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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

We see what we want to see

Sometimes, we hear of so and so dropped out of school to pursue an acting or singing career after that person got sudden fame due to winning a talent contest.

Of course there will be concerned parents and "friends" that will say better to finish school first...

Its the same if you want to quit work to be an entrepreneur...

How can you start just like that?

Got money? Got do market research? Got business plan? How about Vision? Mission Statement? (Notice its all about "parroting" theories they have learnt? Sounds smart but empty words) These are the "planners" that surround you. They have got their lives all worked out in advance. Cross the t's and dot the i's.

Eh, how often do opportunities come in our lives?

Never heard of make hay when the sun shines?

Hit iron when its still hot? 

I think you know what I'll quote next. Wink.

Yup, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg all never finished their university education. You mean when an opportunity of a lifetime drops on your lap, you'll turn it down?

"Sorry, I need to stick with my study hard and work hard goals and plans first."

"Cannot! First, I need to secure an emergency fund. Then I need to build up a bigger opportunity fund. Very risky to borrow money for startups you know!? Then I also need another recovery fund so that in case my startup venture fails, I'll have capital to start all over again..."

Moving the goal posts procrastination masquerading as "sound planning".

Then there are those who "do".

Plans and goals will flow naturally when we have jumped into the deep end. Paddle hard or drown! Now that's clarity and sense of urgency for you!


Of course many will fail. 

You mean setting goals and plans come with money back guarantees? Like "bao jiak" durians?

I've missed many opportunities through procrastination and over thinking.

Luckily, I've grabbed hold of some and here I am. Lucky as lucky does!

I've learnt life is more about the decisions you have or have not made. 

Decision is "do". Make no mistake about it.

That's why so many dare not make decisions on their own. 

Its more comforting to seek permission, to ask for consensus.

Got someone to blame if things don't work out mah!

And by the way, I just know that school and work are always there if we failed and need to go back to them.

That's comforting, isn't it?


  1. There is safety in number. Don't believe. Ask the herds on land and school of fishes in sea. Lol!

    1. CW,

      Yes, there is safety in numbers ;)

      Its the "right" defensive strategy if safety is what you seek.

      Not so suitable if its outperformance you seek ;)

  2. Nike has been right in its own industry.haha

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Want to bet an enterprising Singaporean businessman will one day use "Crash got sound!" as its marketing tagline?


  3. The number of entrepreneurs will be zero if all of them listen to their parents. Maybe rich parents will be more open-minded but 99% will discourage their children.

    1. hyom hyom,

      I think its the opposite.

      Less will become entrepreneurs if their parents were rich (but not entrepreneurs themselves).

      Hence I see a higher proportions of entrepreneurs amongst the Chinese educated, ITE graduates, no papers Ah Bengs and Ah Sengs.

      When we can easily get $8-10K workng for others, its a lot harder :(

    2. Hi Jared,

      The problem with Ah Sia Kia (rich men's kids) is that they have lesser drive compared to Ah Bengs and Ah Sengs who have holes in their hearts which drive them to show people they are not losers. The primary motivator, money, which motivates people to work hard is gone for ASK (Ah Sia Kia). However, if ASK and Ah Beng are equally driven, I will bet on ASK to succeed, given the headstart from Daddy.

      For civil service scholars or successful corporate executives who can easily get $8k-10k working for others, it does not make sense to take risks like an entrepreneur. Parents with children who are scholars will most likely discourage their children if they want to become entrepreneurs. Why be entrepreneurs when they can get rich from a salary job without taking risks like entrepreneurs? But if my children are Ah Bengs and they tell me they want to become entrepreneurs, I will encourage them and even fund them. If they have poor education with a bad start, taking more risks in life is the way to succeed and beat those with better education.

      By the way, I see your blog has gone less active. If you are busy with some potential Mrs SMOL, don't bother to reply. *wink*.

    3. hyom hyom,

      My distraction is not a woman ;)

      I'll be back to writing soon!

    4. Hi Jared,

      Woman or not, bottom line is you stay as a Man of Leisure. Meanwhile, have fun :) Hope your mother's health is fine.

    5. hyom hyom,


      Mom is doing well :)

  4. Also, we hear what we want to hear, we think what we want to think. These are all the reasons why there's still money to be made in markets.

