Month: September 2018

Yamaha’s MotoGP woes in stats

MotoGP.png

Many in the MotoGP world are questioning the horrible performance of Yamaha in 2018. As it stands Yamaha holds no victories this year with a handful of races left in the season. This would equal its worst performance in 15 years.

Yamaha’s successes really started to trend much higher after hiring Honda legend Valentino Rossi (who took the 2001, 2002 & 2003 crowns for Honda). He subsequently took 2004 & 2005 crowns for Yamaha. After narrowly missing the 2006 title to Honda’s Nicky Hayden and losing to Aussie Casey Stoner in 2007 on a Ducati (the first title for the Italian maker) Rossi won for Yamaha in 2008 & 2009.

Yamaha won the championship again in 2010, 2012 & 2015 under Jorge Lorenzo. Honda won the 2011 with Stoner and the 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017 titles under Marc Marquez who looks odds on to win 2018. At tonight’s Aragon GP in Spain, Yamaha’s four riders start 12th, 14th, 17th & 18th on the grid.

In August this year after the poor performance at the Austrian GP, Yamaha made the unprecedented motion of apologizing to its riders for having such a rubbish bike. The problem has continued for 18 months now. No doubt the developers in the team back in Iwata, Japan are still busy working out how to take responsibility instead of working to fix it.

The reality is that the other motorcycle teams have got much better. The Italians didn’t qualify for the recent Football World Cup and Germany was bailed out in the pool games. So Yamaha needs to stop resting on the laurels of having two world class riders with 10 championships between them to come up with a competitive product.

N.B. Suzuki withdrew from MotoGP in 2012 & 2013. Ducati entered MotoGP in 2003.

Will financial planners bring out a Naomi Osaka ETF?

96D9068F-CBF1-4C2E-AF8A-06AF5664AA4E

Japanese investors can get star-struck with investments. In 2015, popular pop-idol band AKB-48 saw the stocks of companies it was sponsored by surge 136% relative to the market. Aggregate sales of those companies surged 46% and 30% over the following two years. Such is the ‘hayari‘ (boom) culture in Japan. Corporates know this.

Since the US Open win by tennis star Naomi Osaka, sponsors are lining up to sign her. Prior to the win, Nissin Foods, WOWOW & Yonex were already sponsors. Nissan has just signed her. Since the win, the Topix has risen a tad over 6% while Nissan, Nissan & WOWOW have risen 7.5% in aggregate. Yonex has jumped 12.2% Early days to be sure, but the likelihood is that if she is sponsored by some smaller less liquid stock names these stocks could well fly.

Forget fancy models and esoteric investment strategies. Find whatever Osaka will be sponsored by in Japan and outperform through popularity over underlying earnings performance.

Any financial firm that launched a Naomi Osaka basket would likely see massive inflows and be able to charge higher fees on the back of it. Will the marketing departments wake up?

Feinstein’s timing truly defending the rights of a sexual assault victim?

FFC44C27-733C-40EB-B3C9-D45A89939278.jpeg

There is absolutely nothing right about sexual harassment of any kind. CM wrote extensively here on the subject last year. CM also warned of the dangers of #MeToo turning into baseless witch hunts that could permanently stain the character of otherwise innocent people. CM contends that false claims should be equally punishable under the law to prevent false claims getting air.

Whether Supreme Court Justice-in waiting Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of harassment 36 years ago is nothing more than an allegation at this stage. All claims should be heard under the legal framework. However studying the timeline of events, there is a touch of convenience in Senator Diane Feinstein’s use of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation letter.

Kavanaugh’s announcement as SC nominee was made mid July, 2018. Ford documented her supposed harassment encounter in a letter to Feinstein two weeks later, dated July 30th. Yet it would appear Feinstein sat on this nugget til September in order to maximize its utility to prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation if all other political stunts failed. With any luck she can drag an FBI investigation into the mid-terms (i.e. the real goal).

If Feinstein truly wanted to defend the rights of a supposed sexual harassment victim, surely she should have acted immediately? No doubt she would need a bit of time to discuss with lawyers to understand if this constituted substantial evidence but sexual harassment is a serious claim and crime. Surely the united forces within the Democratic Party could summon the resources to expedite the allegation and use its validity to block.

