September 14, 2012 Leave a comment
December 22, 2010 Leave a comment
Happily, yesterday was the last day of the shortening day cycle. We are now in what I call the optimistic cycle. So the days get longer and we have more sunlight to do what we do best.
I extend to you all my wishes for a Happy Holiday season and a Healthy New Year.
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December 1, 2010 Leave a comment
I’ve been thinking a lot. Thank goodness I suppose. I’ve got a place I can go to for quiet, there to contemplate not only business, but everything going on around me, and in me.
It is a good way to re-balance your efforts and I’ve been working on it for months. Kaffe Magnum Opus is now down to 8 significant (in my opinion, which counts since I’m responsible for the business) items to work on soon. Eight is a lot to work on, so I’ve got them sorted out – coffee perfection, sales model, and internet are the top three. Ah perfection. This is hard to achieve, but the value to your customer is the journey. Keep reaching.
I’m happy to tell you that we have a terrific coffee person who joined the company on November 1, 2010, coming to KMO from Denver, Colorado. Jackson Kanampiu spent many years in Kenya running coffee farms, coffee beneficio’s, and he helped develop the Q guidelines for quality coffee. It is just a pleasure to have him on board and Jackson is already making serious headway. His first priority is to bring KMO coffee to perfection, while sourcing in a way that will bring down the cost, and the price KMO charges.
2010 was a challenge, as speculators devoured the coffee futures market and drove the “C” over $2 thus driving roasted coffee cost to historic levels, near $4.00 per pound, before operating expenses. Colombia did not help with historically high differentials which led all the quality producers to record differentials. This is historic. These folks are worse than, well, at least equal to, the bankers and other scoundrels who brought Wall St. and America to the brink, and many families over the brink. In my opinion these people should be banned from trading.
No bother. For this is the real world, one in which you must survive no matter the challenge. Sink or swim. Stay the course and stay focused. Your customers benefit, you benefit and your families benefit when you ‘survive’ the tough times. I hate to use this term for it is outdated, but you must ‘roll with the punches’.
So see if you can find a nice relaxing place to think. I’ve had places in my car overlooking a tidal river, a dock on the Hudson River, and now a place in the woods in my back yard. Today, in the cold, it was invigorating. And the dogs (we have two) were just as happy to see me, no matter the temperature. And of course, Cathy, my wife, is my biggest supporter, the most supportive person in my life. Everything works for her. So I do too.
And for you – KMO customers, staff and suppliers. And the kids and grand-kids. Both my daughter, Jennifer, and my son, Paul, are successful in their choosen field and both have happy, loving, and supportive families.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah, and, Happy Holidays. I turned 65 on November 30, 2010, yesterday, and I can assure you that the more birthdays you have the happier they become. Thanks for all the good wishes.
July 27, 2010 3 Comments
Timothy Geithner made me money. He was on the Charlie Rose show in March of 2009 and mentioned that he thought the government was going to support in some way the Auto Industry. The market in March 2009 was hovering around 6500. I thought that night that ‘this is it’, the bottom. I guessed right. But it was a guess.
So I bought Ford, GE, GM, GSX (this only 25 shares), and Citi. A month ago Ford was up 5 times, GE up 2 times, GM gone bust, Citi basically no change (and I expect it to go back to its old yahoo days but they will need new management). So I sold Ford, GSX and bought Sirius. Then I bought more Citi and a few days later Ford dropped $2 and I bought it back. I realize now that I was trading, not investing. Gambling, not investing.
I’m still up a fair amount, but very unsure. This is the first time I’ve invested (really gambling) in stocks. For the last twenty years all my money went into Kaffe Magnum Opus, and it is the only investment that has positive returns over the twenty year period. Steady growth, profits after many years of management support and re-investment, and good prospects, although there are challenges in the coffee industry.
So what to do? I’m reading Ben Stein, yes, that Ben Stein, “Bulletproof Investing” and it is pretty good, pushing broad investments, not picking stocks, and diversity. He believes that you will be well off is you get an 5 to 8% annual growth, basically a doubling over 8 to 10 years. That would be really good for twenty years. Invest $1 today and in 2030 you have $4 (1 becomes 2 in 10 years, and 2 then becomes 4 in the second 10 year period). There is a lot more to his strategy, and it is appealing. The only question: Will I live for 20 years? I’d be 85. Maybe.
So what about real estate? Commodities (I’m in the commodity business, roasting and selling coffee)? IPO’s? I don’t know. And this is my dilemma. And then there is Ricky. Ricky worked with me for a few years while in High School. After getting a degree in Engineering he now works as a trainer at Best Buy. He is quite successful and I am happy for his success. So what does this have to do with making money. Yesterday he comes to my home to install a bit of electronics and he tells me he realizes that if he is to become a millionaire he must: Pick the Right Stocks and with luck, get rich; pick the right commodities (his friend has farm connections and made some big money); or own a business. Ricky is about 23 or so. Wise beyond his years. Stocks and commodities are pure bets. But owning your own business is a pretty sure bet if you work really hard, study, and look ahead. Look around the corner you are approaching. So …
What to do? Sell the stocks. Invest in my business. It is my livelihood, and I influence directly the actions it takes. Who knows what it will be worth when I’m 85. It doesn’t matter too much because it makes me happy. I worry, sure. But it makes me happy.
I am a nail biter. I worry, and even when I worry, I’m happy. Sometimes a bit jumpy and sometimes a bit biting. Overall, I’m happy.
If you don’t own a business, I’d suggest you start one. Or be lucky. Maybe you can pick the next Microsoft or Google, or for that matter, GM. GM fifty years ago (1960) was a solid buy. And my Uncle Mike Buckley made over a million in GM Stock before he died and left it all to charity. In a funny way he was lucky he died before the management of GM became incompetent. And let us remember the truth about long-term investing. GM had a great run for many years, but in the long run? GM went bust and is now worth nothing. So much for the long run investor. I wonder if this is a mortal sin? Hey Ben, will I go to Hell in a Handbag?