Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 Goals

Here it is, a bit behind schedule and long overdue, but I finally did it! Woo hoo!

This year, I see my goals as being a lot more personal. I know that I'm in a much different place, and I'm a different person from who I was a year ago. Hugely different. I really want my goals to reflect that, which I think they will just by virtue of the fact that the "new" me has crafted them. I also commit to updating my progress on working toward completion of these goals over the course of the year. Doing so in this public forum will help keep me accountable

Regular Goals --

Personal: Learn to snowboard with enough proficiency that I can tackle a green trail by 31 Dec 2008.
Personal: Accumulate $20,000 in emergency funds by 31 Dec 2008.
Personal: Achieve $150,000 in net worth by 31 Dec 2008.
Personal: Save $15,000 for a house down payment by 31 Dec 2008.
Personal: To find and accept an offer on a new, rewarding and fulfilling job by 29 Feb 2008.
Business: Unwind my real estate investing partnership by 30 Jun 2008, including all asset sales.
Business: Hand off my consulting customers to responsible, attentive, competent person with high integrity by 30 Apr 2008.
Business: To ship a prototype of our application running on Windows Mobile and the iPhone by 30 Sep 2008.

Stretch Goals --

Personal: Read 50 books by 31 Dec 2008.
Personal: Accumulate $30,000 in emergency funds by 31 Dec 2008.
Business: To have a beta release of our application running on Windows Mobile and the iPhone by 31 Dec 2008.

You'll notice some carryover from the 2007 goals, as the goals which came across are very important to me from a quality of life standpoint. This year, I want to seriously look at acquiring a piece of real estate to make my home. While I plan to keep an eye out for real estate investments, my interest has waned due to the problems I've had with this existing partnership as well as a desire to focus on building my software startup. I had to make some major changes there, parting ways with my partner, and I'm looking to really rev that project with input from a group of advisers that I trust and respect. That can be considered fallout from the year that was.

You'll also notice that several of these goals are what might considered "negative" or "inverse" goals. Unwinding my partnership and handing off consulting clients are efforts to really focus my energy into those areas that are the most rewarding and supportive of my overall life goals. I have made them goals here because I want to be free and clear of these obligations as quickly as possible, as all time spent addressing these areas means time that is not available to work on mobile software development, networking, or building my new career.

If anyone knows a competent, underemployed Windows expert who might be interested in taking on some side consulting work, by all means, have them contact me. They must be local to the Washington, DC area, as my clients are located in the DC metropolitan area and Baltimore. I will conduct a test (or possibly a series of tests) to determine competence and integrity. Since I consider all of my clients to be friends, I have to be comfortable with whomever I recommend to take over my duties. This person will be entrusted with the "keys to the kingdom" with regard to each of these businesses.

Finally, anyone who is interested in purchasing investment property in Baltimore should contact me. These are all rentals in the standard Baltimore mold - 3 bed, 1 bath rowhouses. You can get a good deal on pricing because we have equity in all three, but honestly, we're looking to get out of them as quickly as possible. All 3 can be purchased as portfolio, or individually, although clearly the best room for negotiating a deal will be in buying multiple properties. I am also accepting referrals to other interested, serious investors as well. This is the real albatross around my neck, and the most urgent pain point in my life right now.

Anyway, let me press publish on this. If you're interested in either offer, let me know. Until next time, good people...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Investing in Death Redux

Death bonds. Mmmm. Yummy!

Now, some may consider that tacky and tasteless, and its possible that it is. But this is my blog, dammit.

I'm really in love with the idea of securitization and finding different cash flows to securitize, so this article on caught my eye.

Now, securitization is getting a bum rap lately due to the so-called Subprime Mortgage Crisis. I find that bum rap to be unwarranted, especially when you consider that an entire line of people in the chain made really bad decisions for which they mostly do not want to be held accountable for. Yes, fraud was a factor in a great many cases, but at the end, people chose to sign on the dotted line for a number of reasons and in many of those cases, they were bad reasons. However, if the lives of you or your family were not at stake, then you really have no excuse for the decision you made. Suck it up. Yeah, it hurts, but pain is one of the universe's way of letting you know that you did something detrimental, and hopefully you'll learn from the experience.

Anyway, getting off my soapbox and back into this conversation, I really wonder what the models look like. As the point was raised in the article, there hasn't been an extreme mortality event in a very long time. While the chances of such an even would appear to be rather low, even controllable to some degree (as much as the whims of humans can be managed), natural disasters look much more difficult to model from a risk perspective. I would think that anyone participating in the cat bond market would be looking very closely at death bonds. Of course, that human psychology factor probably scares off a lot of the potential investors, since psychology cannot be modeled well, if at all. Isn't the mark of a prudent investor that they know what they don't know?

So what untapped securitization markets are there? Catastrophe and death are covered. You have to wonder where the greenfields of securitization are. Hmmmm.

Until next time, friends. Look for 2008 goals soon, as I made a promise to a friend to get that up by 5:00 PM EST this coming Monday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2007 Goal Review

Well, to keep it simple, I completely failed on 2007's goals. I completed not a single one. I'm not going to make any excuses. For all the stuff that was going on with me last year, there was nothing that rendered me physically incapable of completing those goals. Even the reading goal, if nothing else, I should have been able to make more progress with than I did.

Such is life.

Well, that definitely makes for a short post. In my upcoming 2008 list of goals, I'll see how many I carry over, how many I drop entirely and how many new goals I can conceive of.

The funniest part is that I put in more time and energy pursuing the first 3 stretch personal goals than all of the others combined.

Anyway, until next time...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Non-institutional Prime Brokerage

Looks like I was spot on about this concept. I guess a bit more digging is in order. If there is one, there are probably more. Kind of like cockroaches.

This whole arena seems ripe for competition, given the typical hedge fund concerns about front running by their primes. Also seems like the kind of area a technology oriented investor like Silver Lake, or even the PE or venture arms of some of the bulge brackets, would be looking to get into. They could always take the venture public, sell it off or spin it off it was successful. Hell, I could even see Citadel setting up an arm to do this, although, how many hedge funds would run trades through them?

Anyway, until next time...