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

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

This one’s a bit lengthy, but it’s for good reason. Usually I try (try is the operative word here) to be as brief as I can. Yet, I felt this time, with the subjects at hand, I would delve just a bit deeper. There’s many new readers of late, and I felt I would take this opportunity and explain a few things (and maybe bring a few older readers up-to-speed as well) that I’ve been asked on numerous occasions and incorporate it.

With us now in the midst of the vacation season I know many of you are doing just that, but I also know (for if you’re just like me) you’re still reading and keeping up-to-date with your many sources. It’s just what business people do, for business never sleeps, nor vacations, right?

So, with that said, grab your beverage of choice, maybe dig your toes a bit deeper into the sand, and let’s get into it…

Many of you that have been reading my work for some time (and too all of you, let me say, as always, thank you) know that one of the questions I’m asked by people who may have come across my work for the first time is this: “If you’re ‘supposedly’ so widely read, then why haven’t I seen you in places like the New York Times™, The Economist™, and such or, on TV like I do so many others?”

There’s usually quite a bit of skepticism (probably more like cynicism) in their voice when they ask, but it’s a fair question, for I have done much the same of the years.

So it’s in that vein I would like to offer up, let’s say, some examples to explain this to many of the new people who have expressed interest in my work recently. And, as always, thanks goes too all of you as well, and yes, even my detractors.

Let’s start off with the whole “TV” thing, as in, “Why aren’t you?” Fair question, here’s the simple and truthful answer: I could very easily, I don’t want too, and don’t care.

Do you believe that? Probably not, and it’s a fair assessment, for in today’s world most can’t get their mug into a camera or microphone fast enough, or even just enough. (Hint: next-in-rotation fund manager, or academic) So why would someone, doing what I do now, be any different? It’s a simple as this:

I have absolutely no desire to go to New York City. I know enough people who I could call and ask for a “favor” to be introduced, or have my name dropped to the producers of many of these shows (for they themselves are guests) and make myself available for an in-house interview for comments in one form or another. But this is the key: you would need to be ready and able to show up in-house, live. e.g., in New York.

My feelings? Not interested, I no longer fly for anything whenever possible, I’ll even refuse speaking engagements depending on the flight alone.

Flying today, as far as I’m concerned, is the equivalent of taking the city bus for a 12 hour trek. And don’t get me started on “First Class,” “Business Class” or other such monikers that are used by many airlines today. Paying $1000.00 extra for a ticket which provides about 2 inches more “leg room,” and only one row ahead of some chair kicking two-year-old that can’t be controlled by their parents, that has been “upgraded” from the back of the plane, because it was “overbooked.”

Or, better yet: Try telling the parents of said child (hypothetically of course) that they need to control their child from either kicking your seat or screaming bloody murder for no apparent reason other than they can’t watch cartoons on the movie screen instead of the worst movies ever produced that will only be watched because people are trapped in a tube flying at 30,000 feet, with no parachutes. (if there were many I’ll presume would, including yours truly)

In today’s world, what you’ll more than likely get to the above is a possible confrontation from those parents that suddenly requires terms like, “plane diverted”, and “Air Marshalls.” It ain’t worth it. Period.

On an aside note, you have possibly heard me on television, but you may not have known it. “How could that be” you’re asking? Fair question, ever heard the host of one of your favorite show host state the following, “Reuters™ is reporting…?” Until I was watching the television one night and heard the host state just that, then the reporting sounded very familiar (actually I think the term I used was “that report is genius!”) was when I looked on-line and there found one of my articles under the Reuters banner. (“genius” now was totally applicable, at least in my head anyways) That was quite the rush, trust me. Regardless of whether or not my name was mentioned.

You can’t take away that I’ve had my material reported on over the largest, and by one cables most respected shows and hosts. And it’s happened more than once. Not bad for a guy who can’t spell cat without spell checker, but I digress.

“So why can’t, or don’t you do what I see all the time, like ‘On The Phone’ type of thing?” Fair question, and here’s why:

To do television (remember, I’m talking here about what we would deem mainstream, or network type shows) Live, in studio, is paramount, for that’s where all the money is spent to have exactly the “right” presentation, at least, as far as the producers are concerned.

Again, remember, $Millions upon $Millions are spent on these studios, both in set up, as well as ongoing costs. It’s all about “the looks.” “Looks” trump content 99.9% of the time. There is rarely, if any, deviation from a 100% controlled live-on-set situation that will be allowed when it comes to television. There is only one way you’ll be asked (or able) to do a “phone in.” Your name has to be instantly recognizable. Other than that, you’re pretty much not getting on the show or shows.

However, this topic segues directly into something I’ve not only been saying, but also instructing people for years. i.e., You must know your metrics and what they truly mean both too you, as well as your business.

Case in point:

Sure, I’m not on TV, but someone I not only admire, but also, is one of those few that has the name recognition, as well as intellectual heft, that does both. e.g., live-in-studio, as well as “”on the phone.” That would be David Stockman, former budget director for Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Stockman doesn’t suffer fools gladly and will say so, yes, even on live TV, sometimes to the horror of his interviewer. (where I greatly admire his bravado!) His credentials not only speak for themselves, but further allow him to speak his mind, as he sees fit. You can agree or not, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t given careful consideration or thought to both his, as well as the opposing side of an argument. So why do I bring this up you’re now asking, and it’s a fair point, and here’s the reason.

Over the years Mr. Stockman has recommended some of my material as being worthy enough as to send out to his paying subscribers (near $400 a year) for content he’s personally curated and believes is important.

So now, using just the above, I’ll ask you what I feel is a far more important question than the one about “being on TV.”

What is more important to you: Appearing on some TV network? Or: watching people on TV, that you admire, knowing they’re reading then sending your work out to their network, because they deemed it as having value or pragmatic insight?

You can only answer that question truthfully (for there is no “correct” answer, it’s all situational) on what metrics you regard as useful, or valuable, dependent on your situation.

Some, for whatever the reasoning may say the first, some the latter, some can say neither. Again, all are correct if, you’re not kidding yourself with the “numbers” and what they mean to you, or your business.

For me, it’s the latter, as in knowing he’s referred my material. What makes that “metric” even more important from my standpoint? It’s this: I don’t know, never met, nor ever had any correspondence with him. What that means to you, is up too you. But I know what it means to me, and I’m quite proud of it. i.e., the material spoke for itself.

That’s just one example, but it’s an important one, for it condenses and symbolizes much from what I try to espouse with the whole “knowing your metrics and what they mean” discussions I continue have. Here’s another example for more context:

As I have written and spoke on many prior occasions, I’ve had many discussions (more like attempts at “gotcha”) where people have tried to express I either 1: had no clue. Or 2: was just bashing social media to be contrarian or some other purpose. (remember I don’t use or even have an account)

This is where I usually demonstrated via example (usually using the “gotcha” insinuators themselves) why maybe I’m not so “naive” on the subject as they are trying to paint me. Here’s an example…

I ask: “How many Twitter™ followers do you have?” They answer: “15 thousand.”

Me: “Is that considered a lot?” Them: (laughingly) “Yes.”

Me: “Do you have a website also? And if so can I ask how many ‘hits’ you get a day, or about?” Them: “Yes, and about the same.”

Me: “Fair enough, and I’ll also assume that that is considered a lot, true?” Them: (again laughingly) “Yes.”

Me: “So if I were to tell you my website had only one hit, for the entire week last week, would you consider that something of ‘pathetic’ to someone like yourself when trying to compare metrics against yours for an entire week?” Them: (suddenly nervously laughing) “Yes?”

Me: “Fair enough, so let’s use that as the basis. Just one more question: were you quoted, referenced, or anything else like that in the media this month?” Them: “Well no, but I was shared around Facebook™ maybe 10’s of thousands of times one day last week. Does that count?” (ending with a bit of a snicker.)

Me: “Sure, why not. So let’s compare: I don’t use social media, don’t have an account, and I only had one lonely hit to my website in all of last week. Compared to you, having over 15K followers on a social platform, the same visits directly to your website, and we’ll add those 10’s of thousands of shares for whatever you may have created, also. That’s quite a bit to go up against with my lonely, solitary, one, wouldn’t you agree?” Them: (suddenly wondering where this is going, states proudly) “Sure is.”

Me: “OK, fair enough. So here’s how my ‘one’ may trump what you consider to be more important. i.e. ‘Hits and being on social.’ Yes, I had only one hit, for an entire week, but that hit was a news organization with an audience of 10’s of millions. They then took my article, or cited my work, and put it out before their verifiable audience (per accepted, professional market size compilers) Then, shared it across their social media outlets such as Facebook and others where their Twitter account alone has 3 Million+ Followers, where it was then passed on, retweeted or shared even further across other platforms, as well as blogs. That puts me in the 10’s of millions and if we wanted to really start totaling the case could be made for 100’s of millions across the media both conventional, as well as social. So I’ll ask you this simple question: ‘Who is using, or getting the most out of social media? You or me? And let’s not forget – I don’t even have an account.'”

This is why I stress you have to understand what your metrics are, and what they mean. For if you don’t truthfully understand what is, and what is not, important to your situation, you’ll just end up chasing your tail. i.e., Realizing how much time and energy (or money) you’ve wasted on a useless exercise.

“Useless” is hyperbolic your thinking? Fair point, then I’ll assume you’re not one of those that suddenly found for no apparent (or good) reason that their content had suddenly (and unfairly) been booted off, disabled, or “demonetized” because of some “algo” with little to no recourse other than to send an email – and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait… Some are still waiting. Hint: Building a “business” on Youtube™ rather than their own site to one day wake up and find out Youtube has completely put them out of business overnight with no recourse.

So that’s addressing one point (as I said this wasn’t going to be a short piece) So with the above for a bit of context let’s move onto another contained in the same argument. i.e., “Why haven’t I seen you in places like the New York Times or Economist and such?”

This one is easy, They hate people like me. Pure and simple. Why? Easy, I dare openly argue, state, write, and demonstrate their bullsh•t – as what it is – bullsh•t.

Let me give you an example. If you were to listen or watch Bloomberg™ over the years one of their most tenured hosts would never mention names when referencing my or others material that went against the so-called “smart crowd” that populates the pages and airwaves of this set of Ph.D’d know-it-alls. The term they’d use for us? “Doom and Gloom Crew.” i.e., aka those of us found on ZeroHedge™.

This is where they liked to showcase just how “smart” they were, and hopelessly ill-informed people like yours truly are, where they would pose questions formed on the premise we were putting forth then, blather on about how absurd our notions were and how none of it would ever be possible. The message? (In my best intellectually stammering) “These unsavory reprobates have absolutely no understanding of the workings of the world, let alone business and money. By the way, do you have any Grey Poupon®?”

One such thing was that the Federal Reserve would not only begin monetizing the debt, but in doing so would make funds available via its preferred and selected entities to openly purchase stocks.

This one argument less than 10 years ago was considered absolutely “tin-foiled-hat, conspiracy thinking.” It was laughed at and vehemently proposed as “preposterous!” Today? This same set, the ones that argued those like yours truly were “tin foil hat wearing conspiratorialists” now openly proclaim and profess (as well as charge students $50K per year and more to listen to such trite) the genius of the Fed. in doing just that. And – have now moved it under the umbrella of “prudent monetary policy.” aka QE

Like I’ve said so many times before, Not being in places like the NYT, or the Economist, et al. I wear as a badge of honor. And today, I’ll give you the latest to emphatically prove my point.

As you already know my argument when it comes to Quantitative Easing (QE) from the beginning has been one of consistent warning. i.e., It’s perverting businesses and competition on a level never before seen, and in manners that are out-right dangerous to the entire structure of business.

I have used Netflix™ (along with others such as Amazon™, Tesla™, Facebook™ just to name a few) as a prime example of how the underpinnings of business, such as constructing a business that survives and thrives on creating products people will pay for thus creating net profits that can pay the bills and reward investors, was being willfully (and gleefully) flushed down the sewer of history at this moment. And the so-called “smart crowd” was one of its biggest defenders for doing just that.

Well guess who suddenly decided to share precisely what this perversion is only now clouded it under a some side-handed cloak of “brilliance:” Hint: The Economist.

Here’s just a sample from a recent article. To wit:

“One of the reasons that Netflix is spending in such haste is that Netflixonomics is a winner-takes-most proposition. People can only spend so much time being entertained by television. If you can provide them with entertainment they genuinely enjoy for that length of time, they will have little reason to pay anyone else for further screen-based entertainment—though they may splash out more for sport, and put up with adverts for news, real or fake. Being big early thus constitutes a first-mover advantage. And the dash towards size has the helpful side-effect of driving up rivals’ production costs at the same time as it eats into their revenues,” said The Economist.

So cash burn (i.e., spending more money than you make into perpetuity) to the tune of $Billions upon $Billions, for the sole purpose as to literally bankrupt (or force them to close or sell) all those in the space for a winner take all position – after – they’re through with their scotched-earth-policy of laying bare anything remotely resembling what was once considered “fair business practices” in now an acceptable, if not an enviable solution to today’s business environment. (Sounds just like their switch to praise of the once “preposterous” dealings of the Fed, does it not?)

I’m sorry, but that’s not business, in fact, it used to be called and known for what it really is: predatory business practices, illegal, and punishable by law.

But the Economist seems to be completely unaware of any similarity. But it should come as no surprise, for this is the same cabal that doesn’t understand the concept of what “free trade” truly means. After all, a country can’t be “dumping” or they’d know about it, right? After all they’re the ones invited as “representatives, speakers, or senior fellows” appearing at all their “industry” conferences, That alone would put them in a vested interest knowing better than you position, right? Right?

Now you know why I view them with such contempt. They are not only more than clueless, they’re actually hurting and denigrating everything that true business in a capitalistic society is supposed to be. (the only thing worse is many are teaching it) It’s beyond reproach just how far many of this so-called “smart crowd” have veered off true business understanding, fundamentals, as well as fair competitive practices.

Actually, it’s pathetic, but other than that, I have no strong feelings on the matter.

Which brings me to this last part. And it is here that maybe you’ve heard about me, but not know it. Why? Because yours truly was at the beginning and epicenter of the greatest media story of this century, still being played out across said media. That story? “Fake News.”

For those not familiar (For it now seems so long ago) when the original media frenzy known as the “Black Friday Report” which was first published by the Washington Post™ then picked up and promulgated by what seemed the entirety of the mainstream news, it was yours truly that was dead square in the epicenter of it all. I was also one of the few (there were less than 5 if I recall correctly) that also had articles on almost all of the top 5 or 10 sites they declared of the original 200 (e.g., ZeroHedge, Naked Capitalism, Drudge™, and a few others.)

Some, (although I don’t agree but that’s for you to decide, as it should) have said to me, one possible igniter, or reason for the greater smear, was that I dared call out the original germinating article put forth by an associate professor at Merrimack College back in my hometown and that, possibly, infuriated many of them causing them to look for an even larger “megaphone.”

So, what did I say that may have caused such a ruckus? Here’s an excerpt from that article I wrote the very next day titled, “Why You Should Always Consider The Source” To wit:

When I was growing up I decided I didn’t want to go to college. One of the reasons? My only choice at the time would have been to enroll at Merrimack. Why did I have such reservations? Well, as I said previous, I also lived in Andover. Why would that matter you ask? Easy:

In Andover where I lived, our house bordered the grounds of another school. That school is known as Phillips Academy (PA.) What does this have to do with Merrimack you ask?

Well, when you live in Andover (especially around “the Academy”) you learn a few things. First: PA is a prep school for not only the wealthy, but for the very wealthy. If you want a sample I’ll just use one of its alumni: John F. Kennedy. You can draw your own conclusions from there.

So what does this school have to do with the former? Well, the running joke among many from that area goes like this: Why is Merrimack College’s proximity to PA seen as a benefit to students attending and parents paying (and paying exorbitantly!) for prep? Because when students decide to slack-off too much or are about to fail – all a parent has to do is drive them just a few miles away and say – Fine: then this is where you’ll go after.

Grades increase with near immediacy. No private “tutoring” needed.

That was one day after the original smear campaign launched by this professor began, carried with great fanfare across the media in all of its outlets. e.g., TV, print, et cetera.

A week later? The Washington Post launched the “Fake News” smear campaign with the “Black Friday report” into a whole new level that might even make Felix Baumgartner blush.

So now you’re asking yourself, “Wait, I don’t remember hearing your name?” And that’s a very fair point, as a matter of fact you heard very few names.

You only heard the names of those you would immediately recognize like, Ron Paul the former congressman, I think there were only two others, which I can’t recall exactly, so I’ll leave them out of who were the only ones named directly, and I would imagine you can infer why.

For me, I was included in the “authors” argument of the smear in regards to being on ZeroHedge. As was professed for their conclusions and assertions of conspiracy, they declared their research showed, and I’m quoting:

“…this sites authors driving and shaping stories, not merely reacting to them.”

Their article, their insinuations, the mainstream medias portrayal, along with the piling on such as editors tweeting it and commenting on it like the NYT’s and others, including those that full-out ran with it, reprinting it, making it the largest media story still being argues as of today was – and still is – an absolute disgrace.

No one has put it all together in  a better argument and context than the Intercept’s™ Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald.

So what have I done with the above? Well, what else can I do but turn it into a positive, correct?  (That is – after one gets over the original shock of precisely what was at first insinuated and the possible repercussions should it not have found to be the purely motivated smear campaign that it was, thank God.)

So, the question remains, “Just how does one turn such a negative into a positive,” you may be asking? Great question, and since I’m both a former “ad man” as well as “salesman” I turned it into a badge of honor. To wit:

“Using research quoted by many of the most influential media houses such as The Washington Post™, NPR™, LA Times™, along with editors from The New York Times and more, this author has shown to be, ‘..driving and shaping stories, not merely reacting to them.'”

And that dear reader, is how you turn a negative into a positive. Or, as I like to jokingly demonstrate, how I’m probably one of the most famous people you’ve never heard of. Well, by name that is.

But I know my metrics, and I’m pretty happy with them, whether someone knows me by name or not. Because, when push comes to shove, I can prove what I’m saying. And trust me, saying it, more often than not, is a mouthful. But I’m happy to oblige sometimes, even when I’m not asked, but I’m working on that.

So as always, for those who say I just don’t get it? maybe I get a few more things than some may give me credit for, but I’m totally fine with that. Why?

I know my metrics and what they mean. As so should you.

Here’s to the rest of summer! Cheers!!

© 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.