Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Today's diary...

Chavez: The day started with the news of his passing. Radio bulletins here spoke of a populist socialist leader. The one who dared challenge George W. and called him, straight in his face, cowboy and a donkey! A South American Berluscone. He wasn't able to defeat cancer though. Cancer is the only solid way left to rid oneself of populist leaders, especially those calling themselves socialists. In a sense, Communists were at least less pretentious prats and called it what it was. A Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
We got plenty of them soft Socialists around, abusing in the name of democracy and freedom the wealth of the countries that trusted them with their leadership. Look no further than Greece for this. The ruling PASOK (thank God not anymore as ruling as used to be) created a new dominant class in the center left, inside which it elevated scores of incompetent apparachiks, many of whom came from rural territories with little knowledge of the real world, and turned into notorious abusers and champions of corruption. I hope they put them one by one behind bars for a very long time! Like they did to the 1967 colonels, 8 years later. At least, Hugo escaped the bars...

AAPL: The raid by the Hedgies on the best company ever invented by man continues. For the first time since a long time the company is valued at less than 400B. There is an increasing pressure by the hedgies to get some real cash out of the company, with w√ľnderkind David Einhorn carrying the flag. I don't like hedgies and their ways too much, as they are increasingly destroying the markets, where neither fundamentals not technicals can give you any clues about whether to invest in a given name or stay away from it. They provide liquidity in the market, they say, by trading anything that moves from penny stocks to big caps, and at the same time they have been able to wipe out of Apple's valuation more value than the entire market cap of lame duck Microsoft, and Google too, taken separately however. Apple's management is much softer than His Jobness and therefore, think the Hedgies, let's put some pressure upon them to return some more dividend cash. The AAPL dividend yield used to be in the region of 1.5% and has now risen by one percent points solely due to its last six months downhill ride. Many blue chips pay in dividends more than that though, but others, with a shedload of cash too, like Google, are paying a diddle squat (but the 'market' is still forgiving them, until their turn arrives and their bubble bursts too). The entire world of wannabe 'analysts', tech gurus and 'business experts', who never worked in a 'real' company but pretend to know everything about running a business, are out there with doomsday scenarios for Apple every single moment for the last six months. The pile of crap I have read during this time about why Apple is 'dead' money and will be another Microsoft or RIM and NOKIA are beyond belief. What is the problem with these people? Don't they get laid decently or what? Thank God, the wisest man of the lot, good old Warren Buffett came out yesterday urging Apple Management to ignore Einhorn and simply buy back some stock with their mountain of cash. I'm not sure he's absolutely right on this, but the fact alone that he said something about it is important. The stock eventually moved up yesterday, along with the day's trend, following Warren's remarks. Any connection between the two? Who knows?

Windows 8: I read an article this morning about what a new revenue disaster area for Microsoft this one has been again. We thought we saw everything with Vista, but Windows 8 has done even worse. The article spoke about 8 to 10 reasons why Win 8 is crap, but who cares? Microsoft has lost it for more than 10 years now. Ballmer has got simply now clue. He's lost is a sea of corporate bullshit, he keeps making himself a clown with what he says, and even more so for what he does or doesn't do, and he couldn't tell (or spell) either 'strategy' or 'innovation' even if it hit him in his baldy skull! Unfortunately Bill and his charming wife Melinda are committed to 'saving' the world these days, and Bill is doing one mistake after another by keeping Monkey Boy in the reigns, so best thing we can all do is go sell any MSFT stock if we still hold any. This is simply 'dead' money. In 10 years from now, we'll still find Windows in technology graveyards. This time over Apple's ideas weren't stolen by Bill, but by Google's Largey and their squirrel boy chairman Eric Schmidt, not the Microsoft dinos: the latter stayed blindfolded by their own arrogance!

Publishing of the future: I'm helping an author friend with her third literary publication in two years, a poetry bundle this time, and came to consider the practices of this book (print) publishing industry all over again. On one hand you got the independent online publishers, like Lulu, Blurb and one from Amazon itself. You send them online your properly designed and formated book as a simple pdf, and they do the rest. Digital printing it is called. No obligation to print anything more than one single copy, mind you. No start up funding for offset plates and hundreds of books committed to print in the socalled 'First' edition. They will regularly launch attractive discounts for any number of copies and offer considerable volume discounts in the high double digit percentages. All in digital prints and with proper binding mind you, like I mentioned. Suppose you are a start up author of some sort. Or maybe an one time author, possibly so. You want to publish your book the traditional way. You ain't got a single penny to scratch your ass, but the large Publishing Houses, a bunch of T-Rex dinos relying upon pretentious selection committees with members from the tribe of sour critics that is, have you waiting for months or years for their accept/reject verdict. These folks only look for best sellers in fact, and the only way they'll cope with you is when you throw an attractive number of kilo dollars in their lap, for using their Brand Name and Good Reputation! That's one of the reasons even best selling authors ended up using obscure Publishing Houses that nobody knew, as a reaction, when they experienced the traditional T-Rex Houses wouldn't pay any attention to them. Sheer arrogance all over again. So, what do you do? Well, maybe the same as I did. Just pissed all over their thick skin by neglecting them altogether and selected Independence over Pretence instead. In the meantime, those 'traditional' ways are starving out as their businesses go broke and become increasingly extinct. Either adapt and grow or stay put and die!
Another painful experience in the business of authoring, especially for those writers doing this for a living, are the traditional outlets for selling their marchandise. The so-called 'bookshops'. Not only they taketh a huge cut off the value of the items they carry, for holding the 'stock' in their premises and displaying them in their windows, but above all, they keep those needy authors unpaid. Bookshop owners will carry the stock alright, and also require their own buyers to pay cash on the spot. Authors however, simple people from the normal authoring crowd (not the Dan Browns of this world), will have to wait for ever to get paid. This is quite a common practice everywhere, far more so in markets under the black clouds of the current 'economy crisis', like in my fatherland, it certainly is the dominant practice.
What do you do then as an ambitious new author? You just ignore the bastards. Desintermediation all over again. Sell directly to end buyers. Switch off those feckers and sell to the members of your trapline public, be creative thru social networks and spread the word of mouth. Long live Internet for this. eMail and the Web! You might not become a bestselling author right away though, but at least you are not enriching abusers and pretentious bookshop owners, and one way or another you are covering your expenses at least. My own experience of book publishing thru Lulu in print or electronic form has been superb. No financial risk, and a broad spectrum of services for designing, printing and making your goodies known all over the global village, Planet Earth. I even known of people, not especially talented literature authors themselves, who have been systematically publishing for years on Amazon, away indeed from the usual suspect celeb 'labels' or 'brands', and still managed to sell books in the millions. This is the name of the game for the years to come, kids. Current and future authors selecting the independent publishing business model will be singing their way to the bank, looking the other way when they come across incidental memorial ceremonies and obituaries in the graveyards of the Traditional dino Houses, that is...

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