Memorial Day 2012 Round Up of the Best Posts

Memorial Day, when we remember that many sacrificed for our freedom, many made the ultimate sacrifice.

It pains me to see those who protest against those who serve and served, when their ability to make mendacious and hateful comments against our military are protected by those who defended that right to free speech.  Except for Jane Fonda who was over in Viet Nam and conspired with the enemy, John Murtha and John Kerry who served and later demeaned our soldiers, most of these protesters haven’t been there and have no idea of the hell these people go through.

Rep. Allen West

Remembering our guardians at the gate

by Rep. Allen West
05/28/2012

The solemn act of honoring those who have fallen in battle is a custom that seems to have faded in importance to our nation over time.

Nowadays, many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At cemeteries across the country, the graves of the fallen are sadly ignored, and worse, neglected.

While there are towns and cities still planning Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some think the day is for honoring anyone who has died, not just those fallen in service to our country.

Perhaps they do not know how deeply our nation once appreciated those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the principles we hold most dear. Perhaps those very principles of individual sovereignty, freedom and liberty are no longer so important.

It was not always so.

In 1868, on May 5th, Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day,” was officially proclaimed by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11.

General Logan asked that we cherish “tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes. Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders.”

Freedom is never free.

Here is a round-up of coverage.

The importance of Memorial Day

Presidential proclamation

If you leave the blog here, watch this short video narrated by John Wayne on taps:

Honoring the Fallen

Memorial Day by Blackfive, a MilBlogger

Times Free Press, note it has the casualties from each war.

US Department of Veterans Affairs listing of Events

The Patriot Post

Memorial Cemetery in Belgium

Arlington Cemetary

The meaning of Memorial Day

The Sacrifices We Salute

How An Average Joe Can Be A Millionaire By Doing Simple Principles

Notice that I didn’t use the words becoming rich.  Having a full life, belief in God, friends, family or a passion for doing something is rich.  Becoming a millionaire is about money.

Next, this subject has been addressed by the more knowledgeable than I, but I’m going to talk to the average Joe like me, which is the likely reader here.

Finally, I don’t claim to know it all, nor do I claim to be in any financial category.  I do observe trends and try to learn from them.  Hopefully I’m eating my own dogfood.

HOW IT IS DONE

It is simple math.  You either make money or spend less, or a combination of the two.  I realize that we have a burdensome government, a tough economy and a next to impossible IRS tax code.  In fact the real unemployment number is not what you read in the main stream media, but the U6 rate which as of this writing is 14.5%.

For the purposes of becoming a millionaire, we will assume employment.  That means get a job instead of living on entitlements, because that will disqualify you from this discussion.

Sure it is easy to have received Facebook stock or have invented Facebook, but the average millionaire doesn’t have that at their discretion.

USE YOUR MONEY TO MAKE MONEY

This means compounding what you have in ways other than just putting it in the bank.  I had a roommate who was a stockbroker and he told me many stories of secretaries making minimum wage who came to him at retirement with 7 figure 401K accounts.  They saved in a way that maximized the return on their investment.  This usually involves a company match and some diversification.  It also assumes that you take risk when you are younger and seek advice or study investing voraciously as it is a mystery to most….despite the fact that everyone thinks they know about it.

Part of your diversification also means not putting everything in the stock market.  As an example, real estate has just undergone a busted bubble (thanks to the Community Reinvestment Act which never should have been enacted), but it means there are properties to be had for a song right now and are ripe for the picking.  They will grow and become more valuable.  My advice is no different from what you’d expect.  Start out small and work your way up.  That process allows you to learn about what value really is, and compound your earnings into larger investments that have bigger payoffs.

There are many other ways, but the concept is the same, save and invest wisely by starting small and growing your profits and portfolio.  You must also study and read or you could throw your money down the drain if you think you know everything.  It also involves patience.  If you recall the story from my roommate, it was saving and investing over a lifetime

HOW TO LEARN

There are articles ad-infinitum to read about the aforementioned.  The other way is to talk to people who have done this.  I suggest that you start with Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial Ministries if you are starting out (or are in trouble, or anywhere in between).  It is a tried and true method of handling you money.

Who you talk to also matters.  There are people who talk in $10’s of thousands, $100’s of thousands, millions or Zuckerberg’s and Gates’.  I suggest you seek out those who are in the highest category possible as you need to think big in making and investing.  I don’t have coffee with Warren Buffet, but his advice is readily available.

Find those who are successful and ask them how they did it.  I’m betting that you’ll find there is no secret code or magic key, they just worked at it and kept their long-term goals of financial independence in mind, and kept check over their human nature.

