Showing posts from 2012

Seeking Alpha Sucks to Write For- They Are Morally Corrupt

I wanted to share with you potential writers out there, after a long time dealing with Seeking Alpha, how they are keeping my columns on their website without having paid me. This is my letter to the managing editor, George Moriarty, explaining why I think they are wrong, and dealing with me completely unfairly.

I write this to you personally. I will be brief, re-explain a few points, then ask for an explanation. 
Last year I published several columns, was paid by Alpha. Fine.  Then I published two columns on Netflix.  About the same time (maybe before, not sure of the exact timing, I began my own blog. Absolutely unwittingly, not knowing your rules about not publishing on one's own blog, I took my columns and published them. Months and months after they became useful to Alpha.  Right before payments, in order to get to $100, I published an article about Nokia. 
Then, I received a note saying that my Nokia column wa…

The Difference Between Share Buy-Backs and Dividends

I get a lot of questions from confused investors wondering what the differences are between share buy backs and dividends. Simply put, the company uses existing cash for both purposes, the difference is that dividends go directly into your pocket, which you have to pay taxes on, while the share buyback goes to purchasing shares on the open market, which are then retired after purchase. This action reduces the number of shares outstanding, so profits are then divided amongst fewer shares. Example, a company has 100 shares outstanding, and earns $100. That would be earnings of $1 per share. ($100 divided by 100 shares outstanding) Now, the company uses existing cash to purchase 20 shares, reducing the number of shares to 80, now the same earnings are divided by 80, so you get earnings per share of 100/80 so you get earnings of $1.25 share. Of course, with rising earnings per share, the stock price rises accordingly. Also, with a share buy back, taxes are deferred until you sell the s…

Google Kicking Apple's Ass in the Cool Department

Apple is no longer the uber of cool; it's Google. In a PR stunt for the ages, Google helped build massive anticipation and buzz for a product that isn't due out for another two years, while at the same time managing to demonstrate the awesomeness of their live Hangouts feature on Google +.
Sadly, the black turtleneck is a ghost, and although that doesn't mean Apple itself is in decline, the imaginations at Google which brought this product demonstration to fruition, make even Steve Jobs best presentations look like a convention for life insurance executives.

Video: Google kicks Apple's butt in cool!

From 4,000 feet above San Francisco, a group of elite skydivers, donning Google Glass, jumped from a blimp, onto the roof of Moscone Center downtown, filming the entire event live, including their view of the ground as they descended, broadcasting LIVE via Google Hangouts.
Trained bicycle stunt riders, shuttled the product to the edge of the roof (it's a big roof), where it…

Apple Hits The Breaks on the Google Express

For the past couple years, Google has been my favorite company. My life was completely Googlefied after I purchased an Android phone- I got a Gmail account, started using the Google search engine 100% of the time, calendar by Google, and when Google dropped below $500 a share I promptly purchased the stock.
Since then I have been Google’s biggest proponent and bull, having extended my personal networking with the company’s portfolio of products, and absorbed as much information about Big G as I possibly could. While I am still a huge believer in the company’s mission, talent, and ingenuity, in terms of the stock, I have to take a momentary pause, gulp, and like any investor, reassess. Charlie Munger, of Berkshire Hathaway, quipped a couple years ago, “Google has a huge new moat. In fact I’ve probably ever seen such a wide moat.” Of course, not one share of Google resides in their portfolio, because, well, that moat seems to be shifting away. Search currently accounts for 90% + of Google’…

Betting NBA Playoffs: When is the Price Too Good to Pass Up!

Part of Investing is an understanding of statistics, and when you are getting the an excellent price on your money. In this case, we can talk about Sports Gambling, as in many ways it parallels Wall Street. 

Check this: Miami on Pinnacle Sports 

NBA Series Prices  NBA Championship Final Series Odds Get the best NBA Championship Final Series odds for the Heat vs. Thunder. NBA Series Prices - Best of SevenTHU 6/21MIAMI HEAT VS OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER06:00 PM871 Miami Heat-417872 Oklahoma City Thunder+359

you lay 4.17 to 1 and the team leading 3-1 is historically 30-0 in the NBA Finals. 

