Friday, June 26, 2009

A Letter to my Father

Michael Jackson died today; the news came in as I read mamarita’s comment asking for updates to this blog. I dropped off the radar for a bit there, still a lot of unfinished business.
The folks at work all had different opinions on his life, music, legacy, finances, legal issues and all. One sure thing that kept arising was his “childhood” & abusive father. This was used to explain away his weirdness in one way or another.
I have my opinions on parents spanking kids, coming from Nigeria I can sit on any side of that table & present a solid argument on the social impact of this kind of parenting but, this isn’t what this is about.
Who was Joseph Walter Jackson?
An abusive control freak or the greatest musical manager of all time?

I try to be like my father, but have very little memory of him
Every time mom says “just like your father” I can’t help but imagine who he was to leave such a lasting impression. What made me behave in a similar fashion leading up to the statement? Is it from reading the endless papers he authored, the books he read, finishing the math assignments he never completed in his school days? or could it be an inherent genetic cocktail?
Two things I know for certain about him. He loved chemistry, & he was scared of mom. Both are true with me though I haven’t met someone who wasn’t awed by her iron lady persona.

I remember him playing in the rain with me, mom watched from the kitchen.
I remember his laugh; it was so odd it made you laugh.
I remember his grip; gentle but secure in the middle of the market.
his work was important, the Governor visited us once.
I remember his eyes once I was sick, worried but filled with strength.
I remember him kiss mom then send me away.
One day driving an Indian chap called him a black monkey!
In Kaduna!
I saw a powerful man that day, I will never forget.
At times the memory is spotty,
I hold on to as much as i can.
Today, I am my own king.
He was my father.

Aug. 25 1939 – Apr. 13 1986

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Money Miss Road.... Part 2

Dre & I were having drinks today and we got talking….. he went off on another one of his rants after I said “the actual cost of producing a barrel of oil is less than seven dollars”

How on earth does the cost per barrel reach $100?! These oil companies are milking us like crazy, it’s unbelievable!
Well… yes & no
Why do you say no
There is very little profit in gasoline, the other products like kerosene, fuel oils, etc. these are considered “value added products”
But since there is profit overall, why not balance it out with other products? Plus we are moving away from the main subject. If the drilling costs are so low, why the high cost of the raw crude?
You mean futures trading?
I saw a show on TV and some analyst dude said futures have very little to do with high oil prices.
Yeah, I saw it on CNN
Do you know how the futures exchange works?
Not really, I’m thinking long term contracts to purchase oil for lower prices.
That’s sort of true, but it got complicated along the way
Imagine you’re a corn farmer and I farm potatoes, corn grows May to August, I plant potatoes in October and harvest in April. We have an agreement that during the summer, ill give you half my potatoes in exchange for half your corn harvest for the winter months. This deal seems fair & strait-forward except that sometime in July, a hurricane swept through the farm and destroyed half of the corn field. In one evening your corn just became twice as expensive. Now if you handed me the other half as per our agreement, you would starve in the winter. It would be impossible to come to an agreement on how to split the remaining corn without someone loosing.
Now come into modern day futures trading, we know that June/July is hurricane & forest fire season and you are planting in an area prone to such disasters…. The agreement should include a probability of the crops getting damaged and how to manage costs in that case. So instead of me giving you half my potatoes, ill give you a quarter, sell another quarter for gold & have a third party hold on to it (holding corporation). If your corn survives the hurricane season, you’ll give me half as we agreed, Ill square you the gold bars and we are even.
You see the price of potatoes for you in the summer doubled, but you made up for it in the winter, that’s similar to oil prices going up and down. People are making deals based on the probability of delivery in the future, so when someone bombs an oil pipeline, a shrewd dictator cuts oil supply or similar threats are made to oil infrastructure, the guarantee of delivery is threatened so the price of oil jumps. When everything is cool, the price goes down.
You are making half this stuff up
Ill agree don’t know it all in detail but this is the jist of it
Cool….. I’m not buying the holding company part though.
Fine, a holdings company might offer to buy the risk part of our deal for cash and we give them a portion of our profits. If we suffer some losses, they will carry us through till things get better, or sell off their part, cash in whatever assets they can lay their hands on and leave us hanging to dry.
That’s what a holdings company does?
Have you heard of Warren Buffet?
Who hasn’t?
Well, he doesn’t make microchips or Ikea garbage. He buys part of an insurance company, invests with policy premiums until the company has to payout a claim. Does this sound like what im taking about?
Yeah…. You’re right. How do you know all this stuff?
I do a lot of reading, but just enough to be educated on a subject but never enough to be an expert, unless you’re talking engineering & robotics. Anyways, when next you’re filling up at the pump, you’ll know the real reason for sending troops to Iraq. You need security to stabilize the price of oil.... or be the cool guy everybody wants to hangout with….. like China.
I want to agree with you but I still don’t see why the farmers can’t use cash to replace the barter system.
Here's a modern day example where you have cash. Say you’re a bank, or a holdings company & you just paid for the construction of a multi-billion dollar facility that will produce a gazillion barrels of crude oil off the Caspian coast. It such a huge project, it attracts discovery channel, national geographic and green peace. Customers are lining up.
Time for project completion & first oil – say 4-5 years
Time to payback loans & start chewing profits – 3-4 years
Now you have a dilemma, do you wait 8 years before you start to see your bank balance get fat or you’d like to see it sooner?
If you answered sooner, you’ve walked into the futures exchange.
Even before your engineers buy a bag of cement, you can start selling the oil the rig will output. How do you set your price?
Yeah…. Yeah… you have to consider the project going over budget, accidents, delays, chances demand will drop….. A whole bunch of stuff to consider….. I get it.
In order to be safe you just make the price so high, there’s no way inflation and these other factors can make you loose money, everybody should be just fine…. Except the consumer.
Boy this shit is crazy, so how come you’re not CEO of one of these companies?
In due time kiddo…. In due time…..

Monday, September 29, 2008

Three Guys, Eight Monkeys and One Fat Banana

I know..... I know.....

I said the same thing too...

I'll leave it to your imagination....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

6 quirky things about me

I got tagged by Mamarita. I didn't want to do this..... what the heck. might as well

The rules:
1. Link the person(s) who tagged you…Mamarita
2. Mention the rules in your blog…
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours…
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them…
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged…
6 quirky things about me...... Here goes!

1. I always tell the truth. It doesn't always set me free. Ill refuse to answer a question rather than lie. It started as an experiment in 1997 (or '98) and it's kinda stuck with me...
2. Nobody believes that #1 is true.... then they get to know me
3. When i meet people, i pretend to be shy, wont say why
3. Whenever i feel really good, i cook
4. I make irrational decisions when im angry..... whats odd about it is that i do it on purpose. Im actually an objective thinker
5. When i drive in the rain, my eyes keep following the wipers..... so i turn them off (or to the slowest speed)
6. The last is too personal..... im sorry i cant share. this blog wasn't built to carry that much weight

Hopefully ill tag six bloggers. No promises

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lady Marmalade

Ive been away from this blog for a long time, ive written several notes i would love to post but each one is unfinished at this point. Something happened last week that ive got to put out there.

I was manning the suya stand at a soccer tournament, a girl ordered suya with lots of pepper. As she walked away the wind picked up and blew pepper into her eyes. She shrieked and screamed from the agonizing pain that ensued. I grabbed some water, washed my hands and proceeded to help wash her eyes out. She refused, the girl was in tears, I could tell it hurt like a bitch. I tried to convince her my intentions were just to help, I then gave her the bottle to do it herself...

"It’ll ruin my mascara"


"It’ll ruin my mascara" she said again both times cringing from the pain

What the hell?.....

I couldn’t believe it, what could possibly be worth the potential damage to her eyes?.... perhaps a park full of muscle bound soccer players?
Now that’s just my opinion but ive had this pepper in my eyes before and it’s no walk in the park to deal with the pain.

So I ask, what is the primary motive for girls who take their looks very seriously. Im talking hair, the short-short skirt, the push-up bra, eyeliner, lipstick, taking 30 minutes to decide between the G-string and thong (they are both very small and send the same message). Im not talking of the boob-job liposuction botox obsession here, just the everyday peripherals that gets chucked onto your amazing body (yes it is!)

Ill be asking some friends for detailed answers, not for trivial stuff like "attract boys" or "turn heads". There has to be a common factor that leads to this behavior. Ill return shortly with some replies and then a single theory that explains every answer.

And what do guys truly think of all the effort that goes into these details?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Money Miss Road....

I was talking with Dre at the spot last week, and he was ranting about all kinds of stuff
....why is it that someone can buy a TV for 2500 bucks, a wall mount for 300 and say $100 is too much for the installation when I charge them?
Are you asking for my opinion on the issue or you want the answer to your question?
I want the answer!
Service is not a product.
Service is not a product.
I don’t follow
You see a TV is a TV and the wall mount is that, but the installation, no one consumer can quantify the value. They can qualify it but sure cant put the right dollar sign to it.
That was a little too technical… break it down
Most people can tell the difference between a good and bad job but can’t tell you the price difference. The best you’ll get is “im not paying for that (bad workmanship)”
I see… so whats ‘your’ opinion?
Im thinking if my TV had cost 1250 dollars and the wall mount 150 bucks, you’d charge me $50. my thought process tells me that you are assigning value based on the price of the items, but since the work of putting up a $2000 or $1000 TV is about the same, id offer you 60 bucks and call it a fair deal.
.....What the fuck?
That’s the logic that would be behind my offer!
But you can’t screw with a mans’ livelihood in the name of bargaining!
Why not? It’s a dog eat dog world dude, you shouldn’t fight back, capitalism doesn't like that. Instead, adapt
Here’s a suggestion.... Charge by the hour, that way my thought process earlier would not apply since the price of the TV would not matter.... Like movers who end up spending the whole day getting that piano through the tiny kitchen door when they know it’ll fit easily through the front door
You make sense there.... But people would wise up to that real quick.
Of course, they aren’t stupid…. It simply destroys my theory but introduces a new problem. Again, you have to adapt
Holy fuck im not a freaking genie I don’t know, it’s a changing marketplace, you gotta find what works and build on it. Theres a reason people don’t haggle when they are in Futureshop, but put them in the flea market and its back and forth yapping. You have to find the difference and apply it to your business.
All your big talk still doesn't solve anything
Of course it doesn't, you asked why people think you are overcharging. I told you why.
That’s a technicality…. You know what I mean
Yes… but if you want an improved business strategy, id have to charge you
For what?
Consultation fees
That’s bullshit
I don’t get it.
You see I mention fees to do some thinking for you and you call BS before I even mention a price. That is the problem you're facing.
C’mon youre a smart guy, give me something
Have you had a customer referral to do the same job?
Oh yes... I get lots of those, my work speaks for itself
Im willing to bet you didn’t get much drama when it came to your fees
Yeah... Those are good customers
No. That’s because the person has seen the finished product and the bill before spending a dollar, just like the TV on the shelf, its eaiser to shell out cash than if the TV was sitting in a box with no labels, just a price tag.
So you are saying I should get them to visualize the TV on the wall before I install it.
At least youre thinking.... a few more like that and you’ll have something to work with.

So what’s worth what?