What is News Worthy

  • Malone's Magic shines on Pandora!
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  • Can MSNBC shake the Liberal media under Comcast and take over?
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  • Not another investigation!
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  • Did May deal a good hand to Merkel?
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  • Bill Gross: without German Umbrella just another Economist trying to get attention?
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  • Qatar and $12B in orders after Saudi Mega deals in Defense Spend: A new business Model?

Re-inventing America!


Silicon Valley Vibes!

  • Elon Musk Line: Car mover underground in Hollywood!
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  • Would you allow Siri to drive you around?
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  • Google Ventures : the hidden gold mine? From curing death to scissoring and splicing genes?
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  • GS Warriors : Is Oakland ready to be part of High Tech bubble?
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  • Did Ford Make a big mistake by changing their tradional CEO?
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  • Killing Uber Management: Is it a Mistake which will burst the bubble?

FANG News:

  • What ever happened to House of Cards: Its not even 7 seasons
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  • Mother of all AI? Lets Fix SIRI before leaping too high!
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  • Under steady Republican policies - will American Advertising spend go down?
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  • If Waymo is $70 Billion should Uber be $200B?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thanks to Mr G! New Era in America!!

Not Greenspan! It is Mr Ron Gettelfinger - the UAW President.

Strong and does come across as a no nonsense pro Union at any cost. When the Global economy and America is in the cross roads Mr Gettelfinger realizes that if America were to regain its Industrial and Intellectual supremacy - which is a must to regain its faltering Economic prowess it has to come from the great Automotive roots.

In spite of all the redericks that is going on- looking at the swift speed at which the current labor talks are progressing with the UAW and its backers leaning towards a redefinition of the UAW- Management relationship. Such a break through deal might be just around the corner which might pave the way for rebuilding Detroit and the Big Three! Thank you to the new teams of the big three- Once the legacy & rocky relationship is resurfaced with a new platform - America will be back! Watch out Toyota and Mercedes - Yes Luxury and Pink can be defined ONLY BY CADILLAC!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My 2 Cents on how to risk your 2 cents!

Purpose: to assess if the current disruption in the global market is just another re-pricing of risk as the global expansion continues or it is the Real One like the 1928-29 market induced economic calamity! To see if we can really find a safe haven instrument that will protect us in either situation and see if we can be prepared to load them up when the opportunity is right!

Disclaimer: Do I drink my magic potion? NO!! I don’t - only Heineken! - as I still am controlled by those butterflies in my stomach & believe in panic & fear induced reactionary decisions and enjoy being a Monday night quarterback! A wise man once quipped when told that he should have his money work for him – “Let the money rest safely- While I do the Work!”

Am I Qualified? Heck NO!! As they say Clarity is better than Cleverness!

Set up: Global Market melt down spreading from London to NY to Tokyo to Bombay – every one trying to blame everything from US Sub-prime to CDOs & CLOs and the fanciful but less transparent Hedge funds. Indexes down in double digits- with Helicopter Ben along with his global Federal / Reserve Bank buddies dropping bags of currencies - only to see them drown in the flood of worries with no desired effect. May be it was deliberately orchestrated this way & waited long enough so that the system can flush out the bad elements and punish the not so deserving speculators so that it does not look like a bail out of the un-deserved. The unexpected move of a drop in Discount rate was timed for perfection so that it can punish those speculators who were shorting mercilessly – as speculative short sellers in the options and derivative markets using Index & Futures were burnt as the settlement price is fixed at the open on a expiry – and as it happened on an expiry day before market opened & the Index opened 2-3% higher leaving those speculators with heavy losses.

Sub-prime or no-sub prime: Unlike other economies & markets where the government agencies protect and cover all disasters for public popularity – the US market has worked out of its greed driven financial calamity by punishing those culprits with immense severity & immediate urgency- enabling the larger market & economy to bounce back and move forward. This time it is not going to be any different- speculators will be punished & a handful of individuals & entities (may be an understatement) will face severe financial penalty but the economy will be back to normal in a very short period.

Looking at the speed with which the market is readjusting to the unknown impact of the hedge fund from CDO/CLO/Sub-prime one wants to believe that this is the end of it. Volatility – globally is beyond anyone’s imagination; price fluctuations are capable of making or losing a ton of money if one’s luck is smiling for the right reason. There are enough analysts and reporters comparing this to various time lines in the past including – the great 9-11 when the market was shut down for a week, 1998 LTCM-Russia Debacle, 1994, 1991 , 1987 and even some to 1928-29 and a few other Financial events in between.

Let’s take a look at what it is being compared to-

9-11 Disaster: A combination of Telecom induced Internet bubble topped by the 9-11 disaster. Even though the tech bubble high is yet to be scaled back again there is lot of money that has been made starting shortly after that- and of course leading to the current day global dilemma!

1998 LTCM –All it took was a handful of brains and what should have been a non-event Russian default to bring the world economy to the brink of bankruptcy. Yes - there was panic and casualty but it was contained superbly by well co-coordinated global fed intervention.

1994 – Was it real estate or just the economy? May be the bank of England being disliked Either way, one has to dig deeper into the history to find that the year will be remembered for the beginning of the technology era and the great internet proliferation and definitely not an economic of financial event.

1991 – Is it war or inflation? Either way the fed over came its misjudged call in a hurry.

1987 – Talk about pain and suicide robbing the headlines from NY, NY! Fed Chairman – may not be Green (!) at that time but turned out to be one of the greatest in post world war economy- even though there are rumblings about the Greenspan Put and how he was the originator of Sub-prime & the wealth inflation to spread like cancer. May be if this event turns out to be a non-event – Mr Greenspan might still hold his reputation as the best of breed and might be forgiven for his asset bubble.

1928-29 – This is really one for the historians – No matter how much people blame it on speculation and greed by way of leverage and market manipulation one thing which is being ignored from the time period is – it was at the very early stages of modern Industrial civilization – when innovation was at the very basic level compared to what we are going through in the internet induced global era. From factory planning to material movements – everything was basic and primitive. Gold based monetary system, British imperialism still wagging its tail, war driven penalties, etc. The economy was still controlled by a few Industrial barrons or companies – starting from GMs to GEs and Du Ponts to JPMorgans of the world after the Rockefellers & Carnegies started handing over their torches. Disruptions and disasters where part of the evolutionary cycle of the modern industrial era. Lasted a while – but was not the end.

Panic of 1825 – Bank of England: take everything anybody wants to give and the crash lasted 2 days. Digging deep into the history books – whether it’s the gold or tulip mania or modern day currency / stocks / bonds era – speculation and greed has always led to newer and better financial instruments for the future generation to hide behind – only to be crumbled like a sand castle.

We could take a few more of those disruptions and I am sure we will still find same end result with differing market movers. The economic growth engine comes back with a vengeance –as the basic survival instinct leads to innovation and growth.

Does that mean doing nothing? Absolutely NO! Market indexes might scale new highs if waited long enough – but what seldom gets mentioned is that the components are not the same.

Now for the 2 cents for various expectations:

Scenario 1 - Scared of an Imminent Depression?: Go for the currency – based on conviction distribute between Yen, US $ and Indian Rs .

Why Yen: Japan is the only country which can self sustain & since their pride and feeling for independence is so strong that they will honor their currency no matter what.

Why US Dollar: US is the only sovereign nation that will honor its debt obligation no matter what & has the economic power & market strength along with product might & services with a free market capitalism that can punish the bad and reward the good immediately. This will increase the demand for US Government papers making the dollar stronger in such economic conditions (against popular sentiment). Post 9-11 and post German minded Euro-zone the predominantly US Dollar foreign reserves have been diverted to Euro along with some commodities. With the gyrations of commodity prices in a economic calamity most nations will move to safe haven instruments that is very LIQUID & will be honored – leading to a gradual strengthening of Dollar.

Why Indian Rs: India is the next stop for low cost manufacturing supply base & is the only free market (may be regulated but certainly not controlled) economy that has a very big consumer market next to US & hence will continue to grow organically before global stabilization & growth takes over. Rupee can only get stronger over time given its domestic market size & global opportunity for its base.

Gold is a no go as are other commodities & fixed assets as they will be re-priced like every other asset class as it will not be restricted to paper assets like stocks & corporate bonds. As gold is influenced by dollar value – it will go down as dollar gets stronger.

Euro is a no go – as the solidarity of the Euro Zone will be at risk and eventually crumble under lopsided benefits being reaped only by Germany while pushing the other members into unemployment, high inflation & stagnation. (maybe master minded by the Germans to eat the cake & keep it too; Details for another day! Preview: Look at the bottom line of German companies & economy & compare them to the other Euro-zone entities)

Scenario: 2

Economic Recession – restricted to the US Market – Reallocate into defensive areas, growth stocks with lot of domestic and non-US exposure & precious metals and domestic fixed assets.

Economic Recession – This time a Global One! – Defensive stocks & metals, local fixed income papers both government & corporate.

Scenario: 3

A Market Correction – may be a mild economic slow down- Average down on the previous allocation strategy that has worked for you.

Scenario - 4

Most likely scenario (OR is it My Wishful thinking?):

A mild recession with patchy global growth leading to a moderate Bear market (Bear market is 20% by most standards – which we have already achieved in many sectors/industries – may be not in the Indexes yet!). Most of the Mortgage lenders in US going under bringing down the hedge fund market along with a few brokerages globally only to be re-packaged & launched under a different name. US real estate market going into a prolonged price compression bringing down home builders & REITs and some specialty retailers. Most of the consumers will be spared as a majority of the obligations and risks are already distributed and buried under other speculative investment vehicles – the owners of which have already either been punished or will be shortly and mostly contained to a limited circle. The much anticipated slow down in retail – leading to a coal bag this Christmas will be averted for the following reasons: 1) Election around the corner in US 2) Most of the draw down from the housing market appreciation was used either for home upgrades or further investments in housing related expenditures 3) retail was always supported by strong labor market & wage increase and not from the real estate bubble as widely mis-understood – and hence will still be in tact even after the real estate bubble burst 4) with a possible change of guard in Washington – a new breed of government sponsored expenditures in industries other than Defense & Oil will take place as the focus will be Domestic & not on War & middle East leading to more expansionary measures leading to a moderate Growth in US economy. 5) With a strong Dollar and Washington ready to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve – oil will crash down to under $25/barrel, as the speculator and War/Republican premium will be wiped out. 6) Western dominated Pharmaceutical & Biotech will lose their charms to generics as Washington fast tracks the bio-generics and has less restrictions on patent copying as the largest capitalistic market moves towards a Universal health care system.

