Time is Currency

I really liked this post from Arjun at Social Capital titled ‘Units of Time are the New Currency‘.

To lead in today’s world of global, social and mobile technology, one has to be relentless.

For Buffett, “buying a commodity and selling a brand” creates a moat around mindshare. For tech companies, a great product and well-known brand need to be defended by an ecosystem of other products.

Buffett’s not wrong, but technology has changed the nature of competition. While businesses were once considered only as valuable as the dividends they paid out, the “impenetrable” moats that let companies spit off excess cash are dwindling. A moat today is simply a temporary buffer that helps a company get ahead of the next innovation cycle.

Google is also out with their year in search. Think of all the time Google has put back in our hands with search and Google Maps.

Have a great Sunday.

Charts as Art and of Course Money.

I have been writing about my passion for ‘chart art’ here on this blog a long time.

I love charts. I must look at 500 a day. It has been my routine for 30 plus years.

Many of the new traders and investors being onboarded because of the crypto craze will fall in love with ‘technical analysis‘.

I am all for it, but it is a controversial subject.

One of my favorite classical chart artists is Peter Brandt. He shared this gem today which is meant for beginners, but is something the best pro’s practice all the time:

No matter what your strategy is…Keep it simple and build a routine.

Speaking of chart art…let’s look at the brokerages and exchanges which I have been recommending for months.

As JC (@allstarcharts) says…the Broker Dealers & Exchanges Index, one of the most important sector indexes on earth, is on pace for its 3 straight weekly close above the epic 2007 highs $IAI – this is not a bearish characteristic for stocks as an asset class imo.

Now that is a breakout…and if you can’t see it, well thats what makes markets!

Another 2018 Prediction…All-Time High – Nike Is About to Just Do It!

I can’t jinx Nike.

The stock is right at all-time highs and back above $100 billion.

The stock has been digesting massive Jordan and Tiger era gains since 2015.

Back in 2005, one of my first blog posts was about Nike and that it was a stock I would never sell.

My thesis:

Best commercials – always—-check
Best logo – checkomundo
Best athletes – checkerooo
Best distribution – feelin’ good Billy Ray
Golf – Just getting started

Ok…scratch the golf.

I’ve gone on to write often about Nike often the last 12 years.

I am sure I could spend thousands of hours going into the weeds and talk myself out of owning Nike.

I won’t.

Only Apple can compare with them at the highest level of ‘Fashology’.

They will benefit from blockchains and may one day create their own fitness/fuel focused currency.

It’s a BTFD stock (see stock market of shoes) and on my 8-80 list.

I think 2018 will be a good one.

PS – Earnings are next week so it could be volatile short-term.

A 2018 Prediction – More Fintech

I am blown away by the fintech explosion in 2017. I have been investing in financial startups (and creating a few) the last 11 years dreaming of a year like 2017. I have been trying to soak it all in and ponder what could happen in the coming years.

I don’t think we have seen anything yet.

It’s not just startups. The all-time high list is crawling with financials. Visa, Paypal, Schwab, Goldman, Blackrock…

I get the luxury of looking at the Stocktwits data that CEO Ian Rosen shares with me and while yes Bitcoin and Crypto is in a bananas growth and chatter phase, I am content knowing millennials are not chatting about oil, P/E ratios, gold and utilities.

I talk to Yoni Assia all the time and hear the growth numbers in crypto (deposits and volumes) and just shake my head. Etoro is now in over 150 countries. This is not a US phenomenon.

Today, our portfolio company Robinhood announced free options trading. CEO Baiju Bhatt announced that 200,000 people have requested it in the first 7 hours.

Coinbase is the number 1 app in the app store.

The mental athlete is cool. Compounding and network effects are cool. Investing is cool. Learning the language of the markets is cool.

It is almost impossible that a panic does NOT occur in 2018 and by panic I mean an all out acquisition spree.

Luckily for the leading banks their stocks are up and they have the currency to bid on the new fintech leaders. But they should move quickly because Facebook, Apple, Tencent, Alibaba and Google will be looking to make moves as well.

2018 – The Year of The Vape

The year 2017 was the year of the HODL. In the Crypto world ‘HODL’ has replaced HOLD and it dates back to this post in a crypto forum in 2013.

While Trump tweeted, the world voted to take their money off the grid.

Politics ruled the airwaves, the internets and our minds, but crypto sneaked into the mainstream.

We inhaled a lot of noise.

Speaking of inhale…

My old friend Mark Scatterday blew my mind yesterday when I finally got to see his Jupiter Vape. He pinged me to come see his fast growing company down the street from our home as he heard I was back in Phoenix.

Mark started the Gripp which I have written about here often and it was my true education on start-ups. I cold called him to sell him stocks and he turned the tables on me and I went all in on his Company. Mark and I travelled the world selling Gripps in the 1990’s. We were balls deep in balls. There is no balls joke we have not heard.

Mark is an incredible product guy and after The Gripp went on to run product at Njoy (which was a unicorn for a moment). Mark was their man in China figuring out the product and manufacturing. Long story short, nJoy missed the vape explosion.

Mark left nJoy to build a high end Vape.

What he has built is a Keurig for the industry. His company is called Jupiter Research and the core product is Jupiter.

Here we are smiling yesterday after a long brainstorming session on growth and financing. I might have tried a few of the accessories…

For those unfamiliar with Vapeing, hit my son Max up or check Wikipedia.

Mark is the comeback king as well. He battled cancer this year and has it beat while taking his company from $0 to a $60 million run rate.

I am excited for him.

I am excited about my new Vape (not that I inhale).

2017 – The Year of the Comeback

There is much to complain about in 2017 and I am guilty of my share, but…

What. A. Year.

The routine of sharing ideas and writing here daily forced me to focus on startups, stocks, markets and now crypto that could make money. As a trend follower this was not a year to miss. I have NO idea when this ends but am really enjoying the silly (but legal) gains of the last 60 days.

I wont make predictions quite yet for 2018, but I am working on some good ones.

In the meantime, what a year for comebacks in 2017. In no specific order…

1. The Retail Investor – If you lost money investing or trading kittens in 2017 please just lie to your friends. This is the year they will believe anything.

2. Speculation – Not just Bitcoins…the 3x leveraged homebuilder ETF (aptly named $NAIL) is the best performing ETF year to date (2008 is so 1929)…

2. Emerging Markets – ‘I leveraged my Philippines triple leveraged ETF to buy Bitcoins’ is the line I will be using to brag about gains at holiday cocktail parties. Insert any ’emerging market’ and ‘leverage’ and ‘crypto’ and be the center of attention at all your holiday parties.

3. Bitcoin – Remember that cute 25 percent flash crash in March of this year…don’t worry because nobody does. The biggest brand of all time, the biggest returns of all time, available to practically anyone, built in 7 years with zero employees. Remarkable.

4. Winkelvoss Twins – I got these two handsome knuckleheads totally wrong. Kudos to them for taking their Facebook settlement money and buying Bitcoin (now Billionaires off just $11 million invested). That was way cooler than being a founder of Facebook. I hope they run for President and Vice President and anti-trust the shit out of a few people. Revenge is best served as President.

5. Patrick Byrne – If you have not followed the bizarre stylings of the Overstock founder and CEO, take a few moments and catch up. He is having a fun last laugh in 2017…

6. Smokers…Vapes and Weed baby! I don’t smoke, but I might make 2018 the year of inhaling!

I think 2017 proved that pretty much anything is possible in money and markets.

I am so excited to have the markets flattened and the onramp widened as we head into 2018.

It took longer than I imagined to happen and happened in ways I did not quite forsee, but what a time to have a smartphone, a strong social network and a few shekels.

Winter in Phoenix

Ellen and I are back in Phoenix for the winter.

While the kids are in college at University of Arizona for the next 3-5 years in Tucson, Ellen had the idea to be closer to them and her family once again so we moved off Coronado. We are just summer Coronado people for the foreseeable future (the locals call them Zonies). Summer Coronado is better than no Coronado.

Ellen has bought into my light and mobile thinking so she was willing to spend the fall in New York so we could avoid the Phoenix heat of August and September.

I think next year we will do November in Tel Aviv and just September and October in New York.

Today, Rachel and I spent 12 hours in the car doing a round trip to Coronado to pick up the puppies. She took my Unicorn hat but did a great job driving…

I am excited to be reunited with Lindzee…

I still love the desert, especially in the winter. The colors as the sun sets are fantastic…

I’m excited to be settled in and back to work in the Phoenix Social Leverage office with Tom.

Yo Alexa…When Should I Sell my Bitcoin?

I have 14 hours of driving ahead of me this morning. Rachel and I are off to San Diego to pick up our dogs and drive them back to Phoenix. We miss them so much as we did not take them to New York for the fall.

Speaking of unconditional love…

I have been getting a lot of love from the readers of this blog and it feels great.

I am in search of LOL’s and love of course, but when it flows so regularly, the Larry David (cynic) side of me says I am due for a digital shitkicking.

Speaking of digital shitkicking…WTF is wrong with Alex Jones and more specifically the people that actually tune into his nonsense. This clip made me shake my head:

Speaking of shaking my head…I thought Josh Brown and I keynoting at a crypto conference 10 days ago would be the top for Bitcoin, but CNBC refused to let me have a moment of glory.

Instead they ran this piece Friday on ‘How to Buy Bitcoin‘ as Bitcoin hit 19,000 (and while Coinbase was busy warning their customers to stop being insane):

As I write this Bitcoin is at $13,000…hello Newman!

I expect Monday afternoon CNBC will run with how to short Bitcoin using Futures as Bitcoin hits $4,000.

It felt right to be selling some Bitcoin last week and the week before. I like selling when I can and not when I have to.

PS – Here are some great reads and listens on the subject of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies:

1. Is Bitcoin Just a Brilliant Wealth Distribution Machine?

2. Coinbase and Bitcoin Singularity.

3. Bitcoin is not a Ponzi Scheme or a pyramid scheme…It is a Nakamoto Scheme.

4. Decrypting Crypto – podcast.

PSS – Make sure you watch ‘Godless’ on Netflix. It was fantastic. Jeff Daniels performance was epic. Thanks to Mrs. Dittman, the lovely wife of David Dittman my Peloton editor for the reco!

The Next Winner of the Bitcoin Trend….Goldman Sachs?

I am long Goldman Sachs.

I know I know…

Hear me out on this idea…

Goldman Sachs has been basing for a long time now. The stock continues to look prime for a big breakout:

The catalyst for a leg higher may actually be Bitcoin.

On Sunday, bitcoin futures becomes a thing:

CME Group, the largest derivatives exchange in the world, as well as one of the oldest, will launch bitcoin futures trading on Dec. 18th, while CBOE Global Markets, which owns the Chicago Board Options Exchange (the largest U.S. options exchange) and BATS Global Markets, plans to beat CME to the punch by opening its own trading on Dec. 10th.

As futures markets develop, the banks will start to make the profits that only the bitcoin holders had been making.

Both the CME and the CBOE futures settle in cash, not in actual bitcoin. Just imagine the legal and logistical hassle if two reputable and regulated exchanges had to set up custodial wallets, with all the security that would entail.

So, it’s likely that the bitcoin futures market will end up being even larger than the actual bitcoin market.

Side effects

That’s important. Why? Because institutional investors will like that. Size and liquidity make fund managers feel less stressed than usual.

The bitcoin market seems to be excited at all the institutional money that will come pouring into bitcoin as a result of futures trading. That’s the part I don’t understand.

It’s true that the possibility of getting exposure to this mysterious asset that is producing outstanding returns on a regulated and liquid exchange will no doubt entice serious money to take a bitcoin punt. Many funds that are by charter prohibited from dealing in “alternative assets” on unregulated exchanges will now be able to participate.

And the opportunity to leverage positions (get even more exposure than the money you’re putting in would normally warrant) to magnify the already outrageous returns will almost certainly attract funds that need the extra edge.

But here’s the thing: the money will not be pouring into the bitcoin market. It will be buying synthetic derivatives that don’t directly impact bitcoin at all.

In english…Goldman Sachs and their cronies have their hands in your Bitcoin wallets.

The thrill of endless price rises for Bitcoin might be gone for the time being.

The next few weeks should be interesting.

I would not be surprised to see the home gamers push Ethereum through the roof in protest!