Value, not growth, to matter for next 1-2 years: Sunil Singhania

6 months, 9 days ago

2019 would be a change in the sense that foreign inflows should also be quite strong both on the equity and fixed income side, Sunil Singhania, Founder, Abakkus Asset Manager, tells ET Now.Edited excerpts: Will it be a great 2019 for investors or is this going to be another challenging year? First of all, any equity investor has to be optimistic. If one is not optimistic, then one should not be an equity investor. Also, in a growing economy it makes sense to be optimistic. As far as challenges are concerned, we have seen many challenges over the last few years and these will continue. I think that is the essence of life. Notwithstanding the challenges and notwithstanding fact that 2018 was a very challenging year, we remain quite optimistic about 2019 and the years forward. But sometimes you have to be realistic. I mean in 2008, if you had become optimistic, then your optimism did not help. Now you are talking and comparing it to a very different year where it was euphoric. I do not see that in the last three-four years we have at any point of time been euphoric except for a period of six months when specifically on the mid and smallcaps we had become euphoric. The world overall has not been euphoric and that makes us believe we are not seeing an overboard kind of a market where people are long left, right and centre and are over-leveraged, In fact, it is the reverse. People have been very cautious. Investors have not been investing as aggressively as maybe their cash balances in the bank are. There is definitely not an over-leveraged situation, not only in India but anywhere else in the world. The situation is far different from the year you mentioned. What makes you so hopeful? 2018 was a year full of uncertainties — be it on crude, on geopolitical situations or for that matter currency. Do you believe that maybe finally after that long wait, we are going to see earning recovery kick in from the next quarter itself? You mentioned it all. Oil has been a godsend for us. From $85, we are down to $53-54. Fundamentally at least, we do not see oil moving beyond $60-65 even in the medium to long-term. Currency has come back to $70. If you see the last 20 years of trend on an average, rupee depreciates by anyway between 3% and 3.25% a year but that is like a step of function. We have a 10-12% depreciation and then the rupee stabilises for three-four years. It is fair to presume that after this 10% depreciation, rupee should be quite stable for the next three-four years. Inflation is down and going forward, the way oil prices have corrected, does not seem to be inching up despite the fact that we expect the minimum support prices (MSP) for a lot of farm products to be increased and consequently the 10-year G-Sec yields have fallen to 7.25%. Internationally, there was this fear that US interest rates might inch up to 4%. They have actually fallen to 2.65%. US markets have been volatile but again my view is that it is a very healthy market and I am quite optimistic even on the US equity markets given the fact that the S&P 500 is trading at like 14-14.5 times earning which is like 7% yield in a country where the interest rates are at 3%. On the flows front, we have always had good domestic inflows over the last three-four years. My view is that 2019 would be a change in the sense that foreign inflows should also be quite strong both on the equity and fixed income side. The last point which you also touched upon is earnings. It is generally led by a couple of sectors, predominantly corporate banks. We expect earnings for FY20 to inch up to 20% plus in terms of growth. Obviously a large part of that would be contributed by corporate banks but other small sectors should also kick in. Overall, given the fact that we are not in a very euphoric zone, we are may be at around 16 times FY20 earnings and three-four months ahead, we would start to discount FY21, I think there is reasonable optimism both on the economy front as well as from market front. My only concern with the current environment is that are we underestimating the fall in US markets? I remember this kind of situation happening in 2007 when world discovered a problem call subprime. Indian markets started outperforming for many months. Today we can take a lot of pride in saying that US market has gone down but we were up in December. We are better and we have better growth. But will that really last for a long period of time? Again you are comparing two different times and situations. 2007. as you rightly said was more of a crash over leveraged position. And in fact, I was yesterday seeing the documentary The Big Short. It is incidental that we are talking about it today. It was more about the banking system being levered up like 40 times. If you see the banking system in the US now, it is very healthy compared to 2007, in terms of their capital adequacy, in terms of their profitability etc. Second. we are not looking at PEs of 40-50 times in US. We are looking at a PE of 14.5 times for S&P 500. Again just to give you a perspective, there was a trillion-dollar buyback in US in 2018. If you add the last five years of buybacks, they have totalled around $4 trillion which is almost 20% to 25% of the market cap of the US. We are seeing companies having huge cash balances, having huge cash profits. The economy is doing very well. If you go to US and you just talk to people, there is hardly any unemployment. In fact, there is shortage, specifically on the technology side of people. I do not see a scenario of something like 2007-08 even near that and I would say that definitely things are much better and very different from 2007-08. As far as markets are concerned, even there we had this phenomena of the FAANG stocks among the technology stocks, where there was a little bit of over-optimism and those are the stocks which have fallen the most over the last three-four months. So one segment had moved up very sharply and has fallen equally sharply. It is similar to what we had in India where midcaps and small caps went up sharply, they fell sharply or quality was getting unusual premium and wherever that quality has disappointed a little bit, you have seen a sharp fall. It is more a case of over-optimism in a few stocks or a few sectors getting patted down and the fall is more pronounced there. Again, just to conclude, I do not see a scenario of like a meltdown of 2007-08, I do not see it as enything near that. In fact, if I were an investor, I would also bet on the US markets from here on.We had some interesting data thrown up yesterday with respect to the Russell 2000. A 10% fall historically has been followed by a positive year. Perhaps we could see that for the midcap index as well? Where are you seeing opportunity within the midcap universe?Over last three years, we have seen challenges which were quite significant compared to what we have seen earlier and those challenges meant that investors got comfort in the so-called growth stocks or companies which were not impacted by what was happening on the economy front. So, consumption and quality got disproportionate PE. What we are seeing now is that some kind of multiples are not sustainable if we have even a slight sort of correction in their growth rates. And we have seen that with a large innerwear company and a two-wheeler company, how the multiples have corrected very sharply. My view is that over the next one two years, value will take precedence over growth. Companies which have been slowly growing but have not seen rapid growth have been ignored by the investors and a lot of those companies are on the mid and smallcap side. Going forward, maybe companies which have value and which have been in sectors that have been ignored for their challenging past like may be a construction company, some old gen companies, capex companies. Moving towards them because they have seen sustainable addition to their balance sheet in terms of strength, in terms of their cash and the high PE stocks which were getting unusual flows just because they were performing well. Maybe, it is time to see money moving out of them into so-called value and predominantly they are even on the mid and smallcap side.I was hoping you will get slightly more specific in terms of what are the themes you are betting on.There are a lot of power generation and distribution companies which are now trading at like 7-8 times cash PE multiples. It has been sort of a taboo sector because of all the stress they have undergone over the last four, five years. But going forward, India is a growing economy and we are seeing power demand growing at 7-8%. If we believe that there is going to be power for all and standard of living is going to improve, there is going to be growth in the power generation side as well as on the distribution side because you need to take the power right to the final customers. Also, there has not been any significant addition to capacities. So, companies which have good assets on the generation and distribution side, which have balance sheets that are not stressed or which can raise a question mark regarding their survival, some of these companies will do well. Also on the EPC side, one interesting phenomenon in the September results which we were analysing is the fact that for the first time after a lot of years we have seen EPC companies not only start to generate 15-18% ROE, but have also seen their debt levels go down. This is a dream for an investor in EPC companies because over last 7-8 years, EPC companies have only seen their balance sheets bloat by higher and higher debt. These are some interesting observations and obviously there are other companies in sectors which have been ignored because they do not grow fast. It may be a very boring sector but a few textile companies would be worth looking at. They are boring, they do not grow fast but with the kind of cash which some of these companies are generating maybe in the next three, four years, you will have one period where they will give like 50-100% return. From investor point of view, we have to find whether returns can be made in a block of three, four, five years or whether you are looking at making returns every week or every month. If you are in the former category where you are cognisant of the fact that returns will be made but you are indifferent whether returns will be made in three months but ultimately will be made in a block of three, five years, there will be a lot of companies which will keep on improving their cash flows, balance sheets and that is where the focus should be. On the other hand, there are companies which are doing well, which are growing and have huge brand value, huge ROEs and are at 60-70-80 PE .I do not see a scenario of these companies making you a lot of money unless the growth rates can last for 10, 20 years. So, on the consumption side, our view is that one should stick to consumer discretionary where the penetration is still low, where you can still hope to grow in double digits for the next 10-15 years and I think one of my favourite themes, the beverages sector comes into play. But there are a few emerging discretionary consumption stories which can also be looked at but for a consumer staple kind of companies to give 50-60 PE at least I do not find merit in that.Since you track the financials very, very closely where else do you find opportunities? Can PSBs be looked at right now? Corporate banks are a sort of a consensus trade but despite that, decent returns should be made there because even now, the markets are underestimating the recovery as far as earnings is concerned. On the other sub themes, we like select niche NBFCs. The current issue over the last three, four months has meant that the competition from new NBFCs will reduce quite significantly. On the other hand, NBFCs which are well capitalised, which have a history of managing risk quite nicely over the last five, 10 years will get a disproportionate sort of growth opportunities because of lack of competition or reduction in competition. On the other sub themes we like insurance as a theme though we would like to wait for the markets to give us an opportunity which is much more entailing. I believe that India is going to grow in terms of both asset as well as wealth management businesses because of the huge savings which we have and despite under-penetration, select wealth management companies which we can play through maybe a few brokerages definitely looks to be a good option. A good thing is that valuations now are much more reasonable than what they were three, six months back and at this point of time, we would be very constructive in quite a few NBFCs across different segments. A few areas where we still have issues are obviously again the consensus kind of things which are wholesale funded with a lot of exposure towards real estate. That is one segment where we are not seeing an uptick at least as far as the high end residential markets are concerned.A lot of regulatory headwinds and savings which were going into real estate from an investment perspective have completely stopped and that also makes us believe that those savings will come into the asset/wealth management space. You are better off playing the savings part through the asset/wealth management companies rather than trying to bet on NBFCs which are more exposed towards real estate.Since you are bullish on asset managers, would you buy your previous company Reliance Nippon AMC? It is a listed pure asset management company?As I said, the business of asset management as well as wealth management is definitely good. There are near-term headwinds predominantly from the regulatory front. The reason I started my own company Abakkus is because of the fact that I am quite bullish on this segment and at this point of time my biggest investment in asset management company would be in my company.

