Migrating back to iOS camp

I used to own iPhone but got sick of iOS closed system, so I went to Android several years ago.

Recently, I decided to move back to iPhone again but now I own a Mac, an Apple TV and an Airport Express. So I bought an iPhone 6s. After using it for a while, here are my views.

I used to love iOS because of its minimal GUI. Years gone by. iOS does not look clean to me anymore. It now looks as messy and complicated as Android. On the other hand, iOS seems to be less dependent on Desktop iTunes. So, it is getting more open which is good.

In terms of productivity, I love Touch ID so much. This is the smartest way to unlock the screen which is very important because you have to do so hundreds of times per day. Using the Touch ID feature is really convenient. Anyway, the part I don’t like is how to get to WiFi settings which seems easy as you can use swipe up the screen, but the problem is you can only turn on/off WiFi. If you have to select WiFi networks (which in many cases you have to), you still have to go several steps which is not the case for Android.

I loved the silent toggle button and still love it. It is a clever idea to have a physical button that silent it all especially when you are in a hurry. Regarding this, I prefer a physically BACK button that Android has. In iOS, the programmer must soft-implement a back button on every screen and it is never consistent. I constantly have a hard time finding a way to go back to previous screen. And when you get to the main screen of an App, you have to push home button instead. In Android case, you can simple keep pressing back buttons to get to the top.

I am so impressed with iPhone 6s battery. It lasts very long and it does not drain quickly while sleeping. I think iOS has a much smarter power management than Android. I am also impressed by its camera having auto HDR mode and very fast auto-focus. I don’t know about the latest Android phone, but iPhone 6s is must better than Note 2 that I used regarding battery and camera. 

One-Day Trip in the city of UdonThani

You can travel from Bangkok to UdonThani via bus, train and plane. The bus and train are good choices in that the stations are located in the heart of the city (very close to Central Plaza). You need to ride a taxi from the airport into town for 150 baht.

20160407_065739Fried eggs on a pan is a typical breakfast here. It goes with buns. I recommend you try at King’s Ocha. They are open as early as 6am in the morning. Another typical local food is Kao Paek. A lot of food here are Vietnamese because a lot of Vietnamese refugees lived here during the independence war including Ho Chi Min himself.20160407_093431

The one thing I noticed was that the traffic lights here are always on the other side of the road  which can be confusing for non-locals. The other thing is that there seems to be too many private clinics in town especially opto ones. I wonder why there are so many eye patients here and why don’t they go to the public hospital which costs them virtually nothing. Finally, I unexpectedly saw the pictures of Luangta Bua everywhere here.

Skylabs (north-eastern tuk tuks) are common transportation in the city. The pricing are on negotiation basis and likely overpriced. They give out squeaky sound on and off along the way. However,this is normal. You can use taxi meters and public buses also or even human-powered tricycles, but there are not many of them. Aside from Central Plaza, you can hang out at UD Town, a famous community mall. 20160407_162819

There are so many ‘Larb Ped Udon’ in Bangkok but I found none here. I doubt they are truely originated here.

Elon Musk’s mentality

Elon Musk founded Paypal and later sold it to Ebay at the value of $1.5 billions. Elon owns Tesla Motor which produces electric cars. He founded SpaceX, a private company aiming to send humankind to Mars. He also opened a contest called hyper loop which is a project to transports people on a capsule at 1,000km/hr.

Jim Cantrell who was the co-founder of SpaceX once said people might think Elon has so many successes because he is super smart or because he is extremely hard-working or both. Those are the qualities that Elon has, but not what set him apart from many others who are as smart or as hardworking but not as extremely successful.

What made Elon exceptional is rather his notion that these business ideas are not impossible.  He didn’t think it’s impossible to compete with large banks when he founded Paypal. He didn’t think electric cars could never happen. He didn’t think a private company can do rocket business. It’s these mentality that hinder most people from success from Day One no matter how smart they are.

I totally agree with Jim. We were born and raised to avoid pains and failures at all cost. We were trained to be a perfectionist. We don’t allow ourselves to be exposed to failures at any chance. Those might be practical for us being a consumer or a salaryman. But when we want to start a business, they are the wrong types of mentality. And we can’t get rid of them. That’s why it’s so hard for most of us to become an entrepreneur.     

Buy-and-hold investment strategy, still work?

These days there has been a debate about whether or not a buy-and-hold investment strategy still working in today’s market environment. In my view, this question is not at all readily addressed by an simple yes/no answer.

To answer this question, first of all, you need to ask yourself what kind of investment return do you expect from the stock market. A well-diversified portfolio of stocks yields only 10-12% return annually. However, many of us expect 10% every month or 50-100% annually. If you are one of those people, buy-and-hold does not work for you. In fact, it has never worked neither in the past nor the present.

However, if you have a realistic expected return for a long-term investment portfolio. Can a buy-and-hold investment strategy be workable in today’s environment? Can we achieve 10-12% returns using some kinds of long-term investing styles at all?

The problem with today’s market is that central banks tend to inflate the economy using ultra low interest rate policy. The side effects of this policy is overvalued asset markets and frequent asset bubble bursts. In fact, I saw one study showed that in a ten-year period S&P500 was priced above its fair value justified by asset price theory almost of time except for a period of three months in the middle of the hamburger crisis.

Given this type of overvalued markets, chances are you buy stocks at inflated price and suffers big losses in the subsequent market crash. Since most people trade stocks on regular basis, the possibility of this scenario is very, very high.

So if you are like most people, I can assure you buy-and-hold strategy is very likely leads you to a disaster in today’s markets. Most people cannot resist the temptation to trade stocks on regular basis and they tend to give themselves reasons to relax their valuation principle in order to buy some stocks. 

Conversely. if you can wait until market crash so that you can buy stocks at reasonable price and hold it permanently, buy-and-hold is still a workable investment style for you as it has always been. And I am talking a period of inactivity as long as a couple of years or more. The good thing about buy-and-hold is that you can sit back and let the money work for you instead of stressfully and slavishly monitoring the market on hourly basis like traders do. The only quality that you must own as an investor is the ability to resist your own temptation to keep trading all the times. That’s it.

In sum, in order for buy-and-hold to work in today’s environment, you have to wait much longer for stock valuation to be justified. Also, you need to buy only good business with some future and buy a bunch of them to be successful with this strategy. If you cannot do all these things, do not use buy-and-hold. It will likely be the road to disaster. It’s perfectly fine to go for other short-term strategies that better fit your trading behavior such as trading, momentum, technical, etc.     Period.

How to improve our brain functions

In the past we were told human brains were fully-developed at the age of six. Later on nothing much could be done to change them.

These days new studies have suggested otherwise. Our brains are very much like plastic. They keep changing even we get into adulthood.

When we train our brain to perform certain tasks intensively and constantly. They have the ability to rewire themselves to better suit that particular tasks. In other words, you can improve your brain ability.

On the flip side, when we stop using our brain to do some other tasks. Our brain could perform worse on those tasks as well. With the advent of digital age, we get to receive a lot of information daily. Our brain optimize itself to be able to handle a lot of news in short period of time at the expense of losing ability to think deeply and creatively. That is one dark side of digital technology.

In fact we have illusion that multi-tasking can get thing done faster. However human brains are not design for that. When we multi-task such as watching TV and browsing a tablet simultaneously, our brain has to keep switching back and forth to do each of this particular task one at a time. This results in poorer productivity on both tasks. More importantly it could degrade our IQ!!!

You can solve this problem by resist the temptation to multi-task. Don’t use the phone while eating, working or walking. Don’t use the phone at all before bedtime. Do a fifteen minute meditation daily. In doing so, you will surprisingly improve your productivity and regain your creativity over time.  

Zuckerberg could be nicer than he appears to be.

The movie “The Social Network” portrayed Mark as a heartless geek who determined to crush anyone who got into his way of making success.

To me, the real Mark might be a different person entirely. First of all, the fact that he allowed the film producer to portray him anyway they like suggested how broad-minded he is. You would never see a multi-millionaires in Thailand let this happens for sure.

Secondly, Mark has decided to donate 99% of his wealth to charity. This means money is not his primary motivation. This goes against the belief that western values only make people more selfish. On the contrary, I haven’t seen Thai millionaires dare to do the same, although we tend to claim that our social values are more virtuous. Ironically, Mark himself is an atheist.

Shortly after Facebook went public, its stock price dropped considerably. He told investors not to worry as the company needed time to revamp itself and would come back stronger soon. Now it is apparent that he could deliver what he has promised. Facebook’s earnings is now stronger than ever. He was able to resist the temptations to please investors short-term and did what was best for the company. I admire him a lot in this regard.

He might look unprofessional on stage. He also looks too young to manage his gigantic empire. We definitely cannot judge people by their outer appearances.