    1. Macroanalyst,

      Yes, for there to be a transaction, there needs to another person who is taking the opposite side of our trades.

      I've found its better to treat the markets as a zero sum "match".

      2 men went into the Thunderdome; one comes out.

      Better this than to believe the "spin" that if we all play poker at the table carefully, all of us will win money!?

    2. Especially true for trading those instrument without Panadols to ease heartache. Investors' education by local "Gurus" nowadays is also cum Forex trading.

    3. CW,

      Obviously you are not familiar with carry trades or collecting premiums by selling options ;)

      You funny.

      We invest or trade to make money. Period.

      Where got from the start assume we will have heartaches and need Panadols one?

      I got a stupid question. If we get $1 in dividends and lost $10 in capital loss, will XIRR "manipulation" still shows its a "win" for the year?

      Got people buy investment properties with the mindset they don't care whatever price they've paid, just as long they can get rentals happy oredi!?

      It seems for equities, yield hogs don't care about entry price?

      And I thought % yield is calculated by using dividends per share divided by entry price...

  5. Like i have shared many times about an anonymous Christain's prayer -

    " No one reacts to things as they are but to one's own mental images. Xxxxxxxx".

    So we better pray that our mental images are as close to the things as they are.

    In the stock market it is quite vital, so is in your daily livings.

    1. temperament,

      What you say is in alignment with my homemade Zen practice ;)

      We often let our own (or other people's) projections distract us from the True nature of things.

      If we are often "fooled" in our daily lives, pray tell how we expect to get it right in the markets?

  6. Hi all,

    One is responsible for his/her decision. It's not right to blame other ppl when things goes wrong.


    1. Ben,

      The day we start taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions, that's the day we remove the shackles on our legs.

      Freedom has a price though. We need to fend for ourselves.

      No master to feed and clothe us anymore :(

    2. SMOL,

      The price is worth going for. This is the way one will learn from taking ownership.


    3. Ben,

      Yes. I rather live in my HDB pigeonhole as a manwhore than live in the palace as an eunuch ;)

  7. Confirmation bias & echo chambers are used for big business & profits :)

    1. Spur,

      Big business, politics, and rexxxxxxs are all about what you say.


    2. Just remind me of GOOGLE, Facebook, Twitter, etc.....

      Why all of them are free to use?

      Is it charity or data mining for???

    3. temperament,

      Nothing is more enticing than "free" ;)

      Its the same with "free" miles and cash rebates.

      If they were not profitable to the companies giving them out, would they even bother?

      If there's no money in it for "influencers" as in kickbacks, under table money, I scratch your back I scratch your back - who would be so willing to be the "bitches" of big corporations?

  8. If everyone is so decisive, passionate and dare to chase their dream, who is going to be the workers? LOL

  9. WolfT,

    We see what we want to see would tell us the answers to:

    1) Are entrepreneurs are born or made?

    2) Would following the crowd lead us to outperformance?

    3) And whether financial freedom seeking parents would encourage their own children to follow in their footsteps - the purpose in living is to secure financail assets that provide passive income for life!?


  10. Hi Jared,

    Plan so much but no action, no use. Do without thinking also cannot. Indeed, life is about action, people seldom regret what they did and more of what they did not do.

    Not just grabbing opportunities but also have to create them ourselves. Oh yes, that's why I am on this route :D

    1. Jes,

      I on the hand spread out my arms wide like the satellite dish (see my profie pic below).

      I wait for stardust (opportunity) to fall on me, then I pounce!

      I've taken the speculator route ;)

      OK, its not fair to non practitioners, but to Zen or those into martial arts, to ACT with NO MIND is something we strive to do ;)

      Those trades that I can execute without THINKING are the best.

      Its when I dither and 2nd guess myself, those trades often turn out to be a mess :(

  11. Hi SMOL,

    Conviction thrives on either of 2 things - guts or deep pockets. Those who don't have the former of course need wads of cash to cushion the fall. Crash got sound is ok. If got blood then how? Only 英雄 can 流血不流泪。You seriously expect 英雄 to be a dime a dozen meh?

    1. Endrene,

      I don't expect anything.

      I merely threw a brick at a glass house.

      You people are the ones telling me what you see ;)

      Opportunity knocks.

      Some grabbed and ran with it! No time to think!

