Sat, 23 June 2012
Bio: 1983 Born in Dundee Scotland. I dreamed of being a cross between James Bond and Gordon Gekko. 10 years old I stumbled into my first entrepreneurial adventure. I spotted some old vintage star wars figures in a model shop next to my school, they were the same as ones I had at home. I talked with the owner and he said he would pay me 50pence (80 cents) per figure. I went home and ripped the attic apart to find as many as I could, I sold him like 20 figures for £10 ($15) a decent sum for me at the time. I instantly bought a black widow catapult (was confiscated less than a week later !!) from the same store and gambled the rest on slot machines. I later discovered through some research that the figures I sold for 50p each were worth in the region of £5-£10 each, that was the first time I was on the wrong end of information asymmetry (in English, the guy knew what they were worth and I didn’t!) But it taught me a valuable lesson and started me on the path to Star Wars and Toy Dealer extraordinaire! I would spend the next few years searching for these figures from people who did not know what they were worth, and then sell them through local papers/collectors fairs and to antique/collectors shops. I did this for years, and regularly made the odd £1000 ($1500) great pay for my years as a 12-15 year old. Again, I spent this money on clothes, eating out and gambling! (slot machines and now horse racing and football and boxing bets I would get adults to place for me!). 1999 was my first major score in the international vintage toy game . I noticed an advert in the local paper that said “38 star wars figure for sale, £10 each” Now some of them are only worth about that, but some of the rarer ones can go for £90-£100 ($150), so I thought if some of them are there, then I’m laughing! I phoned the guy up and I asked what condition they were in, my jaw nearly hit the floor when he said they were all unopened, he had bought them in the 70's and 80's and just put them in his attic. Straight away the minimum price now jumps to around £30 ($50) He wanted £10 each, so £380….This was £380 I didn’t have, I was never a saver I did however have an asset, my PC! I sold it on the Saturday for £430 and now had enough for the toys that I was sure I was going to treble my money on at least (plus expenses to get to the guy to buy them!) The toys were in a little coastal town in Scotland (UK) about 4hrs train journey from my house, so I paid for my little brother and his friend to come along for the ride! We arrived at our destination and what did I do? I headed straight for the fruit machines! (degenerate gambler gene pops up again!) I lost until I had £350 exactly left (lucky I bought return train tickets!) So I gave myself a kick and headed for the guys house to buy the toys (what we were there for in the first place!!) I knocked on the door and he opened it, Albert Soden was his name (I will always remember Albert!) He was a World War 2 veteran, with medals on the wall and several missing fingers! (GENUINELY) He showed me the stuff and it was all amazing and in pristine mint condition, I was looking at several of them thinking “They are worth £500 each ($800) shit that one is worth over a grand!!! I explained to Albert that I had to get the train down etc and I only had £350, and he was delighted to sell them to me for that price. Some other dealers/collectors at the time said on various forums that they would have told the seller how much they were worth…..I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that! Who is going to say “You want £10? no, no no, that is worth £500, I will give you £300!!” He paid pennies for them in the 70's and 80's and was delighted with his return on investment! He was so old school and gave me a handwritten receipt for my purchase, I have it framed now and keep it as a reminder of my first major deal. So for the £350, ($500) I sold the entire 38 figures for in excess of £15,000 ($25k) I sold most of them on eBay and some to major collectors in the U.S, Japan and Ireland. Left High School and went to University to study Economics (I figured that was the closest thing related to my fields of interest!) While at university I continued to wheel and deal in he vintage toy and antique market and it provided a great income for a student!!, I never had to take a job and it allowed me to indulge in eating out at restaurants and travel. It was also at this time in my life that I really started to dabble in trading stocks/shares, commodities and foreign currencies. I would do this through spread betting and also buying the shares. I graduated from university in 2005 (I got a first by the way ). This was a great time in my life, I started importing goods from Hong Kong and mainland China and selling them online and to companies in Scotland and the UK. I started off buying the items through a contact I’d met online, but then I decided to cut out the middle man and fly direct to Hong Kong and buy it all myself! I’ve been to Hong Kong 7 times and although every trip apart from one was for business, not one felt like a business trip! I was young free and single and making tons of cash, so I did what young free and single guys do… 5 star hotels, tons of women, tons of alcohol and tons of ego! Sadly my import business collapsed due to a combination of factors, namely price drops in the commodities I was selling and also more and more people starting to compete in the same market………Oh yeah, my excessive spending did not help either!! I found poker in 2008 and I love it, I have a true passion and it seems to have a bit of everything I love. It’s a strategy game, there is a lot of skill in it, but also that element of luck/chance that you have to accept and negotiate! I feel poker satisfies the degenerate gambling beast part of me, and to an extent, almost tames the beast! I aim to become as good a poker player as I can be, and hopefully by interviewing many of the games greats, it will help both me and you in the quest to become a great player.