Correction Update to ‘Swiss Mix’

In my latest article I mistakenly used a currency chart for the US$ – Yuan cross-rate. I have since changed them out for the correct ones. Nothing else in the article is changed. Not premise, or anything else. And, it’s quite possible if you had only glanced you might not have even noticed, for they both show the same premise.

And, now you know what I’m probably going to address far sooner than later, because if one thinks it’s only the Swiss Franc that should make one nervous? Hint: It’s not.

Here are the referenced charts for those who may not have yet seen, or only need to see the change. To wit:

$Dollar / Chinese Yuan:

$Dollar / Swiss Franc:

(Source)

Once again, the charts, and only the above charts, have been changed on the original article.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

A Swiss Mix Pictorial

Let’s have a bit of fun with ‘pictures’ as they say in Silicon Valley. First…

Can you guess who this is? Answers below, no peeking!

Hint: It’s not who you think it is.

Have you ever heard the term, “Correlation doesn’t equal causation?” It’s a very good example that always should be held front of mind, for you always want to make sure you’re not just kidding yourself when looking for clues.

However, with that said, that doesn’t mean there are not underlying effects that may not signal 100% causation, yet, are far more influential than they may appear, or at least thought of. Which brings us to our next ‘picture.”

Can you guess what this may, or may not, correlate to with causation influences? To wit:

And last, but by no means least. Can you tell if the following ‘picture’ would indict erroneous conclusions for either? How about possibly holding both simultaneously, while being neither wrong, nor right? Yes, conundrum indeed. But that’s where the fun takes place for those looking for clues, yes? Again, to wit:

 

How’d you do? Did you think the first was a Bitcoin™ chart? Quite understandable if you did, but no.

Did you think the second was solely some representative form of valuation for the companies listed? Maybe a bit of a trick question, because it is a “yes” and “no,” depending on how one wants to frame the question.

And lastly, how did you do one the last? Looks pretty eery, does it not? Especially with what the “market” is currently doing these days. Yet, does it “correlate,” or is it “causational?” Or is it both? Again, sorry for the “tricky” part. But, sometimes, everything isn’t just a clean crisp line to follow.

So, without further ado, here they are screen-captured, in full…

Number 1: Stock chart of Swiss National Bank™

Number 2: Latest released numbers of holdings and valuations of (wait for it…) The Swiss National Bank. Didn’t know this bank was also one of the world’s largest hedge funds? If not: Welcome to the club of 99% of most “investors.” i.e., The 401K holding, investing public.

Ever wonder where all those “buyers” from nowhere came from in the FAANG family of investing prowess over the years? Isn’t printing money ex nihilo great?! Well, that is, as long as you can sell it for real cash. You know, like someone’s (or something) is doing right now. Correlation, causation? Tricky questions indeed, yes?

(Source)

Number Three: Cross-rate of the US$ and the Swiss Franc. And for those not aware (which is by far too many) the Swiss have a very bad habit of making, or removing, currency pegs abruptly, without prior announcements or indications. Think there’s any “stress” as they say looking at the following? To wit:

 

As always, “beauty” is always in the eyes of the beholder. But that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t look a little deeper, or a little closer as to try and picture where things may or may not be heading. So it’s on that note I leave you with this for your own interpretations. For after-all, that’s truly the only one that matters in the end. Again, to wit:

(Chart source)

Then again: What would happen if suddenly they (The Swiss Bank or Government per se) made a dramatic move in either their currency or stock portfolio? What about doing both simultaneously?

Nah, that’s probably too much of that other c-word aka conjecture. Or, then again…

Is it?

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Some Things Bear Repeating

Only because some things need repeating…

From my article, “Say Goodbye To The ‘Easy Button'” To wit:

This isn’t to brow-beat, or berate a point. What I’m trying to do is point out a very important fact, for the implications are what’s important, and it’s for the following:

Not only is Wall Street currently populated with more “never seen a down market” types than probably any time in recorded history. (Think most, if not all, so-called automated, goal based investment platforms, or brokers.) There’s another variable that’s even more chilling and it is this: There’s barely any people trading at all. i.e., It’s all machine trading based on pure algorithmic formulas. And the power (i.e., QT: quantitative tightening) to fuel those machines is being reduced. And that’s not all.

These “algos” per se, have been constructed and tested in much the same way. i.e., By recent college grad, math whizzes. And here’s another important factor: All during a market that only knows central bank largess.

Don’t gloss over that point. Truly contemplate the implications, it’s worth the time, if not the possible savings of one’s future bank balances.

Point One: “Think most, if not all, so-called automated, goal based investment platforms, or brokers.”

The resulting proof to back up such words for caution? Again, to wit:

(Non-working Screenshot – Source)

Point Two: “There’s barely any people trading at all. i.e., It’s all machine trading based on pure algorithmic formulas.”

The result? Via CNBC™, to wit:

“Why the stock market plunged today”

“The first thing to know about the stock market’s eye-watering slide Monday is that it wasn’t caused by anything fundamental.

There was no particular piece of news that drove the major averages to capsize, in a move that sent the Dow industrials off more than 1,500 points — a new intraday record — briefly in the final hour of trading.

Instead, the market took on a mind of its own, where sentiment and likely some computer-programmed trading sent Wall Street into a bizarre tizzy. Fear brewed over a number of issues, with the biggest being trepidation about rising interest rates even though government bond yields actually were lower on the day.”

Point Three: “These “algos” per se, have been constructed and tested in much the same way. i.e., By recent college grad, math whizzes. And here’s another important factor: All during a market that only knows central bank largess.”

The result? Via Nomi Prins. To wit:

“This debt creation can’t sustain itself forever. It doesn’t take but a tiny mistake by central bankers to throw the bond markets into disarray.

Equity markets don’t always follow right away, but they will eventually follow. And these past few days, equities marched in lockstep with the spike in bond yields.

The Fed’s balance sheet reductions until now have basically been a rounding error. But last week, the Fed sold $22 billion of assets. Is it a coincidence that stocks sold off?”

Bonus point, from my same article: “What do the machines seem to do when a market rout is on? Hint: “Pull plugs,” or my personal favorite, suddenly “break.”

The result? Via Eric Scott Hunsader. Again, to wit:


(Non-working screenshot. Source listed above)

And for reasons I believe are both relevant and important, Bonus, Bonus Point, from my article “Now It’s Bicoin’s $10K Dillema”

“If you think that’s a retirement vehicle or strategy you can bank on? May I interest you in some ocean-front property I have in Kentucky that I’ll let you have, cheap? (Sorry, but cash only.)

Now that Bitcoin has revisited prices beginning with $9, rather than $20? Look for prices in the 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,_? coming sooner, rather than later, in the very near future.”

The result? Via GDAX™. To wit:

(Screenshot taken on 2/6/18)

Or said differently…

 

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Say Goodbye To The ‘Easy Button’

A bombshell of a report was dropped last week, and no I’m not alluding to the “memo” released by the House. The report I’m referring to is what’s known as an “ending balance report” showing precisely what one’s current holdings are valued at week-end. And like the former – it had a lot of people seeing red, both figuratively and literally, in more ways than one.

Now the big question is this (as I heard echoed across the “whistling” media): “Is that it?” Hint: I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, I believe the show has only just begun. Maybe for both, but I digress.

The reasoning for it are manifold. Yet, what may be the most telling is the sell-off coincided with near precision the “curtain call” for the now former Chair, Janet Yellen. I regard both the timing, as well as the size and breath of the turmoil to be a very significant tell for the fate and future of the “market.”

To make the point let me use the following:

The known (or reasonably assumed) stance that the Federal Reserve would act favorably, if not outright rescue “markets” is no longer a known quantity – it’s now open for interpretation. And that “interpretation” will only be resolved in quality, and quantity terms via two things.

First: What the Fed. does – doesn’t do – or continues to do, during any market rout. i.e., Do we get Fed. jaw boning in droves and more? Or, do they openly state a halting, pausing, ________(fill in the blank) of already voted or known quantities? i.e., balance sheet normalization, rate hikes, et cetera.

Second: What they do – or won’t do, during an all-out market panic. i.e., Implement a QE4 measure, immediately, or some other brazen policy move? Or, heaven forbid, sit on their hands?

These were known, or at least assumed knowns, quantities under the tutelage of the Bernanke/Yellen Fed. Today? It’s an entirely unknown variable.

And that changes everything.