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My Personal Journey on How I Went From Sick to Healthy

11 months, 4 days ago

By Dr. Mercola

This website was created 21 years ago, in 1997, when I combined my two primary passions in life — health and technology — and made it my mission to share exciting new developments in natural health with a wider audience.

Thanks to you, this site has become one of the most visited natural health websites in the world for the last 12 years, with more than 10 million unique visitors each month and more than 80 million unique visitors annually.

Because of your loyal support, we’ve slowly but surely awakened the world to the false promises of the fatally flawed conventional medical view, which claims disease is best treated with drugs, and that the government knows what’s best for your health and should be allowed to dictate your health options.

In the video above, I discuss my own journey toward health, which ultimately led me to my present-day philosophies and recommendations.

This video and article were initially published during three years ago during anniversary week. It was a big hit, and since we’ve had a significant influx of new subscribers since then, I’m rerunning it for those who missed it.

Learning Through Experience

Experience is a formidable teacher, and much of what I’m teaching today grew out of the lessons I learned as I tried to get healthier. I made plenty of mistakes, and fell for many of the lies, deceptions and confusion of conventional medicine.

Like so many others, I grew up eating cereal for breakfast, and I fully believed margarine was healthy. My diet was high in carbs and sugars and low in fat, and there’s little doubt this played a significant role in dental decay, which I struggled with throughout a large portion of my life.

By the time I was an adult, I had a mouth full of amalgam fillings. Eventually, I discovered the truth about amalgam — that it’s actually 50 percent mercury — and in 2009 I approached Charlie Brown (president of the Alliance for Mercury Free Dentistry) at a Health Freedom Expo in Chicago.

At that event, I offered to partner with him to raise awareness about mercury in dentistry and to help get this toxin out of dentistry for good.

It’s been a highly successful partnership, and on October 10, 2013, a legally binding international treaty to control the use of this toxic metal was signed into action, thanks largely to the work of the Campaign for Mercury-Free Dentistry, the project organized and led by Charlie Brown.

The treaty, named the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, requires the phasing out of many mercury-containing products by 2020. Importantly, the treaty marks the beginning of the end for dental amalgam around the world, as it mandates each nation phase down amalgam use, effective immediately.

Since then, I’ve partnered with a number of select health and research organizations that are true health advocates and educators, including GrassrootsHealth, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

Together, we’ve formed a nonprofit coalition known as Health Liberty, dedicated to improving fundamental education to all on important health, food safety, and informed consent issues.

A Lifelong Passion for Exercise Got Me Into Medicine

My mother instilled in me a passion for reading. In 1968 I picked up Dr. Ken Cooper’s book, “Aerobics,” which sparked a lifelong passion for exercise as I have been exercising regularly for the last 48 years, never taking more than a few days off at any one time.

Cooper actually designed the exercise program for the NASA astronauts, but aside from keeping astronauts fit in an antigravity environment, exercise wasn’t viewed very favorably down here on Earth.

When I first took up running, people would throw things at me because they thought I was some kind of hooligan or criminal running from the scene of a crime! People simply did not run “for no reason” back in the ’60s.

I was a freshman in high school when the first man landed on the moon. Along with the rest of the nation, this event captured my attention and I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. The quickest way to do that was to join the Air Force Academy.

Unfortunately, it was tough getting a congressional appointment to get in, so in the meantime, I continued my education, focusing on engineering. I later switched to pre-med — in large part because I was so excited about exercise and health.

At the very beginning of med school, one of my professors told our class that by the time we graduated, most of what we were being taught would be outdated or obsolete.

The key element of our education was really teaching us how to learn, and that has stuck with me ever since. I never reached a point where I thought I know it all and don’t need to learn any more. In essence, med school taught me how to become a perpetual student, and that attitude has served me well.

Unfortunately, most doctors ignore that message and get stuck practicing what in essence is outdated medicine.

Nutrition as Medicine

Conventional medicine is excellent at diagnosing disease, but where it fails miserably is in the treatment approaches. It typically focuses on treating the symptoms, not the root cause, and it does so using toxic drugs that frequently cause problems that are more dangerous than the original complaint.

The discovery of nutrition as a method of healing was nothing short of revolutionary for me. It really opened my eyes and gave me a whole different perspective on health and healing.

I began scouring the medical and lay literature on nutrition, and started attending conferences on alternative healing modalities, typically every month, to acquire the knowledge and skills to help people heal.

I would then apply what I’d learned in my medical practice and get tremendous results — so much so I finally reached the point where I said, “This stuff really works!” and with that, I made a commitment to practice medicine without drugs.

When I notified my patients of this new direction, 70 percent of them left. They were unwilling to quit using the drugs they were on and to address their health problems with nutrition and other lifestyle changes.

This turned out to be a blessing, as the patients I had left really wanted to get better and were willing to do the work. Eventually, word spread about their healing successes, and over the years I ended up treating patients from all over the world.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Over the past 21 years, I’ve often been among the first in the media to communicate commonsense strategies of healing and staying well naturally to the wider audience. The truth is your body has an innate ability to heal. It is designed to move toward health and away from disease, provided you give it the basic support it needs in terms of nutrition, physical movement, exposure to sunlight and myriad other natural health strategies.

For example, I began talking about the importance of vitamin D for health beyond rickets back in 2000, and have warned people about the adverse effects of shunning sun exposure for over 18 years. Thankfully, the medical literature has now firmly established that vitamin D is essential for health, and that deficiency plays a role in dozens of chronic diseases.

Eighteen years ago I also began blowing the whistle on genetically engineered (GE) foods, warning people to avoid them in order to protect their health. Now, the public discussion about GE foods has finally been brought to the fore, and grassroots efforts have led to ballot initiatives to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in dozens of states, with major media outlets like National Geographic reporting that genetically engineered foods are a dangerous fraud.

Fight Against Mercury and Fluoride Continues

In 1998, I warned my readers to avoid dentists who still use mercury amalgams in their practice, having learned that painful lesson myself. Amalgams really have no place in modern dentistry. It’s an antiquated practice, and it simply makes no sense to place a known neurotoxin inches away from your brain. As noted earlier, the international treaty on mercury now heralds the beginning of the end of mercury in dentistry.

Also in 1998, I began writing about the hazards of water fluoridation, pointing out that fluoride is a toxic drug that accumulates in your body and can destroy human enzymes. Since then, the evidence against fluoride as a panacea for dental caries has only gotten stronger, and the fight to get fluoride out of municipal water supplies continues. Here, we’re partnered with FAN, which is intent (as am I) to eliminate fluoride from drinking water not just in the U.S., but around the world.

As all of these examples show, it usually takes a decade or more to reverse deeply ingrained medical myths, no matter how unscientific their basis. But eventually, the truth does tend to prevail, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before water fluoridation is seen for what it really is — one of the biggest public health blunders in U.S. history, opposed to being one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Last year, the U.S. government finally admitted Americans have been overexposed to fluoride, and for the first time since 1962 lowered the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water. It’s not enough, but it’s a move in the right direction. I’ve also begun working with an organization in Mexico that is developing a low-tech fluoride removal system that even poorer rural communities will be able to use to make their drinking water safer.

Early Warnings Issued — Years in Advance

In 2006, I began warning about the artificial sweetener aspartame, convinced it was one of the most dangerous additives in the food supply. Since then, the medical literature has become filled with studies demonstrating its harmful effects. Not only do artificial sweeteners actually promote obesity, they also worsen diabetes, and it’s fraught with side effects. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received more health complaints stemming from aspartame than ALL other food additives combined.

I was the first in the media to issue a stern warning against Vioxx. In 1999 I uncovered a study that showed people taking this drug were at massively increased risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and I published this information in my newsletter.

I actually issued the first public warning about Vioxx while it was still in clinical trials — a year before it became available by prescription. I predicted Vioxx would be pulled from the market once the increased cardiac deaths were finally recognized and, indeed, that’s exactly what happened — but not before more than 60,000 people had died from taking the blockbuster drug.

Take Control of Your Health, for Life!

I would encourage anyone who feels skeptical to really evaluate the evidence and put some of these healthy lifestyle principles to the test, because the ultimate proof for most people is their own experience. It either works or it doesn’t. You feel better and get healthier, or you don’t. My mantra is “Take Control of Your Health,” and my goal is to teach you how to get off the merry-go-round of drugs, which typically treat only the symptoms while actually deteriorating your health.

Drugs can also be lethal, and even when properly prescribed and administered they kill hundreds of thousands of people each year. My message is: There are safer, less expensive alternatives that can truly address the root cause of your disease. Invariably, reclaiming health and treating disease involves addressing your diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, most of which cost little or nothing.

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Coding and autism: Learning the skills I need to start a tech career

11 months, 10 days ago

“Being exposed to what happens at a company from top to bottom, all the steps in a project, this is exactly the kind of exposure and introduction I needed. ‘Hi tech industry, I’ve heard a lot about you. my name is Peter, nice to meet you.'”

This guest blog post is by Peter M. Souza Jr. He is 34-years old, from California. At age 33, he was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. He is in his 8th week of Coding Autism.

For me, this opportunity means I am no longer working alone. For years I studied code on my own, learning a hand-full of languages, with no cohesive direction other than accomplishing small coded tasks, always wondering what the industry needs me to learn in order for me to obtain a position of employment. Being eternally frustrated and driven to increase my value and the quality of my work, I studied with every free hour I had, running myself in circles of fatigue. With Coding Autism, I can now see the whole picture, the picture i've been trying to see, the mystery of the industry, the information that isn't available online through code tutorials, the true and honest inner workings of the industry. This course has just begun for me but immediately I had a deep sense of home and hope and optimism, knowing that finally I have a place to put all my energy and a great of group of people who can direct me and be patient with me while I learn the skills I need in order to help myself in the future. I feel relieved knowing that I have help moving into a more self sufficient state of being.

Coding Autism will help my career development in so many ways, it's helping me learn everything about the industry that I didn't know, and didn't know how to research. I'm learning how to organize and present detailed project roadmaps that I can present to employers or employees. This course is also giving me exposure with people of different skill levels, it's teaching me how to teach, and teaching me how to learn. Being exposed to what happens at a company from top to bottom, all the steps in a project, this is exactly the kind of exposure and introduction I needed. "Hi tech industry, I've heard a lot about you. my name is Peter, nice to meet you."

