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Michael Orwin  

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  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    Bearing in mind that I'm quite ignorant about the technical side, I'd say you are on to something. Presumably it wouldn't need nearly as much software, or massive re-writes by software vendors. I don't suppose it would be easy to get the CEO to hear about it.

    HPQ might have thought, we've got a nail, so this new tool must be a hammer. This might be too lateral, but have you heard of the marshmallow challenge? It's about teams building structures with spaghetti and sticky tape, and after twenty minutes the team with the tallest structure that can support a marshmallow wins. The worst people at it are recent graduates from business school. Four year olds are good at it, because they start by building small structures and seeing what works. Adults spend too long planning, and the plans often fail because they under-estimate the weight of the marshmallow. If I'm making any sense, HPQ might have under-estimated the weight of the marshmallow.
    May 28, 2015. 03:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My Expectations For Ubiquity Networks [View article]
    Could you name a product from Ubiquiti and a competing product that beats it?

    "As for their new products, I cannot find use for them."

    It's not necessarily a problem if Ubiquiti serve a new market that does not include everyone in an existing market.

    "I find the R&D is not producing what we need."

    What do you need?
    May 28, 2015. 01:50 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • My Expectations For Ubiquity Networks [View article]
    I think we are seeing volatility rather than maturity. Selling equipment to emerging markets is about the opposite of selling canned beans in the U.S.

    I don't see the company as being mature and slow-growth until they saturate existing markets and start running out of new markets where the business model can be applied. I can't think of any completely new markets where the business model could be applied, but I expect Pera could surprise me.

    I'd be interested in hearing any explanation of why sales in EMEA were up while sales in North America were down. I'm not sure how much credence to give the west coast labor dispute as an explanation. I realize there isn't much correlation between the regions, and EMEA is a diverse mixture.
    May 28, 2015. 01:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My Expectations For Ubiquity Networks [View article]
    One problem in the latest earnings call might have been the lack of a CFO. My impression was that Pera is more interested in the long term and needs a CFO he can rely on to deal with financial questions, especially the more near term situation.
    May 28, 2015. 01:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    Thanks again CandleFlight. That's a good suggestion, but I won't have the time for a few weeks.

    Just on the off-chance, I googled "memristor graphene", and results included -

    "Nano-devices driven by noise: graphene based metamaterials and memristors." (2014)

    "Graphene oxide is the latest flavor of memristor, and it works on bendable plastic."

    and

    "A ferroelectric memristor ... Ferroelectric tunnel junctions with graphene electrodes." (2012)

    I also found "Six-State Memristor Opens Door to Weird Computing - IEEE ... A new memristor-based device could be used to build brainlike systems and ... Graphene and Ammonia Combine for Novel Ferroelectric Tunnel Junction." (2014)

    Googling "new memristor materials" got "Polymer memristor for information storage and ..."

    I don't know if any of those have much commercial promise, but my inexpert guess is that the diverse lines of research will throw up something that will be practical someday. I suppose HP's software would have a bottom layer that managed the physical aspects and they would not have to junk higher layers for a different kind of memristor (although I don't know much about software layers).
    May 28, 2015. 01:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    I'm wondering if this might be relevant - "Resistive switching in silicon suboxide films" http://bit.ly/1Av67Ca . The link is to an abstract which says something about no need for diffusing metal ions. It's from 2012 and I don't know if it's been followed up with further research, and I don't know what particular problems silicon suboxide films might present.
    May 27, 2015. 11:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Are Mergers And Acquisitions So Popular In A Bull Market? [View article]
    It was the same in the UK. RBS had a rotten CEO and they bought a rotten Belgian bank at the top of the market, and needed a bailout. Lloyds bank had a much better CEO, they rescued Halifax which was worse than expected and Lloyds needed a bailout.

    For every case that hits the headlines, there's likely to be many companies where the unsustainable benefit of acquisitions to the accounts have run out but with less drama, and shareholders are wondering why growth slowed, or just accepting that's what happens when companies get big.
    May 27, 2015. 10:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    Thanks CandleFlight, that's great info. I'd thought, maybe the tech would appeal in China if they have less invested in conventional technology, and it's a viable way to leapfrog. I can see the problems are immense. I probably shouldn't bother you any more, but ... if some day memristors are practical, would they be reprogrammable if they weren't packaged as memory or CPUs? I'm thinking, would makers of FPGAs have to change their business to writing software for arrays of memristors?
    May 27, 2015. 10:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ubiquiti Networks - Charts Up To Q3 2015 [View article]
    One growth area is auto. There's already enough business that a tiny UK telematics company I'm invested in doubled revenue to over $10 million in 2014 and made a profit. The market might not be enough to make much difference to a big company, but you might have to check Garmin's accounts for that. I don't think UBNT's business model fits for selling to big auto companies. There might be some opportunity for retro-fitting to vehicles in emerging markets, but I don't really know.

