Making money

So here is an idea.

For some really popular, outstanding products that make you drool and want to buy them right away, you may occasionally also have the opportunity to earn more money by purchasing equity in that company. Two such companies come to mind: Apple and Tesla. They both make products that are experiencing massive demand and this only means good profits for the company.

I did a retrospective calculation where I listed every product of Apple that I have purchased so far and calculated what would happen if I had also purchased Apple stock worth the same money at the same time.

I started with my first Macbook (May 2008) and iPod (December 2008) all the way to my most recent one, an iPhone 5 (Dec 2012). I pulled out historical stock data from Google finance and figured that if I had also put in the same amount of money in purchasing Apple stock, the value of my stock today would be about 2.6 times that of the money I invested in.  It is roughly 17% IRR. If you’re really curious send me a note and I will send you the calculations.

So the point is this: Mortals (like me) who are not frequent investors in stock have this very good way to find out which stock is a good one: Just by observing demand in the environment around you. Does the Micromax A110 sell for a premium at the shop, or is there are several months worth of backlogs in the delivery of the latest Ford vehicle that just launched ? Buy that stock if you can!

I badly want to own a Tesla. I also am unable to afford it – unless, well I buy Tesla stock and it earns me enough to buy it!

Shhh! don’t tell anyone. 

 

Now for the disclaimers:

1) I am not suggesting that purchasing stock is an alternative to purchasing the product. The above is just a tool to measure

2) This doesn’t always work though as is the popular case of Oculus Rift, the company that raised its’ seed money on Kickstarter and later on sold out to Facebook for a couple of billion dollars while the original ‘seeders’ did not have any upside from those billions. (To be fair to Oculus, they did deliver on what they said they would to their initial backers, so no harm done by them deliberately – it just isn’t the right money earning forum for backers who should look elsewhere).

Thomas Was Alone

UnityPlayer.175x175-75

There was a time when this awesome little game was only available on Steam for just under $2. It has an amazing soundtrack to it, is very playful in its’ narration (reminds you of Portal series).

They’ve realized their under-pricing now and launched on the Mac App Store for $8.99.

It is still worth twice more than that. So go ahead, download the game and HAVE. A. BALL.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thomas-was-alone/id859229050?mt=12

On marriage

I learnt this from a big bro I respect-a-lots! These words, mark them down, tattoo them on your arm.

the key is not to marry the right person but, to be the right person

I think  I am going to absorb this for a bit more time.

metamorphosis-of-butterflies7

realigned atoms

It’s atoms around us, isn’t it? Everything is. All things around us are an alignment of atoms in a designated format. People, cultures, mountains, lakes, planets, stars come and go because the atoms decide to align themselves in another manner. Continuing this I want to present four different meditations on this topic

betelgeuse

In response to one of my previous posts (link) where I had asked where will you be 427 years from now, I received a very interesting answer. SK told me he knew where he would be in 427 years from now. He said he’d be a star.

It is true, right ? From another planet, the Sun ofcourse looks but just another star. All human bodies will eventually remain in the gravitational pull of the Sun and they’ll be part of this star too.

I am convinced by the sheer arithmetic of the Drake equation and that means that I believe in intelligent life outside of our planet. If you’re unconvinced, try the exercise here (link).

metamorphosis, past-life regression and memory

I was thinking of situations where memory continues past boundaries you’d not normally imagine.

1. A bunch of caterpillars in an experiment were given a mild electric shock along with a particular scent. The caterpillars learnt to stay away from that smell soon. When they went in to metamorphosis and emerged as butterflies who had an aversion to the same scent (link). This occurs despite the caterpillar completely transforming first into a gooey, liquid mass of genetic fluid before it takes the shape of a butterfly. Something makes it remember. The alignment of atoms carries out in a very specific way so as to not lose this information. I don’t believe this is accidental though, it is a very planned, specific and accurate way of transformation.
2. You’d have heard of people who remember stuff from their previous lives. There is in fact a very tacky TV series on that topic I once saw. When you think of the human bodies as atoms too, it it not all that hard to imagine some memory moving on to the next re-alignment of atoms. This is not going to happen accidentally but there just might be some way for this to happen without us fully understanding it (yet). 
I’d like to believe so.
3. Things have properties. Magnets attract iron. Water stays liquid between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius, Helium is heavier than Hydrogen, they attract each other and so on. I’d like to think of these properties as embedded within the specific alignment of the atoms in that object. If it wasn’t so, how else would a magnet *know* to attract iron or water know to remain liquid ?

groundhog day, the movie

Bill Murray wakes up the next day in exactly the same situation on each day – over and over again. He talks to his friends and the people around him and they don’t seem to know the difference because to them it is just another day, February the 2nd. However to Bill Murray it is the February 2nd that is the day after February 2nd.
See I’d like to think that he remembers something from the previous day that the other characters around him don’t. That’s that basis of his becoming a piano master, an ice sculptor and learn all about the people in that town.
He is the only one who carries over this memory from the previous day while others don’t.

xkcd

Finally I want to share this beautiful cartoon on xkcd. Profound.

xkcd_lego

your addiction cycle

I am rarely two minutes away from my phone at any point in the day. No other object comes this close to me. So obviously I have developed a fondness for it and it leads me to pick it in my hands.

