Best Machine Learning / Data Science Reads

Here are the most interesting research papers / articles that I came across.

  1. A Few Useful Things to Know about Machine Learning. This papers discusses twelve important topics that every machine learning practitioner should pay his attention to. https://homes.cs.washington.edu/~pedrod/papers/cacm12.pdf
  2. This article describes foundations of algorithmic bias. http://approximatelycorrect.com/2016/11/07/the-foundations-of-algorithmic-bias/
  3. How machine learning algorithms are evaluated in real world uses in web and other online applications. https://ai.stanford.edu/~ronnyk/2007GuideControlledExperiments.pdf

Investing Guide for Solo Investors

invest

Seven Key Rules

Keep following seven rules on your mind, on your desk and on the wall of your bedroom if possible. Read them at least once a week. When you are making an investment use this rules to evalute the quality of the investment.

  1. Always try to minimize loosing money. This involves making investments with minimal downside risks.
  2. Focus on acquiring and holding stocks with consistent dividend growth so the revenues can be compounded.
  3. Stocks are never undervalued. Stock is today worth what investors willing to pay for it, no more no less.
  4. No more than 20 symbols. Hard to keep track more than 20 companies. At least Half of them with high dividend pay companies.
  5. Evaluate each investment twice an year
  6. Have a predefined exit criteria for all the holdings.
  7. Always have a pool of cash ready

Numbers to Consider

  1. Company should have a high dividend yield. At least higher than the inflation.
  2. Consistent, moderate dividend growth – High dividend growth rates are not sustainable. Financial statements can be deceptive. Executives work goes to make them attractive for investors. But the dividend payment always tell the truth. Consistent growth of dividends is the hallmark of a good company. See at least 5 years of history.
  3. Debt / Capitalization should be less than 50%
  4. Coverage of at least 3 : 1. Cash flow of the company after taxes should be at least three times as the interest it pays
  5. Consistent, moderate annual earning growth 5 – 10%
  6. Payout ratio less than 60%
  7. Low Price / Sales ratio – Price of a share divided by the sales per share. Very fist prerequisite of business is revenue. If  revenues are high compare to the stock price, profitability can be easily increased though cons controls and increased productivity. Minimum price to sales ration of 1.5.
    1. Low P/E Ratio – must be at minimum. This value should be less than the reciprocal of the long-term bond rate. If bond rate is  5% –> 100 / 5 = 20 –> PE value should be less than 20. If the price of the company is above this level. Then the stock is expensive. Evaluate the PE value of a stock relative to the PE value of the market. If a stocks PE has been 125% of the market, but now it sells at 80% of the market, there is a good chance that it is under valued at the moment.
  8. Buy shares less than it’s book value. Book value does not represent intangible values of the company such as the brand name.
  9. Growth in cash reservers or investments made by the company
  10. Less volatile sharp rice. Can calculate the standard deviations of the share price to find this.

Measurements of the Quality

  1. Company has Performed well during the troublesome economic environments
  2. How well acquisitions are absorbed and integrated into the company –> smart acquisitions
  3. Do best to avoid new businesses. Look for companies with long-term consistent moderate growth, long-term dividend yields, long-term growth of yield.
  4. Look for a company that produce real goods or services which serves peoples needs, has a reliable user demand. Avoid reseller companies.
  5. What you should really buy is a competitive advantage. Try to identify the competitive advantages a company has over others.
  6. Look for growth kickers. That could be selling for a low performing division or a new sub division with great potential

General Guidelines

  1. Information available to everyone is not valuable anymore. PE ratio is not valuable as it was before
  2. TIme of max optimism is the best time to sell. the time of max pessimism is the best time to buy
  3. Don’t confuse genius with a bull market
  4. A list of stocks that you want to earn but which are not representing correct value at the moment. use this list during next correction/crash to buy

 

Selling Strategy

Sell when the dividend does not make sense to hold it for long team. make the decision based on the dividends. If we know that dividends are not going to keep rising, then it is time to sell. When dividends are affected, so is the share price.

Also when the share price increases it’s fair value, and the dividend yield relatively smaller to the other shares

One year goes with dividend increase. See the reason is one time occurring. If it fails two consecutive years, may be it is a good time to sell.

Document selling decisions and analyze them annually

If a company grows really fast with keep increasing sales, if those sales comes from the consumer credit, that may not be a sustainable business. When the debt cycle turns, customers will not be able to consume services as often.

 

 

 

Simple Four Steps to Get Fit

How to get fit? Why is it so hard to get fit? I was looking for answers to this question for a long time. After a long 5 years, after wasting thousands of dollars, reading countless books and wasting hundreds of hours in the Gym, I finally have my answer.

Why is it hard to get fit? Because the following industries wouldn’t let you.

  1. Food Industry
  2. Fitness Industry
  3. Entertainment Industry

First, evidence that I really know my stuff. Here is my photo.

Getting fit not hard. Really, it’s the easiest thing you will ever do. Really!!! But it is not quick – it’s not something you can do it in 30 days.

In this article, I am going to explain how the above industries are holding you from getting fit – robbing your money, sucking the life right out of you.

Food Industry – Processed Food

Why

Farming is not a profitable business. Natural food stale fast, transportation and storage is expensive. On the other hand, processed food is a very lucrative business. Processed food have long expiration dates and can be mass produced easily under any climate. So Food Industry has been spending billions on marketing in the convincing general public to consume more and more processed food.

To keep the production cost low, one trick food industry uses is to add more sugar to processed food. Sugar is a relatively cheap substance. Today most of the processed food contains about 10% of Sugar. Here are some examples.

  • Marmite is healthy right? Check the nutrition chart. Marmite contains 11.6% of Sugar
  • One serving of Kellogg’s Cornflakes Cerias (28g) contains 3g of sugar. That is a little bit more than 10%
  • One serving of Heinz ketchup (17g) has a whopping 4g of sugar

So when they sell you 100g of Marmite, they sell you 11.6g of Sugar at the price of Marmite. Pretty neat eh.

Second best quality of sugar is that it is addictive. All of us are addicted to sugar. Do not believe me, try to cut your sugar treats for 1 week. You will be feeling like a drug addict on withdrawal.

How to minimize processed food?

  1. Cut down on bread, pasta, sausages, sauce… etc.
  2. Get your sugary treats from fruit. Replace your Chocolate Croissant from  Grapes or blueberries.
  3. Only consume processed food with the Sugar content of 5% or less. You will find that there are not a lot of options at this range.
  4. No more fuzzy drinks – drink water.
  5. Eat lots of meat, grains, vegies, and fruits.

Fitness Industry – Workout Right

“Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” – Karl Marx

Why

Your personal trainer sure as hell not going to teach you how to fish. His business depends on you paying him 100$ an hour to workout.

Those expensive home workout machines do not work either. Models appear in the advertisement did not get to that shape using that machine.

Also don’t subscribe to the expensive gyms with fancy machines, which let you get into the shape ‘safely’. Those machines are there just to lure in new people. Just another marketing trick.

How to work out right?

  1. Lift free weights. Free weights are not as dangerous as they want you to believe. I am a self-thought – free weight trainer. There are tons of free youtube videos, books that can help you with this subject. If you still scared, hire a personal trainer for 3-4 days. Tell him to stick to free weights and learn all the good postures from him.
  2. Do Calisthenics/body – weight exercises. This can be practiced in your home or out in a park. This is an incredibly effective workout if you want a lean body with a reasonable amount of muscles. There are a bunch of apps with bodyweight exercises.
  3. Play spots run, jump, cycle, swim, and row. Playing a sport is an incredibly effective way of working out.
  4. Be consistent.
  5. Find a conveniently located gym/workout place. Don’t choose a gym that you need to drive for 20 mins because it was 50$ cheaper. Convenience is the key to consistency.

Entertainment Industry – Sleep Well

Why

As a generation, we sleep much less than our ancestors did. The main reason is content streaming services like youtube, Netflix, Amazon Videos. They are pushing so much content, and we are so addicted. But how Netflix is going to profit from this. Bigger the addiction easier to raise annual premiums on their service.

How

Personally, this is the most challenging thing for me. Now I have a strict sleep time, which is 11:30. I try to keep this time at least five times a week. I get about 8.5hours of sleep.

Bottom Line – Spend More Than You Earn

Think your body as your bank account. Your salary comes into your account and you spend some of it. If you spend less than you earn, the balance of your bank account goes high. If you can consistently keep this behavior for a couple of years, you can accumulate a substantial wealth in your account.

Salary is your calorie intake, cash withdrawals are your workouts. The amount of excess fat you have is your bank balance. Your target is to bring your balance to 0. How to do this? There are two ways.

  1. Find a job with a lower salary
  2. Consistently spend more money than you earn
  3. Or both

One contradiction in above analogy is you can easily outspend you earning. But you can never ever work your way out of a bad diet. So it is very important to stick to a new diet so you can reduce your calori intake at the source.

Follow the above steps, I will guarantee that you will get into very good shape.

Step by Step Guide to pass your IELTS Exam

ielts

How to pass IELTS? Here are the steps that I followed to pass my IELTS.

Step 1 – Find an Institution

There are several well-known institutions. Choose one which is conveniently located for you. It’s really a personal choice.

Watch out!!!

When you reserve the test, do not mention your real purpose of taking the test. They typically to set higher standards for people who take it for immigration reasons. There is no reason for IELTS institution to know why you are taking the exam. Just specify that you are taking the exam for a personal reason. If they compel you to give a reason, it’s best to go with a different institute.

Step 2 – Schedule a Test

Seriously, book your test, at the very beginning. Here are the reasons why should you do it.

  • There will be a long wait list. Typically 3 – 6 weeks
  • It will give the motivation to get committed to studying. It’s harder than you think to find time to study when there is no deadline

Know Your Exam

Check whether to take an Academic or a General exam. If you are doing this for a PR application, you should take the General module. For university applications, take the Academic exam.

Know How Much You Have to Score

Know how many points you need. This will help with time management.

Step 2 – Study

Personally, I spent 3-4 weeks preparing for the exam. IELTS exam comprises of 4 parts.

Reading

The exam takes about 50 minutes. You have to read a few articles and has to answer some questions. Cambridge University has a book with IELTS pass papers. Get a copy and do practice past papers. One trick I learned is to read the question once before you start reading the paragraphs. This really helps to save time.

It is very easy to waste lots of time here trying to perfecting your score. If all you need is a 7, why study for a 9. Save your effort/time for other areas.

Listening

During the exam, you will listen to some dialogs and answer some questions. Similar to Reading taking some pass papers should suffice. Don’t waste time perfecting your score.

Writing

During the exam, you will be asked to write one letter/memo and an essay. Do a few Cambridge pass papers. Find “IELTS Training modules by Adam Smith” for writing. Follow this module do some of its exercises.

Speaking

You will have to talk with an interviewer during the exam for about 15 minutes. First, you will have to speak a few minutes on a given topic, following a few minutes of general conversation on the same topic. Again follow IELTS module of Adam Smith provide which some great tips to get a high score for this exam.

Step 3 – Know How to Spend your Efforts

Here is how I spent my efforts during my IELTS preparation.

Reading – 15%

Listening – 15%

Writing – 45%

Speaking – 25%

Step 4 – Go for the Exam

Be there on time, bring your ID – the usuals.

We are very responsive. Feel free to ask question/leave suggestions.

Step by Step Guide to Make Your WordPress Blog Searchable with Google in 2 mins

How to make my WordPress blog searchable via Google? That was one of the first questions when I started my blog.  Here is a very easy way to get it done without meta tags.

Step 1 – Go to Google Search Console

Follow this link

Step 2 – Add Property – add the Link of your web page

Click “Add Property” and add the link to your web page.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.34.42 AM

Step 3 – Verify the Ownership of your Webpage

Google asks you to verify the ownership of your page, this is where most of us run into problems.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.38.43 AM

Step 4 – Get DNS Verification Record

Click “Alternative Method” then select “Domain Name Provider”. You should see the following page.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.57.51 AM

You should add this record to your DNS.

Step 5 – Open WordPress Domains Page

Go to your WordPress Admin page. Go to Domain tab.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 10.30.01 AM

Step 6 – Then Select “Name Servers and DNS”

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 10.30.33 AM

Step 7 – Then Click on “DNS Records”

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 10.31.39 AM

Step 8 – Add Google Site Verification Code as a Record

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 10.32.45 AM

Step 9 – Verify it on Google

DNS record instantly takes into effect. Go back to Google Search Console and click on Verify.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.38.43 AM

We are very responsive. Feel free to ask question/leave suggestions.