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Monthly Archives: August 2007

one of the great things about kuwait is that once you get over the initial hurdles of setting up your business and financing it, the sky really is the limit. the lack of personal and corporate taxes, the relatively easy to get financing, a very strong and stable currency, and a relatively free market all combine to make amassing a “comfortable” level of wealthy quite likely.

for the purposes of this post i’ll ignore the “hurdles” that can at times rival the great wall of china. the thing is even the great wall of china was penetrated with nothing more than a smile.

whether you decide to sell cars, condoms or sandwiches,….. the sky really is the limit.

and that indeed is why many of our parents first came here almost 30 years ago.

thats also why alot of us wound up growing up in a country that 90% of the world has never heard of.

many of our parents came here in their 30’s and 40’s, and inspite of the odds, 30 years later, i think alot of us 3rd culture kids can comfortably say that they did a bloody good job of giving us a better life than they had.

but 30 years later,….

theyre hitting their 60’s and thoughts of retirement loom.

us “kids” on the other hand are in the prime of our lives.

now the rest of this post applies to both expats and locals as this is a “business” type post and not really an “expat” post.

now,…

we may or may not have joined the family firm.

we may or may not even enjoy what it is the family business is.

regardless of what your situation is, you know the day will come when the take over will occur.

so you have a choice to make on that fateful day:

1- do you take over, as your daddy wished, even tho you might not like the job, and give up your life?

or

2- do you sell the firm, take the cash, and move on with a twinge of guilt for ending something that took so long to build?

its a bitch of a situation to be in. and its the one thing that your envious and less fortunate friends will never understand. its something government workers, academics, some doctors and lawyers and bankers simply wont get so its pointless asking your colleagues for advice.

the only person who might be able to help is someone who has gone thru the same situation. in this case, experience over rides any Harvard MBA/PhD/blahblahfancylettersafteryourname.

now i cant tell you what to do cos my situation will differ from yours.

but i can tell you what i did.

like alot of other businesses our business involved customers of some sort.

customers / clients always involve alot of ass kissing if you are to get a job / project / deal.

i kissed alot of ass which is how i know that i dont really like the taste of sphincter.

but i did manage to land a couple of deals for the firm.

perhaps i enjoyed the experience, but i never really enjoyed the actual work cos, ultimately, i preside over the kingdom of lazy asses. i am their king and i lead by example 😛

at one point it felt like i had given up and settled for option 1 as mentioned above.

then there were shitty days when option 2 sounded better and better. add in “retire on desert island with local topless native girls in grass skirts” and yeah option two does indeed sound good 😛

but being the pain in the ass that i normally am,…. i demanded and hunted for a 3rd option.

now it just so happened that while i was busy kissing ass and running pointless errands, we had decided to invest a little of our extra cashflow into the market instead of paying it out as a dividend to the shareholders.

nothing fancy, just a few shares of the premier bank in this country.

and while i was kissing ass, it turned out that the return on our little investment far out weighed the return on my puckering up.

and thats when a light bulb went off our heads!

but being the first prince regent of lard asses, i really didnt fancy a life of hand signals and SELL SELL BUY BUY!!! it all just seemed much too stressful, and besides we could loose everything!

after doing a little research option 3 came into being.

ever heard of warren buffett? ever heard of berkshire hathaway?

no neither had i at the time.

in a nutshell, buffett bought a failing textile company called berkshire hathaway in what to this day he calls his greatest mistake. infact he chooses not to change the name to remind him of just that.

when he realised his royal blunder, he started to get rid of everything he could in the firm until it was a textile company in license only. and then he started using the proceeds of the sale to invest in companies involved in businesses that he understood.

nothing more nothing less.

today, after more than 40 years in the game, he is number 3 on the forbes rich dudes list. only just behind the mexican telecoms guy and the devil incarnate bill gates. to this day buffett remains the only one on the whole list that got there thru investing.

so thats what i did. read a couple of $20 books about him and got down to business.

and over the period of 3 years i turned a pretty decent contracting company into a pretty decent assett management company, without, i might add, raising funds from the public as many crooks do.

one of the great dividends of this move was that the old man was pretty much born again. its a new trick that any old dog can learn. and its not really “work”.

the greatest fear alot of people have is about not having anything to do when they retire. when you stop working your mind, you start to die. the market has given the old mans brain something to get excited about again, but in a more relaxed way where you work when you want to.

