The one you feed

Read this in the book “The One Thing”, by Gary Keller. It was interesting in the context of where my life is presently.

One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action.”

The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”

Co-Working in Kyoto Review

Co-Working in Kyoto Review

If you search online for places to co-work out of while travelling, Japan doesn’t rate highly. Actually, when I was researching Japan as a place to spend some time, there wasn’t even a lot of recent, usable information on available co-working spaces. I have been in Kyoto for a couple of weeks and have spent most days at a co-working space called Space Kante Kyoto. I thought I would add a little write-up just in case anyone was searching for somewhere to work out of – and dispel the myth the Japan is a bad place for co-working.

So, the important stats:

Period Visited: May 2018

Days open: Monday to Saturday

Times: 10:00AM to 10:00PM

Cost: JPY1,080 per day (including tax). About A$14 at the time of writing. Not too bad.

What you get: Wifi, desk

Wifi was pretty reasonable. Probably not as fast as your mobile wifi, which you could use if you wanted instead (and didn’t have a wife using it elsewhere during the day!). This is the speed at 11am on a Monday:

Wifi Speed

Wifi Speed

Setup: There are meeting rooms, an open co-working space, some study rooms for quiet work. The open co-working space has some background music playing, mostly just chilled music that is easily drowned out with headphones. There is not a huge amount of chatter on the floor when compared to co-working spaces in Australia. There were plenty of spots every day I was there, although I understand it gets busier in summer. Here are some pictures from inside:



From the corner looking back across the open co-working space

Desk looking onto street

Shared work bench looking out onto street

IMG_2168 (1)

From the corner looking back to the cafe

Other: There is a cafe within the co-working space also, which does pretty good coffee.

What it is good for: Getting work done.

What it is not good for: Getting a sense of the start-up landscape in Kyoto. Admittedly, I didn’t go out of my way looking for this, and language would have been a barrier.

Anyway, if you’re looking for somewhere to get away and get some work done that doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as you think… you should consider Japan, Kyoto, and Space Kante Kyoto!

Clear Air

It has now been almost two months since leaving Tatts. Plenty has happened since, I walked the Overland Track, went on a cruise, and am now 10 days into our Singapore/Japan trip.

One of my goals while on this trip was to spend some time working through IFRS16. Whilst that may seem an odd pursuit for a holiday, this is more of a working holiday! I believe there is an opportunity in the market for a model to churn out the IFRS16 Right of Use Asset and Liability numbers, given inputs.

Each time I mention it to an accountant, it is clear it is an issue for them. The standard is a 167 page beast and it comes in on 1 January 2019, but few have solved the issue for their company. Yet, whenever I mention it to someone who doesn’t have responsibility for statutory accounting, their response is often, “Why can’t they just figure it out for themselves.”

They probably could, but for one thing: Clear Air.

Having now spent many hours reading through the IFRS16 standard and associated commentary, one thing has struck me about this task. How little time I had over the last 5 years to sit down and concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time, uninterrupted.

That clear air just wasn’t available. It is nice to have a little bit of it now.

Oh, and Kyoto is really nice. Maybe for the next blog.

Programming: Modern day Bob The Builder

Programming: Modern day Bob The Builder

The AFR released a story today entitled, “‘Learn to code’ and 8 other career tips from economists“. (If you don’t have an AFR subscription, you can bypass the paywall with my extension here). Whilst quite US-centric, and the coding advice was a bit thin, I am inclined to agree with the sentiment of the title.

I’ve always advocated to young people working within financial services the benefits of learning some programming. Some get it, some don’t.

I believe that corporate Australia would be well served to encourage more of a hacking culture. Where people didn’t wait for someone to fix their problems, they fixed them themselves. Where problems are not solved by buying in expertise or solutions. Where people strive to do things a little better everyday. Faster, more predictable. I am not talking about big problems, but small ones we face every day. Incremental gains are generally the key to long-term success.

For example, I once created an FX-position keeping system that enabled real-time FX positions by drawing data from our Treasury system in real-time. The spreadsheet provided the trader (me) with live information on positions without relying on sales people to call them out (they’re unreliable). Additionally, the closing process was reduced from up to 45 minutes, as you had to try to piece together all the mystery positions you hadn’t been told about, to practically nil. Did I have to do it? No, the old paper-based system was in use for 10+ years before I arrived. Given it is still in use today, some 8 years later, I guess it was a useful exercise. Certainly, the ROI will have been phenomenal (although sometimes I would rather not have known what my positions were!).

In the future, those who can program are definitely going to be better placed to succeed in the workplace. So if you want to work in a numerate profession, I suggest you take some programming classes. You don’t need to be a professional programmer, I’m certainly nowhere near it. But just knowing the fundamentals and what is possible is a great addition to your toolkit as an employee (or entrepreneur).


3 Tips from a Lotto insider

The lottery is extremely popular in Australia. In fact, it is estimated that in the last 6 months in excess of half of the adult population have participated. Working for Tatts has definitely shaped my view on how best to play the lottery. Whilst the odds are very low of actually landing Division 1, I can assure you that people do it every single week.

Firstly, for those who haven’t asked me yet (not many people left): I have no idea what the numbers are going to be!

My lottery philosophy centres on the belief that lightning doesn’t strike twice, so making it count if you do win is important. So, here are my top 3 tips for ensuring that if you are lucky enough to win Division 1, it counts.

  1. Know your games, and what you will win. You don’t want to be disappointed when lightning strikes. Saturday Lotto will win you between $500k and $2M, because you’re going to share Div 1. Ozlotto and Powerball, meanwhile, are more likely to make you a sole winner. It would be very unusual to share an Oz or Powerball win with more than one other winner.
  2. Have a number over 31 in every game you play. Every single one. People are creatures of habit and superstition. They play birthdays, a lot. Lottery numbers go up to 45 –  but no one was born on the 37th of January, were they? Sharing is not caring when you win the lottery, it could literally cost you millions.
  3. Use auto-subscribe on the app. Don’t find out after the draw that your numbers would have won! This is a really useful function on the app – you can set the system to only buy a ticket when the Division 1 is large enough. Wouldn’t get out of bed for less that $10M? No problem, you can automatically purchase a ticket when it gets to that level.

Ok, there’s a couple of tips for ensuring that if your numbers come up, you’re making every post a winner. Chances are you’ll never win it, but… Wouldn’t it be nice?