Friday, 13 November 2020

Ours is a Society

Ours is a backward society
A society where every twenty-one year old lady whether they're in the university or not, jobless or ambitionless, wants to get married
And they'd do anything
To get pregnant
And have an elaborate conjugal ceremony
They are feminists with misplaced priorities 
In their younger years of feminist activism, marriage should never be a goal, an achievement, a milestone, or a yardstick with which to benchmark the girl child 
But in their older years, their brains become inverted 
And the marriage they now aspire to, they eventually become infidels in it
It was never a principle for them to build, anyway 
They just saw the crowd go in a direction, and followed mindlessly 

Ours is a society built on fraud
A society where dishonesty wins every other time
We celebrate theft and castigate ingenuity 
We have invented euphemistic synonyms for thieves 
We call them politicians, yahoo boys, civil servants, investors, influencers, celebrities, students, national -- union, the list goes on 
But we can't forget "pastors" 
These ones are the god of men
They are probably the biggest catastrophe in a society already saddled with disaster 
Their specialty is creating religious bifurcation until they successfully dichotomise the society
They become the proponents of conspiracy theories pitching the poor masses as oppositions
People whom they know can't think for themselves irrespective of their socioeconomic attainment 
Their religious clothing is merely for political and financial gains
Their lies can never and should never be scrutinised

Ours is a society of stagnation
A society where nothing becomes better
Worse is usually the case
All the things we thought were abnormal while growing up, have become the norm
The things we could almost vow would never happen, have happened a zillion times and even celebrated
We have thrown values out of the window
Did we ever have values, even?
All we worship is money
Worse, not naira
Like I said, we have no values
Our currency isn't any different
It gets devalued consistently just as our society 
Our god is dollars
And she is the one we pray to

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Commodities, Markets, and Profits

All major markets are run like a mafia. No free entry and exit. Prices are fixed within a range. A minuscule number of buyers and sellers (stakeholders) determine prices. Hence, profit maximisation is largely subjective to the market, not the producer.

Many times, the difference between profit and loss is timing. All major markets deal with commodities. Commodity markets have invisible hands that control demand, supply and price. There's high competition among producers as selected producers monopolise price and supply determination.

The sellers are almost always at the mercy of the buyers. This decreases as value addition increases. All major markets, all commodity markets are imperfect.

1. Here, producer = supplier = seller as consumer = user = buyer.
2. Commodities here are homogeneous goods (agric, FMCG, devices, etc)

The only way producers can avoid competition and price fixation is by decommodifying their products and/or value addition. The latter is relatively easier (not easy). Profitability can also be earned by lowering production costs on quality and directing resources at production volume (quantity). 

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Further Investment: How I Made $3,671 in Five Days [Unliterally]

All the fun would be lost if I update you with daily transactions. In the meantime, I’ll blog about the stocks I’m invested in as frequent as I can. You probably waited for what happened the following Monday, I’m compounding everything in this single post.
In case you missed it, I am enjoying my time playing an investment simulation game on the Investopedia platform. I started with $100,000 on May 31, 2019 and the base cash had increased to $103,671.08 when I would check on Wednesday Morning June 5, 2019 before the markets opened.
Here’s a blog detailing how it all started.
First things first, this is not real money. It’s a game.
In the first post, I remember asserting how volatile Facebook stocks are, particularly when there’s a mention of data breach, internet security, privacy concerns, monopoly accusations/sanctions, et cetera. Well, it turned out I was right. I was watching CNBC on Monday evening when I saw that Google and Facebook had become the (usual) victims of monopoly accusations. The following day (Tuesday), I felt a little bad and a little sapient. Why? Facebook stocks had plummeted to around $161 from $185 before trading on Friday!
I felt a little sapient because I had shorted by short selling at $180 and buying at $164 which is a good profit. I felt bad because I would have gained more dollars if I was just a little patient. But then, the profit outweighs the extra margin that could have been. I do not hope to be a bear, but it’s good to make winning bets such as this.
Now, Facebook had made me $1,600. I had seven investments in my portfolio. Six left. Next!
I probably made a rush buying 100 shares of Microsoft at around $125. The price hasn’t reached that level since Friday. Although on Wednesday, I saw it around $124+ and I believe it would eventually break the $1tr cap permanently, I still somewhat made an expensive buy. So, I’m still losing money on that one.
General Electric is also looking good. I have to say it is one of the unstable stocks in my portfolio. You just never know the direction. But, I’m in this with you, GE.
During trading hours, Berkshire Hathaway shares were also up on Wednesday. My belief that Baker Hughes is a growth company was also confirmed as the stock value was up too.
I am still invested in Tesla Motors. The stock value was also up on Wednesday, but nothing great has happened. It is still trading around the purchase price of $185. I hope nothing deters it from gaining momentum. Tesla trading below $30b might be catastrophic for the real life investors (LOL).
After failing to buy 1,000 shares of Opera, I tried again. Investors were holding on to it and I didn’t quite trigger some tricks too. How did it work this time? Everything changed. I told the broker to keep an eye until all 1,000 are secured. Monday morning, I was glad the price had even descended from $11+ to $10+. I bought 1,000 units at such a good price, and by Wednesday it was up again.

