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Baptized into the world of business and travel at a young age I’ve subsequently lived in multiple countries, traveled to many more and built myself a small fortune investing in businesses and markets that I spend an extraordinary amount of time doing due diligence on. People sometimes ask me... More
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Capitalist Exploits
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  • Ready To Profit From A 25 Billion Dollar Mobile/Social Media App Industry?

    By: Chris Tell at http://capitalistexploits.at/

    Then go nowhere near this baby. The penny stock mafia are at it again. Even with my vigilance about not having my email address floating around the cyberwebpipes I still get spammed. Here's the copy:

    Ready to Profit From A 25 Billion Dollar Mobile/Social Media App Industry?

    Nudg Media Inc.
(publicly listed: "NDDG")

    What Are You Waiting For?

    The NDDG mobile app is being downloaded on everyone's phone and could be acquired for billions by Facebook, Google or Yahoo!

    • Tesla (TSLA): Elon Musk rewarded early shareholders with thousands of percent return on investment.://
    • Apple (AAPL): Steve Jobs rewarded early shareholders with thousands of percent return on investment.
    • Microsoft (MSFT): Bill Gates rewarded early shareholders with thousands of percent return on investment.
    • Nudg (NDDG): Will you be rewarded as an early shareholder with thousands of percent return on investment?

    You can share in this potential whirlwind of profits by investing in NDDG today. Your biggest potential for the largest monetary gains is investing in the earliest possible round of a growth company like NDDG.

    Smart money ALWAYS EARLY. Will you act now- before the stampede of latecomer investors that will arrive in a few weeks?

    Why is Nudg Better Than All The Other Social Apps?

    They have combined the very best features from the leading peer-to-peer communication applications; stripped away any annoying nonsense which people just do not like, and built an easy and fun to use social connection system.

    Nudg (OTCQB:NDDG) is a customizable interactive social media platform, which incorporates Augmented Reality, Circle Functionality, Voice Chat, Video Mail, Text Messaging, Geo-Locating, and more of what people really want. Just think of Facebook, Badoo and Skype all in one.

    Imagine, being able to connect with friends and family with the unique ability to easily segment specific people into different circles (like Google Plus).

    You're out and about, have some extra time and would like to meet with like-minded person…

    No problem, Nudg will locate people within your geographic vicinity, in a similar state of mind, and make it easy for you to connect.

    Wait, it's time to call mom who's baking cookies in your hometown. Just use Nudg to make a free call anywhere in the world.

    Want to keep in touch with all, or specific groups of people? They call this "Circle Functionality" - just choose the appropriate circles(s) and interact as you would use Facebook (AND with full privacy options).

    What is NDDG?://

    • A single app for easily connecting with nearby people and businesses
    • Video call, VoIP call, video email, voice message, SMS, email and chat
    • 100% secure with fully customizable privacy settings
    • Digital coupon alerts from nearby businesses- instantly redeemable from the phone's screen
    • A marketplace for proximity-based sales that commands top dollar from advertisers

    Make Sure NDDG is on your Radar Screens

    Lionsofwallstreet has been compensated ten thousand dollars for email advertisement

    Where do I start?

    Why the beginning, of course! This was sent from lionsofwallstreet@gmail.com. Wonderful! Immediately I know that these guys are so professional they're using a Gmail account. I'm encouraged already.

    Next, the ticker is linked to this article. Some little snippets which a 10-year old should be able to pick out easily. I know since I printed this out and handed it to my 9-year old son and asked him to find out what could possibly be wrong with it.

    Combining geolocation and gaming functionality within a social network, the Platform will initially launch as a mobile device app for iOS™ devices. Users will soon be able to download the gaming iOS™ app for free from the Company's website, nudg.com.

    OK, so my 9-year old son tells me that this sentence means they don't seem to have the product completed yet. No… Wow, we've got a publicly listed company that does not yet have a product. Is this what they mean by getting in early? …As in before they've developed anything?

    Let's take a look at the next line:

    The Company also plans to subsequently test support for mobile devices running Android™ and Windows™ operating systems.

    OK, so the company plans on doing some basic tests. Great! This means they've not done any yet. No worries, this is why getting in early makes sense, right? Imagine how valuable the company will be once they've done some tests, unless… Never mind.

    Wait, there's more…

    The second feature announcement is a guaranteed revenue split with third-party developers. This will ensure that independent computer programmers receive financial compensation for building Platform features and plug-ins. The Company will provide details regarding the self-serve advertising portal and revenue-split for developers shortly after the Platform's initial launch as an iOS™ mobile app.

    Let me put this into English for you: We don't really have anything developed or even developers so we're going to get other people to do the programming. I'm intrigued as to why developers would split any revenue on something they 100% built themselves, unless… Ah, forget it.

    Next they tell me there are 62 million internet users in the US. They forget to mention that none of them will be using this not-yet-built app, by not-yet-announced third party developers, who are to be sharing in not-yet-earned revenue, but that would confuse things for the "ALWAYS EARLY" smart money.

    I took a quick look at the quote screen and chart:

    Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.52.59 PM

    Yep, some poor saps decided that they were going to be "early" and whoopee, they're now in the process of getting dumped on. What's that about fools and their money? Then I looked at news feeds right below the stock chart:

    Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.48.30 PM

    Nothing to see here. I'm sure it'll be fine, really. Who needs filings anyway when you've got promotion, right?

    The troubling thing here is in the fine print right at the end of the original email diarrhea which found its way past my spam filters. Someone actually paid $10,000 for this article to be written. Go read it again and tell me, does this look like "literature" worthy of $10,000?

    I mean, I'm all for fiction, but really…

    - Chris

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

    Sep 09 5:36 PM | Link | Comment!
  • IQ, IP And 8 Commandments Of Corporate Governance

    By: Chris Tell http://capitalistexploits.at/

    Recent dealings with a company led me to think about the relationship between corporate governance, creativity, innovation and what it takes to create or indeed wreck a successful enterprise.

    A result of having been involved in well over 100 private equity transactions (I've long ago stopped counting), Mark no doubt a similar number, has been a lot of lessons learned and a particular methodology for choosing investments. Each day I learn more and I'm far from perfect. I only hope that I keep getting better.

    One of our pillars of investment methodology has always been to focus very heavily on management in any company we invest our capital into. I've seen fabulous ideas run by idiots and they have a near 100% failure rate. I've also seen mediocre ideas run by very talented smart people succeed beyond all expectations. Clearly we need to work with good people, period.

    Albert Einstein famously commented that "Creativity is intelligence having fun".

    But what exactly is creativity?

    I'd define it as an ability to create meaningful ideas. These ideas brought to fruition bring value to peoples lives and people pay for value. In monetary terms this is known as intellectual property or IP. It is a critical element worth mentioning as the vast amount of value in today's world resides in intellectual property. Additionally, IP is mobile. Governments, organizations and individuals who try to trap IP by force are facing a tough challenge in our modern world. IP can move across borders in minutes without an individual leaving their sofa.

    Mark and I own some businesses which are 100% mobile. They are domiciled where it is most attractive for them to be domiciled and this can be changed in a matter of weeks if not days should the need arise. These businesses are driven by IP and are far from abnormal. They are, in fact, becoming the norm.

    Consider companies such as Apple, Google or even Glaxosmithkline. What and where is the value in Apple? I'd suggest it is in the IP the company has built. The products are assembled in China anyway and that certainly isn't where the value lies. Apple's products could be assembled in any number of countries which provide competitive labour costs. The IP, however, can move anywhere.

    For any company their challenge is to attract talent, creativity and skill. They do this by creating an environment of openness, fairness and opportunity. A company therefore needs strong values and good governance. Without good governance talented people will soon leave as their skills will not be allowed to flourish. What is needed is an environment conducive to flourishing ideas. Ideas die when they're not put to use. Ideas die if there is no sustenance for them to grow and flourish. This sustenance is what is provided by investors in the form of capital and corporate infrastructure in the form of governance.

    Corporate governance is a favourite topic of Richard Chandler. If you're not familiar with the Chandler Brothers you're likely not alone. These two Kiwi gentlemen are my heroes. Extremely secretive, contrarian, driven, principled investors who invest their own capital and don't care for the limelight or what others think. They are at heart value investors often focusing on turnaround opportunities.

    Over a span of some 20 years the Chandler brothers took a $10 million sum of capital and have parleyed that into over $5 billion. They are amongst the most successful investors in history yet they are virtually unheard of by the mainstream. My kinda guys.

    I could discuss the Chandler brothers all day long but suffice to say their influence on me was one of the many catalytic reasons for the formation of Seraph, a syndicate of High Net Worth investors who together with Mark and I, invest in early stage proprietary private equity opportunities.

    Suffice to say the Chandlers focus a lot of attention on management and though they've often invested in companies with poor management they've done so in order to replace those management teams, turn the companies around and reap the rewards. They are probably THE most successful strategic narrow focused private equity investors I know of.

    Richard Chandler has a list of principles of good corporate governance and I'd like to share them with you today.

    The Chandler Corporation's Principles of Good Corporate Governance:

    1. Commerce and capital are based on trust. Capital will naturally flow to markets where there is a fair and impartial application of just laws. Governments have a responsibility to create a trust-based economy that protects investor property rights through the rule of law being applied without discrimination.
    2. Good corporate governance rests on the Cardinal Principles of integrity, transparency, and accountability.
    3. Prosperity flows from a partnership among shareholders, management, customers, and regulators. Management's role is to create long-term shareholder value as well as social value through the productive use of capital and resources in an ethical manner.
    4. Management has a social responsibility to respect and nurture the physical, economic, moral, and social environment within which the company operates.
    5. Shareholders are owners. They must have the attendant rights and responsibilities of ownership. A company's structure should be based on the principle of "one share equals one vote." Shareholders are responsible for electing the board of directors which, in turn, appoints the company's management. Responsible shareholders provide oversight of management's performance.
    6. Good regulations support the Cardinal Principles. They enable shareholders to exercise their oversight responsibilities without burdensome and impractical rules and procedures.
    7. Management is accountable to shareholders for the productive use of the capital entrusted to them and for their financial and ethical performance.
    8. Capital is a valuable resource which must be prudently managed. When management cannot deploy capital productively in the business, it should be returned to shareholders.

    I think good corporate governance is a bedrock on which a company can let its intellectual creativity and innovation flourish. I liken it to the compost my wife is putting into our vegetable patch for the coming spring planting.

    - Chris

    "I think Asia is the best place to be for the next 20 years." - Richard Chandler

    Sep 02 6:18 PM | Link | Comment!
  • How Putin Just Saved Europe, And Other Geopolitical Tales

    By: Chris Tell at http://capitalistexploits.at/

    Picture this scenario. A brother and sister squabbling with one another. Something's gone wrong, they're blaming each other, fighting, and generally at each other's throats. Along comes the boy from next door who pokes fun at one of them and starts pestering them. Brother and sister rapidly put aside their differences, join forces and deal with the boy from next door.

    The saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" has played itself out many times throughout history and, while geo-political relationships may not be as close as siblings, the forming of alliances and the repercussions from having joint enemies can be profound.

    During the second World War Stalin realized that he needed the Allies to defeat a Nazi invasion, and in turn the Allies realized that the Soviets were necessary for the war effort. In any other scenario the Allies would have been arch enemies of Stalin and vice versa.

    During the Cold War a similar setup occurred with the Soviets and Chinese aiding North Korea during the Korean War, and then aiding the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

    On a country specific basis many a dictator has been propped up and supported by Governments pretending to their citizens that they in fact abhor the acts of such people. A controlled media and messaging ensure that the vast majority of citizens don't think too much or dig too much. Government, after all, is largely in the business of marketing. Mobuto Sese Seko, Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, and currently the Saudi Royal family. All strategic at some point in time.

    I'm not picking on any of these for any particular reason other than that they're choices which everybody knows about, and the relationships are well documented. Government in all instances does this. Nothing unusual. As they say in Thailand, "Same same but different."

    Well, this time it's same same but different, too. We're seeing similar alliances forming now. This time Europe and the US forming an alliance against Russia, and China together with Russia moving towards forming and solidifying existing economic alliances.

    Consider that in just the last few months I've had the following snippets cross my news-feeds:

    In Europe, Putin, the boy from next door, has distracted the Europeans from their political and economic woes, and the infighting which has been building between the Europeans has taken a backseat to more immediate problems. Taking a look at the news since Ukraine started making headlines shows me that distraction appears to be working. I'm not suggesting this was by design. I don't think that's the case. It is, however, convenient for EU policy makers who've completely screwed up the European marketplace and are looking for someone to blame. Putin is a Godsend.

    Life for Europeans will get worse… much worse. Sanctions with Russia are already destroying European agriculture, but at least Eurocrats can blame the economic decline on external factors. Watch for it. You can bet on it. In the meantime, let's look at who hurts the most from the Russian ban on US and EU food imports.

    (click to enlarge)

    Keep an eye on PKO, Bank Polski, Poland's largest lender. Earlier this year they raised $2.7 B in a bond issuance. Little did they know how lucky their timing was. No way would they be able to sell bonds at levels achieved in January of this year, now. The question is, will they survive as their loan book collapses?

    While all this is taking place I have to wonder where and what other opportunities arise from this very large and accelerating power shift. An active move away from the dollar is underway and has been for some time. What is important now is that this is being accelerated by the public sector and not the private sector. Moves such as the BRICS setting up the financial infrastructure to transact away from the dollar is bold indeed.

    Actions of this nature, or just the mere consideration of such actions, would have been previously met with threats of tariffs, curtailment of aid or even outright sanctions from the United States. That they are taking place now on a near daily basis shows just how fast the geopolitical landscape is changing. The economic decline evident in the Western, socialist world and the US in particular is evident to anyone not reading CNN. This coupled with Obama's refusal to curtail the NSA has accelerated both the desire and the fortitude of many countries around the world to proceed to change the status quo.

    Talking with my private banker in Singapore I asked what bankers thought of all of the FATCA rules. Her response was, "It won't be too long." These absurd rules exist and have to be complied with while the dollar is the reserve currency, but when, not if, alternatives exist then simply choosing not to play in that particular sandpit any longer will be more favourable than the revenues currently being earned by complying. Right now banks make too much money to walk away from the existing financial setup, which is dictated by US banks, US clearing houses and US money.

    This is changing. The amount of capital flooding into Singapore and Hong Kong is putting pressure on the banks here and pushing up already crazy real estate prices. There are other sectors we're interested in and taking advantage of. One of them is private equity, which is our particular niche. Capital flows are very important and we believe that the next big M&A activity will be in Southeast Asia and we are moving aggressively to take advantage of this.

    In the meantime, I'm curious what opportunities readers think are opening up. Drop a comment below and let me know.

    - Chris

    "The dollar monopoly in energy trade is damaging Russia's economy." - Vladimir Putin

    Aug 26 4:49 PM | Link | Comment!
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