Archive for the ‘Failed Trades’ Category

The Oligarch’s Shoes

By Derek On November 14, 2011 No Comments

We invest in Russia among other places and when I was a junior analyst on the fund the PM asked if I wanted to see a refinery in Siberia. It was February. A Russian broker we dealt with had offered to arrange the trip. I asked the PM, my boss who was older and wiser:

“Don’t you want to go?”

“No, I don’t want to go to fucking Siberia in winter. But you do, so check it out.”

The Lunch

So I went. I spent two days in Moscow with my broker, Oleg, looking at other companies when we boarded a long haul domestic flight to some city way, way out there. I can’t even remember the name. We spent the night in the company’s “Gaz Hotel” which quality wise was a mix between Las Vegas kitsch and Tijuana border town. The next day it was 30 below zero and bundled up in all

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Wolf Hunting in Mongolia

By Derek On November 9, 2011 No Comments

As a mining analyst, part of my job is to go to weird places and look at mining assets. The weirdest place I have been to has to be Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia. I had a car while there and got to know my local driver a little. I was flown out to a mine in the middle of nowhere and when I came back to the “city” I had a weekend to kill. Friendly now with my driver, a burly guy who turned out to be one of Mongolia’s famous wrestlers, he invited me to go wolf hunting. It seems that is what one does in Mongolia and who was I to say no?

Being from the US, I know hunting involves getting a high powered rifle and wandering around the woods until you come across some unfortunate animal minding its own business whereupon you blast the

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Thank God it’s Thursday!

By Derek On October 31, 2011 4 Comments

A number of years ago, I was visiting Taiwan for a week with a good client of mine, Steve from Canada and he wanted to spend the weekend there to “look around outside of Taipei.” We decided we would take a train to Hualien on the east coast which is known for a stunningly beautiful gorge always cloaked in mysterious mist. Through the gorge is a narrow winding road that the Japanese built during their pre-WWII occupation of the island using Chinese labor and teaspoons. It is an engineering marvel. All good. So we bought our tickets, half a case of beer and boarded our train. The trip there was beautiful and importantly, lasted long enough for us to finish most of beer. When we arrived at our sleepy destination we were feeling well toasted and happy in the late afternoon. After checking into the hotel it was time to

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