Life, Love and Liquidity Rollercoaster
Call me an old fuddy-duddy but bringing companies to market that openly flaunt their lack of profitability strikes me as having more than a faint whiff of the dotcom bubble.
Apparently, these “unicorn businesses” have a long-term strategy, which I understand to mean that you can buy it now at a valuation that may be appropriate in 10-years-time.
I pondered to myself earlier this week whether investors are getting a stake in a valuable growth company or a lottery ticket.
And while the backers may be chortling all the way to the bank should they finally see a liquidity event, I suspect the only liquidity most investors will need is a glass of something stiff if the rollercoaster gets stuck in down mode.
Now, I have nothing against the companies themselves nor the VC funds that pour liberal slugs of dollars in to them.
But I just wonder how many punters, sorry investors, read the prospectus, understand the corporate governance that may or may not protect their money and know how to put a value on the future cash flow.
These companies are testing the thesis to the limit that if you burn enough cash one day, as happens in all the best Disney movies, your dream will come true.
This may ultimately prove true, but in the meantime consider caveat emptor as a modus operandi, and let’s hope for the sake of all those investors who have made donations to the VC charitable causes that the “lifts” go up as well as down.
As I approach yet another birthday, I find I have turned into Auntie Elsie.
For those of us who were brought up on P G Wodehouse, Auntie Elsie was a latter-day version of Aunt Agatha.
Born and bred in the Valleys and a lifelong Labour voter, Elsie had the endearing habit of throwing her slippers at the TV each time Margaret Thatcher appeared.
“That bloody woman….” was the cue to slip quietly out of the front room and hide in the scullery.
And I am not ashamed to admit that I now follow that time-honoured tradition each time Trump appears on the screen.
Auntie Elsie is the only member of the older generation of the family to have heard me utter ‘the eff word’. I took her to the supermarket in Caerphilly once (Don’t be silly, shop in Caerphilly).
As we drove out of the car park a lesser mortal cut in front of me. I inadvertently forgot the formidable presence of Aunt Agatha Elsie in the passenger seat, lowered the window and yelled, “learn to drive, you effwit”.
The master of wit and repartee had struck again and suddenly I remembered the aged aunt beside me and waited for the shocked reaction.
She never batted an eyelid, never uttered a reproachful word. Probably she was thinking I had seen Maggie.
I got along just fine with Elsie.
Not long after, I called her from Hong Kong as I knew she was going to see about her cataracts.
She could barely see to do the crossword, let alone see Maggie on the TV, and she was very down.
Auntie Elsie was so proud of Nye Bevan (a Tredegar boy) and the NHS but her specialist had told her she would have to wait 6 months officially and probably realistically 18 months to have an operation on her eyes.
When I asked if she could have it done privately, she was horrified. Leaving aside the cost she struggled even to contemplate ‘queue jumping’.
We had a gentle chat about the deterioration that would inevitably take place whilst she was waiting, and eventually I cajoled her into asking about having the op’ privately.
The next day she went back and saw her specialist. He told her it would cost £2,000 and when she asked when it could be done, he said ‘next Thursday’.
After I transferred the money to her bank account, she had her cataracts done within 10 days. I think even Aunt Agatha would have been happy at that outcome.
I was in Jo’burg airport when I heard she had passed away.
Having already gone through transit on my flight home to Hong Kong, I had to fly all the way there, turn around and fly back to Cardiff.
There was a wonderful turn out for her funeral. I did wonder whether a few people had turned up just to be sure, but she had a heart of gold and her bark was (rarely) followed up with a bite.
She was however particularly scathing about my cousin Kenny, but here she was on very sound ground in my view.
Kenny was a self-anointed evangelical preacher, who reminded his congregation each week that hell and damnation awaited them.
I presume he was referring to the queues in the local supermarket. The unexpected revelation from on high that he was providing a different sort of service to a lady other than his dear wife meant that, last time I heard, he was hiding somewhere in darkest Canada.
The Hu family birthday extravaganza will this year take place in the lowlands of Europe, where bicycles rather than cars are the order of the day.
For this I have borrowed a pair of clogs and pre-booked tickets to the cheese museum.
And if they don’t have any mature Caerphilly it may not only be the cheese that is blue.
RIP Auntie Elsie.