The importance of this course is immediately recognized by just hearing its name, and if that isn't enough to convince you then take a look into their curriculum and their additional student services. I have tried to get into coding courses previously, even invited back for second try-outs. One course in particular had a great program and I was able to keep up with one student who had a computer science degree, even though his typing (wpm) was a little faster than mine. I was ultimately permanently rejected, no opportunity to ever join or try-out, ever. Growing up mostly alone and having only a few close friends, I didn't recognize that I was on the autism spectrum until I was 33 years old. I see the world in a different way, sometimes its a more simple and direct way, and sometimes its in loops of complication, Coding Autism has people available to me who know this, and know how to help me build a bridge from one mind to another, and from a problem to a solution. Coding Autism has the industry partnerships that I would never be able to discover on my own, or would take me many more years of struggling to find. 

I found out about Coding Autism from talking to Oliver Thornton, the Founder and CEO of Coding Autism. I was working at a gym at the time, and he was a member, I used to see him regularly and sometimes I would be working on code practice and talk to him about it, he mentioned Coding Autism one day (before I knew i was on the spectrum) and I was so interested in it because I love helping people and working for a good cause. I occasionally asked him if there were updates on the progress of the program and chit chat, it was really nice to see someones dream coming to life… and now to be a part of it!

NXT GEN Coders Program powered by GameStop

GameStop gives logoIn an effort to encourage the development of programs that teach digital skills to people across the autism spectrum, Autism Speaks and GameStop have teamed up to create the NXT GEN Coders Program. Powered by GameStop and administered by Autism Speaks, the grant will support programs to teach people with autism of all ages critical coding and computer programming skills. Applicants must be established organizations that offer coding and/or computer programming. Grant funding may go towards scholarship assistance for program participation to those in financial need and/or program enhancements to meet the needs of the participants with autism. Grants are up to $25,000.

Requirements to apply are the following:

You must be an established organization, with staff, infrastructure and a physical location that offers coding and/or computer programming.

You must have trained staff leading the program, or have a specific plan to acquire and/or train additional staff to work with participants with autism.

You must have a plan in place for sustainability of your program as well as follow up with graduates of your program.

Status: Open until August 31! APPLY HERE!

Note: Recipients will be announced in November.

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My narcassist father is controlling and abusive, what do I do?

11 months, 14 days ago

I am 20 years old female, syrian and I live in Abu Dhabi (UAE). My father has all the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and he abuses me and my mother emotionally, psychological, verbally and financially. My oldest brother has down syndrom and autism. He brother gets physcially abused almost everyday. He once broke his jaw and lied to the police that he harmmed himself. He takes my brother out maximum 4 times in a month, so basically he is locked up pretty much all the time. When my mother wants to go out alone, he threats her to beat him.

We all feel like we are prisoners. He is very controlling. If I want to go out like for a walk, I have to beg for permission. Although he is financially well off, he makes me beg for money for basic needs and doesnt allow me to work. If I insist, he threatens to drop me out of university. Honestly he forced me into engineering school and I hate my major. If he cuts finiancial help I woundn't mind much, but I am afraid I will be trapped at home.

This has been affecting me a lot that I attempted suicide two years ago. Athough I mentioned the phsyciological abuse, the staff there were rude to me and the police threatened me that I'll be sent to jail if I do it again. No therapy. No help. Nothing.

My mother doesn't want to divorce. She tells me to wait for 2 years until I graduate so I become resposnible for her and my siblings financially. I don't see how that will slove the problem and I don't want to be responsible for anyone. I can move out after I graduate and cut contact, but I'll feel guilty for leaving my siblings behind. What do I do?

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I have autism & I turned my passion for sports into my dream job

11 months, 25 days ago

“I want to do more than share my story. I want to become an ambassador for the autism community and a mentor for aspiring sports professionals. I want to continue enduring obstacles and improve my interpersonal skills.”

This blog post is by Tyler Marcotte, I’m 24-years old from Plymouth, Massachusetts. At 9, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Today, I’m a Member Experience Executive for the Boston Celtics.

Where It All Started: I was first introduced to basketball when I was seven. While I enjoyed the game, I have sensitive hearing so it was difficult to watch. When attending local games, I left the gym early each quarter and cover my ears before the buzzer sounded. Sometimes I watched the clocks more than the games themselves. The sound of the players’ sneakers squeaking the floor and referees blowing their whistles made me jump from my seat. When playing basketball, anytime the ball was in my hands and the buzzer about to sound, I passed it to a teammate in order to cover both my ears in-time. Growing up, basketball was tough for me as both a spectator and player, but I loved the game and appreciated it more as a teenager.

First Game, Lasting Memories: In 2006 my dad surprised me with tickets to my first Celtics game; I was excited but also skeptical. How will I handle watching the game in a larger venue with rambunctious fans? I had difficulty watching in a high school gym with just over 100 people. Despite a few dilemmas, it was an unforgettable day. Our seats were directly across from the Celtics bench. After the game, my Dad brought me to the Pro Shop and bought a Paul Pierce jersey that I still have today. Even though I covered my ears a few times and they lost, I loved every minute of that day and my love for basketball and the Celtics grew.

Welcome to Celtics Pride: In 2008, shortly after the Celtics won their 17th Championship, I received a call from my Dad informing me that he became a Season Ticket Member. I was very excited for him but had no idea what a season ticket member was. From 2008-2011 my Dad was a member and I’ll always remember attending games and events with him. Spending those few years with him will be something I will cherish forever.

The Final Quarter: I was starting my Freshmen year of college and my Dad became ill. He was constantly in the hospital and was physically impossible for him to attend any games. He usually gave me the tickets and suggested bringing somebody. I usually couldn’t find anyone to join me, so I either sold them or kept the tickets as souvenirs. My dad’s condition worsened and in the Spring of 2012 he passed away. My biggest regret was that I took everything for granted with him and never showed enough gratitude.

Dream Come True: I always dreamt about one day working for a team I grew up loving and idolizing. After graduating, I spent the next few years working in Minor League Baseball hoping to take my career to the next level. I applied for a job opening with the Celtics and in December received a call that changed my life forever. When I attained the Member Experience Executive position I called my family members and people who supported me throughout my sports career. However, there was one person I wanted to really thank for making this possible.

Everything Comes Full Circle: In 2010, my dad brought me to a College Job Fair hosted by the Celtics. After the event, I asked why he wanted me to attend being the only high school student there. He replied, “one day, you will understand.” He knew my passion for sports and saw potential to do something with it in my life; I didn’t realize it at the time. Four years later, I attended another networking and job fair hosted by the Celtics. After leaving the event, I knew a sports career was the path for me. It took eight years to recognize what my Dad saw in me. I mentioned earlier my biggest regret was taking the experiences I had with him for granted. I’m blessed with my role at the Celtics because I have the chance to help people create similar memories I had with my Dad. By having them cherish those moments, that’s how I express my gratitude towards him.

The Next Chapter: I want to do more than share my story. I want to become an ambassador for the autism community and a mentor for aspiring sports professionals. I want to continue enduring obstacles and improve my interpersonal skills. I said this back in 2016 but I truly believe individuals with Aspergers Syndrome and ASD will shatter glass ceilings creating more opportunities for others. As Kevin Garnett said after winning the 2008 NBA Championship, “Anything is possible!"

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Florida man who pretended to be an Australian jihadist has been jailed for 10 years

1 year, 19 days ago

MelbourneChris Hopkins/ Getty Images

A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after posing as a jihadist online and planning to blow up a building. 
Joshua Ryne Goldberg had a number of unusual online personas, and reportedly became fixated on stoking fears of a terror attack in Australia. 
Law enforcement began investigating Goldberg for his online discussions prior to a 2015 shooting in Garland, Texas.
Shortly before his arrest, Goldberg instructed an FBI informant to place a bomb at a firefighter’s memorial event for first responders killed in the September 11th attacks in Kansas City, Missouri.

A Florida man was sentenced to 10 years in a federal medical prison facility, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, after posing online as a jihadist and planning to blow up a building. 

Joshua Ryne Goldberg, 23, of Orange Park, Florida, pled guilty in December to a number of charges including attempting to destroy a building with explosives. Goldberg, who is on the Autism spectrum, lived with his parents and spent 14 to 20 hours a day online posing as different personas on forums, SBS reported, citing the hearing at the US District Court in Jacksonville. According to the report, Goldberg suffered depression and became fixated on stoking fears of a terror attack in Australia. See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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