As the party of supposed social values, what better way to derail the candidate than to release a real claim ASAP after legal checks and balances, including meeting the openly Trump hating Democratic professor were completed. Provided the evidence was incontrovertible it would sell itself. Could it be that the evidence is so sketchy that Feinstein knew it only served as a stalling tactic, hence delaying it by 6 weeks? This says more about the moral compass of the Democrats than Ford.

It seems that Ford does not want to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee until the FBI investigation. Yet the FBI will investigate what? The crime scene is 36 years old. Her recollection is vague at best. Interviewing people who were likely underage kids who were drunk at a party

Alas, as all of the stunts from Democrats, including Cory Booker admitting he may lose his position for leaking certain documents which turned out to support Kavanaugh not being racist, they pull out claims of sexual misconduct, in the hope it drags the confirmation beyond the Novemeber elections whereby a potential blue wave will potentially allow them to block Trump’s choice. Tactically a shrewd move, but utterly disgusting to true victims if proved untrue.

There is no reason to fault the Democrats wish to block a Republican choice for a vacant SCJ seat (which by the way was on the 2016 ballot given the subject was raised in the presidential debates because it was the first time since Eisenhower that an SCJ seat was empty at election time) on the basis of supposed conflicts in convictions and beliefs. No doubt the Republicans would do likewise. Yet citizens were given the chance to vote on a SC judge with their presidential choice. The names were all out there.

Unfortunately, to use a sexual assault allegation based on sketchy information given by the accuser who admits she doesn’t remember much 36 years ago is utterly reprehensible if the claims turn out to be false. There will be no surprise if the Dems get their goal achieved that Ford will quietly withdraw her claims.

Let’s be perfectly clear. If Kavanaugh is guilty of such a serious crime then he is unfit to serve on a SC bench. Should Ford’s claim turn out to be completely baseless then the Dems will reveal themselves as morally bankrupt to use such a tactic to besmirch someone’s reputation. The timing of the letter is convenient to say the least.

Is this the way forward? Everything that doesn’t stand on its merits or via democratic process will somehow be stopped by claims of sexual impropriety?

In this battle the only thing everyone should be united behind is that “justice” is properly served for the right reasons. Certainly not to dish up political character assassinations for convenience.

True victims tend to bottle trauma for substantial periods, usually decades. Yet rarely would they openly come out on a whim and chuck around claims which don’t help their own healing process.

Emmys – baloney without cajones

7AD63D3F-7551-4935-B601-4F7292101006.jpeg

When the content is so predictable it stands to reason that ratings drop. Neilsen noted the 2018 Emmys awards show pulled in 10.172 million viewers (-4%) and a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49, it’s lowest ever. The 2000 Emmys drew in 21.8mn by comparison. Some may talk to modern day luxuries of streaming which would boost these dreadful numbers but the reality is Hollywood’s obsession with shaming is the more likely culprit. The Oscars are down 40% on five years ago. It’s no surprise.

In recent years, self absorbed celebrities think the formula is hypocritically chastising their audiences. Whether the topic is climate change, #MeToo, white privilege, Republicans, Trump and now Christianity, the event is less about self appraised back slapping but almost entirely about identity based political grandstanding.

Such was the high level of comedy that one of the MCs stated, “The only white people that thank Jesus are Republicans and ex-crackheads.”  Here’s a challenge to Hollywood – would they dare say “The only black people that thank Mohammed are Democrats and ex-crackheads”? After all it’s just comedy, right? Of course they wouldn’t dare. They are the very racists they condemn.

At another event Anne Hathaway made her psychobabble statement about white privilege,  how transgender doesn’t circle around cisgender and other races don’t circle around whites to rapturous applause.

The irony is that behind all of the public self loathing, the same actors and actresses who cheered  happily collect their millions, live behind gates mansions with armed body guards, protest the NRA, turn a blind eye to sexual harassment but protest on the red carpet by wearing three fabric postage stamps held together with dental floss and tell us how out of touch we are. Really?

Their audience figures should tell them they are indeed the out of touch ones.

Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south.

