Daniel Kao has always been fascinated with skill and knowledge acquisition. It’s not surprising then, Daniel graduated as a medical doctor and went on to acquire new skills in stock investing.
What’s your story?
I graduated as a medical doctor from National University of Singapore. All my life I’ve been fascinated with skill and knowledge acquisition. I’ve been pretty much an odd ball. Whilst my friends were studying at university, I found far greater joy engaging in creation and exploring new projects and ideas. Acquiring skills in unlikely fields always excited me.
While I’ve been humbly blessed – academic performance was fortuitously not an issue for me, I’ve beat myself down my whole life because I was told consistently that I lacked focus and did not put my heart into studying or working hard.
My life changed when I discovered the joy of stock investing through my readings, because with it came the understanding that stock investing was equivalent to understanding businesses. Stock investing made me see the wonders of the business world, where innovation and forward momentum are pivotal to success and growth. A world where there are no fixed protocols and constant change is the way to improvement!
In short, I knew I had found my passion in investing and business from that moment on.
I am thankful that I met my former mentor, a prominent value investor called Sean who ran a training centre called Value Investor College. He needed help with running the operations and I joined him as a trainer, and have never looked back.
Fast forward one and a half years, I am now blessed to be the Executive Director and Value Investing College has been acquired by a listed company (8I Holdings). We currently have established operations in four different countries.
What excites you most about your industry?
The immense value we impart to anyone who is willing to learn about investing in businesses. To the uninitiated, this can be a real eye opener. Knowing how wealth is multiplied in the equity markets – this knowledge has the potential to change lives and it really excites me.
On the other hand, I also see massive defensive value in understanding how investing works, because a lot of people are falling prey to scams and unsound investments.
What’s your connection to Asia?
We currently have established operations in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore with activities in Myanmar, India and Phillipines paving the way for expansion plans.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Everything is hardwired to incubate and facilitate businesses. Taxes are reasonable, infrastructure is there and government is extremely supportive.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Have a purpose for the company and this purpose must be value oriented. Give value to your customers and in return, your company will receive value. This is the only way for long term, sustainable growth.
Who inspires you?
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently, I’ve been revisiting the concept of economic moats with a fresh perspective, both as an investor as well as business owner. I cannot overemphasize the importance of moats. They are all around us in thriving businesses.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I regret nothing and believe all experiences (good and bad) I’ve been through culminate to the person I am today. Everyday I’m thankful.
How do you unwind?
I take long walks in quiet areas close to nature.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan. I love the people there. There’s a good mix of nature and city.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Shameless plug for your business:
Value Investing College is a leading regional training ground when it comes towards the delivery of financial knowledge in the area of stock investing. Led by a team of experienced investors with a sole mission to touch more lives with the power of stock investing, it is no wonder that VIC is the vibrant and active community it is today. With both fun and insightful programmes, VIC provides a strong platform for learning how to navigate the stock markets of today with the age-old and proven techniques of Value Investing.
How can people connect with you?
Facebook – search for Dr. Daniel Kao
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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