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  • Throwing Money At Mobile Does Nothing For Microsoft And Intel Shareholders [View article]
    Microsoft needs a completely different culture. That's very hard for a new CEO to accomplish.
    They're always fighting the last war; and running scared from boogiemen. First it was open source/Linux; OMG in 1998 you would have thought open source was going to kill them. Then it was Google & search. Everything was sacrificed as they invested tens of billions in search (any Bing users here?). Now it's Apple, Oh No we're gonna die, have to remake the company to look like Apple.
    Second part is that it's an engineering culture NOT a sales or customer experience culture. They surveyed users to see what features they needed in Word; 90% were asking for features that were already there. On the sales side, they have an incentive plan where salespeople compete against their peers in their immediate work group. If a manager has 6 salespeople, he can award 2 Outperforms, 2 Performs, and 2 Underperforms. That means a guy who blew out his sales quota can still get a crappy bonus if others did better. So everybody spends their time trying to steal credit from their team members and trying to make them look bad. I'm sure an engineer thought up the sales plan and it looked great on paper.
    The other dirty little secret is cloud. If an enterprise customer migrated all of their business to Microsoft cloud, the revenue to Microsoft would drop by about 2/3rds. Instead of paying for 2000 seats in an enterprise agreement, customer only pays for the 124 employees who actually use the functionality. As the 3-year licensing deals roll off the books, this will be a huge hit to enterprise revenues.
    Add to that the internally-facing culture: My God the internal meetings and scorecards and online tools and conference calls each employee must suffer through. One of the new sales managers said his goal was to get salespeople working on external things 50% of the time (not fiddling with internal spreadsheets, online tools, & useless training). That speaks for itself.
    Sep 18, 2013. 05:02 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bitcoin ETF Is A Way To Corner The Bitcoin Market And Create A Bubble [View article]
    Wow, a blanket dismissal of Austrian economics, with a blanket endorsement of Keynesianism. Bold move my friend. Perhaps we should note that Keynes's ideas were considered dangerous and extreme when first introduced, just because they are now "received wisdom" does not mean they are correct. And let's review the history books for a moment: the number of times that a fiat money system has succeeded, allowing unlimited growth in the money supply, is equal to a very simple number: zero. Of course it would be nice to think that all we need to be wealthier is to print lots and lots of money. The Japanese lead the charge: they will DOUBLE the amount of yen in existence in the next 14 months. But does anyone stop to ask "will they be TWICE as rich, or HALF as rich?" The Austrians simply point out that central banks inevitably succumb to political pressure to print...and eventually the currency loses its worth. The US dollar has lost 35% of its purchasing power since 2000. If you view investing as a long game to preserve purchasing power then you might have a different view of what the Austrians attempt to point out.
    Bitcoin is a fascinating experiment. The reason for its recent plunge is that it is held in large quantities by very few people, and it is still quite clunky to use. But if you had ever used it you would notice that it has characteristics that make it a very useful money. It's the first money that does not require authenticating & trusting a counterparty, for example.
    As James Grant points out, we think very schizophrenically about deflation. Of course we are glad when everything from computers to wheat go down in price: that's called PROGRESS. That we have too much debt, and the people who sell it (bankers) and the people who consume it (governments are the biggest customers) need to inflate away prior debt, and that inflation boosts asset prices, hides the underlying issue. Without sound money policy we may as well all be earning Monopoly money. Crack open a history book sometime and see how well that has worked for civilizations in the past, from the Romans to today. The Print-Bubble-Pop cycle repeats itself until eventually people no longer trust the money.
    Jul 5, 2013. 06:40 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sandstorm Gold: Problems Begin At $1,000 Gold [View article]
    I'll just jump in with my semi-informed take on things:

    After WWII every nation except the US was flat, destroyed. They had all sold their gold to pay for the war. They needed a global reset but Germany, France, Russia etc were given some time (via low gold prices) to rebuild their piles. That way all the poker players could show up at the table with a representative amount of chips at Bretton Woods.
    Today the money powers all know we are headed to another global reset, the developed world has much too much debt to ever be repaid. But they also know the Chinese hold mostly US Treasuries, not lots of gold. An asset is something you can sell and receive value, China's Treasuries don't really belong in that category (they would crater the price if they sold). So they are smashing the dollar price of gold in the futures markets to give China a chance to get a representative amount before the next poker game/reset. The Chinese are obliging, buying sometimes 100 tons per month of physical gold on a one-way trip from West to East. Russia also knows what the game is and they are buying hand over fist too.
    Once the players all have a reasonable amount of chips they will reset. Overnite devaluation in the dollar, euro, yen, and pound versus gold. People will go to bed Friday night with gold at $xxxx and will wake up Monday morning with gold at $xxxx times 2...times 3...times 4?
    The question few seem to ask right now is why a sovereign country (Germany) was not able to get their property (gold on deposit at the Fed) back immediately. The Fed told them they had to wait until 2020. Um why exactly is that? Could it be that the Fed (and their owner banks) do not have any of the German gold? What other possible reason is there? Venezuela asked for their back and they got it, which helped push the price to $1900. That the Bundesbank in Germany did not even question this answer, and were not allowed to see "their" gold when they recently visited the Fed vaults in NYC tells me that there is something else going on. When someone drops thousands of sell futures on the market on a Sunday night (when it will move the price as much as possible) you have to wonder what the motivation is. Or perhaps you don't: they NEED the gold price to stay low here, for a while at least.
    Jun 30, 2013. 07:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Beware Of This Insidious New Currency Scam [View article]
    What if I told you there was a currency created by a private corporation, whose owners are secret, who create 100% digital money, not backed by any physical asset (gold etc), in unlimited quantities, according to a secret formula?
    (hint: it's the US Dollar)
    May 20, 2013. 11:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Lesson From Japan [View article]
    What a genius Abe is. Mankind has sought the secret to creating untold wealth throughout the ages, many have deceived themselves and thought it meant working hard, making a profit, and saving the money. All this time however the real answer has been right in front of our noses: just print lots and lots of money! So elegant, and so simple!
    The Japanese will DOUBLE the amount of yen in the next 16 months. So everyone in Japan will be TWICE AS RICH!
    (young student in the back of the room raises his hand and asks "um sir but doesn't that mean they will be HALF as rich?")
    ...sound of crickets chirping...
    May 20, 2013. 11:04 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Experts Agree - The Fed's In Big Trouble [View article]
    Got your facts wrong. More than 3 million ounces was turned in by citizens and more than 1 million ounces was confiscated from bank safe deposit boxes. Then the US dollar was devalued overnight by 42%.
    May 6, 2013. 04:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Week In FX Asia - Yen Bears Are Beginning To See The Light [View article]
    I keep hearing about "Abe's bold efforts to reinvigorate the economy" when in fact all he's doing is the oldest conjuring trick in the books: trying to create wealth by simply printing up more currency. If this worked, ever, in the history of the world, going back to the very beginnings of money, then don't you think it would have been used again & again?
    Instead we have to read blather about "Abe's innovative move". They will double the amount of yen in 14 months. As I said on another blog "oh the people must be so excited, they'll all be TWICE as rich!! maybe it actually means they'll be HALF as rich?
    This is a country that has committed national suicide before in the very recent past. Banzai!
    May 5, 2013. 05:10 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Experts Agree - The Fed's In Big Trouble [View article]
    Oh that's just great, the global economy is controlled by the most leveraged hedge fund in the world (the Fed), a private company with secret owners, with genius PhD's who predict the future course of the most complicated system, then issue money from thin air, not backed by anything, created with a few simple mouse clicks. Uh-huh that's gonna end well...
    May 5, 2013. 05:04 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Equity Optimism From A Virtuous Cycle Of Credit Worthiness [View article]
    Corporations have just morphed to become the "alternative bond market", investors want yield and bonds can't deliver, so corps fill the role, no need to hire or spend capex or R&D, just borrow free money to cover your dividend and then buy back like crazy and voila your results look really good. 50 million on food stamps and $16T in debt, but corps are all good
    Apr 18, 2013. 04:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Central Banks Are An Unlikely Cause Of The Crash In Gold [View article]
    45% of the amount mined in the world in a year was sold by one trader, most likely JPM since they desperately needed to deliver the phyz and their shelves were bare
    Apr 18, 2013. 04:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Facebook Must Expand Or Fail [View article]
    Excellent article, original thinking, informative, thought-provoking.
    Apr 17, 2013. 02:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft's 'Secret' Projects That Will Completely Rock Your World [View article]
    I worked there for ten years in top executive positions. Ballmer just bullies the board, I mean look at them, a bunch of yes-men and women from places like Big Pharma and Harvey Mudd College, pleeease. Ballmer walks in the board room and bullies them to his point of view. The decline began when BillG left, he was the strategic counterpart to Ballmer's bullheadedness, together they were great but Gates checked out a long time ago. Sell.
    Apr 15, 2013. 05:45 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bitcoin: I Hate To Say I Told You So... But I Told You So [View article]
    Buy. It's just thinly traded. Back to $180 and rising
    Apr 11, 2013. 02:58 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Stocks Cheap? It Simply Doesn't Matter [View article]
    uh huh so the government is planning to step up and "guarantee" the notional 4 QUADRILLION in derivative liabilities? (Is that like the guy in the movie Fargo saying "I GUARANTEE it!") mmmm-K They will grab depositor money so fast you won't even see it. Just like last time when they confiscated gold.
    A fractional reserve banking system and an unbacked fiat currency system are both built on TRUST. And there ISN'T ANY.
    Apr 10, 2013. 02:47 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Are Stocks Cheap? It Simply Doesn't Matter [View article]
    Ha ha LOL just Bank of America's derivative portfolio is $70 Trillion with a T. And those liabilities are now SENIOR TO depositors as of the 2005 Bankruptcy Act. Don't forget that depositors are "general unsecured creditors" of a bank, the money belongs to the bank and you just get a debit noted on their balance sheet. The FDIC has $86 billion assets covering $9 Trillion in deposits. Ha ha LOL no, everything's fine...
    Apr 8, 2013. 05:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment