Saturday, March 19, 2016

Some stories about my great Great Grandfather

These are some stories about my great grandfather, William Andersen (1901-1999).

I wrote this article a few years back, but of some reason never published it. Until now.

Wife: Anna Andersen (1907-2004)
Children: Sonja (1929-), Torill (1947-)
Grandchildren: Jan Roger, Kari-Anna, Nils-Martin, Anette, Stian
Great grandchildren: Anders, Heidi, Christopher, Bård-Ivan, Joakim, Nils Christian, Nikolai, Anniken

When I was little I was a little afraid of my great grandfather. He was not mean, but he could be very direct when he opened his mouth. He could, for me as a child, seem a bit angry at times. Thinking back, I'm not sure if he really was. I never wanted to get in trouble with him and always respected him. If I felt that I needed protection I would always turn to my great grandmother. She could never be angry at me. My great grandmother liked to give me money when I came by, but my great grandfather never approved of this so she would sneak out of the room to take out some money from her purse and hide it until I was about to leave. She would then stick the money into my hand as she gave me a hug and she would kind of shoosh me so that he wouldn't know what was going on.

I often sensed a bit of attitude from him. I remember sitting in their living room a couple years before he died. My great grandmother was not too concerned with expiration dates on food and drinks and she would often serve stuff that had expired long time ago. This time she would serve us some apple juice. I immediately noticed that the juice was musty as the mold was floating on top of it. Right before he was going to take a zip I told him: "Hey, there's mold in it". He answered with a question: "Well, it's not DANGEROUS, is it?" (In Norwegian: "Erre farlig a??") ... I wasn't sure if it was a rhetorical question or not. He drank the juice anyway.

He would also give me good, but possibly a bit "old fashioned" advice. When I was 14 I was attacked by 3-4 drunk 17-18 year-old guys. I got some bruises and a black eye. The next day was the National Constitutional Day in Norway (17th of May) and it was family-time. My family members were very curious about what had happened so I told them the story. While most of my family members said I should have done more to avoid this situation, my great grandfather had a different advice: "In these situations, you should always punch first. Then they will fear you". I'm not sure if that would have worked against these guys, but I thought it as a cool thing to say by a man who's in his 90's.

My great grandfather got his driver's license when he was 62 years old. He drove his car even when he was in his 90's. However, at the end he seemed to prefer the roads with lower speed limits. Instead of driving on the main road in 60 km/h, he would drive a parallel inner road in 30 km/h. Safety first, I guess. Since he got his driver's license and got his first car he and my great grandmother started touring Europe. Almost every summer they would drive around Europe for weeks. Even in their 80's and 90's they'd drive from Norway to Spain for holidays. I was always so proud of them because of this. Other old people would just sit inside their house all day, while these guys were still exploring and spicing up their life. Unfortunately he never got the chance to fly. My great grandmother flied once while he was alive, but that was because she got injured in Spain and my great grandfather had to drive back to Norway without her. My grandmother stayed behind to help her while she was at the hospital. Since the car was on its way back to Norway, she and my grandmother had to fly back. I think they liked it. On their trips they would often drive together with my parents or my grandparents.

Local newspapers found their story interesting, so we would sometimes read about them in the newspaper. They would talk about their journeys over the past 20-30 years.

William had an interesting life and he had many good stories to share. I remember he was talking about a time during WW2 he went from Porsgrunn to Bø (in Telemark, Norway) on a bike to buy food on the black market. His daughter, Sonja, was going to have her confirmation and they needed food for the celebration. Today, you can drive this distance and it will take about 1 hour with a car. It's a bit unclear today whether he biked all the way or if he put his bicycle on a bus or on a boat. When he got to Bø he would cycle around between farms to get the things that he needed. Unfortunately, this was not allowed during the war as the food was rationed.  When he had bought what he needed he went on a bus to get back home (probably with his bike). But before the bus drove off, the police came to check the bus for any illegal food. It was well-known that people would come to Bø to buy food on the black market and bring it home. The police caught him with the illegal food and they were going to take him to the police station. He managed to punch a couple of the police men and run away into the woods. After a little run he managed to catch the bus down the street as the bus driver was waiting for him. He must have showed them some ID, because the next day the police in Porsgrunn - where he lived - came to arrest him. He was put in jail. Every day his family came to give him food. They would give him a bucket of milk and stick a letter under the bucket for him to read since he wouldn't get any other information about what was going on outside prison. About a month later he was released. He would then go back to Bø to get the food that he intended to buy the first time.

In the early 1990's, my great grand parents got really fascinated with a TV show. I wouldn't expect an old couple to be so fascinated by a show like that. I guess it was partly because it was a French show, since my great grandfather had spent so much time in France. The name of the show was "Hélène et les Garçons" (Norwegians might remember it as "Helene og gutta") and it was meant for young teenagers. William thought the actors were so good. He would tell me something like "Look at them! They don't even look at the camera when they're acting!". I shrugged.

I'm glad that I got to meet my great grandparents because I think they were awesome people. It's a good thing when people die in their 90's and you still think they died too young.

Did you know these people and have any good stories to share? Post it below!

Monday, February 29, 2016

A few more things I've learned about trading


Here are some other lessons I've learned the hard way from trading. My conclusions might be wrong, but this represents how I see things at this point.

You might not have read my original article about my learning experience in trading. Read it here!

... Anyway, let's mention a few things before we start:
- I assume you trade using "leverage" (you magnify your trade size by taking up a loan, this way you can make higher profits - but you will also lose quicker. You will not end up in debt, because the broker will not allow you to lose more money than you've invested out of your own pocket - read up on leverage and make sure you understand how it works)
- You know what stop loss (SL) / take profit (TP) is (you set up a trade to automatically close if you've lost a certain amount of your trade position. Take profit is the opposite, where you close the trade once you've reached a certain profit)

1) Don't risk your whole account.
Let's say you start with $1000. You make 10 trades using $100 on each. You want don't want to be stopped out too early so you have a stop loss at 100% of each trade. That means that the markets can go against you until you lost your whole trade size ($100 for each trade). It seems highly unlikely that it will come to that. Let's say you have set take profit at 50% (that means your trade will be closed if/when you reach a $50 profit). It seems much more likely that your trades will reach a 50% profit than a 100% loss - cause you have an edge - judging by your information you could very well be making a good trade. Let's say you close all the trades at the same time and you end up with a $500 total profit. Your balance is now $1500. Now let's say you make another 10 trades, but now you use $150 on each trade. You do good again and you make a profit of $750 (50%, remember?). Your balance is now $2500. You feel good, so you decide to do the whole thing over again, and this time - you guessed it - you spend $250 on each trade. However, this time the markets go against you and you lose all your money. So much for those nice winnings in the beginning. Let's say that instead of trading with your whole balance on the third trade, you limited yourself to your previous trade: spending $1500 on trades. In this case you'd still have $1000 left after losing with all your trades. It's an easy mistake to keep making bigger trades once your account starts growing.

Let's pretend to make a rule: Only spend 20% of your account.
Round 1: 10 trades, $20 per trade. $100 profit.
Round 2: 10 trades, $22 per trade. $110 profit.
Round 3: 10 trades, $24 per trade. $240 loss.
Balance in the end: $970. $30 loss. Not your whole account.

What if we trade with 50% of our account?
Round 1: 10 trades, $50 per trade. $250 profit.
Round 2: 10 trades, $62 per trade. $310 profit.
Round 3: 10 trades, $78 per trade. $780 loss.
Balance in the end: $780. $220 loss. Not your whole account.

What if we always make 10 x $50 trades?
Round 1: 10 trades, $50 per trade. $250 profit.
Round 2: 10 trades, $50 per trade. $250 profit.
Round 3: 10 trades, $50 per trade. $500 loss.
Balance in the end: $1000. 0 profit/loss. Not your whole account.

Not spending your whole account just makes trading more pleasant and it gives you more do-overs. It might feel like you can make money faster by putting it all on the line, but suddenly you've lost it all.

2) Be careful trading the same thing
Instruments (stocks, indexes, currencies etc.) are connected. If the EUR gets weaker, it will affect all currency pairs that involve EUR. But if the EUR gets weaker, it could also mean that the CHF is getting weaker. If you trade USDCHF and EURUSD, you are - in my experience - pretty much trading the same thing. So if you find a good opportunity on the USDCHF you might also find a good opportunity on EURUSD, thinking these are two separate, good opportunities. If you have a rule to not spend more than e.g. 10% on a single instrument, you might as well avoid spending more than 10% on EURUSD and USDCHF together, the way I see it. Sure, you could do 5% on each if you want.

Indexes are very often strongly connected. If the US indexes are going up, chances are that the European and Asian markets are going up as well. Be careful trading many of these indexes at the same time, thinking they all look like great opportunities. If one of them turns around, chances are that other ones will do it as well.

3) Accept losses
Above I mentioned having a stop loss at 100%. This can work if you also take profits that are high enough. If you have a 100% SL and lose 1 out of 3 trades, then you need to make sure that you - on average - makes a profit of more than 50% of the other 2 trades to at least break even (taking for granted that the trades are of equal size). It's so easy to let losers go and to close winners too early. You need to let the winners go to be able to justify a 100% SL.

2 / 3 winners is just an example. Maybe losing 100% of your trade size is highly unlikely and that you can make 25% profits on the instrument multiple times before losing (100%). If you have 10 25% winners before you have your 1 100% loser, your profit from the instrument would still be 150% of the trade size. It's a numbers game.

Anyway, there are other ways to trade successfully. You can have a tight SL. The problem with tight SL's is that you can easily be stopped out by a "false breakout" against you. And sometimes if your broker is a "market maker" you can get stopped out easily by a sudden 1-minute drop-and-rebounce. If the instrument doesn't test your SL limit, then you have a good trade going with little risk.

You could have a not-so-tight SL. Let's say you set it to be 25% of your position size (trade amount). If you find good opportunities, this could work out well. But if you lose 1 of 3 trades, you need to make sure that the 2 winners are at least 12.5% profit each (average) to break even. However, should the market test your SL limit you might be tempted to move the SL further away. This is often a slippery slope. Sure, sometimes it will work out; the instrument will turn and you will get a profit. But what if it doesn't? What if you keep moving the SL all the way down to 100% loss? Or even further? You can inject more money into the position to accept a even higher loss; 150% or 200%. Let's say you lose 200% on the trade. Now your two other trades needs to make 100% profit each to help you break even. There's no shame in a having a 25% loss on your record.

4) Take my own advice.
Despite all the things I said above, I still trade poorly. It's psychology. It's a mind game. The markets still make me insecure enough to trade inconsistently.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What I've learned from 4 months of trading

A few  months ago I met a guy who had recently become unemployed. He was working in the oil business and as you might know: things are not going so well in the oil business. As he was trying to find a new job he was also learning how to trade. I had no clue about stocks, indexes, EFT's and currencies, but I found it some how interesting as I am too looking for other ways to make some money (other than my job and some business ideas I've invested some time and money in). After a 10 day vacation in Italy I signed up at an online broker. It was around October 20th 2015. During the following days I wrote some Facebook posts about my first days as a "trader". It was my uncle who then suggested I should write a blog about this subject. Today I found the motivation to at least write a blog POST about it.

During my first few days I was a bit lucky. The US markets were rocketing more than they had in many years from a relative LOW ("support line" - a low point where people tend to buy) to a historical HIGH (making a "resistance line" - a high point where people tend to "short". A short is when you "borrow" a certain amount of units of something and sell it for a price and then later on you have to buy it again to give it back to the lender - if you can buy it back at a lower price you will make a profit on it). So these fantastic days created an illusion for an amateur like me. I thought the market always was like this and I made stupid "buy"-trades at any time thinking it could not fail. I also made these buys with a ridiculously high "leverage" (Leverage is like taking up a loan to make a trade - however, as soon as you are about to lose more than your own money on this trade, the trade will automatically close so that the broker can have their money back - they don't want to lose THEIR money - obviously). Needless to say, after having made some nice profits, I soon started losing most of my money simply because I could not wrap my head around the fact that markets SWING and that means you'll have up-times and down-times - usually within certain boundaries. 

It's interesting how things you learn can be transferred into other contexts. A couple of years ago I started playing chess again. I played a bit when I was little, but hadn't really played for a while and I was not very good at it anymore. I started playing online and I lost and I lost and I lost. But I kept playing. And I kept learning. Watched some You Tube-videos about various strategies etc. So I got better and better. I started identifying some weaknesses about my own personality (shocking!). For example, I was pretty bad at thinking AHEAD. In Chess I would often "shoot blanks" at other players. By that I mean that I'd do silly moves that I thought would some how "bluff" the player to make a mistake. As I realised this I tried to correct it by trying to always make a plan that had good potential - but very low risk. If it works: great. If it does't work: No problem! I tried to learn this in my daily life as well. For example: Some times I would make claims that I could not prove - I just believed in it strongly. Thinking that the people I spoke to would not be able to disprove it. Normally, people should be careful about making absolute claims unless they can back it up. So I've become better at either 1) Find proof to back me up, or 2) State that I'm not sure and that it's merely my opinion/belief (belief with good reason though).

Trading has also taught me something. Make a plan and stick to it - at least as long as nothing unforeseen happens. Take a look at this chart first:




Let's say I "buy" at the 4th arrow from the left in the chart above. I can see from 3 previous low points (the 3 leftmost arrows) on the chart that I could be able to make - let's say - $100 if I wait until the value reaches the expected "top level" (resistance line). However, once the value increases and, if you close the trade, your profit could be maybe $10. It might be tempting to close the trade because you feel like you might miss this opportunity. What if the value goes down again - then you get nothing. I've done this many times. But patience is the key. Long term! I don't know what the real answer is. What if it reaches $80 and goes back down? You could miss out on $80 because you were stubbornly waiting to make $100. 

My current strategy is still a "work in progress". It's real painful to stick with a trade, hoping it will make it all the way to the top. Right now I like to make many small trades. Let's say I open 4 "buy"-trades. I could close the first trade at 25% of expected max. Close the second trade at 50%, 3rd trade at 75 and 4th trade at 100%. And if I close the first one at 25% and the value goes back to square 1, I could make the trade again. Making similar profits repeatedly. As soon as the level reaches it's full potential (according to my strategy) I might start opening "short"-trades - expecting the value to go down again. However, should the value exceed the "max expected value" significantly I would be very careful. Now the instrument (for example an index or a currency pair) has broken out of it's regular pattern - something could have happened in the world that might affect this instrument significantly. I should not be tempted to take advantage of this situation, because it's too risky - I have less edge now than I ever did. The previous behaviour on the chart might not mean anything anymore.

Trading "knowledge" can be transferred into real life as well. It can help you "learn" to focus on long term profits rather than panicking and "settle" for a short term profit. It sounds very easy to do, but for many people it's simply not. In my first months of trading, a professional trader could have told me to "hold on to a trade" because it would give me the best profit, but I would still close it early to gain a small profit. To this day I close trades too fast. But I'm getting better. It's an adjustment I need to convince myself about based on personal experience. In the end I will definitely say "I should have listened to the pro's from the start". The pro's can say something like "Spend max 2% of your equity on a trade". I have easily spent 30% of my equity on a trade. But then again, what is your real equity, is it what's deposited to your broker, or is it what you have in the bank. 

Trading is not for everyone. But it could be if you're willing to lose, wait, learn and adapt. I've seen plenty of videos, listened to a handful of audio books, programmed many scripts for back testing. It has all added up to a certain understanding of how markets work. 

Currently my trading strategy is this: I will find an instrument that has been stuck inside a certain frame on the chart for a few weeks/months. That way I will conclude that it's likely that the instrument will keep swinging inside this frame for a while longer. So I can make a few buy-trades in the low zone and a few short-trades in the high zone before the instrument eventually breaks out of its pattern and I will lose a few trades. But as long as the instrument stays within the frame, my trades will always make a profit. So let's say I manage to make a $1000 profit before the instrument breaks out and then I lose $300 because of the break out. It's still a $700 profit in the end. Time to find a new instrument that I can - possibly - rely on. 

I've tried to write about what I can think of, in no particular order. If you have any questions, please write them in the comment area and I will give my best response. Keep in mind that after about 4 months of trading I'm still not a successful trader, however, I did make a 50% profit over the last 7 days. That means that my equity increased by 50%. That is good, but it does not cover up all my losses before that. And it is no guarantee of future earnings. Trading is hard!

Hope you liked it!



Monday, August 13, 2012

Pengbears released for iOS

Finally Pengbears has been released for iOS! You can now download the game for iPhone and iPad for free on App Store.

In Pengbears you use your finger (or mouse if playing on Facebook) to draw ice. The ice is used by the Pengbears to slide around to catch fish

To download Pengbears for iOS, either search for "Pengbears" on App Store, or go to this url: http://itunes.apple.com/th/app/pengbears-free/id544707017?mt=8

You can watch this video to learn how to play the game:


Pengbears website: http://www.pengbears.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pengbears for Android


Kelson just released a new game for Android (don't worry, iOS version is right around the corner!). It's called Pengbears and it's about some polar bears in penguin outfits that need help getting around on the South Pole (Some of the few polar bears on the South Pole - apparently there are some of them). You can help them by swiping your finger across the screen to lay ice that the "pengbear" can surf on.


https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kelson.pengbearsFree

Check out some of the graphics:






Friday, June 1, 2012

UEFA EURO 2012 LIVE - app for iPhone and iPad

UEFA EURO 2012 is coming up very soon. It's one of those great events that comes every fourth year and you watch football everyday for a few weeks. It's great :)

My mobile developers in Kelson Digital Ideas in Thailand has designed and developed a nice app where you can easily follow the news and all the games in Euro 2012. You can see the fixtures of all games, you get live scores from every game, you get live news about Euro 2012 and much more.

Download the "UEFA EURO 2012 LIVE" app for iOS here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uefa-euro-2012-live/id531681938?ls=1&mt=8

For more information about Kelson in Thailand: Mobile app developers in Bangkok

For more information about Kelson in Norway: App-utviklere i Norge

Check out video of our UEFA EURO 2012 LIVE app for iPhone and iPad:



Friday, March 23, 2012

Kelson story

In 2005 we got in touch with some guys that wanted to create a new online gaming platform (poker and other card games). My previous company (Trilobit) got the job to make this platform including one game.

In 2006 we joined their company (BetOnBet) to continue work on this. This company had a department in Thailand (Norinn) and they had a few developers and designers there. I quit BetOnBet in 2007. 

I started Kelson Consulting in Norway in 2007, hiring one of my friends immediately. A few months after I hired one of the old developers from Norinn in Thailand as he was no longer working for them.

In June 2008 some of the guys behind the gaming platform had bought the software back from BetOnBet. They wanted to continue development in Thailand and wanted me to help their developers understanding the system. I was invited to Bangkok for 9 days. During my stay I decided to hire a few more developers through their new company (Global IT World). By the end of 2008 I had 5 developers in Thailand.

2008 was a good year. In addition to the 5 people in Thailand, I had 4 people in my office in Norway. Unfortuneately, 2009 wasn't as good. Customer requests dropped like ... like something that drops really fast. Most of the guys in the Norwegian office had to move on, getting jobs elsewhere.

In 2010 there was just me and my first Norwegian employee left in Norway. GIW had increased their "mark-up" on my developers, so I decided to start my own company instead, in hope of saving some money. "Unfortuneately" I had a deal with GIW that I had to buy out the developers if I wanted to hire them directly. So that was a lot of money to come up with. In April 2010 Kelson Co. Ltd (SEO: mobile app development bangkok) was ready for business.

I wanted to try to target Thai companies. We came up with the idea of selling template based web sites for 12.000 THB (approx $400). We thought this could be good business as we could make them fast and sell them cheap. I don't think we  sold ANY of these sites. Maybe one. Some people said it was too expensive. One guy said he was looking for a web site costing about 3.000 THB (approx $100). We gave up trying to sell these beautiful template sites, and of some reason we started selling more expensive customized sites starting at 45.000 THB (approx 1500 USD). We don't know exactly what happened, but we're selling a lot of these web sites.

Mobile apps was also something that really caught on. I had worked with mobile apps before, but things had changed since that time. We decided to get into the iPhone and Android business.

By the end of 2010 we realized that our office was too small. We had grown a bit over the past few months and needed a bigger office. We kept hiring in 2011 and at most we were 17 employees that year. I personally realized that having so many people in the office was a lot to handle. So we started thinking about how we could change the company structure to get rid of bottlenecks. Myself often being one.

In 2012 we are about 15 employees, offering services such as web design, web development and mobile development.