PS (Thursday Edit):
All stocks except OPRA were up Thursday. GO!!!

Final Words
I will look into doing some stock business with Amazon. In my eyes, Amazon alongside Microsoft is the only large corporation that is truly innovating on every side. It is hard to see any phenomenal growth coming from Amazon, but growth is certain!
The gods answered Uber’s prayers. The stocks reached and surpassed IPO price on Wednesday, but I’m definitely not buying.
Value investors like Warren Buffett have noted that you don’t check the stocks every minute. Just make a decision and sit back. I’ll be doing just that in the subsequent days with occasional updates.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Further Notes on e-Commerce for Beginners

This post is the result of a tweet I saw, made a comment on, shared on WhatsApp with caption, replied by many, and with a very good friend asking that I write more on it, though others asked for more input too. But, SMOG was more intentional with his statement. He wanted something lengthier that could be shared on his weblog.
When I shared the tweet, I did not exactly focus on the fashion direction like the original poster. Rather, my point was building lean businesses or startups.
I’m discussing WooCommerce, Shopify, WordPress, Jumia, Jiji, Facebook, Instagram, and Paystack.
While I have never been in the e-commerce space as a seller, I have almost done that previously. I am not thinking about it at the moment, but working with over 50 personal brands has opened my eyes to lots of things about e-commerce. I am definitely not an expert in that field, but I have an extensive knowledge about it and about building businesses, starting up, and growing further.

First, my reply to a certain tweet that said fashion designers should consider patenting their works still stands. Patents destroy innovation. There’s just too much I can say about that. Imagine cars were continually patented like they were ab initio? Imagine the mobile app store was patented or even 3G? Already, patents have limit to claims, but it shouldn’t be embraced going forward. In the IT space, open-source is now the real thing.  
Back to e-Commerce and Business Building
If you are starting a business, no matter how much you are starting with, you are a startup and should acknowledge that. I believe startups should embrace the lean way of doing business. So, to e-commerce starters, my points are:
1.      Build an e-commerce store, not a website. Platforms like Shopify, Instagram, and Paystack have made it easy for you to actually sell online without necessarily building the website ground up. I think Paystack allows you to sell on Facebook and even accept payments without the buyer being directed to some other ‘proper’ website. Instagram now allows you to sell the products you display and accept payments for them as well. With Shopify, you will of course have to pay some dollars monthly. Yet, it is nothing compared to doing the work or paying someone to build a website for you, then using all the plugins like WooCommerce and maybe integrating Paystack as another layer or whatever.
2.      If you have the money to pay some developer to build a website from ground up, you may do that. However, I do not encourage spending hundreds of thousands on a business you have not even started, especially something you can start with near zero capital like e-commerce. It’s great to have your own WordPress e-commerce platform that has been integrated with a WooCommerce plugin and all the beautiful themes the world has never seen. However, you may just discard this advice and the one above and go for the third…
3.      Platforms like Jiji and Jumia are easy markets where you can sell anything. Jumia receives commissions on the products you sell, while Jiji none. If I wanted to be closer to my customers, which is something I love, I’d go with Jiji. If I wanted to just make it a side hustle, make some cash while someone does the rest, I’d choose Jumia.
In all, I’d rather go with using Facebook and Instagram plus a Paystack layer that handles the payments in conjunction with Jiji and Jumia.
One, the social media platforms give me a better understanding of my customers who are liking, commenting, and buying. Two, Jiji gives me a great connection with my customers, while Jumia does the selling and marketing part (though you should do some marketing on your own too).

