08/28/18

NAFTA – Rebranding?

Big Red Car here on a cloudy Texas day. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll crack 100F, but it’s a little cloudy today.

So, the big news on trade coming out of Washington and Mexico City is that the US and Mexico have agreed on a “new” trade deal. Have they?

The new deal is a bi-lateral deal between the US and Mexico. Mexico is on the verge of inaugurating a new president (1 December 2018), so the timing is a little dicey. The outgoing Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, will have to obtain approval from the Mexican legislature. He is more likely to be an ally given his long history with the negotiations.

President Trump, reiterating his historic disaffection with NAFTA, has taken to calling this bi-lateral agreement the US-Mexico Trade Agreement.

Image result for images trump trade

“Yeah, so I told you I would re-negotiate NAFTA and, with Mexico, I have. Now, we need to get Canada into the deal. I can do it.”

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08/27/18

Exemplars – Corporate Governance

Big Red Car here safely returned from travels back to the ATX, ahhh, on Earth as it is in Texas! Warm old Texas!

So, the Big Red Car gets a call from a young fledgling company CEO (a compilation of three such calls with the names changed to protect the innocent) who says, “Big Red Car, do you have a good exemplar for a corporate Code of Conduct, a Board Charter, an Audit Committee Charter, a Nominating Committee Charter, and a Compensation Committee Charter?”

“Yes, I do, young fledgling company CEO, but do you know how to Google?” asked your Big Red Car.

“Of course, Big Red Car, my first child is named Google. Why?”

“So, Google and find some good exemplars. I suspect you don’t want to pay your lawyer to draft them for you. Correct?”

“Yes, Big Red Car. I need some corporate governance docs and I don’t want to pay a lawyer to draft them for me. I admit it.”

“Are you intending to just copy from an exemplar?”

“Why, no, Big Red Car, but I would like to see what other companies are using. Is that a crime?”

No, it is not. So, the Big Red Car sends the CEO to the corporate governance page of Dollar General: Corporate Governance.

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08/22/18

Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here lobbying for a paint job while talking up the latest experiments in the Universal Basic Income – also known as basic income, basic income guarantee, basic living stipend, or universal demogrant. They are all the same thing.

Advocates of UBI have for years sold the idea as a campaign to “eradicate poverty” while others have championed it as a means of unlocking the creative potential locked deep within all of us.

Those who lean right may consider it as a means to consolidate and eliminate all other welfare programs and thereby make government welfare more efficient.

You can get a discussion on a lot of different implications including poverty, unlocking potential, freedom from wage slavery, reducing crime, a response to technology and automation unemployment, welfare administration, gender equality, the recognition of uncompensated home work by women, and a ton of other ideas.

Please take a second to identify your thoughts on the subject.

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08/21/18

Texas Oil

Big Red Car here talking Texas oil, y’all. One of the worst reported business phenomenon is the enormous strength of American oil production and Texas’ part in that.

Y’all know all about the enormous flows from shale oil, fracking, and horizontal drilling, right? But, you ask, “How big is it, Big Red Car?”

As you can see, it is an impressive curve with a May 2018 monthly flow of 4,243,000 barrels per day. This is larger than any Middle East country other than Saudi Arabia. Hello, America!

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08/21/18

The Wizard of Omaha and Tech

Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny Texas day, y’all. Hope it is going well for you and yours.

I always like to take a peek at what Warren Buffet owns as it relates to stocks. It is often an eye opener. It is often pretty damn plain vanilla and boring, but something caught my eye.

Buffett famously has eschewed investing in technology suggesting that there is a limited longevity and defensibility of the competitive advantage for tech based companies and that it is very difficult to identify the big winners at a time when their stock price is reasonable. This was his view back in 1999 when Forbes interviewed him for an excellent article. Take a second and consider that statement. This from a guy who has to deploy $200B in stocks.

Image result for images warren buffett

“My name is Warren Buffett. I’m 84 and I’ve been at this investing business for a long time. Don’t be blowing smoke up my ass about bitcoin and cryptocurrency. I was in business when the US was on the God damn gold standard.”

He and noted venture capitalist Marc Andreesson had a pithy exchange about the future of bitcoin. When Buffett called it a “mirage” Andreeson countered that Buffett “…was just an old white guy crapping on a technology he didn’t understand.” [I see no reason why Buffett’s ethnicity was germane to the discussion, do you?]

Buffet has long been quoted as saying, “All you people piling into dot-com stocks must be much smarter than I am, because I just don’t get it.”

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08/20/18

Dollar General, A Love Affair

Big Red Car here on a bright, sunny Monday morning back from visiting My Perfect Granddaughter in Savannah. She is a perfect baby.

Sleeps through the night, naps well, eats like a champ and loves her Momma, Daddy, Mimi, and Gwantpa. She can even hold her toes when the thought grabs her.

OK, Gwantpa, can you do this? Haha, you’re silly.

Which, of course, got me thinking about Dollar General  – wow, what a powerful transition, no?

Image result for dollar general logo

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08/9/18

Mattresses – the Sleeping Edge of the Internet

Mattresses, Big Red Car? Really?

OK, so there are powerful forces at work here, but, first, we need a nap. A nice refreshing nap.

Mattresses are a symptom of several interesting things:

 1. Mattresses are symptomatic of how the Internet is wrecking “bricks & mortar” retail.

 2. Mattresses are symptomatic of how the Internet is spawning unbridled competition.

 3. Mattresses are symptomatic of how the cycle of legacy businesses disrupted by the Internet and returning to the original legacy methodology is asserting itself.

 4. Mattresses are symptomatic of how the commercial real estate business is being impacted by the move of commerce to the Internet.

Shall we?

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08/7/18

Subscription Income Power – Peleton

Peleton, Big Red Car? You’re kidding, right?

Shut up and start peddling, y’all, I’m as serious as avoiding a heart attack.

So, the Big Red Car likes Peleton for the diversity of its income. It generates sales income – the one off sale of a Peleton bike or treadmill – and monthly recurring revenue with a monthly membership. It also finances the sale of the bike or treadmill at 0% interest while upselling you on shoes, weights, headphones, heart monitors, bike mat, water bottles.

Live-Streaming

Where’s the bike mat and why aren’t you dressed like Lance Armstrong?

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08/6/18

The First Amendment Ignorance

The First Amendment, Big Red Car? What about it? Everybody knows about the First Amendment.

Big Red Car here on a grayish morning, but it will burn off soon. So, I’m looking at a study with alarming results.

Out of 1,000 persons surveyed only ONE was able to name the five rights protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Worse still, 40% of the respondents could not mention a single right.

Image result for image us constitution

The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are contained in a document called the Bill of Rights.

How is that possible?

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08/5/18

Control – SNAP, an exemplar in control

Big Red Car here filled to overflowing with a good church sermon. I will have to digest it a bit.

So, one of the things the Big Red Car preaches to his CEO coaching clients is, “Retain control of your company at all costs. When you lose control, the probability of your being replaced goes up astronomically.”

This is what the Big Red Car says when a venture capitalist wants to make an investment resulting in an “after money” equity ownership of 20%, but wants two seats on a five-man Board of Directors.

“Uhhh, CEO, if the VC owns 20% then he gets 20% of the board seats. That’s one, not two!”

Interestingly enough, CEOs seem to always win this argument. This is a matter of control.

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