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  • NYT delivers harsh expose on Amazon's workplace culture; Bezos responds [View news story]
    I wrote my own thoughts in the notes underneath the excerpt from Mark Suster and Chris DeMuth.
    Aug 23, 2015. 07:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NYT delivers harsh expose on Amazon's workplace culture; Bezos responds [View news story]
    Here's another damning article that appeared from (the wife of) an ex-Amazon employee:
    http://bit.ly/1NHge8x

    And here are the thoughts I wrote -- from an entrepreneur's perspective -- about why many of Amazon's reported work practices are unnecessary and counter-productive:
    http://bit.ly/1MxM7l6
    Aug 20, 2015. 09:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NYT delivers harsh expose on Amazon's workplace culture; Bezos responds [View news story]
    I thought this was interesting -- excerpt from My name is Brittan, and I'm an Amazonian (
    http://bit.ly/1TVnT4X ):

    "My final narrative is about the time I saw Jeff Bezos at a Seattle restaurant. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t (embarrassed about being) slightly star struck. I was sitting at a table adjacent to him, and my sad attempts at subtlety afforded me an opportunity to observe him and his wife eating dinner. Forgetting how creepy the previous sentence reads – they were attentive to each other, they talked and they laughed, and they were discernibly warm and kind to their server. I am not pretending to make judgments about Jeff’s character based on a solitary encounter, but I do want to remind people that there is a real person with real emotions behind this behemoth of an organization. I imagine this NYT article struck a personal chord with that man – a man who eats dinner with his wife without once looking at his phone, and is kind and gracious to people around him. And I have long believed you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat a server."
    Aug 19, 2015. 12:06 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Ways To Beat The Market: Part 5 Revisited [View article]
    What was this a reply to? Would you repost it, using the "reply" link below the relevant comment?
    Aug 6, 2015. 07:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Ways To Beat The Market: Part 5 Revisited [View article]
    Looking at the table: Does anyone know why the Dividend Aristocrats outperformed so massively in 1994?
    Jul 25, 2015. 06:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Ways To Beat The Market: Part 5 Revisited [View article]
    Thanks tmow. Would be very interested to see how Plutos rebalances and re-allocates over time; that's what I'd pay for.
    Jul 14, 2015. 01:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Ways To Beat The Market: Part 5 Revisited [View article]
    Quick question: Do the numbers in the performance table at the end use the ETFs, or the indexes which exclude the expenses charged by the ETFs?
    Jul 14, 2015. 12:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 5 Ways To Beat The Market: Part 5 Revisited [View article]
    This was a superb series of articles. Thank you!

    If you offered an ETF Portfolio with commentary in the Premium Marketplace (http://bit.ly/1Gfvwi5), I would pay for it (as long as the price wasn't crazy).
    Jul 14, 2015. 12:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Uber's Autonomous Cars Will Reshape The Economy By 2025 [View article]
    DRstem, I was with you until the last two sentences. If "the notion that a person should spend $30,000 (or more) on a vehicle that spends most of its life sitting idle will seem like a dumb idea in the future", why do you think you'll still own a car you drive?
    Jun 30, 2015. 02:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Twitter's Biggest Problem Is The Lack Of User Engagement [View article]
    MAUs is not the right measure of user engagement. The right measure is DAUs / MAUs. When you look at that number, it's clear why FB is crushing Twitter. See:
    http://tinyurl.com/qjn...
    Jun 29, 2015. 07:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thoughts On Twitter's Growth Problem, And Why It's Losing To Facebook [View article]
    Tim,

    Ultimately everything must be valued on real earnings or cash flow. There are various ways to do that, eg. discounted cash flow model, project future earnings and apply a P/E ratio etc.

    Most sophisticated investors who own FB or TWTR try to calculate their earnings potential, and then value the stocks accordingly.
    Jun 13, 2015. 02:51 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thoughts On Twitter's Growth Problem, And Why It's Losing To Facebook [View article]
    Excellent question.

    I'm not sure that the issue is that the relationships in Twitter are one-sided, and in FB they're two-sided. Perhaps the key distinction is that you friend someone in Facebook because they're already your friend, and marketing and the volume of their Facebook activity doesn't play a role in that.

    This doesn't mean there's no potential for relationships built entirely online. The key point I wanted to make as that content creators on a crowdsourced platform have to be incentivized to maintain a high signal to noise ratio.

    In SA, we do that with editors. We reject a lot of articles (to the chagrin of many contributors), and we won't publish something we don't think is actionable and convincing. But we know that using editors has limitations in scale, cost and expertise.

    One way to solve this is if the relationship is a paid one. If you're paying for someone's content, investors won't put up with a low signal to noise ratio. So once the relationship is paid, you can remove the editors from the equation.

    Twitter's key challenge is that people are used to a high liquidity stream of content, and accept that it has an exceptionally low signal to noise ratio. That means they don't penalize people who tweet a large amount of junk and a small amount of genuine insight. The solution to that has to be that they find a way to measure and reward quality.

    The key question (for Twiter and SA) is: How to do that?
    Jun 12, 2015. 12:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Thoughts On Twitter's Growth Problem, And Why It's Losing To Facebook [View article]
    john, Piptief, quickcard and others -- thank you for the kind comments.
    Jun 12, 2015. 11:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Thoughts On Twitter's Growth Problem, And Why It's Losing To Facebook [View article]
    I hope readers will forgive me for the format. I originally wrote this as a series of StockTalks, and George, our managing editor, decided it was good enough to publish. He'll now get a pay rise :-)

    I also want to thank Selig Davis, who runs mobile at Seeking Alpha, for compiling the data and generating the chart of Facebook's user engagement. The simple read of that chart is this:

    Facebook users on average now use Facebook for about 18 days per month, up from about 13 in mid-2009. The level is remarkable and the increase is an astonishing accomplishment.

    Unfortunately I don't have data for Twitter's DAU to MAU ratio, but it's clearly dramatically lower. If anyone has that data, please post it in a comment.
    Jun 12, 2015. 10:41 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Uber's Autonomous Cars Reshape The Economy? [View article]
    Shelby,

    Quick thoughts:

    1. I'm skeptical that the auto majors have the capabilities to transition to a world of driverless cars. You argued, for example, that the auto majors will eventually become network operators. However, GM, Ford and Toyota do not have the core software capabilities to compete with Google and Uber. Remember how Nokia failed in the transition to smartphones, and lost its market to Apple and Google? And Nokia, in contrast to GM, F and TM, was a technology company!

    2. One of the key challenges for the auto majors will be the reduction in new car sales, because driverless car technology will lead to an increase in car utilization rates, requiring far fewer cars per capita. Car production exhibits strong economies of scale; that's why there's been so much consolidation in the auto industry during the last 50 years. As a result, a decline in new car sales volumes would strongly impact the auto majors, possibly pushing them into bankruptcy. Your section on The Future of Car Companies didn't address that threat to the auto majors.

    3. You argued that the auto majors will successfully transition the majority of their sales from individuals to network operators. However, we know that fleet sales have far lower profit margins that sales to individuals, because fleet buyers have stronger bargaining power. This implies that the auto majors will face downward margin pressure, even ignoring the separate impact of lower sales volumes.

    Separately, I just published an instablog post in which I listed your article:
    Driverless / Autonomous Cars -- Resources For Investors
    http://seekingalpha.co...
    Jun 8, 2015. 08:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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