“Sky isn’t falling” blogger says

Steven Hodson, over at the Inquistr blog, says “the sky isn’t falling” and “What do we get instead? We get people like Robert Scoble who have for the last few days done nothing more than highlight everything bad going on.”

Ahh, yes, ye olde blame the messenger post.

See, all week long I’ve been saying we’re in a death spiral. They argued with me last weekend and on Monday before the market had its worst week ever. Ever.

They are still fighting with me after I’ve been talking with CEOs, investors, normal people, and reading thousands of feeds and watching CNBC nearly around the clock.

Funny that even the experts are wrong. CNBC’s Fast Money show has been calling for the market to go up on every show this week. It, instead, went down down down.

I prefer to tell people the truth as I’m hearing it, even if that truth is tough and nasty.

That said, if you’re watching my posts here I’m looking at this like a hurricane moving across our economy.

It hit New York three weeks ago. Then it moved onto other parts of our economy (auto industry is getting hammered right now, for instance).

My radar screen shows its full effects have not yet been felt in the tech industry for a variety of reasons. But it is headed here.

Now, what happens in a storm? Some trees topple. Some stand tall.

But right now to try to smile and say everything is going great and you should be optimistic is wrong. Sorry, it’s wrong.

It’s time to take steps to make sure your businesses are strong and can withstand the storm. If they aren’t strong, it’s time to fix that and fix that fast.

As the storm passes over us in the next quarter (financial results are still to come, so there’s still a couple of bad quarters to come, particularly with consumer electronics companies and retailers as they get a full sense of how bad the Christmas buying season will be) we’ll certainly see winners and losers.

Last weekend I was really freaked out. I was right to be freaked out.

Today I’m a lot more calm and am “working the problem.”

So, Steven is right too. The truth is often in between two extremes. But I won’t apologize for losing my head on Monday. If you had listened to the optimists and had bought on Monday you would have lost another 18% of your wealth. If you had listened to me and sold you’d have a lot more to buy back in or to use to keep paying your bills over the next year or two.

It’s why I keep asking questions here, too. I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t have many answers at all. But the neat thing about this is you can share your opinions and views of what’s going on and give us ideas for how to ride out the coming storm.

Post a URL if you have some good ones, we’ll all appreciate it.

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108 thoughts on ““Sky isn’t falling” blogger says

  1. Robert,

    I never said things things are going great or that we should all be dancing around the campfire slapping ourselves on the back. I did say that there were hard times ahead. I did say that it wasn’t going to be an easy time.

    But I also said that the leaders like yourself aren’t making things any better with constant posts about jobs being cut and lots more to come. I don’t think you and others like you are making this transition period any more palatable with reports how the CEOs are loosing a few bucks on the stock market when chances are if they got to that level of busines they’re pretty smart people and didn’t get caught with their pants down – there were plenty of warning signs as long as you didn’t have you head stuck up the tech blogosphere all the way because for them everything was just rosy.

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  2. Robert,

    I never said things things are going great or that we should all be dancing around the campfire slapping ourselves on the back. I did say that there were hard times ahead. I did say that it wasn’t going to be an easy time.

    But I also said that the leaders like yourself aren’t making things any better with constant posts about jobs being cut and lots more to come. I don’t think you and others like you are making this transition period any more palatable with reports how the CEOs are loosing a few bucks on the stock market when chances are if they got to that level of busines they’re pretty smart people and didn’t get caught with their pants down – there were plenty of warning signs as long as you didn’t have you head stuck up the tech blogosphere all the way because for them everything was just rosy.

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  3. Over the last couple years I’ve found it particularly interesting to go back and read books written by business people that made it successfully through the depression. A couple easy ones to find are Conrad Hilton’s “Be My Guest” and Alfred Sloan’s “My Years with General Motors.” It’s interesting to see how businesses like Hilton Hotels adjusted during the depression by leveraging lease backs or General Motors becoming more and more “process” oriented after its early “tech” growth days. I’m not trying to equate the situations with those of today, but rather suggest there are some interesting tech and business stories that go back quite a few years and may give a bit of perspective about how to survive through tough changing times.

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  4. Over the last couple years I’ve found it particularly interesting to go back and read books written by business people that made it successfully through the depression. A couple easy ones to find are Conrad Hilton’s “Be My Guest” and Alfred Sloan’s “My Years with General Motors.” It’s interesting to see how businesses like Hilton Hotels adjusted during the depression by leveraging lease backs or General Motors becoming more and more “process” oriented after its early “tech” growth days. I’m not trying to equate the situations with those of today, but rather suggest there are some interesting tech and business stories that go back quite a few years and may give a bit of perspective about how to survive through tough changing times.

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  5. Allen and Steven: well, you see the world differently than I do. In the end we’ll all be judged by the credibility of what we said. You guys are being way too confident. You think I’m wrong. That’s cool. We’ll see where the truth ends up. Hopefully somewhere in the middle.

    Allen, if you are a weatherman and you saw a category 5 storm coming toward your town what attitude would you take? I’d be even more stringent than I am now about how bad it’ll be. It might turn out to be OK and your house won’t get flooded, but what if it does? Do you want me to hold back what I’m seeing and be more optimistic than I should be?

    Dave McClure says fear is too rampant: http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2008/10/fear-is-the-min.html

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  6. Allen and Steven: well, you see the world differently than I do. In the end we’ll all be judged by the credibility of what we said. You guys are being way too confident. You think I’m wrong. That’s cool. We’ll see where the truth ends up. Hopefully somewhere in the middle.

    Allen, if you are a weatherman and you saw a category 5 storm coming toward your town what attitude would you take? I’d be even more stringent than I am now about how bad it’ll be. It might turn out to be OK and your house won’t get flooded, but what if it does? Do you want me to hold back what I’m seeing and be more optimistic than I should be?

    Dave McClure says fear is too rampant: http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2008/10/fear-is-the-min.html

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  7. Jeremy: actually you’re wrong. On FriendFeed several people said to buy into the market and that the market was a buying opportunity. That’s one reason I pushed back so hard. Now that silly talk is over for the most part. But the storm still hasn’t shown up here. How bad will it be? I don’t know, but I do know it’s bad enough to warn everyone that a Category 5 Hurricane is coming to town

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  8. Jeremy: actually you’re wrong. On FriendFeed several people said to buy into the market and that the market was a buying opportunity. That’s one reason I pushed back so hard. Now that silly talk is over for the most part. But the storm still hasn’t shown up here. How bad will it be? I don’t know, but I do know it’s bad enough to warn everyone that a Category 5 Hurricane is coming to town

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  9. Where do I give the impression of being confident Robert. All I am saying is that this excessive fear mongering is making things worse than maybe they are. On top of that bloggers such as yourself whose voice carries a lot of wight within the tech blogosphere should be be trying to cast more of a positive light on the situation. Just as we can affect the downward spin of a stock so we can bring it back up .. the same applies to the human spirit. You feed a human being enough crap and they begin to believe it with all their soul. Equally if you give them a reason to be hopefully change can happen and that is what we really need right – the believe in change and knowing we can effect that change.

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  10. Where do I give the impression of being confident Robert. All I am saying is that this excessive fear mongering is making things worse than maybe they are. On top of that bloggers such as yourself whose voice carries a lot of wight within the tech blogosphere should be be trying to cast more of a positive light on the situation. Just as we can affect the downward spin of a stock so we can bring it back up .. the same applies to the human spirit. You feed a human being enough crap and they begin to believe it with all their soul. Equally if you give them a reason to be hopefully change can happen and that is what we really need right – the believe in change and knowing we can effect that change.

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  11. I agree with your hurricane analogy Robert. It’s actually the exactly right one. Why? Because when the hurricane is about to hit ground, nobody knows exactly how much damage it’ll do. Some blow over, others level towns. Either way, you get prepared for something…

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  12. I agree with your hurricane analogy Robert. It’s actually the exactly right one. Why? Because when the hurricane is about to hit ground, nobody knows exactly how much damage it’ll do. Some blow over, others level towns. Either way, you get prepared for something…

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  13. Steven: based on my radar screen (conversations with dozens of industry leaders) my posts have not been “excessive fear mongering.” This was THE WORST WEEK IN THE MARKET EVER!!! How can you “excessively fear monger” on such a week?

    I’m not going to try to put lipstick on a pig just to make people feel better. Sorry. I’m seeing a Category 5 Hurricane coming toward Silicon Valley and there’s not much to do other than to say “it’s going to be bad” and putting up the metaphorical equivilent of storm windows. That helps my readers who will, maybe, take it more seriously than they otherwise would have.

    People on Monday were saying to buy into the market. That was stupid and would have cost my readers 18% of their wealth if I had taken that tactic.

    You really think that we can overturn a global credit crunch by writing positive words on our blogs? Man, I was egotistical before all of this but even my big ego doesn’t believe that. Watch out, I think you’re buying your own press releases too much here.

    That said, I’m over the bulk of my fear and am now working the problem and will report on what happens as this storm slams into Silicon Valley over the next quarter or two. I’ll also report on how people respond. Both with new innovations as well as culturally.

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  14. Steven: based on my radar screen (conversations with dozens of industry leaders) my posts have not been “excessive fear mongering.” This was THE WORST WEEK IN THE MARKET EVER!!! How can you “excessively fear monger” on such a week?

    I’m not going to try to put lipstick on a pig just to make people feel better. Sorry. I’m seeing a Category 5 Hurricane coming toward Silicon Valley and there’s not much to do other than to say “it’s going to be bad” and putting up the metaphorical equivilent of storm windows. That helps my readers who will, maybe, take it more seriously than they otherwise would have.

    People on Monday were saying to buy into the market. That was stupid and would have cost my readers 18% of their wealth if I had taken that tactic.

    You really think that we can overturn a global credit crunch by writing positive words on our blogs? Man, I was egotistical before all of this but even my big ego doesn’t believe that. Watch out, I think you’re buying your own press releases too much here.

    That said, I’m over the bulk of my fear and am now working the problem and will report on what happens as this storm slams into Silicon Valley over the next quarter or two. I’ll also report on how people respond. Both with new innovations as well as culturally.

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  15. Jeremy: yup, and there are winners and losers as a storm rolls through. Some people will find themselves with new beachfront property as their neighbors get washed away. Still doesn’t change the advice: everyone get out of town while the storm comes in!

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  16. Jeremy: yup, and there are winners and losers as a storm rolls through. Some people will find themselves with new beachfront property as their neighbors get washed away. Still doesn’t change the advice: everyone get out of town while the storm comes in!

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  17. Party like never partied, and then the grand bill comes due, so world at end, woe is me, 1929 redux…neither vast swing is accurate.

    Fundamentals are still there, command Soviet-styled governments and bad loans, notwithstanding. If you need money now, for big developments, get very liquid. If not, buy up and sit, wait out and benefit. Bear markets are godsends to people that work them. Common Sense 101.

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  18. Party like never partied, and then the grand bill comes due, so world at end, woe is me, 1929 redux…neither vast swing is accurate.

    Fundamentals are still there, command Soviet-styled governments and bad loans, notwithstanding. If you need money now, for big developments, get very liquid. If not, buy up and sit, wait out and benefit. Bear markets are godsends to people that work them. Common Sense 101.

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  19. Robert, It’s your authority that counts. It’s about mass psychology and mass reaction. People are scared, you are scared. People react irrational when they are scared. Their reaction is normally not the best one. Trying te be calm is hard. FUD are not good advisors when it comes to rational reactions. Rational reactions we urgently need right now. Nobody knows the truth, nobody knows what has yet to come. With all those social media stuff we have so many opinions, but wisdom is nowhere to find right now. We will see afterwards who was right and wrong. People need to separate facts from fictions, illusions from dreams and truth from lies. And I agree with Steven when he tells there are people lighten up the negative fire by talking (too often) negative. Remember, this is mass psychology. Neither a CEO nor a psychologist nor a economist can predict the future and if he can? Who will listen? It’s the authority who can influence people. It’s the people who listen to authorities.
    You’re telling Jeremy is wrong and you’re right(several people said to buy into the market). If so, and you trust those people, are you trading already? I assume you heavily invested and cashed already?
    And if you think you are the messenger? I hope you’re willing to send out a message based on the facts, not only opinions and predictions from someone you talked with in the FriendFeed rooms. I hope you’re willing to consult a stock market psychologist before you write the message.
    I can see a hurricane coming on the radar, but I can’t see a stock market hurricane coming on the radar. I only can assume there might be one coming. So, if you can spot this one, can I borough or rent your radar or can you post some screenshots? The question is, which facts to we need to believe there’s a hurricane, which facts do we need to tell which category? Oh and it’s quite easy to talk afterwards about who was wrong and who was right but is there a benefit If you know this afterwards? I don’t think so.

    BTW, I heard some Italian dude (Giulio Tremonti) told during a meeting of the IMF hedge funds should be banned. Now that’s great news with maybe tough times infront of us? (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081011/bs_nm/us_financial_italy_g7_2)

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  20. Robert, It’s your authority that counts. It’s about mass psychology and mass reaction. People are scared, you are scared. People react irrational when they are scared. Their reaction is normally not the best one. Trying te be calm is hard. FUD are not good advisors when it comes to rational reactions. Rational reactions we urgently need right now. Nobody knows the truth, nobody knows what has yet to come. With all those social media stuff we have so many opinions, but wisdom is nowhere to find right now. We will see afterwards who was right and wrong. People need to separate facts from fictions, illusions from dreams and truth from lies. And I agree with Steven when he tells there are people lighten up the negative fire by talking (too often) negative. Remember, this is mass psychology. Neither a CEO nor a psychologist nor a economist can predict the future and if he can? Who will listen? It’s the authority who can influence people. It’s the people who listen to authorities.
    You’re telling Jeremy is wrong and you’re right(several people said to buy into the market). If so, and you trust those people, are you trading already? I assume you heavily invested and cashed already?
    And if you think you are the messenger? I hope you’re willing to send out a message based on the facts, not only opinions and predictions from someone you talked with in the FriendFeed rooms. I hope you’re willing to consult a stock market psychologist before you write the message.
    I can see a hurricane coming on the radar, but I can’t see a stock market hurricane coming on the radar. I only can assume there might be one coming. So, if you can spot this one, can I borough or rent your radar or can you post some screenshots? The question is, which facts to we need to believe there’s a hurricane, which facts do we need to tell which category? Oh and it’s quite easy to talk afterwards about who was wrong and who was right but is there a benefit If you know this afterwards? I don’t think so.

    BTW, I heard some Italian dude (Giulio Tremonti) told during a meeting of the IMF hedge funds should be banned. Now that’s great news with maybe tough times infront of us? (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081011/bs_nm/us_financial_italy_g7_2)

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  21. In a storm like this one, you have to take into account what the medias are saying, because it influences a lot what people will do. And Robert, you are part of these medias. So anybody that is involved in this industry in particular should take into account whatever you say. Because lots of people are listening to you.

    You can be right, you can be wrong, but your voice has a big weight, don’t underestimate it.

    I think that the media industry has a great responsibility in such a crisis. Why ? Because beautiful things, good news, etc. don’t sell well. With new media like blogs and citizen journalists news are spreaded faster and clients are buying/selling faster too without analysis.

    Don’t follow what other are doing. Take time (if possible) to analyze the bilans of the company you invested in and make a decision. If you have no strategy and if you are just following the others, you are in big trouble. You cannot take a good decision in a hurry.

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  22. In a storm like this one, you have to take into account what the medias are saying, because it influences a lot what people will do. And Robert, you are part of these medias. So anybody that is involved in this industry in particular should take into account whatever you say. Because lots of people are listening to you.

    You can be right, you can be wrong, but your voice has a big weight, don’t underestimate it.

    I think that the media industry has a great responsibility in such a crisis. Why ? Because beautiful things, good news, etc. don’t sell well. With new media like blogs and citizen journalists news are spreaded faster and clients are buying/selling faster too without analysis.

    Don’t follow what other are doing. Take time (if possible) to analyze the bilans of the company you invested in and make a decision. If you have no strategy and if you are just following the others, you are in big trouble. You cannot take a good decision in a hurry.

    Like

  23. I will side with Robert in this one. I live in Mexico City. as far off as you can be from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. The BMV (Mexico WallStreet) took a huge dive because of the ripples started in USA.

    This week i just happened to lost 37% of all my money. and credit rates and supplies went up adding a extra overall 15% inflation over cost of life.

    I happen to have friends all over the world. i have a friend in iceland that told me he pretty much lost most of what he has and is now in debt. a friend in Tokyo who lost around the same percentage of what i lost. even if the quantities are different of course.

    The effects on this are on a GLOBAL scale. it was also the WORST WEEK EVER for me and i don`t own Tech Stock or live in the USA.

    So it is not just one Storm. but MANY storms and they have been unleashed upon all the world. Fortunately. Mexico had 90 billion dlls in Federal Reserves and have put a 50 billion dlls plan for National Reinvesting of this money. so i hope we will do well here in Mexico to weather the storm USA has caused. so if that is not a good example on how this affects overall economy and consume. then i don`t know what would be.

    This would be easily confirmed if anyone bothered to see what people in other countries lost too because of this horrible week. so it is not just a USA thing anymore.

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  24. I will side with Robert in this one. I live in Mexico City. as far off as you can be from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. The BMV (Mexico WallStreet) took a huge dive because of the ripples started in USA.

    This week i just happened to lost 37% of all my money. and credit rates and supplies went up adding a extra overall 15% inflation over cost of life.

    I happen to have friends all over the world. i have a friend in iceland that told me he pretty much lost most of what he has and is now in debt. a friend in Tokyo who lost around the same percentage of what i lost. even if the quantities are different of course.

    The effects on this are on a GLOBAL scale. it was also the WORST WEEK EVER for me and i don`t own Tech Stock or live in the USA.

