Addendum To: Charting Possible Courses

I received a call from a colleague who is not of the “technical analysis” set. He, like most in business, have only a very limited understanding when it comes to looking at market charts. i.e., They only understand UP or Down.

As I have said since the beginning of this blog (and partly the reasoning for it) in today’s world of interconnected markets of all types – not understanding them, in at least a very familiar way with how they interact – is no longer an option for today’s business person. It’s now a requisite and has nothing to do with “investing” per se. It’s about understanding what may, or may not, put your business at risk, or help it grow. 401K type enthusiasm is for others.

So with that said, the question they asked was, “Could I show what I meant when it comes to that ‘False positive’ thingy and the ‘no man’s land’ warning in another example?” For they weren’t quite getting it. I said sure, and started to peruse a few ticker symbols, scanning for something quick to use, and I found one. It’s Tesla™.

For brevity’s sake, I’m not going to go into the minutia of differing time frames and patterns. The example itself should show precisely what I mean. To wit:

(Source)

The above, is again, a “Mean Reversion Channel.”

Tesla’s stock has been on an absolute tear off its most recent larger pull back. The news regarding Tesla, one would think, would warrant people to either sell, or at least pause in taking it toward its all-time-highs. Auto pilot crashes, investigations, spontaneous ignition, deaths, and more have done absolutely nothing in regards to stopping its upward progression. At just about every instance where it seemed that the “party may be over” signaled – the stock seemed to just gather even more momentum to head upwards.

Today, as I am writing, this stock has fallen by some 6% since the “markets” opening. That type of drop is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you are someone who bought into it on let’s say, Friday.

As you can see I have annotated the above chart, the time intervals represented by the bars/candles are hourly, the same as I used for the Russell earlier.

Today’s price action looks quite dramatic compared to any recent pull backs, and in previous smaller technical patterns and observations it would warrant possible impending turmoil. However, just like the Russel from my earlier post, the smaller patterns have been negated and what seems to have emerged is a much larger pattern which allows for quite the price moves – yet – doesn’t resolve to warn for more down or up. The “ping-pong” effect in the “No man’s land” area between the upper and lower is in effect. i.e., You just have to wait and see a clear break first ether way before any further action is warranted.

I’ll only end with this: If you are one that bought on Friday?

I would suggest you watch very carefully.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Charting Possible Courses

As we await the “markets” opening in the U.S. here on Tuesday I wanted to update something I’ve been watching and notating over the last few weeks. e.g., A chart of the Russell 2000™ and what it may be portending via technical analysis. Here was the latest incarnation. To wit:

As I explained at that time what appeared to be playing out was what was called an ending diagonal, but as time went by every-time it appeared to be signaling that it may resolve in the manner it is best known for (i.e., odds favor a break in the opposite direction) the signals were, more often than not, proving out to be false positives. Then, when taking a further step back, the same pattern appeared to  forming – only on a much larger scale, which was the genesis and analysis for the above chart as I explained then.

Over the ensuing days this pattern looked as if it may resolve much like the original observation yet, this too has been completely negated as the index has pushed higher, and higher. i.e., Once the bottom drawn line crosses the top marking an “X” or “cross” any price action beyond negates the the observation or pattern entirely, i.e., something else is at play.

Now in the world of technical analysis patterns are subjective and many initial observations can be completely negated. i.e, time frame matters, where early indications can tend to play out giving more falls positives than their worth. Remember, true technical analysis is understanding you’re only playing with odds and probabilities via a visual representation of what buyers and sellers have done during a point in time. There is no “Holy Grail.”

However, with that said, one of the things most overlook when using this method of looking at “markets” is that: being wrong maybe, just being early. And one of the key signs of this are when differing patterns emerge yet, seem to show the same conclusion. I believe we may have such an instance playing out here in real=time. Here’s why, again, to wit:

(Source)

What the above chart represents is the same index (e.g., Russell 2000) using the same time intervals via the bars/candles as the earlier one directly above it. This is as of Monday’s close.

As one can see the original signal I was calling attention to see if it was playing out was a “throw-over.” The “markets” did just that yet, the price action just continued along the same path, again, negating the original observation. But when looking at it again what I noticed is that the original pattern has now seemed to morph into what is known as a “Mean Reversion Channel.”

Doesn’t matter if you are up to speed on technical analysis terminology and/or jargon. I am. And here’s what the above can possibly mean, and how to watch to see if it’s providing any pragmatic clues.

This type of pattern is very well used and respected, even by people who think the whole “technical thing” is nothing more than voodoo type analysis. (It’s not and the arguments made against are completely invalid, moronic, and feeble, but that’s for another article)

What this pattern also shows is what I implied earlier about how one pattern may be negated, but another one evolves showing the same possible results. For if you look at where the two lower boxes I’ve drawn appear, they are at the same levels respectively as the prior observations. Yet, there is a change and it’s an important one.

As you can see I’ve now drawn another box inside this channel called “no man’s land.” The reason why I named it this is because, for as long as the price of this index remains in this box? It’s all just noise. i.e., The market will probably go up as far, and as much, as it goes down, ping-ponging somewhere in the middle.

Not until you have a clear break below the bottom line, or back above the top line, will there be any indication of what may portend for the “markets.” But make no mistake, it’s in watching for a break to the downside that one should be paying attention to. Because if it does, then many are going to find themselves in a complete unfamiliar situation.

As always, we shall see.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Well That Was Awkward

So there I was last night watching the Asian markets as I advised others in my latest article.

One after another opened in the red (e.g., down). Japan? Check. Korea? Check, and so on as I awaited the Chinese markets.

More often than not, I watch (more like just have on as I read) by having the television tuned in-to CNBC™, but with the sound off, glancing up occasionally to see if any interesting guest or market movements are posted at the bottom or side of the screen as it rotates through the various ones, with last night being no exception.

As the early evening wore on I noticed the U.S. market futures were continually posted as “unchanged.” I knew the U.S. was open so I toggled over to Bloomberg™ and sure enough the futures were posting showing the selling pressure. So, I flipped it back to CNBC (I prefer their Asia coverage) and thought no more about it. Then, when China should have come on-line I watched more intently, and watched, and watched, and watched. Nothing.

It wasn’t till about 10:00pm ET I started questioning if I messed up on the time difference not being in sync, for Asia doesn’t follow the daylight savings time adjustment of back and forth we do in the U.S. Or, was CNBC’s market tickers not showing the price movement like its U.S. tickers were. So, I decided to turn the volume up and see if I could figure out what was going on. Which I did, much to my surprise.

About 15 minutes into the next program I heard one of the hosts say something along the following lines, “It would be interesting to see how China would be reacting, but their markets are closed today in observance of a local holiday.”

Wait…what? was my response with a few expletives thrown in for color.

I did not know that China’s market was celebrating a holiday. As a matter of fact, I was rather surprised that they would announce their plans for reaction to the tariffs on Friday, then go into an extended weekend with their markets closed having to the react to what may be taking place, rather than preemptively setting or reacting to any initial fallout, if any, within their own markets first.

That, from a tactical viewpoint of intent may speak volumes or, may mean nothing at all. But it is another point of drama for this evolving soap-opera, that’s for sure.

As for my calls on watching the Asian (in-particular China) closely – all of it still stands. The only difference now is to see how their markets react when they finally open this week, for their shortened session could exacerbate an already skittish market as we are seeing this AM.

And for those who really want to know how I reacted when I found out that China was on holiday, when I thought for sure they were open? Hint: Think Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” (1983 MGM/UA Entertainment Co.) when he rushes into the bathroom after receiving his secret decoder to unravel the hidden messages contained within the “Little Orphan Annie” program, only to find he’s been had. The only difference in my case?

“An expletive holiday?!”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Must Watch Sunday TV: As The Tariffs Turn

As the festivities of Father’s Day wrap up here in the U.S. like many celebrations, this too may conclude with a display of fireworks. The issue at hand is this: If there are – they’ll be on the other-side of the globe. However, their initial reverberations may become visible through the power of live (aka appointment) television.

For those that may not have ever watched these shows or programing, the most accessible network coverage will be broadcast via Bloomberg™ and CNBC™ via their Asia desks. i.e., anyone with cable access should be able to locate it on their service. So, for those looking for clues, yet only follow “markets” in some form of perfunctory manner – this is one live session of television you may need to watch.

In my opinion, this Sunday, in-particular, is a must-see-event. For this is where we’ll get the first glimpses as to exactly what may, or may not be coming our way via the “markets.” And yes, again, I feel it’s that important, no hyperbole intended.

The reason why I state the above is that China and the U.S. have formally announced and outlined their agreement to disagree and impose tariffs on one another. The opening salvos? $50 Billion respectively. If we stick with the soap opera theme, this is the equivalent of the two main stars suddenly realizing that the whole affair has been a sham, and it’s now who can hire the best lawyers – and screw the other out of more than half.

Sure, it makes great television. But when its real life? It’s far messier, full of even more innuendo, real and idle threats, along with being fought full of unforeseen backfiring consequences. The difference in those consequences is also paramount, for more often than not they’ll effect those viewing far more than those in the starring roles.

Up until now the bickering back and forth between other nations in respect to earlier negotiated deals has truly taken on the appearance of a soap-opera in progress. NAFTA, along with E.U. agreements/disagreements being bandied about at the latest G-7 (or G-6+1 which makes my point about the whole soap-opera drama analogy even more fitting, but I digress)) has been like watching this season’s drama build up of the supporting cast, waiting for when the two “stars” are finally going to engage.

On Friday – you had just that.

Whether one agrees or not, is no longer the issue. What now has to take precedent is what happens next – and be prepared as best one can for either an insulating stance for one’s business well-being, or a profiting one. There might even be a way for both, but that will only be for those watching, paying attention, and being nimble and decisive in their execution. Everything may/will be in flux. Repeat: everything.

However, just like fictional dramas, there is always more to the characters back-story that needs to be assessed when trying to figure out where the next move may come from, because just when you think the “obvious thing” should happen next? The writers throw in a twist that leaves everyone second-guessing. The writers of these trade tariffs are no different. As I’ve stated before: Tariffs are designed to be highly punitive. They’re not to “make nice” as some may think. They also fall into the Mike Tyson realm of reality. e.g., “Everyone’s got a plan – till they get punched in the face.”

Tariffs are precisely that when it comes to the “sport” of trade. But make no mistake: Trade – is a take no prisoners blood sport with real losers and winners, where economic survival is the prize. Sometimes – there is no second place finisher. Think about it.

On Sunday evening around 9:00pm ET the Asian markets will be fully engaged once China’s markets open and the tape begins to roll. The evolving plot course that needs to be paid attention too are 1) The Shanghai Composite Index (SCI). And 2) The Hang Seng. The reasoning is simple.

Both of these indexes have been moving from a technical perspective into dangerous territory. As I’ve stated before the Shanghai is holding above (barely) the 3000 level. If this level gets breached, and with any real follow-through, it could trigger a wider sell off.

The other reason is, just like the SCI, the Hang Seng is now in a very similar position, only here it is 30,000 respectively. Should both the SCI along with the Hang Seng break downward in unison with any substantial follow through, it’s going to make for a very interesting start in the U.S. on Monday to say the least.

What many don’t quite get (and I say this directly to most of the Ph.D’d economic professorial cabal and show hosts that paraded this set out to lecture us plebs how genius the Fed. has been, and how “smart” they are in naval-gazing analyzing the moves, but I digress again) is China may be in a far more inferior negotiating position than the U.S. i.e., If the “markets” fall apart directly after China announces – the blame becomes China’s.

You may agree or disagree, but that’s how it’ll be played by the administration should the Chinese markets begin to falter overnight sending even a hint of contagion fears across the ponds. But the capital markets are not China’s only problem in the overnight session. There’s another. e.g., The Hong Kong Dollar (HKD).

The HKD is the currency to watch when it comes to China’s property bubble and its increasing use for even further speculation.

This currency of late has been falling below key metrics (e.g., its lower boundary) of its peg to the U.S. $Dollar and has been doing so for much longer than what is seen as “normal.” The issue here is that this peg is heavily influenced via the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy. And with the Fed. raising again this week, along with changing key verbage (insinuating far more of a hawkish posture) and now making every meeting a possible “live” event meaning a hike possible at every further scheduled meeting (i.e., more than expected) with the advent of adding a press conference after every one going forward may exacerbate this situation to a point of having the Chinese politburo having its own “Sorcerer’s Apprentice moment” as soon as Sunday night (Monday morning Asia time).

Here’s what Austrian economist (one of the very few I hold in high regard) and China watcher Andy Xie recently wrote about this possible impending dilemma. To wit:

“The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has been buying up Hong Kong dollars to stop it from falling below the lower boundary of its pegged range to the US dollar. But why has it been allowed to fall to the lower boundary and stay there so long? That’s not how a peg is supposed to work. It should try to hug the US dollar interest rate as close as possible.

By deviating from the US interest rate by so much and for so long, Hong Kong is setting itself up for an interest rate shock.”

And now here we are with fully engaging tariffs, interest rake hikes, and a week ending Quad-Witching on Friday’s close that masked any interpretations of the Fed’s new policy directives along with tariff announcements. The mainstream business/financial media’s so-called “smart crowd” tried to profess that the calmness was all due to the Fed’s “genius.” I vehemently beg to differ.

Hint: It was all due to the HFT algos’ stop hunting and price pegging antics for quad witching.

The real show begins tonight for any real clues, so as they like to say in TV land…

“Please, stay tuned!”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Imagine That, Who’d a Thunk It?

I just returned home and I saw a note in my inbox from a friend telling me that Susan Holmes and her former COO were just indicted this evening by a federal grand jury on charges of fraud. e.g., nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy.

The reason why this is meaningful too me, in ways many may not fully appreciate, is because it was nearly two years ago to the day I wrote the following article with the headline: “Theranos: Unicorn Valley’s Madoff Moment”

That article and headline caused quite the stir in The Valley aficionado set, resulting in quite the cat-calls directed squarely at yours truly. The headline and what it conveyed at the time was seen as blasphemy, but what really seemed to get under the skin of this crowd was when I dared say the following. To wit:

“Theranos™, in my opinion, has many of the same overtones for what transpired during, as well as, in the aftermath of the Madoff scandal. And the residual implications are not only yet to be seen. The consequences that are about to reverberate are going to bring forth reckonings many believed would never come. At least that is – before they could IPO, cash out and avoid it themselves. But if 2016 is any clue? Avoiding might no longer be an option.

In “The Valley” the last 7 or 8 years has seen a morphing of true business fundamentals into a place of pure financially adulterated fantasy.

Here is where the story changed from “Something built that customers love and will pay for,” into “Build something that can give the allusion VC’s want to see and hear so they can pay for the right to then sell that illusion to Wall Street and we all get rich.” True business metrics or morals be damned. (for a reminder about morals just enter “Secret” into your search engine of choice.)”

This was reacted to across the mainstream business/financial media, as well as the Valley proper, as if I just insulted someone’s mother. The backlash was palpable. (See Tim Draper for clues)

And now, nearly two years to the day, it’s official – she’s now officially charged.

One has to remember, up and almost until the day it all finally came crashing down, the mainstream business/financial media was still fawning over her and her company. (ZH has a great list at the bottom of their article)

As bad as Ms. Holmes appears to now be, the issue I feel no one is truly understanding is this: In my opinion – she’s not a “sociopathic tendencies” outlier. She’s just one of the visible symptoms permeating through the entire unicorn cabal. And if we ever do get a downdraft? It will be the equivalent of throwing on the light switch to suddenly realize – there was far more than just the one you originally caught.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Take It As You Will

I’m going to make this one point, because if you were to rely purely on (and the vast majority does just this) the mainstream business/financial media complex you would think the ATT™ – Time Warner™ merger has no significant relevance. And since they seem either clueless about it, or don’t want to bring forth any negative vibes, I will. (To be fair Steve Case was on CNBC™ talking about just this, but that’s about it.)

Hint: The AOL™ – Time Warner merger signaled we were at the top of the previous bubble. i.e., It was all down hill from there, literally, and more akin to making a Black-Diamond ski trail look more like the Bunny Slopes. Let’s just say, since I’m in an analogy type of mood, many a novice suddenly found themselves on paths even the “experts” feared to tread.

Mega mergers of any type usually signal a top. The reason being is to keep the growth story going when there may be no longer any true growth, such as business revenues from expanding customer base. So, the only play left – is to buy it. But who buy’s whom is the key point. For size and scale matters when looking for clues, and this one does, in my opinion. As I have said before, repeatedly:

“You’ll know things are reaching a peak when the sclerotic, is once again, consuming the stunted.”

And here we are. What happens next, is anyone’s guess. After all…

It’s different this time, right?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

A Relevant Blast From The Past…

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague yesterday and the topic was my latest article. And just for the record, this was via his questioning, not me just blithering on, although there are times I can do just that. But I digress.

What the discussion revolved around was, were there any other “big changes” that I thought, or felt were coming forth, that either fell on deaf-ears, as the saying goes, yet seem to be coming to fruition today. And that’s when the discussion went into a myriad of differing topics and scenarios we bandied back-and-forth.

However, there was one topic that seemed to dominate during the latter and that was how – and what – the internet as we now perceive it will change. And how those changes will affect businesses.

My main retort? “Subscription services will be the new “luxury.”

I went on: “Using platforms or devices because they are ‘free’ will be seen as low-budget or low-rent type status in the coming future. An example of this would be: Today it’s the iPhone® or an Apple™ product that shows you can afford to be in the luxury segment. Tomorrow it’ll be something like your email, search engines, and some form of social component which will be provided and hosted via walled gardens. Much like using Apple products or services today are orientated. Let me give you an example…

Think Apple in the very near future offering the ability to both search, (This maybe a derivative of Bing™) email, offer a social component whether they buy an existing one, or just purchase one in a fire sale in the coming future (Think Snapchat™ et al.) and offer exclusive access to this platform that offers no ads, no tracking, no data sharing, and complete exclusivity – but you have to pay to belong.

The social component will more-or-less be the obvious branded, visible luxury marker. Think of a Twitter™ like feature only under say an Apple brand. Same goes for something akin to Facebook™, and so on.”

Remember – the “ads for eyeballs” model would be eliminated – and – the less people who use or subscribe to it, the better. Why? Exclusivity and social peer impressing. Think: “Oh, you use Facebook, Twitter, Google, _______?(fill in the blank) Yeah, I use _________(fill in the blank) that’s why I didn’t see your _______(fill in the blank). Sorry.” The same will go to where one get’s their information. Think: “Oh, you read that on Wikipedia™. Yeah, I don’t use that, I belong to ____________(Fill in subscriber based content provider) so that’s probably why your information differs from mine. I would suggest you need to research a bit more elsewhere before you finalize your conclusions on the matter.” Implying, and rightly so, their information may be no more legitimate than hearsay, which is not what serious people of means do.

As we discussed the merits and other possibilities I asked the following to see how he reacted: “Have you noticed how many content providers are now going whole-hog into the subscription model? And I’m not talking about small sites, I’m talking about sites like Business Insider™, and now Bloomberg™ just to name a few. Think this is just a few one offs via the big boys as they say? Let me add this:

You know my feelings about most IPO’s (for those who don’t, I believe most to be a complete and utter sham, see Domo Technologies™ for further clues ) However, with that said, do you know what one of the fastest growing tech IPO’s that has a real chance at actually being profitable in the very near future business is based on? Hint: This type of business model or service provider was seen as not only dead and buried, but when brought up in polite conversation was seen as something of “not getting tech” along with the current dominance of “ads for eyeballs model. i.e., Facebook et al.

That model? Subscriptions. e.g., Zuora™.”

(Just to be clear: I don’t know this company, or anything else, I’m using them only for example purposes relevant to my topic, nothing more.)

Now some may say (and it’s a fair knee-jerk reaction) that what I’m currently doing is trying to front-run something that is now becoming apparent. Again, it is a fair point for my conversation with my colleague also ventured down this line of questioning. For he’s a very pragmatic person himself and he just doesn’t take what I’m saying as “gospel” just because I’m saying it either. (Actually I feel he’s far smarter than me, but that’s my little secret, and I’m sticking too it, just sayin’.)

The reason why I bring up this point is for when I told him that I addressed precisely this subject and what I saw forthcoming years ago when everyone else saw it as folly his initial reaction was, “Really?” And I couldn’t tell if it was that “really” that implies surprise, or that “really” that implies “sure you did.”

So as to make sure, I said to him I’d find and forward him one of the articles, followed with explaining (once again to make the point) my “over the horizon” analogy. For those unfamiliar with this analogy it’s this: “Sometimes I need to remember as to make sure I’m making my points understood. That when I’m trying to explain what I see over-the-horizon, from where I’m standing. From their perspective, where I’m standing may be over their horizon.”

So on that note I thought I’d post a link to the article I sent him.

The date was: January 18, 2014 Titled, “The Next Segment Of Luxury: Subscription Everything”

With the debate of Net Neutrality now settled into law (as in the ability to charge for higher speeds or access et cetera) my article from over four years ago seems far more relevant today than when I first made it. And as has been more often-than-not the case – this was seen at the time as “not getting tech” via most of “The Valley” aficionado set.

Here’s an excerpt from that aforementioned article. To wit:

“Just one example of how deep and far-reaching the implications of all this goes is this: Why would any advertiser spend a penny of Facebook® or the like for an ad, when one can pay and have sole dominion via a search or subscription model?

Would you rather have full access to a free Wikipedia® if your child has a sudden ailment because it’s free with your service to Google? Or, would you pay to have let’s say Bing® as a paid subscription service if it comes with unlimited access to something like “www.Ask A Real Doctor” because only real doctors are allowed to post or approve text on the site?

Take away the theory that ads will supply the revenue of these platforms by allowing those very advertisers to move funds into what could possibly be the greatest bang for the buck customer interaction or engagement since the start of the web as we now know it, and $1 million dollar valuations seems too much for many of today’s Wall Street darlings let alone $40, $100, $200 Billion, and more.

The term “walled gardens” once attributed with distaste to companies such as Apple® and others might be just as brand centric and sought after as the very devices themselves. The world as we now know it could really change in ways unforeseen in shape and scope as smartphones and tablets themselves revolutionized everything digital. I think the implications are that great. I’m not trying to be hyperbolic. I truly believe the implications are staggering. Whether they turn out to be true is another matter.”

As always, doesn’t mean that I’m going to found correct in the end. No one knows for sure. However, what I will say which I know to be factual is this…

No one contemplated (or at least dared say it publicly) this is where we might be heading in the future.

And here we are.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

F.T.W.S.I.J.D.G.I.G.T.

(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)

There have been very few in the media whether it’s business, financial, thought leadership, et cetera that have the ability to have their insights, of any type, aired across the media unless they are either 1) Contracted to submit a certain amount of content for publication. i.e. A weekly or daily column for example. Or 2) They pay via some prearranged agreement, whether it be direct payment, or some “exclusivity” styled arrangement where actual money doesn’t exchange, yet both benefit in other ways that is mutually understood between the parties.. i.e., Not paid, yet reciprocally helps either sell ads, tickets, magazines, clicks, whatever. This is the arrangement for most “celebrity” styled “insights” you’ll find across most media today.

There’s another way, although it is far harder with far less “celebrity” attached to it, but it is the “gold standard,” if you will. And that is when your insights are published around the world, on the largest media outlets – because they found you and thought it worthy on its own merits. This is a very select group of business people who can claim they are in this category, which I am fortunate to be one of.

If I may speak candidly: I’m probably one of the most widely published business experts most have never heard of. But I’m not concerned about a mass audience per se. The audience I care about are those that are looking truly looking for pragmatic insights they can use, which is you dear reader.

I’m not claiming I’m always correct, but what I am saying is that I’m also one of the very few that had the chutzpah to dare question, or call out, many of these famous names publicly and have those insights carried, again, across the largest media venues globally.

Not in a disrespectful way, but in a questioning way that held business pragmatic or insight at the forefront. Politics, ad hominem, or any other type of scathing rebuke has never been my style, nor should it be. But calling a-spade-a-spade is what is needed more than ever in business today – not more hype for what’s “hot.”

So, with the above said and in concert with the horse Justify winning the Belmont, therefore winning the Triple Crown, I would like to offer up three calls that I made, which at the time, were received with complete derision and more across many media outlets. However, now in retrospect, one can see a bit more clearly.

Race 1) Social Media:

I stated from the beginning that the only ones making money on social media were those (i.e., Guru’s) telling/selling you that you needed it. As of today everything you spent and learned trying to develop your social media presence is either no longer relevant or useful, meaning – it’s all been a complete sinkhole of wasted expenses and wasted time you may never (more probably never) recoup.

This statement has moved from the hypothetical category of argument of where it began a few years ago, to an argument of fact with the revelations that have been coming forth at a dizzying pace. The “buzzword” now being bandied across boardrooms everywhere when someone brings up the question of “What should we do next concerning our current social media presence and/or strategy?” Hint: “Delete it.”

If you want to make money in this post social everything environment, I’ll give one idea that could be worth $Millions, at no charge. Here it is:

Start selling ways for companies to feel confident they can/should cancel or negate their current social media expenditures and get back to making sales the old-fashioned way by making one customer happy so that they tell a friend. Do that one thing – and the world is your oyster.

And just a reminder – I’ve never used social, of any type. since the beginning, which makes my arguments that more pointed.

Race 2) Daring to call out some of my own contemporaries in the motivation space. e.g., Tony Robbins, Suze Orman, et al.

When I first addressed my concerns for what I was hearing when it came to the new “financial” or “real estate” insights that were being bandied across not only many a mainstream business/financial outlet, but also from stages across the U.S. and Canada I made my thoughts about it very clear. I thought what was being professed would turn out to be more detrimental to those following it than it would be beneficial. Again, this was met with derision. Then the results began to bear fruit – and it seems it’s all been rotting.

As of this writing home prices in Toronto alone, with Chicago being much the same, if not worse (for those not familiar here’s a link to help explain) have plunged 22% compared to one year ago. Some as high as 30% according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Here’s a bit of what I said in that prior article, you know, when everything was just “red-hot” and all the “Guru’s” were now touting it. To wit:

“However, since I’m also in the business/motivation business let me offer you up this little tidbit of caution if you’re planning on attending one of these so-called “wealth” seminars. And it’s this…

As you jump, cheer, and shout as Tony or any other speaker there screams from the stage for you to shout in unison, or to the person directly adjacent to you, “I own you!” as some mantra for you to remember as to help solidify your reasoning, and wherewithal as to commit to your decision-making process. Let me add this one note of caution…

That is precisely what the banks, mortgage holders, credit card companies, city, and county real estate tax authorities, IRS, bankruptcy courts, lawyers, and more will be shouting at you if there’s even a hiccup in this current BTFD “market” stampede.”

How many are still jumping and cheering in a 30% down market since? Maybe they are, but I’ll wager if there’s any “hopping” today it’s more akin to hopping-mad. But I digress.

Race 3) Bitcoin™ millionaire retirement advice Guru’s:

The “crypto” space acted much like the “social” space when it came to immediate condemnation of anyone daring to question its narrative. And yet, that’s precisely what I did, and that’s exactly what transpired – complete and utter derision.

It wasn’t just me this time, others such as Nouriel Roubini, David Stockman, Jim Rickards, and a few others dared to state what we felt was the obvious. And we all paid the price. The incessant condemnation by the “true believers” or “HODL’s” shall we say, has been surreal too say the least.

So how has it all been working out for the “so-called” crypto guru’s we should ask. After-all, with all the “insight” and “expert” advice they were telling/selling the return on investment has to be at least better than Toronto housing should it not?

Hint: Here’s as they say in “The Valley” a “picture” that tells its own storyline. Again, to wit:

(Source)

But not too worry! For as I used to say half-jokingly that the next thing many of these “Gurus” will be selling next for an encore will be seminars to help with bankruptcy filings. And since you were a one “premium seated” attendee you’ll probably get a discount for admission.

Again, that was what I used to say jokingly, but truth is far stranger than fiction, and sometimes funnier. Why do I say this? Easy, for do yo remeber when this “advice” was in your news-feed or any other feed for that matter, incessantly? Here’s a reminder. To wit:

(Non-working advertisement screenshot)

So, you want to feel better about your crypto losses, or maybe forget about them all together? He’s now got a product for you to do just that. Again, to wit:

(Non-working advertisement screenshot)

All I’ll do is end with this, for you can’t make this stuff up – it writes itself…

The above gives new meaning to all that “millionaire retirement advice” going “up-in-smoke” does it not?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all). I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are, and have been times they do need to be pointed out which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.

Facebook’s Political Plight Has Only Just Begun

Another day – another Facebook™ (FB) scandal.

It seems those that were naive to take Mark Zuckerberg at his word when he defended his company and practices before congress a month or so back are suddenly shocked (shocked!) to have it revealed that maybe he wasn’t being so forthcoming, or truthful during his responses to questioning. That is – if he even answered at all.

In pure politician style his lips may have been moving, but just like the old joke portends – that doesn’t mean something remotely truthful is being said. Usually, quite the contrary.

Yet, all jokes aside, there’s one thing politicians don’t laugh at – it’s the idea of being politician’d from someone who is not. And Mark has been doing that as of late, in spades.

I have written about this far too many times over the years to list. Every time FB suddenly found itself in the middle of some brouhaha where it stepped on someone toes, or slighted some group, it would orchestrate some form of apology outreach with the laughably scripted and stylized excuse I coined the, “Gee, golly-whiz…”

That is: only if that group was considered large or vocal enough to warrant a response in the first place. Everyone else? Screw you – welcome to FB.

The warning signs that something was terribly wrong (as well as possibly unlawful) have been emerging over the last few years at a dizzying pace. The first high-profile (which I believe is still pending) was launched in 2016 by Steven Crowder of “Louder with Crowder” where he alleges that FB was censoring or suppressing his material because of his political bias.

However, those that just focused on the “political bias” issue, I believed, were missing the greater point and expressed it. Here’s what I said about it in May of 2016. To wit:

“As I see things, Crowder used Facebook for business purposes. He also paid (as in actual monetary payments) to Facebook for the sole purpose to help grow or maintain his brand. He paid (that word “paid” is where everything changes and hinges) Facebook for that help. If Facebook was taking his money while simultaneously suppressing either his content or, the viewership that was implied he would reach? All while he was being told (or sold) something different? There’s a term for that and it’s called: a criminal offense.”

(Here’s a link to his website and documentation of filing)

The reason why I pointed this one out, in-particular was it seemed to be the beginning for setting a precedent as to exactly what FB could be facing in the near future (as in lawsuits and more) because from a standpoint of law – not opinion – FB’s entire advertising model, as well as records, were at risk of being brought into the courts for examination.

Remember: FB, as a business, more than likely has the lawful and unassailable right to publish, or not publish, anything posted on its platform, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

What they do not have a right to, and should be held accountable both civilly, as well as criminally: is sell (as in collect actually money) a product described as one thing – then behind the scenes, knowingly and purposefully deliver something different.

That’s called deception, and there are laws on the books for precisely that. And the Crowder suit has all the appearance of exposing just that, which is why I am of the opinion, Zuck-and-Crew suddenly made an abrupt shift and publicly began addressing this issue quite publicly thereafter and since.

Hint: Remember the “sit down” with conservative publishers that happened in near unison or slightly after?

This “meaningful meeting” as was described across most media outlets via my opinion and acumen was pure theatre, only for FB to have the ability to argue, should they need to, in some kind of future court proceeding: “Look, we tried to get to the bottom of issues, we even asked directly for their insights as to help us blah, blah, blah.” And said so. Again from the same article:

“This (in my opinion) is a “look over here” part of both misdirection, as well as to help build any evidence for defense that may be needed if the real “conservative” nightmare plays out in a way of charges which Facebook itself thought (or acted as if) it was immune to. i.e., Accusations of underhanded business practices which effected businesses unfairly, as well as adversely, that may need to be both defended against in court. And/or monetary damages to plaintiffs are possibly awarded.

The more I looked at who was invited, where, and the format – the more I saw PR text-book damage control (which is really useless when administered in such fashion) and more “discovery” and “narrative setting” for Facebook if or when needed in the future.”

What has happened since? Hint – more charges and evidence that FB has been doing even more of the same. And – a lot of other things that are much, much worse.

The problem with the “worse” part? It’s now the politicians (U.S. as well as Europe) weighing into the quagmire of arguments with both a bullseye on FB’s business model, as well as – its wallet. And Mark is looking more like an ill-prepared, glitch filled robot, being readied for a dismantling than the touted “well prepared” business executive being touted. i.e,, Not only is old schtick not cutting it? His responses, posture, eye contact, cadence, and more looks completely ridiculous if not child like.

If you think this is over-the-top type criticism? Fair point, so as evidence to this I would ask you to watch Mark in his latest political theater appearance before the EU Parliament last month. You can find links to the entire meeting, but here’s one link consisting of highlights that describes exactly what I’m arguing. Just fast-forward to about the 8 minute mark thereabout and what you’ll see are two stunning revelations.

First: One of the panelists is incensed about Mark’s answers of no meaning. The frustration appears unified across the panel.

But that’s not the most informative part via my eye.

At about the 9-minute-mark, Mark demonstrates exactly how out-of-place, ill-prepared, and robotic he truly is. So much so anyone with a modicum of business acumen will understand just how eye-opening this revelation is. i.e., He’s far too programmed and that’s all there is. There’s no real there, there.

As I’ve professed many times prior – Mark (as well as many in “The Valley”) all seem to have been schooled by the same speech writers, coaches, and lawyers.  (Think Susan Holmes of Theranos™ infamy)

The canned: acknowledge, repeat, thanks for the question, then respond with meaningless drivel is so formulaic, it’s laughable.

You’ll see this type of “coaching” at work as he addresses the room: his head and eyes sweep across the room from side to side in a vacant manner. That’s a “coached” mannerism that is supposed to be used or taken as a guide to help facilitate the idea of inclusion into your audience. But when it’s used and employed as Mark has clearly been “schooled” to do? It shows there’s no there, there. Only programming.

Where this really shows just how programmed he is, and why it demonstrates (all my opinion) FB need at-all-costs to stay on message and not say anything that could be used against them, takes place at the end.

At the end of this meeting Mark is seen clearly following the programming – but then the programming shows just how consuming it’s being deployed when he follows the usual “look at the person speaking at, or too you, directly,” as he does.

But then, as others are speaking too him – he never turns his head and keeps it pointing directly at the facilitator to his right as his eyes can clearly be seen shifting too-and-fro as people are directing questions at him. I can only sum it up as what one gets when the cross a “deer in the headlights” with a “déjà vu moment” in the Matrix. It’s that bizarre.

Yet, it shows by far the most concrete example of just how programmed and choreographed every detail has been met and scripted out for Mark. For if a situation arose (which it clearly did) that would put Mark in a situation where he might not have the answers, or may compromise any further statements? The programming appears to have instructed him to: Run out the clock. Don’t respond, don’t do or say anything further.

And that’s precisely what he did, to the letter.

Only problem now is in following that “program” made him look and appear “programmed.” Literally. Therefore, not truthful in his responses. Not only that, his frozen-in-place moment appeared to not only made him look childlike, but from my acumen showed just how scared (and possibly at risk) the entire FB bottom-line and model probably is. For when you go to that length of preparedness? You give more reasons to question, rather than reasons for accepting.

Again: when the CEO of one of the most prominent, as well as prosperous companies, with enormous reach and influence, has been schooled and trained to the point of not being able, or possibly allowed, to interact unless robotically scripted? You know there’s real trouble on the horizon. As in real money and regulation.

But don’t worry about Mark, I’m sure he’ll probably have sold out by then.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

A Follow Up To: ‘For Those Wondering’

A little over a week ago I posited the following observation, it came as I was looking at the Russell 2000™. From my “technical eye” I saw what I believed to be a pattern that is very well-known (as in has better odds) to resolving in certain manners. Below is that observation:

Over the ensuing days it appeared that my original observation may be playing out, for the pattern seemed to be resolving much like it is known to do. Then – everything took-off, once again. The catalyst? Let’s go with an ant made it across a busy road during rush-hour traffic in Boston. That’s about a good a reason (and has more logic!) as any compared to what I’ve heard across the mainstream business/financial media.

However, as I was perusing the “markets” this morning I looked at the same index using the same time intervals as the above chart and , once again, this pattern caught my eye. The issue is – it’s far bigger. Here’s what I’m speaking to…

(Source)

What I’ve done is annotate where my original observations were, what happened, and where we are now.

The issue here is two-fold.

First: If this pattern resolves in the manner that I first described the drop will be far more precipitous, as well as volatile.

Second: A drop of this size and scope happening, along with what is happening elsewhere, will exacerbate any and all markets. (think Emerging Markets for just one)

The Russell, much like the NASDAQ™ is the last bastion for any remaining “hot” or “chasing higher” money still remaining. When these run out of steam, that’s when the real pressure to the rest of the “markets” may resume.

Will it happen? Who knows. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth paying attention to and look for clues before hand. As always…

We shall see.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr