Singapore Expats Forum

The BillyB, Aster & JR8 roundtable!

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Postby BillyB » Sat, 16 Apr 2011 11:37 pm

aster wrote:
BillyB wrote:
aster wrote:Proper salt & vinegar crisps and a bottle of sewage water bottled and branded as Newcastle Brown Ale.


Kettle chips do sea salt and vinegar - my favourite!!
And I didn't know they had Newcastle Brown in Germany Aster??!!


I could actually do with a bag of Wakers Lights, the ones that you could never buy in larger amounts because big packs either came in 3 flavs or you had to buy the "regular fat" ones if you wanted 6x packs of just S&V.

I have nothing to do with Germany (in football terms I will root for virtually every other team playing against them), I just like the fact that the Euro currency is mainly run by them. I mean fancy the Italians or the Portuguese running it... sheesh! Put it this way - if there was no Euro then the German Mark would be the currency that I would trust the most for long-term savings.

Remember when the Euro first came out and settled at around 1.10 to the USD? I remember the headlines in proper publications that asked the question whether there will be a time in history when the Euro will be worth more than the Dollar. Whoudathunkit? :)


Or how about seabrook salt and vinegar crisps? they were great. Really strong flavour. I don't think Asians 'get' the salt and vinegar thing hence the lack of S+V out here. I went to smith's fish and chips a while back and saw one table whip out a bottle of chilli sauce and use that to dip their chips in - I nearly fell off my chair!!

And you know what they say about the press and finance - those that know never say and those that say never know. Stick to Bbg or TR - they tend to be neutral and informed.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 1:06 am

BillyB wrote:Or how about seabrook salt and vinegar crisps? they were great. Really strong flavour. I don't think Asians 'get' the salt and vinegar thing hence the lack of S+V out here. I went to smith's fish and chips a while back and saw one table whip out a bottle of chilli sauce and use that to dip their chips in - I nearly fell off my chair!!

They don't in Germany either, where crisps seem to be either paprika flavour, or onion :(

What to bring depends on what their tastes are, but sausages would top many people's lists I think as you will find nothing like a decent British sausage in SG.

Jaffa Cakes also rank pretty high up the scale too!

Bisto.

Nice thick cut back bacon.

Kit-Kats or Twix...





ps Aster you're still banging on about Germany 'economic brilliance'? Somehow I don't think the people of Greece or Ireland will be agreeing with you this weekend - once again :)

bigfilsing
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed, 04 Jan 2006

Re: Presents to bring for a Brit living in Singapore

Postby bigfilsing » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 3:52 am

arnettesideways wrote:Hi!

So I'm coming over to Singapore in a few weeks to stay with a very good friend who has recently moved there from London. From the conversations we've had, I've gathered that he can pretty much get most of the food he could back home (albeit at a high cost).

However, I really want to surprise them by bringing a few things they can't get (food or otherwise). There must be some stuff you can't get out there...

So, was there anything that any British folk missed (or still do?!) early on that you would have wanted bringing over? Obviously only things allowed on the plane...

Thanks!


Heinz steam pudding and while your at it Birds custard as well :-)_

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 12:09 pm

BillyB wrote:Or how about seabrook salt and vinegar crisps? they were great. Really strong flavour. I don't think Asians 'get' the salt and vinegar thing hence the lack of S+V out here. I went to smith's fish and chips a while back and saw one table whip out a bottle of chilli sauce and use that to dip their chips in - I nearly fell off my chair!!


Gotta give those a try as it's the strong flavour I'm after. Seems like in these parts of the world S&V comes at a 99:1 ratio so they might as well label them as "ready salted"...

Fish n' chips and chilli sauce? Oh my... But take the Dutch for instance - smart nation, with a great sense of humour (in comparison joking around with the Germans is like trying to tell a joke to a ZX Spectrum), and yet they dip their fries in... mayo. Ugghhhh... what the heck is up with that? :)

BillyB wrote:And you know what they say about the press and finance - those that know never say and those that say never know. Stick to Bbg or TR - they tend to be neutral and informed.