    So it is not just one Storm. but MANY storms and they have been unleashed upon all the world. Fortunately. Mexico had 90 billion dlls in Federal Reserves and have put a 50 billion dlls plan for National Reinvesting of this money. so i hope we will do well here in Mexico to weather the storm USA has caused. so if that is not a good example on how this affects overall economy and consume. then i don`t know what would be.

    This would be easily confirmed if anyone bothered to see what people in other countries lost too because of this horrible week. so it is not just a USA thing anymore.

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  25. I wonder how many people here that took the “expert’s advice” and sold off their stock that really needed the money? Did I lose a lot last week? sure. But I didn’t sell. in fact, I dumped more money in because the prices are low (even in the auto industry that is getting pummeled right now because when this is over, everyone will need cars). I don’t need the money that I have in stocks for 20 or 30 more years. Why do I care what happens in the next 1 to 2 years? I’m not blindly dumping money in. but I’m not in a panic to get my money out and turn it into “cash under the mattress”.

    There may be a hurricane coming, but if you freak out and panic, it’s going to be worse than if you just keep your head and look for the opportunities.

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  26. Maybe you’re so freaked out because you and many others have hyped up and rely on an pseudo-industry with no real product, no proven revenue stream, no inventory, and no cash hoard to help ride out the tough times. Essentially there is nothing TANGIBLE that has been produced by these “2.0” companies that would lead revenue to be generated, especially if you don’t count all the VC funding/gambling which has been pumped in (and which no doubt has seriously dried up recently…).

    Having cool icons, lots of tweets, followers, links and hype ain’t tangible and ain’t real. If you actually provided a product that adds value to the consumer then I think all this doom-saying would be less of a worry for you.

    2 great and on the money lines from the article linked to
    “For too long we have been led to believe that we can just waltz around creating business that have no tangible income stream.”

    “We can no longer just whip up a few pages of HTML, plaster it with some nice colors and big buttons and plan on living off of VC millions in the hope that at some point in the future that advertising they plugged in will pay the bills”

    Like

  27. Maybe you’re so freaked out because you and many others have hyped up and rely on an pseudo-industry with no real product, no proven revenue stream, no inventory, and no cash hoard to help ride out the tough times. Essentially there is nothing TANGIBLE that has been produced by these “2.0” companies that would lead revenue to be generated, especially if you don’t count all the VC funding/gambling which has been pumped in (and which no doubt has seriously dried up recently…).

    Having cool icons, lots of tweets, followers, links and hype ain’t tangible and ain’t real. If you actually provided a product that adds value to the consumer then I think all this doom-saying would be less of a worry for you.

    2 great and on the money lines from the article linked to
    “For too long we have been led to believe that we can just waltz around creating business that have no tangible income stream.”

    “We can no longer just whip up a few pages of HTML, plaster it with some nice colors and big buttons and plan on living off of VC millions in the hope that at some point in the future that advertising they plugged in will pay the bills”

    Like

  28. I wonder how many people here that took the “expert’s advice” and sold off their stock that really needed the money? Did I lose a lot last week? sure. But I didn’t sell. in fact, I dumped more money in because the prices are low (even in the auto industry that is getting pummeled right now because when this is over, everyone will need cars). I don’t need the money that I have in stocks for 20 or 30 more years. Why do I care what happens in the next 1 to 2 years? I’m not blindly dumping money in. but I’m not in a panic to get my money out and turn it into “cash under the mattress”.

    There may be a hurricane coming, but if you freak out and panic, it’s going to be worse than if you just keep your head and look for the opportunities.

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  29. I say stick to your guns Robert. The government, wall street, banks – they all want people to just stay in the market and think positive. But just stop and think what happens in either situation. Say the markets totally collapse, well joe middle class bears the brunt of the pain in the form of lost investments and layoffs. Then say the government intervenes and bails everyone out. We get reamed up the rear with future tax freaking bail them out! This is a total load of crap, average joe middle class people get the shaft either way. Someone has to stick up for the general public, because all I’m seeing in the MSM are talking heads protecting the politicians, banks, and Wall Street idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

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  30. I say stick to your guns Robert. The government, wall street, banks – they all want people to just stay in the market and think positive. But just stop and think what happens in either situation. Say the markets totally collapse, well joe middle class bears the brunt of the pain in the form of lost investments and layoffs. Then say the government intervenes and bails everyone out. We get reamed up the rear with future tax freaking bail them out! This is a total load of crap, average joe middle class people get the shaft either way. Someone has to stick up for the general public, because all I’m seeing in the MSM are talking heads protecting the politicians, banks, and Wall Street idiots who got us into this mess in the first place.

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  31. Robert, I think you have been 100% right in your commentary on the economic crisis. Sure, its not what everyone want to hear, but they need to understand that we are heading into a very tough period.

    I posted recently that this may be a Turning Point in Marketing and Media History http://tinyurl.com/4cesr4

    I might be wrong, but time will tell.

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  32. Robert, I think you have been 100% right in your commentary on the economic crisis. Sure, its not what everyone want to hear, but they need to understand that we are heading into a very tough period.

    I posted recently that this may be a Turning Point in Marketing and Media History http://tinyurl.com/4cesr4

    I might be wrong, but time will tell.

    Like

  33. I don’t even know that I disagree with you – but it’s in the way you are presenting these messages – I understand that you are scared (or you sure seem that way) but putting additional fear into people than they already probably have is unneeded.

    When you step on the fly and see that it’s dead, you don’t need to bring out a can of spray, and squish it into 5 million pieces.

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  34. I don’t even know that I disagree with you – but it’s in the way you are presenting these messages – I understand that you are scared (or you sure seem that way) but putting additional fear into people than they already probably have is unneeded.

    When you step on the fly and see that it’s dead, you don’t need to bring out a can of spray, and squish it into 5 million pieces.

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  35. Robert,

    But wouldn’t you say, using your hurricane analogy, that your reaction has been, “we are all going to die”, instead of a let’s be calm and collected and see what are the steps we need to take to weather out/survive the storm. I was never that interested in behavioral economics. Given the reaction of people to what’s been happening, I am now.

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  36. Robert,

    But wouldn’t you say, using your hurricane analogy, that your reaction has been, “we are all going to die”, instead of a let’s be calm and collected and see what are the steps we need to take to weather out/survive the storm. I was never that interested in behavioral economics. Given the reaction of people to what’s been happening, I am now.

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  37. Zee: Allen said he unsubscribed from me over on FriendFeed and Twitter.

    Deepak: I looked over all my FriendFeed items and if you take them, along with my blogs, in whole I don’t even get close to saying “we’re all going to die.”

    It seems that you are reading my tweets with some sort of bias. Same with Steven. But that’s OK. Makes the world go around. It’s still better to get all of our fears out here and talk about them. If I’m being a little irrational, well, it was an irrational week.

    Let me repeat again. IT WAS THE WORST WEEK WALLSTREET HAS EVER SEEN. If I can’t get a little irrational on such a week then, sorry, you probably don’t need to be reading me. I’m human, not a PR firm.

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  38. Zee: Allen said he unsubscribed from me over on FriendFeed and Twitter.

    Deepak: I looked over all my FriendFeed items and if you take them, along with my blogs, in whole I don’t even get close to saying “we’re all going to die.”

    It seems that you are reading my tweets with some sort of bias. Same with Steven. But that’s OK. Makes the world go around. It’s still better to get all of our fears out here and talk about them. If I’m being a little irrational, well, it was an irrational week.

    Let me repeat again. IT WAS THE WORST WEEK WALLSTREET HAS EVER SEEN. If I can’t get a little irrational on such a week then, sorry, you probably don’t need to be reading me. I’m human, not a PR firm.

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  39. Allen: I’m emotional. I cry when a technologist shows me an awesome demo. I cry when I see something going wrong in our society. I’ve never believed in holding back my emotions from my writing. Why? It’s a philosophy that it’s best to share the highs and the lows with my audience. It’s also a philosophy that by talking about my fears we can get to the bottom of them faster and better and figure out how to get over them.

    So far people aren’t countering my fears. They aren’t telling me how to get over them. They are just asking me not to discuss them in public. Sorry, that is NOT leadership. I’m not a PR person. I guess that’s what separates you from me. I’m going to tell you the truth as I see it, even if you don’t like it and unsubscribe.

    Funny, I don’t unsubscribe from people who say things that disturb me, unless they are a jerk and attack others.

    Like

  40. Allen: I’m emotional. I cry when a technologist shows me an awesome demo. I cry when I see something going wrong in our society. I’ve never believed in holding back my emotions from my writing. Why? It’s a philosophy that it’s best to share the highs and the lows with my audience. It’s also a philosophy that by talking about my fears we can get to the bottom of them faster and better and figure out how to get over them.

    So far people aren’t countering my fears. They aren’t telling me how to get over them. They are just asking me not to discuss them in public. Sorry, that is NOT leadership. I’m not a PR person. I guess that’s what separates you from me. I’m going to tell you the truth as I see it, even if you don’t like it and unsubscribe.

    Funny, I don’t unsubscribe from people who say things that disturb me, unless they are a jerk and attack others.

    Like

  41. To clarify i didn’t unsubscribe from you on twitter πŸ™‚ and you know I like you Robert.

    It’s ok to be emotional, we all are in one way or another. It’s ok to be scared. But what I am struggling with from you Robert is what seems like panic to the level of needing a pill of some sort. I don’t get it. Is sh** bad? Yes. Everyone knows it’s bad. It’s like if you and me were standing outside in the rain and you say “it’s raining” – duh.

    This might be crazy but I am going to try it…think of your readers as your kids.. do you try to scare the crap out of your kids about what’s going on now? Of course not, you may share some details and explanation of why we can’t go to x or buy y, but scaring them into thinking the end is near is crazy (i think). but yet here, you are doing it.

    My suggestion is to step away from the Internet/tv for a few hours and then come back and read your posts and comments. Or try to read them as if another person wrote them. Anyway just my thoughts… and I’ve been through many ups and downs in my career including the “bubble” and several others – both from the accountant side and the tech side.

    I will share once again a video – it works in this situation:

    Like

  42. To clarify i didn’t unsubscribe from you on twitter πŸ™‚ and you know I like you Robert.

    It’s ok to be emotional, we all are in one way or another. It’s ok to be scared. But what I am struggling with from you Robert is what seems like panic to the level of needing a pill of some sort. I don’t get it. Is sh** bad? Yes. Everyone knows it’s bad. It’s like if you and me were standing outside in the rain and you say “it’s raining” – duh.

    This might be crazy but I am going to try it…think of your readers as your kids.. do you try to scare the crap out of your kids about what’s going on now? Of course not, you may share some details and explanation of why we can’t go to x or buy y, but scaring them into thinking the end is near is crazy (i think). but yet here, you are doing it.

    My suggestion is to step away from the Internet/tv for a few hours and then come back and read your posts and comments. Or try to read them as if another person wrote them. Anyway just my thoughts… and I’ve been through many ups and downs in my career including the “bubble” and several others – both from the accountant side and the tech side.

    I will share once again a video – it works in this situation:

    Like

  43. Well Robert you have been doing the right thing in raising the red flag in Silicon Valley … but this is a global collapse of epic proportions which will make 1929 look like a picnic by comparison something far worse than your Cat 5 analogy. We will get some interim rallies but this “bear market” is headed down … even below the current estimated support level of 7000.

    If you want the best information possible …go to
    Nouriel Roubini’s blog and read his current posts & especially his 12 steps to meltdown … which he wrote in February …by the way we are now at Step 12!

    http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini

    The IMF just issued a warning of financial collapse at 5:08 PM EDT. Your hurricane is moving pretty fast!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081011/bs_nm/us_financial3_4

    Like

  44. Well Robert you have been doing the right thing in raising the red flag in Silicon Valley … but this is a global collapse of epic proportions which will make 1929 look like a picnic by comparison something far worse than your Cat 5 analogy. We will get some interim rallies but this “bear market” is headed down … even below the current estimated support level of 7000.

