Scary Stories

By |2018-07-31T07:03:48-04:00July 31st, 2018|Global Market Update|

I never “got” horror movies. Shot from German horror film “Nosferatu.” Public Domain in US. Source: Wikipedia Oh, sure, I understand there’s an adrenaline rush that comes when the hero and heroine are in danger. And when they wait, listening at the closed door, only to realize that the murderer is already in the room with them. I get that. But I never understood the desire to see nasty things happen again and again and again. I want them to get out and escape. [...]

Fashioning Technology

By |2018-07-30T06:59:49-04:00July 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is Tommy Hilfiger watching you? Portrait of Tommy Hilfiger. Photo: Tommy Hilfiger. Source: Wikimedia Fashion designers have a problem. They can create a new look, but they have no way to tell if their designs are being worn. The most valuable type of advertising – word or mouth, or reputation, or “buzz” – is still an amorphous aggregation of sentiment, stories, hype, and hope. There’s no way to quantify how successful a new look is. Except maybe now via technology. Tommy Hilfiger has a [...]

Dark Financial Matter

By |2018-07-30T05:20:59-04:00July 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is anything holding our financial universe together? Expansion of the Universe. Public Domain. Source: NASA In 1932 a Dutch astronomer couldn’t explain the movement of the stars with the current measurement of visible mass in the universe. He proposed that dark matter must be holding the galaxies together. His hypothesis was confirmed 40 years later by another astronomer making observations about galactic rotation. In the same way, our economic galaxy appears to be spinning apart, lurching from one crisis to the next. 50 years [...]

On Target?

By |2018-07-26T08:16:03-04:00July 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What are target date funds? Photo: Xavier Navarro. Source: US Air Force Target date funds are all the rage when it comes to retirement planning. They have a certain targeted retirement date in their name, and then gradually adjust their asset allocation as that date approaches. So, for example, a 2040 retirement fund is currently 85% stocks and 15% bonds, while a 2025 fund could be 50% stocks and 50% bonds. When Vanguard first began offering the funds back in 2005, only 2% of [...]

Up, Up, and Away?

By |2018-07-25T07:07:45-04:00July 25th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Earnings are awesome. Photo: Eric Ward. Source: Wikimedia That’s the message the market has been saying for the past two years, ever since oil prices recovered from their slump in 2016 and we avoided another debt-driven financial crisis. There were concerns back then that all the new fracking-led oil drilling was funded by junk bonds – bonds that would go into default when new rigs couldn’t sell their oil profitably. At one point, there was so much excess capacity that some drillers had to [...]

Wide or Narrow, New or Used?

By |2018-07-24T08:37:13-04:00July 24th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Boeing is building a new type of aircraft. Airbus is responding. Whose approach is better? Airbus A380, the largest airliner in the world. Photo: Maarten Visser. Source: Wikimedia Thirty years ago, Airbus engineers began to secretly develop a new-concept airplane, an ultra-high-capacity airliner that could challenge the dominance of the Boeing 747. Fifteen years later, they began to build the A380, a twin-deck airframe that could carry over 800 passengers almost 10,000 miles. Airbus broke tradition and skipped a few numbers to name it [...]

Billions and Billions

By |2018-07-23T06:47:03-04:00July 23rd, 2018|Global Market Update|

What’s up with the European Union and technology fines? Carina Nebula, where new stars form. Photo: Harel Boren. Source: Wikimedia Google was just fined $5 billion for antitrust violations in the EU stemming from their Android operating system. This is on top of the $2.7 billion fine they received last year over their manipulated search results. Intel was fined over $1.3 billion for paying rebates to PC makers, Microsoft was fined over $700 billion for failing to put a browser choice in a Windows [...]

The End of Management

By |2018-07-19T06:15:02-04:00July 19th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What do we look for in management? Illustration: John Lester. Source: FlikrCC-BY-2.0 Companies have physical plants and products and marketing. They have salespeople and information systems and workers. And overlaid on top of these physical and human assets is a structure called “management.” It’s not just the CEO and executive team and mid-level managers. It includes the organizational approach, the HR and production processes, the incentives, the contracts, etc., etc., etc. In fact, calling this superstructure “management” is misleading. It gives the impression that [...]

The Madness of Mobs

By |2018-07-18T06:10:36-04:00July 18th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Be careful around crowds. Stadium Crowd. Photo: Abdul Rahman. Source: FlikrCC-BY-2.0 Especially if you want better investment returns. There are times when investment manias sweep through the markets, lifting anything in a particular niche or with a particular name. The internet boom of the late ‘90s, the biotech boom of the late ‘80s, the oil boom of the ‘70s, and recent crypto-craze, where anything related to block-chain cryptography was granted almost instant unicorn status. These levels rarely last. Conversely the mob can turn on [...]

Wage Slaves or Labor Entrepreneurs?

By |2018-07-17T06:12:41-04:00July 17th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Who owns our work? ADP Time Card Reader. Photo: BrokenSphere. Source: Wikimedia There’s a memorable scene from the bike-racing movie, “Breaking Away.” When a member of a teenage gang shows up for his first day of work at a car wash, his pushy new boss tells him: “Don’t forget to punch the clock, Shorty.” Offended by his supervisor’s attitude, the young man wraps his hand in a rag and physically punches the time-clock, breaking the glass. His buddies cheer, and he storms off. As [...]