The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

the age of Decision-Making

May21

I started thinking about this two years ago when the target protagonists would have been thirty four and thirty five years old. Any professional person today is at risk of realizing a status of “lost generation”. We don’t have enough mentors. And, if people try, they probably don’t know how. That’s another topic for debate destined for another time. But, I’m confident it set’s the stage for an audience that will feel it’s truth at the back of their collective necks.

Today that focus group is best exampled by thirty five and thirty six year olds. I say that because thirty five is the most difficult year for people in their personal and professional lives. It’s the proverbial cross-roads. Through my Coaching practice I realized the epiphany that thirty five is the truest point of mid-life crisis. That is, in itself, another terrific topic.

It can be argued that the most significant difference between decision-makers today is how they receive and process information, and then what they do with it in terms of “situational awareness”, relevance, and execution.

For example, most decision-makers (I can define this better some other time – but, broadly executives from startups to the Fortune 1000) that are under thirty five are comfortable receiving critical information on a mobile device (ie. smart phone of iPad), trusting it’s veracity, distributing and sharing it, and, most importantly, acting upon it. Remarkably, this includes texting. When you think about it, you’ll begin to notice that decision-makers over thirty five are still more comfortable with a desk top computer. NOTE: We more often today include Powerbooks/ laptops in this category. And, more and more over thirty five decision-makers don’t like to use SKYPE for business because they are concerned about how they will be perceived (that is yet ANOTHER great topic, for later). So, under thirty five decision-makers are more likely to believe what they read on the internet is true (it’s the old-line thinking: “if it’s in writing it must be true”). And, with the crowd-sourcing mentality of that age demographic they want to rely on that type of information. It’s a “herd” mentality. Some times the effort results in a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, more often than not they are making decisions that alienate them from their older peers because it’s not genuinely informed decision-making based on emperical research.

DATA, Information, Mobility, and Bandwidth are HOT industries probably because we want more visual-oriented information piped through our mobile devices. An example of this is the growing popularity and proliferation of Video Blogs. But, these are rarely done by people over thirty five. But, much of the information is derived from sources like Google (which I find jaw-droppingly naive and astounding), Facebook and Tumblr (that is a VERY broad generalization).

This schism is broadening. The amazing thing is the cut-off point is so dramatic. But, the level-of-trust between these groups is dropping-off at a remarkable pace. A result that we are tracking is the fall-off in numbers of “young” executive hires and promotions. And, reduced value placed on post graduate degrees like MBA’s. But, the hiring of CPA’s is tracking upward. Probably because the internet can lie, but numbers won’t.

More later.

Let’s be part of the solution.

brian patrick cork

shorting Facebook, part II

May18

I’m sure I have another post on this Blog called something like, “shorting Facebook, blah, blah, blah…”. you go look for it, I’m feeling quite self-involved, today.

background for warm-up:

short sellers bet against shares by borrowing the security, then selling it. if the stock drops, they buy it back at the lower price, return it to the lender and pocket the difference as profit.

let’s be very clear… the primary reason the typical retail investor (you) can’t short Facebook (FB) TODAY
is because “shorts” looking to bet against Facebook early face an uphill battle. honest traders will admit the stock will be hard to borrow, at least for a few days – and, only the best-sourced hedge fund managers will able to find lenders.

a buddy of mine that is a prime broker at one of the top underwriters of the IPO said the firm would not be lending shares, at least until the initial settlement in the first three business days of trading. this is a form of “managed” risk.

seriously.

…and, it’s legal.

seriously.

“I don’t know how many shares will be available for shorting,” said the broker, who requested anonymity (hell yeeeeah). “We would only provide them once the deal has stabilized.”

voila!

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

the Lighter Side of facebooks Evil empire

May15

so…

it’s no surprise that Facebook’s IPO is now as inevitable and comparable to anything relative to teen-aged self entitlement and adult wife-swapping.

…isn’t that what Facebook is for?

c’mon… all this and I still can’t find the Greg Trussell I knew in college, class of 1984. Greg, if you’re reading this, what’s up?

even when Facebook has tons of cash, I bet it’ll still ask users to ‘like’ Papa John’s damn pizza, everyday.

originally, the whole point of a company going public was to raise money for growth and also allow citizens to share in the fortunes of the company by stock acquisition. it made a  lot of sense… consumers would by the companies products and also shares. that ecosystem was self-sustaining and aligned with capitalism.

[pause for gripping sound bites]

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of the popular social networking site Facebook, is being sued by two former classmates who claim he stole the idea. What do you think?

“Poor guy. Sounds like he could use a smiley-face comment.” – Antonio, Systems Anaylst

“I hope the site isn’t shut down before I figure out what the poke feature is for.” – Paige Foster, Valet

“They probably would have guarded their secret more carefully had they only known that people’s basest voyeuristic and exhibitionist predilections could be exploited for money.” – Kyle, Rigger

[end of pause]

but, I can’t reconcile a Facebook IPO. the company does not create, build and deliver products like Apple, or even Google, if you want to stretch your imagination along with a sense of reality. Apple’s share price makes sense. the company offers products that people value enough to buy more of daily (read this Motley Fool article, because I said so). so, the company has value which is reflected in it’s stock.

but wait… should I at least try to be open-minded? consider the following drivel, op-ed, Surprise! Turns Out Mark Zuckerberg Is A Great CEO, by the nefarious Henry Blodget /1, no less.

its not the “cover jinx” (read the story!) that will kill this IPO… its the fact that the original investors are cashing out at the high. based on my own (admittedly small and anecdotal) research (that reads trite, doesn’t it?), about ten percent (10%) of the people I know have completely deleted their Facebook profile, and the volume of posting is trending down… and, according to my kids, their friends have dropped their Facebook time in favor of Pinterest. I suspect that FB activity is way down, but information like that is being hidden, while glowing articles, underwritten by Goldman Sachs sycophants will proliferate, until after the IPO.

in fact, this is such a puff piece its laughable. coming from the beacon of integrity known as Henry Blodget. I wonder how many shares he was promised for writing this article — conveniently at the start of Facebook’s PR campaign for their IPO. Its not as though Blodget has a history of falsely inflating IPOs for his own personal benefit…oh wait, that’s why he was convicted 12 years ago!

looking at Facebook (not literally; Joanne and I refuse to use it), all I see is a tapestry of self absorption and entitlement. as the Facebook IPO prepares for launch, current polls already have American’s convinced the social media platform is a fad.

all 1,472 employees of Facebook, Inc. reportedly burst out in uncontrollable laughter Wednesday following Albuquerque resident Jason Herrick’s attempts to protect his personal information from exploitation on the social-networking site. “Look, he’s clicking ‘Friends Only’ for his e-mail address. like that’s going to make a difference!” howled infrastructure manager Evan Hollingsworth, tears streaming down his face, to several of his doubled-over coworkers. “oh, sure, by all means, Jason, ‘delete’ that photo. man, this is so rich.” according to internal sources, the entire staff of Facebook was left gasping for air minutes later when the “hilarious” Herrick believed he had actually blocked third-party ads.

any rationalization for the strike price is out the window along with any logical valuation protocols. so, why isn’t this a red-flag for everyone? if the opening price is $38 per share, what analyst in his right mind is going to tout that for long? their objective will be to lie about how great the company is just long enough for their traders to dump the stock into someone else’s lap. what growth strategy could possibly make sense that will fuel a sustained growth trajectory for the stock that could reward investors long-term?

well… I’ve given this some thought, and I’ve come-up with some possible new Facebook features analysts could get worked-up over, tout, and rely upon to hoodwink unsuspecting pensioners that are generally clueless about social marketing, and are hoping to cash-in on the Facebook “craze” – which is oh-so apropos.

to wit…

SweetSpace.com, the new social networking start-up from Caltech wunderkind Ima Felon, will launch soon with the stated intent of bridging the gap between Facebook and Facebook. “the easiest way to explain SweetSpace is that it’s essentially Facebook meets Facebook,” says Felon, noting that like Facebook, SweetSpace.com will allow its members to communicate publicly by having a wall that people can post to, but, like Facebook, members will also be able to message other users privately. “ultimately, the goal of SweetSpace is to be Facebook for the Facebook generation.” Felon added that the new site will have pri­vacy issues comparable to Facebook, but assured users it will deny them, just like Facebook.

in its ongoing effort to enrich the way people connect and interact, Facebook will  introduce a new feature that allows users to cancel their accounts. “to complement our recently overhauled interface – which now provides users with a real-time log of every single thing their friends are doing at any given moment – we’ve added a function that allows people to delete their entire profile with the click of a button,” said company spokesman Sef Entitled, describing how the change would bring “an exciting new level of user control” to Facebook. “it’s a really cool feature we’re happy to be offering for the very first time.” the company later confirmed that account closures would not stop Facebook from continuing to acquire, permanently store, and sell all information about its current and former users until the day they die.

after deciding to disable his Facebook account in an effort to increase productivity, Chad Fakid announced in a Facebook update Thursday that he was now “off the grid.” “I’m dropping off the radar for a while,” wrote Fakid, 36, who lives in a two-story house with running water, electricity, regular garbage pickup, wireless Internet access, and high-definition satellite television service. “if you need something, text me.” Fakid has not been heard from since earlier this afternoon, when he confirmed via Twitter that he was “maintaining radio silence” and then checked in to his local coffee shop on Foursquare.

in an effort to enhance its social media presence, Walgreens pharmacies announced Wednesday the launch of “RxSocial,” a new Facebook plugin that enables users to “view, share, and comment on” the prescription drugs their friends are taking. “our goal is to create an interactive community that lets your friends see what your current dosage of Xanax is, what method of birth control you prefer, or whether you’re likely to have any spare Adderall,” said Walgreens e-commerce chief Sona Chawla, explaining that drug purchases show up automatically on users’ Facebook profiles and appear in their friends’ news feeds. “RxSocial even offers a real-time view of which drugs are trending right now.” at press time, Gina Sims of Lawton, OK had picked up her lithium.

I don’t know if Facebook is really just a fad. but, the stock is probably a short opportunity. the floor is where Goldman Sachs picked-up their shares.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

1/ In 2002, then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, published Merrill Lynch e-mails in which Blodget gave assessments about stocks which conflicted with what was publicly published. In 2003, he was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry and paid a $2 million fine plus a $2 million disgorgement.

why other people should buy Facebook

February6

I’m no fan of Google, most of the time.

but, I know they’ll get better, some how.

perhaps I’ll take that position because I’m an optimist, albeit a Prudent one, mind you. and, a gentleman.

as a contrarian though I can see alternative ways to help Facebook do good, despite their intentions. just read further. do it!

to be fair, John Haydon evidently thinks quite highly of certain tools found on Facebook, if you’re using it as a business page, some how. we’ll follow Mr. Haydon awhile, and sort him out.

however,  that said, I’m steadfast against Facebook. ironically, Google’s Chrome (that’s a browser) has a tool that helps you track how much time you waste on Facebook. I love that. none of my people (in my companies) care about Facebook, and a lot of people hire us to help them make even better decisions. there’s symmetry of purpose, in that.

but, I don’t like it that two of the goodly men I coach in business are in the midst of divorces and Facebook was arguably the ignition-point for each. one fellow rediscovered his ex-college sweetheart, and the other’s wife found a new man on a Triathlon Facebook page for her club. is that tit-for-tat?

just in case you go rooting around on the internet, (Yahoo is still often better than Google, but Bing is kind of awesome) you’ll note that I have a Facebook page. but, just so we are clear, my staff set it up and then we decided to never accept friends on it. I’m a rather unusually disciplined person, but Joanne simply asked that we not allow for any temptations. that’s good enough for me. but, it’s also the tip-of-the-iceburg for a lot of other people.

in any event, one of my brokers (yes, I use them) called today laughing about Facebook. he’ll certainly be able to get shares for us but won’t be recommending them to his people.

“they are for them other folks that are needed to for cannon fodder”, says he.

so… If Facebook says its worth $100 Billion dollars that means it will have to have sales of 27 x sales (currently $1B) and 100 x earnings. for perspective you need to know that Apple is currently at 3.3 x sales and 10 x earnings, and they actually do some good in the world. and, shares in the company will likely help families put kids through college (indeed, they’re helping me put other people’s kids through college) also… I’m willing to bet, and I am as a loyal shareholder and consumer, in fact doing just that, people will want and own iPhones than waste time on Facebook.

so… let other people buy Facebook. the same type that buy into Facebook, I’ll wager. I’ll short you later and put more kids through college.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

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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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