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Jeff Taylor  

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  • MBAs, Gimmicks and Apple's Culture [View article]
    You've made the refutation of your argument within this article:

    You are correct in saying that it takes a visionary to revolutionize an industry. But you are also correct in saying that Hastings needs a business person to run Netflix. And you are correct in commending Zuckerberg for hiring Sandberg. And you are correct in saying that Gretzky needs the support of his team.

    These are two very different roles. The visionary dreams the product. The MBA ensures the business is run in the best possible way.

    To belittle MBA's for not being visionaries is absurd. A company needs both to successful. (Should we also criticize MBA's for not being office assistants?)

    It is common to knock the need for education - how long has the myth about Einstein failing every subject been around? - but for all the successful people you list that dropped out of college there are thousands of people that failed.

    On a separate note, I need to quote one of your closing lines: "Apple does make effective use of its capital. They just do things - everything - differently."

    You make no arguments why sitting on a pile of money is effective in this article or your other one - basically you say 'shame on you for being greedy and a rigid business school student.' Doing things differently is only a good if the method is, in fact, better. I'm not convinced that having $100B in is better, just different.
    Feb 27, 2012. 07:10 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is Gold Dropping? [View article]
    The idea that gold is is deserving of special accord because it has been around for longer is ludicrous. Bloodletting as a key part of medicine (as compared to gold as a key part of the economy) has been around for thousands of years - MUCH longer than modern medicine. But we don't give it special treatment simply for being old.

    Fiat currencies are simply a social contract. Gold as money was another social contract. Realistically, gold could be a considered a fiat currency by the simple definition that it was, at some point in history, proclaimed to be worth money. So whether this social contract is based on a tree or on a mineral, is there a difference? The value is imbued by common agreement, not an innate source.
    Jan 2, 2012. 10:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Zipcar's Future - Part 2 [View article]
    Thanks, I'm glad you found the article to be informative. You're questions are really good; Zipcar buys, sells, and leases vehicles differently than other companies in the rental industry so I'll try to answer your questions as best I can:

    1) ZIP has a mixture of owned and leased vehicles, but the basic process is the same for each. The purchase or lease fees are recorded in fleet operations. Over the course of the lifetime of the owned vehicle, usually three years, depreciation is recorded as the difference between the purchase price and the expected resale price. Similarly, the lease agreements include an expected resale price. So when the vehicles are sold, anything in excess of the expectation is recorded in operating income, anything short of the expectation is recorded in fleet operations - and, for the leased vehicles, paid to the lessor. Unlike Hertz, Zipcar has no agreements with manufactures, so they vehicles are all sold through auctions and direct sales to dealers.

    2) I don't know how it has changed over time, but I can say that since they do not have a fixed repurchase plan they are much more susceptible to changes in the economy. When the resale price is higher than expected, ZIP will reap the benefits whereas other companies such as Hertz will not. However, if the resale price is less, ZIP will have to pay the difference, whereas Hertz will not. I would presume that this allows ZIP to purchase and lease vehicles for less, but I do not know how much less or if it is enough to properly compensate for the increased risk.

    I hope these answers have clarified the issues for you; if not, I'm happy to discuss it more.
    Feb 11, 2012. 04:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Should You Sell Apple The Day Before Earnings? History Says Yes [View article]
    Gambling is placing money when you hope on your side.
    Investing is placing money when you have evidence on your side.

    And the difference in taxes between short and long term holdings is worthwhile if you can make 20% more profit through short term trades than long term trades.
    Jan 24, 2012. 11:02 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Is Gold Dropping? [View article]
    When can you recall that nominal GDP per capita was more in the past than it is in the present? Barring recessions, as the dollar is devalued, salaries are increased. Your $1 may buy less, but you have more of them now.
    Jan 2, 2012. 10:27 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Best Buy - At Least A Good Buy [View article]
    I'm strongly in favor of the buybacks. I've consistently felt that buybacks are the best way to increase shareholder value, so the fact that they are doing so when the shares are underpriced? I'm very happy. While it does create some artificial masking of certain results, it doesn't take much to see behind the mask and carry out sound analysis.
    Dec 28, 2011. 03:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple May Have Won The PC War, By Losing The Windows Battle [View article]
    An interesting read. While I agree that this is largely a matter of semantics, I think that it is still a few years too early to lump the iPad and other tablets in with PC's. As you said, laptops were considered a separate category until they were 'viable desktop replacements'. While tablets may very well become a 'viable desktop [or laptop] replacement', they have not yet reached that point. Until they do, there ought to be a distinction between PC's and tablets.
    Nov 22, 2011. 08:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Blizzard's Layoffs Create An Opportunity To Buy [View article]
    Sure, Vivendi owns just shy of a 60% stake in ATVI, but I'm not terribly concerned for two reasons.

    First, Vivendi is facing some hard times, but as the situation stands they will still be making a profit. So with the lack of impetus for an ATVI fire sale as well as ATVI being one of their strongest assets, I think they would hesitate before relinquishing too many shares.

    Second, ATVI has a very active share buyback program. Assuming no drastic moves by Vivendi, I would expect the whole thing to, at worst, roughly balance out.

    This is not to say that there won't be dips due to Vivendi sell offs, but these dips will be short term, effectively being nothing more than a great buying opportunity.
    Mar 15, 2012. 11:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blizzard's Layoffs Create An Opportunity To Buy [View article]
    Either way, ATVI itself is still in strong shape and has wrongly dropped in price. Vivendi is anticipating struggles in it's telecom business which is wholly separate from Activision Blizzard.
    Mar 5, 2012. 11:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blizzard's Layoffs Create An Opportunity To Buy [View article]
    Well said.
    Mar 5, 2012. 11:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 4 IPOs From 2011 That Should Lose Momentum [View article]
    Some interesting ideas, though I disagree with your analysis of Zipcar (ZIP), especially concerning its ability to compete with established rental companies. Zipcar has a significant first-entry advantage that cannot be overcome as easily as you claim. Its inroads on college campuses make ZIP many peoples' first introduction to car sharing, which has led to it becoming the company that has come to define the car sharing concept. This, plus its large and growing international network of vehicles, will not be easily overcome.

    I wrote an article on this subject about a month ago ( that you may find informative.
    Mar 5, 2012. 02:22 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Zipcar's Future: After The Earnings [View article]
    A quick off the cuff calculation:

    Revenue for FY2011 was ~$240MM
    Profit margin in established regions is ~20%
    Annual profit if this margin were achieved company wide is ~$48MM
    Thus the annual EPS would be ~$1.15
    Which would make it priced at just under 12 times earnings

    In reality, revenue's average growth for the past three years has been 30% and it is will take a few years to achieve a large company-wide profit margin but, without going into too much detail, I think it is a fairly priced (perhaps under-priced) growth stock.
    Mar 3, 2012. 01:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Zipcar's Future: After The Earnings [View article]
    Expansion will be much more based on the culture of cities rather than their size. While there are some cities, such as Los Angeles, that are very much centered on car ownership this is not the case in most cities. And, given how easy the Zipcar business model is to scale to all sizes, it is very easy to tailor their local vehicle network to specific needs of the city.

    Basically, I think its expansion outside of its established cities will be fairly successful and non-eventful.
    Feb 29, 2012. 10:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Game On: 2012 Shaping Up To Be A Strong Year For Activision Blizzard [View article]
    That's a very good point, Zoid.

    And not only will the in-game auction system monetize player transactions as you describe but it serves to create a more inclusive online community which game companies are so actively pursuing nowadays (CoD: Elite, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network). These communities not only boost the sales performance of the game in question but also other similar titles.
    Feb 28, 2012. 01:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Game On: 2012 Shaping Up To Be A Strong Year For Activision Blizzard [View article]
    Thanks, I'm glad you found the article useful.

    Per usual, precise dates have not been published for the release dates, but based on prior experience we can expect Skylanders: Giants to be released in October and Call of Duty 9 in November.

    The nearest catalyst, however, is the release of Diablo III sometime in Q2.

    And as for when Blizzard's second release will be? No announcements have been made but in the past they have aimed for late November/early December.
    Feb 28, 2012. 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment