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Dear Bitfinex Team! I just recently stumbled across a problem I never had before with my account balance! I have an active margin trade running for a few months now and I used to be able to transfemove part of my available margin balance USD funds to my exchange balance (for ex. to buy coins) and back. Suddenly, my available margin USD fund says 0$ though I still have my full funds in it and nothing changed since I last took these steps, also my trade doesnt exceed my margin balance at all. How can I regain control to part of my margin fund that should be available after calculation with your margin rules? This usually always worked like a charm, something must have happened here on your side. I also opened a support ticket for this issue [#393310]. Im looking forward to your answer, best wishes!
I have a problem with my margin trading on bitfinex. Can someone please help?
Hey, how are you guys? Thanks for taking the time to read this, I don't mean to bother. I really tried to google this before contacting you guys. I having problem with a position that I sold. I sold Monero at 345$ and instead of converting back to USD, it created a new margin position but with a red square next to the pair (XRM/USD). Now that position claim its up 500$ but that doesn't make sense because I sold it. I can't claim it (it shows an error sign) and I don't know what would happen if I close the position. Please let me know what should I do? Thanks,
The dollar standard and how the Fed itself created the perfect setup for a stock market crash
Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go. We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich. If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50. This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.
Tackling the Dollar problem
Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US. There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY And we've seen EURUSD rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD. From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.
Why the DXY is pretty useless
Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef. Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services". When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?
Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage
Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included. However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean. Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar. This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80? Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears. This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD. Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.
Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"
People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there. Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated. It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield. By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds. US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless. Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets. How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same! TLT chartGold spot price chart TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield. As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis. After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat. But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed. Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble. Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a deflationarydisinflationary event. Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it. To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis. Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems". By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.
Dismantling the money printer
But the Fed! The M2 money stock is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2 was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No. So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve. This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you. In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.
Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers
The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan. That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading. Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up. The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy. The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.
How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective
The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery. What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera. Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral. What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back. And this is what is happening with QE. Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed. The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data (assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings. So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed. We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.
"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"
This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline. Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet. The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual. More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link. What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries. The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs. So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.
How market participants are positioned
We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw. Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% longHe says that around the 2 minute mark. Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet. Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.
This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more. And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered. But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.
A final note about "stock market is not the economy"
It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles. But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense. The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode. Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.
TLDR and positions or ban?
TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system. Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.
Edit about positions and hedge funds
My current positions. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium. Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply: "If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down. What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy. Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity. So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down. Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion. Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp"
Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!
I certainly hope this is some sort of glitch, but the margin on my account just spiked to 5607%!! How is this possible? The markets are closed and my leverage is at 50:1. Theres no way in hell my open positions caused this ridiculous amount of margin. Is anyone else experiencing this right now using Oanda?
Would you like to entertain yourself with a story about one of the greatest schemes in the history and, maybe, learn a few plays? This story is about three brave autistic brothers, who almost cornered the entire commodity and how one (not so brave, but shrewd) bank did it without anyone noticing. As in any good fable – there’s a moral and a strategy that you could draw from it. The year is 1971. Nixon temporarily abolishes gold standard. And every temporary government program is never reversed, as you know. Trading price of gold went sky high: from 270s to 800s in two years or so. Enter Hunt brothers, sons of H. L. Hunt, oil tycoon, one of, if not the, richest man in the world at that time. Hunt family was, what one might describe as, right-wing libertarian and anti-globalist. They believed that Keynesian economics and the US shift to the left in the 60s will lead to the debasement of the US dollar and monetary collapse. Thus, return to the gold or silver standard was the way, as they thought. Allegedly, Hunts also had a feud with Rothschild family and other financial speculators, and were resentful towards the US government for doing nothing to protect their oil assets in Libya, confiscated by Gaddafi. So they started their move against America, alpha-silver bug style. In 1973 Hunts began buying all the silver they could. And, instead of just speculating futures contracts, they actually took delivery. Initial price was $1.5/oz. Silver was shipped to Switzerland in secretive and costly operations and stored in vaults (brothers feared confiscations – remember, private citizens were still prohibited from owning gold in the US). The following events are quite vivid and include the efforts to create a cartel similar to OPEC, talks with Iran and Saudi monarchs, pump and dump publicity and large scale purchases of miners. But we will spare the details, except one: Hunts even tried to corner the soy market at the same time. Reminds you how WSB slv gang quickly switched to corn gang. But the soy scheme didn't fly and they focused on silver only. Their efforts pumped the price to almost $50/oz by early 1980. At some point Hunts controlled around 230 million oz of silver and the majority of what was traded. Hunt brothers laughing at your pump&dump effort Of course, when you are such a smart ass, you become a target. Chicago exchange officials became very concerned citizens by 1979. They started issuing numerous regulations limiting the amount of market share one can accumulate in one hands. As all American concerned citizens, they had financial incentive to do so: Hunts managed to prove that Chicago exchange board members had short positions against silver. Finally, CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) issued a ruling that basically forced Hunts to liquidate part of their portfolio by February 1980. This sent silver prices down dramatically and brothers started to get margin calls which they could not cover. And so their story ended with bankruptcies and heavy fines for the family. Shortly after, Reagan and Volcker raised interest rates and silver price never recovered to $50/oz ever since. We skip to the year 2008. Global financial crisis is in full swing. Bear Stearns is royally fucked, as due to all bears. Before the music was over, they mastered paper speculation of futures contracts like no one else. Bear Stearns accumulated world biggest naked short position on silver. What could go wrong? Stonks go up, silver goes down. Until it reversed and silver skyrocketed from $11 to $21. This became one of the margin calls to screw Bear Stearns. JP Morgan is asked by the FED and co. to buy out BS and to save the entire market. Since BS's shorts are now deeply down - JPM gets the whole bank with pennies on a dollar. But the problem is that JPM themselves have massive naked short position on silver. Combined with BS it will exceed anything permitted by the CFTC. Since Obama administration was in a rush, they push CFTC to grant JPM basically a carte blanche to accumulate any position over the limit for a period of time. Period of time comes due and turns out that JPM not only didn’t trim the shorts significantly – they even bought more shorts at some point. Even with all the fines, it went very much their way, because in 2009 silver dropped. So they pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars. But come 2011 and silver spiked again, dramatically. JPM, now bleeding cash on shorts, could close short positions, like any of us would do, right? Nope, fuckyall says JPM and starts hedging short futures positions with… physical silver. 'But wouldn’t that be even more control over the commodity?' - you might ask. See, nothing in the rules of CFTC says you can’t do that, because to help cronies speculate with paper futures contracts, made of thin air, CFTC basically started treating physical silver and futures as two different instruments (it’s, actually, even more complicated than that: google difference between physical, eligible, registered and so on). In the next 9 years JPM becomes the world biggest holder of both short contracts and physical silver. The later they 'loaned' to SLV trust, of which they are custodian. This way upkeep of physical silver, which otherwise would be a liability for hedging, becomes an asset, because we, retards, who own SLV pay the maintenance. People are often confused here, because SLV is issued by Black Rock, not JPM. Well, there is a difference between being an operator of a financial instrument and being a custodian providing backing. Now, to confuse you even more – JPM is one of the major holders of Black Rock itself with 1.6% or sth like that. By estimates of Theodore Butler, JPM acquired 900 million oz of physical silver since 2011. That’s 4 times more than what Hunts owned. Just shows you, that banks can get a pass with something that even the richest individuals can not. And you have to give it to JPM - their play was very clever. Instead of risking it all on a margin call, they make money on every turn. As of 2020, JPM still holds both shitton of physical silver and short COMEX contracts. You can call this the most epic straddle of all time. With such mass they can swing prices in any directions and profit from this on any given day. Latest example you’ve seen on the August 11th. Why am I bothering your poor gambling soul with this wall of text, you might ask? Market makers manipulate the market as they please, what’s new about that? Well, here we come to the conclusions and a strategy. How can a small retard replicate what the big boys are doing? Conclusions:
There will not be a linear up or down with silver and the swings might be dramatic. The reason being not only the sentiment of investors, but the ease of manipulation that is eligible to big players.
If we believe that speculation will throw the price of silver in all directions – it is unwise to go only long or short on silver, especially on a short term;
What shall we do? a) Only long expiration dates and calls; no weekly expiration, not even monthly. Ideally – at least half year options; b) Go long on certain silver stocks. Maybe I’ll do a write up on good silver stocks to buy; c) Sell covered calls on long positions; d) Buy 1-3 month puts on your long positions as a hedge; Now, day trade with those positions: on red days sell your puts and buy back covered calls. On green days – reload puts and sell calls. Repeat until lambo. P. S.: I gathered these facts from the open sources, since these events were of interest to me. Some facts are intentionally oversimplified, google for more details, there are good reads. And feel free to correct me if you know contradictory facts. P. P. S.: JPM, plz don’t whack me.
I spent the last 6 weeks playing all 13 main series Pokémon games. Here's my experiences
Some of you may remember me. Most of you probably don't. I made a post about it six weeks ago, which you can find here, about how I was gonna play 13 of the main series Pokémon games within six weeks, which I did. I was gonna make weekly updates, but they got automatically removed for some reason, so that's fun So what I'm gonna do now is the biggest part of this whole 'project.' I'm gonna summarize exactly 306 hours and 35 minutes of gameplay within one reddit post. And if you're wondering how I know the exact times, I made a Google Sheet to document my journey, which you can see here, if you want all the boring numbers. If you don't want my summary of every single game, just scroll down to the bottom, where I'll share my thoughts about the whole ordeal. So let's get started on this, shall we?
Honestly, I enjoyed Blue a lot more than I thought I would, even though the flaws of Gen 1 were hard to ignore. And may I say, thank god for LP compilers and podcasts, because 95% of the time I was playing Blue and Crystal, I was listening to something else. There's only so much beep-boop music one man can take. Overall, it was a great start to this journey. Some miscellaneous notes I took while playing:
Wrap is terrible and can go die in a fire
Damn some of the old sprites were terrible
I used a Snorlax in the latter part of the game, which I nicknamed Monokuma. But I should've named it Critikuma, because he was ALWAYS hit by critical hits. I know that crits are more common in Gen 1, but I cannot stress enough how frequent he was slammed down to half health immediately. It was so bad I just boxed him partway through the Elite Four
I captured all 4 legendaries in this game within the span of a few hours. After that, I considered the game 'completed.' (more details on what I consider 'completed' later)
The team I used: Venusaur, Golem, Alakazam, Ninetales, Vaporeon, Snorlax
Crystal was where the... difficulties of this challenge started coming up. I actually started Crystal on July 6th, just after capturing Mewtwo, and I played up to beating Bugsy. Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late, and woke up with a massive headache. So I spent most of the next day unwinding and mentally preparing myself for what's coming up. The rest of the game wasn't too difficult... until the 10th. I wanted to stay on a '1 game per 3 days' schedule, and this was the last day for Crystal, and I was just started on the Pokemon League. I was a little underleveled, so I spent the first half of my day repeatedly grinding up farther and farther up until I beat Lance on my 5th or 6th attempt. So I had to speed through all the Kanto section to stay on track. Which I did, to my amazement. I beat all the Kanto gyms super fast, and managed to get to Red... and immediately got slamjammed by his Pikachu So this lead me to a question: 'when can I stop playing a game?' So I made this rule: Once I've beaten the Champion and the credits roll, I'm free to move on to the next game as I please. This is the hard rule I'm gonna adhere to. I don't want this to become stressful or a job, so I'm making this rule for my own sanity That all out of the way, here's a few notes I took while playing:
I think this game made me appreciate color again. You don't realize how much you miss color until you spend 3 days only looking at a monochrome screen
I find it so strange that Jasmine's Steelix is the same level as the boss of the radio tower, but you have to beat Jasmine in order for Team Rocket to attack
One of my team members was a Slowpoke/Slowking that was so ugly, anything with Self-Destruct or Explosion immediately went off. Fortunately my Gengar usually stepped in to block in, but goddamn it was uncanny how often it happened
Using Forretress before the invention of Gyro Ball was a mistake. He was always the least useful of my team, and I straight-up boxed him during the Elite Four and Kanto
The team I used: Typhlosion, Gengar, Slowking, Forretress (aka the mistake), Umbreon, Dragonair
If I had to create a line graph detailing my enjoyment of Emerald, it would be a line steadily going up... until Flannery, then just a slow painful crawl down to the end. I can't place an exact reason why, but this was the only game I played that I've actively disliked playing through. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's because the RNG of Pokemon finally broke me. If there's one lesson I took out of this, it's that you can NEVER chance it on Sleep/Paralysis/Confusion not working. If you wanna work past them, you just heal. And if you inflict it on an enemy, it just won't work. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but this was way too true for me. And the critical hits in this game were maybe the worst yet, even more so than gen 1, although I realize that might've just been me I ended up using Rayquaza to speed through the Elite Four, because I was just genuinely exhausted of this game, and I did not want to try grinding through it. I'm gonna try to avoid using legendaries, but if I have to, I'm not gonna feel sorry about it That being said, here's some various extra notes:
Whoever decided that Flannery's Torkoal should be level 29 when everything else is 26 or less should be shot. Similarly, fuck Liza and Tate. I have no clue why these kids are the smartest goddamn trainers this side of Orre. Seriously, I spent 30 minutes of my precious time grinding up, and I was still 5 levels lower, and barely survived with my Skarmory. Fuck. Them.
