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Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the Chinese Ploy

Posted on 14 September 2017 by Thraxxus

Bitcoin hit an all time USD price of about $5000USD on August 17, 2017. This explosion in price, in turn, affects the values of other digital crypto-currencies, such as Ethereum, which peaked the $400USD mark. One would think that holders of these currencies would rejoice, and some did, others, on the other hand, made the mistake of trying to get in a bit late – and not because getting in is a bad thing – in fact it is the right thing to do. Buy low, sell high and all that business – you get it.

There is a not so hidden factor at play here that has, frankly, been in play many times before with other currencies,and it is causing a serious amount of fear in the crypto-currency landscape – China. There is no secret that China has manipulated currencies in the past – their own to be the first example. Naturally China has now set her sites on Bitcoin – and even the announcement of that has had a catastrophic effect on the value of Bitcoin.

Is the fear justified? Temporarily, perhaps. What you must understand is that even though China did have some success in keeping her own currency locked at a level for a long, long time, eventually it had a dire effect on her economy. The middle class exploded, which was a good thing, but her coffers actually got too full (this was reported on in 2013) , if you can imagine that being a problem, and that came back to bite China in her booty. The short story? China created fear internally when the intent was to create it externally. Why was that a problem? The Chinese people started pulling their money, as fast as a they could, out of the motherland – the exact opposite of what China was hoping was going to happen, through the purchase of jewelry, and now bank cards.

What is going to happen, then? First you must look into why China is doing this – the answer, conceptually, is rather simple, and is actually in line with what the Big Banks and Governments of the west are also concerned about – control. Simply put, the Chinese government is all about absolute control, and trying to maintain that control as much as possible. With their coffers already bleeding due to the rich and ultra-rich jumping ship, having a currency that they don’t control, just sitting out there supplying yet another way for their citizens to escape with all that glorious cash, is outside their interests – and they hate that.

Granted, the official statement by the Chinese government is that they are banning only the trading of crypto-currencies on their vast exchanges. Again, why? Crypto-currencies have certainly been volatile in the past – nobody can really doubt that – a common problem and concern. Now say you are China, a lady that controls almost every facet of her existence with absolution, then the idea that your markets could be directly affected, in real time, by a vast collection of cryptos, that you cannot control in any fashion, keeps you up at night. So what do you do? You put a stop to that nightmare. Will it last? Perhaps. However, what traders must realize is that China isn’t shutting down cryptos completely, only the trading of them on her markets – at least until she can figure out a way to control them – which could happen fairly quickly as China is rather skilled at control. After all, she is over four thousand years old, and thus has had loads of practice.

Where is it going? It will go down, then, again, it will explode upwards. Why? Less and less people believe in Fiat Currencies, and as such, are liking currencies that are controlled by their owners more than the governments that printed Fiat currencies with reckless abandon, and ultimately failed. A compounding reason that these currencies will climb again is that there is a limited amount of coins in the currencies. Here is a Reddit post, GASP, that loves to talk all about this concept.

My suggestion – buy low, sell high – but we started this piece that way. Fundamentally speaking, it is the right way to make money. I would use Kraken or Coinbase, however, I don’t guarantee them, but I do use them, sometimes with an extreme amount of frustration. In the meanwhile – watch this guy – he is pretty good at explaining the fun.

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Dude, Where’s my Gold?

Posted on 26 August 2013 by Thraxxus

goldThere has been a crap load of speculation on what is going on, and isn’t going on, in the USA and outside the USA that the USA may be involved in. We have all read about the coming apocalypse, random satanism stories, the Bilderburgs, Illuminati, etc. The catch is, where is the proof? We debate these stories, we throw information on the wall, and we conclude lots of different accounts to be nothing more than Conspiracy Theories. Tragically, without real facts, many of these stories are easy to dismiss as Conspiracy Theories simply because the facts, the cold hard ones, just aren’t there.

Then we have Mr. Snowden. Snowden is the government contractor who fled the country and broke the news that NSA is spying on basically everyone – a story that, until Mr. Snowden, was considered a Conspiracy Theory for years, and yet here we are, with facts, showing that the NSA is doing just that – the catch? The NSA is spying not just on other countries but on its own citizens. Given this concept how about we approach what is going on with actual facts – without drawing any conclusions – and you can be the judge.

  1. Germany recently asked the Federal Reserve for all their gold back – The FED told Germany “No. But you can have it back in 7 years.” If the gold belongs to Germany, why can’t they have it back?
  2. Germany then asked to see their gold – so much of it being stored in the Fed that it takes up nine rooms – They were “No. But you can see one of the rooms.” If the Fed has all their gold, then why can’t Germany inspect it all? Also Germany was told they can look into the room, but that can’t walk into the room.
  3. China is buying an amazing amount of gold.
  4. China is toying with puting the Yuen on the Gold Standard.

What does all this mean?

  1. The USA Dollar is a Fiat Currency.  “The term fiat money is used to mean: *any money declared by a government to be legal tender. *state-issued money which is neither legally convertible to any other thing, nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard. *money without intrinsic value.” In other words, the USA currency is backed by nothing. Now to be fair, neither is anyone else’s currency, unless of course China changes the game.
  2. If currency being backed by gold makes a comeback, is the USA in a position to be able to do the same? According to an article from 1981, Fort Knox is basically empty. This link quotes that article.
  3. According to the FED, they don’t own any gold. Not according to them.

So if the FED has no gold that they own, and Fort Knox has no real amount of gold the question is left to be begged: Where is all the gold that the USA used to have?

Scariest thing said about the gold issue was supplied by CNBC:

“The Bundesbank is, of course, quite right in its opinion of the value of the examinations. In reality, it does not matter one bit whether the Federal Reserve Bank of New York actually has the German central bank’s gold or whether the gold is pure. As long as the Fed says it is there, it is as good as there for all practical purposes to which it might be put. It can be sold, leased out, used as collateral, employed to extinguish liabilities and counted as bank capital just the same whether it exists or not.”

It doesn’t matter if the gold is there? WHAT? In effect this means that the citizens of the Earth should just take the word of the FED, no matter what it is.

No thanks, I prefer the idea of an audit of the Federal Reserve.


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Abercrombie and Fitch – The Backlash

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Valkyrie

abercrombieI am finding this recent backlash toward Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries to be rather ridiculous and absurd. Am I the only one thinking this? Apparently, by reading many articles regarding this subject, it seems as though I am.

Let’s back up shall we? In 2006, Mike Jeffries gave an interview to Salon stating that his brand (Abercrombie and Fitch) is “absolutely exclusionary and only wants to market to cool, good looking people”. He continues with this statement, “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he said in the interview.

Fair enough. So the guy comes off as a bit of an ass, but isn’t America based on free speech? He is the CEO of this popular clothing store and as far as I see it, can run his business as he desires – gearing to any audience he sees fit.

I do agree with him about companies becoming totally vanilla. Or, in my view…  totally politically correct. Have we gotten so used to the mighty ‘Super-Store’ that offers every fucking item under the moon that we have lost sight on what America used to stand on – choice and free enterprise?

Sadly, American’s choices these days are few and far between when it comes to products and stores. Seems the almighty Super-Stores have all but taken over with their bulk items and cheap merchandise. The sad part is, it appears we are okay with this. And if some CEO comes along and wants to create a niche market and appeal to a certain audience, shame on him! We all go on a tirade of attack and pretty much take what he says out of context to fit our own perceptions as to what he really meant.

Okay, so he says he wants to market to “cool” and “good looking” people. Where’s the problem here? He’s not stating who he deems as cool and good looking… shit, that is all in the eye of the beholder. I don’t believe he has placed guards standing outside each of his stores with sniff dogs that discern who is cool and good looking and who is not. I still believe any person can walk in the store and peruse and purchase if they are so inclined. Seems we have gone off the tracks on this subject and have beaten it to death.

With that being said, I am going to continue to do so. Let’s take it a step further then, shall we? If we are all so hyper-sensitive to Mike Jeffries stance, then shouldn’t we be just as upset with other stores and what they market as well?

