Author: Mark St.Cyr

Mark is a globally recognized expert in entrepreneurship, motivation, business, sales and financial markets. He writes from a first hand perspective. His insights can be both cutting edge, or just a cutting through the clutter. Either way they come from first hand knowledge, and experience that is classic Mark. Visit www.MarkStCyr.com "Pragmatic Insights For Today's Business World™"

Blast From The Past

I was asked the other day about my book. The question was, “I looked for your book on Amazon™ and couldn’t find it, as a matter of fact, I looked at a few places and it was nowhere to be found, do you actually have a book?”

The answer is: yes I do. But as this person was new to my content I could understand the confusion, for as long-time readers know, I pulled all my content (e.g., books, audio, video, etc.) from all outside sources (e.g., iTunes®, Libsyn™, Vimeo™ et al.) at the end of last year. The reasoning was simple as I explained back then: Why do I need my content hosted elsewhere and be chained to the business whims of others (let alone handing over 1/3plus of the sale price!) when I don’t have to? (currently my book is “out of print”)

As we look at the business landscape today (think InfoWars™ as just one, and the latest example) one can clearly see in retrospect how prescient I truly was. As I’ve said many times, “I fully understand when trying to explain what I see over the horizon that I first have to remember, where I’m standing, might be over the horizon to my audience.”

That isn’t trying to elevate myself in any way. (and long time readers understand this) Instead, what I’m trying to ensure is that when I’m trying to explain what possible turmoil or trends I may see, that it doesn’t get blown-off in some sort of “Sounds like fantasy land type talk.” It’s an easy trap to fall into, I know, I’ve done it far too many times in the past myself when I didn’t truly listen to others, when I should have been thinking the same. That’s the reason for it, nothing more.

(For those thinking I’m just trying to front-run the idea of not needing or being on social-media, here’s what I was saying and doing back in 2011)

If you think I’m just trying to blow-smoke, as the old saying goes, let me give a quick couple of examples where I was I way out in front of most, if not all, of the mainstream business/financial media as they pooh-pooh’d a few ideas in unison directly into the trash bin for historic wrong calls. e.g., The iPad® and Apps.

For those who don’t remember back in 2010 the iPad was being mocked relentlessly by most of the media. The name was being used for a joke and more. I said precisely the opposite. For comparison, back then the iPad was viewed in an even more negative light and received far less fanfare than the Pencil® is today. Think about that for a moment.

The iPad was also even being touted by many as the defining product that might possibly mark the end of Apple™ innovation. That alone should be all that needs too be said.

So, you may be saying, “Sure, lucky call.” And it would be a fair statement. But if you add in what I said about Apps back then, when the calls against it were even more forthcoming, as well as boisterous, than what they were portending for the iPad’s future? Then things begin to take shape in a far different light.

Here’s what I mean:

Remember when everyone (“everyone” meaning business/financial mainstream media along with most of Silicon Valley also) said that the idea of the App Store® on iTunes was going to be a waste? You know, back about 2010. The go-to criticism of the App Store and apps themselves back then was repeated ad nauseam, “No one is going to use, let alone buy apps as some sort of replacement for buying software programs.” The result? When was the last time you bought a CD (or any for that matter) based software program instead of an app?

To back up this call, I was one of the few that not only stated that apps were going to replace software programs as we know it, but also, was one of the very few (I believe it was just myself, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki) to offer an app way back then that was explicitly dedicated to ones writings. That app was actively being downloaded until it was removed a few years ago because I had decided not to update it for the new operating system.

In other words: I already had an app in the app store – when most were saying apps would never take off.

Today, everyone’s offering an app, and I mean just that – everyone! That is, everyone except yours truly. Why? I don’t believe you need one anymore for most situations. But that’s for another article.

Podcast, audio book? Been there, done that, again, years ago. But now it’s time to once again change, and I am, as I’ll announce soon, so stay tuned. (I know, I know. and if I were you I’d snicker too, but there is real change coming and it’s close.)

So it was in this light that I went reviewing some of my older podcasts and thought it would be fun to put a few out over the coming weeks. So, with that said, here’s a blast from the past. I think it’s also note worthy on just how relevant the actual content is to today knowing and watching what’s been transpiring.

From my “Prose Series” in 2012

“Are You Building A Business That Can Stay In Business”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

How To Spot When A Trend Is Over

Remember when comparing anything today to the dot-com crash of yesterday was immediately refuted with the clarion calls of “It’s different this time?”

Or how ’bout when criticizing most “tech” business models was seen as blasphemy and immediately rebuffed with a unified chorus supplied by many a Silicon Valley aficionado or next-in-rotation fund manager as “not getting tech?” Hint: Is yesterday to long ago?

Whether one wants to read between the lines or take those lines literally is always a very complicated task. However, that doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t look for clues in helping one to insinuate relevance or not.

So with the above said I want to make note of the following, and as always, let you be the judge and jury as to what they may imply. So here’s today’s example:

What does it signify when the founder/CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent publication’s (and critical) openly states, (paraphrasing) She wishes “…she could sunset Pando and move on?” And that “move on” reference is to move on to something completely different from anything similar when one thinks about “tech” in general.

Need a bit more of an example to help form any opinion? Fair enough, so let’s use one the above’s latest articles to try to get a bit more insight for the tone of “The Valley” today, shall we? To wit:

Via Pando August 9, 2018, “Facebook is closer to being another Yahoo than another Amazon”

“Something big is happening in social media, and investors in social-media companies can’t make up their minds what it is.”

Personally, I believe investors are not confused about what’s “happening in” social media, but rather, what’s about to happen to it, that is raising their concerns.

Here’s another hint to what may be causing a lot of consternation, on all sides:

Is it better – worse – or much the same, to be compared to Yahoo rather, than AOL?

Or is that a trick question?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Why It’s Different This Time

The above headline used to be the rallying call for everything once taken for granted emanating from Silicon Valley and in-particular: everything social. Stock valuations were based more on user metrics than anything truly business related like net profits and more.

An example of such revolved around the sycophantic cheerleading chorus of next-in-rotation fund managers or Silicon Valley aficionado class to explain to all the plebes that a 25% increase in any use metric (daily, monthly,et cetera, usually expressed in millions) trumped a 50% net loss in cash burn, again, usually expressed in $10’s if not $100’s of millions.

