whatheheckaboom has written 440 posts for Journeys of a Bumbling Trader

Calculating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

I stumbled upon an article on Andrew Chen‘s blog on calculating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and read around some related topics. Some quick notes below. Definitions CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) Cost to acquire a paying customer CAC = (Marketing + Sales Expenses) / # of New Customers Acquired If your customers are acquired through Google … Continue reading

Personal Finance Tips on Saving Money

Recently read a pretty good article on personal finance, titled Achieving Financial Success Without Extreme Frugality or a Huge Income by Trent Hamm (link here). Overarching Message Critically question every purchase, think about whether it really brings value to your life. If it doesn’t, think about how the spending can be cut down (e.g. store brand, … Continue reading

How Venture Capitalists (VCs) Mark-to-Market

A recent WSJ article titled Andreessen Horowitz’s Returns Trail Venture-Capital Elite triggered a swift response from Scott Kupor, the managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and Damodaran also chimed in on the issue with a follow-on article. The articles carry some good nuggets of information, namely on how VCs “mark-to-market”. VC Marks Are Not a Measure of Performance Scott … Continue reading

Book Review of the Holy Grail Trading System

The full title of this book is The Holy Grail Trading System by James Windsor. The book writes about James’ (Soultrader’s) experience live trading an intraday trend following system that was developed with a team of people. The system performed very well over 14 months bringing a starting account of £10k to £100k before it experienced a ~50% loss … Continue reading

Statistics on Hedge Fund Launches and Liquidations

Recently read this article on Business Insider titled The bonfire of the hedge funds (link here). It showed some interesting statistics from Hedge Fund Research (HFR) on the number of funds launched and liquidated every quarter since 2008. I found the chart hard to read, so I re-plotted the data as shown. Some summary statistics over … Continue reading

Kevin O’Leary on Money and Investing

I happened to come across an interview with Kevin O’Leary (of Shark Tank fame) on YouTube, and started to jot down some of his comments on investing and personal finance. O’Leary is an advocate of investing in cash flow paying (dividends or interest) securities, as opposed to growth stocks that pay no dividends. One main … Continue reading

Personal Finance Maxims

Read this New York Times article about Harold Pollack, a University of Chicago professor that wrote some maxims of personal finance onto an index card, and subsequently published a book Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated. The original index card is found here. The article compiled a number of other index cards written … Continue reading

Right of Order Refusal with Barclays’ Electronic FX Trading System

Came across an old (November 2015) Bloomberg article on Barclays’ Last Look functionality in their electronic FX trading system. While there have been lots of complaints from retail FX traders that their orders would run into “technical difficulties” once their trades become too profitable, the article confirms that institutional traders have the same issues when … Continue reading

Nassim Taleb vs. Victor Niederhoffer

My earlier post wrote about how one approaches the markets would differ according to one’s fundamental view about the markets. I came across some articles about Victor Niederhoffer and Nassim Taleb that I think illustrate this very well. In a way, Nassim Taleb is to trend-following as Victor Niederhoffer is to countertrend trading. Taleb goes for … Continue reading

The Loser’s Game (1975)

I recently read a famous article The Loser’s Game written by Charles D. Ellis in 1975. This is one of the articles that kick-started the passive investing movement which continues today. Reading through the article and ignoring the dates, you cannot tell that it was written 40 years ago, as the content still rings true today. There … Continue reading

The Low-Down on LIBOR

Most people are not clear what exactly LIBOR is. Here’s a quick primer in a FAQ-like format. Who Administers LIBOR? LIBOR (London InterBank Offered Rate) was previously administered by the British Bankers’ Association (website here), and was handed over to Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Benchmark Administration (IBA) on January 31, 2014 (website here). How Is LIBOR … Continue reading

Soros’ Reflexivity vs. Microeconomics 101

PM Jar recently had a post (link here) on Chapter 1 of George Soros’ Alchemy of Finance. I had never read the book before, but reading through PM Jar’s post, Soros’ point makes a lot of sense. The idea here ties in with Soros’ theory of reflexivity. Basically, in the markets, the actions of market … Continue reading

Book Review of Get Wise to Your Advisor by Steven D. Lockshin

The full title of this book is Get Wise to Your Advisor: How to Reach Your Investment Goals Without Getting Ripped Off by Steven D. Lockshin (2013). According to the bio in the book, Steve is the founder and CEO of Convergent Wealth Advisors and was Barron’s top-ranked advisor. I picked up the book because I … Continue reading

Job Description for Buffett’s Successor

When I was reading what Seth Klarman looks for when hiring analysts (for my previous post), it mentioned Warren Buffett’s job description for his successor on the investment side. That was revealed in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual letter in March 2007. Here’s some key characteristics for the person: Smart people with impressive records But there is far more … Continue reading

Seth Klarman on Baupost Group’s Edge

I came across this compilation of quotes from Seth Klarman: The Collected Wisdom of Seth Klarman. Wanted to just capture some of those that speaks more to me. While writing this post, I came across this 2009 interview that Klarman did with TIFF that is pretty good, and have captured some of its points below. … Continue reading

Book Review of What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan

This book writes about how Jim Paul got into Wall Street, rapidly became very successful, and then lost more than a million dollars in a soybean-oil spread trade. In the process to learn from this mistake, he realized that there are lots of different, and contradictory ways to make money,  but all the successful investors/traders … Continue reading

Book Review of Global Value: How to Spot Bubbles, Avoid Market Crashes, and Earn Big Returns in the Stock Market by Meb Faber

The full title of this book is Global Value: How to Spot Bubbles, Avoid Market Crashes, and Earn Big Returns in the Stock Market by Meb Faber (2014). This is a large, thin book, coming in at around 70 pages with large font size and good spacing. As a number of other book reviewers have commented, … Continue reading

Damodaran: How to Enhance Firm Value and the Value of Control

I came across this presentation by Aswath Damodaran on the value of control (link here). It wrote about the different ways to optimize the value of a company, as well as propose a framework to think about the value of control embedded in market prices, transaction prices, and the prices of voting/non-voting shares. Quick summary below: … Continue reading

Incorporate Macroeconomic Conditions in Value Investing

Came across two video snippets of an interview with Howard Marks from Oaktree Capital Management. Buffett had famously shared that he doesn’t consider macroeconomics when making his investment decisions. Howard Marks in the videos however advocated keeping tabs on the “market’s temperature” and adjusting one’s aggressiveness based on that. Why You Should Look at Macroeconomics It … Continue reading

Notes from Martin Whitman’s Interview with Wealthtrack.com

Just watched a video of an interview with Martin Whitman by Wealthtrack.com (link here). The interview was originally broadcasted on October 24, 2013. Conventional Approach Over-Emphasizes Four Things Earnings Short-term Top-down analysis Efficient market Martin Whitman’s Investment Criteria Don’t acquire common stock unless the company has a super strong financial position. Don’t invest in common … Continue reading

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