On the other hand, I need to shout out my Skarmory, who was the absolute GOAT of my team. Seriously, I cannot overstate how great she was. I always liked Skarmory, but she has easily been one of my favorite team members so far.
Actually, my entire team was solid this time, although Skarmory ended up outshining them. Even Torkoal was a solid team member (a lot better than the Forretress, anyways)
I debated using Shedinja and Armaldo, but I dropped them. I evolved a Shedinja, but after the first few battles with her ended up unsuccessful, I boxed her for my own sanity. I also revived Anorith, but I boxed him after learning that he evolved at level 40. F in chat for Ninjask/Shedinja and Anorith.
The team I used: Swampert, Gardevoir, Breloom, Torkoal, Skarmory, Rayquaza
This game was a lot easier to play through than Emerald, fortunately, although I don't have a lot more to say. It was pretty fun, but my Blue playthrough might've been more enjoyable due to my choices in team members. I decided against capturing all the legendaries this time around, with one exception. I captured Articuno to replace my Fearow for the Pokemon League, since they were long outclassed by this point, and I couldn't cheese my way through Lance with poison-types this time. Still, my Fearow did better than the useless Forretress, so I still appreciate them. Overall, it felt like my Blue playthrough, except slightly worse. But it was still better than Emerald, so I won't complain That's pretty much all I have to say, so time for some extra points:
I have no clue why they made the L and R buttons bring up a tutorial menu. Maybe it's because I already know all of this, but it feels absolutely unnecessary
I am 90% sure that Magnitude can only be 7-10 when enemies use it, but only 3-7 when you use it. I have no proof to back it up, but that's what it feels like. Similarly, the chances of me switching my Pokemon, only for RoaWhirlwind to immediately drag them back out cannot be a coincidence
Holy shit, my Gyarados was the damn hero of this playthrough. Bulky as hell, hit hard with Surf despite it being a special attack, and when I gave them Secret Power, they paralyzed so often. Ever had a Gyarados that could paralyze? It's fantastic
On the opposite hand, my Dugtrio was good... up until I beat Koga, then they were useless. Even for Blaine, my Gyarados did most of the heavy lifting. They just could not take a hit, so they really underperformed
The team I used: Charizard, Fearow, Gyarados, Vileplume, Dugtrio, Magneton, Articuno
So this is my favorite Pokémon game, so I really tried to be impartial about it and treat it the same as the others... which didn't work, since it was the game I spent the most time on and explored the most in. Whoops! But I'm not ashamed; this was the best region out of everything I played. Honestly, I'm glad to know that my joy for this game wasn't just misplaced nostalgia, and still holds up to today. Although it was really unfortunate that I was having technical issues that I had to devote a lot of time to dealing with, otherwise I could've probably beaten this game in three/three and half days. I'll go into more details in the SoulSilver section. So here's some notes about my experience:
Replaying this game made me realize how great the ground type was in gen 4. Torterra, Gastrodon, and Garchomp, just to name a few
Team Galactic is still my favorite evil teams in the Pokémon franchise, mixing evil campiness and serious threat perfectly in ways the Team Plasma and Team Flare don't. Also their aesthetic is really cool
Did you guys know the Storm Drain only redirected water-type moves instead of absorbing it? I didn't, so imagine my surprise when I bring my Gastrodon into Wake's fight and get whooped
And while we're talking about my team, wow my choices made the Candice fight hard. If it wasn't for my Bronzong, it would've been a lot harder
The team I used: Torterra, Staraptor, Gastrodon, Bronzong, Garchomp, Porygon-Z
If I had to rank my favorite Pokémon games, SoulSilver would be in the top 5, only just below Platinum. So it sucks that my house was suffering internet outages (around the 19th-24th) while I was supposed to be playing this game. And since gen 4 is the slowest of all the games, that DOUBLY sucks. So I had to devote valuable time to fixing that, and ended up not getting to play the Kanto section of this game. That sucks, but since I already went through this with Crystal, so I'm not too fussed. Other than the circumstances, this wasn't too different from Crystal, although my team choices were a lot better Yada, yada, yada, notes:
This was the first game I decided to play as the girl player character this time, because she's the cutest thing in the entire franchise. This is not up for debate
I ended up bringing trading some stuff from Platinum, mainly Houndour and some evolution stones for my Togetic and Exeggcutor. I would've gotten the stones legitimately, but I'm on a time crunch here. I brought Houndour over because it's one of my favorite gen 2 mons, and the only way to get it before Kanto is by trading it in, and it's super easy to grab in Sinnoh, so... fuck it
I ended up keeping Metronome on my Togekiss for way too long, just because it was too much fun. It wasn't until after Clair that I ended up dropping it
Whoever decided that Koga's Muk should spam Minimize, gave it Black Sludge, use Toxic on everything, AND gave him a Full Restore... I hope your children hate you. I'm still upset just remembering it
The team I used: Feraligatr, Ampharos, Togekiss, Houndoom, Exeggcutor, Mamoswine
WHITE & WHITE 2
(I'm combining the two because I don't have a lot to say about them individually) So as a child, I really disliked White, because I was a child who couldn't appreciate how much effort was put into them, and I was upset I couldn't use any of my old favorites. But as an adult, I can really understand the work behind it, or at least behind White 1. Although I still say the lack of options in White 1 is a major downside, since anybody who's not challenging themselves are gonna have some combination of the same 15-ish Pokémon on the story campaign. But while the 2nd game has a better Pokémon choice, the story is also factually worse, so pick your poison. But back to the point, I really enjoyed these games. A lot more than I did when I was younger, anyways So here's my extra notes; two for each game: (White)
I thought Platinum and Soul Silver were rough with encounter rates, but good fucking lord, this game was bad. I could not count how many times I walked 1-2 steps into the grass (not running, walking) and got an encounter, often just after one encounter. I ended up yelling 'I TOOK ONE STEP' so many times
I really, REALLY hate the Reshiram vs Zekrom fight with N. Seriously, it's absolutely stupid. N's dragon has two extra levels, so it's guaranteed to outspeed you. And since the dragon's stats are near-equal, it's gonna do as much damage as you do to it, so there's next to no way you can beat it with just your dragon alone. Ugggghh
When I fought Elesa, she was a massive level spike, which I never got to overcome. But the game got easier, even if the numbers said I should be struggling. Maybe because trainers started to use less Pokémon, but I couldn't place my finger on it
I did a small challenge here: I used a Swoobat on my White 1 team, and a Crobat on my White 2 team, as a pseudo-experiment to see which one was better. Unsurprisingly, the better performer was my favorite Pokémon, Crobat. But Swoobat was still a favorite of mine, and performed a lot better than I thought they would
The team I used for White 1: Serperior, Swoobat, Excadrill, Scolipede, Carracosta, Chandelure The team I used for White 2: Emboar, Azumarill, Crobat, Sigilyph, Sawsbuck, Escavalier
A lot of my friends consider X/Y some of the worst games in the franchise, and while they may have a point, I still enjoy them a lot more than... another title we'll be talking about later. Personally, I think the gameplay is pretty much a straight upgrade from Black/White, although the story... UGH. Easily the worst. Especially Team Flare. I could make an entire post about them, but to simplify: They're a team all about style, yet their admins are way too overdesigned and forgettable to make a point. Instead of the cold uniformity of Team Galactic or the easily understood motives of Team Plasma, they're just a hot mess whose admins are completely forgettable. And Lysandre is just President Rose, but more obviously a villain and somehow more overdramatic I had a loooooot of notes about this game, mostly about Team Flare, but here's what I condensed it down to:
Did you know that you can buy Hyper Potions after getting the second badge? This is when your Pokémon are around level 25. Why the hell would you need a 200 HP heal at this point in the game?
Remember before you could save Xerneas/Yveltal, and you had to fight 4 admins, who collectively had 6 Pokémon? Why not just condense them into one admin, and actually give them a personality?
Ok, I really need to rant about Lysandre's final fight. He uses four Pokémon that're pretty much the same as the ones he uses when you first arrive in his lair, the background is a burning area for some reason, and he's wearing some stupid sci-fi nonsense that does nothing! I sweeped him with my Meowstic, who was five levels higher than his Gyarados
This was the first game I was a higher level than the Champion, and my Meowstic made Diantha trivial by just putting up Light Screen/Reflect and letting the others 1-hit ko 2/3rds of her team, with only her Gardevoir putting up any meaningful resistance. Seriously, this was the easiest game yet, by a large margin
The team I used: Chesnaught, Talonflame, Florges, Meowstic, Barbaracle, Goodra
(So a quick preface, I actually played Ultra Moon before Omega Ruby, since the cartridge I had was corrupted, so I played UM while I waited for my new cart to arrive. Just thought I'd mention it) So Alpha Sapphire was is in the top 5 games for me, alongside Platinum and SoulSilver. Which is why I'm kinda surprised that this is the game I spent the least time on (17 hours, 18 minutes), being one of the two games I spent less than 20 hours on. Which is absolutely strange to me, since I spent at least an hour grabbing useful TMs for the Elite Four and getting Heart Scales to remember moves, so it really should be higher. Whatever, what about the gameplay? Well, it was like Emerald, but the exact opposite, since I actually really enjoyed it. I don't have much else to say except Pelipper, Zangoose, and Cacturne were all surprisingly fun team members. Seriously, Cacturne might be my new favorite grass-type Extra notes, blah blah blah:
Why did they make the lower floor of Granite Cave inaccessible until you got the bike? I had to wait until I got the Mach Bike to go catch my Aron, and I have no idea why they did this. It's not like having one would be game-breaking, but whatever
I decided to catch a Manectric here, since I knew they could be Mega-Evolved in the main story. But they weren't too much stronger when they were Mega'd, so that was a little disappointing. Still, at least they were a strong team member overall
I didn't mention this in the X notes, but lemme clarify: I abused the hell out of the improved Exp Share, since it really helped me cut past any grinding, which is great, since I'm on a timer here
I tried to cheese the Steven fight by teaching my Cacturne Spikes, so imagine my surprise when his Skarmory also uses Spikes of his own. Touché, Mr. Stone
The team I used was: Blaziken, Pelipper, Manectric, Aggron, Zangoose, Cacturne
So I originally promised to play Sun and Ultra Sun in my original post, but some circumstances led me to cut it down to Ultra Moon. More details can be read about it in the Google Sheet, but trust me, I have my reasons. I decided to play the Ultra version because the bonus versions of the games are supposed to be the "definitive version" of the games. Not sure if I agree on that, since there's basically no difference between Sun and Moon and USUM, and what is different is sometimes worse than what it was. This isn't the time or place to review these games, but if you ever want to replay the Alola games, pick up Sun or Moon, and avoid USUM. As for my experience... I dunno, it was ok. I liked my team, had a few challenges, yeah yeah yeah. Look, this is like the 10th or 11th game I played, this whole thing's become routine at this point But at least I got a few notes to add:
I guess we'll slightly critique the story: I really hate the Aether Foundation. They're like Team Flare, but if they had Team Plasma as a side antagonist before they came out of nowhere. I adore Team Skull and how they're really sympathetic, but them Team Aether comes in, and then we're back to the typical Poképlot
And I'm still upset that they turned an eldritch horror story about an alien creature corrupting a mother into insane obsession into the standard evil dragon Poképlot. Also whoever came up with the Ultra Recon Squad should never work on Pokemon again
In the second visit to Aether Paradise, you fight three scientists, each with one Pokémon. Why not just one scientist with three? This bugs me so much, and I don't know why. Also, one of the double battles later had the same Houndoom/Manectric pair as one of the Team Flare admin fights, because thinking up another good pair of Pokémon that look good together costs too much/is too much work
I almost used a Lopunny on my team, but then I relaized I could use a Metagross instead. So I used a Metagross instead. But I am gonna include Lopunny on my team list because they did a lot of work
The team I used: Primarina, Lopunny, Alolan Muk, Ribombee, Alolan Marowak, Lurantis, Metagross
LET'S GO, EEVEE
UUGGHHHH. This is my least favorite game. I insisted on playing it, since it was technically a main series game, and that was a mistake. I forgot how hand-holding this game was. If you don't know what I'm talking about here's my example: In the original games, you could immediately go from Lavender Town to Celadon, and then go into the Rocket base, no problem. Here, you have to go up the tower, see that there's ghosts, and then leave the tower (which to my knowledge, no other dungeon in Pokémon ever does) then go see Jessie and James talk out loud about the ROCKET HIDEOUT in the CELADON GAMES CORNER. Then when you get there, you can get close to them, and they'll talk out loud about the HIDDEN HIDEOUT with the SWITCH BEHIND THE POSTER Also, the gym requirement thing is just dumb. The fact that the game requires you to have a grass/water-type to fight Brock or have a Pokémon at least level 45 before fighting Sabrina is insane, and makes it nearly impossible to lose. And Koga's requirement of catching 50 unique Pokémon is uniquely cruel in a game where there's only 150-ish Pokémon available, especially to people like me who just like to capture a core team and stop catching unique Pokémon Even besides those, the catching mechanic was broken. Seriously, it was terrible. I had to throw the ball at a 90-degree angle to throw the ball at a target just a little off to the side. One time, I tossed the controller upwards to throw the ball, and it was a perfect throw. Uggghh, I don't even wanna talk about my experience, I just want to complain. So whatever, I'm moving on, no notes this time The team I used: Eevee, Victreebel, Mr. Mime, Rhydon, Starmie, Magmar
I'll admit, I enjoyed this game more than I thought I would. Maybe it's just because it WASN'T Let's Go, or because it was so easy to grind up levels with wild area candies. Either way, this was my second-fastest game played, clocking in at exactly 20 hours played. If I devoted myself to it, I could've beaten this in two days. But since I've got nothing much else to talk about, I'd like to discuss the stories of these games. Because I think I've found the perfect metaphor for these "Poképlots." It's like there's a good story somewhere in there, but half of it we're told to stay out of because we're not adults, and the other half of the plot was ripped out of a better story and painstakingly refitted into the Poképlot format. And if you're wondering why I'm talking so much about the stories, it's because that's the only thing meaningfully different about these games at this point Alright, one last set of notes:
I hate Eternatus' design. Like, I understand that it's supposed to be like an unknowable alien creature, but it's so alien and incoherant that it's just a meaningless skeleton. I know it's supposed to be the bow to Zacian and Zamazenta's sword and shield, but it just doesn't work. It looks like something ripped out of a different JRPG. Even its name sounds out of place
Also the Eternamax fight is pointless, it should've just been a cutscene. Zacian and Zamazenta are the only ones who can do meaningful damage, me and Hop are just pointless additions
I think I've discovered the telltale sign for a pokemon antagonist. They show up for no logical reason in the early game, talk some exposition at you without any real interaction, then walk away
The thing that infuriates me most about this game is that for some unholy reason, some goddamn Burger King has some long-lost tapestry about ancient legend. Seriously, imagine going into a Five Guys, and seeing the Venus de Milo on top of some grill. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW ARE WE THE FIRST ONES TO NOTICE THIS???
