Jul 272017
 

A recent poll from Harvard University points out that 51% of young adults between 18 and 29 years of age do not support capitalism. 🙁 Only 42% said they support it. Of course the results of these kinds of surveys are not easy to interpret. Capitalism doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone. One explanation for the outcome could stem from the fact that not all millennials understand what capitalism is. They may be frustrated with crony capitalism or corporatism, which is rampant in the world today. But those are not the same as capitalism.

The idea of capitalism simply means a free market system where individuals have the rights to personal property and the enforcement of their contracts. 🙂 That’s it. Another survey that included people of all ages found that only respondents who are at least 50 years old supported capitalism for the most part. Older people understand that capitalism works well because government intervention was measurably less in North America before the 70s so there were less lobbyists and public bailouts. The ratio of government employees to the general population in the United States has grown under Obama and Bush.

It’s ironic that the cohort most against capitalism is generation Y. They of all people are most dependent on the advantages offered by the free market system. 🙂 Millennial don’t really care about government pensions or public health insurance all that much. But they will be become very upset if you take away private services like Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix, or any of Google’s services (Google Search, Gmail, etc.)

Popular TV personality Jim Cramer once created the acronym FANG. It represents 4 of the most popular and best-performing technology companies on the stock market. FANG stands for Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) (GOOGL), which has now become Alphabet.

Last week I purchased 8 shares of Facebook at $164 each. 🙂 It’s a U.S. stock and doesn’t pay a dividend, so for tax purposes I bought it inside my TFSA at TD. Year to date all the FANG stocks have returned at least 25% to investors. Yay! I already had the other 3 stocks so by picking up FB I now have a full FANG portfolio. 😀 Amazon has grown to a market capitalization worth half a trillion dollars as of writing this post!

Millennials in general may say they don’t support capitalism. But they sure spend a lot of money, time, and attention helping some of the most capitalist entities in the world become even more profitable. As the saying goes; actions speak louder than words. And the trend is clear. For the sake of my financial goals I will continue to invest in large tech stocks and trust the free-market will provide growth over the long run. 😉

 

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Random Useless Fact:

Carrots were originally white or purple. Then a yellow carrot appeared through mutation and the familiar orange carrot we see today was bred from it.

 

 

Feb 272015
 

Sheryl Sandberg thought she was making a mistake. The year was 2001 and she had applied for a general manager of business units position. Sheryl began to doubt if there was even a job there at all. The small technology start-up didn’t even have “business” units so what was there to manage? Furthermore the position appeared to be several levels lower than jobs she was being offered at other companies. 😕

So when she finally met with the company’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, she kindly explained that the position meets none of her career criteria. 😐 Then the CEO of Google looked at her and replied, “Don’t be an idiot.” 😕 Which is some pretty solid advice. “Get on a rocket ship,” he continued. “When companies are growing quickly, careers take care of themselves. But when companies aren’t growing… that’s when stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.

And that’s exactly what Sheryl did. 😀

15-02-sheryl-sandberg-get-on-a-rocket-ship-lean-in

Eric was right. When companies are small their workers can grow into new positions. Managers are created instead of replaced. People have more autonomy, feel more involved, and everyone can learn new skills and take on new responsibilities without stepping on each other’s toes. It’s more than a zero sum game. You don’t need to knock someone else off the ladder to get ahead because there’s plenty of room for everyone to climb. 🙂

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Feb 252014
 

There have been some pretty depressing news coming out of Ukraine lately. But today I’d like to focus on a more positive note. This is the real life story of Jan, (pronounced “yawn”), who was born in a rural village outside of Kiev, Ukraine.

It wasn’t easy being Jewish at that time and place so in 1992 sixteen-year old Jan and his mum moved to California with little more than some Soviet issued pens and notebooks so that Jan could go to school. They were probably so poor they couldn’t even afford to buy a vowel 😀 #SorryBadJoke

To make matters worse, Jan’s mum was soon diagnosed with cancer 🙁 and the two of them lived off her disability insurance and food stamps. Life was tough but Jan taught himself computer science with manuals from a used book store. Now that’s frugal 🙂 During one of Jan’s college years Yahoo! offered him a good job which he gladly accept 😀 Just when things appeared to be going well Jan’s mum passed away 🙁

In 2009 Jan applied for a job at Facebook but was turned down 🙁 Not to be discouraged Jan used one of his old Soviet notebooks to draw up plans for a new smartphone app he wanted to make. He and one of his close friend whom he met while working at Yahoo! developed a text messaging application that allows anyone with a phone to message anyone else in the world.

Their app became so popular that earlier this year in 2014 they received a call from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook! One thing led to another, and last week Jan and his partner made a symbolic trip back to the social services agency where he and his mum used to wait in line for food stamps. And it was there that Jan signed the papers to sell his company WhatsApp, to Facebook, for $19 billion! Mostly in FB stocks, with a small amount in cash.

Today Jan Koum is worth $6.8 billion. Not too shabby 😉 considering how he came to North America broke as a church mouse.

I don’t use WhatsApp because I don’t have a fancy smart phone yet 😛 But it’s apparently very popular worldwide. It’s not just a random app people download, use once, and forget about. WhatsApp has 450 million active users! It’s also amazing how quickly they were able to acquire such a massive user base.

14-02-whatsapp whatsapp

I think the lesson we can all learn from Jan is that you can make a lot of money if you invent a popular app and sell it to a big company. If someone like Jan can do it, then so can anyone else right? So I’m going to try and do the same. Maybe I won’t become a billionaire, but we’ll see what happens. Here’s my general plan. Stage 1) Develop an awesome app. Stage 2) Get lots of people using the app. Step 3) Sell the app and profit 😀

How hard can it be? I have started stage 1 today. I just Googled “how to make a smartphone app.” From my preliminary research it appears I should learn how to program, which I currently know nothing about. I may have to go back to school to learn computer programming but that may be difficult since I don’t want to take time away from either of my 2 jobs. Looks like I have more planning to do.

Dec 172012
 

Despite the unemployment rate in the US hovering around 7.7% there’s no shortage of job opportunities for outgoing individuals who thrive in a challenging but rewarding work environment.  A time tested skill the world will always need is engineering. Industrial engineers were in high demand during the industrial revolution but in today’s fast pace mobile/technological world software engineers are what companies are looking for. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, even small start-ups, are all willing to pay top dollars to the brightest computer science graduates. One of the highest rated and best places to work this year is Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California. According to the company survey site glassdoor.com the average salary for an intern who works at Facebook is about $67,000 a year.  Pretty good for an intern position ∩( ・ω・) Of course employees also get many of the silicon valley perks such as gym and game room access, phones and laptops, food and drinks, all on campus and all free (⌒▽⌒) With so many benefits and a generous starting salary it’s no surprise people say Facebook is one of the best places to work right now.

intern position

But it’s not a career for everyone. For example I wouldn’t like the long work hours personally. I tried to study comp-sci in university and failed miserably because I couldn’t handle the stress of the workload. But if you’re currently in school and still deciding what to major in, I don’t think you can go wrong with software engineering if you don’t mind working hard. For Canadians with a background in computer science, I would try to apply in the US as well because you will most likely get paid more for your talent 🙂

Of course the other way to make money from wealthy tech companies is to buy some of their equity. Facebook is still too young and volatile for me, but I purchased 3 shares of Google (GOOG) last week for $705 each.

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Random Useless Fact:  In Norway during the month of November people only pay half of their normal income tax, so they will have more money to celebrate and spend on Christmas. I think Canada should adopt this tax break 😀