This scenario will lead to moderate global expansion and hence – reallocate to Emerging markets – infrastructure & growth stocks along with Hospitality & Emerging market Real estate. Going short on Defense, Oil & Pharma.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Trading Fear - Killing those butterflies!!

Everyone talks so much about Fear and Greed in the financial market. Is it just human nature restricted to the financial markets or the expression in the financial market is just a mirror image of what happens in the human DNA?

Fear and Greed comes in different forms in life - Fear of life, Fear of love, Fear of Loss, Fear of giving and so many other differing flavors. But Greed is mostly restricted to material world. Bravery is a form of taming the fear and acting in a controled fashing and taking the plunge - which is alsoa form of greed. So at what point does bravery bridge the gap between fear and greed?

Early warning signs of fear is easy to identify - butterflies in the stomach! Can we practice carefully so that we have what it takes to stomach those butterflies and change the direction to capitalize on those early warning? Some times closing the mind looks so easy to do - but changing direction or opinions leading to preferences - not that easy. Every person has a differnet threshold level. Practice seems to be an easy way to manage those butterflies. Being safe or cautious has a price - an insurance premium. IN most of the cases even after building the insurance premium the rik-rewrd ration looks attractive.But when the butterflies are still being incubated it appears so lame to build the insurance premium into the cost basis- but when the butterflies start migrating to the stomach the premiums have sky rocketted and makes it close to being inert when it comes to action.

What is the right premium for the fear factor? or the butterfly factor? Is it something that can be modelled mathematically? to apply to varying levels of judmental errors? When do we kill the butterfly and take the plunge going against the primal instinct? Do we use that to predict the direction or wait for the directional change to happen and then take the plunge - even though one sacrifices a fraction in not predicting the exact timing of the directional change? If the insurance premium is already built into the model it might be easy to take the risk of predicting the timing of the directional change.

Killing those butterflies may not be the right answer -as most of the time it acts as a safety valve to make assessment of the risk profile and take the time to see if one wants to build the insurance premium into the model. So lets not fear those butterflies - lets learn from it so that we know how to tame it and capitalise on the butterfly behaviour!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Eye on the ball!

Throwing and catching a ball seems so lame and boring- till one starts to look at the details of the process ( I know - why are we trying to make something so simple into a very complex interpretation ??). Lets take the simple process of tracking the ball and catching it where we need it- Focus on the ball till we actually hold the ball in the hand - and actually see us catching it? Most of the time we seem to do it so mechanically and the ones we miss are the ones where we have our eyes away from the ball just before the hand grabs the ball. Taking a step deeper - I found that if we try to catch the ball where we want to - catching can be very tricky as if we are used to catching in a specific position relative to the body - moving to a new position is not so easy as we need to actually move the eye to the spot where we want to catch the ball. A simple example will be the contact point in a tennis play. Moving the contact point involves not just reaching out for the ball but making sure our eyes are focussing on the new spot. It appears so simple yet it takes so much effort. All it takes is a fraction of a second for the eye to drift away from the ball and the spot before the contact is made- same is true in our daily life. Concentration seems so easy yet so evasive. If we are able to manage the eye movement and eye focus we have a much better chance of mind control. This leads to a very intriguing topic of mine- how much does eye play a role in brain power and effectiveness of one's ability to do better? I will save the details of my thought process for a later topic. To see the effect - try sitting in a place with your eyes closed for 10 minutes. A calm mind will prevail only if your eyes stop twitching. And it is so difficult to keep the eyes closed and nithing unless you are tyring to sleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Difference between Salad & Garbage - its all a matter of Timing!

Bond King - A contratian Indicator?

A long time uncrowned Prince in the world of credit market - Pimco's one and only Mr Bill Gross, has the ability to rattle the larger than life bond & treasury market.

Its amazing how much a sneeze of this person means to the world revolving in the fortunes and misfortunes of the debt market. Following this person has been more meaningful in the past several years - even better than trying to interpret the language of MR Greenspan.

What gets lost in the power and size of money is the fallacy of the very own meaning and implications of the prophecy when hidden from the outcomes. Just a few notable interviews on CNBC stands out-

- the first one is when the Dow had craved so low no one even wanted to see where it actually started and where it will end. Then comes the bond king's prediction with Maria B on CNBC- DOW will hit 5000. Well, well - he didnt say when as it never headed in that direction until NOW!!

Then comes the next bid one when Mr Greenspan handed ower his legacy to the newly elected bearded one. Here comes the bond king and predicts that 10 year will hit 4% - this time he even puts a time line on it. It never even inched in that direction till NOW!

A month back or so - this time the bond king appears again - this time an about turn in the direction, with his usual sly smile slipping away in a moments notice to utter those momentous words that is keenly watched - only the bond market rattles to see the change od heart - and may be a change of guard as the about face goes more than a hundred basis point in the oposite direction - leading to an expected Fed tightening to make his predictions come true. Sure enough as usual the bond market makes a momentary sprint in his directed words only to succumb to the recent turmoil in the credit market - making the bond rates head south.

Well I can look at the positive side of the whole thing- the recent failure to predict the correct direction in the bond market makes the previous two major predictions come true. Timing might be off abit - hey for statisticians and economists it is only sample size and the split and not the direction or quantity of time- timing is important only in food as a Wise person once said "the difference between Salad and Garbage is all in the timing" . I guess if you are a long term investor it shouldn'd matter!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Transparency with a BIG "T"

Transparency seems to be a big word when it comes to many things from SEC requirements, Financial reportings, inter company relationships or even inter-personnel relationship.

Transparency means different things at different levels of relationship. Lack of clear understanding can lead to a mismanaged expectation and deliver of the same. Lets take a look at the current turmoil in the credit or stock market. From SOX compliance to SEC filings we burdenb the companies with requirements - to a point we have seen expenses for these regulatory requirements in addition to corporate financial reporting being pushed out by a week or more to manage these processes. It sure has worked well in terms of over loading people with information that may or not be relevant.
Why is this so improtant when the market that actually make or break economies actually get away with murder? The treasury and bond market runs into tens may be even hundred of Trillions of dollors beyond anybody's comprehension. If we take into account the leverage in the bond market and try to size up the actual impact - its REALLY BIG!! How big can it be - one just has to look at what an individual like Soros can do to countries like England and Germany let alone the likes of a developing country. Looking back for people who are not aware of the magnitude of impact- Soros's fund single handedly broke the Bank of England- by shorting more than they had in circulation. Now that is extreme one might say - but the leverage that the bond market gives to these type of speculators makes it really impossible to have a process in place unless there is a BIG SOX type of compliance and transparency requirement. Is sub-prime an issue - Hardly...the BIG crunch that is hitting from Wall street to Main street is due to the lack of Transparency that is happening in the Obligations that is happening in the LBO,CLOs,CDO and other leveraged activity that is happening from the leverage in the bond and treasury markets.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

CNN Headline What????

Flipping through the channels and stumbled into our favorite CNN Headline News - 20 something years back when Ted Turner introduced the concept of Live news round the clock and update every half hour - Finance, Sports, Weather- very innovative from the daily dose of 30 minute anchored Network news.

So when I saw a News Break flash on the CNN Headline News- my immediate reaction was may be there is a breaking News- NO - it was just a regular News "Break" for 30 seconds- and back to "REGULAR" program on HeadLine News...Whata concept - NewsBreak on Headline News- Leave anything to Time Warner and they know how to commercialise it and let people forget why they tuned to the channel in the first place- lets see how Ted Turners concept was trashed into a half-baked annoya-tainment( entertainment in the form of annoying nuisance!)

- from news every 30 minutes round the clock it became news every 15minutes round the clock ..mmmm....now try breaking 15 minutes into World news, local news,finance,sports,weather,traffic- mmm...really 3 lines of news in every segment repeated every 15 minutes- started getting stale slowly

- next bravery came in the form of introducing Local News segment given to the local Cable station- wow that takes close to 7-8 minutes in a 30 minute segment - and try breaking it to 12 minute Headline News segment- there goes any meaningful repeatable News format initially - Brilliantly formed by Mr Turner

- then came entertainment in the Form of Nancy Grace- who likes to do some detective work on her own - making the concept of reporting a thing of the past ( remember that poor mother of a child who commited suicide when Grace tried to gracefully accuse her of kllling her own kid??)

- and then Mr.G!! Dont even know what this one is all about- a sick form of commedy ?

Well - my sincere request to the Management of Time Warner-Dear Mr Parsons please change the channel name to something else if you want to go down the path your News staff are taking HEadLine News- because the Road your staff is taking is not even close to being News - let alone HeadLine News.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Waterfall Grille?

Interesting that Buick and Chevy are trying to create a eyecatching standard Grille- Hopefully it will be for the long run!

May be for the first time a car company is actually advertising based on the Grille of the car- see my privious write-up on possible rationale behind keeping the look the same for generations to retain its glamour. I saw a print ad for Buick Lucerne - may be the comback model for the old aged Buick- and they even have given it a name- Water Fall Grille. The Grille in itself has a unique shape - may be not that attractive and if you have a name for it and explained why it looks the way it does - mmmm..not bad for a first step in the right direction.

Also of notable mention is a silver ribbon across many of the new Chevy models- actually spreading from the standard front ribbon from the checy trucks to the back ribbon of a couple of newer models- may be intentional to retain a lasting imagery that can be carried over model year after model year?

Looks like GM is serious about this turn around strategy they are implementing this time around! Bravo and Good Luck GM!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More means to communicate!

Thank God there is no pager anymore! VOIP, Skype, Cell, IM, blackberry data-line,landline, office line,efax - all for one person and we are not done yet? Growing up had more time and more people to talk to- with a good attitude too. However it was tough to find a phone or a calling card to use cheaply. As I get older I find I have more means to communicate and less people willing to listen to!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Fair & Reasonable - Thank you Nokia!

I walked into the new ATT Wireless shop and started browsing at the new offerings from Nokia in the cell phone market. Finally I picked up the Blackberry look alike and walked upto the sales person to pay. I was told to write my name in the sheet and wait my turn. Fair enough I wrote my name waited my turn. Finally a Sales Person called my name and I walked up to the counter. I told the sales person the model that I was interested in. The model was brought and activated to work with my number. I took out my wallet and pulled out a $10.00 bill and laid on top of the counter as I picked up the phone from the counter. The sales person stared me down and grabbed the phone from my hand as he started asking what the hell was that all about? I told the sales person that I thought $10.00 was a Fair and Reasonable rate for the phone as I started pulling out the press statement from Nokia on their recent Qualcom dispute and how Nokia was handling the situation by paying a unilateral fair and reasonable price for using Qualcom's technology in their phones. Well needless to say - it didnt work for me as the sales person said that I might want to try it with a good set of lawyers on my side! Is this just an exception or a pattern that we can expect from EuroZone companies against American companies in the years to come? With what is happening with Microsoft & Apple and other Eurosone interventions it is very possible this might be the beginning of a trend.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fear of Tomorrow!

In one of my meetings with my start-up Advisor we were discusing what motivates people and makes certain people take the plunge into the Start-up world. We came up with may be a handful of compelling reasons that might qualify as traits for a successful start-up experience...but One point that stuck to my mind is about Tomorrow and Lack of Fear for Tomorrow. At first it appeared very flimpsy and superfluous - but the more and more I thought about it I started seeing why those butterflies in the stomach can be very useful at times but can also handicap a person's ability to take risk. Fear inhibits creativity even though it has the ability to bring seriousness to any activity.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Picking those flyers!

As I was walking out of an electronics shop - I picked up those pamplets & University catalogues. I dropped them in my back seat near the old ones I had picked up previously. As I started the car I realized that I have been doing this for the past 10 years or so - some times I browse through the schedules and course outlines from basic guitar to Learning chinese to ball room dancing & Architecture- but most of the time just throw them only to be replaced by the latest edition. I have never gone past the browsing stage- not even try to see where the nearest classes are- but without fail I pick them up every time I see them no matter where and what time. I turned the car and parked and got out of the car. I picked up those catalogues/books including the old ones. Walked back to the store and put them back where they belonged- Hopefully this time they will not sit in the back seat of a car.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Modern Mail- Pleaze stop them!

US Mail delivers once a day - and some times even on Saturday; I can pick them up when I want and decide to read when ever! The sender doesnt expect an immediate reply!

Fed EX: If some one is willing to pay they can be there when you want it and how you want it. Still you can read when you want it and there is no rush to reply. Nobody gets hurt by not replying.

Phone Mail: If someone calls you can choose to ignore the call and the message- still can decide to call them when you want to . People expect you to respond some time but never immediate!

eMail/IM : what is wrong with this world - every one wants every one to read and reply IMMEDIATELY! Every one wants to have 10 different emails- each flowing real time and aimlessly knowick on people's life to tell them that they have a mail from viagra ads to from some one near and dear. From outlook to Blackberry every one wants to see the mail and respond NOW! Why? Imagine your postman knocking every ten minutes to tell you you have a mail and keeps reminding you that the sender is expecting a reply!

What is wrong with every day mail and everyday email? Do we need it in our phone & in our lap top & in our PDA and may be tomorrow in our fridge & microwave? WHY ??

Once every 100 Years or so....Re-inventing America!

Its exactly 100 Years ago that Ford Motor company & Henry Ford revolutionized the way cars were manufactured and how cars became an integral part of every day America. Also what is amazing is how the cost of car was slashed in half in 1909 and again slashed in half in 1924- Sharing of wealth with workers in the form of $5 a day and attracting the best of breed talent - set the tone for the Industrilization and eventual global dominance of the American Automotive Industry- which spread like wild fire into other Industries. This so called Innovation engine keeps re-inventing itself one Industry after another.

The back drop for Mr Kerkorian and his Investment firm Tracinda couldnt have been better. A time when America is in a stateless war with a terrorism, witheroding global dominance in both economy & popular culture - the American car companies after 100 plus years of global dominance have started faltering and imploding the last decade or so. Japanese cars - what started off as a cheap alternative to American cars are threatening to overtake the great American cars and may take othe manufacturing industries with it.

Mr Kerkorian's failed attempt to give a shock treatment to General Motors if giving him and Chrysler another chance to make America a dominant force again. This move by Tracinda corp with the labor participation will re-ignite the American Automotive Industy in the form of renewed enthusiam and innovation with participative labor and management force. With GM well on its way to reviving its financials and image with consumers with renewed branding in the like of Cadillac and Buick - its will be only a few months befor Ford starts delivering as well.

It is a welcome sign that UAW has endorsed Tracinda corporation's ESOP - a significan move as most of the current trouble can be attribuited to the split in the management & labor force in the form of legacy cost issues and labor pool during forced lay offs. This might be the begining of a new eara where the old and once dominant Manufacturing industrieas will take a leaf from the newer world of Technology - sharing wealth through equity participation making productivity and innovation sky rocket.

Given Mr Kerkorian's track record this is one for the history - as THIS IS THE NEW BEGINNING FOR THE RENEWAL OF AMERICAN AUTOMOTIVE & MANUFACTIRUNG DOMINANCE!! Thank you Mr York for fulfilling Mr K's and my dream to come true!

SOX Impact on Earnings!

Q2 earnings are around the corner- Starting next week we will see a parade of companies reporting their March ending period's performance.

In the past several years we have seen most of the S&P 500 companies and almost all Bell weather companies report their numbers during the 2nd and 3rd week of the month after the period. Options expiry being on the third Friday usually works well for those speculative investorys trying to make a buck or two before Options expiry!

Well, Well, if last quarter - if it was not just a year end event, was any indication- gone are those days. No option play for the earnings season with a 24 hrs expiry options anymore.

We have started seeing companies reporting period spreading past the usual two week window and slipping into the 4th & 5th week after the quarter ends- well past the 3rd Friday.

May be SOX reporting & compliance requlations are making it tough on companies to report quickly - or its just a temporary phenomenon till the programs and reportings are updated to reflect the new regulations.

Till then - if you want to play the Options before earnings season - got to go a lot longer and may be a bit deeper in the pocket too!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ted Turner - We Really need a NEWS Channel!

I never thought I would turn to Fox News to get news these days! What ever happened to Ted Turner's dream of 24 hour live news round the clock?

It was trending towards that when he has still in charge of the News Network Management and not managing the news production!

What was news worthy a couple of years agao is not news worthy anymore- Lets take a look at where we are today-

CNN/CNN Headline News: Time Warner is trying to make a non-biased news channel into another Sex in the City or a News of the HBO world- Nancy Disgrace/G! dont even know why in the world we call this channel 24 hr news channel- What are we trying to see? Sitcom style production?

Anderson360 - and other productions on CNN - they call it live : good thing most of the time they are not time sensitive so it really doesnt matter whether it is rerun or live! Mr Dobbs - the bad luck streak is still running from his dot com bust days- please stick to your expertise and may be we will come back! Yes immigration & border crossing is important - but every day ? every show? to a point most of the time it looks like reruns.

MSNBC: Might as well call it the contemporary History Channel. From Microsoft to NBC/GE ownership didnt quite do any good. Is there any news content here?

FOX: the no spin news channel from the FOX knows how to sensationalise news- 60seconds clip and everything Republican - they know how to make a lost election a hopeful recount! Where did they round up all the characters- from Greta to No spin hero Bill? Interestingly enough this seems to be the only channel that even has a news reel once in a while.

CNBC: YEs Financial reporting channel - used to be independent prior to GE-NBE/WSJ take over. Now its not about reporting - its more editorial type of broadcast- PLEASE we dont need to have the same WSJ/Barrons opinion pushed every hour in the tube as well. All the programs that we have in CNBC is moving towards stock picking and sensationalism- what ever happened to Bloomberg style unbiased 'REPORTING' on financial NEWS happening in Wall street and around the globe? Oh well - somebody has to pay the bill - may be more shows like Kramer and Kudlow will do it.

What is the story behind all this- Hey may be the 24 hour news networks have had their hey days like the Dot com boom- Now we better turn back to 6 O'clock news to the network channels and the morning programs from the usual 3 networks for a clean news and some editorial with some class!

Or we just pray that Mr Turner gets pissed off and comes back and starts the News Channel all over again!!!!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Yet There is no Second place in this country !!....

Being a road warrior in the early stage of my consulting career - have to find ways to make people accept an outsider. Sports always makes it easier to bring Almost all guys to a conversation- as we have a league of its own for every month it is always easy to convers.

Also If you like any NY teams- bless your heart! Everyone outside NY hates those damn yankees and well you have a hot topic to strike a conversation. One thing I find amazing in this country is we love the game, we love the team - but NEVER EVER fight for a team! Rest of the world we see fans burning stadiums, flags and beating each other- In this country - we never hold a gun for another person's cause!

It takes a whole season of brutal fight,determonation and effort - by players, coaches, fans and the media to get to the final minute of the championship-as unlike any other games of the world - every game and championship in this country can and most of the time WILL come to the FINAL lap or pitch or kick or a basket! Now one would think if the decision is so razon thin and it is so orchestrated by a team with strategy involving skill,strength,smarts and time management - the fight of the equals should be treated that way- NO!! Once the buzzer is over - they is no winner and runner-up there is Only Winner who stands tall and the loser goes home- When the Beatles forced Nike to pull the Revolution advertisement off the air- it might sound and look flimsy at first - But a deeper dig in the spirit of this competitiveness one can see how strong a stament Nike was making when they finish the Olympics theme song with a bold statement - There is no gold or silver there is only winners and losers!! Strong yet so American- the world was then and even now and will in future never be ready for such an outlook!

StarBUX stop Play those XM Music!!

It is amazing how Starbuck has turned America into a coffee drinking place! 20 years back it wil be difficult to see people drinking any caffeine drinks after lunch- now you can see starbucks open past mid-nights- in some places they are round the clock!

When do you know they have one too many starbucks- When they have more than one outlet in the same wing in every floor of a building-

RANDOM MUSING: Why Did Starbucks switch to XM Satellite Radio?? I find it amazing that they can make such a mistake by switching to a satellite radio which play songs that cannot be bought in the shop. Prior to XM I have found opportunities to buy CDs that they play as they usually play the albums they carry! Now they have lost an incentive to buy impulsively those not so popular albums that they carry in their shelves- May be Starbucks Management is getting a bit tired and making small small mistakes?? If Mr Starbucks reads this PLEASE turnback to your original way of playing music- Play the songs that you sell so that people will find a reason to buy them...and may be reward those shareholders int he process!

Testing the Time of LUXURY!!!

Its amazing how boring & predicatable a car has to be to make it to the TOP rank in Luxury branding. Looking back at the last 100 years of automotive advancement one thing that is common is the face of luxury hasnt changed.

Obviously its not the money that differentiates- as most of the ultra rich dont count the dollars when they buy these cars...as for most of them a few hundred thousand dollars is a dounding error as their favorite toy is more a Lear Jet!
Is it quality? These days almost all are comparable!

If one studies carefully the successful branding and positioning of all successful luxury cars - from Ferrari to Porshe to BMW - most of tehm have retained their look for the last several decades. They have not changed the look for anything.

Every car company has a standard look that everyone can immediately associate with and remember over generations- naturally they stick to it wiht extreme pleasure!
BMW: From 20k low end to the high end they all have the smae 2 square boxy look in the grille- interestingly BMW is the only one which can be recognized fromt he side - as the remarkable logo is still visible through its wheels.

Porshe: Have they changed the look & will they ever change them in future?
Mercedes Benz: It will be end of its brand the day they getr rid of the middle eye which is so prominent in its design.

With Lambargini & Ferrari one doesnt have to differentiate as they have a unique design which is very difficult to imitate.

Aston , Rolls and others are also very unique in their lookand have stuck to their original look. If they change it is only marginal.

The latrest example is the Audi clan- after failing several years I think they have finally found the majic touch in their Goatie style look - which sticks to your mind and lingers long after the car has passed by.

Now taking Cadillac and going through the last century - they have defined luxury over decades and have stayed on top of engineering and luxury. But during the same period the look and shape of the car has under gone severlal layers of shapes & colors and thus one cannot get a grip on how a cadillac will look like when you see one. Even a Hummer hits the nerve- as all Hummer look the same - may be in different sizes.

Lets look at the SUV family under Cadillac- interestingly they have attached a uniqueness to its look and shape - as there is no other Luxury branded SUV ( Lets not call that Toyota look alike Lexus a luxury car) in the market. Even the BMW & Bexz versions of SUV are more of a low end conversion.not even close.
If GM and extend their success from Hummer & Cadillac SUV segment and define a very unique look ( most of the look is around the Grills and the symetric nature from teh upfront look) that stays over decades - I think GM can regain this war and will reach the much deserved destiny of success in Luxury!

It looks people like to see the same Face for a LOOONG time if it has to test the time of Luxury!
Slowing to Smell....!

After going through several blogs I came to the conclusion that it is very difficult to write about your day to day life!

Fascinating to see how creative people are and how so many people around the world are able to choose a variety of topic and pour their heart out and paint something so wonderful- full of life and color!

Need Humor! Need Depth and more than anything need perspective! I found it is easy to write about something substantial in which a person is well versed in. It made me think - I went around the last few days looking around and paying attention to everything from nature to relationships!

Now curiosity started posing a question - what is more important to writing? Chosing a topic or having the patience to research and articulate about the impressions that every day events brings to a person?

I thought I will try this every day! For 30 Days!

Impulsive and spontaneous

No research - just type as the feelings flow and as the words can portray! Thanks to the Blackberry - now I can try doing that the moment the urge happens without waiting!

As I was deciding on this I found myself in a shop - decided to pull my Blackberry and type what I saw around me...so begins my first piece.

PS. Since Blog has major restricitons on how many posting and what kind of flexibility one can have using the standard template I will try to find a work around using a couple of gadgets to display a couple of days posting at any given time till I figure out a way to display the history!

To avoid dilution of this site I have moved the experiment to another blog under


The following is a sample on content with no photos- the Daily Life Signs posting will be more of a pictorial experience!

Walking around a woman's shop!

Looking at the colors in a woman's shop is like peeking into a kaleidoscope. However, one doesn't have to change to feel the vibrant mood.

Amazing styles and fascinating fashion! Trying to coordinate gives the several option that is needed to meet the day to day lifestyles of varying moods and differing ages.

Age appropriate colors! Shades for fading moods!

Bold red!

Sober red!

Flashy red!

Bland red!

Blood Red!

Romantic Red!

Decisions! Decisions! and Decisions!

Deciding the color at the time of shopping gives the option to choose and refine to the various rainbow moods that a person possibly can go through in a fast paced connected world!

Sizes and fits to match every form and need.

Having a choice helps in refinement!

And helps!

In Decisions! Decisions and Decisions!

Startup Wisdom!

May be there is a reason they want a Money Man to run the venture- but the following tip will save a buck or two! This will list a couple of grey hairs to keep!

  • Success is contageous- start it immediately!
  • Share the Vision but not Leadership!
  • Smart money is great - but Lucky Money is even better. Get some!
  • Being passionate is essential - but only after motivation to make money.
  • Establish the TRUE Pecking Order!
  • Let Sales be part of your core strategy- everything else can be bought!
  • If you havent done Selling START DOING IT NOW!

Building your 2nd Million!

Skip the first million and go straight to the second- as the first one is the most difficult one to bring home! The second one can be as tough as the first one but is never tougher than the first one! You can make money - working - investing in stocks/etc - real-estate - starting a business - others Choose your area of interest first as this will help you identify the opportunity and make you easily motivated to work on the 2nd million!

Not in any particular Order!

  • First lets know the facts: 1) Your work life is 40 something years (even at conservative estimate) so lets make sure we plan that Properly
  • 2) Lets identify opportunity to make money with out too much effort- living for Today is Good but lets not lose today's free money in the process like - benefits, tax breaks, sale,coupons,etc
  • 3) Lets not try to make ALL THE MONEY in the same way! Lets break the objective into smaller chunks and assign different ways to make them individually
  • 4) Put the 1st Million in Auto-pilot and set a 10 Years plus Time table
  • Convince yourself that you need the Money
  • Set a time line to achieve the goal.

Relationships - Learning to enjoy them!

Do we retain relationships? Expectations out of frienships vary from society to society & age group to age group. How long do we carry them? Some of them bring fond memories- and some not so pleasant! Here you can expect to see nuggets from my experiences and analysis!

Family & Friends: We spend less time with family than with friends- yet we feel more comfortable with family than friends- Why? Is it because we dont have expectations with family members but we have some on friends?

Allowing the other person to finish their train of thought builds a very long lasting relationship - as it makes you understand the other persons point of view fully & also to respond being aware making even an opposing point of view reasonable.

  • Cherry Pick your arguments - Left or Right Brained!
  • Make every encounter a transaction - this will make leaving baggages behind easy!
  • Qualify the type of relationship - however strange it might be
  • Chasing friendship is not always helpful as it leads to compromise.
  • Family circles - define it and accept it whether you like it or not!
  • Its ok to do different activities with different people!
Prof Dr Peik A Monie's Corner

  • if being number two is not enough go to a lower market
  • .
  • proceeds from a street dog dont bark
  • .
  • shooting the papparazi dont break cameras

DIGITAL IRIS - An inexcusable view of the photograpic world!

Let me see if I can add a few lines every week highlighting my 2 cents on photography- my experiences and desires

Things that make good photos -

- excellent and expensive set of lenses; in this digital era spend less on the body and keep investing in the high end lenses as the lenses will not lose value and the body is still under construction!

- accessories and the right tripod; never underestimate your advantage with a tripod

- plan & choose the subject and the location

- know your subject well!

- look and follow the calendars; simple things like a night with a Full moon- we dont realise that it does not happen every day - if you narrow it to the summer when the sky is still blue - I guess it becomes a couple of times a year- and if you factor n the location and your availability at that location and time...so Knowing the calendar and season helps for a good but not so common picture

- Take some luck with you!

  • Print and Enlarge Some Too
  • Delete Bad Pictures from Storage
  • Isolate Subject's color
  • Assess various profile
  • Add a subject to the frame
  • Take Nature after rain - they look better
  • Transparent Objects like flowers have creative effect with light behind them
  • If you want to enjoy the trip - leave the camera behind!
  • Define the subject for the shoot out trip
  • Take a survey trip before the real shoot out
  • Learn & Buy the Best Tripod
  • Always take a handy utility camera
  • Use Multiple exposure & shots in action oriented moments- this will help you pick the ideal snap - as even a fraction of a second makes a HUGE difference in photos.
  • Know your camers settings!
  • Understand Shutter Lag
  • Understand the camera shakes

AfterMarket Pulse- The boring Services Industry!

Keeping it inefficient is good for every one- A success story and why it will be restricted to a handful in the services Industry- A serious look at the Service Industry and my views on improving them. As a society we have accepted that everything breaks down and needs periodic maintenance. We are willing to pay both money and time to accomodate such services. What we have not done is define what is the service level that is needed for every such incident. From household appliances to industrial equipments we are forced to accept the cost and quality that the market offers. In such a sellers market room for mediocracy is enormous- giving way for opportunities. Yes predicatability is not always easy when it comes to failure or repair - or for that matter to identify what is wrong once the item is broke as it is not always possible to run the equipment ot see what is going wrong! And there are companies that can afford stupidity & those that cannot- if you want to change choose wisely!

  • Three steps: 1) Localize Failure 2) Response to Events 3) Time to Life
  • Inter-dependency at a higer level accelerates return
  • Resposiveness is rewarding - even if it is just to show on site of event!
  • Failure Prevention is difficult - yet possible
  • Know your Industry problems: Inventory, Turn time, Forecasting Failure, Estimating Cost, Finding Talent, Automation tools
  • Know your industry Practices- Swapping parts, using refurbished items, penalty
  • Define Quality of service
  • Attract talent - as service industry does not attract fresh talents
  • Innovote service packages

About Me

Seen me go through cycles driven by Age, Money, Deception, Affection, Success, Failure, Fear- etc. The current cycle puts me in a middle aged bucket with sculpted bitterness trying to tame it to embrace the sweet crime of success and affection.