One of my favorite articles I wrote for Swifteconomics on the nonsense that is gurus (and particularly real estate investment gurus):
In the real world I work in real estate investment (yes, it’s been an interesting ride over the past couple years). Like just about every other industry, it’s important to educate yourself about the field. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of good information out there, there’s also a lot of garbage, especially in real estate. I’m quickly reminded of that episode of The Simpson’s where some salesman is offering his book How to Get People to Pay You $50 for a Book for a mere $50.
There certainly are an awful lot of get-rich-quick schemes and gurus in the real estate field. I have, unfortunately, attended several of their seminars. Some, such as David Lindahl, I’ve gained significantly from. Others, well, not so much.
I won’t name names, but one who was particularly worthless, we’ll call him Wuss Rhitney, may shine some light on how this works:
First are the TV commercials saying “Free day long seminar on how to get rich flipping real estate.” Fantastic. Well business was pretty slow at the time, so we decided to go and see if there was a kernel of wisdom in it. Of course there wasn’t, it was a day long sales pitch for a three day event. Still that only cost $100. We figured it would be a great place to network with potential investors so we decided to suck it up and pay the $100.
Needless to say, we left after lunch on the first day. Had this seminar gone the way of most—even the good ones—it would have ended with the closing sales pitch. These are always the same. The speaker will announce their product, one piece at a time; first the bootcamp, then CD’s and workbook, then the free mentoring, then the newsletter, etc. Then they will throw out a high and completely arbitrary price, which is obviously “what it usually sells for.”
At this point they’ll mention that there are only a limited number of products available. A few uniformed souls (or possibly plants) will jump out of their seat and power walk to the back counter to buy immediately. Then the guru will continue telling you how good the product is, how financially free they are, how much they love spending time with their family, which of course they would be doing if they didn’t have this dying desire to spread the incredible knowledge they have among the masses and so forth. During this time members of the audience are trying to justify the purchase. But oh wait, they have one final price drop for you now bringing the price to only 20% of the real market value (read: arbitrarily selected opening price). Now those who were trying to justify buying at the higher price have their minds made up for them.
The tactic certainly works. It works for the good ones and the bad ones. And the bad ones, are typically a bit sue-happy. This was the case with Wuss Rhitney, who went after the “anti-guru” John T. Reed for posting a negative review of his work. John T. Reed responded by launching an all out investigation against him and found, among other things:
– Wuss Rhitney claimed to own millions of dollars of real estate by 25, when in fact he owned only $98,000 worth of heavily leveraged property at that time (maybe he meant millions of yen)
Wuss Rhitney is an extreme case though. Many are just shysters. On Reed’s website he has “guru rankings” and a “Real Estate B.S. Detection Checklist.” Some of the items, which I think can be easily adjusted for gurus in just about every field, include
– Emphasis on luxurious lifestyle
As John T. Reed notes, “In general the gurus I do not recommend are salesmen, not real estate guys. Both carnival barkers and the majority of real-estate gurus are salesmen.” Many, not surprisingly, have sales backgrounds as well.
It’s not just real estate. I got suckered into an Amway Global seminar once. The first 50 minutes of the seminar, which I’m embarrassed I stayed for, was basically a rehash of Robert Kiyosaki’s The Cashflow Quadrant (which can be boiled down to this; owning company = good, working for company = bad). During this time they surprisingly didn’t mention the company’s name nor what you’d actually be doing if you signed up with them. When he finally did drop the Amway bomb, you could hear a collective sigh. I discreetly made my way out of the room.
And then add informercials, which are little more than televised guru seminars. Or how about the Internet, which has created a haven for gurus that don’t even need to have seminars or long, late night TV spots. One website promises to show you “how to create a lifestyle most people only dream about living” through some online business venture. You have to give them you’re email address to find out the price though. Another site offers to teach you how to lose 10 pounds in two weeks. Cost: $14.99 (half of the regular, arbitrary price that is never charged). Another offers to teach you how to “make girls wet with your eyes.” Cost: $57 (again half the “real” price). And all those seem cheap. I remember some guy trying to get me into a business selling other people’s stuff on eBay. All I had to put down was $3,000. That sounds pretty reasonable I think.
