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LPT: If you have a lot of free time at the moment, you can generate a little income on the side by doing online work like teaching english, transcription, microtasks or surveys. It's not a fortune but if you have time to spare anyway it's a good way to pay a few bills. (list of sites attached)
Here is a list of sites for online work that anyone can use: Appen - Paid Projects, up to 20 hours a week. Decent pay of about $14 dollars per hour but depends on the project you can get Lionbridge - Paid projects, great projects on offer TeamWork - Paid projects, good site. ClickWorker - Surveys and Writing..payments vary per task....Very good site. Neevo - Tasks , up to $1 per task approx Vipkid- Teach English to kids online, $15-$25 per hour or so QKid- Same as vipkid teaching English online- I think this pays up to $20 per hour gogokid- Teach English Online $14-25 per hour Prolific.co - Surverys, pays very well! Mturk - Microtasks- Pay is ok, haven't used it myself but seems fine Rev - Transcription TranscribeME - Transcription GoTranscript- Transcription Qmee- Surveys, varying payout on each one...pretty good site. Swagbucks- Surveys, good paying. Timebucks - Various surveys, good site. GG2U- Surveys, good site with good payout, probably average of 1$ per survey Serpclix - Good one for tasks/surveys...intall on your browser and it will let you know when there are some available BrandedSurvey- Surveys 20Cogs - You complete 20 offers to get the payout, you will have to cancel a few subsciptions after some tasks but it's a good way to make about £200-£300 Panelbase.net - Surveys, Mostly they pay £1-£4 YouGov - Surveys, good site and pay is decent. populuslive.com - Surveys, pay is decent. Ysense - Surveys and other tasks Prizerebel - Surveys and other tasks Microworkers - Various tasks HideOutTV- Watch videos and get paid HoneyGain- You get paid for browsing the internet every month , maybe $40 or so This got a very positive response when I posted a few months ago so I thought I'd put it out there again, Personally I use a combination of these sites to earn around £1000-£1500 a month. Hopefully it can be of help to more people, shoot me a message if you have any questions EDIT: Ok so the reason I said I use a combination of these sites is because I have used all of them at one time or another, but here is my current combination: Appen/Lionsbridge- Most recently worked as a social media evaluator which payed $15 per hour and gave me around 10 hours per week Clickworker- I use the UHRS section,“Universal Human Relevance System”. It’s a partner website that can be accessed over clickworker.com and where you can process additional jobs. You can earn a lot more this way Neevo- Various tasks , up to $1 per task approx VipKid and other english teaching sites- I also put ads on a spanish site called tusclasesparticulares offering skype classes. Here is a link to a lot of different English teaching sites you can use from different countries GG2U- Surveys, good site with good payout, probably average of 1$ per survey 20cogs- A good way to earn £200+ in a relatively short time Serpclix - Good one for tasks/surveys...intall on your browser and it will let you know when there are some available Qmee- Surveys, good site Prolific- Surveys- Can pay very well HoneyGain- You get paid for browsing the internet every month , maybe $40 or so These would be my go to sites, and I sporadically check for work on the others too if I have the time. I spend 2 hours a day doing this to earn £1000 per month but it's usually higher than that. You have to earn £33 per day in order to hit the £1000 per month mark, which is very doable when you have 20 or so sites to work with. For me at the moment it's usually a one hour class which makes me £15 and then a combination of projects from Lionsbridge (which currently pays about $15 dollars for an hour) and then a couple of random short tasks or surveys from one of the other sites, or more if I don't do a class...Takes a while to fine tune it and I'm always modifying the combination but believe me it's more than doable. As I say, you just need to hit that £33 a day, which is actually even easier to hit in dollars if you prefer to think of it that way. Also, and this is only useful to people in the UK, I am currently doing "Matched Betting" because the Premier league is on now and more and more sporting fixtures are making a comeback. Match betting is where you bet on one outcome in the bookies and then bet against that outcome in the exchange, with both bets at almost the same odds. So for example, If you bet £10 for Real Madrid to win at odds of 2.5 on the betting site, and then bet for Real Madrid not to win(i.e bet against them) on the exchange at the same odds, you are covered in all outcomes, win lose or draw. This means you have fullfilled the requirements of the betting sites offer (for example, Bet £10 and get £40 in free bets) without actually gambling, since there is no risk of losing the £10 you bet since it's matched. You then do the exact same thing with your £40 free bets, and this is where you make the profit since you're not using £40 of your own money. Yes It's totally legal, just a loophole in the system really, although I was very suspicious of it at first. I wrote a guide explaining how to do it, you can find it at the top of my profile if you are interested. I have made about £700-£800 per month from doing this, on top of the money from other sites, but obviously this means putting in more time! I hope this is of some help, If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask!
Global Covid lockdown won't end - it's the new endless war like the "War on Terror"
The Powers That Be love what is happening as it benefits them in so many ways. The isolation: People are being isolated from each other - friends, family, and everyone else. The only comforts that many have is their mobile phone or computer. The internet these devices are connected to are mostly being used in the heavily censored "public square" social media that was built originally by freedom loving individuals and free expression. (Facebook didn't become so big because of how it's run now, but because it let people do what they wanted to). It's TV MSM v2.0 for billions who don't use the internet beyond these gatekeeper platforms. Many young people have only had experience with in real life social interactions through school or collage and the internet is becoming an extension of those rules they have. It's conditioning that what happens in school, is real life; as the online world is now feeling like an extension of 2010+ era public school environments and rules. The fact we have so many people in their 20's that still act/think as they did in school is a startling reflection of this. They consume without any counter of creativity or critical thought, just as public school enforces. Death of physical small businesses: Without even having to look up statistics, it's obvious that small businesses with dependent physical locations and patrons are hit the worst in the private sector and the Big Corporations with the reserves and bailouts are doing fine/better. With the results of further job losses in the private sector, more people are turning to Government jobs, Big Corporations (which at this point are unofficial extensions of the Government; lobbying alone speaks to that, plus regulations that prevent the little guy from ever competing with the big. Go ahead and try to start your own ISP) or... UBI: People are now overwhelmingly supporting UBI due to the above and who can blame them? Nobody should lose their place of living or starve because of this nonsense. UBI acceptance is only further enabled because of limitations placed on places of charity (at least the few left that actually do something locally) that can't help anymore due to... Prevention of gatherings of Spiritual and Religious Groups: This ties in with the isolation. For many, their local place of religious/spiritual worship was the only place they had fellowship and community bonding. You're going to see lockdown continue due to "second wave" and so on, endless like the "War on Terror." The invisible enemy will never go away. The new waves will come from places such as rural and poor places where people suffer from malnutrition and are vulnerable to everything more so than healthy individuals who can afford to eat and supplement healthy items. Personally grew up in absolute poverty and didn't even know what an amino acid was or that raw honey was an excellent source of B vitamins that help your body and brain heal, before moving to a big city and proper health facilities. In the rural and poorer areas, medical facilities act like it's normal that people have muscle atrophy and constant body pains/migraines, etc. (many who have never lived or didn't grow up in these places are sheltered from this). Malnutrition is a slow genocide of the poor that hardly anyone talks about; and with Covid, it's being weaponized and politicized - "see those stupid people in the country are dying because they don't use masks. Don't question the fact they died because of bad health in general that resulted in that heart attack." Individuality is being removed, tribalism accelerates over masks: Masks take away individuality to be a sea of half-faces. This has sprung into the creation of another dividing social war - teams of mask vs no mask. You better bet that it will be further politicized that "not wearing a mask is a Far-Right belief;" even though people from all political/a-political backgrounds have their individual views on the practice. In Washington state for example, it is now "illegal" for businesses to do business with anyone not wearing a mask. So we can't buy or sell without a mark, I mean mask (Christians will be flipping over this one, as the argument could be made that it's conditioning for the mark of the beast)? The end of physical money: Physical money isn't clean so it is being denied at many places. Literal legal tender denied in favor of digital transactions and a push for the digital dollar. There are articles popping up now speaking how China is beating the USA in digital crypto adaptation and that we must have a digital dollar to keep up. Why it's not further emphasized that kids of today are seeing all of this as normal. Anyone born in Gen Z (1996 to 2011) and Gen A (2011 to current) has little to no idea of what life was like pre-9/11, before all the massive changes such as public admittance of government spying domestically on citizens, NDAA, PATRIOT Act, TSA, DHS, etc. and authoritative tyranny has been all they have ever known. When the last of the Baby Boomers check out in the 2030's (the ones who helped enable/vote for the things that corrupted what we have today), only Gen-X, Elder Millennials and some beyond that will be able to remember what life was like before the internet, before all the oppressive big government/corporations and the laws/regulations that rule the land of today. They will become the new villians "of progress" and their "old ways/ideas" are going to be "holding us all back." Tim Pool (the former Vice Journalist) recently spoke about how he hasn't changed since 2013 as a Liberal and is now considered by some as "Right" because the Overton Window has shifted so much from the "Left" side (similarly and oddly, but perhaps not that odd, NeoCons are being considered acceptable because "they're not Trump." Politics have truly become Hollywood v2.0 after 2016 that both sides have been duped into). Because the young have no mentorship at home or from those older than them (they're either working too much and are too exhausted to or just don't care), the only mentor they have is the hive of approved speech/thought online. It has become a conditioning like never before seen with "you have to be like this and obey" conditioning from school to the digital public square - all being portrayed as "real life." No wonder kids of today think the internet is the same as real life - it's all they know; this is terrifying and even more terrifying is barely anyone speaks of this nightmare. Edit: Typos
I noticed that Zillow's been discussed a lot on here, so I thought I'd give my own analysis on the platform. Perhaps this can be helpful for all of you looking for new marketing and business strategies.
The platform was founded by two ex-Expedia guys back in 2005. So that's the context + mindset they brought to this (making marketplaces). At the time, they had just sold off Expedia, they were looking to buy a house and couldn't get the info they needed to make informed decisions. So they're like, “Yo, why not just solve this problem?” Initially, Zillow started off as a place to just find super-local listings and connect with a real estate agent and a mortgage broker. This is all they were for a long time. In as early as 2006, they started collecting data from agents on the homes they sold. By 2020 they had data on 110 million homes - selling price, home details, neighborhood deets etc. They use all this to create an estimated home value for any home in the US - called Zestimate. They also use these to programmatically make instant offers on homes that they then flip for a profit (called iBuying). This is a lot of data. Now, with that being said, just how big is Zillow? In 2019, the website reached 8+ Bn user visits a year across all it's online properties. Not only that, it had $2.74 Bn revenues in 2019 -- about half of this is from Internet business (46%), about 50% is iBuying, and a little bit is SaaS (Software as a Service) revenue in the Mortgage industry.
Ways Zillow Makes a Profit
How does Zillow make money? Ads, iBuying, and some SaaS. Ads: When you check out a property on their site and hit Contact to get in touch with an agent, agents pay big money to Zillow to show their face right there, and to get your contact info. Zillow sells your info to them as a "lead". This makes up 46% of their revenues. Other brokers, property managers etc also pay Zillow to get leads. It's always free to list your property though, and this is further explained in the attached YouTube video (look above for the link). iBuying: people want quick cash. To capitalize off of that, Zillow uses Zestimate to quote these people an offer to buy their house below market value, and then flip it for at or slightly above market value. It does this in 22 markets as of now (2019), and, conveniently, it does not come visit your house or demand fixes etc. This process makes up almost 50% of their revenue in 2019. Currently, they are betting big on this to grow to 20Bn in revenues in the next few years. Right now Zillow's iBuying program still results in a net loss (they didn't sell as many houses as they bought - I can go into other concerns around iBuying in a separate post if you guys want and I'm making a breakaway video about this, will post when ready). Mortgage revenue: it does NOT underwrite mortgages. It just does the paperwork for you and then sells your info to brokers. Plus they bought a SaaS product used in the mortgage industry that makes them a little bit.
Ways They Can Improve
Even then, there are several things that Zillow could be better at. For example, they're losing their grip and focus on their cash cow. Even today, about half of their revenues and over 90% of their net profits comes from their agents who pay them for leads and ads. This is their cash cow. But ask any realtor and they'll tell you how much they hate Zillow (I can go deeper into this in a separate post). They need to focus better on the one part of the business that's making them their profits and is giving them the cash they need to slowly diversify their revenue streams. (I'm making a breakaway video about this, and will post when ready). Zillow also spends a lot of money ($714 million in sales / marketing costs in 2019) on making sure homebuyers and homesellers visit Zillow to get insights on their properties. And realtors argue Zillow’s data on these properties, including Zillow’s proprietary Zestimate, is outdated and not nearly accurate. This puts realtors in a difficult position with their clients who are getting conflicting information from different sources. Zillow acknowledges the issues with their Zestimate and has mentioned that they’ve updated their algorithms in 2019. The reflected so with an increased spend on technology in 2019. Not only that, Zillow only updates MLS feeds once a day, whereas the market is so dynamic that properties and availability changes by the minute. Their revenue stream relies on visitors spending time on listings so they can be connected with 'Premier Agents' - outdated data directly hurts this and erodes visitor trust when agents have to do bait and switch after being contacted about a property. Going off of that, Zillow drives leads away from the listing agents and towards any agent who pays them more for ad placement. However realtors posit that most of these leads aren’t even quality leads / or qualified leads. Basically, they charge a lot, do not provide enough value, and create problems by confusing potential customers - making it harder for realtors to earn a living. To pull off making real money from advertising you need to either have a large user base or a super-engaged user base. Zillow has the former - a large base (remember the aforementioned 8Bn user visits a year). They went a long time relying on just one revenue source - ads. But they knew this can dry up any time, like in a recession; basically, it's not predictable and it's not stable. So they are now diversifying. If your primary revenue source is not stable / predictable, think about that too.