The team I used: Inteleon, Boltund, Tsareena, Centiskorch, Perrserker, Grimmsnarl
So I ended up completing my challenge, but what was the point of this whole thing? Well, I wanted to try and revive my love for the Pokémon franchise, since the past few games have really burned me out on the series. So, did I accomplish that? Yeah! Despite all the hard times and frustrating moments, this was actually really fun. I feel like I should hate Pokémon now, since I've literally spent the last month and a half doing nothing but playing the games, but no. I came out of this whole challenge with a greater enjoyment of the series and a few new favorite Pokémon. So... mission accomplished! Although I don't think I'm gonna play any Pokémon games until the Sinnoh remakes come out (whenever that happens). I'm not burned out, but I think I need some time away at this point So... that's it. I'm done. It's over. Feels free to reply about how right/wrong I am with my opinions. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk EDIT: I'm glad this blew up, all the discussions I've been having have been super interesting, especially since we're talking about literally any Pokémon game right now. Thanks for making this post so incredible with your replies, guys. I'm happy my experiment was so interesting to read about
The Rise and Fall of AMD (then Rise): What Happened?
With AMD shares hitting a new all-time high today on the back of an earnings beat and raised guidance (as well as Intel's 7nm delay), I thought it would be an opportune time to look back on how amazing of a turnaround story this has really been given that only 7 years ago the company's future was very much in doubt. In 2013, ArsTechnica ran a profile on how AMD took on Intel in the late 90s, experienced rousing success with its Athlon and Opteron chips, before over-spending and mis-executing its way into a free fall. Back then, AMD found itself completely out-maneuvered by Intel in the desktop, laptop, and sever markets and had largely been shut out of both smartphone and tablet production. This fascinating story features some matchmaking by Bill Gates, a failed attempt by AMD to acquire Nvidia when it traded under $15 a share, and a botched integration with graphics maker ATI Technologies. Warning: the two-part article, while super interesting, is absolutely on the lengthy side. For those of you who like the quick-hitters, I've summarized the highlights below. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/04/the-rise-and-fall-of-amd-how-an-underdog-stuck-it-to-intel/
During the 1980s, AMD was a second-source supplier for companies using Intel processors. Companies like IBM didn't want to rely solely on Intel for one of the primary components in their computers, so they licensed AMD to produce versions of Intel processors. However in 1985, Intel stopped giving AMD its designs which forced them to reverse-engineer versions of Intel parts. By 1990, Merrill Lynch had declared AMD "dead", as the smaller company couldn't keep up with Intel product releases. This would not be the last time, as its aggressive pricing throughout the first half of the 90s had left AMD in a poor financial position.
In 1994, a tiny Silicon Valley outfit named NexGen began shipping a chip that was comparable to Intel's flagship Pentium. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had taken an interest in NexGen, in particular, its brilliant CEO, Atiq Raza. Gates suggested that Raza speak to AMD since the company owned a chip fab but needed a better product to build in it. Raza met with then-CEO Jerry Sanders, who threatened to run NexGen out of business. Upon hearing about the exchange, Gates picked up the phone, called Sanders, and convinced AMD to purchase NexGen for $615mn in 1995. Soon after, Raza, dubbed by Sanders as the "Michael Jordan of microprocessor design", helped AMD develop the K6 - a major turning point for the company.
The K6 rivaled Intel on speed and price, and its revisions led to one of AMD's most successful architectures: K7, marketed as the Athlon. Athlon received "CPU of the Year" in 1999 from ArsTechnica and helped AMD grow sales from $2.5bn in 1998 to $4.6bn by 2000. With the company having just pulled in nearly $1bn in profits, Sanders rented out San Jose's entire HP Pavilion (now the SAP Center) for a party in which he paid for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to perform and proclaimed AMD's share price would soon hit $100.
Around this time the company started spending too much and spreading itself too thin. AMD was making most of its profit from memory, but was also dabbling in logic, microprocessors, and communication products. Sanders had also decided to build a massive fab in Germany with borrowed money. Despite this, AMD continued to find technical success. AMD utilized the Athlon to develop a similar architecture that was more useful for severs. The new product, Opteron, led to AMD capturing an estimated 25% of the server market by 2006 all the while Intel struggled to produce a chip that could compete with the performance advantages of Opteron.
While on the surface AMD seemed to be firing on all cylinders with its popular Athlon and Opteron chips, the company was a financial mess behind-the-scenes. The company announced net losses of $61mn in 2001, $1.3bn in 2002, and $274mn in 2003. The main culprit? Investments in fabs that grossly overshot initial cost estimates. Between its two locations in Germany, AMD invested roughly $4.6bn.
AMD's competitive edge with Opteron coincided with some low points for Intel that forced the company to re-imagine its architecture altogether. The result was the release of the Intel Core microarchitecture in 2006. Core enabled Intel to take back the performance crown in the PC market, and it proved more power-efficient than AMD's laptop chips right when laptops began to outsell desktops for the first time. Intel compounded the pain by strategically releasing frequent upgrades and forcing AMD to play catch-up yet again.
Though AMD's CPUs consistently improved, over time they became shut out of the high-end market once more and were relegated to compete mainly on price, mirroring the company's early struggles. As Intel churned out its best product in years, AMD began trying to swallow another company whole. In 2006, AMD saw an opportunity for the future by integrating a memory controller into the CPU. However, the company needed the graphics and chipset experience to make it happen.
The solution was to purchase Canadian graphics company ATI Technologies for $5.4bn - or roughly half of AMD's market cap. This came after AMD had approached Nvidia as its first-choice takeover target. At that time, Nvidia was trading under $15 a share. But Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia's outspoken CEO, insisted on running the combined company — a non-starter for AMD leadership. While ATI's technology was considered superior to Intel's, the integration process proved disastrous from the start. Employees from the two companies divided into green (AMD and CPU) and red (ATI and GPU) sides, prioritizing needs of their individual products, and causing major delays time and time again.
With problems executing and stagnant sales, AMD ended 2007 with more than $5bn in debt and lost $3.3bn on the year after having taken a write-down charge for its acquisition of ATI. The company was having serious difficulty affording the costs of its fab facilities, when the entire industry endured a sharp downturn in 2008 that caused the stock to plummet from $20 to $4 a share.
AMD had no choice but to spin off its foundries in 2009 (AMD spun off GlobalFoundries in 2009), weakening its competitive positioning relative to Intel. Despite efforts to engineer higher quality products, its share of the PC and sever businesses kept declining and AMD was unable to achieve meaningful share in the ultrabook and tablet segments. The low-end CPU market sent margins tumbling and increased exposure to secular declines in PC sales.
By 2013, only one singular analyst on Wall Street was bullish on the stock — which had now fallen from $8 at the start of 2012 to just around $2. Yet after a major delay with the highly anticipated "Fusion" 32nm chip, the analyst noted that there were now liquidity concerns due to the declining PC market. Even former CFO Fran Barton thought AMD had next to no future in its battle with Intel: "...the game's been played."
Flash-forward to today and AMD just delivered its highest CPU revenue in over 12 years, has taken CPU market share for 11 straight quarters, and currently enjoys double-digit server processor market share. Whether you're an investor or not, bullish or bearish, that is one hell of a comeback. Hats off to Lisa Su and the entire AMD team.
Here’s what I want Steam to be: a place where I can easily and conveniently find games I wish to buy, buy them, and access them. I do not believe Valve and I’s outlook on this aligns. Valve seem to have some small interest in Steam performing these functions, but a much greater excitement for layering endless experimental systems on top of each other. The act of buying and playing games must itself be gamified from every possible angle. Over the years, it’s introduced trading cards, badges, and a marketplace for in-game items. It’s given us countless different kinds of fake money, earned by spending real money, usually to be spent on stickers, emotes, profile backgrounds, and other gew-gaws I couldn’t even be confident in the function of. ...And as these experiments rumble on and mutate into ever less necessary forms, Valve neglects the core experience. The store is less usable now than it’s ever been, utterly clogged with nonsense and shovelware with incredibly poor moderation. Efforts to tailor the experience algorithmically have created more problems than they’ve solved, making it increasingly difficult to get to the page you actually want, rather than the one Steam thinks you’d like.
The last paragraph hits right on the nose the issue I've had with Steam for literally years. Back around 2008 when I first started buying games there, it was a pretty tightly curated market space with clearly delineated categories of games. A racing game was always just in the "Racing" category. Action games were under "Action" and simulations were under, you guessed it, "Simulation". Later, with the opening of the marketplace directly to developers, categories went away to be replaced by tags. Sure, you can still open a category and see things listed under it. But the difference between a category and a tag is that a game belongs in just one category or another, whereas tags are applied even if it only applies loosely to one small part of the game. What happens then is this: You open up a category and look at the top ten or twenty games there. Now, go to another category, and most of the top games there were in the previous one, too. At one point, Arma 3 (A game I financially became a "supporter" of before its release) appeared near the top of the lists for Action, Adventure, Massively Multiplayer, Simulation, Strategy, and, thanks to the April Fool's offering of the Karts DLC, under Racing. What is even the point of categories now? Smaller studios should hate this too, because it makes getting visibility even in a niche market very difficult. Ten years ago, I bought a lot more games than I have in the last few. By a huge margin. Because I could open the Steam Store and discover things I may never have heard of that looked cool as hell, and often really was. I may be an exception, but now I find being brow-beat with the same games no matter what I'm actually looking for to be just exhausting. I can't count how many times I've been on Steam, virtual cash in hand, looking for anything interesting to pick up, and given up after ten or twenty minutes of seeing the same old things mixed with shovelware and novelty games that haven't gotten enough negative reviews to sink them yet. Valve should be alarmed by this, because that's literally an easy sale that was thwarted by a terrible shopping experience. I'm genuinely envious of people with long backlogs of games. As a software engineer, I love algorithms, the more clever the better. But Steam's algos fall so far short of real, human curation that it's just sad. They have added other users you can follow as "curators" but those mostly seem to be joke accounts, and even the serious ones don't seem to do much more than skim the known surface of the gaming landscape. And don't get me started on the change to screenshot thumbnails instead of text descriptions of the game when you hover over them on the store page, making you have to click through to find out what the game is all about...
