Bailing out companies

One of the most important duties of any CEO is to deploy capital to generate returns for the company as well as shareholders. Since 2008 the amount of buybacks means, the leadership bought the company’s own share to boost the price of the shares and be rewarded! My view on this is explained best by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

 

Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You

 

And if you do not know what buybacks are, below is the video which can help.

 

There is a silver lining

News headlines like these create sensation instead of proving an insight that is helpful. Absolutely, when people are working from home, their energy consumption, i.e. gas and electricity will shoot up. It’s obvious. However, if you see the amount of time spent commuting will be reduced, fuel for a private car or ticket fares will be saved and most important time that they can spend with their family will go up. And the reason work from is mandatory is for their own safety. How much money do you put on the health of you and your loved ones?

When you consider all these points, the small price you pay in increased utility bills seems insignificant.

What do you do? Outsource

Today I took the delivery of a layout on a technical indicator. I have been using this indicator for over six months, but I wanted certain things added to it so that it visually becomes crystal clear with its signals. I got a developer to do this for me. I had to pay him fees, brief him, test the custom indicator.

I love to outsource things. I believe that is the best use of my time. Can I learn to code? Absolutely but the amount of time that it would take would not justify the effort from my perspective. You can very well choose not to pay the developer and learn to code yourself. I have always valued my time over money. Convenience is king as they. Having said that I do invest time in learning new skills, but I choose which skills these are where I am ready to invest my time and effort.

Imagine if you have a heartache, you consult a Cardiologist, and you do not start to learn Cardiology! The same principle applies here, I sought the developer who I was able to afford but was an expert in the field compared to me. You need to be able to leverage other’s expertise.

I have acquired a lot of skills over a period of time, and I can say I am Jack of all but Master of none. I am generalist, mile wide inch deep, and I am OK with it. Most of my friends disagree with me. They expect me to acquire these skills, and I choose to outsource it.

This reminds me of a scene from the 2015 movie Steve Jobs.

 

History

While growing up we were told to focus on science and maths. Ignore history and humanities subject. Smart people do science.

In my mid thirties and I find myself more interested in our history. Our history informs us where we have come from. And fascinating thing about learning and being aware of history is, you appreciate more of the present. The road we to to get here was difficult but we made it.

If you want to know where you are headed you need to know where you come from.

Blame – eternal vs internal

To quote Mark Douglas from the book, Trading in the Zone (2000) page 18 says

It’s extremely difficult to perceive that the source of these problems is our own inappropriate attitudes. That’s what makes fear so insidious. Many of the thinking patterns that adversely affect our trading are a function of the natural ways in which we were brought up to think and see the world. These thinking patterns are so deeply ingrained that it rarely occurs to us that the source of our trading difficulties is internal, derived from our state of mind. Indeed, it seems much more natural to see the source of a problem as external, in the market, because it feels like the market is causing our pain, frustration, and dissatisfaction.

And this is so true. Any Stoic would tell you that the only thing one can control is their self and their actions. If you want to improve, you need  to accept your failings, learn and change your attitude in such a way to not repeat the mistakes. By externalising the blame, it is easy to wash your hands of the responsibility and ensure that the status quo continues. Always been in a student mode, be receptive to shortcomings, seek feedback and practice to change the habits which not benefitial.

Investing during market crisis

Recent days have been creating havoc in the markets, to say the least. The 24 hour news cycle doesn’t help either. During such time, keep it simple and revisit articles which help to assign a robust process to long term investing.

 

Tesco – software solution

We went to our local Tesco to do our daily shopping. We use Scan and Go which allows for a smoother process and one that is quick. You do not have to transfers the things from your basket to the till to then be packed. You pick your stuff, scan it and goes straight into your bags.

Due to the Coronavirus issue, all the supermarkets have put in place restrictions on the number of items which one can buy. Make sense, and it necessary. One of the side effects of this is they have had to shut the Scan and Go service.

This defeats the purpose of social distancing and requires people to stand in long queues. Increases the chances of the carrier passing on the virus to the vulnerable. I believe a software solution where the Scan and Go device would not allow to add more than X number of items that are deemed essential supply would have been a better solution.

This is a classic case of trying to find fix in hurry vs putting extra effort to get it right. Compliance vs commitment are two different things.

Fourth time lucky

This is the 4th try. I have lost a website with all the blog posts 3 years in a row. I have learnt something new each year but have also lost a lot of my content which can not be reproduce. For me writing is very organic. I fire up the WordPress blog and I write.

The task of creating the back up was with the developers and on three occasions, three different developers have failed to do back up the site regularly. The solution in place right now is daily automatic back ups. Hopefully this would allow for a fail safe way to protect my work and my writings. Every time I fall I remember the following quote

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”

Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa