Episode 3: Investor InsightSadaf Abbas
Bridging the Gap Between Founding and Investing in Startups
Sadaf Abbas engages with investor Roger Conley Wood on the nuances of smart investment. Roger emphasizes three core “superpowers” for investors: comprehending business models, assessing tech risks, and discerning entrepreneur character. Drawing on global experiences, he praises the Scandinavian long-term business mindset. The podcast delves into the potential of AI in predicting human needs and the pivotal role of data and expert consultation in staying updated on market trends. They conclude with advice for emerging entrepreneurs and investors, underscoring the importance of market validation.
About Our Guest
Roger Colney Wood
pioneering innovator | AI Mastermind | Value Creator
Roger has carved an exceptional path from his early days in telecom software to mastering AI’s role in predicting human behavior, leaving an enduring impact on the global Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) sector. Renowned for launching Nextel’s iDEN smartphone and shaping today’s mobile internet, Roger’s innovative approach across executive stints and VC-backed startups has been a hallmark, amassing a notable contribution exceeding $50 billion in value. His expertise beautifully marries technology with foresight, redefining our everyday digital experience.
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What You’ll Learn:
- The importance of understanding a company’s business model, the technological risks associated, and the character of the entrepreneur.
- Real-life examples that underscore the value of evaluating an entrepreneur’s intentions and authenticity.
- Insights from international experiences, especially the patient and precise approach of Scandinavian businesses.
- How telecom and regulatory hurdles can shape an investor’s view of emerging technologies.
- The possibilities of artificial intelligence and data science in predicting human needs, from media consumption to health care.
- The cruciality of seeking expert advice in areas outside one’s expertise and the humility to recognize one’s limitations.
- The indispensable nature of numbers in validating industry trends and market dynamics.
- Tips and insights for those looking to make an impact in the tech and innovation sector.
Sadaf Abbas: So this is the second podcast with Roger, and now the subject matter with Roger is how the investment is very important for the startup, how it will be the process. So, let’s dig into more details with Roger. Roger, what inspired your initial interest in investing and how did you take your first step as an investor?
Roger Conley Wood: Well, Sadaf, I think that it’s important to note that when you accumulate earnings using your talent and time, there’s difficulty scaling, even if you are a very well-trained, successful CEO when you’re performing your tasks as CEO, you are in effect, trading your abilities and your time in exchange for money. With investing, I discovered I was able to provide other CEOs with the benefit of my experience without trading my time. And therefore, the way you accumulate wealth is fundamentally different. So that is when I discovered that investing would be the way to leverage my experience with a greater yield.
Sadaf Abbas is Perfect. Can you recall an unexpected situation where you stumbled upon a promising investing opportunity?
Roger Conley Wood: I think that’s a very good question, and the answer is yes. I was an original member of the team at Nextel International, and we introduced the very first books available on mobile phones where you could listen to the entire book on your mobile phone while driving, which had never been done before. And I did not understand the power of publishing, the power of intellectual property. As I listened to these books, some of them were read by their authors, and others were read by guest speakers. And that is what I understood, this economic model whereby you create and generate ideas, publish those ideas, and that intellectual property continues to throw off cash for a very long time, long after you’ve exerted the energy of creating the work. That was the first time I understood how to make a cell phone, I understood how to bill for wireless services, but that’s really a service, and I didn’t know any other economic model. So I think it’s fair to say that was a quirky and unexpected situation. My skills, knowledge, understanding, and connections to the media, part of technology, media, and telecom came from books spoken over mobile phones.
Sadaf Abbas: Awesome. My third question is as someone who has already been involved with both startups and established multinationals, what difference do you encounter with assessing investment opportunities in those categories?
Roger Conley Wood: That’s a very good question. There’s a prepared answer, and there’s a real-world answer. The real-world answer is that a startup is really the quest to prove that what you are building can solve a problem, exploit an opportunity, or prove a functionality. That’s the Holy Grail. That’s the Holy Trinity. You’re either solving a problem, exploiting a window of opportunity, or you’re proving that something works at all. So that is the challenge of a startup. When you’re investing in a multinational, you are also investing in a complex set of socio-political issues. You already know that you can solve a problem, you already know that you can exploit an opportunity for profit, or you already know that the magic box works and the product works. What you don’t know is will the geopolitical spectrum will change in the course of pursuing our business. Will this population grow? Will this youth population adopt the product? It worked in France; will it work in Australia? You’re dealing with issues that are social scientific by their very nature. And that’s the difference. When I invest in things that are related to international multinational business, I’m also investing in the social and scientific reality, whether psychological, political, or economic. Does it work again in Australia? Does it work in France? When I’m investing in a startup, I only want to know one thing what problem are you solving, and is that really a problem? What opportunity are you exploiting? Is it really an opportunity? Is it really something people don’t know they need, and if you provide it to them, suddenly they can’t live without it? Or do you just want to make something that’s interesting and fascinating? Do you just want to make it work? If we make it work, is there incredible economic opportunity ahead? That is the difference between a startup and a multinational investment. Many different bets, and I think you would agree.
