Google Me This, Batman…

For those not familiar with the above title, it’s in the theme of one of my favorite characters from the original Batman® series of the sixties known as “The Riddler” played by Frank Gorshin. His questions (or riddles) always started with the phrase, “Riddle me this, Batman!” And it is in this theme one question keeps gnawing at the back of my head as I look over Alphabet’s™(better known as Google™) pleasantly reported earnings beat.

Here’s what I just can’t seem to reconcile:

Paid “Clicks” grew by some +58%. Sounds pretty stellar, does it not? But here’s where something just isn’t squaring up too me, ready?

If paid “clicks” are showing their advertising power to attract with such an increase – then why would there be a need to be discounting them at double-digit (-22%) percentages?

Remember, the accepted metric, or “standard” across all advertising platforms for years, which still continues today – is that it takes on average 1000 viewers to make 1 physical positive action, in this case it would be a click.

This is known as the “Direct Mailing Standard” and also “The Times” metric as was adopted by the NYT™ years back. It’s been a standard and continues as one, because it’s been proven out even when it comes to the web of today. I know this from personal experience, because I’ve seen it work and play out in real-time via my own measurements. And also, I sold advertising earlier in my career, which is why I also know of it.

Which brings me back to my conundrum, which is this:

If you were the vendor or holder of something which showed a +58% increase in demand or its effectiveness – would you then discount it -22%?

Better question might be, “Why would you discount it at all?”

Then again, these “clicks” are set by auction if I’m not mistaken, so that would mean people found them less valuable even though they proved to be 58% more effective? (effective as in getting someone to click on it I have to presume)

To ask it another way: If we propose all things being equal in assumptions for effectiveness via the previous quarter – and the bidding results return with a -22% haircut – what does that signal?

Remember, If we give the assumptive benefit-of-doubt as an advertiser, we would have no idea there would/may be an increase at all. i.e., Meaning our best hoped assumption would be that they would be at least as effective as last time in returning prior results. A very fair assumption, indeed. Especially in advertising. Yet, that assumption, if it worked precisely the same as before, was worth -22% less to those advertisers going in? Are you seeing my point?

Maybe it’s me, but there just seems to be something perplexing in these numbers. However, if we apply Occam’s Razor maybe there’s an answer. Such as:

Is the value of “clicks” going down by double-digit percentages (e.g., -22%) because advertisers are not willing to pay for ads that attract nothing more than a “bots” eye?

Maybe, it’s precisely those “bots” that are now needing to work over time (e.g., +58%) being deployed in ever greater numbers to make up for the loss in revenue?

Again, all conjecture, but I just can’t seem to ratify that conundrum to my satisfaction.

I mean, it’s not like there’s any known problems in advertising when it comes to being plagued by “bots,” right?

Or maybe there is. To wit:

(Source – Non-working screenshot of top result using Bing™ via entering search term “Buy google clicks”)

Probably nothing.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Social Media In Four Words: Lord Of The Flies

There’s hardly a moment that goes by in today’s social media connected world that isn’t filled with the most pustulent, indignant filled outrage.

Regardless of the moment here’s what you’ll find: someone, somewhere is just coming to realize that for no reason other than someone they do not know has decided – they need to be destroyed with the most vile laced hatred, publicly. And in some cases, it’s far worse. i.e., open calls for hands-on violence against their property, family members, employment, and more.

This is what describes social media today. A far cry from the place once described as, “To make connections and keep in touch with family and friends.” of yesterday, is it not?

The reason for the “Lord Of The Flies” reference was in response to a repeated question I’ve been asked of late, coming from quite a few differing sources such as friends and family, as well as other media queries.

It goes something like this: “Do you think social media has become a cesspool? And if so, why don’t you think Zuckerberg, or Dorsey et al. aren’t cleaning it up rather, than seeming to do (as in defend) the opposite?”

Here’s how I usually respond:

Although the first part of your question i.e., “Is it a cesspool?” can be answered with one word, “Yes.” The second part on the, “why?” takes a few more, but in that few more is contained the entire metaphor, or analogy to answer it.

