Good morning everyone! For this weeks instalment of Off The Handle, I spoke with @Colop, A.K.A Kai Hoffman of Soar Financial (also of Oreninc).
@Colop is a source of information for investors/speculators and has been regularly producing content over at SFLive - which also gets posted here on CEO in the articles section. I hadn't met @Colop before this call but due to our interactions here on CEO, it felt more like a chat with an old friend then a relative stranger. Just another benefit of being on CEO and using it to meet people, build relationships, etc.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect from our conversation:
- Getting his start in the metals and mining space - [00:00:46]
- @Colop's background prior to finding our markets - [00:01:42]
- How @Colop uses CEO.CA - [00:02:53]
- Who @Colop follows/pays attention to on CEO and why one should keep an open mind to users unknown to you - [00:04:12]
- Appreciating and extracting value from negative POVs - [00:05:33]
- Read flags @Colop looks for in his DD process- [00:07:29]
- How @Colop chooses who/what to cover at SFLive and who among them pays his company for services - [00:10:05]
Thanks for taking the time to check it out and good luck to everyone in your investments!
Vaughan: Welcome back, everybody. And today I have with me Kai Hoffman, and he goes by the handle @Colop on CEO.CA. Thanks for joining me.
I see your face around out there. I also see you posting to the community article section, which I appreciate and I'm sure the community does as well. My question is how did you get started in the space?
Colop: The short answer is dumb luck. Seriously, it was dumb luck. I used to work at a small corporate finance boutique in Frankfurt, and one of the deals we worked on and structured and took public was a rare earth company back in 2009-2010. I had no clue about metals and mining and all that stuff. We took the company out marketing in San Francisco at the Hard Assets Conference. Back then, we marketed at the Vancouver Resource Conference. I think it was the year of the Olympics. Remember that the conference was split up over two hotels. Then I started Soar Financial in 2011 and started my own business.
I really fell into it. I never thought I'd end up in something finance related. But it's not even finance related, it's marketing. It's everything like it covers everything. I would it's tough to pinpoint what we do, actually.
Vaughan: By training what's your background?
Colop: I have a background in business administration. So I've always liked marketing and communicating stories. Originally I thought it ended up in Web 2.0 companies. I used to work for Deutsche Telekom, I worked for a telecom startup company at the time. I always thought I'd end up there. I've always like the Internet and things to do there like new developments, new tech. I'm a bit geeky, a bit nerdy as people can see with my setups here on SFLive. The technology I'm using, I'm nerding out hard with our tech here. But that's what that's my background is really marketing, trying to tell a story and talking to companies.
I'm not an engineer, I'm not a geologist. But after ten years in the industry, I think I know who I can trust and I've developed a decent gut feeling. I still have a hard time pinpointing why the Mag high is pink and not green and stuff like that. That's for other people to make decisions on. But I think the sniffer has been well refined the last twelve years.
Vaughan: So you have been around for a bit. On CEO.CA you've been producing content which is great. Is that your primary use of CEO at this point? How do you use CEO.CA?
Colop: It's a great question because I use it multifold. It's not just to distribute our content, I also use it as a source of inspiration. So before every interview actually usually jump into the CEO channels. I'm looking for critical questions as well, because I don't want to be just providing layups to the companies. Oftentimes where there is smoke, there might be fire. In like ninety percent of the cases it's true. You can weed out certain questions and topics and just drop them. That's what I use CEO.CA for and it has been really helpful.
I'm not as an active participant in terms of discussions as I want to be, but I try to contribute here and there, and I hope our content contributes to the overall discussion and it provides input that is really good and helps investors make better informed decisions.
Vaughan: Well, that's the whole idea, isn't it? That's the idea of the platform as well. Its to really give people that space where they can go and they can learn for themselves.
Your name has come up when I spoke to other users in the past for these Off The Handle spots, as someone that I should talk to, everybody tends to give their own suggestions on who to follow or who has provided them value. Do you have any any handles like that? Any suggestions of people you listen for?
Colop: There are quite a few, actually. And of course they're a lot of of the known ones. There's @SaskExpress, there's @thegalvanizer, there's Brandon MacDonald. Fraser Lashinger. I don't even actually know all their handles top of my head, but I know who's behind them.
But I read a lot and try to make up my own mind. So anybody who contributes to a discussion in a valuable way is worth a follow. There's no stupid questions to a degree, there are stupid answers. In that regard, anybody who asks a sensible question that has merit is contributing value to a conversation and I wouldn't say a follow them, but I like reading those questions. That's what I come to CEO.CA for: to see those questions that I might not be thinking to ask.
Vaughan: Definitely. I very much appreciate the contrarian voice, those who are going against the grain in channels, really putting out food for thought. You can tell who these people are, who's on the Internet having fun and who is actually out there trying to learn and participate.
I say to many people that it often comes down to how they communicate, not what they're communicating in terms of what reception they get. I've seen people who should be considered negative posters, but the people appreciate and value their input because they know they're not just taking a piss, so to speak.
Colop: It's fine to be negative, in my opinion. I'm German, I'm always looking for the negatives first before I'm looking for the positives, right? I think that comes with the territory. Of course, being in the industry for 12 years, you ARE a cynic, you always look for the negatives first. If you are having a hard time finding the negatives, then you start looking for the positives. That's what I look for, things I haven't thought of before.
Yes, there are people that are constantly negative on things, but those you can tune out. But sometimes they do have reason for being negative. I'm not just looking for confirmation bias on those channels. Of course, it's great that everybody loves your stock pick or your stock idea or something you just bought. But you do want to refine your sniffer even further, like you want to see those negative ones. @LucTenHave is a fantastic analysts as a retail investor as well. I love following what he's doing. He's got some great ideas and he does so much due diligence. I'm not sure how he does it with a full time job, a family and stuff - mad respect for the man, really.
Vaughan: I totally agree. As you probably know, @LucTenHave was on just a week ago now on this show, because I do very much appreciate and value his input.
You mentioned over a decade of refining the nose. Getting the smell test together and being more accurate. You've also mentioned certain red flags and those negatives that people can bring up in a channel. Once you've kind of discredited the potential negatives and the red flags, now you can really start looking at it and saying there's no factor that's that's going to be an impending death for this company. After ten years of doing this stuff, what has your nose picked up on the most? What are those flags that are just one hundred percent " I won't touch it" type of flags?
Colop: I think it's a lot with people and I'm sure that's a standard answer. It's not a "I won't touch it" one, but it is people. I do have the advantage of being in the industry for twelve years and knowing, let's say not all of them, but many of the bad apples. What retail investors are missing is that network of knowing who was actually behind certain companies, who's involved, who's pulling the strings. Sometimes the CEO is not even pulling the strings, he's just a figurehead and there's somebody else behind that. That's a huge red flag.
It starts with a set up of companies and we can go down deep, deep rabbit holds on what to look for but it's structure and people. The first thing I look at when I'm visiting the website of a company I haven't heard of before (or I can't remember that I've looked at it) is the management/directors info that often tells you something. I've recently come across a company that came from the ESports and Cannabis Space. No exposure in mining whatsoever in the last twenty years. Those you've got to be really cautious of. They already have to jump over a massive hurdle to be considered as a serious company Its not necessarily a red, red flag but its definitely an orange flag. Those things I look for.
Vaughan: Yeah, I agree. I certainly have other red flags. We could always talk about all these different things we've and...
Colop: Like did somebody only just sign project deals to be next to somebody. Is this a new Newfoundland gold play or is this the new lithium play in the Clayton Valley in Nevada? If you see somebody get a project in the Clayton valley that's on the side of a mountain and he's working on brines where we need evaporation and water. You don't have those things on the side of a mountain: just run away!
Vaughan: Yeah, we always get these closeology plays or lookalikes and they seem to come back and get recycled. It would definitely be something of value to be able to figure out a way to lift that veil for retail investors. There are definitely teams who continually start new companies using old projects as an example.
Colop: I have to be a bit careful because I'm in the PR space as well. I try to sell services at some point right. So I can shoot myself too much in the foot. But there are people you see their name pop up you think "yep, nope. That's not going to work. That's not going to happen. I'm not going to touch my name to that". People in the industry know and we try to communicate as best as we can, but we're not like we are trying to hold ourselves accountable.
I don't work with companies that I'm not convinced of, like somebody who will embarrass me. If the gold is not the ground but they've done everything right, that's not on me, right. My job is to showcase companies - and I'm hoping we're doing a job with SFLive and people will to tell us whether we do or not - to show companies that we believe won't embarrass us. Right? Don't embarrass us.
And that can be anything: if you're not hitting with a drill rig because you put it in the wrong angle: Well, that's that's just tough luck. I can't influence that. What I can influence is the people behind it, cap structure and other things that just don't make sense and just scream maybe scam or something. That's my filter. That's what I can provide. To expand on that real quick at SFLive, other than our retainer client, we're not charging for content. Just to provide that as a bit of a clarity as well. Make sure you read our disclaimers. We diligently try to disclose who we have a relationship with or who we own stock in.
Vaughan: Perfect. I'll keep an eye out for more of your content on CEO.CA. That's all the time I'll take from you now. I really do appreciate it and I'm sure I'll reach out again in the future.
Colop: Vaughan it's fantastic chatting with you and a huge thanks to you guys at CEO.CA. You guys are helping us a lot by featuring our content. I really appreciate it, it means a lot to us. So thanks for that.