Thoughts about Identifying as an Investor

I’ve been thinking about identity and habits lately. I’ve come at identity from two angles: Who do I want to be? Who am I? To answer the latter, I looked at the habits I’ve had for a long time. I suspected that I believe some things about myself that I haven’t consciously acknowledged. It’s been an interesting process that’s made me more self-aware. And it’s shed light on a few things, including my investing habits.

I’ve been into finance and investing since high school. I didn’t come from a wealthy family and didn’t have money to invest, but I sought out books and online resources to learn. In college, finance was the only major I seriously considered even though I didn’t know anyone who worked in the field. As an adult, I spent free time (founding a company didn’t leave much of it) keeping up with public market investing. Now I spend my days investing in early-stage private companies at Outlander VC and still do personal investing in my free time.

Next, I asked myself why: Why have I established these habits? What is it about investing?

I took it a level deeper and reflected on what I’ve enjoyed about investing all these years to answer these questions:

  • Not the smartest person in the room – Investing attracts some of the smartest people. I love learning from bright people and having a constant feeling of not being the smartest person in the room.
  • Perpetual change – Investing is always changing. I’ve never reached a state of comfort and likely never will. This is exciting. It keeps me on my toes.
  • Complexity – Investing has a lot of moving parts. I enjoy trying to parse the complexity so I can achieve a desired outcome.
  • New problems – I love learning about problems and how companies are creating value by solving them.
  • Endless – No matter how much time I spend learning about investing, I only scratch the surface. It’s a vast industry with an endless learning curve.
  • Intellectually challenging – For the all the reasons listed above and many more, I find investing a stimulating challenge.

I’ve had an investing habit for many years. With that kind of consistency, I guess I have a core belief that I’m an investor (I don’t claim to be a good one). It feels very weird to say this publicly, and I’m not comfortable with it, but it’s hard to argue with my habits over the years, and I can’t deny that I enjoy it.