Things to Consider
Zillow is able to continuously own more and more of the lifecycle of their user (who's in the market to either buy, or sell, or rent, or get a mortgage etc) because they have been able to establish a relationship of trust with the users (by using things like Zestimate and other data on the property level that's hard to discover elsewhere). Investment in data is paying off big time. It's important to know which type of data to have and how to use it. Not all data is useful. But when a real business use case is found, data can literally be an inimitable wall that protects your margins and allows you to grow safely. Thanks for reading! For more info in video format: https://youtu.be/4TVHLySAjWc
Activision ($ATVI) is releasing their quarterly earnings on August 4th (8/4). They're up about 30% from their pre-Covid highs, and are currently valued around 10x annual revenue. They crushed their last earnings revenue by 15.30% and EPS by 53.28% which helped them on their run-up to their current levels. I am now going to convince you why they will smash their earnings again despite their already-inflated revenue projections that price in a coronavirus boost and why you should bet big on them and not miss out on a potential huge play. Me and one of my friends from school (who is very intelligent) used to roast the shit out of people who buy cosmetic items in-game, like in Call of Duty, and talk about how dumb it is to pay for in-game clout. But during the pandemic, like many people, he's been so fucking bored that he's been playing Call of Duty all day unlocking a bunch of gun camos. The other day, he (embarrassingly) admitted to me that in his pursuit of gun camo unlocking he (shamefully) bought a $10 "battle pass" that would help him unlock more cosmetics. Why not, he is getting paid unemployment + stimulus to sit home on his ass and play Call of Duty, so might as well put a little of that into the game because there's nothing else to buy right now. (Last time I had a moment like this? In early April when one of my much dumber friends asked me with help setting up a Shopify store. I was dumbfounded that he would even be trying to set one up. Since then Shopify is up more than 120%) Call of Duty Warzone and Call of Duty Modern Warfare are very popular, and just like all those nerds that played Fortnite and forked over tons for skins, there are a plethora of microtransactions that come with it and man do the people that play Warzone specifically everyday take it seriously. This got me thinking. How many people who never bought microtransactions before have now spent money on them, especially when somebody as resilient to them as my friend have now purchased them? What kind of assumptions can we make about how much bigger the microtransaction market got during the pandemic? The answer I believe is that because people are playing these games so frequently when they had never done so before, they start to assign more value to their in-game character and want to appear to have more "clout" and seem good at the game. It is this value that somebody assigns to their in-game experience that when high enough drives the user to purchase content for their character and spend real dollars. That coupled with the fact that they get free money from the government while doing nothing makes the target market for these games especially excited to start spending. But it isn't just that the existing users are spending more - the microtransaction market size is expanding, so much so that my friend who once considered himself way out of the microtransactions market and laughed about ever spending money on shit for a video game decided to spend money on it for the first time. This isn't just a one-off thing I'm noticing with a stupid friend, because he is in fact not stupid, rather it's a psychological effect caused by having way too much time to play video games and stimulus money that Activision's target market doesn't want to spend elsewhere. According to surveys, in Call of Duty 60% of people purchase downloadable content. In Overwatch, it's 62%. In Hearthstone, it's 71%. In StarCraft, it's 42%. Source: https://venturebeat.com/2019/11/19/arm-treasure-data-the-most-popular-games-arent-necessarily-using-lots-of-microtransactions/ What if in all these games, which are owned by Activision, that percent has risen substantially because so many people have been playing them so often during the pandemic and as a result of the effect I previously described that my friend was victim to? This survey was conducted using people that consider themselves to play video games regularly, meaning people that play pretty much daily. So we have to keep in mind that the population of people that play daily is ALSO increasing because of the pandemic, while the raw % of people that will spend on microtransactions is also increasing. Well what's the big deal, it's just a few in-game purchases right? Wrong. In 2019 Activision pulled in $6.49 billion in revenue. Of this $6.49 billion in revenue, a whopping 50.85% or $3.3 billion came from in-game microtransactions. $3.3 billion in a year for some pixels what the fuck right? And the kicker? There's nearly a 100% profit margin on these microtransactions, which is why last earnings (which ended March 31 and contained what is a decent increase in microtransactions because people hadn't been sitting on their ass for too long yet) Activision reported a 28.24% net margin, up 15.31% YoY. Last quarter they came in at $1.52 billion in revenue versus the $1.32 billion expected revenue. This earnings report, the consensus revenue estimate is $1.68 billion (representing a whopping 39% YoY growth) which is set nice and high - but I'm going to tell you why this is still going to be beat. For Q2 of last year, Activision reported $1.21 billion in revenue. Ok, now we're going to do some conservative math, estimate the lower bounds of the earnings, and show why this quarter's earnings will be beat. Let's assume 0% YoY growth, ignoring the addition to the revenue that games like CoD Warzone had, so they'll be making $1.21 billion as a base like they did in Q2 of last year. Last quarter, microtransactions made up an astounding $956 million of the $1.522 billion in revenue, equaling about 63%, and that was just at the beginning of the pandemic when the I'm-staying-home-so-now-I-value-this-game-more effect that I am describing was just coming into fruition. AND THAT WAS BEFORE STIMULUS CHECKS WERE RECEIVED. Let's be conserative and assume that of that baseline $1.21 billion that we will use to come up with earnings for this quarter, $726 million or about 60% is from microtransactions, even though this % is most likely rising on track with the previous quarter's trend which had 63% of revenue from microtransactions. Now let's try to estimate what the increase in volume of microtransactions is like if even my friend who was sworn against them played enough to care about cosmetics because he had played the game for long enough. So, not only are we increasing the number of people that want cosmetics and other in-game purchasable items, but also accounting for the fact that the people who already spent a lot on them will now spend more because they play more. This is inclusive of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and the Candy Crush Saga which are their big three microtransaction earners. I'm convinced that the volume on these things has to at least have doubled YoY. But for the sake of argument, we'll say they have only increased 75%. Why is this a fair estimate? Last quarter, microtransactions for Modern Warfare were up 100% compared to Black Ops 4 in the same quarter the previous year. We don't want to over-estimate and get our hopes up, we want to make sure this very ballpark math that we are doing can beat revenue estimates even on a considerably lower bound, giving us a high % chance of being right about the actual figure. To further justify this kind of growth in microtransactions, we're going to look at a few things. This report is for months April, May, and June, meaning last quarter's results ended with March. Here are the latest active player count statistics for Warzone: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1110000/call-of-duty-warzone-players/ As of May, there are 60 million Warzone players - this is where there will be a large number of microtransactions which were barely included in the previous quarter because they had less than 40 million players by the end of March. A large part of last quarter's revenue came from CoD Modern Warfare's (not Warzone) season 1 and 2 in-game purchasable content. According to Google Trends, Season 4, released in June, garnered more interest than any other season: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=modern%20warfare%20season&geo=US Also since last quarter, interest in buying CoD points (their currency) has gone up tremendously: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=buy%20cod%20points So let's take our baseline $1.21 billion assuming 0% YoY growth, and increase the revenue generated by microtransactions by 75%. $1.21 billion + ($726 million * 0.75) = $1.754 billion, beating the $1.68 billion consensus only by factoring in a growth in microtransactions and absolutely nothing else, when in reality up-front game sales (purchasing games online for full price), subscriptions, merchandise, and other revenue streams have also increased. This way, even if we've over-estimated our microtransactions boost, there is more than enough room to still trounce earnings from the added revenue from other streams. And if we were very accurate about the microtransactions boost, then that additional revenue will send us way over. Activision already killed earnings last quarter with barely any money coming in from Warzone. l would not be at all surprised if they reach $2 billion in earnings, representing almost a 20% beat of expectations. At $2 billion per quarter and a 10x revenue valuation, Activision would be valued at $80 billion representing a 30% move. ACTIVISION IS GOING TO BEAT AN EARNINGS ESTIMATE THAT IS ALREADY HEAVILY ACCOUNTING FOR THEIR CORONA BUMP. The options are cheap for Activision, so I am loaded up. I think realistically it will have a pre-earnings run up as more people realize that they're going to do very well on earnings and then go up even more on beat earnings. The downside risk on a stock like this is low considering it is a stay-at-home that has had its value increased REASONABLY by the pandemic and is not trading at a ridiculously high tech revenue multiple. At peak rona season, the stock fell roughly 20% and has since rebounded about 56%. Positions: ATVI 8/21 90C ATVI 8/21 100C My positions: https://imgur.com/a/CobyxYe TLDR: Microtransactions made up 63% of Activision's earnings last quarter when they beat revenue estimates by 15.30%. This quarter not only are microtransactions going to make up a larger percentage of the revenue, but the revenue will be much larger with help from the pandemic and the 60m+ new Call of Duty Warzone players. I've also bolded the more important information if you don't want to read through everything. EDIT: Warzone, like Fortnite, is a free download. A comparable game is Fortnite, which at its peak popularity had a revenue per user of a shocking $96 (Source: https://fortniteintel.com/report-fortnite-is-earning-double-the-revenue-of-google-twitter-snap-and-facebook-per-use9265/ ). If we assume that Warzone has just 1/20th of this revenue per user, we're already at an additional $288 million in revenue from Warzone alone.
Howdy y’all, this was an email that I sent to all my friends that are studying right now/beginning to prepare, so please excuse the language and how personal it is. Some of my friends thought it would be helpful to post on here, and I'm all about sharing the love, so I thought why not. I'm swamped with secondaries right now (I waited until I got my score yesterday to submit them), but I will try to reply to anyones comments ASAP as possible. Greetings friends. After a tumultuous summer I finally got my MCAT score back, and I did well enough that I feel comfortable sharing my MCAT journey and all the resources I used. I got a 525, so I like to think I might have an idea of what I’m talking about and am not full of shit. If you have any questions just let me know, we’re all in this together. I’m gonna try to break this email up by sections, but there’s a chance I might ramble so just deal with it. A couple things to start off with: No one really talks about this but I thought the most important thing is to have a GROWTH MINDSET 😤. No but really, if you wanna do well you need to have confidence in yourself. If you don’t believe that you can get a good score then you probably won’t. Obviously you should set realistic goals and don’t become depressed when you don’t get a 528, but I’ve always thought it was best to aim high. Another thing is that the MCAT isn’t really a test of intelligence, it’s just a test of your work ethic. Before I did any studying I thought I’d be fine since I’ve done well in all my undergraduate classes. NOPE. Even if you have a 4.0, there will be so, so many things you haven’t seen before that you need to learn. I’ve seen a lot of people consign themselves to lower score because they think they’re not as smart as other people. Even if it doesn’t come as easily to you, if you work at it you can do better than you think. On that note, you need to cut the bullshit out of your life and make the MCAT a priority. One thing that really helped free up my time was when I stopped going out 3 days a week. We all love the Wednesday night harp show but know what I love more? Having a stable future. It is sucky, and you won’t have as much time for your friends or relationships. This means you can’t be hanging out with the broskis every other day, you can’t be fucking your ex at 1am, and as mentioned you won’t going to the bars or parties. Yeah it is AIDS, and I’m still salty that I barely hit the bars last semester especially when they are closed for the foreseeable future. However, if you want to do the best you can then need to eliminate distractions. I was lucky enough that I have a great support system, friends, and family to help me through this process. They understood when I couldn’t hang or didn’t text back for a week, and they didn’t get pissed because they knew I had to grind. I have stories of people with friends or significant others that can’t take the lack of contact and it causes problems - I can’t tell you what to do but if that happens to you I would suggest reevaluating who you hang out with and if they have your best goals in mind. Things that are helpful before you even start studying Depending on who you are, there is a chance you are getting this email ahead of time before you even need to worry about the MCAT. In that case congrats on being responsible, but please enjoy your life before this consumes it. Anyway, there are a couple things that I think would be helpful that nobody ever talks about. First and foremost, being able to read quickly is a huge blessing. I have always been a nerd and used to get in trouble for reading during class, so I am lucky in that this wasn’t a huge issue for me. The MCAT is timed and presents a lot of information to process, and if you can read fast that means you can get through the material much quicker, allowing you more time to check on questions that you have flagged. Since you will be making hella flashcards (read below), it will be really helpful if you can type fast. I type all my notes for school so I am fairly proficient (lucky for y’all or there would be no way in hell I would type this novel), however if you are not the best then there are several online typing websites you can use to improve your speed. Since the MCAT is all multiple choice there will be no things that you need to type, but it will save you a tone of time during your review. Finally, this makes sense but try to do your best in your undergrad classes and learn to retain information, not just get the day. If you barely passed orgo the first time you took it then it will take even longer to relearn it for the MCAT. Likewise, even though I got a 4.0 in biochem I didn’t memorize all the pathways, and it was annoying to have to relearn it. If you are in the position, keep these tips in mind and it will save you some time. How I studied (chronologically in general): Tbh I kinda bullshitted my way into MCAT studying for a while, as I didn’t really know anyone else who was studying at the same time. This is one of the things I highly regret, as I feel like I wasted too much time by not having a solid plan. There are services online that will build you a study plan for like $150. I never used them because I can usually self motivate, but if you are one of those people that cannot focus then you might wanna look into it. The first couple months I spent doing content review, which basically means I went through every page of the Kaplan books and took detailed notes. In the end, this was a COLOSSAL waste of time and I highly regret it. Hundreds of hours were put into making notes that I never used again, and those hours would be much better spent doing practice questions or something else. I would still recommend looking over the books because they provide a good basis. However, if I could go back I would probably just skim through them and maybe take light notes. Another thing I will discuss more - you need to be studying using active recall, which for most people means doing practice questions or flashcards. Don’t fall into the trap of reading over notes, thinking “that makes sense,” and then moving on with your life. Studies have shown repeatedly that is simply not the move, it does not work, and it is fake news. No, you’re not better than everyone else and learn better from reading your notes. If you still wanna disagree on this, just delete the email right now and continue to delude yourself. After I did a content review, I couldn’t really tell you what I got done. I have about a 2 to 3 month gap in my memory on how I studied, which is why I suggest using a schedule. I assume I spent most of this time doing practice questions, and I also know that I got through all of UEarth Right around this time is when COVID hit, which really threw a wrench in my plans. I was originally supposed to test on 4/25, but miss rona pushed my test back 2 months to 6/27. I knew that I needed to really get my ass in gear in the last 2 months to get up to my goal (at that time my goal was a 520), so this is when I really started to put the work in. Since my semester had ended, I basically studied everyday, full time. I struggle with waking up in the morning, and although on average I wanted to wake up at 7 everyday I usually got up at 9. I would workout (except when I got lazy which was more often than I’d like to admit), and then make a smoothie and study. My routine usually consisted of doing my Anki review cards in the morning, doing some practice questions, then doing new Anki cards in the afternoon. Something that I struggled with was working at home, and honestly if at all possible do not study in your own house if you can avoid it. I would usually go to the student union or find a nice spot outside, and I was lucky because my roommate moved out and I was able to use his room as an office with my phone in a different room. I would usually try to do a practice test every Wednesday and Sunday, spend the following Thursday and Monday reviewing it, and then spend the other days doing any practice I had left. As I got closer and closer to the test date I was eventually running out of practice questions and had more and more Anki cards, so I would end up just doing hella Anki cards a day. Per Section Tips First off for every section I was kinda surprised with how well I did, a whole lotta luck and everyone’s prayers went into it so excuseeee me if I can’t back up my score. Chemistry/Physics (C/P): This section was a pain in my ass. I had done well in chemistry and physics in class, but at least at MSU you get a cheat sheet for PHY 231/2. The MCAT has no such luxuries, and you will be forced to memorize everything. Everyone stresses on orgo, but if you look at the content breakdown orgo is only 5% of the total content, and if you didn’t feel the need to do that good you could ignore orgo and probably do fine. I noticed that after doing a lot of practices, a lot of the stuff is very repetitive and testing the same things. You need to know your distillations and kinematic equations and how to find the resistance in parallel vs series, but honestly the stuff the section covers isn’t as hard as it seems once you get used to it Critical Analysis of Bullshit aka Reading aka CARS: If C/P is a pain in the ass CARS has been the bane of my existence. “But Paul, how hard can reading be you illiterate fuck? The answer is just there you gotta read it!” Alas, this is not the case. I’ve read all my life, I got perfect scores in ACT and SAT reading, but CARS doesn’t really test your reading ability, it just tests if you can figure out the AAMC’s bullshit logic they use when writing questions. I ended up doing well in this section on the real thing, but honestly it has been one of the hardest things to improve and I can’t really give any huge game changers I used to boost my score. One thing that did help was after each paragraph, I would take a couple seconds to mentally summarize what I just read. Some of the material is insanely boring, and unless you stay engaged it will be hard to retain it and then answer the questions. In addition, you can’t spend time trying to find every answer in the text, as sometimes it will be vaguely implied and you have to ~feel~ it. The official AAMC section banks (discussed below) offer some good practice for this, and I would also recommend signing up for Jack Westin reading passages and doing those. I honestly think CARS is just something you have to practice over time and cross your fingers, do a rain dance, and pray that it will come to you. There is no quick fix and it’s impossible to cram for, so try to just start ASAP Biology/Biochem (B/B): So tbh I have been an intro biology TA for 4 semesters now, meaning I have technically taken the class 5 times and a lot of the basic material is child's play (why you gotta fight with me at cheesecake). First off for the love of god memorize all the amino acids, glycolysis, and the Krebs cycle. You can’t get around it, they will ask questions about it, and it is easy points. Something else that’s important (really applies for the whole exam but) is that learning how everything is interconnected and applying concepts. You can’t really use sheer memorization for this, and a lot of questions I would get right because I was like oh shit this is just like a different concept I learned that I can apply to this. There are many many topics covered in this, so like everything else I would suggest just trying to absorb as much material as you can. Psych/Soc (P/S): Honestly it is a beauty that this section is last because it is the “easiest.” I think that if you are struggling to get your score up, this is probably the easiest section to do it in because it is just memorizing a bunch of terms. Sure you need to rote memorize a lot of stuff, but many questions are just definitions and don’t really test your problem solving that much. I also found that I always finished psych with ample time left, so it gave me time to check on your answers. One thing I’ll warn you about is on the actual test, psych was hard as hell and I felt like it was my worst section by far, while it ended up being my best one. Keep in mind that even though this section is more straightforward than other ones, there will still be some curveballs. Also, process of elimination is essential in this section, as you will often get questions that require you to know 4 different theories - even if one is something you have no clue about, you may be able to eliminate the other options. Actual Test Day and Trusting the Process: Alright first when you take the test (applies to full lengths and every test in general) there are a couple strategies I used that I think helped get my score. First off, when actually taking the test I would usually try to make a quick first pass on it. The MCAT setup lets you flag questions, and if there was a question I had no clue on or one that I guessed on and went back, I would flag it by clicking the flag in the upper right hand corner. This not only allowed me to get through the whole test, but meant that I wouldn’t waste time on hard questions when there were easy questions further in the test. After making my first pass I would then review all the incomplete questions and flagged ones, and if I still had time I would go through the whole test again. More than once I caught a question I hadn’t flagged that I got wrong, so this was helpful. Something else that was helpful was meditating. I don’t think I ever truly meditated, but between sections I would close my eyes and try to focus on my breathing. I know it sounds like some hippie bullshit but it actually works, I think it kinda helps calm you down and stay focused. It is easy to feel like you bombed one section and then let it affect your other sections, but I would try to push this out of my head and think along the lines of “okay even if chemistry sucked you can still do perfect on every other section and kill it.” Something else I wanna discuss is scoring and low yield vs high yield concepts. Low yield and high yield is something that you will hear a lot, and basically refers to content that should be expected to be seen a lot (high yield) and content you may not ever see (low yield). An example of something high yield would be the structure of amnio acids, while something low yield is something like Kuber-Ross end of life stages. Some people only focus on the high yield stuff and ignore the low yield stuff, but personally I think that is a mistake. My philosophy is that you should go into the MCAT feeling like you know everything and are prepared for anything they might throw at you. Obviously you won’t and you will still be confused on some topics, but at least you are more likely to do better. Now if you have limited time that is a different story, but if you are able I would suggest treating everything as high yield. In regards to scoring, something to keep in mind is that it is much much easier to improve at a lower level than at a higher one. The difference between the 515 I scored in March and the 525 I got in June was only a difference of ~15 questions right, and represented hundreds of hours of studying. Tbh, I theoretically could’ve gotten a 528 if I had gotten only 3 more questions right. For that reason (at least in my opinion), it is kind of hard to study for a score past 525, and that entire range (98-100th percentile) is based on your content knowledge and luck. If you are already scoring high you will probably notice the lack of advice and guides online to scoring in that range, as most things are focused on getting you to a 515 (generally most people’s target). Similarly, if you start out at a 490 it is going to be much easier to get to a 500 then from a 500->510, and a 510->520. Just something to keep in mind as you format your plan of attack. As you approach your test day, most advice says to just relax and not do any material, but since I’m the kid that will still be looking at his notes while the test is being passed out in the front of class, I found this hard to do. At the end of the day however, the studying you do the last day and honestly in the last week won’t make that much of a difference. If you have been scoring in the 510 range on all your official FL’s, do not expect that you will suddenly get a 520 on test day. When you take the test, you will go to the Pearson Vue testing center (leave your phone in the car), sign in, get your palm scanned and photo taken, and then be led to the testing room. You will be asked to flip out your pockets, and the proctor (in my case a student) will lead you to the room. Keep in mind that if you want, you can ask the proctor for some disposable earplugs, in addition to the over the ear headphones that are next to your computer. Miraculously, I found that my room was actually pretty quiet, and I had no trouble concentrating. I took the test in the middle of COVID, which means they shortened the test to allow for 3 tests a day in order to fit everybody in. Because of this, the test was a little under 6 hours long instead of the 7+ hours it normally is. I had a smoothie for breakfast and went to the bathroom before, and I chose not to take any of the breaks. If you feel like you need a drink of water or to take a piss, keep in mind that it takes some time to get checked in and out, so really your 10 min break turns into 5. Now after you took the test, do your best not to freak out. Personally I got jimmy johns, then sat in my car and called my dad. I felt confident on FL4 but felt like I bombed the actual test, and all I could focus on were the questions I had likely gotten wrong. This is normal, everyone feels that way, and odds are you didn’t fail. I then spent the next 2 weeks tweaking and reading horror stories of people who did good in practice and then bombed their actual test - for the love of god don’t do this, try not to do something school related, and just relax. It is out of your hands and there is nothing you can do, so don’t worry about it because I bet you did great. How to take a full length (FL): If you do any research online, you will likely see people refer to something called FL’s. These stand for full length tests, and they are released by AMCAS, the company that makes the MCAT. These tests are the best gauge of how well you will do on the MCAT, as I’m pretty sure they are just old MCATS. You should pretend that each FL is the real thing - that means taking it in a quiet environment, no notes, phone away, etc. There are currently 4 AAMC FL’s, which means 4 practice test (representing more than 1000 practice questions) Now, here’s where I go against the thread. The conventional wisdom is to take your full lengths within a month of your actual test, and your test will be ±2 points of the average of your FL’s. However, I was originally supposed to test April 25th, and when it got pushed back to June 27th I had already taken FL1-3. This means I couldn’t take the average, since there were 300+ hours of studying done between FL3 and FL4. Personally, I find I learn a lot from reviewing practice questions, and as such it’s going to be natural to improve on subsequent ones. A lot of people only focus on actually taking the test, but actually reviewing the test is essential, and probably one of the most important things to do when studying for the MCAT. Every question is multiple choice, and therefore has 1 right answer and 3 wrong answers (except the questions like I, I & II, II & III but fuck those questions). This means that when doing any sort of practice, you should not only know why the right answer is right but why the other 3 are wrong. If you can do this for every question, you know your stuff. To test if you’re doing it right, if you were to look through old practices you should be getting almost every question right. If not, you probably need to focus on how you review information. My scores on the full lengths were 514, 515, 513 (rip CARS) and 524. A note on third party practice tests - do NOT trust scores from third party tests, at least not at face value. First of all, the companies have a financial incentive to make them harder. You might notice that companies like Kaplan have a money back guarantee if you don’t do better on the actual test than their practices. To make sure you never claim it, they make their tests way harder than the real thing. For reference, I got 510 on a Kaplan FL and scored 524 on FL4 the next week. Furthermore, the AAMC has a very specific format that you need to get used to, a format not used by other test making companies. This holds especially true in CARS - basically disregard any 3rd party cars test, as it is fake news. Anki I was going to throw this in the section below but I realized that Anki was so instrumental in my success it deserves it’s own separate header. Anki is basically a flashcard app, but it has some features that make it amazing. When you use online flashcards like quizlet, it will basically have your cards in a pile and there is no way of ranking them. With Anki, whenever you look at a card you can rank it by difficulty, and then cards that are easy will go to the back of your pile while difficult ones will stay at the top. That way you can maximize your time. What you should be doing is basically making an Anki card on anything and everything. This includes right and wrong questions, things that you kinda know but not quite, things you see online that you aren’t 100% confident of. If there is a topic that you don’t know well enough to teach to another person, you should make a card for it. This is mentioned below, but in addition to making your own cards I would use a master deck. That is basically a compendium of all the knowledge that will be on the test. They are usually not super in depth, but offer a great way to get a general understanding of stuff. The important thing after making the cards is actually using them, and this is where I dropped the ball. I didn’t really start going through my Anki decks until a little over a month before the MCAT, and since I had accumulated over 6000 cards including the master deck it meant I was doing more than a thousand reviews a day. Anki is made for long term learning not cramming, and I would recommend working on cards simultaneously as you make them. I am not an expert on Anki, but there are a lot of YouTube videos and resources out there that can explain it better than I. I would also recommend downloading the Heatmap add-on to track your progress and to motivate you to keep up with it, as well as the image resizer add on to make it easier to add screenshots. Also something that made studying easier for me was that I would often do my Anki cards while hammocking. Obviously it would be difficult depending on your location/the season, but I love outdoors and it was much better for me to work on a deck outside rather than cramped inside an office. Some of you have requested I send my Anki decks, which I did because once again, we are all in this together. However, I would generally warn against using other peoples flashcards or Anki decks. If we both took the same test there would be questions I thought were easy that you thought were hard, and vice versa. It is gonna be a waste of time, since your study plan should be custom to YOU, nobody else. Seriously though, download Anki and use it. Without Anki I would not have done well. Plz. Other Resources I Used: AAMC Official Material - This includes the full lengths I previously discussed, as well as other section banks with official practice questions. These are very helpful, as they are written by AMCAS and the MCAT is written in a specific way. You will notice as you study more that while questions test certain knowledge, but official questions are written differently than 3rd party ones. Among the AAMC resources are something called Section Banks. These are basically the hardest questions that are likely to show up on the test. Don’t fret when you get half of them wrong, because they’re designed to be hella hard. They are another great resource to study from, because if you can nail the hardest content then everything else will seem easy. UEarth - UEarth can straight up have my children, it is probably one of if not the best resource you can use. Basically UEarth is a paid service that has 1900 practice questions, styled exactly like the MCAT. Questions are broken up by sections (Chem, Physics, Bio, Biochem, Psych, Soc, Reading), and furthermore by subsections (for example Chem could have circuits, magnets, thermo, mirrors, etc). UEarth allows you to make custom practice tests, and you can choose the type of questions you want. The real beauty of UEarth is that they give detailed explanations for every question, including why the wrong answer is wrong. This allows you to figure out why you chose the wrong answer (which as mentioned, is important). I went through UEarth on my first pass over spring break (and made Anki cards for them), and then went back over a month or so later and redid all of the questions I had gotten wrong previously. This was important, because if I still got them wrong it meant that I didn’t learn the subject. Kaplan - Most people purchase a set of books, and the 2 most common are the Princeton Review and Kaplan. They’re basically the same, so flip a coin or whatever. One thing that is nice with Kaplan is you have access to their online services. At the end of each chapter in the book there is a 15 question quiz, and they have all these online when you make an account. They also provide you with 3 free practice tests, which are nice. NextStep Full Lengths - As I’ve mentioned, I learn best when doing practice questions. NextStep is a third party company that sells practice tests and section banks. Even though they are very deflated, they still are great for testing your content knowledge. I got the bundle of 6 tests, and was able to do so when they had a sale. Depending on how long you are studying for, I would definitely use NS tests if you can. JackWestin CARS practice - JackWestin is apparently just a dude that is good at reading. CARS is one of the hardest sections on the MCAT, and he has a free email service where you sign up and they send you one passage a day. I would recommend doing that literally after you’re done reading the novel I’m writing right now, and then actually do it. I had like a 3 month period where I would just delete the emails every day, and that is stupid. If you do one passage a day you’ll spend only ~10 minutes, but you’ll be doing the equivalent of an entire CARS practice every week. MileDown Anki Deck - Legend has it that Mr. Miledown was an extremely gracious person sho spent his gap year making a comprehensive review of all the MCAT material. The Miledown deck is an Anki deck of a few thousand flashcards that encompass all of the knowledge that should be on the MCAT. Theoretically, if you go through the entire deck and learn everything then you will know everything that will be on the MCAT. It can be downloaded from reddit if you google it. There are several other master decks (the other one I know of is Jack Sparrow), I only used the MileDown one and I was fine but do some digging. Reddit - this was also instrumental for my MCAT success. I was never big into reddit, but I made an account specifically when preparing. There is an MCAT subreddit with an absolute wealth of knowledge. If you have a question, I can almost guarantee that someone has asked it before. There are tons of people that are apparently