Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Their name was Dell. And they were handing out stock options like candy.
A few years later "Dellionaires" became famous in Austin for buying fast cars and large mansions. Well into the 1990s Dell seemed unstoppable, and one could make pretty good money buying their stock on a dip.
This morning I find this interesting statistic: Apple could buy Dell for cash.
This sort of rags to riches to rags story is common in tech, but I think we're going to see a lot more of it happening outside of tech now. The whole banking landscape changed just in the last couple of months and it looks like the Big Three automakers are going to become the Little Two.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I didnt dislike him personally, but he simply wasn’t a sales guy. He didn't have one of the “its” that salespeople need to have, which can be charisma, confidence, insight into other people, savvy or one of the dozen other personal attributes people leverage to make themselves good at sales.He didn’t have any of them. Plus his English was lousy.
So here was a guy who couldn’t even sell himself – no way was I gong to let him try to sell my products. I made up my mind in the first ten seconds, but I couldn’t just throw him out. Well, I guess I could, but that’s not my style, so I had to at least give the guy some face and spend a minimum 15 minutes with him.
So I treated this like a bad date. I just made small talk and willed myself to the end to when I could dump him (“I’ll call you…”).
Monday, October 20, 2008
I spent the morning interviewing earnest young men who are eager for the position - any position, actually as they were to a man unemployed (did I mention that they were all men? Gender roles in Asia are about where they were in the U.S. in 1950, so there actually aren't any women available to even interview.)
Durng the interview I am asking questions looking at the candidate's English skills, their sales or engineering skills, how they would fit into my company culture, and ultimately if I trust them. I am responsible for sales in Korea and how these guys do will reflect on me - and my bonus.
But my Korean rep, being Korean, makes judgements based on other matters. About half way through each interview come his questions:
"Are you married?"
"How many children do you have?"
"What are their ages?"
Now this is not off-the-record chit-chat. These questions are actually part of the interview and quite legal in Korea, as is asking the candidate's age (although the birth date is always put on the resume, so you never have to ask).
In Korea being married and having children show stability, commitment and character, and is an important part of the culture here. Again think U.S.A. 1950. I obviously don't care, but it turns out it didn't matter since every single one of them was married and had two or three kids - it wasn't a differentiating feature.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on Thursday, October 16, 2008, that the 2009 social security wage base will be $106,800, an increase of $4,800 from the 2008 wage base of $102,000.
So each year a higher and higher percentage of people pay in 100% of their wages into fund - and those of us 40 and younger will never see a dime.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
My company's stock is now at enterprise value - raw assets minus is debt. This means that investors are assigning no future value to the company. I work in sales and know that that is, well, bullshit. I got so many customers and opportunities it isn't even funny. And for my opportunities to dry up every person on the planet would have to get rid of their cellphone. And that isn't going to happen, even in a downward economic environment.
My guess is that a lot of companies out there are way oversold. But people are not dealing rationally at this point. We're basically in a panic situation where people are selling no matter what.
I think government efforts at this point are counter-productive. The daily "we are going to fix this" program is just making things worse, making investors worry even more that things are worse than they think. I think the government at this point needs to step back, let the emotion run out, and give it some time. Let the panic abate.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Why is it that one must always have positive equity in a house? Renters have no equity and will never get it. It will always be zero. But even with negative equity home owners will one day "own" their home and be "rent fee" - as long as they can meet the monthly payment and pay off the loan.
Most car owners owe more than their car is worth. The decision to buy and then keep a car is usually if they can meet the monthly payment. And if financial crises hits, most people just stick out their payment and drive their car for years until it is paid off. Why isn't a house the same way? Is having positive equity in your home some sort of right that should be guaranteed?
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Camp was a lover. Keeping me in her fond embrace, she kept me young and whole, shutting out the world and keeping me free from distractions and wants, letting me concentrate on being me.
Now she is a dowager, a shadow of her former self. For one brief period we pretended we were young again, but we both knew it was an act, some desperate play as we stared aging and death in the face.
We couldn’t recapture who we once were, we could only play-act that we did, in the meantime becoming totally self-aware of the changes of who we had become, how things weren’t were they used to be.
Do we do it again some time? Go through the dance, pretending that we are young again? Or do we accept who we have become and time’s reckoning, moving forward never to embrace again?