Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in April, 2014

I Was On Fox Business Network

By on Apr 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Last week I was invited to appear on Varney & Company, the midday (EDT) market commentary on Fox Business Network hosted by Stuart Varney. It was an opportunity to talk about my novel, This is Rage, and how some of the themes it encompasses apply to current tensions in the Bay Area around affordable housing, income inequality, and the more heated rhetoric of late around our ability to discuss and resolve complex social issues rather than pour rocket fuel on the fire pit. I didn’t think the live TV interview would be a walk in the woods, and to be honest, I’m not unhappy with it. Varney said what he had to say, I said what I had to say, and I appreciated the near five minutes on-air to promote my book. The strange part for me was what followed. Here are a few of the tweets: U VILE SOCIALIST COMMIE POS I FELT RAGE WHEN U WERE TALKING! U R a SOCIALIST donkeyshit4brains COMMUNIST traitor U DO NOT BELIEVE IN CAPITALISM OR LIBERTY I wanted to reach thru screen n STRANGLE your ignorant ass! Ken is a fool – his comment that if you are rich you should be happy to pay whatever is asked of you – priceless!! And this comment, posted on my Amazon page: Saw Goldstein on a Biz program and turns out he’s just another Jew who believes government is not stealing enough from us. Why are so many Jews of this collectivist mindset? I am not sure what I said to upset those people to that extent, nor did I go on the show to talk about tax policy. My point was rather straightforward: when you hear an outcry, listen, and before you dig in your heels and fan the flames of a conflict, ask yourself if there is something you can do to ease the tension. I do think the repercussions of widening inequality will continue to be severe, not only on moral grounds but in the name of good business. Historically it has been the buying power of the middle class that fuels corporate earnings, and that middle class can remain strong only if income levels do not further polarize. To know my career history—which was strangely not...

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Piercing the Bubble

By on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Almost daily now I’m asked my opinion of whether we are in a stock market bubble. It’s a curious line of inquiry, and inevitably leads to any number of further ponderous meditations that follow: “What do you think of that King Digital IPO; did Candy Crush get crushed for good?” “Is Bitcoin for real, and is now the time to get in?” “Does it look like Zynga is on the mend? Did they hit bottom and create a buying opportunity?” “What happens to Yahoo’s price post Alibaba?” “Box or Dropbox, which do I want to own?” I can almost imagine Didi and Gogo having this conversation in a contemporary reworking of Waiting for Godot. They’d go back and forth on each headline for a few minutes, and the resolving cadence would always be the same: “Nothing to be done.” They’d probably be right. And wise. And existential. And of course they would be ignored, two bums with nothing but holes in their shoes, playing insufferable word games beside a dying tree. And I’m probably the wrong person to ask. Crystal-ball predictions of dicey, professionally picked over offerings seem as wacky to me as hardworking people forking over portions of their paychecks to the state government for lottery tickets. Speaking of which, there’s something even stranger afoot of late, a new pattern of dialogue running through the frenetic networking schmooze scene. It goes something like this: “WhatsApp wasn’t worth $19 billion.” “Agreed.” “It was worth more.” “You’re kidding. How do you figure?” “Well, look at what Snapchat turned down at $3 billion. That app had 36 million users and would have gone for $92 per user.” “Oh, I get it. And WhatsApp had 450 million users, so at $19 billion, that’s a mere $42 per user.” “You’re right, what a steal. Facebook should have paid more. I bet they would have if WhatsApp had played coy.” “What about Instagram?” “I don’t know, what’s Instagram?” In most discussions of relative valuation based on anything more complicated than revenue, EBITDA, growth rate, and some basic ratios like price/earnings, my head starts to hurt. Ignore all fundamentals, project abstract strategy on modeling unknown monetization value, and you lose me. That doesn’t mean I’m right, it just means I know when it’s the right time...

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