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JVL, heard this week’s Secret Pod where you said you were kind enough to “work with people” who can’t afford a Bullwark sub. One of the reasons I subscribed is because I could and hoped my money helps others. Thank you for being so kind.

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1st FTX link was about the right mix o' broccoli to sweets. 2nd FTX link a little too much (and way too many bullet points, dumb bears like me need pictures or summaries)

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It isn't just internet businesses that take time to die. Back in the 1930s, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company was a family run vertically integrated business that had a humongous market share in groceries. At one point it had 16,000 stores. (By comparison, Walmart today has about 10,500 stores worldwide today.) There were calls for the government to break it up as it was able to engage in predatory pricing and it gave preference to its own store brands over outside brands.

A&P missed the growth of the suburbs and the trend towards larger supermarkets. It had a long slow decline. By the 1970s it was a minor player. By the 1990s it was limited to the northeastern US; by the 2000s to the New York City area where most grocery stores are small because of exhorbitant land prices. Despite decades of bad business decisions, it took until 2015 for A&P to finally die.

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There’s a good book on the A&P story (The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America https://a.co/d/84eJBwi). It was amazing how much the trajectory of other behemoths (Wal Mart, Amazon, Sears) is similar to that of A&P.

This is one of my “sleeper” books that I recommend to fellow investors and even to one of the money managers I know.

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Yahoo! - a company for which I'll always have a soft spot because it played such a major role in my early internet days - is still around thanks mainly to the Yahoo! Finance and Sports pages and apps.

It's Yahoo! in name only anyway. The "real" Yahoo! sold off all the websites and IP and now specializes in counting its AliBaba.com money.

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Key part for this discussion.

"

The video in question is made by an English guy with a YouTube channel called Keith's Crypto Trades. Keith is showing his subscribers how easy it is to create a token. (1 feel safe assuming the aforementioned English guy's name is, in fact, Keith'.)

As seems to be the case with such things, the name of the token contains an extreme profanity (for many the most extreme profanity) so, for those of you inclined to be offended by such things, I can only apologise.

However, the process you'll witness as this 1l-minute video unfolds demonstrates just how easy it is to Create a token, the complete absence of any kind of backing such tokens have... and just how quickly rampant speculation can bestow significant value upon them. Therefore, it's worth your looking past the shock factor and focusing on the meat of the video (if it makes it any more palatable, the creator of this particular token is pledging to donate tokens to charity via a smart contract which, at the most recent price, were valued at $500,000 over ten years).

Click the link below to watch the video:

ICREATEDA TOKEN

A few weeks later, that same token had a 'market cap' of $6.2 million. I placed 'market cap' in inverted commas because even though it's technically 'worth that much (there I go again), just try selling any meaningful amount of this particular 'asset (enough already) and you'll discover its real 'worth' (ugh!) in a hurry.

In fact, as Fig 1 shows, a few weeks after the initial excitement had waned, Keith's little token was sliding into rightul irelevance.

MooncUSS)

May 10 May 17

Nothing a tweet from Elon Musk couldn't rectify, but let's save that angle for another day.

So, now you know how simple it is to create a token and for that token to have value ascribed toit. You also know how there is likely nothing but air behind the value of notjust that token, but many more like it. And yet, tokens play a critical role in the on- and off-ramp functionality of crypto world."

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What people miss is that is that FTX lost 8 billion Tethers, not dollars. Its like saying you lost millions of dollars when your Monopoly money got thrown away. All of these numbers are reflecting the various online casino chips everyone was trading. The actual cash gets sucked out pretty quick. The rest us just a host of grifters using homemade casino chips to make their Exchanges look exciting enough that the Normies will hand them cash for tokens. You can always buy more tokens, trying to cash them out has ALWAYS been the crypto problem.

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What people miss is that is that FTX lost 8 billion Tethers, not dollars. Its like saying you lost millions of dollars when your Monopoly money got thrown away. All of these numbers are reflecting the various online casino chips everyone was trading. The actual cash gets sucked out pretty quick. The rest us just a host of grifters using homemade casino chips to make their Exchanges look exciting enough that the Normies will hand them cash for tokens. You can always buy more tokens, trying to cash them out has ALWAYS been the crypto problem.

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JVL - (Hope you're feeling better)

Per your cryptocurrency reveal:

Heard this Preet Bharara podcast yesterday. An interview with Aswath Damodaran, a Finance professor from NYU;

"Corporate Teenage Wasteland" [basically comparing companies to the human life cycle - baby, infant, teenagers, young adults, etc.]

https://cafe.com/stay-tuned/corporate-teenage-wasteland-with-aswath-damodaran

They do talk about crypto and human psychology in investing. Fascinating info.

Bottom line --- never invest in any "idea" in which the "salesperson/entrepreneur" can't fully explain in layman's terms the value added by the product or service.

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Dec 3, 2022·edited Dec 3, 2022

I think that Twitter going bankrupt would be the best thing that could happen for both Twitter and its users.

As JVL pointed out, the site would probably still function even if the company failed. Ownership of the site, however, would pass from Elon to the boring, smart professionals at some distressed debt fund.

These people would run the exact same strategy that Elon is trying to implement (cut headcount and make people work harder) without the distractions caused by Elon's Cocaine Bear management style. This would result in a both a stronger business and a better product.

(What the fork is "Cocaine Bear?" Glad you asked: https://youtu.be/Q8JrYFf0swM)

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Holy........whatever! That bloody bear snarl gave me the heebie jeebies.

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Thanks for that link. A good laugh is always welcome.

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Amazing you bring up "Cocaine Bear".

My high school buddy, Tommie, from 50 years ago, with whom I then shared a toot or two back in the day sent me a trailer of the movie.

I thought it was from "Onion Productions."

Ray Liotta is in it; too bad it was his last movie appearance. I guess the lure of a theatrical performance over Nicorette commercials was too tempting.

Tom offered that when Ray watched the dailies, he realized it was time to "shuffle off his mortal coil."

Enjoyable actor, sad ending!

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Ditto on that last!

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I agree that Twitter will be around in some form for years to come. The real question is how long will Musk be involved. He paid 3 or 4 times what Twitter was worth. As a result Twitter highly leveraged. Reportedly, the interest alone is a billion dollars a year. Twitter has never made much money and loses money most years.

This is occurring at the worst possible time for Musk. Tech stocks are down. Tesla's stock price is in free fall. Tesla has always served a niche market. Now that EVs are poised for a breakout, every car maker in the world is making them. That's a lot of competition for Tesla, which produces over priced cars of dubious safety and reliability. (I would never buy one)

Bankruptcy seems to be the most likely outcome for Twitter. It will be sold for pennies on the dollar.

P.S. Is Elon Musk still the richest man in the world? His wealth has taken a big hit in 2022.

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Dec 3, 2022·edited Dec 3, 2022

Anyone with brains would have quickly figured out that there was no way Tesla was ever worth 14x more than Ford, which sold more cars, and had more revenues, more profit, and more innovation. (Its F-150 Lightning is the most important new vehicle to be produced in decades.) Tesla's stock is down about 15% from a year or so ago and it will likely continue its return to normality.

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Tesla should have sold the car business years ago, to concentrate on batteries. It was never going to be more than a niche player in the car business.

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He can join Alex Jones in court.

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RE: How Did FTX Make $8 Billion Disappear?

Maybe SBF cribbed a couple of pages out of EM's playbook? Maybe not. Apparently making mounds of $$ disappear isn't a specialized skill reserved for the less intelligent players. Even the geniuses can do it.

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I'm still trying to figure out how Donald Trump could cause a legalized gambling operation go bankrupt! Maybe it takes a Stable Genius?

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Ha!! A *very* Stable Genius with a great work ethic, since I'd think you'd have to work pretty darned hard at pulling that off.

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I doubt there is a course in B-school on how to piss away billions.

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If there were, I guess one of these guys could get a job teaching it?!

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I have mixed feelings on the Crypto crash. On the one hand it was so obviously a scam from the word go I am amazed that anyone could be dumb enough to put their money in it.

On the other hand scammers take in honest people all the time. Unfortunately, the biggest losers seem to be people of modest means who could least afford to lose their money.

Time tested advice is often right:

1 - Never invest in anything you do not understand.

2- If it sounds too good to be true....

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Bruce, while you are right on, you are talking to the Bulwark choir.

Too many Americans (perhaps people around the world, too) live out the Gordan Gekko ethos of "Greed Is Good."

The problem is that 99.9% of greedy people are on the outside, and greedy insiders make the moola and pull up the ladder.

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A little off topic, but in response to Tim's piece today - am I seeing things or do the R-est of the R's have a bit of a preoccupation with matters of sexuality? Trans, gay, abortion, grooming/groomers, Hunter's private parts. When they do their Impeach Biden, will they find it necessary to put up the pics Tim referenced, just in the interests of a thorough investigation, you know? I read where Indonesia (but might have the wrong country) has outlawed premarital sex. Maybe the R's will want to look more closely at this, on a state by state basis?

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Sexual frustration, envy, insecurity, repressed gayness, take your pick and you'll find a stew of it among your local Republicans.

And as Roy Moore demonstrated, actually immoral and criminal behavior as well.

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Y'all make me smile....a LOT! Nothing like a Saturday evening with friends.

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A little more on why the average person that isn’t into the inside baseball of investing should be concerned with FTX. A better understanding of the impacts to the overall economy would be useful. A lot of the FTX reporting is lined up in jargon.

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The problem with crypto "prospectuses" is that they are marketing materials not legal documents. So unsophisticated day-traders losing their shirts with Robinhood need hope that there is a panacea for their naiveite.

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Twitter survives because most of what happens on Twitter has nothing to do with the tiny fraction of it in which all the drama occurs. The same people post and the same people respond. I do notice many people announcing that they are on some Mastodon server or elsewhere but I suspect they are just covering their bases in case something happen. Each has no real intention of leaving Twitter voluntarily.

Musk could kill Twitter but I don't think he will. He entered this somewhat naively and got himself thumped by reality. It's still happening but less and less. He's a smart guy and adjusts quickly. He's disrupted Twitter (sounds like it needed it, though perhaps not this much) but it will settle into a new state.

The bottom line is that Musk and Twitter the company will adjust much faster than Twitter users will move out.

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Elon's stream of consciousness hasn't demonstrated any particular intelligence, and his management style on display is pure incompetence and abuse.

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Sure, he's irritating as hell but I doubt much of his BS tweets will matter in the long run. It is best to think of him as just another loud voice on Twitter. He doesn't demonstrate his intelligence in his tweets anyway. Never has and I doubt he ever will.

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I doubt very much that Twitter will live on in a much-diminished state, as JVL predicts. Nothing much will happen to it while Musk adjusts. It will come out stronger, though possibly without Musk running it. This episode has also caused the public and the media to grapple with problems that they've ignored for too long -- a good thing.

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How can it come out stronger when its new business model is built on the very idea that has repelled half of its top 100 advertisers?

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The advertisers were just making a statement, getting Musk's attention, as they should. They'll come right back once Twitter has stabilized. Remember, it's just a click of an advertiser's mouse to turn their ads on and off.

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Pornography. Big money maker. Next stop on the Twitter/Musk wild ride.

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Sadly true...but then, they are heartily supported by white Christians, who love their Old Testament smiting God, and have no time for the Jesus tenets of the New Testament.

Go figure!

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Ok, they're good for context and history but when it comes to investing and analyzing opportunities, there are only two gurus to invoke, Mssrs. Newton and Barnum. Simply put: 1) what goes up must come down and 2) there's a sucker born every minute. Full Disclosure, I did take a (as of this moment) $170 loss in crypto but I'll chalk that up to curiosity. JVL, thank you for these Saturday Triads. They have lead me to some very thought provoking content.

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I took a loss in GE. Nothing wrong with taking your chance in the market or with crypto as long as it's money you can live without.

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You'll pardon my pedantry here but I have a lonely crusade to debunk the most likely apocryphal notion that Barnum made that statement about suckers. It wasn't a commonly-used term in his time, and there is some evidence that Barnum was honestly baffled and wounded by people being angry about his exhibits. He seems to have thought that people knew they were fanciful and when he initially discussed how they were acquired or made in his autobiography, he was so taken aback by the response that he bought up every copy of the original book that he could find and released an edited version.

The sentiment may be true, but the source most likely is not.

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Barnum was also a politician. He served in the Connecticut legislature and wrote the law banning all forms of contraception; it was his law that Griswold v. Connecticut overturned (and Clarence Thomas suggested should be reinstated). He also served as Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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Entirety plausible and without direct evidence, quite possible. But we use a well known name to reinforce the sentiment.

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