We park our hopes in PE ratios

When it comes to money, we, humans, are so fascinated with the unknown and the inexplicable.

Take Bitcoin for instance.

Most of us know that Bitcoin is a Cryptocurrency that has appreciated a million folds over the years but you ask a random person how Cryptocurrency really works and you get a half-baked answer.

Stock markets are a similar story.

Tesla is trading somewhere around 1000 times its earnings. (PE ratio)

This means people are paying 1000 Rs for Every 1 Rs that Tesla earns today.

No wonder why Elon Musk is the second richest person in the world (richest a few weeks back).

Well, Coal India is trading somewhere around 6 times its earnings.

People are 1000 times more hopeful towards uncertainties around electric vehicles than coal, a resource that will remain a stable source of thermal power for most of the 21st century.

It is interesting.

PE ratios are interesting, it tells you where people are parking their hopes.

Back in 2013, Facebook’s PE was 110.

Today it is somewhere around 25.

You know where Facebook is heading.

Zoom Video Comm has a PE ratio of 150.

In July 2020 it was 1500 🙂

Sometimes, all you have to do is exist

Yesterday I received a call from Sharekhan. Sharekhan has been my stockbroker for almost a decade now. Anyway, it was good to hear a local dialect (Konkani) because the call was from Mapusa, Goa, my hometown. The lady wanted to know whether I would be interested in buying some MFs through Sharekhan. 

I politely declined and diverted the conversation to their core offerings, that is, brokerage charges on the stocks. 

Your brokerage is almost 5 times more than other brokerage firms, I said that laughingly. 

The response was funny. She said, we know sir, but there is hardly anything we can do about it. Firms like Zerodha are quite new and we won’t be able to match their prices.

I said, well, then why do you think I should stick with you?

She said because we have people to support you. (She meant service)

I asked a couple of more questions around the platform and the discussion was over.

I just reflected on the sorry state of some businesses that opened in 2000s :

#Sharekhan will never be able to match the brokerage of #Zerodha

#Crosswords will never be able to match the prices of #Amazon

Idea-Vodafone will never be able to match the unit #economics of #Jio

And yet they exist!

Think about it

Or maybe sometimes you only need to exist…


Of cross selling

If you want to experience #crossselling at its best, please visit your nearest bank branch

Don’t visit govt branches because these branches are just too busy updating passbooks, they don’t really have all the time for cross-selling

Visit a private branch and ask for anything you wish, you can even ask for water and there will be an executive assigned to you

Even before you tell her what you really want, she will explain to you two financial products that you have never heard of

In no time they will take a paper and start explaining to you the math behind annuities and compounding and crazy returns

Then you might just think that this sounds too good to be true

You are confused but smile anyway and ask for more details

By this time the junior exec has successfully enticed you into thinking that the product is just awesome

Now is the time for the senior executive to step in and take you into the bright future where you have all the money you want

By now you have completely forgotten why did you even visit the branch in the first place

Then some docs are flashed and you have to really do nothing but sign at 8 places


No, I did not reach the final stage, I saved myself. I am very intelligent

Advice: be assertive, say no, and be informed about financial products.

10% off!

At my previous workplace, there was a KFC on the ground floor.

It offered a 10% discount for people who worked at offices in that building.

You only had to ask for the discount, and the KFC staff would just swipe a special discount card before I offered my card for the payment.

I was not very regular but on the days when I skipped my usual lunch box, one would find me sitting quietly at a corner table, devouring the finger-licking good chicken.

I always preferred to go alone, that was my “me time”

Over a period of time, I started visiting more.

Few more months passed and the staff recognized me as a regular guy.

Sometimes I would go there to buy a light snack before having my lunch.

Few more days passed and I started feeling awkward to ask for the discount.

And then suddenly one day, I gave up on the discount and never asked for it.

I stopped valuing that discount.

And then eventually I became less frequent.

I explored some more places around.

Discovered some more good food-joints.

Discounts work.

Discounts work until they don’t.

Planned Obsolescence

Just watched the Apple Launch Event.
It is sad to see how everything is designed for planned obsolescence.
Do you know what is planned obsolescence?
Let me give you an example.
I love my Xbox 360.
I bought it on Quickr, right before the pandemic hit us.
The seller was just walking distance from my home.
He was happy to give me the Xbox+ some cool games at Rs 5000.
He was an avid gamer and owned two other PS consoles.
He said, “trust me, the Xbox has been used for less than 20 hours”.
It was a super deal. The device was in mint condition.
I played some of the classic first/third-person shooters, I put the rig to test.
Enjoyed every second of the experience.
The device was manufactured in 2011.
10 years and Xbox 360 technology is still relevant.
The Xbox 360 was not so much designed for planned obsolescence.
Planned obsolescence describes a strategy of deliberately ensuring that the current version of a given product will become out of date within a known time period. This proactive move guarantees that consumers will seek replacements in the future, thus bolstering demand.
Apple does this so subtly.
It is iOS that pushes older devices towards obsolescence 🙂

NASA’s Vision

We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.

Can you guess whose vision statement it is?


Did you guess it right?

But don’t you think that vision statement is under more pressure than any other vision statement on this planet?

Because every year NASA’s vision needs to hold good for millions of taxpayers in the US

But come to think of it, when the equity is replaced by tax, it is a different ball game altogether

When the NASA director uses words like “moonshot”, he means that in a factual manner and not a metaphorical sense

And we don’t even know how they define their ROI, revenue, profitability?

Based on what? What are the benchmarks? What is the competition like?

We know that NASA has competed against Russia during the cold war, but not anymore

But, NASA has remained true to its vision

It has conducted extraordinary missions on Mars and Moon

But where is the ROI you may ask

Well, the ROI is right here. An Indian citizen is writing about the vision of NASA and you have read thus far

It is the soft power that the USA has built over the years

But have you thought what would have happened if NASA were a public listed company with a #vision like that?

The trap of Duopoly

Here is something you should be worried about.

The telecom space in India is now controlled by two companies.

Airtel and Jio.

Both are just a few million customers away from being termed as a duopoly.

Like Boeing and Airbus.

Unfortunately, in my region, Airtel is a natural monopoly.

I use airtel broadband and airtel sim.

Currently, I face frequent call drops and internet outages.

The costs and efforts of switching broadband and telecom services are prohibitive.

During the early days of broadband circa, 2006-07, one such natural #monopoly was BSNL.

There was nothing I could do once the BSNL connection conked.

All I could do was wait.

Yesterday I had the same feeling.

All I could do was wait.

Every time Airtel customer reps assure me of better quality, I have to believe them.

Sometimes I ask them, have you read the SLA (service level agreement)?

And they kindly say, no.

And I believe that’s ok.

Customer representatives are trained to speak what you want to hear.

They are doing their job.

But we all are slowly sliding into a dangerous trap.

It is the trap of duopoly.

Even if the new Boeing 737max crashes due to technical challenges, we really don’t have a choice.

We have to trust Boeing.

Or painstakingly find an airline that only uses Airbus.

This company sells hope and not products

Are you looking for some passive income?
How long are you going to sustain the uncertainty of your job?
Then pave your way towards financial freedom! Join us

I can’t believe Amway representatives are reaching out to people on LinkedIn.

I was always puzzled with the business model of Amway.
I remember 15 years back a distant relative visited us with the Amway proposition.
We couldn’t make out the head or tail of how we are going to earn money.
My father was generous enough to only listen, offer tea and biscuits and kindly showed him the way out.

But as I think about the Amway model now, I get some clarity.
Amway is an awesome business.
They are in the business of selling hope.
And the hope is everybody can generate some passive income.
Amway’s core products are very expensive.
They have some great product line trusted by millions of people.
But someone selling you Amway will sell you the idea of becoming rich and financially independent and not products.
All you have to do is network, network, and network.
The confidence with which they sell hope will make you crazy.
Anyway, I don’t know what is the reality and do people really make money.
Amway sells hope nicely packaged with all the glittery paper.

Tell me the time someone sold you dedication, perseverance and hard work ? 🙂


The time and money game

All our life we struggle to balance these two resources: Time and Money

If all you have is time and little money, you might invest that time to make more money.

You try to be modest, reduce your activities, and seek discounts.

If you have all the money and little time, you might invest that money to buy some time for your hobbies, leisure, travel, and family.

You intensify your experience.

Live more in less time.

You spend a premium on travel, adventure, and buy special editions.

The third type: With all the money and all the time! They are a rare breed.

Also, there is the fourth kind, the ones who optimize the equation between the two resources and write self-help books on it.

The challenge is you always have to do a trade-off between the two

No resource can act as a proxy for time.

Nothing will act as a proxy for money.

But out of the two, time is a finite resource.

Your net worth will fluctuate, life will always give you opportunities.

But the world is designed to treat time as an infinite resource and money as a finite resource.

What do you think?

Reflect 🙂

The double-edged sword of incentives

Back in the 18th century, Britain was overcrowded with prisoners

Convicts from Britain were transported to Australia

Rise of crime owning to poverty in overcrowded cities was the main reason

These convicts were usually transported on Hulks( transport ships)

Life on these Hulks was terrible, more than 40% of the convicts died on the way

The captain/owner of the Hulk was paid on per convict basis

More the convicts he carried, more money he minted

However, these convicts were poorly treated during their journey; low rations, unhygienic conditions and cramped quarters

The management wanted to keep the costs low

Over a period of time, the British Government learned about this

They changed the payment system to transport the convicts

Now, the management of the Hulks would be only paid on the basis of per convict that safely landed in Australia

Post this, the number of convict deaths on the hulks dropped by a mere 2%

Nothing changed actually, the Hulk management was now incentivized to cram more convicts on the transport hulks

Towards the beginning of 19th century, all private Hulk ownership was phased out

British Government took the ownership of transporting convicts

Any reflections?