SAVE YOUR MONEY

The other side of the equation is savings.  In other words you need to spend less and when you do, spend wisely.  Of the people I worked with at my last job, many were high salaried executives who were in debt because they had a keeping up with (or passing) the Jones mentality.  This was especially true of those in the New York area for some reason (but demographics shouldn’t really matter).  They had big houses with unfurnished rooms because they were house poor.  Living within your means is important which is my next segue.

NEED VS. WANT

Including the basics of food, clothing and shelter, one has to look at the way one buys things.  Most buy what they want rather than what they need.  If you adopt the buy it tomorrow instead of now mentality, you likely will realize that you don’t really want it as badly as you think.

There is the adequacy (not delusions of adequacy ;-)) vs. luxury mentality also.  A Casio, Timex or Seiko watch tell as good of time as does a Rolex, so unless you have money to burn, why are you buying the Rolex?  This applies to cars, clothes or virtually any tangible item.  Ask yourself, self do I need this/do I need to have the very best/am I showing off or would what I can really afford what I have?  I have relatives who have to have the very best, but have wasted as much money as I’ve earned on things to show off.

My son said that some people need to wear their paycheck.  You can see them coming down the road in cars that are raised with shiny rims and a 24 thousand watt stereo.  Others have to order the best wine, food and show off at restaurants (my brother-in-law).

Back to the person who knows this better than most, here is a story about expensive car drivers:

But what if Ranger Rich is like many people who define rich in terms of income instead of net worth? Certainly many drivers feel the need to display their socioeconomic achievements by acquiring prestige makes of motor vehicles.  They may think that those who are successful in generating high incomes drive luxury brands.  And correspondingly drivers of more common makes have dull normal income credentials.  But the hard data suggest that the level of prestige of a car and the income of its driver are not anywhere near being perfect correlates. In fact, many drivers of luxury makes have neither the levels of income nor net worth which would qualify them as high economic achievers.

Along these lines, Joann Muller, writing for Forbes.com, poses “what the rich people really drive.” She defines rich people in terms of income, not net worth.

. . . the richest people were the most likely to buy luxury brands [39% for people with household income above $250,000 vs. 8% for those people who earn less than $100,000 a year].

. . .61% of people who earn $250,000 or more aren’t buying luxury brands at all.

Her analysis indicates that those households with high incomes are more likely to drive luxury cars.  But just because someone is driving a luxury brand it does not necessarily mean that the driver has a high income or a high net worth, for that matter.

Further, here is a story about how the average millionaire deals with car buying.

You have to spend on things that will appreciate, not sparkle.  Again, my relatives are the worst offenders who have overspent on toys, baubles, cars and anything else they can waste their money on.  It baffles me.  When they bought real estate, they over paid, over leveraged and bought for show instead of ROI.

DEBT AND LEVERAGE

This gets most people in trouble.  If you can’t pay off your credit card each month, you effectively are paying more for what you bought (because of the interest).  Compounding works for debt in the same way as it does for savings.  It is the accumulation that is the issue.  I’m not just picking on credit cards, anything can be substituted here.  If you saved first, you could buy it for less and your want will likely decrease.

For housing, it used to be that you had to put at least 10% down, but due to the above mentioned CRA (can you tell I loathe that legislation?) one could buy a house they couldn’t afford because they were told they qualified for it…. with no money down.  You were PLAYED for a fool on this.  Living below your means is the best policy.

If you care to splurge on something, it’s OK….just don’t borrow.

The same can be said for leverage.  I’ll stay on housing here.  Banks will always want you to buy more as the more you borrow, the richer they get.  Typically one is paying at least 3 times the amount for a big-ticket item buy leveraging which brings me to my next segue.

PAY OFF YOUR HOUSE

The wisest know that man can not serve two masters.  When you have a huge mortgage hanging over your head, it is your boss/master/slave driver/keep you up at night worry/cause of divorce or many other calamities.  The bank won’t be calling on you to take your home away nor will you have to file bankruptcy (again, my relatives).

Besides owning a house within or below your means, paying it off early is the best way to get out of debt and improve your cash flow.  Take out a mortgage less than 30 years, pay more than the minimum and do everything you can to pay it off early.

Forget the argument that it is a tax deduction.  Congress is aiming at trying to take that away as I type.  Also, any money you get back on taxes is just an interest free loan to the government at your expense.

By doing this, for most people it will likely be one of the best long-term financial decisions they can make.

