03/21/20

Capitalism To The Rescue

The day after Pearl Harbor, Ford Motor Company announced it was retooling all of its production lines to produce Jeeps and other military vehicles thereby setting in motion a wholesale shift of American industry to support the war effort. Three and a half years later, America was producing 50,000 airplanes of all types on a monthly basis.

The US would produce 640,000 Jeeps (270,000 by Ford alone, the balance from other auto manufacturers) in those three and a half years. When I was in the Army in the 1970s, I had a Jeep like this. I loved my Jeep.

This is what happens when American industry is tapped to rise to a national crisis. Today, we see the same thing happening in the startup world.

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02/14/20

Elon Musk — Quick Trigger Capitalist

I am a huge fan of the core businessman Elon Musk. Not so much on him personally. Very skeptical on Tesla.

Having said that, I rise to applaud Elon Musk (I was going to call him “Elon” like he and I are pals, but we’re not) for being quick on the draw as it relates to using the current uptick in Tesla stock as a means to raise additional capital in a secondary offering.

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09/24/19

The Cult of Personality and Adam Neumann of We (We Work)

Since time immemorial, American business has always revered the iconic startup leader whether it was John Davison Rockefeller, Sr — American business icon, considered the wealthiest American of all time, and a generous philanthropist; or, the Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates stories. Sam Walton was an iconic, successful businessman.

All have a “larger than life” nature to them. They fall into the category of the iconic American business billionaire. These folks, however, come with a full bag of positive and negative traits.

In the modern startup world, we have folks like Travis Kalanik, formerly of Uber, and, now Adam Neumann, of We (We Work).

What we are confronted with is the “cult of personality” wherein the business becomes synonymous with the leader or founder.

This can be good or bad.

In the case of Sam Walton, it is generally perceived as a positive thing. Folksy Old Sam was a gimme-cap-wearing, pickup-driving, Easy-Rider-rifle-rack-shotgun-owner, bird-hunting, bird-dog-loving man of the people from the heartland.

Walmart HQ never left Bentonville, Arkansas, and Bentonville never left Sam.

Sam Walton and his pickup truck at the beginning:

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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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05/26/16

Lobsters, China, International Trade, Entrepreneurs, Maine Lobster Hustle

Lobsters? Really, Big Red Car, lobsters?

Big Red Car here. Bit dark and rainy in the ATX today but it is almost Memorial Day when we get our torrential floods.

Today, we talk about lobsters. OK, lobsters are your friend and if you go to Red Lobster, you know what I mean. [Pro tip: Go hungry. Go early. Go big. Eat the cheese biscuits but don’t get too full on them.]

Lobster pic 1

Hello, I am a Maine lobster. I am headed to Red Lobster. See you there?

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06/6/14

Labor Force Participation Rate at 38-year LOW

Big Red Car here. Well The Boss got the garage cleaned out, so now your Big Red Car can sleep in security inside the garage. But, wait, the Lexus SUV (a pampered bitch if ever there was one) is going to be getting first dibs on the new sleeping quarters. Life is not fair! But, hey, I love it anyway cause I get to commune with nature and all that jazz.

So The Boss turned a bit serious today when having a hot dog with one of his buddies. They ate at Man Bites Dog, said it was very good. Continue reading

11/29/13

USAA — A Terrific Insurance Company

Big Red Car here.  Oh, it is sunny and clear in the ATX.  Cold, don’t you know?  Get out and exercise off some of that turkey, please.  Burp!  [OMG, Big Red Car, did you get into the 10W40 again?]

So The Boss was talking to a fellow Veteran about the USAA — United Services Automobile Association — a freakin’ insurance company, ya’ll.

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