      Some waited too long with indecision and the moment passed.

      Some slammed the door on opportunity. No thanks!

      Some don't need opportunity (luck). They have their lives all planned out (sounds like some insurance commercial).

      Some people so unlucky opportunity never struck them :(

      Guts I accept.

      Deep pockets sounds like an "excuse"...

      Only rich people can be entrepreneurs? I thought most entrepreneurs started poor?

      What I "see" is the "richer" or more "well off" we are, the harder it is to have that "burning desire" in our hearts.

      Hence we have 破釜沉舟 and 背水一战 ;)

  12. That's why I say either or. Those who are not rich would have to draw on their guts to go for the kill.

    For me, I have almost been there and nearly done that before. But after holding out for a couple of months, I decided to go back to being a salaried employee. I'll give it another go when I have grown my pockets deeper. Opportunities abound. It's only a matter of whether our antennae have the right wavelength to pick them up or not.

    Without deep pockets, the cost of running the business has to depend on borrowed funds. When you invest in companies, you ok to go with those with negative cashflow and plenty of debt? I'm not after being bled big time by Ju-WRONG Tech and Eeeeks-zra.

    Of course the above also depends on ambition, i.e. the size of the business. If like my younger son who has turned our house into a fish farm, if he is satisfied with just selling his fish for pocket money through digital platform, then there is no need to raise capital. If he wants to give Qianhu for a run for their money, would guts take him that far? He better be damn good at convincing the banks or angel investors he has a brilliant plan and he better don't fail. It's ok to lose all the money we have. But not ok to be knee-deep in debt. Guts must also come with financial prudence if pockets are shallow. :)

    1. Endrene,

      Its never a straightline extrapolation, is it?

      Some landowners are always in debt, even bankrupted a few times... But they are still strong and standing. Here's looking at you, Trump!

      Some businesses are conservatively managed, yet still suffer the same fate of the dodo bird. Remember shops selling music cassettes and CDs? Same goes for small independent bookstores :(

      Then there were former giants like Kodak, Blackberry, and Nokia.

      You are right. Smart entrepreneurs risk other people's money ;)

  13. OPM eh!?

    It is never easy unless U have connections and also can talk alot of cock & bull stories like Trump.

    U also may be have to have principles or rather hay-wire principles like his.

    Oh Pei Kong can?

    1. temperament,

      That's why entrepreneurs need to be good in salesmanship!

      Unless you so cash rich you don't need funding ever...

      1. Need to "sell" to families and friends for initial seed money.

      2. Need to "sell" to bank for a loan.

      3. Need to "sell" to venture capitalists and private equity people.

      4. During IPO, need to "sell" to institutional investors.

      If not for listing rules making it mandatory to set aside a small portion to retail, no listed companies would ever want to "sell" to retail investors.

      Imagine during AGM only have to deal with 20 or less institutional investors?

      Those who are not skilled in how to leverage on Other People's Money, are most probably not land owners ;)

      Which is not so bad just as long you still can leverage on Other People's Time - at least can be shepherd mah!

      If cannot OPM or OPT... Well, there's always study hard and work hard!

    2. So investing in Stock market is what then?

      OPM? OPT? or OPM+OPT+YOM+YOT or what?

      i think most of the time i use "YOM+YOT" because i am still a Bei Kambing in a way leh.

    3. temperament,

      Investing in stocks is you giving money to land owners.

      The land owner makes money end of the year, keeps the lion share, and gives you a small percentage in dividends you happy like bird.

      If the business tripled in value, he owns 51% of the listed stock, you own less than 1%. You do the math ;)

      If the business turns to dust, the land owner can choose to default the junk bonds that he so kindly offloaded to you.

      As for stocks, well, they have turned to toilet paper. Can you sue the land owner for your money back?

      And that's why you are not a landowner ;)

      If it does not benefit the landowner, who would want to IPO and sell their shares out to freeloaders?

      I mean you do all the work, and these bloodsuckers get a share of your future profits and a slice of your baby?

  14. It can be OPM if able to use leverage a lot from broking house or banks.

    1. temperament,

      Ah! Now you are talking!

      By using margin or leverage from your broker, you are now playing the cat and mouse game of landowners ;)

      You make money on margin, the margin interests from brokers are negligible.