Should we then be upset with Tiffany’s for only selling high end jewelry that hardly any of us can afford due to that very reason? Should we be upset with Victoria’s Secret for not marketing to smaller busted women? Should we be upset with the Plus Size stores for only carrying double digit sizes? Should we be upset with Petite stores for only carrying smaller sizes? Should we be upset at Wal-Mart for selling so many products on the cheap that is has run its competitors into the ground? Should we be upset with Grocery chains for seldom carrying organic produce? Should we be upset with Organ Markets for only carrying organic foods? Should we be upset with the Snickers candy bar that it contains peanuts? Should we be upset with Diet Coke that it has no calories?

He says something in that interview that sticks with me more than anything else, that most people seem to have bypassed. He states, and I am paraphrasing (exact quote is above), that when you market to everybody, you become vanilla – that there is nothing to get excited about. That’s what sticks out the most for me.

It just feels nowadays that if somebody wants to break the mold and dare to be a bit different, and heaven forbid, speak their mind, there is a backlash of sorts. I am perplexed as to why we aren’t protesting and making a big-ass ruckus towards all these ‘Super-Stores’. They have moved in, taken over, put small business owners out of business who provided competition, and have taken away our options… but yet, for some God forsaken reason (and for reasons I still cannot wrap my brain around), we go there time and time again for cheap goods and products that were made mostly in China by people making pennies on the dollar.

Heaven forbid if a CEO of a company wants to market to a certain audience. He says he wants to market to “cool” and “good looking” people. So what? In some form or another we are all cool and good looking. Mark Jeffries did not define it. He simply is daring to practice his rights of free speech and free enterprise. Period.



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LIBOR – Catastrophe

Posted on 09 July 2012 by Thraxxus

This is a serious problem, and tragically, it is barely being covered by anyone in the United States, Main Stream Media wise. The New York Times covered it in a not so in your face sort of way – but at least they covered it.  Simon Johnson had the courage to cover the story, and the New York Times had the courage to post it, so a nodd needs to be given to them. What is the issue?

LIBOR. To put it simply LIBOR covers what interest rate each bank charges every other bank for loans to each other. Turns out that banks are supposed to report these rates to London, every single day. What was recently discovered is that they were being reported – just with false numbers. What? Say I own a bank, and I loan money to your bank at 1% interest, but I tell LIBOR that I did it for 3% interest. I lied. What does this effect you may wonder? EVERYTHING. It is these rates that much of the world is calculated on regarding how money moves, who charges what, etc. The scary part? It is believed, and is being actively investigated, that ALL of the major banks were in on the lies.

Meaning what? Meaning that if ever there was the belief that there was a conspiracy theory on a banking Cabal that required some form of evidence – this is it. They, meaning the banks, who are supposed to be competitors, are actually all working together. Why? Simply put – world control. If you control the monetary system you control the world. This needs to stop.

This article does a decent job of explaining exactly how you, the civilian, got screwed. Another nice read explaining how this scandal is basically the largest financial scandal in HISTORY. But hey, no need to care. After all, if you are reading this, then chances are you are an American, and thus are far more interested in Hollywood BS than anything that has an actual effect on your life.

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Posted on 13 May 2012 by Thraxxus

I work in Technology by trade. I was a software developer, can still sling code in fact, but over the years my leadership skills pushed me more toward an executive role than anything and thus that is what I do now – I lead technology businesses. The reason you need some background as to what I do is the topic at hand: Outsourcing. In the USA outsourcing has become a bit of a bad word – in fact there are movies dedicated to the topic and most of them love to show how bad outsourcing really is, how it barely works, and are typically ride on the edge of full blown racism. The question is – why? Why do these movies, and moreover, why is the basic belief that outsourcing is bad to begin with?

First off we should agree on what outsourcing really is – in this article anyway. Hiring an firm that local to do some work for you is not outsourcing as I am I referring to it, rather sending work to a company overseas is. This is the taboo subject – Americans seem to hate the idea of sending work overseas – one could wonder why, and there are a multitude of answers, I want to talk about a different why though – why would someone send work overseas instead of finding a local firm to do the work? Seems like a simple question, I mean, why not go with someone closer to do your work?

The obvious answer is cost, and in most instances that is the case. Most Americans believe that the cost is direct – meaning that the labor overseas is less than it is the USA, and in most instances that is true. However, the real cost comes in other types of human resource overhead. Take a Software engineer for instance. In the USA a software engineer, one with any talent, will cost you about 100k/year. Adding in the standard overhead for having an employee in the USA, 33%, and you end up with 133k per year – for a resource that is arguably unproven – to you.

So say you can get the same skill set and experience for less than half that price? Now add in the concept that if the resource doesn’t pan out almost immediately that you can have them replaced, immediately, and no detriment to you. You can’t do this easily in the USA – in fact there are often negative things as an employer for just cutting a team member. I just spoke with a guy today that said his company had to write him up three times before they could threaten his job – so basically they manufactured reasons to write him up. How tedious.

If you can get local, do it. That said if you have needs for your company and can’t find local help at a decent price then there is nothing wrong with outsourcing. Really. We Americans have grown fat and lazy and have somehow graduated to believing that the world owes us something. News flash: the world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. So if you are too stuck up or proud to take that job then don’t bitch about someone else taking it, regardless of where they live.

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Freedom of Press, and Speech?

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Thraxxus

Rupert Murdoch, considered by some to be Murdoch the Devil, owns a huge portion of the Western World’s Press, period. His company, News Corporation, is the second largest Media company on the planet.  That said, chances are if you live in the west at all then each and every day Murdoch’s empire touches your mind in some fashion. Why is this important? Recently Murdoch’s empire has come under fire for doing some seriously, what some would call, unscrupulous things to get a news story – mostly cell phone hacking.

What is cell phone hacking? For discussion purposes let us touch on that for a moment. Your cell phone is, in effect, open to the outside world if one knows how to get to it. There have been loads of stories in the past of the FBI hacking people’s phone to gather information about supposed crimes etc. In effect, anyone with too much time on their hands and the ability to use the internet can figure out how to do it. So what can someone get from your phone? Everything that is on it. Email? Check. Pictures? Check. Listen in on conversations? Check. So you have to ask yourself why aren’t these things more secure? The truth is pretty straight forward: locks are meant to keep honest people out. Cell phones have some locks on them, but they aren’t very good.

The News Corporation has been accused, and in effect found guilty of, cell phone hacking of celebrities and people of influence.  There really are too many to list. Seems wrong somehow, right? Your gut feeling is that this isn’t right – these people are having their privacy violated. That is the key word here – Privacy. Let’s talk about that for a second. Privacy is based really around the concept of Expectation of Privacy – meaning where can you logically expect privacy?

There are two types of expectations of privacy:

  • subjective expectation of privacy is an opinion of a person that a certain location or situation is private. These obviously vary greatly from person to person.
  • An objective, legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy is an expectation of privacy generally recognized by society.

If you consider in association with cell phones and cell phones conversations, something that by definition leaves your current location and goes across the planet in some fashion, can one really have the expectation of privacy? Your conversation is being BROADCAST by your phone to cell phones towers. Anyone in that path could theoretically pick it up – so why the expectation of privacy? In effect it is the same thing as opening your window to shout across the street to your neighbor. Anyone within ear shot could hear it – are they not supposed to? All they have to do is pay attention to what you are saying.

Okay so that covers transmitting of conversation, fair enough. What about voice mail? What about Email transmitted to your phone? Same thing – went across the digital highway to get to you. The only thing that might protect you hear is the Wire Act and other laws like that which cover data and voice conversation over state lines. What if you live in an area where these rules don’t apply – like Great Britain? Furthermore what about the content that is actually on your device directly – like pictures? Here is where things get sticky. The device in your hand, with your content on it that was captured by it (phones with cameras in them) can be considered a private device right? It is your’s, you are in possession of it, and you don’t want to share what is on it with other people – so logically you can expect privacy within the device right? One would think – catch is that also is up for grabs. Your cell phone provider can use the service that you are on to check your phone’s operating system, files, and thus anything that is on it – and if they can do it so can anyone else.

