Ep281: Shana Sissel – Take Action on Your Good Ideas

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Guest profile

As the CIO of Spotlight Asset Group, Shana Sissel oversees all aspects of the investment platform ranging from overall strategy, implementation, and communication to clients and prospects. Shana has nearly two decades of industry experience at leading investment firms, primarily in Boston and Chicago. She previously served as Director of Investment Due Diligence & a Senior Portfolio Manager with Orion Advisor Solutions.

Shana is a sought-after speaker & media contributor, frequently appearing at industry events and major financial news outlets like CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from the UMass-Amherst and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Bentley University’s McCallum School of Business. Shana is a proud holder of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.

 

“If you have an idea, the knowledge, and you’ve done the work, then don’t be afraid to go out and talk about it or have a differentiated viewpoint.”

Shana Sissel

 

Worst investment ever

Late 2006 or early 2007, Shana was interviewing for an equity research analyst position at a major global asset manager. Part of the interview process was to pitch a stock that you believed in and do the work and have enough conviction. A stock that you would put your own money in.

Banking on Apple

Shana did a write up on Apple. She believed that this was it. It was an excellent choice. Shana’s pitch was based on the fact that Apple was just about to launch the very first iPhone. At the time, the stock was probably trading at $3 a share. She had done her research well and believed that the iPhone was going to be a complete game-changer.

Trying to sell a newcomer

Apple, at the time, had no market share. Blackberry ruled the world when it came to smartphones. Shana’s selling point was that it would develop this ecosystem because Apple had such a brand commitment from the people who used it. A generation of students was coming up that would prefer Apple to the larger brands at the time.

Laughed out of the room

So Shana went in and pitched the iPhone as a game-changer. She projected the stock would grow to $150. She got laughed out of the room and was told to pick a different career.

Shana was unable to convince the portfolio manager that she was interviewing with to purchase Apple.

Losing confidence in her idea

When Shana got laughed at, her confidence completely left her. Shana stopped trusting her instincts, and in all the work she had put into her pitch. She believed the portfolio manager who told her that she was wrong simply because he was in a position of power and had more experience than her.

Failing to invest in her idea

The worst part of it all was not that nobody believed her, but that Shana didn’t believe in herself enough to invest in Apple. This missed opportunity went down to be her worst investment ever because the iPhone went on to be a game-changer just as she had predicted, and she missed out on the returns it has made over the years.

Lessons learned

It’s ok to think differently

It’s ok to have different views from other people. Just because others disagree with you doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Thinking differently is a positive thing. When it comes to investing, that’s how you win. Following the crowd is never how you win. You win by being different, thinking different, and seeing things differently.

Do your homework

If you have an investment opportunity, but you don’t trust your judgment, do your research so that you can be sure it’s worth investing in. You can’t convince somebody else if you can’t convince yourself. As long as you’re making good, thoughtful investments and doing the work, and you are confident in your investment, even if it turns out you were wrong, you win because it’s always about learning something new.

Andrew’s takeaways

Beware of shortfall risk

Putting your retirement savings in a bank and waiting for retirement day is a bad idea. That money will never grow. Invest it and let it make you good returns.

Be confident in your ideas

If you have an idea and have a strong conviction that it’s a good idea and have all the facts to back it up, don’t let anyone tell you it’s a bad idea. Be confident in your opinion and push for it.

Don’t be afraid of investing

If you find a stock or company or product that you like, do some research on it. Then if you think it’s good, invest in it. However, go in slow. Don’t invest all your money in it; instead, add to a diversified portfolio.

Take action

One way to take action on your idea is to start small. Just start small but do it.

Actionable advice

Take action. If you have an idea or a belief that you think strongly of, and you’ve done the work, then put it into action instead of being paralyzed in the fear that you might be wrong.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Shana’s number one goal for the next 12 months is just to continue fighting the good fight. And if she has a differentiated view, she won’t be afraid to articulate it.

 

Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community we know that to win in investing you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. This episode is sponsored by a Stotz Academy which offers online courses to help investors better manage their stock portfolios, aspiring professionals to learn how to value any company in the world business leaders to make their companies financially world class and even beginners to implement a simple lifetime investment plan. Go to my worst investment ever.com to get free access to my short course six ways to lose your money and six strategies to win where I share the six lessons I've learned from all of these podcast interviews. Well, fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz and I'm here with featured guest, Shana Cisco. Shana, are you ready to rock?

00:55
I am.

