the day.
    our whole/entire activies clusters around economic activies,so every conscious
    person must keep an eye of it.
    kailash thakur,retd.joint commissioner

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