My guest this week is Rishi Ganti, who invests in what he calls esoteric assets. I’m not sure what to do other than laugh in amazement at his professional credentials — PhD in economics, CFA, CPA, lawyer, speaks six languages, and so on. The best part is he isn’t lording those over anyone and in fact casts some shade on the whole idea of credentials in our conversation. He just did it all because he’s a learning fiend.
Rishi’s core idea about markets is this: avoid markets at all costs. As he explains off the bat, the minute there are multiple buyers for anything, prices get efficient very quickly and there opportunity to find alpha shrinks. Instead, he searches for what esoteric assets: things without a market, orphaned assets that require high human capital and human touch.
A stark realization I had during the episode is how big the world’s asset base is. Almost all of our attention goes to the most highly refined ones: stocks and bonds. But there is a whole other world out there.
The closing sections, on what Rishi would do if not investing, and his answer for the kindest thing anyone has done for him were among the best answers I’ve heard.
3:30 – (First question) – Rishi’s broad take on markets and whether or not he really likes them
5:30 – Defining esoteric markets
8:31 – Looking at the mountain of assets that are most impacted or made most efficient by markets and how Rishi describes each level of that pyramid
12:28 – Looking at an esoteric asset at the early part of Rishi’s career
16:23 – Why is there little competition in these types of investment opportunities
23:06 – How they created a market and turned an esoteric asset into a return opportunity, starting with the charter school funding example
31:54 – Looking at how this is done internationally
38:55 – What they consider a platform
44:18 – A simplified explanation of what Orthogon does
50:30 – What are the main reasons people don’t want to go down this road since it seems like an obvious choice
59:00 – Looking at the most memorable experiences in esoteric investing
1:01:10 – What value has Rishi found in his extensive education, credentials, and certifications
1:07:31 – Another topic that Rishi finds interesting and he’d want to lecture on if he could other than investing.
1:09:48 – What is the right formula and types of goals you should consider in planning your life
1:14:39 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Rishi
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