even the mother is getting into it!

but the greatest dividend of all,….

i kicked options 1 and 2 in the ass and found option 3.

with option 3 i can operate from anywhere in the world, without the “hurdles” here holding me back. which is why its time for me to leave kuwait behind.

alot like MTC is now leaving 😛

and it doesnt take much money either incase you were wondering. most companies here have a basic capital of KD25,000-100,000 capital. if your family firm has been a round for a while, chances are you’ll have a atleast 20,000 in spare cash that you can start with.

if you dont have that then you got bigger problems to deal with.

with option 3 one day i will be able to work in my 3 day old boxers and bankers will still have to take my calls while i pick my nose 😛

life is sweet and full of adventure because i refused to be restrained by what seemed to be the only 2 choices i had. just remember, you always have a 3rd option, you just have to work a lil harder to figure out what it is.

it aint easy, and not everyone can do it. but it aint rocket science either!

and if this dumbass author can do it then i’m pretty sure you can too. ( cos if you read this blog then you’ve obviously got brains and taste 😛 hehehe )

one of the dangers of producing music / trading on your own is that you forget to do what it is that you are producing music / trading for.

yes, you produce / trade for yourself.

and yes, you produce / trade as a form of therapy.

spending hours tweaking a sound / study or working on an arrangement / annual report can be incredibly cathartic.

at times you meet other producers / traders, perhaps people who’s work you really admire ( that mostly music related as most other traders i’ve met are idiots 😛 )

at times you even get the chance to give your music to a top of the line DJ who’s crew was responsible for your genre of choice back in the day ( whoohooo yay me! 😛 )

the danger lies in producing music to stroke ones chin to.

you start to worry about what other producers /traders think, and other producers / traders become your benchmark.

you stop listening to anything other than the genre that youre trying to make.

and all that is responsible for music / returns getting stale and shitty, and all sounding the same.

somewhere along the line you forgot that music / the stock market is meant to reflect life and the living.

a dope track / trade becomes a dope track / trade because it resonates with the dance floor/ investor on a personal level.

because it reflects something about their lives.

because somewhere in the 4/4 boom boom boom / tick of the ticker tape, there in lies a reference that everyone recognises,…. either as an affirmation of their lives or as an escape from, or rebellion to their reality.

as a producer / trader,…..

you cant be cooped up in your studio / office doing nothing but learning your craft because that just turns you into an engineer / technician regardless of how good you are on the guitar / charts.

i’ve been having trouble finishing my track cos i’ve been doing just that.

i havent posted in a while because i’ve decided to go out and live a little.

a little beyond just “work”.

and its been hella fun and just a little bit scary at times.

i decided to have a quiet night tonight,…. fired up Renoise, and got an amazing amount done on my arabic jungle track.

i’m almost satisfied with it so it’ll be coming soon 😛

and all it took was to step out of the comfort zone fortress i built around myself.

theres nothing like a bit of fresh air every now and again.

the last time Blue Ice Envy was in town she said she went down to the shooting range and got the chance to fire off a few rounds on a number of guns that they had on offer there. it sounds like such a different way to spend an evening that i just had to try it.

the only thing i’ve fired before was an AK-47, which i gotta say is one helluva rush!

but that was up in iraq, and out in the desert.

and lets face it, an assault rifle is quite cumbersome.

a handgun on the other hand,…..

HOLY CRAP!

theres something incredibly addictive about the combination of that much power in such a package that fits in your hand.

combine that with being in an enclosed space where the sound reverberates,…

and you have one helluva power trip rush of an evening.

ok so i tried 3 guns.

2 x 9mm’s and a humungous .44 calibre revolver.

the .44 is what dirty harry used:

yes its a biiiiiiiiiiiig ass gun!

its heavy and loud as fuck, and my god does it pack a kick!

while its great fun, i found it too cumbersome.

Blue, on the other hand loved it, and prefered it, and shes quite a bit smaller than me.

needless to say Freud would have a field day with that 😛

the first 9mm was a beretta:

now that was my kind of gun and calibre.

its sleek, solid, and efficient. and the 9mm caliber was the one i had the most fun with since it wasnt tiring aiming the damn thing so i was much more accurate. no wonder its standard issue for some parts of the us military.

the second 9 mm was a sig sauer:

definitely one of the cooler looking guns out there. and the one i had the most fun with.

the sig sauer i think is made by a swiss company and is renown for its accuracy and efficiency.

this is the one i loved and the one that i felt most comfortable with.

and the one i was most accurate with 😛

seriously,… if youve never been, you gotta go.

and you gotta try out the various guns they have on offer.

the best thing about it was after the rush.

as Blue said,… your mind goes blank.

it is probably the single best stress busting activity out there,… and i’m a lazy ass chilled type of person who prefers doing laps in a pool as opposed to hitting a club to relax.

it simply empties the mind.

the funny thing was the clientele there.

i would have expected a bunch of testosterone filled teenagers acting all gung ho.

instead i saw families, one european, one philipino and one arab, maybe lebanese or syrian cant be sure which. but yeah whole families,… dad, daughters, sons, and even mom was there. not sure if she fired off a few rounds or not.

oh and the funniest was 2 guys in dishdasha’s complete with ghutra 😛

———————————————————————————————————–

my hands shook.

my palms sweated.

my heart was racing and i was all hyped up after.

now i understand what those gun advocates at the NRA are always going on about.

its quite simply the best fun you can have with your clothes on in kuwait.

and if youre an anti-gun person then i urge you to try it……. at the very least, you’ll get a better insight into why people go nuts over guns.

its dangerously addictive,… and i know a thing or two about addictions.

and no i didnt go “YEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

altho i was tempted 😛

i’m sure blue will post about it soonish, along with some pictures we took so stay tuned 😛

following on from my post a while ago about looking for arabic music ………

i managed to get my hands on some heavy arabic percussion stuff thanks to CixousianPanic and a muscle bound dude in one of those lil arabic music shops where they bootleg regional music.

what have i done so far?

ummm i’m not really sure……

i sampled bits and sped them up so imagine the typical khaleeji drumming and clapping now at dance floor speed.

i’ve actually managed to chop up and blend turkish and arabic time signatures into some odd bastard child of jungle. its like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

is it any good?

well i dont know, its not finished yet.

but i can quite happily, tell you what it isnt,….

its not just a western dance floor beat with arabic style drums and violins on top…..

so it doesnt really sound like a buddha bar remix,… which is good, even tho i quite like some buddha bar/arabian nights stuff.

its also not just generic arabic music remixed over jungle beats the way alot of ragga-jungle is a mostly reggae/ragga vocals on top of a jungle beat.

in fact i havent used a single “jungle” break that would categorise the track as jungle.

its jungle in spirit 😛

and its not breakcore.

it sounds tribal but not in a tribal house psytrance type of way,…… ministry of sound have never really played anything like this i dont think.

after listening to regular stuff, my stuff sounds out of sync,… until its been playing for a while, then you get into the rhythm,… something to do with the odd time signature i’m guessing. hence the jungle in spirit thingy as old school jungle used to sound odd compared to standard house and hiphop back in the day.

but also i think a little bit more funk and groove needs to be injected, but as with experimental music, i have yet to find the right sound to go with it,…. even with my vast sample library of everything from japanese shamisen to 1920’s black plantation songs.

it has got me excited tho 😛

excited in a way that kinano said when he said i was gonna open a whole can of worms with this idea 😛

i’ll pop it up here in a few days when its done.

i mean if it gets done 😛

or i’ll mail some of you lot a sample of what it sounds like so far for your input.

thing is, i’ll only be able to really judge how good it is by getting a dj to drop it into a set and seeing the crowds reaction to it. and saddly august means theres almost no parties going on here.

i love how when youre purely experimenting, youre less concerned about putting your stuff out there cos it is, well,……. an experiment 😛

following on from my universal truth no 13 post where by all buns must be poked………….

on a recent trip to sultan centre i felt compelled to poke:

pillows

blankets in their wrapped up state.

coconuts,…. i know theyre hard, but they look fuzzy and well,… no i really dont know why they had to be poked.

bags of crisps,………….. not that satisfying but they made a nice crinkly sound.

bags of rice,…. meh,….

bags of sugar and salt,…. not bad actually especially the ones that arent to full and vacuum packed.

certain plastic bottles of oil that look bulbous,…… i love the word “bulbous” .

marshmallow packs,…. seriously how can you not?

and those cotton bud thingys you find in the girly stuff isles.

i did however, restrain myself from poking the tampon and pad packets.

muted.jpg

hehehe 😛