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Gatorade Race 3 – National Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships

Profile: National Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships

Distance: 750/20/5

Time: 1hr 8min 04sec

Age Group Place: 10th

Weather: Ideal

Swim: 12min 55sec (+ 1min 23sec transition)

It’s funny how water that looks calm from shore turns out to be quite rough when you’re out there. I didn’t have a great swim, not helped at all by the fact that my goggles kept on fogging up. Fogging goggles isn’t a massive issue, until you turn the can and are swimming into the sun. I couldn’t see anything! After swimming off course for a while, I decided to ease up and let the guy who was behind me swim through. I then just jumped on his feet. Certainly didn’t help the speed of my swim, but probably better than throwing my goggles away.

Ride: 32min 00 sec (+1min 27sec transition)

The ride went well. There wasn’t much wind and the road surface on Beach Road is fantastic. A guy wearing the Egyptian national uniform passed me 2k into the bike, but I didn’t let him go. He (Nour) and I traded places for most of the ride. At about the 16k mark, I threw up in my mouth… excellent, I was clearly working at my desired capacity! With 1k to go on the bike, I put my foot down and managed to drop Nour into transition. My Garmin told me that I averaged 39.7k/hr on the bike, happy with that. When I looked at the results, I was pleased to see that I only dropped 1 minute or so to the pros on the bike… I’ve been losing 3 minutes here all season. This was, hands down, my best ride all season.

Run: 20min 17sec

Despite the effort on the bike, I felt good on the run. I was expecting Nour to catch me, as he was riding pretty well. I passed plenty of people, and managed to maintain a good rhythm. The time was a bit disappointing after the time I managed to run in Canberra. I am about 98% sure that the run was long though. Either that, or I just felt much faster than I actually ran! I didn’t see Nour again until after the race; he was a nice guy. He’s going to race in the Qld Champs, I hope he does well.

Wrap

So, that is it. I have enough series points to make the Australian Sprint Distance triathlon team. In fact, I am the current points leader. I haven’t decided if I will actually go and race at the World Championships in Chicago in September. It’s been a good season. I have had good swims, a good ride, and a good run… Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to actually put them all together on the same day! Such is life. The goal was to make the team, so

Goal Accomplished.

 
Interest Rate arbitrage betting

Interest Rate arbitrage betting

One of the Mensa SIGs is called, “Is there such thing as a good bet”. I always thought it a waste of their intellectual capabilities to ponder such things, but I guess money matters. I am sure there are plenty of people who think they are onto a good thing, but that doesn’t make it a good bet. I’ve spoken in recent posts about knowledge asymmetry creating opportunities for those that hold it to make money. Well, I’m about to put some knowledge in your hands that will enable you to profit in all probable or possible outcomes through a bit of interest rate arbitrage betting. If anyone actually reads this, it will make it less likely that I make money, but I don’t care. I’ve actually made good money with essentially no risk doing what I am going to outline below. This is the closest you will ever come to free money. It is a little on the complex side if you have no background in betting or futures, but not impossibly so.

Market Conditions

Today saw interest rates rally hard in the front end because the Bank of Canada cut their interest rates. Don’t ask me what the link is to the RBA’s decision making for Feb, I’m not that smart. But it pushed the Feb IB’s up to 98.58. I think they traded 98.585 – they were certainly bid 98.58 when I looked at them. For those who have downloaded my interest rate change probability calculator, you will be able to determine that this pricing implied a 38% chance of the RBA cutting rates in Feb.

Fortunately, no one told the bookies, and they appear to be a little clueless. Today, TAB in NSW were paying $3.75 for a rate cut, and BetEasy is paying $4.25 right now. The screenshot is above. I probably shouldn’t be recommending you use competitors of Tatts (got to put a link in to even up the SEO benefits! Ha!), my employer, but as we are unable to make prices on interest rates, and you can’t realistically lose on this bet, I will make an exception. Anyway, if we take BetEasy as an example, $4.25 implies a 23% chance of a rate cut.

38% in the IB’s versus 23% in the bookies… See where I am going here? Let’s run through how to make it happen.

Place the Bets First

The corporate bookmakers, as a general rule, do not have brass balls. They like having losers as clients and don’t like large bets, particularly in “exotic” fixed odds markets. So you should always place your bets before you do anything with the IB’s. When I last went big in this, I had bets on with Centrebet, Sportsbet, and Tab NSW (Vic doesn’t offer the bet). And I put them on progressively. This is the single biggest impediment to getting this to work, although with a bit of nous you should be able to get bets of $3-4k on before you erase the arbitrage.

Possible Outcomes in IB’s

We know from previous posts that IB’s have defined outcomes. The result is, for practical purposes, binary. Does the RBA change rates, or not. We know that the RBA won’t be raising rates. And they won’t cut 50. So the question becomes, do they cut 25 basis points, or not. If they cut, the IB’s are going to settle at 98.725. If they don’t cut, IB’s will settle at 90.50. As the IB market is an institutional market mainly, your volume isn’t going to affect pricing in the next live month.

Mathematics

Ok, we’ve established the boundaries, now let’s get specific:

1. Sell Feb IB’s at 98.58. If the RBA cuts rates, you will lose $357.57 ($24.66 per point * 100 * (98.58-98.725)). If they don’t cut rates, you will make $197.28 ($24.66 per point * 100 * (98.58-98.50)). So, you need to take some of that profit to cover the potential loss.

2. If we take BetEasy’s pricing as given, we would place a $110 bet on the RBA cutting rates by 25 basis points in Feb at $4.25. If they do, you win $357.50 ($110  * (4.25-1)). If they don’t cut rates, you lose $110.

So, the outcomes are as follows (per IB contract):

  • RBA Cuts rates 25 basis points: you lose $357.57 on the IB’s and make $357.50 on your bet. It’s a wash.
  • RBA does nothing: You make $197.28 on the IB’s and lose $110 on your bet. Net result +$87.28.

So, in all probably outcomes, you come ahead. You can adjust the amount of your bet to skew the result to the way you’re thinking. For example, you could increase the bet to $150, such that you make $130 if they do go and $47.28 if they don’t.

Now, scale up! There are some things you need to keep in mind though:

  1. There is an asymmetric tax outcome. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes against. No tax on the betting, whereas the IB’s will be taxable.
  2. Black swan events. The RBA are pretty level headed, and it is very unlikely that they are going to do something out of left field (like cut 100 basis points), but it could happen. You could get hosed in that instance, but if you go really big you can use the betting market to cover some black swan events. I certainly have in the past. I like risk, but my wife would have killed me!

So there it is. Hopefully Tatts has its restriction lifted and we start making prices in RBA cash rate moves. Perhaps I will make my debut as a real bookmaker?!

Disclaimer: This post is not investment advice, and is not sanctioned in any way by Tatts Group. It’s just a bit of fun and should be treated as such!

Capital Summerfest Triathlon

Capital Summerfest Triathlon

Profile: ACT Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships

Distance: 750/20/5

Time: 1hr 3min 47sec

Age Group Place: 1st – Maximum points!

Weather: Ideal

Swim: 11min 39sec

After a great swim in SA, I was looking forward to the swim in Lake Burley Griffin. The water was very dark, the moment your hand hit the water, it disappeared. Unfortunately I never quite got going on the swim, my legs just didn’t fire. I felt a bit constricted in the wetsuit, which was weird – never felt that before. They let us swim in wetsuits, but the water was pretty warm. Must have been a Queensland thermometer! Unfortunately the guy who was first out dropped me around the first buoy, I tried to lift to stay on his feet, but had nothing – was a little worried at this stage! Settled into a rhythm though, and didn’t get overtaken by the masses. Was first out of the water in my age group, but third in my wave. Got to put some effort into the swim over the next couple of weeks.

Ride: 31min 52 sec (+46sec transition)

The roads in Canberra triathlons are famously good. The course was very fast, with most of the roads in very good condition. I passed a guy on the first lap, who passed me back, but then I dropped him. It was a little cool on the first lap, but by the second lap it had warmed up a bit. The wind swirled  lightly, it wasn’t exactly clear where it was helping and where it was hindering. At the end of the first lap, the open leader passed me as he headed into transition. He was hammering!

On the second lap, I hit a bump coming onto a bridge, which forced my handlebars to point down a bit… Better tighten the screws more next time! That could have been a disaster. There was an accident on the bike leg in which someone got hurt – I’ll bet that is where it happened. You couldn’t escape the bump, and it was a pretty nasty one. A guy passed me coming into transition, but I wasn’t too concerned at that point. Feeling ok, probably still not working hard enough on the bike. I really need to make up another 2 minutes here, to be averaging 40km/h+.

Run: 18min 46sec (+43 sec transition)

Felt pretty good on the run. It was flat around the lake. I was channeling Dave Scott, after finishing reading Iron War on Saturday. Michael Bradburn said it would be worth at least 1 minute, and given this time is about 2 minutes faster than I’ve run 5k off the bike this season, I’ll give it 2 minutes. It is a good book. Just don’t read the Epilogue, that’s a downer! I passed the guy who had passed me at the end of the ride about 1k in. I was passed by a guy in the 40-44 age group just after the turnaround who went on to run 15min 42sec. Gee I wish I could run that fast! Solid effort. Happily, I was pretty consistent throughout the run, although Pauline said I looked terrible at the end. Good, mission accomplished. I ran without a watch, which I will do from now on. Pacing is for losers, I will just will myself to go harder until I grind myself into the ground… don’t want my watch telling me I can’t run that fast! haha…

Wrap

As far as I can recall, that is the fastest sprint distance triathlon I have ever done. It was a very fast course and almost perfect conditions, granted. All in all, happy with the result.

The event was well run, the corporate-run triathlons in Queensland really could learn a thing or two from these community-run triathlons in terms of creating an atmosphere, etc. Lexi had her face painted and bounced on the bouncing castle. She was in heaven. Later, she took part in a 100m dash with other under-6’s. She was super-excited, but had no idea what was going on!

Was a great trip to Canberra. Did some sight seeing, enjoyed near perfect weather. Caught up with Suzie and Andrew. A great couple of days!

How to Land a Shark from the Shark Tank (Pt 1)

How to Land a Shark from the Shark Tank (Pt 1)

With the upcoming TV show on Ten, Shark Tank, it’s an opportune time to explore what it takes to land a Shark – i.e. get one to invest in your business. I guess I should know, I’ve landed one. Twice.

It’s worth noting at this point that I do not consider myself a particularly good entrepreneur. My ability to talk shit is limited, and I am hopelessly honest. I enjoy solving difficult problems, and the reality with starting most businesses is that the difficult issues are solved early and then it is just a matter of grinding it out. Ergo – I am a shit entrepreneur.

There is one aspect of the start-up process I am good at, having said that. Raising money. That probably shouldn’t be a surprise given my professional background also centers on raising money.

So how does one go about raising money from sophisticated investors? Well, there are a few tricks to it, but the main one is this:

“If you need to raise money, then nothing else matters.”

If you don’t need to raise money, then don’t do it. As an ego trip, it is not a very smart one. You should be trying to keep as much of your equity as you can. However, if you need to raise money, then it needs to be your #1 priority.

At the moment, if you can’t raise seed funding within 10 pitches, something is VERY wrong… some suggestions:

  1. Your team is shit.
  2. Your product/service is shit.
  3. Your presentation is shit.
  4. Your presenting skills are shit.
  5. You are pitching the wrong people (your networks or your researching ability are shit)

The first two issues are potentially terminal, as they should be. The last 3 are totally solvable and if you kill the last 3, in this environment you could overcome the first 2. Color.com – case in point. Urrgh.

Why do I say that? Well, because I’ve seen heaps of other companies try to raise money. Pitching for months, some wear it as a badge of honour. That’s rubbish. If no money = no business then the last 3 must be your #1 priority. Your = the whole team.

In the next installment I will go through the anatomy of the start up pitches our team used to raise money from one of the people on the Shark Tank. The bones of the pitches were the same just the skins were different. I’ll also talk about what we did to bring it all together.

Franklin Island Triathlon

Profile: South Australian Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships

Distance: 750/20/5

Time: 1hr 9min 12sec

Age Group Place: 6th

Weather: Hot and sunny

This is the first race to offer points towards the national age group team.

Swim: 10min 56sec

Had a great swim, felt really good throughout. I was warned before the race started that there was a fellow who could really swim, so my goal was to just get on his feet and see if I could hang on. I had no idea who he actually was, but as it turned out it didn’t take long to figure that out! Got on his feet and settled in. The time would have put me in the first pack of the pros, happy with that. I am only really getting going with my swimming too, so that is going to get better.

Out in 2nd place feeling good. Ran past the big fella to be first into transition.

Ride/transition: 37min 23 sec

First onto the bike. Sweet. The ride was very hilly. So hilly. We also ate wind the whole way out. It became clear pretty quickly that I need to do more training on the bike. Not a surprise, but really got found out at this level. I think I was fourth back into transition, and pretty much spent. The sun was up and it was hot!

Run: 20min 56sec

I am going to run a sub-20min 5k off the bike this season, but not today. I was wrecked after the ride. Just battled on. Got passed by two people. I must have made up a position in transition.

Overall, I think this was a missed opportunity. I ended up 1 min 30 seconds behind the winner. It was a very tight field, it is looking like Chicago is a desirable destination for the Worlds! I’ve got to up my training over the next 6 weeks to make a better account of myself in Canberra, particularly on the bike.

Until next time!

The Ultimate Excel Waterfall Chart Template

Want an Excel waterfall chart with ultimate flexibility? Crossing the x-axis, green for up, red for down – all automatically. Download the template by clicking here.

Excel Waterfall Chart

Excel Waterfall Chart Template

Excel Waterfall charts  – why?

Waterfall charts have become more and more popular over the last few years.  Management accountants, among others, often use them to provide insight into the contributors to movements in financial results. With that goal in mind, waterfall charts are an excellent way to display this kind of information. Whilst I am not an accountant, I have a keen personal interest in data visualisation. One of my favourite sources for information and inspiration in this area is Hichert, and it was through his work that I was first exposed to waterfall charts.

One of our management accountants mentioned that she had problems the previous half with an Excel waterfall chart that needed to cross the x-axis. Building a waterfall chart from scratch sounded like a cool topic to cover in one of the Excel classes I run at work.

Restrictions

  1. No VBA. These classes are run for people with basic to intermediate Excel skills. No time, nor appetite, for VBA.
  2. Must be as simple as possible in execution. Following the class, the files are shared. I don’t run an Excel helpdesk, so if there are problems with the files after they’ve been in situ for a while (and people have made changes, etc), then people need to figure out how to sort itout themselves!

Outcome

I could write a step-by-step post on how it was made, but do you really care? The waterfall chart does pretty much everything an Excel waterfall chart should. The chart can cross over the x-axis with ease. Green for up, red for down.

Note, the template is in xlsx format. If you have a pre-2010 version of Excel, let me know and I will send you a compatible version.

I hope the template is of some use to you, and saves you some time when you next need a waterfall chart to explain some movements.