Monday, December 21, 2009

Tis the season to be merry...

1) Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day

2) If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you

3) It is darkest before dawn. That's the best time to steal your neighbour's newspaper

4) Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes!

5) Warning sign on a Japanese food processor: Not to be used for the other use


7) Market definition: Bear market: a 6-8 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewellery and the husband gets no sex

8) Market correction: the day after you buy stocks

9) Institutional investor: someone who sells a stock big time a day or two after you have bought it, for no apparent reason

10) From an engineering exam:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What does this mean?

If this is marketing strategy, then I'm really glad that I didn't major in marketing. This is the sign put up by Haagen Dazs in a posh south Delhi mall.

Not only do I not understand what this means, I don't think anyone else does, either!
Are they trying to stress how premium their ice-cream is? So premium that only foreigners can eat it? Well, perhaps. But then, why are you launching in India???

In my opinion, this is a really stupid and 'guaranteed to fail' method for launching any new brand. In fact, it is probably downright illegal. If I were sitting in the head office of Haagen Dazs, I would fire the top management.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The biggest paycheck in history

There is probably a lot of happiness in becoming rich. However, there is almost certainly more happiness in being right. And its best to become very very rich by being right about something that others didn't agree with! To my mind, no one captures the essence of being right more than John Paulson. Boy, he was right. And how!

This article from the tech ticker is worth a read:

The bursting of the housing bubble cost the American economy trillions of dollars and brought Wall Street to its knees. But a few savvy investors, most notably hedge fund manager John Paulson, made fortunes betting against housing and related securities.

In The Greatest Trade Ever, Wall Street Journal columnist Gregory Zuckerman details how Paulson pocketed $6 billion as his firm made $20 billion betting against the boom from mid-2006 through early 2009. These returns included $4 billion for Paulson personally in 2007, which Zuckerman describes as the single-most lucrative payout in history.

While few, if any, will ever approach Paulson's staggering accumulation of wealth, Zuckerman says there are some timeless lessons for the rest of us, including:

Have the courage of your convictions: Paulson stuck by his thesis even as the trades didn't initially pay off in 2006, myriad housing "experts" told him he was on the road to ruin, and seemingly all of Wall Street's machinery was working against him. And when the bets starting paying off in 2007, Paulson didn't book profits and run as many advised -- and some clients begged. After shorting subprime in 2007, Paulson effectively doubled down in 2008, shifting some of his firepower to bets against Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Wall Street firms knee-deep in the MBS market.

See the forest for the trees: As an outsider to the mortgage world, Paulson was able to see the carnage coming that those on the inside missed. The ability to think independently and see beyond what the "experts" are saying is critical for individual investors because more financial bubbles are likely, Zuckerman says.Hindsight being 20-20, it's clear the housing market was a bubble and Paulson's strategy of buying cheap insurance against subprime mortgages - in the form of credit default swaps - seems like a no-brainer.

But as Zuckerman details in the book, getting the trade right wasn't easy; others tried but failed to match Paulson's stellar returns because they were either too early, had the wrong trading strategy or didn't see the bet through to its ultimate conclusion.

Furthermore, Paulson struggled in early 2006 to raise money for a fund dedicated to betting against housing securities, Zuckerman reports; Paulson was viewed as an "outsider" in the mortgage market at the time and didn't reached legendary status until after the mega-profits had been booked.

I'm a rightist libertarian!

I read a blog post about the political compass today. Nothing spectacular about it, just a simple questionnaire that lets you know a bit more about yourself. I took the test, and found no surprises :-( It was as I always suspected - I'm a boring kind of centrist guy - leaning towards libertarianism (i.e. laissez faire, live and let live etc etc) as well as economically rightist (the market may not know best, but it sure as hell knows much more than the smartest planner in the world)

Here is my map:

No politicians are like me :-(
Milton Friedman is the closest match. Does that mean I should have been an academician? I think, very very deep down, that I was cut out to be an academician or a researcher!!!

I love such games :-)