April 30, 2006

SleepBook.com


The sleep industry is BIG money!

So why the hell hasn't FaceBook.com started SleepBook.com?

Stay with me here:

The last time I slept well was in college. I slept on average 12 hours a day.

If FaceBook is worth $2 billion for their University customers awake half the time, why not keep them online and SELL THEM STUFF WHILE THEY ARE SLEEPING - doubling the price tag to $4 billion. Waterbeds, Ambien and Denny's would be lined up to pitch subliminal mantra ads.

The irony of this thought stream:

SleepBook.com is operated by an Online University search engine .

I have their slogan to improve enrollment - " Make money while listening to ads while you sleep and better yet finish your University Degree Online - while lying and/or sleeping in BED."

Apple - trends need catalysts - A CASE STUDY

Apple has almost always been cool, yet for much of it's life, there was no money to be made in the stock despite the boom in stock prices for competitor's like Dell and Microsoft.

It is great if you discover the catalyst, but a catalyst alone will not make you money. The first person to buy an ipod and love it - did not get rich buying the stock immediately. If you bought the day after Steve Job's came back to the company - you did not get rich immediately. In fact, Michael Dell told Steve Job's to liquidate the Company . In Apple's case, universal skepticism from Wall Street, and Corporate America proved to be the biggest catalayst and the one that is the small investor's best friend. That is:

YOU DON'T NEED TO DISCOVER SOMETHING FIRST TO MAKE MONEY IN THE MARKETS. I don't ever expect to be first but I have learned to recognize stock patterns (new high, volume, good market conditions) that work for me that give me greater confidence that catalysts will start to benefit a stock. After that, money management will decide how much money you make.

Apple's 700 percent gain catalysts included:

1. iTunes
2. Retail Stores
3. The OS becoming less important
4. The iPod

Going forward, many catalysts remain which I discussed last week .

The biggest is in Apple hardware and software beyond the iPod. The iPod is now discovered. It will grow, but Wall Street now expects this. Apple can only disappoint here. This is the new risk in an Apple stock that has appreciated so much. To buy today, you must appreciate that or you will suffer losses.

Other catalysts that remain include:

1. iTunes - this may still be the biggest. This weekend I heard a local Ford dealership offering 500 iTunes on a $15,000 car. The possibilities for iTunes are endless as the iPod's distribution grows.
2. Other recurring revenue streams - The .Mac accounts and Video's.
3. Retail expansion - There is a blog that covers Apple's retail store business .
4. The analyst dubbed "halo effect" which says that iPod sales will lead to Mac sales. It is talked about in the blogsphere as Apple chips away at Microsoft. Anything is possible !


HAVE A PLAN

I believe in the remaining catalysts, trumping the screw-ups along the way. Until something really changes, I have a plan to buy extreme weakness in the stock caused by general market conditions and screw-ups in quarterly sales .


WHO ELSE MAY BENEFIT and WHO MAY SUFFER - The LONGTAIL

From Microsoft, Dell and Intel benefitted and Apple suffered.

From Google, all it's competitors suffer in one way or another from the uncertainty it creates in the stock market which leads to multiple compressions for everybody.

In the iPod case - there have been component winners and accessory companies have flourished. The biggest winner so far seems to be Akamai which helps speed up the delivery of songs and video for iTunes.

What I have learned from this one successful investment is that even in the technology world, simple rules can make you money.

Google, Microsoft and Stocks in general - some other opinions

Henry Blodget , someone with a little more experience than ME in the tech industry looks at Microsoft's problems in the Internet business.

Maybe they are "only partly dead" (Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride) . Bill Cara says you can make money off Microsoft's plunge .

I had said earlier in the week that using my blogroll could make you money. Fred Wilson talks about some other blogs as well. I have been reading Burnham's Beat for a while and although he does not write as often as I would like, his insight and expertise are too good to ignore. I have added him to the blogroll.

Happy Birthday Max


Today my son Max is 7.

Here is his plan:

Play catch
Pancakes
Bowling
Pizza
Suns/Lakers
Golf
Movie
Bed early so dad can watch Soprano's (Ya Right!)

Life is good.

April 29, 2006

Global Markets en Fuego!

Global Markets have been on fire, despite the negative headlines .

Why?

Who cares if you are a trend follower .

The web is a great place to build a brand with little cost - Pete Cashmore explains

Lot's of Cash being put to work. Mr. Allen makes a case that IPO's should swing back into full gear by 2008 . His analysis is great and if he is right, dips are buyabe until late 2008.

If Harry Dent is right, dips are buyable until 2009 .

Beijing - CHA-ching?

The haves and have nots are the focus of Maoxian's recent post.

I note the 40 percent occupancy vs investor ratio and that rampant speculation is rampant speculation - IN ANY MARKET.

Even our great bull markets in the 20th century were interrupted by stock market crashes and a depression.

April 28, 2006

Google is great...cont'd.

I forget how I found BuyGoogle.com, but each time I read it I like it better and better. I am by no means a technology expert, nor a market expert - just someone trying to interpret the tea leaves and find some trends and opportunities. When I find a blog that is worthy of reading - as it relates to my interests, I share it immediately in the blogroll, hoping that you get as excited about it as me.

Goofing on Microsoft today is not meant to make fun of the shareholder's or the employees.I am reading and now writing to help me get a better feel for surviving financially.

Today's market reaction to Microsoft is very serious. It is the biggest percentage drop since the year 2000 when up and down 10 percent moves were ordinary. It is a $30 million (woops billion - late edit) haircut.

Like the Merck/Vioxx Gap, sometimes these moves mark a panic bottom in the short-term but that is not what I will speculate.

Reading BuyGoogle's interpretation makes an awful lot of sense to me . I am glad for blogs like this on day's like today when the hysterics rule and the noise is deafening - even if by title - the author is biased towards Google.

Google is great! - The movie is 'Wise Guys'

When was the last time you said - "awesome dude" when you worked on Microsoft's platform.

I just had my third Google is awesome today searching with Google.

It was bugging me that I could not remember the movie from my last post so I typed in - 'thank you Mr. Akabano'.

So I get back - 'do you mean Mr. Acavano'

Boom - here you go

I wish I could see that clip right NOW! The internet sucks.

It's probably Microsoft's fault!

CNBC - Welcome to our casino Mr. Akabano!

I forget the movie but the line and name have stuck with me through the years - "...no, thank-you Mr. Akabano."

Trader Mike - a web 2.0 blog for trader's has latched on to the joke that is CNBC. Today Mike writes:

"I love the ridiculousness of CNBC's 'portfolio' challenge. They just interviewed the guy who's currently in the lead. He's up over 100% in the few weeks that the contest has been running. How did he jump into the lead? He threw his whole wad, about $1,500,000 (29,000 shares) at NTRI ahead of their earnings report. Carl Quintanilla asks him "so not the diversified approach, eh?" The response was something to the effect of "you can't win this game being diversified." I just can't imagine anybody trading like that in real life. The risk of ruin must be incredible."

This is some seriously useful reporting for their audience - "if you manage money in Disneyland!"

Why not just have slot machines in the background and stop fooling around with the facade.

Apple..."It smells like Victory!"

I just took a walk over from my office to the Apple Store.

No gloating, just business as usual. Humming along.

Something in the air. Like Robert Duval says in "Apocalypse Now" - "It smells like victory!"

By the way - Microsoft stock down 12 percent on the day and Apple stock up 2 percent at the close.

Microsoft - wounded but holding ther attitude!

Microsoft continues to believe that walls are good.

I think Mike at Tech Crunch is right in these remarks . Microsoft is living in the computing past.

Microsoft - the Mourners (HA!) gather in the back of the funeral home.

This is an excerpt of the conversation at Microsoft's wake:

Apple - in your face Microsoft - biiiiitch.

Google - Microwho?

Adobe - Softie!

Sony - Kaneeetchewah! - biiiitch.

It is decided! David Chapelle plays the nerdy kid. Anybody know how I can reach him for the movie?

Microsoft - the EULOGY.

What ever happened to Microsoft - the economy.

I remember a time -pretty much my whole trading life - that if Microsoft was down 10 percent on the open, the US markets and maybe even the global markets - would be in disarray.

Mark this day in time!

It is a good day for wimpy kids eveywhere. Microsoft knocked to the carpet and the rest of the Nasdaq stood over it and YAWNED!

WOW!

The rest of Microsoft's gang - Intel and Dell (those that hated them but stil hung with them in public - like the bully's gang walking down the halls of your high school) telegraphed this knockout punch with their recent results.

Apple - the nerdy, cool kid is really having his day.
Google - the new kid in school, sneaks off with a smile on his face.

THIS IS A HOLLYWOOD ENDING! Now I just have to cast it.

April 27, 2006

Apple to buy RIMM (Blackberry)?

I love speculating about dream mergers. Mergers that I would like to see.

I have thought for a long while that Apple would be the target of a hostile takeover. They are the only hardware company executing. Steve Job's is getting older and was willing to sell Pixar. His brush with cancer has reminded him of his mortality. might as well rule the world - FASTER!

Now that the Blackberry patent lawsuit is settled and hopefully overturned, RIMM needs to be bought - who better than Apple.

I was reading this post from Steve Rubel's "Micropersuasion" blog tonight and saw this link to the "BerryCast" .

I agree with Steve that this is a winner for Blackberry over the iPod.

Apple has the best design for a music player. Blackberry has the design for mobile mail.

Together they can create an iPhone or just leave the products alone and dominate without an iPhone.

Although the Blackberry design for the phone is not perfect, blutooth and wireless headset design will render answering the phone the "old fashioned way" - old fashioned!
My Friend
My Friend,
originally uploaded by zhollandsworth.


The awful TREND in Financial Media.


Lou Reed was the "original rapper" . James Cramer was once the "original financial blogger".

Today I was listening to some classic Lou Reed. Wow - his sweet lyrics and music hold the test of time.

Jim Cramer - Wow - has his writing deteriorated. Did aliens invade his soul?

Today, Jim Cramer talks about stocks as if they were trading cards . This is what sells to the "public" these days. It is so transparent. It is awful.

Look at the ungodly Fidelity ad in the middle of this rant to buy and sell stocks. "TRY OUR MARGIN ACCOUNT AT 5.5 PERCENT."

Why not just say - click here to GAMBLE without going offshore !

He should be ashamed of himself. I thought he was about the little guy. I have not checked in on his site much the last few years and as suspected, it has become another Times Square billboard.

He is pandering to his advertisers (Fidelity) by recommending his readers buy and sell on such wonderful ideas as "springtime", and "short squeezes". Fidelity and other brokerage firms are the only ones who make money off this. He has basically created a "column" for a Fidelity ad. Read at it again now that you have read this paragraph.

Although most bloggers don't ever expect to make money - they remain pure. Cramer started out this way. God help me if I sell out as readers come my way.

Note to Jim Cramer - you ran out of things to say in 1999!

If you read the people of my blogroll on a consistent basis - not only will you become a better investor, you will save money on commissions and much anxiety. Most important, you will enjoy without being bombarded with ads.

Blogging - inning one! Big Media - bottom of the ninth and chaos in the clubhouse!

The Phoenix Suns in 6 games!?

I was rather depressed today playing hoops with my buddy Abe after his laker's thrashed my Sun's.

My friend Frank Johnson came over to talk about the game with us and laid my worries to rest after a one handed half court angled bank shot (made the 3rd of 5 chances and took a lunch from me)

"Suns in 6!" He seems credible?

Microsoft - the story was obvious and the spin the same - BUT THE RESULT WAS DIFFERENT!

It is the reaction to the Microsoft spin after earnings today that is different. THE STOCK IS DOWN 6 PERCENT.

Google, Adobe, Apple and Sony. They are just too good and too tough.

As far as entertainment and media markets go - nobody wants to do business with the old bully Microsoft. They don't really need to anymore so there is no growth from this segment as well. I even notice Apple machines in the movies these days!

I frequent the Apple store. It is busy. It hums. Microsoft, Dell, HP - have no answer to this phenomenon.

I hear my buddy Blair returning his 5th Gateway laptop in 6 months - living in technical assistance hell.

Another convert! If he can switch - anybody can and will.

They have a stranglehold for now on the corporate market - but at the household level - it is no longer if, only when!

A sad day for Microsoft indeed and one which I thought may unfold in my post this morning.

Microsoft - tonight we get some facts?

Dell is hurting;

Intel is hurting;

Google is on fire;

Apple remains strong;

Sony is on fire in gaming;


The best you can hope for is good spin tonight. The market's reaction to the spin is what I will be looking at.




PS - Too much Kobe last night . Suns were awful.

April 26, 2006

"Who Ordered the Çode Red"

First off - it was nice to hear so many offers for our ticket to the Sun's-Laker's game with me tonight. My buddy Abe is coming in from LA for the night and gets the ticket. I hope he wears his Lakers shirt so he can be ABUSED. The Laker's suck

Back to inflation. The prices of most labor, ipods, PC's, flatscreens, clothing, information all are in a deflationary spiral for sure - but they are not necessities.

Food, commodities and fuel are what matter in my inflation index. Based on this index, we are careening out of control.

I went to fill up my Honda Pilot today and it cost $54. That is something.

Food prices are flying high. I can barely afford my raspberry and blackberry (the fruit) habit. Eating out - which I do too much - is outrageously expensive and I don't even drink.

If inflation is on the rise - which I think it is - the biggest shenanigans are taking place by the government statistics office (shocking). Jeff Matthews sums it up here .

I sum it up using these lines from a "Few Good Men".

That said - the economy is proving pretty resilient. The stocks of Bank of America and Wells Fargo hit all-time highs today. Historically, bank stocks have struggled in rising interest rate environments.

As my good buddy Blair says - STAGGERING!

Apple - what is left?


I spent some time with a client of mine yesterday and we both are Apple fans and PC converts so naturally the discussion always centers on the Company.

Our conclusion - There is no good reason that Apple won't double it's share of the PC market in the next 5 years.

PLEASE - THIS IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY THE STOCK - just me thinking out loud.

I don't care whose expense it is at, just that Apple keeps doing what it is doing -

1. Great hardware design - they understand that fashion and technology mix;
2. Great (for my family) software;
3. Great retail distribution that can triple in size over the next 5 years;
4. Technical support - have not needed much whereas Dell is cutting back at a time they need it most!
5. Competition floundering.

The switch may not be happening as fast as Wall Street likes, but I read daily of tech geeks switching. They are happy!

They write about it on their blogs like they discovered laptop computing for the first time.

There is still much to be optimistic about as an Apple shareholder.

PS - I have been avoiding the photo part of the blog just out of fear. Using FLICKR was so much easier than I could have ever imagined. What a cool blogging tool. It's aesome that Flickr is owned by Yahoo and works with Google Blogger. Downright friendly wars these days in the tech industry. Good for us!

April 25, 2006

"Put me on the Cadillac Board"

How can you not love "Glengarry Glen Ross .

I see that Mitch Kapor is now blogging. His resume is here . Can't wait to see how his blog develops - a little dry so far - and I have added him to the blogroll.

Big Banks Bite!

Goldman, Merrill and Morgan like to tout their valuable research, but deep down, all banks are trend followers when it comes to YOUR money. They sell YOU what feels safe. Of course, there is some great research at these firms, but you have to dig or have a free thinking broker (please). Who has the time?

When it comes to buying value, the big banks save it for their own proprietary accounts.

Same thing goes for Corporate America. Bunch of pussies!

I thought Bill Gates was the smartest guy around, not just the richest. He goes away for a widely publicized THINK week every year. Obviously he is catching up on porn or watching "Nip and Tuck" (a great series by the way). All that cash in 2001, at the bottom of the market, and it passed on Yahoo at $10 bucks, Amazon at $5, Google pre-IPO, Akamai at 1 buck (Duke and Duke)! etc...pathetic. Aren' t they supposed to have a front row seat to these values? The Microsoft shareholders got no return on the stock the last four years - although they have declared a few big dividends - and Microsoft used huge amounts of cash to buy back their own pathetic stock. Woops!

The stocks of oil companies in Canada and especially the Tar Sands are WHITE HOT (hotter than red!). I remember Exxon merging with Mobil or something but no American companies were buying Encana and Suncor at 10 percent of today's prices. If you factor in the appreciation of the Canadian dollar , these Canadian companies - ANY CANADIAN company - could have been had for a further 40 percent discount just four years ago.

Gold miners - forget about it.

Overstock, Portal Player....whores, fat bastards!

When I heard Citibank put a buy on Apple after a 600 percent run, I knew that the run had pretty much ended. Bummer, the K.O.D. on my favorite company ever.

Moral - when your Merrill broker calls you with an oil stock tomorrow - tell him to f*#ck off. You read blogs!

PS - I think that hating homebuilders is overrated. With the Euro at $1.25 and the Canadian dollar close to par and Canadians feeling flush from a doubling of their stock market the last few years, the sun belt markets have a lot of potential buyers. When the German and Japanese start moving into my neighborhood just to have a place to hang, I will start looking to sell. So far, it is just Betty and Lou from North Dakota.

PSS - Long sunshine!

Sweet Kudos

I have always said that Chartreuse is like Rodney Dangerfield (Melon) in the classic - "Back to School" : He's gotzt classsss!

I think it is the way he combines the GREAT visuals (not JUST ANY visuals) with his smart writing. My blogroll is filled with great writers, minds and ideas and links, but little in the way of visuals. Chartreuse stands out and I will try to add the visual part to the blog for emphasis rather than so many exclamation points. I am keeping the SPELLING errors (sorry to my wife Ellen and Le Rock!)

It is not that complicated. Keep it fun, be yourself, spill your heart out and ADD COOL VISUALS.

Thanks for the love - Prince .

Wish I did not have to work!

Some trends - the good and bad.

1. The stocks of pawnshops and sub prime lending outfits (AACE, EZPW, FCFS) have had a major run in their stocks. I asked my friend Cole (lot's of spare time as well) to reverse engineer the reasoning. Easy (LOL) stuff to do once you see a stock chart and here is what he says is going on:

"Higher interest rates and energy price are creating more people with cash flow problems which in increasing the demand for payday and small asset loans to manage their short term liquidity needs. The demand from these new customers is greater than the default rates of the existing customers which creates large revenue and earnings growth for the pawn industry. It also reflects a continued reduction of the "real" credit quality of the average American. More people borrowing “off the grid” to make on time payments on things that effect their credit rating which artificially props of their credit quality – scary…"

That could end any moment or go on for a while. Maybe I need to visit a pawn shop?

As a pure trend follower intuition is left alone. But I am sure there are hundreds of discretionary traders trading off these types of assumptions. Too hard for me. Thanks Cole.

2. Why it is always tough to be a small speculator, especially when the Fed gangs up? Bill Cara has some great insight into how mad you got when a trade went against you from something out of your control. Protectionism and intervention for these reasons are just bad - ALL THE TIME.

I agree and it is one of the reasons I found trend following appealing. No blame other than your own money management systems.

3. Chicks are digging the internet - at least this site . I guess marriage is still popular. They shoud launch a divorce site as well called - ratbastard.com! Pretty much anything mean and nasty would work.

4. Canada raised their Prime rate this morning and rates in the US keep pushing higher.

Markets could get ugly for a few days and I am just watching. Hope I am wrong for those of you on leverage.

Sold a bunch of BLDP at $12 and change yesterday and it is down to $10.20 as I speak. I am looking to buy in the 8's.

PS - I have a Suns's ticket for one lucky reader - Let me know - howard@lindzon.com

Colonoscopy = GoLytely?

Watching late night TV is filled with the pharmaceutical comedy skits announcing new drugs.

How am I supposed to remember the name of some drug, completely unrelated to my condition - let's just call it constipation for the moment. The drug was called "Zen" something. From what I heard, let's just say that you better be armed with three pair of skivvies and within reach of a toilet for the day.

If there was a pharmacy section called " Shit Better" I could at least avoid yelling out to the pharmacist - "Hey, what do you have for bloating and constipation.

Late last year, I took the most stupid drug the night before a colonoscopy. Times have changed when the worst part of the procedure comes the night before. You drink a gallon of stuff called - "Go Lytley". For the next 12 hours that is not something that happens. Something including "explosion" would be more fitting.

This is a topic I have blogged about before and it is amazing that these have become an effective way of branding. Insulting really.

In pharmaceutical name game, we need a change - LOOSEN things up, no pun intended.

April 24, 2006

"Feed Mayo to the Tuna" - as it relates to the iPod.

One of the great lines of all time - delivered by Bill Blazejowski - and one of a bunch of killer lines from "Night Shift " a must own for any serious movie collector. Also from Night Shift - "That Barney Rubble, What an actor!"

Most movies today just suck, but I generally consider a movie o.k. if it has one or two memorable lines.

That is what i can't wait to see available in iTunes or Google Video if they want to win my business.

I want to create a loop with all my favorite lines from movies. Create 10 minute mixes. I want it available so that when I am with friends, chatting about the movie or line from a movie, I can pull it up. More great moments=more sales and loyalty. This is what I need and this is why I experiment.

If you know how I can do this now - please let me know.

PS - This weekend, I saw a classic. Brad Feld sums it up pretty well - I don't know if he had a laptop in the movie writing down the lines or a sick memory.

A bottom in TIME, maybe not Timex

I had some fun this weekend (I know - get a life), playing along with trying to solve the Timex death march. I guess they have not sold a watch in years?

Chartreuse made the post and got a lot of feedback. I don't agree with his choice and feel mine is the best solution.

I would love my watch to display caller ID and vibrate rather than having to look at my phone for everything.

As mentioned in the comments, maybe Apple is cool enough to bring back - Time by way of the watch - with an iPhone.

Fred says they are going the way of the buggywhip. I will take the oppposite side of that trade.

Alternative Energy - I have Gas! Do you?

If I could have got $12/share when I bought Ballard Power in January at $6/share - I would have passed out. Therefore, I am done with all but a fraction this morning. It may be a trend, but this was pure speculation on my part.

I don't really follow news, nor have I looked this morning, but they must have found the cure for pollution :)

100 billion Chinese thank-you.

I have mentioned that these stocks will get frothy before the energy run is over and I may be stupid for selling (this stock has seen $100 plus in the year 2000), but my little piece remaining will have to do.

"This is no boating accident"

Richard Dreyfus - top ten movie lines! I needed to say this as Japan (Nikkei) was off 500 points last night.

Since you are reading this - some funny sex jokes seem appropriate.

Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."
Woody Allen

"Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night."
Rodney Dangerfield

"There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL."
Lynn Lavner

"Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope."
Camille Paglia

"Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake a whole relationship."
Sharon Stone

"Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet."
Robin Williams

"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."
Billy Crystal

"There's very little advice in men's magazines, because men think, 'I know what I'm doing. Just show me somebody naked'."
Jerry Seinfeld

"It's been so long since I've had sex, I've forgotten who ties up whom."
Joan Rivers

" Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same."
Unanimous

 " It isn't premarital sex if you have no intention of getting married."
George Burns

 

April 23, 2006

H's Tour of the Internet

A different view of China- a dirty smelly one!
Times change.
Elbow pain!
Welcome to the blogroll.
Welcome to the Blogroll.
Another reason fedex continues to shine despite oil prices in the 70's.

The AWFUL TREND in Pharmaceuticals

If you look at a five year chart of the PPH - the Pharmaceutical Holder - you would not need to have read a newspaper about all the trials and tribulations for Drug companies the last five years. Once darlings now poison.

Standing in front of this trend is suicide. To bet against it and catch a bottom would require inside information, luck, or a bet for a strong change in the way our leaders attack the industry demanding change. The problem with a bet against the trend is that the leadership changes could be even worse ( (FDA must now approve marijuana) )!

Some ideas were posted today by Fred Wilson . Outside the box thinking is what Fred and America are good at.

We need leadership, patience and sacrifice to get new ideas put in place. Most important may be the way mainstream media is allowed to report "the news". I think we have the patience and are willing to sacrifice as a nation. We need to be asked by our leaders and than shown that they have the fortitude to put the changes in place. Based on the trend in our government and the FDA - - we are f**@ed on that front for now. I am more skeptical of the media as they try almost everything to hang on to ratings and prey upon the weakest thinkers.

I can afford my drugs. I think my drugs help me. I would be willing to talk about the side effects of Ambien (let's just start with this one drug for now as someone might actually be reading this). For the last 6 years, I think Ambien has saved me from the horror of insomnia. Seems like the company (Sanofy - Aventis) is not interested in asking me, nor the media interested in talking to the millions of people the drug helped, before reporting their overeating fright story. As I have posted ad nauseum, the media is allowed to run with the hysterical side of the Ambien story. That is what America remembers as they head to the drug store.

Now that I get my news from blogs and people I trust, I get the hysteria filtered out and the soundbites I hear on CNN, FOX and CNBC at my gym actually start sounding like the Comedy Channel. Life is difficult , but easier if you don't watch news.

A long winded way of saying that Pharmaceutical companies are quicksand for now.

April 22, 2006

Sharing Videos - can we just make the day 26 hours?

I am getting into watching these videos at Revver and YouTube .

This Shalom video in the editor's pick section is Hilarious





The trend of the "Long Tail"

I have always loved this article from Wired , by Chris Anderson.

Looking forward to owning his book . His blog is here. I have added it to my blogroll.

George - if I fall asleep - kick me!

Someone slipped Dick Cheney an Ambien or he was out late drinking.

Shouldn't the Chinese President have jet lag?

The trend towards "creepy" continues in full momentum.

PS - read the comments that follow the picture - classic stuff.

April 21, 2006

Internet Brands - maybe it is a bubble?

The lamest, laziest investment I ever made was at the peak of the real "bubble" in the Nasdaq.

The company is Cars Direct . It is embarrasing. No excuse, just lamo!

The trend I was taking advantage of was really quite in vogue - invest in companies with "negative" gross margins! Oh baby - all in, come over the top, double down. I take no solace that nearly $1 billion in other money was vaporized with me in this deal.

I joke with my few remaining friends that I should have my graduate degrees in Finance taken away and I may get kicked out of my synagogue.

I had recently gotten wind that the whole stupid story had been respun under Internet Brands and there was even a possibility of an IPO. As my 8 year-old daughter tells me 12 times/day - "yeah right!"

Than today I came across this article . I am saving it just in case the synagogue calls.

I am a genius. I am back!

At GolfNow.com a trend is a trend...

My weekly GolfNow.com alexaholic check.

It's a thing of beauty to see our numbers rise to 28,000 on Alexa. I know it is not a fluke but we will have to keep proving ourselves.

The switch from a local - area code - model to a national brand is progressing smoothly and today Golf602 switched our loyal Phoenix fans to the network. Nothing fancy just our customers flexing their muscles and playing some "goff" (without the L) .

Tuscon, Florida, Austin, Illinois are are on the way. Congrats to the team for fighting the distractions. We have some cool stuff planned for our community and our customers will be excited.

Screenwatching - a rare day for me.

Today, I am screenwatching the markets and typing as I think. I thought it might be an interesting day after the shellacking in metals yesterday.

Here are the interesting things.

Gold and Silver - Yesterday looks like it was just a mistake. They bounced back big and show amazing strength. The US dollar stayed weak through it all.

Oil - 1 billion year highs:) Guarantee the media will be ringing the panic register all weekend.

Google - just pasting their competition - MSFT, YHOO and EBAY stocks act lifeless. Pull up the charts and just think about what is really going on. Google goes up with rising oil, transportation, interest rates. They must have a cheap PC coming or maybe as I have dreamed on this blog - they buy Apple and put the real heat on Microsoft and Dell.

Apple - Like the sound of my fingers on my blackberry - they are "thwacking" their competition - even though the numbers do not show it quite yet. Look at Dell and Microsoft as a comparison. This is an execution show - plain and simple.

Malaysia a dog of mine forever - EWM, is showing strength - not on a relative basis but a sign of life is nice.

Power to the People!

Just got asked if I ever sleep. Obviously not a reader of my Ambien posts of love.

Actually, it was from Robert Maynard, founder of Internet America (stock symbol GEEK), back BEFORE the bubble (kudos, cheers to him). He has some cool war stories about taking on the big ISP dial up guys in the mid 90's (AOL). He left the Company in 1998. Today he is the founder of cool company idea - Lifelock.com . Taking on the big boys at those credit institutions - something that does not scare Robert. Talk about David vs. Goliath. I love that! As I understand Experion and the other credit entrusters, this is the biggest racket of ALL-TIME. Talk about companies that hate talking to people.

I became interested in this identity protection space when I read a TechCrunch piece on Trusetedid.com . If you take the time to read it, the comments were terribly negative, but I think this is a big space. Draper, Jurveston invested $5 million in TrustedID so a pulse exists.

I will be following this space personally as I like the guys at Lifelock and they are a local Phoenix company.

More on short selling...

I received an email from my good friend Eric at Blackstar who commented to me on short-selling last night, when I told him I was going to write about my experiences. He was in the trenches with me during research and real money trading for my hedge fund.

Howard -
"I just finished a multi month research project on shorting stocks. I
used a database that included every stock that traded on U.S. exchanges
between the years 1989 and 2005; adjusted for all types of corporate
actions. We tested every reasonable short selling strategy we could
come up with. Nothing worked. Despite the bear market, shorting
remains a loser's game.

Also, every short-biased hedge fund index product we've seen loses
money, despite the fact that only the most successful funds bother to
report to the databases." END

This does not mean he will not find something tomorrow. better he spends the time than me though:)

After reading Bill Cara's piece as well, it is a food description of what I try to do on occassion. The problem is in the timing and the cost of the options. The upside is your sleep factor!




Disclosure - my fund is a limited partner in Blackstar's stock long-only trend strategy

Short Selling?

I have spent much time and money shorting stocks. Forget the fact that it can be excruciatingly painful, even the good was not that good. That is why I respect Rocker Partners, and ex partner and blogger Jeff Matthews .

Now, I rarely short - unless I feel like losing money. But, I am always looking at the market and revist the issue after seeing blow-ups like Portal Player. I smelled a loser here but did not, would not, short. It makes me feel stupid and lazy that I didn't short this.

On the other hand, a pleasant reminder of the reason I don't short is Travelzoo (TZOO). The trend shorts were killing it here, until the stock rocked from 18-45 the last few days.

Not for me!

Thinking outside the box - again!

Another great marketing idea from the Chartreuse blog tonight. Technology just keeps making grass roots marketing cheaper - an encouraging trend for small companies. It should be one for large companies but they will ignore it as usual.

GPS and Internet

Not a bad piece considering the parent company. I would have included a few shipping and logistic companies to fully round out the article.

Nobody talks about these boring shipping and logistic stocks that seem to benefit the most consistently from the growth of the internet. This is one area that I have not owned for a while and just made me feel stupid. Chalk that up to my stupid worries about oil prices and a recession clouding my enthusiasm.

Disclosure - long - Adobe, Yahoo, Navteq and Akamai

Thanks Fred

Cool interview , cool blog , cool investments , cool dude .

Not Why! When?

A great informative post from Eddy . It is a sign worth noting. I would love to know when. If someone could do that, readers would surely follow:)

April 20, 2006

Jingle Networks is Beautiful - Congrats

Wow!

The trend here is that Josh Kopelman is a wicked venture capitalist and his blog will become a must read. It is on my blogroll to the right.

Google - for now they represent all that is GOOD with the stock market, maybe the world!

I am not a fan of everything related to Google as my past blogs suggest, but have repeatedly owned the stock and it has been chronicled on the blog. They will never be perfect - who can - other than Long Term Capital or Enron!

Their earnings report tonight is well chronicled at every lame media site. The stock is up 40 points or something so it must have been good - right? (rhetorical question)

BUT - THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE REPORT

Forecast and Outlook - Not supplied.

That is the GOOD they represent to me. The forecast (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) is a total crock of shit given by 99.9999 pie squared cubed percent of public companies analysts and brokerage houses. I can't forecast my day tomorrow, even though I have given myself much leeway for meetings, meals, calls, writing, family, etc...Those that follow the advice of these outlooks and analyst reports are for the most part - lazy lemmings.

Google broke this LONGEST OF TERM TRENDS. The trend of catering to Wall Street. That is the trend worth now watching for traction. They have paved the way for public markets to change. Change the way young, REAL, GOOD companies can go public. Changed the way public markets work. Put some power and hope back in the hands of the individual investor. They were chastised by Wall street for doing a different IPO. They beat up Goldman on their last commission deal. I have not ever read a journalist talk about why Google is GOOD based on all this HOPE they give.

As Al Pacino (Col. Frank Slade) said in "Scent of a Woman" when he berated the Baird School lynch mob committee for trying to get Charlie to roll on his classmates : " ...coddle this boy... "

To further understand the good of Google, let's look at a recent BAD perpetrated by Wall Street - Portal Player.

Hot company, making chips for Apple's iPod. Wall Street somehow floated this deal to the public by perfectly executing one of their ponzi schemes - tight float, good PR. Portal Player had one customer at the time of their IPO. They were a component player and Apple has a history of changing vendors. This one was a matter of time only. Today - the bomb was dropped on the public.

Shame on us! But "HOOHA" for Google.

PS - A great Google post by someone more Google oriented

Trend following - NOTHING is perfect.

Diversify.

Just last night I posted:

"Not many people are expecting the market to move up strongly with rising rates, and booming commodity prices. Times like this make trend following look good. I know from bitter experience, it never lasts. Too bad."
END

Today, some huge air was let out of the metal trend. Silver was off nearly 20 percent at one point. Not a stock, but the METAL itself. That is a serious selloff. Major. Ouch. Gold was down nearly 5 percent when I last checked. Also - MAJOR.

Today is a day that makes trend followers vomit. Trend followers, who exist mainly in the managed futures markets, often have 15-20 percent peak to trough drawdowns on their capital.

The guys that have been around the longest, have had 50 percent drawdowns. I know because I have had real capital disappear in this fashion.

Those that have not, are lying or they would be managing all the money in the world.

There is no perfect system - just those that offer better money management strategies including diversification across markets and timeframes.

Congrats to Julio Franco

Completely unrelated to this blog but I just heard a soundbite stating that Julio Franco became the oldest player to hit a homerun in the Majot Leagues - at 47 years old.

Wow.

I can't do 10 pushups at 40!

From what I have quickly read about him just now, he seems like a decent man as well.

Apple Reports

I was looking for one thing in the report - Mac sales. In my opinion, the iPod story is built in. They own it already so they better not disappoint.

Computer sales were up 4 percent. Not great or at least not as good as I expected.

After seeing that number I don't care what the excuses are. Intel switch is the big one sited.

The momentum guys will be hard pressed pushing this back above $80 on that number. Likely rangebound. Still my favorite company but now in a show me mode to see if they can start selling Macs at a faster pace. Sideways is still good for a stock that has risen this much the last few years.

April 19, 2006

The real bubble - BUBBLE TALK!

All the media talk of bubbles (Real Estate, China, Inflation, Oil and now Internet) is costing the investing public as much as it cost them near the end of the real bubble when the media said to buy stocks.

I like Mark Evans . He is on my blogroll. He is a good writer. He has readers!

But I have to strongly diasagree with his internet bubble talk .

That bubble burst. Big. Bad. Loud. Ugly. In the year 2000!

We are in the aftermath. There is smoke, fear, and on the fringe - some lunacy. THANK GOODNESS!

The fact that venture capitalists may be jumping over themselves to invest stupid sums (from very rich partners) in ceratin web 2.0 companies does not make a market a bubble. We are talking chump change.

When Google casts a valuation spell of any internet company, you don't have a bubble.

When companies can be created by trading a red paper clip - with a Mac Mini (Go Apple) an idea and some PR - and get to PROFITABILITY - you don't have an internet bubble.

We do have a bubble - IN BUBBLE SPEAK.

PS - One other bubble - Fat people. Now that will end big, bad, and loud, maybe not ugly - but smelly!

PSS - I think I just wrote a rap song!

PSSS - Om Malik is telling it like it is on the subject!

Pooping.com - it's taken - rats!

Blogging, Skyping, Pinging, Scraping, RSSing, Emailing, Surfing...

I was trying to explain all this to my son Max tonight as he watched me reading my fave blogs and he said - what about Pooping?

Of course, I checked it out at Go Daddy.com but it is taken. All the good ones are.

"There is no website though," he said.

I explained to Max that they are SQUATTing.

He understood.

My Max is going to be an entrepreneur baby!

The Bulls are snorting

The up moves in global market continues unabated.

It has really paid to be long international funds and commodity stocks.

Today I was checking the new high list and it was filled with new names.

The huge move up yesterday in the US Markets was really something. I was talking to my friend Cole who manages the Blackstar Equity (long-term stock trend following) who said that yesterday's up 2.95 percent move in the portfolio was the largest since 1991 - the day after the US went into IRAQ. That is a big move for a widely diversified stock fund.

Not many people are expecting the market to move up strongly with rising rates, and booming commodity prices. Times like this make trend following look good. I know from bitter experience, it never lasts. Too bad.

More brilliant internet ideas

I think these internet ideas would make Chartreuse proud:

A red paper clip is almost a home , and a virtual soccer stadium that is gathering cool data. Nice!

Facebook - not quite $2 billion

Nice P.R. stunt by Facebook to float the $2 billion price tag. I suspected as much a few weeks back and today they announce a $25 million venture investment.

“Feed to the pigs” - A weekly tribute to my fave line from "Snatch"

"Benchwarmers" – throw the whole smelly meat stew into the pig pen. Shame on everybody, especially me for paying!

Patrick Byrne – just a nasty, nasty man.

James Cramer – He likes to say "pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered”. Hmmm… seems like the biggest media pig ever so I guess we know what will happen.

I remember why I stopped playing pick-up hockey...

Hockey fighting seems pretty depressing when it is not at an NHL game!

April 18, 2006

Additions to the blogroll

I have updated and tried to better organize my blogroll. Hope you enjoy.

“Snatch” – a movie to own!

"Snatch" is a movie I watch a few times a year and it never disappoints. Brad Pitt just kills it as the Gypsy “Piker”. He should have won an Oscar for this role.

In honor of this great movie and all the incredible dialogue and attention to detail, I will now have a weekly “feed it to the pigs” for all the lame TV shows, movies, actors, stocks and journalists that grab my attention.

By the way - Wikipedia just rocks!

Dave Chapelle on iTunes - a deal - trust me!

There is no doubt about it. I love to laugh. I just spent three days with some of my oldest buddies, skiing, drinking, eating etc…buddies that just make me laugh. Next to family, there is nothing better.

On the way up to Whistler, I treated myself to the $1.99 Dave Chapelle iTunes video download. What a treat. He kills me even though it is not his best work. He connects with you, regardless of race and color, and you feel his passion for the craft.

As Karma would have it, I saw Dave’s picture on the cover of Esquire magazine in the airport on my way home, and picked it up. The lame interview aside, there was one good quote from Dave:

“It’s like someone saying, ‘You’re the CEO of a $50 million company – good luck! And than kinda leaving to your own devices. I’ve been a comedian since I was fourteen. But I’ve never really been a CEO.”

This is a man that has something to say and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say next. Just stop talking to the idiots at Esquire and call me. I am buying the dip in your stock!

For my son Max - open immediately!

Nothing better than returning home to my awesome wife and kids in Sunny Phoenix.

While I was away, I was proud to learn that my 6-year old son Max, started a neighborhood business, raking leaves. In case my neighbors start asking for a resume, I will have to start a blog for him. My wife thinks there will be less spelling errors than my blog.

As further evidence of the importance of blogging, the Boston Globe did a piece on Blogs being essential to a good career.

Let me explain this one last time to the blogging bubble skeptics. The resume, if not dead yet, should be. Why do I want some stale resume when I could see into your ability to think and reason. Let's assume that 10 percent of the people that take the time to post resumes on Monster.com , Jobing.com , etc... are smart enough to start a blog. The numbers are STAGGERING as my buddy Blair would say!

Beaucoup action in the internet!

Yahoo out with earnings - too tired to read. Go read it yourself. If you can explain any of it to me, I owe you a dinner in Phoenix!

More importantly, News Corp is taking a stake in Simply Hired, a job search engine. The media war is really heating up the internet merger space and this will accelerate over time with the cheap money flooding the world. Exciting times indeed.

The shadow that Google is casting over valuations in the industry will pass - IN MY OPINION. Ebay will be fine and so will Yahoo. You just need to buy the 30-40 declines in these stocks. Yahoo is actually up 5 percent on their earnings report even though the headlines say in-line report. Down 30 percent from recent highs, everyone that needed to sell - sold.

Enjoy the Gains - but remember this!

It was an all around good day in the markets. Who cares if the real indicators of past inflation - Oil, Copper and Gold - continue to rocket. Just a friendly reminder of the real problems that may lie ahead .

Alternative Energy -Sweet!

Last week I mentioned a group of alternative energy plays I owned including PEIX (ethanol) and BLDP, and ACPW.

"April 7
Alternative Energy
They do look good in today's ugly market. Active and Ballard are the risky equivalents of buying biotechs in research.
My List:
ACPW, BLDP, PBW, ENER, ADM (ethanol), PEIX (ethanol)
Disclosure - long acpw, bldp, ener."

END

I did not expect to be booking half the profits so fast but each are up 20 plus percent.

Speculation, as I was doing, is lucky when it works out so I have to ring up some profits. With Oil at $70 plus and the the terror premium here to stay - the media will never report the real facts - alternative energy people (including some big scammers) will have their speculative day in the sun.

These speculations can stop as fast as they start which is why I take profits. My heart is not in these alternative energy stocks because they have little revenue and large losses.

Ethanol is another story altogether and has some real businesses involved.

April 17, 2006

What would my house be worth...?

Can't help but think about my retirement if my home in sunny Phoenix was still mine when rates hit those Japan sees today.

O.K. back to the real world - that was nice.

This diversion made me think of a good idea. Zillow.com should offer a feature that shows what your home would be worth based on different interest rates - kind of like a Schwab reirement analysis based on your expected returns. Actually, I guarantee this will happen!

GolfNow.com - the switch

Today our largest tee time market made the switch from www.golf602.com to GolfNow.com - Phoenix . Great new features and should help our continued awareness as Phoenix is our largest market.

I like it!

I am too lazy to organize this, but hope one of my sisters or family members will do it. Cool idea for sure.

Blogging Bubble - NOT!

Great piece by Dave Sifry to back up my recent post on the state of Blogging.

The money to be made here is staggering. As Gordon Gekko says: "This is your wake up call."

Gold - wow!

I have been skiing the last few days in Whistler, BC, Canada . The last thing I care about is the markets but I really can't help but comment on the markets today.

Gold was up $18 more dollars at $618/ounce today and Silver up over $14. Oil closed over $70 a barrel. All in all, we are witnessing a CONFIDENCE crisis. We don't trust the President, the bankers, the Federal reserve.

We trust poker sites, Cramer, CNBC, Vegas and the Chinese. Sadly, this trend did not develop overnight. Sadly, this will not end well for the majority of Americans.

Over at Chartreuse today - he writes about the expectation pop. The same applies to the stock market. High expectations can rarely be met, leading to a "pop" before the actual news and disappointment following the news. With Gold, no one expects ANYTHING, except for prices to go down like they always have. Of course, they will at some point, but probably after the world starts to think that we are running out!

I have been on this commodity trend for so long that it is hard to write more about the continued strength. Today, the gold strength was accompanied by a smashing of the US dollar. That is something new. Gold has risen on its own the last three months. I have said that the US dollar is due for a further hammering but have avoided the timing of it. Too crowded. I have said and continue to believe that nobody owns gold. Today was another example of how the gold market can explode after a weekend of negative headlines. The market is thin and can spike. I would not chase but am a happy camper today with Newmont up another $3 and all gold stocks flying.

The Flash Trend - Adobe stands out

There are two big trends in Flash - the first is flash memory. More and more storage, at lower prices, delivered in a more stable way. Flash memory is a tough play because margins shrink constantly for the leaders.

The other flash trend is with Macromedia. I like reading TechCrunch and Mashable for many reasons. It has focus and alerts you to potential early trends - if you can read between the lines of Michael's analysis of web 2.0 companies.

I also like to apply what I read in a different way to the stock market. Today, I was reading about Click.tv and what stood out for me is the trend towards video editing and the utility of Macromedia.

Adobe now owns Macromedia - this is a big dominant company. Reading between the lines, it looks like these web 2.0 companies may put Adobe further into the sweet spot. Entrenched as they are, this could lead to some upside for Adobe over the next three to four years.

If you want to invest in companies like YouTube and Click.tv - Adobe may be the simple way to play the whole industry.

Worth a look for sure.

April 15, 2006

Social Search

I have said it before in my blog. I don't like the way Google brands on websites. For my personal searches I think it is fantastic, but I don't like the cheesy ads that show up on the site. I have been pushing the guys at GolfNow.com to try out Eurekster and make the searches more relevant to our users - GOLF.

Mark Cuban had a good post on the subject today.

Barron's this weekend

The sleep industry gets some detailed coverage. This industry has some giant growth ahead because the drugs are really needed and they generally work.

Barron's has a more detailed update on Tivo's patent win.

April 14, 2006

Overstock.com - The real truth

There has been much made of the rise and current fall of Overstock. I no longer care about speculating on such things, but some writers that have earned my trust have always made a good case that this boat would not float. Most visible has been short selling hedge fund Rocker Partners and Jeff Matthews , a former Rocker employee and excellent blogger. Mark Cuban has been an avid critic of the stock and beat the Times to most of the story.

Of course, the main point that continues to be avoided is the ponzi scheme that is Wall Street. Buried in the New York Time's piece on Mr. Rocker sits this paragraph:

"Of course, Rocker talked to Gradient and whomever else would listen, including Wall Street analysts. Never at any time did I ask or imply that Gradient should subvert or compromise its own judgment by asserting opinions on Overstock . . . that it did not hold, Rocker said in his affidavit. And it's hard to see any front running or market manipulation - at least on the short side. During the time the reports were being written, shares of Overstock continued to climb, reaching $77 in December of 2004 following a secondary offering and the buy recommendations of the analysts employed by Overstock's underwriters. Last year, as the company's financial situation deteriorated and Street analysts began downgrading it, the stock began its descent."

Let me get this straight. Rocker Partners - with a whopping 12 employees - has been sued by Overstock and investigated by the SEC for coordinating a short selling scheme. Shame on the New York Times for being so conflicted with Brokerage advertising that they bury the real story.

The truth is actually the reverse. Overstock was driven to ridiculous prices by THOUSANDS of Wall Street bankers looking to garner fees by distributing Overstock stock to as many suckers as possible, than unwinding their position as the stock falls from the $70's to the low $20's.

Individuals that tell me they can beat the market are just lying to themselves. You can't beat organized crime. Why can't we just call a spade a spade.

Mypicklist.com

I just love this idea for commerce. It is web 2.0 with a great model, especially for bloggers. I think this category will be big. For an inside peak, read here .

Can't wait to add this to my blog and I am sure we will use this or something like it at GolfNow.

Weekend Reading - Social Searches and Patents

In big patent news - Media"David" Tivo beats media "Goliath" Echostar in round one of patent dispute. This seems like really, really good news for Tivo.

Business Week reports that Microsoft is trying to buy Eurekster. I like these guys. With GolfNow.com they have been easy to work with and very responsive. It is still real early in Social Search and I don't totally get it, but it will be big. Congrats to the team if it is true.

Blogging Bubble?

Run from people that talk about a blogging bubble. They told you to short Google on IPO day. This is inning one.

For as much time as I spend on the computer, I have no clue what to do with the simplest glitch, yet I have been blogging and adding features steadily for 5 months. Why?:

1. Blogging is relatively easy
2. It's cheap, if you can afford the time
3. It is getting easier and easier every second
4. It is addictive with a little positive feedback, more so with negative!

It will be contagious because pretty much everyone (not the sociopaths) has a little OPRAH inside of them and wants to give back to their community . If you can do that and be yourself let's just say - HOMERUN.

As a fellow blogger it takes time to see all this. Over at Chartreuse , the concept was just nailed. Now I know why I like his site and Fred Wilson's the most. I know what they do and they write about it well, but want to see more of their other interests.

If you find someone good, you might as well see the WHOLE PACKAGE and their links to boot.

The Brand of One. The individual portal.

This trend is early!

Now I have to go design my logo and products.


PS = MARK - It is time to bring this back from the dead.

Gold and Bonds - screaming about something?

If you are on brokerage margin or leveraged in your home - it is time to seriously take some notice.

I am with Eddy and Bill on this issue for all the same reasons. History repeats itself. Timing it is impossible but don't be ignore these warnings.

April 13, 2006

Mark Cuban - you kept the wrong guy.

Nowitzki over Nash. Putz.

Dallas is the softest 59 game winner - ever. Nowitzki is not a playoff guy. He's just one of those regular season guys. Big deal!

From "Cold calls" to "Cold emails"

Great post today from Chartreuse. Got me thinking when he wrote:

Everything is in play.
No industry.
No company.
No country.
Is safe against one person with a brilliant idea and the gumption to get it done.
Everything is up for grabs.
Now even I'll admit that that is kinda scary.
But it's also cool.

Any PUTZ can change their life for the better with an internet connection - without the trauma of the cold call!

What made the movie "Wall Street" great (my top 5) was the "Gekko" call. The "Gekko" call was my fantasy, my twenty footer on the 72nd at Augusta to win.

The cold call is my "street cred". In the old days (1997), some balls, a phone, a good number, an idea and persistence could get a meeting - maybe a sale. Problem was - weeks could be spent in preparation for a call. One call. The energy put into the perfect call made it virtually impossible to focus on more than a handful of "whales" at any one time.

Today, you need a connection and the ability to think. Talk about cush! No thinking on your feet and lot's of editing. Now it's the guy on the receiving end of your blog comment that may make the cold call - to meet you! I feel like the old man who says:

"E-mail!! When I was starting out, we had to wear CLOTHES to work, and pick up a phone, and have a written address book that smudged, and sweet talk our way past secretaries and housewives - IF WE WERE LUCKY - and don't get me started with those 28k modem connections...."

My life has changed so much from the cold call. The first biggie came after I called some Investment Banker at Spencer Trask with my BOW WOW of a company MicroBase. We had Zip, we pretty much had cornered the market for Zip. That call set in motion a sale that got me out of credit card hell, a BMW and a chick (my wife).

Mark at Pro-Innovative was the next victim of the Lindzon cold call. That cold call put me on a wild ride selling Gripp's around the globe. We were rockstar's - only we partied with CARBS. Two soft, fat, QVC era entrepreneurs that ate their profits.

Lately, my time has been spent cold emailing in the internet golf space. Armed with Google and time, you can become learned on any industry - fast. The internet has given me the time and energy to do something else I love - making people laugh. Lately, if I can make tough business dudes laugh out loud whether it be on the phone, meetings, email, blogging etc...I have had a "good" day.

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of playing golf with an internet legend (in my books)- Scott Ingraham - founder of Rent.com Talk about "everything being in play" - Scott and his partner Alan Hunter took an old world, old money, highly fragmented market (apartment rentals) and turned it on it's head. Than they sold it to Ebay.

Scott and Alan were kind enough to spend the day with some GolfNow guys and lend some insight. I was after a good laugh.

In a tight match, I happened to casually mention to Brett (as he started his swing) - not to "squirt" the ball right. Of course, more trouble was "left" - right where he hit it.

Unfair - Yes
Poor Sportsmanship - Absolutely
Effective - Let's just say Brett won't forget. A rout ensued.

Nobody laughed louder than Scott. Worth more to me than cutting a deal. Made a perfect desert day, more perfect.

O.K. Back to the "cold emails".

Happy Passover

GPS stocks are cruising again, with Garmin hitting another all-time high. NVT is poised and Sirf Technologies - maker of GPS chipsets, keeps chugging.

Think how much time Moses would have saved wandering around the desert with a little GPS. I think that should be the next Garmin commercial. Run it all Easter weekend during Ten Commandment reruns.

April 11, 2006

China.asia.internet.just the beginning.opportunity.cash.retirement

Just in case you think there is a bubble in the internet - remember to shut off the TV and spend 10 minutes exploring the MASSIVE TSUNAMI of information that is being aggregated, organized and searched - not just in the US, but globally!

By the way - why do we need Goldman, (hold my) Sachs anymore? Go Google!

April 10, 2006

The Patent trend

Once upon a time there was "The Gripp". It was my first venture after grad school and we made a "stressball" that became a pet rock. Oh - what glorious times they were. We had four patents on this - seriously. Our smart employees would leave and set up shop to compete. Down the hall, down the street, next city, next state. We spent at least $1 million on the system. It did not help us. We wasted money. The lesson was - DISTRIBUTION is the PATENT. The deeper the distribution, the better the patent.

Brad Feld and Fred Wilson (oy - I wish he was not so right!) talk about patents (software and technology) from the investor/venture/entrepreneur side of things. Being on their side of the coin now - I think they are absolutley correct. Boy - have times changed for me. This is such a disturbing trend that it makes me want to scream! Instead, I blog to 3 people.

By the way - Fred may be correct, but he should say that lot's of money gets BLOWED UP - no matter which side you are on - so that just like nuclear bombs, they are dangerous in the wrong hands!

A late addition to the software patent story from Paul Graham - a good one.

Seinfeld's Kramer vs. CNBC Cramer

As I have said countless times, I liked Cramer - ONCE. Now, he is a media sellout and the greater good is not served by GE being allowed to promote this admitted gambler/stock junkie into idiot's homes (most CNBC viewers - me for 20 minutes a day as well).

How can a three second disclaimer be enough for this many lunatic buys and sells of Google since December. How is this not different than internet gambling. An average 15-year old is smarter than the average idiot trading on this advice against the pro's.

This is criminal and I have said it before, we should be ashamed of the ratings. Chartreuse, - please explain to me this continuing phenomenon of Cramer. Can we expect it to end badly for him or is he that much smarter than everybody?

Gambling our future away?

With Gold passing $600 it is amazing that we have not seen Maria Bartoromo or Bob PissANT blabbering about it on CNBC. I watch for 20 minutes every morning just in case they report actual news. That is a wasted 20 minutes - I know.

At $600 it is no longer just a small move - the trend is really startying to assert itself in some exponential way.

My gut says this is the beginning because I want to sell, even go short.

I was just reading and thinking how serious this gold move really is because it is a real confidence play at some level. Bush and our leadership and big corporate America has really engineered a gamble on Asia. I think we will pay big on the next government switch. The Gold market is truly starting to scream this, the bond market is starting to scream this and the Oil market has been screaming this for three years.

Funny thing is - we have to go offshore to gamble sports on the internet but can use E-Trade and Schwab every day to bet on corrupt CEO's throwing the game. How is what the Fortune 500 CEO's doing any different than a Quarterback throwing a football game? Why is a broker at Merrill recommending GM better than a nude guy at home betting against the Cardinal's with a US taxable gambling entity. You can't convince me their is a difference. Shame on us. The least we could do is legalize internet gambling, punish the spammers and give that money to our soldiers and New Orleans. The bad would lead to some good. There has to be a way to measure that greater good and implement it!

Racketeering - Verizon Style

It never fails. You need to call the carriers every three months and get a new - lower rate. I have it scheduled to call quarterly and take away their margins - just for kicks. I am never disappointed, only that I don't have the time to call every day and switch rates for FUN.

My phone and data bill was finally starting to trend around $300/month. Still seemed high, but lower than six months ago. I called to see what's new and saved $60 bucks A MONTH.

I am still pissed because they did not call me! Than again, why call me to put me on a better plan.

This is the exact reason that this has to go free. I estimate that in 18 months time, data is all I will pay for.

What a shitty business to be in. I get tremendous daily value and still feel ripped off on a grand scheme. Just pulled up the stock chart knowing what I would see and am not surprised - ZERO return for the buy and holder since the mid 90's.

OK - new merger idea

US Air, Verizon, GM - Nasdaq symbol CRAP (crap cubed)

April 09, 2006

"MicroYawn"

The only trend for Microsoft is increased wacky speak from Microsoft leadership.

Phil Mickelson

He needs a "man-zeer" (so do I) and looks bad in white and yellow, but he looks good in Master's green.

Tiger was just pure tee to green but Phil never gave him an opening and it was if for the first time you saw Tiger pressing because the intimidation factor was not going to work. He beat an awesome field at the top of their game. There is no reason he can't win this tournament every year he plays it. I always root for Tiger, but he was the "man" zeer or no zeer this weekend.

Congrats.

GolfNow.com rising on Alexa!

Who knows whether Alexa is accurate. One thing I use it for is trends.

I am excited to see GolfNow.com rise rapidly through the ranking since we moved from a local strategy to the GolfNow.com brand. Today I did my alexaholic comparison and WOOHOOO at the results! When our Arizona, Florida and Texas area codes go to GolfNow.com the numbers should really reflect our dominance in golf eyeballs. Our page views are way up as well.

Today, even with the Master's content surely dominating the golf space, our tee time and community site is passing our competition. Tee times is the gateway to the whole space. Time Warner buys Golf.com but should have used the money to buy GolfNow.com. No wonder the stock languishes. They keep buying boring, me too media sites with loud flashing ads. Putz's.

Just flipping through my blogroll and see that Fred Wilson posted a beauty on the subject of big media companies snoozing.

Lou Dobbs - Putz!

I have opinions. I have long pined that Lou Dubbs is a blowhard on the subject of protectionism. In his old age he surrounds himself with like minded thinkers and just sounds angry all the time.

- From my February 18th post -

Why does CNN and specifically Lou Dobbs take such a simplistic approach to outsourcing. Jobs moved from cities like Pittsburgh to California. Eventually all humans will follow the sun anyway. At least those that have a choice.

The people that start tech companies are young, unjaded and relatively simple. They have HOPE! Their businesses are rather simple to get going from a cost basis AND they are not covered in grime. Is that not a good thing for us and our children? All free cultures will end up consuming commodities and than the useless byproducts. We are all guilty of that.

What is most interesting about the "Web 2.0" companies represented at the parties is that the models get simpler and simpler and live or die in moments. It breathes or it doesn't and the young people that start them have the energy to pick up and start again if they fail. Further, they are basic lead generation companies focused on selling names to old stodgy companies.

If CNN wants to connect, they should lead into angry and irrelevant Lou Dobb's show with a high energy, no whine show from the teenager creators of wealth that keeps the country going right now. They give us hope - but definately not someone to hang out at clubs with.

- END -

He sounds paranoid. He left a cush job during the bubble to head up www.space.com. He came back to the cush job and fat contract to preach his paranoid protectionism stuff because he had his ass kicked in th entrepreneurial world.

It is like a soap opera the last 10 years. The story never changes, just the actors getting older.

I am sure he is a smart guy - maybe even nice. I can't tell if he is pandering to the demographics or just anti- business. Therefore, he is just an ass to me. Much like Cramer - a media sellout. Not enough like Oprah. We need more people like Oprah.

Brad Feld - venture capitalist, chimes in on Lou this weekend.. As always - good stuff - especially when he agrees with me.

Internet Consolidation

Great post on Internet merger possibilities. It really makes some sense for Amazon and Google to mate!

Max and Tiger - perfect master's Sunday.

The super bowl of golf continues. Watching the Master's with my son Max. We like Tiger just one back now.

A trend worth watching - closely.

US Interest rates have risen sharply the last few months. The simplest view I have found to look at it is from Maoxian's recent post.

As I see it, this rapid rise is noise if you are a long-term trend follower, but one worth watching closely as a change of trend could be at hand.

April 08, 2006

Google Base

Bill Burnham has a great software and investing backgorund to say the least. Here are his thoughts on the future of Google Base. The competitors should be shaking in their boots if his outline is at hand.

More on Google Base here and here . Interesting times indeed.

April 07, 2006

Don't go changin'...

You ever notice how little, great products change. It is probably the toughest decision not to mess with something good. The design departments have to justify their jobs.

I have a Blackberry that has changed little in design the last three years. I don't want it to change other than more features, longer battery life and less weight. The iPod has kept most of the features and just tweaked and the PSP by Sony is one great industrial design.

Russell Beattie had a post that made me laugh today because my buddy Brad still carries a Star-Tec. It has to be 7-8 years old and he just won't change it and there is one place in Phoenix that carries parts. He says you would be amazed at how many people still use it. I still think he is cheap!

Ipod Video competition

This war is just starting and as I posted this week, Apple is vulnerable. Russell Beattie - who works in mobile at Yahoo blogs about it so have a read.

Gold - cheap or expensive

Sounds cheap according to Bill Cara.

Off to watch the Masters at great outdoor bar on Scottsdale Road - the Bungalow, with a stop at Joe's Pizza for a pie with the golf buddies. The last two days in Phoenix have been spectacular weather. What a place to live!

The Masters is the Indy 500 for nerds. I am all in!

Inside Man - Yawner!

Lot of great reviews from friends so went to see "Inside Man" after a Bris (chop chop) last night .

Denzel is good - always. Movies about 2 hours too long. What's the fuss about? Jodie Foster must need cash. She phoned in the performance.

By the way, AMC popcorn really sucks. How hard is it to make popcorn. They must focus on the 1 percent that likes black charcoal on half the kernels.

Alternative Energy

They do look good in today's ugly market. Active and Ballard are the risky equivalents of buying biotechs in research.

My List:

ACPW, BLDP, PBW, ENER, ADM (ethanol), PEIX (ethanol)


Disclosure - long acpw, bldp, ener.

April 06, 2006

Zillow.com - the end of real estate agents?

This type of service will be a game changer for residential real estate.

The real estate agent space needs a rather large cleansing. I read a while back that 2 percent of Californians have a real estate license. Are they selling them at 7-11?

Fringe travel agents are not missed nor are weak stockbrokers charging $300 per stock trade.

It is now only a matter of time for the real estate agents. Home sellers that embrace Zillow and the newly launched Google Real estate will price their homes better and sell without agents more often. Good agents will feel it, but they should. They are way overpaid. Buyers will be carrying Zillow printouts en masse. At least they should be. Smart agents will use the new service as a feature to their knowledge base and their own services.

Zillow will unlikely be the ultimate brand in this category. Congrats on paving the way to a neeeded change. Because they use Google maps, they will pave the way for a Google copycat or quick purchase.

What's next? Don't even get me started on the whole mortgage and title process. They are worse than Goldman and Merrill. Talk about a hidden fee scam. Can't wait for some internet mashup to stick it to them.

Rentrak

Mark Cuban has mentioned this stock before on his blog. RENT is the symbol and here is the Yahoo link

I like reading him as he seems sincere in his opinions and he is definately passionate.

Rentrak has a cool business model and it may be finally coming into vogue. It has been public sice the early 90's and it has shown some perk the last three years.

Big Media needs this information that they supply - at least based on all the contracts Rentrak has and one just signed today. If this is something truly proprietary, convergence is the catalyst for this service and the stock. I own a little and am watching this closely to add more on strength.

Big Moves Today

Biotechs - It could be directly correlated to rising rates and a flight to quality but the Biotechs are slumping as an index. This has been a winning trend for 3 plus years that is now close to stopping out on the systems I use. It would be a blow to the high PE momentum guys.

Probably just noise, but RIMM is down big after hours. The stock has not acted as well as the product. Personally, the new models do not work for me at all. That could be a big problem as I would consider a switch if my only choice was one of the new keyboards. They feel light and cheap - but I know some people (feminine hands) - that like them. I am not proud and will take a loss here soon if I have to. I have given this one a wide berth because it is volatile and my position size is small.

Next, the dead satellite radio kids - XMSR and SIRI have spiked a little. I know people that love satellite, but I have short drives and it has never appealed to me. Again, if they wrapped it in my Cox cable bill with high speed and telephone, I would probably try it. I missed the whole craze because I never really got the experience and will just watch this trend from the sidelines. It has been some wild rides for these two stocks.

Applerrific - but a vulnerability looms

Nice move again in Apple up 4. Not to be a hog, I sold half my position that I purchased in the 50's last week.

Now I want the miss. They just keep delivering though.

I made my first Appple product purchase in months this weekend. The black video iPod. It is sleek. I even bought a cover to protect this one.

I really waited on this but could wait no more. By christmas, this product will be MASSIVE. It is sneaking up on the market. If they figure out the YouTube model it will get crazy for them in the youth market. If they don't, someone could steal the hardware bsuiness with a cool product. The teens will switch. They have no allegiance.

I think this is a vulnerability in the Video iPod and Apple that needs attention - right now.

Technical issues

I am being told that my blog is not showing the links in EXPLORER unless you scroll all the way to the bottom. As I post from Safari, I did not know this. I am working on a fix.

April 05, 2006

Big Day for our trends

1. Apple - "Boot Camp" is a new Apple software release the blogging world has screamed for. They may not have a blogger like Microsoft, but they LISTEN to the blogging world. As usual, Microsoft will ignore and say that they will sell more software. Probably. Apple just keeps chipping away like Rocky did at DRAGO. We know how that ended.

2. You Tube is big and raising lot's of money. Today they announced another raise of $8 million from Sequoia. They are burning $2million a month according to some sources. It was one of my predictions for 2006 that this would be a big deal. It is red hot, but at that burn rate will not make it alone. Sequoia will get out of this one.

3. GPS - Lojack was mentioned in Letterman's monologue and Honda announces that Google earth will be part of next generation GPS systems in japan.

PS - Robert Wuhl was never funny. He will never be. He is really hard to look at for that matter. He has another show on HBO. How the f^%%%)&)ck does this happen. It sucks. Arliss sucked as well. It is the "Barney Miller" of cable. Hal Linden was never funny either. HBO has another loser. The good news is that it looks like it was cheap to produce.

PSS - I forgot - in my dismissal of HBO - about Entourage. I love this show. Every character is great. Still not enough meat on the network right now.

MacTASATIC moment!

Late last night I pointed to an article talking about the Mac opportunity.

This morning, Apple is up 4 points on the release of a windows software upgrade to their new Intel machines. Based on the recent share performance, many - NOT ME - never thought this would happen.
It has!

By the way, CNBC host is all out of breath talking how Intel and Microsoft are also UP on the news. Problem is -Intel is up 2 CENTS, Microsoft 3 CENTS. Hoodoo's!

April 04, 2006

Ambien - my follow-up

No apology from the "hoodoo" reporter that broke the non-story about Ambien causing people to eat in their beds. I blogged that this scare was lame and would pass.

Just appaling unless you bought the stock a few days after the story broke. Of course, no follow-up or interviews with the 99 percent of the people whose lives are much better - like me. Why? The story was a sham. A black and white fuzzy video of a fat person in bed and a woman with candy wrappers in her pajamas.

Shameless, soundbite reporting from big media. That is a trend that continues unabated.

Mac Moment?

I ran across this interesting WSJ piece that outlines a new opportunity for Apple. Microsoft has pretty much been doing everything they can to help Apple the last three years. Like Phil Mickelson used to barf up golf majors, so to is Microsoft barfing up product launches. I don't think any one moment is quite as important as this Journal story suggests, but an opportunity for Apple nonetheless.

Thought - Google should just buy Apple and end the PC war. Job's would get his final win and buy something other than a black t-shirt! At what point do you have enough money to diversify your clothing?

Hoodoo not booyah

Booyah is officially the lamest word.

Hoodoo - now that is a word! Anyone that says Booyah - especially to Cramer is not only an asshole, but a hoodoo. I can't resist. I love this word for people that are idiots, putz's and or yutz's. Cole and Eric used to call me and everyone else they ran across by this name. I think Niederhoffer - former Soros trader and a hoodoo himself - used the name in his trading book and Cole and Eric globbed on.

I aim to start the trend in the word. I am already breaking "the trend starting" rule. I am a hoodoo! Yessss! All aboard the hoodoo train!!!!

One trend that may be over - HBO

There is only so far the Soprano's can carry you. Let's face it, the rest of the lineup is full of duds.

Deadwood - the least of the dead, but awesome swearing can only carry you so far.

Bill Maher - triple yawn!

6 feet under - more like 1,000 feet under!

Big Love - Big bomb! Could you pick a narrower market, with no swearing and no sex appeal and force that on your loyal viewers because the Soprano's is on before it. They should run Seinfeld reruns. A lot of HBO people need to get fired, and or relocated to Provo, Utah. No offense!

I can only watch an Ali G rerun - like 12 times - before even I stop laughing. Borat and chongweee are good but let's move on already HBO!

PS - can like 1,000 people get killed already on the Soprano's. It's getting a little feminine.