Sadaf Abbas: Yeah, absolutely, I agree with that. And this is the main thing. So it is where we are also helping the start-ups and investors to do the market analysis. So market analysis is very important. You can say, okay, if there is a problem, there should be a solution. So we need to cater the solution first so we can solve the problem in society, either as a startup or as a professional investor as well. So market research is very important.
Roger Conley Wood: That’s correct. What I run away from when I invest time, money, and resources in a startup, I almost always run away from an opportunity where the entrepreneur is simply making something for their own joy. They can’t explain the problem, the opportunity or the product. They’re simply saying, this is my lifestyle, and I think other people will enjoy that lifestyle as well. Yes, that has worked. Generally, it does not work. So you have to look for some level of universality in what either the multinational or the startup is addressing. It has to span a large swath of people as opposed to the whims of the individual.
Sadaf Abbas: My fourth question is that you have led three high-profile startups that created over 50 billion in value. What strategies did you employ to drive such remarkable success in the startup world?
Roger Conley Wood: I think it was very much related to my last statement. In every single circumstance, we solved a big problem we exploited an opportunity that people couldn’t quite see, or we just made something work that you never thought would ever exist. So let’s kind of go through those now. It’s interesting with Nextel, the big problem was that with a normal walkie-talkie radio, I could push a button and talk to everyone in my group, but I couldn’t do that across countries. I couldn’t transcend time and space. And Nextel allowed me to press a button and talk to eight people in four different countries five different states. It was extraordinary that I could press a button, and people in eight different places far, far away would hear or see the same thing at the same time. It was something, it was magical how can I press a button in Israel and people hear me in South Africa? So it took that common function, one-to-many communication and then transcended time and space with T Mobile. Let’s talk about that. It was very interesting when we first launched text messaging in America; there were people from a different generation who could never imagine someone tapping in a message on their phone instead of simply calling someone. And I remember specific circumstances where there was disbelief. There were people who could not believe that someone would rather send a message than talk to you on the phone. But we proved demographically that people born after 75, 1975 would much prefer to send a message or an image or a favicon, an emoji graphic. They’d much rather do that than simply talk on the phone in complete sentences like they were in a play or a movie. And guess what? The people born after 1975 turned out to be the biggest opportunity of them all. Thus the emergence of text messaging in all of its formats. So you can thank that incredible team I worked with people sending emojis from Belgium to Bangalore and people laughing at the same time at a sticker or a graphic instead of trying to translate it into language. Can we make it work? Completely different thing.
Roger Conley Wood: And in that, I was involved in a startup that was related to micropayments for things that you could not see, touch, or smell. You’re simply paying for the right to do something, or you’re paying for a digital right. And no one ever thought that people would pay for something that they couldn’t touch, see or experience. And now people do it every day, all day. They use credits in order to do things, and those credits are not a rupee, it’s not a yuan, it’s not a euro, it’s not a dollar, it’s a figment of your imagination. It’s a virtual currency, it’s a credit. One credit equals eight wampum and eight wampum equals 16 Durham. And these things mean nothing. They’re abstractions of the imagination. And so micropayments was a thing where we said can we make it work? Will it work? And it did work. So all of these things go back to my original statement, solve a big problem, identify a great opportunity. 6 euros don’t use it, but 16 euros do. 16 euros hate it, but 30 euros love it. Or just make something work that, although it’s born in science and engineering when it does happen, it feels magical. There’s something magical to it.
Sadaf Abbas: So in addition to your professional pursuits, you are actively involved in volunteering, including the International Mountain Biking Bicycling Association. And can you share your experience in that, how you are in that area?
Roger Conley Wood: That’s fair. You know, I have an uncle very dear to me. He is an academic, and a relatively well-known former college president. In order to keep himself sharp, although he has all of these credentials related to formal education, he decided every year he was going to select a subject, and without walking into a classroom, he was going to become a master at that subject. Extraordinary man, with an extraordinary intellect. His name is Franklin Jennifer, and he is effectively the man who transformed the University of Texas at Dallas from a sleepy commuter school into a powerhouse engineering and science university in Texas. So he selected a problem every year, and he said, this is now, you may want to think about. So that year, he was learning about locks.I walked into the kitchen. I said, Uncle Frank, what are you doing? He had a lock disassembled with all of its components. He said, well, this year I’m learning about locks, how locks work. Wow. So in my imitation of his habit, I selected mountain biking as an area, and I bought a mountain bike. I understood how it worked. I joined a mountain biking community. I enjoyed joining the Mountain Biking Association in Colorado. I went mountain biking. It was just incredible. I just learned everything I could about it in a year. It’s an incredible type of recreation.
Sadaf Abbas: Absolutely
Roger Conley Wood: All people of all ages can enjoy it. There are incredible levels. There are gentle levels, and there are daring levels. And so I enjoyed that, and it’s brought me a new dimension to my life that I’m now officially a mountain bike or a very poor one. I wouldn’t say I’m the most authentic. However, I do understand it. And in this area of giving back, I’d say the most important area for me in all seriousness has been the empowerment of women.Because my mother went to an American women’s college, which is unique to America, we had these women’s colleges that were dedicated to safe environments where women could explore science, art, music, and mathematics on their own terms and in their own ways. I think that had a pretty big impact. I’ve had many, many family members who’ve gone to these American women’s colleges, and I think that is something that I will support for the rest of my life. This is not gender separation. This is not voluntary segregation. These places were created out of necessity, that women were not allowed to go to university, not allowed to go to college. And had it not been the phenomenon of women’s colleges in the United States, you would not have women’s suffrage, you would not have women’s voting, you would not have arguments about social and salary parity. So women’s colleges are near and dear to me, and anything I can do to promote women’s self-empowerment through education, I will always do that. And that’s a pretty big deal to me.
Sadaf Abbas: Perfect. So this is your vision, I think. So this is your personal vision that you need to empower women in education, right? Yes.
It’s very personal. There hasn’t been a job, there hasn’t been an activity organization I’ve been involved with where I have not taken great strides to pull in women from women’s colleges or women’s schools or women’s internship programs, and effectively, I force the men to deal with it. Where I have such circumstances, I go, well, she’s going to be at the table, and if she’s not going to be at the table, I’m not going to be at the table. And there are many options you have. So you can get this done with someone else or you can get this done with me and know that I will have these young women who are trying to make their way in the world by my side. Pretty aggressive about being very, very stereotypically American about that.
Sadaf Abbas: So my next question is Roger, what roles do the startup products or services play in your decision to invest? What kind of products or ideas are most appealing to you?
Roger Conley Wood: It’s a very good question. There are investors who invest in momentum. When something is happening, they just put their money there. They’re pure financial engineers, and they just see a return. They really don’t want to know much about the intrinsic nature of the product or service. They simply invest as a mathematical exercise. Because my career began conceptualizing new and amazing products, I tend to want to know a great deal about the nature of the product, the way the service works, and who the service serves best. I’m very interested in that kind of knowledge. There’s an interesting multinational, Yum! Brands. Yum! Brands were once run in Asia by a former colleague of mine, Muktesh Mickey Pont. He’s an Indian national who was brought to America, worked side by side with me, and then went to Yum! Brands, the owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. I was extraordinarily interested in making a decision of whether to invest in that multinational based on the actual product. I’m like, wow, are people really going to eat pizza in China? Will people really enjoy fried chicken in South Africa? Even when it came to food? I’m intensely interested in the product itself because all of these things look good mathematically Sadaf. You have a great accounting background. You have a great Zen for numbers. The way you see business models and understand the efficacy and validity of a business model is amazing, which is why I enjoy working with Oak, okay? But the product gets to the heart of it. I can show you on a board. You know what, here’s how many young people exist in the world. So each of those young people will eat this number of tacos in a month. What if the people in Saudi Arabia just think that taco is disgusting, it doesn’t taste good,, or it falls apart? Why would I want to eat something that falls apart and crumbles all over the place? So maybe that works in Cincinnati, Ohio, and maybe that’s going to be a big giant flop in Egypt. So it’s the product, not just technology. In all products, one needs to assess the product’s market fit. One needs to assess the way the service works and is that service applicable or relevant. And that’s how you see a business. And that’s why so many businesses fail, in my opinion. Startups and multinationals have what I call cultural chauvinism, which is well, here in Italy, we love having a two-hour lunch served in a specific way over a specific time. No one in Italy eats as fast as they can, walking down the street for lunch. Only Americans do that. Only Americans say, give me the food as fast as you can. Then they take the food, then they walk as fast as they can down the street and they go, now that was good value.
