My journey in Finance began when I moved into that function at Capital One quite few years ago. Pretty much all my time in Finance was in Corporate Planning. You’ll notice that in the topics I write about: project economics, profitability, central planning, incentive structures, etc. vs. treasury / trading / FX / other topics.
All my formal education is in engineering — mechanical and systems engineering. To be honest, growing up, I had bit of a disdain for Finance. I believed value creation happened elsewhere (e.g. engineering, technology, science, art, etc.), and Finance was simply money exchanging hands. For better or for worse, it was for someone else — I couldn’t be bothered with such a non-productive field.
Over time, though, I started realizing a few things.
- For one, starting a venture is incredibly hard and risky. Starting a venture requires innovation (a topic for another day), conviction, perseverance, and many other things that entrepreneurs will talk about, but one key thing all ventures need is funding. Finance explores effective ways to channel funds.
- For another, not all business ideas are equal. You need a way to measure / decide which is better. You need a way to think about and compare ideas that run their course over different lengths of time, involve different risks, and solve different problems. Finance explores effective ways to measure business ideas and projects.
- Finally, at home or at work, you need a way to measure what you own, what you owe others, what others owe you, what you make, and how you choose to spend what you have. Doing this not just gives you clarity, but it becomes a management tool to manage large and complex activities such as companies (not just your own life). Finance explores effective ways to measure and manage personal and business activity.
When done according to generally accepted principles, these measures create trust so people can invest in, lend to, and borrow from each other. Which in turn fuels innovation.
So there you go. I began to see Finance as a fuel for innovation. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition. I love innovation. And therefore, I care deeply about Finance. They go together.
In my blog entries, you’ll see me talking about investments I’ve researched — some I made and others I walked away from and why, “resource allocation” problems — which is a generic term for way too many things — and Finance solutions for them, and many others. I hope you’ll see me talking about it in non-technical jargon, and in a practical way that makes sense. That may just be my little contribution to society 🙂