I’m writing you today from my good friend Cedric’s offices in Menlo Park (it’s nice to get out of the house and work from a real office every once in a while!). He and his wife Michal have started a new company called YogiPlay (“Confident Parenting on Your Mobile Device”) and have just raised their first $1M in venture capital.
If you are a parent like me, you should definitely check them out! They have three young children of their own and have solved a problem that all of us parents have in the new age of smartphones and touchscreens—figuring out which mobile apps are appropriate for your child, monitoring which apps your children are playing with and how they are interacting with them, and tracking and reporting on your children’s progress.
YogiPlay focuses exclusively on educational apps for children ages three through eight, and they have assembled a team from Leapfrog, Sony, Landor, and GapKids to help develop the toolkit.
The Kung Fu Kids love playing the first YogiPlay boosted app, BingAnimal, and I love knowing when they are playing with it and how they are progressing.
As a side note, Cedric is one of my rare friends whom I can talk about “the taboo subject” of money and investing with—he’s an extremely sophisticated investor, skeptical about private bankers, and has met more private bankers than most people (including yours truly!) will ever see. I am sitting down with him next month to talk risk, private banking, internationalization (he’s French), and raising money…he’s also often “on the other side of the table” as a former VC himself.
As my mind is on education today (particularly sitting here in the YogiPlay office!) I want to report on an educational Robert Kiyosaki event that I attended yesterday. I know many of you are interested in him (I’ve read all of his books myself!) and yesterday the man was here live in San Jose for the National Achiever’s Congress.
He of course talked a lot about his story and how he learned from his “Rich Dad” and his “Poor Dad” (which unless you live under a rock you are probably already quite familiar with so I will spare you…) but he also said a couple of things that I thought were important to share with you:
On Education and the Cash Flow Quadrant
Robert believes that true education is a process of transformation, much like the process of turning coal into diamonds or a caterpillar into a butterfly.
He stated many times that you cannot learn to ride a bicycle by reading a book or listening to a lecture, and likewise you can’t learn to be financially sophisticated by simply reading a book, either (something I completely agree with!).
He brought up his Cashflow Quadrant and discussed how it is not an easy journey to move from the Employee / Self-Employed side of the quadrant to the Business (must have 500 employees to qualify) and Investor side of the quadrant. He pointed to this transformation as the most difficult of all, and stated that he was still in that process himself (after removing years of brainwashing that he had to endure in grade school).
He flat-out said that the B/I side is not for everybody, and he believes that the pressure is too high for most people.
But he also pointed out that it takes pressure to turn coal into a diamond.
On America’s Future
Robert believes that sometime in the next 20 years, and probably within the next 5 years, America will look like Greece, Spain, and Italy. (He and Doug Casey seem to agree on that!)
He says this is because America “went socialist” a long time ago (e.g. Social Security and Medicare, which he points to as being $100 trillion unfunded liabilities) and believes that this is the worst thing we’ve ever done for our economy.
He used strong words (actually he used “strong” words throughout his talk…I am editing heavily here to respect your delicate kung fu sensibilities!), saying Americans grew “fat, stupid, and broke” after Social Security was instituted (although he did also laugh self-deprecatingly, saying, “Hey, I’m 2 out of 3 myself, and I’m not broke!”).
Basically, he is a capitalist and is extremely against the idea of “the government should take care of me”.
On Fear and Success
He told the story of flying in the Marine Corps when his commanding officer used to tell him, “We are the Marines! We don’t need an engine to fly!”. They cut their engines every time they flew, practicing for the moment that would happen in real life.
He said that what kills most people is FEAR. In real life, his engine did actually die and he had a split second to make his life-or-death decision—to pull back, or to push the nose forward. He said most people pull back out of fear (and subsequently die…), but that instead you must push the nose forward to survive. (I believe his exact words were, referring to most people, that “they don’t have the balls to do it!”).
Robert believes that the E/S side of the quadrant is “brains” and the B/I side of the quadrant is “guts”. He revealed that fear never goes away, and that he himself feels fear every day.
The difference is what you do with it—we each have a battle inside ourselves and must make the choice every day…who do we want to become today? The fearful Chicken Little or the brave conqueror?
On Socialism and Communism
socialist – believes the government should take care of us
communist – believes the government should run the economy
On Capitalism, Especially in America Today
Robert notes that capitalism has gone awry today and that many people are getting angry at capitalists today, to the extent that in America, we now apologize for being rich.
He sternly lectured us all, “Never lose your dignity. Never compromise your respect nor your values. Always keep learning.”
On Setting Goals
Robert and Kim are goal-setters (as are all successful people I’ve ever met!). Each year they sit down and create their goals, and then they review their progress throughout the year. They set marriage goals, fitness goals, other goals, and of course, ASSET goals.
Each year they decide how many more assets they want to accumulate, and they operate by the abiding principle that assets “put money in your pocket” (e.g. they cash flow).
On Raising Capital
Robert believes you should always be raising capital (again, not to mince words, he actually said, “if you can’t raise capital, you’re f&*cked”).
On “Mainstream” Financial Advice
Ouch…He slammed Suze Orman and Dave (not sure whether he was referring to Dave Ramsey or David Bach…) for telling people to clip coupons and invest in 401k’s, saying, “that’s really good advice for those –ahem, edited– on the E/I side!”. (You can’t say the man isn’t passionate about his mission!) 🙂
On the Keys to Success
Persistence, courage, and tenacity.
And you should always, always, always be raising capital (or selling).
Kung Fu Girl Conclusions
At the end of the day, I actually agree with just about everything Robert says, although I was a bit surprised at the “passion” of his delivery (although I don’t exactly have the cleanest mouth myself, so really can’t judge). 🙂
I think it’s more important than ever for people to become financially educated and to really take a good hard look at what is going on in the world. It’s not enough anymore to depend on your 401k to provide for you in your retirement…not when the average balance (in the U.S.) is only $40,000.
Women and Money
I have one final note for you today, on women and money.
Another statistic, which Kim Kiyosaki brought up briefly, is the brutal fact that 66% of women over the age of 35 will find themselves living in poverty when they retire if they don’t take action to change their situation now.
That is a huge number and a staggering statistic. She did not say where that statistic is from, but it is certainly sobering.
And on a similar note, I found a great infographic on InvestmentNews.com today about women and money:
The most interesting quote from the article is this…
“Some are calling it a revolution. Women now control $18.4 trillion in consumer spending, hold approximately 30% of global wealth and are the sole heads of 32% of U.S households. This makes women the largest emerging market in the world, twice as big as India and China combined.”
Work it ladies, work it! But it’s time to get educated, before all of those “financial advisors” come out to prey!
Please let me know what you think about all of this in the comments—I love hearing from you!
And with that, I will leave you to get your weekend on!
(Kung Fu Guy and I are still recovering from last weekend, the infamous Easter Brunch, and are dreading putting the finishing touches on our taxes.)
Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday!
To your financial success,
— Kung Fu Girl