Given all that has been said, what really is the issue then? You now know that expecting privacy on your cell phone basically isn’t protected by anyone, although lots of people are arguing that it is, and thus you can’t really expect privacy. Why then are so many people upset about this “violation of privacy”? Was a law broken? That is in debate. Was what was done dirty handed? Oddly enough that is also in debate. The catch here is that the Press has certain freedoms (nice video here), mostly attached around source protection – meaning they don’t have to disclose source AND those sources, in many instances, can be considered to be seedy at best. In the past News people have been known to break into buildings, wire tap, spy etc. Anything really to get a story – so really how can we expect them to not do all of those things to cell phones?

There is one fundamental thing at stake here that actually applies to everyone, not just news people: the freedom of speech. The freedom of the press is really an extension of that basic fundamental. Is it morally right to steal information from someone? Depends on who you ask. Is it morally right to report on what you have stolen? Again depends on who you ask. Is it against the law to do those things? Not really. Again, in a fashion, it depends on who you ask. What is important is that people are allowed to speak their minds, no matter how disgusting their thoughts are – this is why racist assholes are protected and allowed to say their hate speech. As long as that gross, disgusting crap they are spewing is not acted upon then it is legal. It is the same reason that you can complain about politicians – you are allowed to without reprecussion – for now.

That is really what is at stake here – Freedoms. If you take away the freedom of the press, what is next? Who will be checking up on bad people doing bad things? Who will be a whistle blower to protect the weak, meek, and innocent? If they aren’t allowed to report on Princess Diana drinking coffee or diving somewhere (realize she died running from reporters), then how can we say they will be allowed to report on anything important? Where does it stop? Therein lies the real crux of the issue – if there is a real line, where is it, and what actions deem that someone crossed it?

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Stocks are Funny

Posted on 30 August 2011 by Thraxxus

I am president of a stock club – in effect that means that I make sure that the flow of conversation doesn’t stay too long on a single topic in our club meetings. Beyond that I really don’t possess any powers to speak of, sort of like the President of the United States. Once per month our stock club meets, in private in the woods under torch light wearing nothing but dark cloaks,  to discuss our collective portfolio. The typical meeting starts with our Secretary of the Treasury telling us how badly we did over the last month – I like to blame capitalism for this but I really don’t have a leg to stand on. Then we go on to talk about the overall state of the economy holistically as well as any other news that we feel might be useful to the club. Exciting stuff right? I know.

This last month was a bit of a nail biter as we didn’t really make any choices – I don’t mean this in a bad way. The one thing that we collectively agreed upon is that the stock market, and investing in general, is so far out of whack that nobody can really appear to make any conclusions on anything. In effect the present stock market investor is totally emotional and bordering on completely irrational and thus trying to make a logical decision on anything is basically impossible. Let me shoot you an example:

For Motor company is the only American Car Company that didn’t NEED to be saved by the USA people and government. They have actually been showing a profit. They have the most successfully sold 1 ton pickup in the world – the F150. They are launching a new line of Ford Focus cars, six to be precise, that allow Ford to sell the exact same car with different packages in the cheapest way possible. They just signed a deal with Toyota Motors to work together to design the future of energy efficient cars. In summation, Ford is F’n around. These guys are serious about getting stuff done. Stock valued by many to be at the least, $23 US. Present Ford Motors stock price on Wallstreet? $10.75. WHAT WHAT?!?! Wait for it… WHAT? How does that make any sense? According to basically anyone that knows anything about stocks, Ford Motors is presently being traded for less than half its actual worth – and nobody is buying it.

Why say this? Let me illuminate you to another one letter stock Z – also known as Zillow. What does Zillow do? Zillow has a website that allows people to search for properties for sale in the USA. They can’t actually buy them online, but they can look for them. The funny part is that the Zillow website isn’t even complete. I tried it, half the time the search breaks, shows data without being filtered, etc. Zillow, as a company, doesn’t actually make any money yet. Rumor has it they don’t even have their own data – they just scrape data from other data sources in real time, like Google. So a company that has no real income and a broken website that dishes out data that the company doesn’t even own is worth what? $36.11. Wait for it… WHAT?!?!

Nothing makes sense any more. Up is down. Left is right. Cats and dogs are living together. I still think the real money to be made is in buying foreclosures and renting them out. At least then you get cash every month – of course I am not so sure that my investment group will go for it.

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Let us play…

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Thraxxus

Who is full of crap?

To play this game we must look back on the last ten or so years – in fact we must start from the date that George Bush Junior was voted into office. Let us begin by looking at where the USA economy was at that time. Bill Clinton had just finished his two terms and left the USA in a fairly good state, financially speaking. Apparently during the Clinton ere the USA actually started paying back its bills and thus was starting to save some money. Apparently that belief is in dispute as the USA actually still had quite a big debt at the end of the Clinton era, but was close to having  a balanced budget. So for anyone to say that George Bush Junior inherited a USA that was debt free they would be clearly misinformed. One could, however, make the argument that at the end of the Clinton era that Clinton was actually moving in the right direction financially.

The weird thing here is that may not have been the intent of Clinton, but rather something that happened by accident. You see the United States of America is a Military Industrial Complex(MIC), a phrase coined by Eisenhower during his final speech as president. A MIC actually requires an enemy to be able to justify constant spending on the military sector to the nation’s people – the largest expenditure the USA has. The problem during Clinton’s reign was that the USA didn’t actually have an enemy – so they started making them up. War on Drugs anyone? The lack of an enemy made it impossible to justify military spending at the rate it was at during Bush senior’s tenure, and thus massive military cuts were made – Republicans were not happy.

So then George Bush Junior rolls into office and in a very short period of time finds himself an enemy, or at least tries to create one in China. Most people don’t remember the Hainan Island incident whereby a couple of planes, one American and one Chinese, somehow ran into each other in the great big area we call THE SKY. Bush quickly turned this into a potentially hazardous situation – aha! An Enemy! Let the spending commence! Thing is there really wasn’t much to argue over and the situation wasn’t really all that heated. The Enemy wasn’t that much of one, at the time.

But never fear, 9/11 is here! A few planes smash into some American buildings, supposedly via an amazingly coordinated plan by some people that live in caves on the other side of the world. These terrorists have spawned the ultimate war for the MIC – THE WAR ON TERROR. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, understand that it is this event, the declaration of war on Terror, aka the boogeyman, that started the spending spree that has lead us to where we are today – by the government that is. Why? Because finally the USA MIC could spend cash, almost willy nilly, on a war with an enemy that has no country of origin – meaning BASE OF OPERATIONS. Hell, they could be anywhere, and probably are!

If the War on Terror was the catalyst for massive military spending by the USA what was the cause of the financial breakdown in the private sector? GREED. I wish that there was a more complex answer, but there isn’t. Simply put basically everyone got greedy – and I mean everyone. Let’s list them shall we?

  1. Big banks got greedy and thus started lending out a massive amount of money that they didn’t even possess. See there is this rule, that is being slightly changed in a positive direction, that says that a bank can, in effect, create money by lending out money that doesn’t actually exist. To put it simply, a bank can lend out a promise that the money will exist some day – they just can’t lend out all of the money from the previous promise. What does this cause? A whole lot of things bought and sold for money that isn’t real. Nothing wrong with that until someone, somewhere doesn’t pay off their promise, and suddenly the entire things comes crashing down.
  2. Small time lenders got greedy for the cash they make off of selling local loans to national banks. They were getting fat, really fat, and thus went so far as to start fudging the numbers of those trying to get loans. When money is cheap – meaning it is literally getting created on the fly – and interest rates are unbelievably low (I refinanced twice, and even with closing costs manged to save money overall) people tend to want to buy stuff. why not help them get that loan by LYING.
  3. Lots of citizens wanted new houses and most of their desires were way outside their budgets. No biggie – get them a veritable interest loan. Interest rates are at sickeningly low rates and thus giving out veritable interest loans (easier to get one of those than a locked interest loan) gets people the overpriced house that they want. the problem here is that interest rates change, and once they go up the monthly payment goes up with them.
  4. House prices began to sky rocket because demand far outstripped supply. Standard equation in economics really – and everyone was making cash – fake cash. Remember, people were buying property using money they were lent that didn’t really exist as it is only a promise made by someone else to pay that back. As long as thing continue in this fashion there is no problem – except they didn’t.

So greed by basically everyone (grand statement there, most everyone really) lead to a rather volatile situation. All it really takes at that point is  a match – and a match was lit by Ireland. The defaulting started in Ireland, and as that article indicates, practically everyone was tied to Ireland in some fashion or another financially. In fact there is this giant Ponzi scheme that existed that brought in even more people to invest in Ireland – like massive banks. Again not a problem until someone defaults.

Understand that financial markets rise and fall with consumer confidence, period. Once someone defaults, the person, or business, that they defaulted to in turn can’t pay their bills. The problem here is that the tiny stone across the pond, Ireland, caused a world wide ripple effect. This is not a blame game on Ireland – they were just the match that lit all the gasoline at everyone’s feet. Remember, we were the ones pouring all that gas. So one default, leads to two, which leads to four. Confidence falls. People start calling in debts, nobody can pay them. Money starts to get harder to barrow. Interest rates climb as a result as banks, being those greedy entities that they are, need to keep making money – the veritable interest rates discussed further.

Let us look at the shockwave of crap:

  1. New enemy! Massive Goverment Spending!
  2. Everyone is greedy! Whole lot of borrowing and lending of fake money!
  3. Prices sky rocket!
  4. People buy stuff that they can’t afford!
  5. Someone defaults!!!
  6. More people default!!! (exclamation points anyone?)
  7. Banks scramble to get some of their money back and try to hedge other losses through spiked interest rates!
  8. Everyone and their mother defaults!
  9. Banks lose their collective asses because everybody owes somebody something somewhere and nobody has any cash.
  10. All those properties that were bought for way more than they were worth? All worthless. Banks fall faster as the very properties that they lent out all that cash to buy and were used as collateral on all those loans are now worth far less than the loans.
  11. The economy crashes. Big production companies, like automotive companies, lose massive sales. They die one by one.
  12. The USA government, and many governments around the world, start to “bail out” big banks and businesses by purchasing toxic assets from banks and lending them money THAT ALSO DOESN’T EXIST. (understand that the Federal Reserve actually created 1.5 trillion dollars to do this – created – with no backing of any kind – yea.)
  13. The stock market continues its downward journey.
  14. World wide recession – borderline Depression (some argue that it was)
  15. Today? Rinse repeat my friends.

What have we learned? What has changed? Not much. People are still greedy – just nobody has money and nobody can borrow anything. Those failing banks? Stronger than ever – granted they also don’t really lend out money much any more. The governments around the world? Mostly broke. The USA government – broke. Stock markets around the world? Tumultuous at best. Who is full of crap then? ALL OF US. Congrats – guilty as charged. Except me of course – I bought a house I can afford(barely) with a locked interest rate. My doing? Nope – I have a wife who wouldn’t let us be greedy. Thanks sweetie.

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State Bank – A Modest Proposal

Posted on 13 July 2011 by Thraxxus

To: The United States of America Public

From: – Those Snarky Bastages.

Subject: Unites States of America People’s Bank

Date: July 13, 2011

Problem: The United States of America has a severe set of economic problems that is affecting the rest of the world. These problems started to snowball when the Real Estate Market crashed in 2007 leading to several major financial institutions crumbling to dust. The United States of America’s leaders deemed that some of these institutions were to big to fail and thus bailed them out with Billions in tax payer dollars – this was known as Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Furthermore a stimulus package was then voted into effect by Congress to stimulate the economy by releasing tax dollars back into the public sector with the plan to push the economy away from Depression and hopefully out of Recession. According to NPR, that did not completely work. The debate rages on regarding whether or not the USA is still in Recession, with some arguing that this is in fact a Depression (the Second Great Depression).

The problem remains – the real estate market and the banks that caused the issue are both still very volatile. With that being the case the foundation of the American Economy is still in question – and thus both big and small business owners and operators are afraid of what is to come – and thus are holding all of their money tight to their chest – equating to an economic Growth Rate of 2% – where 3% is needed to create jobs.

Proposed Project and Purpose: The United States Government needs to establish a State Bank utilizing both Tax Payer Dollars and money borrowed from the Federal Reserve (Link provided describes the Federal Reserve with some disdain – but is accurate in the description). The purpose of this bank is to establish loans to Home Owners and proposed Home Owners at an interest rate of 2% above the rate the USA borrows from the Federal Reserve for 30 year loans and 1% for 15 year loans. For Example: If the Federal Lending rate is 1%, the home loan rate for single family home loans by the State Bank is 3% for a 30 year loan and 2% for a 15 year loan.

What does this accomplish?

  1. A constant form of revenue for the United States Government and People.
  2. An honest bank with public records that citizens of the USA can get a loan from at an established and constant rate.
  3. An investment opportunity for the USA People that has an actual return on investment that can be mapped – not a proposed return with no clear path.
  4. Competition for Big Banks outside of the Big Banking groups  – this fosters Big Banks to rethink and potentially change their business practices, or die.
  5. Empowers the citizens of the USA to get their hands back on the promised dreams of all citizens of the USA established in the 1950s – a home. Granting someone a home grants them the belief in hope – and thus in the nation. Taking it from them does the opposite – which is evident in the present state of the economy: Fear.

The simple truth here is that the USA State Bank is set to more than double its investment. Thus if 1 Trillion is lent the State Bank makes back, on a simple average, 2 Trillion over 30 years.

1 Trillion in equates to 2,152,794,297,410.87 out. Nice return.

Plan of Activity and Deadlines: Clearly the finer details of this proposal would need to be established publicly but that requirement does not make this proposal impossible – just realistic. Simply put, find the right people that are not bound to any established private bank to setup and manage the State Bank.

Evaluation: This is not, as many pro big bank will say, Socialism. This is the Government doing something responsible with Tax dollars for the people those tax dollars came from – instead of doing something irresponsible with tax dollars for big business. In effect, jump starting the economy by establishing a new form of income for the Government, and thus the people, while at the same time giving the public a way to reestablish themselves is a solid scenario whereas giving away more money in hopes that it might help someone somewhere is a path to a place we are all too familiar with – destruction.

If you believe that this plan may have even a little merit, please let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (3)

It is better to…

Posted on 05 May 2011 by Thraxxus

“It is better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

Crappy statement? Yes. Applicable? Yes. American Business has taken a rather ugly turn over the last few years that has lead us down a path beset by so much red tape, politics and drama that business visionaries are having a difficult time getting anything accomplished. Consider the following scenario:

It is Monday. You are an Executive and you recently discovered a way to make your companies website 100 times more successful with one quick change. For whatever reason this change needs to happen today. This will lead to massive revenue gains. You have checked into it and the changes that you know will be amazing are totally legal. There are two paths to take here (assuming of course you actually do your job – that being making the company money)

  1. Contact your boss. Let her know what you want to do. She requires a write up, Powerpoint presentation, spreadsheets filled with research data, legal approval, and 500 other things to make her feel warm and fuzzy about your suggestion. This process, which you have done in the past, took 6 weeks, 12 meetings, and your idea was tossed into the garbage – reason? Speculative.
  2. You order your web developer to make the changes and tell nobody. Tomorrow the revenue goes up. Your boss calls you and says excitedly into the phone “OMG have you seen our numbers today!?!?” You say “Yeah, I made a change yesterday. I’ll be over in a  minute to tell you all about it.” You do, she gets a bit irate that you changed things without letting her know – you say “Gosh, sorry.” Case closed.

The good follower employee thing to do is number 1. Don’t make any decisions without your boss’ approval. Everyone is safe. Granted, the company also missed out on a huge opportunity – but at least you followed protocol right? Also, at least in my opinion, you failed in your job – make the company money. That is what executives do – find ways to make money. The tragedy here is that most of business in the USA now works this way. You see an opportunity. You run it through proper channels. Either it is watered down to a tiny percent of what it was when being approved or it is totally thrown away. Everyone has to get their say in the matter – and that causes nothing to happen other than a myriad of random conjecture. Congratulations – you were the catalyst to a massive waste of time.

What happens if you do number 2? You might fail – but you did the homework right? If you didn’t then you deserve to fail. What if it works? You did what you are supposed to do – make the company money. Yes, you probably have to apologize to someone for not letting them know – that said people who just made lots of cash are typically better minded to accept an apology. If you did fail then the apology is a bigger deal, and you may even lose your job – true. However, if you do nothing at all, or do number 1 then chances are you have almost no chance at success anyway. Beg for forgiveness after you just became a hero, don’t ask to become one.

This is an observation only. I have worked for many companies and the more I see the more I witness companies stagnating because of fear and red tape. The USA economy is on the rocks, has been for years, and is getting destroyed across the board in almost every industry. Why? For some reason our innovation and guts have gone to almost zero – simply being replaced with red tape, politics, drama, and bullshit. I hate that.

Comments (4)

USA Bad Economy? PIMCO Thinks So.

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Thraxxus

PIMCO, the largest bond company around, thinks the USA economy is so bad, and the debt so large, that they are getting out of the American bond Market. Read this, this, and this.  why?

“The portion of PIMCO’s $236 billion Total Return Fund held in long-term U.S. government debt, including U.S. Treasuries, declined to “minus 3″ percent in March from zero in February and 12 percent in January.”

Pretty good reason. Why else?

“PIMCO also expects the lingering U.S. budget deficit and the Fed’s easy monetary policy will fuel faster inflation and hurt the dollar.”

Not a big deal right? PIMCO? Who the hell are they anyway? not like they know anything right? WRONG.

“Gross manages the Total Return Fund, the world’s largest mutual fund with assets of $240.7 billion as of December 31, 2010.[4] He co-founded the firm in 1971, launching with $12 million of assets. Previously, PIMCO had functioned as a unit of Pacific Life Insurance Co., managing separate accounts for that insurer’s clients. In 2000, PIMCO was acquired by Allianz SE,[5] a large global financial services company based in Germany, but the firm continues to operate as an autonomous subsidiary of Allianz.” – (wikipedia)

You don’t get that big by being stupid. So what are they doing?

“Investors are getting increasingly worried. PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund, has adopted a short position in government-related debt, a sign of the asset manager’s serious concerns about the U.S. fiscal outlook.”

Gulp. Shorting means this. So finally :

“On Monday, the giant investment fund PIMCO, which recently dumped its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, disclosed that it has gone even further and is now selling U.S. debt short — a bet that bond prices have further to fall.”

What does this mean? the Largest Bond Company in the world doesn’t believe in the USA economy, at all. Ironically they are headquartered in California, but really that doesn’t mean much in a global market.

Dum dee dumdum duuuuuuumb.

Comments (6)

Epsilon is watching…

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Thraxxus

Conspiracy Theories, or as ScanJack likes to call them “Suspicion Theories”, are brought up on here rather frequently. We bring them up to spark discussions and debates which typically lead to one group calling the other group a bunch of crazies. I typically enj0y the entire exchange as the colorful use of vocabulary makes for great bed time reading. What really cracks me up is when a Suspicion Theory is mentioned, the nay sayers descend upon said mentioner like angry harpies, and then later some mainstream media picks the story up and nobody bothers to mention that or dismisses the news source entirely when their original argument against said Theory was based on no mainstream media mentioning it to begin with. Hilarity.

Well I have a Suspicion Theory I will share with you now that starts in a MSM and can be totally looked up all over the place. To take things further, I work in an industry that works with companies like the one we will be discussing: Epsilon. Taking a quick glance at Epsilon’s website and one thinks that these guys are merely a marketing agency for hire – true – but their methods are a bit more..mmm.. sinister? How? Bob Sullivan (the MSM source) believes that they are PURE EVIL!! Okay thats a bit over the top, but he certainly is not a fan of what they are doing – and neither is Congress. It turns out that Epsilon tracks lots of data on people – LOTS OF DATA ON LOTS OF PEOPLE:

“It says it holds information on 250 million worldwide consumers, and its company credo is to offer a ‘complete 360 degree view’ of customers.”

The problem is that they have had several occurances of losing that data to hackers:

“In fact, the company behind the high-profile leak of data belonging to Best Buy, Target, The College Board, Walgreens and other big-name firms probably has an intimate relationship with you.”

Congress is not thrilled with that:

“Congress is currently considering its first major legislative effort surrounding privacy in more than a decade, as it studies a proposal to create a Do Not Track list for Web surfers and other ideas. None of them, however, would have prevented the Epsilon incident or would give consumers additional rights to deal with firms like Epsilon, Ponemon said.”

Companies like Google are very interested in directive marketing – a process where you have complete control over a consumers marketing views by basically following them around digitally. Epsilon is a company that helps to make that viable. Consider this: you do a search for cars. You look around a bit, then give up. You go look at a news site, maybe, and there you find ads for cars. You leave that site and go look at, there you find ads for cars. What is going on? The ad network is following you – this is not craziness – it is rapidly becoming reality and marketing companies think that its great.

Why? Reportedly its a win/win. The consumer gets shown ads that actually apply to them and the marketers get to show their ads to only people that they matter to. Good yeah? The devil is in the details. For this little system to work you must track someone completely, aka, Big Brother them. You know what they eat, where they shop, their interests, everything. You become a profiler -and that is where the rub is.

Conspiracy Theory that. (BTW the Image I used has Bush in it. This article isn’t about him, but I loved the image)

Comments (7)

Banks Finding a Way

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Thraxxus

Recent times have been hard on banks – they have had to start following the rules, at least to some degree. Yes, yes, many still find a way to avoid doing anything to the letter of the law – but still at least we are trying to reign in their evil ways. The amusing thing here is that banks are starting to act like they are being victimized by the law, and they are doing it for the most pathetic reasons possible: their NET every year may be lower!

If you know anything about the numbers banks have put up in recent times, especially the ones that benefited from TARP, then you are aware of how big banks have announced record revenues – thus the victim aspect of their argument being so ridiculous. It turns out that banks are fighting back!

This article states the how – they are increasing the cost to access the money you are lending them. You didn’t know that you were lending them money? That is because they have brilliant marketing material – you have been lead to believe that they are doing you a favor when it is you who is doing them one – that being borrowing your money so that they may lend it to someone else and turn a profit of which you get none of. I digress.

Back to the charging you to access your money. Banks are members of data sharing networks that allow you to access your money at a bank that you don’t even belong to – cool idea right? Most of us have been dumb, or desperate, enough in the past to take advantage of this cool service without realizing or dismissing the fact that we are being charged to do so. The charges used to go something like this:

1) I want $20 from my bank, but my bank is nowhere around so I go to bank X.

2) Bank X charges me $1.50 – $3.00 to get that money.

3) My own bank charges me $1.50 – $3.00 to get that money.

Thus $20 may have cost me as much as $26. The new way ups that to $30+, meaning you could be charged as much as 50% of your money to get your money.

Who is being victimized again?

Comments (2)

The Price of Oil

Posted on 07 March 2011 by Thraxxus

If you own a car, or do anything that is related to the price of oil (realize that practically everything is) then the recent spike in those oil prices has an effect on you. You may already know that the price of oil fluctuates quite a bit but you may not know why or what effect that really has on things like the Oil and Gas Companies.

Let us start with the definition of a Commodity – which is what Oil is:

“A commodity is a good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.[1] A commodity has full or partial fungibility; that is, the market treats it as equivalent or nearly so no matter who produces it. Examples are petroleum andcopper.[2] The price of copper is universal, and fluctuates daily based on global supply and demand. Stereo systems, on the other hand, have many aspects of product differentiation, such as the brand, the user interface, the perceived quality etc. And, the more valuable a stereo is perceived to be, the more it will cost.” – wikipedia on Commodity.

