Learn How to Sell

Originally posted on David Cummings on Startups:

Late in the summer of 2001 I was seriously frustrated. After raising money from a professor, hiring several friends as programming interns, and taking a leave of absence from college, we had built a good product, but only had two customers. Eagerly, I reached out to a mentor of mine I met earlier that year when he was on sabbatical from Microsoft.

As he was back in Seattle, we scheduled a time to talk. Even today, I clearly remember that I was standing on a campus tennis court using my cell phone (a flip phone!) for the conversation. After sharing our progress, and my frustrations, he quickly diagnosed my problem: I needed to learn how to sell. Everything I did was focused on building the product, and not on acquiring customers. It was time for a change.

Most entrepreneurs are in love with their product. Unfortunately, most products don’t sell on their own…

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A Dozen Things I’ve Learned about Value Investing from Jean Marie Eveillard

Originally posted on 25iq:

Jean-Marie Eveillard “started his career in 1962 with Societe Generale until relocating to the United States in 1968. Two years later, Mr. Eveillard began as an analyst with the SoGen International Fund. In 1979, he was appointed as the portfolio manager of the Fund, later named the First Eagle Global Fund. He then went on to manage the First Eagle Overseas and First Eagle Gold Funds at their inception in 1993 as well as the First Eagle U.S. Value Fund in September 2001. After managing the Funds for over 30 years, Mr. Eveillard now serves as Senior Adviser and Board Trustee to First Eagle Funds and as a Senior Vice President of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC.”

1. “Benjamin Graham’s book The Intelligent Investor has three lessons. The first is humility, that the future is uncertain. There are people on Wall Street who will predict the Dow will be…

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Facebook Starts Hosting Publishers’ “Instant Articles”

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

[tc_aol_on code=”518823507″]

[tc_dropcap]After months of rumors, Facebook today unveiled “Instant Articles”, a program that natively hosts publishers’ content in its app’s News Feed so users don’t have to click out and wait for websites to load. Instant Articles debuts today with rich-media stories from The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and six other outlets that will be globally visible from Facebook’s iPhone app.[/tc_dropcap]

Assuaging publishers’ fears that Facebook would keep all the data, the social network will share analytics, and Instant Articles is compatible with audience measurement and attribution tools like comScore, Omniture, and Google Analytics. Ads can appear inside Instant Articles, with publishers keeping 100% of revenue if they sell them, and Facebook keeps its standard 30% if it sells the ads, as the Wall Street Journalpreviously reported.

Instant Articles won’t receive preferential treatment from Facebook’s News Feed sorting algorithm just because of their format…

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These vintage AOL commercials show how far the company has come

Originally posted on Fusion:

This morning, AOL announced it was being purchased by Verizon for $4.4 billion in cash, and starting a new, wireless-provider-subsidiary chapter in its 30-year life.

AOL still has more than two million dial-up subscribers, but its days as an Internet portal are long gone. As Peter Kafka of Re/code explains, today’s AOL is “part ad tech operation, part publisher.” It owns content businesses like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, but it has also gotten into the business of building automated ad sales platforms for other publishers — a business that has become its fastest-growing segment, and is reportedly much of the reason Verizon wanted to acquire it.

Although AOL has gone through a lot of changes over the years, we still remember it as the 1990s gateway to the World Wide Web — the one that mailed out “100 Free Hours!” CDs and disconnected us when our parents picked…

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My 2 Cents on the Dollar

Originally posted on Asymmetry Observations:

The U.S. Dollar ($USD) has gained about 20% in less than a year. We observe it first in the weekly below. The U.S. Dollar is a significant driver of returns of other markets. For example, when the U.S. Dollar is rising, commodities like gold, oil, and foreign currencies like the Euro are usually falling. A rising U.S. Dollar also impacts international stocks priced in U.S. Dollar. When the U.S. Dollar trends up, many international markets priced in U.S. Dollars may trend down (reflecting the exchange rate). The U.S. Dollar may be trending up in anticipation of rising interest rates.

dollar trend weekly 2015-04-23_16-04-40

Chart created by Shell Capital with: http://www.stockcharts.com

Now, let’s observe a shorter time frame- the daily chart. Here we see an impressive uptrend and since March a non-trending indecisive period. Many trend followers and global macro traders are likely “long the U.S. Dollar” by being long and short other…

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Absolute Return as an Investment Objective

Originally posted on Asymmetry Observations:

Absolute Return objective fund strategy

In Absolute Return: The Basic Definition, I explained an absolute return is the return that an asset achieves over a certain period of time. To me, absolute return is also an investment objective.

Absolute Return as an investment objective is one that does not try to track or beat an arbitrary benchmark or index, but instead seeks to generate real profits over a complete market cycle regardless of market conditions. That is, an absolute return objective of positive returns on investment over a market cycle of both bull and bear market periods irrespective of the direction of stock, commodity, or bond markets.

Since the U.S. stock market has been generally in a uptrend for 6 years now, other than the -20% decline in the middle of 2011, we’ll now have to expand our time frame for a full market cycle to a longer period. That is, a full market cycle…

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The Untapped $140 Trillion Innovation For Jobs Market

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s note: David Nordfors is the co-chair and co-founder of the i4j Innovation for Jobs Summit together with Vint Cerf. 

It’s a popular sport nowadays, discussing if tech is going to kill or create jobs. The answer is simple if you ask me. If we care more about tasks than about people, then tech will replace people. If we care more about people than about tasks, then tech will leverage people.

Think about it this way: I work in your company, I wash the dishes. You buy a dishwashing machine. You can either say “David, good luck!” or you can say “let’s rock!”

“Good luck” is the task-centered economy. You replace me with a machine. You lower the cost and raise the efficiency. In the innovation economy, this is the race against the machine.

“Let’s rock” is the people-centered economy. You buy a machine so that we can do…

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The carry trade’s bond doppelganger

Originally posted on MKTSTK:

The carry trade is an integral part of global financial markets. While in the past we highlighted the relationship between the Yen and the stock market, the simplest form of the carry trade consists of borrowing money at a low interest rate in one currency and investing it at a higher rate in another currency.

Given it’s deep liquidity, the US Treasury curve is a favored destination for flows related to the carry trade. When interest rates rise in the US it becomes increasingly attractive to borrow money in a cheap currency (such as the Yen) and use the proceeds to finance the purchase of a Treasury bond. For example, late last week yields on the US 30 Year Treasury bond rose above 2.5% for the first time since mid-January. At the same time the value of the Yen fell sharply against the dollar.

The relationship between the Yen and…

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Traders violently revise their expectations for interest rates

Originally posted on MKTSTK:


Look at the heatmap above: it shows the 1 minute correlation matrix for the US interest rate futures complex including the first 16 Eurodollar contracts and the Treasury curve. Unlike heatmaps of the stock market, this matrix is smooth from cell to cell: note the beautifully sloping gradient from the front end of the curve (GEH5) to the back (UBH5). No one would blame you for thinking that any market with such an ordered correlation structure must be one of the most efficient in the world.

As the second chart shows, however, the market has a funny way of shattering consensus opinion. Buoyed by the prospect of QE from Europe and stagnant prices at home, US Treasury bonds had begun to enter bubble territory. Short term interest rate traders bid up the price of Eurodollar futures, pushing back their expectations for the date of the first rate increase.

But early this week the…

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What You Need To Know About Zero Knowledge

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Anonymity? Privacy? How quaint. We live in a world bedecked with ever more cameras, ever more sensors, ever more drones, ever more data, ever fewer things that can be hidden. TLS and Tor can hide your online browsing, true — but, realistically, everything important you do, online or off, can easily be audited and tracked.

True, you can still send private messages. Signal/RedPhone/TextSecure from Open WhisperSystems are the gold standard for secure messaging, and Dark Matter looks interesting. But if you want to go beyond messaging into transacting, your luck runs out.

Consider Bitcoin. It’s infamous as the currency of choice for dark markets — but it’s also, “in a sense, the least anonymous money that has ever existed, since every transaction is observable by anyone with a bitcoin account,” to quote economist David Friedman. Just ask alleged Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbricht, who had 700,000 bitcoin on his…

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