Archive for the ‘Technology and Business’ Category

This shouldn’t be news.  On CNBC, no less.  It’s an embarrassment.  Grow up and be presidential, Donald.

 

Trump-Stormy News

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Apparently California is using tax dollars to advertise against a proposition on the California ballot to repeal a gas tax.

Yes, that’s right:  Using more tax money to make sure we can tax more.

Sorry but that just doesn’t sound right.

Politics.  UGH!  Just fix the problem instead of throwing more money at it!

Dear President Trump–

I may be the only guy in American that loves what you are doing with tariffs.  (Please see here and here and here.)

And I love that you’re turning up the heat.

But, if you want to win this in our lifetimes OR until another president takes office (whichever comes first), you need to enlist the support of the rest of the commercialized world.

This might be difficult since you’re trying to create a level playing field with them, too…

… or, said another way, you’re hammering the rest of the world into submission as well.

But maybe you can pitch a win here.  Something like, “look at what we’re doing to China… so you know we can easily do that to you, too.  Net-net is you’re going to lose a little to us, it’s inevitable.  But opening up China isn’t… unless we go to China together… and if we do go together, we’ll both really, truly gain a huge new market, second largest in the world!”

To make this work, though, it has to be China vs. THE ENTIRE WORLD.

That’s because China is too proud to be “defeated” by just the U.S… and going it alone only forces them to act more defiantly… which includes them dragging things out in hopes of a political regime change… regardless of how long that takes.

So the only way to get this done in a reasonable time frame is to turn up the heat on the rest of the world… THEN, as a group, approach China.  This will allow China to compromise with dignity… because it won’t be perceived as a fight, rather, that “everyone” came together and “mutually” agreed to change, uhm, all the rules.

No loss of face for the Chinese.  100% victory for the world (and the U.S.).  Wrapped up before the next presidential election.

Tough timing but that’s what you have to do to bring this home.

Break a leg–

–Royal.

I like guns.  But I don’t like the NRA… in the same way I don’t like most lobbyist groups.

I also like the military.  But I don’t like military spending… by some estimates a whopping 20% of our deficit-growing American budget.

To put that in perspective, we have enough nukes to bury the world many times over.

To put that in more practical terms, we spend more money on the military than the next SEVEN countries COMBINED.

So the last thing we need is more hawks in government.

Yet, Jeff Bezos just donated $10 million to a relatively new organization called “With Honor,” dedicated to electing military vets to office.

As our budget spirals out-of-control, I can’t think of a worse time to elect a more biased group of government officials.

This is a post intended for Stanford Zetes… about the passing of a brother.  Feel free to read but you’ve been warned.

Bill Buckingham, my Grand Little Bro in the Zete House at Stanford, passed from pancreatic cancer after almost a five year battle.  He was just 57, a youngster as far as many of us are concerned.

The service was stunning, an outpouring of love and respect for Bill… we should all have such a well-deserved send off.

Of course I wasn’t surprised by it, Bill was a stud. Pledge Putnam said it best, he really was the definition of SoCal cool.

My Great Grand Little Bro Pledge Burke Dempsey was also stud enough to send a family portrait… see below… five generations at the Zete Luau… like it was yesterday, eh?

Zete Lineage -- 5 generations!

(Pictured above:  Knowsey, me, Kip, Bill, and Burke.  Is that Mordy and Cubes in the background?)

Bill’s children gave a heart-wrenching send off… and included in one of the stories was our infamous Zete “eeeeeewwwwwwwww” call… apparently Bill used it from time to time (as I think we all do)… and when I asked his daughter after the service if she knew where that came from, she said she didn’t. She gave me a HUGE smile when I told her it was a Stanford Zete thing. “Now it all makes sense, he loved his time at Stanford and he always used that sound when something really happy happened.”

A final thought: Sitting in this huge, cathedral-like church, with all the religious significance present in abundance and a holy, biblical spirit enveloping us all… as the service was concluding and the conclave of holy men beckoned us to look toward the heavens and raise our voices in a final, glorious hymn… all of a sudden, like out of no where, and I’m dead serious about this, a different song popped in my head… one that I haven’t thought about in a very long time. It was irreverent and blasphemous… and risking eternal expulsion, I said fuck it and sang:

A Zete he died, he went to hell
and climbed the fiery hill
He perched himself on a red hot coal
and smoked a lousy pill
And when the devil saw him there he said ‘be of good cheer,
for you’re among your brother Zetes
we’ll open a keg of beer!’

It just seemed like the right way to send off a good Zete… and a good man.

Bill’s passing shall not be forgotten.  We came into this world as a bunch of Zetes… we’re damn well sure going out as a bunch of Zetes, too.

In TKΦ.

You know that phrase, “you either love ’em or hate ’em”?

That only half applies to Trump.

You can certainly hate him.  But I believe he’s not lovable.

You can, however, love the things he is doing… he’s getting stuff done at a pace we haven’t seen before.  And when it’s the stuff you want to get done, it’s inspiring to watch.

But, I don’t believe he’s lovable.  He’s immature and a blowhard.  That’s a hard combination to love.

Even when he’s trying to support someone — as in loyalty to a friend or group — he still feels swarthy and slimy and comes off as totally disingenuous… like he’s only doing it because there’s something in it for him.

What does this mean for politics?  I think I’m done electing politicians.  I can’t wait for the next true business candidate, one that I hope is as decisive as Trump… that cuts through the b.s. red tape like Trump… but that doesn’t act like a petulant 5-year old like Trump.

Facebook has a lot going for it.  But one of its glaring weakness over the years is ZERO penetration into China.

Turns out dictatorships don’t like things like free speech.

Ironically, as much as FB gets slammed for privacy concerns, Facebook defiantly stood up to the Chinese government in 2009 when the Chinese demanded the release of private information from the company.

This was no small act:  For their privacy stance, the Chinese government blocked Facebook into the world’s most populous country… essentially halving their business opportunity.

THAT’S putting your money where your mouth is.

But, in a weird twist of fate, when many companies are getting slammed for the earnings impact of a US-China trade war, this isn’t an investment risk for Facebook… because they have no Chinese exposure.

And — it gets better — one of the expected outcomes of the trade war is a more level playing field, which (you guessed it) may mean Facebook becomes unblocked. 

If that happens, that could be a massive growth driver for FB earnings over the next few years.

Yet another reason why this trade war isn’t all bad.