Andrew Stotz 00:56
Alright, so let me introduce you to the audience. as CEO of spotlight asset group, Shana oversees all aspects of the investment platform ranging from overall strategy, implementation and communication to clients and prospects. Gina has nearly two decades of industry experience at leading investment firms primarily in Boston and Chicago. She previously served as director of investment due diligence and a Senior Portfolio Manager with Orion Advisor solutions. Shana is a sought after speaker and media contributor of frequently appearing frequently, frequently at industry events and on major financial news outlets like CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business News. Jane earned a Bachelor of Science in magnet sports management from UMass Amherst and a Master's of Business Administration from Bentley University, McCollum School of Business, she is a proud holder of the Chartered alternative investment analyst designation. And at the beginning of this bio ice, I probably said your CEO, because I'm so darn impressed by you. But you are. In fact, she is the CIO. So Shana, take a minute and filling further tidbits about your life.

Shana Sissel 02:07
Um, I think you covered most of it. I got into finance by accident. And I've been doing it since 2000. So it's been a long journey for sure. Hmm.

Andrew Stotz 02:21
It's kind of interesting that you started with the sports management. How did you get into that? And how did you transition into business and then finance.

Shana Sissel 02:30
So I have always been a huge sports fan, I grew up in a rabid sports family. So when I got into college, and I was looking at different opportunities for what I want to do, sport management really appealed to me, especially the media aspect of it. And I really wanted to be a sideline reporter for the NFL or Major League Baseball. And so that was my ultimate goal. And I actually got into finance by accident. I had some opportunities to go into the sports world. But for reasons of just being 22 years old, and not thinking necessarily about the long term, I turned them down and ultimately took a job at Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor just to pay the bills and the rest is history. Hmm. And are you active in fitness these days in sports and activities? What

Andrew Stotz 03:23
do you do in your free time?

Shana Sissel 03:25
Well, I would say that I am active in fitness and that I like to keep myself in good shape. In my free time, I enjoy downhill skiing and horseback riding. I do some yoga. I love watching sports. I'm a huge American football fan. I like watching baseball, basketball, hockey, you name it, the major professional sports in the US. I am a fan of them all.

Andrew Stotz 03:48
I've recently been doing Ashtanga Yoga, and wow, that's hard.

Shana Sissel 03:53
Yoga is so much harder than people think. But it is the best way to kind of lean out and get yourself in shape without having to worry about high impact aerobic activity. And I for medical reasons, I'm not able to do a lot of cardio. And so Yoga is my choice to stay fit.

Andrew Stotz 04:11
So it's a great thing. You know, one last thing is, you know, I thought a lot about fitness and the parallel with finance. You know, recently I was, you know, had been going to some different gyms over time. And I thought to myself, I wonder how many people come to the gym, particularly starting in January when they have their new year's resolution. And within the first one or two months, I wonder how many people are actually injured at the gym and really never make it back.

Shana Sissel 04:39
And probably more than you think especially those who don't take advantage of that. They usually give you when you join a gym like a free personal training session. And that's really designed to help you understand the different exercises and make sure that you're doing them correctly. My dad was a bodybuilder growing up and he's a personal trainer even today. He retired and that's what he does. Now that He's retired, he just is a personal trainer. And so I learned correct technique for everything. But most people get hurt because they don't know how to use the equipment and they have poor technique, and they end up hurting themselves and never going back.

Andrew Stotz 05:12
And, you know, the reason why I was thinking about that, and then connecting it to the world of finances, because I was thinking, you know, I wonder how many like, you know, we see, you know, let's say on another professional boxer, the Mike Tyson's, or the Roy Jones, or we see a successful football player or whatever. And I wonder how many great, equally great athletes never made it there only because they had an injury to their knee to their elbow to their shoulder. And that one injury industry, it that one injury prevented them from continuing that career.

Shana Sissel 05:48
I'm sure there's a lot I know. I know, personally, folks that were very talented athletes that for one reason or another weren't able to, to go further in their athletic career because they had an injury that set them back. And then they were never able to get back to the level they

Andrew Stotz 06:03
were previously. And that brings me to that connection with finance, I thought to myself, if I started a gym, what I would do is on the walls, it would be all about the top three injuries and how to prevent them. You know, so that we really promote the idea of sustainable activity. And that's a lot about what this podcast is about to is the idea of, how do we make sure that we don't make the common mistakes. And so that's because a common mistake can literally knock you out for a lifetime. So in the world of finance, so anyways, those are some thoughts I had when I was, you know, thinking about having on the show, so great to talk about those things. And I guess now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it, and then tell us your story.

Shana Sissel 06:57
So my answer to this question is probably not what you would expect. And I don't know if anyone's ever given you this answer. But the worst investment ever, for me is the one I didn't make. And so it all goes back to 2000. And I want to say late 2006, early 2007, I was interviewing for a equity research analyst position at a major asset manager, global asset manager and part of the interview process was to pitch a stock that you really believed in and do the work and have enough conviction behind it, that you would put your own money in it. And so I did a write up on Apple, and apple. And so this was a choice. It was an awesome choice. But it was a bad investment for me because I never actually put money in it. And I wasn't able to convince anybody else to do it either. So I went and I did my write up. And my pitch was based on the fact that they were just about to launch the very first iPhone, which seems crazy if you think about it, because we're now on iPhone 12. And the iPhone seems to have been with us forever. There. There is an entire generation of people who don't know life without an iPhone.

08:27
If you think about it, I am amazing.

Shana Sissel 08:29
And so my, my at the time, the stock was probably trading under $20 a share. And I did the work, I believe that the I share, the iPhone was going to be a complete game changer. And my belief for this was I had an iMac like a MacBook Pro laptop. I had been dating somebody at the time who had one and I was so impressed with it that I went and bought one myself. And I kind of understood that like once you had an Apple product, you wanted more Apple products, it was sort of addicting. And so if you had an apple computer, you would want an iPhone and potentially vice versa. And apple at the time had like no market share and the personal computer market and blackberry like ruled the world when it came to smartphones. So my whole thesis was that it would develop this ecosystem because it had Apple had such a brand commitment from the people who used it and that there was a generation of students that were coming up that would prefer Apple to you know, the larger brands, the Dells, the Hewlett Packard's of the worlds The Compaq computers of the world. And so I went in and I pitched the ecosystem and I pitched iPhone as a game changer and the stock was maybe 18 bucks and I had a price target of 150. And I got laughed out of the room. I was told that I should pick a different career. So I was unable to convince the portfolio manager that I was interviewing with To purchase Apple, and then I did not trust my own instincts and my own work enough to then put my own money in it. And so for me not buying apple in 2006, even though I had done the work, I felt confident in the work that I had done. But I didn't trust my own ability to do the review of the analysis and trust that I didn't have it wrong, just because somebody didn't believe me who was in a position of power, or somebody who had more experience in the industry. Because sometimes, having that fresh perspective, is the thing that makes you good. Is it particularly when you're talking about something like apple in 2006 2007? Who was, as we have found out now creating an entirely new universe of product that has changed how we use our mobile phones completely?

Andrew Stotz 10:56
Hmm. Okay, so what lessons did you learn from this?

Shana Sissel 11:00
So I learned a lot of lessons, I learned that just because there's somebody out there who people respect and like, it's okay to think differently. And just because they disagree with you, doesn't mean you're wrong. It may never hurts them that they didn't make that investment, but it could hurt you and your ability to develop in your skill and evaluating stocks. If you don't trust your judgment, do the work and convince yourself that it's worth investing in because you can't convince somebody else if you can't convince yourself. And more importantly, trusting that sometimes thinking different is a positive thing. And in my case, everybody knows what happened to Apple, within months of the iPhone, my price target was too low. Because they blew through 150 and less than 18 months. And, and, but again, it really comes down to it's okay to think differently. Because when it comes to investing, that's how you win, following the crowd is never how you win. In the world of investing. It's being different, thinking different and seeing things differently, that helps you win. Now, sometimes you lose too because of that. But it's all about learning from those experiences. And as long as you're making good, thoughtful investments, and you're doing the work and you are confident and what brought you to the conclusion, there's really nothing. There's no bad outcome to that, even if you were wrong, because it's always about learning something new.

Andrew Stotz 12:49
That's exciting, too, when you think about in the world of finance, what I just love about the world of finance is that, you know, we're constantly learning new things. I mean, it's just a constant battle and a constant challenge. And that that's what makes it exciting. Well, let me share what I take away from it. The first thing is I just pulled up a chair price chart, and I can see on a adjusted basis for share splits and all that, that if we went back to that time that you were recommending it, you were saying that the it was about 20. But now as we make adjustments, we can say it was probably about $3 at that time in today's you know, level of the share price. And that means right now the share price is at 121. That means a 40 times increase if you just bought that instead with your idea and just let it ride. So sorry about that.

13:42
Oh, my bank account is sorry about that.

13:45
Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 13:47
And so yeah, this that's the first thing that, you know, it wasn't great. And it was a great recommendation. And the ecosystem really did turn out to be really a key part of that. And so I think we learned a lot about the confidence in our idea. I think the second part is this idea of not acting. And I think that, you know, one of the things that I teach about is the in, I wrote a book called How to start building your wealth investing in the stock market. And wait, basically what I say is it, you know, young people have a massive advantage, because they have time on their side. You know, a lot of Warren Buffett's gains is simply he's been in the market now, what 60 years, whatever that number is, you know, you've got to take advantage of time. And so many people don't act now that could be not acting on that one good stock idea. Or it could also be a mistake of just not acting and I have people that I talk to and they say to me, you know, I'm really low risk. So I just put my money in the bank. And I think to myself, you're high risk because you are exposing yourself to what I call shortfall risk and the shortfall risk is simply that when it comes time to retire, you do not have the money. You need to retire at the level that you want to retire. So I think you definitely highlight a very important issue and that is not acting. So I appreciate that anything you would add,

Shana Sissel 15:11
I know I think you've hit the nail right on the head, it's it's really about, you know, acting. And in my case, I was fortunate enough to work at Fidelity Investments at one point and was able to work with some of the brightest minds in investing. And I always think back to how Peter Lynch used to approach investing, which is, if you know it, and you're in, you're confident in it, then then you should trust your gut and investing in it. So he always you say, buy what you know. And in this case, I was somebody who was going to be part of that ecosystem, I had already had the laptop, I couldn't wait to get the iPhone, because I love my laptop so much. And despite the fact that I had that much confidence, because I was one of the people who was going to take advantage of this trend that I saw, I still didn't feel confident that other people would as well. And Peter always used to say, if you know it, and you love it, then you should invest in it. Because more likely than not, you're not the only one who loves that product or that service.

Andrew Stotz 16:23
Yeah, in fact, graduating with my undergrad in finance in 1989, Peter Lynch's books, one up on Wall Street and beat the street, these books were really the best books out there at the time, I would add on one other thing that he did very well, which is diversify. And so some people get really keyed up on their one idea, and then they put all their money in it, that now they're making another mistake, which is the way that they're managing their risk. So, you know, for the listeners out there, you find that stock, you find that company, you find that story, that product that you like, and definitely do some research on it. And then if you think it's good invest in it, but don't invest all your money in it added to a well balanced portfolio. So sure, based upon what you learned from this story, and what you continue to learn what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate

Shana Sissel 17:21
is to act. Um, you know, in my case, Apple at the time had I invested, even 40, like I had $40, I had $100, I could have put into the stock, it was just the thought of losing the money. So I was paralyzed and wasn't able to take action. And today in the world, that allows us to do fractional shares, if you have an idea or a belief that you think strongly of, and you've done the work, and it's not just a fly by the seat of their pants, that you know, everybody else is buying a name, your stock of the day, kind of thing, then take the time, you can do fractional shares, you can put $20 into your best idea, but take the action, as opposed to be paralyzed in the fear that you might be wrong.

Andrew Stotz 18:15
Beautiful advice to the audience out there take action. And I think, you know, when you're talking about the fractional shares, I think part of what you're getting to is, you know, one way to take action is to take small action, you know, start small, but do it, you know, if you say, Okay, I gotta take, you know, the $30,000 that I've saved up for the last five years and dump it into that none of that. Start small, but start. So all right, last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months

Shana Sissel 18:48
to travel and get back out there be able to see my colleagues, of course, this is stuff I have absolutely no control of. So of things that I do have control of my number one goal over the next 12 months is to just continue to fight the good fight. And if I have a differentiated view, don't be afraid to articulate it. I certainly seen that recently. And I try not to let it deter me. But it all comes back to that lesson I learned when I didn't buy Apple, it's that if you have the belief, you have the knowledge and you've done the work, then don't be afraid to go out and talk about it and be different and have a differentiated viewpoint Because ultimately, that's what's going to help you win. So for the next 12 months, I'm going to continue to do that.

Andrew Stotz 19:36
That's so empowering. That's so exciting. I love that. So listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. Remember to go to my worst investment ever.com to get free access to my short course six ways to lose your money and six strategies to win. As we conclude, Gina, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status returning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Shana Sissel 20:07
I don't I just want to say thank you so much for allowing me to come on here and tell my story

Andrew Stotz 20:12
been fantastic. Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and most importantly protect our wealth fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.

 

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About the author, Andrew

Dr. Andrew Stotz, CFA is the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research, a company that provides institutional and high net worth investors with ready-to-invest stock portfolios that aim to beat the benchmark through superior stock selection.

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