Friday, May 25, 2012

Facebook IPO

My parents were pretty consistent in one particular way: Whenever I would get hurt doing something I was told not to do, the most sympathetic statement I was likely to hear was, "Serves you right."

"Analysts" insisted that Facebook stock was worth 100 times current earnings. No reason was ever given why that should be so given that Google, Apple and the like, are running around 10-12x earnings (historically normal valuations). It just was so shut up and dump your life savings into Facebook stock. Why anyone in their right mind would do such a thing is beyond me, but hey, good luck with that. So now everyone is speed-dialing lawyers looking for someone, anyone, to blame for the inevitable outcome. It's Zuckerberg's fault. It's this or that Wall Street firm's fault. It's the stock exchange's fault. It's Al Gore's fault. (Why not? Makes as much sense as anything else.)

First of all, why would anyone fall for the same scam that's been being run with internet IPO's since the late 1990's? We've heard all this crap before. It's different now. All those old metrics for judging the worth of a company don't apply in the Internet Age. XYZ's growth potential is unlimited. Revenue will only go up. Blah, blah, blah. And every time, it all turns into a giant, steaming pile. Every. Single. Time. If you fell for it again, well, serves you right.

Secondly, even it you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you have to know that the big Wall Street firms all operate the same way; fleece the retail investor for the benefit of themselves and a select few of their clients. This has always been the case, although back in the 80's and 90's, stock funds were returning enough money that no one took much notice. Now that the stock market seems to be on a perpetual cruise-to-nowhere, everyone has realized that certain people seem to make money no matter what happens, and those certain people don't include us. If you are so willfully ignorant that you don't know this and you're investing in stocks, serves you right.

Finally, Facebook is claiming that 1 in every 7 people on the planet will be a user by August. Just how much growth can you realistically expect beyond that? A 100-times-earnings valuation would imply an expectation of 10x growth. Have aliens contacted us and expressed interest in becoming Facebook users? In any case, like all straight-line projection, this is probably complete BS. If you invest in any company based on not just what is likely BS, but ridiculously flimsy BS, then serves you right.

We've been down this road not once, not twice, but dozens of times over the last decade and a half, so pardon me if I seem unsympathetic to those who have been crushed by this latest fiasco. Let me be completely clear: I am unsympathetic.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Moving Again

Everything has fallen into place and we are definitely moving across Florida to Zephyrhills to the same park my parents use as their snowbird nest. The place is smaller than what we are in now, and came filled up with the previous occupant's stuff. We've already tossed about 30 large garbage bags of anything small enough to bag up. Now we have to get rid of two kitchen tables with chairs, a recliner, a swivel rocker and a queen-size bed. Then the real fun: Getting rid off our stuff that we no longer need or just won't have room for. We also have some repairs and improvements that need to be made; the place has set empty for a couple years, which in Florida means water damage. We been in all the cracks and crevices cleaning stuff out and no sign of mold, so at least we don't have to deal with that, but water has definitely gotten in several places at some point.

So the focus has now shifted from figuring out if we can move and where, to figuring out the how. We have some time; our current lease doesn't run out until the end of July making it possible for us to gradually shift our junk rather than doing the big bang move-everything-in-48-hours kind of move we been doing. So for the next two-and-a-half months, we'll be spending our days off driving stuff across the state and doing a bit of work while we are there. That means even less here than usual. At some point, we'll take some photos after we've cleaned up more of the debris and gotten rid of some of the excess furniture so everyone can see our McMansion.

We spent our first night there this weekend. Definite improvement over our current location. It's probably the first time in over a year I haven't been woken up by some inconsiderate jackass. Being able to spend the occasional night there will definitely improve my over-all mood. I'm sure living there will have its challenges. For example, we already know that people there (including my parents) are very... um... interested in whatever you are doing. Most are retired and have little else to occupy their time, so they snoop. In fact, one guy was so interested that we scratched a possible off our list because it was too close to him. That wasn't the only reason why it didn't make the cut, but we really didn't want to live close to one of those people. But so far, it's a vast improvement over what we have now.

In any case, I need to get caught up after spending two days on the other side of the state and get ready for another exciting day at the library.

Monday, May 07, 2012


xkcd hits one out of the park (if your eyes are old like mine, click the image to get a bigger version):

Couldn't have said it better myself.