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Panic doesn’t work.

Remember last Friday?  It crashed because of coronavirus fears. There were fears it could crash again on Monday (yesterday) when we all were meant to be fearful about the virus. But it didn’t. Markets rose.

The last five days proved panic doesn’t work. Here’s Nasdaq over the past five days, including this morning:

I bought a little stock in the panic on Friday. They’re all up now.

If you think this won’t last. take a little off the table. Buy some dividend stocks like LADR and BXMT.

How much money do I have in my bank?

Last night, this is what I learned when I went online to check how rich or poor I was:

No definition of “later.”

Should I be upset? What’s new? My bank can’t even get my name right.

Yesterday, I finally got my Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature with the handsome rewards. My daughter loves this card.

The accompanying paperwork said I could add “authorized users” (like Susan). I went to the web site to do just that and got this:

Again, no definition of “later.”

Please Amazon, Apple, Square or Google, or anybody, open a bank and put these idiots — one of the largest banks in the nation — out of their misery.

Actually, one company might just be doing that. It’s called Fidelity. I use their beautiful Active Trade Pro software. They do everything banks do — and a little more — like having exemplary telephone support.

Coronavirus: Be +careful

Around 80% of those who have died from the coronavirus are over the age of 60, says National Health Commission in China.

They added that 75% of them had suffered from underlying bad conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Michael, my son, is crazy about this new book

Here’s his excellent review:

Every major company is focused on digitally transforming its business to achieve some combination of better service to their customers and lower costs of delivery. Billions are being invested globally despite the well known fact that 80%+ of digital transformations have failed or are failing (exact numbers depending on which report you read – McKinsey, World Economic Forum, etc.).

There are many sources of the failures but they all fall into two main buckets — 1) getting the technology wrong, and 2) the inability to break up the organizational and cultural inertia that exists in the corporation. Competing in the Age of AI is the first book I’ve read that tackles this situation head on. It provides a clear breakdown of why this happens and what you can do about it (or at least try to do about it).

The book starts by making an unequivocal argument for why digitally native businesses are far outperforming their traditional (e.g. analog) counterparts. Iansite and Lakhani go through examples of how firms such as Ant Financial, Amazon, and Ocado are able to provide far better service to their customers at far lower cost (literally many magnitudes) through their deployment of modern digital tools.

What exactly are these tools? What comprises a digitally native business? Simply put, it is a business whose operational and technology model is built to harness massive amounts of data and advanced analytical capabilities to make decisions and service their customers. To bring to life, think of this, “Ant Financial employs fewer than ten thousand people to service more than 700 million customers with a broad scope of services. By comparison, Bank of America, founded in 1924, employs 209,000 people to serve 67 million customers with a more limited array of offerings. Ant Financial is just a different breed.”

My one gripe with the book is that I think it is mis-titled. While AI is the highest order value a company can unlock once it has build a modern, data-driven operational model and technology stack, there are tons of value to be mined before you get to AI applications. In most companies — including the most successful ones today- – there is tremendous “low hanging” value to be captured by building an integrated data core vs. the literally thousands of siloed (different, separate) systems most established enterprises have today. That alone would be huge. The massive value of AI can come later.

I think the book will be as interesting for investors as it will be to any operator. I’d only invest in businesses that are embracing the digitally native operating model that Iansite and Lakhani lay out. These businesses are already outperforming and I believe will continue to outperform in the future. In fact, their dominance will likely increase as the technology only gets better with time providing further advantages that others cannot catch…..perhaps other than antitrust regulators.

Competing in the Age of AI is one of the few business books that feels genuinely new and useful.

The book gets rave reviews on Amazon. You can buy a Kindle edition for $18.49 or a real paper book for $24.49. I’ll be buying the Kindle edition today. Click here.

Thank you Michael for your first published book review. Finally all those hundreds of thousands of dollars in his education are paying off. (That’s meant to be a joke.)

The disastrous pill prescribing pharmacist industry

Yesterday I instanced the New York Times mega-investigation:

How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk
Pharmacists across the U.S. warn that the push to do more with less has made medication errors more likely.
“I am a danger to the public,” one wrote to a regulator.

Reader Axel Mehrle wrote this morning:

Absolutely on target. We use a local pharmacist whom we have known for decades . Before that we used his dad who is now retired. On many occasions he stopped my wife taking certain drugs.

The US needs uniform nationwide system like many other countries have that stores ALL a patient’s prescriptions often on a smart card. The systems are programmed to prevent contraindicated errors. This is basic technology. Of course our pharma industry wouldn’t like that because it would reduce their profits.

You can read my piece here and the New York Times huge piece here.

Moving to Windows 10. Yuch

My expert friends say Windows 10 is safer and better than Windows 7, which I have used basically flawlessly for eons.

I now have one laptop running Win 10 and one running Win 7.

Day to day, Windows 10 is not easy. It’s a pain. Microsoft’s pleasure is to change things — usually for no apparent reason.

This Microsoft masochism means you have to re-learn tasks, while refraining from cursing at your screen.

To use day-to-day, I still prefer Windows 7.

But the world is “marketing.” And Microsoft’s technique is not to upgrade Windows 7, but simply to stop its “support” and scare you into believing an “unsupported” Windows 7 will destroy your life and take away your virginity.

For now, I’ll struggle with Windows 10 and a piece of software called Windows Classic Shell which makes Win 10 look more like Win 7. Windows Classic Shell is flawless and free. Click here.

If you’re starting from scratch, get a Mac.

I own shares in Microsoft and Apple. They’re both doing well.

Old, but still funny

An elderly couple was having dinner one evening when the husband reached across the table, took his wife’s hand in his and said, “Esther, soon we will be married 50 years, and there’s something I have to know. In all of these 50 years, have you ever been unfaithful to me?”

Esther replied, “Well, Herman, I have to be honest with you. Yes, I’ve been unfaithful to you three times during these 50 years, but always for a good reason.”

Herman was obviously hurt by his wife’s confession, but said, “I never suspected. Can you tell me what you mean by ‘good reasons?'”

Esther said, “The first time was shortly after we were married, and we were about to lose our little house because we couldn’t pay the mortgage. Do you remember that one evening I went to see the banker and the next day he notified you that the loan would be extended?”

Herman recalled the visit to the banker and said, “I can forgive you for that. You saved our home, but what about the second time?”

Esther asked, “And do you remember when you were so sick, but we didn’t have the money to pay for the heart surgery you needed? Well, I went to see your doctor one night and, if you recall, he did the surgery at no charge.”

“I recall that,” said Herman. “And you did it to save my life, so of course I can forgive you for that. Now tell me about the third time.”

“All right,” she said. “So do you remember when you ran for president of the synagogue, and you needed 73 more votes?”

That’s it. I’m living to 120. 

Biking and tennis every day. Short naps regularly. And no stress — which means no more auto-pay and fewer managers of syndications, funds, etc.

Buy Michael’s book.  See you tomorrow. Harry Newton





  • Mike Nash

    Harry, if memory serves me you once called for your readers to short Tesla stock in your newsletter. Any comment now that it’s up about 1,000 percent?