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Questions about custom betting pool for a group of friends for Brazil 2014.

So I''ve been playing custom betting pools with my friends for some of the most important soccer events (WC 2010, Euro 2012).
The way we do it is make a Google Docs Sheet and invite all of them as viewers and one of us is the editor, we all give our prediction scores for every game of the day to the editor and then he makes the changes at the sheet.
The punctuation system is something like this: 2 points for a winner prediction, 3 points for a goal total prediction, 5 points for a exact score prediction. The person with the most points at the end of the tournament gets the entry fee for all the other players.
So, here are my questions:
Thanks a lot, and thank you in advance.
submitted by WaTTIK to SoccerBetting [link] [comments]

Questions about custom betting pool for a group of friends for Brazil 2014.

So I''ve been playing custom betting pools with my friends for some of the most important soccer events (WC 2010, Euro 2012). The way we do it is make a Google Docs Sheet and invite all of them as viewers and one of us is the editor, we all give our prediction scores for every game of the day to the editor and then he makes the changes at the sheet.
The punctuation system is something like this: 2 points for a winner prediction, 3 points for a goal total prediction, 5 points for a exact score prediction. The person with the most points at the end of the tournament gets the entry fee for all the other players.
So, here are my questions:
Thanks a lot, and thank you in advance.
submitted by WaTTIK to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Everything Is Soaring As Trump Makes Buying Stuff Great Again

Who would have thought - as recently as two days ago - that a Trump presidency is the best thing for global risk? Certainly not Wall Street experts, all of whom warned of drops as big as 5% should Trump be elected.
And yet, the global repricing of inflation expectations continues at a feverish pace in the aftermath of the Trump victory, leading to another surge in US equity futures, up 15 points or 0.7% to 2175 at last check, with Asian and European stock market all jumping (Nikkei was up a whopping 6.7% after losing 4.6% the day before) after the initial shock of Donald Trump’s election victory gave way to optimism that his plans for fiscal stimulus will provide a boost to the global economy. Commodity metals soared with copper surging 4.5% to $5,658.50 a metric ton, the biggest gain since May 2013, while zinc advanced 2.1% and nickel added 2%. Gold climbed on speculation whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.
The euphoria is largely due to the market's hopes of a burst in fiscal stimulus, aka much more debt, which while self-defeating in the long run, is providing a major boost to risk assets for the short-run, as it puts QE potentially back in the picture: after all _someone will be needed to monetize the US budget deficit_which is expected to once again soar under president Trump.
As Citi strategists note today, "The outcome of the U.S. election leaves the policy and macroeconomic outlook in the U.S. and globally with major uncertainties. Acknowledging these major uncertainties, we expect the new administration to pursue some deregulation, fiscal expansion, and reassess the costs and benefits of free trade. The combination of policies could be inflationary, quicken the path of Fed hikes and strengthen the dollar."
Indeed, as Bloomberg puts it, Donald Trump’s unlikely rise to power is providing a shot in the arm for global financial markets, with stocks and commodities rallying on optimism that his fiscal-stimulus plans will boost the global economy. European equities joined a global rally as they headed for their biggest four-day jump since July. Banks surged on prospects of lighter regulation for their U.S. operations and higher lending rates, and miners gained on increased metals prices. Copper rose the most in more than three years on Trump’s intention to expand infrastructure spending. Currencies of most commodity-producing nations advanced, while Bloomberg’s dollar index reversed losses. Government bonds in Europe and Asia slid as the inflation outlook lifted, while corporate-debt sales resumed in Europe as markets stabilized.

Those who saw S&P futures trade limit down on Wednesday morning will likely be stunned by the amazing U-turn in global markets since the shock win for Trump triggered a knee-jerk selloff in equities and rush into haven assets. European shares Wednesday staged their biggest turnaround since March as investors took comfort in his acceptance speech. They are starting to look beyond Trump’s campaign rhetoric, focusing instead on his promises to cut taxes and at least double Hilary Clinton’s estimated $275 billion, five-year plan for roads, airports and bridges.
The only asset conspicuously not participating in the global ramp was oil, which was little changed after three days of gains. The IEA said prices may retreat amid “relentless global supply growth” unless the OPEC enacts significant output cuts. West Texas Intermediate fell less than 0.1 percent to $45.25 a barrel and Brent was 0.8 percent higher at $46.71.
“It’s a relief rally of the certainty of the outcome of the election and after the conciliatory tone that Trump took,” said Nick Skiming, a fund manager at Jersey, Channel Islands-based Ashburton Ltd. His firm oversees $10 billion. “We know from Trump’s policies that he wants to reduce taxes and embark on fiscal spending and if he gets those approved, that will be expansionary for the U.S. economy in the short term.”
Europe's Stoxx 600 Index gained 1% as of 10:55 a.m. London time, with lenders reaching their highest levels since March. UBS Group AG soared 7.6%, set for its biggest surge since 2012. Among Trump’s policies were a pledge to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act’s strict capital requirements on banks and a proposed temporary moratorium on new financial regulations. Gains in commodities helped send a gauge of miners to its highest since June. French media company Vivendi SA jumped 10 percent, and Germany’s Siemens AG rose 4.7 percent after they posted profit that beat projections.
S&P 500 Index futures climbed 0.7 percent, indicating U.S. equities will extend their advance into a fourth day. Billionaire Carl Icahn said he left President-elect Trump’s victory party to bet about $1 billion on U.S. equities. The investor said that the economy still faces challenges but Trump will be “a positive, not a negative” for the country.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 2.7 percent, the most since March. Japan’s Topix index jumped 5.8 percent, after sinking 4.6 percent in the last session, and Australia’s benchmark rallied by the most in five years. In Hong Kong, Jiangxi Copper Co., China’s second-largest producer by output, rose 14 percent. Russian aluminum maker United Co. Rusal Plc jumped by the most on record.
While the focus will remain on the unfolding political landscape, investors may also look to data on initial jobless claims and earnings from companies including Macy’s Inc. and Ralph Lauren Corp. for indications of the health of the world’s biggest economy.
But while stocks soared, it was a different story in bond markets: European debt fell after about $337 billion was wiped off bond markets on Wednesday as Trump’s election sparked concern that his plan to boost economic growth will lead to a surge in inflation. The yield on German 10-year bonds climbed seven basis points to to 0.27 percent, while that on similar-maturity U.K. gilts added seven basis points to 1.33 percent. Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields rose two basis points to 2.07 percent. The U.S. is selling $15 billion of 30-year Treasuries at an auction on Thursday. Bonds of that maturity led Wednesday’s selloff, with yields climbing 23 basis points.
“Trumpeconomics implies a likely faster pace of Fed rate hikes next year,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial markets strategy at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney. “It is clear that this wave of populist vote has reflected, in part, dislike of tight fiscal, easy monetary policy. If we are now seeing a shift in the U.S., then that means markets will have to reprice this.”
Odds for a Fed interest-rate hike in December climbed to 88 percent, based on U.S. overnight indexed swaps that trade 24 hours a day, after plunging below 50 percent while the outcome of the election unfolded. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said Wednesday that the argument for gradual interest-rate increases “still makes sense to me.”
Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk
Market Snapshot
Global Headline News
Looking at regional markets, we start in Asia where the fallout from the 2016 Presidential Election results is still dictating the state of play in markets. Asian indices traded higher across the board benefiting from the bullish close on wall Street with the three majors closing the session at highs and in the Dow's case ATH's. The Nikkei 225 (+6.7%) lead the way higher, with financials outperforming as Donald Trump is seen as more friendly to the banking sector, given his previous commentary and his record of amassing a large property portfolio through debt. The Republican 'clean sweep' of House, Senate and President has also reassured global stock markets. Japanese Finance Minister Aso said he wants to avoid FX intervention and the government will not intervene in FX except in exceptional cases. PBoC set the CNY reference at 6.7885 (Prey. 6.7832) — the weakest setting since 2010 and injected CNY 80bIn in 7y and 14y reverse repos.
Asian Top News - Asian Shares Jump With Metals as Trump Reassessed; Kiwi Weakens: Stock gains led by raw-materials producers as copper jumps - McDermott Says RBNZ Worried About Kiwi, Will Cut Rates If Needed: “We have not reached the floor” on rates, assistant governor says - Mr. Yen Says Trump Victory Doesn’t Change Currency-Market Trend: Yen may strengthen to 90 per dollar within six months of Donald Trump’s election, Eisuke Sakakibara says - Tata Consultancy Says Ishaat Hussain Nominated As Chairman: Hussain shall hold office until new chairman is appointed - Modi May Reap $45 Billion Budget Boost With Anti-Graft Cash Ban: Edelweiss Securities predicts crack down on high-value currency notes will uncover 3t rupees in black money - Singapore Names Jho Low Person of Interest in 1MDB-Linked Probe: Country’s investigation into Low started in 2015 - Hyundai Merchant, Korea Line Submit Final Hanjin Asset Bids: preferred bidder to be picked on Nov. 14, court says
Likewise in Europe, Donald Trump continues to dictate price action across asset classes, with equities continuing to strengthen, as was seen in the second half of yesterday's trade. European bourses all trade higher this morning by over 1%, with material and financials leading the way higher benefitting from speculation regarding what a Trump presidency could entail, while utilities underperform in the wake of earnings reports from Engie and National Grid. Elsewhere, fixed income markets have seen European paper follow their US counterparts, with Bunds retaking the 161.00 handle to the upside as markets calm in the wake of yesterday's volatility. Analysts at Informa note that Spanish/Italian 10 year yields have climbed 3-4bps as the Renzi/EU row continues to escalate, amidst more animosity vs EC in campaigning ahead of the Dec 4 referendum.
Top European News
In commodities, industrial metals rose as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Trump’s promise to revive American infrastructure means commodities used to build everything from airports to bridges will benefit under his presidency. Copper surged 4.5 percent to $5,658.50 a metric ton, the biggest gain since May 2013, while zinc advanced 2.1 percent and nickel added 2 percent. Gold climbed as traders speculated on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates when policy makers meet next month. Bullion rose 0.2 percent to $1,279.85 an ounce and silver gained 1.4 percent. Oil was little changed after three days of gains. The International Energy Agency said prices may retreat amid “relentless global supply growth” unless the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries enacts significant output cuts. West Texas Intermediate fell less than 0.1 percent to $45.25 a barrel and Brent was 0.8 percent higher at $46.71.
In currencies, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed losses to advance 0.3 percent, after rallying 1.4 percent on Wednesday. Currencies of commodity-producing nations were the best performers in foreign-exchange markets, with Australia’s dollar surging 1.3 percent and Norway’s krone appreciating 0.6 percent. Russia’s ruble strengthened 0.5 percent, leading gains among currencies in developing economies as investors speculated Trump will mend ties with Moscow. That could improve the outlook for loosening sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. “A Trump presidency is dollar bullish because Trump’s economic policies are inflationary and will force the Fed to raise the Funds rate at a faster pace than otherwise,” said Elias Haddad, a senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Mexico’s peso was 0.1 percent weaker after sinking 7.7 percent on Wednesday. Trump has pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and curb illegal immigration by building a wall along the U.S.’s southern border. The yuan slipped to a six-year low amid concern Chinese exports will also suffer. Trump has called China a “grand master” at currency manipulation and has threatened tariffs of up to 45 percent on imports from the Asian nation, a step that Commonwealth Bank of Australia estimated would cut Chinese shipments to the the U.S. by 25 percent in the first year.
On today's calendar, one event worth highlighting though and which could be interesting now is the scheduled 30y Treasury auction this evening. In the midst of the hugely volatile moves yesterday, the 10y auction was reported as the weakest, based on the bid to cover ratio of 2.22, since March 2009. So it’ll be interesting to see how much demand there is for longer dated debt today. Away from that, the data docket today contains France wage data and IP this morning followed by initial jobless claims and the October Monthly Budget Statement across the pond this afternoon. The Fed’s Bullard and Lacker will also speak today.
US Event Calendar
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
To expand further on what I was discussing in yesterday's EMR after Trump and the Republican's clean electoral sweep, I must say that this is the most positive I've felt on the medium-term prospects for US growth for perhaps a decade. As a 'secular stagnationist' this is as much a relative and a nominal GDP story as it is an absolute and real GDP view but at least we'll likely to see a change in policy. Policy should now be skewed towards reflation at a fiscal level. However as a caveat the outcome is probably also potentially dangerous for growth as a Trump presidency has more risk of going spectacularly wrong than most others given his inconsistent approach to policy in the lead up to the election and his total lack of political experience. There was a great quote on Bloomberg last night from Sarah Binder - a political science professor at George Washington University - who said that "In every conversation I have about a President Trump there is an asterisk of unpredictability". This certainly rings true.
There are still some doubts as to whether he has his party fully behind him although the clean sweep may mean Republicans are happy to loosen the purse strings now they are in full control (and can get the credit) regardless of any doubts over Trump. The other problem with Trump are his international views (migration, trade) and we stand by our September long-term study view that Globalisation is going to be in full retreat over the years ahead which has longer-term global growth and stability risks. The link to "An Ever Changing World" where we articulated our view of the turn in the super cycle meaning higher yields, higher inflation, more fiscal spending and less globalisation is at the end of today's piece. Back to Trump, he also has non-economic policies that could be divisive if he follows through on his campaign rhetoric. So a leap into the unknown in some respects.
However if your view has been that constant monetary easing without support from fiscal policy was becoming counterproductive at a global level, then you have to take Trump and the Republicans seriously whatever your view(s) on him/them. I would stress that Trump will likely need the Fed over the years ahead though and he's not been their biggest fan. A persistent unfunded fiscal deficit could push yields up to levels that the debt ladened global economy would find overly negative. For expansionary fiscal policy to work in a world of heavy debt I do think you need a central bank willing or forced to buy government bonds. If not what's the incentive for the bond market to buy into an unfunded reflation boost. So we could see a strange situation in 2017 where the US is pursuing big expansionary fiscal policy but with no QE whereas Europe will continue to do big QE but without notable fiscal expansion. So yesterday's 20.2bp sell-off in 10 year Treasuries (a stunning 34.6bps from the Asian session lows) is one to watch and could be something the Republican's need to bare in mind if they go for broke on stimulus. What the Fed looks like in 18 months is also a big question. The Republicans and Trump have been very keen to clip their wings and the spectre of them becoming less independent - perhaps after Yellen's term ends in 2018 - must surely be a possibility.
Anyway we are writing our 2017 outlook at the moment and obviously this result is making us stress test our views for the next year or so. Any thoughts welcome from our readers on what this victory means. We reserve the right to change our mind on things by the time the outlook is out but this certainly shakes things up for 2017!
We discussed yesterday that we thought the result would initially bring risk-off followed by a reversal as the positive fiscal prospects would come into view. I'm not sure we thought such a turnaround would happen in hours rather than days or weeks but the low/high range yesterday was astonishing for a number of assets. Trump's conciliatory acceptance speech was probably the main catalyst. Let’s start with the aforementioned move for Treasuries where the high-to-low move was actually an incredible 37.4bps at the 10y and which took the yield back above 2% (closing at 2.057%) for the first time since January. That daily range is the highest since August 2011 although if we look at the magnitude of the selloff in percentage terms (10.91%) then it is actually the second highest with data going back to 1966. In another eye-watering stat, yesterday’s high to low range in basis points was 20bps more than the daily high-to-low range for the whole of the month of August. Volatility at its finest.
Staying with rates, the Treasury curve steepened aggressively with the 2y30y spread widening 19.5bps to 195bps with that one day move the biggest since 2011. The probability of a December Fed rate hike at one stage plummeted below 50% during Asia time before bouncing back and making an almost complete u-turn to close at 82%. In Europe the moves for sovereign bond markets, while still weaker, were slightly less spectacular. 10y Bund yields hit an intraday low of 0.090% in the early showing before closing at their highs in yield at around 0.200%. That was a 1.5bp move higher on the day, but a high-to-low range of 11bps.
Over in equity markets the incredible turnaround was more evident in the US futures market given Trump fears peaked early in the Asia session. Dow futures swung in a 1,172 point range after initially plummeting 867 points before then swinging to a 305 point gain. That’s the equivalent of a 6.82% high to low range. In the cash market the Dow closed up +1.40% after being down as much as half a percent initially. The high-to-low was 2.18%. The S&P 500 closed +1.11% with a high-to-low of 2.10% but this was -5% and limit down in Asian trading. Sector wise, the prospect of looser regulation meant financials (+4.07%) and healthcare (+3.43%) were the big outperformers. In fact, the Nasdaq Biotech index rallied +8.98% for its biggest once day gain since 2008. There’s going to be huge focus on the healthcare sector now given Trump’s vocal opposition of Obamacare and our US equity strategists are calling for +20% upside for the sector. Meanwhile the VIX tumbled just over 23% and back below 15, with a high-to-low range of 33%. Over in Europe the Stoxx 600 closed +1.46%, again however with a remarkable 3.91% range.
Credit was much the same. In the US CDX IG finished 1.3bps tighter on the day but in a near 6bp range. HY was even more impressive with the CDX HY spread 5bps tighter by the close but the high-to-low a spectacular 28bps. In Europe indices ended little changed with Main swinging in a 5bps range Xover swinging in a 20bp range.
The other markets to highlight were commodities and currencies. Gold, having smashed through $1300/oz and trading as high as +4.73% early on, closed just +0.18% but with a range of 5.45%. WTI Oil finished +0.64% but in Dollar terms swung in a $3/bbl range. Finally in currency markets the standout was the Mexican Peso which at one stage was -13.37% weaker, before paring losses to ‘just’ -8.30%. The Swiss Franc finished -0.67% weaker with a range of a little over 3% while the Yen was -0.48% on the day in a range nearing 5%.
So if that hasn’t caused your eyes to bulge just yet, then this morning we’re seeing a similar rebound across markets in Asia. The Nikkei (+5.86%) has more than recovered Wednesday’s losses while the Hang Seng (+1.92%), Shanghai Comp (+1.14%), Kospi (+1.70%) and ASX (+2.81%) have all surged back. Credit markets have made a similar turnaround while US equity index futures are little changed in the early going. In commodity markets the surge in metals has stood out with Copper, Zinc and Aluminium up between 3% and 5%. Iron ore is also above $70/tn for the first time since April. Needless to say miners have had a very strong morning. The infrastructure story is kicking in. Elsewhere the San Francisco Fed’s Williams opined overnight that a gradual rate of rate increases still makes sense, a view that is unchanged post election.
Meanwhile, away from the market moves, the remaining newsflow has been largely consigned to watching the political response globally. With trade negotiations at the forefront of debate now, Canada Ambassador David MacNaughton said that Canada is willing to entertain reopening the NAFTA agreement to potential changes should the President-elect want to. The Ambassador also suggested that he expects bilateral trade between the two countries to remain strong. Meanwhile Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto said that ‘this election opens a new chapter in relations between Mexico and the US that will imply a change, a challenge but also a big opportunity’.
Unsurprisingly though it was the global populist movements that rejoiced in Trump’s victory. In France the leader of the right-wing National Front party, Marine Le Pen, said that ‘French people who hold this freedom so dearly will find an extra reason to break with a system that shackles them’. The founder of the populist 5SM in Italy also highlighted similarities between the result and movements in Italy. Austrian Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache was similarly jubilant while Russia President Putin said that ‘Russia is ready and wants to restore fully fledged relations with the US’ and that ‘this would serve the interests of the Russian and American peoples, as well as positively impacting the general climate in international affairs’.
Wrapping up yesterday, it would be an understatement to say that the data played second fiddle yesterday but for completeness, in the US we learned that wholesale inventories rose a slightly less than expected +0.1% mom (vs.+0.2% expected) in September. Wholesale trade sales also rose less than expected (+0.2% mom vs. +0.5% expected) while the Atlanta Fed held their Q4 GDP forecast at 3.1% following that data. In Europe the Bank of France business sentiment reading for October was unchanged at 99. Finally in the UK the trade balance widened further in September. The European Commission also released their latest economic forecasts, cutting Euro area growth expectations to 1.5% in 2017 from the earlier 1.8% forecast.
So while today’s diary does contain some economic reports, the likelihood is that markets will continue to respond to the Election result. One event worth highlighting though and which could be interesting now is the scheduled 30y Treasury auction this evening. In the midst of the hugely volatile moves yesterday, the 10y auction was reported as the weakest, based on the bid to cover ratio of 2.22, since March 2009. So it’ll be interesting to see how much demand there is for longer dated debt today. Away from that, the data docket today contains France wage data and IP this morning followed by initial jobless claims and the October Monthly Budget Statement across the pond this afternoon. The Fed’s Bullard and Lacker will also speak today.
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[Table] IAmA Goldman Sachs Investment Banker AMAA

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Date: 2013-01-12
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Questions Answers
I have a good friend who is a VP at your firm . They blamed the entire Financial crisis on ' poor people who could not afford their mortgages ' they said this was pretty much he opinion among the investment banks . How do you feel about what happened to Greece and Goldmans hand in it ? That is not true. Opinion is very much split within the investment banks and there is no right or wrong answer. I personally don't believe at all that the crisis was caused by 'poor people' - and I don't like that sort of categorization of people in the first place. There are perhaps 15/20 different institutions you could blame for the crisis, there's no way of isolating individuals. I'm not sure what exactly you think GS's hand in the Greece affair was. Of course it's a sad story and I feel remorseful - I recently donated £50,000 at a charity ball to help rebuild one of the islands which has almost been burned to the ground. But ultimately Greece employed GS at the time because they wanted to fudge their finances so as to meet entry requirements for the Euro i.e. the greek government was knowingly employing GS to help perform an extremely risky task - GS didn't force anything upon them. If the experiment explodes 10 years later (as it did), should GS really be the party to blame?
The next day, you are flipping through television channels and randomly come across a pre-season CFL game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Knowing your inevitable future, do you now watch it? Yes of course i fucking do. The future is inevitable. Chuck Klosterman i like your name.
I love seeing the ignorance that emerges in these AMA's relating to investment bankers. I am really interested in a career in either IB or Consulting, have a few questions for you. Thank you to fletch below for answering this question.
1) How did you cope with the hours? I like working hard, I like working for my money but I also like enjoying free time and having a social life. When working a 100 hours as an analyst that would certainly have to suffer 2)What were you academic results like through your degree? I'm currently in my second year and will be realistically looking at 2.2, 2.2, 2.1 and 2.1 (years 1-4). This summer I'd hope to get an accountancy internship in one of the big 4 followed by an internship next year in one of the large IBs. I know there's more to a candidate than solely their academic credentials + internship but would this stand me well for a BB in London? (Top Irish university, undergrad will be in Business and French) 3) What is it that makes you enjoy this job? I know the paycheck is certainly a bonus but you've said there's more to it than that? Whatever your breakdown between modules is, you need a 2.1 overall. Even if your average is 60% or 61%, that's enough to get you past the minimum requirements and through to interviews. After that it's up to you - they'll take someone with a good business mind and strong communications skills irrespective of whether they average 60 or 78 or 92. I disagree with him. My job is extremely rewarding and i wouldn't swap it for any other industry at the moment. If you want evidence of people enjoying their jobs look at the number of years they spend at their respective firms. Most of the partners at GS are 'home-grown' and have spent 20/30 years sweating away but don't regret it for a second.
Do you realize that in countries like Spain you're seen as an evil person that only wants to get profit and don't have any soul or feelings and probably kicks puppies for fun? If so, how do you feel about it? Yes and understand their anger but it should be re-directed to politicians!
Proof? and of course... how much did you make in 2012 approximately? Approx 600k. How do upload proof e.g. photo evidence?
Sorry, new to reddit!
Do you have free ticket for me? Always looking for handouts. What is it young people say, lolz??
I'm very curious of your opinion of Secretary Geithner's role in LIBOR. Do you think he was guilty? innocent? Thanks! LIBOR scandal is way too complicated to explain at 2.30 am after a few beers. Many active players are implicated and i think he will be seen in the wrong eventually like many others.
What hours do you work? Approx 80 hours a week not incl. flight time I go to festivals in Europe but would love to go it. Do you have free ticket for me?
If the concept and idea of a monetary system was replaced with something better (hypothetically) what would you do? As in for a career or what not since now you are jobless. Resources will always be scarce so someone will have to ensure an optimal allocation. There will always be a market of some kind whether it be a public market or an internal government one.
Hypothetically we could have unlimited power, molecular production, and master matteenergy conversion. Would that change your answer? Good interview question. I'll keep it in mind.
In your view, are there any regulations that could meaningfully alter the moral hazard typified by the 2008-2009 bailout of the financial sector? If so, what might they be? And if not, to what extent does regulatory capture play a role? Regulatory capture is a seriously problem not just in banking e.g. also in the energy business. How do you reduce it? It won't happen unless the public demand it, as everyone with power tends to benefit from it and so they won't make meaningful steps to change anything, i.e. its a win win situation for government and business. However it needs more than just 'occupy movements' but rather i am talking the mass voter population.
Have you seen @gselevator on twitter? if so have you ever contributed/is it legit? Haha yes i have seen it and no its not legit, well at least i think its not. Seriously though the elevator chats can be quite entertaining and revealing.
Do you use a mouse when you work on excel? Are you joking?
In your opinion, do you think the money you make is worth the hell that you go through to make it? I love my job and so i am lucky that the money is not the only motivator.
But yes i love checking my bank balance at an atm.
How can i break into finance with a sub-par gpa? Network and try non BB firms.
A company founded by 100 duck sized horses. or A company founded by 1 horse sized duck? 100 duck sized horses every time. Basic risk management theory - don't put all your eggs in one basket. If that 1 horse sized duck isn't exceptional, your business is going down the tubes.
Prior to the collapse, did you have any idea what was about to happen? It was getting obvious that there was a bubble, but never predicted how great the fallout would be and that in 2013 we would still be suffering
What do you do day to day? I work in the energy field in Europe but don't want to get too specific. Day to day we advise natural resource companies on all things financial such as m&a and financing strategy and then execute on their behalf. So I am on the corporate finance side rather than sales and trading. However I work closely with the syndication and sales guys such as if we are executing an IPO or a follow-on share offering.
I have a buddy who's small but established clean tech company needs money building biodiesel manufacturing plants around the US that run off garbage and wood chips. The technology is actually coming from a company based in Sweden. Can you help him on the money side? Send me a link to their website.
I find clean tech very interesting.
How did you get your job? Did a summer internship then got FT conversion.
What college did you go to? I went to LSE (university in the UK)
What jobs did you work before getting this one? Did another internship whilst at university at an oil company.
At what age did you get this job? 22.
I hear the GS company culture is like " a frat on steriods" true or false? False more than true but depends on team.
Is it as cut throat as I have heard with the bottom 50% of people getting sacked each year to make way for new guys who will probably be sacked the year after? Bottom 5% is more accurate. 7-8% in a bad year, 3-4% in a good year. It's a fine line between 'cut throat' and having a 'healthy competitive atmosphere'. But we'd be out of business very quickly if we kept firing half of our staff every year...
Is there any stock I should look into in 2013? Long term or short term. Short term- African Barrick Gold. The chinese walked away and so the share price plunged and despite serious operational issues, the massive drop has presented a golden buying opportunity.
Long term- anything to avoid inflation, inflation scares the crap out of me and is going to be a big problem in the Uk and elsewhere in the future.
Also buy into soft commodity boom e.g. meat in africa, think zambeef etc if you can find an attractive entry point.
What's the best preparation for an interview with an i-bank? I'm over here in the states and come from a non-target. Read WSO, the forums are full of useful hints and tips especially for non target guys. Depending on what area you are applying for, make sure you know some really good examples and stock pitches as it is amazing how many candidates lack knowledge e.g. if applying for ECM for god sakes know some of the recent IPO's and likewise for equity research have good stock pitches and have conviction when presenting. Best of luck!
How important is your undergrad majogpa I'm double majoring in Econ/Conflict resolution studies with a possible minor in poly sci (depending on how the credits work out) I got a 3.9 gpa last semester but it only brought my overall gpa to a 2.4 because fuck klonopin. I should have at least a 3.0 by graduation, but I'm wondering its worth it to pay for and retake my first semester. Can I have $373 dollars? :D :D I promise only to get moderately drunk with this money. Sorry, a lot of questions, thanks for answering. Oh also, one last thing, all else being equal, is calc I enough math to apply for analyst job? or do I need more? Undergrad course choice is not that important for IBD but obviously for more quant roles you need maths skills Again i am sorry but i am not very clued up on GPA Ok i give you money but first you have to register yourself as a charity so that you can gift aid it and get much more!
Where did you go to college? LSE.
As an undergrad? How hard was it? I hear it's very difficult. Yes, undergrad.
Harder than most places depending on your course. Especially as you are competing with loads of kids from Asia who do extra calculus to relax.
How do you see regulation affecting the overall banking culture? Everything I have been reading and what people have been saying is that the culture is changing. Have you been seeing this? I recommend reading "The Culture of Success" by Lisa Endlich.
Also how do you like the goldman culture? Regulation is hurting us...but: Link to
How much total did you make in each of your years at the firm? I don't want to get into specifics.
But for your first three years as an analyst roughly 50k-70k (£ not $)
As an associate 120k-160k.
After that the numbers get exciting.
What tools do you use on a regular basis? Excel, Outlook, Excel, Outlook, Excel, Outlook...powerpoint.
What is the biggest reward of working in IB? Where I study, students with high grades are pushed to chase the prestigious internships firms like GS, MS, etc offer. Their reasoning why they chase these jobs is that they think it is the highest (prestige) in finance they can go or are attracted by the money. It seems shallow to me. What does IB offer that makes your career personally fulfilling? Why didn't you choose to work elsewhere? I find what i do at the front end of the energy sector fascinating. If your interested in business or globalisation or other similiar areas then IBD is pretty much at the cutting edge of it.
Thanks for the reply! When you were first starting out at GS, were you able to balance a personal life aside from your work? Has it gotten easier as you have gained more experience? Would you recommend IB as a field to pursue to your own children today? Thanks again! I'd say during my first 3 years as an analyst the 'balance' was almost non-existent i.e. i was regularly working 100+ hours/week. Since then it's become easier year by year and i think that's true for most. And yes certainly i would encourage my children to pursue it - not that i have any yet.
Where did you go to uni what was your gpa? how many physics majors work their? did you start off as an intern? sorry for rapid firing questions. LSE (london school of economics) - first class honours but don't know how that translates into GPA.
I know only 3/4 physics majors in the office at the moment.
Yes started as an intern.
Do banker run the world? how much political influence do they really have? It works two ways. Some bankers have their fingers in politics in a way they perhaps shouldn't. But equally many politicians have their fingers in banking and can force our hands.
How hard is it for a non ivy leager studying finance to get an entry level job at GS? what about internships? Tough. But with enough internship experience beforehand it's possible.
What do you think of Forex? Would you ever trade on it with your personal money? Difficult to answer - you can trade forex in a million different ways - some ways are more interesting than others. I don't personally trade it, but others forge a very successful career out of it.
What was your bets investment in? (If that's how it works) That's not really my role in IBD.
But outside GS I invested in the Shanghai property market a decade ago or so. My 4 flats there are now worth 10-12 times what they were worth then.
WTF caused the 2010 flash crash? Good question. Nobody knows for sure.
From the link you've provided, I find no.2 the most plausible explanation. But I would also add 6. UBS did something stupid again.
As hardcore capitalists what is your feeling about (management of) banks that seem to live under the impression that profits are for a happy few while losses should be carried by tax-payers? That's not what I believe at all.
And by the way all of us are tax payers too. The top 5% contribute approx. 50% of the government's taxation revenue. So if losses are being 'carried by tax-payers' - that doesn't exclude people in the banking industry by any means.
Matt Levin at Dealbreaker (former GS guy) describes Investment Bankers as "Travelling money salesmen". Do you feel that this description is apt? The operative word in your question is 'former'
Do you think that's how he described investment bankers whilst he was still with the firm?
People tend to get very bitter and sensitive after they get fired. See Gregg Smith for further evidence..
Is an MBA necessary to be competitive when looking for a job or is a B. Comm enough to compete with others when looking for jobs in the industry? Depends on what entry point - if you do an mba then you apply for associate entry whereas b.comm is an undergrad degree and so you apply for analyst roles. If you do a b.comm at a top university/college and get some internships then you should be well placed. Good luck!
Do any of your co-workers frequent Reddit? I imagine less than 0.1%.
Then again 2 people on this feed at least have claimed to be my co-workers, so who knows...
Since you're new to Reddit, what made you want to do an ama here? I'd like to alter the public perception of bankers - not all of us are the obnoxious greedy individuals you read about in the media.
I'm also extremely interested in hearing what non-finance people see as our key economic issues at the moment - this seemed a good way to find out.
Proof? How do i upload photos? i will upload photo proof. Sorry not very experienced with reddit!
I am a senior in high school and I am interested in majoring in either accounting or finance, but I don't think I know enough about either career path to make the best decision, can you explain the large differences the two paths I would go down depending on major, or any advice that may influence my decision that I would not know at this point? What you choose to study doesn't necessarily determine the industry you'll end up in. We have guys in the office who studied history, languages, even medicine. Just go for what interests you the most and focus on getting high marks.
Curious as to what kind of degree you hold/what was your GPA in college? BSc. Economics degree from LSE. First class honours, don't know about gpa
I used to work for the swiss banks and swiss stock market indirectly, and have a few friends in the banking business, including GS and Nakamura in London. What is your personall opinion on prostitution, cocaine, and medication misusage in your business? Also, also what is your stance on GS' questionable involvment in With regards to, the guys on the deal did not do their KYC checks properly. KYC checks are crucial for banks- your reputation and future success is more important than any single customer. Look up riggs bank and the Obiang family and then you'll see!
Possible. But realistically those kind of excuses are given no matter what really happened. For a company as big and powerful as GS I can only take it with a grain of salt. Are you content in the way GS does business from a moral point of view? It's either a pinch of salt, or a grain of sand...
Thanks. I'm not a native english speaker and have not used it regularly for years, so it's gotten pretty shit. Any chance you answer the other questions? Yes, apologies. I think some of our deals have been morally reprehensible in the past. The same goes for any major investment bank. But i think we've done a very good job in 'cleaning up our act' over the past few years and the public has played a large part in that. With any luck we will see a much healthier banking industry soon.
How accurate is what is said on the Twitter handle @GSElevator? It's grossly exaggerated, but not entirely inaccurate...
You guys got trolled hard. A GS IBD guy not knowing how to upload something to the internet? Seriously wtf. Probably some guy from wso who wanted to feel like he was "in". Link to Just doing some work now! Link to In case you wondered what Lloyd's signature looked like.
Is there anyway you can help me out, connections or anything, someone I should talk to to get a interview? Can you interview me, I shall forward you my resume! Private message me and we will discuss. Sure i can help you out. I know how tough it is for you guys who are trying to get in!
Any thoughts on the MSI/SSG mini-scandal this week? Yes but won't comment.
Very hush hush.
I also work for GS. Which building are you in? I'm based in PBC. Also IBD, North. Would do an AMA and provide proof. I'm in PBC too, moved from RC quite a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly what sort of proof i'm supposed to provide...?
Would you say you were groomed for this kind of work from a young age? LSE is an elite school. Did you go to elite private schools growing up or were you an exceptional student at a normal school? Yes, Jimmy groomed me from four years old
Do you like your job, or should i say career? Yes. If i did not then i would go and sail around the world again.
From your experience, how relevant is CFA nowdays? Definitely worth doing.
How large was your Xmas bonus and did it get taxed over 50%? See below - total comp was c.600k and yes taxed above 50%
You said in other replies that you were 22 when you got this job and make 600K now. How old are you now, and how long did it take you to get the that salary level? Is it all commission? Was analyst at 22 and then moved up the ranks. Just turned 30, feeling old now!.
Can you give some insight on the business model of Investment banking? (I have no clue to be honest) . And what does a portfolio manager do exactly? Portfolio manager is not IBD. He/she would work in investment management e.g. for blackrock or GSAM or a hedge fund.
I'm currently writing a thesis on the future of rentierism in the gulf with an emphasis on Saudi Arabia. I don't have much of an economic background apart from this, but the international energy market is obviously important to my research. Can you recommend any good (preferably free or low cost) primers and newsletters on the subject? Hmm there are many on energy market but not too sure about rentier specific ones. Will have a think. I did my university thesis on Saudi and so will have a dig around.
How do you live with yourself? Knowing that the company that you work for doesn't give a fuck about you or anybody. All they care about is money. They have ruined america many times over. Seriously, how do you live with yourself? Actually our business is dependent on America and more importantly the rest of the world's prosperity. So actually our interests are nicely aligned.
Link to Seems to me like your bosses and former bosses don't give a flying fuck about anyone but themselves. Can you name one good thing Sachs has done since you have been there? I think you meant 'don't give a flying fuck" in your comment.
Do you happen to work with quantitative analysts? Depends which deal we are working on. Sometimes we need them, other times we don't.
What's your retirement savings invested in? Property (international and uk), shares mainly through tax efficient ways e.g. isa and EIS, pensions and artwork.
No swiss bank account i am afraid.
"The first thing you'll realize is that they are extremely disciplined. You would never come across a Goldman employee, who would, after two or three beers, say "My colleagues are a bunch of dickheads" From Money and Power William D Cohan. What do you have to say about this? I agree with it.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in going into finance and is currently in university. What would you have liked to do in your time spent at LSE now looking back? Party more! You only live once. You can have that advice for free.
Thanks for the AMA. Do you know anybody I could speak with regarding interviewing and internship opportunities? Private message me.
Doing an AMAA are you putting your job at risk for releasing company secrets/opinions whatever? I've not released a single company secret.
Edit: added an A to AMA. There's nothing in my contract to say I can't express my own opinions.
What do the hopes and dreams of Americans taste like? Raspberry sorbet, in my opinion
What is your feeling on the separation of traditional banking and investment banking as is proposed by the FSA? I think overall it's sensible - Barclays being the best example of why they should be separated.
At GS specifically of course we're not involved in traditional retail banking at all so it's not the most pressing issue for us at the moment.
You mentioned 80 hour work weeks. Could you explain the timeline for your typical work day. Do you work 7 days per week? Is your work more project based where you go non stop and have some time off between projects? There's no typical working day - some days are 18 hours and others are 12. Depends entirely what stage of a deal we are at. Generally I work 5/6 days a week, but keep in email contact with the office 24/7.
Yes, entirely project based. But if we are doing our jobs properly there's not much 'time off' in between.
I'm currently on target for a 2:1 or a first at university in my economics degree. But due to a slight hiccup in my a-levels, in which i got A* A C, still managed to go to a top 10 university but do they look at the C, which was in maths. Your university grades are definitely more important. If you do well in a mathematical module at uni that will allay any fears they have about an A-level grade.
Do they look at a-level grades and expect a minimum maths grade? I'm not bad at maths by any means, just an unfortunate anomaly in the exam season. Which uni are you at and what do you study?
Manchester and economics BA - but i have econometric modules and another mathematical module for 2nd year. Any chance of switching it to a BSc? Immediately reassures employers about your quantitative skills..
Hello there, first of all I want to thank you for doing this AMA. I am a dutch college student and currently I'm writing an essay about the BRIC countries. I used your book to write down predictions of their economic future, and I'd like to ask: did you participate in writing that book? Are you referring to Jim O'Neill's book? I have a copy on my desk, but no I wasn't involved in writing it.
What do the guys at GS think about @gselevator? See same q&a earlier on!
How often do interns get recommended to come back? In a good year, approx. 50% of an intern class will get hired.
In a bad year (2008 for example) perhaps only 10% or 20%
Any opinion on Nautilus Minerals? Can't comment on that company i am afraid.
How do you feel about manipulating the currency markets to screw over the average retail trader? I don't know what you are talking about.
Have you ever seen American Psycho? Yes.
I am going to copy and paste this in an email and send it around my team. You will famous at the firm, well at least in my team in london anyway! Yes of course i fucking do. The future is inevitable. Chuck Klosterman i like your name. That would also be an awesome interview question! And i give them 5 secs to answer.
I highly doubt GS interns work for free. I've almost never heard of an internship in finance that didn't pay -- most firms I've encountered usually pay the same base wage as the first year full timer positions you are interning for. Interns in front office at GS in london get circa £42k pro rata. So not bad for a summer job and remember no tax as they are below threshold across the year!
Gold Mansachs. Not sure about that one.
I prefer Goldman Snachs, the name of our canteen.
Yes, Jimmy groomed me from four years old But yes went to a private boarding school before. Widening the diversity of applicants in IB is a key target for HCM.
What is the future of investment banking in a new world order where both governments and the people are fed up with the excesses that led us into this credit crisis. The industry is always evolving, that's what makes it an exciting industry to be in. I imagine it will take us a good few years to fully regain the trust of certain clients, but ultimately if this whole saga causes us to readdress our methods and practices to improve our service then in the long run it's a positive outcome.
PS. Do you not think people should be fed up with the governments too, as well as the banks?
Not OP but I can answer this as a 2012 intern who got converted for Programming. A Math degree is a good +. There are 2 ways. Either join in as a programmer, show your merit and change departments, ie move to Quant side. Other option is to get a MBA, and join the I-Banking dept you want. What's your name?
Do you have any books or resources you'd recommend the layman for learning investment skills (i.e. the wealthy barber) I ask because i feel there is a lot of crap out there and would like to genuinely learn. I have never heard of the wealthy barber.
Last updated: 2013-01-16 15:54 UTC
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[Table] IAmA: I am Grayson Bain, founder of Rocky Mountain Bicycles, and more recently JusTea: A Canadian-Kenyan tea partnership. Ask me almost anything!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-06-14
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Kind of off topic, did you ever get made fun of for your first name when you where a kid? My first name is Grayson too and it was such a pain growing up. I've yet to meet another, but I hear about them a few times a year. Also, ordering anythere where they take your name. "Jason? Drayson? Creyson?" My name has totally messed me up, when i was young, i got called Gracie. But it is a name to remember, even though as a family name I often get called Mr Grayson. By the way, my wife's name is Grace. How did your parents find your name?
Whats your favorite kind of tea? favorite professional mountain biker and favorite trail? ever get into any other cycling discipline like road or cross? My favorite tea is the Kenyan Chai that is brewed for me at the farms we visit. It uses unpasteurized cow milk, and leaves this wonderful skim on top of the mug. As far as a mountain biker, Brett Tippie is pretty cool. I mostly ride road now, the trails on Mt. Fromme in North Vancouver are great!
How did you end up starting the relationship with the kenyan farmers? how did the idea for this venture come about? Did you have the idea and then find a tea farm for it, or vice versa/some mix of? Most ideas start with a relationship. I was on a trip to Kenya in 2012 with some friends. We randomly met a tea farmer, Davison, in a market. He invited us to come visit his farm. We thought we would just come see the place for an hour or two, but his story was so captivating and he was such a genuine, friendly person that we stayed for a few days! That visit was the genesis of the idea. When I came back to Canada I dreamed and schemed for a year. In January of this year I went back with my son Paul and nephew Ian and we spent 2 weeks researching the possibility of the idea, and asking tea farmers how they would do it. Now here we are! Its the same way I got into mountain bikes.
How would a budding engineer like myself come to work at somewhere like Rocky Mountain Bicycles? Golf or sailing? Thats got to be one of the most common questions I get. I hired tons, of intern engineers from the three local universities in Vancouver, are you at one of those three?:)
How in the hell did Rocky Mountain score That seems like a goldmine of a URL. Just luck? Nope, no luck. predicted it would be nice to own in about '89 I think. Paid $50 bucks for it.
Also, what are your thoughts on the ever-growing diameter of our stem clamps? Will it stop at 35? SHOULD it have stopped at 25.4? And on stem clamps, I don't know, it's evolved because of liability as well as anything. Fork column to blade to head tube is a tough area to engineer.
Will decent dual suspension bikes ever be made at entry-level-rider friendly prices? Decent assumes you mean, they won't fall apart on the trail, and you want that at walmart pricing, never.
Is this company similar to how the fair trade coffee idea works in Mexico? How will your company hold itself accountable for where the money goes? Fair trade coffee, is good if you know the actual source of the farm. JusTea will tell you, as a tea drinker the farms where your tea is grown and hand-crafted. We call it direct trade, we're trying to eliminate middlemen and connect the drinker with the farmer as directly as possible using social media and our website. As a non-profit our finances will be open to scrutiny.
What is the future, 26, 29 or 650B? While we are on the subject I just can't get into the 29er thing yet. PNW trails are tight and I prefer my smaller wheels. I see where you're coming from, I think it is moving towards bigger wheels. I'm a roadie now so I don't have a personal opinion.
A roadie now..? How 'bout that. As a veteran of the North Shore who is hurtling towards 40, I'm starting to see older riders diversify their interests (the Transition guys doing Traitor Bicycles for example) and in some occasions, hang up their big hit bikes for good. Injury accumulation, mortgages, kids, careers, longer and more painful recovery times and a change in interests seem to claim riders in my age bracket. Is this a familiar story or are you a roadie for other reasons? All true...also on my way to EuroBike Germany I got a head cold and the pressure in the plane busted my eardrum. Reeks havoc on the fine balance needed for tight trails.
Are each of the one-acre farms owned by a separate, independent farmer? If so, what methods are used to ensure that the quality of your teas will remain consistent between the variety of farms with each having a different owne"boss"? Thats a great question! Yes, each farm is an independent family. We're starting the project with just one farm so initially, it won't be an issue. In the future though we want the project to expand to as many farmers as want to take part. We're hoping that eventually, each tea region we are operating in will have a co-operative of a few farms that would hand-craft their tea together using the same methods and equipment. They would share their knowledge and all use the same farming methods to grow their tea. Kenya has a strong tradition of self-governing co-operatives which we are hoping to carry on!
In your intro, you say you started selling bikes for west point cycles, then you bought it. That's quite a leap, and one that I hear often from entrepreneurs telling their stories. To me that would be the most interesting part to hear. Did you scrap and save for 9 years then use that money to secure a loan? Was the previous owner your uncle, and he wanted to keep it in the family? Did you hit the powerball and buy it because you thought you could make it better? How did it happen? Scraping and saving, it was 8 years actually. Then I bought 50 percent -- from my Dad. I secured a Royal Bank loan on equity from the store. Prime + 2 - which was 22 percent/ year.
Hello Grayson, I am also Grayson from Vancouver(born and raised). I thought I was the only one. It feels good to know there is another Grayson in Vancouver. How do you feel about being slightly less unique? It makes me feel slightly less autonomous. How about you? I don't believe you exist! I am the only Grayson in Vancouver, so you ...if you exist HAVE to move!
1) Do you plan operating on a contract model with the farmers you source from? If so do you have mechanisms for enforcing this model? Is side-selling an issue? 2) Are you working with any NGOs/development agencies (ACDI/VOCA, Technoserve, etc)? 3) How do you handle payments to the farmers and quality control? eg, do you pay farmers on the spot for their leaves, or is payment deferred a few weeks so you can assess quality? Do you pay farmers in cash or are you using something like M-Pesa? 4) Do you plan on collecting the tea directly from the farmers, or are you setting up more centralized collection points based on farmer density or co-op location? Best of luck! Edit: One more question that just came to me: Why did you decide to go the non-profit route as opposed to for-profit (or some sort of hybrid model, I forgot what the Canadian equivalent of the B-Corp is)? OK, you are cool, I want to meet you...Skype? 1) Yes, it will be contractual. Enforcement of the arrangement is somewhat a moot point...we won't buy the tea if it is not made according to our templated process. As far as side-selling, we will not want it to happen, but we are most interested in breaking down the present monopoly. So if we are getting sufficient supply, we will all co-exist. This is a joint problem, not just "jusTea" We have our partners, nationals that have a separate company set up in Nairobi. They are the key to our success. 2)We're looking into working with an organization called the CPDA which was done a lot of work with tea farmers. 3)Good Q's - Please get on board and you can help the Kenyan partners answer this! On cash vs. M-Pesa - They have thought of both...unsure. 4)Centralized collection points, they will weigh it as it arrives. Only 3-4 farms per processing centre. VERY minimal capital output for the farmer co-op. 5)Non-profits and for profits are close...For Profit raises funds thorugh shareholders and debt. Non Profits tend to operate a flatter org model, but have a tougher time getting capital, since we can't pay out dividends. WHY choose a non profit? I wanted to try a model of co-created crowd sourced volunteer run organization. So far it'sa huge exciting challenge. and lastly, I'm always trying to stay conscious of the fact that we mzungu's think we have some idea of what to do when we enter Kenya business. We are going to keep a healthy distance and let the Kenyans be the heroes.
Any details on the prototype Flatline which has been appearing all over whistler recently? And thanks for making awesome bikes, I've been racing 4X on my Flow and just picked up a Slayer 70 frame! You know more than I do! The first to find out are usually the Germans, watch the press there, their trade show is usually the earliest.
Thanks for doing an AMA! I'm currently an undergraduate student and want to get a job in the cycling industry when I graduate. (I'm majoring in Apparel Merchandising & Design) I'm also a web/graphic designer by trade. What does your marketing/design/branding department look like for Rocky Mountain? Do you have any tips or recommended skills to get into one of those positions? I sold Rocky, but try sending your resume in to the HR department. People who have worked there, have often started out as free interns and then landed a job.
How much did you sell Rocky Mountian for? How much did race face cost you? The price I sold Rocky for ...was undervalued because I had big problems 2 years prior with FX and A/R. (if you don't know those abbreviations- you should't have asked the question) RaceFace cost me cash for R&D intially. But it was birthd around the trials and milling machines by Rocky riders - especially Bryn Johnson.
Why tea? I thought tea consumption was decreasing, and why did you think it wise to go into such a market, already dominated by big players? According to the Canadian Food Trends to 2020, a report commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, tea consumption is expected to jump 40% by 2020, as growing consumer interest in health and wellness has lead to increasing awareness of tea’s functional benefits.
Love what you are doing and have been telling many people about your efforts! I can't wait to help you and the farmers. What is the nature of your partnership? I've read it described as a non-profit, so who gets the profits of the tea that is sold and how are funds allocated for your efforts and marketing to get the tea to the customer? I was a founding member of the International Tea Farms Alliance, which operates on a very similar model as yours. Unfortunately the organization had much trouble sustaining because of the inability for the members of the organization to get paid for their time and resources. For this reason I started its for-profit partner; Tealet. How do you plan to sustain and grow your organization? OK you are my friend. Thanks, I am so grateful for your support! 1)What is the nature of your partnership? At the moment there is JusTea, a non-profit in Canada, partnered with a few key contacts in Nairobi. In the future we want to be partnered with a fully autonomous Kenyan Co-op.
2)I've read it described as a non-profit, so who gets the profits of the tea that is sold? When the tea is sold, the profits will be split between JusTea in Canada and the Kenyan co-op. Up until now we have been running almost entirely on a volunteer basis, but this may not be sustainable so we will use some of the profits for workers in Canada, as well as for expenses to sell the tea and market the tea. The rest will go to the Kenyan co-op including funds for expanding to other areas. As we are just starting out I can't break down exactly what percent of profits will go where yet, but in future, once we are established we want to operate with financial transparency.
3)how are funds allocated for your efforts and marketing to get the tea to the customer? A percentage of the profit will go to marketing, promoting, packaging, and sending out tea. I'm sorry I don't really know what you mean by how?
4)How do you plan to sustain and grow your organization? You are way ahead of us (in tea). I could learn a lot, or maybe we could talk about joining in a JV at some level. With my awesome Board and the dedicated vollies, we have lots of strategic ways to make this happen. We want to create a dedicated, engaged community of tea-drinkers in the west, as well as a community of farmers in Kenya. Our big risk is not so much the lack of funds but the lack of market in the West to sell the hand-crafted tea produced.
What do you think of Paul Brodie moving away from FS bikes to HT's? I think his last FS series was built in 2010. Is he trying to focus development into different markets (ie. commuter, road, and XC rather than a full range with DH and AM) Secondly from my understanding sometimes fair trade programs can actually cripple third world farmers because of the "licensing"/"certification" costs for their farm and it only then makes sense for big MNC agri-business (who then buyout the smaller guys) to license and charge the downstream end consumers higher prices. It's good that you're going farmer direct but would problems like the fair trade thing I mentioned above happen or would it be minimized compared to a fair trade program? For more information go to this wikipedia page on Fair Trade Criticisms . If you need more info, feel free to private message me, I have a bit of a background in Economic Geography. Thirdly, as far as teaching farmers to process and prep their tea leaves, you said that you planned on adding more farms and trying to keep the quality the same. I don't know much about tea but could they learn the basics and with time eventually have the knowledgebase built up to be able to create unique "artisan teas" (for larger margins to be able to get out of poverty and make a better living than just making standard black teas for the rest of their lives) that have a minimum quality and experiment with giving their teas unique features (like whisky does with it's different peats and mashes and whatnot giving different qualities to the end product)? 1)It's hard for a small co to keep up with full suspension tech. 2)You're right in your concerns. This is a tricky balance of politics economics and, corruption. The JusTea project won't be fair-trade certified, it also won't charge fees or anything to take part in. It won't affect the other farmers business, because the other farmer's sell their tea leaves before they are processed, to large centralized factories. The factories process it into CTC tea, which is low grade tea-bag tea. These factories operate on such huge volumes, that our production won't affect them or their demand for raw unprocessed tea leaves. 3)The tea we produce will already be a unique hand-crafted artisan whole-leaf tea! Keep in mind that as of now, the farmers don't make tea they simply sell their raw unprocessed leaves, missing out on the value addition. When we expand to more areas it would be awesome to have region specific tea. They definitely won't be 'just making standard black teas for the rest of their lives'. We want them to be in charge as much as possible, choosing and creating packaging options, tea blends etc.
How has nobody asked this yet? What are you currently riding?! Mountain and road. Whats your favorite local track? Just Road - Prestige (Carbon) and a pimped out Sherpa Touring (steel) for winter..
What was in your opinion, the most iconic development in the cycling industry? Also, if you had to ride one brand of bike besides your own, what would you ride? I'm a roadie, I would like a BMC..if not a RMB! What's an iconic development if it is not the 1980's combination of "Mountain" with "Bike"??? (BTW, that was a tradename to start with - MountainBike was owned by Gary Fischer)
Are tea leaves bad to eat on their own? can I eat them after i make tea with them?? I've never tried it, let me know how that works out for you!
What's your favorite business(or business idea) you had that ultimately failed? Building fat-boy electric bicycles. It was fun while it lasted, but it cost me $25 000.
What is your proudest bike/bike product/bike related accomplishment? Hard to narrow down, as some of the people along the way that came through West Point Cycles and then Rocky Mountain are talented, amazing individuals- starting Syncros, Kona, adding to Schwinn, RockShox, SRAM, Norco and many other companies. But just creating 2 companies that have world wide fame - RMB and RF is cool? And the I beam crank, or 1st Cdn built Mountain bike...or...ok, enough bragging.
What period of time while running Rocky Mountain Bikes was your favorite? When did you think you made the best product with what you could do? 1)The Early suspension yrs with creating the Edge. Haha if only we knew back then what we do now re suspended dynamics of rider over bike + big steeps! 2)Ditto - Edge. Also the RF I Beam crank.
Why would you rate Kenyan tea so highly? How does it differ from the rest? I'm not a tea expert, personally I love the way its strong maltyness goes with milk, and especially the Kenyan chai with their unpasteurized milk! But from a tea sommelier's perspective here's a short video of our partner Brendan of tasting and describing our tea! Link to
Will large company tea processers in Kenya give resistance to small farmers processing their own tea? The main players in Kenyan tea deal in such high volumes, that our use of 1 acre, to produce a few hundred kilos of whole-leaf tea will be of no interest to them. They are also focused mostly on producing CTC tea, which is the tea in tea bags. Our whole-leaf tea is more of a specialty tea so we're not really in competition with them.
Ever been to Red Bull Rampage? I know you guys sent a couple people there. [email protected] WhistleBlackcomb not to ride tho (i'm old)
Grayson! A guy I know used to have the distribution for Rocky Mountain in Mexico! Do you know this Victor guy? My real question is, what is the single most important entrepreneurship lesson that you have learned the hard way, after your 20 start ups? Relationships are more important than even the most brilliant idea! Start with a clear Purpose, then love your People ;) then Plan and finally build the Process.
Any advice for a young entrepreneur that's just out of college and ambitious to start a small start up? Don't... Nah i'm kidding. Check out the "Business Model Canvas". Sorry no URL.
What bike are you currently riding the most? What's the one startup that failed that you really,really wanted to be sucessful? 1) It's summer, - Prestige (Carbon) 2)Ha! Ummm I guess there's 2 Revclick, for online kids. And Bluesky for electric bikes.
Do you anticipate starting even more companies in your lifetime, or are you planning on retiring anytime soon? I want to be a coach for others who build business-for-good. I own 3 myself and mentor a dozen or so business leaders. Why retire when this is such a ride!
What are some of your all time favorite bikes? (Road, Mountain, etc.) RMB Turbo - built for me by Bo Juskew. The first RMB XS Speed - weird and wonderfu.
I have not tried your tea, but I plan on it! I like programs like yours that encourage growth in 3rd world areas. Is there any flavor difference to expect? Repost from a similar question above : Personally I love the way its strong maltyness goes with milk, and especially the Kenyan chai with their unpasteurized milk! But from a tea sommelier's perspective here's a short video of our partner Brendan of tasting and describing the tea we are selling in the fundraiser! Link to
Over the years, what have been your favourite bikes (both road and mountain) that you have owned/ridden? The XS Speed ... and the super scooter. Bet you never heard of those...Ha.
How did you get the URL Predicted it would be nice to own in about '89 I think. Paid $50 bucks for it.
No question, just a thank you. I bought one of the last RM7-FR frames available (if I remember correctly) Pic. Thanks for my favorite bike of all time. Super good to hear - wow. Thks
According to the Canadian Food Trends to 2020, a report commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, tea consumption is expected to jump 40% by 2020, as growing consumer interest in health and wellness has lead to increasing awareness of tea’s functional benefits. Whole-leaf tea is especially on the rise, as you can see by Starbucks moving into the market by acquiring Teavana, and chains of tea shops popping up such as David's tea.
Last updated: 2013-06-18 22:09 UTC
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[Table] IamA Guy who quit his job, sold his car, moved out and bought a one-way ticket to Africa. I spent the next year and a half traveling across the entire continent, mostly overland and solo. AMA!

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Date: 2013-08-13
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This all sounds incredibly awesome! The only thing is that any time i hear of someone doing something like this I think "how the hell could they afford it?" Ill take great memories any day over money but I was wondering all in all how much a trip like that set you back? Before leaving, I sold my 07 Subaru Impreza for $13,500, and made another $4,000 or so from selling off things in my home. Plus existing savings (which I was surprised to have, because before this trip I spent six months backpacking in Asia) I left home with a good chunk of cash in the bank.
I set out with two South African guys in a 4x4, however before doing that we had to fix up and outfit the vehicle, which cost a fair amount of money though I'm not sure exactly sure how much now. Before leaving I bought a lot of toys, $800 in scuba gear and another $700 on GoPro camera gear and a new laptop. When we were driving, and that was from South Africa, through Mozambique, Malawi and into Tanzania, we stayed at backpackers places, which meant paying to camp every night (in a tent instead of a room to save money). We cooked a lot, but in that kind of atmosphere it's easy to buy dinner instead, and especially to buy drinks. Before that leg of the journey fell apart, me and one guy paid something like $750 for a five-day safari in Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater‎. Although worth it, it's a lot to spend at once. At one point, a broken laptop forced me to spend another $250 on a new one, so unexpected expenses can come up from time to time.
When that leg of the trip finally ended and I was on my own, things got VASTLY cheaper. I began using Couchsurfing, and in the next 15 months, probably only paid for a place to sleep just over a month. I may have spent less money in the next year than I did in the first three months! People frequently invited me into their homes, gave me places to stay, fed me and gave me whatever else I needed. I always did my best to return the favor.
I'm sorry I don't have an exact figure to give here, but if I had to guess I'd say I spent around $20,000. BUT DON'T LET THAT SCARE YOU AWAY. I did nice things from time to time, I never worried about going out to eat at a decent place on occasion, and I did a few high-ish end tourist activities that add up fast. There were months when I was only spending like $100, and I met people traveling on even less. Often you can get local food for $1-2 a meal, and a room for under $5 depending where you are.
Knowing what I know now, if I had wanted to, I probably could have done and seen 90% of what I did on this trip for a few grand. I met people hitching across Africa and paying nothing. I met people working and making money while traveling, and so on. Travel doesn't have to be expensive, it just depends on what you want to see and what your comfort levels are!
$20,000 ??? jesus christ man.. I've been saving up for a year to 18 months of travel I have $50,000 saved and I wasnt sure that was enough... thank you. Travel is a skill and an ART, the more you do it the better you get at it.
Right now I could probably fly to Africa with $2,000 and spend the next 10 years there if I wanted, although I'd probably have to find a cush job at a resort or something part of the time ;)
For $50,000, you can see the whole world if you do it right!
Oh god...was it an sti? Nah, not an STI... but I loved it.
Link to
I know the AMA is meant to be about your trip to Africa but could you give a little detail on the 6 months in Asia? That's pretty much my dream trip at this point. No problem, dig into a few of my posts and let me know if you have some specific questions. My trip in Asia was originally a 3 week trip, and it is how I fell in love with traveling the world. It was a VERY different kind of trip than Africa, kind of travel 101 and I've grown and changed a lot since then, but I love the place and would recommend it to anyone.
Genocide, Rocket Lanunchers and Buddha: Just Another Day in Cambodia
Rock Climbing on Railay, Does it Get Any Better Than This?
An Indian Wedding!
Life on the Dali Lamas Doorstep
The Unforgettable Everest Base-camp and Gokyo Valley Hike
Did you hook up with any beautiful black women? >As I walked back to find a place to sit and wait, a rather annoying woman came up to me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was looking for the bus and she grabbed my hand and said she would help me. I didn’t really want to be around her but she was very insistent, and I figured what the hell. The bus was supposed to pass in about half an hour, then I could get the cheaper ticket, so she proposed we sit down for a coffee. It was obvious she was just trying to get something from me but I figured I could pay for a 100 franc coffee (15 cents) and maybe she would prove useful. She then began ordering food which I told her I wouldn’t pay for, and kept trying to feed me out of her hand, which honestly was gross. We talked for a few minutes, and eventually I asked her what she did. She mumbled a bit, but said “I’m a prostitute”, which I didn’t catch the first time so she said it two more times, haha. I’m used to African women coming onto me just because I’m a white man, with dollars in their eyes, and I guess on that level it isn’t so different, but this one was just a straight up prostitute. Eventually a man from Jaguar, a different bus company, showed up and even though he was offering a ticket for 6,000 rather than the 5,000 I was hoping for, I took it just to get away from this woman. I paid for the two coffees but refused to pay for the food she had ordered (she walked away from the table without paying for the food she had ordered and eaten part of), then she kept asking me where I was staying. I refused to tell her. I hopped a moto hoping she didn’t have money to get one herself and I could get away, but she hopped on one as well and seemed to be trying to follow me. After a few blocks, her driver was just ahead of mine, so I quickly tapped mine on the shoulder and had him suddenly turn off onto a dirt road before she could see where I’d gone. I paid the driver and made my get away, glad to have escaped from this woman.
From the post: Rwanda Part II: Wonderful Lake Kivu and the journey to Uganda
Edit: a few girls wanted to marry me, one told me I didn't own enough cows though.
I was in Africa the past two months. I can not explain how many times prostitutes approached me and tried to get me to buy them drinks and shizz. Pretty flattering and a great self confidence boost when all the ladies are surrounding you, but got to remember why they're there. $$$ haha. Yep, I was even offered a free one once by a guy promising I could 'be in his music video' but yah, nooo thanks.
I've wanted to do something similar for eons. For now I'm saving up (well, paying off debt from previous travels, then saving up) for the big day. 1) Absolutely a woman can do it in Africa, but you will face more challenges. Every part of Africa I visited was still VERY much male dominated, but as a white foreigner you will almost always be treated far better than they treat the local women. I met a few solo women in Africa, the three that stand out to me were an 18 year old Scottish girl who was maybe 4'11'', and a Japanese girl riding from Nairobi to Cape Town and a woman from Argentina who spent 3 years in Africa. You will have an easier time if you move slowly, such as working/volunteering in a place because then the people will get used to seeing you around, but in truly rural places people are usually just so curious to see a white person that they will help you no matter what. Most of the time they complained about cat calls, or people staring (get used to it, especially if you have blond/long hair) and occasionally men groping them on public buses. There are plenty of horror stories out there, such as the recent acid attack in Zanzibar, but honestly those are pretty rare and Africa is a hell of a lot safer and more friendly than people think it is.
Is something like this feasible for a woman travelling solo? 2) Cycling was AMAZING. My sister did a year long, 15,000 solo around America and I've wanted to do a bike trip ever since. I never planned on it, but when I read the book saying not to cycle across Botswana, I decided to say screw that and go for it. I did it on a one speed bike I bought for $124, did the whole thing in flip flops, and had a wonderful time. I think it's one of the best ways to travel, because there is no barrier between you and the people, which makes a huge difference. I absolutely loved the freedom having a bike gave me.
How did cycling go? I'd love to bike on a trip like this. Were the parts of Africa you visited cycling friendly? Are there maps, or did you stick to roads? Can you even find bike parts in the middle of Malawi?? Africa is not especially cycle friendly, but it's not really unfriendly either. In Botswana, NO ONE cycles, so everyone was amazed to see me, gave me TONS of space on the road, and word of me spread across the country actually. In Zambia on the other hand, locals cycle all the time and cars don't like them. The only rule on roads in most of Africa is the bigger thing has the right of way, so be prepared to MOVE.
Amazing story and pics, and thanks for your input! I stuck to roads, paved most of the time, sometimes dirt. Again, I was on a single speed bike not made for touring. Then again, it would be hard to do anything other than ride paved/dirt roads. Maps were frequently hard to find and locals don't know how to read them, so bring your own from home. Parts are VERY hard to find, with the exception of a few capital cities, so plan on bringing all the important stuff you will need.
What if you were a nonwhite foreigner? Once they hear you speak, the will quickly realize that you are a westerner, and will treat you pretty much the same. As someone else pointed out, people are usually very, very kind.
What was the scariest thing you yourself experienced? I'd love to go to Africa, but as with traveling other places abroad you need to be safe to avoid certain groups/areas, etc. Without doubt, the biggest danger in Africa is traffic. Here is photos of the crash I mentioned in the OP: Link to
What happened was a minibus was driving with a bald tire, it blew out, the driver lost control, turned in front of a dump truck and was t-boned. It killed all 13 people inside, and the road and car were covered in blood. People were screaming, crying and soldiers and police were everywhere.
I've almost crashed on motorcycles dozens of times, either riding myself or as the passenger of a moto taxi. Driving full speed, lane splitting, overloaded bikes, it all happens and every day, every hour, people are dying. The only way to avoid it is to stay off the roads, but to be safest, avoid night buses (I rode them all the time), don't take moto taxies even though sometimes they are only only way through a traffic jammed city, and travel on the biggest buses you can. usually there are good bus companies and bad bus companies, by just looking at the bus it's easy to tell.
Other than that, the most important thing to know about safety in Africa is that crime, like in most of the world, is concentrated in the cities. African cities tend to be pretty slummy places and I'm not a big fan. The most likely problems are pick pocketing, as poor people move into the cities and find no jobs, they need to do something to get by. White people are an obvious target and I had a few attempts but stopped all of them by noticing it start to happen.
One final thing I'll mention is alcohol. It is probably the factor in a majority of violent incidents. Bars, and coming home from a bar are areas/times where you must be on your guard. I was frequently in places where you don't walk alone, even as a man, but taxis are cheap and worth it in those situations. That said, I went out to the dirtiest, most local bars I could find, had wonderful times and never had any serious problems.
Apparently just checking the tire conditions would be a big indicator of whether a company is safety conscious. ABSOLUTELY. I saw fatality crashes in every country I went through, I'd bet a large number of them were from running on bald tires. If I get a chance while answering all the other questions, maybe I'll post an album of crashes.
White people are an obvious target and I had a few attempts but stopped all of them by noticing it start to happen. Often times, people will act as a team, one tries to distract you while the other reaches in our pocket or bag. the attempts are usually pretty obvious.
How did you notice and stop the attempts?? Other times, I simply felt as hand grabbing around, one time in line for a club, I just started shouting at the people behind me and threatened to start kicking asses. Maybe it wasn't the best response, but I didn't have any problems after that!
You mention about the violence and death you experienced while there - did you ever feel personally threatened? Were there any places where your presence was distinctly unwelcome? How did people who were potentially threats to your safety treat you in general? I never felt personally threatened.
I did hear a few stories of people being attacked by a group of guys, but I certainly never had any experiences like that. Usually when I'd show up in a new place, they were usually just too surprised to see a random white guy, one with long hair at that, and I was treated like an honored guest. I walked into local bars and had guys buy me drinks literally all across the continent.
Edit: Also, especially in small towns, everyone knows everything. If someone hurt or robbed me, the whole town would know, and well, they just might beat that person to death... not kidding. I heard a number of stories of foreigners being robbed, then someone from the village returning their possessions once they were found.
As a woman, do you think it would be possible to make this trip alone without being in some sort of danger? Right now feel like I would probably never dare go alone on such a trip, but then again, I don't quite know how women are treated everywhere in Africa. Yes, I think it is possible, this comment starts an interesting discussion on the subject of females traveling in Africa, check it out: Link to
You said you ate elephant. I am curious. How do the people there feel about these and other endangered animals and how passionate can they be about protecting them? I'm not trying to give you a bad time about that. Just want to understand the perspective. That happened on a whim. I was in rural northern Botswana, in an area almost no foreigners go, traveling with my new German friend in his 74 VW. We met a local guy, he invited us to come see his property, we spent the day helping him clear brush and burning it that night and meeting his family. The next morning, he offered us some elephant meat from a recent kill.
It's a bad situation. The animals are being forced onto ever smaller pieces of land, as development and population increases come to Africa. This means people and animals are in each others territory, and guess what? The people have guns, the animals don't. I met a few locals concerned about species loss, but most don't even have the concept in their head. This guy we bought the elephant from, he was talking about some big lizzards that they used to eat, saying "there was plenty!" but that they were all gone. He went on to say it was happening to other species, but seemed to have no understanding of his own role in the situation. The fact is people need food, they eat anything and everything they find, and the results are very predictable.
The elephant we ate was one that was supposedly in someones farm. They are protected there, 'unless they are in someones farm', so we were told. The elephant was shot, the villagers came, took every last piece of it and that was that. It was so tough I wasn't even able to chew it, I had one bite, spit it out and we had to throw the rest away.
Here is a picture of getting the meat: Link to
And you can see the blog post about it here: An Old Volkswagen, A New Country and a House Full of Kids
Ok... I haven't seen it asked, so I'll ask. Why were you shitting blood? Haha, this happened when I was trying to paddle Lake Tanganyika, it was food poising.
>That night it happened (this is going to be a bit nasty, but hey, I gotta tell the truth), the worst food poisoning of my life and actually the first time I’ve even gotten sick in Africa. I’d been struggling to get to sleep and feeling uncomfortable when I began to alternate between shaking and shivering, and sweating and feeling like I was on fire. Waves of pain were rolling through my body from head to toe and I knew I was in a bad state. Really bad. My head was pounding, my mouth was dry, it felt like I was being kicked in the stomach and that I had razor blades in my intestines. I knew my body was going to evacuate itself shortly; I just didn’t know which end it would be coming from and tried to mentally prepare myself to experience the fury from both. Eventually the knots and pain in my stomach told me it was time to force myself to crawl on hands and knees out of my tent and let it rip. I got about 30 feet away before unleashing the most horrid diarrhoea I have ever experienced. I waited, squatting in the sand under the stars, trying to keep myself from falling over due to the pain and let the demons flow out of me in their unholy river. A few hours ago I felt like I was on top of the world, now I was headed somewhere very, very low.
>When round-one finished, I dragged myself back to my tent, laying out tarps inside in case I couldn’t make it out in time during the next round and shit myself then and there. I was in such a bad state that even turning over in my tent from one side to the other was a ten minute mental struggle to force myself to move, followed by intense pain of actually moving, then trying to recover from that slight movement. All this to simply turnover, and I was still crawling out of the tent frequently relieve myself all night, a distance that got closer and closer as the night wore on and I was unable to get any rest. It was going to be a long night.
>Day 5: After a sleepless night, probably what was the worst night of my life, the sun eventually made my tent too hot to stay in and I managed to drag myself into the shade of some bushes along with a piece of canvas to lay on. The pain in my stomach and in my gut was terrible radiating through my whole body. I was for large parts of the day, nearly unconscious, so weak I could hardly move and even so weak I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. At one point I even fell over simply trying to stand up. Despite the pain and exhaustion, I was able to make it to the bush every time to relieve myself (though I never got far) and became a bit horrified when I began to see I was expelling blood along with the horrible bile that was inside me. I felt like I was dying.
>Around 6pm a group of fisherman showed up, mostly just to have a look at the white man on the beach. I was feeling a bit better at this point, but still I wasn’t in much of a condition to be social. I couldn’t ignore their friendliness however, as they quickly pulled my boat up onto the beach and began doing some repairs (cotton stuffing) without my even asking. They then offered to take me out on the lake to go fishing in their boat but again due to my condition had to decline, though I wish I could have said yes. After they had left, the 10 minutes of sitting upright, walking a few meters here and there and forcing a smile left me so exhausted again I collapsed to the ground, happy to have my peace and solitude back.
>Once again I spent the night unable to sleep for a single second, going between lying on the ground in pain and forcing myself to get up and shit my guts out in the sand as I stared at the stars, wishing this would all end.
>Day 6: Two nights in a row without sleep, in addition to the pain and absolute inability to even think about eating. This has never happened to me before and it’s taking a heavy toll. Getting up to relieve myself is such an exhausting experience that the few meter walk leaves me sweating and out of breath for about 10 minutes. All food in my system was expelled long ago and at this point I’m not sure what’s coming out of me at this point, other than to say it’s green, yellow and filled with blood.
>In the early afternoon a young boy and his brother, fishermen, come up to say hello. Again I force myself to be social, hell; I force myself to just stand up. The older of them speaks a little English and we talk for a few minutes. He then gives me a fish he caught as ‘a gift.’ I’m so grateful for the kindness the locals have shown me on my journey thus far I don’t have the heart to tell him I’m far too sick to even think about eating it, but I can’t refuse the fish and he and his brother paddle off.
>That afternoon my spirits were very low, but I could feel myself getting better. I knew the worst was over. At this point I finally decided to take some antibiotics, something I generally try to avoid unless absolutely necessary but it was pretty clear it was necessary. That night I even got a few hours of sleep between getting up to empty my guts, but still probably only clocking about 5 hours. Still, better than 0 the last two nights.
At this point I finally decided to take some antibiotics, something I generally try to avoid unless absolutely necessary. It's not good to take them if you don't need them. I knew it was something that would pass in a day, or a few days, so i waited to see what would happen before taking heavy drugs.
You had antibiotics the whole time?!?! Plus, when your body is emptying itself at that rate, you can't keep meds IN. I had to let it run a bit until I was more stable, otherwise I would have just shit them out as well and it would be a waste.
Sounds like a case of Shigellosis to me. You were lucky to have antibiotics. Just googled that, yikes!
the worst food poisoning of my life and actually the first time I’ve even gotten sick in Africa. I got mild food poisoning two other times.
But not the last? Amazingly low numbers, because I ate street food, tons of sketchy meat from sketchy places, often times drank local water, and had generally poor hand washing practices, haha. I guess I have a strong stomach, I got through two months in India without getting sick!
This sounds like a nightmare (although the rest of the trip sounds incredible). I would be scared... wait for it... shitless. Do you know what it was that gave you the poisoning? Link to
Could have been the 4-day old chapatti as well...
You never said you thought you were going to die, but did you? Particularly on that first night, you must have had doubts you'd see the sun come up. It felt like I was dying at times, but I knew it would pass.
How much did you know about Africa before you went there, and what inspired you to go? Did you speak any Swahili, MaShona, Xhosa, IsiZulu, or other local languages before you began your journey? If not, did you learn any African languages when you were there? I am not looking at the map right now but if I recall correctly you didn't go to any Lusophone or Francophone countries--did everyone speak English, or were you often unable to communicate? I want to go back to Africa, but my mother has told me she almost died of worry the last time, and if I go again she wants me to stay with a group or hire a bodyguard. Do you have any advice for me about this? 1) I knew almost nothing about Africa before setting out, or at least no more than your average American college grad. Which well, isn't much... haha. I did my learning on the fly and that made it constantly exciting and interesting. By talking to locals, expats, foreign volunteers and especially by reading the local news, you can learn a tremendous amount in a short amount of time. Add to that the wiki page on each country and you can come up with a pretty good base that will allow you some pretty solid insights.
Thanks again for your posts here and your blog, which I am also gonna go check out right now! Sala kahle! But you know what, you have to live your own life. Parents worry, that's their job. I know my parents did (probably not as much as yours!) but just show them that you are smart, capable and can take care of yourself. Keep a blog, show them what you are doing, and with time they will get more comfortable with the idea and more trusting of you as an adult.
Can you tell us the story about how your possessions were stolen? Also Alex is hot!. Tell me more about her? >Amazingly, all the most important, valuable and resalable items were left in the room. They grabbed the biggest things that must have looked like they had all the good stuff. My computer, sitting on the floor and on, was left behind. My camera was sitting on the bed and not seen because it was in a small black bag. My ‘important’ bag with passport, Visa card, and about $250 was left behind. Ok, so I had the critical things, but what next? If I want to buy everything again I either have to return to South Africa, or go home to America. >We walked back to where they were, which was literally 30m outside the wall of Nkupi Lodge, and what I found was my gadget bag ripped open with my things strewn everywhere. They were probably digging through my things when we came out with lights, and ran off. They were looking for the good stuff. I gathered everything up, and local guy said he found another bag. It turned out to be nearly all my clothes, backpack and dry bags. Oh thank you! It seemed they had been stashed for someone to come back for. We searched through the tall grass for a while, looking for anything else and when I figured we had found what there was to find, we returned to the lodge to make an inventory. After finding that amazingly I had recovered most of my items, Ghram and I went back for a second look and found a few more things. >Here is the list of what I lost, in rough order of value: My retainer (why they took this I can’t say, it’s useless to them and expensive for me to replace), a 1TB external HDD (although they didn’t take the USB3 cable, which I’m sure you can’t find outside of Lusaka, so that is also useless to them), about $31 USD cash, my rain jacket, my beanie, MSR stove tools, swim goggles, headphones, SD memory cards, USB card reader, phone charger, a bar of soap, q-tips, tooth paste, deodorant, and a few other bits and pieces. All things considered, I’ve lost a few hundred dollars of things, but it could have been about a million times worse. The worse things to lose are the retainer because I care about my teeth, and the hard drive, because I lost the ability to back-up my photos, as well as losing the 400+ movies I had…
I cringed when I saw they took your retainer. I hate not wearing mine at night. I don't sleep well if I don't have it in. haha. Yah, what a weird thing to take right? I had to pay like $300 to get a new one when I got home, like 9 months later...
If I were you I would be really upset if lost the HDD and SD cards. I'm sure you had a ton of memories on those. As for the HDD and SD cards, I had all the photos on my laptop which was not taken, and I had 800x600 versions of all my photos backed up online, so even if I lost ALL my things, I'd have kept nearly all my photos, at least since the last backup. It was a pretty good system.
Did you, or do you have a "career" and what is your plan to reintegrate back into your current life now? Link to
It was something I sort of fell into while I was taking a year off college (majored in sociology, not a lot of jobs, haha), did during school and after. It was never a job I planned on doing for too long, but I love working outdoors, doing something physical, climbing trees, running saws and driving big trucks! It's one of the most dangerous jobs in America, so I guess I have a high tolerance for excitement.
I don't plan on 'reintegrating' back into the world of living in the city, having a regular job, having a family or getting a house any time soon, there are just too many places I want to go and too many things I want to do. I'm hooked.
Now that I'm back in America, here is my plan: Some of my friends have property on a small island of 200 residents by the border with Canada and are starting an organic farm. Soon I will be moving up there to help get the project off the ground, and at the moment will be living in a tent. My plan is to eventually build a tree-house, maybe 120sq ft, and have that be my home when I'm not traveling the world. I will work odd jobs on the islands as well as help on the farm, and will probably have to do some seasonal work like fishing in Alaska, or whatever to save up money. When you have the right attitude, it is amazing what is possible.
I realize I'm giving up a lot of what people consider 'normal life' but I've done that and found something better. It's not for everyone, but right now it's what is best for me.
Then I head out for The Next Adventure.
May I ask where this island is? "by Canada" describes a pretty big area. :) I'm from Seattle, so that narrows it down ;) Or... The San Juans... or...Shaw Island. Bring beer and cookies.
Looks like no plans to start a family? Not in the foreseeable future, no. But who knows, life can take strange turns, so never say never.
Your plan sounds awesome and exciting. It made me pretty jealous. After reading your post, you inspire me to make something out of my life. If your not enjoying life, your doing it wrong ;)
How often and under what circumstances did you get laid? Link to
So uh what's goin' on in the top right-hand portion of this picture OP? Folks gettin jiggy wit it.
How were you able to communicate with the locals in many of these countries? Did you speak any other languages other than English? I only speak English.
The spread of English in east Africa is AMAZING. This is primarily due to the influence of the British as colonizers, but most of the region realizes that English is the laguange of business and if they want to be part of the modern world they had better learn to speak it. English is the official language of many of the countries in East Africa, is taught (with varying degrees of success...) in most schools in most countries I visited.
Even when I was in the smallest, most remote villages, it seemed someone who spoke English would show up and act as a translator. Other times, I was staying with Peace Corps volunteers or other NGOs and those people were usually fluent in the local language and could help with whatever I needed.
That said, it is absolutely worth it to learn some of the local languages as you go, even if it's just simple things like 'hello', 'good bye', 'thank you', 'excuse me' and so on. People really appreciate it and will respect you more for it.
how are you spending money while in Africa with all the different currencies? I imagine rural areas have a different system as well. ATMs are becoming amazingly common. Most towns on main roads have an ATM and an internet cafe, even in pretty undeveloped areas. You still have to plan ahead and make sure you have enough cash to get to the next spot, but I almost never had problems. I always kept a week or two of local currency from the ATM on me, and usually around $150 in USD.
The only times I had money problems was in Burundi. It's one of the poorest nations on earth, extremely undeveloped and the ONLY place you can get money off a card is at the central bank in the capital of Bujumbura. I found myself on the other end of the country and running out of local cash, but the solution was simple. Because I always carry USD on me (every traveler should, it's the standard across Africa, much more so than Euros) and went to a money changer. Problem solved.
Last updated: 2013-08-18 00:15 UTC
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