The next paragraph of that same writeup really hits the nail on the head regarding the price or what really drives the price of a commodity:

“In contrast, one of the characteristics of a commodity good is that its price is determined as a function of its market as a whole. Well-established physical commodities have actively traded spot and derivative markets. Generally, these are basic resources and agricultural products such as iron orecrude oilcoalsaltsugarcoffee beanssoybeansaluminiumcopperricewheatgoldsilverpalladium, and platinum.”

What needs to be understood is that commodities change their prices based on perception of value only – there is lots of dirt in the world thus its lack of value. It has been said that Diamonds are expensive only because their are so few of them – if the market was suddenly filled with a limitless supply of diamonds then the chance that buyers felt that they were valuable would go down dramatically – and thus the price would go down as well.

Let us apply this concept to the price of Crude Oil. In the Middle East, a region of the Earth that is responsible for a huge percentage of Oil Production, there is quite a bit of political upheaval lately. This hasn’t had an effect on actual oil production, but it has had a dramatic effect on perception. Speculators are under the impression that the Middle East political landscape could have a dire effect on oil production and thus the supply of oil could be effect which in turn would cause the front side of the Supply/Demand equation to be hammered. Has it been yet? Nope. But it COULD happen. Thus the $106/Barrel price stated today.

So how is it then that oil companies end up making so much money? They have the commodity, in fact they are the global market’s source of oil and right now their supply hasn’t dropped but the prices that they are being offered for their commodity has sky rocketed. So they have the exact same amount of supply at twice the price that they used to sell it for with no increase in the cost to produce it. Simply put let us pretend that Oil Cost them $35/Barrel to produce. They were selling it for $65/barrel and thus netting $30/barrel. With the speculator price hike to $106 they are now netting $71/Barrel – having not had to do anything whatsoever.

Are the Oil companies pure evil? That is up for debate. However to blame them for the price of oil borders on conspiracy theory. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a smoking gun pointing to them hiking the prices – but as I have not I have to blame the one thing that is to blame – Paranoia.

Comments (7)

I to the N to the D to the I to the A

Posted on 01 March 2011 by Caravaggio

I submit onto you a very popular email that is circulating the Indian Sub-Continent currently. The Indian people and their culture have much to be proud of… as this list illustrates. In reflecting upon different cultures, I always try to find something to emulate or, at the very least, use as a lesson with my children. The email seemed worthy of a post – especially since the primary focus in on Indians living in the USA.



Who is the co-founder of Sun Microsystems? Vinod Khosla

Who is the creator of Pentium chip (needs no introduction as 90% of the today’s computers run on it)? Vinod Dahm

Who is the third richest man on the world?
A. According to the latest report on Fortune Magazine, it is AZIM PREMJI, who is the CEO of Wipro Industries. The Sultan of Brunei is at 6th position now.

Who is the founder and creator of Hotmail (Hotmail is world’s No.1 web based email program)? Sabeer Bhatia

Who is the president of AT & T-Bell Labs (AT & T-Bell Labs is the creator of program languages such as C, C++, Unix to name a few)? Arun Netravalli

Who is the GM of Hewlett Packard? Rajiv Gupta

Who is the new MTD (Microsoft Testing Director) of Windows 2000, responsible to iron out all initial problems? Sanjay Tejwrika

Who are the Chief Executives of CitiBank, Mckensey & Stanchart? Victor Menezes, Rajat Gupta, and Rana Talwar.

We Indians are the wealthiest among all ethnic groups in America, even faring better than the whites and the natives. There are 3.22 millions of Indians in USA (1.5% of population). YET,
38% of doctors in USA are Indians.
12% scientists in USA are Indians.
36% of NASA scientists are Indians.
34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.
28% of IBM employees are Indians.
17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.
13% of XEROX employees are Indians.

You may know some of the following facts. These facts were recently published in a German magazine, which deals with WORLD HISTORY FACTS ABOUT INDIA.

01. India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.

02. India invented the Number system. Aryabhatta invented ‘zero.’

03. The world’s first University was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.

04. According to the Forbes magazine, Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.

05. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.

06. Although western media portray modern images of India as poverty striken and underdeveloped through political corruption, India was once the richest empire on earth.

07. The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 5000 years ago. The very word “Navigation” is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.

08. The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is now known as the Pythagorean Theorem. British scholars have last year (1999) officially published that Budhayan’s works dates to the 6th Century, which is long before the European mathematicians.

09. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th Century; the largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 1053.

10. According to the Gemmological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds to the world.

11. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century-old suspicion amongst academics that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

12. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.

13. Chess was invented in India.

14. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient India.

15. When many cultures in the world were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilisation).

16. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.

Quotes about India.

We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
Albert Einstein.

India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grand mother of tradition.
Mark Twain.

If there is one place on the face of earth where all dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
French scholar Romain Rolland.

India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border. Hu Shih.
(Former Chinese ambassador to USA)



Comments (6)

What Exactly is Media Responsible For?

Posted on 22 February 2011 by Thraxxus

It is no secret that I listen to NPR religiously on my drive in to the office. I have mentioned several times in the past that as American News Mass Media goes they do appear to be the most neutral when it comes to reporting. In actuality NPR gets called on their mistakes and news stories on a daily basis by their listeners and readers but then they are not afraid to read those disagreements to the same public that made them. I respect that. However it is a sign that NPR is a flawed news organization, just like all the others, but to a lesser extent.

Ironically this morning NPR had a broad story about the conflict going on in Libya right now where some of the citizens of that country have risen up, much akin to those of Egypt not but two weeks ago, to voice that they no longer wanted to be under the rule of Gadhafi(I have found as many as ten different ways to spell this dude’s name). NPR’s coverage of the story was done in small blips and interviews with people on the ground there. On February 21, 2011 it was reported on many Mass Media News Stations that the Libyan Air Force had started to bomb their own people in several Eastern Cities. On NPR there was a lady who lives in the region that had been reportedly bombed and she stated that no bombs had been dropped at all. There were no explosions. No buildings had been destroyed. No air strikes of any kind.

Who is misinformed? Where did they get their intel?

This leads us to the question, which has been raised before on Blinkinblogs, “What responsibility does Mass Media really have to tell the truth?” Realize that the lady that had been interviewed by NPR could have easily been lying or wrong or both. However the pattern here for telling a fib to sell a paper is more on the Mass Media Mogul than than the lowly peon living in the streets. So if the stories that were spread by the Mass Media Stations in the USA and around the world, were done so without supporting evidence what happens to them? Do they get fined? Are they somehow held accountable? Sadly no.

To quote ScanJack “Mass Media is a business and nothing more.” Stories sell. Stories with sex, violence or death in them sell even better. So they got the story wrong? So they maybe even made some of it up? Who cares right?

A Mass Media station reported that Bob Hope died a few years back (I may have already mentioned this on BB – I am old and infirm and thus cannot remember). That MM corp was called by Bob Hope’s Media Counsel who explained that Bob Hope was alive. The MM in question responded with “how do you know that he is alive?”

The answer was simple “Because I am having breakfast with him right now. He told me to tell you that the next time that you report that he is dead that perhaps you should check to see if it is true before hand.”

Comments (8)

My Inability to Communicate

Posted on 23 January 2011 by Thraxxus

It has become obvious to me that my ability to communicate degrades with each passing moment. I used to think that I communicated well – people seemed to understand what I was trying to say – regardless of the chosen delivery mechanism. As the world has evolved vastly in the amount of communication platforms being readily available to most people in the industrialized parts of the world one would think that I would get better at communicating. Tragically this is not the case.

It appears that even the simplest of things to convey are now totally lost in translation – and there isn’t any translation. I say something and my target audience hears, reads, or comprehends something entirely different. I can only conclude that the issue is mine – apparently I am not with the times. When someone asks me a question I try to answer that question as succinctly as possible. Yes/no question? I try to answer it with one of those two options. If someone asks me if I am hungry I try to answer that question instead of opening a debate about where they may be going has some effect on my hunger – it doesn’t. Either you are hungry or you are not regardless of proposed destination.

In business I can’t seem to come across clearly at all. When pleading with people instead I come across as argumentative or offensive. When being truly interested in what someone has to say or some input they may give people automatically assume I hate them and want them to shut up. When asked my opinion on any business subject I try to give a simple answer backed up with some basic data – if the person requires a deeper response I leave that request in their hands – this never works.

If someone wants to tell me their idea I try to shut myself down entirely so that I can listen to what they have to say. People appear to take this action as me being in pain because they are about to talk instead of the intention of making them my focus. My new plan is to simply shut up. I hope to not talk unless I really have to. If someone else is speaking I will pay close attention to them and then send a follow up communication stating back to them what I think they were saying to me. Elaboration has become dangerous. Opinions seem cheap and nobody wants them – especially mine.

Good night.

Comments (8)

Business Advice

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Thraxxus

In my travels throughout the business world I have encountered many people far more successful than me. In those travels some of those people have been nice enough to pass on some of their knowledge that they have gained through various means. I am still not what I consider to be a successful person, however I am not doing too shabby either as there are many in much more dire situations than me. That said, I figured that I would list some of their pointers here, you do what you want with them, along with a quick commentary to each point.

  1. Would you rather be right or rich? This question was posed to me by a very successful guy who works predominantly in the Automotive industry. His question was posed after he realized that my business partners and I were very good at being right about all things TECHNICAL, too right in some instances, but due to that nature we came across like arrogant prats when talking to people who wanted to invest in our company. So if you are trying to get money or advice from anyone at least act like they are bringing something other than money to the table when you talk to them.
  2. Would you rather own .5% of a billion dollars or 100% of nothing. This comes from the same guy as number one and he is referring to investors again. Investors want something for their money, that at the least being a percentage of your company. In some instances they may want a huge chunk – in those instances you have to ask yourself if you really believe in your idea and if you need their money – if the answer is yes then having a smaller percentage of something is better than a huge percentage of nothing.
  3. Do you really need investment capital? Traditional business often needed investment capital to get started as you needed things like office furniture, supplies, product and employees (this is a vast simplification). Modern business really doesn’t need much to get going and frankly investors know this, and they know it to such a degree that is is becoming increasingly difficult for them to grasp why you are even asking them for money to begin with. To make matters worse, in some instances, they don’t want to give money to start ups, preferring to hand out cash to someone who has proven their business model first. So if you don’t REALLY need the money then just bootstrap the business – once you have done that go get money to expand what you have already accomplished.
  4. Have a business model not a business plan. Many people spend countless hours writing a business plan. Having a plan is a good thing, having a business plan that you expect to follow to a point of rigidity is stupid, totally stupid. A survey was conducted recently which asked several fortune 500 CEOs “What causes most startups and companies to fail the most?” The most common answer? “A business plan.” Now that said creating a business model, which is a way that you can make money (example: I buy a pen for $1 and sell it for $2) is quick and simple, and potentially much more fluid than a 200 page document illustrating how you plan to pay for office equipment.
  5. Have a strong two minute pitch. You have heard of the elevator pitch right? Well its real, alive, and well. Recently a business partner, and friend, of mine met with one of the top Investment Capital guys in the country. The person he was with, who was presenting this long winded business plan accompanied with a 42 page Power Point presentation, spoke for about 1.5 hours. When she finished the Investment Guy told her that everything she had just said was worthless and totally boring. “Excite me. Hot or not?” Thats it folks. Make the person you are talking to excited about your prospect. Lots of charts, graphs, and numbers don’t do that. Some simple ones with a good quick story do.
  6. Get it out there. If you are making a product, take software for example, get it out there. Some how find a way to release it – even if its not as done as you want it to be. The most successful software companies on the planet often release crap – granted they try to fix it as fast as possible – but nevertheless they release something that is not entirely complete. Why? SOMEONE WILL USE IT – and you need that. Get a community of users, any size, because if they like anything you have they will tell you how to fix it and will spread the word.
  7. Be prepared to give something away. Don’t have any customers? Get some by giving them your product for free. Gordon Ramsey is a world famous Chef who helps people fix their dying restaurant businesses. One of his key tactics is to host a free dinner for prominent people of the community in which the restaurant resides to try to get a buzz going. DO THIS. You have a game you want people to play? Give away some licences to the game. You want people to eat your cheese? Give them some. Get someone using your product.
  8. Fill your team with people smarter than you – and listen to them. Try to avoid hiring people dumber than you for important positions. A great leader fills her team with experts who are smarter and more experienced than her in their respective roles, and then she listens to their advice. She may not follow their advice, but she listens, intently, and then makes an educated decision.
  9. Do it on the cheap. Trying to go from zero to large is just bad practice. Do everything you can for as cheap as you can for as long as you can. Pour your cash into your product, not your office space. You already have a computer that works, why buy another one? Working out of your basement? Good. Stay there as long as you can. Virtual business spaces are all the rage – learn how to do it and then do it.
  10. You are part of a world of business, use that. Traditional business dictates that your employees are right in front of you – now you can do business with people you have never met, may never meet face to face, and who may be in another country. I have done this and it works great if planned out well. ALL fortune 500 companies work with people outside of them – period. They know that their are talented people elsewhere who can do great things that don’t need to be micromanaged. Trust the professional you hire. If she fails, replace her. Don’t work with people you need to micromanage. Find someone to do the task or role you need no matter where they are. Get the proper documentation and contracts in order and move forward – thats it.

If you have some pointers to add we would love to hear about them.

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Money As Debt

Posted on 10 December 2010 by scanjack

So you think you know money?

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Posted on 23 November 2010 by Thraxxus

Thanksgiving is this week folks and you know what that means right?!?!?

Thanksgiving day people will stuff themselves full of Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry something, various appetizers and of course deserts aplenty – spending time with their family, watching football on television, heck some might even jump into leaves. All the things that Thanksgiving brings to the table in a family oriented way! They do all these things like the calm before the storm. They devour thousands of calories, they consume vast quantities of resources all in a way to give thanks for the resources they devoured during the begining part of the year. Late that day some say good bye to their families, having packed up warm clothing, blankets, and in some instances camping equipment to prepare for a moment where the calm steps aside for the coming chaos. Black Friday is the day after.

Last year people DIED on Black Friday. Two years ago a Walmart employee was trampled to death by a rampaging crowd trying to save some money on things they didn’t need to begin with. Black Friday, named for retailers who prior to that day were in the red and turned to the black side of the financial spreadsheet, is the day of doom in America. It might as well be the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse – mindless creatures scurrying about the street just looking for a reason to devour anything they encounter.

Black Friday is such a big deal that the stock market pays close attention to it and stocks respond based on what occurs. The government looks at the numbers as they are a direct reflection (supposedly) on the state of the economy. In turn much of the planet looks at the numbers as many economies, until China completely takes over anyway, depend on the American consumer market for their livelihood. In effect we have built this cataclysmic day up to a crescendo and expectations are running hot – so ladies and gentlemen make sure you get out there and trample someone for that new Barbie doll – I am positive your daughter will hate you if you can’t get it to her for Christmas – or as the people in the know call it “Xmas”.

Tis the season to be stupid.. tralalala..

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Inflation – It’s bad right?

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Thraxxus

Recently the Fed has been talking about how they are worried that there is next to no inflation going on in the USA. Again – they are worried about that. When I was growing up I remember adults around me talking about how inflation is out of control, how things are getting worse due to inflation etc. I always wondered why they thought that and now the Fed is talking about how they are concerned that there isn’t any inflation right now. Isn’t that odd?

I hopped on line and did a quick search on the definition of inflation. Wiki came back first, as they usually do, and they say this:

“In economicsinflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.[1] When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy.[2][3] A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index (normally the Consumer Price Index) over time.