CONTROL YOUR DESTINY

Note: I am quoting Dr. Thomas Stanley here.  It is better told than I could say it, but it clearly is the moral to the story and what I would have said:

In The Millionaire Next Door I quoted the words of a corporate sales professional, a millionaire whom I interviewed.  He like other self made millionaires said that he had a “go to hell fund. . . just in case my employer suggests (insists) that I leave Austin for corporate headquarters in Rottenchester.”  He never had to leave Austin and he added, “PTL.”  In other words, [the millionaires next door] have accumulated enough wealth to live without working for ten or more years.

I was reminded of these words of wisdom after reviewing an email from Ms. F who currently resides in a lovely community in the Southern United States:

I went to my local library this morning, hoping to borrow The Millionaire Next Door. However, the only available book was in Spanish, so I borrowed “Millionaire Women Next Door” instead. By the time I completed the second paragraph on page 8, I had collapsed in a fit of “craughter” – simultaneously crying and laughing at my sad truth. My newest work assignment is no less than 8,200 miles, 18 hours of flying time and 12 time zones away from everyone who means the most to me in this world. Simply put, the situation stinks, but I had convinced myself that it was necessary to pay the bills. Suffice it to say that I have renewed by concerted efforts to become a cultivator of wealth, and I plan to share my transformation with you soon. Thank you for creating this compilation of evidence-based encouragement!

What precipitated Ms. F “crying and laughing?”  Consider the words from Millionaire Women Next Door:

Aren’t you growing tired of being among the ranks of hunter-gatherers?  Do you enjoy your hyper consumption lifestyle so much that you must fly out of town every week to earn a paycheck to pay your bills?  . . . begin making the transformation to a cultivator of wealth.   Think about that the next time you are ten thousand miles from home, surrounded by strangers, and flying in dreadful weather.   It is up to you.  Do you want to spend your life as a hunter and gatherer of income, earning a million mileage points?  . . . those financially indpendent folks. . . .  They make their own decisions about their next destination.  Right now, you and your career are essentially corporate property.  Neither one of you has the luxury of self-determination.

I also stated that:

The [millionaire business] women profiled herein will not tolerate such an existence.  They are free.  They are cultivators of wealth and satisfied with life.  They are in control of their own destiny.

INCOME AS A PERCENTAGE OF WEALTH

More from Frank Stanley, their income is only 8.2% of their wealth:

People who believe that they will never become wealthy generally fulfill this hypothesis.  I explained to Brit, who was once a member of the ultimate income statement affluent club, that he has an excellent chance of becoming a millionaire next door type and that the typical millionaire next door is 57 years old.  The Bible states that those with faith and hope can achieve a great deal.  Even those with faith the size of a grain of mustard seed will likely reach their intended goals.

The will and discipline that this couple demonstrated in paying off its considerable debt is telling.  The same determination can be used in setting aside at least 15% of their income for savings and investing.

What should you anticipate as a typical member of the millionaire next door fraternity?  One, given the calculation via the Wealth Equation, actual net worth exceeds its expected value by a factor of 2 or more.  Two, the market value of the home is less than 20% of net worth.  Three, debt totals the equivalent of less than 5% of net worth.  Four, annual income tax is the equivalent of about 2% of net worth.  Five, total annual realized income is approximately 8.2% of net worth [median], or the equivalent of $8.20 of income for about every $100 of wealth.

This $8.20 figure from my own research is fairly congruent with the findings of other researchers.  For example, three scholars employed by the Treasury Department, Johnson, Raub and Newcomb, compared the wealth characteristics of millionaires via 36,352 federal estate returns who passed away in 2007 with the incomes of these decedents when they were living.  Those millionaires who were married and under the age of 70 [like the large majority of the millionaire next door types that I have surveyed] realized the equivalent of $8.45 for every $100 of their net worth.  This figure is within approximately 3% of the dollar figure ($8.20) that was determined from my surveys.

IN CONCLUSION

There is no conclusion, just work and keep your long term goal in mind.  I may talk later about other basic ideas that contribute to this like paying cash instead of credit (briefly mentioned here), couponing, buying the store brand instead of the premium name brand and other tricks.  Nevertheless, adhering to the above puts you well on your way to being the average Joe millionaire.

My relatives laughed at me all my life for watching what I spent, how I lived and called me a skinflint.  I knew that I had a long term plan for financial security.  Today, at retirement age, they work just to keep up.  Who’s laughing now?

