Archive for March, 2011

For years I felt like I was the only one beating the drum that higher oil prices was the cause of the Great Recession.

My reasoning was simple: 

Higher oil means higher prices for everything.  Higher prices means less spending.  Less spending stops the great U.S. commerce engine… which affects the great commerce engines of the world.

What drove me nuts was, years ago, everyone seemed to love spiking oil prices… that they were somehow a positive indicator of growth… i.e., spiking oil prices meant high demand because of high growth. 

What a Krach!

Even as recently as a few months ago I pinged Rob Black — a really smart financial guy on the radio here in the Bay Area — asking his 30,000 foot opinion about the dangers of high oil prices… and, disappointingly, all he could give me was a 2-foot view that higher oil prices were good for his oil stocks.

Then oil hit $100… and at that exact moment — to my surprise and delight — everyone seemed to start talking about the potentially disastrously negative effect of higher oil prices on the consumer.

Thank goodness people get the issue now!

So… now on to the important stuff: 

We don’t need more stimulus or a QE3 or bailouts or whatever… we need to stop sending almost $1 trillion out of the country each and every year… we need our elected officials to motivate a conversion to natural gas and other cheaper/cleaner-burning energy alternatives… before it’s too late.

I hope you don’t think that’s too radical.  But it’s the new drum I have to beat.

BTW:  From a stock market perspective:  Oil up… stock market down.  No escaping that.


Sadly, George Vineyard would be 50 today. 

He’s gotta be somewhere with a big smile on his face… after all, he was Apple’s (AAPL) biggest fan when the stock was at about $25 (yikes!)… he declared CD’s and DVD’s a “dead media” way before any of the so-called experts… and eerily he somehow knew the 49ers were going to run into some rough years.

Was he wrong with any of his predictions?

I can hear him now:  “I’m not wrong… I just haven’t been proven right yet.”

I could have used his wisdom and strong shoulder over the last few years.  I still miss my good friend deeply.

[George Vineyard 1961-2005:  Farwell Dear Friend]

Oil is misbehaving. 

Lots of reasons for it… but these don’t matter.  The higher prices for gas — and everything else we buy — do.

To wit:  Gas prices have sprinted from the low $3’s to almost the $4’s in a matter of weeks.

We know how this story goes:  People will have a lot less money in their pockets… so they’ll start puckering up again.  Corporate profits will be hit… taking the stock market with it.

It’s like betting double-or-nothing on a replay.


Hello WordPress

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Technology and Business
Tags: , ,

… and with the transition from Microsoft Spaces into the WordPress world I go! 

(Thank you, WordPress, for giving me a new home.  <smile> )

Spaces was a terrific blogging tool… not because it was über powerful… or even good looking… but because it was just plain ‘ole simple to use.

At one point, it was the most popular blogging tool in the world. 

Unbelievably (unfathomably?) Microsoft couldn’t figure out how to monetize.  Or maybe they got blindsided by Facebook (like everyone else)?  Or maybe politics got in the way?

Either way — sadly — Microsoft has closed the book on Spaces.

Still… at one point, it was the most popular blogging tool in the world. 

That’s quite an achievement… precious few people in the world can make such a claim… kudos to Mike Connolly and the entire Microsoft Spaces development team for creating something significant and important!