    If you want the best information possible …go to
    Nouriel Roubini’s blog and read his current posts & especially his 12 steps to meltdown … which he wrote in February …by the way we are now at Step 12!

    http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini

    The IMF just issued a warning of financial collapse at 5:08 PM EDT. Your hurricane is moving pretty fast!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081011/bs_nm/us_financial3_4

    Like

  45. Actually, Robert, if you had listened to me about AAPL, you’d be up $10 (11.6%) today. πŸ™‚

    You keep mentioning that CEOs are scared. I’m a CEO and I’m not scared. I’m certainly not excited or anything, the situation certainly isn’t pleasant. But getting scared doesn’t help anyone – it only exacerbates the problem. This is an opportunity for anyone who doesn’t lose their head.

    There’s a big big difference between “This sucks” (it does) and “The sky is falling” (it’s not). The markets have been cyclical for as long as there have been markets. We’ve had a big boom, so we’re due for a correction. This isn’t scary or crazy or unexpected. Rational people have been expecting this, and rational people are ready to take advantage of it.

    Fear breeds panic. And if you panic, you’ll lose your shirt and contribute to the problem. Be part of the solution, not the problem. πŸ™‚

    Like

  46. Actually, Robert, if you had listened to me about AAPL, you’d be up $10 (11.6%) today. πŸ™‚

    You keep mentioning that CEOs are scared. I’m a CEO and I’m not scared. I’m certainly not excited or anything, the situation certainly isn’t pleasant. But getting scared doesn’t help anyone – it only exacerbates the problem. This is an opportunity for anyone who doesn’t lose their head.

    There’s a big big difference between “This sucks” (it does) and “The sky is falling” (it’s not). The markets have been cyclical for as long as there have been markets. We’ve had a big boom, so we’re due for a correction. This isn’t scary or crazy or unexpected. Rational people have been expecting this, and rational people are ready to take advantage of it.

    Fear breeds panic. And if you panic, you’ll lose your shirt and contribute to the problem. Be part of the solution, not the problem. πŸ™‚

    Like

  47. The is not a “correction” folks …the credit markets are frozen, we have forced selling by mutual, pension, & hedge funds to meet reallocations, margin calls, or redemptions! There has been a silent run on deposits over $100k and now $250k …this is no “correction”.

    The IMF warned on Saturday that the global financial system was on the brink of meltdown, while France and Germany pushed ahead with a pan-European crisis response to try to prevent the worst global downturn in decades.

    At a joint news conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had “prepared a certain number of decisions” to present at a Sunday meeting of European leaders as they work feverishly to restore blocked credit markets to working order.

    The United States appealed for patience, but the International Monetary Fund stressed that time was running short after leading industrialized nations failed to agree on concrete measures to end the crisis at a meeting on Friday.

    Time is running out …
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/10/imf-warns-of-systemic-meltdown.html

    Like

  48. The is not a “correction” folks …the credit markets are frozen, we have forced selling by mutual, pension, & hedge funds to meet reallocations, margin calls, or redemptions! There has been a silent run on deposits over $100k and now $250k …this is no “correction”.

    The IMF warned on Saturday that the global financial system was on the brink of meltdown, while France and Germany pushed ahead with a pan-European crisis response to try to prevent the worst global downturn in decades.

    At a joint news conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had “prepared a certain number of decisions” to present at a Sunday meeting of European leaders as they work feverishly to restore blocked credit markets to working order.

    The United States appealed for patience, but the International Monetary Fund stressed that time was running short after leading industrialized nations failed to agree on concrete measures to end the crisis at a meeting on Friday.

    Time is running out …
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/10/imf-warns-of-systemic-meltdown.html

    Like

  49. Robert,

    Please continue “telling the truth” as you see it. Reading many other blogs, you wouldn’t even know that there was a global credit crisis.

    And I agree with you 100% that it is better to be well-prepared for the “hurricane”.

    I don’t remember you telling your readers to panic and sell all their stocks. Neither are you saying that the bottom is here and that they should jump into the market.

    What you are doing is proving those of us outside Silicon Valley with an insider’s view of what is taking place – something that CNN and MSNBC are not equipped to do even if they are interested in doing so.

    Thank you for your valuable contributions here and on Friendfeed. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  50. Robert,

    Please continue “telling the truth” as you see it. Reading many other blogs, you wouldn’t even know that there was a global credit crisis.

    And I agree with you 100% that it is better to be well-prepared for the “hurricane”.

    I don’t remember you telling your readers to panic and sell all their stocks. Neither are you saying that the bottom is here and that they should jump into the market.

    What you are doing is proving those of us outside Silicon Valley with an insider’s view of what is taking place – something that CNN and MSNBC are not equipped to do even if they are interested in doing so.

    Thank you for your valuable contributions here and on Friendfeed. Keep up the good work!

    Like

  51. Robert,
    I don’t see any leadership or advise coming from your blog, just panic. In times like this panic only makes things worse.

    What I worry about is that the fundamental problem underlying the crises (mortgage backed securities and other financial instruments so obtuse that no one knows how much their assets are worth nor how much those of their creditors are worth) is not something that looks like it will be easily addressed even with the bail out.

    Like

  52. Robert,
    I don’t see any leadership or advise coming from your blog, just panic. In times like this panic only makes things worse.

    What I worry about is that the fundamental problem underlying the crises (mortgage backed securities and other financial instruments so obtuse that no one knows how much their assets are worth nor how much those of their creditors are worth) is not something that looks like it will be easily addressed even with the bail out.

    Like

  53. Markets fall because companies need cash, so they are forced to sell their assets. In this environment, there are few buyers, so the markets fall. The bad news (from my perspective) is that the few buyers that have cash come from China and Middle East. They are going to buy a lot of cheap assets. What this means for the US and Europe, we can only speculate.

    Like

  54. Markets fall because companies need cash, so they are forced to sell their assets. In this environment, there are few buyers, so the markets fall. The bad news (from my perspective) is that the few buyers that have cash come from China and Middle East. They are going to buy a lot of cheap assets. What this means for the US and Europe, we can only speculate.

    Like

  55. Have you already read this?

    “The non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated.”

    Like

  56. Have you already read this?

    “The non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated.”

    Like

  57. Dare: OK, you attacked. Now the onus is on you. What would YOU suggest the tech industry do?

    By the way, if you are only seeing panic here you aren’t reading me very carefully. I’ve written several semi positive blogs and this week I’ve done several fun videos that are hardly “panic.”

    Like

  58. Dare: OK, you attacked. Now the onus is on you. What would YOU suggest the tech industry do?

    By the way, if you are only seeing panic here you aren’t reading me very carefully. I’ve written several semi positive blogs and this week I’ve done several fun videos that are hardly “panic.”

    Like

  59. Don: touche about AAPL. We’ll see how they do over the next few weeks. Personally I think you’re nuts if you think AAPL is a strong company going into Christmas. People who are laid off don’t buy consumer electronics. The new $800 Apple netbook sounds pretty cool, but only when you remember it is competing against netbooks that are $300-$400. Let’s recompare AAPL later, OK?

    As for the rest of the market you would have lost 18% this week. So, wonderful. From here I still sense downward pressure on the markets.

    Like

  60. Don: touche about AAPL. We’ll see how they do over the next few weeks. Personally I think you’re nuts if you think AAPL is a strong company going into Christmas. People who are laid off don’t buy consumer electronics. The new $800 Apple netbook sounds pretty cool, but only when you remember it is competing against netbooks that are $300-$400. Let’s recompare AAPL later, OK?

    As for the rest of the market you would have lost 18% this week. So, wonderful. From here I still sense downward pressure on the markets.

    Like

  61. You asked CEOs to talk about their expectations but they are “only” spectators for now. So they will confirm your fear, and here you go, you have your vicious circle.

    Please link to economics expert like Brad DeLong or Krugman, Vox EU etc … Not all FINANCIAL crisis generate ECONOMIC crisis. 1987, do you remember ? Looking to the indexes like the Dow Jones and stock market is for CNN but it doesn’t learn anything to the real problem : the credit market etc … I dont’ say that there will be no problem but for now we have a problem with banks not tech industry.

    Sorry to say that but with your current “big titles” on the “future” crise in tech sector, you look like CNN or FOX NEWS.

    Like

  62. You asked CEOs to talk about their expectations but they are “only” spectators for now. So they will confirm your fear, and here you go, you have your vicious circle.

    Please link to economics expert like Brad DeLong or Krugman, Vox EU etc … Not all FINANCIAL crisis generate ECONOMIC crisis. 1987, do you remember ? Looking to the indexes like the Dow Jones and stock market is for CNN but it doesn’t learn anything to the real problem : the credit market etc … I dont’ say that there will be no problem but for now we have a problem with banks not tech industry.

    Sorry to say that but with your current “big titles” on the “future” crise in tech sector, you look like CNN or FOX NEWS.

    Like

  63. I should be more specific, when you say ” IT WAS THE WORST WEEK WALLSTREET HAS EVER SEEN”, you talk about stock market (based on the different comment i’ve read).

    So now don’t look to the stock market but : credit default swaps (cds) and TED spread if you want real information on the crise.

    Like

  64. I should be more specific, when you say ” IT WAS THE WORST WEEK WALLSTREET HAS EVER SEEN”, you talk about stock market (based on the different comment i’ve read).

    So now don’t look to the stock market but : credit default swaps (cds) and TED spread if you want real information on the crise.

    Like

  65. don – you think aapl was something – look at wachovia! if you bought it when it dropped to a buck you would have made 600% or 6x your money in 2 weeks!! πŸ™‚

    Like

  66. The standard wisdom is that one should hold on to one’s (hopefully well thought through) stock portfolio in a large correction because one only has loses if one sells one’s stocks. This may or may not be appropriate now. I think not and I’ve personally sold everything.

    The economists that I’ve read agree that we’re a) already in a recession and b) that it will be a deep recession lasting at best for another 3 quarters and more likely something matching the historic duration of anywhere from 2 to 10 years until the beginning of recovery. Holding on to one’s stock portfolio may be ok if one has a long long time frame to see the recession through. But it begs the question, will the companies that you’re invested in a) survive the recession and b) will they be wise investments on the other side.

    Like

  67. The standard wisdom is that one should hold on to one’s (hopefully well thought through) stock portfolio in a large correction because one only has loses if one sells one’s stocks. This may or may not be appropriate now. I think not and I’ve personally sold everything.

    The economists that I’ve read agree that we’re a) already in a recession and b) that it will be a deep recession lasting at best for another 3 quarters and more likely something matching the historic duration of anywhere from 2 to 10 years until the beginning of recovery. Holding on to one’s stock portfolio may be ok if one has a long long time frame to see the recession through. But it begs the question, will the companies that you’re invested in a) survive the recession and b) will they be wise investments on the other side.

    Like

  68. I think you are right Robert to have at least some fear at this time in the economy. That is one way of learning a lesson. I would like to borrow a line from John Lennon “let it be” that is for those businesses that had bad business practices let them fail and go away. Those whom had good business sense will still be here and the economy will be better in the long run. We were folish to think ENRON was the only company that was lieing to the public about their business, we should of learned a lesson then. Maybe we will learn NOW.

    Like

  69. I think you are right Robert to have at least some fear at this time in the economy. That is one way of learning a lesson. I would like to borrow a line from John Lennon “let it be” that is for those businesses that had bad business practices let them fail and go away. Those whom had good business sense will still be here and the economy will be better in the long run. We were folish to think ENRON was the only company that was lieing to the public about their business, we should of learned a lesson then. Maybe we will learn NOW.

    Like

  70. By using a weather metaphor and saying “it hit New York 3 weeks ago” validates the accusation against you and advertises the fact you might not really grasp this.

    The hurricane you’re talking about isn’t the actual crisis; the panic surrounding it is the hurricane. The real challenges and opportunities are coming from massive geological changes to the landscape.

    Following CNBC around the clock is the worst way to try to understand it because the data coming out of minute-by-minute events right now can be anti-informative.

    From a narrow tech perspective, ya, some of it might be useful in the near term for ‘weathering the storm.’

    But these are tectonic changes that have been going on for more than a year, not just a meteorological interruption. If you leave town, that “beachfront” property might not even exist anymore: it could be a desert or a swamp, or the coast might move further inland.

