Monday, October 31, 2016

Buying a company's shares doesn't mean that you'll get proportionate claim on its real profits [COMPACTIDEA]

I had an Indian friend during MBA who once told me that there's no need to do any kind of business. One can/should just buy shares of good listed companies and thus "participate in their growth" and "get a share of their profits". I laughed in my mind at his innocence. He likely has absolutely no idea of the kind of accounting and other frauds/tricks companies use throughout the world - fake bills/invoices, fake sale, fake expenses, altered interest rates, fake commissions, and so on, in order to reduce "visible" profit [to reduce tax burden] and yet to ensure that the real owners/promoters are rewarded lavishly. Most companies use shareholders only to raise money [sort of interest-free loan]. There's no obligation whatsoever to reward them handsomely [although CEOs, etc., keep uttering this "create value for our shareholders" phrase frequently], and this is exactly what most companies do. So my friend had no idea actually.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

It's futile to ban high value currency note denominations as folks can always use precious or rare metals to pay [COMPACTIDEA]

What will investigating or banning high-value banknote denominations like 500 euro or 1,000 Swiss francs do? Politicians are themselves throat-deep in the crime pit - they take bribes during military equipment deals, they murder civilians via wars, they stash black money in Swiss banks, etc. Publicly they decry currency notes of high denominations, but privately they need small-volume-small-weight-high-value methods as means of payment and also to get paid. To rescue come precious/rare metals such as Gold and Platinum [that also happen to be very, very liquid as well]. You can transfer crores/millions via small amounts of Platinum, for example. So not much use banning the 500 euro "Bin Laden" note.

Update [Feb'17]: And no one can stop barter, the best insurance against sanctions and demonetisation of currency notes. Like between Iran and Russia.

Update [Mar'17]: Another example. A packet of 100 banknotes of AED 1,000 is worth about INR 18+ lakhs as of today. A massive amount of money neatly stored in a small packet.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Who would've thought that it would be Yahoo Mail that would, in a way, save Yahoo from a rapid and total meltdown [COMPACTIDEA]

It's Yahoo Mail that keeps bringing people back to Yahoo. Nothing else. Email addresses are sort of permanent, and changing them is very difficult, especially if you're using an address for many years and dozens/hundreds of your people use that address to communicate with you. No one would've thought two decades ago that it would be Yahoo Mail that would turn out to be the savior of its parent company. Yahoo Mail keeps bringing its users back to both homepage and Yahoo's other Web properties. There's nothing that locks you to Yahoo Sports or Yahoo Movies or Yahoo Travel. Yahoo Finance, in contrast, is somewhat more resistant to switching if you have a lot of stocks in your watchlist, etc. Porting these to some other finance portal isn't easy/quick [and you've also gotten used to the interface/navigation of Yahoo Finance]. Yahoo Mail's contents [contacts, emails and especially your email address] are not portable at all. Hence your need to keep coming back.

Courier companies such as DHL, Ecom Express, UPS, TNT Express, etc., are actually in a strong position to challenge online retail companies such as Amazon [COMPACTIDEA]

  • Very roughly speaking, online commerce/retail involved two major portions - the "digital" or "online" part [marketing activities to get sellers who display their goods and prices, and a website plus a mobile application to display the available inventory and take orders and process payments], and the "physical" part [warehouse to store inventory of goods, and a full-fledged delivery system to deliver goods and maybe collect cash on delivery].
  • Large courier/package delivery companies such as FedEx, Blue Dart, etc., already have extensive physical infrastructure in place [though they likely do not have warehouses to stock goods]. They've already covered a significant part of what constitutes an online retail service.
  • The incremental cost to them of entering online retail is much lower than it is for someone who isn't already into the courier business. These companies simply need to "open up" [i.e., display online on a website] the inventory inside their warehouses and the rest they already know how to do efficiently and at scale.
  • There should be significant synergies realized by these companies if/when they enter the online retail business [a lot of existing infrastructure will be reused].

Friday, October 21, 2016

Russia is right and US is wrong - American armed drones are fundamentally cruise missiles [COMPACTIDEA]

American assertion that its armed drones do not constitute a violation of the INF Treaty is, to be honest, hilarious. Armed drones are basically cruise missiles that can be flown as desired and that can be used to drop/fire conventional or atomic/nuclear weapons over the kind of distances that are of concern to the INF Treaty. Just because drones look like unmanned aircraft and are called 'drones' rather than 'cruise missiles' doesn't mean that they don't come within the scope of the INF Treaty. America shouldn't underestimate the common sense and intelligence of people of other countries - especially the brilliant people of Russia.

Update [25-Dec-17]: It's interesting that while the US refuses to accept Russia's [correct] conclusion that American armed unmanned drones are "effectively" equivalent to cruise missiles, the same US [correctly] sees and complains about China's artificial islands as "permanent aircraft carriers". Unsurprising double-standards from America.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I'm increasingly getting confident that government-owned companies are very important - even if these operate less efficiently than private firms [COMPACTIDEA]

  • Looking at USA of today, it becomes clear that large, state-owned companies are important in every sector of every country's economy. USA is now a poisoned state that's practically run by greedy corporations. The concept of state-run companies doesn't exist [think of airlines, banks, etc., in America]. Overt and covert/tacit collusion keeps happening, and citizens are looted all the time, many times without they even realizing it.
  • Think of India and its state-run behemoths in crucial industrial sectors - State Bank of India [SBI], Air India, Life Insurance Corporation of India [LIC], Steel Authority of India [SAIL], Bharat Heavy Electricals [BHEL], India Post, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL], National Fertilizers Limited [NFL], Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited [BSNL], and dozens others.
    • These giant PSUs play the most important role of keeping private companies' actions in check. If not for these PSUs, private companies would literally milk the last drop of blood of India's citizens [imagine the sky-high charges Airtel would be able to charge for broadband if there was no BSNL to keep it in check].
Indian government shouldn't privatize these state-run enterprises in the name of "economic reforms", even if these are less efficient than private firms. They allow citizens to procure goods and services at honest prices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Macromedia Flash was and is great - Google is desperately trying to kill it because it can't easily advertise inside it

Anyone who has seen Flash animations/games/puzzles/quizzes/videos on the early Web [or by opening downloaded .swf files directly inside Internet Explorer] knows that that kind of interactivity is missing from today's Web, despite staggering advancement in Web standards/technologies. There are not some but many things that just can't be done [today] without Flash. And in some ways the Web was more "alive" and interactive in the yesteryear than it is today [with the keyword being "in some ways"], all thanks to Adobe/Macromedia Flash.

Battery life, security, performance, memory usage, etc., are just excuses [all of these can easily be corrected by optimizing Flash Player]. Flash is being brutally murdered because it is so great. It gives Adobe the power and the direction. It enables platform independence [like Java], something that neither Apple nor Google wants [two of the biggest anti-Flash companies, unsurprisingly]. It's not easy to put ads inside Flash applications, hence Google sees Flash as its big enemy. And so on.

Despite all this, us folks who've seen its true power know what Flash is.

Update [19-Oct-17]: This Flash-powered form on AOL Listens website shows the power of Adobe's Flash. It must've been simple to render such a good-looking, animated and interactive webpage in Flash. It's probably far more complicated to do the same using pure Web technologies. And people and companies want to kill Flash. Idiots. Improve Flash, don't kill it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pepsi's current logo looks weak and malnourished and is overall unimpressive [COMPACTIDEA]

I was a Pepsi fan but the current logo is too thin and weak and has put me off and I've stopped drinking Pepsi and I prefer Coke now [its logo continues to be elegant/impressive]. Pepsi's old logos, in contrast, were muscular, manly, solid-looking, brimming with attitude, and overall impressive.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Corporate-owned US news media is running America's presidential election this year, along with blames on Moscow

"Biased" is a pretty inappropriate term to describe what the US mainstream media is doing this election season [anti-Trump, pro-Hillary, anti-Moscow/anti-Russia, pro-Obama, anti-Putin, etc.]. The more proper words for US media's actions are "scandal", "crime", "fraud" and "travesty". I've never seen such a degree of poisonous bias in any news media as I've seen in American news media this year. Truth be damned - US news media is doing everything it can to reprogram the minds of American citizens so that they vote for Hillary, despite her numerous despicable and provable crimes.

Secondly, the amount of reference to Moscow/Putin/Russia that's going on this election season is simply unbelievable. Anything, anything, happening in the US is instantly blamed on Moscow/Putin/Russia, and US news media is desperately trying to hide and paint/polish/cover Hillary Clinton's ugly crimes.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

ISPs that insert banner ads into customers' broadband Internet connections - BSNL, Connect, MTNL - should have their asses whipped hard [COMPACTIDEA]

Most funny thing is that when I opened a link to read about BSNL inserting advert-laden banners, my own ISP [Connect] inserted a banner at that very moment! This practice won't stop until asses of executives of these ISPs are whipped mercilessly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

One look at this chart shows why America is shit scared of the euro and is covertly trying to destroy it [COMPACTIDEA]

Ever since its introduction, euro has become a credible alternative to the US dollar, and in the eyes of the Americans, a threat too. It's only because the euro is already a sufficiently credible alternative to the US dollar that Iran can deal entirely in the euro and yet not feel any trouble. Loss of reserve currency status will destroy America's ability to finance its endless wars and could cause American families to become so poor that they have to run naked on their streets, fighting for basic necessities. So for Americans, euro must be contained and destroyed, and indeed, America is covertly destroying Europe and the euro.

Likely internal mathematical working mechanism of liquid funds

How can money market funds give returns as good as bank fixed deposits, without the duration commitments and the premature withdrawal penalty charges? Seems to me like if the entire corpus of a liquid fund is thought of as a pool of water [with fixed length and width], and the pool is growing in height/volume over time, and any withdrawals are more than compensated for by deposits [resulting in net deposits], then, say, ~90-95% of the pool can be safely invested into higher duration instruments by the fund manager [which have higher returns than shorter term instruments], with only ~5-10% kept in really liquid form to meet day-to-day withdrawal requests [which'll anyway be met even otherwise by incoming deposits]. The result? Practically, almost the entire pool is invested into long-duration, high-interest instruments, while giving each customer of the liquid fund the impression of full liquidity [with the critical assumption that not all of these customers are going to withdraw all of their money together]. Based on randomness, some withdraw, some deposit, and the overall effect is sort of zero, and ~90-95% of the corpus doesn't need to be touched. This mechanism will work even if the pool size isn't growing on a net basis, but is sort of stable.

This magic of liquid funds is possible only because the individual deposits of the customers are clubbed together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Microsoft Lumia 640 XL powered by Windows Phone 8.1 captures photos with dull colors [COMPACTIDEA]

Because I found similar complaints by several Lumia-owners on the Internet, I'll quickly copy the example photos taken by one owner to show this disappointing shortcoming of at least Lumia 640 XL. First photo by Nexus 5, second by Lumia 925. My Lumia 640 XL takes dull/faded/lifeless photos. When I compare these to those taken by my BlackBerry Z3, I can see the difference clearly [Z3's photos are rich, vibrant, colorful and overall full of life].

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Does Russia need America's permission to sell weapons to Iran?

These news stories that I received a few months ago via Google Alerts seem to suggest so. I think Russia will simply spit on the faces of Americans, waking them up from their fantasy world where every other nation on our planet needs the consent of USA for everything. These journalists don't feel even a bit of shame for crafting titles that make it seem like Russia needs to ask USA before doing military deals with Iran. Maybe the dying empire feels good staying inside the illusion bubble that it is still the world's leader.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The allure of a secondhand car, with the example of Skoda Laura [COMPACTIDEA]


In INR 4.25 lacs, one can either get the following Skoda Laura, or the basic variant of Chevrolet Spark. I don't think there's any comparison here. I would've surely gone for this Laura.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Continuing to offer 4%, 6%, 7%, etc., interest rates in deposits in savings accounts is going to be difficult for Indian banks

When interest rates for loans/ODs were ~13%, 4% looked cheap and even 6%/7% looked possible. But interest rates on securitized business loans/CC limits are around 10% now, and the best interest rates on FDs are around 8-8.5%, so 4%/6%/7% on savings accounts looks difficult to me. The old ratio of 7%/13% is now 7%/10%. The entire calculation has changed. As a percentage/proportion of the interest rate on loans, the interest rate on savings accounts is now much higher.