Last Words
Weigh your options. Start wise.

Narrow Thought: The Innovation Bug

Image result for innovation brain
Building a company, the first question founders answer is hardly “what sector should we conquer,” the quintessential question is always “what next.”
I am not sure Steve Jobs was thinking the exact thing I am thinking when he decided to rebrand Apple as Apple Inc, leaving behind Apple Computers. Apple was becoming more of the conventional all-conquering American corporation, albeit with disruptive innovation. Today, Apple has pivoted from just computers (though their businesses are still in the technology market, but computers back in the 1990s were largely stereotyped as desktops) and now predominantly electronic/digital products.
Apple has lacked pure innovation in recent years, but part of it may be due to a narrow scope in thought. Several companies are guilty of this same crime. I will give you examples.
Why did Facebook have to acquire WhatsApp and Instagram? I understand that they needed to control the space they occupy. But, why didn’t Mark Zuckerberg think of ‘what next’ like he did when starting the company? Why do you have to keep making investments in the same industry just so you can kill yourself and others innovating and just make more money?
I do not in any way promote any organisation above another, but I love Amazon. Amazon and Microsoft are the companies I can say have been truly innovating in the last five years. Amazon really is the true innovator here. Whole Foods, Prime, AWS, Amazon Go, KDP, e-commerce, DoorBot [I’m not sure this is still the name], and more. The guys at Amazon are constantly thinking of ‘what next’ without limiting the answer to the same industry they were founded. That is true innovation.
Here in Lagos, Nigeria, we have examples of companies who are literally stressing over extra naira and forgetting what brought them to life was the question ‘what next’. This is not a wakeup call or any negative write-up about these incredible organisations, but I wished fewer players were going into the taxi/okada/keke ride hunt! There are already enough hunters, let’s go for a better and different hunt!
It took Microsoft several years and billions of dollars to understand this act of embracing true innovation. I hope companies do more to create more where none existed. We should embrace pure innovations, not entering into a market when others have done the work and you just want to have a share, and you say it’s disruptive. The word ‘disruptive’ has even become jargon in startup dictionary. Every startup uses it – we are disrupting this and building the next big that.
Uber and Airbnb are more examples. While Airbnb has been focused more on creating experiences for the consumer (which is the true reason for founding the company and such transcends industries), Uber has been exerting all energy on ride hailing and movement – taxi, Eats, air transport, etc. Personally, I think Airbnb will be more valuable than Uber in the long term. Nonetheless, I wished both companies are sponsoring autonomous driving in some way. I wish they were invested in incredible establishments like Beyond Meat and all those truly innovative organisations that are pushing the human race forward.
Hopefully, when you become a senior executive at a banking firm, you can lead the bank into investing heavily in solar energy replacing all forms of domestic energy.
I hope you can see the world and how it is with all of its opportunities, not just the space you occupy.

Hegel said "To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational." Be independent of what everyone says is the next. Curate your own next thing.