Sadaf Abbas: That’s why we have the major, the highest number of branches, subway outlets in America just because of this. Because of this mentality, the market scenario is that the consumer wants the food as soon as possible. So that’s why the fast food concept is coming from the Americas. But again, if you are going for Saudi Arabia, Lebanese and other countries like Turkey, they have the barbecue, and barbecue takes at least one to 2 hours, not more means maybe it will take much more time when we are doing the mutton or beef barbecue. So again, come to the point. Market adaptability is very important, country to country, culture to culture, and even religion to religion as well. That is correct. So we need to think about the market adaptability in terms of the regions, in terms of the culture, in terms of the consumer behavior as well. So again, I come to the point we need to do market research on the problem again.
Roger Conley Wood: Yes, that’s very well said, very well said. The numbers can work theoretically. Yes, numbers can work theoretically, especially when it comes to a service. I had a great experience with the person I mentioned, Muktesh Pont, who I think the world knows of, he’s a very, very good executive, and I visited him in India. The emphasis on services in India is very unique to Southeast Asia. The typical affluent, well-to-do business traveler in Europe, America or China would not want human beings omnipresent presence all the time, 24 hours a day. It was a unique cultural phenomenon that the biggest Western hotel names in India have to accommodate the market by having a person who sits in your presidential suite in a small closet waiting for your desire to be articulated so they can meet your desire. So not only do you have three people following you everywhere you go, servicing all of your needs, but you also have a person who sits in an anti-chamber, a small room off of your room, in your hotel room. That is a uniquely geographic and cultural desire to have a personal servant at your behest 24 hours a day while you’re in the hotel. And that changes everything in the numbers of the investment. So a Marriott has to think differently when they’re doing business in that specific environment where personal service is expected and desired as a way to communicate your class, your caste, and your economic capability. And those very same behaviors might be embarrassing in Brussels, where the wealthiest people in the world walk down the street with their own briefcases in their hands and their own notebooks under their arms and would be offended by having seven people following them, carrying every little item needed to conduct their business. But these are examples. Product and service are everything and must be matched to the market in order for the business to become as successful as a Marriott or as ubiquitous as a Zoom startup or large cap. That’s the magic the actual product and service is the beating heart of that business.
Sadaf Abbas: Provide good quality services and the product as well. I need to share a case study of the Japanese market. The Japanese don’t do the marketing because they believe when the product itself is the best quality, consumers will come to you directly one day, and they will have loyalty to the product or these other services. So if we change America and Japan, American companies are putting so much effort into marketing, and they have a high marketing ROI cost as compared to the Japanese companies. You never see any Japanese companies marketing. Never cars, automobiles, even machines. So they are more focused on the quality of their product and the services rather than on the marketing because they know consumers will come to the good quality of the product and good quality of the services. So this is the whole mechanism you can say in the American startups, either the companies or in the Japanese companies. So again, it comes to the point that we need to provide the goods, quality and services and need to capture the problem of society.
Roger Conley Wood: That’s right. And there are many opportunities to invest in it off. One of the reasons why I don’t invest in luxury goods is that the product and service if it’s a large-cap luxury company, they make a lot of money from licensing the brand itself is a cognitive shortcut is a symbol, and then you license that brand, and you’re disassociated from the product. With a small startup or what’s called an early-stage family-run luxury company, the emphasis is on the product. It’s a beautiful piece of luggage that has extraordinary functionality. Once it gets to the scale of a multinational, it’s mostly licensing and so many kinds of investors in the world, I tend to over-invest in products or services and believe that a superior product or service will win the day with a specific group of people or a specific country or culture.
Sadaf Abbas: Absolutely. So if you are an animated character, this is a very interesting question I’m asking to you, Roger. So if you are an animated character, what three tools or superpowers would you have in your investor toolbox to navigate the world of investment?
