Patient Capital: How long is the long run?

If you invest in an education, you expect it to pay off in a decade.

Invest in a buy and hold investment, and you probably expect a return within a year.

Day trade bitcoin and you might be measuring your return over the course of an hour.

if you wanted to make a long-term impact on a growing country like India, what would you do?

One choice is to invest in the endless emergency of poverty, and help people who need help right this second. This is important and lifesaving work.

Another choice is to put some money into a fast-growing company that’s about to go public.

And a third option is to invest in an organization that’s bringing off-grid solar to isolated villages.

In the third case, it’s possible that your investment won’t pay off for twenty years. But during those two decades, you’ll notice that a little energy leads to enough productivity to create demand and income that can pay for a little more energy. Home by home, village by village, your small investment begins to compound, because it changes the culture and the tools and the expectations that people have about what’s next.

A day trader would never take this bet. But a day trader rarely makes an impact.