      You lose money until pants frop, you either "run road" or declare bankrupt. Your remisier or broker will be the ones holding the baby.

      You smart, your broker not stupid. Before he extends the credit limit to you, he wants to see your collateral and he has the right to liquidate your stocks (no need permission from you) if they fall below your margin limit.

      So like business owners who get fed up with banks putting "tie hand tie legs" convenants on their bank loans, some will prefer to IPO shares (give up a share of future profits) or junk bonks (at higher interest rates than bank loans) to other freeloaders.

      At least now the business owner has more say ;)

      Now who says being a landowner was easy?


    2. As for leverage in the stock market, i have adopted WB's and other Gurus advice from day one.

      i think i not so smart to make this type of money.

      So it's very hard to change habits now.

      But i am O. K.

      No regret.

    3. temperament,

      Ah! Liquor, ladies, and leverage ;)

      But I guess you not familiair with the insurance business.

      Warren Buffett definitely uses leverage; all landowners do ;)

    4. "WB using leverage?

      Buffett, quoting partner Munger, says there are three ways to go broke: 'liquor, ladies and leverage'"

      •Warren Buffett believes investors should avoid using borrowed money to buy stocks.
      • •"It is crazy in my view to borrow money on securities," he tells CNBC. "It's insane to risk what you have and need for something you don't really need."


      Of course WB, he does (leverage) by virtue of owning some businesses outright or he is the main share holder. Which businesses don't use debts as part of capital besides equity?

      So we kachiam puttae investors also by virtue of buying stocks are on a little, little, little on leverage?

      Anyway i started investing, influenced by some other Gurus (i didn't read about WB then) that without leverage it is already not easy to make money in the stock markets, so i got brainwashed till this day loh. That's how i started leave leverage in stock market to some smarter people than me lol.


    5. temperament,

      Warren Buffett is not the type of "snake oil" guru that says I can do it so can you!

      He often does one thing, but tell what he considers "average" retail investors the opposite.

      We all know his view on instruments of mass destruction - derivatives, yet he has no proplbem speculating in them when the risk/reward justifies it ;)

      Warren couldn't be more an "active" investor, but yet he advises "passive" for whom he considers "average"...

      Bershire Hathaway owns insurance companies and this is Warren Buffett's biggest source of "leverage". You think where his opportunity fund comes from?

      Buying insurance policies is like putting money in a bank's fixed deposit account. The insurance company or bank pays us a little "interest", while they take our money to invest to get higher returns.

      Insurance companies and banks are "borrowing" from us. We provide "leverage" to them ;)

      Sheep provides leverage; landowners use leverage.

      It takes wisdom for one to recognise he is not "smart". Not smart better don't follow other "smart" investors blindly!

    6. i like the last sentence, thank you - 30 years ago already.

    7. temperament,

      You're welcomed ;)

      This kind of exchange can only happen between seniors like you and CW who have conviction and wisdom through "crash got sound" self-discoveries.

      A younger person with sensitive ego may get offended...

      We have learnt life is about 8 immortals crossing the Eastern Sea - each in their own unique way ;)

      A penguin should "fly" under water, not "fly" in the sky like the seagull ;)

      And fish should never dream about climbing trees like the monkey!


  15. "He often does one thing, but tell what he considers "average" retail investors the opposite."

    I tried to think of the underlying meaning to his words before and I came up with the following interpretations:

    1). 好自为之 to those who don't know what they are doing. Those who know what they are doing should not be deterred by what I say. My words are but another perspective.

    2). Equivalent to rolling eyes. Those who can get the hint, get the hint.

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,

      Its his folksy way of communicating with non-craftsman.

      Just take your discipline. You can't talk to a laymen using your trade lingo and going deep into the intricate like with your peers, can you?

      So if your neighbour asks you how to do what you do, you'll probably tell your neighbour to "buy a low cost index fund" (so as not to hurt his little brain and spare you the agony of explaining)!


    2. Hi Smol,

      A simple way in my view, will be stating as "A salaried employee". Be as low-profile as possible. Like what the usual slang "Be blur, Live longer". This is very effective in the example of a subject in the old times. Emperors who rised from the humble background kill the loyal subjects who helped him build his empire after the establishment. There were few example of subjects who adopted such approach, managed to avoid his killing spree. I think that this approach is applicable in the current circumstance.



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