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Eric Balkan

Eric Balkan
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  • Cramer's Lightning Round - I'm Not Deviating From Delta (11/4/13) [View article]
    Hey gtempmail, you can't just look at his picks once a year. He began recommending airlines a few months ago.
    Nov 5, 2013. 02:59 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'm Long Netflix [View article]
    I'm surprised by the negative comments about the bandwidth usage. If you're using 30% of Internet bandwidth, and your main competitor, Amazon Prime, is using 2%, that means you're dominating the market. I can't recall any company with that kind of domination not still doing well over at least the next 5 years.
    Jul 25, 2013. 06:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Amazon Loses Money On Both Prime And Its Entire Direct Retail Business [View article]
    I can see you did a lot of work here, but there are a number of assumptions that seem a bit biased.... E.g.,

    "Streaming video content costs are 100% allocated to Prime inside of the Direct Retail Segment."

    Not clear why you would say that, given that most of Amazon's streaming content is not part of Prime. (Or am I misunderstanding what you meant?) Actually, I suspect that many of the streaming titles on Prime are titles that Amazon can't otherwise make money on, in which case it's not costing them much.

    "The analysis also showed that fulfillment cost is almost entirely variable and thus exhibits no economies of scale."

    I would have thought that the more being shipped, the better the deal Amazon can make with its delivery subcontractors. (Because when the car goes out, it reduces delivery cost if there are multiple drops in a neighborhood.) And the more geographic areas in which they can bypass the postal service. No?

    "50% of 3P sellers use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)"

    That estimate seems really high, just unscientifically looking at the product listings. Larger companies don't need to pay Amazon to warehouse their products for them, and many of the smaller vendors don't qualify for FBA.

    I may have missed this in your analysis, but I don't see a number for non-Prime sales by Prime customers who might have looked elsewhere if they weren't subscribers.

    I'm a Prime subscriber and I think it's probably worth it, but it's far from being a great deal for the customer. E.g., the Kindle book lending program is for only 1 title a month. Prime reminds me of those restaurant deals where you get a free meal after 10 visits. Except in this case, you have to pay for the 10 meals up front.

    By way of disclaimer, I'm long Amazon. But if I'm not unbiased, it's probably because I've been hearing about Amazon's imminent demise for about 15 years now.
    Apr 13, 2013. 03:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Facebook And eBay: Buying On Pullback [View article]
    ScaredInvestor, Facebook doesn't need new users, it just needs to get more money out of existing users. They should be able to figure out how to do that.
    Mar 20, 2013. 04:04 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why ARM Will Keep Winning [View article]
    The daily and weekly charts indicate ARMH has topped for the moment, so rather than saying that today's investment in ARMH will be made good, it is less risky to invest in ARM "tomorrow", so to speak. (After the correction.)
    Mar 19, 2013. 11:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google's Chromebook And Why It WIll Keep Selling [View article]
    I generally agree with the opinions expressed here, and I love my $249 Chromebook -- made by Samsung. If you key in Chromebook on Amazon, this is the model that comes up. According to Amazon, it's the #1 bestseller in laptop computers. So, while Google had a great idea, how much money do they make when Samsung sells one of these?
    Mar 6, 2013. 11:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ARM Proven Wrong, Intel Vindicated [View article]
    What I've read elsewhere is that Intel has adopted many of the advantages of RISC chips into their own chips. So that may be why there's no longer much difference in performance between Intel chips and ARM chips. (Assuming that IEEE test is reproducible. Link?)

    It's not a question of anyone being duped. Decades of benchmark tests show RISC chips as being more efficient than CISC chips. Good for Intel if they've caught up, after 30 years.
    Mar 5, 2013. 12:03 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California Sales Tax Receipts Show Sales Tax Collection Impact [View article]
    Paulo, again, you're assuming that people only shop at Amazon because there's no sales tax, rather than because they don't want to drive to a store, or they like the return policy, or the user reviews, or the product descriptions.... (Or shop at multiple websites if buying online.) That assumption may be valid, or not, but it's still an assumption.
    Feb 20, 2013. 03:36 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Netflix Dominate The Living Room? [View article]
    "HBO hosts a list of TV series like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, The Wire and plenty more." Probably anyone who's wanted to watch The Sopranos or The Wire has already seen it in the 5 years since they aired their last episodes.

    This article seems to imply that TV viewing is a winner-take-all proposition. E.g., if HBO is popular, then Showtime will go bust. Obviously not. The average TV viewer spends 34 hrs a week watching TV. No one company is likely to be able to fill more than a small fraction of that.
    Feb 14, 2013. 08:19 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • One Truth About Amazon (That You Probably Didn't Know) [View article]
    Seems to me that people who are regular Amazon users think their business model is working, and people who prefer to shop elsewhere, don't. Opinion has become so polarized that "truth" and "logical conclusions" have nothing to do with it.

    Feb 8, 2013. 01:51 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Overbought, Overpriced Cree Is A Sell With The Market Close To A Significant Pullback [View article]
    This new light source looks like one of those hot ideas on Shark Tank. "But how many have you actually sold?" asks Kevin.
    Feb 6, 2013. 01:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Google: Apple's Successor... Only Bigger [View article]
    Not to be too picky, but the IBM PC history here is completely off-base. In 1981, when IBM announced the PC, there was no dominant player. Everyone wondered if one would emerge from the dozens of companies competing in the market. When IBM came out with the PC, it gave substantial credibility to what many corporate buyers had previously perceived as a toy. Btw, IBM-compatible meant a personal computer that could run exactly the same applications as one made by IBM. Windows would not exist for several years yet.

    Also, the Apple history is wrong as well. Apple got a leg up by making a deep inroad into schools with the Apple II. When it became clear that PC compatibles were dominating the business market, Apple came out with the Mac to appeal to buyers with a more visual bent.

    Now if Dr Leeb wants to say that market leadership doesn't last forever, and can change when new products come along, that shouldn't get much argument. However, applying this to Apple, a company that has kept coming out with new products -- and has more in the pipeline -- that sounds premature and needs way more substantiation.
    Feb 6, 2013. 08:28 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Amazon Expensive? Not To Me [View article]
    There's not a lot of overlap between Amazon and Costco. Costco sells large quantities of a few, selected products, typically the most popular in a category, while Amazon sells the widest variety of products on the planet. If you're looking for something in particular, like hazelnut coffee or a gas-powered generator, it's really easy to check Amazon first, and check the user reviews -- before looking anywhere else online, and certainly easier than driving to a brick-and-mortar store with selection limited by their physical space.

    Disclaimer: Amazon customer since the beginning and currently a stockholder.
    Feb 1, 2013. 08:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China’s coal use grew 9% in 2011, rising to 3.8B tons, meaning the country is burning nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. China relies on coal to fuel nearly 80% of its power plants, vs. ~40% (and falling) in the U.S. And by 2017, India likely will become the world’s second-largest coal consumer, surpassing the U.S. The issue of climate change isn't going away any time soon. [View news story]
    That's wishful thinking.
    Jan 29, 2013. 10:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Netflix On Global Movie Demand [View article]
    One thing that I think few have picked up on is the movement in TV programming from episodic to serial. Rather than try to tell a story in 42 minutes, more TV producers are using an entire season to tell a story. (Or 6 seasons in the case of Lost.) But watching a serial where you have to wait a week for the next installment really doesn't work all that well. Even with "previously on" reminders at the beginning of the show, you forget which character did or said what. (Like trying to read a novel by waiting a week between chapters.)

    But when the episodes are available by streaming, watching the episodes in a block draws you in to a much greater extent. Legacy TV still works well with sports, if you have a DVR to pause it, and news, and a few other things -- but streaming seems like the TV method of the future. And if it is, Netflix has a huge headstart. The content is larger, the website, including viewer reviews and individualized ratings, is more useful, and it's not a side business as it is with its competitors.

    Btw, that's not a Venn diagram in the article, even though it looks like one. (Amazon and Hulu have some content that Netflix doesn't.) It's really a bar chart with circles. :-(

    Disclaimer: I'm a stockholder and subscriber to NFLX, AMZN Prime, and VZ.
    Jan 29, 2013. 01:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment