Month: September 2018

Coming Soon: The Bifurcated Internet Of Things

In January of 2014 I penned an article titled “The Next Segment Of Luxury: Subscription Everything.” It was during this time that calling for any type of disruption to the now prophesied, holy writ via the mainstream business/financial media which declared the disrupters (Facebook™, Twitter™, Google™ et al.) had completely disrupted all that was available for disrupting, and would dominate these segments for generations was seen as heresy.

Today, it would seem, that once “holy writ” is being erased faster than the digital ink to create it could dry.

As we sit here today the idea I put forth nearly five years ago has much more credence than trying to argue that social media, or search will look anything like it does today five years hence. I believe we are in that moment of time where everything changes, once again, much like when social, as well as search, became the ubiquitous force that it now is over the last decade.

How much of change do I mean? Hint: Facebook and Google are today’s AOL™ and YellowPages® of the 90’s, and will resolve into the same fate. A stock market upheaval of any size and scope will only hasten that process. i.e., Stick a fork in them… You know the rest.

There are many reasons that can be assembled to further my hypothesis for today’s tech giants suddenly finding the road to further riches becomes laden with potholes, landmines, gullies, bridge out types hazards. But there is no one issue larger than the coming lawsuits through either imposing legislation (e.g., Article 11, 13 via the EU.) along with what will surely make a shark feeding frenzy look rather tame as the term “class action” begins to make the rounds.

And make those rounds they surely will, along with a circling pack of lawyers and firms that will make real sharks wince for their veracity and speed.

All conjecture, of course. However, to say there isn’t visible signs of “blood in the water” is probably just as foolish as assuming those fins just off shore are probably just a pod of dolphins looking for a shoal. “Happy swimming” is all I’ll say.

So this begs the question of not only where to next, but also, how? And it is here where my original thesis begins to play out in more readable terms.

From the afore-mentioned article:

So where would the next area of branding look if it were wanting to branch out? Another designer line of clothes? Car? Zip Code? Well, it could always add to, or improve a brand within a category. However, if you really wanted the explosive growth area that any self-respecting brand dreams of; it’s taking what once seemed worthless, and transforming it into something not only sought after, but has both exclusionary and aspirational characteristics contained as well.

Just look at previous everyday items for clues of this phenom. Can you say shoes? Handbags? Sunglasses? Computers? _______fill in the blank. (again either by price or “in the cool crowd”) Suddenly it seemed over night a great set of women’s shoes needed a red sole. A handbag now needed someone else’s initials to be sought after. A computer needed to have a fruit attached and so on.

So where could this next area or product category be? Maybe, its right under our very noses. (or fingertips might be a better example)
The entire web or internet as we now know it via the humble URL.
Let me explain…

The web and everything about it; what people have access to, the speed of that access, the curation of that information, along with the amount of it has been handed a serious new set of rules never before thought plausible. i.e., The web is (or will be) no longer an unenforceable, unrestricted vehicle in both information as well as speed.

For the first time the rules of the web as we have known it, have been inverted. i.e., The web and your access to it can be both restricted as far as what information, along with the speed delivered, with a now monetary enforceable pricing mechanism. It used to be if you wanted better, faster, more – you just bought the equipment you needed, hooked up, and you were off. Now? You still might need all that however, if you don’t pay or have the proper subscription it may not matter.

We live in a world currently under the guise that every URL (aka a web address) across the web is equal. That no longer is, or will be the case going forward. Depending on what today’s menu of search engine algorithmic criteria are ( and will change tomorrow) one may, or may not even wind up in the results. You can pay to be higher, i.e., sponsored ads. And, currently, more traffic means diddly. Just ask any SEO (search engine optimization) veterans.

Again, “For the first time the rules of the web as we have known it, have been inverted. i.e., The web and your access to it can be both restricted as far as what information…”

How well does this describe what was once taken for granted on many of these platforms? Shadow banning, de-platformed, demonetized, non-notification of/for suspension, double standard rule enforcement, and on and on. This is what disruption now looks like. i.e., the customer’s disruption, not the provider.

The social phenom that was once pushed as a place to share family photos and other such things has turned once friendly “neighborhoods” into calloused one-sided citadels that make gangland run areas look tame in comparison. The only social “neighborhood” more revolting than true inner city blithe is Twitter with its in-kind version for both civility , as well as thought expression. i.e., it’s devoid of both.

As I alluded to earlier, Article 11 and 13 are just the start.

Here in the U.S. all one needs to look at for clues is the vile responses via many a Twitter aficionado during the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Can you say “double standard” in what is allowed on Twitter and what is not? You know who doesn’t care what side of the political aisle one’s on? Hint: Class action lawsuit lawyers. They’re on the side where the money is, and that’s the only side that matters to this group. Period.

It’s easy to see and you don’t need to have a law degree to discern what’s building up taller and higher with every passing day or, tweet. And yes, it smells. But too a lawyer? That’s the smell that fortunes are made on. Bet on it. Same will go for search when all is said and done, in my humble opinion. Rankings? See above for more clues.

So what’s next a new iPhone® to show you’re still one of the cool kids? Nope.

I believe it will now become what “internet” subscription service you pay for.

It’ll consist of something along the lines of its own browser, a search feature, a twitter-like styled feature for quick social interaction and more.

News? Sure, but you’ll decide what’s in or out, no tracking allowed. (Hint: no Apple News® nanny-ism implied)

Social as in Facebook-like? Sure, but probably walled gardens that allow only people who are part of the overall package. i.e., you’ll need to be a paying subscriber.

Freeloaders, as in people who will not pay for such things and want everything to be free, or will buy counterfeits to look like they can, will be both sh*t-out-of-luck, along with publicly demonstrating they are so, much like, you either have a Bentley® or, you don’t. i.e., There is no counterfeit available so you can look like you do. And that’s where the “golden key” will reside.

Think of it this way: Would you pay for a service that allowed you to have some form of Twitter type feature for instant communication with your selected users and no one else, along with a place where you could do what you used to like about Facebook before it went all “1984?”

Again, would you pay for a place that gave you all the news feeds you wanted, but would not track your reading or anything else, along with allowing a way for you to reasonably curate your information as to allow for ads you may actually have interest in seeing? i.e., think classified or newsprint styled ads of old.

Or: you can continue to have it all for free just like today – and go further, as well as faster, down both the sewer and nanny-state with everyone else.

Can you imagine say, hearing a conversation such as “I read that on my __________(fill in the blank) service. And another person saying, “Isn’t that service expensive?” And the response comes back, “Don’t tell me you’re still using the National Enquirer™ equivalent of the internet still?”

Are you seeing my point?

“Send me a message.” turns into an immediate “Can you afford this too?” Much like when pulling out an iPhone was, when having a Blackberry® used to be a thing.

And it’s coming, I’m convinced, much sooner than later. Why?

Just look at what is recently being put forth by the inventor of the World-Wide-Web, Tim Berners-Lee from a recent article via Fast Company™. To wit:

“On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp.

The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.”

I would implore you to read both the article in its entirety, as well as keep abreast of both his latest idea, as well as what may spring forth in unison somewhere else. For the implications are both ground moving as well as earth-shaking in a digital sense of the terms.

And if you think when I say things like “rapidly change everything that is now taken for granted” you can use the above link and quote as an example. Why?

Because if both Article 11 and 13 alone become law, and are implemented across the EU – the simple act of posting a link for you to read the original information for yourself to make your own conclusions, along with quoting any bit of that article to use as a basis for commentary to help understand the broader discussion, will all but be illegal without paying either some arbitrary “tax” or, be at the mercy of some arbitrary law for financial liability. And that is happening right now.

So, if it does pass (and all indications look like it has a real chance) where does that put the likes of Facebook, Google, and Twitter tomorrow if suddenly some half of the worlds metric for internet wealth (e.g., ads for eyeballs) suddenly gets put behind a paywall overnight? Or, better yet, what’s their adjusted stock valuation because of it?

Still think things can’t change overnight, again?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

MYTR Broadcast – Friday

Hour One:

Hour Two:

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr in assoc. with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved

Note:

We have decided to go for an additional 30 days in “All Access” mode as we sort through more program highlights or changes as well as try to squash any “bugs” that keep seeming to show up. As Mark has said repeatedly, “Let’s do it live rather than behind the scenes this way we know how we’ll act under the pressure.”

And that’s what we’re doing, and thanks to you for being a part of it.

We launched the second hour of programming this week. Please be aware there will be no second notification or email when the next hour is added. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first.

Not sending out additional notifications frees us up from making additional posts where the program might be separated and also helps servers not recognize us as some sort of spam.

Remember, just check back later on in about an hour or so from the original and the second hour should be posted.

 

 

 

FWIW Chart

As I said during the show today, you now have some levels that demand observation for anyone looking for clues. Doesn’t mean they’ll play out, however, watching these movements in comparison to all other events taking place as I’ve explained ad nauseam, for context, is imperative for any true business minded person.

Here’s what I’m looking at and why you should also. To wit:

(Source)

The above is a chart of the S&P 500™ as of approximately 1:00pm ET represented via bars/candles of 15 minute intervals.

The ensuing BTFD (buy the f’n dip) mania that’s persisted these last few years, as I explained during the show, is still alive and well, very well actually, but that may be all about to change if my “technical eye” hasn’t failed me. Here’s why…

The relentless push higher today negating the reflexive down move of yesterday is a typical, text book example for many a technical retrace that may actually resolve lower (possibly much lower) once complete.

The notations I made show just how and where the latest BTFD move has come today. If, and it’s a big if, the current move fizzles out from here and suddenly reverses?

All I’ll say is “everything’s changed.” Especially, for the once certain fortitude of the BTFD mentality.

As always, we shall see.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

MYTR Broadcast – Thursday

Hour One

Hour Two

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr in assoc. with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved

Note:

We launched the second hour of programming this week. Please be aware there will be no second notification or email when the next hour is added. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first.

Not sending out additional notifications frees us up from making additional posts where the program might be separated and also helps servers not recognize us as some sort of spam.

Remember, just check back later on in about an hour or so from the original and the second hour should be posted.

 

MYTR Broadcast – Wednesday

Hour #1

Hour #2

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr in assoc. with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved

Note:

We launched the second hour of programming this week. Please be aware there will be no second notification or email when the next hour is added. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first.

Not sending out additional notifications frees us up from making additional posts where the program might be separated and also helps servers not recognize us as some sort of spam.

Remember, just check back later on in about an hour or so from the original and the second hour should be posted.

 

MYTR Broadcast – Tuesday

Hour #1

Hour #2

© 2018 Mark St. Cyr in assoc. with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved

Note:

We launch the second hour of programming this week. Please be aware there will be no second notification or email when the next hour is added. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first, because this show is being recorded live.

Not sending out additional notifications frees up us making additional posts where the program might be separated and also helps servers not recognize us as some sort of spam.

Remember, just check back later on in about an hour or so from the original and the second hour should be posted.

 

MYTR Broadcast – Monday

Hour #1

Hour #2

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr in association with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved.

Note:

We launch the second hour of programming this week. Please be aware there will be no second notification or email when the next hour is added. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first, because this show is being recorded live.

Not sending out additional notifications frees up us making additional posts where the program might be separated and also helps servers not recognize us as some sort of spam.

Remember, just check back later on in about an hour or so from the original and the second hour should be posted.

Thanks.

 

Watching The Wandering Sea Update

At the end of last week I posted a few observations via some charts on things I felt should be watched for clues, especially during the week of what is known as “Quad Witching.”

The reasoning was simple: the moves that happen can sometimes either mask or, show potential signaling due to the nature of this phenom in the markets. i.e., initial signaling or “moves” can be muted, negated, or sometimes extremely violent as index and stock options expire in such a concentrated time frame.

As I stated then and during my show, Monday is also an important day to watch, because “new money” as its called will be positioning for the next quarter.

So it is in that light I want to post a few more charts for your consideration that I made on Friday after the close with a few notations and one of where we are as I post this. Here’s the first two. To wit:

(Source)

The above is of the S&P 500™ as of the close Friday. As one can see I have left my original observation that I said should be watched for in how it resolved as the “markets” wound through the day.

What’s interesting with the above via a technical eye is that the original observation, although negated, in-turn formed another larger pattern with the same characteristics for clues, but only in a longer time frame. What you see above is what is known as a “mean reversion channel.” (a crude improvised one I’ve concocted) As one can see, the patterning and “tells” as it’s called, once again, confirm my original hypothesis. Now it’s only a game of “show and tell” that only the “market” can provide. i.e., we’ll get an idea of possible intent of either up or down only after the fact. Remember – there is no “holy grail.”

With the above said, what was quite interesting was that although my original observation was negated (e.g., an ending diagonal pattern) during the cash open hours the futures market constructed its own similar pattern. Here it is at the close of Friday, again, to wit:

As you can see, what I was observing in the cash open (e.g., normal market hours) formed in the futures market and resolved in much the same way as I was originally calling for. What does it all mean? No one knows, but from a n observational stand its screaming something big may be lurking behind the scenes were a possible thrust lower rather than higher could have the best odds. And if it does that could make things very precarious for this once considered “teflon” market.

So, as I said, that was all from Friday, so where are we now? Here we are as of this writing approximately 8:00AM ET. To wit:

What’s interesting to me is that we gapped down lower and still remain below that gap. Whether or not that remains true once the “markets” open is anyones guess. But, (and it’s a very big but) should the markets begin to fall away from this area with any velocity should be the key observation to watch for, in my opinion.

As of today all the observations or notes I made on my original “Watching the wandering sea” hold and those levels I marked still stand as “trip wires” where real concern may be warranted. Whether or not any of this plays out, no one knows, one can only wait and watch, However, you, unlike most, have at least something to consider and a rational idea for why.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Will Facebook And Twitter Signal The Next Bear Stearns, Lehman Moment?

I would like to say that everyone remembers what took place in 2007/08, which lead to changing one’s perception from considering what was once unthinkable, to having to consider the very real prospects that the unthinkable was now probable, if not undeniable. i.e., The entire financial system, globally, was not only unraveling, but could collapse upon itself sending what we once took for granted as “your money’s good” into “what’s money?”

I know that sounds like hyperbole, but for those that still care to remember – it’s the truth.

Yet, if one looks at the “markets” today, or listens to the mainstream financial/business media outlets, it’s as if it were just some run of the mill day of note that warrants some type of yearly revisit to help fill up some dead air time between some next-in-rotation fund-manager, Ph.D’d economist from academia or, between the buzzers and cowbells of Cramer’s next “buy, buy, buy” recommendation.

But alas, not only does everyone seem to not remember, but far worse – doesn’t care. The reason?

The rewarding for the reflexive new strategy aka, BTFD (buy the f’n dips.) Where the equivalent of a monkey-throwing-darts has, once again, become the genius of investing strategy. Albeit the “monkey” is now just a mechanical algorithmic bot. Hey, but it’s AI (artificial intelligence) driven, so that makes it de facto better, right? Right?! (Hint: see “Automated Investing” for clues)

On a side note, just for a bit of remembrance, as they say. Here’s a bit of history the “buzzer king” himself would surely like one never to remember: “In Cramer We Trust” via, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

But today? It’s all about BTFD, no buzzers needed.

AI along with its promiscuous HFT (high frequency trading,) algorithmic counterparts have adulterated and perverted what was once known as “true price discovery” into the waste basket of history. Watching screens as indexes, stocks and more vault higher and higher in the face of events to what was once considered events for pause, if not outright sell signs, has filled many a BTFD account just as fast as a teenagers wastebasket watching something else. Crude comparison, yes. But all that different? Not so much.

This strategy (BTFD) has rewarded the utter most foolish type of behavior, reasoning and follow through, not just for investing, but a whole myriad of other concerns, not counting its perpetuation of crony-capitalism in both a size and scale the world has ever known. i.e., King’s of yesteryear must be rolling over with envy at just how much power, control and influence central bankers now wheeled across every aspect of the globe.

Mel Brook’s famously quipped during his movie “History of the World” (1981, Brooksfilms™) “It’s good to be the king.” I often wonder if he made a part-two today, would there be something similar to portray what being a central banker has now become. When it comes to just how much over-arching, over-reaching, over-bearing adulteration of both “markets” and business fundamentals has now become. Maybe this scene captures it better.

And if you think that’s an overstatement, just ask any saver or retiree about interest rates. i.e., “Little to the left” is today’s “Under-shooting the inflation target.” Think about it, but I digress.

So here we are some ten years later (e.g., 2008) and, once again, we seem to be wanting to reassure the “investing public” that should anything go wrong, central bankers are at the ready to once again “save the world” via some consortium of “Three marketeers.” In 1999 it was Greenspan & company. In 2008 it was Bernanke and Crew. Will there be a need for 2018/19 moniker?

This (as far as I’m concerned) is the question of the moment. But asking that question correctly requires some unconventional (and controversial) hypotheses. i.e., Will it be banks that undermine the entire system this time? Or, will it be Silicon Valley? Both scenarios have one word in common that no one dares to contemplate, let alone, try to remember. That word? Hint: Again.

What is also contained within those questions, which brings forth the controversial aspect, is also something I believe central bankers themselves have no understanding of, let alone, plan to deal with. And that “controversial aspect” is this:

Does a sudden collapse in one of the now famed FAANG stocks begin a run on both the markets, then subsequently, a run on not just banks, but many a central bank?

This is a question I have brought forth previously which I now believe is more relevant than ever before. The reasoning is simple: This handful of companies represent nearly all the impetus of today’s nosebleed valuations. Over the last few months it has been down to just two. e.g., Amazon™, Netflix™. If you include Microsoft™ as of July of this year, those three stocks alone are responsible for 71% of the S&P 500™ returns, and 78% of the Nasdaq 100™ this year.

Again, contemplate all you’ve heard about “great values,” “markets are fairly priced,” and on, and on, against the backdrop that nearly 3/4’s of all gains contained within these indexes this year are based on just a few companies, with price to earnings multiples nearly 5 or 10 times respectively that of which Microsoft had right before the dot-com crash.

And if that’s not enough to make you go, “Wait…what?” One of these companies doesn’t make $Billions, but rather – loses them. And the other can barely make a profit in its core business. i.e., retail.

“Wait…what?” indeed.

The issue now is what happens should the first of this family of stocks known as Facebook™ (FB) suddenly begin to falter further? Hint: As goes FB so goes social, all social. Period.

Could we see a replay of 2008, but instead of Bear Stearns then Lehman type of events, we something similar in-kind with FB, then Twitter™ or, vice versa? What happens, for whatever the reason, investors (or algos) begin dumping, reminiscent of the dot-com era?

What happens then, when the central banks of other countries find their once profitable investments which were  perceived as once “no-brainers” to sure-up their own national finances begin dumping? Hint: here’s just one for your consideration aka Swiss National Bank.

Social media along with search (e.g., Google™ the “G” in the “FAANG” family) has been the benefactor of another great idiom that was once unassailable to the BTFD crowd along with their “it’s different this time” brethren-in-arms. e.g., The “ads for eyeballs” metric.

But that metric is now in a serious, as well as precarious moment of fate and fortune or, infamy for possibly draining then dwindling many a fortune once made by it.

Again, the reasoning is both simple and should be self-evident: With social media platforms and others uniformly purging content providers, inevitably leading one to reasonably conclude that the followers of those purged providers would in-turn purge their social accounts. Where does the value for growth in these companies come from to sustain already exorbitant perceived levels? Let alone – for ever higher.

Insiders such as “Zuck and Crew” themselves have already purged $Billions of their own shares. And insiders across the entire “market” have used this incessant “buy back” via company funded debt to sell their own shares again – at record levels!

Should a sudden collapse in the shares of Facebook or Twitter happen in an out-of-the-blue type moment, similar in type as we in any of the last episodic scenarios witnessed in ’08 or the dot-com era, what does a central bank such as the Federal Reserve or others do?

It may not be the banks that are the initial impetus for a scare – it may come from any of these high flyers of the FAANG family.

Does a sudden run have a knock-on effect for the Swiss and its currency? Does that begin a rout elsewhere? And who steps in this time? The Fed? The EU? Can anyone? And where do you apply the “tourniquets?”

The Fed. may have authority to sure -up the banks in a crisis, but will it need to sure-up corporates in a rout? And how will it do that without backlash? Does it even know how? And more importantly would it work at all?

It is easy to argue that the replacement poster-child of the mortgage lenders of 2008 which noted the opening salvo for financial panic in 2007 was the over-leveraged, over-extended mortgage companies. The first assigned for posterity was New Century Financial™, then Countrywide™, and so forth eventually pulling in the Bear Stearns, Lehman et al.

It is entirely possible (all my conjecture, of course) we have begun to see our first in what today could morph into similar repercussions. To wit:

(Source)

Was this latest “Snap” moment the one that they’ll look back and point to, much like we do now with New Century as where it all started? No one knows, but to keep thinking or arguing there aren’t any clues today that resemble those that were taking place in both in 1999/2000 or 2007/08 is ludicrous.

For we are now in that moment of history, that may prove that old adage of history attributed to Mark Twain:

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

As always – only time will tell. You can quote me on that.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

MYTR BROADCAST – Friday

©2018 Mark St.Cyr in assoc. with StreetCry Media Partners. All Rights Reserved.

(Below is for the benefit of new listeners)

Today is the latest installment of the newly launched MYTR Broadcast. It is, as I iterate every day, in the 60/40 category of ready for prime-time. After giving it the once over myself 60/40 might be a little kind. Nevertheless, I decided we launch, and we keep shipping. And we have – and continue. Warts and all.

In keeping with that nautical theme think of it this way when listening – what we’re doing is knowingly put a vessel into the water where we are pretty sure the hull is intact, the engines are primed, but the rudder and a few other navigational necessities are not yet functioning up to par, or at all, and will need to be fixed on the fly rather, than sitting and waiting in dry dock. We’re still in the “harbor” at the moment, but getting this thing into the water and see if she would float in the first place was far more important. So here we are.

What I’m releasing currently is the equivalent of what would be the first hour of a multi hour program. It will expand as we go further.

It is a little rough around the edges, drifts a bit in subject matter, but I decided getting the first one in the can was paramount. And after careful consideration, I thought it best not to have to talk the engineer down from the roof one more time, because last time, I wasn’t quite sure if I had won him over to come back down, again. He just kept mumbling something like, “Not enough money in the world..” or something like that. But I digress.

With all that said here’s a few items of importance…

First: This broadcast/podcast is not downloadable. You must come here to listen, Yes, you can pause, fast forward or, rewind. But what you can’t do is download it. That’s one feature that will make this different from others. The reasoning is simple: I want no other vendor between my content and my customer. In today’s world of wifi and internet connections downloading is no longer a priority to consume at leisure.

Next: You’ll notice there will no longer be any sharing buttons. If you would like to tell someone about the site, by all means send them a link to the site. But linking to specific content where the content can be listened elsewhere? e.g., on some social media platform. I have no interest and believe it’s just a waste of time.