So according to whomever wrote that in wikipedia inflation means that the purchasing power of the money in your hand just went down when inflation went up. That doesn’t sound like a good thing. Wiki then goes on to say this:

“Today, most mainstream economists favor a low steady rate of inflation.[9] Low (as opposed to zero or negative) inflation may reduce the severity of economic recessions by enabling the labor market to adjust more quickly in a downturn, and reduce the risk that a liquidity trap prevents monetary policy from stabilizing the economy.[10] The task of keeping the rate of inflation low and stable is usually given to monetary authorities. Generally, these monetary authorities are the central banks that control the size of the money supply through the setting of interest rates, through open market operations, and through the setting of banking reserve requirements.”

Ah hah! Wait… what? State Farm, a major insurance provider, had this to say:

Inflation– The overall general upward price movement of goods and services in an economy, usually as measured by the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index. Over time, as the cost of goods and services increase, the value of a dollar falls because a person won’t be able to purchase as much with that dollar as he or she previously could.” Again, prices go up, value of the dollar goes down.

To be frank this is what everybody I found talking about the subject says about it. Prices go up for the same goods and services and thus the buying power of the cash in hand goes down. This article is a good summation of what is about to happen. The Fed is printing money so that they can buy bonds. PRINTING MONEY. Actually they are just adding money that doesn’t already exist to the accounts of banks by adding 1s and 0s. More money means devaluation of what already exists. This artificially creates inflation  – but again by the previous findings inflation hurts the consumer so really what is the goal here?

Supposedly the plan is to buy these bonds which will give banks more cash which they might use to give out loans to businesses and consumers. The weird part here, that not many people in Congress or The Fed seem to recall, is that banks have cash – record amounts of the stuff. In fact small businesses are starting to model how they hold on to money just like banks. So if everyone is already holding on to all their cash how is giving these guys even more cash to hold on to going to get them to loan some out?

Something smells rotten in Denmark.

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You Do Not Count

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Thraxxus

“You don’t count.” I say this often. Normally I get a raised eyebrow, some people even get offended, and in both of those responses I see that they do not understand what I am saying. I am not being offensive and I am not putting them down. “You don’t count.” is actually a compliment is sheep’s clothing. When I say that to someone I am really telling them that in the context of what we are discussing their perspective, meaning who they are, is not a factor. The best way to illustrate this is through examples and interpretative dance:

  1. My father recently moved from California to Kansas. Prior to leaving he made a request to the owner of the business where is P.O. Box is located to forward his mail. My father even paid the man. He has yet to receive his mail. He is livid that someone would do that to him. “If I said I was going to do something I’d do it damn it!” I replied thus “You don’t count. He doesn’t care about you or your mail. Your own perspective and what you would do if you were he is irrelevant.”
  2. Often we here at Blinkinblogs come up with a business or product idea and then dismiss it with a “I’d never buy that!” Again, “You don’t count.” applies. You may not buy it but the 3.1 million people who purchased a pet rock probably would.
  3. Recently a politician became famous for his political party, and slogan, “The Rent is Too Damn High Party.” Basically no matter what question you ask him he says “The Rent is Too Damn High.” The irony here is that he is correct in his assessment that in fact Rent is Too Damn High – nobody can dispute that – however he has yet to offer a single way to change that. Again, “You don’t count.” Anyone can whine about a problem, its those that are willing to solve the problem that are useful.
  4. My niece, who had a prominent modelling career in front of her, chopped her hair off, colored it with random colors, uses that fake tanner crap that turns people orange, and now has 22 tattoos. Her modelling gigs have gone to zero and she has no idea why. “You don’t count.” Models needs to be clean, smooth, and not marred at all – once you undo all those things you are no longer a model – you are just a wannabe.
  5. My boss will look at a website design and say that he hates it and can’t imagine how they make any money with it. “You don’t count.” You may hate something, anything, and may never use it – but guess what – someone will.

So if someone tells you that you don’t count they may not actually be being mean to you – in fact they may be complimenting you that you – or they maybe saying that in this situation you just don’t apply.

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The Fed Considers a Change

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Thraxxus

Apparently the Federal Reserve is considering changing a long standing policy they have of paying interest to Banks that store money with them. My understanding is Banks are required by law to store a percentage of their money with the FEderal Reserve, but until yesterday I had no idea that the Fed actually paid interest on that money. On NPR they were discussing how the FEd is considering changing that policy to no longer pay interest on that money and they may go so far as to charge a fee for storage. They may be doing this because there is a major concern that a double dip recession is underway. I find this to be hysterical – just grasping at straws now.

The other piece that NPR covered was what the Fed actually did to help with the economy two years ago – they created 1.25 trillion dollars our of thin air. Apparently to buy the home backed securities they literally created money – and the best part to that is they have no idea if that is a good or a bad thing. Pure awesome.

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The Tragedy of the Political Machine

Posted on 12 August 2010 by Thraxxus

Since the Great Recession began the people of the Earth have been told in some fashion or another by some politician or another that things are going to get better. In fact there have been many decisions made in a fiscal fashion based on the concept that they will get better or that the very action itself will make things better. Example? Every single bailout package created by every government who thought they would be a good idea. There is a fundamental problem with the line of thinking that you can buy your way out of a financial situation – if you don’t have the cash to do so then all you have managed to accomplish is to go further in debt.

Consider it a different way. Bob loses his job (tax income) and owes lots of money on credit cards (national debt) so he figures the best way to get a new job is to put even more charges on his credit card (increasing his debt). Bob doesn’t get a job (tax income still down) but now owes more money (bigger national debt) so what does he do? He puts even more on his credit card! Do you see where this is going? This is financial suicide at its finest.

The other major issue going on is the USA, and the world in many instances, is looking to the Federal Reserve for magic bullets to solve the crisis. There is even more flawed logic here.  The value of the dollar is based on an interest rate the Fed sets, really a series of interest rates but we won’t go into that here. There is one interest rate that is VERY important and that is the rate that the Fed lends cash money to the USA government. Think that through for a minute – the USA mint prints money, gives it to the Fed who then lends it to the very government that just printed it. Yes this is what happens  – no conspiracy theory – look it up. Anyway that interest rate dictates the turn of much of the world. Another very important interest rate is the one the Fed gives to big banks – which is the rate that Big Banks pay on money that they borrow from the Fed.

The “please save us” theory here is the Fed lowers these interest rates to stem a slide into Recession and Depression by freeing up more money for loans, which banks and thus businesses can get,  hopefully resulting in the economy booming.  The catch of course is that the Fed can make the interest rates just so low – and they are already at the bottom – literally like 1%. So if your grand plan to save the Earth is to lower interest rates, and you are already at the bottom – then you are out of options. Newsweek covers this scenario today here.

The part that people don’t like to think about is two fold:

  1. If the interest rate stays low for too long you could get inflation and oddly you may also get deflation – both are scary.
  2. If the interest rate is raised you may end up fostering recession – you know the thing we are already in.

So what now? Now people come to the realization that things aren’t getting better any time soon. There are lots of guys on the radio lately that have been saying this, have really been saying this for years, who were constantly dismissed by politicians that somehow knew better. Conspiracy theorist and fear mongers were a few of the brands thrown on them. Irony once again raises her ugly head – these guys were right all along – and has there been a conspiracy? Not yet. Why? Because its all been out in the open since day one – Ignorance and Arrogance.

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Hayward – Buh Bye.

Posted on 27 July 2010 by Thraxxus

BP’s Tony Hayward is stepping down – about damn time. The “embattled” CEO is stepping down after showing the world that he may be the most ego-maniacal CEO of all time. This power house of brilliance lead a company who is responsible for arguably the worst man-caused nature based disaster in the history of the Earth and his response to all that was something about how he wants it all over so he can have his life back – you know jet setting around the world on his yacht and what not.

This douche bag was so disconnected from reality that instead of dealing with the situation in the Gulf of Mexico he decided that it was best to hand that situation off to the COO of BP so that he could go on yacht tour. What gets me the most is how much he acts slighted by the oil spill as if it is the rest of the world that did it to him. I would be totally disgraced if I was this guy’s son.

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