Facebore – The Facebook IPO Dissapointment

UPDATE: This article best sums it up….If there was any doubt that Wall Street is a sucker’s game designed to take money from stupid people and put it into the hands of bankers and powerful corporations, Facebook’s initial public offering should clear that up.

Well, the facts speak for themselves.  What was supposed to be the next sliced bread was a big nothing except for the insiders who already got their money.

Expectations had it being the next Google, zooming into the hundreds of dollars with overnight millionaires.  While it was the most traded IPO ever, it ended where it started and the big bang for IPO’s are usually at the beginning of a stock downturn. (see the Groupon IPO bust).

In fact it was a BLACKEYE for the NASDAQ:

By Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) debut on the NASDAQ Stock Market turned into another setback for American equity exchanges, with the $16 billion initial public offering plagued by delays in trade confirmations, crossed quotes and signs that orders were mishandled.

The pricing of the first transaction took a half hour longer than NASDAQ planned. About 30 minutes later, the second largest U.S. equities exchange operator reported an issue confirming trades from the opening auction with the brokerages that placed them. Nasdaq later established an appeals process for investors whose instructions weren’t carried out.

Scrutiny of American equity markets intensified in March when Bats Global Markets Inc., the third-largest U.S. stock exchange owner, withdrew its IPO after failing to trade on its own platform. Nasdaq’s mishaps, on a day when the most anticipated IPO of the year eked out a gain of 0.6 percent, disappointed investors hoping to erase the memory of Bats.

“It certainly wasn’t their best day,” Larry Tabb, chief executive officer of research firm Tabb Group LLC in New York, said in a phone interview. “That said, it also wasn’t a complete disaster. NASDAQ really needs to investigate what the challenges are and fix them quickly. There was a lot riding on this IPO and apparently it didn’t go so well.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it will review the trading. NASDAQ spokesman Robert Madden didn’t return calls and e-mails seeking comment. Jonathan Thaw, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, declined to comment

BUYERS ARE MORE EDUCATED, OR HAVE BEEN BURNED TOO MANY TIMES

I suppose you could trace this back to the internet bubble. Regular investors have been burned too many times.  Sure Google was a killing, but Facebook had a business model and P/E that didn’t impress.  There was too much hype, not enough value and seemingly not enough surety on the IPO.

The Trader sums it up:

The truth is that Facebook is a toy, a dreamworld, a figment of the imagination. Zuckerberg wanted to make the world a more connected place (and build a huge database of personal preferences), and he succeeded thanks to a huge slathering of venture capital. That’s an accomplishment, but it’s not a business. While the angel investors and college-dorm engineers will feel gratified at paper gains, it is becoming hard to ignore that there is no great profit engine under the venture. In fact, the big money coming into Facebook just seems to be money from new investors — they raised eighteen times as much in their flotation yesterday as they did in a whole year of advertising revenue. For an established business with such huge market penetration, they’re veering dangerously close to Bernie Madoff’s business model.

Worst of All:

Even the NYT notes:

The company’s bankers had to buy shares to keep the stock from falling below its offering price, raising questions about how the stock will fare next week.

YAHOO LAWSUIT

There might be other reasons that held back the success offering, not the least of which was a pending lawsuit:

Actually, Facebook hinted at a pending legal battle with Yahoo in Amendment No. 2 to its S-1 form, filed on March 7.

In that memo, Facebook admitted that it is “involved in a number of lawsuits.” That trend, it acknowledged, is likely to continue as it faces “increasing competition.”

Facebook received a letter from Yahoo on February 27 that “alleged that a number of our products infringe the claims of 13 of Yahoo’s patents.” At the time the second amendment was filed, Facebook was “still in the process of investigating the allegations contained in the letter.”

ARE THEY WAITING FOR A DEAL:
Perhaps the real deal and best price will be waiting for a low of under $20 and picking it up then.  Even if you only make a few dollars per share, it’s better than the few cents that the first day delivered.

THE WORLD MARKETS INFLUENCE

Another speculation is that it suffered from the rest of the world.  The problems with Greece and Spain are well documented.  One thing I didn’t consider was this, An oversold rally is in the works:

From a technical standpoint, our markets peaked in February, yet price drifted marginally higher. As the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rang the bell on our target of 1365 +/- 15 basis point handles, we paused. It was not a shorting opportunity, based upon the persistent bearishness that grew as price moved higher. But after weeks of basing between our levels, the market set itself up for a sprint higher into 1420, suggesting but not reaching irrational exuberance. From that intersection, we saw price decelerate in a downward spiral by 115 handles, or about 9%.

So we must ask ourselves the one question that is more important than Facebook’s (FB) $104 billion IPO: Are we still in a healthy sustained upward move, or are we in a state of bearishness that is being masked by love for Apple (AAPL) or Facebook?

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

There are some positives with this pointed out by a smarter mind than me, Social Media expert Jeremiah Owyang, read more at this link:

Despite yesterday’s IPO closed at nearly opening price, it’s important to pause and think about how this company’s market cap reached $100 billion (for context, Pepsi is at par at $106b).  We’re already seeing many become wealthy, from newly minted millionaires in brand new M3s at the local car wash in silicon valley, to the investors, VC, and ecosystem that will benefit from the revenues, we need to pause and think why.

So what is so important to pause and think about? Why do I say the Business Model is “Brilliant”?  Facebook’s business model smashed the traditional manufacturing style we see with consumer products, and instead built a  ’consumer platform’ that enabled many around them. In fact, the Facebook business model is brilliant for the following reasons:

  1. Brilliant because the users do the work.   In many companies, hiring paid or unpaid interns is a source of scale, or even off shoring work to developing regions.  In the case of Facebook, there are 900,000,000+ unpaid members that are generating meaningful content and value to each other.   In fact, official Facebook stats indicate that 526b million of them are active each day, many of which are using mobile devices and applications to connect to Facebook as they traverse the world.  While Facebook continues to grow, third parties are observing that the rate of growth may retarding, what’s important to remember  is that most of the commercial base that brands want to seek are likely within Facebook.

WHAT NEXT?

It either goes up or down in price.  The initial IPO money to be made has been made, but the long term money will be made by the savvy investors who can buy a bargain price and wait for it to go up.  The state of the Euro and the EU as well as the debt crisis worldwide may weigh on the price.  I believe that this has changed how IPO’s will be handled in the future as it didn’t skyrocket like it should have (many theories on that).

Further, Exotic car dealers and realtors in Palo Alto are now set to collect a lot of money from the overnight millionaires.

All in all, I congratulate Zuckerberg et al who created a product, jobs, the next new widget and helped the economy.  Bono made $1.5 billion for example and exceeded Paul McCartney as the wealthiest musician.

I’ll bet it still eats at the Winklevii though because as they say, if they could have created Facebook, they would have created Facebook.

POSTMORTEM

It appears that the management at Facebook is suspect also.  While owning 27% of the stock but having 57% control by Zuckerberg is telling.  Most entrepreneurs are good at developing their product, but are bad at running companies.

Further, this from the WSJ on fumbling the IPO:

Less than three days before Facebook Inc.’s FB -9.77% initial public offering, Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman decided to boost the number of shares the company would offer investors by 25%, said people familiar with the planning. His main adviser at lead underwriter Morgan Stanley MS +0.90% assured him there was plenty of demand, they said.

Facebook shares slid sharply for a second straight day as analysts for at least two of Facebook’s lead underwriters revised their financial forecasts for the company while it was holding IPO roadshow meetings. David Benoit has details on The News Hub. Photo: Reuters.

That decision by the 41-year-old Facebook executive may have doomed any real chance the social-networking company had that its stock would jump on its first day of trading—a hallmark of successful IPOs. On Tuesday, the second full day of trading, Facebook shares fell $3.03, or 8.9%, to $31, after falling 11% on Monday. Investors are blaming the downdraft on the last-moment expansion of the offering.

And this:

Interviews with more than a dozen people involved in the IPO reveal that Facebook approached its deal differently than companies typically do. Mr. Ebersman kept a close grip on every important decision on the stock offering, not deferring to his bankers the way many companies do, according to the people familiar with planning.

Facebook Overnight Millionaires and Employee Turnover

chatango Pictures, Images and Photos

Update: As predicted, the brain drain has begun with executives leaving and others questioning Zuckerberg’s leadership ability.

As we all know, Facebook will go public in a huge IPO.  This will create many mega-millionaires overnight who work there.

I wonder what the drain in human intellectual property will be when they don’t have to work like maniacs anymore.

WHY PEOPLE WORK

Most people work only because they get paid.  A common cliche is that work is a 4 letter word.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t put up with the job they have, proven by frequent job shifts over a lifetime.  They leave for a better opportunity, or a bigger paycheck.  My observation (not scientific) is that if the paycheck wasn’t a part of the deal, the job wouldn’t get done.

Then there are a few who really like to work like my Dad.  His life was his work (HVAC engineer) and he loved it.  My uncle was a pilot who also loved his job.  Both regretted their retirement.

Finally, there are a few who love what they do because it is their passion.  It has been said that if you do what you really love, it isn’t work.  These are usually the most successful people.

MILLIONAIRE HEAVEN

When Facebook goes public and there will be a group of people created who are the overnight millionaires, many will move on.  Some of them are the creative minds behind what has made the company the success it has been.  Sure you can hire more programmers and throw options at them, but they are in the category of working for a paycheck.  Many won’t have the need (some the desire) to work.  I watched many friends I had at Amazon become millionaires and quit.  They went on to do what they wanted to because they sold stock and had the money to do so.

The people that lived and breathed the Facebook that we know it have and hold the history and the reason that it is what it is today.  That knowledge can’t be replaced.

What will be the brain drain at Facebook?  I’m sure there are loyal employees who will stay.  The executives will likely stay because they already are rich and at that point it is a matter of power, not money.  Others, I’m not so sure.

WILL THEY SELL

You bet they will.  There is already a lot of insider selling:

Insiders and early Facebook investors are taking advantage of increasing investor demand and selling more of their stock in the company’s initial public offering, the company said Wednesday.

Facebook said in a regulatory filing that 84 million shares, worth up to $3.2 billion, are being added to what’s shaping up to be the decade’s hottest IPO.

Facebook’s stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday under the ticker symbol “FB”.

The entire increase comes from insiders and early investors, so the company won’t benefit from the additional sales.

The biggest increases come from investment firms DST Global and Tiger Global. Goldman Sachs is doubling the number of shares it is selling. Facebook board members Peter Thiel and James Breyer are also selling more shares.

Even the Motley Fool is predicting investors will get burned.

Facebook’s IPO: A Quick Way to Go Broke
Facebook’s IPO will create at least 1,000 millionaires, estimates The Wall Street Journal. Founder Mark Zuckerberg is cashing out $1 billion worth of shares. But most investors who buy shares will get burned…

REASONS TO SELL

Recently, it was stated that Facebook could be a passing fad.  This fact is not lost on those looking to make a killing.

If you recall Palm, Friendster, Sony Walkmans and other technologies, or beanie babies and tickle me Elmo’s, fads come and go quickly.  As Qui-Gon Jin said: There is always a bigger fish.  This means the next bigger and better Social Network or better idea is already being worked on.  Innovation drives technology and history has proven it…..ask 3com, Wang, Digital or many others.

We already know that they economy is still in a recession and cash is king.  If this IPO is anything like Groupon, it will trend high, then the price will go down and people want the most bang for their buck.  I know I’d dump it all and diversify by day 2.  I can’t comment as to whether I’d quit as I don’t know the culture, but I’ve worked for paranoid owners before and I know that it is a tough environment.  Zuckerberg has publicly stated that it’s good to be paranoid.  If that was the case, this is the time to bail.

It’s no secret that Facebook is not fully baked on their mobile strategy or execution yet either.  That is a pretty large faux pas.

Worst of all, millions are choosing to not be on Facebook or are just saying no to it.  Many of these are in the high wealth category.

Compound that with the fact that Google is killing Facebook in advertising revenue with Facebook even facing declining revenue:

A comparison of the two companies from WordStream, a search marketing management company, suggests that Facebook is a much less effective ad medium than Google. (The caveat here is that WordStream is, obviously, rather more dependent on Google than Facebook as a medium.)

So how much brain drain and personnel IP will leave?  Time will tell, but I’m sure there are a lot of folks contemplating this issue as I write.  The pressure of work, making a killing on stock or losing a fortune takes its toll on the workers.

I had a lot of friends at Cisco when they were flying high in the market.  While others played solitaire at the other technology companies, Cisco employees spent half their day watching the stock price to see how high it would go and calculate how rich they were.  The problem was that they weren’t vested.  I hope that Zuckerberg and lawyers are smart enough to make their employee options at least 3-5 years before they are fully vested to keep the best and brightest there.  Still, some might be mailing it in until year 3 while dreaming of being rich.

The average Joe won’t get rich anyway because here are the people who have made the money:

My final comment on the greatest brain drain comes in the form of 2 people, Paul Allan and Steve Wozniak.  They got out and went on to different lives, but I’m not sure they still held the passion they had while building their company’s.

Carroll Shelby RIP, Life Is Short and You Are Only But a Vapor

Carroll Shelby died last Thursday night.  It should be a reminder of how short life really is. He was the longest living heart transplant survivor, but unfortunately, no one can escape death.

He will be remembered as the creator of some of the worlds (American) best sports cars, not to mention beating the Ferrari powerhouse in racing in the 60’s.

OUR LEGACY

However, some of us will vanish quicker than others, but we must remember that we are but a vapor in life, you can’t grasp a vapor.  You don’t know today what will happen tomorrow.  Don’t boast about tomorrow for you don’t know a day will bring forth (Proverbs 27:1).

 

Here is a poem about life, all too true.  Remember, a cemetery is full of people who have plans.

When I was a child I laughed and wept and time crept;

When I was a youth, I dreamed and talked and life walked;

When I became a full grown man, time ran;

When older still I daily grew and time flew;

Soon I shall be traveling on, time will be gone.

COUNT THE DAYS YOU HAVE

How long will you live?  The average American lives to the age of 77 (Shelby was 89):

If you are 15 you have 744  months to live.

If you are 25 you have 624  months to live.

If you are 35 you have 500 months to live.

If you are 45 you have 384 months to live.

If you are 55 you have 264 months to live.

If you are 65 you have 144 months to live.

If you are 75 you have 24  months to live.

After that, you are beating the curve, don’t buy green bananas.

So when it is over, then you have eternity to deal with.  Many have contemplated this thought in different ways.  The unpredictability and brevity of life reminds us that we are short sighted.

We all contemplate these questions even if you deny it:

Where did I come from? Why am I here?  Where will will I go when I die?

Here is a thought to contemplate.  Carroll is doing it now.

9/11 Trial, First a Circus….

Read the full story here, but making a farce of it seems to be the first objective.

Walid bin Attash used to frequent online dating sites. “Loves to travel — sometimes at a moment’s notice,” bin Attash described himself before his 2003 capture. So writes former CIA veteran Jose Rodriguez in his new book, “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”

On Saturday, bin Attash was one of five defendants charged with 2,976 counts of murder for their role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It would seem that bin Attash has grown very devout at Guantanamo Bay. His civilian attorney, Cheryl Bormann, wore a hijab and an abaya at the military pretrial hearing. She even suggested that female prosecutors dress in more “appropriate” fashion in deference to the defendants’ “fear of committing a sin under their faith.” According to news reports, distaff prosecutors wore military uniforms with knee-length skirts.

“Is the bin Attash in your book the same guy whose attorney feels she must cover her entire body?” I asked Rodriguez. Yes, he answered. “These people are pretty hypocritical. One thing is their religious beliefs; the other thing is what they do.”

It’s clear from Saturday’s antics that the military tribunal, which is not expected to begin until May 2013, will be a circus. Defense attorneys don’t have much of a claim to the clients’ innocence. In 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed issued a statement in which he proclaimed that he was the mastermind of 9/11, “from A to Z.” In 2008, KSM and his co-defendants told a military court that they were guilty and wanted to be martyred.

When President Barack Obama was elected, he halted military legal proceedings in favor of a civilian trial in New York. Fearing a possible terrorist attack, Congress objected. Under new rules, the military tribunal is back.

The Real KSM – I Will Personally Kill You

One of Mohammed’s frequently stated goals was to be put on trial in civilian court in New York — which nearly happened until Congress last year blocked the Justice Department from transferring any Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.

INTEL GATHERING: Al Qaeda’s 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed was held at secret CIA interrogation jails — or “black sites” — like this one in Lithuania (pictured), where he was waterboarded 183 times but did not crack, according to a new book by CIA interrogation boss José Rodriguez Jr. What finally broke the terror chief was being kept awake for 180 straight hours — more than a week — and subjected to loud noises, slaps to the face and stressful positions, such as standing for long periods of time.
José Rodriguez Jr.

José Rodriguez Jr.

“It seemed to us that he was looking for a platform from which he could spout his hatred for all things American, and a trial would certainly present that opportunity,” Rodriguez writes. “It strikes me as more than a little ironic that several years later, Attorney General Eric Holder almost granted KSM his wish.”

Once he became compliant, Mohammed developed a rapport with his interrogators, watching PG-rated movies with them in his cell, and offering a religion-themed overview of the “history of the world.”

“A few months later, he reported that he was ready to continue and build on his earlier presentation. He had one requirement, however. Only those officers who sat through the prerequisite first session should be invited to the [second] session,” Rodriguez recalls.

He even penned “playful” notes to them, Rodriguez says. “Unless you are trying to manipulate me, could you turn up the heat a bit?” the terrorist asked in one missive.

But it was all a facade.

After telling an officer to have a “safe trip” before he left for home, Mohammed continued, “It is not that I wish you well. But if I ever get out of here, I want to personally be the one to kill you.”

By his own admission, Mohammed’s done it before.

“In a confession he later submitted for a potential tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, KSM wrote: ‘I decapitated with blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,’ adding, ‘For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.’”

Washington analysts had Mohammed pose holding a sack with a bowling ball in it, so they could compare his arm to those in the video cutting Pearl’s throat.

“Those photos compared to the actual video showed that KSM was not lying to us,” Rodriguez writes. “Just when you thought he had a human face, he would disappoint you.”

More on the Gitmo Trials

Trying  not to cooperate, the terrorists accomplished their jobs.  What is ironic is that in 2008, they already pleaded guilty so they could die as martyrs.  If the trial had not been stopped so Attorney General Holder could put them on display, this would have been over.

To provide balanced coverage, I picked a site that is the opposite in ideology from yesterday’s source.  I will let the readers make a decision on who covers it fairly.  I only care about justice.

The other defendants — Ramzi Binalshibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa al Hawsawi – joined Mohammed in refusing to answer questions from Army Col. James Pohl, the judge presiding over the proceedings.

At one point, two defendants got up and prayed alongside their defense tables under the watchful eyes of troops arrayed along the sides of the high-security courtroom.

Bin Attash was put in a restraint chair for unspecified reasons, then removed from it after he agreed to behave.

Lawyers for all defendants complained that the prisoners were prevented from wearing the civilian clothes of their choice, in a proceeding equally slowed by technical legal questions about defense complaints about the court’s authority and access to evidence and translators.

Brigadier General Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor of the Pentagon’s Office of U.S. Military Commissions told Fox News that he “understands the skepticism” about access to evidence, but some still remains classified.

Mohammed’s civilian lawyer, David Nevin, said his client was not responding because he believes the tribunal is unfair. He also suggested Mohammed was not wearing the earphones because it reminded him of being tortured.

All 5 men occasionally looked through what looks like the Koran, magazines, and other reading materials.

9/11 Terrorist Trial

I’ll try not to take sides and let justice be served.  I’ll post events that are being covered as they occur.  I don’t know if KSM was really the mastermind as he claims or has delusions of grandeur.  Either way, he has all the appearances of being a troublemaker.

At least it is a military trial instead of a civil trial (he’s not a citizen of the US, rather an enemy) in the US with the ability to get off on a technicality.  We should see it to conclusion.

He and the others want to die as martyrs, for the only guarantee in the Koran of reaching heaven is dying in Jihad, although Gitmo may not qualify.

From the WaPo:

This weekend’s arraignment marks the beginning of the third major effort to bring the 9/11 conspirators to justice. The Obama administration dropped earlier military-commission charges against them when it decided in late 2009 to bring the 9/11 case to federal court in New York. But Congress, not wanting Guantanamo detainees brought to the United States, blocked the civilian trials. Meanwhile, the administration’s own view of the institution was evolving. When President Obama first took office, he froze commission proceedings with the apparent intention of shutting them down. But later that year the administration shifted gears and worked with Congress to make small but important adjustments to the Bush-era Military Commissions Act. These left commission proceedings more closely resembling the norms of a federal court trial.

Live or die from Wired

It’s been a long time since KSM was last in court. In 2008, during an arraignment for a commission that ultimately got cancelled, he quickly pled guilty to multiple murder counts. “This is what I want,” he told the court, in English. “I’m looking to be martyr for long time.”

That case was interrupted for a variety of procedural reasons, and KSM never got his chance. In the intervening years, Congress and the Obama administration reformed the controversial military trials — making it easier to seek capital punishment, by providing detainees with so-called “learned counsel” lawyers specifically skilled at death-penalty cases, which makes such sentences less likely to be reversed on appeal. Last month, after flipping a key detainee to testify against KSM, the government brought charges against KSM and four alleged accomplices for the 9/11 plot. “If convicted,” the Defense Department clarified, “the five accused could be sentenced to death.”

However much the commission procedures have changed, KSM’s ambitions probably haven’t. “He wants to die because it fits into his massively egotistical narrative,” says Josh Meyer, author of the recent book The Hunt for KSM. “He’s like Napoleon. Wasting away in a cell is not his style. Going out in a bang of glory is.”

That calculation means that the 12 U.S. military officers who will decide if a convicted KSM lives or dies will face more than a narrow legal choice. They’ll also, however unfairly for them, have the burden of a policy choice. Should KSM be put to death, it might simultaneously provide a measure of closure for the families of his victims and allow al-Qaida’s remaining acolytes to portray him as a martyr.