Investment

Google’s gaffe only proves the massive opportunity for others

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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

 

Is BMW hurting bad enough to offer 10yrs free servicing?

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10 years? Sounds a bit desperate. A bit like the Korean makes a few decades back using monster incentives to lure customers by a value to good to refuse proposition. Have luxury car sales become so hard to get in Australia that the prestige make has to offer 10 years of free servicing and 1yr free insurance?

BMW sales in Australia fell 12.2% year on year in August 2018. Audi crumbled 25.8%. Benz did better at -3.4%. Land Rover fell 32%, Lexus down 11.7%. Porsche crumpled 25.4%.

It is likely the fine print in the 10 years free servicing basic package isn’t transferable between owners so if most buyers hold their BMWs for 5 years the total incentive is much less to roll out. If the fine print allows transfers it only adds to the desperate state of having to hurl freebies to shift metal. Dealers tend to make less on the sale of the car but plenty on gouging customers for service and spares.

Seems the tyres are going flat. Total car sales in Australia were down 1.5% in August. Passenger car sales fell 13.4% while those eco conscious Aussies bought 8.3% more SUVs. Medium and large sedan segments fell 24.1% and 60.3% respectively. Every SUV segment rose except upper large. Toyota finished up 1.7% for the month with 19.8% share.

NYT – try doing some research for a change?

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It is true that many airports are built near sea level. In fact many airports are built around swamps/marshland (less suitable for residential areas) which actually makes aircraft more susceptible to avian events (bird strike) than crashing sea waves. So how convenient it must have been to The NY Times to blame the recent terrible typhoon in Japan on climate change when in reality Kansai International Airport’s well known drainage inadequacies were exposed. The airport opened in 1994 and engineers quickly realized it was sinking through poor design. It needs to pump water out constantly to prevent it from drowning. It has zero to do with rising sea levels but the softer base beneath the waves. Yet The NY Times wrote about the plight of stranded passengers and how it portended their imminent peril. Puhlease.

So why didn’t NY Times journalist Hiroko Tabuchi write about the UN IPCC’s own climbdowns from their alarmism in recent years? Note climate skeptics did not write these claims. No, it was easier just to join two dots together without facts.

The IPCC wrote with respect to heavy rains:

“there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale“

With respect to storms and cyclones:

confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low. There is also low confidence for a clear trend in storminess proxies over the last century due to inconsistencies between studies or lack of long-term data in some parts of the world…Over periods of a century or more, evidence suggests slight decreases in the frequency of tropical cyclones making landfall in the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, once uncertainties in observing methods have been considered. Little evidence exists of any longer-term trend in other ocean basins…”

As for rising sea levels impacting Pacific Islands.

Professor Paul Kench of the University of Auckland and Australian scientists have shown in a study of 600 coral reef islands in the Pacific, 40% are growing in size, 40% are stable and 20% shrinking…

Yet The NY Times went further. Who knew Roger Federer was also a victim of climate change?

US Open performances. 

Well the brilliant minds of The NY Times suggested Federer’s loss was caused by global warming even though it was 0.19 degrees above average. Maybe that is why Serena got hot under the collar? Or was it because 20yo Naomi Osaka’s youth allowed her to weather the heat more effectively?

Air Travel

Yet the true litmus test of humankind’s blind panic is best described by the IATA’s air traffic forecasts which point to a doubling of air traffic by 2030. It is only fair that the general population follow in the footsteps of the 50,000 climate disciples that fly half way around the world every year to COP summits to kneel at the altar of the IPCC to warn us of being destroyed by our recklessness.

Once again, ridiculously researched junk journalism is put forward by a paper that assures us “All the news fit to print.” Joke.

The tale of two interviews – Osaka wins 6-0, 6-0

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Such is the weakness in today’s journalism that Serena Williams’ post match interview played to her being a victim, not a bully in her loss to Naomi Osaka. What were they worried about? If they didn’t treat the multiple grand slam winner nicely they’d lose access in the future?

She played like a brat – smashed rackets, denied using her coach, wailed at the umpire and then suggested “sexism”, “women’s rights” and “women’s equality”! Seriously? Why would Osaka feel the need to apologize for winning had Serena not stirred up the crowd to boo her? Poor old Osaka’s rights didn’t matter to Williams.

Naomi Osaka blew Serena off the court with superior tennis skills. She didn’t whine once. She deserved it. How disgusting for Osaka to be booed. What on earth would possess any fans to do it?