It is interesting that $100m box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004 after which it has been hit and miss since. 9 films in the last 13 Best Pictures have failed to breach $75mn. The 4 that didn’t miss were all about real life stories – Titanic, The King’s Speech, Argo and A Beautiful Mind. Funny that.

Instead of realizing that their interpretation of identity driven art isn’t sinking in with the public, Hollywood is now prepared to blot the history books – such as deleting the flag planting on the moon scene in ‘First Man’ – to destroy the very formula that seems to resonate with audiences.

No, in the fight for equality we must disparage innocent, hard working citizens by questioning their faith and mocking their intelligence. Hollywood can keep up the performances at these awards ceremonies. Doubling, tripling or quadrupling down on a formula that continues to fail only shows where the lack of insight lies. Too much time in rehab?

By all means many may be willing to listen to celebrities if they practiced what they preached. Say, where are all those celebrities that threatened to leave the country if Trump became president? That’s right 99% are still here. Let’s not forget Leo DiCaprio flying his eyebrow stylist half way around the world on a private jet whilst telling us climate change is the most pressing issue of our day. Actions not words. In today’s society virtue signaling on social media is deemed enough.

 

Tennis code violations – who is worse?

33AEE29A-5740-4EC5-A3BE-1B12B835C9A5.jpeg

Some argue that the 2018 US Open was biased against female players. In the singles men played 3,176 games in the recent tournament. Or 1.538x more than the 2,065 games played by the women. Yet the stats show men suffered 86 code violations vs 22 for the women or 3.91x. So on balance men 2.54x more likely to suffer a code violation than women on a per game basis. Is it the blokes are just more ill-tempered? If we use the 1.538x ratio of more games played, the boys get penalized (over the last 20 years of grand slam violations);

4.2x more for racket abuse

1.6x more for audible obscenity

2.8x more for unsportsmanlike conduct

2.5x more for verbal abuse

1.2x more for visible obscenity

1.5x more for time wasting

The girls get penalized more than boys in the follwing ways.

60% more for coaching

10% more for ball abuse

Although trying to compare ‘bias’ in tennis with respect to code violations is kind of irrelevant. Certain players ‘blow up’ more than others. McEnroe got many more warnings than Bjorn Borg.

Just for the record, at the US Open Djokovic had to play 136 games for his $3.8mn vs Osaka’s 86. So for each game Osaka earned $44,186 vs Djokovic’s $27,941. Maybe this is why he made his comments about men deserving to be paid more? If we look at the runner ups, del Potro won $17,961 per game vs Serena Williams’ $26,428. So Serena’s. 2nd place earned her almost as much as Djokovic win.

Naturally a better judge is not games played but viewership. The Serena Williams/Naomi Osaka final drew 3.1mn viewers on ESPN, more than the 2.07mn that watch Djokovic/del Potro the next day. If women get 1.5x the audience of the men in the final could one argue the men need to play 1.5x longer to earn the same? Arguably Serena was fighting to match Margaret Court’s record which was part of the boost.

To be honest women’s tennis can be more entertaining to watch in so far as frequent sustained rallies. Men’s tennis can often be a blast fest of aces and blistering returns of serve.

It is likely that Osaka will attract higher than average audiences going forward. Perhaps she is entitled to claim higher prize money than the men based on the extra attention she brings to the sport?

If we look at golf, Tiger Woods used to be paid $300,000 just for attending a tournament regardless of how poorly he finished. If Naomi Osaka helps click the turnstiles surely she deserves a cut of the gate?

More love for Naomi Osaka

96D9068F-CBF1-4C2E-AF8A-06AF5664AA4E.jpeg

20yo Naomi Osaka deserves every success she gets. She is without doubt the hottest marketing prospect globally. There is no media spin or polish with her on any level. She is authentic in the extreme. No prima donna antics or bragging. If anything her press conferences since returning have defined her as ‘what you see is what you get.’ Humility and grace. Pray we get more millennials like her. She shows one doesn’t have to beat their chest in ridiculous ways to get attention.

No wonder Adidas want to throw $11.9m per year to sponsor her. As a Nissan ambassador, despite her media appearance in front of the Leaf electric vehicle, when asked Naomi just let her inner petrol head scream her favorite car – the GT-R. Lucky for her she will get one in white.

The world of tennis couldn’t have a better ambassador for the game. Let’s hope that the media don’t pry too deeply into her private life (good luck with that) and her sports manager doesn’t put her on a multi-year roadshow from hell to please sponsors which would put any star to the test.

Google’s gaffe only proves the massive opportunity for others

5ADFA0A8-7474-43F0-A432-C467B335FE45.jpeg

The publishing of Google’s internal post-election debrief video shouldn’t surprise anyone in the slightest. All the outer appeals to the group’s impartiality were smashed by this leaked video. In a sense Google was the victim of the half-life nature of the very digital media feeds it seeks to control. Even worse it was all the fromage-grande senior management talking about what really goes on. Sunlight is truly the best disinfectant.

Putting the need to respect the “confidential’ nature of the meeting  (it seems employees aren’t all following those protocols) to one side, this video totally backs up the CM piece which spoke of the opportunity to plug the gaping hole in social media.

We shouldn’t forget what this episode makes blatantly clear – how toxic the work environment must be for staff who don’t share the political views of the politburo.

Mark Zuckerberg openly admitted that Silicon Valley is dominated by the far left. Stands to reason only conservatives get blocked, suspended of banned. Poor old #WalkAway activist Brendan Straka was the latest victim. The articulate openly gay hairdresser was suspended for 30 days for highlighting he’d appear on the recently banned InfoWars. Not posting the video.  Just that he’d appear. Talk about the mixed emotions of the Facebook censor who probably required counseling for having to choose partisan politics over LGBT rights?

None of us need a technical overlord determining what they see as fit for us to consume. If it is Icelandic pig racing in winter or dwarf tossing into a mud pool, should demand for it exist and it is legal then who is Google to censor it outside of respecting government mandated maturity ratings??

If Google had half a brain it would publish the “raw” data of trends. Not its selective manipulated subjective view of what it wants to see but what might be driving populism in Europe or the 2016 Trump election victory? If Google had properly recognized the trends it’d have seen for itself the raw power of understanding motivations rather than cast aspersions and skew feeds to support its own narratives. Truth be told it isn’t working. Every person banned (and the hurdle gets lower every time) highlights the agenda based nature of these social media houses. Search impartiality and no social media house should pop up toward the top of the list.

The beauty of social media is that we are free to choose. Switching costs are effectively free. Yet we use Google because it’s the best search engine and there is little in the way of competing product.

Which stands to reason if a social media proposition with more conservative values which didn’t cut off those who didn’t agree with internal biases was built, the servers would probably crash due to the stampede to join it.

Growing numbers of people have become fed up with what they can’t say (even when completely appropriate) on social media. Not bleedingly obvious profanity and senseless racism but reasoned argument. People are also fed up with learning their data has been used without permission to profile them with ads. In all fairness if one openly publishes his/her/xir data on a social platform then there is an expectation that it’s “at risk”.

Still CM has all “location services” switched off yet a social media service asked to rate a Bavarian beer hall CM visited  the very next day. When a help yourself drinks counter in a reception area of a corporate office provided whiskey the ensuing discussion with a fellow delegate brought up his preferred brand – Johnny Walker Blue. The next day were banner ads on that brand on top of unrelated searches. Presumably the mic is being accessed. Or is it a purely freakish coincidence?!?

The market for free speech is being eroded before our very eyes. The big organizations controlling much of our social media are constantly being outed for their double standards. More consumers are not blind to it yet all the while no real alternative exists the social media giants hold all of the aces.

Therein lies the opportunity.  The demand is there. The day a comparable service is offered without big brother controlled censorship the door will be beaten down. Even if we wish to call the actions of Google et al into question we can choose not to use them at any time.

Let Google, FB and Twitter  treat us as mugs.  Let them exercise their questionable moral value sets on us. The more they do, the more they draw the ire of a growing number of  users. An alternative will come and their behaviour will backfire big time. Live by the sword, die by the sword. CM won’t have the slightest sympathy.

The attitude driven by these divine franchises can be felled very quickly. Bring on the alternative ASAP. Then Google execs will really start crying. #biasbackfire