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Could a Warren Buffett Emerge Today?

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Could someone today do what Warren Buffett did and parlay a $105,000 investment into more than $50 billion?

In considering the things Buffett did to become the world’s wealthiest man, the answer is yes. But comprehending the things he did takes a measure of study. Not to mention the commitment needed to execute it.

Much has changed since Buffett began his career in the 1950s. But the American economic system is largely run by the same rules and principles.

Early Money Making Secrets

Buffett discovered two of his lifelong money making secrets early in life: reinvesting profits and being willing to be different, according to warrenbuffett.com. These are principles that would certainly be useful today.

In high school, Buffett and a friend purchased a pinball machine and put it in a barbershop. They used the proceeds to buy more machines until they had eight in different shops. When they sold the venture, they used the proceeds to buy stocks and start another business.

In 1956, Buffett began managing money with $100,000 he received from a handful of investors while working in Omaha, Nebraska. When he ended the partnership 14 years later, it was worth more than $100 million from investing in undervalued companies.

He is often characterized as advocating a “buy and hold” strategy, but further examination indicates this is an oversimplification of his strategy.

Buffett’s Investment Strategy

There are several aspects to Buffett’s approach to investing. The most basic aspects have to do with his assessment of stock value, known as value investing. Early in his career, he said he is 85% Benjamin Graham, known as the godfather of value investing.

Value investing determines the underlying fair value of a stock based on it is future earnings ability, according to Investopedia.

To guide his decisions, Buffett considers the business, the management, financial measures and value. While these considerations seem easy to understand, they can be hard to execute.

A key Buffett tenet is to ask if management is candid with shareholders. This is not an easy question for many companies to answer.

There are also concepts Buffett follows that seem complex but are actually easy to execute, like economic value added (EVA). The concept is not easy to grasp, but in fact it is a laundry list of adjustments. It is an easy way to calculate EVA for a company.

Buffett’s ideas are also open to adaptation. Traders often require adherence to a formula to control emotions, but investors can adapt their models to current environments.

Business Focus

Another Buffett tenet is to restrict his activity to his area of competence – businesses he understands. Robert Hagstrom, the author of “The Essential Buffett: Timeless Principles for the New Economy,” wrote investment success is not a matter of how much one knows, but how realistically one defines what they don’t know.

Buffett regards a deep understanding of the operating business as a prerequisite for forecasting future business performance. He first analyzes the business, not the market, the economy or the investor sentiment. Then he looks for a consistent operating history. Lastly, he uses the data to determine whether the business has good long-term prospects.

Focus On Management

Another Buffett tenet is to evaluate management quality. This is one of the most difficult tasks for an investor. Buffett focuses on the degree to which the management is rational. He considers management’s approach to reinvesting, retaining earnings or returning profits to shareholders as dividends.

Research indicates that historically, management tends to be greedy and retains too much profit. It is naturally inclined to seek scale rather than utilize cash flow to maximize shareholder value.

Another tenet considers management’s honesty with shareholders. Does it admit mistakes? Does management resist the “institutional imperative”?

Buffett seeks out management that resists a “lust for activity” and the duplication of competitor strategies.

Financial Measures

Buffett focuses on return on equity (ROE) as opposed to earnings per share. ROE can be distorted by leverage (a debt-to-equity ratio) and therefore be less reliable than the return-on-capital metric. Buffett recognizes this, but he examines leverage separately, preferring low-leverage companies. He also looks for high profit margins.

Buffett also looks at what he calls “owner’s earnings” – the cash flow available to shareholders. He defines it as net income plus depreciation and amortization minus capital expenditures (CAPX) minus additional working capital needs.

With owner’s earnings, Buffett pays attention to a company’s ability to create cash for shareholders.

He also has a “one-dollar premise;” the market value of a dollar assigned to each dollar of retained earnings. This metric resembles market value added, the ratio of market value to invested capital.

Focus On Value

Buffett tries to estimate a company’s intrinsic value. He projects the future owner’s earnings, then discounts them back to the present. The projection of future earnings is easier to do if Buffett’s other tenets have been followed since consistent historical earnings are easier to forecast.

Buffett also coined the term “moat,” the “something that gives a company a clear advantage over others and protects it against incursions from the competition.”

The Bottom Line

Buffett’s tenets create a foundation in value investing that is open to adaptation. It is an open question which tenets require modification in consideration of a future where consistent operating histories are more difficult to determine, where intangibles play a bigger role in franchise value, and the blurring of industries’ boundaries makes business analysis harder.

Focus On Staples

Many Buffett observers have noticed he has made a lot of money over decades buying stocks in goods used every day, according to CNBC. He is known for being reluctant to invest in technology — an area that may not fall within his comfort zone.

Many consumer goods companies have beat broader market averages in recent years, such as Coca Cola and Wal-Mart.

Buffett’s Ownership Role

Kiara Ashanti, a financial adviser and securities trader writing in Money Crashers, noted that Buffett has taken an ownership role in many of his investments. He buys enough stock to gain seats on companies’ boards. As a board member, it is possible to influence a company’s direction and its management decisions.

The key point is that to gain wealth, ownership is imperative.

Ashanti observed that Buffett is often mischaracterized as following the “buy and hold” model, holding a stock through good times and bad. Buffett buys for specific reasons. When such reasons end, he sells.

Ashanti agreed Buffett looks for good prices, good management and a competitive advantage. In 1996, he cited General Motors, IBM and Sears as great companies that could not stay competitive in their markets.

Buffett does not pay attention to daily stock prices or what the press has to say about companies. He sticks to his tenets, asking if the company is properly valued and if it is making money.

While there is more to Buffet’s strategy than “buy and hold,” it bears noting that he has gone on record as saying successful investing takes time, discipline and patience.

According to the website, warrenbuffett.com, Buffett offered the following 10 money making secrets.

1) Reinvest your profits.

2) Be willing to be different. Don’t base decisions on what others say or do. The average is what everyone else does. To be above average, judge yourself by your own standards.

3) Never suck your thumb. Make decisions fast. Gather any information in advance to make a decision, but make sure you stick to a deadline.

4) Spell out the deal before you begin. Bargain leverage is greatest before the job begins.

5) Watch small expenses. Buffett looks for businesses with managers who obsess over the smallest costs.

6) Limit your borrowing.

7) Be persistent. Tenacity and ingenuity will enable you to win against a better established competitor.

8) Know when to quit. Know when to walk away from a loss and don’t let anxiety cause you to keep trying.

9) Assess the risk. Asking “and then what?” will help you see the possible outcomes when struggling with a decision.

10) Know what success really means. Buffett does not measure success in dollars. At his present age, he said a person measures success by how many people you want to have love you actually do.

Images from Flickr.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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  1. thoth

    May 5, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Your forgot to add the bit about crony capitalism, It is unlikely another could mimic what he has done now because (aside from fed buying everything) people like him have the monopoly and enough political influence to keep it.

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MGO Token Is Now the Preferred Currency for Game Publishers

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The last few years in the crypto markets have been like riding a roller coaster.  There was period of pure euphoria, mainly during 2017.  And, now, we are stuck, perpetually it seems, in a period of doom and gloom.  It’s unclear when things will turn around.  Because of the bear market that appears to have no end in sight, many cryptocurrency projects will likely fail during the next few years.  Bearing that in mind, it would behoove traders/investors to start researching projects that have a high probability of real world adoption.  One project that appears to be making all the right moves is MobileGo (MGO).

Increased Adoption of MGO Token

There is no doubt that gaming has been a global phenomenon for years.  Video games, computer games, multi-gaming experiences, and e-sports have all been woven into the fabric of society.  And while typical financial analysis focuses on the growth of the industry, game developers are the ones who make everything possible.

One of the largest platforms that game developers now belong to is Xsolla.

Xsolla offers significant advantages that include the following:

  • A pay station that accepts more than 700 payment types from more than 200 countries.
  • Industry leading fraud protection.
  • A partner network that assists publishers with growing their respective businesses.
  • An extremely popular store where gamers can purchase in-game goods, subscriptions, and currencies.

The last point is probably the most important as it relates to this article.  When gamers make purchases, such as in-game purchases, the developers are rewarded with earnings.  And, in order to run their businesses successfully, they are able to withdraw those earnings.

Until recently, the only option was a traditional FIAT withdrawal, such as USD or EUR.  But that is all changing thanks to MobileGo’s native currency, MGO.

Why are Developers Selecting MGO for Withdrawals?

During the last few weeks, game developers and publishers that utilize the Xsolla platform have begun selecting MGO as their preferred withdrawal method.  The current expectation is that MGO will account for roughly 30% of Xsolla’s monthly volume in the near future.  With Xsolla’s monthly turnover nearing $100 million, this would be a massive development.  This begs the question of why the sudden rise in MGO’s popularity.

Cryptocurrency, specifically MGO, offers several advantages over traditional FIAT payments.  With FIAT, it normally takes quite a bit of time for developers to actually receive their payments.  Occasionally, this burdensome process can drag out for weeks to months.  This is critically important as some developers are responsible for running large companies.  The earnings, on a platform like Xsolla, need to be withdrawn in a timely manner in order to pay employee salaries, purchases necessary technological equipment, meet rent and loan obligations, etc.  Therefore, waiting for weeks on end to receive earnings isn’t going to work.

Additionally, FIAT withdrawals are normally subject to significant transaction fees and commissions.

When one factors all that in, it’s not really a surprise that MGO is quickly becoming the currency of choice for game developers.  MGO payouts are faster, cost-efficient, extremely secure, and very simple to use.  Once funds are received, the withdrawal process is as easy as a few mouse clicks.  MGO tokens can be sent to most cryptocurrency wallets that are ERC-223 integrated.  Another option is to withdraw the tokens direct to crypto exchanges such as Bitfinex and Bitforex.

As soon as the MGO tokens are received, users are in full control of them.  The tokens can then be converted to popular cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC, USDT on exchanges that support MGO tokens, or swapped directly for FIAT currencies.

Conclusion

The past 12 months have certainly been a depressing time for many.  A lot of traders have lost money and many crypto executives have seen their projects fail.  And although quite a few projects will face the same fate, one that won’t is MobileGo.  As MGO continues to see increased adoption within the development and gaming communities, it’s very likely that the token price could see a significant increase as well.

Disclosure:  Chris Matthews owns MGO tokens.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Lite.IM Surpasses Facebook In Race To Support Cryptocurrency Compatible Messenger

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Since the early part of 2018, crypto traders have been bombarded with bad news.  Hacks, broken promises, and overall lack of enthusiasm have resulted in huge losses.  But more than that, some promising cryptocurrencies just haven’t survived.  As traders look to the future, they should begin looking at projects that have the potential to disrupt industries and take them to the next level.  One company that has the potential to accomplish that is Zulu Republic (ZTX).

Zulu Republic is an ecosystem of blockchain tools and platforms, designed as a place where people, businesses, and organizations can thrive on their own terms.  The company’s stated mission is to advance the development of decentralized technologies, to promote human rights and empowerment around the globe, and to reduce the global digital divide.

Well the company is off to a great start with the development of Lite.IM.

What is Lite.IM? 

Lite.IM is a project aimed at expanding global cryptocurrency adoption.  With Lite.IM, users can send, receive, and manage Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and the company’s native currency (ZTX), on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, and SMS (in the USA and Canada).  To get started managing these cryptocurrencies on the aforementioned platforms, users simply need to send a text-based command to the Lite.IM bot.  The commands are as follows:

Telegram:  @LiteIM_bot

Facebook Messenger:  @lite.im

SMS (USA and Canada only):  760-LITEIM-0

Competition with Facebook

On December 21st, 2018, Facebook announced that it was developing its own stable cryptocurrency that users would be allowed to exchange through its popular chat service, WhatsApp.  But while Facebook’s initial approach will target users based in India, Lite.IM is open to everyone in the world.  Further, Zulu Republic has previously mentioned that they expect to announce support for WhatsApp in the next few weeks.  It certainly appears as though Lite.IM has the upper hand here.  And that is before even addressing Facebook’s obvious privacy concerns.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, privacy and security have always been two issues at the forefront.  Given the rough year that Facebook has had in that regard, users must certainly be forgiven if they have trouble trusting the social media giant.  In September, 2018, Facebook announced that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.  Apparently, the hackers were able to exploit a feature in Facebook’s code to gain access to user accounts.  Even prior to this announcement, Facebook was already under Congressional scrutiny over revelations that a British analytics firm obtained access to private information from nearly 87 million Facebook users.  Not to mention Facebook’s rumored involvement with Russian election meddling.  Suffice it to say, it has been a tumultuous year for Facebook.

And while users may have concerns trusting Facebook’s ability to handle cryptocurrency data, they shouldn’t have those same concerns with Lite.IM.  Private keys are RSA encrypted with the user’s password.  Lite.IM will never ask for that information nor will it be stored.  Because of this, no third party will ever have access to that valuable information.

Conclusion

The truth of the matter is that Facebook is an absolute giant and has grown at an extraordinary rate since its initial public offering.  Facebook has hired some incredible talent, from executive positions to marketing to development.  And while one should never count them out, I simply wouldn’t be able to trust them with all of the recent issues.  Perhaps in time, after regaining the public’s trust, users could once again look to Facebook as a leader.

Fortunately, users have another strong and dependable option.  Lite.IM will allow users all over the world to manage popular cryptocurrencies via their favorite messenger platform.  Users should continue to stay tuned for future developments.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Product Owner Interview – GShare Has Potential To Increase Adoption Of MobileGo (MGO) Tokens

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In early December, I wrote an article on why investors should be paying attention to MobileGo (MGO).  Exploding popularity of the gaming industry and an impressive partnership agreement with Xsolla led to a surge in MGO’s token price.  In addition, the team of MobileGo created an application, called GShare, that has the potential to significantly increase MGO token adoption.

What is GShare?

GShare essentially allows users to rent the power of their computers to earn virtual coins.  These coins can then be redeemed later for several gaming options including tournament entry fees.  Through this platform, a user can control the amount of computer resources that are used throughout the process.

Although GShare is currently only at the public beta testing stage, virtual coins can still be earned by making purchases for Xsolla products.  But, according to Igor (the product owner of the GShare app), the goals are much more global than just Xsolla.  Fortunately, I was able to land an interview with Igor and asked him about the goals, benefits and upcoming upgrades of the project.

Interview

What is the mission and vision of the project?

Igor:  Ok, the mission and vision are basically to enable anyone, with the focus group being gamers, to easily obtain free stuff.  For example, for simply sharing their time and computing power, users can come away with games, in-game items, and eSports tournament tickets for free.

What is the advantage of this application as compared to other earning tools in the gaming industry?

Igor:  The main advantage is simplicity.  Thanks to the partnership with Xsolla, another important advantage is being able to use the virtual currency to buy games and make in-game purchases.  In the future, I expect that users will be able to earn items directly within the application.  While there are other programs available in the market that allow users to earn virtual currencies, typically users must spend a long time, sometimes up to a year, to earn enough virtual currency to purchase a basic product like a keyboard.

The general idea of GN Gold (GShare currency) is that we will eventually have an entire ecosystem that will support it.  In the future, we fully expect there to be a deep integration between game publishers and being able to use GShare directly to get different items – this is the first step to earing free items outside of the games.   We hope to separate ourselves from competitors by forming more direct integration with the games themselves.

What is the actual development status?  As far I know it’s still in beta test mode.

Igor:  Yes, we can say it is a public beta test.  But it is available.  Anyone who registers in GShare can download and use it.  The test mode is available for the first 500-1000 users of the platform.  This will help our team to identify and fix the bugs.  At present, our internal version is 0.9.17.

If I remember correctly, there was a recent upgrade.  Is that accurate?

Igor:  Yes, it actually happened a few days ago.  Next week, we plan to upgrade the version by adding additional languages including English, Russian, Chinese and Korean.  After that, the plan is to add Spanish and Japanese in the near future.

Are there any other upgrades you are expecting soon, perhaps in the next couple of months?

Igor:  I think that the first noticeable change will be some type of boosting feature.  After performing certain actions or tasks, users will see an increase in their GShare Gold earning rate.  An example of a boost might include increased earning power for two hours.  We expect to begin working on this feature on Monday although I don’t expect it to be completed until February at the earliest.

How is GShare currently interconnected with other products?  Are there any upcoming changes in this respect?

Igor:  Right now, there are no direct connections except that a user can spend GShare Gold on the competitive platform.  A user’s GShare Gold is used as a participation fee.  If a gamer wins a tournament, they will have the option to receive their prize in either MGO tokens or GShare Gold currency.

As far as I know, both products (the earning app and competitive platform), use the same username and password.  Is that true?

Igor:  Yes, they do.  All products of the ecosystem will be easily accessed via a single user profile.  So, we will focus mostly on integrating with games and allowing game-publishers to integrate with us.  In this way, users can directly spend GShare Gold within the games or use the currency to get items directly.

Okay, are there any technical requirements before someone can run the GShare App?

Igor:  I wouldn’t say there are any specific requirements.  Since gaming already requires significant computing power, it’s fair to say that most gamers will already have the necessary hardware to run the app.

I just want to clarify one thing.  As I understood it, the eSports platform is now used mainly for casual games?

Igor:  Yes.  The eSports platform now targets casual gamers while GShare is targeting more of a core gamer audience.

What are the limitations and how can someone know whether they should use GShare?

Igor:  At the moment, that’s a very difficult question to answer given that we’ve only just launched the beta.  During this test period, we hope to learn more about whether an average gaming machine with an average GPU will be enough to earn users some profit.  Although I can say that even laptops with just CPU are able to earn something right now.  It’s also important to remember that the boosting feature, in which development will begin shortly, will play a pivotal role here.

What are the future goals for GShare?

Igor:  For me, the goals are like most other technology businesses – stability and scalability of the application.  Certainly, we hope to make the experience as pleasurable for the users as possible.  Avoiding bad experiences, like application crashes, are of paramount importance.

Some of the team will be working constantly on improving the algorithms, stability and scalability, fixing bugs, and making small fixes in the background.  In the near term, the priority is certainly to finish earning item features, testing it, and getting as many game publishers as possible.  The boosting feature is also very important.

Does GShare have the potential to change the gaming industry in the long-term?

Igor:  Well, the company’s long-term goal is to do good things.  We hope that all these products and GShare will be able to support the community and create strong social values.  Users can choose to interact within the framework of a thematic platform.  An example of that would focus on how a gamer’s view is changing.  This is not just about gaming but allowing people to use their computer for many things while not having to make any effort to go outside.

…. and what’s the scope of the project?

Igor:  Well, for me personally, the scope is to provide as much profit for users as possible.  It would be great if people could run the application overnight while earning a few dollars.  That would really be something.

What are you doing to increase awareness of the GShare Application?

Igor:  Our team is working on that right now.  In January, we expect to begin introducing the app to the Chinese and Korean markets.  In addition, we are negotiating with partners.  Word of mouth among gamers will also play a big role.  That, of course, will depend on the quality and success of the beta.

This will be my final question.  What role do you play in this project?

Igor:  Well, when I came to the company, they wanted me to lead the core.  Prior to joining, I was a product manager for the core team in my previous role.  The previous role afforded me a lot of experience but, for me, it had become a bit tiresome and uninteresting.  It was really about the things that the ordinary user doesn’t see, and I was dealing with all the back-end.

This project is different.  It sounds like “Oh, we haven’t go these” – now you do!  Right now, I’m trying to figure out ways to give the end users as many benefits as possible.  I spend a lot of my time ensuring a good user experience.

Chris:  Igor, thanks so much for taking the time to give me an interview.

Igor:  You’re welcome.  Feel free to contact me anytime if you have more questions.

Although GShare is still in the initial stage of development, the potential is certainly there for a bright and meaningful relationship between gamers and publishers.  As awareness increases, there is a strong possibility that adoption of MobileGo (MGO) tokens will also increase.

Disclosure:  Chris is long MGO tokens.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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