Now, some of this stuff is obviously complete garbage, but some of these things do work… at least for a few people (see Timothy Ferrisfor one). The problem is you don’t make a lot of money by targeting the select few who actually can benefit from it. The shotgun approach is what makes money. Thus these strategies have to be “easy.”
On the other side of things, I don’t need a bunch of reviews to tell me P90X works. It’s a brutal 90 day workout, of course it works. The question is, can you stay with it. But P90X makes it clear its routine is going to be vicious and actually makes that part of the sales pitch (which I commend them on).
Unfortunately, with get-rich-quick, become-a-beauty-model-overnight and create-a-harem-for-yourself pitches, it makes sense financially for the guru to market them to a wide group of people as if doing it was easy. Thereby, even at good seminars there are usually a lot more people there then should be. Most won’t start or will quickly get discouraged. Some will become disillusioned and angry at the guru, others will blame themselves, but probably most will move on to the next shiny object that gets their attention.
And that’s the game. So be careful you know what you’re getting into before you sign up. Don’t go to a seminar unless you are somewhat acquainted with the topic at hand. For example, if you’ve never invested in real estate, pick up a book or two before going to a seminar. Read online reviews about the seminar, guru, program or whatever it is. Be very weary of any up-selling at the events or guest speakers with something to sell (you can always wait a day and buy it after you’ve had time to think about it, no matter what they say…always). And know that virtually all good things require effort and are by no means a sure bet. As good as a guru can make a deal sound, it always has some sort of downside.
Photo Credit: Business Networking U and Vacant Desk
*Mortgage holders pay mostly interest at first then as the loan nears maturity, their payments become more and more principle. This is why a 30 year loan that is 20 years old will only be about half way paid off instead of two thirds.
Here's an article I wrote forSwiftEconomics.com where I respond to a rather pathetic critique of me from Media Matters, or more accurately, a criticism of Alex Castellanos, who cited me among others in an article he wrote for The Daily Caller. (I should also note I have written a few articles for The Daily Caller as well).
So Media Matters, a truly unbiased organization if there ever was one, ran an article criticizing conservatives for denying the alleged wage gap between men and women. The article particularly criticized Alex Castellanos, who got into a bit of tiff with Rachel Maddow about said wage gap.
Well it just so happens that Alex Castellanos used my article on the wage gap as a major source for his conclusions. (Yep, I got cited by name in The Daily Caller, what what). I’ll get to the article by Media Matters in a second, but first I need to respond to the commenter, one MidnightWriter, who noticed where Castellanos got much of his information.
It wasn’t all that difficult to eviscerate.
Oh boy, I’m about to be eviscerated! It is true, however, that my entry was mostly a summation of research by James Bennett, Thomas Sowell, Warren Farrell and Denise Venable.
This was the strongest source ol’ Alex could find to back his arguments? We’re asked to accept some rather broad ground rules centered on what can be called same pay for the same work (such as the idea that history professors are not paid as well as business professors — something offered with no numbers to support that thought, nor are we given any numbers that tell us the averages of what male and female professors in those fields are paid). We’re offered two rather misleading charts; one that shows that more men receive college degrees incomputer science (which has nothing to do with equal pay for equal work), and a chart that offers weekly median earnings (the issue is averages).
Average full time business professor: $111,621, average full time history professor: $82,202. The average associate and assistant business professor make $93,767 and $87,248 respectively. The average associate and assistant history professor make $63,228 and $52,626 respectively. (Source: here). Of full time, associate and assistant professors in business, women make up 17.9%, 29.1% and 37.3% respectively. In history, women comprise about 18%, 36% and 44% respectively. Google searches no están difícil. Furthermore, this was one small point that was supposed to be so obvious it didn’t require a citation (the sky is blue by the way) to illustrate why inequality doesn’t necessarily equal discrimination.
Both graphs were supplemental and not even referenced in the text. A degree in computer science is well known to come with a higher wage than say, sociology. (Are you really going to ask for another citation here?) And medians are actually better than averages typically because they eliminate outliers that would otherwise skew the data. I explained this in a later entry of the Lies, Damned Liesseries and you can enjoy this guy’s take on it.
And, of course, there was that classic bit of cherry picking, college educated, never married women between the ages of 40 – 64 actually earn more than college educated, never married men between the ages of 40 – 64. Seriously? That ever so slender slice of the pie is supposed to prove just what now? Here we have one select demographic group where the women earn, roughly 20% more than the men — well, geez Louise, how much worse does that make it in all the other categories for women to end up earning 23% less overall?
The argument is so exceptionally and epicly bad it will require a list of bullet points:
> MidNightWriter forgets to mention that I listed four statistics, not just that one, illustrating the wage gap was fallacious
I’ve got to say, though, I did love the title — “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.” The author knows his Mark Twain, but apparently has no concept of irony.
Maybe MidnightWriter was discussing the fact that Mark Twain popularized the term, but I doubt it. Sorry MidnightWriter, Twain didn’t come up with it, he attributed the saying to Benjamin Disraeli(although there is some controversy as to whether Disraeli came up with it either).
Anyways, enough with MidNightWriter, what about the Media Matters article. Well the article lists out a bunch of conservatives, including Castellanos, who have criticized the wage gap. Then it blows them out of the water with an AAUW report:
Overall, the regression analysis of earnings one year after graduation suggests that a 5 percent pay gap between women and men remains after accounting for all variables known to affect earnings. Women who choose male-dominated occupations appear to earn more than do other women. Undergraduate majors in business and management, engineering, health professions, or public affairs and social services enhance both women’s and men’s earnings. [AAUW, April, 2007]
Wait, what? … 5%?* That’s it? What happened to 77 cents on the dollar? Hold on, they’ve got more:
Bush Labor Department: The “Adjusted Gender Wage Gap … Is Between 4.8 And 7.1 Percent.” In January 2009, the Bush administration’s Department of Labor published a report written for the department by CONSAD Research Corporation. While downplaying the existence of wage inequality, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Charles E. James stated in a foreword to the CONSAD report that after controlling for several variables, there was “an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.” [CONSAD Research Corp, 1/12/09]
Fascinating. This is the same report I mention in the expanded version of this article I put into my new book. I’ve never said that some sort of wage gap is impossible, just that it’s very much exaggerated if it does exist at all. Indeed, I think the CONSAD report misses some things, which I will get to shortly. But either way, I haven’t seen any “92.9 – 95.2 cent” pens in protest of the patriarchy. Nor have I heard Media Matters or any other liberal apologize for distorting the wage gap by some 300%!
And OK, I’m a man so I guess I’m not supposed to have an opinion on these things, but ladies, at what point does the wage gap become trivial? 1%? 3%? 5%? If guys still pay for dates most the time and the wedding rings we buy are a wee bit more expensive, maybe we have a date/wedding ring premium. Or maybe it’s this (warning, much profanity ensues):
Regardless, even saying it’s 5% or thereabout is questionable. The idea that you can control for every variable is a fallacy. Russ Roberts has a great discussion with Jim Manzi on this very subject I highly recommend. As Jim Manzi explains:
I’ve built thousands of regression models in my life, and they are not useless; they are useful for certain purposes. What I argue is that they are not capable of determining reliable, useful, and nonobvious effects of interventions…
Yes, we can get close, but be very careful with phrases like “studies prove” or “a regression analysis showed.” There’s always some uncontrolled variable. Indeed, the CONSAD report doesn’t appear to take years at the same job into account (men 5 years, women 4.4 years) or total time spent out of the labor force. What about people paid on comissions? The CONSAD report, for its part, does mention:
If the salesperson’s wages includes commission on sales, discrimination by customers could result in a substantial gap in wages between male and female salespersons and service workers. (Pg. 55)
The word “commission” or “commissions” doesn’t appear in the AAUW report. Also, it’s not necessarily customer discrimination, for example, the CONSAD report also mentioned men paid with tips, i.e. waiters and waitresses, earned 11% less (Pg. 93). That could be an aberration, or discrimination on the customers part or something else entirely. Customers could discriminate slightly against male waiters and female cars salespeople or something along those lines that’s much more nuanced than Media Matters would have you believe.
With regards to the overall wage gap, it could just be that men dedicate themselves slightly more to their careers and women seek a better work/life balance. In other words, motivation is very important and not easily quantified and basically impossible to control for. For example, a poll by MBACareers.comrevealed that men and women who obtain MBA’s have very different career aspirations:
Additionally, the survey revealed the long-term career goals for male and female MBAs differ as well. Men acquiring an MBA aspire to become president or CEO of both public and private companies or to start their own businesses. Women MBAs, however, ranked management consulting, executive level vice-president positions and non-profit executive management high among their career goals.
Indeed, I would go so far as to say women are wiser in this respect. But it’s a wise trade off that hurts the bottom line. And while young women have become a lot more career oriented, much of the data on the wage gap is from older men and women who, for better or worse, have and have had a more traditional mindset.
Finally, what about negotiating for raises? The evidence is a bit anecdotal but women appear less likely to do so. There are certainly things we could do to rectify this, but they have to do more with education and societal norms. Having the government negotiate or help negotiate on women’s behalf seems like the most patronizing thing imaginable.
Discrimination exists, without question, but it is not nearly as prevalent as Media Matters, Rachel Maddow or MidNightWriter would have you believe. And if the wage gap even does exist, it’s not anywhere near as big as they would have you believe either.
Photo Credit: PatDollard.com
With the terrible attack in Pittsburgh dominating the news, little attention has been paid to a very, very stupid thing that Donald Trump appears set to do. According to The Atlantic,
When Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev solemnly signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at the White House, the leaders of the world’s superpowers hailed the transition from an era of “mounting risk of nuclear war” to one marked by the “demilitarization of human life.”
Seriously Donald, what is the point of this of this madness?
Unfortunately, as I've noted, Trump seems to shoot from the hip with a very shallow political philosophy. He also seems to have, at least partly, be co-opted by my least favorite people; the permahawks and the neocons.
The threat from Russia is wildly overblown, despite what warmongers like Bill Kristol or John Bolton have to say. While Trump didn't run on a peace platform, he did run against full-scale war, interventionism and escalating tensions with Russia.
Hopefully he remembers that before a Black Swan takes place in this new and mostly pointless Cold War we're in.
Are condos ever a good idea to invest in? My latest article for BiggerPockets answers that question. And the answer is: Usually not.
And the biggest (albeit not the only) problem is the dreaded HOA fee,
Far and away, the biggest problem with holding a condo or co-op is the HOA fee. Now, HOAs do valuable things, so they are by no means useless. They will usually do all exterior maintenance and repairs, as well as pool maintenance if there is a pool. They will almost always pay for trash removal as well. HOA’s provide insurance on the exterior of the building (you will need insurance on the interior of your unit of course). Sometimes, they provide maintenance and replacement of the HVAC and electrical systems. Sometimes they pay for water and sewer. Sometimes they pay for a doorman. It all depends on the HOA in question.
This often kills the possibility of holding a condo, but it can also hurt the possibility of flipping a condo as that HOA fee substantially increases your holding costs and eats away your profit. Furthermore, condos tend to be less liquid than houses, so it can take longer to sell.
That being said, there are times when it makes sense to invest in a condo. We own a handful, for example. I go over when it makes sense as well as all the other problems to watch out for with condo investing, so if this is something you're interested in, please check it out.
In my latest article for BiggerPockets, I discuss the types of renovations that are better left undone. Yes, these renovations may add a little value to your property, but they are almost never worth the cost. In the article, I reference my own experience as well as a 2003 study from the NAR. (Some people in the comments were giving me a bit of a hard time because the study is 15 years old, but for the most part, I think the results are still true today.)
The study found that the following upgrades added the below percentages to the houses' final sales price, all else being equal:
I think that list alone is a good start to what makes sense to add and what doesn't. But I go into much more in the article, so it's worth reading if you're in the business of renovating houses.
With the midterm elections just around the corner, it makes sense to republish this article from SwiftEconomics on voting that I first published just after the 2010 midterm elections (in which I didn't vote). That being said, in the interim I've started to move toward the position that voting is sort of civic duty. That being said, your one vote still doesn't make any difference. Sorry.
I forgot to vote.
I meant to vote, really, honest I did. But I didn’t, and that makes me a bad person, I think. At least that’s what everyone on MTV told me.
But many people don’t vote, so it’s alright. At least a little bit. In the last Presidential election, with all its partisanship and “change” talk, a whole 44% of eligible Americans didn’t vote and turnout is even lower for the midterm elections (in 2006, 37.1% voted). So I’m most certainly not alone. And hey, at least I didn’t do it on purpose. I forgot. I was busy writing about politics on my blog.
But why don’t people vote? Well, actually a better question is why do people vote. Economist Anthony Downs developed a formula for the likelihood of any one person voting, it goes like this:
PB + D > C
P = Probability a vote will affect outcome
B = Perceived benefit if preferred candidate wins
D = Social/Personal Gratification from voting and/or civic duty
C = Time, effort or financial cost to voting
The problem obviously lies with P. I have yet to hear of an election coming down to one vote, so the probability of any one individual’s vote affecting the outcome is effectively zero (although some people seem to be delusional about this as swing states typically have a higher voter turnout). Since P is multiplied by B (and there aren’t many good candidates either for that matter), B will also be zero.
That means that the only thing left is personal gratification and/or civic duty. That’s why the “Get out the Vote” and “Vote or Die” campaigns are constantly raging. They’re basically meant to either make people feel good to vote or shame them if they don’t vote (and vote for a certain candidate [wink, nod] of course). See South Park (warning, profanity ensues):
We’re all busy and there is simply not much to gain by voting. It’s the free rider problem; namely it’s certainly better for all of us to have a democracy than a dictatorship, but it’s even better if an individual has someone else do the work for them. Since voting individually will change nothing and there’s no monetary benefit, it’s basically just a waste of time. So why do it?
The civic duty bit is pretty much all we have going for us.
And this free rider principle creates an interesting set of other problems as well.
1) Those that care passionately about an issue are more likely to vote than those who don’t. So for example, if there’s a vote to increase the pay of a handful of government workers, most people don’t care. Their taxes will go up a few cents, but those that benefit will see their salaries raised significantly. Thus, they are much more likely to vote for said ballot measure. But after a bunch of this goes on, the dent these tax hikes make collectively to taxpayers’ paychecks start to add up.
Indeed, both of these issues are reasons I think democracy must come second to the rule of law. Perhaps that belief excuses more forgetfulness. Perhaps it wasn’t forgetfulness at all, maybe it was a principled stand against the tyranny of the majority.
Either way, this year P equaled zero… for every single race. No harm, no foul.
I've just published my first article for AlleyWatch.com, a website that focuses on startups and entrepreneurs. And so, to fit the theme, my article was on entrepreneurship, or more accurately, the "entrepreneur's most dangerous temptation,"
Human beings seem to be simultaneously hardwired to both fear change and become bored without it. While we must remember that “the only constant in business is change,” such changes must be addressed in a systematic way. Change for the sake of change or for a sense of excitement can destroy just about any venture you take on. We must be diligent to avoid the dreaded “shiny object syndrome.”
Doing a little bit of everything may be more fun, but it won't make you more successful. Diversification may be good for an investment portfolio, but when it comes to building a business, I think I demonstrate overwhelmingly that focus is what is required.
Check it out!
So here's another paper I wrote for a graduate class (like this one) that might be interesting to someone out there. I don't see myself trying to put this into practice, but I would like it to actually exist. While I have my tips for getting up early, rousing myself from slumber has always been a challenge in my life. Perhaps this paper will get a few noggins joggin'. I can only hope...
According to Sleep Review Magazine, 57 percent of Americans admit that they hit the snooze button when their alarm goes off and 58 percent admit that they stay in bed for at least five minutes after. In Britain, that number is 64 percent. (1)
I count myself among these unfortunate people and suspect that the actual numbers are quite a bit higher. People tend to be overly kind to themselves when taking surveys. Most people probably aren’t completely honest about how many times they eat ice cream or how often they go to the gym. They also probably underplay the number of times they hit the snooze button and the amount of time they spend in bed after the alarm goes off.
People also care a lot about their mattresses. An entire variety of mattresses are sold on the market, ranging from memory foam, pillow tops, gel, innerspring, air bed, water bed, adjustable bases and latex mattresses. In 2018, Americans spent $14.8 billion dollars on mattresses. (2)
Despite the rise of cell phone alarm clocks, the alarm clock industry has also “held stable at around $250M per year in the United States,” according to VoiceLabs.co. (3) People still like having an alarm clock at their bedside to wake them up in the morning… and then wake them up again after they have hit the snooze button.
Unfortunately, hitting the snooze button doesn’t actually help someone become more rested. After consulting with various sleep doctors, Kevin Loria noted that,
“…From what sleep researchers have said, we can derive an answer. Unfortunately for those of us who enjoy that idea of just a few more minutes, it's not great news…
Furthermore, the economist Dan Ariely makes the case that “we're training our minds to be confused by the alarm sound. Instead of recognizing it as the ‘get out of bed’ tone, it's the ‘just a few minutes more' sound — something that can continue indefinitely.” (5) In other words, hitting the snooze button is even worse than useless.
Just think how much time we waste even if we just hit the snooze button every morning for an average of 15 minutes. At that rate, you would lose the following amounts of time doing nothing more than lying in bed:
In other words, you lose close to a year of your life just lying on your bed pretending to rest. If you hit the snooze for 30 minutes each morning, you would lose well over a year.
Life is way too short for that!
What this all seems to make clear is that there is a large market for people who want a better way to wake up earlier. And Americans are already willing to spend a substantial amount of money each year on mattresses and alarm clocks. So why not combine them into one product that could notably help people get out of bed without hitting the snooze button?
This product would integrate an alarm clock into the mattress. You could set the alarm with a remote controller (or cellphone app) that would provide several different options. One of those options would prevent the person from turning the alarm off for at least a certain amount of time after it went off.
The alarm would be set based on whether someone was on the bed or not. That way, when the alarm began to ring (or play music) at the time it was set to, it would continue to ring until the person got off the mattress. If the person got off and then lies back down, the alarm would begin to ring again.
Oftentimes, all someone needs to do in order to get up is to actually get out of bed for a while. Taking a shower or drinking a cup of water or coffee helps, but just the act of getting up and moving around is enough. It’s that first step, namely getting out of bed, that’s so hard. This is definitely true in my experience as well as many people I’ve talked to.
It’s for this reason that many have recommended to put your alarm clock far enough from your bed that you are forced to get up. But even in this case, you can always return to bed after hitting the snooze button. Admittedly, this is something that I have done before.
But the mattress alarm wouldn’t allow for this because as soon as you put your weight back on the mattress, the alarm would start to ring again. The mattress alarm would all but force you to get up for a while, which is all that most people need in order to actually “wake up.”
Given modern technology, installing an alarm system inside a mattress that was weight sensitive, along with a WiFi connected remote controller would not be particularly expensive. The product would be little more expensive than buying a mattress and an alarm clock separately.
In addition, small modifications could be made for each individual’s situations. For example, a mattress could base the alarm on whether there was weight on one side or the other side of the mattress for couples who sleep on the same bed at night.
Modern technology would also make it fairly simple for the alarm to record the weight of those who normally sleep on it and only stop ringing when the “correct person” has gotten up. For example, if a 180-pound man and a 120-pound woman sleep on the same bed, the alarm could record their approximate weight. Then, if the man had to be up at 7:00 and the woman at 8:00, the alarm would go off at 7:00 until approximately 180 pounds had been removed from it. Then it would go off again at 8:00 until approximately 120 pounds had been lifted.
I believe this product would be very easy to advertise and also easy for consumers to understand and adopt. A television or online video ad could simply follow a standard morning routine at first. The protagonist repeatedly hits the snooze button only to jump out of bed screaming something like “Oh no! I’m going to be late.”
A voice will then provide calculations like the ones listed above, noting how much time the average person wastes hitting the snooze button. It will also cite medical research about how hitting the snooze button doesn’t do any good for you. Then it would show the same person using the mattress alarm. He would get up and then try to get back down, but it would go off again. Then he would shake his head and get up. The commercial would then cut to him looking refreshed while drinking a cup of coffee and eating a piece of toast. He would then look at his watch, smile and say something like “Good, I’ve got plenty of time.”
Ads with a similar theme could be designed for print media and radio. The product concept would also be rather unique and should get some media coverage in the business and consumer press. Hopefully (although by no means guaranteed), the manufacturer could also secure a patent on the concept.
The product should appeal to just about everyone who has trouble getting up in the morning (approximately three out of five Americans according to the survey above). But it should especially interest busy people who are always on the go. These days, that’s a very large market. Business professionals, college students, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes and just about everyone else would be interested in saving themselves 15 to 30 minutes each and every day.
Finally, this product wouldn’t require a significant amount of research and development since all of the technological components already exist today. There would not need to be a substantial upfront investment. And furthermore, it would be easy for a mattress company to either create a product line for these or license the alarm from a company that specifically built the mattress alarm component.
In other words, the market is already there and the product wouldn’t be particularly challenging to develop. It’s just a matter of bringing them together. In my judgement, if such a product were launched, it could and should be advertised successfully.
(1) “57% of Americans Hit the Snooze Button,” Sleep Review, August 27, 2014, http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/2014/08/americans-snooze-button-withings/
(2) “Mattresses,” Statista, Accessed October 17, 2018, https://www.statista.com/outlook/17020200/109/mattresses/united-states
(3) Adam Marchick, “Voice is Eating the World: Death to Alarm Clocks,” VoiceLabs.co, October 26, 2016, http://voicelabs.co/2016/10/26/voice-is-eating-the-world-death-to-alarm-clocks/
(4) Kevin Loria, “Most scientists say you shouldn't hit the snooze button — here's how to snooze the right way,” Business Insider, May 21, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/snooze-button-effect-on-sleep-2017-5
For all the blather about #FakeNews (which seems to me little more than a way to censor opinions you don't like and give the tech giants even more power), CNN may want to stop pointing the finger. The Daily Caller (which I have written a few articles for by the way) recently posted one of the "The List of CNN's Bungled Reporting is a Sight to Behold." A brilliant title for an article that lists 20 of their most recent screw ups, including:
1. SCARAMUCCI SLIP: CNN retracted a story in June of 2016 claiming that former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation by Congress for his alleged ties to Russia. (RELATED: CNN Retracts Story About Trump Adviser Being Under Investigation)
And on and on it goes, including this trivial, but utterly pathetic "mistake:"
Most of these, you'll notice, have something to do with Russia and collusion and what not. Of course, I'm firmly of the belief this whole Russia thing is wildly overblown (and possibly completely fabricated). All the more reason you would expect a lot of false reporting on it.
But CNN has been easily the worst. Well, OK, maybe not easily. MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post offer some very tough competition. But as far as these outlets number one target, namely Donald Trump, goes (not exactly one predisposed to accuracy either), this tweet seems appropriate to revisit:
Whatever you think of Trump, his presidency has been hilarious to say the least!
The United States is currently in the second longest economic boom of all time, followed only by the expansion between 1991 and 2001. And as they say, "all good things..."
Obviously the Dow plunging 800 points last Wednesday certainly doesn't foreshadow good things to come. That being said, timing exactly when we will dip into a recession (and how bad that recession will be) are fool's gold. But it appears more and more likely that we are nearing that point.
First, from MarketWatch,
The average stock today is trading at 73% above its historical average valuation. There are only two other times in history that stocks were more expensive than they are today: just before the Great Depression hit and in the 1999 run-up to the dot-com bubble’s bursting.
MarketWatch also notes that the so-called "Buffet Indicator" (the market value of all equities divided by the GDP) is also nearing historic highs. (It was at 151.3% prior to the Dot.com bubble and is at 125.2% today).
In addition, the yield curve is flattening and beginning to invert. "An inverted yield curve is," as Investopedia describes, "an interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the same credit quality." Normally, investors want to be compensated for risks that may come down the line on longer-term bonds. When the yield curve inverts, that means investors are concerned about the short term; i.e. a recession looms. Here's how it looks today (and compare it to 2008 right before the Great Recession):
Inverted yield curves have predicted the last seven recessions!
Of course, a flattening yield curve is not an inverted one and there's no way to be sure it will completely flip (or that the eighth time will be like the previous seven). We always need to be cautious of the guy who has predicted nine of the last two recessions.
That being said, the signs don't look good. An after over nine years of growth, we're kind of due.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
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Consulting by RPM