tldr; I'm an algorithmic cryptocurrency trader with my own cross-exchange trading platform that is performing well(ish) and I'm looking for ideas, partners, investors etc to help me push it forward. I've been trading cryptocurrencies programmatically since 2016 with some success. For about a year I made a modest living executing arbitrage trades across mostly fiat pairs using a bot hurredly hacked together in my spare time. As time went on the margins got lower and lower and eventually I turned the system off as it just wasn't profitable enough. I wasn't sure what to do, so I went back to my career in finance while I considered my options. Skip to the present day and I have rebuilt everything from scratch. I now have a cloud hosted (GCP), fully functional trading platform and have some new algos that are running unsupervised 24x7. The platform is far from finished of course, and like all non-trivial solutions to non-trivial problems: it has bugs, both scaling and performance problems and has a number of unfinished features. However, it does work, and cruically: it's stable, performant and reliable. In the past 12 months it has traded over $4m (roughly 40,000 executed orders and 100,000 fill events), and 99.9% of these orders are generated by my algos. I don't do arbitrage any more, though I may resurrect that algo as my exchange fees come down. My new algos are a little more sophisticated and they seem to reliably make a small profit (between 0.1% and 0.4%). I have a number of ideas cooking away for more algos, I'm just finding it difficult to manage my time. Both the platform and the algos need a lot of work and I only have one pair of hands. I'm actively trading on 18 exchanges and adding a new one roughly every couple of weeks. The system records and reports every order, trade, balance change, transfer, fee etc in real time using the APIs offered by each exchange. Each new exchange presents a new set of problems. Some are easy to integrate and have fairly sensible APIs, but some definitely do not. Some exchanges have helpful support, some defiantly do not. Some of the APIs change over time, some do not (although sometimes I wish they would). The more exchanges I add the more difficult it is to keep the system behaving in an rational manner. Some exchanges are so bad, though a combination of API and support, that I've had to blacklist them. With every exchange so far, and for varying reasons, I've had to implement both the streaming (websocket / fix) AND REST APIs in order to get a working solution. Exchanges don't typically do a great job with their APIs - some are astonishingly poor IMO, and have been for years. Some reputable exchanges do completely miss some really quite basic features. Some are internally inconsistent with things like error reporting. They all report fees differently and the way they charge fees varies greatly (some don't report the trade fees at all). Each exchange of course has it's own symbols for currencies and markets, and they also change over time (typically as a result of forked blockchains: BCC -> BCH -> BCHABC...). Some use different symbols between their own REST and websocket APIs. It's not uncommon for exchanges to delist markets, but surprisingly common for them it ignore the impact on users when they do so. It's also not uncommon for exchanges to delete your old orders after they close, but some exchanges will delete your trade data too after a relatively short period of time (good luck doing your tax returns). They all employ different strategies for rate limiting. Some have helpful metadata API calls, but most don't. And of course the API docs are often either missing, misleading or blatantly incorrect. Exchanges will routinely close markets, or suspend deposits and/or withdrawals of a certain currency (which has a huge impact on prices). The good ones with have API calls that reports this data, but there are very few good ones. I could go on but you get the picture. My application currently trades around 50-100k USD per day, and I'm planning/hoping to scale this up to 1m USD per day in a year from now. At any one moment it's managing about 100 to 300 concurrent open orders. The order management and trade reporting is the thing I've probably spent most time on. Having an accurate and timely order management system is vital to any trading system. My order sizes are relatively small and I have a pretty solid risk management system that prevents the algos from going crazy and building up large unwanted exposures. Having said that, the number of things that can go wrong is large, and when things do go wrong they tend to go VERY wrong VERY quickly... usually while I'm out walking the dog. I measure and record pretty much every aspect of the system so that I know when and where the time is being spent. Auditing is key. My system isn't what you'd call lightning fast right now. I don't think you would want to use it for high frequency trading. But I firmly believe that knowing where the time is being spent is over half the battle, so that's what I'm focusing on right now. Reducing latency and increasing throughput are always in the back of my mind, and although I've never intentionally designed the system to be fast, I make sure not to do anything that would needlessly slow it down. The platform itself is built on asynchronous messaging. It is backed by a cloud hosted SQL database and (apart from the database) all components have redundancy. It's running on a hand made cluster of 12 low cost servers, but much of the workload is distributed to cloud functions. It costs me a few hundred USD per month but as I scale up I expect that to scale up accordingly. I have a fairly basic front end (I'm not a UI person at all) built in react and firebase that I use to monitor and report the state of the system. It needs A LOT of work, but functionally it does what I need right now. I can see my orders, trades, portfolio, transfers etc in real time and I can browse and chart the market data that the system is collecting. One feature it has that I am very pleased with is the trade entry form for manual trading (its surprisingly nuanced). I only trade on spot markets right now, so other markets (derivates, lending etc) are not supported. Until I have an idea for a algo that trades in these markets I won't be adding them. And currently I only trade on the old fashioned, centralised exchanges. I'm writing this because I'm looking for ideas, partners, investors or even customers. I think the system has value, and it's time to move to the next level, whatever that may be. If you have an idea for an algo, adding them to the system is trivial now and if we could work out some sort of profit sharing I'd be keen to discuss it (and happy to sign an NDA of course). Feel free to reach out to me privately if you want to discuss anything.
The NBA league office announced that all awards will be officially based on play PRIOR to the bubble. With that, the cases are locked, the campaigns are closed, and the voting will begin. While the media may focus on the MVP award and other prestigious honors, reddit has the distinct honor of awarding the LVP. The LEAST Valuable Player. It's a tradition that dates back to 2016-17, when aging Indiana SG Monta Ellis won the inaugural trophy and then promptly disappeared from the NBA forever. In 2017-18, Minnesota SG Jamal Crawford won the (dis)honor with some incredibly bad defensive numbers. Last season, New Orleans SF Solomon Hill won LVP by helping to sink a drowning team and accelerating Anthony Davis' decision to fly the coop. Before we announce this year's winner, let's review the criteria and caveats: --- Obviously, the worst players in the league are the ones who sit at the end of the bench and don't get any playing time. However, this award focuses on players who log a decent amount of minutes and consequently affected their team's play the most. Simply put: the more you play, the more damage you can do. --- And that actual "damage" is important. If you're on a tanking team, no one cares about your poor play; it may even be a positive. I'm also ignoring young players (under 21) who are still developing and can't be expected to be solid players yet. --- Similarly, we don't want to judge players within the context of their salary any more than the actual MVP does. We also do not weigh in injuries either. For example, the Wizards would have a hard time competing with John Wall on the sidelines (0 games played, $32M in salary), but we want to focus on players' on-court performance instead.
PG Mike Conley, Utah: 28.6 minutes per game, -0.80 RPM We're using Mike Conley to reiterate that the LVP does NOT factor salary into the equation any more than the MVP does. But if it did, Mike Conley and his $33M salary may be in trouble. It was a disastrous start to the season for Conley. Playing in a new role as a second fiddle to another guard, he could never find his groove. His assists plummeted (down to 4.3 per game), his free-throw attempts cut in half (from 5.8 to 2.9), and he only shot 42.9% from two-point range. That said, he still shot pretty well from 3 (37.6%) and played OK defense, keeping him off our official ballot. SF Miles Bridges, Charlotte: 30.7 minutes per game, -2.68 RPM Like Mike Conley, Miles Bridges seems like a great guy whom you'd hate to criticize. Alas, that's our exercise here. Caught in between positions, Bridges hasn't been able to figure out his rhythm on offense in the NBA either. He hasn't shot well (33% from three, 48.6% from two) and doesn't get to the line enough (2.0 FTA) to make up for it. The advanced stats get even worse from there (although to be fair, they get dragged down by playing in a bad starting lineup.) Fortunately for him, Bridges is spared by his youth. At 22, he's technically over our "21 year old" threshold, but it still feels unfair to pick on his growing pains as a sophomore. Perhaps in time, he can find a role that can take advantage of his athleticism and talent. But be warned: the clock is ticking. We're taking the kid gloves off soon. Bridges and fellow analytics-allergic Kevin Knox (-7.7 RPM!) will be entering Year 3 next season and will need to step their games up to avoid LVP discussion. SF Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers: 24.6 minutes per game, -0.74 RPM Kyle Kuzma can score if need be, but his skill set never made him a natural fit to play third banana to superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He's not a 3+D player -- he's more of a no-3 (30% this year) no-D player. At the same time, the LVP is about negative impact, and it's hard to find much of consequence here. After all, the Lakers still finished with the # 1 record in the West. Kuzma struggling to find his way is like a tree falling in the woods or a person farting in an empty elevator – ultimately it didn't matter. SF Andre Iguodala, Memphis/Miami It feels like ancient history now, but this past offseason, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Andre Iguodala in a trade (under the presumption he may be dealt again.) According to official reports, Iguodala and the Grizzlies MUTUALLY decided that he wouldn't play for Memphis and wouldn't even report to the team in the meantime. Okay. Fine. We'll go along with that. Still, that situation leaves a sour taste in the LVP headquarters. Memphis turned out to be better than expected, and could have used an extra rotational player. And even if Iguodala wouldn't have helped much on the court, he could have been a valuable mentor for their young kids. That's the least you can expect for a nice $15M in salary.
our official top 5 LVP ballot
(5) PF Anthony Tolliver (POR, SAC, MEM): 15.6 minutes per game, -3.60 RPM I've always had a soft spot for the wise ol' owl, Anthony Tolliver. He's reportedly a great teammate and locker room presence. He also started to develop into an effective stretch four towards the end of this career. But alas, the end of his career may have snuck up on us sooner than we expected. Tolliver disappointed for Minnesota last season, and completely flopped in his return to Portland. At age 34, he doesn't seem to be a viable rotation player anymore. He didn't play quite enough to merit LVP, but he still played more than he should have. There's a chance Tolliver comes back next year to serve as a veteran mentor and pseudo-assistant coach somewhere, but it's more likely that he retires. If he does, he'll have played for 10 different franchises in his not-so-illustrious but very respectable career. (4) SG Bryn Forbes, San Antonio: 25.1 minutes per game, -0.95 RPM The NBA is all about shooting these days, and Bryn Forbes can shoot. He's hit an even 40.0% from three during his NBA career so far, and wasn't too far removed from that this season with 38.8% on 6.0 attempts per game. As a result, his true shooting percentage (57%) was above average. The Spurs lacked spacers, and Forbes fit that bill. So what's the problem...? Turns out, basketball is more than a halfcourt game. And whenever the ball crosses that pesky midcourt line, Bryn Forbes starts to become a liability. At only 6'3", Forbes is undersized to play the SG position, which is where the Spurs played him 74% of the time (according to basketball-reference.) Partly due to those athletic limitations, he only registered 0.5 steals per game, and blocked a grand total of 0 shots in his 1579 minutes of action. The advanced stats get ugly; Forbes ranks near the bottom at his position in DRPM, DBPM, all the alphabet formulas that you can cook up. At the end of the day, LVP is about negative impact, and there's plenty here. Forbes is not a bad player in a vacuum, but he did not help the Spurs this year. In fact, their undersized lineup is a big reason why they're struggling so much on defense (25th in the NBA). As a direct result, they're on track to miss the playoffs for the first time in decades. (3) SF Mario Hezonja, Portland: 16.3 minutes per game, -2.79 RPM During the entire run of the Damian Lillard - C.J. McCollum era, Portland has struggled to figure out their wing rotation. That would be tested even more this season, with familiar faces like Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Evan Turner slipping out the door. The trials and tribulations kept coming like Damian Lillard was Job, as injuries ravaged the Blazers' new depth chart. The team didn't need a star to emerge at forward -- but they needed somebody. Anybody. In theory, that player should have been Mario Hezonja, a former lottery pick and a live body with good athleticism and size at 6'8". Signed this summer for a modest price ($1.7M), Hezonja had the chance to jumpstart his NBA career with a major opportunity on the team. Instead, he flopped like Marcus Smart taking a phantom elbow. Hezonja's biggest problem is that, at age 25, he still hasn't found his feel on the court. He's not a good shooter (32.8% from three), and doesn't use his athleticism to find his way to the line (1.1 attempts per game.) He was a non-factor (5 PPG, 3 RPG) on a team that desperately needed him to step up. In fact, the Blazers were so desperate for help that they not only signed Carmelo Anthony, but they played him over 32 minutes a game. Again, we see a real "LVP" candidacy here with a direct effect on the standings. The Blazers' getting a big fat nothing from Hezonja was a major part of their struggle to get to .500 this season. (2) C Dewayne Dedmon, SAC/ATL: 17.6 minutes per game, -2.51 RPM We're not supposed to factor in salaries into this equation, but Dewayne Dedmon's situation merits a mention for context. The Sacramento Kings signed the big man to a head-scratching 3-year, $40M deal this summer (seriously.) Clearly, GM Vlade Divac thought his young Kings were only a few veterans away from making the playoffs, bringing in (and over-paying) Dedmon, Cory Joseph, and Trevor Ariza. Among the three, Dedmon turned out to be the most disappointing for several reasons. He didn't play well to start the season, and got usurped in the rotation by underrated Richaun Holmes. Rather than suck it up, take a deep breath, and take a relaxing dive in his new Scrooge McDuck money pool, Dedmon started to whine and complain and push for a trade. For a team that was struggling, Dedmon's headache became the last thing they needed. Ultimately, they ditched him back to where he came from in Atlanta. Now, being difficult and being a prima donna isn't enough to get you LVP honors. You have to stink on the court as well. And sure enough, Dedmon started to check those boxes. Billed as a stretch five after hitting some threes in Atlanta, Dedmon lost his shot in the SMF airport baggage claim. He shot only 19.7% from three for the Kings, registering a 47.3% true shooting percentage on the season. His defense is OK, but it's not good enough make up for his poor offensive play. He's not bad enough to get LVP, but he hurt his team this year. (1) PG Isaiah Thomas, Washington: 23.1 minutes per game, -2.75 RPM We've awarded three LVP trophies in the past, and a familiar pattern is starting to emerge. The most dangerous players aren't necessarily the bad players; they're the players who used to be good. Because of their prior success, they tend to get overplayed by their coaches and drag their teams down with them. It wasn't too long ago that Isaiah Thomas found himself in the MVP conversation for the Boston Celtics, as his incredible shotmaking helped make up for any defensive limitations he may have as a 5'9" player. That said, a small player like Thomas is always going to have a thin margin for error to remain a winning player. He needs to be GREAT offensively to make up for his defense. Unfortunately, his offense has not been great since his infamous injury. He can still make shots (hitting 41.3% of his threes), but he's not getting inside the paint and not getting to the free-throw line (1.9 attempts per game.) As a result, his true-shooting percentage lagged to 53.1%, well below league average. If Isaiah Thomas isn't making scoring efficiently, then what is he doing to help a team win? He's not a great distributor (3.7 assists per game.) He's a very poor rebounder (1.7 per game.) And yes, that defense is still a major problem. According to ESPN's RPM metric, Thomas graded as a -4.2 impact per 100 possessions, the second worst in the league at PG after Trae Young. Basketball-reference lists his "defensive rating" at 121. For comparison's sake, the worst team defense in the league still held teams under 116. (That worst team? The Wizards.) You can make an argument that there's still a place for Thomas in the NBA as a sparkplug scorer off the bench. Alas, that's not how the Wizards had been using him this season. He started 37 of 40 games for the team. Largely as a result of that, the Wizards' starting lineup was atrocious defensively. Fellow starters like Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura ranked toward the bottom of their position in defensive metrics as well. When your lineup stinks defensively, a good coach may look in the mirror and say: hey, maybe we need a change here. Sadly, quick reactions are not Scottie Brooks' strong suit. He has the type of sloth-like speed that even frustrate workers at the DMV. The Wizards eventually dumped IT, but it took far too long to make that shift. To be fair, the Wizards' options at point guard were limited with John Wall injured. Veteran Ish Smith is mediocre right now, and Shabazz Napier arrived late in the season. Still, the point here is: almost any competent point guard (like a Napier) would have helped the Wizards more than Isaiah Thomas. He had become a negative for them. The cold hard truth is that: it's very difficult to win basketball games with Thomas starting. And given that, he is our official LVP.
Leveraged ETFs aren't the best thing since sliced bread.
Recently I've seen a lot of discussion about how high leverage is the way to gain tons and tons of money and I'd like to push back against that a bit. Firstly before we begin see here: https://imgur.com/a/e2XMgT7 . This is a graph of GUSH, a 2x levered crude oil ETF. I've left out 2020 since there have been weird happenings and I don't want to base my arguments on specific events (its lost over 90% of its value since the end of the graph) but you can still see the precipitous drop over the 4 years, going from 80k to just under 1k even though oil itself didn't make any drastic changes in its price over the time period in the graph (the scale on the graph is logarithmic). This alone should be enough to send alarm bells ringing, how is it possible this ETF lost nearly 99% of its value when Crude Oil hardly shifted over the 4 year period? Yes, levered ETFs can be good to make a lot of money in a short period of time if you have reason to believe that a big market move is imminent, however they should absolutely not be held over long periods of time and unless you are active in the markets on a daily basis you should stay well clear of them. Furthermore the graph above was for a 2x levered ETF, not like a 10x leverage like there was some discussion about recently. There is a reason you can't just just go and buy arbitrary leveraged stuff (and no it is not to do with margin requirement, but instead the regulators forbid this for good reasons). Why is that the case? Lets do an example with Crude Oil. Suppose you have a Crude Oil 2x ETF with $1 billion in total assets and oil is trading at $100 a barrel. To maintain your 2x leverage you need to borrow $1 billion and buy $2 billion of oil. Firstly you have to pay interest on what you borrowed, but that is tiny these days and we will ignore it. Now you have $2 billion of oil, $1 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. Suppose the next day oil goes up to $150 a barrel (a huge move, but bear with me). Now you have $3 billion of oil which corresponds to $2 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. So oil has gone up 50% and your equity has increased 100%, so far so good, the ETF is doing what it is supposed to be. However now there is a problem, you have $2 billion of equity but only $3 billion of oil and so you are no longer 2x leveraged (to see this note that if oil goes up 50% again the equity won't double). To maintain your leverage you need to go off and borrow $1 billion more and buy more oil. Now you have $4 billion of oil and $2 billion each of equity and debt. Now suppose the price of oil goes back to $100 a barrel the next day. Now you have $2.66 billion dollars of oil and still have $2 billion of debt. So you only have $0.66 billion dollars of equity left. (Re leveraging properly will leave you with $1.22 billion dollars of oil and $0.66 billion dollars of debt). Note that over the course of these two days the price of oil is net unchanged, it started 100 and ended 100, however your 2x leveraged ETF has lost 33% of its value while a 1x leveraged ETF would still be worth the same today as it was 2 days ago. Obviously these changes are extreme but even the normal daily variance in oil price over a long period of time will destroy the value of this ETF through rebalancing, which is exactly what happened to GUSH, those 1% up 1% down days do really add up and so holding this ETF over a long period of time is just asking for your money to get destroyed since normal daily variance is a constant factor of how markets behave. You can see the effects over just 4 years with your own eyes. So, as they say with everything else, but I would add specifically for leveraged ETFs: Caveat Emptor.
What has Trump actually done? I've done some research...
A little about myself: I have always been a right-leaning financially conservative liberal. Meaning I'm all for newer technologies. I want solar energy, electric cars, auto-driving technologies (Love Musk). I do care about our environment. I do believe LGBT relationships/marriage is awesome. I'm all for Black people having their fair style of policing as well. I hate Nazis, hate Communists, hate racism, sexism, abuse, etc. I hate hate. I love LOVE! I want our government to be LESS controlling and want less taxes. I do NOT believe we should be handing out welfare checks unless IF needed (you just lost a job, sure). If you are sitting on welfare for 10 years....that becomes a problem. I look at BOTH SIDES. I've signed up for newsletters/emails/facebook/twitter groups from both sides. However I've seen that the left has become a socialist groupthink mindset, for example omitting the word God in a few speeches....It's not a BIG deal but small unnoticed details may lead to big overhauls. The censorships of channels, the media attacking conservatives, people getting fired for just having a different political opinion...are you kidding me?? The media turning a blind eye to destruction yet talk about Coronavirus numbers and criminals that are resisting arrest get shot as the cop's fault...however we do need more police training. Cops are aggressive here (I do agree with my liberal friends on that). The double standard: letting people protest for BLM but when the Conservatives tried to protest to go back to work, at the beginning in March/April, they were at fault. Or how CA Gov Newsom stated "You're allowed to protest, but not allowed to have social gatherings"....isn't a protest a type of social gathering. I don't like to be biased, but holy crap how much I've found what Trump has done for the past 3.5 years is insane!! My point is I look at both sides for politics. Anyways, I decided to do a full day's work with the help of some people to compile a list:
Trump recently signed 3 bills to benefit Native people. One gives compensation to the Spokane tribe for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, one funds Native language programs, and the third gives federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.
Trump finalized the creation of Space Force as our 6th Military branch.
Trump signed a law to make cruelty to animals a federal felony so that animal abusers face tougher consequences.
Violent crime has fallen every year he’s been in office after rising during the 2 years before he was elected.
Trump signed a bill making CBD and Hemp legal.
Trump’s EPA gave $100 million to fix the water infrastructure problem in Flint, Michigan.
Under Trump’s leadership, in 2018 the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
Trump signed a law ending the gag orders on Pharmacists that prevented them from sharing money-saving information.
Trump signed the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA), which includes the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” (SESTA) which both give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.
Trump signed a bill to require airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding Moms.
The 25% lowest-paid Americans enjoyed a 4.5% income boost in November 2019, which outpaces a 2.9% gain in earnings for the country's highest-paid workers.
Low-wage workers are benefiting from higher minimum wages and from corporations that are increasing entry-level pay.
Trump signed the biggest wilderness protection & conservation bill in a decade and designated 375,000 acres as protected land.
Trump signed the Save our Seas Act which funds $10 million per year to clean tons of plastic & garbage from the ocean.
He signed a bill this year allowing some drug imports from Canada so that prescription prices would go down.
Trump signed an executive order this year that forces all healthcare providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much less providers charge insurance companies.
When signing that bill he said no American should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance.
Hospitals will now be required to post their standard charges for services, which include the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept.
In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month.
He created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
Because of a bill signed and championed by Trump, In 2020, most federal employees will see their pay increase by an average of 3.1% — the largest raise in more than 10 years.
Trump signed into a law up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for millions of federal workers.
Trump administration will provide HIV prevention drugs for free to 200,000 uninsured patients per year for 11 years.
All-time record sales during the 2019 holidays.
Trump signed an order allowing small businesses to group together when buying insurance to get a better price
President Trump signed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that provides funding for states to develop maternal mortality reviews to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions & largely focuses on reducing the higher mortality rates for Black Americans.
In 2018, President Trump signed the groundbreaking First Step Act, a criminal justice bill which enacted reforms that make our justice system fairer and help former inmates successfully return to society.
The First Step Act’s reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed Black Americans and reformed mandatory minimums that created unfair outcomes.
The First Step Act expanded judicial discretion in sentencing of non-violent crimes.
Over 90% of those benefitting from the retroactive sentencing reductions in the First Step Act are Black Americans.
The First Step Act provides rehabilitative programs to inmates, helping them successfully rejoin society and not return to crime.
Trump increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by more than 14%.
Trump signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened HBCUs.
New single-family home sales are up 31.6% in October 2019 compared to just one year ago.
Made HBCUs a priority by creating the position of executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award at a historically black college for his criminal justice reform accomplishments.
The poverty rate fell to a 17-year low of 11.8% under the Trump administration as a result of a jobs-rich environment.
Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels since the U.S. began collecting such data.
President Trump signed a bill that creates five national monuments, expands several national parks, adds 1.3 million acres of wilderness, and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Trump’s USDA committed $124 Million to rebuild rural water infrastructure.
Consumer confidence & small business confidence is at an all-time high.
More than 7 million jobs created since election.
More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.
More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since his election.
Trump appointed 5 openly gay ambassadors.
Trump ordered Ric Grenell, his openly gay ambassador to Germany, to lead a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
Through Trump’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.
In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking.
Trump’s OMB published new anti-trafficking guidance for government procurement officials to more effectively combat human trafficking.
Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested 1,588 criminals associated with Human Trafficking.
Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services provided funding to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline to identify perpetrators and give victims the help they need.
The hotline identified 16,862 potential human trafficking cases.
Trump’s DOJ provided grants to organizations that support human trafficking victims – serving nearly 9,000 cases from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
The Department of Homeland Security has hired more victim assistance specialists, helping victims get resources and support.
President Trump has called on Congress to pass school choice legislation so that no child is trapped in a failing school because of his or her zip code.
The President signed funding legislation in September 2018 that increased funding for school choice by $42 million.
The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump promote school choice by allowing families to use 529 college savings plans for elementary and secondary education.
Under his leadership ISIS has lost most of their territory and been largely dismantled.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed.
Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.
Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith.
Signed an executive order that allows the government to withhold money from college campuses deemed to be anti-Semitic and who fail to combat anti-Semitism.
President Trump ordered a halt to U.S. tax money going to international organizations that fund or perform abortions.
Trump imposed sanctions on the socialists in Venezuela who have killed their citizens.
Finalized new trade agreement with South Korea.
Made a deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
Withdrew the U.S. from the job killing TPP deal.
Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
Okay’ d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.
Has had over a dozen US hostages freed, including those Obama could not get freed.
Trump signed the Music Modernization Act, the biggest change to copyright law in decades.
Trump secured Billions that will fund the building of a wall at our southern border.
The Trump Administration is promoting second chance hiring to give former inmates the opportunity to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment.
Trump’s DOJ and the Board Of Prisons launched a new “Ready to Work Initiative” to help connect employers directly with former prisoners.
President Trump’s historic tax cut legislation included new Opportunity Zone Incentives to promote investment in low-income communities across the country.
8,764 communities across the country have been designated as Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are expected to spur $100 billion in long-term private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the country.
Trump directed the Education Secretary to end Common Core.
Trump signed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund into law.
Trump signed measure funding prevention programs for Veteran suicide.
Companies have brought back over a TRILLION dollars from overseas because of the TCJA bill that Trump signed.
Manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate in more than 30 years.
Stock Market has reached record highs.
Median household income has hit highest level ever recorded.
African-American unemployment is at an all-time low.(was until Covid bullshit)
Hispanic-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Asian-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Women’s unemployment rate is at a 65-year low.
Youth unemployment is at a 50-year low.
We have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded.
The Pledge to America’s Workers has resulted in employers committing to train more than 4 million Americans.
95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future— the highest ever.
As a result of the Republican tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years.
Record number of regulations eliminated that hurt small businesses.
Signed welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults who don’t have children to work or look for work if they’re on welfare.
Under Trump, the FDA approved more affordable generic drugs than ever before in history.
Reformed Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging low-income seniors on their drugs—saving seniors 100’s of millions of $$$ this year alone.
Signed Right-To-Try legislation allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental treatment that wasn’t allowed before.
Secured $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
Signed VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
U.S. oil production recently reached all-time high so we are less dependent on oil from the Middle East.
The U.S. is a net natural gas exporter for the first time since 1957.
NATO allies increased their defense spending because of his pressure campaign.
Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord in 2017 and that same year the U.S. still led the world by having the largest reduction in Carbon emissions.
Has his circuit court judge nominees being confirmed faster than any other new administration.
Had his Supreme Court Justice’s Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.
Moved U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Agreed to a new trade deal with Mexico & Canada that will increase jobs here and $$$ coming in.
Reached a breakthrough agreement with the E.U. to increase U.S. exports.
Imposed tariffs on China in response to China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and their chronically abusive trade practices, has agreed to a Part One trade deal with China.
Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by Trump doubled the maximum amount of the child tax credit available to parents and lifted the income limits so more people could claim it.
It also created a new tax credit for other dependents.
In 2018, President Trump signed into law a $2.4 billion funding increase for the Child Care and Development Fund, providing a total of $8.1 billion to States to fund child care for low-income families.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) signed into law by Trump provides a tax credit equal to 20-35% of child care expenses, $3,000 per child & $6,000 per family + Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax $ to use for child care.
In 2019 President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) into law which allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and to help their families.
In 2019 President Trump signed into law two funding packages providing nearly $19 million in new funding for Lupus specific research and education programs, as well an additional $41.7 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most Lupus funding EVER.
Another upcoming accomplishment to add: In the next week or two Trump will be signing the first major anti-robocall law in decades called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.) Once it’s the law, the TRACED Act will extend the period of time the FCC has to catch & punish those who intentionally break telemarketing restrictions. The bill also requires voice service providers to develop a framework to verify calls are legitimate before they reach your phone.
Israel-UAE peace. More Muslim countries (Countries such as Oman, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon) said they may follow. Last time Israel and a Muslim country normalized ties was 26 years ago.
US stock market continually hits all-time record highs.
Note: I would like to also add that this list will obviously be very similar to other lists if not the same, since these are facts and not really opinions. I may have missed some stuff or duplicated a few things. Sorry about that. Please let me know if you have anything to add. Thanks for reading!
What are you doing clicking this when you could be reading yet another TSLA post!?! tl;dr - PRPL Warrants (PRPLW) were registered again by Purple Innovation to trade on Nasdaq, which should drive a liquidity boost to their value ahead of any pile in from Robinhood users that can now trade them. (EDIT: see my note at the end. As a few users have pointed out, I was wrong on the RH retards). Also, I'm liking the 20c / 22.5c spreads for 8/21. Great risk/reward (as of Friday).
When PRPL had closed at $13.67 in the previous trading session I called PRPL to $19+ by 8/12 (ER) on 5/25. Congrats to those who listened. If you actually do DD, I'd recommend you read the above link, along with the follow up DDs done for this quarter:
I'm going to chat about the following in this post:
Warrants on NASDAQ
Updates to some previous DD
Future Vision of PRPL Shared by VP of Branding
Warrants on NASDAQ
PRPLW warrants were originally listed on Nasdaq when the SPAC combination was completed. Because there were less than 400 unique round lot holders, the warrants fell off of NASDAQ and onto OTC markets where they have sat for well over a year. On Thursday 7/16, Purple refiled to have the warrants listed on NASDAQ. NASDAQ followed close behind with a filing that certified their approval of the relisting of PRPLW. How is this good? This will allow Robinhood users to pile into the warrants as well (watch Robintrack to monitor for meme status). On another note, it makes these commission-less trades on most other brokers, and also allows these to become marginable securities for yours truly (which means I get to double down and buy a whole lot more PRPL plays on margin). Regardless, there was a value drop when the de-listing occurred due to the liquidity drop. I would expect some liquidity premium to return on these when the listing goes active again.
Updates to Previous DD
Cutting the Low End Products Purple sells every mattress they make and is only constrained in sales by their manufacturing capacity (Purple is the actual manufacturer of their product, unlike other mattress startups like Casper). Please read previous DD at the top if you want more details. In order to maximize revenue on the same units of sale, Purple discontinued their low-end mattress. This week, they announced a $100 price increase on their mid-tier mattress as well as their most popular mattress.
Original Purple Mattress
2" Hybrid Mattress
$100 Price Increase
3" Hybrid Premier Mattress
$100 Price Increase
4" Hybrid Premier Mattress
As Purple is still having sell out and lead time problems (check their website lead times), this is definitely a case of management trying to increase dollars per manufacturing capacity. For every Original Mattress they didn't manufacture, they were able to sell a Hybrid. This is a great sign of management increasing their unit economics yet again. Jobs You may recall that we've been tracking job postings on the Purple job board as another measure of growth. The last time I posted on this, there were 56 job postings. As of Friday, THERE ARE 98 JOB POSTINGS!More importantly, they are now offering a $2,000 signing bonus for factory production workers. There's some pretty interesting other jobs on there as well. While the media screams about unemployment, Purple is trying to fill the roster to the point where production jobs are being offered a relatively substantial bonus!
Future Vision of PRPL Shared by VP of Branding
On 7/9, Burke Morley, VP of Brand and Executive Creative Director at Purple, did a podcast where he shares some of the internal vision they have at Purple. They do NOT consider themselves just a mattress company, but rather mattresses is just a way to generate cash to allow them to apply their comfort innovation across many categories. Dismissing Purple as just a mattress company is like seeing Amazon as just a bookseller in 1998. Burke shares their vision where they want to bring their technology to every aspect of your life: your office, your car, the plane, etc. Based upon the popularity of Purple's standalone seat cushions recently, they clearly can adapt their product to each of these markets. If you are a DD-type of investor, I highly recommend you listen to the whole podcast, which does come across as very right-brained, in order to understand where this company is going. Given that they have generated over $70M in cash in just April and May alone, I'm assuming we are going to see some of that cash deployed in product development to tap into these new markets. Exciting few years ahead of Purple! This is not investment advice and do your own research before making any investments. I'm long PRPL via several hundred thousand warrants, 25c 8/17 and 20c/22.5c 8/17 spreads. https://preview.redd.it/yly04erefxb51.png?width=1242&format=png&auto=webp&s=3e5f1b28e36e5b1c08ec0de3b84c740a9058ad3d EDIT: Looks like Robinhood users are still SOL with warrants even though they are NASDAQ. Time to upgrade your broker. I still think we will see a liquidity premium for these coming off of OTC.
Investment Thesis: Why investing in POW.TO (Power Corporation of Canada) now is an investment in a future high market cap Wealthsimple IPO
I have seen some posts here wondering about the wisdom of investing in Wealthsimple's parent company, Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO). I decided to look more into this, decided to post my investment thesis and research on why I, long-term, I have a very bullish view on Wealthsimple (and by extension POW.TO), and why I think this is equal to being an early stage investor in a Wealthsimple IPO.
Ownership: Power Corporation of Canada (POW.TO) (83.2% ownership)
AssetsUnderMangement: $5.4 billion, as of June 30, 2020 (4.9 billion in June 30, 2019)
Wealthsimple Invest (ETF Roboadvisor service), WS was one of the first-movers in this space in Canada and offered robo-advising as part of its initial product in 2015. WS claims to have largest digital investing presence in Canada (70% of the market) (reference).
Wealthsimple Cash, a savings account service
Wealthsimple Trade, a commission free trading app where users can buy and sell ~8,000 stocks and ETFs
Wealthsimple Crypto, a commission free cryptocurrency trading app, currently in beta
SimpleTax.ca, a free tax-return service used by ~1 million Canadians per year, acquired in late 2019
WS has had many successful rounds of funding and a vote of confidence from both its parent POW.TO and other multinationals investing in fintech.
Last year WS received a $100 million dollar investment led by Allianz X, the start up investor arm of German financial services giant Allianz
WS has had 7 total investing rounds, totalling $266.9 million (reference)
WS has been extremely aggressive in targeting growth areas. Wealthsimple’s CEO Mike Katchen has said he wants to position the company as a “full-stack” financial services company. Here are some of their current expansion areas:
UK and USA Expansion - in 2017, they started offering similar investing services in the UK and the US (reference and reference).
Socially Responsible ETFs - WS recently partnered with Mackenzie Investment to offer socially responsible ETFs with a social and environmental focus. Although probably not something that older investors care about, this is particularly important for younger investors who want to make sure their investments are socially responsible
Cryptocurrency - WS is currently testing a beta service of their cryptocurrency app, and offering fee-free cryptocurrency trading, similar to Wealthsimple Trade. Whatever your views of cryptocurrency (I'm of the view that I can in some cases be part of a portfolio to hedge against risk), it's here to stay. Earlier this month, WS was the first company in Canada to register with the Ontario Securities Exchange Commission (reference). My sense is that crypto will face increasing regulations and scrutiny in the coming years, which will be a good thing for WS which is a step ahead of the game (reference). Even Google is starting to look into relaxing its restraints on crypto (reference).
Other full-stack services - WS has been mum on what other services they might offer, but insurance, mortgages, and chequing accounts could be other areas of disruption. (Reference)
WS is run by young guys who have big ambitions and plans for the company. Sometimes there are CEOs with the intangibles that can really drive a company's growth, and from what I can glean, I think the company has a lot of potential here in terms of vision by its leaders. You can read more about the founders here
Michael Katchen, CEO, Background: Led product and marketing at a start up called 1000memories, a Y Combinator startup later acquired by Ancestry.com. Worked for McKinsey & Company.
Brett Huneycutt, COO, Rhodes Scholar... not much else I know about the guy
Quote sfrom CEO: Michael Katchen On being laughed out of the boardroom when he proposed his idea for Wealthsimple:
Within the last month, Wealthsimple has also opened an office in London. Katchen said a push into the European market is “possible” as its “ambitions are global,” but right now the Canadian and U.S. markets are “a lot to chew.” It is a far cry from the company’s early days: Katchen said he was “laughed out of the boardroom” for laying out a global vision for Wealthsimple at a time when they had just $1.9-million in funding and 20 users***.***“It’s a very personal mission of mine since I moved back from California, to inspire more Canadian companies to think big and to think internationally about the businesses that they’re building,” he said. (reference)
On Wealthsimple's growth in the next 10-15 years:
Wealthsimple has more than $5 billion in assets under management and 175,000 customers in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. He sees that reaching $1 trillion 15 years. “We’re just getting started,” he said. “Our plans are to get to millions of clients in the next five years.” (reference)
Brand Value and Design
Out of all the financial services company in Canada, WS probably has the most cohesive and smart design concept across its platforms and products. I see the value in Wealthsimple in not just the assets they have under management, but also the value of the brand itself. I mean, what kind of financial services company makes a blog post about their branding colour scheme and font choices? Also see: Wealthsimple’s advertisement earlier this year capturing 4 million views on Youtube. There also seems to be very strong brand awareness and brand loyalty amongst its users. I think a lot of users find WS refreshing as a financial services company because they cut through the "bullshit" and legalese, and try to simply things for the consumer. They also have their own in house team of designers and creative directors to do branding, design, and advertising, and this kind of vertical integration is generally unheard of in the financial services industry (reference).
Interestingly, the CEO’s ultimate goal is to take the company public. Therefore, I see an investment in POW.TO as being an early stage pre-IPO investor in WS (reference).
The goal is to get Wealthsimple to the size and scale to go public, something that Katchen said he’s “obsessed with.” While admitting that an IPO was still a few years down the road, Katchen already has a target of $20 billion in assets under administration (AUA) as the tipping point (the company recently announced $4.3 billion in AUA as of Q1 2019) (reference)
Ultimately, my sense is that a spun-out Wealthsimple IPO eventually be worth a lot, perhaps even more than POW.TO at some point. Obviously the company is losing money right now, and no where even close to an IPO, and there are still many chances that this company could flop. The best analogy that I can think of is when Yahoo bought an early stake in Alibaba (BABA) back in the early 2000s, and there came a point where their stake in BABA was worth more than Yahoo’s core business. I think an investment in POW.TO now is an early investment in WS before it goes public. (reference)
Expansion problems. In the UK, they reported significant losses and despite increasing users. (reference). The US is also an especially competitive space with lots of similar competitors.
