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The Marginal Buyer Holds The Pin That Pops Every Asset Bubble

So it's important to watch him very closely
Friday, August 19, 2016, 2:01 AM

Those of you who took an Economics class in college may remember the saying that prices are set "at the margin". That's a fancy way to say that prices are set by the person (or people) willing to pay the most.

This person willing to pay top dollar is called the "marginal buyer". Most of us don't really think about him, but he (or she) is very, very important.

Why? Because the marginal buyer not only determines price levels, but also their stability and degree of volatility. The behavior of the marginal buyer, as well as the degree of competition for his/her "top dog" spot, sets the prices of nearly every asset class held by today's investors. » Read more

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Observations From The Heart Of Silicon Valley

The calm before the storm?
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 8:11 PM

Yesterday I made the 2-hour drive back to Silicon Valley, where I lived for 15 years before moving out to the country.

I rarely go back, as I miss very little about the hyper-elite scene there. When I do, though, I feel I have a useful 'insider-now-outsider' perspective that allows me to see things there more accurately than those who live in that fishbowl 24/7.

What hit me most strongly upon arriving back in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area, is how little of the craziness has changed since I left 4 years ago. I don't mean 'unchanged' though; rather that the same craziness is there, just more extreme than ever. » Read more

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The Fatal Blindness of Unrealistic Expectations

We are damned to fail when we avoid hard truths
Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 10:10 PM

We, as a society, have very much indeed lived beyond our means. By building up such a tremendous amount of debt through our profligacy that a small rise in interest rates would be catastrophic. That our children and children's children will be "paying backwards" for our largess, unless some debt-clearing event transpires (which I think will). » Read more

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mentalfloss.com

The Death Of Hopium

Tech Bubble 3.0 is in the process of bursting
Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 4:48 PM

I got my MBA at Stanford in 1999 when the dot-com bubble was at its zenith, worked for a VC-funded start-up as well as one of the biggest Internet juggernauts (Yahoo!). I lived in Palo Alto, the central core of the tech scene.

As a result, I have a pretty good read on how Silicon Valley works. Many of the folks I worked and went to school with are now in leadership positions at the big operating companies, VC firms and hedge funds in that ecosystem now -- so I have personal knowledge of who's making the decisions.

And it's no secret that I think it's degenerated into a steaming pile of hucksterism. » Read more

Featured Discussion

A Peak Prosperity Rant

A Peak Prosperity Rant

Adam shares his frustration at Silicon Valley's peddling of the superficial

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Time to Choose

A fundamentals-driven breakout seems imminent. But which dir
Friday, February 8, 2013, 7:44 AM

Whether you're aware of it or not, a great battle is being waged around us.

It is a war of two opposing narratives: the future of our economy and our standard of living.

The dominant story, championed by flotillas of press releases and parading talking heads, tells an inspiring tale of recovery and return to growth. 

The other side, less visible but with a full armament of high-caliber data, tells a very different story. One of growing instability, downside risk, and inequality.

As different as they are in substance, they both share one fundamental prediction and this is why you should care: This battle is about to break. And when it does, one side will turn out to be much more 'right' than the other. The time for action has arrived. To position yourself in the direction of the break you think is most likely to happen.

It's time to choose a side. » Read more