Showing posts with label Contrarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contrarian. Show all posts

May 6, 2019

Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 11, 2018

Contrarian on Apple

As Apple approaches the unbelievable $1 trillion mark in market value, I am going the contrarian. 

Historically, I love Apple products--truly. 

But since Steve Jobs, Apple has done virtually nothing!

They are losing the battle for common sense priced products. 

They are losing the battle on innovation. 

Think for a second what has Apple come out with that is "WOW" in the last few years--either in terms of new product or design. 

Do you care anything about Siri?

Are you in love with their Apple Watch? 

Do you think much of their new iPhone X?

What about the computers--same old, same old?

I am still using the iPhone 7plus and have no intention to upgrade anytime soon. 

See the picture above, this is Apple's idea of innovation. 

It's the new Mac Pro -- virtually the same as their iMac Pro, as their store rep explained to me--except it's shaped like a tall and weird version of the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. 

BTW, you still need to attach a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. 

Are you impressed NOT? 

Apple as a brand used to mean the latest and greatest. 

Even now, I am still drawn to Apple products, just because I am conditioned to think of it as the best!

But is it still the best and is it worth the premium price?

Apple still has me as a customer and I am still a big fan of what they have done in the past.

But they better do something amazing again and now, because I think their stock is in for a mighty big and painful tumble if we don't see the old Apple again soon. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 21, 2016

The Pundits Know Sh*t

If you haven't seen any of the many videos flying around about everyone who said "Trump will never be president," then you should.

Presumably, these were people in the know--senior politicians and statesmen, experts galore including scientists and professors, news media, talk show hosts, comedians, and Hollywood stars.

Virtually none could even imagine him winning as they "promised" and "guaranteed" it and even swore they would leave the country otherwise.

But as we all now know, they were completely wrong and misguided. 

Similarly, in a book review today in the Wall Street Journal of "Public Intellectuals," the big mouth know-it-alls out there or what my friend's father used to call "intellectual idiots" failed to predict all the black swan events.

From the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11, the Internet bubble and recession of 2001 to the mortgage meltdown and financial collapse of 2008, from the Arab Spring to Brexit...the pundits are all left looking like schmendricks!

Whether this is caused by personal biases, shortsightedness, herd mentality, or incompetence, the educated intellectuals just don't seem to be able to see around that next bend anymore than the rest of us. 

Moreover, because of their walled-off elite status, they are functioning and talking through loud speakers from their ivory towers rather than from the real man's world of everyday hardships and challenges. 

As I often tell one of my esteemed colleagues, it's not how often or how loud you say something, but how sincere it is. 

The pundits typically miss it (although they seem so smart when talking with 20-20 hindsight about what happened and why), and as contrarians already know, it typically pays to do the opposite of what the so-called experts tell you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 10, 2013

Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Cell Phone?

Some people are averse to change and to technology--and then there is Gary Sernovitz. 

This guy in the Wall Street Journal today boasts how he is one of the last 9% of American society that goes without a cell phone (let alone a smartphone). 

At 40 and as a managing director of an investment firm, he says if he needs to make a call he uses one of the 30 working remaining payphones in Manhattan or borrows his wife or a strangers phone--so much for personal independence and self-sufficiency. Does this guy (and wife) live at home with his mommy too?

He calls himself a "technology holdout" and actually goes on to says that he is scared of getting a cell phone because he is afraid of losing himself.

While admittedly, many people do go overboard with technology, social media, and gaming to the point of addiction, I am not sure that getting a cell phone is alone a major risk factor.

Sernovtiz says he adheres to Henry David Thoreau's philosophy of simplicity--and that inventions "are but improved means to an unimproved end." 

Thoreau went to live in the woods to "live deliberately" and focus on "only the essential facts of life," perhaps like many ascetics and spiritual guides before him have. And as such, this is not a bad thing when done for the right reasons. 

But Sernovitz's one-sided message is a negative one, because technology as any tool is not bad in and of itself--it's how we exert control over the tool and ourselves, balancing productive use from misuse and abuse. 

If Sernovitz is so afraid of using technology, perhaps he should question himself as an investment manager and disavow use of money--which can be used for many evils from greed, hoarding, and selfishness to financing terrorism--and instead go back to bartering forest lumber and chicken eggs?

When I asked my 16-year old daughter what she thought of Sernovitz's article, she said he can't differentiate "simpler from easier."

Don't mind me if I pass on this guy's book, "The Contrarians." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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