In fact, in all of NBA playoff history, only 8 teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit,  Here is a list of the teams who have done so: YearSeriesWinning teamLosing team1968Eastern Division finalsBoston CelticsPhiladelpha 76ers1970Western Division finalsLos Angeles LakersPhoenix Suns1979Eastern Conference finalsWashington BulletsSan Antonio Spurs1981Eastern Conference finalsBoston CelticsPhiladelpha 76ers

Gold Wars: Gollum Mocks the Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffet and partner Charlie Munger, the world’s greatest investors over the last 40 + years, have never been big fans of gold. In fact, the Oracle of Omaha devoted ten paragraphs of his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to mocking Gold Bugs. Here is an excerpt:
“Today the world’s gold stock is about 170,000 metric tons. If all of this gold were melded together, it would form a cube of about 68 feet per side. (Picture it fitting comfortably within a baseball infield.) At $1,750 per ounce – gold’s price as I write this – its value would be $9.6 trillion. Call this cube pile A. Let’s now create a pile B costing an equal amount. For that, we could buy all U.S. cropland (400 million acres with output of about $200 billion annually), plus 16 Exxon Mobils (the world’s most profitable company, one earning more than $40 billion annually). After these purchases, we would have about $1 trillion left over for walking-around money (no sense feeling strapped after this buying bi…

Game Stop: The Next Tower Records

In five years, Game Stop will not exist. Remember Tower Records, that huge behometh of a record distribution service?  Neither do I, I read about it in an ancient history book.  Game Stop is headed to a parallel fate.

The company is a favorite amongst short sellers, being the number one shorted stock in the S&P 500 earlier this year. I'll describe why, but I'll adda cherry on top.  Here's the cherry; according to an article at, Sony’s Worldwide Studios VP Scott Rohde, speaking on the future of gaming suggested that disc-free gaming will “be a part of what everyone does” by the middle of the decade. "It just makes sense. And so, over the next five years, you're going to see everything evolve to that state because people want access to their data anywhere," Rohde said, describing cloud gaming as “absolutely inevitable.” Well before the IPhone came out, Bill Gates predicted we'd be walking around using our cell phones would store our entire l…

Microsoft's About to Blow-up The Tablet Market (DOA)

What is Microsoft thinking? I recently read a column which stated that Microsoft intends to charge device makers $85 dollars for their Windows 8 tablet software which essentially matches the price Microsoft expects to receive for a version of the software designed for the PC, except the tablet software will come with limitations, including the inability to run Windows 7, and fewer security features.
This tells me one thing, and one thing only. Either Microsoft managers are insanely stupid, or are arrogantly predicting Windows Eight tablets are going to be the mega-bomb. We're not talking Hiroshima, we're talking Judgment Day bomb.

Video:Microsoft Tablet DOA?

Let me put this into perspective for you; Google gives away Android.  For people who are price sensitive, an Android tablet is the way to go.  Just assume for a second that device makers can use the same hardware, and create tablets able to run two different operating systems equally well. If one costs 20% more than the othe…

Europe and The Coming Inflationary Times

Accumulated worldwide debt will soon be weighing heavily upon global stock markets. Europe right now is facing a tidal wave of debt, and the Germans don't have enough fingers to plug all the holes in the dike.
Meanwhile, over in the United States, Congress will soon be pressed into raising the debt ceiling (again), which last year, with Republicans in a temporary revolt against the lift, helped fill the markets with enough fear that the Dow Jones spiraled down nearly 20%.
Look, at some point this debt burden must catch up to us. For a household, it's okay to take out a loan if you really need the money to pay for some big ticket item like a car or a house, or an emergency like medical care or temporary unemployment, but even MasterCard and Visa, who want nothing more than enslaving the average person to a life spent paying off their usurious rates, will not keep lending you money indiscriminately as your debt piles towards the sky.

The coming wave of inflation

Following World…

Apple's ITune's Might Extend Dominance to Infinity and Beyond

According to a NY Times column, Apple has 400 million (America *1.3) credit card numbers in its databases from its ITunes store. That’s a mind boggling number of cards, and demonstrates not only the success of ITunes, but the ultimate power of the Apple ecosystem which Google is doing its best to model.
As you probably know, from reading about/using Google Wallet, Google is doing all it can to turn your cell phone into a one stop shopping experience, from Google Offers to Near Field Communication (NFC) chips which allows your SmartPhone to be used as a credit card at the counter (currently only available on the Galaxy Nexus.)
Now, Apple has an IOS app called “Passbook,” which allows users to store gift cards and pre-purchased movie tickets on their phone, which the gift card industry is undoubtedly lamenting as a large part of their profits come from unused cards. Nevertheless, it’s a nice touch, and aimed at keeping up with Google Wallet.
What is the fundamental difference here? Appl…

Mobile Centric World: Apple, Facebook, Yahoo- who wins?

I recently penned a column wondering what the world who like if we were to cut broadband access, and began accessing the Internet solely from mobile devices.  The reason behind these thoughts were because Google represents a good chunk of my portfolio, and I love to play devil’s advocate to see what new paradigms or competition might be looming.
My biggest fear is that Google’s moat around desktop search might be altogether bypassed by the likes of Apple’s Siri, or some new mobile applications yet unheard. While having Android certainly puts Google in just about the best possible position to deal with these challenges, based on Google’s relatively low multiples as compared to current growth, it seems as though the big money is factoring in the upcoming mobile competition into its price.
Unlike a Warren Buffett investment in Dairy Queen, See’s Candies, or a railroad, the king upon the technological throne gets overthrown far more rapidly. That being said I thought that I would evaluate…

Patent Trolls- The Mafia of the Business World!

I recently read a column stating that the Google vs. Oracle Java/Android trial has cost in excess of 50 million dollars. Now, I understand the value of intellectual property being protected, the IP and patent laws originally were created to help protect and aid the process of innovation, to prevent some massive company, at least in theory, from coming along and stealing the hard work and ideas of a smaller innovator.
Unfortunately patent lawsuits are becoming more and more commonplace.  Larry Ellison and Oracle merely did a game theory calculation about the cost vs. the potential payoff, and as that had a positive expected value decided to drag Google into court, and forced the company to spend a substantial amount of resources in defending itself.
$50,000,000?  Would that might be better spent hiring engineers to create new products?  To be given to charity, to establish after school centers for impoverished youths? How about if that money is instead geared towards giving workers a r…

POP-- Goes The Student Loan Bubble!

I was listening to a podcast yesterday about the state of the job market, and the commentators started lamenting the fact that so many new college graduates are unable to find employment.  Meanwhile, tuition costs continue to accelerate upwards, and student loan payments are ballooning.  They cited a figure that young people owe upwards of a trillion dollars to lenders, for student loans that are super easy to get. Meanwhile there is a shortfall in semi-skilled workers-electricians, plumbers, and welders.
When my parents were growing up, a college degree was key the key to securing gainful, high paying employment.  You could "bank" on it.
"Why I see here you have a college degree, I'm sure we can find a place for you."
This is no longer the case. I have many friends who majored in liberal arts who have had great difficulty getting jobs since graduating.  Meanwhile their over-priced education has left them mired in debt, and even those with mediocre to decent p…

Envisioning a Cell Phone Only World: Who Will Adapt?

The Battle to Turn Mobile Into Cash: Envisioning a Cell Phone Only World: Part II
In my last column, I played Devil’s Advocate and tried to imagine a world where the primary way to access the Internet was via your mobile phone. As a Google investor, I wanted to look at the downside of a smart-phone only world, and invited you, the reader, to submit your thoughts on the subject of the future of Internet access, and again, I invite you again to express your thoughts as I imagine how each of these big Internet companies will adapt to a world, where I make the giant presupposition that 95% of internet access comes from smartphones, which would have huge ramifications on the stocks. So the question becomes, what happens to, and how do the following companies adapt to this new world.

Video: The Adaptation to a Mobile Centric World 1
1) Google- My favorite company which gives me so much- Gmail, blogger for free, video distribution (YouTube), Android for my phone. If there is any new Google p…