As of late the investing prowess known as “JBTFD” (just buy the f’n dip) has been held hostage to there being virtually no dips available, for over a year.

Since the election in 2016, the worst and most cancerous investing lesson ever learned (e.g., JBTFD) went from: Waiting, then – buy any and all dips. To: Wait only for the “markets” to open, then – buy anything and everything with a ticker symbol. And it has worked flawlessly – till now.

Yet, this is where that once “winning” strategy, along with the lessons and habits it’s rewarded so handsomely may become a curse.  Adaptability; along with a fundamental understanding for the complexity of how and why markets move (or at the least should) have either, A: Never been taught. Or, B: Been completely forgotten, or unlearned aspects of finance.

This is an important point, for it’s not as if there weren’t some very fundamental tells of what was coming (at least for the near future) being telegraphed within not only the bond, as well as currency markets, but also in commodities such as oil and others.

As these stresses (i.e., falling dollar, rising interest rates above key levels, China market rumblings, oil rising, et cetera) began rearing the ominous warning signs. The “market” not only didn’t react or take any pause – it began to further accelerate in true parabolic fashion.

This was the moment, in my opinion, which showed in spades just how far the codified investing prowess based purely on mimicking the machine learned behavior of the past decade had been internalized since QE and all its iterations. Most outlets appeared either clueless, or worse, completely ambivalent to having any regard.

JBTFD investing aka hitting the “easy button” was all that mattered, regardless of all other market considerations. This is mania type behavior, and it comes at a price. Hint: See Bitcoin™ for clues.

Personally, I’ve been left speechless (and coming from me that’s saying something) over the past few months as the “markets” went from going-up – to going-straight-up.

I’m not the only one, but you wouldn’t know of it watching, reading, or listening to most mainstream business/financial outlet. That is, unless someone volunteered to be the guest “piñata” of the day.

And that in-and-of itself is going to have reverberations going forward, because far too many working, as well as investing in the “markets” today have little to no clue, let alone any real hands-on experience allocating, or preserving mental, as well as physical capital during two-way markets. Especially swift, quickly reversing, multiple percentage moving markets.

This is where JBTFD investing prowess morphs into “Catching falling knives” results. i.e. in the red and bloody. Let me explain using the following:

If you graduated from school within the last 10 years and either work on Wall Street, or your work is closely intertwined? (and in reality it’s all intertwined) All you know is one side. i.e., You have never, ever witnessed market turmoil that demands both action in the moment, as well as a cognitive understanding that’s executable in that moment of, and for, risk/reward. Let alone tested strategies and tactics made under such direst.

If you think “diversification” or a “diversified portfolio” is all one needs and is going to save the day during market turmoil? May I suggest you think again. Or better yet, ask someone who’s either lived through the financial crisis, or even better – someone who traded during it. (On a side note, I did both for those wondering.)

This isn’t to brow-beat, or berate a point. What I’m trying to do is point out a very important fact, for the implications are what’s important, and it’s for the following:

Not only is Wall Street currently populated with more “never seen a down market” types than probably any time in recorded history. (Think most, if not all, so-called automated, goal based investment platforms, or brokers.) There’s another variable that’s even more chilling and it is this: There’s barely any people trading at all. i.e., It’s all machine trading based on pure algorithmic formulas. And the power (i.e., QT: quantitative tightening) to fuel those machines is being reduced. And that’s not all.

These “algos” per se, have been constructed and tested in much the same way. i.e., By recent college grad, math whizzes. And here’s another important factor: All during a market that only knows central bank largess.

Don’t gloss over that point. Truly contemplate the implications, it’s worth the time, if not the possible savings of one’s future bank balances.

In days of yore (pre financial-crisis) market-makers (e.g., humans) did precisely that – make markets. During fast and swift down markets people (e.g., Traders and the Houses and/or Banks that backed them) would step directly into the path of a rout and make markets based on their own tried-and-tested (along with big ole helpings of chutzpah) risk parameters and more. Even during what at the time seemed liked collapsing markets. (Think live trading and market-making in explosive volatility where jumps from the teens to 50 and 60 handles and back again were considered “fun” and “exhilarating”)

But that was then and this is now. And nearly all of those people have either left, or been jettisoned in lieu of computers. And that’s going to a very big problem going forward in my humble estimation. Why?