The robo-advising, fintech space is highly competitive now, and the Big Five Banks and other investment/trading companies could easily start offering low-cost or commission free trading
Competitors such as Robinhood could also expand into the Canadian market and take out a huge chunk of WS's userbase
The X Factor
What I find particularly compelling about WS is they have aggressively positioned themselves to be a disruptor in the Canadian financial services industry. This is an area that has traditionally been thought to be a firewall for the Big Five Banks. There is also a generational gap in investing approaches, knowledge, and strategy, and I think WS has positioned itself nicely with first-time investors. My sense is that COVID-19 has also captured a huge amount of young adults with its trading app in the last few months, who will continue to use Wealthsimple products in the future. The average age of its user is around 34. As younger individuals are more comfortable with moving away traditional banking products, I think Wealthsimple’s product offering offers significant advantages over its competitors.
Power Corp is a Good Home
Currently POW.TO is trading at $26.30, down from its 52-week high of $35.15. I see an investment in POW.TO now as fairly low risk, and while WS grows, and there is also the added benefit of a high dividend stock. One of the most confusing things I found about Power Corp was its confusing corporate structure where there were two stocks, Power Financial Corp, and Power Corp of Canada. Fortunately, in Dec 2019, they simplified and consolidated the stocks, which also simplifies the holding structure of WS. I currently see POW.TO has a good stock to hold as well if you're a dividend holder, with a dividend of 6.86%. Also, POW.TO is patient enough to bide its time and let its investment in WS grow, unlike a VC that might want to sell it quick. For example, the reason why WS went with POW.TO instead of the traditional VC route is explained here:
Katchen has directly addressed the question of why he did not go the traditional VC route recently, saying: If you are a business that requires perhaps decades to achieve the vision you have, well, if you’re not going to be able to generate the kind of returns that venture needs is they will force you to sell yourself, they will force you to go public before you’re ready, or they will just forget about you because you’re going to be a write off. And so Katchen essentially flipped Wealthsimple to Power Financial. Power is well known as a conservative, patient, long-term investor. (https://opmwars.substack.com/p/the-wealthsimple-founders-before)
My belief is there is a huge unrecognized potential in POW.TO's massive ownership stake in WS that will be realized maybe 5-10 years down the road. I didn't really dive into the financials of POW.TO in relation to WS's performance, because the earnings reports do no actually say much about WS. I'm aware of the main criticisms that POW.TO is a mature company and dividend stock that has been trading sideways for many years, and the fact that WS is currently not a profitable company. I am not a professional investor, and this is just my amateur research, so I certainly welcome any comments/criticism of this thesis that people on this subreddit might have! (Please be gentle on me!).
[OC] Other "Coach of the Year" ballots may have more legitimacy or accuracy, but this is the only one that ranks the candidates from # 1 all the way to # 30
The NBA league office announced that all awards will be officially based on play PRIOR to the bubble. With that, the cases are locked, the campaigns are closed, and the voting will begin. Rather than give a traditional "Coach of the Year" ballot that ranks from 1-3, I thought it may be an interesting (and indulgent) exercise to go all the way from 1-30. Some caveats: --- We're ranking coaches based on their performance THIS SEASON only. Obviously, Billy Donovan isn't as good of a coach as Gregg Popovich. However, if you were only ranking their "Coach of the Year" candidacy for this particular season, Donovan has a better campaign argument. --- Since I don't watch every game for every team, I'm going to have to resort to a bigger picture analysis. If you're a diehard fan of your team who watches every game, you'd have a lot better insight into a coach's game management and situational adjustments. Let us know how you feel about that -- is your coach underrated? Overrated? --- Personally, I'm going to rank coaches that started the year (as opposed to interim replacements.) That’s important to mention off the bat, because it applies right away —
(30) David Fizdale, N.Y. Knicks: 4-18 record David Fizdale became a head coach with so much fanfare and media approval that his fall from grace has been more dramatic than Icarus. This year, he got fired 22 games into his second season on the job. Amazingly, this isn't the first time that's happened to him. Back in Memphis, he also got fired 19 games into his second season on the job. We don't know exactly what goes on behind the scenes, but it can't be good. Do you know how bad things must be going to get fired 20 games into a season? That's like being halfway through sex with someone and saying: ya know, I think I need to leave... Something seriously FUNKY must have going on in there. Raging herpes. Oozing puss. Rotten vagina. I don't want to call David Fizdale the rotten vagina of coaches, but his tenure with the Knicks did smell pretty funky. The team (right or wrong) signed a bunch of veterans with the intention to strive for the 8th seed, but they flopped. Ultimately, the real goal was giving their young prospects an environment to grow, but that didn't happen either. Dennis Smith and Kevin Knox are somehow getting worse and worse. The Knicks did a full house cleaning, but it may be some time before the smell is out of the building. (29) John Beilein, Cleveland: 14-40 record If you think it's difficult to get fired 20 games into a season, imagine getting fired halfway through your first year on the job right after you've signed a lucrative FIVE-YEAR contract. With John Beilein, we know more clearly what went wrong. In hindsight, it was a mistake to think that the 67-year-old Beilein could make the transition to the NBA after a lifetime in college. He simply didn't mesh with the "thugs/slugs" in the NBA, causing the Cavs to pull the plug before a full-out mutiny. Given this disaster, how can we rank Beilein higher than Fizdale? We're splitting hairs, but there are a few more positives. Beilein's Cavs had a better record than Fizdale's Knicks despite lower expectations (based on oveunder.) Beilein also "resigned," meaning the decision to part was at least somewhat mutual. He realized the error of his ways, and handed things over to an experienced assistant in J.B. Bickerstaff. As embarrassing and costly as the Beilein era may have been, it's hard to see much long-term damage for the franchise. (28) Scottie Brooks, Washington: 24-40 record With John Wall injured, the Washington Wizards would have a hard time competing for the playoffs. Still, Scottie Brooks didn't help matters. The team ranked dead last in defensive rating by a good margin, indicating some serious issues with the system and the effort level. Even Bradley Beal looked disengaged on that end, ranking as one of the worst defenders in the league. More than anything, Brooks' crime is a slow adjustment to that problem. Despite their defensive issues, he continued to start league LVP Isaiah Thomas for 37 games. Brooks seems like a likable guy, but his slow trigger has defined and tarnished his coaching career so far. (27) Jim Boylen, Chicago: 22-43 record Even his defenders would say Jim Boylen is about as cuddly as a cactus and charming as an eel. His players' support for him ranges behind tepid indifference and downright annoyance. Still, sometimes it takes a Grinch to get young players locked in on defense. To his credit, Boylen did improve the Bulls on that end. Their defensive rating leapt up from 25th to 14th this season. But at the end of the day, the overall results simply aren't here. Despite offensive-minded youngsters like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen (marginalized this year), the Bulls ranked 27th in offensive rating. Largely as a result, they were on pace to win 27.7 games, well short of their 33.5 oveunder. Being "likable" and being "successful" don't go hand in hand, but NBA coaches need to check 1 of those 2 boxes to survive. So far, Boylen has gone 0 for 2. (26) Lloyd Pierce, Atlanta: 20-47 record The Atlanta Hawks hired Lloyd Pierce on the basis of his defensive reputation, but we've seen little evidence of that on the court so far. In his first year on the job, the Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating. After a full year of training and development in his system, they climbed all the way up to... 28th. Through it all, franchise player Trae Young looks completely lost, grading as a worse defender than our LVP Isaiah Thomas. There's not much evidence that Pierce is a BAD coach, but there's not much evidence that he's going to be able to cure what ails them either. He'll probably get another season or two on the job from the patient franchise, but he needs to make some improvements eventually. Young is an albatross on defense, sure, but one little guard shouldn't be enough to sink you like this. (For evidence, consider Boston ranked 4th in defense during lil' Isaiah Thomas' near-MVP season.) (25) Kenny Atkinson, Brooklyn: 28-34 record Our third coach who got fired midseason actually ranks higher than others. On the court, it's hard to find much fault in Kenny Atkinson's performance. Despite having two max players on the shelf, he still had his Nets in the playoff race. They weren't any great shakes, but they were competitive. However, we have to acknowledge that the job of an NBA coach goes beyond offensive and defensive ratings. It's also about managing a locker room, and managing egos. The Nets had built a good culture before this, but that culture presumably got rocked by the arrival of their new stars. It's up to Atkinson to bridge that gap, and instead it swallowed him whole. (24) Ryan Saunders, Minnesota: 19-45 record The Minnesota Timberwolves will fall well short of their preseason expectations (35.5 oveunder), and will continue to waste Karl-Anthony Towns' historically good offensive talent. It's still unclear if young pup Ryan Saunders should have been handed this job at such a young age; he hasn't proven that he deserves it yet. If there's any consolation, it's that Saunders appears in lock step with executive Gersson Rosas in terms of preferred playing style. Rosas came over from Houston with a desire to create more of a Morey-Ball approach. Saunders is doing his part, cranking up the gas to keep the team 3rd in pace, 3rd in three-point attempts, 3rd in free-throw attempts. The results don't match up yet, but at least they're on the same page. For now. Time will tell whether a new ownership group will come in and rip up that playbook. (23) Gregg Popovich, San Antonio: 27-36 record I imagine this low ranking will be among the least popular picks on the board. After all, Gregg Popovich is a legend. Even at this age, he's still a top 10 coach overall. That said, legends aren't bullet proof or immune from criticism. Popovich needs to take some blame for an underwhelming year in San Antonio. The unconventional mid-range offense actually works better than you'd expect (11th in rating), but the problems come on the other end. The Spurs have struggled mightily on D this year, ranking all the way down at 25th. The rotations have been an issue there, with too much Bryn Forbes and Marco Bellinelli and probably too little Jakob Poeltl. It still may feel weird to rank Pop in the bottom half for his performance this year, but I'd ask you: if this team was coached by a random dude named "Joe Schmo," where would you put him? (22) Brett Brown, Philadelphia: 39-26 record This hasn't been a banner year for Gregg Popovich, and it hasn't been a banner year for his protege Brett Brown either. The Sixers made some head-scratching decisions this offseason. They grabbed the biggest pieces they could find, and jammed them together without much regard for "fit." Still, there's a lot of talent here. There's enough talent to justify their 54.5 preseason oveunder, and there's enough talent to compete with everyone in the East (outside of Milwaukee, perhaps.) Instead, the Sixers stumbled along on a 49-win pace, on track for the 6th seed. If this was a normal year without the COVID-bubble, then that would be a much bigger problem. The team is starting to make some adjustments and add more shooters like Shake Milton into the lineup, but it may be too little, too late. (21) Dwane Casey, Detroit: 20-46 record It's hard to judge veteran Dwane Casey either way based on the returns this season so far. The Pistons will fall well short of preseason expectations (37.5 oveunder), but there are obvious reasons why. Star Blake Griffin got injured again, and pseudo-star Andre Drummond got traded away. To Dwane Casey's credit, he's tried to make a meal with the leftovers in the cupboard. Derrick Rose continues to be a fan favorite (if not an analytical darling), and PF Christian Wood appears to be a breakout success. Overall, there's no real identity or grand plan in place here, but perhaps that will change if the lottery balls go their way. (20) Terry Stotts, Portland: 29-37 record Terry Stotts and Dwane Casey may have a few beers after the season and commiserate together about their challenges this year. Like Casey, Stotts has been overwhelmed by injuries -- to Jusuf Nurkic -- to Zach Collins -- to Rodney Hood -- to Trevor Ariza -- etc. All this from a team that didn't have much depth to start. Stotts and the Blazers drew a stroke of good luck with this bubble format. They'll be in the 9th spot right now, and well within range to sneak into the playoffs. If it wasn't for that, Stotts may be drawing more fire. The team's defense has slipped to 27th overall, which is hard to excuse no matter what roster problems you have. Stotts is a good and respected coach in general, but there's a chance his message may have run stale here. If they bomb out in the bubble, I wouldn't be surprised if they look for a fresh voice like assistant Nate Tibbetts for next year. (19) Luke Walton, Sacramento: 28-36 record Luke Walton and the Kings got off to a disastrous start given their expectations. It's never a good sign when your fanbase grumbles, he's no Dave Joerger. But after weathering the storm, there are some signs of hope on the horizon. A bold decision to bring Buddy Hield off the bench has worked out, with the team rattling off a 13-7 stretch before the shutdown. They had a slim chance to rally and make the playoffs if we played a full schedule, and they'll have some chance to do the same in the bubble. Overall, a disappointing start for Walton, but not a complete disaster. (18) James Borrego, Charlotte: 23-42 record It's very difficult to judge James Borrego, because it's difficult to judge exactly what was going on in the twisted minds of the Charlotte front office. On paper, Borrego did an admirable job to take a bad roster and lead them to a decent mark of 23 wins. In fact, their oveunder coming into this year was only 23.5 over a full 82 games (lowest in the NBA). P.J. Washington's had a nice rookie year, and PG Devonte' Graham has been better than expected (although he's cooled off.) At the same time, is this what the Hornets wanted? A "not THAT bad" team? As a result, they'll end up in the 8th slot prior to the NBA Draft lottery, in that dreaded middle ground. In a sense, Borrego did too good of a job squeezing out a few extra wins. I'm inclined to give him props for that because the franchise must have given him a mandate to compete (why else sign Terry Rozier to a big contract?). As a franchise, the team gets poor grades, but as a coach, it's hard to fault him here. (17) Alvin Gentry, New Orleans: 28-36 record James Borrego hasn't had much talent to work with in Charlotte. Down in Nawlins, Alvin Gentry may have too much. Earlier in the season, he appeared overwhelmed by all the pieces on the roster and struggled to develop a consistent rotation for the team. If it wasn't for Brandon Ingram's breakout, the Pelicans could have been in too deep of a whole to dig their way out. Of course, some stocky rookie waddled in, and looked pretty darn good. Zion Williamson gives this team an entirely new ceiling, and has been worked into the lineup in a smart, prudent fashion. For that, Gentry deserves credit. He also deserves credit for having a consistent philosophy. His team is going to run, run, run like Forrest Gump. They've finished in the top 3 in pace each season for the past three years. It hasn't worked like a charm overall, as Gentry will be on track to finish with a losing record for the 4th time in his 5 years, but perhaps they'll finally hit their stride in the bubble. (16) Steve Clifford, Orlando: 30-35 record By this point, what you see is what you get with coach Steve Clifford. We've come to expect a top 10 defense (# 9 this year), but a record around the .500 mark. In his defense, the offensive talent is limited, and Jon Isaac (arguably their best overall player) missed significant time. Still, for Clifford to jump in these yearly rankings, we need to see more of an offensive system in place. (15) Steve Kerr, Golden State: 15-50 record WTF? Why is the coach with the worst record in the league doing all the way up here? Allow me to explain. Being a head coach is like being a jockey. You need to know when to trot, when to stay with the pack, and when to crack the whip and turn up the gas down the stretch. And, sadly, you need to know when your horse is lame and needs to be shot and put out of its misery. Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors realized they had a wobbly, broken-down horse early on, and put the breaks on sooner than later. As a result, they'll be locked into the # 1 spot among their NBA lottery odds. In theory that doesn't matter much because the top three teams (GS, CLE, MIN) all have the same odds at # 1 overall. However, if they slide down, Golden State will remain ahead of the others; the worst pick they can get is # 5. That type of patience is rare and admirable for a veteran coach like Kerr; after years of being in "win now" mode, he's showing a long-term vision as well. (14) Nate McMillan, Indiana: 39-26 record The Indiana Pacers continued to chug along with another playoff appearance despite Victor Oladipo missing more time. Coach Nate McMillan (and assistant Dan Burke) deserve a lot of credit for their strength defensively; they finished in the top 10 in defense for the second season in a row. Their scheme works well, and covers for some limited players along the way. If there's any criticism of McMillan, it'd be on the offensive end. The Pacers found a little something with Domatas Sabonis as a playmaker (5.0 assists per game), but it's still not enough to make the team formidable offensively. Their "MoreyBall" rating is the worst in the league -- they finished last in both free-throw attempts and three-point attempts. Some teams can overcome that playing style, but the Pacers haven't been one of them; their offensive rating is # 18 for the second straight year. Given that need, I'd be curious to see if the team could develop Doug McDermott into a Bojan Bogdanovic - type player for them -- he hit 44.5% of his threes, but got only 20.0 minutes a game. (13) Monty Williams, Phoenix: 26-39 record This ranking may seem too high for the coach of a 26-39 team, but we need to consider some context here. The Phoenix Suns had finished with an average record of 20-62 over the last two seasons, so this 33-win pace is a marked step up for them. They've also gotten into the top 20 in offensive and defensive rating. That may sound like mediocrity to you, but again it's a big jump up from the previous year (28th offensive, 29th defense.) Better still, we're seeing some strong player development from this club. Deandre Ayton still looked strong post PED suspension, and Mikal Bridges played well in the second half of the year. After all the mess and goat stink in Phoenix, there are actual good vibes here, and Monty Williams deserves credit for that. (12) Quin Snyder, Utah: 41-23 record Quin Snyder is an awesome coach, only penalized here by his own lofty expectations. Coming into the season, a few pundits though the Jazz may have what it took to be the top seed in the West, but they're going to fall short of that and even fall short of their preseason oveunder (of 53.5 wins). Of course, it didn't help that Mike Conley forgot how to shoot for the few month or two of the season. Still, Snyder's bunch continues to be well coached on both ends, with ball movement on offense and discipline on defense. They'd have been an interesting playoff darkhorse if not for the bad corona-vibes and the unfortunate Bojan Bogdanovic injury. (11) Mike Malone, Denver: 43-22 record Denver's Mike Malone is in the same boat as Quin Snyder; he did a good job, but he's expected to do a good job. I'm going to rank him slightly higher because the Nuggets were slightly ahead, and were also set to slightly exceed their preseason win total (on track to win 54, 1 game better than their 53.0 estimate.) Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if Malone can take his offense up a notch. They play at a very slow pace (29th) and don't shoot many threes (26th). To actually win the title, their shooters will need to step it up. If Gary Harris won't break out of his prolonged slump, then it's imperative that Michael Porter Jr. fulfills his potential and provides that third scoring punch. (10) Doc Rivers, L.A. Clippers: 44-20 record Stars and shooting aren't a problem for the Los Angeles Clippers. It's fair to say they're the most talented roster in the entire NBA. Given that, is their 44-20 record a disappointment? Eh. Maybe. But I'd counter that it doesn't really matter. Doc Rivers' primary mission this regular season was to make it to the playoffs healthy, and the team appears on track to do just that. If there's any criticism here (of a team with a top 5 offense and defense) it's that their best players may not have gotten enough reps together. Do the new kids on the block Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fit with the old guard in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell? What's the best starting lineup? Best closing lineup? There are still some unanswered questions here that need to be addressed in a hurry if they're going to fulfill their title aspirations in the bubble. (9) Taylor Jenkins, Memphis: 32-33 record Personally, I expected the Memphis Grizzlies to have the worst in the Western Conference, so it's downright shocking that they're in the 8th spot at the moment. The NBA may be trying to steal that playoff berth away from them, but that won't change the great job that rookie coach Taylor Jenkins has done this year. Are the Grizzlies actually this good? Probably not. Their advanced stats are worse than their record, and Jaren Jackson Jr. hasn't taken the expected leap on defense yet. Still, wins are wins, and a coach shouldn't be penalized for collecting more than he should. (8) Mike D'Antoni, Houston: 40-24 record Based on the simple matter of wins versus preseason expectations (and an oveunder of 54.0), the Houston Rockets have been slightly underwhelming this year. Still, veteran Mike D'Antoni deserves a lot of credit for remaking the team on the fly. Changing from Chris Paul to Russell Westbrook may not be a huge difference in quality, but it's a huge difference in playing style. As a result, the Rockets leapt up from the 26th fastest pace last year all the way up to 4th this season. They'll looking like a proper D'Antoni and Morey team right now. In fact, they've taken that bold experiment up another notch this year by ditching Clint Capela and emulating Rick Moranis. So far, so good. These Smallball Rockets still have some lingering question marks about their defense and their rebounding, but they're extremely dangerous right now nonetheless. It's hard to imagine too many older coaches understanding and embracing this like D'Antoni has. (7) Brad Stevens, Boston: 43-21 record Brad Stevens has always been a media darling, and he's justifying that reputation this year. The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, but are still top 5 in offense and top 5 in defense. Life without Kyrie has gone swimmingly, opening up some air for young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to breathe; they're both in the running for Most Improved Player. As with Mike D'Antoni, Stevens also deserves credit for working with a limited hand at center. But rather than force the issue and overplay some stiffs, he's understood that the team just may be better off with 6'8" Daniel Theis manning the fort instead. (6) Frank Vogel, L.A. Lakers: 49-14 record It's never a good sign when you sign a new contract with a team, and are immediately placed among the favorites for "First Coach Fired" in Vegas. Frank Vogel walked that tightrope this season, with plenty of spectators expecting him to fail and fall to his demise. Instead, Vogel has kept his head down, and kept his focus, and helped this Lakers team grab the # 1 seed out West. Obviously it's an easier task when you have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but this isn't a loaded roster otherwise. Moreover, there are a lot of moving parts and new pieces to work in. The fact that Vogel has this largely-old team ranked # 3 in defensive rating is a true testament to his success this year. (5) Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee: 53-12 record Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo is on track to win his second consecutive MVP award. While we tend to think the media likes new "narratives," but we've seen repeat winners before. Since 2000, Tim Duncan repeated as MVP, Steve Nash repeated as MVP, LeBron James repeated as MVP (on two separate occasions), and Steph Curry repeated as MVP as well. Coaches don't get the same luxury. In fact, since the award was created in 1962, the Coach of the Year winner has NEVER repeated the following season. You win once, you get to the back of the line. That tendency has really hurt Mike Budenholzer's candidacy this year. On paper, he should absolutely be in the running. The Bucks are once again # 1 in defense, # 1 in overall rating, # 1 in W-L record. They're on a better pace than last year's team, despite losing Malcolm Brogdon over the summer. If Giannis can repeat for the same feat twice, why shouldn't Budenholzer be allowed to do the same? (4) Rick Carlisle, Dallas: 40-27 record Everyone expected the Milwaukee Bucks to be dominant, but no one expected the Dallas Mavericks to be this good, this early. They've jumped the line and arrived in the playoffs earlier than schedule. They're only 1 win away from beating their preseason oveunder of 40.5 despite all the missed games. Like Mike Budenholzer, Rick Carlisle has benefited in that endeavor from a transcendent player in Luka Doncic. At the same time, this Mavs' machine has been rolling with and without Doncic. They rank # 1 in offensive efficiency this year, and depending on whether you want to factor in pace and league trends or not, they may have one of the best offenses we've ever seen from a statistical standpoint. It's quite an achievement from a coach who cut his stripes as a defensive specialist, and indicates the type of attitude that coaches need to adapt and evolve over time. (3) Erik Spoelstra, Miami: 41-24 record The Miami Heat pulled a free agency coup by signing Jimmy Butler away from Philadelphia. Still, it's not like people expected that to vault them to the top of the East. Butler was a good player, but a difficult one to manage. He blended into the crowd as well as a skinhead at a Bar Mitzvah. Overall, adding Butler only boosted the team's preseason oveunder win total to a modest 43.5. Turns out, Butler fit in better with the Heat than anyone expected, on and off the court. Butler hasn't shot well from the field, but his attacking and playmaking helped open up the offense (6th in the league) and propelled the team to a 51.7-win pace. He's fit in like a glove in terms of their tough-dude culture as well. Erik Spoelstra should get huge props for developing that culture and that system. But more than anything, he deserves credit for their player development system. Sure, Jimmy Butler is a star, and Bam Adebayo had star talent. At the same time, no one had ever heard of players like Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson at this time last year. These are complete randos who will make a combined $3M this season -- just half of Cristiano Felicio's salary. Having a coach who can grow talent like that in his backyard is a huge advantage for any franchise. (2) Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City: 41-24 record After Oklahoma City blew it up this summer by trading Russell Westbrook and Paul George, coach Billy Donovan felt like a dead man walking. Instead, Donovan and those fireproof zombie hordes in OKC sieged to a 41-24 record. How good is that? Hell, it's an even better winning percentage than the team had last year with Westbrook and George (in a career year.) Given all this surprising success, Donovan would be a fair winner of this award. He's managed to take in a bunch of new bodies and form a cohesive team. He's even had success playing three point guards together (CP3, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder.) If you want to nitpick his candidacy, you could point out that the hodgepodge roster has a lot of talent scattered throughout. Chris Paul had become underrated, and Danilo Gallinari has always been underrated as well. The team's low preseason oveunder total (32.5) was largely based on the uncertainty about further trades. Everyone knew that this team had the talent to be competitive if they stayed together. Still, no one expected them to be this good. (1) Nick Nurse, Toronto: 46-18 record Last season, Nick Nurse finally got his first chance as an NBA head coach. He ended up having as good of a rookie year as anyone since Henry Rowengartner. Nurse coached circles around some of the best in the business en route to a championship season. Amazingly, he may have been even more impressive this year. Without Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the Toronto Raptors held steady and didn't miss much of a beat. In fact, they're on pace to win 58.9 games, over a dozen more than their preseason oveunder of 46.5. Technically, Nurse still has limited experience as an NBA head coach, but he's already proven to be one of the masters. If we were to judge based on the results of this (semi-)season only, he'd be my personal "Coach of the Year."
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