6.29.2007

What I Was Thinking About While the Mac Boys Were Waiting in Line

Ok, I'm not all into the iPhone so I had other things on my mind today. Starting off, I'm more interested in Chinese stocks. Fortunately, this article was written to get my mind on track.

Sina

Looks like a Chinese Yahoo!, future could be just as bright, or not..

Baidu

Looks like a Chinese Google. No word if there is Bmail on there or not.

Shanda

Entertainment company, could be like Electronic Arts...

Sohu

Another Yahoo type, however its China's second largest portal. Worth a look.

What are your favorite Chinese stocks? Since these are a) huge companies b) have been mentioned recently I still think there could be some great opportunities still out there.

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6.26.2007

Consolidated Links as of 26.June.07

There is a lot of interesting stuff going on today. Perhaps I'll comment on it all real quick.

Dow, Murdoch in Agreement on Safeguards
- The fact that they are talking about "maintaining journalistic integrity" probably means that Dow Jones/WSJ has found a suitor in News Corp.

iPhone May Not Rock Phone Industry
- Perhaps the iPhone is not all that. Without wireless downloads, the iPhone may not take off as everyone is expecting it to. Apple is on a tedious balance beam right now. The iPhone has to be a success, unfortunately one little thing can derail it and cause it to be deemed a failure. Could the no wireless downloads be that one little thing?

JetBlue Founder: Storm Cost CEO Job

- Yes it did, but who will probably be the most prepared next time? JetBlue. Otherwise, another CEO will bite the dust.

NBC Not Looking to Kill YouTube
- NBC/Fox venture just looking to severely harm "YouTube". But in a nice way.

Blackstone Units Close Below $31 IPO Price

- Private equity boom over. Many investors think so. I sure hope you sold your shares of Blackstone after the post-IPO bump. If not look forward to a private equity shop acquiring Blackstone, firing high cost employees then reselling the company. Probably not, but boy would that be ironic!

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6.24.2007

IPhone has got the Industry on Its Knees

Got an article here regarding the iPhone's release on Friday. I'm pretty sure we'll be ushering a new wave of millionaires in the coming weeks. The reason I say this is that I am sure right now there are individuals that are manufacturing accessories for the iPhone as we speak. In fact, you can get many of those accessories right now. The next few weeks will let us know whether this is the next boom cell phone product (like the iPod) or bust (like the iTunes RAZR).

From another perspective it looks like Apple's stock has been on the way up for the past year so it appears the iPhone value is built in already. However, if the iPhone fails there could be some value that could be captured with a short sell or a put. The only question remains, how popular will the iPhone be? I'll be sure to tell you in six months or sooner if Apple ever gets that iTimeMachine working.

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Consolidated Links as of 23.June.07

The 50 People Who Matter Now
- Don't kid yourself, many of these people are shaping the future as we speak.

How to Marry a Billionaire
- Harder if you're a dude, but still a desirable feat.

7 Stocks to Know for Monday
- Blackstone still going to surge up? Ebay is trying to get back into the Chinese market, will see if they buy their own counterfeit overpriced junk.

USA v. Mexico, Against the U.S., the Heat's on Mexico

- Will Mexico lose again to the U.S. on our own soil (in Soccer)? Do any Americans care?

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6.23.2007

Tesco Coming to the United States

Tesco is coming to the United States. This British grocery retailer will be going under the name Fresh & Easy. It will be interesting to see how a foreign grocery retailer does here in the US. I'm sure we'll be seeing more Unilever products (England's answer to Proctor and Gamble).

The stores will be mainly in the Western United States, including San Diego. How long will it be before we see a Carrefour?

Read more about Tesco and Fresh & Easy here. [economist.com]

[Photo: Maciej Zagozda]

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6.22.2007

When Private Equity Becomes Public

Tomorrow, Blackstone Group LP is issuing a $4.13 billion IPO (Initial Public Offering). This could be the beginning of a trend of other Private Equity companies turning into Public Private Equity companies. So basically how it works is this: You buy one share of Blackstone Group, and they take your money (and others' money) and use it to buy a new business, then sell that business for a profit, and then you get some of that profit (only a bit since you have one share).

