This is not even a joke, the average churn time of a client in these companies; 30 days. 30 days... aaaaand it's gone.
The picture above is the chart of how money is being wasted. And its being wasted at all time high levels.
What index is that, you may ask.
It's an index of vintage car prices, otherwise known as the Hagerty Collector Car Index, but I like to think of it as the Stupid Money Index.
I'm not one to tell people how to spend their hard earned [developed an a gaming app] money, but it seems to me that owning a classic car is close to being the stupidest things you can own. Not stupid if you own it for pleasure and think of it as a write-off, then I'm all for it, but owning it for thinking that it is a good investment - now that's just plain stupid.
Because it isn't. It's the least recession proof investment on the planet. The second that sweet high yield money dries up, there will not be ANY buyers of some half-ugly, dangerous 1950s car. You'll make pennies on the dollar in a pinch. It's like owning all that stuff in Bud Fox's apartment in Wall Street in 1989. That table with all the holes in it is not worth much in the world of Glengarry Glen Ross. But in 1986 it might have seemed like a clever thing to buy.
Same goes for vintage guns, as my friend @marketplunger pointed out:
PS: Before you read any of this. I'm not taking a stand on Vance personally. He's a controversial figure. But when it comes to a sense for business and negotiations, few can match him. That's all I'm saying.
If you're not English, you might not know the name Vance Miller.
If you want to succeed in business, forget about Jack Walsh (or Jim Cramer for that matter), and instead look at Vance. Cause he's the most natural businessman I've ever seen.
He's known as "The Kitchen Gangster" (a moniker I've heard he loves), and he's possibly the best business man I've ever seen. The man is an amazing negotiator, businessman and seems to be a nice guy - after you get passed the tough guy exterior.
The two documentaries below, Kitchen Gangster and Brits Get Rich In China, are masterclasses in dos and don'ts in business. And nobody does it better than Vance.
So without any further ado. Here's Vance:
When it comes to how convicts are viewed, one can probably not be further from each other than the US and Norway.
In this video, taken by Finnish national TV, we get to see how incredulous the US prison warden is when he visits a normal Norwegian prison:
In Norway there is (almost not) such a thing as "life in prison" (with the exception of people like Anders Behring Breivik, which will never be let out), and therefore there is a focus on rehabilitation of the inmates.
In prison the quality of life is not bad. This is due to the fact that in Norway the idea is that the punishment is the lack of freedom, so there is no need to punish any further. In America, I understand it's not exactly like that.
The last line from the warden is that the next step is to give the criminals the keys. Well, there is one Norwegian prison where they pretty much do that. It's called Bastøy:
Thanks to @Tomas_Lindh for the video link.
In an epic Tweetstorm, @pmarca made a list of people to watch:
The Motorola Nexus 6 looks perfect. Great batterylife, big and with stock Android. You don't need much more than that.
Here's the video:
And the specs:
Also known as Motorola Nexus X
GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - all models
CDMA 800 / 1900 - XT1103
3G Network HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 - XT1100
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 - XT1103
4G Network LTE 700 / 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 TD-LTE 2500 - XT1100
(Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 19, 20, 28, 41)
LTE 700 / 850 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 / 2600 TD-LTE 2500 - XT1103
(Bands 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 29, 41)
Announced 2014, October
Status Coming soon. Exp. release 2014, October
BODY Dimensions 159.3 x 83 x 10.1 mm (6.27 x 3.27 x 0.40 in)
Weight 184 g (6.49 oz)
- Water resistant
DISPLAY Type AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 1440 x 2560 pixels, 5.96 inches (~493 ppi pixel density)
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes, with stereo speakers
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot No
Internal 32/64 GB, 3 GB RAM
DATA GPRS Yes
Speed DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat6, 50 Mbps UL, 300 Mbps DL
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP, LE
USB microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort), USB Host, USB On-the-go
CAMERA Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, optical image stabilization, dual-LED (ring) flash
Features Dual recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere, panorama, HDR
Video 2160p@30fps, optical stabilization
Secondary 2 MP
FEATURES OS Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
CPU Quad-core 2.7 GHz Krait 450
GPU Adreno 420
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Midnight Blue, Cloud White
- Wireless Charging (Qi-enabled)
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- MP4/H.264 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
- Photo/video editor
- Document editor
- Voice memo/dial/commands
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Po 3220 mAh battery
Stand-by Up to 330 h
Talk time Up to 24 h
- Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
Why can't you trade salt in the financial markets? And if you could - would you?
Salt is one of those curious things that seem to just exist, yet it's incredibly important in history and was once a insanely valuable commodity.
EVERY FEW DAYS, @SARDONICAX AND @FINANSAKROBAT (HEY, THAT'S ME!) DO A PODCAST ON FINANCE. WE CALL IT AFP - A FINANCE PODCAST. TUNE IN.
At a time when people trade weather futures, worthless Cynk shares and bitcoins, it's kind of odd that it's not possible for a trader to speculate in the price of salt.
The answer to this is real simple; it's everywhere and it's expensive to ship.
But be that as it may, let's look a little bit at the economics of it, and why selling gold to buy salt might not be a terrible investment.
Worth its weight in gold
The history of salt is a history of the global economics. Much like coffee, sugar and spices, the trade of salt was a important part in the creation of the modern economy.
It's referenced in the bible (The Book of Ezra), roads were built in ancient Rome to transport it and it was used in slave trading - salt for slaves. PST, don't tell anyone, but I got this from Wikipedia.
In China, revenue from salt production and sale, known as salt gabelle, was a key source of revenue for the Chinese state.
And the price?
Well, it was literally worth its weight in gold.
The ancient kingdom of Ghana was a key player in the salt-trade in Africa, and grew rich from this trade. The Ghana Empire was situated right smack in the middle between the gold-producers in the south and the salt-producers in the north.
Ghana was de facto a salt-exchange. It offered traders protection for a fee. It set up the rules. The most important of these rules were the prices. 1 ounce of gold for 1 ounce of salt. Just like in the modern day, the traders may have made some money off of these trades, but the middlemen - The Ghana Empire - grew rich from it.
Ghana were the ancient Goldman Sachs.
Gold to salt
The gold-to-salt ratio is a little known - and little used - indicator of prices in the economy, yet it in my opinion pinpoints how the perception of value can greatly shift with economic progress, and skew prices completely out of whack.
Around the year 1000 the ratio between gold and salt was 1 - 1.
And now, it's not:
How to trade it
There's no Bloomberg og Reuters code for salt (I checked), there's no exchange trading it and there's no real OTC trading on a global scale.
What there is, is local trading.
So if you want to try your hand at this old-school style trading, you should think about moving to Japan. Its industry uses a lot of salt and it imports it from Australia, while China uses all of its 60 million tonne production domestically.
So it's really, really hard to trade it - at least if you're used to futures and stocks.
So the question from the headline is still a question. Should you buy gold - which has almost no real world use-cases - or should you buy salt - which has so many use cases they are too many to list.
Every few days, @SardonicaX and @finansakrobat (hey, that's me!) do a podcast on finance. We call it AFP - A Finance Podcast. Tune in.
The tide in the oil market is going out, and it's become pretty obvious who's been swimming naked.
Russia has been hit very hard, anything ultra deepwater and some stuff in the Bakken field.
Here are the exact numbers of breakevens, courtesy of Goldman Sachs:
A few days back I highlighted my own theory that the seemingly unexplained (if you disregard shale production and OPEC) selloff in oil, coincided with the escalation in war of words between the US and Russia:
I felt bad bringing this up, since it seemed almost insane. Yesterday this became a widespread theory, and repeated by Jim Cramer on CNBC.
Considering that manipulation in the oil market is not unheard of, there might actually be some truth to this.
I hadn't heard this rant by Howard Stern from 2010 until @mar67760521 on Twitter clued me into it.
Btw, how's Sal?
FITCH PLACES FRANCE'S 'AA+' IDR ON RATING WATCH NEGATIVE - RTRS
Full text from Fitch below:
LONDON, October 14 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has placed France's 'AA+' Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). The issue ratings on France's unsecured foreign and local currency bonds have also been placed on RWN. At the same time, Fitch has affirmed the Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F1+' and the Country Ceiling at 'AAA'.
Under EU credit rating agency (CRA) regulation, the publication of sovereign reviews is subject to restrictions and must take place according to a published schedule, except where it is necessary for CRAs to deviate from this in order to comply with their legal obligations. Fitch interprets this provision as allowing us to publish a rating review in situations where there is a material change in the creditworthiness of the issuer that we believe makes it inappropriate for us to wait until the next scheduled review date to update the rating or Outlook/Watch status. The next scheduled review date for Fitch's sovereign rating on France was 12 December 2014, but Fitch believes that developments in France warrant such a deviation from the calendar and our rationale for this is laid out below.
Fitch will seek to resolve the RWN at its next scheduled rating review of France, with the outcome to be published on 12 December 2014.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
The RWN reflects the following factors and their relative weights:
On 1 October, the French government presented its draft 2015 budget and confirmed a material increase in its budget deficit targets. The slippages were initially announced in August but the full details underpinning the new deficits were not available at that time. The government now projects the general government budget deficit at 4.4% in 2014 (previously in the April Stability Programme it was 3.8%) and at 4.3% in 2015 (previously 3.0%), both slightly worse than the 4.1% of GDP achieved in 2013. It has postponed its commitment to meet the headline EU fiscal deficit threshold of at most 3% of GDP from 2015 until 2017. France's budget deficit compares with a 0.2% surplus for the 'AA' category median.
Fitch commented at the time of its previous rating review in June that a weakening in public finances compared with our baseline projections or greater uncertainty over the implementation of budget consolidation efforts could trigger negative rating action. The agency's latest forecasts show wider fiscal deficits into the medium term, with a deficit of 3.3% of GDP in 2017, a negative variance of more than 1.5ppt compared with our previous projection. The French government's own forecasts show material deviations from prior forecasts. Previously, they had projected the deficit to fall to 1.3% of GDP by 2017. This has been revised up to 2.8% in the latest projections. The wider deficits have negative consequences for public debt dynamics.
Fitch now expects the gross general government debt (GGGD) to GDP ratio to peak two years later and higher at 99.7% in 2017 with a slower decline to 94.9% by the end of the decade. The revised projections for France compare with Fitch's previous forecasts in June of GGGD peaking at around 96% in 2015 from 93.5% in 2013 and falling below 90% by 2020. Even under the government's own updated forecasts, the capacity of the public finances to absorb shocks has been significantly reduced. The authorities project the debt ratio to peak higher at 98% in 2016 (previously 95.6% in 2014 and 2015) and fall to 97.3% in 2017 (previously 91.9%) and 92.9% in 2019. The projections compare with the 'AA' category median for GGGD of 37%. The only 'AA' range country with a higher debt ratio is Belgium (AA/Stable).
Risks to Fitch's fiscal projections remain on the downside owing to the uncertain outlook for GDP growth and inflation in the near term and the increased uncertainty over the government's ability to deliver on a fiscal consolidation path. The French High Council of Public Finance's (HCPF) opinion on the government's latest economic forecast was that the lower GDP growth rates projected for 2016-2017 were more realistic than previous forecasts but still reflect an optimistic view of the external environment and domestic investment potential. The HCPF's opinion on the government's fiscal projections was that there was a risk of deviation from the medium-term objective of lowering the structural deficit from 2.5% of potential GDP in 2013 to 0.4% by 2019. Reflecting these concerns, Fitch's medium-term growth forecasts are weaker and budget deficits wider than official projections.
The outlook for the French economy has deteriorated, impairing the prospects for fiscal consolidation and stabilising the public debt ratio. The French economy underperformed Fitch's and the government's expectations in 1H14 as it struggled to find any growth momentum, in common with a number of other eurozone countries. Fitch has revised down its near-term GDP growth projections to just 0.4% in 2014 and 0.8% in 2015 in the latest review, down from 0.7% and 1.2% previously. Continued high unemployment at 10.5% is also weighing on economic and fiscal prospects.
The on-going period of weak economic performance which started from 2012 increases the uncertainty over medium-term growth prospects. The French economy is expected to grow less than the eurozone average this year for the first time in four years. The quantitative impact of recent structural reforms is also uncertain, and in Fitch's view does not appear sufficient to reverse the trends in long-term growth and competitiveness. Therefore, we believe there are downside risks to France's long-term growth potential.
In Fitch's view, the latest deviations from budget targets and EU excessive deficit procedure commitments weaken fiscal credibility. This is the second time the French government has postponed meeting the EU 3% headline deficit threshold since end-2012. This is despite the introduction of a High Council of Public Finances and new fiscal framework in France and the reinforced EU policy framework. The reaction of the European Commission to the revised French targets remains to be seen. The revised projections for larger fiscal deficits are largely explained by the weaker growth and inflation outlook and technical adjustments to tax credits, but France could nonetheless be asked by the Commission to adopt further reforms or additional fiscal tightening in response. However, Fitch does not expect any sanction or request by the European Commission to materially affect the path of France's debt dynamics.
The creditworthiness of France is supported by the following main factors:
France has a wealthy and diversified economy. It has a track record of relative macro-financial stability including low and stable inflation. It also benefits from moderate levels of household debt and a high household savings rate. Political stability is entrenched by strong and effective civil and social institutions.
While the current account balance has generally been on a deteriorating trend for the past 10 years due to France's loss of export market share, at 1.3% of GDP in 2013 the deficit is not excessive. Fitch projects the deficit to stabilise around current levels. However, France's net external debt is significantly higher than most rating peers.
Fitch judges financing risk to be low, reflecting an average debt maturity of seven years, low borrowing costs and strong financing flexibility.
There is low risk from contingent liabilities. In recent years, the financial sector has been cleaning up its balance sheets, strengthening funding, liquidity, capital and leverage. The risks from the eurozone crisis management mechanism including the EFSF and ESM have also eased owing to the actions of the ECB and the on-going gradual economic recovery of the single currency area.
The RWN reflects the following risk factors that may individually or collectively result in a downgrade of the ratings:
- The absence of a material improvement in the projected trajectory of public debt dynamics following the publication of the European Commission's opinion on France's 2015 budget will likely lead to a downgrade of the ratings by one notch. The Commission is due to publish its opinion on the budget in November.
- In this context, Fitch will also review any new structural reform measures announced by the government up to the time of its next rating review in December to assess the extent of their potential impact on the outlook for growth and public debt dynamics.
In its debt sensitivity analysis, Fitch assumes a primary surplus averaging 0.5% of GDP over the next 10 years, trend real GDP growth averaging 1.5%, an average effective interest rate of 2.7% and GDP deflator inflation of 1.5%. On the basis of these assumptions, the debt-to-GDP ratio would peak at 99.7% in 2017, before edging back to 87.8% by 2023.
Fitch assumes the eurozone will avoid long-lasting deflation, such as that experienced by Japan from the 1990s. Fitch also assumes the gradual progress in deepening fiscal and financial integration at the eurozone level will continue; key macroeconomic imbalances within the currency union will be slowly unwound; and eurozone governments will tighten fiscal policy over the medium term.
Fitch's projections for the French economy and public finances are based on the new European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010) which replaced ESA 1995 this year. The changes for example led to the decline in GGGD to 92.2% of GDP in 2013 from the previous 93.5% at the time of the June rating review.
In accordance with Fitch's policies the issuer appealed and provided additional information to Fitch that resulted in a rating action which is different than the original rating committee outcome.
+44 20 3530 1624
Fitch Ratings Limited
30 North Colonnade
London E14 5GN
+44 20 3530 1176
+44 20 3530 1219
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com.
Applicable criteria, 'Sovereign Rating Criteria' dated 12 August 2014 and 'Country Ceilings' dated 28 August 2014, are available atwww.fitchratings.com.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research: France
Sovereign Rating Criteria
As a Norwegian, it's impossible to not love Tesla. For those of you not aware, Teslas and other electric vehicles are excluded from the insane car taxes of Norway. This means that for us a Tesla has the equivalent cost of a low med-range VW vehicle. So here it's cheap.
And with their latest release, the D-version of the Model S, it's now also a very good winter vehicle.
Writing is thinking, so I figured I need to write a bit more. So the blog's back.
I like to have a landing page for all kinds of stuff, and I figured it makes sense now that I'm in the process of bringing out a podcast.
So far the site just looks like it did in the past, but I'll try to enhance it a bit and blog more.