Making forecasts when things are relatively stable is ok, but when things like the global financial crisis happen then things go haywire. Those catapulting away from carry trade bring the AUD down regardless of the great fundamentals. The Yen skyrockets (there's a certain irony about a currency appreciating but at the same time the economic outlook deteriorating for this very reason).

What I'm wondering is whether everything is long behind us or are we still to witness the biggest market crash of this recent recession? And whether the same currencies will go up and down as during the last big hit...

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 12:22 pm

JR8 wrote:
ps Aster you're still banging on about Germany 'economic brilliance'? Somehow I don't think the people of Greece or Ireland will be agreeing with you this weekend - once again :)


Last time I checked their economy was doing great. So the Greeks now think that the German economy is crap? That would be quite funny. :) Or do the Greeks blame the Germans for the Greek economy being crap? That would be even funnier considering that people there seem "allergic" to work and would rather go out on the streets to fight with the gov't than actually put in an honest day's work. Frankly I don't even know what they're doing in the EU... I would rather see the likes of Iceland take their place.

P.S. Still battling with others to prove that Sarah Palin is an intelligent person? :)

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Postby BillyB » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 12:58 pm

aster wrote:
BillyB wrote:Or how about seabrook salt and vinegar crisps? they were great. Really strong flavour. I don't think Asians 'get' the salt and vinegar thing hence the lack of S+V out here. I went to smith's fish and chips a while back and saw one table whip out a bottle of chilli sauce and use that to dip their chips in - I nearly fell off my chair!!


Gotta give those a try as it's the strong flavour I'm after. Seems like in these parts of the world S&V comes at a 99:1 ratio so they might as well label them as "ready salted"...

Fish n' chips and chilli sauce? Oh my... But take the Dutch for instance - smart nation, with a great sense of humour (in comparison joking around with the Germans is like trying to tell a joke to a ZX Spectrum), and yet they dip their fries in... mayo. Ugghhhh... what the heck is up with that? :)

BillyB wrote:And you know what they say about the press and finance - those that know never say and those that say never know. Stick to Bbg or TR - they tend to be neutral and informed.


Making forecasts when things are relatively stable is ok, but when things like the global financial crisis happen then things go haywire. Those catapulting away from carry trade bring the AUD down regardless of the great fundamentals. The Yen skyrockets (there's a certain irony about a currency appreciating but at the same time the economic outlook deteriorating for this very reason).

What I'm wondering is whether everything is long behind us or are we still to witness the biggest market crash of this recent recession? And whether the same currencies will go up and down as during the last big hit...


I normally have chips with my vinegar I like it that much!! Literally swimming in the stuff.

You make an interesting point re: the market and a potential crash.

One area of particular interest to us at the moment is the social media frenzy. Facebook, groupon, foursquare etc. I'm not sure its a bubble waiting to happen but the valuations are absurd. We have ripped facebook apart fundamentally and cannot justify the $75 bn valuation given the revenue streams are $2 bn at best. From another perspective - 500 mn customers means that each customer needs to generate $150+ in revenue per year!!

The problem is Goldman have a strong interest in FB and are perhaps making a market to drive up prices. And Goldman are bullet proof as far as reputation and advisory is concerned. They have been involved in so much sh*t over the past decade but it never seems to affect them. What they say is gospel to the majority.

The next 2/3 years will be interesting in this space.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 6:11 pm

aster wrote:Last time I checked their economy was doing great. So the Greeks now think that the German economy is crap? That would be quite funny. :) Or do the Greeks blame the Germans for the Greek economy being crap?

I don’t think discussion of national economies within the eurozone is particularly useful anymore, since they are all bound together. Ironically the Maastricht Treaty specifically disallows any country within the eurozone giving economic assistance (aka bailing-out) to another but since the EU/euro is a political project rather than economic one it cannot be allowed to fail, and when the rules are not working they simply get bent or ignored. The Germans are and will continue to be the major bailer-outers of all the failing nations and you talk of irony, well it is also ironic that this situation has been arrived at due to the ECB setting rates that suit the Germans and French .

That would be even funnier considering that people there seem "allergic" to work and would rather go out on the streets to fight with the gov't than actually put in an honest day's work. Frankly I don't even know what they're doing in the EU... I would rather see the likes of Iceland take their place.

You don’t know why Greece is in the EU? You are joking I presume? Oh I forgot you still believe the EU is purely an economic project, and that is why you don’t understand that the Germans and French welcomed in Greece and the other basket cases as part of their political empire building (aka their pi$$ing-contest to prove to the world that Europe can do it bigger than the USA in all respects while maintaining a core socialist ideology). Ah, there are none so blind etc...

P.S. Still battling with others to prove that Sarah Palin is an intelligent person? :)

p.s. Still not willing to explain why as a Marxist Europhile you left the EU and took a capitalist job in Singapore? :lol:


User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 7:23 pm

The EU is definitely more of an economic project than a political one. Britain doesn't need to have the same stance on international issues as the rest of the EU, or Germany/France for that matter. Yet about 50% of all exports from the UK go to... the EU. It's fantastic for trade.

In fact it should be more political in certain economic areas, like a common energy policy. The EU for instance should negotiate gas supplies as a whole, and not allow oil/gas blackmail artists to play each nation separately.

As for Greece, they aren't exactly adding much to the EU apart from being a burden.

JR8 wrote:
aster wrote:P.S. Still battling with others to prove that Sarah Palin is an intelligent person? Utter madness... :)

p.s. Still not willing to explain why as a Marxist Europhile you left the EU and took a capitalist job in Singapore? :lol:


Marxist, europhile, leftie, liberal, all empty terms used by the brainwashed masses coming out of Fox News, who think Sarah Palin is a very intelligent person and a perfect candidate to co-lead or lead the nation. :) :roll:

But just what the heck are you doing watching Fox News when there are other alternatives here? Holding a grudge against the Beeb?

As for why I'm here, I love it here, my family loves it here, and I like doing business here. And since my business is online I could basically be anywhere in the world with an internet connection, and where it's beneficial in corporate terms to run a company. Where would you go? :)

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 8:29 pm

aster wrote:The EU is definitely more of an economic project than a political one.

In your opinion.

Britain doesn't need to have the same stance on international issues as the rest of the EU, or Germany/France for that matter.

You're denying it's original and ultimate aim, a United States of Europe. Why else would they have appointed a President and Foreign Minister if not to present the views of a united Europe? National embassies are being closed all over the world, whilst the EU are opening them. The plan is for nation states to be superseded as soon as the politicians think they can force it past the citizens.



Yet about 50% of all exports from the UK go to... the EU. It's fantastic for trade.

Out of interest what was the figure before the EU existed? Do you happen to know?


As for Greece, they aren't exactly adding much to the EU apart from being a burden.

Why are they not allowed to leave then? Neither are Ireland and Portugal 'adding much', ditto for them. Why do you think Germany/France welcomed them in? Do the likes of Romania add value, in fact which are the countries adding value? Ultimately if all the euro currency countries fell, Germany is on the hook for all of them. Not very bright that they never foresaw that risk eh?


Marxist, europhile, leftie, liberal, all empty terms used by the brainwashed masses coming out of Fox News, who think Sarah Palin is a very intelligent person and a perfect candidate to co-lead or lead the nation. :) :roll:

But just what the heck are you doing watching Fox News when there are other alternatives here?

Sorry to shoot your fox but I've never had more than Free To View channels on satellite (and never had cable in SG) and hence have never watched Fox :) It does amuse me though to see how Fox as perhaps one of the only right of centre news broadcasters in the world is so vilified by the left. I suppose they don't like not having it 100% their way.


Holding a grudge against the Beeb?

Quote:
'"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias",
Andrew Marr, The Daily Mail, Oct 21st, 2006. '

I just prefer my news to be impartial, especially when I am helping to fund it.



As for why I'm here, I love it here, my family loves it here, and I like doing business here. And since my business is online I could basically be anywhere in the world with an internet connection, and where it's beneficial in corporate terms to run a company. Where would you go? :)
:)

Yes doing business is so much better in SG than the EU isn't it. Taxes are so much lower as well. I could go on but there's no point as you'll then just not reply ;)

More irony! The Marxist europhile is living/working in capitalist Singapore enjoying the fruits of a politics he despises, and the capitalist europhobe is currently living/working in the EU chained down by the quagmire of bureaucracy and taxes that exist here.

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Sun, 17 Apr 2011 9:47 pm

JR8 You're denying it's original and ultimate aim, a United States of Europe. Why else would they have appointed a President and Foreign Minister if not to present the views of a united Europe? National embassies are being closed all over the world, whilst the EU are opening them. The plan is for nation states to be superseded as soon as the politicians think they can force it past the citizens.

Yeah, there might be a President. And a Foreign Minister who acts as an envoy. Woooo hooo. Yay! Big frigging deal. :D

Will countries stop having their own presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers? Opps, don't have an answer to to this question?

Will countries stop having their own armies? Opps, caught off-guard again?

Will countries get rid of their own intelligence agencies? :) Now you've got me laughing...

Why are they not allowed to leave then?

Who is not allowed to leave? You mean they don't want to leave?

Sorry to shoot your fox but I've never had more than Free To View channels on satellite (and never had cable in SG) and hence have never watched Fox :)

In 99% of cases if someone thinks that Sarah Palin is smart and fit for the job then you can credit that to a Fox News overdose of wacko political propaganda.

So which other channels can drill into someone's head that living in Alaska gives Palin foreign policy experience? :D :roll:


Quote:
'"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias",
Andrew Marr, The Daily Mail, Oct 21st, 2006. '

I just prefer my news to be impartial, especially when I am helping to fund it.


Complete bollocks. The Beeb is a good example of how the news should be. ITV and others are fine too. I guess you really haven't seen Fox. If you put the BBC and a North Korean news channel on a line, then Fox would easily be closer to the latter in terms of how "impartial" they are.

Yes doing business is so much better in SG than the EU isn't it. Taxes are so much lower as well. I could go on but there's no point as you'll then just not reply ;)

Economic freedom and tax rates are not correlated in any way: http://www.heritage.org/index/

Fancy setting up a business and moving to Denmark? Noooope... :)

Anyway, is the EU forcing individual/corporate tax rates on each nation or a single tax rate? Nah, didn't think so. You will find some very good tax rates in Europe. What is Cyprus for companies, 10%? Malta - 5/6 rebate off of 35% with foreign ownership?

Now of course there is pressure to deal with coconut-tree nations where a single run-down shack pretends to house thousands of companies, and this pressure is coming from many developed countries.

More irony! The Marxist europhile is living/working in capitalist Singapore enjoying the fruits of a politics he despises, and the capitalist europhobe is currently living/working in the EU chained down by the quagmire of bureaucracy and taxes that exist here.

No wonder you're miserable, you've been stuck in Europe all winter. :)

In your sentence you need to replace the EU with the name of the country you're in and then you'll see who's to blame.

Now if you opened up a business in the UK then the majority of the burden of legal issues and compliance would have nothing to do with the EU, but with local laws, including those involving taxation. Wasn't there a case where someone was taken to court on a charge of underpaying taxes by setting his salary and annual dividends at an optimal level? How ridiculous is that? :)

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Mon, 18 Apr 2011 5:16 am

It is disappointing that you only chose to reply to about 1/3rd of the points that I made. You will have noticed that to date that I comment on every single point that you make. Why your reticence?

Yeah, there might be a President. And a Foreign Minister who acts as an envoy. Woooo hooo. Yay! Big frigging deal. :D
Will countries stop having their own presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers? Opps, don't have an answer to to this question?

Eventually yes they will stop having them. They will only have the equivalent of US state governors etc. In fact they won’t have that, the plan is to have ‘regions’ (in which for example the SE of England is coupled together with Normandy in France. Why would they do that do you think, apart from to dismantle national identity?). Your attitude seems closely aligned with that of the EU politicians trying to ram these changes down the citizens’ throats. Deny their significance, if not belittle their significance, if not simply ignore the citizens. Such a shame that the EU threw democracy out of the window.

Will countries stop having their own armies? Opps, caught off-guard again?

Yes and the change is already underway. Don’t you know that this is all a part of the original plan? Why do you not know this? For now we have the European Rapid Reaction Force. Why do you think the EU has established a unified EU military force?

Can I recommend a book to you, I think you need it ;)? It is a required book on the International Relations course at the LSE in London (for those who don’t know, LSE is perhaps the premiere university for socio-political courses in the UK, and is distinctly pink in political colour, indeed it was founded by Fabiens (aka socialists) and more recently sold Saif Gaddafi his PhD. The International Relations course is as one might expect a course for people aiming to go into diplomacy etc.)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Awkward-Partner ... 247&sr=1-1


Will countries get rid of their own intelligence agencies? :) Now you've got me laughing...

Laugh all you like, why would you care? You don’t need to live with the consequences of the policies that you advocate since you are a quitter.

Who is not allowed to leave? You mean they don't want to leave?

They [bailed out EU nations] will be severely punished if they did leave, as that would jeopardise The Project. If say Greece are so toxic, why are they not asked to leave? I suspect that you can’t answer that can you :)? Like you could not answer why ‘bound to fail’ states were and are still welcomed in in the first place.

In 99% of cases if someone thinks that Sarah Palin is smart and fit for the job then you can credit that to a Fox News overdose of wacko political propaganda.

You really screwed up with that assumption didn’t you? :)

So which other channels can drill into someone's head that living in Alaska gives Palin foreign policy experience? :D :roll:

I have no idea. And I have never suggested that she has if that is what you are suggesting. Earlier I was laughing that the Lib's knee-jerk, caged rat-on-the-pedal response to any GOP politician is to try and brand them an idiot. Maybe that confused you?

Complete bollocks [re: quote from Andrew Marr]. The Beeb is a good example of how the news should be. ITV and others are fine too. I guess you really haven't seen Fox. If you put the BBC and a North Korean news channel on a line, then Fox would easily be closer to the latter in terms of how "impartial" they are.

Haha :) No, I suspect it is simply a case that the leftie BBC reflect your own politics so you like them. I’m surprised you call what Andrew Marr said bollocks. After all he is one of their most senior journalists (his wife is a good ol’ leftie journalist at the Guardian too). Why do you think his views about the politics and bias at the BBC are ‘bollocks’, are you perhaps better informed than he is? Isn’t drawing a parallel with North Korea just a ‘little’ too foaming at the mouth lol?

Anyway, is the EU forcing individual/corporate tax rates on each nation or a single tax rate? Nah, didn't think so. You will find some very good tax rates in Europe. What is Cyprus for companies, 10%? Malta - 5/6 rebate off of 35% with foreign ownership?

Yes it is. Why do you not know this? You really need to read that book I suggested above :). Ireland is being specifically and publicly punished by Germany/France via it’s onerous bail-out terms, due to having low corporate tax rates that Germany/France cannot compete with. They have been publicly told that they cannot renegotiate their bail-out terms unless they agree to raise their corp tax rates. Presumably that also sounds like ‘forcing’ to you as well? Hehehehe Malta and Cyprus, ah yes those noted holiday island economic powerhouses of the Mediterranean Sea – just as Madeira and the Azores are to the Atlantic. Hey one problem though... no customers, and no staff to hire.

Now of course there is pressure to deal with coconut-tree nations where a single run-down shack pretends to house thousands of companies, and this pressure is coming from many developed countries.

Yes I agree that it is heinous that leftie newspapers like the Guardian locate their parent company (Guardian Media Group) in the Caymans and so pay no corporate tax. It becomes sick-making though when they rail against people and companies that they suggest are avoiding paying ‘their dues’ tax. Especially when those commentators are the likes of senior Guardian multi-millionaire journalist Polly Toynbee, standard bearer for all things of the left, when she is writing from her enviable villa in Tuscany. I really despise people who advocate one thing for ‘the little people’, as long it has no chance of impinging upon their own champagne lifestyles, it is just rank hypocrisy isn’t it?.

