3 Reasons Apple Should Run

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By: Chris Tell

It’s a massive waste of time. I told Mark so but he wouldn’t listen. He still sat down to watch elections taking place in New Zealand, his new found homeland.

No matter where you’re located in the world, if you watch TV – which I don’t – then you’re likely to find it pretty tough staying away from the media circus that follows election campaigns like a swarm of magpies circling a fish and chip packet.

It’s the same story every country I find myself in. Politicians convincing those who are listening, which is regrettably a lot, that they’re as necessary as penicillin, and further promising all manner of absurdities. That these absurdities, or promises have the life expectancy of a veal calf never seems to phase the hoi polloi who keep coming back for more each election year. This time “my guy” is going to fix things. Right!

You can’t complain about this. Sure they make me want to exhale liquid, but criticizing politicians for failing to deliver on promises is like criticizing your underwear for not making very good french toast. Taking a look at the lineup of political candidates from all around this ball of dirt leaves you with a niche group of sociopaths sporting the collective intelligence of a box of nails.

This got me to thinking about Apple (AAPL:NASDAQ).

About 2 years ago I severed the PC umbilical cord, ditched Microsoft software and delved into the world of Apple, purchasing a trusty little Macbook Air. Along with my iPod which I use for running, it’s the only Apple product I’ve come into contact with.

I’ve been impressed and am now amongst “the converted”. I can now watch mindless politicians such as this guy try to explain that Guam will capsize, all without my system crashing. Excellent! Honestly, I haven’t had any issues with the product at all.

It got me to thinking. Why doesn’t Apple run for office?

They clearly know how to get things done. They promise and deliver and have brought products into the world which people willingly pay for and desire. They’ve employed entire suburbs of people, and the turnout for their product launches are spectacular.

iPhone 6 Launch Hong Kong

Taken in Hong Kong a couple days ago: customers queuing for the new iPhone.

Why not indeed?

Technology has advanced at an unbelievable speed since I was a wee tot wetting my pants, so I ask myself why has politics not advanced at all? We still continue to parade these podium donuts out with the inevitable disastrous results. No wonder sales of Tylenol and Xanex are going through the roof.

Let us for a minute consider 3 stereotypical political campaign promises and deal with them one by one:

  1. Provide jobs
  2. Reduce taxes
  3. Provide better quality services and products

Provide jobs: Firstly, government don’t provide jobs, plain and simple. They can get out of the way to allow for job creation, as Peter Thiel tries to explain to this TV anchor, but they most certainly do NOT create jobs. Secondly, the so called “jobs” they do create are created out of a monopoly position and/or are unnecessary and a net deficit to society. Not one government job could not be done by the private sector better and for a profit. Side thought: I know I’ve already made some readers irate so please do me a favour and send your hate mail to wtf@gmail.com.

Apple, on the other hand, employs nearly 600,000 people in the US alone, and has created countless more jobs on the periphery of their products.

Reduce Taxes: Taxes will go down. OK, for anyone capable of 5th grade math, which excludes a large swathe of the population, this is basically saying that the cost of government to the consumer will go down. Unless you’re based in one of the rapidly growing markets of the world take a look around you and see how this one is playing out.

Apple, of course, don’t tax customers but we can see that the cost of Apple goods has remained pretty consistent with inflation so while it hasn’t reduced it’s cost to consumers hasn’t increased either.

Provide better quality services and products: Oh boy. Where to start? Healthcare, schools, infrastructure, policing. Then there is the incredibly tedious, mindless waste of time paperwork in order to get anything done. When was the last time you had to fill out some government paperwork?

If it’s anything like that which I’ve experienced, it likely involved a stack of documents, in paper not digital format. Let’s now compare this with anything which Apple put out. Anytime you fill out something on your iPhone it uses witchcraft to correct your poor spelling, it syncs with your other devices seamlessly thus helping those of us who regularly leave things lying around as we’re able to find documents, emails, websites, effortlessly… and it fits in your little pocket. Try that with a stack of government paperwork.

Better quality of products: The first iPhone out was 7 years ago and was reputedly an 8GB model for $599. At the time it was an amazing device. Today’s latest version is arguably twice as good, with 16GB, will launch a rocket if you could actually figure out how it all works, and costs less than 10% more at $649.

I think on those 3 campaign topics Apple beats any of the candidates I’ve seen anywhere. They deliver.

When last did your government deliver to you something that amazed you? No, drone strikes, privacy breaches, vote rigging or smoking crack don’t count.

Apple, on the other hand, deliver to people all over the world videos of Asian men falling off motorcycles, sports results, and woman playing with themselves in Ohio. In short Apple, like Google and a hundred other private companies out there actually know and understand their market and clientele. Politicians, on the other hand, simply profess to be working for their clientele and market but clearly don’t have a clue.

Based on the above I feel pretty confident that if we put Apple in charge they’d run a country for the better. For starters parliament or it’s equivalent where you are would be replaced with a war room full of innovators, excited, energetic smart people looking to create not destroy.

A side benefit would be that those little men who currently screw so much up would be forced to go find a real job.

Who’s with me?

- Chris

“We may have to force people to get together in terms of picking a particular type of technology and starting to build to that technology, as opposed to everybody exercising their right to buy their own system, you know, at will.” – Michael Chertoff,  2nd US Secretary of Homeland Security under George W Bush, and Co-author of the US Patriot Act, possibly the most destructive piece of legislation ever written

What a Simple Cambodian Girl Taught Me About the Entrepreneurial Spirit

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By: Chris Tell

Today’s article comes from  a gentleman I’ve yet to meet, even though Mark and I know his brother well. Josh Galt is an extreme athlete who has traveled the world extensively and has built himself a life and lifestyle out of his passions, which in his case entails riverboarding some of the most amazing and dangerous rivers this planet has to offer.

He is a kindred spirit. A man who is driven by creating, learning and doing. I’d like to share with you a post he wrote recently which embodies much of what excites us about some of the rapidly growing economies of the world and opportunities.

You can find out more about Josh on his website. Enjoy!

- Chris

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I met a cute Cambodian girl the other morning as I headed back to my hotel after a run on the beach. We went to breakfast, and she told me she knew a great place to go snorkeling, which was our plan for the day.

She was fun and hot and spoke English, so of course, I told her please come with us! :) I didn’t realize she would teach me a profound lesson about what it really means to be a bootstrapping entrepreneur.

When we reached our first destination, she jumped in with me and swam around for a few minutes, but then she headed back to the boat. I figured she was going to be a diva relaxing on the boat the rest of the day, or start complaining about being bored. I quickly saw that I was very, very wrong.

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She proceeded to wrap fishing line around an empty water bottle, tie on a small metal hook she got from the boat driver, and then jump back into the water wearing a life jacket for extra flotation. From there, with a dive mask on for vision, she began fishing.

After a while she moved back into the boat, leaning over the edge, hook dangled into the water. Aside from the times I was in the boat or water with her, or when we were moving from island to island, she fished this way all day.

I had told her before we headed out to sea that I had to leave as soon as we got back, returning to the city. So, she caught her own dinner.

But maybe she would have done it anyway, because it’s just what survivors do – they survive (and some thrive) by seizing every opportunity that they can grab hold of.

That determination of spirit shines in stark contrast to what has become the prevailing western mindset. She knows there are no handouts. She knows opportunity when it presents itself. And she probably knows real, painful hunger in a way that none of us can imagine.

So she made the most of it. And not in a ‘woe-is-me-I-have-to-catch-my-dinner-why-won’t-someone-take-care-of-me’ way. She laughed and had as much fun all day as I did. With me, and on her own. She’d yell out to me every time she caught a fish, beaming from ear to ear, proud of her success.

I was simply looking at pretty fish, while she was surviving. And yet because it’s just a way of life, she was very happy doing it.

The opportunity to do so had presented itself, and she seized it without hesitation.

When we arrived back at the beach, she took her fish to a local restaurant. They traded her some veggies and rice for a couple of her fish, for when she returned later when they’d fry the big one up with it for her dinner. A simple trade – a hot meal for a day’s work.

What people in the western world don’t understand is that in 3rd world countries, EVERYONE is an entrepreneur, because they have to be! And thankfully, there are few regulations stopping them from being such.

Every house is selling something out front. Every person has something they will offer you or pitch you on the street, to maybe make a few cents, or a whole dollar. If they don’t work with what they have, they starve to death. Simple as that.

There are no food stamps to buy steak and lobster. No free Obama phones. No handouts.

There is simply the freedom to hustle. The freedom to use what you have, to get what you can, to make it through another day.

In Asia, people seem to understand this better than most anyplace I’ve ever been. And that’s why I’m staying (along with this). I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating here:

I would rather live surrounded by the exciting chaos of birth that is Asia, than the struggling chaos of death that is the West.

There is no perfect system or place on our blue planet, so spare me your pious lectures about poverty in the 3rd world until, say, you’ve fixed your own fucking Detroit.

Because people in the 3rd world are working their way out of it. People under socialist control are not allowed to, and so poverty and crime get worse as economies decline.

In the West, this girl (and the restaurant, the boat driver, me the tourist) would have been in violation of numerous health codes, fishing laws, OSHA standards, tourism permits, and more. Leaving her with only one real choice – dependence on a flawed welfare system.

With freedom, though, she could happily get her hands dirty to catch her dinner while laughing and enjoying life, and become an image of human resolve and the entrepreneurial spirit that I will never forget.

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way… as long as the freedom exists to grab hold of the opportunity to work for it without regulation.

“The entrepreneurial instinct is in you. You can’t learn it, you can’t buy it, you can’t put it in a bottle. It’s just there and it comes out.” – Alan Sugar

Decision Making – Part Deux

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By: Chris Tell A little while ago I shared 6 ways to improve decision making. In response I received a number of comments, the most insightful of which I’d like to share with you today. My main point in the previous article was that information, together with a strong filtering process, form the basis for […]

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Round 2 for the Japanese Yen

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By: Chris Tell Today’s article is compliments of our friend Mark Schumacher at ThinkGrowth. Mark has been a reader and subsequently become a regular bouncing board for us with respect to publicly traded equities, market sentiment and the like. I always value his thoughts and it is a rare occasion that we disagree. Enjoy! ———— […]

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

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By: Chris Tell Then go nowhere near this baby. The penny stock mafia are at it again. Even with my vigilance about not having my email address floating around the cyberwebpipes I still get spammed. Here’s the copy: Ready to Profit From A 25 Billion Dollar Mobile/Social Media App Industry? Nudg Media Inc.
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6 Ways to Improve Decision Making

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By: Chris Tell It was one of my first private equity deals ever. I was introduced to a group of guys, all sporting adequate qualifications, a good story (BTW, almost everyone has a good story if only in their own minds) and they were already backed by a well-known Angel. The market opportunity looked good, […]

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