What I’m doing with $100,000 Investment Fund

Image result for What IĆ¢€™m doing with $100,000 Investment Fund

Does playing FIFA or PES make you a better football player? Maybe not. But, does it make you more knowledgeable about football? Absolutely.
No, I do not have $100,000. I was given by Investopedia. I mean I am playing an investment simulation game on Investopedia. So, this is how I am investing $100,000.
I am not going to give deep details like accurate pricing and precise cash available because I am typing all this off the internet and really in a rush. I have so many blogs I plan to share with you over the next few days.
So, on the first day: May 31, 2019.
I knew I was going to invest in Microsoft, no matter whatever. It’s a great company at the moment. Things are going well on every side. I knew I wouldn’t put my money into Apple or Google. The trade war between US and China will largely affect these two companies than it would Microsoft.
I bought 100 shares of Microsoft. At around 125 dollars or so, that’s some 12,500 dollars. In the short term, I do not see Microsoft going past the 1 trillion dollar mark it reached weeks back. But in the long term, the growth would be continuous.
Then, I looked at Facebook. I saw a market cap of 520 billion dollars. I looked at the growth chart for the past days, weeks, months, and years. I still remember they lost over a hundred billion dollars in a single trading day in 2018. I know Facebook suffers whenever there’s a privacy breach or security threat even if and when it’s not related to the company. They are making some good strides to push forward with Oculus which isn’t news, but I still think 500+ billion dollars for Facebook might be too much in the near short term. So, what did I do?
I shorted Facebook. Haha! I have suffered in this my journey of understanding finance. Shorting Facebook (or any company) implies that I’m making a bet that Facebook shares would still slump and I would make a gain by somehow trading in the shares by shorting it.
I shorted 100 shares of Facebook. The price was around 185 dollars, I shorted at 180. And by the close of trading, it was around 179 or thereabout!
This method of investing is wack by all standards. But, I’m just starting!
MSFT and FB in the bag. Who next?
I bought General Electric shares. Around February last year, GE had a market cap of around 300 billion dollars. Now, they are worth less – lower than 100 billion dollars. I do not think they will be worth as much as 300 billion dollars going forward, at least not anytime soon. But, looking at their revenues and other financial statements, as well as knowing that they have listed some companies such as Baker Hughes while GE Healthcare might be going public soon, I knew they are divesting their public holdings. I bought 1,000 shares, I think.
Tesla and Elon Musk are going through some tough moments. Currently worth a little over 30 billion dollars, the value of this company has reduced by around 50 percent because I remember they used to hover around 50-60 billion dollars. They have themselves to blame. Even if the company is sold today at 30 billion dollars, they wouldn’t have enough cash to liquidate shareholders equity. They owe around that mark. I won’t go further about Tesla issues; everything about them is well covered by the media.
I know of the bad financials and reduced demand. But, I am really for Tesla. I am for Musk. I believe the company will earn investors’ trust again. I believe the EV/AV market is still there, perhaps just some consumers getting scared of trade direction between countries. I bought 100 shares as well.
At this point, I was having a little over $70,000 in cash.
I wanted to buy JCPenney just to have a closer look at the company, but the game wouldn’t allow you buy shares that are not up to one dollar.
Intraday goings-on, Microsoft stock was slightly down. Meaning, MSFT was reducing my stake. But, GE was up, TSLA was up too. FB was trading around the mid to late 170s! I was on a profit of 250+ dollars.
June 1 2019
This was definitely not a trading day. But when I would check my portfolio, I saw MSFT still down. FB down too (meaning I was gaining on FB since I shorted it), TSLA up, and GE up. I was on a gain of 300+ dollars.
I wasn’t gonna rest.
More Trades
I ordered for more stocks which should be completed on Monday, June 3, 2019. What I bought:
I bought Opera Software stocks. I know well (maybe not so well, but a good knowledge) what the company is doing and where they are headed. It is a growth direction. So, I bought some shares.
I bought Baker Hughes too! The company is growing and in my eyes currently underpriced.
And to keep in touch with the Sage of Omaha, I bought Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares; I couldn’t buy the Class A (it’s worth almost 300,000 dollars).
I couldn’t invest in Zoom Technologies and Beyond Meat because they were newly listed on the stock exchange.

Last Words
I can’t wait for Monday to see how things are playing out. I am still a rookie. And I remain a tech enthusiast. The investments I made clearly show that. I’ll gladly invest in other sectors if I find something worthy and great, but this is where and how I am starting.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

A Beautiful YouTube Quote

If you ever follow anybody's advice when it's in contradiction with your own heart, you're giving your LIFE away.

Ours is a Society

Ours is a backward society A society where every twenty-one year old lady whether they're in the university or not, jobless or ambitionl...