My previous post about my investor friend was super well received. So much so that I’m reluctant to even link it here anymore. I just dunno if he’d appreciate the sudden publicity.
Anyway, I said I’d share about another highly successful individual that I know personally.
Incidentally, I recently saw a Bloomberg report about him:
And now I’m kicking myself in the butt because I know this guy way way WAY before he started DoubleDragons Properties, and he even shared with me his vision for doing so.
Yup, I missed a 2,500% return, despite having good information from the founder himself.
Dunno why, never considered to investigate deeper.
I first met Edgar Sia several years ago. His good friend happened to be a major investor in the healthcare company that I worked in, and he came over for holidays with him and we had dinners together.
Edgar is as humble a billionaire as you can imagine. Yes, it’s official. He’s the youngest billionaire in Philippines, coming in at number 17 in the Forbes list.
When I first met him, I didn’t know what he did, and DoubleDragons didn’t exist yet. But he was already extremely wealthy from selling his Mang Inasal chicken chain. (I later saw his name in a Forbes Top 50 richest list for Philippines)
Yet at that time, when I asked him: “So Edgar, what do you do for a living?”
“I sell fried chicken”
And then he went on to explain the SCIENCE behind selling fried chicken.
“Chicken is the cheapest meat per unit kg”
“Best time to kill the chicken for maximum profits in terms of meat vs feed spent, is when they’re about 2 months old”
And a whole load of other stuff such as the maximum time from killing the chicken to processing the meat so that freshness is maintained, how a day old chick looks like etc.
It was only much later, then I realized that when he said he sells fried chicken, he meant that he sells it through a chain of 460 restaurants that employs 15,000 people.
The last time I saw Edgar was a couple of years ago, just before he started DoubleDragons Properties. At that time, he mentioned to me that he saw an opening in the mid-tier cities in Philippines. He said that the major cities were over crowded with malls, and the land is very expensive.
The mid-tier cities though, have an opening as many developers have not caught on yet. On top of that, there’s massive rising spending power in these cities. The populace there is getting richer, and he foresaw that their spending needs were not met adequately. To top it all off, transportation links were not that great between the mid tier cities, and the country is dispersed through many land masses. People in the mid tier cities would likely keep their spending power within the locality.
Since then, he hasn’t been to SG anymore, probably busy with DoubleDragons. He’s been highly successful obviously, and I’m really kicking myself for not at least investigating this. Hell, I’ve the news before any other retail investor did, and I know the founder personally and we talked about this, albeit casually.
In my conversations with Edgar, I can tell he thinks very deeply about many things. Things that people may find trivial. Yet, he goes down to the minute detail. I mean, would you think there’re so many things to think about when talking about selling fried chicken?!
Anyway, congrats to Edgar. Knowing his personality (humble and easy going), plus his deep intelligence, he’ll probably be one of those folks that would be successful at anything.
Now I’m hoping he’s done with DoubleDragons so that he’d move on to the next venture. And for gods’ sake, TTI, please do the DD if he lets you know this time.
BTW, if you’re wondering why “DoubleDragons”, it’s cos he and his co-founder were both born in the year of the dragon, 12 years apart. (or maybe 24. I can’t rem exactly)
WARNING: GORY PICTURE BELOW. DON’T READ THIS POST IF THAT TURNS YOUR STOMACH.
On a very different note, I was recently chatting with a reader via email about his work and financial situation. (Yes, I’ve permission to talk about it, but not revealing private details, of course)
It’s been illuminating to me because now I can fully appreciate why many retail investors look to investing their portfolio as a means to attain “financial freedom” and quit their jobs. It’s refreshing to get a different perspective once in a while.
Steve Jobs’ famous speech is the one that’s often quoted to tell us to just do whatever we like, and if we keep at it, we’ll become very good at it and be successful blah blah blah.
It’s a great speech and all that, probably gonna last through the ages as an inspiration to many many many people.
Yet, it’s probably too simplistic to think of it just like that.
The truth is, many people will get stuck in jobs they don’t like, are not exceptionally good at, and they’d be stuck in it…….. pretty much for the bulk of their adult life.
Even Steve Jobs himself bumped around for a long while, and it was perhaps fortuitous that he started Apple. He himself didn’t know what to do with his life, and spent some time in India pursing Yoga to “find himself”
Hard truths. It takes a lot of luck to do something you like, are really good at, and yet get paid handsomely for it. Most people, I suspect, just settle into a zone where they’re OK with their jobs, don’t particularly love it or hate it, but it pays the bills. It’s a necessity.
So that’s where the bulk of my conversation with the reader went. And I’m sorry that I can’t provide better advice. But these sorta stuff are not really my forte. There are many other blogs that will dissect and talk about how you can use dividends to get financial freedom etc.
I have never even went for a job interview before. Or wrote up a CV before.
But I can empathize with a difficult working environment. Yes, I do get a lot of that. It sucks. I dunno what I’d do if I’m in his situation. I won’t try to act like a saintly hero and say just quit and do something you like as per the video above.
That’s not realistic. For eg. I like to play soccer with some mates. But what, can I go be a professional and play in the EPL anytime soon? It just doesn’t work out most of the time. (I’d have you know I’m not too bad either ok… LOL)
Having considered the financial restrictions of the above said reader, and the tough working environment, I think the only viable option, is to……. take an action that ironically makes his situation even harder temporarily.
Go upgrade and learn something that’s useful and valued by society. Investing in yourself is usually the best route to take in such circumstances. It can be something different, but preferably related to what you already know. It just makes the learning curve less steep.
I’m glad to say that the said reader is probably going to take that advice.
In the above conversation, I’ve also been asked about my personal financial situation.
Well, honestly, I don’t have any massive expensive wants. My only large expenditure, is travelling. I love to travel with family (not alone). I see that as a transaction where I’m swapping money and time for experiences and memories. Well worth it IMO.
And I value experiences and memories A LOT. Like this:
Afterall, what’s the point of a big fat bank account on your death bed? Nobody ever talks about what their net worth is when they’re dying. And I do know many very wealthy folks.
Neither do I want to leave a fortune for my kids. I mean, my parents didn’t give me anything other than an education, so why should my kids have it better? I’d train them to be the best they can be, and that’s all that’s needed. (Plus I have a personal hypothesis that the richer you are, the worse off your kids tend to be in terms of achieving their maximum potential)
Hey, don’t just take all this from me, I never died before.
Take it from this guy, a fellow medical colleague, Dr Richard Teo, who has since passed away. This speech is given to a bunch of young dental students, and it’s as heartfelt as it can be.
I mean, he knows it’s stage 4 cancer when he gave this speech. He could’ve been lying in bed moaning. Or trying frantically to spend his wealth in his last days. But here he is, talking and sharing with younger colleagues-to-be in the fraternity:
It’s as heartfelt as it can be right?
On a personal note, I realized very few of my colleagues actually really retire. I’m sure they’ve reached “financial independence” long long long ago.
I think even I myself can be considered “financially independent”. It might be a stretch, and I might have to downgrade my housing a bit, forgo the beamer and take public transport instead etc, but my passive income would likely cover the entire household expenses if I wish to. (But I have 2 young kids so maybe I just haven’t realized how much it’d hit me when they get older… Experienced parents may correct me here)
The only colleagues I know who are really retired, are retired because of health reasons. Even the old foggy guy that works downstairs from me is still around. He must be what, in his 70s? OK, he comes in only 3 weekday mornings a week, but that’s not considered truly retired right.
But of course. Why would I retire when I can do this?
Yes. That’s bone. Don’t ask me where that is, it’s deliberately cropped out to not reveal where exactly. But there are hints :)
It’s really quite fun actually. It takes a certain character to take a knife to someone, and inflict a wound (even if it’s for the better, it’s still a wound), and yet at the end of it, stand back, look at it and feel proud at what you’ve done.
Weird, now that I put it this way, isn’t it?
Plus I get a lot of presents. Like this one that just came in today:
Like a hell lot of them. Mostly food. Toys for my kids. Books even. I never ever had to buy any CNY goodies myself. The weirdest one I’ve received thus far, is a set of underwear.
Plus I get to spend most nights looking at various company financials in my other capacity as TTI. It’s like I’m Peter Parker in the day and Spiderman at night.
It’s as fun as it gets. Frustrating and tiring at times too, for sure. But as they say, you can’t have the rainbow without the rain.
And even if you can, you’d get bored of rainbows all the time anyway.
I try to remember all this whenever I have a shitty day. Most people will have shitty days, no matter what you do.
As the earnings reporting season is underway, I’m really excited about next week. That’s when I’m expecting some major results that’d make a significant difference to my portfolio.
Thus far, I’ve looked at the results of Asia Enterprises Holdings, LTC Corporation, Boustead Singapore and Boustead Projects, King Wan Corporation and am in the midst of digesting Metro Holdings’.
There hasn’t been much fireworks thus far. King Wan wrote off $2mil from its Dalian shithole again, but I was kinda expecting some write off there. If they maintain dividends though, by virtue of the low share price currently, the yield suddenly looks rather impressive. If they maintain dividends.
I’ve already written about LTC. Nothing unusual. Cash building up, they’ll probably burn some by expanding the USP operations. A reader sent me a link to an article that says LTC intends to invest 200mil MYR in USP. So I guess that’s where the FCF will be utilized.
AEH results, also nothing out of the blue. Still suffering. I’m not vested but I’ll continue to follow up. Surprisingly, they didn’t get as much of a boost from rising steel prices in Q4 as LTC did.
Boustead delivered a steady set of results. Better than I expected in fact. I think it’d be best to leave it to FF Wong to do his job. The depressed O&G markets have been quoted as the main reason for Boustead’s lagging share price. But it contributed like $5mil revenue (I think. Writing this off the top of my head) so I’m not so sure how much of a lag would this division be going forward. Even if it goes to 0, it’s still a small proportion of total revenues.
I’ll have to spend some time on Boustead Projects soon. The industry is still in a tough spot, but I can see real competitive advantages for BP.
Alright, that’s it for this post.
As always, happy hunting!