Arbitrage and speculation get a bad rap sometimes, but they're incredibly useful.
I'm leaving Ulaanbaatar shortly and I'll be heading to Japan. I went to stock up on some basic supplies - personable consumables and work stuff.
Strikingly, paper is really expensive here for Western-grade, Western-style paper. The local shops literally don't carry it. Instead, they have this checkered sort of paper. It's like graph paper, but with thick black lines. I prefer black ink, and after trying out one of those notebooks, I couldn't read what I'd written.
I tried some of the upscale department stores (Sky Department Store, State Department Store) and there's literally no Western-style, 60 sheet lined notebooks in the $1 to $2 range like you'd see in the USA. They have high end notebooks for $6 to $12, and they have these thin flimsy 20-page booklet-type things for around $1. I settled for the booklet.
Now, if there was the demand to make it worth it, someone importing Western style paper from China at 20 cents a notebook and selling it here for $2 per notebook would be creating a lot of value. If this presented a large enough opportunity, eventually you'd see the margins go down towards cost, as happens in almost all industries.
Navigating yourself when in a down state is one of the most valuable possible skills. And, extremely difficult.
One of the things that leads to snakebitten days is a convergence of negative events. Most people who develop healthy work habits and lifestyles can shrug off one or two things wrong. But when a mix of successes, accidents, and failures hits at the same time, you can lose time to the snakebitten day.
Navigating those days into being successful is really key.
Here's what happened yesterday:
*Wake up at 4:30AM (normal) after going to bed at 6:50PM (slightly early, 9.5 hours sleep).