It isn't particularly often that an opportunity comes up which screams at me: Takeme, damn it!, yet already in the past few months, I have come across three such occasions that I am willing to write about here, and a few more that I think I'll reserve to talk about another time.
First, and this is most interesting, if anyone has any spare money that they'd like to risk in the stock market (above and beyond the necessary index fund, I mean), then I highly suggest The Cheesecake Factory (Nasdaq: CAKE). Regularly touted as the most successful chain restaurant in the world, The Cheesecake Factory did over ten million in sales from only 96 storefronts; that's an average of over ONE MILLION in sales per store. Interestingly, in the next few months, the company is planning to open 200 new stores, tripling their market share, and they will be doing it without taking out a single loan at all. How do I know all of this? My tio Carlos runs their Washington, D.C., office.
Second, and by now it is perhaps obvious that I am in a list making mood, I have come to recognize the marketing potential of eBay. The other day I drove to Baltimore to pick up two industrial grade printers from an eBay storefront that charged way too much for shipping. I'm talking high quality printers -- when new, they sold for over $2500 a piece, when used, they still sell for $1000 a piece, but refurbished through this storefront we bought them for about $350 each. Their website looks nice: OrionMarket.com. Well designed, though not fully implemented. But it doesn't matter, simply 'cause they're well marketed in eBay. Looking at the site, you'd think the company was at least of modest size, but no: in actuality, the Baltimore office is half a warehouse in the crime district, where the other half is abandoned. The whole thing is run by two guys, both younger than I am and talk ghetto while selling $400,000 worth of refurbished printers each year on eBay. Their take is 50% of this, meaning they each take home $100,000 from this little venture. Durng my visit, I ended up talking to them for a number of hours, discussing the possibilities available just by selling on eBay. Believe me when I say that they really got me psyched about the possibilities of eBay. But more on that sometime next month.
Third, and this is really scary to admit, but the friendships that I have made since my summer vacation began are quite incredible. I never was close to my family, even when I was little, but in the past few months, I have come to relish my aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends that I've only just recently met. Their friendship, countenance, and business referrals have done much for me to more fully appreciate the kindness of those around me. I am eternally grateful to them for opening up my eyes, as well as to a few others that have helped me through the uncomfortable darkness I've experienced recently due to Robin et al. Special thanks are due to Mary, who is giving me a place to stay for the week before SHC move-in, and to Stephanie, who has done much to help me feel better in the wake of problems crashing through my life. And to all those new friends that I've made in the past few months, that have talked with me and challenged me and given me advice on how to best enjoy life, I say this: I am truly grateful and honored to have come into such close contact with so many new friends. It means a lot to me.
I may not have enjoyed the best of all possible paths to get to where I am today, but nonetheless I am happy with whom I have become. And if I act differently or seem to espouse different ideals because I have come to such a realization, then so be it. I may not ever become the best of all men, and I may not ever make the kind of sacrifices that others will take notice of, but I will enjoy my life. And if I do not give everything that I could to a cause that I felt deserved it, it will only be because I have decided to place my own happiness first -- and if you will fault me for that, then you best be a better man than I.
Currently Listening: P.D.Q. Bach on the Air
- New Horizons in Music Appreciation