Showing posts from February, 2012

Why You Should Never Listen To Jim Cramer

"In Cramer we trust," went the old CNBC promotion for his show, with Jim crossing his arms looking into  the camera at an angle, assuredly, like a Wall Street gunslinger having just shot up the robbers (Goldman and Sachs) the corpse of the front-running, high frequency trading firm lying at his feet.
You see the promo a few times- 'This guy must be good,' the mind states, taken in by the promotion's slickness and ever confident note.  (see embedded video at bottom of column if you are unfamiliar with "front-running")
So you tune in and watch Mad Money, and Cramer speaks with knowledge about the market, with a certainty so great, you're somehow willing to overlook his juvenile antics and sound affects. Then comes the lightning round, when Jim quickly explains "Buy, Hold, or Sell." He's got energy, he's got certainty. "Buy! Buy! Buy! This is a screaming buy, they're doing great."
Shoot he knows more than I do, maybe I s…

Best Buy Lost in the Amazon Jungle

I used to go to Best Buy for all my electronic needs. Video cameras, batteries, plasma TV's, electric shavers, you name it, there I bought it. Convenient, quick, ready to use. Then last year my computer died. During this tragic time, I needed to remove its memories before laying it to rest in the electronics graveyard, a few months worth of data I hadn't backed up. Best Buy to the rescue- Hard drive enclosure needed- $65 ... ? No experience to back my intuition up, but that seems a little steep, doesn't it? Well I need it right, what choice do I have, here's my credit card.  Back home I check the price of the item on Amazon. $5! What?!  I call my techie friend, expecting him to treat my $5 sighting like I was claiming I had just spotted the Loch Ness Monster. Instead the response comes loudly into my cell phone receiver, "Don't tell me you just spent $65 on a hard drive enclosure?!" (Hiding the evidence behind my back) "No." And with that, I placed my…

Green Apple All Part of the Profit Pie

Apple’s products are flying off the shelves, stylish, innovative, simple, and most importantly, COOL.
After a year abroad, I came back to meet an old and supremely tech illiterate friend, a man whom I basically taught from scratch how to use a computer a couple years ago. He approaches me as I'm typing away on my PC, “I see you still don’t own a real computer,”  he states, like a physician breaking news to a patient that he has cancer. If an Apple a Day keeps the doctor away, my friend would be immortal. After starting out on PC's, Apple Man owns every product they've produced in the last few years, and thinks himself a tech guru ever since he figured out how to share a picture on Facebook from his IPhone.  First off, my hat is off to Apple's design and marketing departments. They've been able to cultivate a well deserved best in show reputation, and with it command the upper end of the market, and the swollen profit margins that accompany.  How are they going to prote…

Why Your Gold is Worth(less)- Just Google It

I recently penned a column about what I perceive to be a bubble in the price of gold, and was lambasted (100 times over) by the goldbugs, who shouted so high and loud I went deaf, leaving “gold is the only Real Wealth,” the last syllables that will ever ring in my ears. Is what they say true? And what then constitutes, “real wealth?” Is it having large stacks of green paper with deceased U.S. notables on them? Is it having bars and bars of gold stacked in your basement, a ton of wheat from which you can make flour and baked goods, or a lot of zeroes on your bank statement? Currency is supposed to be a representation of value, a fluid way to exchange goods and services, long ago replacing the barter system,which inherently contains more friction, and thus inefficiencies. We all know what we’re willing to exchange for a dollar today, both in our time and energy expended in earning one, and in return, the goods and services it will enable us to buy. Now, with government debt, and central b…