Saturday, May 31, 2008

What's with the Voice Requests??

Ok, so apologies in advance to a couple of people that are going to be quite offended by this - but it isn't really aimed at you.

What's with the voice requests??

I have blogged a few times before about my reticence to get any more involved in SL than I am already - especially on an emotional level. In the last few weeks, I have had a dozen people ask me to get onto voice with them - either in SL or on Skype or whatever - and so far I have always said no. I have tried the SL Voice feature a few times, and it really irritates me - so I am already predisposed to dislike it. I also have to run a viewer that is pre-voice, since it seems to be the only one that my graphics card doesn't bork on.

But regardless - the requests are usually not for business reasons - which i might consider - but are more on the level of getting to know each other better, flirting more quickly, or out-and-out requests for phone sex. Uhmmm... word to the wise - if i wanted to be on voice with you - I already would be!

That might be a bit unfair - and a couple of people will doubtless be seriously offended at my arrogance at assuming that they are hitting on me - and in fairness - some of them are not at all.

What pisses me off more than anything is the response I get sometimes that I "must be a man" because I won't go on voice. Frankly, if that is what you think, why the heck are you flirting with me in the first place - and sometimes even continue after I have said no??

The last person that asked me was not at all slimy about it - it was a very civil and platonic request, and I started giving all the reasons I could think of why I just couldn't. He very rightly pointed out to me that all that was basically bullshit - if I didn't want to, why didn't I just say that??

He was right - I just don't wanna! In the end my reasons are my own - irrational or stupid as they might be - but if they aren't good enough, feel free to speculate that it might be one or more of the following:
1. I really am a man.
2. I am a 13 year-old girl.
3. I am an 83 year-old woman
4. I have a horrible speech impediment.
5. I hate my voice.
6. I hate being hit on in general and can only just manage to handle it in text, cuz really, it isn't cute at all - just annoying.
7. People are usually a lot less interesting / a lot more irritating in voice than in text.
8. I like to keep a record of all my conversations in SL because i have a terrible memory and need to have something to refer to.
9. I just don't wanna. really.

Okies - sorry for the rant, but it's 8:30, and i don't have nearly enough caffeine in my system yet...


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shares on the table!

Hi all,
one of my large investors has let me know that he would like to sell his shares - and he has almost 280,000 of them!.

If you are interested in picking some up, please let me know. I'd like to sell all of them to as few investors if possible - so please only contact me if you are willing to buy a large amount - say 50k shares. I will broker a price (with strict confidentiality on both sides) and manage the transaction. I'll only take a small commission - say 10%. hehehe.

Just kidding!

I am sad to see him go - he has been a wonderful source of advice over the last year - and has been totally supportive of DDE since its humble beginnings... mwah!


Friday, May 23, 2008

DDE Update

Hi all :-). I just wanted to provide a brief update on operations over the last few weeks. The dividend and buyback for April went ahead with only a few glitches - relatively smoothly all things considered...

Business in the last six weeks has been slower than normal - the number of unrented plots on DDE sims is higher than usual, but I have begun to advertise recently (something I haven't had to do in almost a year!), and I am hoping to be back up to normal occupancy levels soon. The Openspace sims have been doing well - so when one of my regular sims was vacated, I put in a ticket to convert it to 4 Openspaces - and have been waiting a couple of weeks for the Lindens to complete the ticket - a measure I think of how many land orders they have received recently. Of course, this has resulted in half a month of no rental income on this sim in addition to the low occupancy.

As a result - revenues for May are expected to be less than usual - and although DDE is still nicely profitable, I am going to start setting aside some cash every week to ensure that if things get worse in the market, i will have sufficient cash to cover tier for at least a month at all times. Given that the monthly tier level for DDE is approximately 2m Lindens - this will be a drain on liquidity.

I am going to wait until the final May numbers are in before making a decision, but it is possible that in May there will be no share buybacks - although I am still expecting a regular dividend payment. Again depending on the final May numbers, I may forego or significantly reduce my salary for May and contribute it to the dividend payment. I want to make sure that you are all taken care of.

The effect of this is in some ways beneficial to shareholders, since it removes one month of buybacks at the lowest price (2.50L per share) - I will stick to the schedule I have published and share buybacks will increase to 2.75L per share in July as promised.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns about this plan.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Dividend and Buyback Complete

As of yesterday, May 11, 2008, the dividend and buyback transactions for April are complete. In total, I disbursed 841,103L to shareholders (including 443,244L in dividends). Details can be found on the new DDE webpage (ok it's pretty rudimentary - but I have never done it before! lol). Links to all past announcements, transaction details, and other information will be available there.

So... It was the middle of the night, and I made an error while doing some of the payouts... fortunately, I started at the bottom of the list - but as I was doing the first dozen payouts, I was reading from the wrong column in my handy spreadsheet...sigh. So, instead of paying the first dozen shareholders the correct amount, I paid them Lindens equivalent to the number of shares that they owned - which was a far higher amount.

Rather than contact each of them individually, I decided to reduce their shares at 2.50L per share for the amount overpaid. I have made a note of these transactions in the list of buybacks, and if anyone that was overpaid wishes to correct the error (rather than keep the Lindens), they can contact me inworld and I will make the correction. Otherwise I will assume that they are content with taking the cash.

I felt quite stupid when I realized (thanks to Andy Grant for contacting me right away and pointing out the error!). But it is one of the hazards of trying to do all this manually - I am learning as I go and am subject to some serious blond moments. however, rest assured that errors on my part are not malicious - just the pitfalls of being a relative noob at this. As time goes on, I will streamline the process and hopefully there won't be any more mistakes. My apologies to the people that got too many Lindens (lol). As I say, if you want to have the error corrected, simply send me an IM to that effect.

One other item - since SL is such a transient place, I checked into each user's status before I made the payments, and decided that for anyone that has not logged into SL in 60 days, I would withhold payment at this time. My reasoning is that I have no desire to distribute Lindens to an account that is no longer active. Some accounts appear to have been deleted, and others have had no activity - some for up to six months. These are listed as "Pending" in the details of the dividend buyback. I am keeping track of all payments due to any of these individuals, and will make good on them if I am contacted inworld by any of them. So, if any of you know of the whereabouts of any of the individuals listed, please let them know. I will not make payments to a third party on their behalf. Eventually, I will reclaim the shares of anyone whose account is in defauly, or has shown no activity in a significant amount of time (I am thinking 6 months).

I wanted to provide an update on the business. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have expanded somewhat recently, but the last couple of weeks have been a bit difficult. A number of large renters have left, and occupancy has dropped to about 87% accross all the sims. DDE is still very profitable, and I will be working hard to get everything rented out as soon as possible, but having empty parcels for a few weeks WILL have an impact on profitability for May. I will keep you all posted as things develop.

Finally, I wanted to say a word of thanks to all of you - your continued expressions of support mean the world to me and I could not have achieved anything in DDE without your support, advice, encouragement, and motivation. RL has been incredibly busy the last month or so, and at times it has been difficult to find the time (and the motivation) to get onto SL and take care of business. But when I receive a quick note of encouragement from one of you, it makes it much easier - I realize that I am working for all of us, and as you know that is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

As always, comments, concerns, questions are all encouraged - leave them here or contact me inworld.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

DDE Update: Dividend and Buyback Announcement

Greetings to all Delicious Demar Enterprises (DDE) shareholders :-)

I know it has been a while since I provided an update, but RL commitments (a new job - yay!) have left me with little time the last month to spend in SL - I have spent what time I do have managing the business and trying to keep the sims all full.

Occupancy is down a little bit from previous months, due in all likelihood to the new island prices (making them more affordable than ever, and leading to some potential renters deciding to buy instead), and to the general slowdown in the US economy - I suspect people there just have less money to spend than ever. Nevertheless, occupancy still remains at 95% and I am working hard as always to rent out whatever parcels become available.

So... As you all know, I have made my intentions to slowly get out of the land biz and wind down DDE quite clear, but recent developments in SL have forced me to reconsider the speed and timing of my actions. Two recent changes by Linden Labs have actually made me decide not only to slow down the wind-down, but in fact have convinced me to expand in a limited way over the last six weeks. First, the change in the land prices makes purchasing islands now easier - they cost 40% less than a month ago - but rent is unaffected because it is tied to tier levels, which have not changed.

Second, the doubling of prims on the Openspace sims (a full island in size, but now with 3750 prims) have made them quite desirable in the marketplace.

As a result, instead of starting to sell off islands and wind down, I have in fact purchased one full sim and 7 Openspace sims recently - all of which are full (I am still waiting for delivery of two - but they are both spoken for...). Because of the timing of the purchase, I received two "free" openspace sims, as per the Lindens policy during the changing of prices, and now have a healthy number of sims to work with, when all is said and done:

Total regular sims: 21 (up from 20)
Total Openspace sims: 12 (up from 3)

In order to purchase the sims, I had to use whatever working capital I had on hand, but operating profits have been on par with previous months regardless. Therefore I am going to be paying a dividend of 0.1L per share immediately (watch for the transaction inworld over the next couple of days), and will be using my salary and portion of dividends to do a buyback of 150,000 shares, prorated across all shareholders using the percentage of shares owned. In total, I will be disbursing more than 700,000L in dividends and buybacks.

I will be providing more detailed financials in the coming days, but DDE posted a profit of slightly over 450,000L on revenues of almost 3,000,000L in April. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this is net of the salary I am collecting of 250,000L per month - which will be used with my portion of the dividends to buy back shares.

Hope you are all keeping well - as usual I welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions here, or inworld.