Roger Conley Wood: First superpower,, yeah. This would be a business risk. Is it great technology? Is this a charismatic leader, but the business itself just doesn’t make sense.
Sadaf Abbas: So the theme is very important.
Roger Conley Wood: First is the business model. Does the business model, the second superpower, be the ability to peer into technological risk? Yes, that’s an interesting concept, but the technology is unstable. It’s not consistently working, it’s not proven. The third superpower would be the ability to peer into the character of the entrepreneur. There are all kinds of people in the world, men, women, Southeast Asia, Nordic countries, it doesn’t matter. The character of the entrepreneur is important to me. For some people, this means little. For me, it means everything that the person is not pursuing profit at the expense of actual human beings in a knowing, acknowledged way. Yes, I’m going to sell 10,000 of these. I know 3000 people will die, and I’m going to sell it to them anyway. I’m simply not that kind of investor. So to recap, the three superpowers I wish I had were the ability to define the business model, to understand the technology risk, and to understand the character of the entrepreneur. Before we take the first step together, it’d be almost like the ability to see the future. If you could figure those three things out, you’d be very lucky. If you could figure those three things out before you invested one euro, one dollar, or one yuan.
Sadaf Abbas: So I believe that all these characteristics you also want to see in the pitch deck as well. Right. So the business model, the team, what the team experiences and the market adaptation character.
Roger Conley Wood: You can see the team. The team could be very good, but it’s very difficult to see character. We saw that with explosive situations like Theranos WeWork, the Crypto STX or FTX or whatever it is. These are three crystal clear examples wherein it was difficult to examine issues of character. My point is that we’ve had some interesting situations lately with cryptocurrency, with biotech testing, with office rental, where I think people wished they could have seen into the characters of the entrepreneurs. And that would be magical if we could understand character before investing the first dollar.
Sadaf Abbas: So your career has undoubtedly taken you to different places around the world. Are there any unique cultures, experiences or perspectives you have gained from these international experiences?
Roger Conley Wood: The places that impacted me the most were the Scandinavian countries. The multigenerational approach, patience and precision were awe-inspiring. Good Scandinavian entrepreneurs start their journey as an entrepreneur, knowing it will take decades to achieve their business goals. Great organizations like Lidl in Germany, and Ikea out in Sweden. These are long, patient processes, and I admire them so much. From Central Europe to German-speaking Europe, north to Scandinavia, I admire the patience and the precision with which they pursue their business objectives. No one expects anything to happen tomorrow, and if it does, they’re very suspicious if it unfolds in success in a very short amount of time. So that is a huge impact on me is to think in a multigenerational mindset and think beyond the horizon of the next fiscal quarter, which is a very, very different way of thinking about a business in terms of what will it do in the next 90 days? And making decisions that affect the fate of the Enterprise based on the pressures of the next 90 days.
Sadaf Abbas: Good. So has your background in technology, in telecom, influenced your investment decision strategy, particularly in the context of emerging technologies? Can you tell me about this information?
Roger Conley Wood: When it comes to emerging technologies, I think that telecom people tend to think like insurance people. There’s a large capital deployment. There are enormous regulatory barriers. And then, once you’re in business, there’s a steady return on that investment. And I think that the similarity is that I tend to like models where there is a capital deployment, there is a regulatory hurdle. And once you deploy the capital with expert knowledge of the category, once you surpass the regulatory hurdle, then you have a license to do business with people over and over and over again. You know, insurance hasn’t quite caught on in Asia the way it has in North America and Northern Europe, but it has that attribute. It takes a lot to set up an insurance company. But then once you get past those regulatory hurdles, well, then it’s a product that everyone needs to buy, and they’re choosing amongst options, but they have to make a choice. You can’t drive a car without car insurance. I think that in Asia, water will be that opportunity very quickly. Many Southeast Asian companies countries will put in regulations that determine who can offer water. Once that happens, well, then the people in Asia will have a choice. I can get my water in these ways, but I must get my water. I can’t live without water. So it’s a product that I have to use every day. I need some service to acquire the water, and someone is in charge of deciding which choices I have in front of me. I think it’s the first time that we will see Asia exert itself from a regulatory standpoint in a way that’s beyond anything Europe and America can imagine is water.
Sadaf Abbas: So, has your background in technology and telecom? I already discussed it with you. Right. So my next question is that you mentioned using software, data science, and artificial intelligence to predict human behavior with extraordinary accuracy at scale. I think so. We already have discussed in our last podcast with you, Roger, that you will utilize AI and the machine to analyze the data for the water consumption and water utilization.So, could you provide an example of a project where you apply these technologies and achieve significant results, such as water? So, how much progress so far on this project as well? Can you tell me about that?
Roger Conley Wood: Yeah, most successful companies in this arena have been focused on media, predicting what entertainment or what information Sadaf would like to see and delivering it to her before she knows that she wants it. That’s Google and all of the other digital media companies. I think the great leap forward would be for me to examine the eyes of a million children in school and predict what kinds of eyewear and or ophthalmology logical treatments they might need. That would be something if you could see forward; you could see into the future and understand what kind of eye care would be optimal for each individual human being. That’s amazing. That’s magical. Yeah. I want to know what movies you might like before you see them. True. But I think the benefit of mankind, the positive potential outcome of artificial intelligence, will be the ability to predict human need in a way that benefits humans before humans know they have that need. Just imagine the leaps forward in dental care. If I could know which child would need which corrective brace so that the problem never gets so bad that it requires surgery to begin with. So, I’d love to eradicate disease, illness, and psychological dysfunction. What if we could get to every psychologically disturbed person before their psychological disturbance reaches a point of violence? I love these kinds of things. Part of the reason why I’m fascinated with where artificial intelligence and data science could go in predicting human behavior. I’m so fascinated because I don’t have a biological sciences background, but I admire the people who have tried to use Wetware, in other words, their own minds, to do what I think AI could do much more effectively and much more efficiently.
Sadaf Abbas: Absolutely. Indeed. So, how do you stay updated on industry trends and market dynamics to make informed investment decisions across various sectors? So, what are the main key tools you are using to keep you updated with marketing trends?
Roger Conley Wood: I think the first challenge is the elimination of self-confidence. I have a crisis of confidence in my understanding of biological sciences. That crisis of confidence that I didn’t believe that my own raw intelligence could grasp every concept led me to become an expert in that field. That’s a very, very important thing. I’ve seen other investors who are gifted synaptically. They clearly possess a genius IQ, but they underestimate the cumulative knowledge and learning that comes from pursuing a specific course of action over decades. And that’s the way expertise happens. It happens from decades and decades and decades of experience in an arena that raw intelligence can’t quite grasp. So first, I admit to myself, okay, I’m interested in this area, and I know nothing about it. I conquer my own confidence, and that allows me to reach out to experts who really have spent decades in that area. The second thing that I think is very important is a level of objectivity. When you’re looking at industry trends, market dynamics, and potential opportunities, it’s always important to have a grounding in the numbers. If you’re a pure scientist in a lab, good for you. If you’re a pure practitioner in the marketplace, good for you. If you’re a business person, you have to look at what is my total available market? What is my available market? What will it take to address the available market? Are there competitors? Are there limitations? Are there regulatory hurdles? It’s important to look at the numbers. Is this business going to perform the way I think it’s going to perform? One of the things I kind of go back to this issue of food is because I don’t know the food industry, but food, when I talk about young brands when I talk about an entrepreneur, it’s the great equalizer. Nothing speaks louder than the numbers in the food industry. If your business runs well, people consume it, buy it, and consume it. If your business has not run well, people don’t buy it and don’t consume it. There’s no substitute. There’s no replacement here. That’s what makes McDonald’s McDonald’s. That’s what makes a startup food company. A startup food company is that you can’t hide from the numbers. How many people want that item, buy that item, convert that want into the purchase, convert that purchase into consumption? No replacement for that. So, my biggest tool is accounting. But accounting is a tool. That’s what it is. The simplest questions are the most tricky, and that’s a tricky question. How do I stay up on trends through experts? How do I assess whether the trend is relevant to numbers? I don’t really have a very good answer there. I don’t have a very mystical answer or insightful answer there. It’s a pretty plain-spoken answer. So again, wrapping it up. My answer to this question is that Samsung market addressable total addressable market, services addressable market, and services obtainable. Market in life is very important.
Sadaf Abbas: So we need to know what problem you are solving in the society and how much the people are having that kind of problem. We need to see the timestamps for the validation. We call it market validation, Roger. So, market trends and markets can easily be accessible through the timestampsome. And again, I’m a number cruncher, so I believe in numbers. So we do very detailed market research through data validation and give detailed timestamp analyzers so the investors or the startups can evaluate the valuation of their company. So, come to my final question. So, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and investors looking to make an impact in the tech and innovation sector? What will you give them as an investor?
Roger Conley Wood: I think that connects back to your last statement when I say you have to solve a problem, pursue an opportunity, or make something magical, just work at all. Technologically, the middle one is the one where you have to take the greatest care because it doesn’t reveal itself in the numbers. No business case analysis, no accounting could ever articulate that there’s an opportunity there. Someone could do the numbers. The business case looks great, but for an entrepreneur, sometimes you have to see that there’s an opportunity there. No consumer will articulate that they need that product. No business will articulate that they need that product. So you can’t demonstrate that there’s demand, but your analysis proves if I created that, then people would want it. Businesses would want it. If I created it, then they will want it. And so, I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs specifically to never abandon a deep thought process on what the opportunity is. Maybe there is no problem that exists today. Maybe I’m not trying to do something that’s unique in its technological or scientific innovation. Maybe I’m just pursuing an opportunity to make businesses or people want something they didn’t even know they needed.
Sadaf Abbas: Absolutely right. It happens. Usually, it happens. People don’t know what they need. But when the product is in the market, like Zoom, people know that we will have COVID-19, and then afterwards, in two and a half years, everything will be remote. So now we don’t know that we need a cloud meeting room. Now we have a zoom. So it means that at that time and the passage of time, we actually know. Now we have the requirements, and we have the product as well. At the time, people didn’t know about it. And now, this is the passage of time. The requirement is there, and the product is also there.
Roger Conley Wood: Yeah, we didn’t even know we needed it. And that’s the magic of opportunity, is seeing that if you go too far in your analysis, you’re going to miss the opportunity. You might create a great company that solves a problem. You might create a great company that’s based on a new process. Like Carnegie’s new process for making steel. He made it work. He mixed other chemicals into the iron ore and made modern steel, and the world exists because of Andrew Carnegie’s steel scientific experiment in making a certain kind of steelwork. But all of that is fundamentally different from seeing that if you gave something to a business if I give it to them, they couldn’t live without it once I give it to them. And so that’s my advice to entrepreneurs. Investors, are completely different. We talked a little bit about that. So your question is a very strong question. But there are two different answers. Because the advice I would give to an aspiring entrepreneur is fundamentally different from the advice I would give to an aspiring investor in early-stage or mature companies. For investors, the advice I would give them is that the most important thing a large-cap investor can do is read history. Not business books, not pure business text. The smartest thing that you can do when you invest in large companies is to read history and read about the history of the world and then translate that into trends you see today. You know, it’s interesting. One of the companies I admire the most in the world is Jab Holdings. Few people have ever heard of this company, but Jab Holdings is run by a very gifted intellectual, Peter Harf, disguised as a businessman. And the way the company matures, evolves, exploits, knows, sheds and acquires assets, they do it with a sense of the broader context of the world. And they do that very well for the same company to dominate Suntan Lotion, which owns Bally, the luxury goods company that also owns companies like Krispy Kreme or Dr Pepper Seven Up. You know, they’re thinking on the broadest level from a historical arts and sciences world history level. They’re thinking about centuries. Even though the existing leaders of the business may not be around a century from now, they’re thinking in centuries. You can only do that if you’re broadly read and culturally astute. So, for investors in large-cap companies, completely different advice than an entrepreneur trying to hit two rocks together and make a spark fly. Very different here, and maybe in the future, we’ll have a fun conversation about how to look at those macroeconomic trends that large companies need to look for versus the real world of how a small business survives for the next six weeks.
Sadaf Abbas: These are different problems solved, absolutely different problems. Because in terms of the number, I say that multinational companies have a huge cash burn and they have huge reserves. They don’t need to figure out what their monthly payroll is. But small startup companies have a very shortfall of cash burn. They need investments, they need ten investments to make their progress so far. So the problem of multinational companies and startups, is totally different. And thank you all, Roger. Thank you for the meeting and I hope this podcast will help a lot to the investors and the startups as well who are seeking investment. Do you want to add anything, Roger?
Roger Conley Wood: Sadaf, as usual, it was great speaking to you, great speaking to your audience. I know these are not very technical interviews, but I’m happy to go more deeply into the technical aspects of investment decisions and good luck to you and your audience.
Sadaf Abbas: Thank you so much, take care.