Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Guest Article: What to Expect from Forex Trading

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

By: T.H.

If you’re thinking about trading currencies as a way to diversify your portfolio or as a means to supplement your income, you probably know all about the risk and reward potential. What you probably won’t know until you get started, is exactly how the industry works. Success in the world of currency trading, also known as foreign exchange or Forex trading, actually begins long before the first trade is placed.

In order to ensure a positive trading experience, traders must first choose the right Forex broker, from literally hundreds of brokers worldwide. Making the choice from such a large menu can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier. Forex broker reviews, for example, can help traders get an understanding of what their options are. Bear in mind, however, that that won’t necessarily provide the truest picture as in some instances there may be some bias toward those brokers which remunerate the website for their “honest” assessment. How other traders rate their experiences with a specific broker is an alternative way to assess a Forex broker. But again, this may not provide the truest picture as you cannot know whether the trader is just expressing “sour grapes” for what would otherwise be construed as risky trade activity – in other words, the trader may have lost all his money because he didn’t know what he was doing in the first place. Therefore, diligent traders should make sure to read both types of evaluations, and to weigh their reliability carefully.

Once a trader has narrowed down his options, he can take them for a test drive by using each broker’s free demo account. Once you’ve got your demo set up you can start making trades, fine-tuning your strategy and seeing how it works with each broker.

The demo period is also a great time to assess the responsiveness of the Forex broker, so make sure to ask questions – lots and lots of questions about anything you are unsure of or want to know more about. What you want to gauge is not only how quickly your question was responded to, but also how thoroughly and comprehensively the response was. Was the response timely and did it satisfy you? When there’s real money at stake you don’t want to be left in limbo by some bimbo; if you need an answer, you need one that satisfies your needs appropriately.

The brokers’ fees are also things that you will need to take into consideration; most brokers build their fees into their spread, which is the difference in pips between the bid and ask price. Spread fees vary from broker to broker, and may seem insignificant at first blush but can add up over the long run; ideally, the smaller the spread the better for you. Your potential Forex broker might have other fees that you should be aware of so look for the Fee schedule on their website and ask your broker’s representative about anything that doesn’t sound right or simply for more information.

Once you’re comfortable with using the platform, and are okay with the spreads and fees and the responsiveness of the Forex broker’s team, now’s the time to consider funding your real account. But before you do that, it’s critical to understand that you should never risk any money that you cannot afford to lose. It’s a simple fact: Forex trading is risky and no Forex broker can guarantee that you will always win. In fact, the majority of Forex traders don’t profit as much as they’d like.

For this reason, Forex trading isn’t for everyone. If you can’t afford to lose some money, you should consider alternate investment opportunities. If you have a tendency to be hasty, you may want to consider strongly whether the volatile Forex market will play to your strengths or whether haste will cause you to lose your money too quickly.

It is absolutely critical to understand that currency trading isn’t about getting one good trade. It’s about maximizing profits and minimizing risks over the long run. How do you achieve all that? By paying attention to these “rules” of Forex trade:

  • Start small; 1% or 2% of your capital is generally a good amount to bet
  • Don’t be greedy; if you’re in the green, lock in or take your profit
  • Don’t get cocky; overconfidence is the quickest path to failure
  • Don’t be impatient; patience is not only a virtue it’s a necessity in Forex trading
  • Diversify your portfolio but don’t over-diversify; rely on only a few pairs to spread risk
  • Make good use of the Stop Loss feature
  • Cut your losses (don’t push back a Stop Loss!)
  • Learn from your mistakes

For a conscientious person, Forex trading can provide excellent opportunities for financial gain. But for those who are just looking for a quick buck, currency trading may not be the best way to go. When exploring your options, make sure to know your broker, know yourself and to make careful, educated decisions.

Getting insurance companies to play fair

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

In a regime, in which people are supposed to be self-reliant and to take responsibility over their lives, insurance companies have a critical role.  A responsible person would pay premiums so that any calamity, which he cannot handle by himself, will be handled instead by the insurance company.  So that the person would not become burden on the public.

Unfortunately, in pseudo-capitalistic oligrachic regimes, insurance companies tend to emphasize their profits over security for the insured.  So a strong mechanism to keep them honest is needed.  The following proposal addresses this issue.

A proposal for billionaires who wish to contribute to the community without supporting parasites:

Start a foundation which helps insured people, who were screwed by the insurance companies.
The foundation will work as follows.

  1. The insured will provide documents - the insurance policy, all documents he gave the insurance company to get the insurance money due to the event insured against, and documents attesting to the fact that the insurance company rejected his claim due to unjustified reason.
  2. The foundation will check the documents and verify that everything is correct.
  3. If all is correct, the foundation will pay the insured the money that the insurance company was supposed to pay him. The insured will sign a commitment to reimburse the foundation any monies he gets from the insurance company due to compromise, court proceedings, or thanks to a manager’s golden heart.
  4. The foundation will sue in the insured’s name the insurance company and bring to the court its heavy guns (high caliber lawyers).

The billionaire’s donation is needed for running capital and to cover claims in which the court found for the insurance company.

Learn to develop for the Android, contribute to Free Software and advertise yourself

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

During the last few weeks I developed an Android application for helping people prepare for the Israeli driving theory test.  The application uses the questions database available from http://data.gov.il/dataset/249 (and the corresponding ones for Russian and Arabic).  It was a nice and fun exercise, which helped me master more parts of the Android development platform.

The application is now at version 0.1 and is working.  Its look and feel is not polished, yet; and some missing features have been identified by comparing it to three other applications available from Google Play doing the same thing.

Today the source code has been released under the GPLv3 and is available from https://github.com/tddpirate/teuria and if you are looking for an Android developer with few weeks worth of experience and known quality of work, you may have a look at the above.

Please call me back at my expense (an idea for a needed service)

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The following is a service which telephone service providers (both landline and cellular) ought to provide their clients.

Whenever A calls B and leaves him a message “Please call me back”, it should be possible for A to optionally specify that the callback will be charged to him rather than to B.

Eventually, people will avoid calling back unknown numbers unless they are marked as “please call me back at my expense”.

This practice will eventually put out of business all fraudulent businesses, which thrive on getting people to call back numbers with very high rates.

Technical implementation should be relatively simple.

Whenever A sets the option to charge him for callbacks, the service provider will issue a random and for one-time use number, which B will use to call A back at A’s expense.

How to validate the market for your startup idea?

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The Smart Bear discusses the question of market validation and suggests that startupists look for 10 people who say that they agree to pay money for the novel product of service to be developed by the startup.

I suggest that if the product or service is useful for business use (rather than being a consumer product), then the question be formulated as: how much money do you think your business can save by using our product/service?

איך לאמת את השוק של רעיון הסטארטאפ שלך?

הדוב החכם דן בנושא אימות השוק ומציע, שיזמים המקימים סטארטאפים יחפשו 10 אנשים, שיגידו שהם מסכימים לשלם כסף תמורת המוצר או השרות החדשניים, שיפותחו על ידי הסטארטאפ.

אני מציע, שאם המוצר או השרות שימושיים עבור עסקים (להבדיל ממוצר צרכני), השאלה תנוסח כך: כמה כסף אתה חושב שהעסק שלך יכול לחסוך הודות לשימוש במוצר/שרות שלנו?

Out of control wrong number

Monday, February 14th, 2011

טעות במספר שיצאה משליטה

כשאני בבית, אני בודק כל פעם אם הגיעו אלי SMS-ים בטלפון הסלולרי שלי.

באחת מהבדיקות האלה שמתי לב שהיתה לי שיחה שלא נענתה יחד עם SMS מאותו המספר.

תוכן ה-SMS היה: “לא מבין מדוע כל כך קשה לדבר איתך - נא חזור אליי בבקשה - ש___ מ___”

חשבתי שזה מישהו שקשור לחברה שאני מחכה לתשובה ממנה בקשר לפרויקט שעשיתי יחד איתם, ומשום מה לא אמרו לו שאני חרש.

עניתי לו: “אני חרש. הקשר איתי רק באמצעות מסרונים ודואר אלקטרוני. במה אוכל לעזור לך?”

התשובה שלו פיזרה את הערפל: “לא חזרת אליי לגבי הצעת המחיר שלכם בנושא ____” (נושא שלא קשור לתוכנה).

מכיוון שלא הגשתי הצעות מחיר בנושא הנ”ל, התשובה שלי היתה “ייתכן שיש לך טעות במספר. אני פרילאנסר בתחום התוכנה ושמי עומר”.

ואחר כך לא היו SMS-ים נוספים ממנו.

When I am at home, once in a while I check my cellphone to see if I got SMSes.

In one of those checks, I noticed that I got an unanswered call along with a SMS from the same phone number.

The SMS contents were “I do not understand why is it so difficult to reach you. Please return to me - S___ M___”.

I thought it is from someone associated with a company, from which I am waiting for an answer about a project which I did with them; and that due to some reason, no one told that person that I am deaf.

I replied: “I am deaf. I can be contacted only via SMSes and E-mail. How can I help you?”

His answer dispersed the fog: “You did not return to me about your bid for ____” (something not related to software).

Since I never bidded about this subject, my reply was “you may be having a wrong number. I am a freelance software developer and my name is Omer”.

There were no subsequent SMSes from him.

Benefits of Free Software to people with disabilities

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

After attending the August Penguin 2010 conference, Ilana Benish wrote (in Hebrew) about the benefits of Free Software for people with disabilities.

I would like to make also the following points:

  • Working on Free Software projects, like working on any volunteer work, is a way for software developers with disabilities to prove their worth to prospective employers.  This can serve to overcome prejudices and resistance by prospective employers, especially those who were burned by people who proved to be capable of drawing a salary and incapable of delivering results.
  • Like working on other self-benefit projects, working on relevant Free Software projects can empower people with disabilities, who can now help themselves rather than rely upon other people to help them.

Web 2.0 Best Practices

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Suppose you have been contacted by someone with a great Web 2.0 idea and he wants you to join his startup.
You need to know whether he knows what he is talking about.
The following checklist may help you tell the clueful apart from clueless.
I hope people will be able to contribute advice concerning each item in the checklist as well as more items I missed.

  1. Dealing with bad content:
    • Spam
    • Trolling
    • Off-topic user-contributed content
  2. Vandalism (and in general, content backup/restore).
  3. Legal:
    • Acceptable use guidelines
    • Copyright violations and other issues
  4. Content ownership/lockdown policies - will a contributor be able to export his contributions into file/s in his own PC?
  5. How will the network effect be overcome (if another Web 2.0 site already exists serving the same need, how to get people to use your Web site instead of the other site, if they already have stuff).
  6. Business model (i.e. how to actually get people to pay for the stuff).
  7. Scaling with demand (nowadays, thanks to cloud computing services availability, the required scaling is not that of servers but that of customer service personnel and maybe other critical resources).
  8. Are there standards (such as XML schema) relevant to the kind of content to be served by the site?

How to get capitalism to regulate itself?

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

In This is not the end of capitalism, Mark Shuttleworth (of Ubuntu fame) points out the need for capitalism with regulation. The regulators - those people who would regulate businesses - would need to have extraordinary personal qualities of resourcefulness, wisdom and incorruptibility. In other words, they need to have caliber like E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen (the qualities required by Lensmen include intelligence, utter incorruptibility, a high drive to succeed, and the highest drive to fight evil).

However, like Santa Claus, such people exist only in fiction. Therefore another solution is needed. A practical solution would, by necessity, be based upon a system, in which imperfect and corruptible people would nevertheless do almost as good job as incorruptible ones.

Fortunately, there is a precedent for systems obviating the need for supermen. The 18th century political philosophers faced a similar problem. They were faced with the problem of designing a regime, in which people will enjoy freedom, even though they are governed by other imperfect people. The solution was to devise a system of checks and balances. It was embodied in the constitution of USA and worked well for several years.

Therefore, a possible solution to the problem of regulating capitalism is likely to come from a system of checks and balances. In the following I’ll try to sketch a possible design for such a system.

A business operating in an industry, which needs to be regulated, has to answer to the following stakeholders:

  • Shareholders
  • Employees
  • Business partners (customers and suppliers)
  • Environment

Regulation, when it is enforced, aims at restoration of balance of the interests of all those stakeholders. Regulation has to be enacted when money fails to work as a means to motivate the business to serve its stakeholders in a balanced way.

Let’s try to set up a feedback loop, in which bad regulation translates into loss of profits. This can be accomplished by nominating people, who act like the historical kings or modern Benevolent Dictators For Life (BDFLs). Each BDFL will be responsible for regulating all businesses in a particular geographical area. Every business in the region will pay the BDFL 1% of its profits. On the other hand, the BDFL will be subjected to lawsuits from any stakeholder, who believes to have been wronged by a business under the BDFL’s responsibility.

Thus, the BDFL will have an interest at ensuring that the businesses in his area will prosper in a balanced way. Since small businesses have larger growth potential than big businesses, the BDFL will tend to favor small businesses. The BDFL will balance the interests of businesses with those of the other stakeholders when formulating regulations, so that the business will thrive and the BDFL won’t lose too much money to lawsuits.

This proposal is incomplete, and leaves out answers to several questions such as:

  1. What happens if a business operating in a geographical area gets to be so large that the BDFL of that area will profit more from favoring it than from nurturing other businesses?
  2. Is the BDFL only to regulate businesses, or also develop infrastructure (like kings)?
  3. How to select BDFLs from among candidates?
  4. When and how to replace BDFLs, who do not do good work?
  5. How to preserve the sovereignity of the people in a BDFL-controlled area?

Perfect ad network

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I saw somewhere the following question and decided to share the results of some of the resulting firings of my neurons:

In your opinion, how would a perfect ad network look like?

This blog and my entire Web site is currently working with Google AdSense ad network. It appears to do pretty good job, but the following could improve it:

  • Option to forward all ad requests or part of them to the Webmaster for vetting. Sometimes it is obvious to the Webmaster that an ad will not be effective on a particular Web site.
  • Option for the Webmaster to specify a recommended location for an ad in his Website, overriding the ad network’s choice.
  • Better reporting to the Webmaster of clickthroughs on specific ads in specific locations, to help the Webmaster optimize his overriding decisions.
  • Effective mechanism for ad publisher to complain that clickthroughs from a particular Web site yielded no income and should not be compensated for - this will ensure that the Webmasters are kept honest.
  • Effective mechanism for Webmasters to know whether ad publishers abused the mechanism of repudiating clickthroughs as yielding no income - to keep them honest, according to the Webmasters’ point of view.