The take-away from this game is that you learn to apply the mechanics of corporate paper and how that is used in finance, then you develop a winning portfolio, and hope for your future, at 12 years old.
This game, Big Board Raiders, was sparked by the experiences of working at a summer job in a boiler room on Howe Street, of the notorious Vancouver Stock Exchange, at the tender age of 20. It began while I was attending university studying commerce and sparked when a finance “prof” once stopped a lecture to bring our attention to a group that raided a company using the stock exchanges of North America. That raider was Jimmy Pattison and the company was "Crush International" the soft drink guys. Now he goes by James Pattison today because he’s a billionaire, ironically university was boring for him so he quit in second year of commerce, the same school I attended.
Subsequently while working at a job, where I was hired from the neck down, which gave me ample time to trip out to the ozone and pick up on this idea.
Today, when you refer to the Big Board, it is understood that you mean New York, or Wall Street, but back before electronic trading, the smaller regional stock exchanges all over North America had the walls of their exchanges lined with chalk boards, and guys used to run back and forth on suspended walkways above the trading floor, to mark the "Big Board" with the prices the floor traders would execute their trades. Floor traders had to yell their trade in an audible tone so that the whole floor could hear the trade, and it seemed like nobody was listening, but it worked and that was the rule. On a volatile day, floor traders went home unable to speak.
What we would regard as crazy today was normal then, stock prices were recorded in 1/8ths of a dollar. Decimals was resisted, but won in the end.
I would have killed for that job. It looked like so much fun.
The idea of Raiding or hostile takeovers intrigued me so I began to watch the exploits of these men as they plundered companies on the stock exchanges of North America.
Although there were many merger and acquisition guys from that era, I admired one in particular. He died a few years ago, he had the coolest name, T. Boone Pickens. He was a pioneer in the takeover game. A Texas Oilman, he started with what we would call a few months pay and embarked on a journey that would see his participation in the largest hostile corporate takeover in history, to that date. Gulf Oil! The idea that someone with the initiative and the guts, could take their small poke and use the stock exchanges to gain control of companies many times their size, spawned this game. His daddy was a professional gambler who travelled the oilfields of Texas playing cards. Boone had risk-taking in his genes.
It’s really not that hard, each type of transaction is based on a simple idea, don't let fancy-pants names scare you.
My 2008 Adventure
When I auditioned for Dragon’s Den, in May of 2008 (I didn’t make the cut, I screwed up) but after I did my presentation, the first thing Brett Wilson, one of the dragons said, “Could you imagine if Kevin O’Leary would have learned this when he was a kid”. Well I couldn’t have said it better.
Below, my daughter, who was 10 at the time, here is displaying the game to the dragons (her first modeling gig). The first photo is her and second is me to the right, at 7 am in Toronto, at CBC studios, taping Dragons Den in May of 2008. We were the first presenters, which was 4am back home on the west coast. The Dragons hate Board Games but they saw the merits of this one.
Because when you get rid of all the fancy-pants talk, the stock market is middle school math.
Kevin O’Leary did say the game looked like it would be fun to play. Ironically, O’Leary got his start programming math games, but on the way he bought out more than 35 competitors and fellow game producers, combining them into the "the learning Co.", culminating in the sale of the largest tech deal in Canada at the time. He knows about takeovers. Brett, Kevin and Arlene were given a demonstration of the game by my daughter, Arlene said I did a good job on the graphics, her thing is advertising but she said that instead of 5 guys in the group of raiders, 1 should have been a women to reflect women’s share as a percentage of their participation. I agree and if there is a second addition she will be there. I wanted a female in the group, but the artist was so dug-in about his image and I had to go to press, so I went with it. You have to compromise when you live in a place where there are limited options.
Brett bought that demonstrator game for himself.
Then came the Financial meltdown in 2008 that stopped the world, for a while.
Except a group I did accounting for, made out good but it could have been much better. The day it crashed 777 points, CDE a stock on NYSE that was $20 in August. We bought a boatload in November for 36 cents, then it was rolled back 10 for 1, started the day with 780 million shares, now had 78 million shares, valuing the stock at 3.60, the word on the wire was that ”the world was ending as we knew it, the economy is done”, "time to jump". T. Boone Pickens dropped over a billion dollars that day. Three years later CDE was $48, but the people who owned in. August needed $200 to break even. They were not happy. Our group, because it wasn't my money, suddenly became financiers, and sold at $7.10 and that was ignorance, if they would have waited 18 months they would have been (37,500 * $48). Ignorance.I got a reward for telling them to buy. Then, they were financiers and they bought 2 different Chinese stocks that both went to zero.
Stock market crashes are a gift from the gods. It is probably the only time you will beat the market. Keep your powder dry and wait for those days, then have some patience.
What is Finance without TIME.
Warren Buffet said, “Be greedy when people are fearful and fearful when people are greedy”, but that came about from the “Dot-Com Bubble of the 90s.
Guess what, its here again. Its like 1974 again, high interest rates, high unemployment, uncontrolled money printing, huge debt and rising prices.
1974 was the consequences of out of control spending from the Vietnam war in the late 60's and the effects of Nixon closing the Gold Window in 1971, because the debt was due in gold, which would have cleaned them out, in other words thats when gold no longer backed the US dollar. OPEC decided to form a cartel to control petroleum causing fuel shortages and high fuel prices. Money was now fiat and governemts could print to infinity. Inflation was out of control so high interest rate were used to cool of inflation. It was a confusing time after 1971, money had to find a new basis to be valued.
You've heard it said, History doesn't repeat, it rhymes.
The reset is around the corner, we're going cripto baby, the good news is it trades the same way as stocks. But the market will be worldwide.
Exchange the word "share" for "coin", exchange the word "bond interest" for "staked"/ which is loaning or renting your coins for income. There are puts and calls, long and short, margin. So these mechanics still apply. The good news is that Technical Analysis works better because the participation is spread over a big population, and valuation is a function of participation, not some entity with thwie thumb on the scale.