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  • Toyota Steps On The Gas - Will Platinum Accelerate? [View article]
    "Fueling the electric car depends on plugging it into an electrical power source, while acceptance of fuel cell technology will certainly spur increasing numbers of hydrogen fueling stations with more options for drivers of these vehicles."

    Somehow this was thought of as a positive for H2 fuel cells? It certainly seems like re-arranging the facts to fit your thesis! The electric power grid has been built out for over 100 years. It's ubiquitous. A nationwide network of hydrogen filling stations will take decades to build out. Best of luck to the early adopters who will create this magical demand for folks to make hydrogen

    Let's not even talk about how odd it is to make hydrogen from a thermodynamics standpoint. Steam reforming uses natural gas and lots of energy...why not just fuel our cars with CNG at that point? Nat gas distribution is already a thing, and the efficiency gain of a fuel cell can't compare to the losses of steam reforming and building out a new distribution network for H2. You could also use electrolysis, but huge inputs of electricity are needed (coal, gas, nuke, etc...). So again, why not just use the electric grid? Surely the efficiency gain and small range gain of fuel cells don't outweigh all of the other headaches that come with H2.

    As my college professor used to say..."hydrogen will always be the fuel of the future."
    May 28, 2015. 01:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tekmira And The Sad State Of Ebola Stocks [View article]
    Starting to seem like your "fact" and "truth" is wrong. #2 appears to be the most likely outcome.
    Oct 22, 2014. 03:58 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Look Inside Pandora's New Kinder, Gentler Strategy [View article]
    SA needs a way to down rank trollish comments.
    Sep 24, 2014. 08:18 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora inks licensing deal with BMG [View news story]
    Not sure why IPO'ing is important. VC can buy and sell public shares just like they bid on private equity offerings. In either case, actual dollars are being used to support actual valuations.

    Beats and Songza hadn't IPO'd either, FWIW.
    Sep 17, 2014. 09:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora inks licensing deal with BMG [View news story]
    You're cherry picking two that fit your narrative. I'd even argue that those aren't even comps. Beats has a very profitable hardware division, and Songza is an hour's worth of earnings for GOOG.

    Do your math on Minecraft, Oculus, Whatsapp, Snapchat, AirBnB, Uber, Square, etc...

    I think you'd wind up saying that all of the money being thrown at those names produce rediculous valuations, as well. Just because you don't believe that the valuations should be in the 10-11 figure range, doesn't change the fact that folks with big money are throwing it around.
    Sep 16, 2014. 02:06 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora inks licensing deal with BMG [View news story]
    I fully agree with your assessment of the business model, but completely disagree with your buyout thesis. You may be letting your passion cloud your judgement.

    1) $5b ain't what it used to be. MSFT just bought a multiplayer video game for $2.5b. FB bought a messaging app for $19b and a VR headset company for $2b. Airbnb just fetched a $10b valuation. If recent history teaches us something, it's that companies that don't make actual goods can fetch eye-popping valuations. When you can't discount a future revenue stream based on recent history, the sky is the limit! It only takes one buyer.

    2) Just because Ballmer got burned by "McAndrews the corporate house flipper", doesn't say anything about Nadella.

    3) Don't underestimate the premium brand image of Pandora. They'd make a nice trophy head on the wall of one of the aforementioned dumb tech companies. From time to time, a dumb CEO needs something to show his/her dumb shareholders to keep them from looking behind the curtain. The purchase of Rdio might not even garner a single question (i.e. distraction) on a quarterly call.

    4) Nobody talks about Clear Channel as a potential buyer. I actually think they're one of the smarter picks. They can fire all of P's sales people and do the ad placement by in-house staff. It gives them the vast majority of streaming listeners, and while that may not be profitable, it widens their moat around terrestrial.
    Sep 16, 2014. 01:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora inks licensing deal with BMG [View news story]
    Here's how I read this...

    P is caught in a vice. On one end is high priced royalties and litigation, and on the other is the need to sustain user growth without bombarding them with more ads.

    The new management is going to continue to try and increase the sales force and work on ad rates. Unfortunately, mattress and used car dealers are not going to pay the premiums they need (especially not enough to offset the added sales force expense). But management needs to continue to do buzzwordy things like "add scale" and "local reach" to make it more attractive to one of the big dumb tech companies with cash (YHOO, MSFT, or FB). If they wind up selling to a Clear Channel type, then this will only add some severence to the acquisition costs.

    The CFO tipped his hand a few weeks back by saying that the music licensing deals currently in place are non-transferrable. I'd expect to see a few more of these direct deals put in place before a sale is made. The dumb tech companies will need them in place to sell the dumb acquisition to their dumb shareholders. They're dumb, but not morons, after all.

    Management appears to know that this is a sinking ship. They inherited a cool product with a lousy business model, and are furiously trying to polish this hollowed out turd and market it as a shiny yacht. They need to act quickly -- before they have to report out a few more quarters of stagnating growth and no profits. Hopefully they can get it into port before it gets flushed by Wall St.
    Sep 16, 2014. 08:28 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora, Yelp soar following CFO presentations [View news story]
    Apparently the CFO has learned not to comment on how improbable M&A is. Those statements about the 80% royalty bump for an acquirer were as boneheaded as it gets.

    Now we're back to the Pandora that I knew! Hellaciously volatile as we fly blind between earnings calls; instead moving on momentum which is totally disconnected from underlying business model fundamentals.
    Aug 13, 2014. 02:41 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora gets a lift from vague M&A rumors [View news story]
    I'm usually not a conspiracy theorist about market manupulation -- but wow -- this should at least raise a few eyebrows at the SEC. That rumor and chart scream "PUMP AND DUMP".
    Aug 12, 2014. 04:46 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora Grasping At Straws [View article]
    What a moron. Why would a CFO willfully kick out one of the only remaining legs from analysts investment theses?
    Aug 5, 2014. 05:05 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora Grasping At Straws [View article]
    "So if Google (or Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, etc) wanted to buy P they would do direct deals with the labels."

    This 80% kicker is interesting. I had never heard of it and am surprised the stock isn't plummeting on that news.

    If an acquirer has to go out and negotiate royalties directly with all of the labels to avoid taking on massive losses, why on earth would MSFT, FB, GOOG or AMZN value it at $5b+??? Those companies all have or could easily build out the software and ad sales platform. You're literally just buying users and thumbs at that point -- and at an amazing premium.
    Aug 5, 2014. 03:10 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pandora Shows Us Analysts Can All Be Wrong [View article]
    I can't believe you missed out on the -12% action over the last two days! With such conviction, I figured that this earnings report would finally be the time where you had a position in P. Such a shame.
    Jul 28, 2014. 02:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Pandora Beats Earnings But Market Is Clearly Nearing Saturation [View article]
    My take on the "big data" optimization relates back to a quote I saw awhile back...

    "Big data is like teenage sex. Everyone talks about it, nobody knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it..."

    The real value for Pandora isn't in giving data to artists. I don't think the labels will give two craps about thumbs. They certainly won't walk away from millions of dollars in royalty negotiations because of it.

    I'm sure P is already attempting to lump people into marketing demographics and voting blocks by the types of music they listen to. The problem for P is that you can also do this with an address or even zip code data, so the incremental value still isn't all that great.

    The difference between a music genre played by a terrestrial station and "the music genome" is probably insignificant to an advertiser. I'm just not convinced that you're going to get much more accurate targeting with thumbs. I'm sure P is selling it though.

    On the OpEx comparison, you're right. I should've pointed to the ~40% jump in royalties paid and compared it to the ~40% jump in revenues. ;p
    Jul 27, 2014. 03:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Pandora Beats Earnings But Market Is Clearly Nearing Saturation [View article]
    "Much of the increase?" Let's be generous and assume those 91 employees are $100k/yr with benefits (in reality they're probably heavily commission-based, which further undercuts your argument, but let's go conservative). That's $9 million/yr.

    I think it's more fair to say "the vast majority of the increase is due to more music royalties paid." Its the business model. Enough of the hand waiving with the used car and mattress blowout ads.
    Jul 26, 2014. 09:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Pandora Beats Earnings But Market Is Clearly Nearing Saturation [View article]
    Also, I can't wait for next quarters earnings report. Didn't they lift the listening cap in August? Gonna be a tough compare.
    Jul 25, 2014. 07:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment