"'A bull market is like sex

March 10th, 2014 by Terrence Miao No comments »

It feels best just before it ends.'"

Barton Biggs

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To illustrate certain fundamentals of investing:

March 9th, 2014 by Terrence Miao 1 comment »

• You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns. But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. Keep things simple and don’t swing for the fences. When promised quick profits, respond with a quick “no.”

• Focus on the future productivity of the asset you are considering. If you don’t feel comfortable making a rough estimate of the asset’s future earnings, just forget it and move on. No one has the ability to evaluate every investment possibility. But omniscience isn’t necessary; you only need to understand the actions you undertake.

• If you instead focus on the prospective price change of a contemplated purchase, you are speculating. There is nothing improper about that. I know, however, that I am unable to speculate successfully, and I am skeptical of those who claim sustained success at doing so. Half of all coin-flippers will win their first toss; none of those winners has an expectation of profit if he continues to play the game. And the fact that a given asset has appreciated in the recent past is never a reason to buy it.

• With my two small investments, I thought only of what the properties would produce and cared not at all about their daily valuations. Games are won by players who focus on the playing field – not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard. If you can enjoy Saturdays and Sundays without looking at stock prices, give it a try on weekdays.

• Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important (When I hear TV commentators glibly opine on what the market will do next, I am reminded of Mickey Mantle’s scathing comment: “You don’t know how easy this game is until you get into that broadcasting booth.”)

… …

Owners of stocks, however, too often let the capricious and often irrational behavior of their fellow owners cause them to behave irrationally as well. Because there is so much chatter about markets, the economy, interest rates, price behavior of stocks, etc., some investors believe it is important to listen to pundits – and, worse yet, important to consider acting upon their comments. Those people who can sit quietly for decades when they own a farm or apartment house too often become frenetic when they are exposed to a stream of stock quotations and accompanying commentators delivering an implied message of “Don’t just sit there, do something.” For these investors, liquidity is transformed from the unqualified benefit it should be to a curse.

A “flash crash” or some other extreme market fluctuation can’t hurt an investor any more than an erratic and mouthy neighbor can hurt my farm investment. Indeed, tumbling markets can be helpful to the true investor if he has cash available when prices get far out of line with values. A climate of fear is your friend when investing; a euphoric world is your enemy.

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Find useful information on internet today is as hard as try to find a piece of meat…

March 7th, 2014 by Terrence Miao No comments »

Find useful information on internet today is as hard as try to find a piece of meat in an enormous pile of dog turd.

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Messaging is a threat to Google and Facebook

March 2nd, 2014 by Terrence Miao 4 comments »

The desktop is dead. The web is dying. Messaging + mobile is an entire ecosystem that sidesteps their channel

• 450 million active users, and reached that number faster than any other company in history.
• 32 developers; one developer supports 14 million active users
• 50 billion messages every day across seven platforms (inbound + outbound)
• 1+ million people sign up every day
• > 8000 cores
• Hundreds of terabytes of RAM
• > 70M Erlang messages per second
• In 2011 WhatsApp achieved 1 million established tcp sessions on a single machine with memory and cpu to spare. In 2012 that was pushed to over 2 million tcp connections. In 2013 WhatsApp tweeted out: On Dec 31st we had a new record day: 7B msgs inbound, 11B msgs outbound = 18 billion total messages processed in one day!

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High Scalability – High Scalability – The WhatsApp Architecture Facebook Bought For $19 Billion

Rick Reed in an upcoming talk in March titled That’s ‘Billion’ with a ‘B’: Scaling to the next …
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Even international drug traffickers need investment advisers

March 2nd, 2014 by Terrence Miao No comments »

That was Robert Mazur's job when he went undercover for the US government in the 1980s and '90s. Posing as a Mob-connected businessman, he helped the Medellin drug cartel launder and invest its suitcases full of cash.

Investors live on hope and it's the criminal's job to take advantage of that hope. 

His clients were "the biggest crooks in the world," says Mazur, author of The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel.

Yet they "always told me that they don't gamble," Mazur says. "They don't take risk, which is why the stock market was of absolutely no interest to them."
  
Wait, criminals don't like risk? Murder, drug trafficking, fraud and bribery – all okay. But propose buying them shares of Twitter or Tesla, and they freak?

Investing, by definition, means trusting others. You must believe chief financial officers aren't cooking the books and rely on people like Mark Zuckerberg to make smart use of the billions at their disposal. For criminals who thrive on taking advantage of trust that's not an easy sell.

Convicted felon Sam E. Antar says stock-picking – trusting in people and numbers you can't directly verify – sets you up as a mark for the unscrupulous.

Antar was the chief financial officer of Crazy Eddie, Inc., an electronics chain led by Sam's cousin, Eddie Antar. The chain collapsed under the weight of its fraud in 1989. "Investors live on hope and it's the criminal's job to take advantage of that hope," Antar says.

The fact that he got caught is no consolation, Antar says. Regulators and investigative reporters have been losing the resources to uncover fraud. He points out, correctly, that the number of FBI white-collar crime prosecutions has fallen by half since the 1990s.

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A Beautifully Imperfect Relationship

February 27th, 2014 by Terrence Miao No comments »

A Beautifully Imperfect Relationship

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A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW…

February 26th, 2014 by Terrence Miao 3 comments »

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd… "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered "sure".

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep. "That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?", "OK, why not." answered the young man. "Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd. "That's correct." says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?" "No guessing required." answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don't know crap about my business…… Now give me back my dog."

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Can't get reimbursed, can't claim capital gain loss, can't sue the company…

February 25th, 2014 by Terrence Miao 4 comments »

Can't get reimbursed, can't claim capital gain loss, can't sue the company …

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Bitcoin’s Mt. Gox Shuts Down, Loses $409,200,000 Dollars — Recovery Steps and Taking Your Tax Losses
Mt. Gox’s shutdown is circulating like wildfire.  Its repercussions are being felt throughout the world.  Mt. Gox was the most public and well-known brand that represented Bitcoin’s exchange market.  The company’s shutdown is rumored to be caused by a “hack” or “security breach” that resulted in a loss up to [...]

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