13th of September 2016
The story of how PMTrend began and evolved is an interesting one. It starts with my experience at university, and moves on to the start of my working career, and ends in embarking on a long and challenging journey of creating what now is called PMTrend (and the sister website MeltValue). Today, the website provides a unique dataset of information related to the precious metals market and receives a steady stream of visitors from all over the World. Creating this blog is aimed at "starting a conversation" around topics related to precious metals, investing, and economics to connect like minded people to share their ideas and thoughts on precious metal trends. To tell the whole story of PMTrend lets begin with my experience in the good old days back at university.
During my undergraduate degree in engineering in Australia, the 2000s commodity boom was in full swing and didn't everyone in Australia know it. The unemployment rate was near a record low and anyone who was willing to work could find a job. In economic terms, it was like a party: everyone was having a good time, dancing to the tune of the music, and the liquor flowed freely. As with all economic booms, the feeling at the time was euphoric and most people thought "this time is different" and that the good times would roll on. Then came the global financial crisis (GFC) ...
The mania was over and doom and gloom set in.
Financial markets around the World were in free-fall.
The federal reserve noticed a tremendous draw down of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion dollars, was being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two ... We were having an electronic run on the banks.
We must maintain stable, orderly and liquid financial markets and our banks must continue to play their vital role of supporting the economy by making credit available to consumers and businesses.
Banks did not trust the solvency of each other, liquidity was drying up, and a new paradigm of uncertainty set in. The time to graduate in engineering went from one of the best times in modern history to one of the worst.
Commodity prices were being smashed, mines were closing down, and unemployment shot up. Companies in this space needed to preserve capital to stay afloat, as they say, cash is king. Graduate programs were being slashed and pay freezes were gripping the resources industry in Australia. Given the prospects, I thought I would continue studying by doing a one and a half year postgraduate engineering course that I was interest in and hope by the time I graduate this economic Armageddon would of blown over. Interestingly, the recession that was suppose to be, never was. Although the Australian share market lost around 50% from its pre-GFC highs, the housing market held up, and things quickly stabilized. One reason for this was probably a chronic skills shortage that gripped Australia prior to the GFC, and this resulted in a lot of pent up demand for work after labor became more freely available post-GFC. After five and a half years of study, I was well and truly over studying and ready to start my working career.
I started my working career as a contractor for a mining services company. At that time, things were "plodding along" as they say, there was just enough work to keep things rolling along. The job was challenging and I could see then and there that engineering required a uncanny mix of qualities, some I had, and some I would need to develop. I was happy just being a cog in the wheel, but unfortunately, in this industry, that probably was not going to cut it. I was a competent programmer and that is all I wanted to be. My thoughts on the mining industry are that I met some highly skilled, hard working people that I genuinely liked. However, the mining industry is notorious for not deploying capital efficiently and I certainly noticed that as well. The grim reality is that mining companies are highly leveraged to the price of the commodities they produce (of which the commodity prices themselves are highly volatile). A tough business to be in, indeed. The iron ore price was starting to finally tumble and in some ways was a premonition for things to come. Things were finally starting to hit home in August 2014 when I was told my job no longer existed.
The redundancy was tough. I tried not to think about it too much as it was hard not to take it personally. At times I felt like I was getting bullied in the job so it was hard not to feel as though I got "bullied out of a job." I started to dabble into larger and larger data sets which forced me to start learning about databases to keep up.
At that point, I could start the see the bigger picture of how useful turning data into information was, and how big and smart data was going to revolutionize industries.
I started creating websites hoping that maybe I would be able to earn some income from websites and possibly move into the startup scene. However, money was running low and I was very fortunate to be able to start a new career path as a full-time web developer. This is when I started what PMTrend is today. The website began as platinumbullion.com.au and the purpose of it was to discuss platinum as an investment, mainly in Australia. Unfortunately it was way too much of a niche and never really got going. I began internationalizing the website by providing information that was more applicable to a global audience. I changed the name to platinumcalculator.com, as at that stage, the main resource of the website was a platinum melt value calculator. The name was too long, even I did not want to type that enormous name into the URL browser to find the website (how could I expect other people to?). I changed the name to ptcalc.com (short for platinum calculator - Pt being the chemical symbol of platinum on the period table) to make it shorter and easier to type into a browser. When I acquired meltvalue.com in August 2016, I knew that it was time to split ptcalc.com into two websites: one that focused on precious metal trends (PMTrend) and one that had the precious metal melt value calculators (MeltValue). Now the website names better reflect the information they cover.
Currently I want to focus on developing a blog on the many topics I find interesting. I would like to increase the awareness of this website in the precious metals community so that people can use the resources that this website offers. At the moment I do not wish to keep developing more tools that would analyze the precious metal trends as moonlighting has been challenging and has required a lot of personal sacrifice. However, that being said, one thing I am starting to do and really enjoy is reading precious metal books, which I look forward to reviewing these books in future blog posts. I would also like to build up my audiences in my social media channels so that I can quickly communicate to like-minded people about new blogs and events in the precious metals market. At this point in time, I would like to thank you for visiting this website and this blog, and I look forward to creating more blogs on topics that I (and hopefully you too!) find interesting.