Month: November 2014

The Increasing Cracks In The Silicon Valley Mirror

There’s probably no other place more enthralled with its own state of being today than Silicon Valley. Now probably more than ever the tech capital just might be believing their own hype more now, than in the “glory days” of the 90’s.

Today the belief is so strong, so internalized that the coding kingdom is where the new rulers of the universe reside, that it would make the Kadashians think about trying to keep up with the “Coders.” (does anyone need anymore proof than the new Kim Kadashian app?)

The problem with mirrors is just that – they’re mirrors. And unless you take your gaze away from it and look around once in a while, what happens more times than not is you miss all that’s happening around you. Till one day you either walked smack dab into a wall, or worse – never left the couch as the city around you fell into chaos.

This is where I believe a great many in the “disruptive” world are going to find themselves. No, not them disrupting – but the world they now inhabit is about to be – disrupted. i.e., The valuations, the deals, the whatever that were once taken for granted as a “never-ending story” is seemingly not only coming to an end. That end – might already have taken place.

Personally I read a lot of tech blogs, tech sites, and more. One reason is I’m just plain interested as well as curious. The other is that I’m in the “entrepreneur/business advice” business. And nothing has fascinated me more than some of the “pie in the sky,” “unicorn and rainbow” type thinking and metric measuring than what I both read and hear from the tech world.

This area is so audacious in its shunning of pure true business models (i.e., making real money via repeatable commerce transactions as opposed to the singularity event of IPO-ing) it would make a Krugman-ite proud. However, as I alluded to earlier: there seems to be cracks appearing in the looking-glass.

There’s an underlying truth when it comes to business. And I do mean – all business: When times are good those at the top are jubilant – when jubilant fades and testiness begins to appear, regardless of how faint – that is the time to begin paying very, very, close attention.

Recently I read an article that is becoming more and more prevalent within both the investing world and in particular the tech arena. The article was titled: “The Thin Skin of the Venture Capital Market”

One of the quotes that caught my eye was this. It was in response to a point on a valuation…

“And then I promptly got Twitter flack from one of the people who works at one of the company’s investors.  They seemed annoyed that I said anything in the first place.

What was said, who’s right, etc., doesn’t much matter.  The fact is, it’s just not cool to criticize the investing side of the venture capital market.”

Remember my assertions – It’s not about making a profit in business, it’s now only about the business in making an “investment” profit. As I’ve reiterated repeatedly, the business per se is irrelevant – it’s all about can the business “story” be sold to Wall Street. Then who gives a rats arse how the story ends, that’s for the poor saps that bought into it, not us. We cha-chinged out!

Increasingly the proverbial “cha-ching” machine is growing more silent. One would think with the markets once again pushing beyond stratospheric levels into black sky territory that the deals would just keep coming. Well, they are yet again there seems to be something a little different in the ways these deals are coming forward than previous.

To the casual observer one might think “they’re doing more deals than ever before!” Yet, what may seem as an uptick might be more of an illusion. More in a shorter time span doesn’t necessarily mean “more.” What it could be signalling is a rush to get as many in as soon as possible because there just might be “no moar.”

Recently a few articles have caught my eye. One showing up on Pandodaily™ as reported by their West Coast Editor Michael Carney. What I found quite telling was the headline along with the timing: Does the shrinking time between early stage rounds signal market bullishness or disaster planning?

Is it not precariously illuminating that suddenly, what some may think as “out-of-the-blue” the investing meme once thought of as “unstoppable” is suddenly causing those within the very industry itself to contemplate?

And why would this meme even be questioned? For are we not in a glorious time for investing? Especially in new and never-ending “disruptive” agents? What would cause any change in this meme?

How about the meme killing realization that QE, the once unthinkable, unstoppable, buying spree fuel additive has been throttled. (for how long is anyone’s guess, but for now – the valve is closed)

That is the (and I do mean “the”) only variable that has changed. And with it, there seems to be an undercurrent of possible disruption coming to the royalty-class aka the “disruptive” class.

Another article that is also quite informative into what maybe transpiring within the VC arena along with its overarching mindset is the Q2 2014 Halo Report.

Highlights of the Q2 2014 Halo Report include:

  • Pre-Money Valuations Climb to $3M.  Median pre-money valuations rose to $3.0 million in Q2 2014 from $2.7 million in Q1, and after several steady quarters at $2.5 million.
  • Angel Round Size Falls.  Median angel financing rounds fall to $600k in Q2 2014 –  down 40% from Q1; remain flat versus Q2 2013 where the median round size was $595k.

Again, at first glance I found it quite interesting that today, when the markets are hitting upward prints of nearly 1% per week that the median financing round would fall 40%.

I can’t stress this point enough: The markets are rising, and investment in median financing rounds are falling by double-digit percentages?

Sorry to repeat ad nauseam but (and it’s a very big but), all that’s changed in this period of time is QE has stopped.

Is this causation or correlation? That’s the call. For my money – it’s causation. However only time will tell for if one thing is clear, I never dreamed we could get up this high based on QE, but here we are. Although too not pay attention to these possible cracks would be ludicrous. Especially when paired with the timing of their appearance.

There are two more glaring signs that things have changed. First is what I warned to watch for in this latest earnings cycle where the once “darlings” of Wall Street might be met with more of a cold shoulder than open wallets with the realization QE was in actuality going to stop. e.g. Facebook™ and the concern about whether or not this new reality of “no QE” will be expressed via investor concerns.

From my article “The Shot Heard Round The Valley World” I opined…

“Let me go on the record here and point out what I believe will prove my point in the coming weeks and months.

Currently Zuck and crew have been lauded over with the prowess in its acquisition choices. You will know everything has changed when the calls to rescind Mark Zuckerberg’s authority in having carte blanche via not needing board approval for acquisitions going forward is demanded by Wall Street.”

What transpired during the most recent earnings call? At first it was heralded as “hitting on all cylinders” then it was revealed – it was also going to spend at just as impressive rate.

Suddenly “woo-hoo” turned into “WTF!” and the shares gapped down and as of yet – with the ever rising, incessant push higher, and higher in the markets, where both the indexes for everything tech as well as the S&P are hitting “never before seen in the history of mankind highs.” Facebook not only hasn’t filled that gap (which by all accounts should be viewed as on sale) it hasn’t basically moved at all.

Again, as everything else is roaring higher. Suddenly it seems that ability to “spend” is coming under far more scrutiny than the once “blind-eye” it was turned just a few months prior. And it’s only the beginning in my view.

For those wanting to see what may be coming and dig a little deeper the article by Todd W. Schneider titled, “The TechCrunch Bubble Index: Parsing Headlines to Quantify Startup Hype” breaks down this idea of growing changes in an easy viewable form.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing the needles when it comes to business, entrepreneurship, and more. However, it’s once you not only start believing your own press, but you look to place mirrors around you as to get an even grander view is when you just might be having more in common with the Kadashians than you do with creating and maintaining your business.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

A Timely Observation

One of the most glaring changes I’ve noticed of late is the absolute lack of adhering to proper time formalities. This was once regarded as a near sacrosanct pledge. “I’ll be there at 8:00AM” meant exactly that 8. Not 15 minutes later, or half hour, or the worst of all; needing the waiting party to call and ask where you are only to be told – “Sorry, I’m on my way, I’ll be there in a few, just wait for me.” If the other person needed to call you, then you’re a dolt in my book.

Today we see people of all stripes with a near disregard if not indifference to being on time. This was once proof positive by many in the business community that if one wasn’t at the very least “timely” then more than likely they were lacking in other key areas that are prerequisites for leaders, and would be passed over or not taken as a serious candidate for higher promotions.

The thinking was (and still should be in my opinion) if you can’t adhere to something as simple as being on time – then maybe it’s time to simply look for someone else.

We all have emergencies, and yes “stuff” happens. However, I’m not talking about the out-of-the-blue type issue. And, most of those can be addressed by calling or notifying the other party when the issue arises as in real-time before the actual scheduled meet as to not leave the other party wondering. e.g., If you’re in traffic and you originally gave yourself plenty of time yet you hit a snag from an accident or some other, you call before – not after the original time to alert. e.g., If a meeting is at 8 and you’re running late, you call at 7:50 or so to alert. Not 8:10.

The term “-ish” as in, “I’ll be there around 8-ish” is commonly accepted as being about 10 or 15 minutes either way, not a 1/2 hour or any time within the hour still possessing an 8 handle. That’s for people who either don’t know, or don’t care about the other party.

“Ish” is a very acceptable time when used in both the proper way, as well as the setting. In business it fits into the “business casual” file. However, it has unstated rules for its usage. Just as a “business casual” luncheon doesn’t mean “feel free to wear shorts, sandals, or whatever you want.” Although today I’ve seen people do it thinking they were being hip-ish. What they really were was looking – foolish.

Probably the worst offending way time is being disregarded today is in the “fashionably late” styled use. This I see becoming so prevalent I’m starting to view it as a crime against humility (yes humility).

I don’t care who you are, if you request my attention or anyone else as to warrant the we/I stop what we are doing and pay attention to what you are to say because you (or whomever) has deemed this to be “important” and the time passes from 5 minutes, 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour, and sometimes even longer? I no longer have any interest, and as a matter of fact, next time you ask for my ear? All I’ll say is “Have a nice day.”

I have never seen more abuses of time considerations in my life as I see today. From the President, to other world leaders, business leaders, local politicians, and even the television and radio stations themselves which just a few years ago the movement of the solar system could be set to their adherence. Today? You can’t set a sundial to them never-mind a watch.

In contrast, today, heaven forbid a retailer not open their doors precisely (as per GMT) at the designated time on Black Friday. If off by a mere nanosecond you’ll not have just an offended party – you’ll have outright, unbridled, chaos and bedlam.

Don’t take for granted or worse believe in the meme “it’s different this time” when it comes to one’s time and scheduling. It mattered then, it matters now, and it will matter in the future.

Being on time is for serious people. People who have true considerations for other people’s time as well as their own. You don’t want your time wasted, and neither should you willy-nilly waste someone else’s.

If you want to stand out from nearly all of those around you regardless of your current position, just the mere recognition as to put in the time to make sure you’re always on-time will move you further up in the chain of business and life than any other singular thing possible, without needing to spend an actual dime to implement it where the potential returns – could be limitless.

Remember, they don’t say “time is money” for nothing. It has far more payoffs than most ever will put in the time to even contemplate.

Hopefully, you’ll take the time that others won’t – and benefit from it.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

Addendum To My Original Article On Tony

Addendum: I was alerted by a reader of an article that came out on MarketWatch™ on Nov. 25, 2014 written by Cullen Roche titled: “Tony Robbins doesn’t quite master the game of money in his new book”

Similarly to my stance the article is not in any way a designed hit piece or slam against him, far from it. However, where my initial view and reaction was from reading Tony’s articles and synopsis styled presentation this article is written by a person that both read the actual book, as well as has standing in the financial money management class proper. I believe it helps move my initial response onto further footing.

Expanding On A Thought Process

As we roll into this holiday week we tend to move in more of a retrospective type mode. i.e., giving thanks, wondering about the future by looking at the past, etc, etc.

So for those of you that might still be perusing the web either just looking for ideas, or just glancing as to maybe spark a light bulb, I felt this year I would offer a sort of “thought prompter” for those who just never quite stop thinking. Regardless of the time of year. (for as entrepreneurs, does business responsibilities truly ever take a day off?)

So with that said here’s a real example I wish you to truly ponder, and think about how many other business (regardless of size) would try as to fix a knee jerk reaction to what at first would seem as bearing a self-evident fix at first blush.

First let me start with what many would might think would come last. i.e., a way of looking at the problem first, or guarding against a self bias view when presented with the issue.

Here are two articles that make my argument why as an entrepreneur or business leader you have to be careful in jumping to what might at first seems as the “obvious answer” or “obvious proposing fix.”

One Size Fits All aka Methodology Stupidity

And the other which is a little more recent:

Leadership 202

You can read them first, last, or not at all. However, please do read the article containing “the issue.”

I was alerted to this by a reader recently, however the article itself has been around for about a year. (I hadn’t heard of if personally)

When I read about the difficulty in solving the issue, and then to find how and why, I myself was at first left amazed.

Being in the restaurant business and knowing many of their issues first hand over the early part of my career (I was in the meat supply business) It just resonated with me. I hope it will with you.

In addition I hope that you may find it useful as to possibly bring light or help in any perplexing circumstance you may currently have, or experience in the future.

The issue took place at a restaurant in New York city where they were receiving unflattering reviews and more. So much so it was to the point of effecting their business as a whole. And the owners were both frantic and desperate to find both the underlying cause as well as a fix. What they found ties into what I posted earlier.

Here’s the original headline and link to the article from The Meta Picture

People Kept Complaining This Restaurant Sucked, Look What They Found Out…

I hope you find this as interesting and its relativity to many situations or circumstances we all face and try to come to grips with in business today as to make our business better.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

A Charted Viewpoint

Well It didn’t take long (a new all time never before seen in the history of mankind always fuels this) before not only did I once again begin receiving smirks from others in regards to my thoughts on the financial markets, but a few thought they would jab a few elbows my way adding that maybe I should not have been so forth coming, or so quick to write my thoughts on what Tony Robbins had been expressing. For as one person said to me “You seem to have a little egg on your face.”

Yes, one could view it that way. And after all, when one is in the public arena and makes a statement publicly there are those that are going to question every aspect of it. (as they should) Especially when you’re talking or discussing a viewpoint diametrically opposed with some of the largest players on the world stages today. It comes with the territory at this level, and I both understand it, as well as accept it. It’s par for the course.

So with that said; I would like to express as well as expand what I was trying to get across using a different vehicle other than just words, but also with some pictures known as charts.

I’ve annotated them to try to make the argument for what I’ve been expressing for many years as opposed to what many in the financial media, as well as the media in general has been using as “the fundamental reasons” why the markets are where they are.

I’ll also add just one piece of history to bring some perspective on why I believe I have standing to state my ideas, and ask not to just brush them aside as “just another wanna-be trying to insert himself into a story or argument.”

Remember when High Frequency Trading (HFT) was nothing more than some “crazy tin-foil wearing people” making claims about something that basically didn’t exist let alone had any real impact within the financial markets?

This came from the highest authorities that either worked, owned, or regulated the firms of Wall Street. The “paper of record” as they would say in days before websites was non-other than ZeroHedge™ (ZH).

This was the lone voice (and still is in many ways) that pounded its keyboard over, and over, and over, again warning, documenting, and revealing the pernicious effects HFT was wreaking within the markets and the catastrophic effects that were growing beneath the surface that no-one was addressing.

Or, to state it better: No-one would even consider. Let alone acknowledge.

ZH is considered by some of the largest media news sites (both print, web, as well as radio and television) in the world today as the place where “the people who truly understand Wall Street express their views.” It is regarded as a “go to” site for many in the global media today.

I know there are many of you that probably don’t follow financial matters all that much where you also may have never really paid attention in hearing the name when you’re listening to your own news programs. But – now that you know. I’ll guarantee it’ll stick out next time you may hear it when listening to some news outlet.

As I’ve stated before you don’t just get to “contribute” as in a – you find them. It’s more like – they find you. You can’t even get a subscriber account name to receive email updates on what’s posted there without a 2 week wait in an “approval process” as they do some form of background checking.  Again, that’s just to read and comment!

So with that said here’s just one instance that I’ll point to where I was personally part of the larger discussion where at the time what people like myself were stating was being disregarded, laughed at, and more. Then suddenly, what we were stating was no longer all so “tin-foil capped” crazy. To wit:

Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (March 2014 W.W. Norton & Co.) is released and rocks the financial house of cards. As I said earlier. The paper of record making that argument when no one else would? ZH. Suddenly the tin foil hat wearing monikers turned into more of an all-seeing turban styled viewpoint.

It was also both previous, as well as during, that period the regulatory bodies were still standoff-ish when it came to looking into the true underlying issues for potential criminality. Then this headline was posted on ZH.
“If HFT Algos Were People They’d Be Perp Walked”
that article was written by yours truly. What happened next? Just 4 hours later this hit the wires:

Screenshot courtesy of ZeroHedge

Screenshot courtesy of ZeroHedge

Like I’ve said previously. No one would even contemplate the impact of HFT at the time let alone the regulatory bodies as to look into any possible legal issues. However, you don’t need to be trying to spin or conflate this issue to show that just maybe – you were right when everyone (including the most powerful voices on Wall Street itself were stating people like myself “didn’t have a clue as to what we were talking about.”

We did, and just how much of a clue gets reported in greater detail every passing day. And the picture isn’t getting any better or more settling. As a matter of fact, it’s becoming even more frightening.

This is just one example, (and there have been more) but I think it’s an important one as to show those who may be new readers and wonder what gives me the standing to interject my opinions or ideas about Wall Street based issues since for many I’m just some “motivation” guy.

So with all that said I’ll shift into what is becoming far more dangerous in my view today that once again seems no one wants to either understand, contemplate, or worse – they just won’t admit it.

Here’s the first of 8 charts. They’re annotated so just click on them if you need to see them in a larger size to read more clearly.

This where we basically were at the beginning of this year 2014

This is where we basically were at the beginning of this year 2014

Then when the proverbial stuff hit the fan

Then when the proverbial “stuff” hit the fan in Oct.

Then when it seemed as all that "stuff" wasn't what we thought

Then when it seemed as all that “stuff” wasn’t what we thought. Or were told.

But there were reasons for why and I show then in green

But there were reasons for why and I show them in green

Here's another view and reasoning's as to "why"

Here’s another view of the year and my reasoning’s as to “why”

More reasoning for "why"

More reasoning for “why”

Further explaining "why"

Further explaining “why”

And finally the most important one - Where the real questions to asked reside.

And finally the most important one – Where (in my opinion) the real questions to be asked reside. There are 4

First: Question 1.
This was the moment in time where it just seemed nothing could derail the economy. Everyone you knew seemed to have their own personal ATM machine. (Remember when owning a house seemed to fit that descriptor?)

Jobs were plentiful, construction was everywhere, people were shopping, buying cars, boats, vacations, luxury branded items, you name it. Getting a loan or credit card was as easy as breathing. And in some cases – breathing was optional. It was truly a form of economic euphoria for many. What was next to invest in, purchase, speculate, _________ (fill in the blank) Again – you name it. For good times seemed here to stay. The only question that wasn’t being asked was – for how long?

Question 2.
We found out. Not that long at all.

Near overnight everything you once thought, believed, or held dear as to your financial security or health was disappearing right before one’s very eyes.

Neighbors were suddenly being foreclosed upon, cars were being repossessed, stores closing, mass layoffs, businesses shuttering’s and far more.

Panic seemed to be both filling the air not only outside but inside one’s own home. What made matters worse were all those people who touted “they knew what to do” suddenly not only hadn’t a clue, they were just as dumbfounded and outright panic-stricken as their clients were.

Nobody knew what other proverbial shoe was to drop next. And just as many didn’t want to know.

The only answers any one wanted to know or hear were to: Would it stop? Or, would they survive it?

Question 3.
For the first time in months it seemed as if one could catch their breath and maybe put back the pieces of their financial life.

With a massive bailout now known as TARP and the introduction of another program tried for the first time known as QE1 the markets had not only seemed to stabilize but had regained some of its composure – although it was far from stable.

Then QE1 was touted as a one time only type fix and was ending. And with that end, out of the blue, the markets once again began to falter and began heading back toward the lows set during the first melt down stage.

This is where it became clear there truly was so much damage to the economic underpinnings of the capital markets that it was deemed unfit to be left on its own.

And with that then Fed. chairman Ben Bernanke make an announcement in what many deem (as do I) the “infamous” Jackson Hole speech. Where he announced the Fed. would basically not only reinstate QE, but would apply the pedal to the metal in a fashion never before seen in the history of the markets.

That took place precisely where that arrow points. Because up until that moment – all bets – were once again – off!

Now: The Real Question.
This is where we stand today with probably: the most important question that one can ask in relation to exactly how one views or how they’re going to treat their finances going forward.

Why is it so important? One would think the most important one was when we were nearing the abyss. After-all: Isn’t that the one? Along with answering: We answered it correctly did we not? After all -“Just look at that chart!”

I would like to say yes, but instead; I’ll base my answer this way…

When we started out at “Question 1” it is hard for anyone who understands business, or finance, entrepreneurship, or even self-reliance and not see –  we were a little ahead (or maybe even full) of ourselves.

The economy, the jobs, all of it was fueled by an over-extension of credit within the economy that all of us were able to partake in. And I do mean near everyone.

Many would say that’s where we are now. In just an over extension of free money equaling basically the same thing. And a growing number seem to making some case as to which; we now know more on what to do and could handle a similar shock if it ever appeared once again in much the same manner. i.e., “The Fed’s got your back!”  So what’s all the worry about?

Even more are starting to fortify the: “Just do like they those guy’s on television say to do and “Buy the F’n dips!”

I mean, not for nothing – they’ve been right so far. Maybe it’s you that needs to ‘think like a billionaire’ and get with it. Obviously these  people are currently ‘Kill’n it!'”

And therein lies the real question that one must answer first before moving past GO and receiving their proverbial $200.00

What you must honestly answer first before you can “think like a billionaire” or contemplate a myriad of possible other myths that may pertain to the financial markets is this:

As faulty as the markets were at the point before the markets fell. And – as hallucinatory as the financial exuberance was for good, or for ill. What was different then from today is the jobs were real, the houses being bought and sold were real, the shopping, the construction, all of it. Again “for good, or for ill”  were real and everyone was basically reaping in the spoils.

That money (as in a literal economic fashion) did change hands, was put to work, however you want to describe it was there being swapped and exploited by near everyone.

Now, for all intents and purposes the only one’s that have benefited this time are the top 1%. The other 99% are more concerned about the economy than ever, because they know and can plainly see just by looking out their own front doors – this economy looks nothing like the economy that supported similar levels just a few short years ago. Regardless of any report or chart being touted and used to support validity on why “It’s different this time!”

Today, from where that third arrow sits, precisely where the Fed announced QE would not only once again be tried, but the amount to be unleashed will be one for the history books to wonder over for generations. All the way to the final arrow at the top where we are today. That whole rise, all of it – has absolutely nothing remotely close to the fundamental economic underpinnings or economics we had before the crisis.

Or if I may be so bold to say – anything to do with what you or I took to understand as “fundamental economics.” These “fundamentals” are more inline with “funny/fuzzy-mentals” which for my money ipso facto proves the markets themselves – are the myth.

The jobs aren’t there, the sales, the construction, the loans, the housing. There’s now falling GDP from not only the US – but nearly every other economy including – China. You know, the GDP producer that was going to save the world?

Yes, even theirs is contracting. Not only that, even Wall Street itself can’t take advantage all this rising market as one would think they would or could. They themselves are continually needing to layoff, or shutter certain operations, and a host of others.

The financial media such as the once darlings of Wall Street CNBC™ has ratings that have plummeted to levels not seen since their start 2 decades ago. Nobody cares, nobody’s watching, and more importantly – nobody’s buying this market except for the Central Banks which are now seemingly unleashing wave after wave of “beggar thy neighbor” monetary policies that are beginning to make even die-hard Keynesian devotees blush.

So maybe the real question that should be asked and answered should also be asked a little tongue-in-cheek style that fits the Clint Eastwood portrayal of Dirty Harry.

“Now that you’re here, at never before seen in human history highs in the market. And seeing you’ve just witnessed the Central Banks version of a monetary Howitzer™.

And seeing it is the biggest most powerful monetary gun in the world, and can blow the short sided or contrarian asset managers account clear off the trading room floor.

You need to ask yourself. Did they fire the last round of QE? Or is there still one left? For in all this parading of meaningless minutia and HFT fueled stop running algo programs I’ve kinda lost count myself.

So I guess the real question is…

Do you feel lucky?”

Sometimes a little brevity in the way one asks a serious question just might push forth the truth. For today, more than ever, truthful answers to the correct questions are what’s truly needed.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

Why Tony Robbins Is Asking The Wrong Questions

First off let me make this statement plain and simple before one reads any further. This is not a hit piece, nor an effort to take swipes at Tony Robbins or worse, some feeble attempt at click-baiting.

I have been a true fan since he first hit the motivational stage decades ago. However, just as I am what many would call an Apple™ “fan-boy” (which I am) it doesn’t stop me from pointing out issues where I see a compelling reason to do so.

As I’ve stated before, I mean it in a manner the same way one would criticize a family member when they are either doing something that doesn’t make sense, or something other. Nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t know Mr. Robbins personally, but for this discussion please excuse the liberty I take with using “Tony.” It just makes the writing easier.

Like many I was intrigued to see Tony has a new book. His first in over 20 years. When I read the title, “MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom,” (2014 Simon & Shuster) I was both intrigued as well as apprehensive. Why?

It’s basically this: I’m also in the same field (e.g. entrepreneur, motivational speaker, coach, et al) as Tony. And my writings and thoughts on money or markets sometimes appear in some of the same arenas. e.g., Business Insider™, MarketWatch™, et al. Which is precisely where I read his thoughts as well as a few questions he was asking some of today’s Wall Street titans. e.g., Warren Buffet, Paul Tudor Jones, Carl Icahn and others.

In an article written by Tony on Business Insider, “Tony Robbins Shatters The 9 Most Common Investing Myths” As I read I and was left shaking my head.

The article goes on to discuss that there are nine “myths.” And you can read them for yourself rather than me list or counter each. However, to demonstrate in a real example of what I’m trying to get across, I’ll use the first in that series.

“Myth 1” starts with quoting Warren Buffett and sums the premise in this paragraph.

“So instead of buying all the stocks individually, or trying to pick the next high-flying hotshot fund manager, you can diversify and own a piece of all 500 top stocks simply by investing in a low-cost index fund that tracks or mimics the index.”

The true myth is that what is actually in the index as a business, its economic makeup, its validity as a true business, or anything else that we once understood as what a business “is.” Is – no longer and doesn’t mean squat.

The only “is” that now matters is this : Is – the index one that has a bulls-eye that the Central Banks deem important? i.e., they will buy it directly or fund its purchase via their proxies. Period.

Want a little proof to put behind that statement you say? Fair enough. Remember when then Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke pointed out in meeting after meeting as to answer the efficacy of the Central Bank’s then quantitative easing programs: “Just look at the Russell 2000™?”

That was then – and now since he’s gone and that’s no longer the Fed’s key “go to” point of reference I’ll state: “Just look at the Russell 2000.”

What “indexing” prowess would one use to describe or answer the current lackluster relative showing as every other index hits another nosebleed level?

To reiterate what I’ve said so many times prior: Since the financial crisis of 2008 not only has the financial markets changed – they no longer resemble what many still believe, let alone think.

As I’ve stated over, and over, and over (did I say over?) again: Without the direct interventionist policies continuing to take place within the financial markets via the Federal Reserve and now other Central Banks such as Japan’s with the unleashing of “Banzainomics” there is no market.

The sad reality in regards to “myth 1”  lies the realization that the true unsettling answer is – the markets are the myth. That’s the true revelation. Sorry to sound harsh, but it’s true.

Even Mr. Icahn himself has been expressing some very onerous or cautionary overtones of late. As stated in an article on ZeroHedge™ during a recent Reuters™ Investment Outlook Summit in New York Mr Icahn stated:

“I am still concerned that one day you’ll see a break like you had a few weeks ago but it won’t come back.”

This is what I truly want to hear more of as well as articulated more in-depth as to know what an “investing billionaire” is thinking, doing, contemplating, positioning, and more.

The real issue at hand from my point of view is this: Looking for answers to both financial safety as well as financial freedom in the same light or viewpoint where it seems one only needs to “think like a billionaire” or “tweak” or “slightly modify” perceptions on how one approaches these financial markets today – will hurt more than it will help.

The markets for all intents and purposes are no longer for the “average” person looking to make gains in any form today. What is needed now more than ever is a direct understanding that safety – safety above all else – is paramount. And exactly how one can achieve it. Or get as close to the proverbial “cash in the mattress” understanding of it as humanly possible.

The idea of “diversification” is a great sounding idea in principle and theory. However, it is one of the greatest myths when it comes to protecting one’s assets in today’s financial market place aka Wall Street.

During the financial crisis of 2008 when the markets were in a free-fall and panic was ensuing “a diversified portfolio” did little if anything to help stem the tide. As a matter of fact, many found the “diversification” side of their portfolio which was to help “protect” not only fell just as far in value, but the ability of many to even remain solvent going forward was questioned.

The safest of all presumed “investments” were money-market accounts where many prudent investors with the ability to sell and go to cash were left sitting nervously when it was realized these very funds had begun to “break the buck” and was fueling the panic fire even more so than adding gasoline.

Forget the gasoline reference – it was more like nuclear fuel. Only when the Federal Reserve along with the FDIC stepped in with some bold actions which stemmed the tide within the money-market funds did we finally begin to see some form of stabilization come back into the markets.

Until that point all – and I do mean all – bets were off. Diversification was meaningless.

Today, I believe one must worry even more about safety than what one thought just 5 years ago, for what many still believe or thought about “money-markets” no longer applies.

Why would I say such a thing? Is it because you thought or presumed there’s even more improved safety since the crisis? Where we learned how to make one’s money-market account even safer? Or maybe even a more pragmatic willingness to step in and save probably the most astute financial class in the markets today such as someone prudent enough, or smart enough, to hold cash in a 401K or such? Nope.

Today (which I’ve written and warned about previously) in such an event where if the markets were to once again go haywire there’s no need for the Fed. to step in and help stem the tide of the money-markets. They can let them adhere to the same market forces as the stock markets themselves.

For as one may not be aware or remember, the new rules are that they can now “break the buck” without having to sell assets to protect that breaking quite so hastily.

Another way to state that is: the “dollar” value in your “cash” account doesn’t have to be worth a “dollar” any longer.

Nor if you want that “dollar” (which for whatever reasons could now drop to Oh, let’s say 50 cents or yes lower) you may not even be “allowed” access to it.

Why? Because these new rules also let the custodians of your cash “gate” your cash. i.e.,  Sorry, no money for you. Just visit our website, or reread that “updated” agreement you received which you probably slid in a drawer with the other five thousand “notices” of fine print you received and “accepted.” Thanks for banking with us!

That’s just handling the myth side discussed in this article. In another article (he just released a book so it’s more than customary to write more than one release article at the same time) that appeared on Market Watch™, Tony went into questions he asked of some very big players known by many on Wall Street. e.g. Mr. Icahn. Mr. Jones, and others.

Again, I understand Tony’s objective in trying to figure out answers to some very intriguing questions by these Wall St. players. Yet, as I stated earlier, I believe he’s asking the wrong questions.

In an opinion piece titled,“Tony Robbins tells you how to make money like a billionaire” Tony tries to get to the underlying premise as to answer how people can control their money and gain financial freedom. In it he makes a statement which I believe he’s sincere,

“After watching the global financial system almost melt down, I began an amazing journey several years ago to find a way for individual investors to take control of their money in a system that seems rigged against them.”

Here is where I both found myself asking the very same question Tony had been asking at the very same time. However, although we are both in the motivation business, and we’re both the same age. We both came to two diametrically opposite viewpoints on how one should proceed in anything financially related. (as far as anything Wall Street is concerned)

Personally I had the unique benefit as well as motivator to find or seek true answers. For I had just retired less than 36 months prior to the financial crash and had a real vested interest in finding those desperately needed “real answers” because, at that time, all the so-called “experts” were not only not making sense – they were more like deer in the headlights. I was then 45 years old.

I have great respect for Paul Tudor Jones, Carl Icahn, and the others he questioned. But here comes that word again; “however,” the questions are more or less in my opinion irrelevant and maybe of little value other than “mindset” type thinking for entrepreneurs.

The reasoning why is this: What they are doing is of little value to the average investor to use via making money in the markets or protecting one’s assets from harm. Especially in today’s “markets.”

For as I’ve reiterated over, and over again. “These markets are so adulterated with Central Bank imposed manipulations it would make Larry Flint blush.

The questions that should be asked in my opinion are far removed from what most will ask. Yet, I believe, there are some that not only should be asked, rather – it’s in their true answers that can or may help provide true insight.

An example of these might go like this: As far as exploring a “myth,” the right question for a myth might revolve around answering questions that people like myself and others find themselves in after they just cashed out, retired, whatever and went through the crisis of ’08. e.g., How do you do anything with your money safely where you also need that money to generate income to now pay your bills? And – you have absolutely no trust in what the markets resemble or have become today?

When I first retired you could easily (what was believed to be then) “safely” with “no risk” put your money in funds that would generate 5% (or more) interest. Today? That vehicle doesn’t exist. It only exists in name only i.e., “CD’s” “Direct savings” or “money-market savings” type accounts.

With the Federal Reserve now into another year of a zero interest policy environment now .5% is like “whoo hoo!”

Think I’m off base? Don’t take my word for it. In a recent interview on Bloomberg Surveillance™ another true hedge fund legend Julian Robertson founder of Tiger Management™ stated in a reply to an answer about trying to safely manage one’s own money as in a savings account type vehicle, (I’m paraphrasing) “Take the entrepreneur that sold his business and now has let’s say $3 million dollars in proceeds. Today, that money only produces $60K a year. And that’s before taxes. This is what many now find themselves up against in today’s zero interest rate environment.”

Just 5 years ago if you cashed out with $3 million from “Main St. you thought “Easy St.” was just another boulevard connected to “Wall St.” Today? Wall St. is now a thoroughfare seemingly located in a very high-priced area where at any moment it could turn into “Panic City.” Where the streets are lined with Wall St. styled hotels that sing a different extended version of a tune most know, “You can checkout any time you like – but you may never leave – with your money!”

Today the prudent are squarely focused on another old mantra; It’s no long “a return on” after 2008 it’s now “a return of” that dominates almost any – if not all my questions when it pertains to money. And I know – it’s not just me.

As we once again hit “new never before seen in the history of mankind all time highs” the outflows are still predominately outweighing the inflows. Nobody’s buying these markets – except for Central Banks.

A person I wish was asked questions who is also a top-tier status hedge fund manager that I believe could give some real answers or valuable insights to entrepreneurs and others of all stripes which they could apply is people like Hugh Hendry of Eclectica Asset Management.

Mr. Hendry known to many as a no-nonsense contrarian styled fund manager moved from the proverbial “bear camp” and changed his thinking as well as asset allocation to what’s known as the “bull camp.” His reasoning, and a whole lot more he expressed in his thoughts going forward in 2014:

“Last bear standing? Not any more… I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that the last bear is capitulating. It isn’t a good sign. Maybe it is that simple. But I think it is a little more complicated.”

Although I’m also a Hugh Hendry fan, I myself found his reasoning’s at first blush conflicting. That said, the real insightful answer to a question such as: “How hard was it to go against nearly everything you’ve thought or believed when dealing in the financial arena – to then basically change your business model and investment criteria in the exact opposite direction?

Not only that – in a direction that basically you’ve also railed against and made cogent arguments against that very viewpoint or investment stance?

Or: How exactly are you handling the stresses and strains having to basically push sound fundamental theories or market underpinnings aside and now trade and position money at risk based solely on what some Central Bank will do next?

This is the avenue I wish Tony had driven or sought.

Another relevant question I believe that would have brought greater insight would be to ask principal and veteran Wall St. trader Joseph Saluzzi of Themis Trading™ how he handled the backlash and dismal by industry mavens, as well as the financial media at large, with his nascent warnings that trading as we all once knew it – was no longer present. And – had morphed into what many now would call the greatest financial monster threatening the stability of the financial markets in a way never before imagined. Known today as High Frequency Trading (HFT).

I remember as I was trying to wrap my own head around the distortions that perplexed me I would watch Mr. Saluzzi take barb after barb laced “C’mon, you can’t be serious” brush offs from one after another Wall St. financial media commentator.

Everyone including the very regulatory bodies in charge dismissed his clarion call. Then to be vindicated overnight suddenly for everyone to see when Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (2014 W.W. Norton & Co.) came out and rocked the proverbial house of cards being built.

Personally I remember one exchange that still sticks with me when one show host quipped to Mr. Saluzzi: (I’m paraphrasing) “What proof do you have?” And the reply was, “Proof? All I have to do is look at my screens!” It really was a noteworthy reply. However, at that time, no one listened – let alone would acknowledge the possibility.

Remember, this was a person working on Wall St. Imagine the sort of peer pressure alone and handling it, while not abandoning your conviction to what everyone (and I mean everyone) wants you too just keep quiet about – and play along. That is a question worth hearing the answer to for my money.

Again these are the forms or types questions that I personally would like to both know, as well as fully comprehend all the intricacies. For I feel there would be real pragmatic, useful insights any entrepreneur, as well as anyone watching their own money should hear.

I say it because just like Tony I feel it is something that anyone looking for financial freedom as to control their own monetary aspects needs to know the answers to.

Today I feel it is more important than ever. And Tony is a giant in more ways than one and commands a very big stage. It’s just what I’ve seen and read so far of the questions posed appears to have missed an opportunity. I could be wrong for I have not read the book, just what I’ve read in his most recent articles. And – it’s only my opinion. Nothing more.

The Wall Street everyone believes they are dealing with today is just in name and memory. What made sense just 6 years ago not only doesn’t but rather if you try to apply any sense that resembles “common sense” you might as well be asking the Cheshire cat for a more straight answer.

And as we stand today, the only place seemingly left thinking this meme of “Wall Street still leads to Easy Street” is Silicon Valley. Where many of today’s newly minted “billionaires” believe 2014 or ’15 “Is different this time” than it was in 1999 or ’00. It is – but is isn’t.

And the issue here is when the realization kicks in that the once “billion dollar darlings of Wall St.” realize they are no longer loved or sought after as vehemently as they were just a year ago, now that the Fed, has ended the open spigot hot money supply aka QE. What happens then?

There’s also another question that should be answered but this one comes from Tim Knight owner and prolific blogger of one of the top “bear focused” trading blogs on the web today: Slope Of Hope™.

He lives smack dab in the hottest real-estate market in Silicon Valley – Palo Alto CA. Where his neighbors are Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook™, and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo™, just to name a few.

He openly opines he’s trying to find a workable answer to a very relevant question as these markets are hitting these all time highs. His question?

“I wish there was a way I could buy a put option on my house value, because this place is just nuts!”

There’s a lot of answers to many questions about Wall St. in that above statement alone.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

Addendum: I was alerted by a reader of an article that came out on MarketWatch™ on Nov. 25, 2014 written by Cullen Roche titled: “Tony Robbins doesn’t quite master the game of money in his new book”

Similarly to my stance the article is not in any way a designed hit piece or slam against him, far from it. However, where my initial view and reaction was from reading Tony’s articles and synopsis styled presentation this article is written by a person that both read the actual book, as well as has standing in the financial money management class proper. I believe it helps move my initial response onto further footing.

Confidence Lost aka When Words No Longer Matter

One of the first things one learns when they are in a position of leadership is this: Choose your words carefully, mean what you say, then do what you say you’ll do. If you find you were wrong – admit it, state the reasons why clearly, then articulate once again clearly eschewing as much obliqueness as humanly possible what your intents are going forward – then do them. Rinse, repeat.

The above comes via experience, not some text-book found on some dusty bookshelf within the hallowed halls of academia where theory and an overdrawn dissection of minutia allows one to feel empowered to “lead” others.

The attitude displayed for many who’ve partaken only in thought experiments is this: If they endured endless hours of discussion in classrooms, with noses buried in textbooks, listening to drawn-out oratory given by some professor (where they themselves more than likely never applied these principles in real life situations) and now bear some parchment stating they concluded the preceding, then by dint – they are now qualified to either “lead” or be “leaders.” It’s not only a misguided pretense – It’s a load of bunk.

No more is this phenom becoming more prevalent than in the political arena today. I don’t care if you’re on the Left, Right, or somewhere in between. This isn’t about which side you’re on, or the “your guy or gal” debate. I’m speaking directly about confidence in leadership and what happens when it’s lost.

Although the clearest current examples are what is taking place in the political, make no mistake – they are also happening within the business community at a similar breathtaking pace.

Currently politicians and others involved in policy making are clamoring up to any camera, microphone, or reporter to “clarify” what they stated clearly and emphatically previously.

The problem? More or less many are claiming they were either “taken out of context” or, “that’s not what they truly meant.” The real problem? They forgot about all the cameras, audio recordings, speeches, and more they made previously so there would be no confusion what they originally meant. Now it is they that stand confused.

It’s one thing to try as to clarify, or to make sure original intent is understood. However, when your clarification takes on the aura of an out right lie or revision to the exact opposite of what you said. No words are going to help going further. In actuality – they’ll only cause more outage.

Let me set the premise of this with a very simple example.

You can’t make the argument that you were “taken out of context,” or you now need to “clarify” what you said previously if let’s say you told everyone, “There would be a park filled with flowers, along with a pool, all paid for with new-found revenue sources, that everyone may enjoy to be built in the center of town.”

Then after the construction one finds themselves looking for the words to calm an angry group standing outside their office outraged for when they visited the site not only did they not find a field flowers – it was nothing more than a paved parking lot named “The Flowering Meadows Parking Lot” with meters to insert money into from carpool-ers.

There is no “explaining” or “clarification” or anything else that’s going to work here. It’s all too clear. The only confident thing one will take from any words going forward is the confidence, no matter what you say going forward – is untrustworthy.

You can make this example pertain directly to future earnings calls when the equivalent rational will be used when trying to explain why “earnings” missed because “buybacks” were no longer inevitable with QE no longer available. (availability subject to change I might add just to be “clear”)

When issues like these suddenly rear their ugly heads, textbooks and debate gymnastic skills are not going to provide the answers or resolutions they once believed. (and many will quiver in the realization that maybe – the only textbook answer that may refer to an example is from 18th century France. And we all remember how that worked out.)

The issue at hand that many gloss over, or worse, have no understanding of whatsoever is the undeniable fact as well as truth in the phenom: When people are both scared as well as mad; their memories of what one said are not only long, rather – they are mentally written in the equivalent form of set concrete.

What must also be added to this is the very fact most intellectuals never quite grasp (for their judgement is clouded via their own superiority complex) People may not know or understand the inner workings of X+Y=Z. However, if the resulting combination was told (especially if promised) by a leader that it would result in a monetary or security based payout – and it doesn’t? Katie barring the door as well as lifting the castle bridge won’t hinder the ensuing onslaught. Nor will any proceeding words as to help “clarify” work. It will all be nothing more than moot points shouted over the moat.

This is where that proverbial “fine line” once crossed instantaneously becomes the equivalent of “crossing the Rubicon” when trying to “walk back,” or “clarify” previous remarks.

Few are prepared for such an adventure. And the more one looks for answers in the “textbooks” the higher and brighter the flames rise from the masses as they proceed to burn those very books.

Here is where only action means anything. Words no longer matter. As a matter of fact words more often than not should be sheathed in such circumstances.

Only clear, decisive actions taken by the leader will make any sense as to possibly lay any form of sway to those who now feel disenchanted with either the leader, the organization, or both.

If you’re in the policy making arena there are no words, no statements, no clarifications, no nothing that will change both the perceptions as well as the ensuing anger when people scared of impending perils that may beseech them as in such things as healthcare or other personal issues.

All they will remember is: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” to then find clearly – they can’t.

Or, “If you like your health-plan, you can keep your health-plan” to then receive a cancellation notice stating clearly – they can’t.

Add to this the other mantra, “Your premiums will decrease by as much as $2500.00” to then receive a bill stating clearly – they are going up by a minimum that amount.

There will be nothing one can say to “clarify” or state they were taken “out of context” or any other such revisionist request. People will not buy it – literally.

When times are good as in a raging economy, or a business that’s exploding in growth people as well as many leaders (whether in business or the political) for all intents and purposes tune out the minutia of most discussions and events.

Many will pay little if any attention to what might be seen in retrospect as a “costly set back” because the overwhelming mood or meme is, “things are going along pretty good, we can make up for it going forward.”

However, more often than not it is that exact reasoning that leads one into finding themselves up the river without a paddle just when a missed forecast or previous “unimaginable” tsunami hits.

Personally I only have a degree from the school hard knocks. However, I’ve been the one who received the phone-call or was asked to deal in a company more than once in both crisis management as well as a turnaround situation and have done it successfully. Again – more than once.

I know what it’s like to try to move a company forward picking up the pieces of the preceding “leader” or management where the only thing left behind seems to be distrust.

I’ve worked in both a union, non-union, as well as a mix of the two. What I’ve both learned as well as observed in both the implementation as well the resolution to a crisis is this: You only have one shot to say what you mean, then mean what you say articulated with decisive, immediate action. Other than that – no amount of words or oratory gymnastics will restore a molecule of confidence. Period.

The textbooks currently touted within the hallowed halls of academia all point to dealing with the masses or business interests based on “the state of the economy.”

In general it will be professed when the economy is going along well based on the capital markets, as well as the government reporting agencies (i.e. government reporting agencies reporting GDP is up, unemployment is down etc., etc.) that one can afford to do this, that, or the other thing with little too no concern of costs associated financially or politically. Fair enough one might say. What’s wrong with that?

I might tend to agree with that myself however like I said, I have had the privilege of gaining my education from “Hard Knocks U.” and have learned to be very leery and cautionary of what everyone else deems “conclusive evidence.”

Today we find the most egregious examples of policy makers backtracking, walking back, clarifying, restating, rewriting, you name it in an effort to vanquish the growing onslaught of outright anger festering within the populace.

And many are finding themselves with little time as to scratch their head let alone come up with the words to slow down the crowd as they try piling the living room furniture ever higher against the door in a hope this will allow for more time and find the “right words or message” that may quell the fury. It won’t, for this didn’t happen in a vacuum.

It happened because they believed the words of others that only parrot back what the policy makers wanted to both hear – as well as believe. Which people like myself and very few others have been pounding our desks and keyboards trying to get anyone to listen.

For it’s for these very reasons the interventionist monetary policies first implemented by the Federal Reserve and now being carried into the future in unison by other Central Banks are, and have been, so dangerous.

For they’ve been shielding policy makers as well as a great many of the business community from seeing or believing the true health and structure of the once best gauge of financial health and political stability – The capital markets.

Earlier during the dreaded days following the financial crisis of 2008 policy makers everywhere took to what was once known as the “business media.” Many were appearing more often on a “financial channel” than they were on CSPAN™.

Suddenly politicians and policy makers seemed to be (and currently still are) “the go to guests” crowding out the once coveted true “business leader.” Let alone any with an opposing viewpoint of true economics.

It became quite obvious any business leader (one that actually ran a company) that seemed indifferent to the “party line” that things were not all that they seemed, suddenly found themselves out of the on-air, rah, rah, “power rotation.”

What was not lost on some of us was when then House Leader back then was quick to state not only did they watch channels such as CNBC™ (which was where this interview was conducted) but that they were on in every office throughout Washington.

Is it any wonder why these leaders are suddenly finding themselves caught within the wrath of a political firestorm coming from all sides?

It would seem the only people still watching this channel (as per their reported ratings which are prima facie disastrous) are these very same leaders.

Words, numbers, earnings and more at one time had a believable meaning there also. But that was a very long time ago. So long – even the leaders of that network seems to have forgotten what the meaning of words like business, free markets, capitalism and others once meant.

Now it’s nothing but a televised version of crony styled capitalism cheerleaders rolled out one after another in such procession P.T.Barnum would be proud.

The problem is the more they talk – the more people tune out. For no amount of words stated matter any longer. Nor do the myriad of “charts” “reports” or so-called “facts” they hold up as evidence. No one is listening or watching. And what’s worse?

Nobody now cares.

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr

A Few Notes On A Few Things – “Coming Soon!”

Currently I have so many irons in the fire I feel like a ping-pong ball moving from one task to the next as it seems I have more than 5 going all at once.

Deadlines for one, conceptual arrangement for another, along with the all too frequent getting close to the finality of another – then deciding I just don’t like it and am willing to throw the whole thing in the trash and start from scratch. (Which I’m prone to do and drives StreetCry nuts!)

One thing has become quite puzzling as of late. The larger the audience coming to the site and signing up as to “subscribe” via email increases. Many times one post later – the same number might “unsubscribe.”

Yes many stay (and you are appreciated) and the base continues to grow. However, we have been watching as the phenom happens over, and over again. It was one of those things that makes you scratch your head. Then it dawned on me. The blog for all intents and purposes had become very eclectic in subject matter.

People originally came here to read my thoughts on leadership, entrepreneurship, motivation, etc. They’d see a speech I’ve made or during a discussion and want more info.Then my writing took on far more subject matter and diversity of topics where others would read something I’ve written discussing global markets, financial matters, entrepreneurial issues and more.

Then there are others that seem to take to the “I’ve got a bee in my bonnet” rant where I’ve basically had enough of an issue and want to share as to maybe help others avoid or tackle an issue. And as many of you know quite a bit more.

However as I related earlier this came front and center when one of my articles was carried like they often do across many leading news sites. People apparently liked what they read and decided to sign up to receive more by email. Then about 24hrs later they received my thoughts as I wrote and contemplated impending concerns on the Ebola issue. And near overnight all that signed up that night before – left.

If one had come for insights on business or something other; to then get a story about Ebola in their mailbox I myself might have done the same thing thinking “what the frig is this?” (ding) Unsubscribe.

However it made the issue apparent and when we looked back over the data you could see it before as well as after. (For the record that article on Ebola was so far ahead of what anyone else was saying when it truly went “viral” even I was taken back. When I saw my name and article on the front page of sites like InfoWars™ and others even I was like “holy moly!”)

So here’s what’s coming. I am currently in the process of putting together another website designed specifically for motivational work. It will be available next year hopefully early in the year however, I am in a battle royal trying to regain access to a domain which I own and have owned for years back under my control. Currently it seems I’m being held hostage in some form of retaliation for moving this site. The name is important and I don’t want to abandon it till I’ve exhausted all reasonable options. Lawyers are next but I just don’t want to pull that trigger. Yet I’m growing angrier by the day. I’ll keep you posted.

Will this blog change? Well yes, and no. What will happen is there will be a clear separation where people who want specific articles and other items coming on-line will get just those that’s all. I guess in one way it proves ipso facto I’m not just a one subject pony.

On my upcoming book, I’ve decided to push back the release date and I just might scrap the whole project as I first envisioned it. Why? Because a book, is a book, is a book, and this one was turning into – a book.

Although I was feeling comfortable with it something kept gnawing at me. Then I received an invite to get a first edition printing of Seth’s new book coming out and it hit me – that’s it! Don’t get me wrong I’m not copying Seth. What he is going to release is truly original and I can’t wait till its out. (and I encourage all of you to do the same)

However, it’s the format that I was tired of. The traditional “book” per se’ in many ways is just that – traditional. So I’m toying with another format that’s been used by others and I think following in this new format with my own personal tweeks fits what I want rather than the traditional book. (e.g. Paul Arden, Tom Peters, and a few others have used this varying format and when I dug out my copies I knew right there what I wanted.)

Currently the audio and video projects are coming along. It was precisely for these we had the subscriber sign up push where people responded – then as I said before received an article on Ebola or something diametrically opposed or off topic and (ding!) unsubscribed. But all in all it’s been a great learning experience. We learn more and more because – more and more visit the blog now from so many places I can truly say unequivocally “visited and read around the globe.” Just staggering to me as I even type today. It truly humbles one.

I remember when it wasn’t all that long ago I sat glassy-eyed as I stared at my computer screen when my first book was made available for download and was slack-jawed to see it had been downloaded in over 40 countries in about 3 days. I remember just as vividly how I felt when we had visitors routinely coming to the blog from over 60 countries. Now, that number is well over 100. (Just typing that made me stop for a moment.)

All this and I didn’t even mention anything about live events. (and some other things in the idea stages)  Yes, it is going to be a very, very, busy time.

And finally, as always, a sincere thank you too all of you that read or visit this blog in one form or another around the globe. So here’s in looking too pushing that proverbial pedal down even harder. It should be an even faster, wilder ride.

At least that’s what I’m trying for.

Mark

© 2014 Mark St.Cyr