Friday 25 September 2020

88 Trillion World Economy (2019)


It feels good that our little red dot has a place on the chart. 

Imagine how would you feel if our country is lumped together with "rest of the world"?

Very interesting Singapore and Hong Kong are same same. We play similar roles. One is gateway to South East Asia, while the other is gateway to Greater China.

Look! We are "sama, sama" with Malaysia too!  

Glad most of our Asean neighbours have their spots too. Indonesia power! 

Population size matters huh?



Monday 21 September 2020

Best Advice On Stock Investing


Only buy stocks that go up in price.

Those that don't go up in price, don't buy.

Thursday 17 September 2020

The Thing About Extended Warranties


A few years back, when I switched to retailing of home electronics and appliances after moving on from my weekend Howard Storage World sales gig (company went bankrupt), the retailer I was posted to by my brand organised a meeting for all promoters not under their payroll.

For those not familiar with the retailing of home electronics/appliances scene, the majority of the sales staff are not on the payroll of the retailer, even though we wear the same uniform. Wink.

That's why you walked into the store interested in brand X, but walked out with brand Y... You've been "washed". LOL!

This retailer has a partnership with a insurance company to bundle and sell extended warranties. So they want us to promote these extended warranties to our customers.

Of course non of the promoters were interested. We were more interested in promoting our own brands - the carrot is sales commissions and incentives like bonuses if we hit our sales targets; the stick is no sales survive on basic very the sad one...

A few months passed and the extended warranty scheme was a dismal failure... 

So the retailer used the stick and threatened us. If we don't sell X number of extended warranties per week, they will kick those non-performing promoters out.

Never make threats you can't follow through... 

Most of us ignored their bluff. (Except those weak or newbie promoters who got worried)

Remember I said most of the sales promoters are not on their payroll?

The retailers depend on us "free" resources. So the threat is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Furthermore, most of the brands belong to international worldwide MNCs. You think they care about a local local or regional retailer? Really?

So after a few awkward months of empty threats, the retailer finally capitulated. 

Now switch to carrot approach.

Going forward, every extended warranty a promoter sells, we'll get a sales commission. 

Now the extended warranty scheme finally took off!

Not too bad. Its not really any extra work. After closing a sale, we just ask customers whether they want to add an extended warranty to their purchase.

The extra commissions for those who can "push" these extended warranties can amount to a few extra hundreds a month. 

See how extended warranties become "good" for customers once promoters get incentivised?

Of course this story is not really about extended warranties. 

Its about human psychology and motivations.

And you probably never thought about it. (Unless you're landowner or shepherd.) 

Its pervasive. 

From politics, to business, to religion. 

Yes, even religion. 

The cell leader for that Taiwanese Buddhist monastery (very big in Taiwan) was very frank with me when she confided with me one of reasons they offered "free" meditation sessions was to not only create more awareness and publicity for the monastery (relatively unknown in Singapore), but its also to raise funds for further expansion in Singapore. (Got market share KPI?)

I'll leave it to you to figure out how to raise funds when its "free" meditation sessions?

If you confused, you're probably the target for all those "free" course previews, "free" spa treatments, "free" drinks, "free" food promotions!




Friday 11 September 2020

The Truth About COE and BTO

Have you ever wondered why our COE (Certificate of Entitlement) for vehicles is based on auction (code for who got money gets) while our HDB BTO (Build-To-Order) is based on balloting (code for lucky draw)?

What would happen if they were switched?

What's the "true" market price for our HDB BTOs? 

Its the price for resale after the 5 years minimum occupation rule is up isn't it?

You know it; I know it. 

Its a substantial subsidy from big daddy. Period.

Yet there are those every once in a while will pretend, pretend complain HDB makes "obscene" profits and there's no subsidy at all... 

OK lor, let's change the HDB BTO balloting to the COE price auction model.


Two groups of HDB buyers would be most happy!

1) That's those who got no luck.

Try and try, can never get a ballot number for their preferred location in mature estates.

Give up, choose those "ulu" brand new HDB estates. OK. got ballot but the number they got is way at the end of the queue. Which means you get to choose what others have "discarded"...

For those who are very picky (property is location, location, location, no?), no choice have to "capitulate" and buy resale. 

Pay a lot more than your neighbours who got theirs direct from HDB, but hey, anything money can solve, its no longer a problem. Wink.

2) Then there's those sour grape "carrots" who aren't mobile, they'll be glad if HDB BTO has switched to the COE price auction model, there goes the 2 bites of the cherry windfall!

And here they are, worried sick what will happen to their HDB flats after 99 years....  

They are like the proverbial dog who sits on a nail and whines and whines, when the problem is easily solved by moving their butts. 

But no.

If I can't make money (by moving), then everyone should not too!



Now consider for a moment what will happen if we implement the HDB balloting system for our COEs?

First, we'll get the ridiculous situation where a billionaire will not get a brand new car if he's that unlucky? Never mind the COE now is "free" under the balloting scheme...

And people being people, once they spot a "lobang" (opportunity), everyone will start flipping cars!

You never wondered why 2nd hand used HDB flats would cost more than brand new virgin HDB flats? 

So what's so surprising about 2nd hand cars costing more than brand new cars fresh from the showroom if we go the balloting route?

Still don't believe balloting is a lucky draw subsidy?

If everyone and anyone can afford a car, what will happen?

No need to look far.

Just look at the major cities in Asia. 

We'll just switch from complaining cars in Singapore so bloody expensive to whining about why big daddy not doing anything to the maddening traffic jams we face everyday!!!??? 

Hello? They sleeping or what!? Earn so much some more!

Its heartening big daddy has many schemes to help the disadvantaged and those with few means to own their own HDB flats, never mind if its just a 2 room HDB flat. We need to start somewhere first.

That's perhaps why when interviewed by the media on the HK protest situation, big daddy pointed out its a housing problem. Wink.

And when we had the constant breakdowns in MRT and overcrowding in the buses and MRT, there's the 40/60 swing to the opposition, remember?

People can accept car ownership is not for anyone and everyone, provided we get the "promised" Swiss standard of living level of public transportation. 

But to be reminded you are "cattle-class" whenever you go to work... 





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