What’s Your Baseline?

 

Have you ever had someone tell you something is a “good investment?”  It could have been a salesperson trying to sell you a new piece of machinery; a broker presenting a new stock;  a business partner serving up a new opportunity, or that new condo your spouse found.

 

But, how do you “really” know it is a good investment?

 

While the complexity of the answer is dependent on the level of investment, your risk tolerance, and other external factors. The solution boils down to two fundamentals. Your forecast of that return and the baseline from which you are making your analysis.

 

Today, I want to focus on the baseline as I plan to tackle the concept of forecasting in detail in subsequent posts.

 

Time and money are not infinite. This is economics 101. If you choose to spend either on one item. You take the same amount away from something else. E.g. if you have $1 in your pocket and purchase a soda for $1. You cannot purchase that $1 bag of chips as well. In this simple form, it seems ridiculous that someone couldn’t comprehend that concept, but you would be surprised how things change when it comes to long-term investments such as stocks, machinery, or large-capital projects.

 

Part of the problem is that potential investors do not have a go-to baseline to gauge the true value for the use of their money. Something that isn’t arbitrary. For instance, you can’t assess the success of one project against something else for which the returns must also be estimated, such as a stock or even another plan you are considering. Simply, you need something with a consistent history of positive returns from which to analyze your investment.

 

Personally, I gauge all potential investments against the 20-year T-bond. While nothing is risk-free, this financial vehicle is issued and backed by the faith of the US Government making it an ideal baseline for your analysis.  This is why many investment advisors follow a diversified portfolio that includes a chunk of these assets.

 

Using my suggestion, you would forecast the return on your investment. For instance, if you plan to buy a piece of machinery that will last twenty years and increase your business by 3%. You would weigh that against what you would get if you placed your funds in a 20-year T-bond. If that bond’s coupon rate is 4%, you may want to investigate that investment, your forecasts, and your decision a bit further.

 

A few notes of caution here. If you crunch the numbers and the bond turns out to be a better investment. Try to avoid engaging in confirmation bias – “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.” Don’t re-do your numbers until your potential investment looks better on paper than your baseline. Second, depending on the current state of the bond market. You may want to use the yield instead of the coupon in your analysis as this metric takes into account the future value of the bond you are considering. Finally, keep in mind the gut instinct. If you trust your math and truly feel that the investment will be a wise choice. Go for it. However, give it a night’s rest before you sign the check.

 

Your baseline does not have to be a bond. It just has to be quantifiable, historic, and relatively risk-free. For example, if you are considering hiring musical entertainment for your venue. You could analyze your bar and food sales for six to twelve months before you bring in the talent and then weigh your current numbers against those historic metrics.

 

In a future post, I plan to discuss how you forecast possible returns. However, for today. Remember that to measure anything. You need a device from which to gauge the opportunity. You need a baseline.

 

 

Introducing Jeremy’s Drum Den

 

 

I am proud to announce my new YouTube playlist Jeremy’s Drum Den where I offer my insights on crafting studio-quality drum sounds in small spaces using electronic drums, digital audio workstations, and the latest drum software and plug-ins.

 

Follow me as I explore new drumming technologies and learn on-the-fly with the groove by my side.

 

 

Grab This FREE Drum Track

 

I just released this FREE drum track for all of you singers, songwriters, and producers who want to see the quality studio drum tracks I can provide for your next demo, album, or other musical projects. You can download Boot-Scootin’ Two-Step here.

 

 

 

Now Offering Custom Made Drum Tracks Online

 

 

After months streamlining the process, I am proud to offer custom made drum tracks for singers, producers, songwriters, and bands looking to enhance their demos, albums, and other recording projects.

 

 

My goal was to make this offering as seamless as possible.  It all starts on my Custom Drum Track Page here where you can learn more about my process, check out some samples, download a few free tracks to try, and place your order securely through my site using your credit card, PayPal, or Amazon Pay account. Each track is only $25.

 

Once the payment is processed, I will send you an email requesting your scratch track. Email me that file and I will drum to it on my Roland electronic kit, enhance the tracks using Logic and Steven Slate Drums, and then send you the groovy studio file all mixed down as well as the raw Midi version, so you can edit to your own liking.

 

I look forward to drumming with you!

~ Jeremy Larochelle

The Derivative Benefit of Record Studios Past

 

 

As I watched the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of fame Induction Ceremony on HBO, I couldn’t help but admire how tight many of the bands inducted were despite their long absences from the stage. Most notably were The Cars. Whom had not performed together since 2011. The group burned through some of their most iconic hits including Moving In Stereo, Just What I Needed, and My Best Friend’s Girl nailing the tiny progressions, hooks, harmonies, and changes in each that are forever etched in our minds.

 

And it got me thinking.

 

Thinking about how our foray into the modern “home studio” has killed a very important derivative benefit that blest many bands such as The Cars, Lauryn Hill, The Moody Blues, and Bon Jovi during their upbringing in the “offline” world of music consumption. The benefit of being forced to craft a song into a hit by playing through its pieces over and over again.

 

We all know the primary responsibility of the recording studio – to record. However, pre-Pro Tools. The studio was a place where you and your bandmates went to develop your songs with the help of a producer. Unlike today, where you can kind of get the right notes down and then let the engineers copy, paste, and autotune them into perfection. The studio of yesterday required you to play your parts over and over again until you got the perfect take. Sure, there were crutches, but they were costly and generally took more time than the musician just working his or her instrument until they got it right.

 

This process surely helped make great hits – just ask The Cars. However, it also forced the musicians to commit these hooks, riffs, rhythms, and notes to their subconscious must like Danielson did under Mr. Miyagi’s tutelage with his “wax-on/ wax-off technique.” Then, when the recording was done. These bands hit the road for 200 plus dates a year playing those same riffs over and over, further committing them to a part of the brain that few people will ever tap into.

 

The end result is seventy plus year-old rockers who can still hit the stage after nearly a decade of not playing together and give me Just What I Needed – a collection of iconic tunes that sound just like I first heard them in a Pontiac Trans Am.