    I'm also long a UK m2m company called Telit Communications PLC, and they grew revenue 20% to $294.0 million in 2014. That's just to show that m2m has some real business, I don't mean to plug Telit, they aren't cheap and the returns metrics on Morningstar are not good.
    May 27, 2015. 09:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Are Mergers And Acquisitions So Popular In A Bull Market? [View article]
    It's a timely article, given all the M&A.

    I've just googled "serial acquirers", hoping to find suspects. Instead I found some evidence that serial acquirers tend to be successful. For example, "Lessons from Successful Serial Acquirers" http://bit.ly/1Q9sazZ I'm suspicious of the claim, because of -

    1) This article
    2) Because it's on Boston Consulting's website and it might be a case of them "knowing which side of their bread is buttered" (to use an old phrase).
    3) There's a chart with a quadrant of successful serial acquirers, and I think the named ones include a few companies in oil & gas, or with some exposure there, and I wonder how they're doing now.

    It's possible that some serial acquirers learn how to pick and execute well, but there have been cases of it going wrong. Tyco International is one, according to Wikipedia they acquired "over 1,000 other companies between 1991 and 2001.[citation needed]", and maybe no-one did a proper count. http://bit.ly/1qQ1CMB . According to this piece http://nyti.ms/1Q9saQc , Tyco reacted furiously when they were accused of dressing up the performance of acquisitions in a misleading but legal way, and it turned out later the management were looting the company while making indignant statements.
    May 27, 2015. 12:52 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    Mentioning "casino" reminded me of an old article from the July 1996 Harvard Business Review - “Increasing Returns and the New World of Business” by W. Brian Arthur http://bit.ly/1Q9oo9G . The author argues that the tech industry typically has increasing returns, which results in "winner takes all" games. The players in the tech 'casino' have to choose which games to play, without being sure of the odds or the gains.
    May 27, 2015. 12:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Focus Is Only Confusion At Failing HP [View article]
    Thanks, that's very informative. I don't think I can tell you anything about memristors, but if you can spare the time, maybe you could comment on these points - Are memristors theoretically low power, but it's still an engineering problem to be solved? Is getting to low power a major factor in getting high bit cell density?
    May 26, 2015. 11:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ubiquiti Networks - Charts Up To Q3 2015 [View article]
    "How does M2M and IoT fit in UBNT's offering?"

    They have mFi "Control & Automation", with mPort (interface & sensors), mPower (controllable power outlets) and In-wall manageable devices. They're at the bottom of this page http://bit.ly/1PM7cvW . mPort is here http://bit.ly/1PM7cw0 and I'll quote "The mPort™is an mFi®Networked Machine Interface and Monitor. It connects a variety of devices, including the mFi Sensors, to the mFi machine-to-machine network."

    Do you have evidence that they are low margin?

    I was careful to use "if" in "if they can keep up the quality and disruptive pricing".

    The company seems to have gone quiet about m2m. I'm guessing they need more R&D, but I suppose it's possible that they were wrong about the market.

    There are many comments about the market being fragmented. This article ...

    "More Pivotal Role in the M2M Revolution Awaits Network Operators"
    http://bit.ly/1PM7cw2

    ... is a year old but as well as industry fragmentation, it describes the profusion of protocols, and "a lack of industry-wide standards". I'm thinking that might present an opportunity, but that isn't a linear logical inference so I'd appreciate any opinions.
    May 26, 2015. 11:30 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ubiquiti Networks - Charts Up To Q3 2015 [View article]
    I think you've helped me more.
    May 26, 2015. 06:20 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ubiquiti Networks - Charts Up To Q3 2015 [View article]
    Thanks for that, Mbrot. I hope "the right people come along". I also hope they can do more in machine-to-machine (IoT, etc.), because it looks like a big opportunity if they can keep up the quality and disruptive pricing.
    May 26, 2015. 05:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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