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Showing posts from July, 2017

Review on the Purple Cow - Transforming your business by being remarkable by Seth Godin

The Purple Cow by Seth Godin is a book on marketing, and focuses on the modern day environment.  Godin believes that the traditional methods of advertising are broken and ineffective.  He defines traditional advertising as companies that follow the P's of marketing: Pricing, Promotion, Positioning, Packaging, Pass-Along, Permission, and Publicity.  Godin believes that the key to successful advertising is by creating a remarkable product.  The metaphor that he uses for a remarkable product is a purple cow.

The idea is that a purple cow is unheard of, and therefore it is a remarkable thing.  Godin believes that modern day marketing tactics should focus on just one P, the purple cow.

Godin then provides cases in which remarkable products launched companies to the forefront of their industries.  An example is Google.  It is a website that has a slot where you can type in text and two buttons.  One of the buttons is completely arbitrary.  Yet, it has become the lead search engine and…

The Science of Ice Cream Making

Anyone who knows me knows that ice cream is one of my favorite things in the world. I love it so much that a few years ago I asked my husband for an ice cream maker for my birthday and began making ice cream in my home. Before I started making ice cream, I did not know how much science and trial and error were involved in the process. The science comes from learning about things like food stabilizers, which I discuss below, while the trial and error involves experimenting with the right quantity of ingredients to achieve your desired flavor.

For those who have never made ice cream before, it is a more time consuming process than one would think, usually taking place over the course of two days. Ice cream requires many egg yolks (usually a minimum of 5 or 6). This means that first the eggs need to be separated and then they need to be tempered. Tempering is a process by which a food is gradually introduced to heat without really being cooked. In the case of ice cream, you usually heat…

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Hanging in my child's pediatrician's office is a poster that exclaims, "a message from your doctor's heart, read to your child from the start." Often encouraged, usually resisted, reading is promoted as being as healthy for you as an apple a day, but why is reading so good for you? Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto, found that people who read fiction are more empathetic. Indeed, some would argue that all forms of fiction, including watching dramas on TV, make us more empathetic, but that is a different conversation. In a Washington Post article, Oatley summarizes why literature makes us more empathetic: "'when we read about other people, we can imagine ourselves into their position and we can imagine what it's like being that person,' Oatley said. 'That enables us to better understand people, better cooperate with them'" (Kaplan 2016).

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is the kind of book …

9 Core Values to Help Disciplined People to Steadily Build Wealth

This post is for people who are self-disciplined and looking to invest money outside of their employer sponsored retirement plans.  It is also for those who are aspiring to find ways to generate passive income.

As an educator in New York City, we are provided an employer sponsored 403-b called the Tax Deferred Annuity (or TDA for short).  For more information on it, I wrote about some of my observations about educators and retirement in an earlier article called A little bit goes a long way. 

For those who are not familiar with TDA, it offers a variety of investment options but the most promising is the guaranteed returned fix rate for UFT members at 7% annually, and 8.25% for all other members. The maximum contribution that an individual can make is $18,000 for the year, which is similar to a traditional IRA for everyone else.

If you find yourself in a unique situation where you still have money to invest then I would like to share some of my own ideas that I have put into practice.…

Sex, Murder, Mystery...The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

I recently finished The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, a murder mystery set in the fictional town of Somerset, New Hampshire. I am not usually a fan of murder mysteries, but I managed to finish Joel Dicker's 600 plus pages in three days. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is. An international bestseller, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair seems to have garnered more acclaim in Europe than America; winning multiple awards in France, while being described as "disappointingly pedestrian" by Heller Mcalpin of NPR's Book Review. I will concede that The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is not great literature, but that does not make it any less entertaining or enjoyable. Matisse once said that art should be like "a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue."  The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair provides this relaxation. It is a good book for the beach or for those suffering from sleep deprivation, su…

7 Key Traits Required For Stock Selection.

In Chapter 14 of Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor, he focuses on the 7 items for defensive stock selection.

In the preface, this chapter is highlighted by Warren Buffett as one of the keynote chapters, and therefore the reader should pay special attention to the advice that Graham offers.

For those who are unfamiliar with Benjamin Graham he was a former fund manager, professor, and is considered the father of value investing.  Value investing is a strategy where stocks are purchased at less than their intrinsic value.  Intrinsic value in layman's terms is the amount the company is worth (Assets - Liabilities = Worth).

By the way, the equation above is not the actual method for finding intrinsic value, it is just a gross oversimplification of what it means.  I would also like to note that intrinsic value is different than the stock price.  The stock price is what the market is valuing the company at, but it may not reflect its intrinsic value.

For example: 

Let's …

Dragon Ball Super - How Goku Could Beat Jiren the Gray - Lessons From The Dragon Ball Super Manga - 3 Ways Goku Can Beat Jiren The Grey

As the Universal Survival Saga continues I have speculated on how the Arc will end.  To see some of my prior thoughts please check out my prior posts below.

How the Universal Survival Arc Will End - Post Episode 98

How the Universal Survival Arc Will End - Universe 9 Theory

For those of you who don't know, there is a corresponding manga that trails the Dragon Ball Super television series.  For the most part the arcs are the same. And, this is especially true in regards to the characters involved and the general story line.  For example:  In the Goku Black Arc, Zamasu is still the enemy and Universe 10 is involved.  But, there are key details that change the story line, such as Trunks trained under Supreme Kai Shin, and became a de facto Kaio-Shin.

So how does this all translate to the television series, and more specifically how does this link to the upcoming battle between Goku and Jiren the Gray.

