10/24/18

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff Revisited

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff — what ever happened?

Big Red Car here on a drippy and rainy gray ATX day. It has been raining for almost a month.

Today, we talk about what really happened by the imposition of the Canadian Softwood Lumber 20.8% tariff back in May 2017.

Of course, the Canadians and the Americans – National Association of Home Builders – immediately began to cry foul predicting that the price of a US home would go up by $9000.

The business press said “Trump is an idiot. This will cause a huge trade war.”

Now, of course, we have some firm evidence as to what did happen. In fact, after hitting a peak of $653 per thousand board feet, the current price of lumber is $313.40/thousand board feet.

That’s right lumber has gone DOWN after the imposition of the tariff. Here is the price of a thousand board feet of lumber from the inception of the tariff until today.

Chart

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10/10/18

Execution Advantage

Talking about execution advantage, y’all.

Big Red Car here on a slightly grayish day in the ATX. ATX just hosted the famous ACL festival and had Paul McCartney in town crooning. Ahhhh, on Earth as it is in Texas.

Image result for paul mccartney images acl

Sir Paul rocking it in the ATX at ACL at age 76 years young. Big deal in Austin, but just another day in the Live Music Capital of the USA.

So, I have been thinking about the advantages a company — startup or otherwise — has in executing its strategic plan. One of the most overlooked advantages is simply being good at executing their day to day operations.

What got me thinking about this was two things – some comments on the Amazon Advantage and a comment from a Berlin based venture capitalist, Max Niederhofer. I call him Mad Max.

He recently wrote an interesting piece which merits your review: Fear and Loathing in Venture Capital <<< go read this Read it and leave a comment. Tell him the Big Red Car sent you.

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10/9/18

CEO Shoptalk – Mistakes

Rainy day in paradise, so we talk about mistakes today.

If you are a CEO for more than twenty minutes, you will make a mistake. Sorry. Truth.

Mistakes fall into four general categories:

 1. Foot faults, like using the wrong fork with shellfish;

 2. Minimal consequences to someone on the team faux pas;

 3. Adverse consequences to a client or critical stakeholder; and,

 4. Burn the house down mistakes.

So what do you do?

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10/5/18

Elon Musk and the US SEC – Shortsellers Enrichment Commission

Big Red Car here, following the unending saga of Elon Musk of Tesla fame and his continuing dialog with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Just want to [say] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” Tweeted by Elon Musk.

Is this the smart play?

Image result for images elon musk smoking weed

Elon Musk taking a toke to release his inhibitions?

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05/16/18

Sanctions Work – ZTE

Sanctions, Big Red Car? How dreary for such a sunny, lovely day in the ATX, yawn! OK, Big Red Car tell me about how sanctions work. Maybe a real world example?

Dear reader, let us take up the case of Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment, known as ZTE. They are a maker of inexpensive smartphones and other telecom equipment in more than 160 countries and employ 75,000 workers.

ZTE is no small fry on the international scene. When the Chinese government wants to wiggle into bed with a country, they often provide loans as an economic development tool.  Those loans? What are they used for? To set up a nationwide cellular network built by … wait for it … ZTE!

ZTE is an important element of Chinese international policy.

The Chinese also see that a large company like ZTE can break the stranglehold that American tech companies have on China. It is a nationalistic undertaking.

But, ZTE ran afoul of American sanctions. How?

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05/2/18

Leaving NYC

Leaving NYC, Big Red Car, who’s leaving New York now? Financial enterprises.

Big Red Car here in the slightly gray ATX – still, On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

A recent announcement that NYC headquartered AllianceBernstein Holding LLC was moving its headquarters and 1,000 jobs to Nashville caught my attention.

It is a phenomenon which is playing out right here in Austin and Texas, in general. Firms and individuals are leaving California, Chicago, and NYC to relocate to Texas and its pro-business, nice weather, no taxes environment.

Nashville has some of that Southern mojo working in its favor, but this is all about money – real estate, taxes (state and city), employment expense, and flight from an ever increasing burden.

Green Mesquite the Big Red Car’s favorite BBQ joint. Come on down, y’all. BBQ on the Big Red Car!

It is about the money, y’all.

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04/30/18

Clean Energy – Apple, Google

Clean energy is hard to be against unless its cost is an issue.

The Big Red Car is here for y’all on a cloudy day in the ATX. Talking clean energy.

Clean energy is a big umbrella which covers solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy, and nuclear. Hello, America, NUCLEAR?

OK, so maybe the DOE definition of clean energy took it one step too far, but that’s what they say.

Apple (2018) and Google (2017) have announced that 100% of their energy needs worldwide are being supplied by clean energy. They also pull the definition a bit further by adding “renewable” to their definition.

Anybody surprised these two companies are leading the way on this?

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07/17/17

Blue Apron — Stormy Waters Ahead

Big Red Car here with his Blue Apron on. Haha, that’s a joke y’all, just like everything else about Blue Apron.

If you don’t know about Blue Apron, a meal kit delivery company which just went public, let the Big Red Car ‘splain it to y’all.

Blue Apron went public on the NYSE recently at $10/share having been “underwritten” by Goldman Sachs, Citigrope (haha), Morgan Stanley, and Barclays as the leads. It sold 30MM share and raised $300MM.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Amazon (recent offerer for Whole Foods) registered the trademark: “We do the prep. You be the chef.”

The filing said that Amazon would be preparing food kits for cooking and assembly as a meal. OK, so you recognize that, right? That’s Food Aprons core competency.

The Illuminati read this to mean Amazon/Whole Foods is going after Blue Apron and others in the meal kit delivery business. Just to be clear Blue Apron is the largest in the business followed by HelloFresh (German company). But, Amazon/Whole Foods has an incredible installed base, complete command of the order/delivery business, and an incredibly well focused existing customer base. Plus, Whole Paycheck is already a huge volume buyer of … wait for it … FOOD.

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07/11/17

Retail Tsunami v Amazon

Retail, Big Red Car? You going shopping?

No, the Big Red Car doesn’t shop, y’all. The Big Red Car does Amazon and the BRC is part of the problem. The problem being the wholesale remaking of the face of retail in the United States, particularly brick & mortar retail.

Let me ‘splain it to y’all.

First, there are a lot of stores closing.

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06/23/17

Amazon – Whole Foods v Walmart Hysteria

Amazon is buying Whole Foods? When the Hell did that happen?

Big Red Car — going to be a great day in the ATX.

OK, so unless you were out of the country, you know that Amazon has put its loop around Whole Foods and is trying to buy them. Deal seems to be all but done.

So what does it mean? Haha, that’s the rub. Let’s explore it, shall we?

Everyone wants to peg it as a Amazon v Walmart grocery industry cage match. Is it?

Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at some numbers.

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