The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Don’t get caught in Google’s Inbox

October26

This is the beginning of a cautionary tale.

I am an Apple evangelist that loves Android. I really like my iPhone 6, and keen to test Android 5.0 aka Lollipop. I put Chromebooks into the hands of hundreds of students every year. I’m a Google Shareholder. While I prefer Apple’s OS X and iOS “Mail” email client, I feel that, ironically, Google’s Gmail for iOS App looks better on my iPhone than Apple Mail.

Email was created decades ago as a “dumb pipe” where a carrier exists to simply transfer information to-and-from between users without the ability to add services and applications or serve as a “smart” gatekeeper between what the user sees and doesn’t see. Thats called “mediation”, and its a key word. The idea behind email is that it’s an unmediated communications medium. Sending and receiving information. Simple for users. Not profitable for service providers.

This was the issue for AOL, Earthlink (Mindspring), and a host of others, and certainly, Google, with its (current) Gmail. Carriers want to resist becoming dumb pipes because there’s no money in it. A pipe is a faceless commodity, valued only by reliability and speed. In such a market, margins sink to zero or below zero, and it becomes a horrible business to be in.

inbox-appGoogle’s new Inbox App is a product by a company that holds a monopoly on Internet advertising (recall all the “evil empire” talk – that Google has squashed because it owns you and how you derive information from the internet). Inbox is an alternative interface to your Gmail account, rather than something that requires starting over with a new account. This is another attempt by the company to mediate your dumb email pipe which drives absolutely no value for Google. Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That’s what it does.They’re not in the business of improving the experience of email with a free product such as Gmail. They’re ultimately in the business of finding more subtle and effective ways to deliver ads.

Repeat: “recall all the ‘evil empire talk’ – that Google has squashed because it owns you and how you derive information from the internet”.

I can appreciate the brilliance of the “invitation” strategy introducing Inbox. It feels exclusionary; but it’s not. It is manipulative. They tried the same shenanigans with Google Wave (see below). I received six invites, and declined all of them, for now. Inbox strikes me as very similar to the new email test AOL (Boy… does that take me back. How many people actually still use AOL?) deployed almost two years ago.

That said, pinning-down the name “Inbox”, was insidiously crafty and well done on Google’s part. The name defines the product.

eMail presents us with a love-hate dilemma. We need it, but the process is time-consuming, and rarely fruitful. eMail “battles” are the worst. Almost as bad as the, “Starbucks Death Dance”, when it comes to networking (by the way… I’m boycotting SBUX because they won’t let me use Apple Pay). I noticed about three years ago that I text and chat (in various forms) with the people that I am most productive with.

The bottom line is that it’s a more radical mediation between the communication you have with other people and with the companies that provide goods, services and content to you.

The positive spin on Inbox is that it brings way more power and intelligence to your email in-box.

The negative spin is that it takes something user-controlled, predictable, clear and linear and takes control away from the user, making email unpredictable, unclear and nonlinear.

I’m sticking with Apple Mail and my Apple eco-system friendly array of iPhones, iPads, Powerbook Pro’s and iMacs, for now (but will use [current] Gmail in a back-up pinch). Gmail will eventually disappear like Google Wave, Google Reader – and, probably Google+. Apple Mail does what I want it to do. I don’t want to use an App that only lets me do what the company behind it will allow me to see and do.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

General Motors ON

November16

It’s no secret that General Motors (“GM”) has it’s Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) this week.

What might be a secret to the masses, however, is it’s truest underlying purpose.

The government lent money to GM. There is some thinking that the government could own as much as sixty-one percent (61%) of GM. And, the big auto-maker, as leading and cutting-edge as it’s vehicles have become, will struggle for decades to pay our thinly stretched United States Treasury back – and, it does not have a prayer of meeting it’s pension obligations.

So, they, that insidious “they” (no doubt led by the pipe-smoking-black-dog), mind you, are going to foist the problem on the American Citizens the very best of the good old fashioned way, certainly time-honored… By manipulating the stock market.

Seriously.

Here is how this particular effort will play-out. You simply need to make the decision if you are going to benefit, or keep getting your collective asses kicked.

The IPO will likely open up around $28.00 a share. Insiders (by many a definition) will pay less. For example, the United States Treasury is going to own shares as will friends of the big brokerage houses. JP Morgan is the syndicate lead and they are making all manner of new friends on Capital Hill with this play. This is not widely publicized for obvious reasons.  In any event, based on the aforementioned loan details, the Treasury will break even when the stock hits approximately $44.00.

So, it’s a good bet the stock will do just that, and then some.

I’m guessing there will likely be close to a $6m billion over subscription of the stock leading up to the IPO. My experience tells me we’ll see about $1 billion in roiling. Then that “over-hang” of back-orders will kick the stock up. After that, it’s all about “management”.

This is not evil. This is simply the way things work. You, why not you, can argue it’s part of the American dream.

I have to say something. It’s one of the many reasons you read this Blog. And, it’s something a Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman finds, required.

Good luck. But, there is little of that actually involved. Fortuna, perhaps, eh Dr. Pappas?

UPDATE 11/17/2010 @ 1pm: VOILA! – GM Confirms Expanding IPO by 31 percent

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters

Brian Patrick Cork

running with the Bulls and driving Cattle

October28

Back in 1977 Grandad said to me: “You can be a leader or a follower. Leaders know whom to follow at critical points in their lives. But, don’t ever be the wrong leader of followers”.

That requires some careful thought, and much more perspective.

Over the summer of 1988, while teaching me how to first listen and then sell (while also teaching me how to sail in Santa Monica Bay) David Sugarman, my “Jewish mentor” advised me, in that brilliant sepulchural baritone of his: “don’t bother buying a stock you might ever want to sell.”

“Trust in human nature”, he added.

These, strategies (they might be foundational philosophy /1) if you will, then required careful thought, research, informed decision-making and maturity to pull off over a lifetime.

Through the Spring of 1999 I remember the DOW breaking 10,000 for the first time with it’s delicious opportunity to revisit and contemplate David’s words.

Under pressure of very awkward and highly suspect circumstances, the market began it’s dark and ugly descent towards 6000 last year, and I decided to hold firm to Grandad and David’s, always great and evident, wisdom.

Every where I went, the only talk you could hear was about how low the DOW might go. It reminded me of the whole OJ Simpson ordeal. It’s all anyone seemed to want to focus on.

I could easily draw a correlation between the two topics. However, as a Prudent Gentlemen, I don’t see the point as it reduces the advantage, and lessons the potential effects and opportunities now relative to Laws of Natural Selection.

I will, however, offer an example, with the hopes loyal readers of this Blog harken and, perhaps remember when the next test rears itself.

I first listened to, and then observed, a local and hapless friend defy common sense and guidance, as he sold off all of his investments, leveraging both a dirth of intelligence while timing his decision to match, perfectly, mind you, the very bottom of the market. He was firm in his convictions and determined to panic. The chap was convinced the market was going to “crater (a clever and dramatic, albeit meaningless terms financially)”. I had told him there were many reasons – most of them built-in, while others were easily psychological (although both cleverly manipulated) that the market would not go below 6000. You can read more about that here (but, there is more elsewhere), and on this very Blog. Do it!

In any event, he bought into the frantic mooing to be found permeating the internet, and stampeded with so many others, failing to see the buying opportunities, and sold into a crashing market designed to fatten the wallets of the happy minority.

That fellow was a follower. And, he might have actually been a leader of followers (he was a bad example of something, or maybe a good example of a bad thing), to make his plight all the worse.

Today he’ll wring his hands and tell you that his wealth managers “screwed” him, as they misled “everyone (typically this is what thirteen year olds say in the absence of empiric evidence)” regarding their research abilities and understanding of market trends. I’ll wager they had been telling him to sit tight. The storm always abates, and the market always comes back.

Just like the current market will.

Because you can trust human nature (make sure you read that aforementioned post). And, try it from the view of a Heterodox. Consider it a Kobayashi Maru, and literally, an opportunity to Kill that Bear./2

This is an obvious point, but the only people that “lost” money in the stock market are those that panicked and sold into a down market. Conversely, there is new wealth, big money, being created, on paper, by people that have been buying stocks up for the past six months.

I have, and with good reason, cause to make another stand, right here, and say we’ll break back up, and through 12500, by the end of the First Quarter of 2010.

Do some leading research. Maybe you begin with why are the banks really hoarding all that cash?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ There is some agreement, therefore, that philosophy is based on method, and is rational, systematic and critical, or characterized by logical argument.

Intrinsic Character: Philosophy can be distinguished from empirical science and religion. The Penguin Encyclopedia says that philosophy differs from science in that its questions cannot be answered empirically, i.e. by observation or experiment, and from religion, in that its purpose is entirely intellectual, and allows no place for faith or revelation.

2/ From the Movie: .

the unexpected is so predictable

April14

right…

So, in March, Martin Crutsinger, an AP Economics Writer, declares that durable goods orders are unexpectedly “up” in February. Read the story here.

He then turns around in April, and declares that durable goods are unexpectedly “down” in March. And, you can read that here.

UPDATE 02/13/2011: The link is broken because that story has mysteriously disappeared. Our media REALLY SUCKS. So do you Crutsinger.

At what point (and, how) does one qualify to be an AP Economics Writer if they are always being surprised by, and with, economic data?

Or, do people like this Mr. Crutsinger answer to the mysterious “they” (that damn smoking rabbit again)?

Mr. Crutsinger, and parts of the media, just might be a big part of the problem with their irresponsible reporting that keeps unwitting citizens and investors off balance.

I wonder if Crutsinger and Jim Cramer hang-out? You can see why I ask this question by reading a prior post, and viewing a relevant video, here.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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