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™"

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

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

I need to take you back to January of this year using what’s called by Silicon Valley aficionados a “picture.” To wit:

(Source)

Here’s what I wrote in reference to what I deemed Bitcoin’s $20K dilemma, but also what I called out as completely deplorable behavior by someone who is being touted on a global media outlet as an “expert.” Because, after all, the program along with its parent company are supposedly offering up advice that is of the highest quality and caliber – along with “actionable.”

From my article. To wit:

Have you heard about Bitcoin™ today? My guess is, if you’re having any experience such as mine, that is now a 50-50 proposition, depending on what day of the week it is.

An example of this, I’ll assume, goes something like this, again, based on my own non scientific results:

  • If Bitcoin is rising in price by double-digit percentages? The phone, email, or face-to-face questioning from friends and family goes from casual, or almost disinterested conversation. To demanding inquiries – even from total strangers I may pass in the street.
  • On the other hand; if Bitcoin is falling (again) by double-digits? __________________(insert crickets here.)

And here’s that “deplorable” part, again, to wit:

This type of behavior was (once again) prominently displayed on (once agin) none other than CNBC.

Yet, it seems to have taken on an even more harsh tone than ever before. I would assume it comes from the resulting issue that all those “investors” that were all but assured of even further riches – are now calling, wondering how in the world they could suddenly be so far underwater when all the so-called “experts” exuded assurances that this was all but “a sure thing.” i.e. BTFD’s (buy the F’n dips)

Last week this type of derogatory, no better ammo to counter a thesis than to throw out insults, was (once again) on full display on CNBC’s, Fast Money® program, where one of the panel members decided the best way to deal with any nay sayers was to lob a volley of nothing more than sophomoric insults.

The resulting “informative” information to bolster against anything that may claim Bitcoin may indeed be in for more trouble was met with panelist Dan Nathan berating the guest (Evercore™ ISI technician, Rick Ross) with such words of investing prowess as alluding to technical analysis as “his stick” I believe it was “schtick” but that just me.

Yet, it was his verbal coup de grâce of investing retorts that delivered all one needs to know about what’s currently taking place within the entire crypto arena. That retort? “…so go piss off, seriously.”

Ah yes, the fundamental sign (for those who want to see) that shows just how vacant the entire “get rich quick with Bitcoin” fallacy has fallen, and quickly.

Said differently: When the best argument for one’s position is nothing more than a vulgar insult, delivered meaningfully, and almost menacing in posture? On camera? Hint: That shows just how much that $20,000 high water mark is now a problem, and a very real problem at that. For the longer it doesn’t recoup back to its former highs? The more problems the entire crypto area is going to feel. Especially for those who were supposedly seen prior as “the experts.” i.e., I’d be on the lookout for the necessary bleeping of F-bombs for more clues into what’s currently taking place, than most or any the analysis I’ve heard. But that’s just me.

So how has all that “piss off” brilliance worked out? Well, let’s look at the most recent “picture” to be included into the Bitcoin family album, shall we? To wit:

But then again as I’m told so many times…

What do I know.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Let the CYA Statements Begin!

I have been inundated with questions about the current gyrations not only in the “markets,” but rather, about what many are now noticing (and calling) as “pure bullsh•t” when it comes to what they are now hearing across most (if not all) of the mainstream businesses/financial outlets.

And they’re quite pissed upset.

As long time readers of my work are well aware this is something I’ve been calling attention to for quite some time. The issue has been with the roar emanating via the relentless melt up in the “markets” as the fumes of the Fed. spoils were finally burning off that “roar” allowed any calls of warning to fall on deaf ears. That is – until now.

Here’s something I’ve said many times. To wit:

“The problem with being too early is you appear wrong for all the wrong reasons and many will argue that you’re just plain wrong. The flip side of that is when all the reasons that you were early in calling suddenly arrive, all the people who were taking credit for being so smart prior suddenly appear not to be so.”

Again, as many who have followed my work of the years know all too well that one of these “so smart aficionados” that I’ve declared as “one of the most dangerous people to one’s 401K” has been none other than the buzzer-king Jim Cramer.  And with this continuing turmoil – he is proving all my prior points in spades. Here’s just a few examples. To wit:

September 18, 2018 – Cramer: Wall Street short-sellers are losing because they’re overestimating the trade war

As stocks shrugged off trade war fears on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging over 180 points, CNBC’s Jim Cramer could imagine how some Wall Street hedge fund managers were feeling.

“Many of these fund managers are kind of paranoid. They see systemic risk all over the place where it doesn’t exist,” the “Mad Money” host said. 

“Every time a country in Europe or Asia struggles with its currency or its banking system or its finances — we’re talking Turkey, Greece, Cyprus — these guys decide it’s an opportunity to short stocks,” he continued. “Every new tariff begets another reason to bet against the market.”

Here’s a bit more from the same article, again, to wit:

“Because of the tidal wave of new money coming in and the incredibly large corporate buybacks, … the shorts seem almost never to get a break. They don’t get the kind of sell-off they’re hoping for,” the “Mad Money” host said. “Instead, we get a rally that only became stronger over the course of the session.”

“The glass-all-full gang just can’t stop buying, and unless there’s a specific piece of negative news, a real shortfall, this market simply isn’t delivering the kind of declines that used to make being a short-seller so darned lucrative,” he concluded. “That’s why stocks seem to be so resilient and why the market keeps defying the odds.”

Here’s another for your consideration.

October 16, 2018 – Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ Recap – The rally we’ve been waiting for

“When the Fed bears are away, the stock bulls will play,” Jim Cramer told his viewers Tuesday, after the markets mounted an impressive relief rally. Cramer reminded viewers that a panic is a terrible thing to waste, which is why the smart money was buying into the recent declines and not selling out of fear.

But if you are one of the lucky one’s that pay for his proprietary indicators, well, I’ll let the article speak for itself, again, to wit:

Cramer said there are several indicators he uses to determine when a selloff is reaching its last legs. The S&P Oscillator is one of those indicators, as it measures overbought and oversold conditions. But for those not willing or able to pay for this proprietary metric, you can simply look at the buying and selling volumes on any given day. When the down volume outpaces the up volume by 10 to one, you know the selloff is likely reaching its end.

However, it would seem all that indicator magic is suddenly well past its sell date. To wit:

November 15, 2018 Cramer says CEOs are telling him off the record the economy has quickly cooled

Cramer has been warning investors for weeks about a manmade slowdown in the U.S. economy, fueled by the two-pronged pressures of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes and the Trump administration’s tariffs. Now, high-profile CEOs are worried about growth slowing so drastically that it could actually hurt the economy, he said.

If you’re a bit confused maybe this will clear it up from the same article, again, to wit:

“There are degrees of slowdowns that, nonetheless, can cause an awful lot of havoc and cost a lot of jobs, and that’s what we’re on the verge of here,” he said. “That’s what the markets are saying. That’s what the CEOs are worried about offline.”

The situation reminded Cramer of when, on the cusp of the 2008 financial crisis, his corporate sources confided in him that the Fed “seemed to be out of touch … with what was happening” on Wall Street, he said. That led to his now-famous “They know nothing!” rant blasting the Fed for its lack of diligence.

“I was right,” he said. “I did my best and, at that time, I made a resolution. If I thought we would ever get back into one of these situations again, I promised myself I’d be vocal about what could go wrong, even if I knew it wouldn’t be as serious as the Great Recession.”

And if you’re still confused (easily understandable for remember, these people are professionals slingers!) let me help you a bit. This is nothing more than blatant attempts to try and CYA (cover one’s backside) with heaping helpings of “baffle’m with bullsh•t” and pray they don’t look back.

Problem is – it’s all there on record – again.

What do I mean by “again?” Great question here’s the answer from October 23, 2018. To wit:

Cramer says: Investors have a ‘twofold reason’ to buy given-up-on stocks like FANG

The Federal Open Market Committee has indicated that it plans to raise interest rates once more in December and three more times in 2019, a plan that Cramer has repeatedly said could cause an economic slowdown.

“When that happens, the companies with the highest price-to-earnings multiples are the ones that benefit,” he said.

I only have one thing to say to the above…

Where’s Jon Stewart when you need him?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Is Fantasyland About To Get Real?

For much of this decade there has been no other industry that has laid claim to the “easy button” with reckless abandonment than the industry collectively known as: Wall Street or, investing in general.

Today it seems many an “easy button” are suddenly malfunctioning with devastating results.

The true issue with the above is this may only be the beginning of the real problems, for a product recall in investing parlance usually means something along the lines of a return of some, if not all, of those once considered “set it and forget it” easy-peasy trades for profit.

For some, it may be a recall of their entire net worth – and then some.

You should reread the above sentence one more time, especially the part about “entire,” “and then some” aspect. For if you never thought (or still don’t) think that’s possible, or believe it’ll never happen to you, because you have or partake in some “great retirement/trading strategy” told and sold via some “investing guru?” Wall Street has a term for that also, it’s called: “You’re next.”

It was back in 2010 the then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mr. Ben “The Courage To Print And Print Some More!” Bernanke gave what many of us deem as his infamous Jackson Hole speech signaling another round of quantitate easing was at hand (e.g.,QE2) and that if needed would do more. 

It was here the all too easy BTFD (buy the F’n dip) because “the Fed’s got your back” trade was born.

The problem is those days are now long gone, but the after effects are only now beginning to be felt – and they are earth jarring. Here’s just the latest example:

Maybe you heard about the recent natural gas market turmoil, maybe you didn’t. For those that don’t know, the entire natural gas market went bonkers out-of-the-blue spiking to heights that wiped out many a trader if not entire trading funds.

The issue with natural gas markets (and oil et cetera) are that traders (and by that I mean: real, experienced, human, open-out-cry pit traders of old) understood they’re not called “widow makers” for nothing.

Anyone sporting some new-fangled “set it and forget it” type strategy system, let’s say like those involving “option strategies,” were usually known as “the walking dead, they just don’t know it yet” crowd. The reasoning was simple: it’s not called “widow maker” for nothing.

However, that hasn’t stopped those from thinking (as well as selling the idea) that “it’s different this time” offering ways to beat the system. One was named “OptionSellers[dot]com.” Focus on – was.

In an out-of-the-blue turn of events (obviously not anticipated, or maybe, not ever thought possible) this firm suddenly found both itself, as well as all its clients funds – lost. I bet people who were following the advice of this company never thought of this consequence when the they were listening to commentary given by the founder in a podcast as recent as October (hint: it’s now no longer available)

With that said here’s just one paragraph I picked out of its transcript titled, “Option Selling Opportunities So Good They’re Scary” Again, this is from just weeks ago. To wit:

We sell options probably much further out in time and in price than most people that are involved with doing this, not with the idea that we’re going to stay in the option until the very last day trying to collect the very last dollar. That’s really not necessary. If you sell options fairly well – sometimes we do – if you sell options fairly well, that option should lose probably 75-80% of its value in about half of the time that’s remaining on the option. So, quite often we’ll be buying options back that have 100 days remaining left on them, with the idea that you’ve captured 90% of that premium. Once it gets down to that low level, that’s really a good time to cause a buyback candidate and cash in the profit and start over anew.

James Cordier/OptionSellers[.]com

The above sounds great – until everything you thought couldn’t happen – happens.

Did this happen because of a natty gas trade gone awry? Hard to say, but the inherent issue with option strategies that those of us that have been around awhile (as well as traded) know all too well is this: they always work, till they don’t – and when they don’t they can cost you plenty.

And when you’re dealing in the commodity sector? Hint: focus on – “plenty.”

The above is just a microcosm of what I believe will become a far greater problem throughout the entire investing, as well as Wall Street complex. That problem revolves around what is also known as a “set it and forget it” type strategy to retirement riches. That strategy? Robo-investing. i.e.,  think outfits like Betterment™ and others for examples.

Automated investments (think: formulaic, algorithmic programed robo-trades) have been the buzzwords for investing since the central banks have been adulterating the markets these past years. I mean, what’s not to like, right? For if the Fed’s got your back, then the machines can surely handle your money, right?

Well, yes they can, until something goes awry. Then, well, just see above for clues.

Algorithmic, high frequency, robotic trades have one fatal flaw: Event risk. This fatal flaw gives no precursor for implementation. i.e., it just happens when no one is either prepared, or worse, never thought it ever could.

Remember: all HFT or algorithmic trading is predicated on one simple rule. i.e.,  “if this, then that” and it is as simple as it sounds.

It gets complicated when the machines interpret “this” as “that” when “that” was never contemplated as meaning “this” and so forth. Then, at the speed of light (literally) will feed upon itself executing millions, if not billions of robo-trades as other bots suddenly (actually, instantaneously) react and trade against or with it, exacerbating what may be an erroneous interpretation to begin with.

This is where AI (artificial intelligence) can suddenly become dumber than a box of rocks. The problem is the wake of disaster it can leave as a result can pound once considered hard profits, as well as entire net worths, into pulverized sand flowing down an endless rabbit hole of losses.

Currently we are sitting at a moment of time for event risk that not only the robots that will execute their preloaded programs have never seen, but that many of the coders for those programs haven’t either. i.e., they were still in school during the last fiasco.

Should the news coming out of Asia tonight be interpreted as dire (see latest APEC Summit for clues) for any resolution bearing merit in the ongoing trade wars, we could see a sudden risk event in the lightly manned (no pun intended) holiday trading week here in the U.S.

After all, as of right now, it’s the machines that have been left to man the “markets” while the rest have hit the road for the holiday travels.

What could possibly go wrong?

Maybe some should look to OptionSellers[.]com for possible hints or clues.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

The Dirty Little Problem With Bitcoin

As I’ve said repeatedly:

“The problem with investing in Bitcoin is that if you weren’t one of those that were in on the early side prior to it’s $20K peak and holding-on-for-dear-life is that you are now at their mercy. Because every-time there seems to be some stability that appears to attract a new wave of any of today’s BTFD (buy the f’n dip) wanting to get in to make a killing, because they believe “this is it!” Is precisely the time those HODL (holding on for dear life) are going to try and cash out.”

For those thinking I’m off base I offer the following.

Here’s Mr. Tim “This thing is still going to the moon!” Draper just last week in a basic Google™ search. To wit:

(Source)

Here is a chart of Bitcoin as of this writing, again, to wit:

(Source)

And yes, that’s just today, and the day is both still young and far from over.

But then again, what do I know.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Addendum to: For Those Wanting To Know

Many have asked for my latest thoughts on the happenings in the “markets,” especially in relationship to my prior observations. So it is in that vein that I share what I’m currently focusing on. To wit:

(Source)

The above is the S&P 500™ futures as of this writing before the markets open. The reason why I’m paying attention to it is that it is exhibiting near picture perfect textbook examples that would signal that the selling may be far from over.

Doesn’t mean that it will, it’s just that the odds of it are ever increasingly so.

So what would raise the odds to their highest interpretation one might ask? Good question, and here’s my reasoning:

Should the lows of yesterday (you can see on the above chart it is about 2720 using the futures) be tested, then broken through with follow-through the selling could get very ugly indeed. Much more than has been exhibited as of late. And no, that’s not using hyperbole.

As always, we shall see. But for those wanting to know, that’s what I’m watching.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

2018: It Was Different This Time

I know there are those that might think mid November is a bit too early to begin talking about the year as if it has finished. It’s a fair point. But the issue with most “year in review” articles is that they’re of the “mailed in” variety, much like the obligatory obituary of some once famous icon.

The issue today is what has passed so far this year may be just a warm up before the winter truly takes hold before year end.

I’m of the opinion 2018 still has the capacity to reset all past memories of this year’s events. In other words, what is now being looked back upon as, the worst is over (i.e., “February Scare” and the market’s version of an “October Surprise”) may be looked back upon as just a warm up for year end gyrations. And if so?

That makes it very, very, very (did I say very?) different this time, indeed.

We need to do a bit of “down memory lane” to put things into perspective, because if one listens to most of the mainstream business/financial media it’s easy to construe that they’ve all been issued their required supplement of amnesia pills. Some in far higher doses than others.

Remember when everything the Federal Reserve was both doing and contemplating was argued as “baked in?”

With great fanfare then Chair Janet Yellen handed the bag baton to incoming Chair Jerome Powell so he could continue orchestrating the so-called well thought out rate increase cycle and carefully implement the ever increasing or, ratcheting process of balance sheet roll off she had developed under her tenure.

She departed January in the lingering mist of her surety that she expects no new financial crisis in “our lifetimes.”  

Then in February the markets roiled sending it plummeting in ways not seen since 2015. This was the first time the “markets” could verify that the Fed. was indeed “pulling away the punch bowl” known as QT (quantitate tightening) – and they didn’t like it. But there was a very distinctive difference this time. That difference?

No Federal Reserve member came running from behind the curtains to commandeer any and all forms of media to espouse “Don’t worry, we’re still here!” as they had done throughout 2015 as the initial QE (quantitative easing) spigot was being cut off. i.e., paging Mr. Bullard morphed into a Ferris Bueller moment in equivalency.

Then in late March the “markets” regained its footing as to take advantage to front-run the already record breaking pace set for further stock buybacks with any remaining QE remnants (i.e., from the prior roll-over or, reinvestment process) before they disappeared entirely.

This was an imperative (or people want their money back!) as to gain exposure for any possible earnings reports for Q1 and Q2 that may have any remaining upside narrative to spin.

And spin they did.

Throughout the year we were told ad nauseam across the mainstream business/financial media that everything concerning the Federal Reserve and rate hikes was already “baked in.” Trade wars? Tariffs? Again, “baked in.”

As a matter of fact with the “market” continuing to vault ever higher it was articulated by many a next-in-rotation fund manager, as well as many an Ivory League Ph.D aficionado that tariffs were now to be looked on as something positive. The reasoning?

You guessed it: “Just look at the markets for proof.”

Then, suddenly, it all came to a screeching halt. However, it appeared to be just a bit too late as the “markets” seemed to have misjudged the edge and began an initial “Thelma and Louise” impersonation.

Why was October so different? Hint: Once again the “markets” could no longer hope that the Fed. would back off its already punitive cycle of taking away their punch bowl.

The October meeting set in stone (barring a complete rout) that not only would there be no change in the rate cycle as implied earlier, but the acceleration into light speed for the balance sheet draw down (aka “Normalization”) was in fact going forward as had been prescribed. e.g., $50 Billion per month. The resulting “market” reaction? Hint: To wit:

(Source)

So here we are in November and what does that mean for the “markets?” Here’s something I believe no one anticipated:

The Fed. is not only not viewing October’s swoon as not being anything close to warranting or deserving the title of “rout.” It’s making it abundantly clear it’s barely worth mentioning as demonstrated in its most recent communiqué.

Can you say “Uh oh?”

Suddenly Wall Street is aghast, next-in-rotation fund managers are apoplectic, even buzzer banging false narrative spinners are suddenly taking to any outlet that will have them to voice their concern that the Fed. is misguided to continue on with its “lunatic” tightening policy.

What happened to all the “baked in” and “the market’s comfortable” with the Fed’s policy, trade tariffs and more as was touted prior to October? For it now seems that the only reason why this “market” has been able to ascend these heights is via central bank intervention.

I can only assume this because of the ever increasing cabal of Wall Street associates that are now “taking a knee.” However, this is not in some type of solidarity to current protests. This is to beg the Fed. to “Please stop! Just Don’t Do it!”

The problem is it’s getting harder to not see it’s all falling on deaf ears. i.e., Every time a Fed. president has spoken lately it’s been to reassure its steady as she goes. 

That’s not what the “market” both anticipated nor, wanted to hear.

But now it is undeniable truth and fact and with that now also comes the consequences. And it’s here where the end of year could (again, could) end up making the other swoons look like just a warm up act.

Should the “markets” now fully accept that the Fed. is indeed going to leave them “hanging out to dry” in the icy winds of November and December to fend for themselves, the “market” is going to do the only thing it seems to have perfected these past 10 years of anything Fed. related. And that is this:

Front run it.

We saw what the “markets” did when a Fed. insider alerted it to what the Fed’s hand was going to pursue. Hint: See disgraced retired market moving information leaker Jeffrey Lacker.

How do you think it’s going to both think, as well as react, now that the Fed. in last weeks statement revealed, in no uncertain terms, that both increasing rates along with withdrawing its once considered “manna from money heaven” was not only going to continue, but allowed to accelerate as planned?

Hint: Can you say “this year end may be different than others?”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

For Those Wanting To Know What I’m Looking At

As we sit here Thursday morning before the U.S. markets open I thought I’d share an observation I’m watching for those that want to know.

As I expressed on the show recently this “market” has entered what I’ve termed a “manic/depressive” phase. i.e.. if the 2600 level thereabout holds of the S&P 500™ then things will go from gloomy to “Hey, let’s all BTFD!”

That has happened precicely as described.

Now we’re at the opposite end of that extreme where we’re now at the 2800 level and the “markets” appear to have exhausted itself getting here. And now it’s looking like they want to drift back lower. If they do, this will bring on the depression state aka “Sell it, we’re all doomed!” till we, once again, get back to that 2600 level thereabout.

The current “mania” phase has shown itself to exhaust precisely at another key level that coincides with that 2800, which is a near perfect, text book retracement pattern level shown via what is called a Fibonacci level, drawn using the beginning of the October swoon to the lowest level of it.

Should the “markets” not break up higher through here decisively then vault ever higher, the interpretations suggest that a retrace back lower is well in favor of the odds, where a testing of that 2600 level will be, once again, squarely back on the table.

This doesn’t mean that it will, it’s just something that can. But at least it’s something to watch for as to try and gain any insight into what may be coming back rather, than what I’ve heard professed across most (if not all) of the mainstream business/financial media. e.g., “The worst is behind us, it’s time once again to buy, buy, buy.”

Here’s a chart showing my observation and what I’m watching acutely. To wit:

(Source)

As always, we shall see. But that’s what I’m focused on as of this writing.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Congratulations Apple, You’re Now Microsoft

There was a time when I would begin an article such as this where I would always begin with the admonition that I was an “Apple fan-boy” because, not only was I product user, but I also believed their products both in design and intuitiveness was best in class.

That is no longer the case.

It’s downright appalling just how far off the rails Apple™ has run under the tutelage of Tim Cook when talking about design, innovation, as well as intuitiveness.

Of course, the same is not so for Apple-the-stock.

If you’ve been a “fan boy” of Apple-the-stock since the passing of Jobs, well then, let’s just say you may be about to get a hint of how it’s been to be a product customer as opposed to just a 401K customer.

The once lauded stock moniker of $Trillion is now a suddenly deleted feature of the stock value, just like many a deleted feature of its products. Welcome to our (Apple product user) world.

Maybe this once beloved feature will make a return. But if history is any guide, coming from a product user “Don’t hold your breath” is all we’ll say. Hint: see Mac Pro® for clues.

The more than troubling issue with all the above (and then some) is that it wasn’t as if one couldn’t see it coming. That is, unless you only listened to the next-in-rotation fund manager crowd paraded across “Bubble Vision.”

Here’s what I said as far back as 2014 that was reported via Market Watch™. To wit:

The call of the day: And with the potential move to buy Beats, Apple could very well take the final step in its (d)evolution into Microsoft. That’s pretty much how Mark St. Cyr sees it. Of course, he’s not the only one piling on such a purchase. Music critic Bob Lefsetz calls Tim Cook a clueless operations guy. But St. Cyr takes it a step forward by comparing Apple to the lumbering software giant. In a “complete and utter cave-in to Wall Street,” Apple’s latest report wasn’t consumer-products based; rather, it was designed to play Wall Street’s game, he says.

“Dividends, debt, splits, and more,” he said. “I don’t think the iPhone has added as many new features at once as the new features released in Apple the stock.” That’s how Microsoft does it, said St. Cyr as he waxed on about the Apple you knew is no longer. “I hope I’m wrong, but the actions are beginning to not only speak for themselves — they’re screaming.”

Shawn Langolis/Market Watch

Since the passing of Jobs Apple seems to have not only lost its way, but is now just sitting idle in another Jobs vision known as “Apple Park.” And, much like everything else that has come from Apple of late, was completed behind schedule and over budget.

This once enviable vision is now a glaring monument to accomplishments of times past. i.e., This was the “house” that Jobs built. Cook and crew are only its current occupants.

I have a feeling the word “current” will have significance going forward, but that’s for another article.

The now demonstrably troubling issue for Apple going forward is that with the current direction the company has embarked, turning around this lumbering giant of tech to recapture its once unapologetic stance to caring about the product first and the stock price second (a paraphrasing of Jobs) may be about as monumental as trying to find a corner to relive oneself around that “spaceship.”

Crude, yes. But this is what it now feels like being a once Apple devotee. i.e., once fervent customers are beginning to feel like they’re the “corner.”

Apple announced right before the latest earnings debacle (that alone should give one pause) that it had upgraded three of its more prominent lines: Mac Mini®, MacBook Air® and iPad Pro®. Here’s my initial reaction: See the term “corner” above for clues.

In its now far past-its-sell-by-date presentation style the new upgraded line was heralded from the stage with more superlatives that it would make a Thesaurus envious.

It’s now become as predictable and more akin to watching a classic rock show without the spandex. i.e., All the past hits are played for sing along – when the new stuff is introduced – people start checking their email or social status.

I watched part but I turned it off when they began stating how the “wedge shape design” of the laptop was more revolutionary, elegant, special, extraordinary, exceptional, _________(fill in your own but you won’t come up with more) and would be the single cause for realigning the solar system into a more perfect design. Exaggeration, yes. But not by much.

There were many of the same when they were introducing the iPad and Mini, but it was the improvements to the Mini that brought me back to that feeling of the “corner.”

Was there any mention of a Mac Pro upgrade of any type? Nope. Be happy with the 2013 model at 2018/19 price points, for that’s all what was implied.

When it came to the Mini there were significant improvements that were way overdue. However, once you began pricing one out at a configuration that you’ll more or less pray you don’t outgrow, because you won’t be able to upgrade in the future, you began to fume. At least I did, and here’s why:

Apple made a big hoopla over the fact that the Mini was now 5x faster than before using a varying amount of benchmarks. The problem is that brings it up to about even with most other alternatives. i.e., Quad core and Six core CPU’s are available everywhere, Apple jettisoned them from the device (a move many called idiotic) years ago making the 2012 models far more preferable than its newest. So this wasn’t some “innovation” moment. It was more of a “catch up” type thing.

Yet, where things become apparent that the once coined “Apple Tax” has now morphed into a “Apple hosing” is when you want to add memory and/or storage of any type.

You can now get either a 1TB SSD (terabyte, solid state) for the low price of $600. If you would like two? It’ll cost you an additional $1400. Yes, you read that correctly: fourteen hundred dollars U.S.

Currently I have and own SSD drives because, I have exceeded the capacity of my internal drives. So, I am one of the many that needs to live the “dongle life” that has become synonymous with Apple products since Mr. Cook’s version of “make everything non-upgradable and F’ what the customer needs or wants” has taken over. i.e., everything you may need now requires either an adapter hanging off the side of your new multi-$thousand device. But hey, at least it’s in space grey, right? Right?

I can purchase today a 1TB SSD drive for about $150. U.S. 2TB for about a bit more than double. And that’s with no discount for buying bulk, shipped and delivered to my door, and last but certainly not least, that’s before the price goes down again.Yes, again!

Memory and storage prices are a consistently and constantly falling priced part of tech. It owes this to Moore’s Law and it has never wavered.

Cook and crew seem to think that this is something we luddites must not know anything about. The issue here is we know all too well because, it has been Mr. Cook’s insistence of making Apple products non-upgradeable (as in after initial sale) that we have to constantly buy these things aftermarket and add them on.

The problem here is we also understand that sometimes internally installed memory and storage functions more seamlessly than add-ons. But adding on, or trying to now order a piece of Apple hardware that you may not out grow in about 6 months time means not just overpaying, but rather, feeling more like you’ve just been violated in ways not fit for polite conversation.

Think I’m off base? Fair enough add this to the above example…

64 GB of RAM. Approximately $500 to $700 U.S. depending and using the same criteria as above. Apple pricing? An additional, again, additional $1400. U.S. That would put the memory upgrade and storage to cost almost more than double the price of the machine itself ($1099) which means the price suddenly soars with just these two upgrades to a near whopping $4000. U.S.

Are you beginning to see why that “corner” analogy I made earlier is maybe a bit too close in reality to people like myself?

Yet, as troubling as any of the above is Cook and crew might have just made their biggest tone deaf product iteration since his tutelage began, and that’s in the tinkering with: Apple-the-stock.

I have stated many times over these past years that Silicon Valley was no longer breathing rarified air, but rather, was inhaling its own exhaust fumes.

The issue here is that it’s set the stage for what might be one of Apple’s biggest missteps. Of course, this is in relation to changing its earnings report criteria going forward.

Personally, I would check the HVAC system that circulates the air within that “spaceship” for possible recycling errors, because I don’t know what else could warrant such a tone-deaf, mistimed product announcement than what took place on this recent earnings call. Unless you want to use the HomePod®, but I digress.

It was announced that Apple will no longer break down or release product metrics, just their revenues. Can you say, “Uh Oh?”

In a stunning statement analysts were notified that the metrics they relied upon as to help figure out what, how, or anything else that may help interpret what the company may, or may not be doing (you know, like how many iPhone® were sold – or not) was no longer going to be broken down or given as to use for comparison. 

In other words: the moment there was a noticeable slowdown (aka missed expectations) in the flagship product, it stated that reporting feature was no longer be available.  

Dear stock analysts, welcome to our (product users) world. Think I was off base with the comparison earlier? Not so much now when looked through this lens, yes? Or, maybe you now know why that “corner” comment just seems to fit.

The issue here is two fold…

First: There is no way this should have taken place without some real buildup and guidance far out. Doing this during an obvious iPhone sales miss into an upcoming holiday season coupled with the tariff speculation and more exacerbated the issue.

Second: Revenue is a great metric, but knowing how you got there is also important. And that’s why there are reports in the first place to make things transparent. Make them opague at the wrong time? See Apple’s main product line aka “share price” for clues.

Now Mr. Cook is facing an even bigger issue than when he first took over.

His baby, his creation, his biggest claim to fame, e.g., share holder value, has suddenly become “less valued.” And that won’t sit very well with the likes of one of his newest adoring fans Mr.Buffett.

Warren Buffett was once heralded as being the smartest investor on Wall Street because of his dogmatic adherence to not investing in things he didn’t understand intuitively such as tech.

Not being exposed to the dot-com crash high flyers and others helped both him and his company stay clear of much of the original damage. Believing in Cook and crew might turn into one of his biggest blunders.

As of now it’s reported that Mr. Buffett’s investment in Apple has lost as much as $4Billion in one day and may even be worse because, he added to his position right just two months prior. 

Here’s the real noticeable problem: It seems no one thought Apple shares “on sale” were any bargain, because they still remain on the lows of that thumping. You know, much like all the others of the FAANG family of “can’t go nowhere but higher” no brainer investment thesis.

Should this prove to be more the case rather, than some aberration that works against Mr. Buffett’s investing thesis of “Rule One: Don’t lose the money. Rule Two: See rule one.” Mr. Cook is going to be under some very serious pressure to fire up the engines of that “spaceship” and stop sitting in the captain’s chair pretending it’s flying.

Mr. Buffett will not stand idly by to watch his money go up in smoke like other tech investors of yore, no matter how many superlatives may be used at any share holders meeting. Trust me on that one.

Mr. Cook has signaled that it’s all about revenue, not the product details. That’s fine and in some ways he’s correct. But on the other hand, the timing in conjunction to all the rest that’s happening shows just how out of step to reality Apple has moved, not just from its customers, but also in understanding the reality of the day. i.e., “It’s different this time” no longer means what it once implied. Now it means – a reversing of it.

Should Apple-the-stock remain in the doldrums for any length of time, in concert with innovation that is both lack luster, as well as overpriced, it may very well be the case that there will be no discernible difference between Microsoft and Apple both in share holder value, as well as product releases.

Maybe those recent tremors emanating along the edge of California don’t have anything to do with Mother Earth per se, but rather, is Jobs rolling over in fury to even the idea of being able to imply such an idea.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

MYTR Broadcast – Friday

Segment One:

Segment Two:

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

Please Note:

We are concluding our final week in “All Access” mode . We are still sorting through more program highlights and/or changes as well continuing 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.”

Thanks to all of you for being a part of it, and you still can!

We are going another 30 days or rather the entire month of November in the same free all access mode. However starting November 5th the MYTR Broadcast goes behind a password protected wall. Free access is still available the only catch is that you now must either sign up or already be an email subscriber to the site to receive the daily pass code.

That’s it: email address only. You’ll receive the access passcode in the usual email notification along with the broadcast as you have been.

To reiterate: No credit card or anything else needed for the month of November. If you’re already an email subscriber you don’t have to do anything.

As always: We won’t and don’t sell, rent or share your email with anyone. Never have, never will.

Once again, thanks for being part of this incredibly successful launch these past 60 days and we look forward to having you in the future as well.

Remember: there is no second notification or email when the second segment of the show is added as we’ve done since its launch. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, as we’ve stated prior the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first. The reasoning remains the same:

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.

And on that note: make sure your emails don’t go to any spam folder. For there is no other way to receive the access codes. There is no support feature to resend.

MYTR Broadcast – Thursday

Segment One:

Segment Two:

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

Please Note:

We are concluding our final week in “All Access” mode . We are still sorting through more program highlights and/or changes as well continuing 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.”

Thanks to all of you for being a part of it, and you still can!

We are going another 30 days or rather the entire month of November in the same free all access mode. However starting November 5th the MYTR Broadcast goes behind a password protected wall. Free access is still available the only catch is that you now must either sign up or already be an email subscriber to the site to receive the daily pass code.

That’s it: email address only. You’ll receive the access passcode in the usual email notification along with the broadcast as you have been.

To reiterate: No credit card or anything else needed for the month of November. If you’re already an email subscriber you don’t have to do anything.

As always: We won’t and don’t sell, rent or share your email with anyone. Never have, never will.

Once again, thanks for being part of this incredibly successful launch these past 60 days and we look forward to having you in the future as well.

Remember: there is no second notification or email when the second segment of the show is added as we’ve done since its launch. These are being done live and the engineer is putting them up directly after they’ve concluded or been recorded therefore, as we’ve stated prior the second hour will be posted in about an hour after the first. The reasoning remains the same:

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.

And on that note: make sure your emails don’t go to any spam folder. For there is no other way to receive the access codes. There is no support feature to resend.