Global Market Comments
February 15, 2019
(THE CONTINUING DEATH OF RETAIL),
(AMZN), (WMT), (M), (JWN),
Global Market Comments
February 15, 2019
(THE CONTINUING DEATH OF RETAIL),
(AMZN), (WMT), (M), (JWN),
Mad Hedge Technology Letter
January 29, 2019
(WHATS BEHIND THE NVIDIA MELTDOWN),
(QRVO), (MU), (SWKS), (NVDA), (AMD), (INTC), (AAPL), (AMZN), (GOOGL), (MSFT), (FB)
Great company – lousy time to be this great company.
That is the least I can say for GPU chip company Nvidia (NVDA) who issued a cataclysmic earnings alert figuring it was better to spill the negative news now to start the healing process earlier.
This stock is a great long-term hold because they are the best of breed in an industry fueled by a secular tailwind in GPUs.
But this doesn’t mean they will be gifted any freebies in the short term and, sad to say, they have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the heart of the trade skirmish along with Apple (AAPL) and buddy Intel (INTC) amongst others.
The best thing a tech company can have going for them right now is to have no China exposure, that is why I am bullish on software companies such as PayPal, Twilio, and Microsoft.
I called the chip disaster back in summer of 2018 recommending to stay away like the plague.
The climate has worsened since then and like I recently said – don’t buy the dead cat bounce in chips because the bad news isn’t baked into the story yet or at least not fully baked.
It’s actually a blessing in disguise if banned in China if you are firms such as Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL), and Amazon (AMZN).
I recently noted that a material end to this trade war could be decades away and the tech world is already being reconfigured around the monopoly board as we speak with this in mind.
Where do things stand?
The US administration took a scalp when Chinese communist backed DRAM chip maker Fujian Jinhua effectively shuttered its doors.
Victory in a minor battle will likely embolden the US administration into continuing its aggressive stance if it is working.
If you forgot who Fujian Jinhua was… they are the Chinese chip company who were indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for stealing intellectual property (IP) from Boise-based chip behemoth Micron (MU).
The way they allegedly stole the information was by poaching Taiwanese chip engineers who would divulge the secrets to the Chinese company buttressing China in pursuing their hellbent goal of being able to domestically supply enough quality chips in order to stop buying American chips in the future.
Officially, China hopes to ramp up its self-sufficiency ratio in the semiconductor industry to at least 70% by 2025 which dovetails nicely with the broader goal of Chinese tech hegemony.
Fujian Jinhua was classified as a strategically important firm to the Chinese state and knocking the wind out of their sails will have a reverberating effect around the Chinese tech sector and will deter Taiwanese chip engineers to act as a go-between.
According to a research note by Zhongtai Securities, Jinhua’s new plant was expected to have flooded the market with 60,000 chips per month and generate annual revenue of $1.2 billion directly competing with Micron with their own technology borrowed from Micron themselves.
Jinhua’s overall goal was to support a monthly manufacturing target of 240,000 chips spoiling Chinese tech companies with a healthy new stream of state-subsidized allotment of chips needed to keep costs down and build the gadgets and gizmos of the future.
For the most part, it was unforeseen that the US administration had the gall and calculative nous to combat the nurtured Chinese state tech sector.
However, I will say, it makes sense to pick off the Chinese tech space now before they stop needing American chips at all in 5-7 years and when all remnants of leverage disappear.
The short-term pain will be felt in the American chip tech sector which is evident with the horrid news Nvidia reported and the aftermath seen in the price action of the stock.
Nvidia expects top line revenue to shrink by $500 million or half a billion – it’s been a while since I saw such a massive cut in forecasts.
Half of revenue comes from the Middle Kingdom and expect huge downgrades from Apple on its earnings report too.
If this didn’t scare you, what will?
These short-term headwinds are worth it to the American tech sector as a whole.
To eventually ward off a future existential crisis when Chinese GPU companies start offering outside business actionable high quality chips curated with borrowed technology, funded by artificially low debt, and for half the price is worth its weight in gold.
The same story is playing out with Huawei around the globe but at the largest scale possible.
This is what happens when the foreign tech sector is up against companies who have access to unlimited state loans and is part of wider communist state policy to take over foundational technology globally.
I will also emphasize that the Chinese communist party has a seat on every board at any notable Chinese tech company influencing decisions at the top even more than the upper management.
If upper management stopped paying heed to the communist voice at the table, they would be out of business in a jiffy.
Therefore, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei standing at a podium promulgating a scenario where Huawei is operating freely from the government is what dreams are made of.
It’s not a prognosis rooted in reality.
The communist party are overlords breathing down the neck of Huawei after any material decisions that can affect the company and subsequently the government’s position in the interconnected world.
The China blue print essentially entails a pan-Amazon strategy emphasizing large volume – low cost strategy.
Amazon was successful because investors would throw money at the company until it scaled up and wiped the competition away in one fell swoop.
Amazon is on a destructive path bludgeoning every American second-tier mall reshaping the economic world.
The unintended consequences have been profound with the ultimate spoils falling at the feet of CEO and Founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, his phalanx of employees as well as Amazon stockholders which are mostly comprised of wealthy investors.
Well, Chairman Xi Jinping and the Chinese communist party are attempting to Amazon the American tech sector and the broader American economy.
The American economy could potentially become the second-tier mall in this analogy and the game playing out is an existential crisis for the likes of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Nvidia, Micron, Intel and the who’s who of semiconductor chips.
If stocks reacted on a 30-year timeframe, Nvidia would be up 15% today instead of reaching a trading day nadir of 17%.
What is happening behind the scenes?
American tech companies are moving supply chains or planning to move supply chains out of China.
This is an epochal manifestation of the larger trade war and a decisive development in the eyes of the American administration.
In fact, many industry analysts understand a logjam of failed trade solutions as a bonus to the Chinese.
However, I would argue the complete opposite.
Yes, the Chinese are waiting out the current administration to deal with a new one that might be more lenient.
But that will take another two years and publicly listed companies grappling with the performance of quarterly earnings don’t have two years like the Chinese communist party.
And who knows, the next administration might even seize the baton from the current administration and clamp down even more.
Be careful what you wish for.
Taiwanese company and biggest iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group is discussing plans to move production away from China to India.
India is a democratic country, the biggest democracy in Asia, and is a staunch ally of the United States.
CEOs of Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT), some of Silicon Valley heavyweights, are from India and American tech companies have been making generational tech investments in India recently.
Warren Buffet even invested $300 million in an Indian FinTech company Paytm.
When you read stories about India being the new China, well it’s happening faster than anyone thought and on a scale that nobody thought, and the underlying catalyst is the overarching trade war fueling this quick migration.
Apple is already constructing low grade iPhones in India in the state of Karnataka since 2017, and these were the first iPhones made in India.
They won’t be the last either.
Wistron, major Taiwanese original design manufacturer, has since started producing the iPhone 6S model there as well.
And it is no surprise that China and its artificially priced smartphones have undercut Samsung and Apple in India grabbing the market share lead.
This is happening all over the emerging world.
And don’t forget if U.S. President Donald Trump revisits banning American chip companies supply channels to Chinese telecom company ZTE. That would be 70,000 Chinese jobs out the window in a nanosecond.
The current administration has drier powder than you think and this would hasten the deceleration of the Chinese economy and also move forward the American recession into 2019 boding negative for tech shares.
Therefore, I would recommend balancing out a trading portfolio with overweights and underweights because it is obvious that tech stocks won’t be coupled to a gondola trajectory to the peak of the summit this year.
It’s a stockpickers market this year with visible losers and winners.
And if China does get their way in the tech war, American chip companies will eventually become worthless squeezed out by mainland competition brought down by their own technology full circle.
They are first on the chopping board because their overreliance on Chinese revenue streams for the bulk of sales.
Among these companies that could go bust are Broadcom (AVGO), Qualcomm (QCOM), Qorvo (QRVO), Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) and as you expected Micron and Nvidia who are one of the main protagonists in this story.
Global Market Comments
January 29, 2019
(RISK CONTROL FOR DUMMIES),
(SPY), (AMZN), (TLT), (CRM), (VXX)
There is a method to my madness, although I understand that some new subscribers may need some convincing.
Whenever I change my positions, the market makes a major move or reaches a key crossroads, I look to stress test my portfolio by inflicting various extreme scenarios upon it and analyzing the outcome.
This is second nature for most hedge fund managers. In fact, the larger ones will use top of the line mainframes powered by $100 million worth of in-house custom programming to produce a real-time snapshot of their thousands of positions in all imaginable scenarios at all times.
If you want to invest with these guys feel free to do so. They require a $10-$25 million initial slug of capital, a one year lock up, charge a fixed management fee of 2% and a performance bonus of 20% or more.
You have to show minimum liquid assets of $2 million and sign 50 pages of disclosure documents. If you have ever sued a previous manager, forget it. The door slams shut. And, oh yes, the best performing funds are closed and have a ten-year waiting list to get in. Unless you are a major pension fund, they don’t want to hear from you.
Individual investors are not so sophisticated, and it clearly shows in their performance, which usually mirrors the indexes less a large haircut. So, I am going to let you in on my own, vastly simplified, dumbed down, seat of the pants, down and dirty style of risk management, scenario analysis, and stress testing that replicates 95% of the results of my vastly more expensive competitors.
There is no management fee, performance bonus, disclosure document, lock up, or upfront cash requirement. There’s just my token $3,000 a year subscription fee and that’s it. And I’m not choosy. I’ll take anyone whose credit card doesn’t get declined.
To make this even easier, you can perform your own analysis in the excel spreadsheet I post every day in the paid-up members section of Global Trading Dispatch. You can just download it and play around with it whenever you want, constructing your own best case and worst-case scenarios. To make this easy, I have posted this spreadsheet on my website for you to download by clicking here.
Since this is a “for dummies” explanation, I’ll keep this as simple as possible. No offense, we all started out as dummies, even me.
I’ll take Mad Hedge Model Trading Portfolio at the close of October 29, the date that the stock market bottomed and when I ramped up to a very aggressive 75% long with no hedges. This was the day when the Dow Average saw a 1,000 point intraday range, margin clerks were running rampant, and brokers were jumping out of windows.
I projected my portfolio returns in three possible scenarios: (1) The market collapses an additional 5% by the November 16 option expiration, some 15 trading days away, falling from $260 to $247, (2) the S&P 500 (SPY) rises 5% from $260 to $273 by November 16, and (3) the S&P 500 trades in a narrow range and remains around the then current level of $260.
Scenario 1 – The S&P 500 Falls 5%
A 5% loss and an average of a 5% decline in all stocks would take the (SPY) down to $247, well below the February $250 low, and off an astonishing 15.70% in one month. Such a cataclysmic move would have taken our year to date down to +11.03%. The (SPY) $150-$160 and (AMZN) $1,550-$1,600 call spreads would be total losses but are partly offset by maximum gains on all remaining positions, including the S&P 500 (SPY), Salesforce (CRM), and the United States US Treasury Bond Fund (TLT). My Puts on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) would become worthless.
However, with real interest rates at zero (3.1% ten-year US Treasury yield minis 3.1% inflation rate), the geopolitical front quiet, and my Mad Hedge Market Timing Index at a 30 year low of only 4, I thought there was less than a 1% chance of this happening.
Scenario 2 – S&P 500 rises 5%
The impact of a 5% rise in the market is easy to calculate. All positions expire at their maximum profit point, taking our model trading portfolio up 37.03% for 2018. It would be a monster home run. I would make back a little bit on the (VXX) but not much because of time decay.
Scenario 3 – S&P 500 Remains Unchanged
Again, we do OK, given the circumstances. The year-to-date stands at a still respectable 22.03%. Only the (AMZN) $1,550-$1,600 call spread is a total loss. The (VXX) puts would become nearly a total loss.
As it turned out, Scenario 2 played out and was the way to go. I stopped out of the losing (AMZN) $1,550-$1,600 call spread two days later for only a 1.73% loss, instead of -12.23% in the worst-case scenario. It was a case of $12.23 worth of risk control that only cost me $1.73. I’ll do that all day long, even though it cost me money. When running hedge funds, you are judged on how you manage your losses, not your gains, which are easy.
I took profit on the rest of my positions when they reached 88%-95% of their maximum potential profits and thus cut my risk to zero during these uncertain times. October finished with a gain of +1.24. By the time I liquidated my last position and went 95% cash, I was up 32.95% so far in 2018, against a Dow average that is up 2% on the year. It was a performance for the ages.
Keep in mind that these are only estimates, not guarantees, nor are they set in stone. Future levels of securities, like index ETFs, are easy to estimate. For other positions, it is more of an educated guess. This analysis is only as good as its assumptions. As we used to say in the computer world, garbage in equals garbage out.
Professionals who may want to take this out a few iterations can make further assumptions about market volatility, options implied volatility or the future course of interest rates. And let’s face it, politics was a major influence this year.
Keep the number of positions small to keep your workload under control. Imagine being Goldman Sachs and doing this for several thousand positions a day across all asset classes.
Once you get the hang of this, you can start projecting the effect on your portfolio of all kinds of outlying events. What if a major world leader is assassinated? Piece of cake. How about another 9/11? No problem. Oil at $150 a barrel? That’s a gimme.
What if there is an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities? That might take you all of two minutes to figure out. The Federal Reserve launches a surprise QE5 out of the blue? I think you already know the answer.
Now that you know how to make money in the options market, thanks to my Trade Alert service, I am going to teach you how to hang on to it.
There is no point in being clever and executing profitable trades only to lose your profits through some simple, careless mistakes.
So I have posted a training video on Risk Management. Note: you have to be logged in to the www.madhedgefundtrader.com website to view it.
The first goal of risk control is to preserve whatever capital you have. I tell people that I am too old to lose all my money and start over again as a junior trader at Morgan Stanley. Therefore, I am pretty careful when it comes to risk control.
The other goal of risk control is the art of managing your portfolio to make sure it is profitable no matter what happens in the marketplace. Ideally, you want to be a winner whether the market moves up, down, or sideways. I do this on a regular basis.
Remember, we are not trying to beat an index here. Our goal is to make absolute returns, or real dollars, at all times, no matter what the market does. You can’t eat relative performance, nor can you use it to pay your bills.
So the second goal of every portfolio manager is to make it bomb proof. You never know when a flock of black swans is going to come out of nowhere, or another geopolitical shock occurs, causing the market crash.
I’ll also show you how to use my Trade Alert service to squeeze every dollar out of your trading.
So, let’s get on with it!
To watch the Introduction to Risk Management, please click here.
Global Market Comments
January 24, 2019
(FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE TRADE WAR),
(AAPL), (AVGO), (QCOM), (TLT),
(HOW THE MAD HEDGE MARKET TIMING ALGORITHM TRIPLED MY PERFORMANCE),
Mad Hedge Technology Letter
January 24, 2019
(ACTIVISTS LAY IN ON EBAY),
(EBAY), (AMZN), (PYPL), (GOOGL)
A highly compelling argument – that was my initial reaction after diving into Elliot Management’s letter to eBay’s (EBAY) shareholders after the ruthless investor activist announced an over 4% stake in one of the original online marketplace giants.
Not only that, hedge fund Starboard Value LP also has gotten in on the act with a position of less than 4%.
Starboard has doubled down agreeing with the general points of Elliot Management’s prognosis on the weakness of eBay’s business model
There are no two ways about it - eBay has been condemned to tech purgatory as of late and is in dire need of a facelift.
If you’re a manager of any sort of magnitude at e-commerce platform eBay, this was the letter of doom and gloom you hoped you would never get.
The equity Gods have been harsh to eBay as PayPal (PYPL), one of the Mad Hedge Technology Letter’s favorite picks in 2019, has risen over 130% after spinning off from eBay in 2015.
eBay is down substantially since that point in time reflecting a poorly run business in a secular growth industry that has produced home runs most evident in the performance of Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com (AMZN).
The gist of Elliot’s diagnosis centered around the terrible operational execution at the Silicon Valley firm.
It essentially repeats this premise over and over throughout the content.
Current management is historically bad that any efficiencies implemented into the platform would boost growth reverting it back to a point closer to a trajectory that echoes closer to a normal high growth e-commerce company.
How did eBay peter out to mediocrity?
Let me explain.
There is a time-established pattern that Elliot Management identified – eBay management increasing spend to stimulate growth, failing to deliver the goods and reverting back to square one.
The result is paltry growth in the mid-single digits which can be seen in minimal growth numbers in the gross merchandise volume (GMV), a metric established to gauge the total amount of volume pushed through eBay.
The activist hedge fund claimed that shares could potentially double if their calculated plan could shortly be deployed.
The plan was straight forward and there was no innovative x-factors described or pivot to augmented reality or machine learning that many firms like to hype up.
Elliot’s strategy is purely operational relating to the core business – where is Tim Cook when you need him!
The argument originates from whether eBay management can allocate resources more efficiently, focus on boosting foundational growth in the core marketplace, and develop new verticals that were completely missed in its development, then the stock would react favorably.
I would even double down and say that if they do half of what they promise in the Elliot’s letter, shares should pop at least 30%.
eBay exists under a backdrop of massive secular drivers fueling e-commerce.
The industry is the most robust in the economy and is expanding in the mid-20% even as global sales are about to eclipse the $3 trillion mark.
E-commerce just has a penetration rate of 10% and the runway is long which should enable mainstay companies to grow their top and bottom line if not botched completely.
Average consumer spending is in the throes of major disruption from analog brick and mortar stores to digital e-commerce, and eBay’s strategic position offers an advantageous platform to carve out e-commerce success moving forward.
The first thing Elliot wants to do is reach up their sleeve for a little financial engineering magic by spinning out in-house mega-growth assets of StubHub, the e-ticket event vendor, and its portfolio of premium classified properties that possess double-digit sales growth and elevated margins.
Elliot argues that these two assets would perform better on a standalone basis because they wouldn’t be bogged down by eBay turning around the core business which could possibly result in some misallocated capital and delays.
The valuation of eBay’s Classified Groups assets is around $4.5 billion, but segment that out and the value could represent $10 billion.
The same boost in valuation applies to event ticket seller platform StubHub. The company is valued at just $2.2 billion under the umbrella of eBay but tear the baby out of eBay’s uterus and suddenly the valuation balloons to a rosier $4 billion.
Watching from afar, Elliot has pinpointed management’s “self-inflicted mis-execution” and management must summon all their power and resources to direct “singular attention to growing and strengthening marketplace.”
eBay has severely underperformed in share price relative to its peers by 107% in the past 5 years. Extrapolate the time horizon to 10 years and the underperformance shoots up to 371%.
These have been the tech golden years and there is no feasible excuse to why this company hasn’t been able to perform better or equal relative to their peer group.
eBay is the second biggest e-commerce platform in the world but only trades at a PE of 12 showing the malaise of investor sentiment surrounding this name.
This is unfortunate because eBay has strong embedded actionable communities in South Korea, Australia, Italy, Germany, U.K., U.S., and Canada.
The tools are there but it is hard to take a stab when the tool is blunted by poor management.
Compare slow growth with the rocket-fueled growth of asset StubHub which has almost doubled revenue in the past 5 years.
eBay has lifted advertising spend by 70% since 2013 and revved up product development by 45% as well. This has surprisingly led to material margin declines because of the failure of these initiatives to take hold.
One of the missteps resulting in this margin softness is the dysfunctional execution of its online platform infected by technical problems and operational headwinds.
A few notable events were a 2014 broad-based password hack and the botched fix to that problem exacerbated by a muddied communication strategy.
During this time, eBay was outmaneuvered by Google’s (GOOGL) search algorithm resulting in a massive decline in traffic as a result of this painful change.
The next year was similarly awful with a shoddy mobile application that did not resonate with customers and was put out to pasture shortly after rolling it out.
An online marketplace offering a platform for over four million buyers and sellers to carry out business requires high-level functioning. A failure to deliver this experience has caused long-time users to jump ship to other niche vertical platforms.
Innovative endeavors aren’t part of this new strategy to remake the company.
The underlying strategy effectively spells out that eBay needs to become more like Amazon and any sort of moderate success in doing that will positively boost the stock price – let’s call it what it is – an operational overhaul and nothing more than that.
The complaints don’t stop there and last year eBay was inundated with technical issues that included incorrect billing, deleted photos, warped title presentation, and senior management took the blame in a podcast confessing that management needs to pull things together and they “don’t want to repeat (the same mistakes) on a number of levels. And the technology issues that we have had with the platform are on top of the list.”
eBay is not a startup and presides over a profitable business.
Returning capital to shareholders was part of the plan as well.
This entails repurchasing shares of up to $5 billion which was $1 billion more than the original guidance – Elliot Management is an activist investor after all hoping to super-charge shareholder income streams.
Elliot wants to implement a 1.5% dividend yield due to eBay’s high free cash flow model.
After 2020, Elliot wants to allocate 80% of free cash flow for share repurchases and earmark the other 20% for M&A activity.
It is difficult to surmise if this plan will work smoothly or not, but if Elliot can bring in the correct team to execute this plan, I would give them the benefit of the doubt as making this plan into a viable success seems realistic.
But it is yet to be seen how laborious it will be to get the people they want through the door.
eBay is truly a unique asset and the chopped-down nature of its shares would stage a remarkable turnaround if some proven management from Amazon’s executive team could be captured and convinced that eBay is a legitimate option.
Easier said than done, but this is a step in the right direction.
My Luger is firmly in my holster and waiting for some action - if there are any whiffs of a real turnaround then I’ll shoot out some eBay trade alerts.
Mad Hedge Technology Letter
January 23, 2019
(WHY TECH IS FLEEING SILICON VALLEY),
(AAPL), (CRM), (MSFT), (FB), (AMZN), (GOOGL)
When did Marc Benioff become a real estate agent?
That is the main takeaway from the interview he gave to the world from the annual powerful people conference in Davos, Switzerland.
During the interview, he cut straight to the chase and described the cocktail of negative unintended consequences that the tsunami of tech profits has spawned.
His thesis, though not new, parlayed admirably with Bridgewater Associates Founder Ray Dalio interview in chronicling an economic landscape in which geopolitical turmoil finally catches up meaningfully with the movement of tech shares because of the underlying threat to influence concrete economic policy moving forward.
Why is he a real estate seller?
Well, he might as well be one in second-tier cities with copious amounts of tech talent such as Austin, Nashville, Sacramento, Atlanta, and Portland because these metro areas are about to experience a wild ride in the property market rollercoaster.
Benioff just added fuel to this fire.
The robust housing demand, lack of housing supply, mixed with the avalanche of inquisitive tech money will propel these housing markets to new heights and this phenomenon is happening as we speak.
Benioff lamented that San Francisco, where ironically he is from, is a diabolical “train wreck” and urged fellow tech CEOs to “walk down the street” and see it with their own eyes to observe the numerous homeless encampments dotted around the city limits.
The leader of Salesforce doesn’t mince his words when he talks and beelines to the heart of the issues.
After relinquishing some of his CEO duties to newly anointed Co-CEO Keith Block, Benioff will have the operational time and a wealth of resources to get on top of the pulse of not only tech issues but bigger picture stuff and he now has a mouthpiece for it with Time magazine which he and his wife recently bought.
In condemning large swaths of the beneficiaries of the Silicon Valley ethos, he has signaled that it won’t be smooth sailing for the rest of the year in tech wonderland, and he urged companies to transform their business model if they are irresponsible with user data.
The tech lash could get messier this year because companies that go rogue with personal data will face a cringeworthy reckoning as the tech lash fury seeps into government policy and the social stigma worsens.
I have walked around the streets of San Francisco myself. Places around Powell Bart station close to the Tenderloin district are eyesores. South of Market Street isn’t a place I would want to barbecue on a terrace either.
Summing it up, the unlimited tech talent reservoir that Silicon Valley gorged on isn’t flowing anymore because people don’t want to live there now.
This tech talent, equipped with heart-tugging stories from siblings and anecdotes from classmates getting shafted by the San Francisco dream, has recently put the Bay Area in the rear-view mirror for many who would have stayed if it were 20 years ago.
This is exactly what Apple’s $1 billion investment into a new tech campus in Austin, Texas and Amazon adding 500 employees in Nashville, Tennessee are all about. Apple also added numbers in San Diego, Atlanta, Culver City, and Boulder just to name a few.
Apple currently employs 90,000 people in 50 states and is in the works to create 20,000 more jobs in the US by 2023.
Most of these new jobs won’t be in Silicon Valley.
Since the tech talent isn’t giddy-upping into Silicon Valley anymore, tech firms must get off their saddle and go find them.
The tables have turned but that is what happens when the heart of western tech becomes unlivable to the average tech worker earning $150,000 per year.
I also mind you that these external forces have nothing to do with pure technology, pure technology improves with each iteration and gaps up with each revolutionary idea.
That will not change.
Driving out young people who envision a long-term future elsewhere than the San Francisco Bay Area forces Silicon Valley to adapt to the new patterns revealing themselves.
Sacramento has experienced a dizzying rise of newcomers from the Bay Area itself.
Some are even commuting, making that 60-mile jaunt past Davis, but that will give way to entire tech operations moving to the state capitol.
Millennials are reaching that age of family formation and they are fleeing to places that are affordable and possible to become a new home buyer.
These are some of the practical issues that tech has failed to embrace and to maintain the furious pace of growth that investors' capricious expectations harbor.
Silicon Valley will have to become more practical adding a dash of empathy as well instead of just going by the raw and heartless data.
We aren’t robots yet, and much of the world still augurs to emotional decisions and disregards the empirical data.
My favorite tech companies are not only saying the right things but are doing the right things as well.
Microsoft (MSFT) just laid down a marker promising $500 million to build more affordable housing in Seattle.
Sustainability does not only mean building a sustainable business model on the balance sheet, but this definition is growing to be inclusive of upholding the stability and long-term prospects of a local area.
Microsoft has put the trust in its products at the fore of their business model.
Each time CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella interviews, he preaches about the universal trust that consumers possess in Microsoft.
He is not off on his claims and Microsoft is riding this mantra all the way to the bank while sidestepping regulatory scrutiny.
Nadella is always smartly one step ahead.
All this screams going long Microsoft by buying the dips.
Sell the rallies in the names that have a crisis of trust such as Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL).
I was recently gouged $250 on my monthly phone bill by Google because of a technicality from cell phone service Google Fi.
All a specialist said was that according to the data, I should be charged almost as if I should be shamed for even questioning their business model.
Not only that, the best and brightest from Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, and Ivy league schools do not want to work for Facebook and Google anymore.
These brands have been tainted.
The result will be needing to overpay to secure the able forces needed to pursue growth and success.
Not only that, upper management has left in droves “pursuing new opportunities.”
Google is also grappling with an Apple problem - no new innovative products and it’s yet to be seen if Waymo, the autonomous driving business, can be that solid growth driver going forward.
As the economy creeps closer and closer to the end of the cycle, investors won’t be willing to drain money down some loss-making outfit in the name of growth.
Therefore, software companies based on innovation fused with stable profits will be the go-to formula in tech investing in 2019 and Amazon (AMZN), Salesforce (CRM), and Microsoft (MSFT) are ahead of the curve.
Don’t get me wrong - Silicon Valley is still alive and kicking.
But, instead of physical offices being planted in the Bay Area, the tech industry will give way to the “spirit” of Silicon Valley with offices in far-flung places.
And remember that all of these new tech talent strongholds will need housing, and housing that an IT worker making $150,000 per year desires.