Category Archives: The Law

Proverbs 2:1

You’re never too old to learn.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Talk is cheap.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Nice guys finish last.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Silence is golden.

A stitch in time saves nine.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Uber Buyer Beware Uber

Uber is the most famous of the Unicorns. A Unicorn being a private company, in the pre-IPO pipeline, valued at more than $1 billion. Uber is the Big Dog in this space. It is seen by some as more valuable than AT&T, Kraft Foods, Delta Air Lines, General Mills, General Motors, CBS, Northrop Grumman,  Kroger, Hershey, Harley Davidson, Campbell Soup, Clorox, Hertz, MGM or Mattel.

Some say this high valuation is a fantasy number. They point to the fact that Uber is not a technology company but is a service company. After all, they don’t make anything but rather provide the service of connecting riders and drivers. Both rider and driver use their own cell phones to access the Uber service.

I used Uber for the first time this past week. It was not the experience that I expected. Uber has marketed itself as the “Anti-Cab Company” … as the alternative to the money-grubbing monopolistic cabbies with their fixed rates and arrogance.

I discovered that, contrary to their marketing image, Uber is just another cab company. Their technology may be different but the often adversarial relationship between driver and rider is very much alive.

A significant negative for Uber is that they stack the deck against riders with “Surge Pricing.” My experience with Surge Pricing was that it changed by the second and raised my fare by 350%. My 2-mile trip from Union Station to the Los Angeles Ritz Carlton cost $40. Yep, you read that right. $40 for a two mile ride. If that isn’t money grubbing highway robbery, please tell me what is. This occurred after the Uber driver who initially responded to my call, cancelled on me after I had stood in the 90 degree afternoon heat for 15-minutes waiting.

In all my years of taking conventional cabs, I have never had a cab that was dispatched, cancel on me by the driver. … and I’ve never had a fare jacked by 350% … anywhere in the world.

Having been burned by Uber, I took a conventional cab on the return trip from my hotel back to Union Station. The conventional cab cost $15 dollars including tip. There was no question of the cabbie cancelling on me. There was no question of the fare jumping to $55.

Uber may have its place as a recreational provider, but if you want true professionalism and reliability take a conventional cab.

Protect Your 401k

The Economy: The Fed reports after their meeting tomorrow. We’re going to press without waiting for what will be a non-event. There will be no follow-through to liftoff. Whatever is announced will be more pablum in a global economy awash in oil, terrorism, illegal immigrants and the rants of the U.S. presidential election. The slowing global economy was confirmed by Goldman Sachs who put an unheard of “sell” recommendation on Caterpillar. CAT is a blue chip and core holding for many portfolios. The sell recommendation comes as Goldman evaluates the global slowdown and sees tough times ahead. The slowdown in China just got more interesting with the head of the Chinese Bureau of Statistics arrested for corruption. Think scapegoat. Somebody other than those responsible, has to answer for the fakery and quackery that passes for economic data out of the Celestial Kingdom. Don’t be surprised to see China revise their numbers downwards before drastically devaluing the Yuan. How this plays out in Peoria is anyone’s guess. While U.S. policy makers are resolutely positive about our economy, the folks we talk with are more hesitant and concerned. With the exception of those at the defense department trough, no one is saying, “We’re gonna have a great year and we are hiring like crazy to ramp up for it.”

Food for Thought: Stocks continue to entertain. … better than any roller coaster at 6-Flags … better than canyon carving on a hot sport bike. Most investors have held on through the turmoil. So far. We continue to advise that you have an exit strategy in these interesting times. Call it a “Rubber Band” stock market. One day’s extreme snaps back the next day … only repeat the extreme again. This has been going on for a month now. Will this volatility dampen out and end, or will it continue until things fall apart? If you believe that “the markets always come back,” ask yourself how long you’re willing to wait. 2-years? 5-years? 10-years? The stock market crashed in 1929 and didn’t make new highs until the 1950’s; 20+ years later. Or take a look at Cisco (CSCO). This Dot-Com darling is still down 70% from its high in March of 2000. Some folks have been waiting for 16-years for Cisco to “come back.” Don’t let fear and greed blind you to the need for a sound game plan. Your 401k is particularly susceptible to this mistake. 401k providers and administrators do not provide investment advice. You are on your own. Take a look at your 2015 year end statement and understand what you own. All account statements are notoriously confusing. If you need help, ask. Like your second grade teacher used to tell you, “There are no dumb questions.”

Terrorism and Interest Rates

The Economy: We’re the quintessential optimists so it’s with the risk of sounding like Chicken Little, that we again note the economic data is weak to mixed. The manufacturing sector is worrisome. Earnings season has ended with the note that corporate profits declined. Higher sales of cars and trucks are due in part to subprime auto loans. (Yep, subprime loans, the red-headed-bastard-sons of the Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession) Compounding this fog of uncertainty is the recent spate of terrorist activities. The Beirut bombing, the Russian airline bombing and the assault on Paris have heightened the sense of worry. The Fed released the minutes from their last meeting today. They were interpreted as being hawkish and in favor of interest rate Liftoff in December. Financial markets were ecstatic. But lost in the excitement is that fact that the minutes are pre-terrorist attacks. So we remain skeptical that we’ll see Liftoff in December. The much anticipated 25 basis point (1/4%) hike shouldn’t have much of an impact. It’s the unanticipated consequences that are causing the willies. After a decade of zero interest rates, no one knows what those consequences will be. Now that France has declared war on ISIS those consequences are more unknowable.

Food for Thought: The Russians have had boots on the ground in Syria for more than 40-years. To say that Putin and Company preempt the U.S. in Syria would be a gross understatement. In the aftermath of the Paris attack, the French are reaching out to Russia as an ally. With this diplomatic caress, Russia is on its way to being rehabilitated. Sanctions will quietly go away. Putin, bare-chested astride his white charger, crossbow in hand shooting whales, is the man of the hour.

Winston Churchill Quotes

Winston Churchill Quotes

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Never give in, never give in. Never, never, never, never. In nothing great or small; large or petty; never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

I never worry about action, but only about inaction.

I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.

For defeat there is only one answer … victory.

Evils can be created much quicker than they can be cured.

You must look at facts, because they look at you.

The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope.

Nourish your hopes, but do not overlook realities.

Justice moves slowly and remorselessly upon its path, but it reaches its goal eventually.

…I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.…

A lie will gallop halfway round the world before the truth has time to pull its breeches on.

It always looks so easy to solve problems by taking the line of least resistance.

You never can tell whether bad luck may not after all turn out to be good luck.

Men may make mistakes, and learn from their mistakes.

Men may have bad luck, and their luck may change.

…everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others

Can a people tax themselves into prosperity?

Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right than to be responsible and wrong.

The true guide of life is to do what is right.

I have in my life concentrated more on self-expression than self-denial.

Nothing should be done for spite’s sake.

Success always demands a greater effort.

I am a man of simple tastes—I am quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.

Let no one swerve off the high road of truth and honour.

It has been said words are the only things which last forever.

It is no use doing what you like; you have got to like what you do.

I like things to happen, and if they don’t happen I like to make them happen.

A fanatic is someone who won’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject.

You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.

I felt as if … all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.

…this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

I must tell you that in spite of all our victories a rough road lies ahead.

I do not wish to withdraw or modify a single word.

Few people practice what they preach

Let him go to hell – as soon as there’s a vacant passage.

I myself find waiting more tiring than action.

Win or lose, we must do our duty

You aren’t a statesman until you’re dead.

Existence is never so sweet as when it is at hazard.

When danger is far off we may think of our weakness; when it is near we must not forget our strength.

What a slender thread the greatest of things can hang by.

Don Draper

Don Draper is the larger than life lead in the highly acclaimed AMC Series “Mad Men.”  Here are his more pithy quotes; some paraphrased. All credit goes to the Series and the character.

Advertising is based on happiness; happiness is freedom from fear.
Happiness is a billboard that screams, “You are ok.”
Get a slogan.
The Cowboy is quiet and strong. He always brings the cattle home safe
The most important idea in advertising is “new” it creates an itch
Nostalgia creates a deeper, sentimental bond with the product. It is delicate but potent.
Nostalgia is a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone it takes us to a place that we ache to go again.
Your success is due to your standing out.
Your feeling something is what sells.
Our worst fears lay in anticipation.
There will be lean years and there will be fat years.
Limit your exposure.
You can treat things with terror or joy.
If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.
Tell a story be happy.
Life is a beauty pageant.
When you have no power, delay.
Young men love risk because they can’t imagine the consequences.
This too will pass.
This is the greatest job in the world except for one thing, the clients.
A new idea is something they don’t know yet.
Be careful what you wish for because you’ll get it.
Fix It.
People tell you who they are,but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.
Kindness,gentleness and persuasion wins.
Life goes on.
This is the business we’re in: accounts come in accounts go out.
We will push ourselves and succeed 10-fold and it will be exhilarating.
Examples at presentation need to show the client how good it’s going to be.
Clients are always unhappy.
There is no fresh start; life carries on.
I’m tired of trying to prove that I have any value around here.
There’s no point at which you should ever stop trying.
It’s so simple when it’s somebody elses life.
Sometimes we don’t get to chose where our talent lies.
Going into a pitch with 2 ideas is weak.
The pitch has got to be,”Finally, you’re going to get what you want.”
Don’t let a wax figurine discourage you.
Don’t lose your nerve.
Success is a reality; it’s effects are temporary, you get hungry even though you’ve just eaten.
Happiness is a moment before you need more happiness.
Get into your client’s imagination and you can have him thinking of you all day.
It’s one thing to want something, it’s another thing to need it.
You make your own opportunity.
Be slick be glib be you.
You gotta be in the right place all the time.
A client should not have a single negative thought in your presence.
Every great ad tells a story.
Have A Vision.
Everybody elses tobacco is poisonous; Lucky Strike is toasted.

Proverbs 9:2

Fortune favors the bold.

Truth is one of the highest ideals.

Free will is a key moral concept.

Knowledge is never wasted.

Without a vision you cannot manage your life.

Mental toughness is having an ironic sense of humor free of self-pity.

Embrace miracles.

Swallow your pride.

Expressing doubt may destroys the confidence that others have in you.

There’s nothing that the Irish don’t know about lost causes.

The solution to one problem may create another.

Better late than never.

Reconcile talent, ambition and ego.

Turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Question your habits.

Do not seek acclaim; deserve it.

Some things have to be believed to be seen.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Proverbs 9:1

Things change when people want something to stay the way it is.

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.

It’s either a dog-eat-dog world or it’s the other way around.

They made their money the old-fashioned way, they stole it.

Being brave is doing what scares you.

The whole point of sobriety is to stop missing out on your own life.

When you are ready to learn, a teacher will appear.

Ask little of life and you’ll get less; you never get more than you ask for.

Never reinforce failure.

Always be polite to people who are not allowed to be rude to you.

There are some things that you just cannot have.

Success is sometimes a matter of natural aptitude not opportunity.

For everything you love there is a price.