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Marketing Plan With Potential to Go Viral

by Bruno Deshayes on 26 May 2016 permalink
What do people say about you? Do they know you actually exist? A marketing plan on the internet could go along the traditional lines of SWOT analysis (detailing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) as well as the four Ps (referred to as Place, Promotion, Product and Price). The catch 22 is that unless people get involved with what you do they will have nothing to say about you.

So what would cause people to stumble across what you do when everybody is mouse trigger happy, clicking aimlessly it seems from one site to another not really knowing what they are looking for? What are the chances of you making it to the front page of Digg? Getting a high score on Stumble Upon? Getting your blog featured on the WordPress homepage?

The stark reality is that you can't do it on your own.

Enters the WOW! Factor. Are you remarkable? Do you offer something so unique everybody will want to have it? (thinking of the iPhone, etc...?)

People will not compromise themselves to promote something commercial on their Facebook page but they will gladly repost, retweet and rehash some stupid stunt on YouTube - because it's cool -

In other words once the ball is rolling a pace already, everybody wants to be in the action and shine amongst their friends for being the one to introduce the idea to them.

How many great ideas died into oblivion with their inventor returning to a 9 to 5 existence after burning all their spare cash? How many articles do you need to write to get some buzz going?

If you then need to enroll folks on the net to promote your widget what incentive can you provide for them to do so? What about sharing some of the profits with those who help you get there? There is a term for this: affiliate programs. How do you connect with people eager to collect a few bucks here and there for republishing your story? How credible is their testimony if they have a financial interest in promoting a given story? What are the chances of mingling with unsavoury characters peddling everything from tarot card reading to tattoo parlours?

The internet pioneers have moved on at the turn of the century. Cyberspace is a crowded and mature marketplace. All the big players have made their claim. A small business or a new internet venture is like a small aeroplane. You need enough momentum to get airborne - otherwise you will crash at the end of the runway.


Tale of the Farmer and the Share Trader

by Bruno Deshayes on 19 May 2016 permalink
Are you in the market? If not, why not? Have you sown your seeds in order to reap a harvest? One thing we know for sure: No seeds in the ground is tantamount to a zero return. So what is it about agriculture that makes a good pattern for long term investing?

First you have to be in the race to win the prize. No matter what adverse conditions prevail the farmer always plants a crop because conditions can change and do change over time. Compare that with fidgety investors staying on the sidelines waiting for that perfect entry point. We know you cannot pick the tops or bottoms of the market. You can only find that out three months later looking back at the charts. By then it is useless information apart from setting a precedent for the next support/resistance level.

Later as soon as the seedlings emerge the farmer waters them with tender loving care. But some investors are so paranoid that they protect their position with a stop too close. Sure enough they get bumped off at the first retracement to re-test the last support level. That would be like a farmer pulling up a plant off the ground to check how the roots are doing.

Lastly plants do grow in the wild without the help of anybody. The farmer knows that time is on his side. The process that was started will eventually reach fulfilment. The seasoned investor also knows that time is on his side. The economy keeps going and going simply because consumers keep consuming what producers keep producing. Yes peaks and troughs follow their erratic ways but there is also an upward bias in the market that will reward those who stay for the long haul.

But what about you? Have you sown your field? Are you in the market? If not, why not? Maybe you heard so many horror stories of people who lost their life savings that you don't know who to believe. Obviously you do not have yet a positive personal experience to fall back on.

What if you could look over the shoulder of a successful trader, gaze at the trading log and ascertain the overall performance?

Find out more at Trading Pal


The eBook Debacle

by Bruno Deshayes on 12 May 2016 permalink
Ever thought of buying an eBook as a gift for somebody? Or maybe sell it second-hand on eBay like you would a paper volume? You would be running foul of the many restrictions of DRM (Digital Rights Management) imposed by dominant players like Amazon, Apple and Adobe.

Their aim is to restrict your freedom in an attempt to build their copyright empires. The fine print in the customer agreement you have to endorse even says that they have the right to delete ebooks from your hard disk! And some would call that progress! Even more worrisome are the big brother implications where a publisher can now know precisely who is reading which book. Marketing intelligence they would say. But think how Big Brother would draft a list of conspirators in a repressive regime. Just pull up a list of all the customers who read a book by Julian Assenge for instance. As you can see, those corporate moguls are a law onto themselves. They used their legal departments to induce the US government into passing the dubious Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

At the same time we have Project Gutemberg where a band of volunteers are turning into ebooks everything they find interesting in the public domain. Mind you, there are some interesting loopholes - for instance in Australia all works of an author who died before 1954 are in the public domain. In the USA it has to be before 1923.

Computer technology makes it ideal to share information. Once a piece of music, a film or a book are digitized - they can be duplicated and shared across the internet at virtually no cost - just like spam email!

So if you are a musician, an actor or a writer - you can get great exposure and quick recognition if you are a master in your art. You would also be down on your luck to prevent one downloaded copy of your work from reproducing like a pair of rabbits...

No wonder the big names in Hollywood see their empires in danger. The DRM strategy is to check with some authority online if a copy of some digital work is genuine or pirated. To that end, each purchase must be recorded at a central server against a given computer, tablet or smartphone where it was originally downloaded. Where things get complicated is when you borrow an ebook from a library, buy an ebook as a gift to be played on an un-registered machine - or when you transfer the digital property from your laptop to your desktop computer for instance.

Publishers have earned the ire of consumers when those authorisation servers go offline or the company operating them goes bankrupt, when eReaders shine in ineptitude because of incompatible standards and so forth. You would think that in the 21st century buying an ebook on Amazon in order to read it on a device other than the Kindle would be child's play - not so.

Just like you can find programs to bypass DRMs that prevent the duplication of DVDs, now you can find programs to strip the DRM from eBooks and to convert them from one format to another.

DRM is an attempt to preserve a dying business model in the digital age and to restrict competition. Contrast that to the success of Wikipedia where collaborative work and knowledge flourish.


Why Investing is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

by Bruno Deshayes on 05 May 2016 permalink
You wouldn't pull out a seed you just buried in a pot to see how the roots are doing. You keep watering it with tender loving care. Then the first stem and green leaf show up to confirm it is working. You should do the same when you put your money out to work.

There are many parallels to be drawn between investing and agriculture. The same principles apply to both.

Returns are a function of time
Regardless of the prevailing mood people still need to buy food, petrol for their car, clothes to wear, etc... Invest in those industries because there will always be a demand for these products.

Impatience is your downfall
How many times have you heard of someone pulling out of the market with a loss in a panic attack? Six months later the price of their stock finished 20% higher than their purchase price.

Risk is part of the equation
The knowledge of the future does not belong to us. But one thing we know. If you don't plant seeds there is no harvest. If you're not in the market there are no profits. In fact you could say that the only reason you ought to make a profit is for your ability to handle risk. By buying shares you provide liquidity into the market and allow businesses to raise capital.

Invest in an industry where you are knowledgeable
A farmer doesn't pick a crop at random but knows the intimate details of each plant he grows. Likewise you need to know the drivers behind a company. You need to have contacts with people who work there to corroborate whatever news or rumour is doing the rounds.

Do not confuse investing with speculating
In fact there is a fine line between speculating and gambling. It is manageable to pick a reliable trend over weeks and months but if you go hour by hour like a day trader you are in a fog.

Take responsibility for your investments
Do not hand over your life savings to some manager to do the work for you. That's the only way you will learn something out of the experience. The one who has built the expertise deserves the profit - not the bystander.

Go for companies that pay dividends
Capital growth is good but if the business is sound they should pass on some of the profits without you having to sell your shares. Check the track record on dividend payouts and compare companies with each other in that regard.

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.


Gamblers, Speculators and Investors

by Bruno Deshayes on 28 Apr 2016 permalink
Gamblers rarely see themselves as gamblers nor would they want their spouse to know what they are really doing. If there are some winners in the market there must also be some losers and I am afraid gamblers make the bulk of it. They compound their misfortune by trading with borrowed money rather than some set-aside capital they can afford to loose if it comes to that. They are attracted to the market for all the wrong motives and supply the grapevine with reasons why you should not be trading. They have no discipline no patience and no accountability. They have no notion of a calculated risk and do not take a break to regather themselves after a loss. Instead they try to make up for it by trading double the original quantity. Their demise is deserved. They suffer from a psychological addiction which blinds them to the consequences of bankruptcy to themselves and their family if they still have one.

Speculators are savvy traders who have a nosy interest in the market. They like to uncover profitable patterns and only trust what they have observed after some long and meticulous research. They use math and charting to document their findings but unlike specialists who know it all but never trade speculators take trades every day as a matter of personal discipline. They learn to take losses in their stride knowing that the next gain is just around the corner if they keep trading and maintain their safeguards. Speculators tend to trade commodities, forex and indices which cannot be manipulated by a single large player. Speculators are predominantly short term and use technical analysis.

Investors are in for the long term and use mainly fundamental analysis. They have a vested interest and inside knowledge of a given industry. They know the main players in the game and keep themselves informed of anything that might impact their industry. Investors tend to trade stocks of all capitalisation. They might know that so and so has been appointed to the board of directors of some unnoticed company and vote with an order for a bundle of shares. Investors are experts at sifting through information. In fact recent scandals have highlighted the fact that what you know and what you do with that information can make you a fortune. Insider trading is hard to quantify, hard to prosecute and hard to expose. Retail investors are in danger of being duped by insiders and recriminations are the norm at company annual general meetings. Share options and the plethora of new weird and wonderful share issues muddy the waters for newcomers.

Find out more at Trading Pal


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