In the manga, they speak about "completing" Super Saiyan Blue.  The conce…

Analyzing the DeMarre Carroll Trade. Does this trade work for the Brooklyn Nets?

Yesterday on July 9, 2017, it was reported that DeMarre Carroll and both of Toronto's picks this upcoming year were traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Justin Hamilton.  As a New Yorker, I'm looking at this trade from the perspective of the Nets and to see if this trade was a smart basketball move, as well as a sound financial move.

Let's take a look at the draft assets, the player performance from last year's season, as well as their 2016-2017 Salary.

Draft Assets

Prior to the deal 
- Brooklyn holds Indiana's 2nd round pick

After the deal
- Brooklyn holds Indiana's 2nd round pick
- Brooklyn holds Toronto's 1st round pick
- Brooklyn holds Toronto's 2nd round pick

From a basketball perspective the draft assets collected are a home run.  Rookies for some reason really struggle in the NBA.  Furthermore, it is hard to turn a 2nd round pick into a starter or even a solid rotation player.  Therefore the acquisition of Toronto's 1st round pick is a solid move in…

Why the Tim Hardaway Jr. signing is a bad basketball and financial decision

On March 6, 2017 - The Medium published this article on the cost per point and cost per minute of the top 25 players in the NBA.  For those of you who have not seen it, you can check it out in the link below.

Today on July 9, 2017 - The New York Knicks signed Tim Hardaway Jr. to a 4 year - $71 million dollar contract.

I like Tim Hardaway.  I like Tim Hardaway Jr.  I think they are both good players, and the latter has the opportunity to be a good role player on a decent team.  However, this contract is outrageous and will set the New York Knicks back even further than where they are now.

I understand that basketball contracts have exploded since last year.  But, dollar for dollar this is a bad signing and the cost of this contract is going to transfer over to the next leadership team for the Knicks, and cause them to shed salary, waste time, and perpetuate their cycle of constant…

Dragon Ball Super - Speculations and Reactions after Episode 98

If you are reading this post then you probably saw last night's episode of Dragon Ball Super - Episode 98 (aired on July 8, 2017).

That was perhaps the best, as well as the darkest episode in the Universal Survival Arc so far.  Just to recap, the warriors from Universe 9 ganged up and attacked Goku and Vegeta.  Initially, Goku and Vegeta struggled against the opposition, but then turned it around on them and eliminated the team with the exception of Roselle who Frieza eliminated.

After Universe 9's defeat, the Zenos erased Universe 9 as well as the God of Destruction Sidra, Supreme Kai Roh, and the warriors from existence.  The episode closes with the Grand Priest looking at Goku in the aftermath.

Full Disclosure - In these posts I speculate on what I think will happen in the Universe Survival Arc.  I do not know what will happen, but I take pieces from what I see on the show and from what I read online and try to piece it together.

To checkout what I thought may happen prio…

Why you shouldn't pick your stocks or pay someone else to pick them either. But, if you have to pick them, then do this.

Everyone, including myself, wants to get rich.  If anybody tells you otherwise then they are lying to you.

In today's world there are many promises to getting rich that are being thrown out there that require little work and maximum pay-out.  For example: create a killer app and get paid (Flappy Birds) or write a foodie blog and get tons of ad revenue.  If you have ever heard the old adage if it is too good to be true, then it probably is.  Well, these are the words to live by.

If you choose to create an app or write a blog, it should be because you have an idea or skill that may be beneficial and desirable to others.  If you are doing it solely for quick money then you will probably flame out.

This idea of getting rich quick is applicable to any field, and the stock market is not immune to this notion.  The idea of getting rich quick by hitting the right stocks is almost downright impossible.  If people tell you otherwise and suggest that you should invest your money in this m…

Dragon Ball Super - Predictions on how the Universe Survival Arc will Progress

This past Saturday, July 1, 2017, Dragon Ball Super episode 97 aired, which was the start of the tournament of power.  In my opinion, the episode was pretty good and did not disappoint.  There was a lot of action, and it laid the groundwork for the tournament and even saw a pair of characters get knocked off the ring already (albeit nobody important).

I've been trying to figure out how this arc will go, and I just can't imagine all the losing universes being erased.  Obviously Universe 7 is going to win the tournament, but the writers have spent so much time crafting some of the characters in Universe 6 such as Champa, Cabba, and Hit, that it would be kind of crazy for them to go away at the end of the tournament.
Now this is all speculation, but I'm going to go out on the limb and say that the tournament will not come to a conclusion.  Similar to the Buu Saga, something crazy is going to happen and the tournament will be suspended.  
At first, I thought this was going to…

Lessons from my mom -- Taking risks in your personal life and with your finances

When I was a child, my mother had this tendency to pull me over to her side while we watched television in her bedroom.  She would stop watching the tv and begin telling me a story.  Often these stories were lessons.  Lessons that she wanted me to take to heart.  I suppose it was an effective way of communicating to a child, because I still remember those lessons and stories to this day. 
One day, my mom told me this story about a friend she had growing up (for simplicities sake lets call him Smith).  Smith was a smart man, he worked very hard, and had a decent job (let's say making $50,000 a year).  He did everything by the book.  He was a clean, honest, hardworking, and respectful individual.  He had a deep respect for the rules.  He admired structure, and disliked anything that lacked rigor, as well as people who differed in his philosophy.  
Smith had a single dream in his life, which was to get married and buy a home.  However, the man was a cautious individual.  He hated ta…