Howdy there!

Ever had one of those phone calls that leaves you buzzing for days?

Well, a few days ago, I had a chat with an old friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a decade (and we used to mastermind before it was cool).

We hadn’t spoken in a while but had picked up a surprising number of similar habits: daily writing, cold showers, and introducing one new good habit into our lives every month.

But more importantly for you, he went into lockdown in India - and came out with a refreshing sense of the opportunities on the ground that he shared with me.

You see, I first wrote about India in 2018. At the time, I called India Stack - a national payment, privacy, and data sharing program developed by the Indian government to bring 1.3 billion people online - India’s Silent Revolution.

But as I quickly found out, India’s revolution is not so silent anymore.

Just recently, Jio - a mobile data network launched by an Indian conglomerate - was so cheap it got 400 million Indians online in just a few years.

And during the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government launched Aarogya Setu, a contact-tracing app that’s used by 100 million people.

That’s a massively underestimed accomplishment in a country where the infrastructure is still heavily underdeveloped.

India is taking the world by storm. It is now the 3rd destination in the world for tech unicorns - after the US and China.

Thanks to the Internet, a billion Indians - previously held back by socialism - have been unleashed onto the world stage.

And they’re absolutely crushing it.

I have been bullish on India since I first head of India Stack - but I think the 2020s will be a defining decade for the country.

I’ve spent the whole week trying to better understand why India and why now. And I’ve come out more bullish than ever.

With 50% of global GDP, Asia is no longer the future - it’s the present.

Fortunes are going to be made as India shines.

Right now, foreigners cannot easily buy Indian stocks. But I’ll update you on how I invest there soon. Stay tuned.

Speaking of investing, here’s how to get started:

I often get asked how I buy stocks - and what I recommend. So here’s the quick summary:

I personally use Interactive Brokers to buy stocks and index funds (and some of my crypto)

Be aware that for beginners, the user interface of Interactive Brokers isn’t the most intuitive. Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are (much) easier to use. If you’re European, you can also use Saxo Bank.

I mostly use index funds when investing (but not always) and here’s why:

By buying index funds, you automatically invest in the winners of tomorrow. The stocks that perform well get included in the index you’re buying, and those that do poorly get excluded. This way you don’t have to pick winners (which is difficult).

The times I do buy individual stocks are when a) I believe there’s a clear asymmetric opportunity (but I take the risk of being wrong) or b) when an index doesn’t allow me to capture what I am looking for.

I prefer to hold a small number of total positions

A lot of investors go out and buy 30, 40 - sometimes 100 stocks over time. If you’re going to do that, you might as well buy an index fund and simplify your life.

If, over your lifetime, you can build a portfolio of 15 uncorrelated investments across all assets classes, you’re going to be better off from a risk-reward perspective than 99% of people. And it’ll be easy to track and manage.

[The two major exceptions to this would be angel investing or altcoin crypto investing - but angel funds and crypto indexes are quickly becoming more mainstream].

Rapid-Fire Best Insights

By the way, here’s an easy way to become an angel investor (i.e. invest in early-stage startups):

  1. sign up for Angel List
  2. join the syndicate of an notorious angel investor with a strong network
  3. invest $2,500 in 10 deals
  4. congratulations, you’re now an angel investor
  5. reach out to the other investors in your angel companies, and explain you’ve done 10 deals alongside one or several notorious angel investors
  6. tell them you’re looking to invest more

This will build your credibility and deal flow as an investor, and will get you involved in more deals off the platform. Voila. Rinse and repeat 100 times and you’ve got yourself a portfolio.

There are other ways to become an angel investor, and which one you pick will depend primarily on:

  • where you live
  • what your area of expertise is, and
  • what funds you have available for angel investing

More on this soon.

Quote of the week: “Old: developed world and developing world. New: declining world and ascending world” - Balaji Srinivasan

Best article I read this week: The Internet Country - a fantastic deep dive into India for those who really want to understand what’s happening there.

Best Tweet I came across: How common is crypto? Here’s an eye-opening chart to the actual use cases of crypto

Crypto isn’t perfect. But it’s used.

This week, I also re-visited The Sovereign Individual, written in 1997, in which the authors write:

“In the Information Age, Sovereign Indviduals will be able to use cybercurrencies and thus declare their monetary independence.

The importance of government for controlling the world’s wealth will be transcended by mathematical algorithms that have no physical existence. In the new economy, cybermoney […] will supersede money issued gy governments.”

Sounds confusingly familiar? Again - written in 1997.

Anything else I think you should know: I’ve started writing more!

Earlier this week, I joined a writing challenge with the goal of publishing 250-word essays every day in less than 60 minutes.

I’ve said many times before that writing is a form of superpower. It helps clarify what you think, and publishing online attracts people who resonate with your thinking.

These essays are intended to be short, sweet and jam-packed with valuable and actionable information.

I publish them daily on my Instagram stories and on Twitter.

I hope you find them useful!

Until next week,

Alex.