Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Netflix, First Solar and Amazon, oh my...

I jumped off the Netflix bandwagon in July when the stock was around $290 and I felt that I'd seen just about every show worth watching.  I mentioned in passing that I was canceling my service and should probably go short the stock.  Well, I never expected the absolute demolition of the stock to take place this fast. The stock fell over $40 today to just about $77/share.  Eventually, there will be plenty of rumors circulating around the company if it stays at this level because Google or Apple could now buy Netflix with the loose change in their lobby couches.

The solar industry can't catch a break as the industry leader - First Solar - was pummeled today on news that their CEO was stepping down and tonight Amazon shocked everyone by issuing a weak outlook for the Christmas quarter which included the possibility they may lose money in the fourth quarter even though sales are expected to be in the $16.5-$18.5 billion range..

On to more pleasant thoughts - I read this article yesterday that includes quotes from the author "Brainwashed" on the way companies market to us.  The specific comments on Whole Foods cracked me up....

"If you pay attention as you walk into the produce department, Lindstrom says you will notice the boxes holding the apples and bananas seem to have been delivered by something called "Patty's Farm."

"The story is probably very different," Lindstrom says. " In the backside of the store, they're offloading all those bananas from huge plastic containers, most likely flown in the day before, into those individual-looking cardboard boxes, which by the way is not 'Patty's Farm.'

"It's actually been designed by a graphic design company in New York City to make us feel this is nostalgia at its peak."

This reminded me of scene I saw unfold at the farmer's market in Ottawa this summer before most customers arrived.  A "farmer" was opening up large 2lb containers of blueberries that were clearly marked "Costco" and dumping the berries into those small green pressed cardboard containers that gave the berries a "fresh picked" look.  Those Costco berries went from about $3/pound to about $8/pound in the blink of an eye.  Ah, behold the power of marketing :)

I really couldn't believe that this story wasn't from The Onion - Wisconsin town considers bike ban.  Well, on the surface that isn't that surprising -- there are lots of car vs. bike disputes around the US.  However, this line defies all logic....

"The Stevens Point Journal reports that the proposed law would require biking, running or walking groups to register their travel plans with the town or bans them from using roads outright."
What the what?
So, I want to put in a quick 25 miles after work with my buddies and I have to register my "travel plans" before heading or face an outright ban?  Wow.  Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.


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