From Minimalism To Tech

Outside Looking In

Posted in Money on January 27th, 2017


Last week, Davos was hosting the annual World Economic Forum. This is a small mountainous town in Switzerland, where the global elite, high profile individuals meet and network. This year’s theme is Responsive and Responsible Leadership. I am hopeful that these intelligent people with great intentions can come together to provide practical solutions to ease suffering and benefit the world. However, it is a bit surprising that the Vice President Joe Biden, in his special address, specifically calls out Russia on interference to collapse the Liberal International Order. Ironically, US was involved in the similar types of interference in the past.

We, unfortunately, cannot attend these auspicious events. You can try to volunteer, but it is not the same as a billionaire riding helicopters and sipping champagne in their ski chalets. How do we take advantage of these events, while being outside-looking in? Fortunately, technology has given us access to watch videos and read transcripts of speeches and panels. This will allow us to understand the tone of what we should be expecting in the future. I distrust many predictions about the future. However, we can take some calculated risks to prepare and enrich ourselves. We cannot walk blindly into the future and expect great things to happen. I know I am not that lucky. In the next month, Tim and I will be able to provide you some general thoughts about 2017.

Consumer Electronics Show

There is a different well known event that happens every year. Every January, the Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas, where global companies spend vast amounts of marketing money to showcase their consumer products and introduce innovation. Technology media covers heavily on this event, and we can be lured by all the flashy gadgets. Also, this event caters to many manufacturers who can network with industry distributors. However, with so many exhibitors and attendees, it can become a sensory overload and overwhelming. It has become a bit expensive to attend due to hotel surge pricing and CES have started charging exhibit attendees. Again, since this covered by the media so much, one can get a sense of CES by following online.

Investment in Public Companies

In many cases, we are the outsiders. For investors, one cannot directly call the CEO of a company to ask the current status of the company. If the CEO or a director of the company divulges information that is not public, this is a violation of SEC rules and trading on that information is considered insider trading. Of course this happens numerous times in wall street, yet SEC convicts a very small percentage of insider trading. Often, we, the outsiders, will have to review SEC filings to determine the status of the company and the direction the company may go. If you have the discipline like Warren Buffett to read all those filings, I tip my hat to you. I will occasionally look at filings for confirmation and red flags, but I tend to trade on basic rules and price.

Empowerment for Outsiders

As Vice President Joe Biden mentioned in his speech, we cannot rely on the government to solve our problems. I differ on several points of his speech. However, if we are to empower ourselves, e.g. economically, I firmly believe we must open our eyes to what is happening around us. Although alarming and stressful events are happening all around us, we must be cognizant of opportunities. We must look to the past for reference, the present for perspective, and the future for risk-taking.

I wish you a fruitful 2017. We hope that our insights will be beneficial and empowering. Maybe someday we will be on the inside, empowered to change lives. We wrote a little e-book that is available, please take a look.

The Little Book of Positive Returns In Negative Rates

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