Sometimes I don’t know why I have held it in my hand though and I find myself fiddling with it. I do a series of things with it:

press the home button, slide right to unlock it
look for whatsapp and sms messages
check my email
check facebook
open twitter
open instagram
open zite, decide not to click on anything because those articles are too long and I don’t have time to read.
same for pocket
see what my friends are doing on foursquare and path
open kindle, see the list of unread books, close it.
check the temperature and forget why I needed to know it.
scroll past to the next page of apps and look for something important there but don’t find anything.

The above is what I call an addiction cycle. James Altucher also mentions about his addiction cycle in one of his blog posts. These are dangerous routines because I estimated that I do it about twice every waking hour. Sometimes even when I wake up in the middle of the night for water.

Your time goes to this dungeon of unproductivity and is never going to come back. So learn to overcome this.

Like most bad habits, this one can be overcome by looking for cues that tell your brain you are now in to this addiction and then have a series of mechanical responses programmed into your head that you blindly follow.

For instance, every time I now unlock my phone, I ask myself

What specific task do I want to accomplish when I unlock this phone ?

If the answer is not satisfactory, I stop there.

A peeve about Linkedin

When I search for a name on Google the linkedin profile does come often as a first option. Which is great. But I hate that when I click on that link, linkedin only shows me a short summary of the profile even when I am logged in to linkedin.
The Googlebot I am sure sees the entire profile of the user in all its’ glory because that information is indexed and retrieved by Google for it to show the right result.

So it is just Linkedin that decides to show a page of partial information to the logged in user making them click an extra button, possibly upgrade them to a premium plan or whatever it is their super smart product managers think is worthy.

It is my peeve as a user of linkedin though and I hope they provide information to me who is a user in the fastest way and in a way that the Googlebot sees.

2013-Volkswagen-Jetta-Hybrid-gear-shift-knob

The ‘S’ in Sports mode

Many cars with automatic gear boxes have an S position. This is commonly referred to as the Sports mode and drivers are told their car would become more well, sporty. In other cars like the Honda it is marketed as a way to help you tow a trailer or to overtake another car quickly.

Sporty probably means to some of you that the car will accelerate faster. That is not true. The top speed or the acceleration of the car is whatever it was in the normal D mode. No laws of physics change by putting the gearbox into S.

What happens actually is that the rpm at which the engine operates is bumped up (usually by 1000 rpm). What this does is:

a) the car delivers greater torque
Movements become jerkier, epecially at lower gears. And since more power is delivered in a short period of time, you feel it is *sporty*.

b) consumes more fuel

If you didn’t use S and instead stuck to D for everything:

a) The top speed at which the car can operate does not change and you can achieve that by continuing to accelerate anyway

b) You can still achieve the jerky acceleration of S mode by just pressing the acceleration pedal harder, more earnestly.

That’s all.

happy face

#100happydays

From Rhea Malvai (link) I learnt the meaning of the hashtag #100happydays. Matt Cutts too, in his TED Talk (link) speaks of a way to form habits by repeatedly doing things for 30 days. His point is that if you can sustain a good habit for 30 days, your chances of holding to it are much higher after that.

One of the important and regular things I want to add in my life is the feeling of gratitude and happiness. Many people and events have inspired me to do so but one that stands out is the episode of This American Life (link). This one was narrate by Michael Lewis and tells the story of a guy who has a story about how he got in to college which is quite a romantic story and is one that re-inforces your faith humanity. Except that it is not true — all of it. He has this way of adding his perspective on regular events that make the world around him look much brighter. That episode is a life changer to me.

So I started this little experiment some time back.

I spend a few minutes every day thinking of at least one thing in the day that is a reason to be happy. Not a lot, just one thing. Even on a shitty day when you have a lot of things not going the way you want, you can always look for one thing to be happy about.

This is the 21st day and I can tell you that it is a good idea and has changed my thinking if not at all times at least for some time in the day.

Now on to making this a habit – Should be easy.

spring.resilience

Resilience /1

I like to think that Resilience is more a function of attitude than skill. This definition allows room for nurture to make a person rather than just leaving to nature (or the DNA you are born with). Of course, I acknowledge that many people whom we call resilient are naturally so. They, due to their bringing up or life experiences present a particular attitude to life’s challenges. But it hardly means it isn’t learn-able.

See: Resilience is the ability to continue when you’re in the dumps. It is a conviction so strong that it sounds irrational to others.

I think it stems from the underlying belief that the current (low) moment is just a small detour in the much longer journey of life. I learnt in a Radiolab episode once of a tribe that has exceptional navigational skills. Their language has a few hundred terms to refer to the cardinal directions. Think of a word for slightly east of north, another word for slightly *more* east of north. Get the drift ? They did an experiment where they blindfolded one of them inside a closed room and revolved them quite a few times and asked them which direction their nose pointed to. They were simply too accurate ! Turns out in their minds they always have a map with themselves as a dot on it. It helps them re-anchor whenever they are lost. And people who’ve lived with them and learnt their language also start doing the same.

It is learnable, you see – the ability to view the larger story with the current time as a marker on it, guiding you to the larger goal.

More important to everyday life, you can make some of your own practise assignments that will help you behave more resilient.

I like to think so.