The reasoning for the above abomination of business theory always rested on one last defense when the indefeasible could no longer be defended. e.g., “It’s different this time!” This was usually followed with the only other statement more vacuous than the first. e.g., “You just don’t get tech.” Right, of course we don’t.

As I’ve stated ad nauseam this has been Silicon Valley’s version of the oldest teenager excuse known to man. e.g., “Because…just because!” All I’ll add is many times it was hard to separate which was which, but I digress.

Now the reason why I bring the above in for context is that something has changed in the fabric of both business, as well as how business may or, may not, go forward in this new frontier of the web. And yes I mean just that: new. Why? Because as I’m going to lay out below – it is: different this time.

For those not fully aware of the current kerfuffle between many of the social media platforms (e.g. Facebook™ (FB), YouTube™(YT), et al.) and with Alex Jones of InfoWars™(IW) is really inconsequential. Same goes with how one feels politically or, whether one loves or despises any involved, for whatever the reasoning. This is about business, and what it may mean to yours going forward. So if you want to contemplate future considerations (or want to understand) this all from a business perspective. All I’ll say to that is: this is a very big deal, indeed. Here’s why:

When this tension between the platforms and IW first came to light back in February I made it a point to express some details that very few in business today are fully understanding. Here’s an excerpt from that article on Feb. 25th “Why InfoWars Vs Youtube Matters.” ” To wit:

The reason why I’m going to call your attention to this growing kerfuffle between InfoWars™ (the web-based opinion/news channel) and YouTube™ is for this reason:

It may be that seminal moment that proves everything one thought they needed to do via the internet and that platforms that provided the scale needed – is no longer valid – needed – as well as important.

The beauty here, from my perspective, is that it will all come down to what should matter: Pure capitalistic principles, constitutional protections,  and an adherence to what should be a company’s first rule for being: Serve a customer that will pay for your product or services.

Knowing who, or whom that customer is, is the #1 job of every company. It is my argument that “The Valley” has never learned that properly. And it is that, dear reader, which may be the fulcrum or catalyst that propels the change which changes everything in Silicon Valley, exposing its worst nightmare scenario.

That scenario? They’re no longer needed or wanted. Hint: AOL™, Yahoo™, i.e. any and all prior “Legacy media platforms.”

Since that article the tension and resolve of all parties (i.e., social platforms) has somehow taken the form of colluded and approved censorship.Whether it is or not is irrelevant, for these are private companies and they have a legal right to host, or not, whomever they decide. The legal ramifications come about when the consistency measures are challenged.

A far too complicated subject for this article, but for simplicity sake just ponder: These platforms will have to prove (and I’ll add, probably soon) why they allowed others that may/can be legally proven in a court of law to remain and were allowed full access to their monetization tools while Mr. Jones was denied, causing monetary damages to himself, his business, or both.

Important criteria and high bars to jump for sure. But (and it’s a very big but) you can bet dollars-to-doughnuts these arguments in a court will be forth coming. Of that I am more than certain.

Yet, in the meantime, this latest dustup has suddenly peeled back the curtain of a once unassailable business consideration. i.e., To be in business you have to be on these platforms or you won’t have any business.

This is where “It’s different this time” comes back swinging like a rocket powered pendulum laying to waste anything caught in its return swing. And nothing falls faster and harder, than a once considered sacrosanct business “must do” when it’s shown one no longer needs to. Hint: Remember when, not all that long ago, when suddenly no one believed being in the “Yellow Pages®” was a necessity?

Here’s another excerpt from my earlier article that shows just what I mean. Again, to wit:

But, (and it’s a very big but) that has all changed very recently. And it is the purveyors of these once all-mighty platforms that seem to have not gotten “the memo.”
You can (which I myself am already in the process of doing) host current, as well as archived: audio, video, text, and more. Hire platforms with servers that can handle nominal traffic that may suddenly spike to millions of viewers and remain elevated for long periods of time simultaneously, along with subscription services, user analytics, payment portals, and much, much more. And here’s the important point…

Completely under ones own control and purview, not only affordably, but the pricing is falling so fast it’s becoming almost crazy to do it any other way.
And that works to IW’s advantage – not YT’s. And that’s a very, very, very (did I say very?) big point to focus on, as well as remember going forward.

Will, or can IW be hurt financially by this current policy? Sure, but let’s think here for a moment, from a pure business perspective, shall we?

IW gets hurt up front, but they still create the product that millions want to see. If it’s not on YT and the customers still want the product? They’ll just go directly to IW’s own proprietary outlet, if that’s what gets done.

It will, of course, have some impact on IW’s bottom line, initially. But that’s not a bad thing if makes that “bottom line” all theirs, for all their efforts. i.e., Short-term losses for long-term gains via cutting out the middle-man. (e.g. YT.)

YT, on the other hand, gets what for its new policy stance?

Millions, upon millions, upon millions of fewer eyeballs to harvest and sell their data to the highest bidders. Which, basically, is its main, if not only true product.

And who is the buyer of that product narrative? Hint: Wall Street.

So let’s add a few things up using 1+1=2 math for business purposes, under the guise of an analogy, shall we?

IW loses traffic initially via YT – yet once its millions of viewers/customers are no longer available to view on YT, they just change their “bookmark” from YT to IW and are able to consume their product however IW sees fit, along with the ability for IW to sell further add-ons of what ever may be their choice going forward. No YT needed.

YT gets? Zip – Zero – Nada. Along with having to explain to Wall Street (conjecture of course) why traffic or user numbers are stagnant, or worse, falling.

And here is the “800-LB Gorilla” in all of this…

How many follow IW’s lead?

And what is the resulting lead to follow one may ask? Good question, and here it is:

Via the Daily Mail™. To wit:

“…5.6million people have subscribed to the Infowars newsletter and free podcast in the past 48 hours.”

All that traffic, all those eyeballs, all those salable (and coveted) business metrics are now his and his alone. That’s why: it’s different this time.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

A Few Questions Too Few Will Ask Let Alone Answer

Former White House economic advisor and Goldman Sachs alumni Gary Cohn made some very interesting statements this week. I would like to highlight the term “interesting” for a few reasons, the first being: the context of his claims. And the second: the implications of that context.

I am going to propose that this should not be taken in isolation, but rather, should be viewed in a more overarching context when included amidst other signaling that has the potential to, once and for all, change business (again!) as it is currently now known.

And by that, I mean just that: everything.

Currently Mr. Cohn is railing against Facebook™ (FB) and others stating that it is they whom are acting in an irresponsible manner when it comes to being responsible citizens, as opposed, to what it claimed banks have been. Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in BI™. To Wit:

“In ’08 Facebook was one of those companies that was a big platform to criticize banks, they were very out front of criticizing banks for not being responsible citizens,” the banker said.

“I think banks were more responsible citizens in ’08 than some of the social media companies are today. And it affects everyone in the world. The banks have never had that much pull.”

Now whether or not one wants to question or agree with that premise, I believe, is irrelevant. What I do believe is a far more important set of consequential questions are:

Why the comparison at all? Why now? And maybe even more germane: Why Mr. Cohn?

Hint: I would imagine there’s significant money and/or power to be made here. But that’s just me.

As of late FB stock has done nothing more than just vacillate in the lower range of its initial double-digit percentage loss from its all time highs. As of this writing its clawed back to around the $185 level.

Some would say, in the bigger picture, that’s not such a bad level. But in reality, all it’s been able to do (so far) is scratch-and-claw its way to unchanged for the year. i.e., seems all that “great value” that was told/sold at around $220 still isn’t worth a double-digit % On Sale! sale price.

Again, at least not yet, which in itself shows potential for further downside as opposed to up.

Which brings me back to my first questions of : why? e.g., Why compare or conflate FB, or any other social media outlet for that matter, with the likes of banks and the financial crisis?

What if we were to ask another set of questions, such as:

How does the government get its hands on social media, not by force, but rather, by everyone clamoring for it to be done as to both “Save democracy!” as well as “Save their 401K!?”

If I pose it that way suddenly, that other “why” question as in “why Mr. Cohn?” begins to become more relevant, yes?

FB stock is probably ubiquitous across all retirement funds of one form or another. One would probably be hard pressed to not find any of the others (e.g., Twitter™ et al.) in some form of ETF or other instrument. Their valuations alone have been responsible for the lions share of gains in the “markets” over the last few years. And especially the last 18 months in-particular.

It could be argued that if the social media juggernaut of endless riches has is indeed ended (which I have argued ad nauseam just that) there are far more retirement accounts and ETF holdings at risk of falling in unison than there are actual people still using these platforms. And that’s not including all the algorithmic trading bots trying to front run all the bot farms relentlessly still clicking away pretending to be human as to keep advertising fees aloft. But again, that’s just me.

It was only days ago that a 23 page white paper was released via Sen. Warner detailing potential policy proposals to regulate social media and technology firms. (take notice the blanket qualifier “technology firms” for further cues)

Now taken as a single event something like this seems pretty normal, especially in light of the current political turmoil. However, throw in the sudden appearance and finger-waving via Mr. Cohn, along with the context? Suddenly, as stated by Freedom Williams “Things that make you go Hmmmmm” pops front of mind.

So here’s what I’m driving at…

Should the social media (and quite possibly the entire tech space in toto) suddenly begin spiraling a la dot-com 1999 style, it would be just the opportune time for government intervention to suddenly appear and imply “For the sake of democracy!” they need to take over (as in heavy-handed) and regulate the entire social media and tech space.

However, in conjunction for having to take this drastic action which they (of course) would deem as a necessity (i.e., here comes the selling points) they would in fact through taking this regulation (with a heavy heart smiled the grim reaper) be putting a governmental implied “put” under all the stock values.

Why? Because you would not be able to start or administer another without said government approval, therefore, solidifying (as in closing) the market. aka: kill any and all competition.

After all: if social media can now be compared in the same light (as you are now beginning to see?) as strategically important as banks? Do you see my point here?

In a market rout: would or does the Federal Reserve suddenly openly buy FAANG stocks or ETFs? Or better yet, does the Fed, ride in on some glistening stallion of monetary intervention to save not only the banks, but all those constituents and 401K holders with all that “great tech value” stuffed into their balance sheets? All to a unison chorus openly shouting for government action to come in and “save the day!?” (and their portfolios)

Again, if they are suddenly assumed to now be as “systemically important” as banks, why wouldn’t the Fed. intervene? Especially if its “banks,” along with many a politicians (powerful politicians at that) constituents 401Ks are loaded to the gills with them? Are they suddenly less important than buying mortgage-backed securities to “save the system” of 2008?

If “democracy” is at stake as the now battlecries are being shouted, can the Fed. just turn a deaf ear?

And if you don’t think things like this are thought out or, at least floated about, well before hand as to see what type of early reaction may be. May I call your attention back to then House Speaker Pelosi and others when they were trying to make a case that the government may have to take over 401K accounts and turn them into government holdings aka U.S. Treasuries, you know, for your own protection?

If you believe that the above is just a bunch of hyperbole and ill-informed reasoning, I’ll just say this:

That’s what they said when I first proposed the Federal Reserve was actively involved in the markets back in 2009.

Today, that “tin-foiled-hat conspiratorial gibberish” is now accepted – and taught – across academia as: prudent monetary policy.

Makes one go “hmmmm” indeed.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Is The Yuan Weakening From Intent Or Loss Of Control?

It would seem that the mainstream business/financial media is suddenly catching on to the implications of a sudden Chinese Yuan devaluation, and its ability to roil global markets. Tariff retaliation is now the dominant cause-and-effect extrapolation given.

However, is this a form of some silent intent and practice that many are trying to explain? Or, is this something far more meaningful that everyone seems to be missing? And by “meaningful” I mean:

  • Are the current gyrations intentional? i.e., The current movements are a result of intended strategy and tactically delivered.
  • Or: Are they the result of a situation becoming untenable where situational tactics and/or responses are being made and/or deployed in desperation?

Both have the same initial effect, but both have very different endings.i.e., One may be controllable. (and that is debatable) The other makes “A bull in a china shop” scenario appear as wishful thinking.

I am of the opinion, and have been for some time, that the current gyrations in the USD/CNY cross rate has not come via some masterful game of Go. On the contrary.

What I believe has been happening is that if there is any sort of “game” going on, it is based more in the politburo’s realization that they have lost control of their currency and are now trying frantically front-run editorially what is happening via its house organs and more.

The reasoning is simple: If retaliation for tariffs was to use the currency as a weapon – then why intervene at all?

For China has (as I’ve explained previously) the valid argument that as the U.S. $Dollar was weakening since the end of 2016, China has allowed its currency to appreciate over that entire span and even into this year. (i.e., 18 months give or take.)

But they haven’t.

Here’s what I said earlier in July. To wit:

My opinion of course, but it’s based far more on business acumen than any academic interpretation can muster.

China is now visibly struggling to keep all the “spinning plates” of financial engineering aloft, but they are beginning to wobble miserably.

The Shanghai Composite Index has now moved into technical Bear Market status (e.g., down 20%.) The Yuan, whether by stealth devalue or outright politburo control loss is within spitting distance of panic levels. (e.g., 6.70 USD/CNY cross-rate) Above 6.70 and the race for all out currency panic begins in earnest (e.g., 7.00)

In China their leader Xi Jinping was recently voted in as “leader for life.”  I have written about this prior where I made the argument that this will allow him to control the populace with an iron fist should the economy begin to falter, then runaway downhill. I also argued it was the reasoning why he pushed for it. I believe a difinitive answer to that assessment will be forthcoming in the very near future.

Yes, many will state that the current Trump administration will be tarnished should the economy begin to falter. That may be true, but it may also be false, and here’s why…

Should China suddenly falter with either a massive currency devaluation, whether directed via the politburo, or just from market forces, sending contagion knock-on effects reverberating globally will be just the catalyst (as well as straw-man) the administration can (and more likely, will) use to state something akin to, “See, it was China all along benefiting on our lousy trade policies. The more we asserted fairness, the quicker they fell apart. See, they can’t compete with us unless it’s based on tying our hands, so now we need to begin rebuilding right here, first!”

The reason for the Yuan appreciation (conjecture of course) had nothing to do with anything the politburo was doing, and had everything to do with $Dollar weakness.

China, for that time being, was given a gift in the form of a respite. (i.e., $Dollar weakening into ill-perceived Trump turmoil)

And the moment Tax policies became law, and with the Federal Reserve, along with other central banks, beginning any real quantifiable Quantitative Tightening (QT) process and raising of interest rates? China’s currency woes, along with its enormous credit malfeasance began coming back into the spotlight. And it’s not been a pretty picture.

Here’s just one of the latests snapshots in the family album. Again, to wit:

(Source)

As you can see the 6.70 did not hold. (the bars/candles represent daily intervals) despite openly stated (or plainly interpreted “invisible hand”) interventions.

We are now quickly approaching what was deemed by the politburo via openly stated intervention back in 2017 to defend the 7.00 demarcation level.

And as we get closer the politburo seems to only now be becoming more openly vocal, as well as employing even more resources to quell (e.g., kill) as many (e.g., in toto) Yuan shorts as possible.

And there lies the 64-Trillion Yuan question: Why?

Here’s what I believe:

The further interjection of politburo monetary manipulation, in all its forms (e.g., reserve rate cuts, credit extensions, buying its currency, etc., etc., etc.) in such open and easily witnessed fashions, all the while, by being nearly silent (meaning vocally) to its currency weakening, along with doing so at levels well below its openly declared demarcation level of 6.70, requires one to think a bit deeper.

For if a currency devaluation (and a sever one at that) would be seen as a logical counter move in retaliation against any tariffs. Then why intercede so soon? Would not above 7.00 be a fair level to start? Especially if it would probably cripple your adversary in the short run? (i.e., cause some form of market rout.)

Unless the “game” is really nothing about tariffs, and such. But has everything to do with the long game that’s truly China’s goal: Making the Yuan the reserve currency displacing the $Dollar.

To restate differently: if that is truly the “only game in town worth playing.” Then China’s current hodge-podge of interventions begins to make more sense, than trying to view it solely through the prism of tariffs and trade. i.e., China does not care (“care” being a relative term) if a trade war or anything else disrupts markets.

What they are scared-to-death-of is any upheaval that causes people, countries, and businesses to rush back into the U.S. $Dollar in the form of safety related trades and once again putting the “gold standard” for implied safety back into U.S. hands, as well as coffers.

China’s main goal for world trade domination and influence hinges on making the Yuan the reserve currency of global affairs. It has worked diligently, at every turn possible, to do just that. Getting its currency to be included into the basket of currencies known as the SDR was of a paramount pursuit. And on October 1, 2016 it finally attained it.

Then, just one month later – the world of changed.

At first it appeared, again, for that moment, that China would be able to just sit back and allow the political infighting within the U.S., along with what appeared to be the globe’s reluctance for further faith (as well as use) in the $Dollar to play out its own demise. And then: tax reform passed, and interest rate hikes began in earnest, and QT became manifest, and more. And suddenly trade was not only on the table, but all prior trade deals were straight-armed right into the dust bin.

And what China had previously taken for granted over the past 18 months has been nearly completely eviscerated (currency wise) in all of about 90 days. Along with any and all counter measures in dealing with trade issues previously assumed.

Now those prior assumed effective countermeasures are being countered to a point of two, if not 10 to 1! i.e., immediate countermeasures to their counters. It’s now a very serious (as well as costly) game of tit-for-tat. Especially for China. The reasoning is simple:

They are now faced with using what may be the only (and last) effective retaliatory weapon for trade disputes in their arsenal, which is – a devaluing of their currency.

But the problem is this: If they do, it may be much like the “nuclear option” it’s always described to be. i.e., Holds great power, but may ensure it hurts the user just as much as on whom its used.

Should the Chinese authorities suddenly allow for a massive devaluation under the current global circumstances it’s very possible (if not probable) that it will wipe out, in its entirety, all the work and forbearance they have worked so diligently for these past two decades respectively. Meaning – say goodbye to the Yuan having any implied reserve status, for who knows how long.

In a communist controlled country, civil unrest will be met with far more brutality, if needed, via an administration that is now cemented into leader for life status. Should trade wars cause unrest within the populace, it will be unwanted, yet, China has shown not only does it have the tools to control unrest (just look to prior examples) but it’s also willing to use those tools as it sees fit.

Remember: Any resulting unrest from trade can also be blamed on outside forces through propaganda. i.e., It’s the U.S. causing all this pain!” et cetera, et cetera.

Yet, when it comes to its currency initiatives, along with its true long-range plans/goals of superseding any all prior? The propaganda story is not within China’s control.

A rout based in currency flight out of the Yuan and into the $Dollar, along with a global market rout that many may see as the causation being China’s lack of being able to control its currency is something, and I’ll wager just about the only thing, that is keeping the current politburo awake at night.

That’s a story China can not afford to take shape an any price, for if they lose any perceived stability in the Yuan at this juncture…

It may put all their fought for gains back, by decades, and many at that.

We’re now closing in on those levels that may decide it all, again, where all control is not only perceived as lost. But proven to be so.

As always, we shall see.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

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

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

Over the years I’ve taken quite a bit of heat when I dared question what was being told/sold across much, if not most, of the mainstream business/financial media. To put it mildly: not only was I not winning any friends, but was viewed as publicly stepping-on-toes that some deemed “off-limits,” especially for someone like myself who is, in many ways, in the same business. i.e., speaks from a stage or platform in the “motivation/business advice business.”

Many thought (at first) is was some lame attempt on my part as to try to elevate myself in some pitiful form at trying to punch-above-my-weight. i.e., publicly blow “raspberries” at the current “high priest or priestesses” in a specific category for publicity’s sake. As I’ve stated over the years – “that just ain’t my style.”

Regardless who I may differ with: I make my case, and let you dear reader decide for yourself, as it should be. Because it really doesn’t matter what I think, it only matters if it makes you think, then, use it – or completely disregard it. (On a side note, for those who may be new, I have just as much, if not more, published and/or quoted or referenced financial commentary on markets, business, and global affairs than most I have ever criticized. And yes, even those who may be deemed as “Big Wigs.”)

Advice or insight, any advice or insight for that matter, is only valuable if it can be applied in some pragmatic fashion as to better your own business or personal circumstances. But (and it’s a very big but) the absolute worst advice you’ll ever come across – is the one where you just blindly accept what someone is telling you without truly understanding all the ramifications of said advice, which is not so gleefully expressed from a stage or book, because they have some form of name recognition. i.e., If it sounds too good to be true? Even if Mr. X. or Ms. Y is shouting it from some platform. (I think you know the rest.)

And nothing attracts “Dreams of Riches” faster than moths-to-a-flame than “making it big in real-estate” road shows. The problem is many of these types of events leave many an attendee with results more similar to a moth than most “millionaire real-estate moguls.” i.e., most end up just burned, and very severely at that.

Which brings me to the reason for this article.

In May of last year I penned the following article titled, “They’re Baaack! And Why You Should Be Worried – Very Worried!”

Here’s the argument I made at the open. To wit:

Bubbles are easy to spot – pinpointing when they’ll pop – is quite another.

I coined that phrase a while back which is nothing more than adding my own spin combining two very old catch phrases used by seasoned traders and investors. I use the word “seasoned” for a reason. Why?

Because they’re the ones that have been around (and been burned themselves) yet lived to trade, or invest, another day. Those who remained wedded (usually the novice or one who’s never experienced true volatility) to the more prominent and specious claims of “you can’t tell when you’re in a bubble” followed with “you can always get out in time” for the most part are long gone. i.e.,The bubble popped into the ether – along with their money.

Nowhere was this phenom more apparent than the real-estate boom of the early 2000’s, which followed the prior phenom only 10 years prior (e.g., the dot-com crash) that should have seared into people’s memory for millennia just how “bubbles” take shape – and the resulting financial devastation that happens rapidly once they’ve popped.

Guess what? (actually you already know) nobody seems too care. Yet, here’s something you may not know, but should: It’s all happening again, and in the same time frame.

We are once again (you’re going to see that phrase a lot) hovering in and around the all-time highs in the “markets.” And, once again, all the warning signs are coming into place that should be the tell-tale signs for prudence and caution. Here are three, but they’re a very big 3 when combined. Ready?

  1. Tony Robbins has authored another financial book.

  2. Suze Orman has once again reemerged to deliver her brand of financial advice.

  3. They’re both delivering their insights at a venue titled (wait for it) Real Estate Wealth Expo™, where you too can learn how to become a millionaire via real estate.

The backlash was near instantaneous which was understandable. But how has all this “advice” worked out now one year later? Great question, let’s look shall we? Again, to wit:

Via an article this week by Steve Saretsky on Wolf Street™:

Canadian housing data continued to disappoint in the month of June. Albeit the year-over-year decline in home sales was not nearly as disappointing as the month of May. National home sales fell 11% year-over-year in June, a slight upgrade from the 16% decline suffered in May.

As sales dipped, so too did the total amount spent on real estate. The total dollar volume dipped 12% year-over-year in June, totaling C$23.5 billion. A tough blow to government tax coffers which have reaped record sums of property tax dollars in recent years.

The national slowdown was particularly unkind to the province of BC where home sales slid 33% year over year, the largest draw-down since June of 2008. Weak buying activity hit Greater Vancouver & Victoria the hardest, sales fell 38% and 30% respectively.

However, the pullback was not exclusive to the province of BC. Other than small year over year gains in Quebec City, Toronto, and Montreal, most major cities were hit with a drop in home sales.

Which brings me back to the point I originally made when I first wrote my article, which was this:

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

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

I’m pretty confident that there are still quite a few attendees jumping up-and-down and shouting,

Just not for the original idea of what they were sold, of that, I’m pretty confident.

© 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.

Dropped Like A Box Of Hammers

I had an interesting conversation a few weeks back with someone who is quite the “techie.” i.e., Not only is their business world based in tech, so too seemed to be their worldview meaning – what is said in and around “The Valley” is their only viewpoint, everyone else: “Just doesn’t get tech.”

This is important from my perspective for many reasons. First: Facebook™ is slated to build a brand new facility (slated to open 2019) in my area of New Albany at a price-tag of $10’s of millions, along with creating many supposed high-end tech jobs, as well as elevating the Columbus Ohio area into the “tech” region for growth. I already see the influx of this in my day-to-day activities. i.e., I’m as easy to be run over crossing an intersection on my daily run by someone texting while driving their Ferrari®, Porsche®, Lamborghini®, or other exotic. And yes, all in the same run!

(Side note: I was at the gas station last year when the person in the Bentley® next to me asked me for help to open the gas door. When I asked “Didn’t they explain this to you when you bought it?” He answered, “Oh, this is just a loaner, my Porsche is in the shop.” i.e., This ain’t your grandfather’s cowtown any more.)

So as we talked it was obvious any similarity related to the prior upheaval known as “the dot-com bust” was falling on deaf ears. The reason was obvious: If they questioned what was happening today with any true reflection and contemplation – their “world” along with “worldview” may come crashing down. And that seems to be a road that will not be traveled, let alone, less, along with a bridge too far.

One of the issues that we discussed was the current “Unicorn – IPO” debacle. I made my points and pointed to past commentary and this was met with the usual “Yeah, but the VC environment, and funding rounds are still blah, blah, blah….” This took place a few weeks back.

I’m not going to list the entire conversation, but I will post a portion of an article I wrote back in April of this year “As goes Facebook So Goes The Entire Fallacy” that sums up pretty much what our conversation revolved around, and where I was coming from. To wit:

Although that is precisely what happened via the mainstream business/financial media. i.e., They ignored exactly what these platforms were actually selling.

Trust me, they knew, they just turned the ultimate blind-eye to it all. For it just didn’t fit the narrative. In other words, headlines like: “Silicon Valley Trep creates platform that connects users around the world and makes $Billions for himself in the process.” makes for much better news stories than: “Silicon Valley harvests and sells all its users data online to the highest bidder, to the tune of $Billions, making themselves filthy rich. All at the cost, and naivety, of their users privacy.” If you think I’m off base? I’ll just remind you of SnapChat’s CEO press coverage and let you make up your own mind.

For a time this all worked like magic, for it was. With the wholesale adoption and implementation of Quantitative Easing (QE) back in 2010 came another form of implementation and adoption for magical thinking. i.e., The “Unicorn for IPO riches” As long as there was QE – there was magic.

Then QE ended, and with it so to went they. The real issue here for all of this was, that if the world of unicorn riches and IPO dreams was now defunct? That meant only one thing.

Facebook would be the last bastion to make (or keep) all those “magical riches” alive. But more importantly: Safe. Hint (paraphrasing the line from Van Halen’s “And the cradle will rock“) “Have you seen Facebook’s stock?” (Cue, Eddie)

Think about it, when was the last time you heard about an IPO? Did you know Dropbox™ had one about a week ago? If you only glanced the headlines during that week, maybe. But as soon as the price fell below the IPO debut? let’s just say – they fell from the headlines and bylines also. To be fair, they have recovered marginally, but there’s no more fanfare for days and weeks on end, any more. “Decacorns?” I’ll just ask “Hows that Uber™ thing working out?” Sorry, too soon? And I won’t even mention Snap™, well, sorry there too.

But Facebook has been the last bastion, as well as last man standing, for the entire “it’s different this time” mentality. After all, if you took your cues from the Silicon Valley aficionado set, coupled with the next-in-rotation fund-manager cabal, peppered with some illustrative “insight” displayed via many of the financial shows, the obvious group-think consensus was, FB, for all intents and purposes, was the obvious winner take all of the social media paradigm.

Or said differently, they tried (and continue) to sweep-under-the-rug all their prior “insights” which resulted in abysmal failures in a quick slight-of-hand move meaning, it’s not that we were wrong per se, it’s just that there can only be one. i.e., FB is social. Period. After all, “Just look at their stock price!”

The reason why I thought the above was needed was, as always, for context. Because, as stated by Rod Stewart, “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”

Which brings us to today.

Remember how the Dropbox IPO and its initial subsequent losses were completely erased in such a manner as to prove once-and-for-all that all the naysayers were wrong? i.e., “IPO’s are back!”, “Tech is back!”, Silicon Valley riches are back!”, and on and on. Here’s the evidence as far back as just last month (e.g., mid June) to back up their claims. To wit:

(Source)

And here’s the evidence that maybe it ain’t all that. Remember, just one month later Again, to wit:

As I’ve stated ad nauseam, “Isn’t it funny how you don’t hear about any IPO darlings any longer via the mainstream business/financial media?”

There’s also another reason why I’m putting this out, and it’s for this reason:

During our conversation I tried to make a case where caution should be paramount and take nothing for granted. i.e., current market size, building of new offices, whether they’ve already broke ground or not, fully or near complete etc., etc., should not be taken as any surety that it will either be finished, opened, or even be occupied by the ones whom built it in the end.

This argument was received at first as something, “laughable.”

That is – until I told the story of something similar that I watched happen in real-time during the fallout of the first “tech boom bust.” The example was called “Genuity™”

From my article, “When New Headquarters Turn Into Real Headaches”

People talk today as if Silicon Valley is, and was, the only place on the planet where technology as well as innovative companies start or started. I would like those of that ilk to remember the Boston area had its own high tech catch phrase such as “America’s Technology Highway” (aka Rte.128/U.S.Rte. 95). Within a 50 mile radius of Boston you had firms such as Wang™, and DEC™, and a host of others. All with new buildings (more like towers) that garnered enough real estate and blacktop to make one think “Silicon who?”  So for some to think “well unless you’re in Silicon Valley – you just don’t get technology.” I would say: “Au contraire!” So much so we here just might see what many there refuse to even consider. Let alone see. i.e., It can all come to a screeching halt faster than one can contemplate kale vs arugula for their corporate catered lunch.

As soon as it seemed the Genuity Campus opened it was learned it was closing being put up for lease as well as for sale. In the blink of an eye of what was deemed “won’t happen” did happen. Suddenly a deal that was thought to be as solid as the foundations built for the new campus complex crumbled. Here’s 2 short paragraphs from an article  “Genuity Faces Bankruptcy As Verizon Ignores an Option” by Seth Schiesel and Simon Romero NYT™ 7/26/02 (funny how this date is also today’s) that shows just how fast things can change:

The campus, as it was known then, was composed of buildings and office towers that were, in many ways, more massive and overarching than almost all the other office parks around it. It’s was staggering. Just the construction (let alone costs) to build entirely new exit and entrance ramps that bridged over it then subsequently connecting to it alone (e.g., a U.S. Interstate highway) was reason enough for pause when watching this park being built.

And before it opened, the company that was to occupy it, was all but gone. They went from supposedly needing the equivalent of millions of square feet of office space – to occupying the corner of one floor, in the back.

I remember empathetic thinking back then about all those people they hired and lured from other companies, all the people who relocated from elsewhere to work in this brand new gleaming “campus” suddenly found they were all unemployed before they even began. Near overnight, something else dropped like a “box of hammers” when the dot-com version of “It’s different this time” fell.

It’s called, “Reality.” And when it drops, many find it’s far heavier than it looked originally.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Strike Three Awaits aka: When “MOMO” Ends

If there’s been one thing prominent behind the headlines today that shows just how myopic, combined with, what appears to be a an outright willingness to jettison any deductive reasoning across most, if not all media outlets. It has been the stated interpretations or reasonings behind not just the Facebook™ share price collapse, but also the confluence of similar out-of-the-blue for either negative, or lack of reaction entirely, to the once darlings of any and all BTFD (buy the f’n dips) worshipers.

These reasonings have bordered from the outright delusional, at best. To forthright indulgence into the land of, baffle’m-with-bullsh*t. It’s been beyond ludicrous, to say the least.

The current myopic view is that the debacle in Facebook (FB), when it comes to its share price falling, is it’s the result of the latest scandal and Wall Street had a hissy over it. However, as they keep pointing out, the business (aka revenues) is booming! i.e., “This company is still generating Billions upon Billions!”

Yes, yes it is, which should be your first clue as to take what happened in its share price as an ominous warning sign for bigger things to come rather, than the myopic reasoning that this is solely just some over-reaction to a mildly disappointing quarter. Hint: It’s not.

To illustrate my point we need to look back over the course of the last year or so for context. For if you don’t, you could miss the larger picture contained within.

It’s also important in other ways, which are just as important to note. One is the standard moniker affixed to many like myself. i.e., “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” It’s an easy trap to fall into when any calls for caution are continually pummeled under the sledgehammer of an incessantly climbing “market.”

I get it, “price is king” as some will say. Till – price reverses, then all that seemingly, well founded genius of “Buying any and all dips, regardless” gets dropped on its head. Or should I say, crown?

The issue one needs to be very cognizant of is, not only did FB’s share price get dropped, but this time, they came for Twitter™ in unison, with the those same “sledgehammers.” There is an importance here that many are missing.

Twitter, for those whom might not remember, just landed itself within the coveted S&P 500™ index listing. This was the moment that was supposed to prove all the nay-sayers wrong for holding any view other than “it’s different this time.” Now it’s all about the long view, value, etc., etc., etc. (i.e., These are mature or, maturing companies, and our view, along with our evaluations, should also change.)

OK, fair point. so what happened that we can “evaluate” as to help shape any new understandings going forward would be a good question, yes? So how is this playing out, any examples? Yes, yes there were, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Nearly as soon as it was included, meaning more ETF’s, pension funds, 401K’s et al. would have increased exposure to it – the “sledgehammers” came for the newly ascended bird-on-a-perch. The result? Hint: See any portfolio now containing this once dynamic duo for clues.

The above are the most obvious, but they are far from the only ones that need to be included for perspective.

Netflix™ was hammered in much the same way. Alphabet™ (aka Google™) and Amazon™ are also notable for their lack of reaction, along with their inability to hold much of their lackluster push higher.

This is not the reaction expected to a season of “Great earnings beats!” that is told/sold across much of the business/financial mainstream media.

In fact 10% – 20% downdrafts in a single trading session of not just one, but a couple of the most high-flying names for recommendations across all of Wall Street, along with a sudden vanishing of any BTFD’ers to make them whole again (or appear genius) has suddenly manifested a myriad of facial ticks and psyco-babble across many a next-in-rotation fund manager.

And it’s just a start in my opinion, which brings us to my original headline and why I made it.

Now that we have the above for some context, let’s move it into the bigger-picture viewpoint and see if we can make any possible assumptions that might be valid, along with deducing any possible conclusions, where one might position themselves or, their business, against possible turmoil or headwinds.

Back to the “broken clock” theory first, for a moment, because it’s relevant.

The “broken clock” theory is based upon the idea that even if something is broken (meaning useless) that it can appear to be correct depending on the circumstances. It’s a double-edged-sword type of analogy when taken in full context. To illustrate this point one can use the idea of “a monkey throwing darts at ticker symbols” proving to be an illustration of the “broken clock.” i.e., even though in reality its a moronic exercise in stock picking, under the right circumstances, it can appear quite genius.

If you think this is hyperbole? Then it’s quite possible you don’t fully understand or appreciate the ramifications the last eight years or so of central bank fueled and rewarded BTFD (buy the f’n dips) “genius” has brought us. Because – that is exactly where we are now, as proved out in another recent Wall Street Journal™ article titled: “Darts Are Beating the Ira Sohn Investing Pros”

Here’s just one line from said article that seems to be trying to summarize where we are now. To wit:

“Once again, investors would have been better off picking companies by throwing darts at stock tables than listening to Wall Street’s geniuses.”

The issue is, to a few of us, this is old news. And, we’ve been stating it for years. (i.e., just one of QE’s ramifications) Here’s just one example back in 2014, again, to wit:

“What we don’t need – nor want – is another bowl of the 2008ish tripe washed down with this years new flavored Kool-aid™.

Here’s what a few of us also know that we are not “wrong” about.

When a monkey throwing darts can outperform most of today’s so-called “best of the best” hedge funds – we’re going to put our money on the monkey, rather than putting it anywhere close to where these people can put their hands on it for their own personal self-serving monkey business.”

Which brings us squarely into what may be “strike three” from a full windup pitcher who has already successfully placed two prior.

“Wait, two prior?” You’re now asking.

Yes, that’s correct. Two 110 mile-an-hour financial curveballs that took the “markets” breath away, yet, has left it remaining in the batters box thinking the next will surely be slower and wider, for no pitcher can sustain anything with such momentum and trajectory three times in a row. After all, 110 mile-an-hour curveballs are supposedly impossible, right?

Well, they are. But so to was the idea of QE – and here we are.

The problem here is this new releif pitcher (e.g., QT) has been sent in to close down the QE show – and there’s only one way to see if there is indeed any “gas” remaining in the tank. And that’s – to test it.

“Strike One” came when the original spigot of QE was officially announced over back in Oct/Nov. of 2014.

I stated over and over, and over again, that if everything I was arguing had any merit, than it should prove itself, with near immediacy, in the fairytale utopian “investing” vehicle built of QE known as “The unicorn and it’s IPO cash-out.” If I were correct it should come to an abrupt death of what was then considered the “darling of investing prowess.”

And it did.

The next came at the beginning of this year, when I stated much along the same as I’ve said before, that “If I’ve been wrong for the right reasons” then the moment the “markets” have confirmation that the Fed’s balance sheet has, indeed, reduced. (i.e., no more reinvestment of prior purchases and actual roll off accordingly) that the “markets” would react not just negatively, but knee-jerkingly so and in dramatic fashion, where thoughts of 2008 panic once again reemerged.

And it did, now known as the “February Scare.”

Yet, that “scare” seems to have been long forgotten, which is just another point in the progression that I’ve been stating should be the result if this QT (quantitative tightening) was to be appreciated in its fullest rather, than what most of the so-called “experts” were touting. i.e., “QT is now a well-known and the market has no real concern over it, blah, blah, blah…

The issue is these recent “market” actions are proving quite the contrary.

As I and a few others have stated since the beginning of the year, is this: If this entire Potemkin Village now known as the “markets” is nothing more than a house-of-cards built upon shifting sand, than the results to back up that premise would become manifest in-and-around the second quarter during the earnings reporting. The reasoning was simple:

After the build up made possible from the tax plan actually getting passed (something I originally doubted, with good reason) that euphoria would wear off once this years earnings began in earnest. It seems to have done just that for we have not since made any across the board new highs as of yet.

First quarter reporting covers the holiday shopping period. Exposure is a must regardless of what one thinks. Money has to be invested for exposure not just for the earnings, but for the new year. And when looking back at all the “beats” for ending 2017 – it didn’t take a genius to assume the “markets” would remain at elevate levels if not even surpass. And the First quarter did just that. But there was just one nagging issue – projections.

The problem here was that these “projections” were now sacrosanct to the last bastion of residual “hot money” left over from all the prior years of QE. i.e., The FAANG family of tech.

If the new religion purveyors of “It’s different this time” dogma demonstrated even-the-slightest of disillusionment to the “growth story?” It would show that it all was truly over with a sudden new-found appreciation for the old lost religion of, “Hurry up and sell!”

And it did just that, digging this once forgotten practice up in-spades. Let’s call it, “Strike Two.”

So now, what is this possible “Strike Three” call I’m making? Good question, and it is this:

There’s only one thing left that is to be tested as to solidify where these “markets” will go next. And it isn’t the results of a trade war per se.

No, this “market” has thrown quite a few pitches over-the-plate since the ending of QE. There have been some that were easily called strikes only to be reversed as called balls by the instant replay team composed of other central bankers. (Hint: James Bullard, or Mario Draghi et al.)

But now the count is full, and the entire series is on the line, with a full count and bases loaded. Which lies at the heart of the dilemma.

For this pitcher has now shown they are capable of throwing pitches at incredible speeds (think China) along with trajectories needing a degree in quantum physics to evaluate. (Think algo’s and more) And in the batter’s box is one named Jerome Powell.

One who has signaled prior, that when the game is on the line (i.e. markets selling off) he might not swing the Fed’s heavy hitting bat, also known as “more-cowbell,” and take his (i.e., the Fed’s) chances that any assuming market turmoil is nothing more than what will later be discerned as, “a called ball.”

The issue this batter may fail to realize is the extreme that this “market” is built on aka: “The Fed. Put.”

And in doing so this “market” is going to put its final pitch directly down the center-of-the-plate (i.e., roiling markets) where the decision for swinging will be made moot.

In other words: The Fed. will either have to swing-for-the-fences, and take the chances of missing – or not swing at all. Yet, both will have the same effect. e.g., Game over.

But make no mistake – that pitch – is coming.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Dear “It’s Different This Time”: PS…

From yesterdays’ note. To wit:

And that my friends is precisely what I mean when I have stated over and over, and over again “Why being wrong for the right reasons matters rather, than the other way around.” The reasoning is simple:

When it’s over, it’s over.

And for those that thought yesterdays’ Facebook™ plunge was a fluke? Here’s this mornings breaking news via Bloomberg™, again, to wit:

(Source)

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Dear, “It’s Different This Time”: You’ve Got Mail!

Over the years I have found myself at the center of many “debates” when it came to the entire social-media phenom and its larger topic of “Silicon Valley” in general.

And during this period I have found myself ( both directly and indirectly i.e., by name or, grouped in as part of the “doom and gloom crew” that shall not be named) many times being used as some virtual piñata.

So much so, that I began applying my own moniker to what I deemed the “aficionado set” as a way to encompass all this so-called “in the know” crowd under one banner.

Primarily this group was composed of the many one would see throughout the mainstream business/financial media whether TV, radio, print, et al. The smugness and arrogance dripped from this crowd like a toddler’s diaper after their fifth sippy-cup. It was, to say the least, pathetic in my view.

To those who haven’t been following my work that long and don’t really understand how the above fits into this context, here’s a screenshot that encapsulates it, which I’ve used over the years when I felt helped make a point. To wit:

Photo credit: Screenshot publicly viewed Twitter™ Feed.

The article they were “discussing” at the time was when I wrote “‘Crying Towels’ Silicon Valley’s Next Big Investment Op” and since that moment nearly all the proposals I put forth have come to pass. What seems to be taking place now is the ramifications when “Being wrong for the right reasons.” begins to be proven as the correct stance.

And for those who’ve wondered why I use the term “as they say in The Valley: pictures” when I post some charts – now you know. And for the others looking at the above wondering, “Who are these people?” Well, at that time, one used to be a near fixture on “Bloomberg™” when it came to everything Silicon Valley and “investing.” But since the Fed. pulled QE he seems to no longer be needed as much. Scheduling conflicts I’m sure, but I digress.

The reason why the above is needed is for context, because, as of late, I’ve been opining about the similarities between AOL™ signaling the end of the “tech boom” and Facebook™ today.

So similar in view have these been playing out that I began using the term “Rhyming with an auto-tuner.” I have been nearly alone in my calls for caution, and when I’ve not been alone it’s been for situations resembling the above. i.e., ridicule, and more. After all , “Look at the stock price!” has been the clarion call-to-arms against anyone daring to say words against the “It’s different this time” truth-sayers.

And then, suddenly: It’s different this time. The problem? Because it’s not. To wit:

(Source: Front-page screenshot Drudge Report™)

And that my friends is precisely what I mean when I have stated over and over, and over again “Why being wrong for the right reasons matters rather, than the other way around.” The reasoning is simple:

When it’s over, it’s over. And everything you believed you learned by being rewarded countless times to just “BTFD” (buy the f’n dip) – suddenly becomes the worst learned habitual trait that you’ll ever need to overcome.

But don’t shed a tear for Mark, because he’s been selling out at prices that may no longer be available again. Ever.

Just ask any prior AOL™ bag-holder stock holder of the prior “Tech bubble.” I’m more than certain they’ll get a chuckle if one says “But it was supposed to be different this time!”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr