Google+ rocks!

I've been researching Google+ platform for some time -- it has almost been a month, I guess.

My first impression is that Google+ rocks!

People are always the most important factor. I've screened a good many of profiles on the platform and built-up/optimized my circles. I've even created several pages to attract more people on my areas of expertise.

My audience? Not bad -- I currently have roughly 420 people who have me at their circles.

I can say that as of now, I have a pretty nice setup on Google+ in order to get the most out of the platform.

If you'd like to feed yourself from a highly intellectual crowd especially on issues like IT, engineering, arts (photography and painting), media, and politics, then you should be on Google+ platform as well. Just spend a couple of hours on the platform, and I think that will be enough for you to discover a good many of bits of awesome content.

You might start with examining my Google+ profile. People in my circles and my pages will most probably attract you as well.

So, please consider to give Google+ a chance, and in case you like and join, please consider to add me to your Google+ circles.

Does the world look more analytical than it really is?

I've been passing through my notes of the year 2009, and this quote grabbed my attention (again):
"The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite… It looks just a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait." G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936), one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century
Does the world look more analytical than it really is?

If it is so, does this mean that we shouldn't seach for the analytics of things?

I'm not so sure about the first debate, but as for the second one, I don't think so.

What do you think?

Blogger's new Dynamic Views template

Blogger's new Dynamic Views template is absolutely amazing. It gives the visitor the chance to change the layout of the blog in several ways, and I believe, this new style will be a game changer.

I've immediately switched my A Wealthy Mind blog to the new template. It will be a richer experience for my visitors this way.

Although the new template has some things missing at the time being (like a separate 'about me' section), I believe it will become more complete in time.

UPDATE (on Dec.1, 2011): I've switched back from Dynamic Views template. The thing is, the template has some things lacking like the stuff at the bar on the right-handside but Google have not added additional functionality yet. Maybe in the future, when the Dynamic Views template is complete, I return to it.

Al Pacino's inspirational speech from Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday"

I've been attracted by this scene from Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday" for a while. I am not sure whether it is Al Pacino's magnificient acting, or the brilliancy of the text that attracts me the most.

I've found the text of the speech from the internet. Here's the most impressive part for me:
"You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game, life or football,  
the margin for error is so small.
I mean, one half step too late or to early,  
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast,  
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in every break of the game,  
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know, when we add up all those inches
that's gonna make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING."
I am a fan of state-of-the-art inspirational speeches, and would be so happy if you shared your favorite ones with me.

On hedge funds' huge advantage

Here comes another brilliant quote. It's from Julian Robertson, legendary hedge fund manager and founder of Tiger Management Co.:
"I think hedge funds have always had the huge advantage that they are the best way of paying the best money managers. And so the best money managers have matriculated to hedge funds, and I think that's why they are doing better than the rest of the crowd and they'll continue to."
Needless to say, I agree with Julian.

On risk and trading

Here is an excerpt on risk and trading from Curtis Faith, the author of the popular book "Way of the Turtle":
"The word risk can be defined as exposure to the consequences of uncertainty. Many traders try to control the uncertainty or to predict it. This doesn’t work. Like trying to predict the weather more than a few days in advance, predicting the markets is almost impossible. Instead of trying to control uncertainty, master traders focus their attention on timing and position sizing of their trades. The markets and what they do are not in your control. In contrast, what you do in response to what the market does is in your control. Reaction instead of prediction. This is the way of the master trader."
Brilliant, isn't it?

News, good news, and incredibly good news for you

I have news, good news, and incredibly good news for you.

The news is, I have left my career at Arçelik as of yesterday. I have debated working for others versus working for self in the recent months, and I have finally made up my mind: I will be an independent researcher from now on, and my main areas of interest will consist of macroeconomics, competition, and global financial markets.

The good news is, I will have more time and energy to share more in my Wealthy Mind blog. I am gearing up, I can say. Expect more thought-provoking content from me in the coming days.

The incredibly good news is, despite all that negative this and that in your life, life is so beautiful and you are alive. I wish that you live your day beautifully. Let me share with you a quote of George Carlin, the famous American stand-up comedian:
“People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.”

Stock-picking for the long-run: Investing philosophy of Philip Fisher

I have been reading the investing philosophy of the famous American stock investor Philip Fisher (1907 – 2004) for some time.

Fisher’s investment philosophy had been summarized in one sentence as “Purchase and hold for the long term a concentrated portfolio of outstanding companies with compelling growth prospects that you understand very well.”

Fisher had influenced many investors with his investment philosophy. Even the legendary investor Warren Buffett has said on some occasions that “he is 85% Graham, and 15% Fisher.” I may write a little on Graham some other time, but for the time being, let’s focus on Fisher.

According to his son, Fisher's best advice was to "always think long term," to "buy what you understand," and to "own not too many stocks."

Stock-picking was so vital in Fisher’s investment philosophy, and hence, he had created a solid stock-picking criteria set.

After having read Fisher’s lenghty stock-picking criteria set, I have somewhat simplified and revised them in an effort to internalize his perspective. Then, I thought it might be helpful to share this revised set in my blog.

So, here is my revised version of Fisher’s stock-picking rules. In order to qualify for investing for a long-run, a company should have:
  1. Products with sizable sales increase potential in time. 
  2. Timely new product launch orientation (plus an efficient and effective R&D).
  3. Outstanding sales organization.
  4. Brilliant employees and management, state-of-the-art management tools, adequate compensation.
  5. Worthwhile and foreseeable profit margins (plus an orientation towards maintaining/improving the margins).
  6. Well-designed cost traction tools and accounting controls (much easier to find the deficient ones).
  7. Superiority against its rivals (requires an understanding of the factors that determine success in the industry).
  8. Sufficient cash position or borrowing capacity to fund growth.

Cloud's view of "How options should be valued"

I have found this article on the valuation of options so interesting that I am sharing it with you. It is written by Daniel Cloud, who  teaches philosophy at Princeton University, and is a founding partner of two hedge funds.

I should state that the article may not be so easy to digest because it has many long passages, so I advise you to take your time -plus a cup of coffee- before you start reading. But once you start reading, you get impressed with the style, and feel rewarded with the wisdom of the author.

Below can you find my short summary of the article.
  1. Our present theory of options, introduced by Black and Scholes in 1973, presents the risks associated with buying options and selling them as exactly the same, although the two activities involve very different levels of loss.
  2. The Black-Scholes “utility” had created an impression that value of options could be scientifically determined. This had made accounting of options possible, and use of options had exploded.
  3. However, Black-Scholes method assumes that markets are perfectly efficient, and price moves are normally distributed, neither of which are true in reality. We live in a financial world at which distributions have fatter tails, and we should take this into account in our usage of any methodology. Options are mispriced under the normal distribution assumption. 
  4. In our world of fatter-tailed distributions, selling options is more risky than the model assumes –and consequently the price implies-, whereas buying options might involve some real value at the price that the Black-Scholes model reveals. 
If you read the whole article, and have some views on the issue, please let me know.

Employing talented people: Should the companies "war" for it, or should they try to avoid being "a prisoner of the talent myth"?

This is a dated, but yet, pretty interesting article of the New Yorker magazine from 2002. I was so impressed of it that I am sharing it with you.

It starts with a McKinsey research finding that the companies which are in a war to employ the "stars", i.e. the most talented people, are the most successful ones financially.

In contrary, the article gives the Enron example. It states that Enron had taken a heavy load of management consultancy from McKinsey, employed many top talents for years, but in the end, the company couldn't survive because of the uncontrollable structure.

The article concludes with the assertion that if an organisation is full of talented people who are able to -and in deed mostly- think out of the box, maybe it is the box that needs to be fixed.

Do you subscribe to the "talent myth"?