Pockets of Time

Now that the calendar has flipped to the New Year, I’ve had a flurry of job interviews and there’s been lots of activity. This is good of course, but I still find I have pockets of time. To help offset the restlessness associated with not having a full-time job, I’ve found that three things tend to happen:

– I try to help out around the house and do more with the kids
– I’ve caught up on a lot of shows on Netflix
– I try to teach and educate myself

One question that surprisingly hasn’t come up in the myriad interviews I’ve had is the traditional “what are your weaknesses” question. I mean, it’s gotta come at some point, right? In fact, at one point I even volunteered them.

weaknesses

This didn’t happen to me.

Let’s get back to the Netflix thing for a second, though. One show I’ve just started watching is season one of “Louie,” with Louie C.K. and it’s great. Little 20-minute nuggets of Louie’s hilarity and discomfort!

Yesterday I was watching an episode where Louie had a stand-up show in Birmingham, AL and ended up having a gun pulled on him in the parking lot of some run-down restaurant. An older police officer ended up knocking the gunman senseless and giving Louie a ride back to his hotel, but not before asking Louie for a kiss on the lips. It was awkward TV at its finest.

pockets of time

Louie goes in to thank the cop.

Louie felt like he owed the policeman something for how he helped him and didn’t expect THAT ask from the cop, but he got out of his comfort zone and accommodated him.

My point? Get out of your comfort zone! I’ve never been interested in much of anything related to IT, networks, servers, coding and such. However, the world of Marketing has evolved to the point where Marketers can’t just do Marketing anymore. You need to be well-versed in many of the different elements within a company that touch Marketing, namely….everything. I learned this first-hand at my last position, where some of this knowledge could have come in real handy.

So here’s a weakness. And I have time, so I’ve started to address it.

treehouseThanks to my longtime friend Dan Cederholm for recommending Treehouse, an online resource where you learn about UX, coding and just about anything else about computers going back to the 1950’s. I’m earning badges and learning stuff I never thought I’d care about. I’ve had a lot of those moments where I say “so THAT’s what that means” and dare I say, I’m enjoying learning more about IT and coding and it will undoubtedly help me at some point in my next role (oh, did I mention I’m looking?)

So yes, I’m watching some Netflix here and there and taking some breathers, but I’m also adding tools to my toolbelt. Moral of the story – once again – don’t ever be satisfied with what you know. Find out more. DO more.

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….

Bullets & Stock Tips

Ever since 1990 when I first attended Kent State, all my friends, acquiantences and strangers always had some kind of remark about the 1970 shootings. Lots of people told me things like “make sure you wear a bullet-proof vest” and “don’t get shot.” Never very clever, really, but still, I have to agree it’s a pretty easy joke to make. It also got old pretty quick. Whatever. But The Onion’s article this week actually did elicit a chuckle out of me, particularly the picture. Good stuff. I’ve laid off The Onion over the last year or so, so maybe I should start reading regularly again.

Stock tip? A few months back I started using Comcast’s OnDemand more than I had been previously. The reason? We cancelled Netflix when the babies were born, because the day they were born, the same four movies sat on the TV stand for about 3 months. It was a little sad, because I had been a member since June of 2000! But I couldn’t accept paying the monthly fee for dust collecting. We might subscribe again, but with Apple’s announcement and Comcast’s OnDemand, we may not need it.

Anyway, OnDemand requires a lot of backend…….stuff. That backend is powered by a company called SeaChange International, who handles OnDemand for many of the tier 1 and tier 2 cable companies in the U.S. I think it’s fairly clear that the cable companies will be a player in this stuff, so growth seems imminent. Now might be the time to hop on board SeaChange and get some stock – it’s at a very cheap price right now and they also just announced another deal with a top 5 cable TV provider. So I added them to my stable.

As a sidenote, 2 out of 3 companies I’m invested in are within 15 miles of my house. That’s one way to support the local businesses, I suppose.

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Now playing: Sweet – Wig-Wam Bam
via FoxyTunes