Predictions for 2008…What/Who Won't Work AND Burrito's are the 'New' Hand Roll

I outlined my stock thoughts for 2008 last week and some portfolio changes .

Today I wanted to outline my thoughts on what/who won’t work in 2008…hopefully in an effort to stop you from bottomfishing.

1. Blockbuster and Blu-Ray are both lame. The few times I actually have to go to Blockbuster every year should not be made even more confusing with Blu-Ray. What a horrid idea for all parties involved. Why do I really need to see ‘Die Hard with A Vengeance in even ‘better’ quality. It just sucks in a better picture and louder. Blockbuster stores give you ‘coodies’ by the way.

2. Facebook will go backwards in valuation. I don’t buy into the biggest demographic being 35 plus. I don’t believe CNN polls either. Though I was a fan at $1 billion, I get almost zero utility from really trying to figure it out. I totally get why college kids like it though and Facebook is not going away.

3. Sushi will slow down. We are way oversushi’d. I still love Sushi but it’s boring and I am cutting way back. That’s good news for Chipotle’s (CMG). Burrito’s are the new Hand Roll. I have been long Chipotle’s since the IPO and have sold it down way too fast. It’s not even a top 10 position of mine, but remains my favorite growth idea outside Apple.

4. This TV Network audience chart will actually begin to accelerate:


Chart Hat Tip – Paul Kedrosky .

5. Writers will continue to lose very badly in their strike. Right or wrong they are so screwed. Teaming with venture capitalists like ‘Funny or Die’ did, won’t work (unless you are Will Ferrell). Not yet anyways.

6. No one will solve the video advertising problem in 2008. It has never been cheaper to make or distribute video, but never harder to get an audience despite the chart in Number 4. There are a lot of bets being made in this space because the rewards are so high. Alley Insider is writing about the problem almost daily .

7. U.S Financial stocks (save exchange stocks) will continue to underperform, way underperform.

8. The US dollar will still not work. Our government likes it that way.

9. Renting music is lame. Always will be.

10. Steve Ballmer.

Disclosure – Long Chipotle’s (CMG)


  1. Nick O'Neill says:

    Call me crazy but I think I’ve come up with a solution for number 6 and I thought already had. Didn’t you sell you video blog? There must have been some sort of advertising value there :) I agree that untargeted video blogs are worthless.

    You need a valuable & targeted audience and that’s what you have with wallstrip. I think there is one portion that the video blogs are missing and i’m about to add that to mine :) Tune in during the next couple weeks and I’ll be sure to start posting one of the solutions I have.

  2. haileris says:

    Nick: it’s kind of douchey to cocktease/advertise your own blog, unless you’re being coy/performance-arty and showing that the proper way to advertise for videoblogs is to spam other blogs. ALL ABOARD THE FAILBOAT.

  3. jim says:

    as a striking writer, I’m curious as to what “continue to lose” means. Not that I’m saying we’ve won anything, but that phrase makes it sound as though we’ve been dealt a series of blows, when to my mind, we were up a creek from the start and haven’t moved from that position. It was a forced choice – take nothing on new media or strike – so we struck.

    I totally agree that developing alternative production and distribution won’t bail us out of anything, long term or short. Will Ferrell can make more in a day doing a cameo than a year’s worth of work on Funny or Die.

  4. JimK says:

    To Jim the writer… Howard’s chart on networks is a stark reminder of the plight your employers face… rapidly declining viewer market share. The point being, that you’re working in an industry where the glory days are long past.

    You’re a fairly well paid bunch, relative to national averages and fortunate to sit all day long in climate controlled offices and not doing physical labor. Certainly, you’re poorly paid relative to what a Will Ferrell makes, but that’s the writer’s lot in life as just one cog in a big Hollywood wheel. It’s always the talent who is going to make the big bucks even if writers to the “worker bee” lifting to provide the basic content. IF you get a quarter of what you’re group is looking for out of new media, you’ll be lucky.

    Good luck to you. Examine the auto industry to see what happens to organized labor once the glory days are past. At least they can’t use robotic automation to replace you… at least not yet. Hey, maybe you guys should be extra careful lest they find a bunch of funny writers in India and outsource your work.

  5. mike – just had sushi for love.

    jim – a speedy strike I hope, but doubt it. networks are tupid and have the leverage

    jim k – right on. see travel agents aqnd stock brokers as well

  6. jim says:

    i wasn’t comparing what i make to will farrell’s $, but what he makes in movies to what he makes in new media.

    as an organized labor force we may not be effective in the long run but I have no fear that we will be replaced or made irrelevant. the broadcast network model is a dinosaur and everybody knows it, but tv is far from dead. scripted tv on cable nets has been expanding rapidly in the last few years and more production companies want in. more movies are made each year than the last, not by studios, but by entities who see that the business can be profitable.

    Will we (writers, directors, actors) be able to maintain a share of the emerging and divergent revenue streams? The top tier talent will be able to negotiate those deals for themselves, it’s the rest of us the guild is fighting for and what we’re striking about.

  7. Mike says:

    Happy New Year Howard,

    Blu Ray = “Beta/VHS”

    I never liked SUSHI and NEVER will.

    I DON’t watch TV (Maybe a sporting event here and there, about 10 hours per year – MAYBE)

    The writers are doomed! Time to start looking for a new career if you ask me. Go read – “The World is Flat” for some great idea generation (At least it can point you in the direction of what NOT to do in the future).

    Finaincail stuff “is what it is” – go with the flow.

    Bottom line – generate your own ideas!

    Thanks for a great year!

  8. Happy New Year Howard!

    My only objections are #7 and #8. By the end of 2008 financials will be roaring back and the U.S. dollar will surge after the second quarter. The Fed will lower rates but not beyond 3.5% and they will raise back again which will be good for the dollar. I don’t think will get a recession in 2008.

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