Beth Kindig is the CEO and lead tech analyst for the I/O Fund.
Beth has more than 10 years of experience in competitive and product analysis in the tech industry dating back to 2011. Her experience comes from a decade of analyzing tech companies, tech products, and start-ups. When tech overtook oil in 2010 as the world’s most valuable industry, Beth was at the forefront of this change in Silicon Valley. Beth's tech conference appearances date from 2014, and her analysis began garnering press in the same year. She is known for making bold calls on tech stocks, and her free weekly analysis that leverages her years of experience in the private markets is trusted by more than 25,000 investors.
She cares deeply about individual investors having access to the same quality of information as institutions -- especially regarding the tech industry -- and utilizes both fundamental and technical research to understand and navigate both bull and bear markets. Beth uses a unique methodology to carefully form a thesis, and this has placed her on the map as one of the foremost tech analysts in the market.
Beth's Investing Style
How many years of investing experience do you have? 10-20 years
What is your investing risk tolerance? Medium-High
What is your portfolio size? 20+ stocks
What are your favorite investing sectors? Information Technology
When did you get started in investing and why?
At 19, I began buying real estate with my own money (entirely self-made lady!) and accumulated four properties by the time I was 24. I sold two for a profit to reduce risk and continue to hold two of those investment properties today. From there, I began investing in stocks in 2011 when I arrived in Silicon Valley.
I was drawn toward investing because I saw my friends burdened with student debt, and I wanted something different for myself. The houses I bought also helped put me through school.
Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with money at an early age?
I was very fiscally responsible and an overachiever early on with money, and I strongly felt that I had to learn about money because nobody was going to teach me. My family was not financially literate, and I challenged myself to become financially literate. For example, at 18, I sat down and read the entire tax code because I wanted to understand tax law for small businesses to reduce my tax bill.
What has your journey been like as an investor? What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There is a unique challenge when writing about stocks and archiving your thoughts and then consequently needing to be flexible because the market changes frequently. I outsource the trading to team members so that I am not trading on my own analysis. This has resulted in better decisions.
In what ways has your social or cultural identity and lived experiences positively impacted your investing journey?
Coming from a family that was not financially literate, I feel I have a stronger intuition around investing because I cut my own path rather than following in another person’s footsteps. There is a sense of confidence that comes with being self-made that is irreplaceable.
I am also very comfortable with holding investments for a long period of time, which is unique for my age group. That is one reason I feel fortunate to have started out with real estate before stocks as it’s well-understood you will need to hold the assets for a long period of time.
With so many new or younger investors dipping their toes into investing, what’s the best advice you have for someone who may be looking to start investing or who may be newer to the industry?
I would avoid social media and avoid listening to unsubstantiated opinions. Social media has given rise to an era where “everyone's an expert.” It’s prohibitive to building wealth to take in too many opinions, too much noise, and, ultimately, what is a firehose of emotion.
For every stock I write about, I am putting a minimum of 40 hours of research into the company and the analysis. Read for hours, think for hours offline, and minimize all distractions.
What advice would you give to a newer investor who may be experiencing market volatility for the first time?
There are two kinds of stocks -- those you should exit and accept your losses and those you should hold for the long term no matter what. Ideally those you exit are very low allocations (1% to 3%), and those you hold for the long term are larger allocations (4% to 10%).
If you know which stocks are which, you will be a much stronger investor. I have been wrong many times, and volatility is the real teacher. However, due to position sizing and understanding where each stock falls between those two choices, the impact is minimized.
If you could go back in time and change one thing about your investing strategy, what would you change and why?
If I could go back in time, I would change my exposure to small caps. Small-cap stocks have been a stumbling block for me, whereas mid cap and large cap have been a sweet spot for my analysis.
What really excites you about the future of investing?
1. Tech is going to crush over the next decade, but it won’t be easy for those who aren’t convinced of this. Because I am confident here, I can keep my eyes on the big picture, which is large gains by 2030 for my portfolio.
2. More women, minorities, and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are able to invest today due to the amount of information and research available online. I believe it’s the lower socioeconomic demographic that is most shut off from investing due to a lack of financial literacy in the home.
What scares you about the future of investing?
1. Quants [quantitative analysts] control the market, and this makes the drops in the market more steep because they exit like dominoes. I believe this greatly affects individual investors who (rightfully) become frightened over their retirements.
2. There are too many celebrities and influencers involved with investing, and retail falls for this too easily.
3. Social media has created a machine of emotion, and this combination of quants and celebrities and social media is leading investors to lose money at record speed.
Who are some leaders in the investing industry you admire and why?
1. Aileen Lee: Cowboy Ventures because she is a great investor who is overshadowed by the boys’ club of Silicon Valley.
2. Mary Meeker: Her yearly “Internet Trends Report” is fantastic.
3. Peter Lynch: Invest in what you know and what you see around you. He helps to make investing accessible.
4. Howard Marks: The importance of market cycles.
What are some of your favorite educational resources (books, podcasts, websites, etc.) that you’d recommend for investors of all ages?
The Most Important Thing, Howard Marks
One Up on Wall Street, Peter Lynch
How do you feel about cryptocurrency as an investment?
My first cryptocurrency coverage dates back to 2013 when I published a guest blog by Chris Larsen, the founder of Ripple. To date, my biggest investing mistake was to not buy a few thousand dollars of Ripple when I published his blog because I would be retired right now if I had!
Crypto is high risk/high reward. This fits my investment profile, but it doesn’t fit everyone’s. 90% of crypto will fail because 90% of early-stage tech fails. The difference is the amount of retail involvement in this asset class versus venture capitalists/angel investors with early-stage tech (who understand the risk and appropriately size their investment).
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What’s one quote or saying that inspires or challenges you?
“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” —Warren Buffett