Mae West Investment Principles

Standing on the burning sands of the North African desert the leader of Allied land forces Africa, a man known simply to his loyal men as Monty, looked out at the opposing forces facing them at El Alamein and stated A successful strategy is based simply on realistic expectations.

Realistic expectations were just as well defined by the Hollywood sex bomb, Mae West, when she stated that her only true desire was sustainable growth!

So as we approach the mid way mark of 2007 what would be a Realistic expectation for sustainable growth (small triangular tablets excluded!).

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Power to the People

Can someone explain to me how we managed to have twice as many periods of load shedding in 2007 and it was all put down to a faulty nut in a nuclear reactor (he has since been fired!) and yet no one mentioned at that time that the continents worst case of business planning was just beginning to show itself?

Remember that lovely advert with Eskom lighting up the world, a dreamy shot from outer space as Eskom our powerhouse, our trusted 1st World Style energy producer not only powered up the whole of SA, but the whole of Africa. Well it seems that they may still be powering the rest of Africa because they have long term contracts and commitments, what does that say about their attitude to us their domestic CLIENTS!

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Bankers Bail Out

Last year was a haze of activity and small victories.  If you think about it, what with global warming, Bird flu, Aids, Everton, Flash floods and airplane engines that fall off, to name but a few, it is a small victory for all of us to simply survive from one year to the next.

Those big clocks at the airports, ticking down to the World Cup 2010, don’t help either. They are somehow sinister and scary. Every time I see them I’ve lost days off my life, it’s like a second coming or something, in 950 days FNB will take over the world! well let’s be honest that’s more likely than Bafana Bafana doing it!

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Back to Square One

A starter for 10 points, no conferring please! What was the origin of the saying, “back to square one”? I will give you a clue: it dates back to 1932 and involves England and South Africa.

We will return to the answer a little later, but immediately let’s think about âback to square one for a while: what does it mean to you, anything? Does it mean to start again, does it mean to give up what you are doing and begin something else or does it just remind you of an old board game? It doesn’t matter that much, but for some it is a place in which you can suddenly find yourself!

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First Cracks in the dam wall

Is it not true that the more that things change the more they stay the same. Take a newspaper twenty, ten or five years ago and although the faces and names may change the stories and issues are often very similar.

So it is even stranger when you read that things, in relation to certain areas of business, have never been so good, that we have broken or shifted paradigms, that there is now wealth being created in the world of such magnitude that bull runs, in multiple asset classes, can, nay will, continue indefinitely!

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Boring Old Bourses

In the 90’s I wrote an article that appeared in the Weekend Argus each week called Money Talks. It was not meant to be hi brow just a snippet of news from overseas, a nibble of info on the FTSE and tit bits from the Dow. The point is that I once used the term BOURSE when describing an overseas exchange and I remember even then feeling a bit of a pompous prat, especially as the only bourse is really the CAC and lets face it, CAC just about sums up the word BOURSE, it’s so twee and knowing!

I mention this only as one of SA’s strangest TV channel’s, Summit, seems to have become addicted to the word. Once a day Sky News go to Summit TV, for an update on the African Markets. Suddenly an Asian girl with an American accent was speaking from Johannesburg, very cosmopolitan I thought, if not exactly politically correct. She then went on to enter the Guinness Book of Records by using the word BOURSE six times in approximately 45 seconds! I thought I was going to gag on it!

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Take Care

As we continue to build our businesses and constantly review what we are doing and or how we operate, it is often refreshing to pull out old mantras that remind us over and over again of some truisms.

The number one for me, because it strikes to the very heart of the matter, is this.

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Professionalism

So what makes a Professional in 2008, could it be some of the following?

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A Deeper Meaning

Sometimes in life you just feel good about something. You just know in your heart and soul if something will be good, bad or indifferent. It steers us in and out of relationships, it directs us, at times, that hard-to-define “feel good” factor.

The year 2008 has that feel to me and hopefully, without tempting fate, I say it looks like it will be a good year.

It appears to be a good year to discard baggage and things that make me feel uncomfortable – and I am not talking of my clothing straining under the pressure of a Christmas and New Year well eaten!

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Success and Succession

There are many times in our lives when we reach a crossroads and at each instance we have to make decisions, decisions that will govern how the remainder of our lives unfold.

These decisions can in many cases never be questioned, as we will never know what the alternate route would have brought us. Even when a decision brings us success we never know whether another route could have been even more fortuitous.

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