If only Americans could have seen Osaka’s interview on Japanese TV late last night. She was like the girl next door. Not pretentious or gloating. She was so dazed by what she had done that she repeatedly answered in English when questions in Japanese were lobbed at her. It wasn’t deliberate or calculating in the slightest. If anything she gave one word answers for the most part. Yet she oozed warmth and class.

Osaka deserves every endorsement she gets because she is exactly the type of demeanor lacking in professional sports these days.

Serena can play victim all she likes. There must be plenty who feel for the hardship at all the millions she has won over her career. Sexism and women’s equality? Does she forget blasting a lineswoman and female umpires in the past? What about Osaka? One journalist asked Williams did her motherly instincts kick in to comfort Naomi Osaka? Were you watching the same game?

Osaka embodies the best parts of what modern sports should look like. Authentic to a fault. She  can only make one smile at her sweet personality and ‘dizzy’ approach at speaking arrangements. No pretentious pieces to her puzzle at all. No heavily scripted media trained praise of her sponsors.

Serena on the other hand represents the type of sportsperson that lacks grace. Talk about role models for children. Yet the way to win these days in sport seems to be to driven by  controversy. Nike must be proud. Perhaps the sporting goods brand’s next ad can replace Kaepernick with Serena:“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing your opponent

Is Musk losing it?

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Is Tesla CEO Elon Musk losing it? More senior resignations from accounting and HR this week  reveal more cracks in the automaker. He emailed a journalist, calling him a “mother f*cker”. He went further to say he hoped the cave rescuer he called a “”pedo” sued him because a UK man who is single and spent so much time in Thailand must be a child rapist.

He rattled off he had “secured” funding of $420/share to go private and then all of a sudden he didn’t, prompting the SEC to investigate. He was then on radio with comedian Joe Rogan toking what is reportedly a mixture of tobacco and marijuana. Are these the actions of a man running a $50bn market cap company?

Clearly his board can’t control him.  With the shares collapsing and bond prices falling, refinancing will become problematic. Chief  Accounting Officer Dave Morton quit the company after revealing his concerns about the various obstacles Tesla faces.

Tesla’s Chief People Officer, Gabrielle Toledano, took leave in August and said she wouldn’t be returning to Tesla.

Musk has been a genius and visionary to get Tesla where it is today. Yet he is a direct victim of his own hubris. Sleeping under boxes with Tesla bankrupt written on them to living on the factory roof to rattling off about production hell while accusing families of drivers dead due to over reliance in a system he aggressively promoted.Tesla was technically asking for suppliers to refund a portion of the monies they were paid since 2016 to the EV maker so it could post a profit which is borderline accounting manipulation in an attempt to give the impression of an ongoing concern.

He also complained at the lack of support in the media despite being called out on this nonsense.

Musk’s compensation is also linked to a $650bn market cap, which is effectively saying to the market that his company will be worth more than Daimler, BMW, VW, GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Renault, Fiat-Chrysler, Ferrari and Porsche combined. Just read that last sentence again. Do investors honestly believe that Tesla which consistently misses and is going up against companies that have been in the game for decades, seen brutal cycles, invest multiples more in technology and forgotten more than they remembered will somehow all become slaves to a company which has no technological advantages whatsoever?

The Tesla story is on the ropes. Expect more mega-releases on new products to try to keep the dream alive and the disciples faithful. I guess ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ worked for The Beatles…

War widow Taya Kyle’s message to Kaepernick & Nike

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Taya Kyle, widow of legendary military sniper, Chris Kyle, said of Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Posted without comment.

“Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one. Your new ad with Colin Kapernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing…. It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career? I’ve done that both times I chose to stay home and be with my kids instead of continuing my business climb… and it wasn’t sacrificing everything. It was sacrificing one career and some money and it was because of what I believe in and more importantly, who I believe in.

At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning. I don’t know. What I do know is, he gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, “believing in something.” I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole “sacrificing everything” is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything.

You want to talk about someone in the NFL sacrificing everything? Pat Tillman. NFL STARTING, not benched, player who left to join the Army and died for it. THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in.

How about other warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything. They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.

Did you get us talking? Yeah, you did. But, your brand recognition was strong enough. Did you teach the next generation of consumers about true grit? Not that I can see.

Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad..it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?

Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgement in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know. All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour.”

Beta testing Autumnal beers

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Kirin led the charge some while back to introduce autumnal beers. Now Sapporo, Suntory and Asahi have hit back. Time for some beta testing to see if Kirin’s “Aki-aji” will be overthrown. CM is betting on Sapporo “Baisen” (far left) to dethrone it if possible.