For me, the allegory contained within the story of “Lord Of The Flies” (William Golding, 1954 Faber and Faber™) clearly depicts what is transpiring within these enclaves. i.e., It’s children with no real understanding of right vs wrong, with either a stunted moral understanding, or worse, completely twisted ones.

Primal instincts rule and are enforced, right alongside where the fear of being at the mercy of the group or crowd commands one to invent rationalizations why they must either conform or, join in. Irrespective of how unsavory or, outright dangerous the calls to conform may be. i.e., Join in, conform – or perish.

Only escape from the “island” sort of speak, allows any semblance of back to reality and/or the real-world.

And there lies the issue (in my opinion) that gives one a glimpse as to why the figure heads of these companies seem to defend the indefeasible. But there’s a twist to all that “defending” that many are missing, which I believe helps prove or, at least, help back-up my insinuation.

Let’s use two easily remembered uproars that transpire all the time on Twitter™.

First: Twitter users are routinely and relentlessly calling out Jack Dorsey for “allowing” the President to tweet on demand. The furor over this has been worthy of the term hysterical. And it has not relented. You know what else has not relented? Mr. Dorsey’s tacit approval of his continuation. Again, to the absolute dismay and disgust of its most boisterous users.

Then there’s the other, which is: That same user base will repeat or display the same type of furor at Mr. Dorsey for some other infraction they deem as “unacceptable.” And with near immediacy Mr. Dorsey is back-peddling, apologizing, then openly agreeing with. Case in point: The Chick-fil-A® uproar.

So why the difference or, seemingly double standard toward his user base?

Trick question, there is no difference – if – you look at from the point of business. Here’s what I mean:

The President actively pushes the user base of outrage (which I’ll contend is the majority of all users on the platform) into action. i.e., to use and engage on the platform. If he were to stop or do something to which it would impact the President’s tweeting? The user base and active monthly user clicks would drop precipitously. i.e., Rage and hate is good for the “clicking business.”

And in the social media business – a click, is a click. Human or bot doesn’t matter, as long as that “click” will pass the ever evolving and encroaching terms advertisers will still pay for.

So, Mr. Dorsey offends both Chick-fil-A customers, as well as any business minded person with the sheer hypocrisy of business ethics he demonstrated in his statement. But remember – all those “business people” along with “Chick-fil-A customers” are minuscule in comparison to losing the user base of outrage. (all assumptive, of course)

This is why he seems to stay so steadfast to allowing the President to use the platform as he likes. Why? Because the outrage is good for business. Ban the President in a stance of solidarity with his customers – and the platform tanks. Are you beginning to see my point? If not, let’s move on to Facebook™, for another comparison.

There is probably no CEO of a major concern that appears to be more disingenuous every-time he speaks than Mark Zuckerberg. Regardless of the venue (think  U.S. Congress and the European Commission for just the two latest) people are always perplexed as to what he actually means when he makes statements or, trying to square up his actions with his prior words when it comes to Facebook’s policies.

Again, it’s as easy to see as the pillow he uses to prop himself up: Policy is driven by the user of outrage, whether it’s human or bots. All is theatrics as to not allow any disruption or, any tamping down of this user base. All others are expendable. Case in point:

Conservative views? Banned, shadow banned, or whatever else it’s called.

Remember when “Zuck and Crew” were so concerned over this set of users and publishers back not all that long ago? Remember there came a meeting where Mark stated as much as (paraphrasing) “We can’t even do what you’re accusing us of, nor do we want to.” Only to suddenly find the user base so outraged that it suddenly near overnight they openly admitted, “Oh yeah, by the way, umm… yeah we’re doing that.”

Today? It’s even worse. But (and it’s a very big but) then again, that depends on which user group you ask.

If one remembers back then, they openly affirmed that not only were they going to continue this process, but they would double, if not and triple down on it. And they have done just that. So much so that now the words contained in “The Declaration of Independence” have been flagged as “hate speech.”

Think that through for a moment, and as you do I want to ask you a question: “Where was the outrage of such from Facebook’s leadership, never mind just Mr. Zuckerberg?” Hint: __________(insert crickets here) Now, as you try to reconcile that bemusement let me ask you the “Why?” for this latest public defense. To wit:

Via Re-Code™: “Mark Zuckerberg clarifies: ‘I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.’”

It seems that the allowance or defense of the indefensible caused Mark to have to come out and clarify that although he finds it “offensive,” defending (or the allowing for publishing on his platform) this viewpoint is defensible.

So let’s see, the document that allows for this is hate speech, is what is considered the true hate speech, and is not worthy of defending in-kind or, in a manner so prominent, as what Mark rushed to the defense of what most consider truly offensive. Got that?

Oh, and just to clarify again – he finds it all, “deeply offensive.” But as  for the Declaration of Independence? I guess he and the crew had other more pressing engagements.

The reasoning is as clear, as it is simple:

Holocaust deniers are good for business. People defending the Declaration of Independence along with the Constitution? Not so much. i.e., They’ve left the “island” long ago, and those still remaining are no longer engaging or, just waiting for another platform or “ship” to come along. So, when it comes to this crowd or, group of users? “Zuck and Crew” could give less than two sh-ts. Those “clicks” are again probably minuscule in comparison to the clicking of bots and more of “outrage.” And “Zuck and Crew’s”  actions (or lack of) seem to prove this out.

As I iterated earlier, using a business lens – it all begins to make sense, does it not?

The other similarity between the analogy of the book and social is what transpires at the end – and I do believe we are witnessing just that.

For as the mob goes from publicly ridiculing and antagonizing those deemed “not with them” to finally taking up arms and hunting down their perceived adversaries – they begin to burn the entire island down, setting everything ablaze.

I believe that’s precisely where all of social media currently is. i.e., In the final stages of a woeful tale.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Welcome Back To The “Dirty Harry Market”

In a “market” that rewards BTFD (buying the f’n dip) of reckless abandonment. I believe we are, once again, at that moment in time said none better than Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in, “Dirty Harry” (1971, Warner Bros.™) “…you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?”

I’ll just add – “Still?”

I want to propose why you may just want to really reflect on the above, because there are happenings taking place on the other side of the globe that could have more impact to one’s business, never-mind portfolio, than if Harry still had one left. Hint: The Chinese Yuan.

There are many competing scenarios of what is taking place in China, in regards to “trade war” scenarios. The one that appears to be the most overlooked by the mainstream business/financial media is the happenings in the Yuan.

On July 3rd when the Yuan approached and briefly broke above the $6.70 level of the USD/CNY cross rate, the PBoC (China’s central bank) demonstrated that this level was a demarcation point that would be defended via the approval of the politburo. The result was clear – the currency strengthened and the cross rate fell by what many consider noteworthy points. i.e., Message – “Short it and we’ll decimate you into oblivion” – Love, The PBoC.

However, since that point there’s been some rather odd movements within for interpretation, because if they are defending, they seem to not be doing such a good job also, if they’re allowing it to devalue with their blessing, then they seem to be spending quite a bit of resources to accomplish the opposite.

Is there a third option? I believe there is, and if I’m correct – it’s may be one for the ages. So let’s look at what’s caught my eye, yet seems oblivious to most of the mainstream press. To wit:

 

(Source)

The above chart is of the USD/CNY cross rate as of this writing for this month of July. I have annotated it with what clearly appears to be the PBoC intervening to slam the cross rate down keeping it “stable,” as they say.

However, with every intervention has come a response just as powerful – and it appears to be gaining strength.

If I’m correct, what the above may be showing is that the PBoC, along with the politburo, is desperately trying (i.e., not some grand plan) to control the Yuan from collapsing sending a wave of capital flight it will not be able to control, all while trying to use current gyrations as a way to insinuate that the reason for this devalue may be what the politburo has designed and implemented as to demonstrate it also has, under its control, its own weapon of financial mass-destruction should it want to implement it in response to tariffs and more.

I believe that is not the case. I’m of the opinion they are trying desperately to stay one step ahead of an already developing, unstable situation, and are using the current “trade war” narrative as something to help disguise what’s truly happening underneath. i.e., As far as the currency is concerned: It’s all coming apart.