What do the machines seem to do when a market rout is on? Hint: “Pull plugs,” or my personal favorite, suddenly “break.” Then, they suddenly, magically seem to reappear, or get “fixed,” when the market stops going down, relieving any pent-up selling pressure. Then, again, as if by magic, the BTFD cabal suddenly reappears where, “everything is just ducky” once again. i.e., Nothing to see here folks, move along, your balances will be just fine come closing time.

This appeared as a proven, reasonably assumed conclusion, time and time again – until Friday. This has now left the “markets” in a quandary of, “Now what happens?” And that is where the big question now resides. i.e., Can you just hit “the button” without forethought any longer?

My opinion: Not any more, and here’s why…

Precisely what the Fed., or any central bank for that matter will now do, or more importantly, may not do – is now an unknown.

With Ms. Yellen bowing out, so too goes with her the known quantity these markets have been built on. e.g., “The Bernanke/Yellen Put”

Now the “market” (and the Wall Street cabal that runs it) needs to find out if there’s going to be a Jerome Powell version, similar in-kind.

And there’s only one way to find out. And that dear reader, changes everything…

Again.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Now It’s Bitcoin’s $10K Dilemma

Below is from my article “Bitcoin’s $20K Dilemma” To wit:

So why did I use the argument that Bitcoin now has a $20,000 problem, you may be asking? Fair question, and it is for this reason…

Unlike the general stock market of the last nine years or so, Bitcoin is not backstopped, or propped-up via any central bank largess. In other words: There is no central bank “put” to ensure “investments” aren’t subject to the true laws of supply, demand, and more importantly – emotional swings of the investing public. And Bitcoin (and all its ancillary brethren) are at the epicenter of a purely emotional investing public. Period.

Why? It’s all been about get-rich-quick. At least, that’s my opinion, over the last 6 to 12 months. So much so Unicorns are tearing, if not out right bawling, with envy.

People didn’t, haven’t, and still don’t care what Bitcoin or anything else did, or does, as far as a product is concerned. All they’ve cared about is what the stock price is currently – can they get in on it – and will it keep rising? That is all the “fundamental” analysis that has mattered.

And many a so-called “experts” has been more than willing to wrap more specious styled analysis around that fundamental to sound as if they “know” something others don’t, when in effect, they are nothing more than speculating themselves with more makeup and better cameras.

Now, Bitcoin™ (and all cryptos I’ll contend) have a much, much, much (did I say, much?) bigger problem: it’s now worth less than 1/2 of what it was at the height of euphoria, again!

And that dear reader – changes everything.

The reason $20K took on mythical proportions was for its big number psychological value, congruent with its rocket-ship trajectory in little but a few months.

This is where “gurus” and more pointed and theorized “If it can be here, it can be at $1Million in nearly no time flat.” “Retire with crypto’s” has been the clarion call. Retire early, retire wealthy, retire good-looking, retire _____ (fill in the blank.)

I think it was also said to cure cancer, but I may be mistaken on that point. It’s been hard to keep up.

Then the unfathomable happened in near the same amount of time that it took to go parabolic. e.g., It began to lose its orbital trajectory and has been tumbling back ever since.

Now – it’s in fear of crashing or flaming out in spectacular fashion with every passing headline. That’s not the fairytale storyline this area of “investing” prowess was supposed to follow. According to the so-called “experts” that is. Nonetheless, the now entire debacle unfolding is being writ large in a way no one can miss. i.e., Bank balances. Both real and presumed.

Here’s the dirty little secret no one seems willing to say, so I’ll say it:

Unless you were one of the few (and that number is very, very, very few) that for whatever the reason speculated and got in on the crypto-bandwagon before the parabolic move of a few months ago – more than likely you are either sitting in a near break-even position if you’re lucky. Or – in a completely losing position at worse.

Welcome to when magical thinking – meets cold hard, brutal reality.

This is not the fabled path crypto’s were suppose to sojourn. It was supposed to revisit $20K well before it would ever see $10K again, if ever. The issue is now not only has it revisited $10, but it’s now hanging back with $9, looking like it’s lonley for something sporting an $8K.

Here’s something else that’s now, “different this time.”

If you are one of the few that were in before all of it.( i.e., When it took two Bitcoins to buy the equivalent of a pizza.) You now need to be looking at the current prices and contemplating (at least you should, in my opinion) at what level you should cash out – before it goes even lower. Rather than trying to stick to the foolish meme of stupidity investing being told and sold, aka HODL (hang on for dear life.)

For those thinking about, or looking for the “retirement lifestyle” that has been sold by many a “Bitcoin guru” of late. Just remember this:

Hanging on doesn’t pay the bills if you’re now living on what was presumed a “Bitcoin millionaire” lifestyle paid with present or future coins. Especially if they’re now trading at over a 50% discount in just under 6 weeks. Hint: The lease payments for the Bentley® won’t change for years. Think about it.

However, there’s now another aspect of all this that needs to be articulated, because none of the “gurus” will. And for those who may need the warning, here it is – Alert: Trigger warning!

If you invest in Bitcoin today; and it goes back to $20K; the best you’ll do is double you money. And, unless that is to happen in the very short future of let’s say a few months, tops? (and I’ll argue the odds are slim to none, emphasis on none) You can probably assume further reduced values ahead are going to be norm – rather than higher. Best case scenario? Opinion of course: Vacillates, and it all becomes dead money for the foreseeable future.

If you think that’s a retirement vehicle or strategy you can bank on? May I interest you in some ocean-front property I have in Kentucky that I’ll let you have, cheap? (Sorry, but cash only.)

Now that Bitcoin has revisited prices beginning with $9, rather than $20? Look for prices in the 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,_? coming sooner, rather than later, in the very near future.

And for those who need to be reminded of what “paper wealth” looks like when it’s losing value faster than the digital paper it’s written on. Here’s a picture that tells it all in less than 10 thousand words, or should I say “bits?” To wit:

(Source)

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

How AirBnB May Launch Itself Into A Regulatory Sh*t Show

When it comes to the true understandings of how to run a business, Silicon Valley built enterprises have never ceased to amaze.

However, with that said, what has left me slack-jawed, more often than not, is the increasing tone-deafness emanating from C-suites everywhere. And I mean just that: everywhere. Hint: Enter the term: “Wells Fargo, fraud” into your search engine of choice as just one example.

It was in this vein of “tone-deaf” leadership I recently made the argument about the current initiative coming forth via the NFL®.

As I iterated in that article, it doesn’t matter whether you agree with the message or not. It’s the venue of where it will be articulated that’s the issue. i.e., Football fans have been avoiding games and broadcasts, because they take umbrage with the open insertion of politics – all politics. And yet, the NFL has decided that’s just what the increasingly, dwindling and very upset fan base needs to get them to tune-in. i.e. Launch a political initiative (“Let’s Listen Together”) directly into the remaining two weeks and more than likely, directly into the “Big Game.” Talk about tone-deaf.

But wait, I believe there’s one that may actually outdo it: The “#weaccept” initiative, advertisement from AirBnB™ that will play on some networks during the State of the Union speech.

What is this for one may ask? Well, it’s to make known to all that they are not happy with the alleged “sh*thole” comment attributed to the president. Their catch phrase? (Because you have to have a catchy catchphrase because a hashtag alone is so 2017, right?) “Let’s open doors, not build walls.”

The reason for this reported “six-figure” ad campaign is out of some self-defined defense as to stand up for many of these alluded to countries which AirBnB has a stake in. e.g., Haiti, El Salvador and Africa.

As I’ve always stated when I was opining on such topics: It doesn’t matter if you agree with the stance or not. It’s about how it’s being implemented and where that is the key. Because, in business: Doing what at first appears to be the right thing, for the right reasons can boomerang around faster and harder if done at the wrong time, or at the wrong place.

And yes, sometimes even far worse, more often than not – than doing nothing at all.

That’s why, in business, one needs to avoid politics like the plague. Today? It would appear CEO’s, more often than not are out looking to infect themselves with the political virus. Hint: Tim Cook.

AirBnB has a very deep existential issue (my opinion) that overhangs its entire business model that grows more onerous, and larger with every passing day. That issue? Regulatory.

Much like its once Teflon® coated stalemate, Uber™. AirBnB is always under constant alert (or attack) for where the next regulatory charge, or want of reporting for tax purposes, for all is involved.

If one thinks this is just hyperbole, let me use my own area as of just a few weeks ago. Here’s the headline: “Columbus plans to regulate home-sharing services, worrying Airbnb hosts”

As I’ve iterated ad nauseam over the years: It’s all fun and games till the regulators show up and want to get paid, or the investors. Hint: See Uber at 30% off.

What makes this AirBnB initiative so seemingly tone-deaf are two very big issues. First: You are brazenly trolling the Chief Executive Officer in charge of all the regulatory agencies of the United States. (in theory anyway) Second: He’s a H-O-T-E-L business mogul.

AirBnB’s business model undercuts, and in many cases completely ignores (i.e., the regulatory: beg for forgiveness, rather than ask for permission model) the rules, regulations, and more that hotels and others have to contend with. The Hotel industry is not happy with, and have never been happy with AirBnB’s seemingly wanton disregard for the rules they must abide by. e.g., Think fire egress or handicap standards just to name two.

And it isn’t just the Hotel Lobby that seeks compliance. It’s also governments both state, local, and in some cases national that want to make sure they are collecting their piece of the regulatory “pie” via taxes and such.

This openly rebellious, in your face, type of ad campaign directed squarely at the administration may be just the impetus that gets the entire Hotel Lobby into gear, and in unison. I’ll garner they’ll be adding more stays in their own properties along “K Street” to protest how AirBnB is using their all but in-your-face non-compliance (at least in the spirit that is, all my opinion, of course) to be in-the-face of the current administration. And will gladly stay as long as it takes. After all, “the stay” may even be a write off. But I digress.

It is the most tone-deaf piece of media relations I’ve seen to date.

I believe this may backfire in ways AirBnB hasn’t even contemplated. As a matter of fact, I’ll go ahead, based solely on this initiative, they didn’t even contemplate it as being a possibility to begin with.

The reasoning here is this: that’s what happens when one allows politics to enter the business. And is the reason why you don’t do it to begin with. Mistakes that are easily seen in retrospect are always glossed over via the “political glasses” of the moment.

Another reason why this is entirely plausible is this other glaring issue that should have called for far more forethought. And it is this…

That “Hotel Lobby” will not be rooming at any AirBnB as they call for increased regulations, but rather, and more probably (wait for it…)

Trump International Hotel™, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

Two Minutes To Midnight – For The NFL

For those not attentively glued to a Bitcoin™ price chart, there was some other noteworthy news making headlines over the last week. One was made on Thursday when the official Doomsday Clock had its hands moved 30 seconds forward to now show “It Is 2 Minutes To Midnight.” i.e., Nuclear Armageddon is all but here.

As concerning as the above is for all of humanity. It pales in comparison for attention value, as well as immediate annihilation of something far more closer to home. e.g., The NFL®.

On Tuesday of last week the NFL rolled out a new initiative that began the same week (on Thursday) during its NFL Total Access venue. This is now an ongoing campaign that will play out across multiple outlets and has been named, “Let’s Listen Together.” Here are a few pull quotes directly from the NFL. To wit:

As part of its ongoing work to support its players, the NFL today announced a joint player and ownership commitment focused on social justice. The campaign, Let’s Listen Together, launches today and includes a multi-layered roll-out including digital content and brand spots highlighting the player-led work on social and racial equality. The platform will also include social media support, as well as individual letters from players and owners sharing their stories and personal reasons for making social justice a priority.

The above sound innocuous enough at first glance, and in many ways seems like an amenable solution to what has become an almost irreconcilable situation. At least on digit paper that is.

However, the problem here shows just how this is all going to play out over the foreseeable future in the following text. Again, to wit:

“We are pleased to have developed a new initiative that focuses on creating meaningful solutions to improve our communities,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “In developing this plan, we have taken the lead from our players and are honored to join them in this work. Their work has deepened our understanding of the unique platform we have to help advance progress in a profound and unifying way.”

Translation: We going to get the players to stop kneeling so they can now stand up and tell you all about their political stances as you tune in. Or said differently – As you try to take a momentary reprieve from the everyday political strife as to enjoy a few hours of pure sports entertainment played at the highest levels. We’re now going to directly insert that political into and across our entire brand and outlets for it. Hey, it’s better than kneeling, right? That’s what you’re upset about, right? So, pleeeeeease come back. Oh, and did we mention seating prices for game days are on-sale?!

The rollout for this initiative both in it’s timing, along with what it appears is going to be the viewing vehicle (i.e., across the entire NFL) is, in my opinion: One of the most tone-deaf, ill-advised, PR debacles that may do far more damage to both the NFL, along with its players and causes, than anything I’ve seen over my business career.

Many a game has been won or lost in the final two minutes. As a matter of fact, so important are those final minutes that entire game winning or saving strategies are built upon them. e.g., “The 2 minute drill.” Yet there’s a caveat that goes along with that strategy that’s paramount for the “saving” aspect which is this: You never play those minutes via a “not too lose” strategy and tactics. Once you do – you’re all but assured to do just that – and lose.

The NFL I’ll assert – is doing just that, and will.

I’ll also add the following: as their clock moved in unison with the nuclear, the outcome for the NFL might be far more predictable than the Ph.D inspired.

Ratings, ticket sales, ad sales and more might go into a complete meltdown after this season ends. And the moment for all of it is now in play, with the clock continuing to move till the “Big Game” hits next weekend. The moment these “messages” begin appearing either before or during, will be the moment fans across the globe hit their own button with the ratings equivalent of Armageddon. e.g., The OFF button on the remote.

I made the case prior on what I believed should be the path for the NFL , its players, as well as their concerns back in October of last year. One of them is the following. To wit:

  • There needs to be a short and concise message aired by the team owners and player representatives before each of remaining games. i.e., The owners of that games teams and their player representatives whether they be the team captains or such.

Both the owners, along with player representatives should make a televised public announcement before each game stating they are all in favor of removing politics from the field of play during game time. And are.

They both (owners and players) need to make the point, and make it forcefully, that “this stage” is for sports, not politics.

They can state that doesn’t mean that they don’t have views which they firmly believe in. But (and it’s a very big but) during the game is not the place for it. i.e., Say something to the effect: “We know why you’re here, and it’s to see our game, not our opinion of politics. And we respect that. And we will show our respect for you by not protesting the political during games. There are other venues for that outside, where we can make our voices heard, along with yours should the need arise. So let us start by saying, thank you for being a fan. And we want to give you what fans like you truly deserve – the best game, at the highest level of athleticism and sportsmanship we can deliver. Again, thank you, and enjoy the game.”

It can all be worded and shot in a 60 second venue. Less is more.

Again, that was back in the early part of the season where, if implemented, might have stunted the ever-increasing carnage of ticket sales, attendance, and more importantly: the now calcified reaction to even the remotest possibility of anything political happening within the game.

The increase of people not tuning in to begin with out of an outright abhorrent disgust to the insertion of the political into their once deemed reprieve or sanctuary as a sports fan for escapism is rising, and fast. Personally, I haven’t watched a game in I don’t know how long. And I was an avid fan. Not any more, and I know I’m not (and far from) alone.

This will be (not out of spite but out of the political in general) the second Super Bowl® in a row I not only won’t watch, but don’t care. Especially, since it’s now been announced I’m going to have some type of “Let’s listen together” political argument stuffed down my throat, whether I agree or not. All because this is what “The commissioner” believes is good for the sport, its players, and fans. Hint: It won’t.

This is a pure political remedy to a purely political problem via a venue which demand politics not be any part of it. The remedy could not be any clearer unless one is either “Out of their league” signaling incompetence. Or, “Out of their league” and want’s to bring that league (e.g., politics) into the business spectrum. Both are detrimental, if not existential to the sports business.

The only way this so-called “remedy” gets brought forth to begin with is if the current top management of the NFL thinks its in the business of political sports, rather than the sports business. Which was why I also made another assertion back in October where this unfolding fiasco had the chance to be, at the least – alleviated.

That assertion?

Fire: not re-sign, bonus, re-negotiate, contract extend, _________(fill in the blank) the current commissioner. Even if it could have cost the league $Millions for what ever the legal ramifications in contract law. It would have been money well spent and minuscule in comparison to what will be lost in future revenues going forward.

Now the league has all but guaranteed his salary for the next five years: As the entire franchise clock clicks off to what could be future TV ratings, ad sales, attendance, Armageddon.

What a complete and utter tone-deaf reaction and “solution” to a once laudable franchise.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

A “F.T.W….” Note Follow-up

A colleague sent me the following clip after reading one of my prior posts with the following note (paraphrasing): “When you first proposed the idea I thought, “What are you smoking?” Then, I heard none other than Scott Galloway deliver the following in Munich just last weekend at a conference and now I’m wondering, “Do you have any of what you’re smoking to spare?”

Below is the clip, it is from the DLD™ conference in Munich held back on the 20-22th of last week. The main point my colleague alluded to comes at about the 10:10 mark and is only about a minute in length. However, that “minute” tells you everything you need to know about the onerous storm clouds suddenly appearing on the horizon, coming into full view for everyone to see.

Again, it would now seem it’s suddenly on every-bodies radar, with an increasingly, growing reality that’s getting near hard to miss.

To reiterate, for those who may not know: When I first floated the idea of a, “Joe Camel® moment” it all sounded like off-the-radar crazy talk. Since then it, and a few other topics, have been an open running dialogue for example purposes over the last few months. (examples Here and Here)

This is just another note as to further demonstrate my original statements in my “over the horizon” discussions using real-time examples with major economic, political, and disrupting implications.

Here’s the link to the video: Scott Galloway at DLD 18 Munich

Again, the main point of this post is at the approximate 10:10 time stamp.

© 2018 Mark St.Cyr

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

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

Over the course of the last few months I have been conveying, as to try to explain, that when I’m expressing my viewpoint on what I might see “over the horizon” I have to remember that where I’m standing may be to my audience, “over the horizon.”

I’ve used this metaphor over the years only to help demonstrate, or to help ensure, that I clarify, or try to portray my positions accurately. Because at the time I’m quite aware it may all sound like “crazy talk” or some other far-flung observation, again, at the time.

However, as I’ve also explained, this is where the position for “first mover advantage” is set. Which is why I use it to begin with. i.e., You need to already be fully engaged when the “horizon” that most are looking out at finally comes into view, for that’s when the bells and Us-too bandwagons begin to appear.

I’ll now offer as example this paradigm expression, in real-time, and in spades.

A few months back I gave an example of what I portended was maybe forthcoming towards smartphones to illustrate this “beyond horizon” idea. At the time assumptions like this were thought to be “crazy talk.” Then, the crazy idea that the iPhone® may not be as good for society as everyone thought, whether one agrees with the premise or assumptions are irrelevant. It’s the fact they are now making headlines across the mainstream media, not just the business/financial, is where the relevancy now stands.

And today we have another…

Back in mid December I wrote an article titled, “Is Facebook’s ‘Messenger Kids’ Social Media’s ‘Joe Camel’ Moment?”

In that article I posited the following. To wit:

“This was that defining moment when everything seemed to change when it came to smoking. I know, because I was an avid smoker myself at that time. The moment this product and habit was seen for what it was (e.g., a true physical and psychological dependent habit) where a link, whether intentional or perceived, could be argued that the intent was to link a brand or logo to children as to perpetuate or indoctrinate the idea that smoking was cool or hip – everything changed. And I mean just that – everything.”

At the time the above comparison, along with the very notion, that it could be forthcoming and possibly soon, was met (as usual) with cat-calls and derision by many a tech aficionado, or next-in-rotation fund manager. That was, until it just hit the clearly viewed horizon of the mainstream business/financial media. Again, to wit:

(Source)

For those who may not be familiar with the names, they are two of the main reporters or personalities of CNBC™, and the person calling for the regulation is none other than the CEO of Salesforce™ Marc Benioff. Not exactly someone who is tech-phobic, or anti-tech to say the least.

As a matter of fact, when CEO’s of tech are suddenly and publicly (hence lies a very important key) calling for draconian regulation within its own industry? (And what the regulations did and were to the tobacco industry stand as testament to the idea of draconian, whether one agrees with them or not.) You now have the equivalent of a super-storm, in full view, now rolling out from over the horizon for everyone to see.

And just like most storms that are over water, they’ll pick up with more intensity before they hit land fueled with increasing hot air as to strengthen it. And that hot air is as sure to come as night turns to day. Why?

That hot air will be coming from nothing less than the hallowed bellows of politicians with their calls of fines, fees, and regulations. In other words…

Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of selling 20% of his shares might be a bar set too low.

Or too late.

© 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.