No wonder you're miserable, you've been stuck in Europe all winter. :)
In your sentence you need to replace the EU with the name of the country you're in and then you'll see who's to blame.

No not entirely, I did go diving in Malaysia for 5 weeks, and am back shortly for another month under the sea... :). I do agree though me and European winter really do not get on at all well.
You’re wondering who I should blame for the whole rotten edifice of the EU coming down? The wrecking of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain on it’s way and probably more to come? I live in Germany, enough said I should have thought lol :)


Now if you opened up a business in the UK then the majority of the burden of legal issues and compliance would have nothing to do with the EU,

Bollocks, and you know it is. It is estimated that 75-80% of new UK laws originate from Europe, and the UK have no say at all but to implement them.
[/quote]

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Mon, 18 Apr 2011 5:18 am

Hahaha... glad that this sub-topic got hived off. I was uncomfortable it reigniting on that other guys topic. Thanks mod :cool:

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Mon, 18 Apr 2011 10:13 pm

BillyB wrote:You make an interesting point re: the market and a potential crash.

One area of particular interest to us at the moment is the social media frenzy. Facebook, groupon, foursquare etc. I'm not sure its a bubble waiting to happen but the valuations are absurd. We have ripped facebook apart fundamentally and cannot justify the $75 bn valuation given the revenue streams are $2 bn at best. From another perspective - 500 mn customers means that each customer needs to generate $150+ in revenue per year!!

The problem is Goldman have a strong interest in FB and are perhaps making a market to drive up prices. And Goldman are bullet proof as far as reputation and advisory is concerned. They have been involved in so much sh*t over the past decade but it never seems to affect them. What they say is gospel to the majority.

The next 2/3 years will be interesting in this space.


Very interesting read. I too think that FB is overvalued and 75b seems to be blown out of proportion.

Billy, how do you see the Apple/Google/Microsoft/Amazon quartet? Which ones are over/underpriced, have good long-term perspectives, etc.?

I'm just wondering how much more Apple can squeeze out of its current position and for how many more years. The iPhone was a novelty, so was the iPad, but the competition is learning quickly. Or maybe they will continue to deliver and surpass all expectations, with share price heading close to 4-digits?

As much as I love Amazon and see their move into online content distribution as a good thing, or even a necessity in terms of survival, where will they be when downloading music, tv shows and movies will be cheaper to do via the likes of iTunes? Will traditional book sales and just a slice of the online distribution market be enough?

Microsoft seems to have lost the plot a while back. They're in a comfortable situation though, having the corporate world completely hooked on using Office. Windows is still huge too, though there's always talk of Google unleashing its own OS for PCs. The problem is I just can't see MS doing anything spectacular that would put them back in the game so to speak. I mean they were even beaten to the punch by Google's Android mobile OS.

That leaves us with Google. About 20% down from it's record high. A lot of people I speak with see great potential for growth and development. Fair enough, Google wields a lot of power on the internet. The question is, aren't a lot of their products really useful/fun to use, like Google Maps or Google Earth, but not exactly as promising when it comes to making money from them? Not sure how their browser is doing, but would an OS for PCs be big? Or would it have to be free as well? :) Or maybe they should break into social networking since they've already got tons of people using their email system? I just can't drop the notion that they're still just a big search engine, but yet I keep believing all this talk that we haven't seen anything of Google yet.

User avatar
BillyB
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1807
Joined: Fri, 23 Jul 2010
Location: My laptop

Postby BillyB » Tue, 19 Apr 2011 12:35 am

aster wrote:
BillyB wrote:You make an interesting point re: the market and a potential crash.