This could be interesting as it will get normal wealth people into the Private Equity game.

Follow this stock: BX on the NYSE

Note: the link to the price quote won't work until the stock goes public. Also this isn't a recommendation to buy or sell any equities whatsoever.

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6.19.2007

D'oh! There goes my Quarter Million Dollars!

Here's an interesting article about auto accidents. The difference? These are $250k+ automobiles. Its tough to feel sorry for these people as they made the decision to get these fancy cars and in many (not all) cases put themselves in the conditions to allow these accidents to happen. Plus, they usually have enough money to buy a new ride (perhaps a Honda Civic). Also take a look at this site with exciting pictures of these wrecked exotics.

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6.18.2007

Consolidated Links as of 17.June.07

Retired at 50
- If you focus and invest correctly, yes even you can retire at 50.

Who Matters Now?

- Take a look at this list. Its a good who's who within business today.

Cerberus had Talks Over Jaguar, Land Rover
- The beginning of the end for Jaguar and Land Rover under Ford's ownership?

Burger King Rebounds on Marketing
- Burger King is on the way up thanks to its innovative marketing and CEO's willingness to look like P.Diddy's biatch.

Blockbuster to Favor Blu-Ray HD
- Blu-Ray is making inroads with the largest video renter. Could this be the beginning of a HD DVD beat down?

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6.17.2007

To Catch a Viralink or Not...

After being around this blog game for about a month now, I've made a few determinations. First, there are a huge amount of blogs. Trying to develop a good balance of sorting, reading and comprehending all of them takes an enormous amount of time. This is all done while trying to maintain my own blog with useful information as well. That's quite the challenge.

The other observation I have is that many of the blogs I come across are blogs on how to make money doing blogs. I think this is great. If you're making money with your blog more power to you. However, like all other things, in order to make money you need have a high volume of "customers", ie readers, to come to your site click on your ads etc...

So this leaves us with the issue of getting readers to your site. With a quick search of Google on "improving your blog rank" or "improving your Technorati rank" comes up with a new idea: Viralinks. This idea, less than a month old is sort of a blogging pyramid scheme. How it works is you put a grid of 120 "*" on your blog site and people copy the grid with your blog address linked in one of the *s and then add theirs and pass it on. So basically, at each level, more links will be exchanged and blog ranking will increase.

So for the past day I've been wrestling with idea of whether to give it a shot or not. I've decided not to use it. There are two reasons, as pyramid marketing in real life isn't appealing because you have to hock items to your friends, and get them to sell to their friends (think Amway). Then secondly, with links flying all around that arbitrarily links to others doesn't add any marginal value to people trying to find information on specific content.

This is why I think viralinks is aptly named. It is a virus. It benefits those who spread it around. However, think of the consequences. Blogs with poor content, but with many viralinks will have a high ranking and more readers, but the content may not be that useful to all the readers that the blog ranking has brought in. So overall, there is not much value being added.

I know all blogs, including myself try to increase their ranking, however I think viralinks cross some ethical line due to the fact that I would be promoting my blog not for its content, but my ability to market. What do you think, is viralinking something you would consider?

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6.15.2007

Not Going to Take the Topps Bid

Updating a previous post regarding a potential buyout of Topps by Upper Deck has taken an interesting turn. Topps, today said they favor the $385 million bid from Madison Dearborn Partners which is run by former Disney head, Michael Eisner. Topps is favoring this bid over a $424 million bid from their rival Upper Deck. This has has made Topps shareholders furious.

I think this is rightfully so. By taking the Madison bid, Topps will be leaving almost $40 million on the table for their shareholders. It appears that Management and major owners will be getting a more favorable payout structure with the Madison deal. Topps however, believe the Madison bid is superior due to Topps' characterization of Upper Deck's bid as an attempt to get information about Topps as well the lack of details behind Upper Deck's bid.

This whole Madison deal sounds a bit suspect. Since Upper Deck has sued Topps, I think more details will come out in the near future.

[Photo: beardnb]

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Wall Street Journal Gets a New Suitor

Pearson, publisher of the Financial Times, and part owner of one of my favorites, The Economist is mulling a bid for Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. They are attempting to form a consortium including Hearst Corp. and General Electric Co (owner of NBC, and MSNBC who seem to get many of their stories from the WSJ). It remains to be seen if Pearson and friends will be close to News Corp.'s $5 billion dollar bid.

As time passes on it becomes more apparent that Dow Jones will become part of a larger company's portfolio. I get a feeling that bidding will keep increasing as more and more players try to get into on a product that has such elite status. Most likely though, the winner will be the company or group that offers the Bancroft family the largest amount of money.

[Photo: epc]

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6.14.2007

The Athlete Money List

LeBron James could be playing his last game of the season tonight. However, this off season he has a lot to look forward to. Most likely he is going to continue his quest to become the first billion dollar athlete. As he has made his first NBA Finals, keep an eye on him to keep rising higher on this list. He has consulted billionaire with Warren Buffet and made an endless amount of sponsorship deals. There is no doubt his is setting himself up for success. I'm sure winning a title (or title game at least) wouldn't hurt.

[Photo: Armanix510]

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6.13.2007

Make Your Own Sales and Save Money!

So a lot of people I know joke with me about trying to find the best deal on anything. Many of you will know these tips but I thought I'd share regardless.

1 - The first thing I do no matter what is check eBay. More specifically, I go the upper right and click on "advanced search". This brings you to a fantastic tool, the completed listing search. Ebay stores completed listings for the past 90 days in their database. After you login and search what you're looking for, sort by price to see the going rate. Since eBay is turning into and efficient marketplace you can get an idea of a cheaper yet realistic price. Sometimes though, the best price you'll find is on eBay, so you may have to bid or do a "Buy it Now".

2 - Go to Froogle and search for what you're looking for. If you find it at the eBay price, you're probably starting to get the idea that the price you've found is a good deal.

3 - Search on Google for your product. Look for coupons at potential stores, discounts on the item, refurbished items, etc...

4 - If it's electronics, take a look at the Sunday ads for Best Buy, Circuit City and the like. Many of the items listed in there are loss leaders, which are basically items that are sold at or below cost to get you in the store. If you can get in the store, get what you're looking for and get out without buying anything other than what you're looking for, then you've beat the man.

These are just a few tips that I have. I'm interested to hear from you on what ideas you use to save money. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know.

[Photo: frozendog]

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Consolidated Links as of 13.June.2007

Top 10 Luxury Vehicles With the Highest Resale Value
- Honda and Toyota enter luxury status, Lexus and Acura now designated as super-duper luxury

The Economist Daily Roundup of Economic News
- Some fancy pants news from across the pond, interesting domestic news though about US bonds prices higher, sub-prime lenders coming up with new schemes

Apple Launches Safari Browser for Windows

- I tried it, its pretty good, however I can't see any differentiation that that will get me away from Firefox.

XM, Sirius highlight organizations supporting merger
- Will they, won't they, will they, won't they... I'm not buying anything until I get all my sports radio on one service

Shot Up Polos

- You're kidding right, lemme give you $100 so I can buy a polo some yokel shot up, just keep the used underwear away from me

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6.12.2007

Virgin Charter, Find Your Perfect Match (to Fly You Somewhere)

Richard Branson and Virgin, launched Virgin Charter a travel matchmaking site. It essentially works like this:

1. You want to travel somewhere
2. You look in your pocket and see a lot of money
3. You go on Virgin Charter and find a person with a plane that is willing to take your rich self wherever you want to go
4. Enjoy your travel destination a few thousand bucks lighter, and a lot less stressed

This is a good idea with NetJets and their Marquis Jet program out there looking for customers and many travelers seeking hassle-free travel over discount travel. In addition, with more chartered travel opportunities, the price may fall making chartered travel more possible for a larger group of people.

As many of the U.S. airlines are experiencing difficulties, once again Virgin is thinking outside of the box to revolutionize the travel industry.

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Land Rover and Jaguar Leaving Ford's Toy Box?

It appears that Land Rover and Jaguar are on their way out from the Ford umbrella. With Ford losing money like a drunk in Vegas, they are desperately looking for a way to minimize the bleeding. This includes getting rid of some of their less performing lines. This comes after they've dumped ultra-luxury brand Aston Martin in March for $848 million. The next step, as it appears now is that Jaguar is a candidate for another private equity buyout, and the more popular/valuable Land Rover will probably up with another car company (probably not BMW, its former owner). We'll see if this is the beginning of Ford's as well as the other U.S. Automaker's turn around to catch Toyota, Honda and the others.

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6.11.2007

After a Month of Blogging

Alright, I've been blogging for about a month now. From going from just a little experience, to a month's worth caused me to learn a few things and get some tricks up my sleeve. I'd like to share what I've learned so far. Maybe it will inspire some changes or even inspire new blogs.

Let's start off with Blogger, the blogging service that I use. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the service. It's very intuitive and easy to use. All the settings and menus are explained well, so you can get the results you're looking for. If you need more customization and are feeling ambitious enough to mess with HTML, you have easy access to the template of your blog to make any needed changes or additions. For a starter's blog service, Blogger has everything you will need.

Next, a service I've been really happy with is MyBlogLog.com. This service provides a few features including a list of recent visitors (if they're registered with MyBlogLog), a list of how many visitors came, what they looked at and where they came and left. In addition MyBlogLog gives you the opportunity to build your blog community and get more traffic for your site.

Another great tool is whos.amung.us, this simple tool allows you to track how many users are on your site currently. If you go to my site it probably says "1"! Also, they just added a feature that you can customize the color scheme of your whos.amung.us badge.

The last main tool that I think every blogger should consider is Technorati. This site is great because it is the main blogging network, provides feedback on how strong your site is with their Authority Rating. This is nice because you can see how influential your blog is becoming.

Other sites you should take a look at:

Google Adsense
- If you're making a blog make some money

BloggerForum.com
- Advice from other bloggers

Alexa.com
- Once you get bigger check your rankings

1and1.com
- Get your own domain name for your blog

Anyway, these are tips from a novice. Hopefully this advice will get you on your way to developing an up and coming blog!

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Yahoo Kicks Itself While Down

In a tiny bit of irony, Yahoo currently has a link on its finance homepage for the article titled: "Yahoo CEO Faces Shareholder Backlash". Other than the humor of Yahoo putting bad news about itself on its own website, it shows a disturbing trend for Yahoo supporters. Most people know this but Yahoo's market share has eroded quite a bit to upstart Google since 2004.

From the AP: "The IPO gave Google a market value of $23 billion compared with $39 billion for Yahoo at the time. Google's stock price has increased by more than sixfold since then, creating nearly $140 billion in additional shareholder wealth. Meanwhile, Yahoo's stock price has fallen by about 4 percent during the same period, leaving the company with a market value of $37 billion."

Its funny, while I do think Yahoo currently has more products to offer than Google, there are two differences that separate the two. When Google releases a new product or a similar product to Yahoo, it is much more intuitive and higher quality (Google Earth v. Yahoo's Mapquest). The second thing is when Google releases products they know how to make money off of it (Mostly by their unobtrusive text ads).

While Yahoo is down, they are by no means out. However, I do hope their products and business structure improves so they can give Google a greater run for their money. That would make both businesses more competitive and therefore better for the internet consumer in the long run.

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6.10.2007

How About a $1 Salary?

Here's an interesting article about CEO salaries. Many CEOs receive only $1 per salary per year. The first inclination is that they are very benevolent and love their company or that they are so personally wealthy that they can afford to do their job for free.

Not quite.

According to the AP article: "Of the 386 Standard & Poor's 500 CEOs whose companies reported under the Securities and Exchange Commission's expanded disclosure requirements this year, salary accounted for only 9.5 percent of total pay"

Where does the rest of this derived value come from? Stock options. These little beauties let a person purchase stock at a pre-determined discount price from the current going rate. This adds up to millions for these CEOs. Is that a good idea? Depends on your perspective. For successful companies it can be easily argued that the leaders of company put the company in position for success, so the CEOs deserve high payment as a reward. On the other hand, if a CEO is leading a company with a plunging stock price, then maybe they're not necessarily earning their pay, but rather collecting a large stock option determined paycheck.

Regardless, it is good to make note that someone taking $1 salary isn't always getting that one dollar per year. It's always good to keep this in mind, what appears transparent on the surface isn't always the case when you go deeper into the situation.

[Photo: Maurice Flower]

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6.08.2007

Consolidated Links as of 08.June.2007

Few interesting stories floating around the past few days

Should You Buy the Iphone?
- Pricey, yes, cool, yes, worth it. Not so sure.

Hoffman Secures Place in History With 500th Save
- Anytime, someone in baseball does something never done before its an important event. 500 saves is an important event.

WiTricity, Wireless Energy Just About Reality
- Just what I need, something else to fry my brain. Who cares, if I can charge my digital camera without digging out the power cord, I'm game.

New China Bankruptcy Law Takes Effect
- Remember that failing wonton shop that's losing money back in Beijing that you own? You can file bankruptcy now.

Reuters DealZone
- Reuters. Every Hour. Every Second. Keep up with the Deals.

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6.07.2007

TripAdvisor Provides Trip Advice

OK, a few days ago I did a quick review on travel websites here and here. So now you have all these resources to buy airplane tickets, hotels and rental cars. The next logical question is you have a huge list of hotels in one particular area at the same price, which do you choose? This is where TripAdvisor.com comes in.

TripAdvisor, is essentially what the name says, a website which advises you on which hotels to choose. This is done by providing user review of a huge amount hotels as well as attractions in specific cities, maps and more. So let's say you're heading to Budapest (which was originally two cities), Hungary and you need to find a place to stay. If you type in Budapest in the search box then get to the Budapest hotels section you can see that the #1 hotel in Budapest is the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal. You can click on the hotels and read travelers reviews on the hotel and get average pricing as well. They have reviews for attractions for each city as well. This way you can decide in advance whether to go biking through the street or take a open air tour bus for example.

The only thing that I try to keep in mind when I read all the reviews here is that different people have different standards. For some people short sheeting a bet can cause them to review a hotel poorly whereas that wouldn't matter for me. In other words, take each specific review with a grain of salt, but pay attention to the trend as a whole.

I think TripAdvisor is a great resource for anyone doing vacation planning. What sites do you like to use as there are many to use, like VirtualTourist.com. Comment below and let me know what you think.

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Future HOFer Gets 500 Saves


Trevor Hoffman, San Diego's star closer got 500 saves tonight. Quite a feat, Trevor is now the one and only member of the 500 save club!

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6.04.2007

China Get Knocked Down, but gets Up Again

The Shanghai Composite Index took a 8.3% knock today. United States stock markets didn't care and got an itsy bitsy gain.

This got me wondering, we all know China has had gains hand over fist for the past few years now and it got me wondering how long it is going to continue. Also, assuming the gains keep continue what is the best venue to capitalize on those gains? A quick search uncovered these few ideas.

Morgan Stanley China Closed End Fund (CAF) - be like a Chinese citizen and get some of your own Class A shares in Chinese companies!

IShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (FXI) - Highlights include PetroChina, China Mobile Ltd., and China Life Insurance Company.

Both of these idea seem pretty encouraging assuming the China market is going to continue upwards. With the Chinese Government trying to slow and reform its market at the same time this is far from a sure thing. What do you think, how would you get in the Chinese market if at all? By all means, I am not an expert on the Chinese markets. I would love to hear from everyone's comments regarding what they think. Is there anyone from China out there that has an inside (not insider) perspective?

[Photo: Wam Mosely]

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Consolidated Links

Private Equity Grabs Avaya

Business phone company Avaya is grabbed up for cool $8.2B.

Palm (Pilot) Quarter way to Total Private Equity Ownership

Elevation Partners purchase $325M personal digital organizer.

Murdoch Meets Bancroft in Meeting of Media Moguls


News Corp. meet Dow Jones, Dow Jones meet News Corp. They are both richer than you.

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