altruistic af, and will take time out of their day to give detailed answers. Reddit is also huge when reviewing your FL’s. If you have a tricky question google “reddit MCAT FL# C/P #” and there will probably be multiple threads with different explanations. Reddit also has some funny memes and people will post very helpful tips or study sheets. There’s also lots of posts like what I’m writing now, where people will outline their study strategy and give tips. I think one of the reasons people do so bad on the MCAT (after all 50% of people score below a 500) is simply because they are not aware of what is out there. Stuff attached to this email - I attached some of my favorite resources that I used when preparing. Highlights include the Khan Academy document and The Miledown Overall Review pdf. Some of the website links are to very specific topics, but ones that I struggled with and found helpful. It’s helpful, and ctrl f is your friend. I also attached my Anki decks. What I Wish I Did Differently: I obviously got a great score, however there were several things that I would have changed. As mentioned, I wasted a lot of time on my content review. Unless you are actively recalling the content, there is very little you will learn from reading and taking notes. I could have easily shaved a couple hundred hours off my study time if I kept this in mind. If I had an actual schedule to follow, I would definitely have been more efficient - some people find that it helps to have a study buddy to keep each other accountable. In addition, I should have been more diligent at following a routine and waking up early. Especially in summer with my test 2 months away, it was really easy to sleep in until 10. I would try to remind myself that if I woke up 3 hours earlier, that means I can finish 3 hours earlier. In the same vein, it is important to set boundaries while you study and try to enjoy your life. I would often try to “study” until 10 at night, which usually consisted of me going on my phone while my laptop was open with flashcards. This is just stupid, either you are studying or not; you can’t halfass it. Miscellaneous You might have noticed that I didn’t do any sort of standardized program. It may work for some, but personally I find that when you’re being taught with everyone else, it is very easy to either get ahead and be wasting your time or fall behind and struggle. I am also poor. Many people like private tutoring, however that is also extremely expensive and many times it is easier to find the answer yourself. In a similar thread, you need to keep in mind that MCAT companies are for profit companies. This is where my cynicism will show through - the primary goal of these companies is to maximize profit, not get you the best score. Of course they want you to do well so they will look good, and I’m sure individual teachers do care, however as a whole they are trying to sell you something. As part of my Kaplan book set I was able to have a 30min call to help plan for studying. When I asked her about other resources like UEarth and Nextstep, it was evident that she was basically told by her boss not to endorse anyone but Kaplan, so she steered me back towards their own products. They are not praying on your downfall, but just keep that in mind when you get advice from someone. Also if you can’t tell already, the MCAT is hella expensive. Including the fee for taking the test, I spent around $1100 throughout the whole process. I was lucky to be in a position where I was able to work over the semester to save up, but it is something to think about. Something that also really helped me was an app called Forest. It is an app that will grow mini virtual trees when you don’t use your phone for a given amount of time. Growing trees gets you coins, which you can use to unlock more trees and even use to get the company to plant real trees. It sounds cheesy, but it was really helpful for me and helped me stay off my phone. A note on mental health: The MCAT is a real bitch, and I knew of lots of people that I either knew personally or saw online that had their mental health really affected. I am lucky enough to not suffer from high anxiety or other disorders, but given how stressful it was for me I can’t imagine dealing with it on top of other shit. At the end of the day, the MCAT is just another standardized test and the score doesn’t define who you are. At worst you would have to retake it, and even if you have to take a gap year it is not the end of the world. Ik you might think it is easy for me to say since I got a good score, but even after I got the score in the back of my mind I was like hmm well if I had gotten XYZ right maybe I would’ve done even better. Unless you’re a genius you probably won’t get a 528, and that is okay. Do the best you can, remind yourself that med school admissions are holistic, and at the end of the day remember to take time for self care. Alright folks that’s a wrap. I think I included most of my thoughts, but I’m sure I forgot a few things. Let me know if you have any other questions, you can reply to this email or just text me. Feel free to send this to your friends, I really don’t care and I want everyone to do as best they can on the MCAT. We are all smart and capable and we will all get into medical school and be doctors someday. I believe in you. Everything you need to know in science: https://jackwestin.com/resources/mcat-content/aamc-mcat-science-outline Electrostatic Equations: https://www.reddit.com/Mcat/comments/ha9rff/tips_for_understanding_electrostatics_instead_of/ Understanding linear to chair conformations of sugars: https://www.organicchemistrytutor.com/converting-between-fischer-haworth-and-chair-forms-of-carbohydrates/ Converting 3rd party FL scores to actual ones: http://joel.vg/converting-3rd-party-mcat-scores-to-actual-scores/ Memorizing Erikson stages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BcwntGAB34 Link to MileDown MCAT Overall Review (too large to attach): https://www.reddit.com/MCAT2/comments/96hwed/umiledown_s_god_tier_review_sheets/
DKNG has seen huge gains this week, mostly focused on Tuesday and today, Thursday. Both days saw intraday spikes on sports-world news: on Tuesday afternoon a presser with Gary Bettman was announced and on Thursday it was announced that the Premier League would return in June. Oddly, the stock did not move back down at all after Bettman’s announcement turned out to just be an expanded playoff format, and nothing about a return to the ice. The Premier League news didn’t seem to have much impact on other sports betting stocks either. Both of these events point towards something that seems obviously clear: DraftKings’ stock is hugely overpriced, but seems to keep being driven up just by trading. I think there are cases to be made for short term bull or bear, and for long term bear. I’m already in on the long term bear case with Nov ‘20, Dec ‘20 and Jan ‘21 Puts that have all taken a beating, but debating what the profitable short term play is. For some context, I used to trade bonds on one of the biggest desks in NY, but moved to be closer to family a while ago and run my own business. My state is not supported by DraftKings, so keep in mind when reading that I am a bit salty towards the company and their ability to sniff out VPNs. Been a long time lurker here, but this is my first post. The company’s Q1 earnings was pretty enlightening and quite the spin job. I was shocked to see the stock rise that day after what I read to be a pretty poor outcome. Growth in marketing expenses can be written off as entering new states, but seeing no growth in net revenue despite 30% growth in gross revenue means that the company has a growth problem, in other words almost all the revenue growth was driven by giving away free bets and reducing vig. Let’s look further at revenue growth though. I found it very interesting that the company led with “30% revenue growth” when, in fact, that was only at Old DraftKings, which makes up about 75% of New DraftKings revenue. SBTech makes up the rest and grew at only 3%, giving the public company a 23% growth rate for the quarter, not 30% - spin job. The company also gave us an interesting insight into coronavirus’ impact on their business, maybe unintentionally. At Old DraftKings, they noted 60% growth through March 10th. If we assume each day through the quarter is equal, that means the last 21 days of the quarter would have been down 70% vs Q1 ‘19, that’s big. However, we know not all days are created equal in the world of sports, and Q1 included 5 NFL playoff days and the Super Bowl. If we assume NFL betting days are 3x a normal day and the Super Bowl is 3x a normal NFL day, you can see your way to revenue post-March 10th being down 95%. A similar look at SBTech’s drop from +19% to only +3% means revenue post-coronavirus is down at least by half. Another interesting lens to use in looking at the company is how they pitched themselves when the merger was announced five months ago in December. On slide 22 they compare their valuation to a variety of comps, trying to show that the valuation is fair, probably trying to alleviate the fact that the valuation for DraftKings was about 4x what Paddy Power paid for FanDuel 18 months earlier. I’m going to ignore the “EV / 2021E Revenue – Growth Adjusted” multiple that they highlight, because adjusting a forward looking multiple based on your own forward looking growth projections is absolute garbage, and instead look at EV / TTM 3/31 Revenue for those same comps. At $39 per share, DraftKings has a market cap a bit over $15 billion on TTM revenue of $451 million, giving them a revenue multiple of 33.7x. For those of you that haven’t been around the block a few times, that is outrageously high. The “High Growth Consumer Internet” category that they selected is at 8.1x and “EU Sportsbook Operators” at 3.6x. Their best comp is probably Flutter, which is Paddy Power + Fanduel + Stars, trades at 7.8x. DraftKings deserves a higher multiple than Flutter given that they are pure-play USA vs Flutter which has a lot of retail european revenue that isn’t high growth, but the two companies currently have the same market cap, despite FanDuel being a direct comp to DraftKings with more market share in the fast growing business segments. Even if you said DraftKings should trade at a 50% premium to Flutter, which is being very generous, that implies a share price of only $13.50. I know what you’re going to say: “this is all about more states allowing sports betting.” Fine, let’s look at what would need to happen at the state-level to get DraftKings’ current valuation to be reasonable. Going back to the December investor presentation, DraftKings estimates their sports book net revenue at $2.3 billion given 25% market share and 65% of the US having online betting, with a 22% allowance for promos from Gross to Net. That let’s us back into $4.5 billion of gross revenue at 100% of the population. Let’s then give them a 30% bump on that for iGaming. Using the company’s current $15 billion valuation and the same 50% premium to Flutter’s revenue multiple above (11.7x) that means they need $1.28 billion of revenue, or $831 million more than they currently have. $831 million more revenue needed means they need 14% more of the population to legalize in the very short term. Of the big five states, CA, TX, FL, NY and PA, none are going to add any population, with PA already online, NY choosing retail-only and the other three being no where close to legalization and widely considered by researchers and lobbyists to be years away. The remaining 46 states, including DC, average 1.3% of the population each, meaning you need a windfall of states to add 14% of the population. Don’t get started on nationally legalized sports betting, no one is even pushing for that and it is never going to happen. The SCOTUS repeal of PASPA was as much about taking away the Federal Government’s ability to make national decisions like allowing or disallowing sports betting as it was about sports betting itself. Sports betting will roll out throughout the US, but it is going to be a state-by-state slog. Another thing to consider is what the company might do with its highly valued stock. As we saw with Tesla a few months ago, a big run up in stock price is a great time to do some financial maneuvering. I think there are two very good options for management right now. The first is obvious: follow-on equity offering. In going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC, DraftKings barely tapped the big institutional investors. A follow-on would be a great way to load up the coffers further - anyone that watched TV in 2015 knows they love to spend money on ads - at a very attractive valuation for the company. The problem with this is that new shares coming in, or the follow-on pricing poorly, could be a big drag on the current share price. Another option might be a little less obvious, but I think could make a lot of sense for the company: Buy William Hill. William Hill currently has a market cap of about $1.5 billion. They have a huge footprint in Europe, a market that DraftKings previously tried and (largely) failed to enter, are a big threat to DraftKings’ DTC approach in the US and have the tech that powers much of the land-based casinos’ sportsbook operations in the US. DraftKings could buy them with their cheap stock, or issue new equity to raise money for the acquisition. DraftKings would add a ton of revenue, could cut lots of duplicated costs, diversify across geographies and sports to temper their seasonality, and replace WillHill’s outdated tech with their much better apps. The big downside is that the CEOs of the two companies seem to really dislike each other. One reason that I think the stock could be up so much since the “IPO” is that there are a very small number of liquid shares. Remember that this wasn’t an IPO at all, it was a reverse merger with a SPAC, meaning that a much higher percentage of outstanding shares are currently locked up than would be in a typical IPO. That constraint on supply with big retail demand could be a huge driver in the stock gain. Circling back to be three cases for what I think could happen: - Short term bull: Sports come back, stock (irrationally) trades up on it - Short term bear: Correction to a more realistic valuation, bulls taking gains, any of NHL, NBA, MLB announce they won’t play again in 2020, financial maneuvering by the company - Long term bear: Correction to a more realistic valuation, bulls taking gains, any of NHL, NBA, MLB announce they won’t play again in 2020, financial maneuvering by the company, Q2 or Q3 earnings disappoint/are eye opening, any blip to the NFL cash cow, NBA or NHL ‘20-’21 season delays, lockup ending in October Just giving my two cents on how I’m looking at this and trading it, and curious to hear any other thoughts or theories on real reasons why the stock is moving and where it is going. Last thought: for those of you that like DraftKings at this price, you should LOVE Flutter at this price.
[Tales From the Terran Republic] Sweatshop Sheloran, Agent Mongrave Stumbles, and Gloria Reborn
So what's been happening in the Republic these days? The rest of this series can be found here Author's note: Ok, so Old Earth supercapacitors are used by the Republic... In one VERY specific application... *** A plath, robed in translucent silken robes, strode down a strange corridor. The walls and floor were made of a slightly moving membrane, shot through with pulsing veins carrying fluids in a rainbow of colors. A glowing orb, one of many that illuminated the hallway, drifted over to her and started to cuddle. She smiled fondly as she petted it as it made little urgent squeaking sounds. “Oh, you want a treat?” she asked in a strange language as she reached into a fold of her robe and pulled out a crimson berry. The orb bounced up and down happily in mid-air as a tiny mouth opened eager to accept the morsel. The plath laughed as the light-beast gobbled it up. “Beast” wasn’t exactly the right word. It was actually a fruit that had matured on one of the glow-trees in the main garden. She squeezed it gently as it giggled. It was still quite firm, still a good month before it would be ready for harvesting. It was an exquisite specimen, so clever, and very long lived for its kind! It would make a magnificent feast when its cycle was complete. She examined it closely, reaching out with her senses as she sang softly. Its seed was forming nicely already wrapped with a healthy layer of fat. Such richness already! Yes, this one, she thought with great satisfaction. “You shall become a mighty tree, little one,” she crooned at it as it beamed happily (and literally) at her. The illuminator followed her as she walked down the hall rubbing happily against her. As she walked a row of bulbous growths sprayed oxygen rich beautifully scented air at her. She inhaled deeply, savoring the fragrance. She stooped down and sang at the soil. It parted at her voice moving gently away from the roots. As the illuminator fruit hovered helpfully above her. Such a good little drupe! She reached up and gave it’s underside tickles. It cooed with delight. After examining them, the soil closed back with a beautiful song and a wave of her hand. Finally! she thought with a satisfied smiled. There had been no sign of the blight in months. It appeared that they finally had put it to rest. Everything on the ship in perfect balance, she thought. If only we were similarly blessed. She cocked her head slightly. She was being watched again. Now who is that? she mused. It wasn’t her rivals or the misguided revisionists. Of that she was sure. It was different, not real but yet was. She paused at a section of wall and crouched placing her hands on the floor. Nobody had followed her. She rose and caressed one of the walls, singing softly as she did so. The wall quivered and started to thin, becoming transparent, revealing a pitch black chamber behind it. Leaving her favorite illuminator behind, she stepped into the thin gelatinous membrane, passing through it with ease. It thickened and became opaque, tough, and leathery just like the rest of the passage in seconds. The chamber started to gently glow in soft cyan hues with phosphorescent fungi when it recognized her scent. Had she been someone else, her little darlings would have had a much different reaction. One could never be too careful, especially these days. She waited, silently, her hands on the bones of the ancient vessel in which they traveled the other realm, crossing the gulf between the stars in mere days. The ancient cellulose bones whispered to her. They said that nobody followed. “Thank you old friend,” she said pressing her head against the beams. She then shrugged off her garments, letting the silken wisps float to the floor. Her graceful form then moved to a small tray, grown into the wall, filled with a nutrient rich broth. Inside, were a row of small flask gourds in a rainbow of hues. She selected two. She then walked to a small circular pool in the center of the chamber filled with absolutely pure water. She knelt by the pool and a small pore in the first gourd opened. She placed two drops of purified malporixlorh extract on her tongue. She shivered as the potent drug entered her bloodstream, her mind, her soul, unlocking that which was bound. After a few minutes of meditation, the second gourd opened, it’s top forming a small lip. She poured a small measure of an oily substance in the water, its surface soon covered with endlessly shifting prismatic colors. She then closed her eyes. Small ripples spread around their edges as glands secreted a greasy, waxy substance that instantly melted coating a thin, almost invisible membrane. She opened her eyes… Then she opened them again as the transparent covering slid back revealing her real eyes, the secretions causing colors to dance across their surface. She stared into the pool, transfixed by the constantly shifting colors. They then started to intensify as time slowed down. Small creatures living in the lining of the pool started to glow as she extended her senses beyond the walls of the ancient ship, out into the formless, timeless void of the outer realm in which she traveled, peering into the endless shifting tides of the past, present, and future, constantly changing like the colors on the surface of the water. She smirked. Nothing changed, not really. Their fate was fixed, as it was ever since their terrible “mistake” that really wasn’t one. Try as they might, her fellow plath would not succeed. Every move they made to avoid what they were doomed to become only set it more firmly in the singing strings of reality. She took a moment to see the struggling lines of probability as the two sides waged their pathetic war. Her sisters were fighting and all too often these days dying to prevent the foolish revisionists from tearing down all that they had built over hundreds of thousand of years. Both sides were fools. Her brothers and sisters were fighting and dying trying to preserve something that didn’t need preserving and the fundamentalists were fighting to stop that which could not be stopped. They would not stop it. They couldn’t. They could only delay things a little. Fate’s judgment, especially when annoyed, was absolute. The fate of the plath, and in a more immediate and pressing sense, her own, was sealed, not that it mattered. The past was set. The future was set. The only thing they were free to toy with was the present. And her present was going to be as pleasant as possible for as long as possible. Then, just like that little glowing drupe, her cycle would end filled with happiness and peace as she rejoined all that is. She realized that she was being distracted by the brightest colors and cleared her mind, peering deeper, looking for the soul that was caressing her being in the dead of night. She took another drop of malporixlorh, a risk, but a worthwhile one as her mind expanded further. There! deep in the timelessness somewhere… somewhen an individual’s mind was swimming through the void vibrating in time with the strands of fate, their fate. She smiled and the shifting colors of her eyes synced with the shimmering of the pool. She saw her! “Hello there,” she sang softly. *** Sheloran awoke with a gasp, sitting bolt-upright in bed. “Murrph?” Craxina muttered as she awoke. “The dream again?” she asked. “Yeah,” Sheloran replied. “It was really freaky this time,” she said as she shuddered. It felt like someone was staring at her. “You should really stop playing that game,” Craxina said sleepily as she snuggled Sheloran. “I know… I know,” Sheloran replied. This all started after playing “Submerged!”. It was an older title but there was just something about it. The surreal organic landscapes, and the strange little cult following that still kept the servers running after twenty years, had entranced her from the first second she loaded it. She literally couldn’t stop playing. She had always scoffed at “gaming addiction”, but she was really starting to wonder. And the more she played it the more intense the dreams. They terrified her. They weren’t gory or violent, like some of her nightmares, they were just… Weird… Scary weird... Really scary. There was no way she was going to sleep again tonight. She started to get out of bed. “Where you goin’?” Craxina asked. “I’m just going to sit for awhile,” she said as she wrapped a silken robe, something that she recently bought online, around her night dress. “You’re going to play aren’t you?” Craxina asked accusingly. “Not after that last dream,” Sheloran said as she started to make a pot of tea. She really wished she had some Helson Grass or Arenaul Herb. She had taken for granted all of the herbs and plants of her homeworld. The creators had blessed them with such bounty. For the thousandth time that week she wished she had the presence of mind to snatch a few seeds, a clipping or two. As soon as that pooping border opened back up, she was definitely going to be getting her buddies to go pick up a few hundred different seeds. It was going to be tricky, since they were “sacred” but credits talk and dogma walks. Somebody would be willing to go foraging for a few bucks (or games). She was getting those fucking seeds… Oops… She was getting those darn seeds, she thought as she corrected herself. What was with her potty mouth these days? The Great Prophet warned about obscenity. It was “dangerous”… for some reason. She sat down with a book on Terran botany as she sipped her tea. She started unconsciously flipping the pages faster and faster. She suddenly stopped, staring at an organic molecule. That’s close! she thought excitedly and then blinked. She could work with that! Close to what and what, exactly am I going to do to it? Oh poop, there was that strange feeling again. She set down her tea and reached for a bottle of absinthe. Absinthe was yummy! And it certainly took the edge off... As she took out a box of sugar cubes, Craxina quiet snoring started to fill the room. She smiled. She used to find it so annoying but now, it was really comforting. It was really nice having someone to sleep with. It wasn’t a boyfriend but still, it was nice. Then again, plath, even boyfriends and girlfriends, didn’t sleep together. Heck, even husbands and wives didn’t. She wondered why? It was nice to have someone next to you. Some of the things that the priests said the Great Prophet commanded seemed kinda loopy every now and then. (May the Great Prophet forgive her.) What was the harm of “sleeping alongside one another”? It wasn’t like they were “doing anything”… (Not that Craxina hadn’t offered… Fortunately, she was fine with the word “no” for once...) She was starting to think the Great Prophet was just opposed to a good time. No, he meant well. He really did. He was just… misguided... What!?! Great, now I really am a heretic... Her eyes suddenly looked over at her very nice VR rig. She was already awake and just a little Submerged wouldn’t hurt. She walked over and put on the modified headset and smiled as a shimmering pool filled her vision. She couldn’t wait to see how her little demon/flower hybrids were doing! *** The next morning Craxina woke up to an empty bed. She looked over towards the VR rig. There she was, asleep with the headset on. “Wake up, junkie,” Craxina said only halfway joking as she nudged Sheloran. “I’th ras lori’kiah-shun?” Sheloran mumbled. “What?” Craxina asked in alarm, her fur standing on end for a second as shivers ran down her spine (and not in a good way). “Huh?” Sheloran asked hazily as she pulled off the headset. “Sorry, I guess I dozed off.” “Do you gamers have your own language or something?” “What?” Sheloran asked in confusion, “No.” “You just said something really weird. It was like really creepy.” “Did I?” “Yeah! It sounded, I don’t know… demonic or something!” “Well, I am the Befouler,” Sheloran joked, “Grr!” She really didn’t want to think about… whatever just happened. Craxina just laughed along but in all honesty, Sheloran was starting to scare her a little… And it was getting worse… *** Helen Mongrave drank her morning coffee as she accessed a certain dating website. She smiled. There was a rather filthy message from an “admirer”. “Oh, Jon,” she laughed fondly. He still had the same sense of humor he had in boarding school. She loaded up a script and processed the unsolicited dick pic that was attached. At least it wasn’t his dick. She knew for a fact, unless he had a very uncharacteristic growth spurt, he was nowhere nearly that well endowed. A message slowly started to appear. He had made it into the Republic and was wanting a list of who he could trust as well as a briefing of the latest developments. She loaded a rather graphic image that was definitely not to Jon’s taste and encrypted her reply with a chuckle. Let’s see how Jon likes that one! she chuckled to herself. Jon was a pretty good man, or had grown into one. Yeah, he screwed up royally in the past but she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, after all this bullshit was finally over, maybe… *** Sheloran wiped down the counter and cleaned the espresso machines for the sixth time that morning as she tried not to think about last night. Maybe she should just uninstall that fuc-… that darn game. The Great Prophet was right! she thought as she felt something stir inside her. Obscenity is dangerous! That’s it! No more potty-mouth! “May the Prophet guide my steps, guide my thoughts… May he guide me away from the darkness...” she repeated to herself, a quiet little mantra. The door opened and a small xeno walked in with fuzzy pale fur and a cute little snout, a garthra? She thought it was a garthra, a Federation species. “Hi!” Sheloran said brightly. A customer! A lot of her business, both legit and somewhat less so, depended on the Federation trade, something that had been brought to a screeching halt. A lot of the neighborhood was in the same boat. The whole free port zone was for the Feds, not the Empire, and a lot of the businesses in the area were run by Federation emigres just as reliant on the Fed trade as she was. The whole place had almost shut down. If it wasn’t for her annoyingly profitable den of ill-repute she would definitely be in trouble. “The girls” (and a few boys and other genders) were pretty much what was keeping the door open these days. “H-hello...” the little female said nervously. “Can I help you?” Sheloran asked hopefully. “Maybe some media?” God, she hoped it was media. That was the whole reason for this whole goddam-… pooping thing. “I… I heard… I heard that...” she said as she clutched at her pretty little dress. “I heard that someone could… make some money here? By doing… doing...” she buried her face in her little hands and made a strangled little yelping noise. Sheloran didn’t know garthras? (she was pretty sure it was a garthra) very well but she knew crying when she heard it! Poop. She sighed sadly. Unfortunately this was becoming far too common. People were stuck with no way to get home (or couldn’t return for one bullshi-… poopy reason or another) or their business were tanking or their employers were going under. Desperation was setting in and she was filling out way too many union cards for the wrong reasons. It was… wrong, she thought as she felt an odd pressure around her eyes. Her eyes had been bugging her here lately. She probably needed some Eyesoothe, that’s what you took when your eyes were hurting like this. It made it go away. Some Restful Palm wouldn’t go amiss either. It really helped with the unsettling dreams and recurrent unpleasant thoughts she’d been having. Maybe some Void Balm too! What she wouldn’t give for just a few blossoms. Absinthe just wasn’t cutting it anymore, at least in quantities remotely close to advisable. Not knowing what to do she walked around the counter and started to wrap her arms around the distressed xeno. The poor garthra collapsed into her arms, sobbing inconsolably. Sheloran squeezed her eyes shut and winced as her orbits ached. Seriously, this was fucked up… Messed up! I meant messed up!… Great Prophet guide my steps... “It’s… It’s going to be ok,” Sheloran said, not really believing it. *** A few minutes later after Sheloran calmed her down and gave her a soothing cup of peppermint tea (She wasn’t sure why but she was definitely certain it would help… And it did!) “Have you eaten today?” Sheloran asked as Uhrrbet (that was her name) sipped her tea. She shook her head. “Did you eat yesterday?” Uhrrbet’s nose started to run (garthra “tears” were really snotty!) as she shook her head. “Well that I can help with!” Sheloran said with a smile. “Do you like donuts?” Uhrrbet’s eyes lit up. “Come around back,” Sheloran smiled, the pressure in her eyes finally subsiding, “Plonxi damn… I mean darn… Great Prophet guide me!… She darn near bought out a bakery this morning.” As Uhrrbet was stuffing herself with yeasty goodness Craxina walked in, robe annoyingly open. “I tell you,” Craxina exclaimed as she dried herself off (after a shower! Get your head out of the gutter, perv!), “that guy was freaky! You won’t believe what he wanted me to do!” she laughed. “I thought I’d heard them all but, wow!” Uhrrbet stiffened up as Craxina started to go into detail. “Not a good time, Craxi,” Sheloran said urgently making a cutting off motion behind Uhrrbet’s back. “Oh, it isn’t bad at all!” Craxina said to Uhrrbet. “You don’t even have to try to shove one inside you, if you don’t wanna. You can just play with it or put it in your mouth! Their stuff tastes really good!” Uhrrbet’s nose started to run. “Craxi. Go. Away!” Sheloran said as her eyes started to pulse. “Yessh!” Craxi said, her damp fur trying to stand on end. “Alright! Alright! Jesus!” she yelped as she snatched a donut and scurried off. “Sorry about that,” Sheloran said to Uhrrbet trying to calm her back down. “Craxi is… well her whole species is… They’re different from most of us.” “It’s… ok…” Uhrrbet said between damp sniffles. “I… I guess I need to get… used to...” She broke down, dripping boogers onto the donuts. I hate my job, Sheloran thought as she held Uhrrbet. This was supposed to be fun, selling games to Federation delinquents. It wasn’t supposed to be this bullshit. “Hey… hey...” Sheloran said soothingly, somewhat at a loss. “Look, you don’t have to do this.” “I do!” Uhrrbet wailed. “I owe the Harkeen money! If I don’t come to work for you, I’ll have to work for them!” Sheloran snarled as her eyes started killing her. Those… jerkfaced bullies! She hated them with a passion! They were part of the Threen mafia and were a constant pain. They thought they ran the free port. She already had more than one run-in with those… fucker-… Jerks!. She had done a couple of “union membership drives” involving some of their “employees”. They liked to growl and spit but they just a bunch of scared little bullies. When the union came calling they always backed down but sooner or later, they were right back at it. Drugs, prostitution, “protection rackets”, stuff like that. She didn’t have a problem with them because she had the union at her back but so many others had no choice but to pay them off. And the cops were useless. They didn’t care what happened “down here”. They just broke up fights and if something worse happened they would collect the bodies and make arrests if they could. She really should start selling weapons… It wouldn’t take much to get a dealer’s license… But most of the little Feds were too timid to use them anyway. That’s the problem. Everyone ran scared of them. “Is there anything else you can do?” Sheloran asked helplessly. “A skill, a trade… anything?” “I… I can sew,” she said hopefully. “I made this dress!” “Well that’s something!” Sheloran said cheerfully. “Hand made anything is valuable! If you can sew then there is no reason why you couldn’t make human clothes and sell them!” “But I don’t have money for fabric or anything,” Uhrrbet said helplessly. “And if I don’t pay them something by tomorrow they say they’ll… they’ll...” She started crying again. Voiddammit… I mean poop… Great Prophet help me! Please! “(Sigh)… How much do you owe?” Sheloran asked cursing herself (for real) for asking. “Fifteen hundred… Sixteen hundred by tomorrow,” she said helplessly. “Ok,” Sheloran said as she pulled out a transactor. “I’ll front you the cash to pay them off, and you can work here, I still have space. I’ll pay you by the piece and then… I’ll sell it… somehow… I don’t know, I’ll set up a website or something.” Uhrrbet looked up at her in hopeful disbelief. “You’d… You’d do that?” Why? Sheloran implored the universe. Why are you doing this to me? “Sure, why not?” Sheloran replied. “My ‘normal’ business is in the crapper. Might as well diversify a little. Let’s call it an investment. If it works out then great! If not… then we can talk about a union card.” “Thank you!” Uhrrbet exclaimed throwing her little arms (and tail) around a somewhat uncomfortable Sheloran. “Thank you! Thank you so much!” “It’s what I do… apparently.” Sheloran said as she hugged her back. At least my eyes aren’t hurting anymore. That’s worth something. *** Helen Mongrave clicked “send” on her naughty little picture with a laugh. Jon was just going to “love” that! Furries were definitely not his thing! Hey, that rabbit was pretty cute if she did say so herself! Chuckling to herself, she shrugged into her shoulder holster, threw on her jacket, and headed out towards her grav-car. It was an older model, but it still worked great. Besides, she loved her old junker! At least it gave her coworkers an easy target for the ration of shit they liked to throw back and forth. She pretended it bothered her so they would keep at that instead of finding something that really stung. As she was reaching her car she noted movement out of the corner of her eye. Two “suits” approached. Cheap ill-fitting suits, obvious bulges from their shoulder-holsters… Agency. She would bet her life on it. Fuck... she thought as she unbuttoned her jacket. “Ms. Mongrave?” a broad-shouldered human with a buzz-cut asked. “Never heard of her,” Helen replied as she turned to face them and surveyed the area. Two agents visible, probably more. She was fucked. “You need to come with us, ma’am,” the man said as he reached into his jacket. She just smiled and drew her pistol… And promptly tried to shove it in her mouth. Zap A heavy-stunner bolt cut her down before she could silence herself. Helen Mongrave, dropping her pistol, collapsed. The two agents caught her before she hit the ground as an unmarked van screeched to a halt and the door flew open. Within seconds, Helen was gone. *** Jon burst into laughter as he checked his messages. “What?” Skippy asked as she walked up and wrapped her arms around him. “Who the fuck is that bitch?” Skippy laughed as she saw the picture. “Making a move on my man? I’ll kill her!” “I guess the cat’s out of the bag,” Jon laughed as he started decrypting the message. “Can’t keep anything from that woman,” he chuckled, "never could." He stopped chuckling as he read. It wasn’t good. It went way deeper than he hoped. “Jesus,” he muttered. “That bad?” “Worse,” Jon replied. “I don’t know how to fix this.” Skippy flashed a toothy smile as her blades slowly extended. “I have an idea...” “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Jon replied. “The Republic has been though enough… Oh hey!” “That sounds encouraging.” “I never thought in a million years I’d say this but I fucking love Jessica Morgan!” he said as he pointed at the screen. “Wow...” Skippy replied. “That’s a shitload of money!” “I wonder how loyal her inner circle really is?” he chuckled. “Why don’t you ask that bitch in the hold?” “According to her they are like a cult,” Jon replied, “completely unshakable.” “They thought the same about her, you know,” Skippy grinned. “I wonder how many other ‘unhappy diners’ there are?” “Dare to dream...” Jon replied as he pulled Skippy onto his lap. “What?” Skippy asked. “That picture get your motor running?” “Nah,” Jon said as he pulled her in for a kiss. “I got the real thing right here.” Skippy giggled as she started to pull off his t-shirt. Jon’s communicator started to ring. “Goddammit,” he muttered as Skippy just signed, nuzzled his neck, and started to get dressed. Jon looked at the screen and frowned. Rasheed was calling? On a live connection? That wasn’t good. “Lubricants Unlimited customer service department,” Jon answered. “Your asshole is our asshole!” “Jon,” Rasheed said grimly, “They got Helen.” “What?!?” “Grabbed her about an hour ago. They are accusing her of treason and conspiring against the Republic.” “Isn’t that a bit redundant?” Jon replied. “This is serious, Jon! She knows everything! If she talks...” “It’s a lot worse than just serious,” Jon said with a frown, “However, if they are doing this officially, then she’s probably in the system somewhere. Everyone breaks but it’s going to take time to crack her open. Find her. We’ll handle the rest.” “Ok. We’ll find her,” Rasheed said regaining his composure. “Don’t be a hero, Rasheed,” Jon said grimly. “If it looks like it’s getting too warm, you guys need to bolt. We don’t need to compound the tragedy.” “If we run, we lose the agency,” Rasheed replied. “I’m not handing over Republic Intel to that bitch!” “We might not have a choice,” Jon replied. “If you can’t locate her, go. I’d rather lose the agency than lose the agency and some damn good operatives and analysts.” Rasheed’s worried face suddenly broke into a wry smile. “What?” “Since we are technically ‘criminals’,” he replied, “Why don’t we call in the big guns?” “Huh?” “Question,” Rasheed said as his smile grew. “which criminal did you keep a holo of on your desk?” “I like the idea but they don’t operate in the Republic,” Jon replied. “Yeah,” Rasheed said with a grin, “about that...” *** In a hollowed out asteroid on the outskirts of Sol, Harval Smythe and a motley assortment of humans and xenos all stood anxiously beside it… Absolute perfection… The single greatest achievement of his life. A flaxen beauty with the most frightening eyes he had even seen in his life silently walked beside it lightly running her fingers along the hull. “We worked around the clock, ma’am,” he said nervously, unnerved by her silence. “I paid for quality, not haste,” she said in a leaden voice. What the hell was she? he thought as he was filled with dread. Something was seriously wrong with her. “It’s… perfect, ma’am,” he stammered as his crew all nodded furiously. “We have all of the NDT results and diagnostics right here,” he said as he handed her a tablet. Gloria took it and after a few moments she looked up, her eyes flashing with anger. He flinched. He thought the dead eyes were bad. These were worse! “These results are not expected. You have deviated from my specifications. I am… displeased.” Fear gripped his heart. There was little doubt what that might mean. “Y-yes… we made some adjustments… Improvements!” he yelped. “Look!” he gestured at the tablet. “We increased power output by fifteen percent and your thrust to weight ratio has increased significantly! And we added safety features!” “Safety?” she hissed advancing upon him slowly. “Oh shit,” a large black man muttered as he picked up a communicator, “Shelia?” he said urgently. “You might want to get down here! Gloria is about to go Yellowstone!” “Fuck,” an annoyed voice replied. “Stop her.” “No way!” the giant exclaimed. “She’s in her unhappy place!” “The exposure levels in the cockpit were completely unacceptable!” Harval yelped as he backed away, “We added a modified reactor shielding unit around the cockpit! The increased power levels more than make up for it and it reduces your net signal emissions by two percent! Look! Please for the love of God look!…" he begged as Gloria slowly kept walking towards him with glassy porcelain like eyes. "Look at the specs you stupid bitch!” He screamed, suddenly enraged. He had created a masterpiece, goddammit! “Oh no,” a small brunette gasped quietly as she looked away. Gloria blinked in surprise and looked at the tablet again. There was the briefest flicker of life in her eyes and then with a slow exhale they glazed over again. “I’m taking it out,” she said after a few moments. “Yes! Please!” Harval exclaimed. “Tell T’sunk’al to try to find me,” she said as she climbed inside the sleek black ship. There was absolutely no sound as it powered up. The hangar doors opened and before they had stopped moving the ship was gone leaving nothing but a small hurricane as it left. “Fuck!” Jessie screamed as she dove for cover. Outside the black ship banked, rolled and dived with ever increasing speed. “We just got pinged.” T’sunk’al said in his trademark unflappable tone. “Range… One-hundred yards?!?… Hyperspace event! Range… unknown!… She got us again… Range… No way!” he exclaimed. “Fifty yards?!?” The Paper Tiger shuddered. “She just rubbed our shields!” the chief shouted, “Crazy bitch!” “Hyperspace event!” T’sunk’al yelled. “Close enough to flash our shields!” The ship shuddered again. “Fucking stop that!” the chief yelled into the microphone. “Where the fuck is she?!?” T’sunk’al yelled, his normally unflappable nature thoroughly flapped. “Hyperspace event!” he shouted. “How the hell is she jumping so fast?” “She’s fluttering the banks!” the chief said shaking his head, “Recharging them with the surge from the shields as she slams through space time! I’ve heard rumors about this but I’ve never actually seen it done before. It’s suicide! One fraction of a second off and… boom! It takes a true master to even think about pulling it off and even so, those banks must be made out of unicorn hooves or something! Where is she venting the heat? She can’t be sitting in it, right? Not even she would cook herself, would she?” WHAM “What the fuck was that?!?” Sheila yelled. “Direct contact to our shields with the hull of the ship,” the chief shouted angrily. “She missed us by less than a meter!” He grabbed the mic. “Goddammit! If you fry the shields you are the one cleaning the conduits!” “We just got painted by direct targeting,” T’sunk’al said, “range… Hyperspace event!… We’re painted… From the other side!… Range… Oh I don’t even fucking care anymore…” *** Harval and about a dozen very nervous men and women of several races stood nervously in the shop bay. Suddenly there was a blast of wind… And the ship was there, so fast that nobody really saw it pull in. It landed, and Gloria stepped out, eyes as dead as ever. She walked up to Harval… “So… Is it-” Before he could react Gloria lunged… And gently kissed him on the lips. He stared in disbelief. Her eyes were as dead as ever… But there were tears running down her cheeks. Without a word she pulled out a transactor… “Rerun all diagnostics,” she said without emotion. “Recheck the frame. I’ll pay double for your time.” “Yes, ma’am!” *** “You crazy bit-” the chief started to yell as Gloria entered the Tiger, and then fell silent. Gloria, the brigand, the psychopath, was gone. It was Gloria, the Ice Queen, Gloria the Undying, Lieutenant Samuels, the Lich Queen, the Angel of Death, who stepped aboard. “Jessie,” Gloria said in a cold dead voice almost like the one she always used, “Do you have targets for me?” “Um… Yeah,” Jessie said quietly just staring at her. “Lieutenant,” the chief said briskly. “I’ve confirmed the measurements. We can just barely fit your ship in the hold, barely. I would say that it would be impossible to actually land in here but I doubt it will be an issue.” “How much room for munitions?” Lieutenant Samuels asked calmly. “We can carry two complete loadouts, at least, maybe more if we install roof racks.” “Excellent, Chief,” Gloria the Revenant, replied with a faint smile. “Give me a couple of feet. You can have the rest.” “Yes, ma’am,” the chief said before he caught himself with a wince. He didn’t mean to do that! “Welcome back, Lieutenant,” Sheila said with a smile. There was the briefest flicker in The Lich Queen’s eyes as she simply nodded in reply, then it was gone.
Herman Miller (MLHR) - Work from home in your new expensive chair that your boss paid for
Hello fellow poor kids. My dream ever since May was to post to WallStreetBets, but those elitist snobs have some rule about waiting a month before posting anything (EVEN A COMMENT) to their subreddit. Well, I wrote this DD with the intention of posting it there, and since I cannot, why not post it in the lite version of WSB subreddits (Plus you allow EPIC DD analysis). Enjoy. Herman Miller (MLHR) Share Price (06/21/20): $24.01 Share Price (01/02/20): $41.41 Earnings Date (in less than ten days): 6/30/20 Herman Miller is an American company that produces office furniture, equipment, and home furnishings. Its signature products include the Aeron Chair, Equa Chair, Noguchi Table, Marshmallow Sofa, and the Eames Lounge Chair. As we have seen, work-from-home has been a real trend that will continue until a vaccine arrives. Several points below support Herman Miller as a beneficiary of this trend: · Increasing search traffic for Herman Miller products · Employers providing free money to buy home office furniture (e.g. - $1,500 stipends) · Large market of work-from-home employees to sell to with money to spend · WFH is a potential long term trend and saves employers money · New e-commerce and gaming initiatives at Herman Miller · Insider buying at Herman Miller Supporting Information & TL;DR Below: HERMAN MILLER SEARCH TRAFFIC HAS INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE MARCH · Google Trends search traffic shows that Herman Miller searches increased 100% after March 2020 and still remain significantly higher than they were before the Coronavirus lockdowns started. · Other searches on Google Trends that have seen a significant up-tick include “Aeron Chairs,” “Ergonomic,” “Work From Home,” and “Telecommuting.” · Also, there is some anecdotal evidence about potential delays in shipping to customers that can be found here: Shipping Delays EMPLOYERS PAYING EMPLOYEES TO FURNISH THEIR HOME OFFICE · Many companies are giving employees money to spend on their home office · Google offering employees a $1,000 allowance to spend on equipment (Alphabet has over 100,000 employees) · Facebook giving employees a $1,000 bonus for working from home (Facebook has over 40,000 employees) · Shopify is letting workers spend up to $1,000 on their work from home gear (Shopify has over 5,000 employees) · Twitter recently boosted it work from home allowance to $1,000 (Twitter has over 4,000 employees) · Slack employees get $1,500 for working from home (Slack has over 1,500 employees) · Indeed and Chegg are providing $500 work from home stipends to employees · While not all companies are giving a work-from-home “bonus,” many other companies are also giving their work-from-home employees additional compensation or some sort of stipend while they are working remotely. · “In a recent AON survey of around 1,400 US-based companies, more than one-in-five (over 20%) say they are helping pay for their employees’ home-office equipment.” · “Meanwhile, nearly a third of companies say they are reimbursing their newly remote employees for their laptops, and more than 14% are paying for their ergonomic office furniture, according to a recent survey by Mercer.” · Search traffic for home office items has increased significantly since March suggesting that employees are using the money to furnish their home offices · Google trends searches for “home office” and “office chairs” have doubled since March (with “office chairs” maintaining that doubling through this week) · Searches for “office chairs” on Slickdeals were up 65% and for “desks” was up 85% since the pandemic started LARGE MARKET (MILLIONS OF HOUSEHOLDS) WITH SPENDING POWER · Working from home has increased significantly since the pandemic started: · According to GALLUP, “Sixty-two percent of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the crisis, a number that has doubled since mid-March.” · In March, the Society for Human Resource Management found that two-thirds of US companies were “taking steps to allow employees to work from home who don’t normally do so.” · Virtual meetings have skyrocketed this year as evidenced by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet showing the potential rise in home office furniture purchasing · Zoom meeting participants rose from 10 million in December ’19 to 300 million participants in April ’20 (An increase of 3,000% over five months) · Microsoft Teams recorded up to 200 million meeting participants in April ’19 and daily active users of 75 million (Daily active users rose 70% in one month) · Google Meet has hit over 100 million meeting participants and was adding 3 million users per day in April ’19 (Usage increased 30-fold between January and April) · Work from home employees have disposable income to spend and are not just employees of “silicon valley tech companies.” - What were the demographics of the “average” work-from-homer before the pandemic? · According to Global Workplace Analytics, “A typical telecommuter (in 2016) is college-educated, 45 years old or older, and earns an annual salary of $58,000 while working for a company with more than 100 employees. 75% of employees who work from home earn $65,000 per year, putting them in the 80th percentile of all employees (home or office-based). WORKING FROM HOME IS A POTENTIAL LONG TERM TREND · Some companies are committing long term to work-from-home for some of their employees which increases the ROI for workers investing in their home office · Twitter – “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work form home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” wrote Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s VP of People, in a blog post. · Facebook – According to Mark Zuckerberg, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale. I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently (over the next 10 years).” · According to GALLUP, “Three in five US workers who have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted.” · According to a Gartner survey, “Nearly three in four (75% of) CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19” · Many states are seeing continued rises of COVID 19 after reopening which increases the likelihood of companies continuing to have their employees work from home. · Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia and many other states are seeing significant increases in infections and hospitalizations after reopening · The impact of Memorial Day activity and Black Lives Matters protests are still not fully seen and could increase the risk of those states closing again. WORK FROM HOME SAVES EMPLOYERS MONEY & INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY · According to research-based consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, employers who allow their employees to work from home part-time save about $11,000 per year for each employee working remotely. · Providing work-from-home stipends and subsidies for employees is more “tax-efficient” as employers can deduct those costs from taxes while employees generally cannot. · Optimizing your home office increases worker productivity, satisfaction, and morale during a stressful transition from working on-site to working at home. · “Companies are saying, ‘We want to make sure you’re both comfortable and productive,” said Danielle Lackey, chief legal officer at Motus, a workforce management company. · “It gets old fast to be working form your couch, and setting up a home office can be expensive,” said Hailley Griffis, Head of public relations at Buffer, a software application company. INCREASED DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER INITIATIVES AT HERMAN MILLER · In December 2019, Herman Miller hired Debbie Probst as their new President of Retail. She has a ton of experience with online retail as the former President of One King’s Lane. (Before that she was at Abercrombie & Fitch and Neiman Marcus.) · Since joining in December, Debbie has been focused on building their online sales component. The timing couldn’t have been any more fortunate given the importance of online sales in a Coronavirus environment. · Debbie was recently interviewed for the Business Of Home podcast (Link here) where she spoke about Herman Miller's recent initiatives and discussed some of the changes that they are focusing on as a result of the Coronavirus. One of the key points she made was that when people invest in comfortable home furnishings, they are often trading away from a vacation. “[Home] is a category that has very much competed with the experience economy—when people make the decision to invest in a sofa, quite oftenthey’re trading away from a vacation*, especially with the millennial demographic,” she says. “And [as] the experience economy in the last six to eight weeks has fallen by the wayside, that competitive threat has allowed for a different investment consideration in homes. Our homes are less about investing for the sake of having Instagrammable spaces and more about the luxuries that are going to make home more comfortable or highly functioning during this time.” - Debbie Probst (President - Herman Miller Retail)* My opinion: Since people are sheltering-in-place and staying home more often, making one's home more comfortable is a priority for many. And since people are not spending as much on experiences, they have disposable income available to invest in more comfort. NEW E-SPORTS PRODUCT LINE INTRODUCED AS NEW GROWTH SEGMENT · Herman Miller and Logitech recently announced a new gaming focused product line targed at the e-sports market. It is estimated that a half billion people watch e-sports with the industry being valued in the billions. · While the average gamer spend 7 hours per week, over 7% of gamers spend at least 20 hours per week playing games. Approximately 5% of gamers between the ages of 18-25 play for more than five hours at a time (the average time spent playing for this age rage is a little under 2 hours) · For pro gamers or gamers looking to turn pro, ergonomics is important to prevent injury and strain while they are practicing for hours on end. A comfortable chair and good equipment can help performance and increase time playing without injury. INSIDER ACTIVITY IS NET POSITIVE · Michael A. Volkema (Director) purchased 25,000 shares of Herman Miller in May 2020 (over $500,000 in shares). This is significantly after the time stay at home orders were initiated and after many companies were impacted by the Coronavirus. TL;DR: Herman Miller is benefiting significantly as a result of the “work from home” trend as many employers are giving their employees free money to spend on their home offices. This is evidenced by increased google searches, employer policy announcements (GOOG, FB, TWTR), spikes in teleconferencing activity, positive insider trading activity, and several additional points made above. “Work From Home” trends will sustain for the foreseeable future as COVID cases continue to rise during the summer and skyrocket during the October / November period with no vaccine in place. Position: Long Shares (Options: $25p, $30c) Disclosure: I am long MLHR. This is not investment advice. I reserve the right to buy or sell MLHR without updating this thread. Do your own research and share (or not share) with the community in this thread. Thank you to the others on Reddit that shared this idea earlier. Be well.
Kubala, the path to glory of Barcelona's most loved legend: A story of overcoming, adventures, crazy nights, majestic matches and of a good man who made everybody around him happy.
Nothing in Kubala's life was normal. Now that TV series about sportsmen are fashionable, the one that could be made about the adventures of Ladislao Kubala Stecz (Budapest, 1927) would raze through many seasons. In one season we could go deeper into his facet of legendary footballer, capable of changing the way of playing this sport, how he saved his life at the very last moment by not getting on the Torino plane that crashed in Superga, or how he was ten minutes away from signing for Real Madrid or enrolling in the Pirate League of Colombia, all of this in order to end being Barcelona's biggest icon... who ended playing for Espanyol. We could add a season of adventures due to his incredible escape from communist Hungary. His journey through Italy with a football team, the Hungaria, of stateless people in which in addition to Hungarians also played Croats, Albanians, Romanians and Serbs who were looking for a life as good as they could get. One could also add to this the facet of the social phenomenon that dazzled a country during the dark years of Franco's regime by becoming a pop star, and end up with another season about the legends, real, invented or simply exaggerated, of his adventures in Barcelona's nightclubs. Everything about Kubala is like a movie.
Born in Budapest to a Hungarian man and a Slovakian woman, he always considered himself as both Hungarian and Slovakian, even when this republic was part of the now extinct Czechoslovakia. By the age of 20, Kubala was a football star known for his performances with Slovan Bratislava and Vasas Budapest. In fact, he had already been capped by Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Later, he would go on to play for Spain, and is still the only player to have been capped by three countries. But fed up with the system that was preventing him from developing his professional football career, he embarked on an escape proper of a movie to the West. He contacted a human trafficking organisation, a mafia that, in exchange for a large amount of money, facilitated a partial escape. As is now the case with criminals who gamble with the lives of people who want to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe or pass to the United States through the southern border, the smugglers did not secure anything. The last part of the journey depended on the luck and expertise of the escapees and often ended tragically. "I remember that when I escaped from Hungary I was just a kid. The traffickers left us in the middle of a mountain to do the last stretch on foot. We were a large group. The adults gathered the children and gave us palinka. A liquor similar to brandy to get us drunk and fall asleep. A child's cry could alert the border guards patrolling the mountain. And they had orders to shoot to kill. The group split in two. My group was lucky and we were able to win the Austrian border. Once we were safe, we learned that the other group that had travelled with us and took another road was discovered and killed." The chilling story is that of Zoltan Czibor, the son of the former Barça player who tells how he had to flee Hungary with his family to join his father in Italy. The odyssey of Kubala, six years earlier, was mirrored. The traffickers disguised Kubala as a Russian soldier and put him in a truck that would leave the escapees at an undetermined point in the mountains so that they could cross the border into Austria on their own. Kubala remembered that this journey scared him to death because unlike his comrades, he was a national celebrity and any soldier who checked the military truck would recognize him. He was endangering his life and the lives of those who accompanied him. When they were left in the mountain on January 27, 1949, Kubala walked, and crossing a river helped by a tire that carried him, managed to reach Innsbuck, Austria, without any documentation. He was a stateless man starting from scratch. In Austria he managed to sign with Pro Patria, a team from Milan, but he could only play friendly matches. His escape provoked the anger of the Hungarian regime, which denounced him and blocked his registration. Kubala had married Anna Daucik two years earlier, sister of Fernando Daucik, a veteran player of the era who would later become a famous coach. When Kubala fled, he left behind his family, whom he was unable to reunite with until six months later, when Anna was able to cross the border and meet Ladislao in Udine. He arrived with one more member of the family. A baby, her firstborn, whom Kubala did not yet know. While he is irregularly enrolled in the Pro Patria, he gets the chance to sign with Torino, Italy's dominant team at the time. He is offered a trial match. Nothing better than a friendly match that Il Grande Torino had in Lisbon as a tribute to Xico Ferreira. However, when the Turin team's plane is about to take off, the president of Torino prevents Kubala from boarding because he fears a federal sanction. On the return flight, on 4 May 1949, the Fiat G 212 of Avio Linee Italiana crashed into the retaining wall of the Basilica of Superga due to the wind, poor visibility and an error in the altimeter of the aircraft. At 180 kilometres per hour and with a visibility of 40 metres, the pilot saw the stone wall of the basilica too late when he thought the plane was at 2,000 metres and was actually at 690 metres above sea level. The 31 people who were travelling in that aircraft died. Kubala had saved his life again.
With no possibility of playing in Italy because the back then very powerful Italian Communist Party was pressing to prevent people fleeing from countries in the orbit of the USSR from taking refuge in Italy, Kubala had no choice but to form a team of stateless people who hired their services throughout Europe to play friendly matches against whoever hired them. The team was called Hungaria, was managed by his brother-in-law Fernando Daucik and was mainly made up of Hungarians, although there were also players of other nationalities. It was made up of: Kis, Marik, Torok, Mogoy, Lami, Rákosi, Hrotko, Majteny, Nagy, Kubala, Otto, Licker, Turbeky, Monsider (Croatian), De Lorenzi (Albanian), Szegedi (Romanian) and Arangelovic (Serbian). They played their first match against Italy's B team, but again pressure from the PCI forced them to play outside Italy. And that is how they arrived in Spain, hired by Santiago Bernabéu. On June 5, 1950, they faced Real Madrid in Chamartin, losing 4-2, but with a stellar performance by Kubala, who scored both of his team's goals. Three days later, they beat the Spanish team that was preparing for the World Cup in Brazil, where they came in fourth, 1-2 again with a great performance by Kubala, who received an offer from Real Madrid to be signed. Kubala requires that to join the team, Madrid must also hire Daucik as a coach, something that Bernabéu does not agree to. The Madrid coach at that time was the Briton Keeping, a great connoisseur of WM tactics. Daucik is offered to train the Plus Ultra, a Madrid branch that plays in the third division. That negative and the federative problems that drags Kubala cause that Madrid becomes disinterested in his transfer, that was already agreed lacking of some fringes that turned out to be determinant. The Hungaria moves two days later to Barcelona, where on June 10 plays against Espanyol losing 6-4 in a match with Pepe Samitier, the technical secretary of Barça, in the stands. It is necessary to emphasize that Hungaria had been playing three matches in five days with a very short team and without being able to make substitutions. Even so, Kubala amazes and Samitier does not mess around. Six days after that match, on 16 June 1950, at half past six in the evening, Kubala signed his three-year contract with Barça at the Pasaje Méndez Vigo. Obviously, with Fernando Daucik as coach. President Montal, Sr., signed him as an "amateur player" in order to avoid any trouble for the federation. Real Madrid rages and is shocked. Pablo Hernández, general secretary of the white entity and Santiago Bernabéu's right hand, assures that Barça had broken a non-aggression pact between both teams and had hired a player with whom they were in talks. Samitier, who was unbeatable in the media, declares that he had been following Kubala for months and that the pact had not been broken because it referred only to players who played in Spanish teams. And Hungaria was not Spanish. In fact, it wasn't from anywhere. But Kubala's problems didn't end there. He still didn't have a registration card or an international certificate. Vasas in Budapest and the Hungarian Federation had reported him to FIFA. Barça used the weak argument that since professionalism had been abolished in Hungary, any amateur player could choose his destiny. But the fight was not going to be so easy. Barça, it is fair to say, had the total support of the regime and the Federation to carry out the transfer. At the level of anti-communist propaganda, Kubala was perfect. A young and extraordinary sportsman who fled from the red hell to take refuge in Franco's Spain was a candy too sweet to let go. Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation, rowed in favor of Barça as did Ricardo Cabot, secretary of the organization, who, in addition to his affection for the regime, was a well-known Barcelona supporter. But the procedures were very slow and Kubala could only play friendly matches. He made his debut against Osasuna on 12 October, scoring two goals on the day the Barça fans knew instantly that they had just signed a star. Then he played against Zaragoza, Frankfurt twice, Girona and the Badalona. In six friendlies he scored 11 goals. The fans and the player himself were eager to meet in an official match. For all this, the Federation to play the role with FIFA fined Barça every time he lined up Kubala with the symbolic figure of 50 pesetas. It is at this time that Kubala is about to leave everything and go away from Barça. He needed the money and wanted to play at the highest level and in Colombia he was offered the chance to do so. The South American country had organised the so-called Pirate League outside FIFA and many of the world's biggest stars joined, including Alfredo Di Stefano who went to Millonarios in Bogota. Kubala had a tempting offer from Atletico Bucaramanga. With the option of Kubala leaving, events accelerated. To begin with, Barça fixed his financial situation by means of a peculiar amateur contract in which they paid him 1,200 pesetas for "compensation" and 3,800 for "encouragement and overfeeding". On April 2, 1951, he was granted the status of political refugee as a stateless person, which was a step towards granting him Spanish nationality. But for this step, Kubala first had to be converted to Catholicism through the sacrament of baptism. Every Spaniard had to be a Catholic. Kubala was baptized in Aguilas, Murcia, the birthplace of Muñoz Calero, president of the Federation. It is then when Barça, to avoid problems, settles its differences economically with Vasas, which despite being against capitalism accepts a payment of 300,000 pesetas to provide the transfer, while the Pro Patria, which also complained, is satisfied with 12 million lire. The Kubala era could now really commence.
Kubala made his official debut with Barcelona in Sevilla in a cup match. The Sevillistas at that time were one of the best teams. Sevilla and Barça had developed in that period a great rivalry in the high places of the table. In 1946 Sevilla had stolen the possibility of winning the championship from Barça by drawing in Les Corts on the last day, in 1948 Barça beat the Sevillians in the final of the Eva Perón Cup (which would be the current Supercup) and in that campaign a Barça without Kubala had lost all its options to win La Liga after losing 4-0 in Nervión three days before the end of the season. The Cup, by that time was played once the regular season was over and in those circumstances the official debut of Kubala took place. On April 29th in Nervion, Barça arrived to play against Sevilla in the middle of a difficult atmosphere. The Andalusians had lost the league in a dramatic outcome when they drew at home in the last match against Atletico Madrid with a refereeing performance that the locals judged scandalous. For further concern, the Federation allowed Kubala to line up with Barça in the first round of the Cup, which in Sevilla was taken as a surprise. With the stadium full to the flag, Barcelona defeated Sevilla in an exhibition of Kubala. He wasn't just the best of the match but he showed Spain a way of playing football unthinkable until that time: chest controls, shots with curve, millimetric changes of play of 40 meters, protection of the ball with his back, use of the body in the shot and touches with the heel. Domenech, Sevilla's attacker who was the direct protagonist of that match, explained years later how he remembered that day. "It was something never seen before. Ramallets kicked it and he would receive her with his chest, or with either of his legs. If you tackled him he would dribble you in a brick. He'd put the ball where he wanted her. Besides, from time to time he changed with César, he'd be a center forward and César would be a midfielder. They drove us crazy. The anger of the people became clamours. We were witnessing something extraordinary. It was like going from black and white cinema to colour," explained the former Sevilla player. The Sevilla crowd, who had welcomed Barça and its new superstar with anger, ended up giving Kubala a standing ovation for every action as if they were watching a glorious bullfighting performance. Kubala's actions on the field change football forever. Since there was no television, his exploits are reported orally. There is no other way to see it than to go to the field of Les Corts, which is packed for every game Barça plays as a local. It is a very common argument to say that Kubala forced Barça to build the Camp Nou because the old Les Corts was not enough to accommodate all the people who wanted to admire him. Maybe he had an influence, but as the journalist Frederic Porta, author of an interesting biography of Kubala (Kubala, l'heroi que va canviar la història del Barça. Ed. Saldonar) explains, "the truth is that Barça had already bought the land to build the Camp Nou two years before and the idea of making a bigger field already existed, but Kubala advanced everything and justified the change". Blessed with brutal technique, a sensational strike of the ball and an unusual physical strength, Kubala changed football. He would throw free-kicks over the wall with curve or by making the ball bounce in front of the goalkeeper, he would take penalties (he was practically infallible) with what was later called paradinha and was credited with the Brazilians although he was the first in Europe to do so. Physically he was a bull. In his youth he had practiced boxing and if he didn't become a recognized fighter with a great career it was because he had short arms. His lower body was sensational. He had a butt and legs that allowed him to protect the ball like no one else. Frederic Porta says that "in his time of splendour they measured his thighs and each one had a circumference of 69 centimetres, which would be the waist of one of his companions". He was also capable of running the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. A total athlete with a very refined technique. However, that physical strength and the confidence he had in her, for he never avoided a collision, were his downfall. Kubala became the target of a hunt by rival defenders. He never went into hiding and that's why in eleven years at Barcelona he suffered up to eleven injuries of some seriousness. With matches without television, the harshness that bordered on violence was the order of the day. He was being kicked to death. But Barça was living its most golden period to date. Moreover, the club revolved around Kubala. Frederic Porta compares it with the present time: "Now they say that Messi commands the club and surely he commands, but nothing to do with the influence that Kubala had. Kubala was the boss and even the one who decided the transfers. And no one was surprised. That Barça adopted the socks with the horizontal stripes blaugrana is his imposition. He saw them on the rugby team, liked them and incorporated them into the football team by decree. In fact, it is he who insists on signing Luis Suarez when he impresses him in a match against Deportivo. Kubala was Suarez's first fan, but what happened in the stands, which was divided between Suaristas and Kubalistas, is another matter. Suarez was eight years younger than Kubala. He arrived at Barcelona at the age of 19, Kubala was 27 and his physique was very punished by his injuries and the life he was living, as he did not deprive himself of anything. If he held out, it was because of privileged genetics. Therefore, there never was a real competition between them, but there was a lot of influence here from the figure of Helenio Herrera, the Barça manager, who saw Kubala as older and slower and was looking forward to a quick change by the young Galician as the leader of the team. The debate reached the stands and the media. It was an absurd debate, because they didn't play in the same position, with whom Kubala really had a certain rivalry with Eulogio Martínez, who was the one with whom he alternated the position. Kubala's physical problems were not only due to injuries. He had the whole of Spain in suspense when he suffered a tuberculosis that could have cost him his life. There are apocryphal versions that explain that this tuberculosis was actually a stab wound he suffered in a fight in a cheap pub in the fifth district (Barcelona's Chinatown) and he has to retire to Montseny to recover. Nobody is betting on his return to the pitch if he survives a "hole in the lung the size of a silver bullet" according to the chronicles of the time. But once again, Kubala's ability to survive prevails. He returns to the pitches, but already heavily punished and slowed down. It is against this backdrop that the 1961 European Cup final arrives, with Kubala arriving at the age of 34 with a herniated disc that barely allows him to walk, but he wants to play. He knows that the club is going through a critical situation despite having reached the final of the maximum trophy for the first time: the club is bankrupt because of the construction of the Camp Nou, the fights in the board of directors are chaotic, Luis Suarez has signed for Inter (the one in Bern will be his last game with Barça), which was where Helenio Herrera had left the team in the hands of Enrique Orizaola. Kubala tells Orizaola to line him up, that like all the Portuguese will go for him and he can barely move because of the back pain and will play with painkillers, it will give more opportunities to his teammates. But the match is a pile of misfortunes for Barcelona. Ramallets scores an own goal, Barça shoots three times to the damn square posts of the goals (from then on they would change their shape) even Kubala kicked a ball that hit a post, went through the goal line until it hit the other post and came out repelled. Barça lost and Kubala's time at Barcelona came to an end.
Kubala's significance goes beyond the playing field. According to a vote made for Radio Barcelona by journalist Joaquín Soler Serrano in the mid-50s, the Catalans most loved by their fellow citizens were Doctor Barraquer and Ladislao Kubala. "He was literally the most famous person in the city, people really venerated him, and even Messi's influence cannot be compared to that of Kubala in those years," explains Porta. His life off the field was notorious. An unrepentant night owl, it was common to see him in Barcelona's fashionable coffee shops and nightclubs. He was a man who stood out. Alfredo Relaño defines him in some of his articles as "a demigod. Tall, strong, blond with blue eyes and an overflowing personality. He aroused the admiration of men and women alike. An idol". Frederic Porta sums it up with the argument that "he would be the sum of Messi and Beckham and on top of that, he would go out every night". Faced with Kubala's disorganised life, the Barcelona management decided to set up a private detective agency to follow him at night. The reports of the detectives are still in the Centre de Documentació del FC Barcelona and Frederic Porta published them in the history magazine 'Sàpiens'. In them, he gives a detailed account of the nocturnal wanderings of "Mr. K.", the code name of the Blaugrana star in an exercise in absurd discretion. There is also a letter from a Sabadell businessman in the club's archives, expressing concern that Kubala and Czibor had been "found in a Sabadell establishment after 2.30 in the morning accompanied by some of those ladies who were once gentlemen, I don't know if you understand". What the businessman doesn't explain in the letter is what he was doing in the same place. Kubala's fondness for drinking was no secret. Helenio Herrera explains in a television interview that "one day at an airport in customs they asked Kubala if he had anything to declare and he said two bottles of whisky. The official asked him to show them to him and he, laughing, touched his belly and said: 'X-ray, I have them inside'. On another occasion, in the same situation, but carrying the bottle in the bag, he was told to leave it at the airport because no alcoholic drinks were allowed to be taken on board. Neither shy nor lazy, he drank it in front of the astonished official. The legends about the occasions when the night was made longer and he did not arrive at training sessions or matches were recurrent. In that case, he called on the services of Angel Mur Sr., the team masseur who knew where to find him. He would start a pilgrimage through the usual places or floors until he found him, took him to the changing room, gave him a cold shower, a coffee with salt, a massage and played. The fans forgave him everything and were aware that their star was a man of joyful life. But he never failed on the field. Among the crowd at the time there were comments about the Kubala ritual in those games that followed a busy night. "He started off badly, and vaguely, but the signal was when, ten minutes into the game, he rolled up his sleeves as if to say 'I'm here, let's start, I've already cleared off', and the machine started to work. You can't find anyone in the world who speaks ill of Kubala. Absolutely no one. Everyone highlights his huge heart and that despite being by far the highest paid player of the time (he earned six times more than his teammates) he didn't have a no for anyone. His detachment from money was legendary. As proof, the anecdote explained by his biographer Porta: "one day he arrived at the dressing room and commented that his car had been stolen and that in the glove compartment he was carrying an envelope with 200,000 pesetas, which was a fortune for the time (a good apartment could cost 130,000 pesetas). When his colleagues tried to encourage him, he simply said: someone who needs it more than I do must have taken it". It was also usual for him to take off his coat and give it to a poor man who begged in Barcelona's winter, or to take in any Hungarian who came to Barcelona asking for help in his house in Carrer Duquesa d'Orleans. Kubala, remembering his times as a stateless refugee without papers, asked nothing. He would take them home and pay them a boat ticket to America. The motto among the refugees fleeing the Iron Curtain was that "if you get to Barcelona, look for Kubala, he will help you". He never failed. Later, now retired, he set up a bar next to Czibor in Capitan Arenas Street, the mythical Kep Duna (blue Danube in Hungarian) that became an unofficial refugee reception centre that was monitored by the secret services of the United States, the USSR and the Spanish police. Something like the Rick's Café in the film Casablanca, but in the upper area of Barcelona. He was the great character of Barcelona loved by all, but there was a moment when this was almost broken, strange as it may seem. It coincided with the defeat in Bern, when a part of the press came to write that "Barça must be de-Kubalized as the Soviet Union must be de-Stalinized" and, especially, when he signed for Espanyol. The earthquake was a huge one.
After the defeat in Bern's final, Kubala announced his retirement from the fields. He had taken the coaching course and was ranked number one in his class. He made a pact with the president Llaudet, who was also an interesting character as we will see, that in principle he would take charge of the footballers' school of the club and that in a couple of years he would be in charge of the first team. Meanwhile, Barcelona is directed by Lluís Miró who faces a team in disarray. Suarez has been transferred to Inter in the worst decision in the club's history and myths such as Ramallets, Tejada and Czibor were in the decline of their careers. The season starts badly and after losing at Mestalla to Valencia by a humiliating 6-2 that forces the resignation of Miro. It was time for Kubala, who was promoted to the first team in front of the joy of the fans. And the project results from the beginning. The Barça of the second part of season 61-62 recovers in La Liga and finishes second (the distance with the white ones when Kubala arrived was almost insurmountable) and avenges the 6-2 of Mestalla beating Valencia in the Camp Nou 4-0. Facing the next season, the 62-63, Kubala can make his team by giving painful drops of some of his former teammates as it is the case of Eulogio Martinez or Evaristo. One of Llaudet's reluctances to give Kubala the job of coach was that he would have to manage some of his former teammates. The positive expectations about Kubala's first full project were frustrated at first when the Blaugrana team had to play the final of the Copa de Ferias against Valencia, the team that caused the fall of Miró and the promotion of Kubala. And the history, by rare that it seems, repeats: Valencia returns to him to put 6-2 to the Barça. The fans explode against the team. In the return match, obviously, there is nothing to do, but Llaudet's ability to self-flagellation has no limits. As Alfredo Relaño writes, the Blaugrana president calls a dinner with the press the day before the game and makes this statement that if it happened today would open all the news. Llaudet, in front of the press and accompanied by the coach Kubala and Gràcia as captain, asks the fans to forgive him and announces changes in the protocol of the start of the second leg. "Valencia will go out first to receive the applause, then Barcelona, to receive the whistles. Then Kubala will come out, so he can get the thunders. And finally me, so that all the whistles fall on my person, because I am the barcelonist who loves the club the most and who is destined to die on the pitch, if necessary...". He ends his speech crying. As we can see, Gaspart didn't invent anything. The match ended in a draw and Kubala's project as Barça's coach was doomed. The manager is fired in the middle of the season and then a bomb explodes in Barcelona. Kubala accepts the offer to return to the pitch, but not as a coach, will be as a player and nothing more and nothing less than in Espanyol, Barça's eternal rival. On 3 September 1963 Espanyol, then Español, announced that Kubala would be hired as a player. At 36 years of age, he was capable of being competitive. His decision divides the public opinion. On the one hand, Federico Gallo and Juan José Castillo support his decision, on the other hand, Carlos Pardo or Ibáñez Escofet shoot at him. They call him a "Jew who sells himself for a plate of beans", a "traitor" and they see political interests in his decision. Kubala explains that he wanted to continue playing and that he saw himself capable of doing so, although he accepted that he was not at Barcelona's level. He had received offers from important clubs, including River Plate and Juventus, but he doesn't want to leave Barcelona, where he feels like another Barcelonian. The Espanyol meets his expectations. His start of the season is not bad, on the contrary, he scores in his first two games, but the team doesn't work out. The coexistence between the veteran newcomer Kubala and the team's symbol, Argilés, is not easy. Scopelli is dismissed as coach and de facto command of the team is given to the two team leaders despite their differences. The crisis erupts when the Spaniard visits the Camp Nou. The periquitos lose by 5-0 in a match in which the Barcelona crowd booed Kubala who they are eager to humiliate with his new team. Even so, at the end of the match, Kubala has a gesture to his former team that shows that he does not hold any grudge against what he has heard from the stands. At the end of the match, he organizes his teammates to make the corridor to Barça applauding the rival in recognition of the exhibition made. That gesture feels bad among the Espanyol fans and among some of his teammates. Argilés does not make the corridor and goes straight to the changing rooms. The following year, Kubala becomes a manager-player and among the departures that he causes, there is the one of Argilés, but by contrast, Di Stéfano arrives, also hurt by his bad exit from Madrid fighting against Bernabéu. Di Stefano and Kubala are like brothers. Even though they haven't officially played together, they have a special chemistry. A friendship that is forged when the Argentinian is about to sign for Barcelona. When Di Stéfano arrives in Barcelona to sign for Español, he stays first at the Avenida Palace Hotel, but after a month he is living in Kubala's house as one of the family. The children of both always maintained a relationship as if they were brothers. One of the players under Kubala's command was Jose Maria Rodilla, one of the players who would soon form the famous 'Dolphins' forward line. At 80 years of age, Rodilla remembers Kubala. "I have a wonderful memory of Kubala, I always had a special affection for him. Not in vain, he was the one who signed me for Espanyol", he remembers when answering the call of this newspaper to which he confesses that* "normally I do not make declarations, but to speak about Kubala I do whatever is needed"*. Rodilla, former teammate at Espanyol, has clear that "he was the best player in the world in terms of technique. Di Stéfano was the best footballer, but he didn't have his technique. Alfredo was more intense and more player of the whole field, but he could not do things that Kubala did" Those who had the privilege of playing with both of them remember that "for example, Di Stefano wouldn't leave you alone for a minute, he was all over you and the fights were intense, but he always set an example, he never asked you for anything that he didn't do. Kubala was more paternalistic and tolerant. For example, he would ask us to do as he did in training, and while sitting down he would be able to make 3,000 touches on the ball without dropping it. Only he could do that." Rodilla adds a story that explains Kubala's quality as a player-coach at the age of 38: "We went to play a friendly at Amposta and they called a foul on the edge of the box. Kubala takes the ball and whacks it into the corner. The referee made him repeat it because someone had moved or I don't know what. Kubala takes the ball and wham, back to the square. And the referee tells him that he has to repeat. That day Kubala got angry and left the field." Rodilla recalls that Kubala's move from Barça to Espanyol created controversy in the city, but that he was oblivious to it. "He was still a magnificent person, I never heard him say a bad word against anyone. He never got into an argument, he was goodness personified, he was unlucky in his time as a coach, but as a coach he is one of the best I've ever had, with a great love for young players and always trying to help you improve."
He extended his playing career for a couple more years by playing for Zurich and even trying out the American adventure at the Toronto Falcons, where he coincides with Branko and Daucik's son. At the age of 40 he played 19 games and scored 5 goals. In 1968 he returned to Spain and trained the Córdoba team for a short period of time until he was called up to the national team. Kubala will manage the Spanish team until 1980, when he signs for Barcelona again as a coach. Kubala's debut with Spain was, once again, a propaganda match for the regime. It was played in the Estadio de la Línea de la Concepción against Finland and Spain beat their rivals 6-0 in a match that was no longer useful. Spain had missed out on qualifying for the Mexico '70 World Cup, but the idea of that game was to showcase a great field that could be seen from Gibraltar as if to give jealousy to those in the Rock for the sports culture of Spain. Dictatorship things. It's true that at that time Spain was struggling more than anything else on the international scene. It did not qualify for the 1974 World Cup because of Katalinski's goal in the play-off match in Frankfurt, and in both the 1978 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship the team fell in the first round, but there is still no one from that era who will make a judgement against Kubala. "Kubala, one ahead of his time. No doubt he had a lot to do with his past as a footballer. And not just like any other player, like the best! I remember him always saying to me: 'Ruben, you have to get out of the way on the other side of the ball. Look for the space, not the ball. The goal I scored in Yugoslavia has to do with everything he taught me," he told Fermin de la Calle in an interview with AS Ruben Cano, the hero of the famous 'Battle of Belgrade' in the match that took Spain to the World Cup in Argentina. Yes, the one with the goal by Cardeñosa that could have changed Kubala's record with the national team. He did a lot to improve Spanish football and his idea regarding the incorporation of foreigners to improve the level of Spanish football was key in the future development of the Spanish competitive level. His players remember him as a didactic person, tactically bold and very close. At a time when fury was the hallmark of the game, Kubala never forgot that he was the heir to the Magyar tradition of the Honved and the Hungary who, by moving the ball, shocked the world the day they destroyed England at Wembley 3-6. For the average football fan, Kubala may have been a half-hearted coach who embodied an era of the national team in which nothing was won, as has been the case most of the time, and he became popular for his expressions that would now be meme material on social networks. The national team was known as the 'Kubala boys' and the coach's catchphrase before the matches saying "boys well, optimal morale" was the fashionable phrase in the coffee shops of the 70s in Spain. But among his colleagues, Kubala still deserved reverential respect. "The first goal was authentically Latin, cunningly scored and perfectly studied. I can only congratulate Kubala on his previous tactical work," said German boss Helmut Schön after facing and losing to Spain in a friendly in which the recent world semi-finalist and next world champion fell to the Kubala boys at the Sanchez Pizjuan with two strategic goals from Arieta. Yes, Arieta against Müller. Seeler, Beckembauer, Maier, Netzer and company. He left the national team in 1980 to join Barça as the coach of Núñez's second project in an operation that was the prelude to what would happen in the World Cup in Russia with Lopetegui. Kubala committed to Barça while he was coach and tried to alternate functions, but Porta refused. Finally, on 8 June 1980, four days before the start of the European Championship, Kubala signed for the Blaugrana team, which he would join after the European Championship. His second spell at the head of Barça did not go well either and he was dismissed mid-season. He continued his adventure on the bench as coach of Saudi Arabia (in that he was also a pioneer), training Malaga and the Paraguayan national team before retiring from football on the bench of Elche. He spent his final years in Barcelona as active as ever. Playing with Barça veterans, helping his teammates, not having a no for anyone and playing tennis every day or going for a run or cycling routes exhibiting an enviable physical condition. Until the light of genius and the glory faded away 18 years ago. A degenerative brain disease put an end to the adventure, but not to the legend of a world football myth. An icon that changed the lives of so many people that they wouldn't fit even in a stadium. The coffin with the mortal remains of Kubala was carried on shoulders, amidst the applause of the fans who gathered at the doors of the church of Santa Tecla, by Alfredo Di Stéfano, Gustau Biosca, Eduardo Manchón, Estanislao Basora, Joan Segarra, Josep Bartomeu, Luis Suárez, Antoni Ramallets and Gonzalvo III. He rests in the cemetery of Les Corts, next to the Camp Nou because that is what he left written in his will, while Serrat sang to him about how... ...Pelé was Pelé and Maradona was the one and that's it.Di Stéfano was a pit of mischief.Honour and glory to those who made the sun shine on our football.Everyone has his merits; to each his own,but for me none is like Kubala.Respectable silence is requested,for those who haven't enjoyed him, I'll say four things:he stops it with his head,he drops it on with his chest,he sleeps it off with his left,crosses the pitch with the ball attached to the boot,leaves the midfield and enters the box showing the ball,hides it with his body,pushes with his ass and gets in with his heels.He pisses on the centerback with a dedicated piece.and touches her gently to put her on the path to glory.
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