After a period of ample reflection over the holidays I decided to write a 2021 Year in Review for MT Capital Research, an endeavour that I hope encapsulates my journey as a writer thus far and summarizes my goals for the future. I will aim to repeat this exercise on an annual basis, not only as an opportunity to gauge how far I’ve come but to also act as an inspiration of sorts for all of those that are considering starting writing, or acting on a dream/passion project.
For those that are not acquainted with me my name is Matt. I am a 23 year old native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and am an engineer by trade. My journey to becoming a finance writer is nothing special, but is worth glossing over in order to understand a little bit more about who is behind the work getting sent to your inbox on a frequent basis. I’ve always been interested in writing, a curiosity that I would associate with my passion for reading. This personality trait, of which stems from my Mother’s substantial investment into ensuring I understood the power of the written word (hey mom), created an innate curiosity in myself that I believe only readers can truly understand. My newsletter-specific development originated in 2020, a period where I started to look deeper and deeper into the Stock Market. Spurred by an interest in the most effective ways to manage my own money, I consumed a variety of investing-related books and content that most are familiar with, ranging from Security Analysis by Graham & Dodd, the Incerto Series by Nassim Taleb, to One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch. These endeavours blossomed into a full on obsession and, as luck would have it, I shortly thereafter stumbled across the Fintwit community. For the remainder of the year I stayed on the sidelines, reading the research and thoughts of some prominent accounts, slowly becoming more and more interested in the realm of Technology Companies. In April of this year I finally mustered up the courage to start creating some content of my own, releasing tweets with a respectable frequency and writing my first newsletter on Pinterest near the end of the month. Approximately 8 months later, I believe the version of myself that was hesitant to join the Creator Economy in April would be very proud of the progress that has been made. At almost 8000 followers on Twitter, I’ve grown a little community that I feel proud to interact with on a daily basis, I’ve engaged with respected Short Sellers, Hedge Fund Managers and Writers and I’ve made a group of friends that have been enormously supportive of my work.
Delving into the specifics of my Substack, over the last 8 months I have written 162,508 words and my pieces have amassed 97,165 total views, the equivalent of approximately two full-length books, as gauged below, all at a scale I couldn’t have dreamt of.
At approximately 3265 subscribers at the time of writing, I have maintained a commendable pace in the amount of subscriber additions at an average of 405 Net Adds per Month, a feat I aim to accelerate into the new year as my work continues to reach a wider group of people:
I have also managed to maintain a high degree of engagement as my Substack has grown in size, with my average open rate across the last 8 months of work coming in at approximately 51%.
With these little snippets of past performance in mind, it is time to discuss my visions for the future of MT Capital Research. Starting off with the model of my newsletter service, I will continue to operate this for free for the considerable future. Viewing this as an investment in myself, I would like my work to reach the widest audience possible, something I feel is often hindered when research is published behind a paywall. I will switch to a paid model when the rate of growth has slowed in a considerable manner at a much higher scale (ideally 10,000+ free subs) and when I feel like I have built unshakable trust with my reader base. As for the content of my deep-dives, I believe I have settled into a groove writing about Technology Companies. With reference to the Deep Dive Stats outlined above, my most popular pieces have delved into Technology Companies that are extremely popular, but operate a business that is relatively complex in nature, i.e. Palantir, Affirm and dLocal, to name a few. I view the popularity of these pieces as an affirmation of what I am doing, i.e. releasing Tech Research that is understandable to the layman but also complex enough to add value to Institutional Investors. I will also be testing the waters with Tech IPOs this year, since I feel these are both under-covered on Substack and an undeniable value-add to the community.
Before parting ways for the remainder of 2021 I would like to discuss what I believe separates me from the pack of other writers. Many have stated that in order to be successful on Substack you must be the only one to do what you do, a statement I believe rings true in part, but has been predominantly false in my own experience. I am not the first writer to delve into the world of Technology Companies nor will I be the last. Despite that fact, I have reaped success thus far. I believe this phenomenon can be explained by two driving factors, the format/nature of my work and the work ethic that spurs it forward. Starting off with the former, I have structured all of my deep-dives in an extremely easy-to-digest format, with time being spent breaking down the company’s product/services in a way that can be understood by those with limited technical aptitude, while also providing analysis regarding financials and the driving KPIs of the business that is useful to someone that is already acquainted with said company. I will continue to structure my research as such. Moving on to the latter, I work harder than my peers. Although I do not come from a finance background, and thus will be hard pressed to provide the insight of an analyst that has years of experience under their belt, I am improving each day and I believe my recent piece on Coinbase in comparison to my first piece on Pinterest demonstrates exponential improvements. Therefore until I become a seasoned self-taught analyst, I will differentiate myself from my “competition” by putting in more hours and maintaining a content cadence I believe will prove very difficult to replicate.
Lastly, I would like to impart on you the following. Les Brown, a motivational speaker made an analogy that sticks with me to this day, something I have consistently reflected on at every stage of this journey and a heuristic of sorts that I use to keep myself motivated. I’m paraphrasing here but it goes something like this:
Imagine you’re on your deathbed - and standing around your bed are the ghosts representing your unfilled potential. The ghosts of the ideas you never acted on, the ghosts of the talents you didn’t use. They’re standing around your bed, angry, disappointed and upset. “We came to you because you could have brought us to life,” they say. “And now we’re going to your grave together.” How many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes?
I believe my work thus far is 100 percent reflective of a man pursuing his dream, a man that has put his all into his craft and a man with an unshakable belief in himself. Regardless of the end result of this endeavour, I believe, when I am old and wise one day, that I will be able to look back at these efforts with pride, knowing that I put the full extent of my effort into building something great.
For my friends and family that have supported me every step of the way, thank you. For those that didn’t believe in me, had the opportunity to offer support but chose not to, or laughed off my efforts, thank you as well, you added fuel to my fire. With all of this mind, I wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to delivering more top-notch content in January.
Matt from MT Capital Research.
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