Mega Trends – China Version

1. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s most profitable lender, and its four largest rivals expunged in the first six months 22.1 billion yuan ($3.65 billion) of debt that couldn’t be collected, up from 7.65 billion yuan a year earlier, filings showed. (BBG)

2. Gold supply/demand figures are notoriously opaque and since there aren’t quarterly earnings calls for gold, who knows about the real numbers.  However, if the numbers are to be believed:  China has become the world’s largest producer @ 400 tonnes per year and is continuing to buy producers; 2,600 tonnes will be delivered to China by the end of the year (1,730 through August annualized) and the rest of the world produces 2,260 tonnes.

3.  China holds roughly $2 trillion in dollar denominated debt and 3.7 trillion in USD reserves (PNC).

4.  China has made it know that it would prefer to shift from an export based to domestic based demand economy.  Next month’s Third Plenum of the Central Committee of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress should show how willing the leadership is to commit to that strategy (CBR).

5.  China has taken over the top spot (from the US) as the world’s largest oil importer (EIA). Oil contracts have been historically dollar denominated but that has slowly given way to eurodollar and given this turn of events, contracts denominated in yuan might overtake dollar denominated ones.

China has been trying to shift its economy to be driven by domestic demand rather than through exports to the debt addicted U.S. consumer.  However, they have potential over inflation problems due to this strategy.  It will be interesting to see how they balance the shift while slowly moving away from the dollar and U.S. Treasuries.  A short term recession might be a good thing for China if it can depeg the yuan while it is weak allowing them to sell dollars and bonds.


Rental Kharma and the Structure Sensor – 2 cool tools for residential and commercial real estate

1)  Even though the main idea of Rental Kharma is as a credit building tool, since one of the data points is lease termination, it could be used as a lead generation tool for the client whose lease is up or the space that is now available.

2)  Occipital’s Structure Sensor is a device that attaches to your Ipad or tablet and lets you scan any space in 3D.  At a bare minimum, you could put away the tape measure, but you could also use it for virtual tours or quick estimates of remodelling projects.


Thoughts about Rocky Mountain CleanTech Open

Even though I signed up late, I was able to volunteer as a specialist mentor, mock judge and provided logistic support for the regional finals as the scoring data guy.  My comments are from those three perspectives.  Before I get to that, I just wanted to say how impressed with the quality of a nearly entirely voluntarily run organization and thankful for the opportunity to give my time.

Specialist Mentor – I provided pitch book feedback to 5 different teams.  I am not sure if teams use the mentor profiles, but none of these teams reached out to me initially and stated that they didn’t even know I was available.  They were more than happy to take the feedback and some of them even incorporated some of the suggestions they agreed with into their presentations.

Not all teams use Launch Pad either and from a management perspective, this could be a useful tool for CleanTech.  I was engaged 6 different times, but only 1 of them was recorded.  Granted not all teams need all of the services provided, but it should be at least known who is using what and how often.

Mock Judge – This is where the rubber hits the road for the teams and I thought a pretty good job was done at getting a good mix of different kinds of judges.  This is important for the teams so they get a balanced feedback loop.  The biggest room for improvement in this process has to do with managing the team’s documents which includes their presentations, summaries and worksheets.  There just isn’t enough time to ask all of your questions and give all of your feedback in the time allotted.  I am fine with the time allotment, but I am wondering if there is a way to document and provide teams your questions and feedback – perhaps allowing judges and teams to share documents?

Even though I didn’t do it, I considered filling out my scorecards ahead of time just so I take my time analyzing them and not worry about getting fatigued in the afternoon session.  Then, if needed, I could have modified the scores and commentary base on the pitch.  This might be overkill for a mock judge session, but maybe a good idea for the regionals and finals.

Scoring Data Guy – The most obvious thing I noticed is how inefficient it is to print out score sheets, have judges fill them out and then manually input the scores.  Ideally, one of the sponsors would provide tablets for the judges which would eliminate the paper, potential for input error and scores would be all stored instantly.  That way, we could spend more of our time analyzing the data.

I also noticed that the second question in the legal section (Is their corporate and cap structure free of issues?) was the least scored question.  Surprisingly, the questions in the sustainability section were the next least scored questions.  The topics are important, but the questions might need to be reworked.

The Data Driven Life – Chasing the Nigerian Nightmare

With a stronger post-surgery shoulder, I decided to start lifting weights again a few weeks ago.  Using the metric of the sum of all repetitions * weight, this week I lifted a total of 56,000 pounds.  This is the sum of a five day workout by these groups: legs, chest, back, shoulder, biceps and triceps.

The total metric of 56,000 pounds made me think of Christian Okoye, aka “The Nigerian Nightmare”.  Supposedly, he use to have workouts of 40,000 pounds PER DAY.  Without knowing what his workouts consisted of or how many days per week he lifted, I decided to do an unscientific comparison between the two of us.  As a college player entering the NFL, he could bench, clean and squat 405, 395 and 725 pounds respectively.  If you would have asked me, I would have guessed that he was probably between 2-4 times stronger than me.  I never consistently did cleans, but my max bench and hip sled squat were 275 and 450 and these days I am nowhere near those numbers.

If I assume he had a five day workout split like me that means he would lift 200,000 pounds per week or 3.6 times as much absolute weight as me.  Now since he weighed in at around 260 at that time (I think he got up to 290 in the pros) and I currently weigh about 190, I can use those numbers to normalize the total amount lifted.  200,000 / 260 = 769 vs. 56,000 / 190 = 295.  In other words, in one week, he lifted 769 times his bodyweight and I lifted 295 times my bodyweight.  Using those numbers, he was 2.6 times relatively stronger than me.  I know I will never get to 40,000 pounds per workout (nor do I want to), but maybe I can get under 2 times relative strength and be happy I never had to tackle him.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include some obligatory highlight clips.  The first is of Okoye and the second is of Steve Atwater and the “hit heard around the world” (before Jadeveon Clowney was even born).