Oil falls 30%, rise of clean energy?

Russia and Saudi Arabia are in an oil-price war, with oil falling to under $30/barrel earlier this week, dropping from highs of $80/barrel just a few years ago

Many people may view the drop in oil price as a win for oil and a loss for clean energy

However, in my view, the instability and volatility of oil and natural gas, in turn, shows that clean energy is the solution: clean, environmentally friendly, stable energy

This bump in oil markets is a win for clean energy.

Stop specializing: I am my own niche

For years I’ve thought that the way to truly be successful and influential in your field(s) was to specialize – experts would always best Jack of all trades, masters of none.

Yet I quickly realized I had so many interests, genuine passions, for so many different fields that didn’t necessarily coordinate well together.

In high school, I’d be deeply interested in chemistry and math classes and how the world worked, my favorite class still was acting, and yet I received the top English award.

After class, I’d balance basketball practice with musical theatre rehearsals and violin orchestra practice. I constantly wondered whether I was spreading myself too thin, and I also realized I was never truly able to be the best in any one field.

I ended up dropping the basketball team out of lack of dedication, I felt like an imposter leading my high school strings orchestra as concertmaster for 3-years, and when I played Scar in Lion King I couldn’t help but have a lingering feeling of regret that I sacrificed basketball to sing. Why couldn’t I be like Troy Bolton?

Now I am at another semi-crossroads.

Am I the magician?

The philosopher, daily blogger?

Will I work on Wall Street and run a hedge fund, trading stocks, and options?

Or will I dive into academic economic research and cure poverty – my all-time goal?

I don’t have the answer, but I think I’ve come up with a path: I am my own niche

Specialization worked in the days of Henry Ford assembly lines, and yes it still works today too

But there’s something to be said about the creativity of bringing in interdisciplinary skills and disciplines

The most recent book I’ve been reading dives deeper into this concept of Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

Steve Jobs famously cited his Chinese calligraphy class for giving him the inspiration for pioneering Apples typography and design

Roger Federer didn’t specialize in tennis until much later than his peers, and in fact, might have learned towards soccer at one point in his childhood

And Lindt chocolate brought together dark chocolate and spices to create something new, unique, and not necessarily specialized but surely special

There’s ultimately nothing wrong with specialization, and equally nothing wrong with having a broad range of skills.

I hope to find a balance between both practices so that I can further build bridges between philosophy and business.

Massive Group Suicide?

There is an old myth that lemmings, these rodents, will occasionally, in massive hoards, jump off cliffs into the water and their death. It’s quite a grim scene.

This scene of following the leader is often cited as an example in behavioral psychology as a danger in mass-conformity and herd-following.

There’s only one problem: lemmings don’t conduct group suicide.

Lemmings multiply fast and they need to migrate after a huge population boom every 3-4 years to find more space. Lemmings can swim, and may try to cross rivers or bodies of water in search of a new home. Inevitably, some will drown.

It would be quite curious if lemmings did commit mass suicide, still, this story is an irresistible metaphor for decision behavior and the dangers of conformity and mass-herd following. You never know who might be leading you off a cliff.

Tesla and Virgin Galactic

Yes, Tesla’s and Virgan Galactic’s recent stock price surges is all Wall Street can talk about right now.

But what’s even more exciting is the potential technological paradigm shifts that Elon Musk and Richard Branson is spearheading that will drive their values up even higher in the future.

1) Tesla is leading the EV industry by developing electric vehicles that are faster & stronger, more efficient, and better for the environment. Eventually they will launch completely autonomous vehicle taxi networks powered by their in-house AI chips, and  (current)14 billion driving miles data points.

2) Virgin Galactic is looking to be able to send people to space THIS year. (Sure, it’ll be ~$250k/ticket. But if I had the money I’d probably pay). Branson is going from air travel to space travel, and may be the first to offer commercial business. (Looking at you, Bezos and Musk).

If you believe in the long-term potential of innovative companies, then you won’t be too worried about short-term price movements as an investor.

#tesla #elonmusk #innovation #virgingalactic #richardbranson #technology

China Wuhan Virus

“These construction sites are a fine example of decisive Communist Party Action” reports the Economist.

China recently completed a 1000-bed hospital construction in just 10-days in response to the Wuhan virus. A second hospital is now being built. The timelapse of the construction is just insane

Chinese officials are getting criticism for apparently hiding the virus outbreak for weeks – maybe justified due lack of knowledge and  not knowing the insuing severity- yet “weeks” is a big improvement from when China’s government hid the SARS outbreak for 4 MONTHS in 2002.

Look, this outbreak is terrible and we don’t know how much worse it might get. But I honestly believe the criticism thrown at China is a little shortsighted. Obviously the people did not want this virus to occur. Not are they maliciously and intentionally spreading it to other countries.

Say what you will about China – but the government knows how to get things done and when to put it’s iron fist down. And with a population of 1.4 billion, I think they’ve done the best job any country could do trying to not cause massive chaos.

Sending prayers to China and my family.

#china #economics #wuhan #wuhancoronavirus

Apple’s dominance

How powerful is Apple?

It’s the most valuable and profitable public company in America / the world, worth ~$1.3 trillion dollars. With a T

They have $210B in cash

Straight Cash – readily deployable

To put that into perspective, Apple is one good quarter away from being able to completely acquire DISNEY

Disney is worth around $240 B

Netflix is $150 B

Still, there would be too much antitrust backlash for an acquisition, but still

I’m not a fan of iPhones and I don’t believe Apple’s innovation is on par – but betting against Apple is a tough bet

Insane…

billionaires

a very trendy topic in the 2020 US political campaign is centered around billionaires, wealth taxing, and how to fix ‘capitalism’

I don’t think any country is only ‘capitalist.’ Sure, the United States is more capitalist-ish, but still sprinkled with a little government intervention, anti-trust policies, and socialist social security cherry on top.

Should billionaires exist though?

They have incomparable power to the middle class – in the form of monetary power, political influence, and status.

Those with money can do great things in the form of business, philanthropy, and advancing the economy and generating wealth.

On the other hand, they can also use it in corrupt ways to forward their own agendas. Of course, we all are selfish and will look out for ourselves, but it is the wealthy that can have a significant impact on their actions. Take for example the college scandals where famous people paid upwards of $500K to get their children into universities like USC. But seriously, if you’re going to pay that much money anyway, shouldn’t it be Harvard or Princeton? Political campaigns are also dependent on funds, and lobbying is a big way for the wealth to push their political agendas.

My fellow business colleagues probably share my ideals – either consciously or subconsciously – and that is we wish to be wealthy. The billionaires club is an admirable position – one that holds a lot of power for the 1% of the 1%.

Jeff Bezos is worth over $100+B (likely less after his divorce settlement), but a lot of his wealth is held up in stock, or non-cash. No one has billions dollars sitting in one bank account, because 1) that’s too much cash to hold 2) you’d probably want several banks accounts for insurance and 3) cash does not generate more wealth – investments do.

Income taxes then don’t really work on those super-wealthy especially if you are one of those big-tech CEO’s that claim a salary of $1, or Warren Buffett who has an income of $100,000 while being worth over $80B.

US politics is all very interesting and I get to watch it in a detached way without legitimate pressure to influence politics. So we’ll see where these wealth-tax plans come into play and whether or not they’ll be a favorite in the 2020 campaigns. I for one am watching Andrew Yang because I like his economics and business background, interesting take on capitalism and socialism mix through UBI, and his slogan – MATH : Make America Think Harder. He’s also the opposite of President Trump – an Asian man who loves math.

 

slow and steady, sustainability, and space travel

It’s been over a month since my last post and I wanted to just get back into the game after my hiatus

The latest topic I’ve found interesting is space colonization and environmental sustainability on Earth

Of course, climate change and sustainability is a top issue for humanity and is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. I say perhaps because depending on where you live, climate change is on different degrees of importance. Even in America, climate change and global warming will vary in importance depending on the economic cycle. In a recession, society is more worried about the economy, job stability, and standard of living. While when America is in economic growth, there is more worry about the future, thus global warming and climate change become more of an important social issue (as it is now).

For developing countries, trying to survive the next day / few years, and getting out of poverty and maintaining economic stability is more important than climate change. We see this with China, which for decades sacrificed the environment to grow their economy. China is still the largest user of coal, but are now in we see a massive transition phase in China — they are now the largest producers and users of electric vehicles and green energy sources.

If we don’t make massive sustainability changes, we will eventually pass the point of no return in terms of destroying Earth’s environment and resources.

However, economists and social science predictors cannot factor in the growth of technology, and that is another aspect of potentially fixing the environment problem: space travel.

Perhaps we can find solutions for resources through space investigation. And of course, space colonization may prove a potential solution in the future. Keep an eye on Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.