One area of particular interest to us at the moment is the social media frenzy. Facebook, groupon, foursquare etc. I'm not sure its a bubble waiting to happen but the valuations are absurd. We have ripped facebook apart fundamentally and cannot justify the $75 bn valuation given the revenue streams are $2 bn at best. From another perspective - 500 mn customers means that each customer needs to generate $150+ in revenue per year!!

The problem is Goldman have a strong interest in FB and are perhaps making a market to drive up prices. And Goldman are bullet proof as far as reputation and advisory is concerned. They have been involved in so much sh*t over the past decade but it never seems to affect them. What they say is gospel to the majority.

The next 2/3 years will be interesting in this space.


Very interesting read. I too think that FB is overvalued and 75b seems to be blown out of proportion.

Billy, how do you see the Apple/Google/Microsoft/Amazon quartet? Which ones are over/underpriced, have good long-term perspectives, etc.?

I'm just wondering how much more Apple can squeeze out of its current position and for how many more years. The iPhone was a novelty, so was the iPad, but the competition is learning quickly. Or maybe they will continue to deliver and surpass all expectations, with share price heading close to 4-digits?

As much as I love Amazon and see their move into online content distribution as a good thing, or even a necessity in terms of survival, where will they be when downloading music, tv shows and movies will be cheaper to do via the likes of iTunes? Will traditional book sales and just a slice of the online distribution market be enough?

Microsoft seems to have lost the plot a while back. They're in a comfortable situation though, having the corporate world completely hooked on using Office. Windows is still huge too, though there's always talk of Google unleashing its own OS for PCs. The problem is I just can't see MS doing anything spectacular that would put them back in the game so to speak. I mean they were even beaten to the punch by Google's Android mobile OS.

That leaves us with Google. About 20% down from it's record high. A lot of people I speak with see great potential for growth and development. Fair enough, Google wields a lot of power on the internet. The question is, aren't a lot of their products really useful/fun to use, like Google Maps or Google Earth, but not exactly as promising when it comes to making money from them? Not sure how their browser is doing, but would an OS for PCs be big? Or would it have to be free as well? :) Or maybe they should break into social networking since they've already got tons of people using their email system? I just can't drop the notion that they're still just a big search engine, but yet I keep believing all this talk that we haven't seen anything of Google yet.


Now there's a few questions that I could spend an hour writing about!!

Have a read of this article - a very good read http://buswk.co/hA7zhO

I'll try and keep this brief. We all love the large cap tech stocks as they induce mixed reviews and analyses, and are great for liquidity and taking a large position when views change.

Ironically, by their very nature, the fact that thousands of equity analysts worldwide cover them makes them quite efficient animals. They tend to be well understood and disclosure is great. Therefore its quite easy to put a 'reasonably' accurate valuation on them. Where the problems, or advantages if you are a hedge fund for example, come into play, is trying to make that 3-5 year prediction or call as to where they will be in the future. The problem can be sifting through the masses of bad rumours and unreliable information available in the press, news, commentaries etc.

Another thing to factor in when looking at future valuation and possible pricing inefficiencies are the fact that most of the above hold excellent leadership teams apart from MS (Jobs arguably being the best CEO from a product perspective), first Mover advantage, significant investment and a constant strive for innovation.

Here are my 2 cents - I am assuming the fundamental figures are consistent: (I don't / haven't covered amazon so will exclude them, but include Intel and also FB)

Facebook: Isn't public as yet so difficult to get complete discolsure and also a feel in the market. Goldman are inflating the prices artificially in their own interests. At the moment facebook IMO is at a crossroads. They have a unique platform that keeps users on the site for hours, but how do they translate this experience into something more useful and to generate big bucks? Do they try to take a piece of the search market by offering a wider selection of tools - search, email (already penned) etc and try to knock google off it's perch in that space. After all, FB do have cutting edge blackbox technology that allows them to know everything about us - more so (quite scarily) than google apparently. It can predict our behaviour and this is something they will be looking to leverage on. This is my mis-informed opinion but I just don't see how they will build something that will smash google in this space. However, if FB does hit a goldmine I believe it could blow everything out of the water and hit valuation figures of at least $150-200 billion on IPO with Goldman making an absolute killing. The next few years are going to be really interesting in this space.