    It’s scary if you’re established, but I can’t think of anything more exciting for truly adventurous and entrepreneurial spirits.

    My advice is to invest heavily in knowledge and tools for mapping and re-orienting the emerging landscape. Understand the big shifts, as measured in decades and centuries, rather than quarters and years. I’ve been writing about how and why to do this since last August; my first blog post was about the credit crunch, and my thinking has developed to correspond with the crisis as it has evolved.

    It isn’t sexy, or assuring, but if you want to win the beachfronts and high ground of the future this is the only investment I can recommend right now. Start here if you’re willing to invest for the long-term:

    http://brianfrank.ca/2008/03/the-new-pragmatist-2/

    Like

  71. By using a weather metaphor and saying “it hit New York 3 weeks ago” validates the accusation against you and advertises the fact you might not really grasp this.

    The hurricane you’re talking about isn’t the actual crisis; the panic surrounding it is the hurricane. The real challenges and opportunities are coming from massive geological changes to the landscape.

    Following CNBC around the clock is the worst way to try to understand it because the data coming out of minute-by-minute events right now can be anti-informative.

    From a narrow tech perspective, ya, some of it might be useful in the near term for ‘weathering the storm.’

    But these are tectonic changes that have been going on for more than a year, not just a meteorological interruption. If you leave town, that “beachfront” property might not even exist anymore: it could be a desert or a swamp, or the coast might move further inland.

    It’s scary if you’re established, but I can’t think of anything more exciting for truly adventurous and entrepreneurial spirits.

    My advice is to invest heavily in knowledge and tools for mapping and re-orienting the emerging landscape. Understand the big shifts, as measured in decades and centuries, rather than quarters and years. I’ve been writing about how and why to do this since last August; my first blog post was about the credit crunch, and my thinking has developed to correspond with the crisis as it has evolved.

    It isn’t sexy, or assuring, but if you want to win the beachfronts and high ground of the future this is the only investment I can recommend right now. Start here if you’re willing to invest for the long-term:

    http://brianfrank.ca/2008/03/the-new-pragmatist-2/

    Like

  72. B Frank: that’s totally false to say there isn’t an actual crisis going on. Companies aren’t able to get credit. I’m hearing that from all over. My brother’s bar has seen sales drop all year long, far before I started talking about it and before most people knew there was an economic problem coming. Saying stuff like what you just said makes you look out of touch and wrong. Just saying.

    Like

  73. B Frank: that’s totally false to say there isn’t an actual crisis going on. Companies aren’t able to get credit. I’m hearing that from all over. My brother’s bar has seen sales drop all year long, far before I started talking about it and before most people knew there was an economic problem coming. Saying stuff like what you just said makes you look out of touch and wrong. Just saying.

    Like

  74. It’s like Mom always told me… if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. πŸ™‚

    ….

    Like

  75. It’s like Mom always told me… if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. πŸ™‚

    ….

    Like

  76. β€œThe non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated.”

    Haha, so our country is on the brink of default and you pretend that the problem is nicely isolated? Are you serious?

    Like

  77. β€œThe non-financial sectors of our economy will not suffer much from even a prolonged banking crisis, because the general economic importance of banks has been highly exaggerated.”

    Haha, so our country is on the brink of default and you pretend that the problem is nicely isolated? Are you serious?

    Like

  78. You’re like Jim Cramer’s infotainment…you’re right about one-third of the time. Macroeconomics is not your strong point so I take what you say about the economy with a grain of salt. On technology, however….

    Like

  79. You’re like Jim Cramer’s infotainment…you’re right about one-third of the time. Macroeconomics is not your strong point so I take what you say about the economy with a grain of salt. On technology, however….

    Like

  80. Sorry, it would’ve been more clear for me to write “the panic surrounding *the crisis* is the hurricane.” The point of my comment was that the hurricane metaphor isn’t strong enough to describe the underlying crisis. I certainly don’t deny there is one.

    I’ve been working hard for the past year to develop constructive ways to think and talk about the crisis. I guess I lost my head — like you said you did on Monday. The combatative tone was out of line. It isn’t the way to address our problems.

    Apologies and best regards.

    Like

  81. Sorry, it would’ve been more clear for me to write “the panic surrounding *the crisis* is the hurricane.” The point of my comment was that the hurricane metaphor isn’t strong enough to describe the underlying crisis. I certainly don’t deny there is one.

    I’ve been working hard for the past year to develop constructive ways to think and talk about the crisis. I guess I lost my head — like you said you did on Monday. The combatative tone was out of line. It isn’t the way to address our problems.

    Apologies and best regards.

    Like

  82. RR, I was quoting NY Times article written by Casey B. Mulligan (a professor of economics).

    Casey provides an interesting, positive viewpoint, and is a pro.

    Anyway, it seems that the financial situation has become a beast with a mind of its own. Can anybody control it at the moment? Was there a serious design flaw in the system?

    Like

  83. RR, I was quoting NY Times article written by Casey B. Mulligan (a professor of economics).

    Casey provides an interesting, positive viewpoint, and is a pro.

    Anyway, it seems that the financial situation has become a beast with a mind of its own. Can anybody control it at the moment? Was there a serious design flaw in the system?

    Like

  84. I think the reason why people are coming after you for pessimistic reporting, is partly because we only hear your broad economic views when stuff is going badly. If you only report the economic news when it is negative you are adding to the cosmic balance of negativity so I think the complaint that you are fuelling the downward spiral is actually somewhat warranted.

    Please report on how great the financial markets are when all this is over with as much vehemence and my wish for reporting karma is compensated for more than adequately. I do think your insights are as sharp as ever though πŸ™‚

    Like

  85. I think the reason why people are coming after you for pessimistic reporting, is partly because we only hear your broad economic views when stuff is going badly. If you only report the economic news when it is negative you are adding to the cosmic balance of negativity so I think the complaint that you are fuelling the downward spiral is actually somewhat warranted.

    Please report on how great the financial markets are when all this is over with as much vehemence and my wish for reporting karma is compensated for more than adequately. I do think your insights are as sharp as ever though πŸ™‚

    Like

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