I’m Sticking With You

I’m not what you would consider adventurous when it comes to investing. The older I get, the better this position seems to be. Do I regret not being more aggressive when I was younger? Maybe, but when it comes to money, I’m all about safety. I will gladly forego the dramatic highs of gain if I don’t have to experience the harrowing lows of major loss. I’m just not built that way. Financially, anyway. In other ways, I am. Topic for another day.

I have a small amount of play money set aside in an individual stock account at Fidelity. This little pile was created as part of a performance bonus I received at Ask.com maybe ten years ago. I parked it in three stocks, one was a renewable energy technology, another was a backend technology provider to telcos and cable/internet providers.  The third is a pretty safe Fidelity Mutual Fund. I vowed to sit on them for years. And I did. Until this week.

I'm sticking with you
The mutual fund stays (see: safe). I made a little money on the other two, but times are changing and that calls for me to change, too. I’ve sold them and am now going long on Netflix and Twitter.

Twitter is the riskier gamble, but I keep thinking that when it comes to consumer internet technology, they’re the best value right now. I also think about it practically and how I use it in my own life. If I ever need to read more about a breaking news story or find something quick – I go to Twitter right away. And I ALWAYS find it.

Case in point: the other day my wife and I heard zillions of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks whizzing by our house. Something is up. You’re not going to find it on Facebook or Instagram. Or Snapchat. Or the local newspaper website.

It took me literally 10 seconds to find it on Twitter – a house fire right down the street. Now, this was not a monetized event for Twitter, but I’m banking that more and more of their solution will be soon enough. It’s utility. And utility pays the bills.

Netflix seems obvious. A consumer play that is strong and only getting stronger. They have good competitors, but I believe Netflix is the equivalent to the IPhone – a market share beast. If you look at their plans, they’re not even global yet and their proprietary content is in its infancy. I think there’s a lot of room for growth in their stock. Plus, I loved Bloodline. So awesome.

Netflix Bloodline
Look, I’m no expert. But I do look at the trends and the financials and do my best and I think these two are poised for growth. It also helps that the market has been down so much in the last week – great time to buy. So I’m sticking with them (hopefully for 10+ years!) and we’ll see what happens.

As a Marketing guy, I’m also long on the opportunity for video in 2016-2017. The way it’s setting up for social media and digital content, there’s going to be a LOT of opportunity, not to mention fun things to do, for marketers. Whatever my next role is – and I’m actively looking – I hope to make video (both canned and live) a huge part of the plan.

Now go ahead and dig some Jason & The Scorchers….


Get Off My Cloud

I was thinking about privacy today. There is a much talk about Facebook (or any other internet entity that has a social focus) and the controversy surrounding your privacy. I guess most people aren’t aware that there are a litany of options for you when it comes to sharing your data on Facebook. You can open yourself up to the entire world or you can make everything private. I don’t necessarily view Facebook as being mis-leading to its gazillions of users about privacy, I view the gazillions of users who don’t take the time to seek out their privacy options as……..lazy, I guess.

Oh, there is grand debate about your privacy settings when you first sign up – some may say that Facebook should make ALL of your data private from the get-go.  But they don’t. Or that they should make the privacy options easier to understand. But they don’t, really. I’ll let you guess why. It starts with an M and it ends with a Y. They need dinner, too, you know. That’s why those ads you see on the right side of the page are so eerily accurate when it comes to your interests. They are accurate most of the time, any way. Nobody is perfect.  So why is everyone so spooked? I don’t think the Facebook ads are that invasive. Sometimes I laugh at the targeting. But other times I’m pretty impressed that a lot of the advertising is stuff I am actually interested in. I can tell you that I, as a marketer, have bought these ads for the company I work for and I’ve been largely happy with the results.

Yes, privacy in the age of the internet has gotten much looser and there is potential for more impact. You can’t argue that one. There’s a lot of info about you out there. I remember as a wee lad, we used to pull the old ’79 Mercury Cougar up to the Fotomat. Kids of the ’70s and ’80s, you surely remember this little place! Oh, you don’t? Well, look here. When I say little, I mean little. We used to pull the car up and drop off and pickup our photos. Of course, as a kid I  never gave much thought to privacy, but let’s face it, as far back as forever your privacy has been exposed to many people of all stripes, including those high schoolers who worked at Fotomat that could see all your family pictures. Just imagine some of the stuff THEY saw! Or think about this – in the early age of the telephone, operators could sit there and listen to your every word. Don’t forget that. Having your privacy exposed is not some new-fangled issue. It’s just become more of a target with the explosion of the internet – there is clearly more on the line.

So the whole privacy thing? A concern for sure, but let’s not get all overheated about it. Do the work to protect yourself – websites aren’t going to do it for you. If you are at all suspicious, then simply don’t participate. Like Gene Simmons said, “if you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it.” And I hate Gene Simmons.


A Unique Friend Request

I guess it was only a matter of time before I received my first true spam via Facebook. I will occasionally get emails from bands I like or whatever, but that’s not really spam because I actively “liked” them on Facebook, so I don’t really mind getting messages from them. But today was the first unsolicited message I received and it was a doozy. It came in the form of a friend request. The name was one that I did not recognize, but that doesn’t mean much either – there have been a few occasions when I’ve gotten a friend request from someone whose name I didn’t recognize, but only because they were using their married name. I thought “that must be the case here.” So I opened her request.

And when I did click the request, I was staring at a completely naked woman sitting on a couch. Whom I did not know. Then I found myself wondering – wait, do I actually know this person? So I wracked my brain, looking at her, uh, face…..trying to figure out if I knew her from somewhere. And I’m pretty convinced I don’t. Gosh, I hope I don’t.

And so begins the inexorable march towards Facebook spam. It happened with Friendster, it happened with MySpace and it will happen with Facebook. The lifespan of these social networks is typically 3-5 years of “peak” traffic and then the trend downward. While I agree that Facebook is the most powerful social network we’ve seen yet, I remain pretty convinced that it, too, will have its downfall and be replaced by another social-network-of-the-year.



Took a lot of brooms and washcloths to clean things out around here. Also took a $699 payout when I recently got this here Ipad. Now, I honestly have no idea if this is going to spur more blogging out of me. No matter what medium I type on, I still have far less time since I now drive to work. That hour and a half every day was quality blogging time – now it’s quality time spent with hundreds of other motorists, moving like sheep through the pavement ribbon of central Massachusetts.

But the IPad gives me hope for more blogging. It also gives me hope for magazines I used to read that I don’t read anymore. When I was a kid, I was subscribed to Sports Illustrated for years. Every Friday it would come in the mail – amazing color pictures and great sportswriting, back in a day when you simply didn’t have…….options. It was either The Boston Globe or SI. Yes, we were spoiled with the Globe but that was for local stuff. So Sports Illustrated really was the gold standard – everyone else was third tier.

Then came the Internet. Game over. Sports Illustrated survives, but who wants to read the magazine 7 days after the event? Espescially when you can login to ESPN.com 14 seconds after the game for quotes and reaction? Or to sbnation for quality blog reaction. The immediacy of everything rendered SI into the third tier, like, overnight.

But the IPad changes the game again. For me, I’m not planning on moving my computing life to it. I still think email works better on my IPhone. Web browsing is beautiful and better than on any phone but I still love my 23-incher. But blogging is easier with this insanely great WordPress ipad app.

Where it will really shine for me though, is magazines. I will read more of them, just like I used to. I’m pretty sure SI will have an app soon. Every other magazine better get one too, or they’ll be toast, because THIS is the way it’s moving. The screen is too beautiful and opportunity for interaction too juicy. Magazine will rise again. Trust me on this. If you haven’t seen the Wired IPad app yet, you probably don’t believe me yet. But when you do see it, you’ll be in the boat.

Come sail away. L


Rock or Talk

Now that I’m a commuter again, I thought I’d be really making the IPhone sweat for music during the drives. But a funny thing happened on the way……I somehow have not been listening to music on the commute. Instead, it’s been sports talk radio. Now, let me get something out of the way – I am most definitely not a sports nut. I follow hockey and baseball. Football is on the periphery. Basketball is not even close to an option for me. So I’m not one of the diehards.

But I am enjoying these guys. Here in Boston we have not one, but two powerful sports talk radio stations, so you’re almost always bound to hear something good. For example, this morning the guys on 98.5 were discussing building the ultimate sports Frankenstein. In other words, taking the ugliest body parts of all professional athletes and assembling them into one athlete. Sophomoric, yes. Funny? Yep. Especially when they added “David Wells digestive tract” to the list.

Anyway, I thought I’d be all music, but it turns out I’m not listening to music at all. Interesting.