From programming to investing. All in the mind.

Alright, now is the time to transform myself from a software developer to an investor by "interrupting" my own mind.

I'm already proficient in programming... throw me any source code and I'm able to figure out what's going on. Throw me a company financial statement.... I'll give you the confused face. This is because I am not proficient in decoding the financial statement.

My vocabulary for finance and investment is bad, I need to reach proficient level before investing/buying my first stock. Therefore, I need to reprogram or "interrupt" my own mind to be able to read a financial statement.

So, where to start? Kinda think about it, I sort of started when I was 10 years-old.

I still remember my first ever exposure to investing is via FASA's BattleTech Cresent Hawk's Inception CRPG(computer role-playing game). cresent hawk's inception splash screen

In this game, I'll have to assume a character by the name of Jason Youngblood. Jason's task at the beginning of the game is to train himself in Citadel to become a MechWarrior. Everything is going smooth until his training got interrupted half way after the planet Pacifica got invaded by the House Of Kurita and Jason become a wanted fugitive.

I won't go into the details of the game. You can read more about it in the BattleTech universe.

What I want to highlight in this role-playing game is that Jason's life is similar to mine or most of us.

Jason has his own health and skills report card. Just like most of us, we need to take care of our health and we go for academic courses to improve our skills to make a living .. such as training to become a software developer, a chef, a journalist, a fireman and etc.

Example of the a MechWarrior's report card:

Jason Youngblood's report card

Of course, those weaponry skills are important in the BattleTech universe. The skills for mine are listed somewhere in my deleted Linkedin profile or long lost resume. I think it has listed Microsoft Word or Excel as a skill that I'm excel in. LOL!

Jason's training got interrupted when Citadel was destroyed by the House of Kuritas. It is the same like being forced to quit school halfway or got fired somewhere in your carreer. Jason was forced by circumstances beyond his control to become independence and fight for his survival. Being popped out from comfort zone of Citadel will turn Jason into a financially responsible person in order to win the game. Why? because his survival in the computer game depends on his viable financial report card.

In the game, the financial report card is not similar to health and skills report card. You will have to go a city or town with ComStar to check your investment portfolio. Why the creator of BattleTech Cresent Hawk's Inception decided to bake investment as part of the role-playing game? Maybe that's the only way a fugitive can grow his money. A fugitive can't start a business or have a salary paying job ... but he can destroy Kurita patrols to salvage scrap for money or earn money by killing his opponent in Starport's arena. (something that we can do as well...but we are not in a war zone or planning to be a fugitive, are we?)

At the ComStar, Jason will have to learn how to read prospectus of Nashan(similar to Enron, Worldcom), Defiance Industries and Baker Pharmaceuticals. The game has only 3 listed stocks and these three stocks reflect the actual real life stocks of real companies.

One is dodgy:

nashan diversified

Another one is unstable with no clear direction on generating cash flow:

baker pharmaceuticals

Finally the last one, which is in good financial shape operating in a niche industry aligned to the game's theme:

defiance industries

To be financially viable in the game and complete the objective of the game. Jason needs to grow his money by compounding his C-Bills. Investing all his money(C-Bills) repeatedly throughout the game journey from Citadel onward into Defiance Industries is the key to compounding Jason's C-Bills. Over time, in the game... the money will multiply because of compounding... the eight wonder of the world according to Albert Einstein.

NOTE : Funny thing during the early phase of the game, Jason will get regular income mysteriously? Maybe allowance from training school, real estate investment or mom & dad?

Anyway, it is still a form of cash flow and with the regular cash flow... buy more stocks with good performance.

One very important observation. In the game, we are forced to read prospectus, but in the real world... most people want to get rich fast by relying on the single "HOT" tip. Relying on tips to buy stocks is why most failed and see their hard earned money go down the drain.

Get a driving license first before driving and use common sense to obey the traffic rules.

Forcing us to read prospectus, examining the balance sheet and understanding the company's business, assets and cash flow is fundamental analysis and just like forcing us to have a driving license before driving. Of course, when driving ... watch out for traffic lights, watch out for incoming traffics to avoid collision and getting to our destination(profits) is like technical analysis.

So, who says playing game as kid is bad? I still remember the games and lessons that I played when I was 10 years old. I don't recall much about the thick text books that I had to read back in university days.

Oh by the way, this is also the first time I've read the word "balance sheets".....something that I only really understand in my late 20s.

You can play the game online here:

By AdamNg

IF you gain some knowledge or the information here solved your programming problem. Please consider donating to the less fortunate or some charities that you like. Apart from donation, planting trees, volunteering or reducing your carbon footprint will be great too.