As a son who watched his father’s generation be held captive to the outcomes of both the Great Depression and WWI, a young Thomas Barry struggled to choose his own path. In his parents eyes it certainly wasn’t a responsible move to pursue a major in Latin American studies, but from early on Mr. Barry, CEO & founder of Zephyr Management, L.P. (http://zephyrmanagement.com/), recognized the value of true grit, and listening to your own instincts. Step One – Follow Your Heart, the Rest will Follow.
Zephyr Management, L.P. is a global emerging markets investment manager, specializing in the creation and management of highly focused private equity and marketable securities funds currently managing over $1 billion in funds, and Mr. Barry’s experience in the investment realm and the business world overall spoke volumes.
Some lasting impressions and invaluable advice from our discussion included:
• “Position yourself to be lucky” – so many of the entrepreneurs and highly successful business people we have met along this journey in NY City consistently admit that they had a little help somewhere along the way in the path to their success, but everyone one of them backed this up by saying that you have to had put the ground work in 1st in order to be ready when the stroke of opportunity comes up, in order for it to turn into luck. Without true hard work and preparation, opportunities will come up and just pass you by.
• Assume everyone is smarter than you – don’t underestimate anyone, especially the competition. Be more than adequately prepared with the facts.
• Key Principles for choosing what industries to head into, or where to invest your money:
o Go where you have the highest Relative Advantage
o Seek out the Rising Tide of your generation: look for the highest growth areas
• Seek out the best price per opportunity, the best value: don’t go where the price in way above the intrinsic value, situations where you just know that value is inflated.
• In choosing on where to enter new markets, look for countries which demonstrate:
o A strong work ethic
o A high savings rate
o A sound commitment to education
Quantification and big data analytics have unfortunately squeezed out competitive advantages and is making it more and more difficult to add value.
An area that still has some growth potential, albeit a riskier area, is the market for non-conventional loans and investments which still represent a great opportunity, i.e. emerging regions.
These invaluably sound principles provided by Mr. Barry help to narrow our focus, and clarify just where our business insights should be headed.
I continue to find our entire cohort truly inspiring. Surrounding yourself around motivated, truly hardworking people who are willing to take risks and forgo getting regular sleep, is also vital, and can take you places you’ve never imagined. Places like on up on a NASDAQ building in Times Square. Unforgettable.