The Balanced Investor Blog is born!
Updated: Nov 30, 2022
Welcome to the first blog post of The Balanced Investor! I am thrilled to be writing to you about how you can build wealth confidently and without fear of market volatility as we do at Barton TVC. Unless you already know me, you may be asking yourself, "Why should I listen to you about investing?" Fair question. Please allow me to tell short story that will lead to an answer that will hopefully leave you wanting to learn more.
I started my career in the 1980's when I worked at MCI Telecommunications selling voice and data services to mid-large enterprise business customers. Later, President Clinton signed the Telecom Reform Act of 1996 that allowed cableTV companies, the Bell companies and the traditional long distance carriers to compete in each others' territories and product lines freely. A trillion dollar industry wide open for competition! So I left my job at MCI and founded two telecommunications companies, one of which would become my primary toil for the next 25 years of my life.
From the very beginning, the company's purpose was rooted in a simple concept: we wanted to compete with the 'Big 3" - AT&T, Verizon and Sprint - for their under-serviced large business customers. We lacked a recognizable brand, infrastructure or the regulatory status to create and market communications services in the USA and we had limited capital to invest. But I had the know-how as a seasoned telecom professional and understood the financial benefit to owning and operating a telecom carrier versus simply selling on behalf of the established major carriers for a commission as an independent broker So I took a risk and invested my savings to open an office, hire our first employees, obtain the necessary state and federal licensing for 49 states, set up billing systems and finance/accounting infrastructure and then went to work finding customers.
But then something happened.
Along the way, after a few years of accomplishments and setbacks, I had an epiphany: the telecom industry had over 25,000 independent entities selling services on behalf the established carriers a brokers for a commission. But these brokers had little control over the suppliers' customer process and didn't control pricing or "own" the customer base they were bringing to the carrier. What if we could somehow package a branded service that delivered all the benefits of being the supplier carrier and controlling the customer relationships without having to go through the pain and risk of operationally building a telecom company from scratch like I did? Effectively making these sales people virtual owners of their own brand, customers and back office - without the operational headaches - so they could focus on finding new customers - but at improved profitability that we passed on to them! Our first trade show exhibition that launched the concept resulted in $25 million of multi-year contracts. We hit pay dirt and the company never looked back.
So what does this have to do with investing? Well, what caused our success at that tradeshow was rooted in some simple concepts :
Culture of transparency and education - Telecommunications is a granular, highly complex environment with hundreds of products each possessing their own additional features and complexities which morph further depending on supplier. We simplified this for our customers and partners by consulting with them as a single source for all these products and carriers. They received a consistent, high-quality experience at a great price and they were enriched with "behind-the-curtain" knowledge rarely given by our competitors which in turn, made them more savvy.
We simplified the experience - Many of our services were repackaged products of many other suppliers put on one customer invoice regardless of network or geography. So we essentially carried the product lines of every every mainstream internet and telephone service provider but we were a single source of knowledge on each. This streamlined selection of the appropriate solution with a cost/benefit analysis for each.
We ate our own dog food. Because we purchased everything that appeared on the customer bill and took the liability for its performance, customers bought confidently knowing we stood behind everything on their invoice. This included small customers and our esteemed Fortune 500 clients.
We created measurable incremental financial value - Because we educated our brokers to understand the inherent costs, margins, performance and risks of each product they sold, they could create better packages enriching themselves and saving their customers money in the process.
Those four concepts are the premise for my founding Barton TVC. Simplify the complex investment process, provide transparent, behind-the-curtain knowledge, provide this at lower, competitive cost and most of all: we only present what we buy and own ourselves with performance known up front. How many financial advisors or brokers do you know you can make that claim?
As a sophisticated investor and entrepreneur with decades of successful investing experience across many asset classes including commercial/residential real estate sales & development, venture and growth private equity, pubic equity portfolios and a variety of fixed income traditional and alternative strategies, I feel now is the time to do exactly what we did in telecom. Confidently building a balanced portfolio requires knowledge and skill that most investors either lack time or patience to learn. I want to share this knowledge across a broad set of asset classes and experiences with like-minded investors to expedite their creation of a balanced and far less volatile strategy that meets their life goals.
Our approach is NOT to sell securities like a commissioned financial services broker. We intend on building a subscription model to a portfolio and our investment knowledge-base via the pending Barton TVC Investing Club. More on that to follow in 2023.
This blog will present some of these concepts and our progress on the Barton TVC Investing Club and our portfolios. I am so excited to begin the journey with you.
Thanks for taking the time!