January 11, 2022
On this episode of The Rich Equation Podcast, Ashish is joined by guest Guatam Patel. Ashish and Guatam speak about how vital it is for your business to have a healthy team that is working together. Guatam shares how he stays detached from the outcomes of his business decisions and he also expresses how we can learn more from our failures than our achievements. Guatam talks about how he thinks success is 50% luck and 50% timing so he encourages you to focus on the execution of your vision. Guatam shares the legacy he hopes to leave behind within the next few decades and informs us of his current personal project for the education industry. Ashish and Guatam also discuss how the education system is stuck in the same industrial style education of memorizing and everyone learning the exact same things instead of teaching our young people how to learn. Ashish and Guatam share how they hope with the use of improved technology and communications between countries, we can reach young people in education who could have the potential to change society if they just had more access.
0:00 – Ashish shares a brief introduction to his guest Guatam Patel
3:55 – Guatam shares some lessons he learned in 2021 and what lessons he’s going to take into 2022
9:26 – Ashish and Guatam about how he keeps himself in tune with his own identity
12:55 – Guatam speaks about decision making and how failures are sometimes the result of consecutive bad decisions
15:40 – Ashish mentions how companies trip up when there isn’t a healthy team that is working together as people end up rowing in different directions
18:56 – Guatam talks about how he tries to live by the philosophy of not being attached to material things at all
20:38 – Ashish asks Guatam if he felt a need to accomplish and a need to succeed as his was growing up
24:00 – Guatam shares what he wishes to accomplish from a legacy perspective over the next couple of decades
26:55 – Guatam talks about the impact of placebo
29:39 – Ashish speaks about how we are still very much stuck in an industrial stage of education – we don’t learn how to learn
32:00 – Guatam shares how he hopes with improved technology and communications between countries that we don’t miss the people in the world who could change society if they just had more access
33:18 – Guatam shares how true richness to him means being content and having the ability to go to bed feeling tired knowing you tried your hardest at what you do and love
34:04 – You can contact Guatam through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Guest email: email@example.com
Welcome back to the rich equation podcast. Today, I am joined by Guatam Patel. Gautam serves as the managing director at Triceda investments, a private investment firm based in Newport beach, California Gautam has served over two decades in the financial services industry across sectors, including life sciences, technology, transportation, and logistics. And he has led practices, including private equity, restructuring, bankruptcy, and corporate reorganization. He also serves on many boards of private and public companies to share his insight regarding business development, strategic planning, and operational management on this episode goat. And remind us about how important it is to focus on the value of our teams as an investor, how he stays detached from any outcome of the decisions he’s making and how he retroactively learns from all the decisions he makes. He shares how we can learn more from our failures than our successes and how success is likely 50% luck and 50% timing.
So focus on execution of your vision. Lastly, go with them, shares his personal project that he’s working on in the education industry and what the legacy he wants to leave behind. I’m really honored that he was able to join us today. I know you will get a lot from this episode here. He is, go with them Patel. And remember if you enjoy this podcast or find it valuable in any way, you have a duty to share with someone else who may indeed hear this message or can get value from this content and remember to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review so we can continue to bring massive value to you and go to our website, the rich equation, podcast.com to be added to our mailing list for special access and content. Now here’s the episode.
Welcome to the rich equation podcast. Are you ready to discover how to live rich today and not wait for retirement? If you’re tired of struggling and want to live your best life now, your in the right place, outdated principles will no longer work in today’s environment. It’s time for a new approach. Your host will help you discover methods to live the new American dream. It’s time to start living the good life on your own terms and experience a new way to live bridge grit. Now here’s your host. She snafu
G welcome to the show brother. Thank you. I’m really excited that you’re here. You know, as, as I was preparing for this episode and I was sharing with you, you know, you have this really amazing depth of knowledge and skills and experience, and I think if anyone really wants to look you up, they can look you up. But I think that I really want to talk to you about some of the things that you maybe don’t normally share in your day-to-day life. You have such a rich career and in the business world, and I’ve seen so many different types of companies and businesses and worked with leaders and, you know, traveled the world in your entrepreneurial journey. Like it, I think that’s a full episode on its own, but I almost want to try to get out of you today as we finish off the year.
And we walk into the next year. I really want to talk about some of the things that perhaps you normally don’t talk about. And, and I guess I’ll kind of start with, you know, let’s just kind of talk about the current time and then I’ll, I’ll go maybe a little bit farther, but let’s start with talking about 20, 21. And I want to know from your experience, you know, what are the things that showed up for you in 2021 that you really took away and learned about you personally? And what are the things that you can take? What are the lessons from that and what are you going to take into 2022 from those lessons?
Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, so much of my identity, at least to myself, is what I do. It’s probably the case for a lot of people. And so those are the ones that are most impactful to me, but then they sometimes translate to your personal life because those lessons can be, you know, if you were to bifurcate your life into a couple of quadrants or personal family friends, I’d probably say where I identify myself, that was most in baffled starts, started with my professional life in 2021. And then it reverberates through all the other components. I think the lesson that I’ve learned, at least having been around for a while now is the, the adversity component of any particularly any business. Generally speaking creates both strength at whatever you’re trying to accomplish. It’s never easy. It’s quite painful. Sometimes you kind of questioned your own decision-making that got you to the point that you’re at, but then having been through a couple of these, you know, I think back to 94, 99, 2001, 2008, and then now, you know, those periods of time were generally short and acute.
And so I think the lesson that I learned, again, having gone sort of 12 years with really sort of a nice trajectory was these changes are generally speaking acute, unless you end up in a great depression type scenario, we’re a little bit, it’s interesting what the government has done to allow us to have an impact on our daily lives, personal lives be much more mitigated today. Then I would say cycles in the past, the government itself is trying unprecedented things to crop up what they know could be quite disastrous. And I think it’s a global response, which is slightly different than some of the challenges of the past, which has allowed for this 2021 to be actually quite muted in a way that at least as a business person is, has its own set of challenges, different set of challenges. And there I see is the bubble scenario, which is, you know, in our work we’re asked to put money to work and there’s no better lesson in life than to put money to work when you create basis at the right breast, because your mistakes have a lot of room.
If you’ve created a basis for the right price, whether it’s an operating mistake, a decision position financing, you know, hard to lose your basis. If you, if you created at the right price right now, both things that we sell and things we recycle back into my personal view is we’re creating basis a very, very high price. And so what you don’t want to do is finance yourself in a, in a way that assumes that that equity that you’ve put in is financeable to the levels that you put on if you finance that type of investment. And so I think that’s the first lesson is in these types of cycles. Let’s make sure our downside is protected first, before we look at what the potential upside is in any investment that we’re making, that’s kind of less than one, two is, you know, staying out of the game versus participating, right?
And so you can lose. And many people have sort of the last 50, 60 percentage points in the markets over the last two years, having stayed out of the team, which I would have told you, and I personally had sort of taking risk off. Well, you know, pre-crisis right. Cause I thought valuations were getting to the point where, Hey, I probably want to recycle rather than, than ride the wave. And in some ways COVID has actually accelerated asset prices in a way that, you know, it’s not, I wouldn’t say unprecedented, we’ve seen this sort of in the eighties, late eighties. And then again in 2000, and then obviously there are distinct differences in each of those cycles that are, that is unique to those cycles relative to, to where we are today. So not a big lesson other than, you know, the adversity is short, go through it, make the hard decisions there. They’re never easy, but usually the, where you end up is stronger than you where you were. And, and then just be careful creating basis, particularly in this environment because the asset prices have gotten so far. So ahead of the underlying performance of most assets that you can clearly make a mistake where particularly if you finance yourself from correctly,
One of the things you said very early in your conversation, right there is, you know, you talked about identity. And what I heard in a lot of the things you just said was that you are in the, in the business of allocating funds and growing companies and working with entrepreneurs and building businesses, but also you’re in the reconstruction business. Also like sometimes you have to restructure things and break things down and rebuild them, et cetera, as you’re doing that. And you’re very hands-on how do you keep yourself sort of in tune with your own identity and not owning the results of everything that you do? Does that, does that make sense? Does my question understand, like, and you’ve done this dozens and dozens of times in your career, so I’ve always wondered how you are able to successfully engage with a company or an entrepreneurial team or at the end of the leadership team, but also, you know, you’re a steward of that business. You, you have to be careful of identifying yourself with those, the results of those businesses. And I know I struggle with this myself and you and I have had many conversations about this. Like how can entrepreneurs and leaders be better stewards of their businesses without identifying with the results of their companies?
Yeah, that’s a great question. Particularly I think stewardship is the key. At least it is for me, math as an investor, as an investor operator, which is kind of where we straddle because we own a control several companies on top of making minority investments. I think it always starts with the notion that the team is what gets things done. Not any individual, not the investor, not the owner is really the big lessons we’ve learned in the last decade. Plus is you can have the best idea, the best product, the best service. If you have the wrong team, you will likely fail. And if you don’t fail, you’ll likely underachieve what you otherwise could, what that product service or, or offering. So if you recognize that as a, as a role player in that team, you’re the exactly that whether you’re the lead investor or you’re the CEO, you’re the CFO, you’re someone that works in the warehouse. You are a collective that is moving in a direction and you know, the old adage is true. It’s always the journey, not the end result. And so when you end up with successes, frankly, you learn less than successes. You learn the most in failures and all my failures. I remember way too much probably right.
Those are the ones that stick with you. Yeah.
The stick with you, because you know, we’re probably as human as probably predisposed to do that, right. Is not to make the same mistakes twice. So I think recognize the hard part, I think is what you were saying is recognizing it that, you know, steal badges again, it’s, it’s always the journey a hundred percent. And if you’ve set yourself up and this is more personal, is if you set yourself up financially in a way that the outcome doesn’t impact your, the other three quadrants of your life, you’re effectively your personal life, your friendships, and, you know, in your family, then that quadrant really becomes something that is more of a, a passion, something you can identify with, but not a hundred percent. You can take some contribution of success, but it’s always the team. And if you succeed or fail, yeah, you’re always going to wear that badge.
You know, there’s always, everyone loves to hear the success stories, right? Cause it inspires you to, to try. I like hearing the fail stories because it teaches you, there’s some lessons that try not to do that next time. And the failures are always the lessons that you’re going to ask any successful person. Everyone remembers the mistakes that they would have made, or they did make at that point in time. The other thing I tried to contextualize is decision-making at points in time. So failures sometimes are the result of consecutive bad decisions. If you think, if you look back at the time that you make a decision that changed the direction one way or, and, and if you look back in hindsight, true hindsight and say, given the facts, I probably would have made the exact same decision, but the outcome wasn’t successful, you clearly allow yourself a disconnect being that actually wasn’t a mistake.
Did I make the wrong decisions and not right. Even looking in hindsight, I made the best decision I could with the facts that I had at that one time, but the result wasn’t what we all hoped or expected. And so that, that’s how I take some solace in, in some failures. The other component is, you know, and I fundamentally believe this almost any endeavor, particularly entrepreneurial endeavors is 50% accommodation of lock-in time. And if people don’t recognize that, I think you’re giving too much credit to anything to the team to honor to the service, to your own ambitions. Oftentimes there’s no real way to predict outcomes. And that’s, you’ll see some examples, some of the most successful entrepreneurs, trappings that had you had the pure ad, you had a full picture of the environment in which they’re stepping into. They never would try it because the, the analytics would tell you there’s no opportunity here.
Yeah. And, and sometimes what happens is the market moves from where the analytics were telling you that there’s no opportunity or, you know, people underestimate execution. You know, that’s the other component of success I think is, is, is underestimated, is you can have a very similar product, very similar service, very similar target and six other people trying the same thing. But if you can out hustle up execute, you will generally win. And then it’s usually room for more than one winner. So the value that I try to put in those situations is, you know, let’s make sure with what resources we have, we don’t underperform on execution because that’s controllable. What’s uncontrollable are the variables that are in control marketplace, you know, technology a little bit stuff like that.
I love that perspective. And it actually, for me, even, it’s a really good reminder about focusing on team and taking all the individual parties and all of the egos out of the equation. Cause I think that’s where most companies get tripped up. We attach ourselves to identity our role, our contribution while we think we can add. But really if, if at the healthy business doesn’t have a healthy team that is all working together, rowing the same boat, like people are going to be rowing different directions. That was a really actually really healthy reminder just for me today. So that’s awesome.
So let’s see, what else do I want to talk to you about? You know, one of the things that I love about you is you always keep yourself above it all and I’ve never really seen you in, I don’t work with you personally, right? But like I’ve seen the way that you’re able to manage your routines, manage your health, manage your, your mindset as you go through incredibly difficult and challenging things in your career. And I also love how you said, like how you compartmentalize different parts of your life so that, you know, you have that balance, but like how do you do that? What are, what are some of the things that you’ve learned in your daily routines or your, or your habits, right. That allow you to stay grounded and clear and focused and with energy. And, and I know you’re really active guy. So talk to me a little bit about that.
Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for a lot of the credits. So definitely gets stressed so that I’m
Sure you get stressed.
That part of that you see is not, not fully, fully available to you. So, and you can ask my coworkers for that. Yeah, sure. But I think the part that at least in the last sort of five, seven years, was that compartmentalization of components of your life that you really care about. And then recognizing that this is just a component, even though, probably in my younger years, it was the component. And, and I think as I got a little older, you know, some of the variables that I talked about that are uncontrollable are true than controllable. So if you’re, if you recognize that, I think you can manage your mental health in a way that even in adverse situations that potentially impact the other three quadrants, you, you know, you just, and I get into, you know, I’ve been here before the thing, I think that’s the other component that I rely on is, you know, coming basically, you know, as immigrants, we all are basically from zero, you know, how bad can it get, right. Ultimately if you, if you have your
List of the worst that could happen, I could go back to the village,
But yeah, ultimately we all can go back, right. We’re all smart enough to try something new. And, and most of us have put ourselves in a situation where, you know, only certain things I really, really miss, right. Like good food or maybe a nice vacation here or there. But other than that, I really don’t. Funnily enough, I was just, before I got on this call, buying insurance for, I just got a gate. So I was like, okay, let me buy some persons insurance, probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought. And I was like, okay, then I’ll start going to translate it. I was like, what do I need to ensure that I’m having, I don’t have anything I need to ensure because there’s nothing of value that I actually even, and I think one of the philosophies I’ve tried to live by is the, this notion of not being attached to material things at all.
And you embody that. Well, I will admit that.
Yeah. And I think that’s key a little bit to, at least my own happiness is can’t spend time on that. It has to be experiences time with family and friends. You know, I mentioned to ELA food. So things like that, that drive your true happiness and then stuff. Yeah. You might have something nice and it comes and goes right. But not really ascribe too much value to it. And then the less, I think I ascribe value to that stuff. I think the happier I’m continuing to be, and you know, a few things that you might want as in maybe a nice home and a nice car and nice vacation that’s about it after that it’s all accessed. And probably the other thing I’ve kind of realized probably not fair. Right. So I think there’s clearly an obligation to get to a standard of living that you’re comfortable with and then try to give back whether that’s your time, your resources just give back because clearly the, any success is clearly the result of many people that we probably forgot have gotten you to a place where you’re at. And if you can give that back and inspire, help, make the world a little bit better than where you came in. That’s clearly every person’s obligation. Right?
One of the things that I’ve always wondered in your, you know, you’re an immigrant where you born in the United States, by the way. You’re okay. So you were born in north America, but you you’re an immigrant and we all are from India by heritage. When you grew up, did you feel a sense of needing to accomplish and needing to succeed and having that sort of programming in you and as you grew older and as you started to find your own place in the world, like start to identify that, or because I know it’s a very cultural thing for a lot of cultures, like how did you deal with that? Because you are clearly very successful. And I, but I also want to give credit to a lot of that right. In, in how you were brought up. So talk to me a little bit about how that showed up for you in your life.
Yeah. That’s a good question. You know, we try to emulate, I think we all try to emulate things that we admire. I think it was the work ethic and the sacrifice of family, parents, uncles, aunts, everybody that you watch, these people work 24 7, put me in private school, all those sacrifices I got made with very like a hundred percent freedom. Right. It wasn’t a tit for tat and a little bit unique. I think in my, in my life I’ve seen the parents kind of helped direct. It’s probably a little bit better in many ways I had no, only because they didn’t have the, they didn’t give me no right. How to direct because they themselves were uneducated. And one thing they did know is, you know, that’s probably the greatest path to some level of freedom and, you know, success is educating yourself. So I looked at that and then I said, I can’t.
And then the other selfish part was I liked the praise of doing well. I think everyone likes that. And so as a young person, you get 104 on a test. Oh wow. Can I get one 10? You know? So I remember even in fourth grade, I’d get like, I’d go study for hours. Not because I couldn’t get a hundred, I want to get 150. Right. Or whatever on the test. And so that almost reinforced your desire to achieve better, keep doing better. And then academics usually kind of set yourself up for okay, well career. And then that I stumbled into wall street a little bit. And then, you know, from there it just kind of looked around and looked in my left or right. And said, okay, I think I know the path that I want to get off. And then, you know, it just happened a lot of extremely Buddhist I totally right place, right. Time peers and others kind of inspiring the journey. So, and then fundamentally standing on the shoulders of five foot, three immigrants, right. That busted their ass in multiple countries. I mean, they have a courage and a, a work ethic and sort of attachment to a set of values that I didn’t have. And so to try to pay respect to that, you know, you work super hard at heart as you can. And then you give back way for us to get back to family and hopefully get to that.
We’ve had a lot of really deep conversations together about, you know, what, what legacy is and what, what you want to leave behind in all the things that you’ve created. And I know education is really important to you. Giving back is really important to you. Tell me about sort of what your next couple of decades look like from my legacy perspective. What do you wish to accomplish from a legacy perspective?
Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, I recently about ad tech company on spending time on it now because it’s our largest investment or anything like that, but it’s, it is a sad state of affairs that I’m discovering. I’m a little bit new too, because I was the fortuitous enough, at least in high school to go to private school. And then beyond that it was all private school. Right. So, you know, student loans on stuff. So you took the risk on it, but it, it ultimately paid off. But when I looked now backwards at kind of the state of affairs for, you know, the vast majority of the population, we are absolutely failing in a pretty dramatic way of a base level of education. That’s going to allow this several next generations to have a quality of life that we’ve enjoyed. So I would like to figure out a way to, you know, when you look at the district, the key disruptors in, in technology and some of these areas, right, right.
Look what Tesla did right. For the auto industry. Look what space extends for spacing the street, but Bezos did for, I don’t think that’s so remarkable, you know, so, but we can talk about that at some other time, but obviously took advantage of, you know, the move to the trend. But the education is many people have tried. Every, I’m not saying anything new. I think most people would recognize that being educated is clearly at least one stepping stone towards a filling, having a fulfilling life. So I would love to figure out a way to, as much as I can create opportunity, particularly for those that, that I think if you just gave him a little bit can to thrive, do something with it yet much more than, than limited.
I love that. And what are you working on specifically? Can you share?
Yeah. So met this entrepreneur. He has a, he’s a special educator and you know, this is a little learn, a little bit lessons I’ve learned. Learning for me is the neuro diverse learners occupy almost 10 plus percent, sometimes up to 15% of the population. And what that means is you have, we all have learning differences. We’re all on some level of learning spectrum differences that could be ADHD. You could be dyslexia, it could be your ability to retain information. So it’s a wide range today, you know, and that’s not new. Everyone knows it also changes what age. I think one of the sad things we’re seeing as a result of big tech and some of the advent of most of the social media efforts is it’s actually getting much, much worse and much, much faster. Right? And so this company is, and it was developed by an entrepreneur that met through their friend that created a way in which in, and I see a analogy in healthcare actually, which I’d love to talk about at some point of the impact of placebo. And this is super fascinating where the simple act of caring has a, an impact on the results. And it’s been proven in healthcare. We’re demonstrating that exact same outcome in education where,
Yeah, sorry, go ahead. Go ahead.
The simple act of the connectivity between teacher and student, and then empowering the student to change their point of view of themselves, the material impact on their grades. We’re not teaching them how to read better, how to write better to do with magic better. We’re teaching them or trying to teach them how to become better self-directed learners, which starts with a, an understanding of who they are, where their strengths lie, where their interests lie, and then to drive positive habits once they’ve recognized that. So it’s almost like a self esteem, self-efficacy self importing intervention. Correct. And once you’ve done that, you actually see material changes in performance, academic sports, even just your mental health. And so when I saw this given how much time I spend in healthcare, it’s very analogous to the reason why we do placebo controlled trials is that they found that the simple act of caring actually has an enzymatic response in patients to turn on your own immune system. So
Like all the endorphins, the oxytocin levels, the cortisol, everything gets adjusted just by that human connection. Yeah. It’s super fascinating. The active caring.
Yeah. And so I think, you know, there’s no science underneath this, but there’s an element of it, which is, and I think this is where the disconnection happens, particularly with the schools, is there is no one-on-one interaction, very limited. So for special needs kids it’s even, even exacerbated even more. And so what we’ve done is we’ve created a relatively systematic approach, upskilling special ed teachers. We’re also incorporating teacher’s assistants, which is another under utilized group of sometimes very high, highly qualified, but just part-time to basically use these two resources to upskill them in a way that allows them to systematically drive outcomes that start with the student department. So pretty exciting.
Yeah. No, I, well, you know, one of the things that’s coming up for me is like for, in regards to education, you know, we are still stuck in a very phase of education, industrial age of education, right. Everyone’s got to learn the same thing. It’s very data memorization driven. We don’t learn how to learn. And so I think that what you’re talking about is, and I had actually had an educator on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, talking about this and that, you know, the last couple of decades, there has been a big shift to learn how to learn and where I see that mirrored even is, is how we do that. Kind of what you talked about as like caring for patients or caring for students and seeing the outcome of that. Like we’re, we’re seeing that in the business world in a way we’ve never seen that before, where they’re teaching us how to be leaders to care about the people and not the results or the right, like teach how to be a better person or engage with your employees in a different way. There’s a whole school of thought about that as well. So I think it’s really interesting to see that pattern come full circle
And that’s a great, and I think it probably works in many organizations where I, if you’re able to empower your workforce in this case, students, you, most people don’t perform at their potential. You know, that’s one of my biggest fears is I think I have it all. We all have great potential. So what a waste, if we don’t have the opportunity or we’re not, we don’t have the tools or we don’t even realize that I’m not performing to my potential. So how do we get to most people achieving anywhere close to their potential? And if we can do that, look at the productivity gains we could have across the board in quality of life, mental health,
One of the things you said to me one time, which I’ll never forget, is that what would happen if, you know, as the world is changing, we have, we have Einstein and we have all of these geniuses in the world that have changed our world. What if there’s some kid in the middle of India or Africa or Europe or somewhere that just because of access, could invent something that could change the world. And we do live in an age where access allows that. Right. And I think that’s really powerful and really kind of serendipitous, but it’s where the world is going. So it’s a really exciting future.
Yeah. And I hope with improved technology, improved communications between, you know, countries, people that we don’t miss those people, because there’s a handful of people in the world that could change the direction of society, you know, and to the extent I’m not one of them, but maybe I can help identify that person and then support. Right. Right. And so I think if people recognize that, you know, we would all be looking for the ability on our, you know, on our give back time, how do we be most impactful? And that’s, to me that’s one of the most important, is it just such a, it would be such a waste if that person wasn’t identified, given the right resources as motivated to go do what, what would potentially be a remarkable outcome for all of us?
I want to close on that. I really appreciate you doing this with me and sharing and, you know, really honor you for all the hard work you do, but also just your perspective on how you lead future generations and how you’re trying to change the world in your own little way. So I appreciate that. I guess I have one last question. What does it mean to be rich?
I think it means to be content and to go to bed knowing you tried your hardest at what you do and what you love. And you’re tired at the end of the day when you go to bed doing exactly that. I think that’s that’s living, which
I love that. All right. Well, I don’t know if everyone knows this, but we can make a public announcement today. So congratulations on your engagement to your beautiful Tubi pride and you know, just super happy for you. And thanks for sharing all your knowledge and how if people want to get ahold of you or reach out to you, how can they get in touch?
Probably email’s best I’m off social media for the most part. So I’m happy to share or to, you can share if you’d like my Gmail account since a gjPatel9@gmail.com
And we’ll put it in the link, but thanks so much G and appreciate your time, brother.
Thank you for listening to the rich equation podcast with Ashish. Do you want more ideas on how to live rich? Go to richequationpodcast.com for show notes and resources. Then take one minute to leave Ashish a five-star review on apple podcasts and we’ll see you on the next episode.