Again, if the PBoC, with the blessing of the politburo, was allowing the Yuan to devalue – then why throw so much resources (as in intervention) to keep it down? If this was the original intent, then one would be reasonable to assume, that the reactions for falling would be muted, if not relatively flat, during such a short time frame. i.e., two and a half weeks.

But what has been the response? Looking at the above chart, if it’s to be believed, shows what is commonly known in trading as the “beach ball effect.” i.e., unless you forcefully keep it underwater, the moment you release it, it’s coming back up.

The above seems to be inferring just that. Yet, here’s the issue if that observation is correct: That means they’ve lost control. And if so, that means everything one now takes for granted, and by that I mean just that – everything changes.

So where does the above fit in to a bigger picture? Here’s a hint, again, to wit:

The only thing that portends things could get even worse should the above have any relative truth as to what is currently happening may be this:

It may end up that The Fed. may be the one who is out-of-bullets, just when they need them most. But make no mistake, the “market” is surely going to ask that other question should these markets begin roiling into chaos. That other question?

“I gots to know!”

Heaven help these “markets” should Mr. Powell need to step up to a podium and all the “market” hears is a “click!”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Rhyming In The Key Of: “It’s Different This Time”

For those of you looking at the current “market” action while singing the praises of, “It’s different this time?” May I just make the observation that this new “tune” you’re singing, is actually a remix of a prior 20 year old “one hit wonder” period known as the 90’s “tech bubble.”

Yes, maybe too you, this new slamming sound emanating out of your E-Trade™ account terminal sounds all new and fresh, with a real techno beat, but for someone who was actually there when the original was playing, it’s the same old song and dance rhyming with an auto-tuner.

I made this case a while back using Facebook™ as the example, comparing it to AOL™ of that period, while also pulling today’s cash-burn darlings into focus. Here’s what I said…

For the last 7 years or so one thing has been certain: don’t you dare compare anything “tech” today to back then. What is “back then?’ Hint: the dot-com crash.

Why? Because: “It’s different this time!” Well, my answer to that remains the same: “Sure it is.”

I have been making that case to the screams and howls of many of today’s Silicon Valley aficionados. And for a prominent example, I’ve used none other than the most idolized company of tech today to compare it against the same of the 90’s e.g., Facebook™ and AOL™.

In doing so I have received more vitriolic disdain than if I had tried to openly explain the value of religion at an atheist convention. The only comparison that may top both is trying to explain Business-101 to Ph.D economists. But I digress.

In trying to make the case using true business metrics, as opposed to unicorn and rainbows, fundamental business metrics, and principles, have always fell short for only one reason: The stock price.

When a company has nothing more fundamental than a burn-rate, as opposed to a fundamental such as making net profits? The rising value of the stock price (regardless of its multiple) is nothing more than the fundamental business phenom known as – the greater fool theory. Period.

Then, just like I implied, unicorns have all but vanished from the headlines. And Cash-burners? Let me ask it this way, “How comfortable does one feel about their latest Netflix™ earnings report?”

Now, I know Facebook’s stock price is still skyrocketing, yet, how is your viewpoint of the company as of today, compared to a year ago? Hmmm? Sure, the stock price surges higher every day, so surely I must have changed my own viewpoint since, right?

Actually, I am still of that same viewpoint. As a matter of fact, I hold that view even firmer today than I did back then, the reasoning is simple: Facebook, today, much like AOL back then, is just going through the last phases of stock price euphoria for having achieved last-man-standing status.

When it’ll end? Who knows, but it isn’t like there’s no cracks in the once impenetrable facade for use growth, regulatory hurdles, user revolts, publisher revolts, and more that were once not even a consideration. But now? Stock momentum solves all – till it doesn’t. Just like it did for AOL.

So with that said, I can hear right through my monitors the shouts of, “Ha! You just don’t get tech! And Facebook’s super-powering share price shows just that.”

It’s a fair accusation, but it would also show that one seems to not look back at history and see if there are any similarities that happened prior that may just be showing signs that warrant, at the least, caution today.

What would something like that be, you ask? Great question, let’s look at another that happened in-and-around the same time, when AOL was dominating everything, shall we?

Via the New York Times™ today July 18, 2018: “E.U. Fines Google $5.1 Billion in Android Antitrust Case”

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” said Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”

As Mark Twain famously quipped, (paraphrasing) “History may not repeat, but sure does rhyme.”

Via Wikipedia™: “United States vs. Microsoft Corp.”

The suit began on May 18, 1998, with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of twenty U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) suing Microsoft for illegally thwarting competition in order to protect and extend its software monopoly. In October 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice also sued Microsoft for violating a 1994 consent decree by forcing computer makers to include its Internet browser as a part of the installation of Windows software.

Does anyone care to remember what happened not that long after?

Or, maybe it’s just better if we all keep whistling past this graveyard of forgotten classics, right? After-all, just keep BTFD (buying the f’n dip) because…

It’s different this time.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Is It or Isn’t It?

I was asked for my view on the current “market” reactions to both Netflix™ in particular, and what is now referred to as “FAANG.” i.e., The grouping of Facebook™, Apple™, Amazon™, Netflix, and Google™ aka Alphabet™. Here’s my reply:

Rather than trying to answer your question with words, for it would take more digital ink than I have at the moment. Let me make a case using what is known in Silicon Valley as a “picture” aka chart and let you decide. Because after all, it’s not what I think that matters rather, it’s what it all means too you. So here’s where you need to decide for yourself. To wit:

(Source)

The above charts are of two entirely different entities, and yet, there’s something very similar in appearance, don’t you agree? But here’s a very simple description that separates the two:

On the left is what is now referred to as “one of the greatest bubbles in human history.” The other, on the rights’ story is, “One the greatest investments and companies of our lifetime.” However, they do have one thing in common – they both represent “investing” during the glory period of central bank intervention. Can you guess who they are?

Here’s a hint, again to wit:

The left is Bitcoin™, on the right is Amazon. The only difference between the two (excluding the timeline) is that Amazon’s height is as of this writing. So, with that said, if the past can be prologue, let’s see how that whole “unstoppable” Bitcoin bubble went once the so-called “thrill was gone,” shall we?

Here’s another “picture” to remember it by. But I caution you, it may bring back some very painful memories, so again, to wit:

As I said, what it all means is entirely up to the way one wants to interpret the above, for it’s all a matter of ones own perspective, or wallet.

However, if I may say one thing, I will say this:

I remember vividly just how vehemently the idea that “Bitcoin” was no way in any form of bubble also, to bolster that claim the defense was, it was going to triple that peak by this years end, if not even more!

“How’s that all been working out?” is all I’ll ask.

But with a stock market valuation such as that in Amazon or Netflix, one is still being told/sold still: “it’s different this time.”

Maybe it is, and maybe its not. But if not? Let’s just assume this:

If one thought there was pain to be had HODL (holding on for dear life) in Bitcoin?

Pain is going to have quite a few variants of measure (i.e., such as severe, extreme, et cetera) should this FAANG family of stocks decide to turn around and suddenly take-a bite out of their masters 401K balance, without any warning, yes?

For clues, just ask any former Bitcoin millionaire.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

The Value Of Being An “Influencer”

Over the years I have made the argument that most, if not all of the so-called “Thought Leadership” espoused across social-media was either useless, recycled platitudes, or worse: convoluted, confusing, banal anecdotes.

I have also asserted that much of this “leadership” was being promoted, then held up as “real,” by nothing more than these so-called “influencers” playing an easily manipulated numbers game, that was easily gamed (and also purchased for very cheap money) as to make one appear as if people were “tuning in” to every thought these people may have.

“Millions of followers,” “Millions of subscribers,” across all the platforms was a vaunted metric. Allowing for comments were a key in the score game, commenting yourself on others sites and platforms were another, and on and on. And if you were not one following this dogma? “You just don’t get tech!”

To make sense of all this, there appeared what many inferred as a final arbiter of truth as to judge just how much “influence” these so-called “influencers” were having across the social media space. Remember when everyone was touting or worried about their “Klout® rating?”

The main stream media, for a while, was using this as some form of gauge as to rate whether a guest, for one reason or another, was either worth having, writing, or even addressing for their “insight” or opinion on the matters of the day. “What’s your Klout score?” was a question asked far more often than not for a while. And if you dared answered, “What’s a Klout score?” Either the phone line suddenly went dead, or your email was never returned – ever again.

So it was with great humor (and a bit of satisfaction) when I was asked about whether or not I would give a talk about the current social media climate and how it is, or is not delivering what it seemed was promised for businesses over the last decade. It was here when I was asked a question, then returned my answer, that this person seemed to question whether or not I had as good of an understanding of social media today since I don’t use it. Especially since this person was looking for a “thought leader” or “Influencer” that his audience would find credible.

It was here that I asked (knowing full well ahead of time) “So what you seem to be asking me is if I have some type of ‘Klout’ score or something that would make you feel better in your appraisal, do I have that somewhat correct?”

The reply, “Exactly, something like that would be perfect!”

That’s when I silently smiled inside and asked one last question which was this, “So what would it show you if I had a high-ranking score?”

Reply, “I guess it would help back up your credibility and your assertions for what is important, and what is not, on the web today.”

Then I replied, “Then we’ll let Klout speak for itself, I just so happen to have a link and a screenshot of what the latest ratings are showing, would you like me to forward them to you?”

The reply, “That would be great.”

“Fair enough,” I said, “Just give me a moment.” And here’s what I sent.

(Screenshot, source)

I’ve had the above screenshot in my files since it took place, When the above discussion was transpiring I kept thinking to myself, “How I could use it? “Then, the moment came.

Here was my included note in the reply. To wit:

“If for any reason you think my fee may be too high, I’m pretty sure the ‘influencers’ that are being told to ‘keep influencing’ with any prior high scores will be more than happy and possibly quite available to be hired for your event, probably for far less. maybe even free. But as far as my score is concerned, I don’t have one, nor ever tried to. As always the decision is yours. Let me know if you want to proceed any further.”

It appears my directness influenced a true buyer, which is truly all that matters. But as I always say:

“Until a check clears, it’s only a possibility.”

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

China May Be In Far Worse Trouble Than Many Realize

(Be forewarned, there’s a bit of a rant contained below, but it’s about time someone said it.)

Whether one agrees with the current stock “market” reactions (i.e., sanctions, smang-tions, just buy, buy, buy) or not, to the tit-for-tat trade tariffs announced via both the U.S. administration, or the Chinese politburo, one thing is certain: “It’s on like Donkey Kong®”

The true issue at hand is neither understood or appreciated in its timing by most politicians, academics, think tanks, next-in-rotation fund managers, Ivory Towered Ph.D’d talking heads, mainstream business/financial media outlets, along with a whole slew of others.

What many do not remember (or no longer get, period) is this:

In a true, competitive business environment, where competition is based on the prowess of its companies to create products that people want, and will buy, at prices that generate net profits after all expenses are paid (e.g., Buildings, machinery, trucks, salaries, all taxes Federal, State, local, etc., etc., etc.) to then enable it to either reinvest, or reward shareholders. The United States – bar none – is the only entity proven that it can outdo, outlast, as well as rebuild faster and stronger, than any communist centered nation ever could or can. The reasoning is simple:

Free enterprise trumps Communist controlled. Period.

This simple truth is no longer recognized, or at least professed, by the likes of many of today’s so-called “smart crowd.” e.g., Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman et al. No, what this cabal, along with their willful globalist corporate overlords, want one to believe is something along the lines of, what we need in the American system of free enterprise (aka capitalism) to just include a bit more of that communist/socialist stuff.

The unsaid, but easily inferred part is, until they can get rid of that nasty free enterprise stuff, and replace it with giving everyone free stuff. That is, as long as you don’t touch their stuff.

Question: How’s Venezuela doing? (paging Mr. Stiglitz, clean up in aisle V, please)

If you are one who thinks it’s (e.g., Venezuela) a complete travesty (which it is) just remember when either you, or your child, is trying to pay for all that student loan debt amassed with no way of charging it off (e.g., bankruptcy court) that will follow one around like an anvil around their neck, possibly for life, as they finally reach that pinnacle of employment demanded by this crowd of minimum wage.

Just remember to remind them they should be happy, for people in Venezuela are starving, and would love to trade places with them. That should make them feel better, right?

Yes, it may not be the utopia they were taught in school for $50K a year, but that doesn’t mean the people teaching this twaddle aren’t getting rich via this insulting progression.

For them socialist Utopia has been reached, it’s now called academia – and just like the model calls for – it’s all paid for by you and your children via government guaranteed free money (aka student loans) that will equip them to capture that brass ring so elusive to many today, i.e., $15 an hour minimum wage – for life.

As far as ever running out of funds to pay for all this “greatness” don’t worry, all one has to do is create a “trillion-dollar coin”, possibly using the now banned plastic made available from the straws that are no longer available at Starbucks™, and just like magic – every-things paid for, easy-peasy.

But here’s the dirty little secret to all that “genius” you watch, hear, or read professed via this cabal and its house organs: If it was such a perfect solution, then why wasn’t it implemented in Venezuela?

Well, actually it is a bit of a trick question, for they did do the exercise in spirit aka as “printing money,” lot’s of it. So much so that they couldn’t pay the printers printing it, because what they were printing was becoming more worthless with every strike of the printing press! (paging Mr. Krugman, we need a recycling dumpster pick up of overflowing Bolívars, just remember, please bring security for protection from robbers, not to protect the money, but the fuel in the truck, asap.)

Then, of course, we have the “American worker” who seems can’t compete with any other country that’s run via some socialistic, or outright communist system. The purveyors of this outright tripe are eager to write, and write, and write, and write just how inferior the capitalistic model (and its workers) compares to the “harmony” they witness via the top down “velvet glove” (i.e., iron fisted) business formation and rule under the communist or socialist model of “free trade.”

Well, it sure does run quite efficiently, that’s for sure. As long as it’s at the expense of unfair practices like flagrantly jettisoning anything comparable to child labor laws, slave labor laws, or any environmental concerns. Then top it off (but far from limited to) with the “disappearing” of business leaders who don’t tow the party line, or for some reason, are deemed to be making “too much profit,” to then have it all confiscated either personally, or the entire enterprise aka “nationalize.” You know, for the “social good.”

Yes, as long as the transfer of intellectual property can be openly stolen with no regard (as in the worry for true punitive measures) whatsoever, or of any other repercussions for that matter other than incoherent gibberish made to sound as if it means anything, only said for theatric purposes as to continue on with all previous “free trade” agreements that bleed one nation dry for the benefit of another. That’s what “free trade” represents today. It ain’t free anything unless you say free of business sanity.

World trade, more often than not, is said to be going on just swimmingly by this group. And it is this crowd which is, as always, more than happy (for a very sizable speaking fee of course) to profess too all that’ll listen (even if most true business people don’t/won’t) that using an expression of old such as “the world is flat” to analogize their concepts of business, sums up brilliantly just how absolutely clueless about the true workings of free enterprise business models they truly are.

What seems to be lost on this crowd (and I’ll argue intentionally) is how “free enterprise” needs to be allowed to find its own, as well as fought for water-level via the true free enterprise model. And yes, as well as go out of business entirely. Rather, than being manhandled to conform (or allowed to continue) via socialist/communist influences, practices, or crony-capitalist measures. (paging Mr. Friedman, speaking fees for communist/socialist business models or expertise are now going to be paid for with bolívars. But not too worry, that now means one will be receiving “Billions” for the same trite. Just don’t spend it all in one place, for it may come in handy for really pretty toilet paper when needed. Just sayin’.)

Now let me make this point clear: I am not endorsing one political side or administration over another. That is for you decide. What I’m speaking to here is directly to business in general. i.e., What the “American Dream” was originally built on.

And yes, what in tandem created the greatest business nation the world has ever known. i.e., The ability for one to start, build, and run their own business, regardless of age, creed, race, status, political leanings, societal advantage and more.

That is, and always will be, the underpinning of the U.S. business model that is second to none, when it’s allowed to flourish via the free enterprise model.

China, as well as a lot of other nations, only take share when the U.S. allows trade policies to go forth that stifle its small businesses at the expense of global concerns. Small business in the U.S. today still employs about half of all the jobs. We’ll be better as a nation once we begin getting back to well more. And don’t think for a moment I’m trying to imply some Luddite type of undertone. What I mean is this:

The more people, and by that I’m including business people such as freelancers of all stripes, whether they work for themselves figuratively in some independent contractor spirit as employed by another, or literally as in sole proprietorship status – they follow a model of business to which: it is they that are in control of their destiny via their own undertakings rather, than some other where they can only wait for some employer to either reward them, employ them or try to take advantage of them.

Again, the backbone of U.S. free enterprise is made up of individuals that – if they don’t like what the business environment is doing for them? They change it. One way or another – and – are willing (and some eagerly) to suffer the consequences for doing so.

Why is this important one may be asking? Well, it’s for this reason:

That means with about 50% of the entire workforce and business underpinnings: the U.S. doesn’t need or rely on others to make their way. e.g., They create it, on their own, and yes, they build it.

This workforce alone – from owners to employees – should any ramification via a trade war manifest (and there will certainly be some and very disruptive ones at that) don’t/won’t repel, or just allow themselves to be sucked into some black-hole, then wait for some government action to come along and reassemble them from the event horizon.

No, what they’ll do is look for the opportunity that will inherently manifest, then exploit to the best of their abilities.

This will also be done via many in the big business sector also. For not all are, or have been, convinced into following the crony-capital business model.

As a matter of fact, many themselves are just waiting for the opportunity, or moment, when those still benefiting via the fumes of central bank intervention finally take its toll and shows the Potemkin Village of business “might” they truly are. (Hint: just watch how valuable today’s “tech” names are when the QE slosh stops sloshing. Hint: See San Francisco for clues.)

In the U.S. when all things are equal and business gets tough – U.S. small businesses get tough – and get going. They don’t wait or need to be told what they should do next. And it always begins, in earnest, at the small business level, first. (Think Steve’s Plumbing, Joe’s Septic, Tony’s market, Mary’s salon, and on, and on.)

What does China have?

Most, if not all: needs government first. And without it, they just wait, and wait, and wait.

That’s the model preferred by the so-called “smart-crowd.” Our best competitive hope and advantage as we transgress through the now, and still evolving unknowns to be forthcoming during this period of trade unrest is this…

China doubles down on their model.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

MYTR BROADCAST TESTER

Dear Subscribers….

You may receive some random emails which are nothing more than testers.

What we’ll do is leave the heading as it is e.g., “MYTR BROADCAST TESTER” and attach an additional number such as MYTR BROADCAST TESTER #1 or #2 or #22 and so on.

If you receive them please – just delete them – they’re of no value and have no content value except for testing purposes.

Again, regardless if via: your email, RSS feed, or by any other means please, disregard and just trash. This is for testing purposes only.

Please accept our apology for these emails in advance. But we can not test some of the upcoming features – unless they are live.

Once again, thanks for your patience as we rebuild.

 

Website Construction Weekend Is Officially On

Please be aware that we are doing major behind the scenes infrastructure upgrades, change-overs, and a whole lot of tinkering. Probably kicking a few unforeseen gremlin nests by mistake to boot.

It’s quite possible everything will go along absolutely swimmingly and no one will notice a hiccup. Then again, I am the daring type, so what better day to launch something like this then on a Friday the 13th!

My thinking? If it’s gonna give us trouble, this is time to do it. And besides, I’ve actually had some of my better successes on days just like this, so in reality, I look at days like this as “lucky,” not the superstitious way.

Now with that said, I’ll probably be lucky to log off without the keyboard bursting into flames.

Again, we’ll be starting early on Friday and all throughout the weekend, so if you see “404” type errors, or “site can’t be found” or other things like “What in the world have we gone and done?” and such like that, just remember we’re here, but probably up to (if not over) our necks in you know what.

Wish us luck, and thanks for your patience in advance.

Mark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case in point:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all). I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are, and have been times they do need to be pointed out which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.