Google: At the moment it is under-priced. There is some room for an upward shift. Its took a bit of a hammering recently but its foolish to short the stock, or short any tech stock with a great management team in place. Target price IMO is around 650. The ad-click model is a solid cash cow and should support the share price on its own, and the Android development was a masterstroke - pinning people by default to the platform and scaling the ad reach at the same time. What surprises me is that Google fails to win much buy-in and has flopped in other areas. They say that technology and innovation, even if the companies fail - as per the dotcom era - drives the industry forward with the residual advances and understanding that are leftover. Yet google's ground breaking products in other areas such as the labs division, that have flopped, don't seem to be gaining much traction or awareness. After $650 is reached, I'm not too sure where the next breakthrough will stem from.

Apple: At the moment trading at market. The cynics would argue undervalued by about 10% partly due to Job's leave of absence. Great leader although there are serious inside rumours about his health. Jobs is apple. If he goes permanently expect a short term drop and slow recovery. But at present the best product led company by a country mile. The great thing about Apple is they control the device level. In essence you like the products so you buy, and thus they control the way you access the net. If they wanted to exercise their muscle even more they could enhance their own ad-linked search and really push this (at the end of the day, google is only leading in this space by its search algo's - despite how good they are, they can be bettered by other S.E's - but they have significant proprietary expertise and it will take a while for them to be overtaken ) and then control the whole user process. But that could be their downfall too. I don't see too much more upward movement and wouldn't go long on the stock.

Microsoft: Well, where do we start with MS. A complete disaster and the stock is cheap for a reason. The software business is crap. The fact they still have a monopoly is keeping the price higher than it should be and will continue to generate cash for a few more years. But long term, steer well clear. Their leader is about as inspiring as toothache and they are simply a slowly dying dinosaur. When Gates left, Microsoft faded badly.

Intel: A dark horse and undervalued. Very out of favour at the moment in the markets. They have a good history of getting things right and building at lower cost than everyone else. If they make the right inroads and become the backbone of the cloud industry they could hit it big time. A clever acquisition of McAfee from a security standpoint was a shrewd move to address the concern over cloud security and leverage on McAfee's expertise in this space. I'm not sure I'd be bullish on them as they need to make serious inroads into the tablet space. But if anyone can get it right it should be Intel. Worth a punt if you can hold for a few years.

As I keep saying, this space is going to be really interesting over the next few years. I don't think there is a bubble just yet, but once that innovation stops there is only one way that prices will go!! But with the mega cash flows around, that can be channelled back into the firms for innovation and to attract the top talent, I think there are plenty of legs left in this space for quite a few years to come before we start seeing a downward trend.

User avatar
aster
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1593
Joined: Fri, 15 Jan 2010

Postby aster » Tue, 19 Apr 2011 8:55 pm

Very interesting info on Intel, forgot about them completely. Especially since we haven't heard much from AMD recently, which usually help raise the question, "where are Intel nowadays?". :)

Are there any foreseeable dangers for Intel, or do they look fairly bulletproof? I see they're missing out on the iPad, where ironically Samsung manufactures the Apple i5 CPU. I don't suppose Apple is looking at long-term plans at ditching them for its computer range?

Regarding Google, I'm wondering if peoples' feelings about the company will get so negative (personal data collection, storing it, using it, etc.) that people will move away from their search engine even. I recall when Mozilla launched Firefox and how people left not only due to the promise of a better browser, but also because they were sick and tired of MS. Now if Mozilla was to launch a massive campaign aimed and introducing its own search engine, without storing sensitive info about people, possibly without ads, etc., could they do to the Google SE what Firefox did to IE?

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

What's the best thing to do when awaiting a major market crash? I suppose when shares tumble then the USD shoots up, so holding the $ or a currency that will shoot up with it (CHF?) is the way to go? Are any other currencies out there a safe bet in this situation? I suppose the AUD will tumble horrendously when things go haywire in the world, just like it did the last time around...


Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests