Saturday, July 28, 2018

Facebook | Lefsetz Letter

Nobody knows anything. Not only about show business, but politics and finance. This is the story of this generation, how the media missed Trump and so much else. Hip-hop is gigantic, but Drake, the biggest act in the genre, and red-hot Migos, can’t sell every ticket and postpone opening dates for “production issues”… Like they didn’t know they were going to play those buildings to begin with? Then again, you certainly can’t trust entertainment reporting, where the scribes are sycophants looking for perks and will write anything their bullying patrons say. The Taylor Swift U.K. tour was a disaster, full of empty seats. But there was nary a word in the U.S. press, although the U.K. “Sun” printed pictures. But if you just push back hard enough, swing some swill about slow ticketing, then you get a pass.

But entertainment is irrelevant. Business and politics are not. The “New York Times” has been having a self-debate whether the Democrats are running too far to the left while the Republicans are saying that they are, laughing while they continue to define the debate, it’s the right that’s against Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic powers-that-be will probably nominate another compromise candidate for President nobody wants. That’s not 2018. People want something to believe in, which is why Trump won, which is why pop music failed, if you’re thinking of appealing to everybody, you’re appealing to almost nobody. And niches are strong enough to support you. You may not get ink, but the EDM and jam band acts are doing quite fine, thank you.

As is Facebook.

Don’t think of it as the signature service solely, think of it as Instagram and WhatsApp too. The truth is there’s little disruption in tech these days, because any disrupting company is either purchased by the big kahunas or put out of business via competition by these same behemoths. That’s Amazon’s business model. The only high-flying company that does not depend upon acquisitions is Apple, quite possibly to its detriment.

So now we’ve got Facebook missing Wall Street’s numbers. BARELY! $13.2 billion in revenue instead of $13.4. 11% user growth instead of the previous quarter’s 13%. This is like complaining your Prius got 43 miles per gallon instead of 45, your mileage is still PHENOMENAL!

Now Facebook might be overpriced, but the point is this double digit drop is a reaction to everything but the fundamentals. Facebook is the whipping boy for the anti-Trump forces. That’s right, you’ve got to blame someone other than yourself. Not that Facebook is innocent, wow, Zuckerberg and Sandberg were ignorant as to the power of their platform and the ability of nefarious users to employ it. But social media survives. People have to connect somewhere. And Snapchat is fading and Facebook controls the big 3, Facebook itself, the burgeoning Instagram and the dominant outside the U.S. WhatsApp. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Oh, there’s Twitter.

You read as much negative stuff about Twitter as you do about Facebook. People like Maggie Haberman lamenting the nastiness. Come on, when you decry online hate it just illustrates you’re a newbie. Nastiness has been extant since the turn of the century online, if you’ve been playing, every day people tell me I’m an asshole, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. And the truth is Twitter is the epicenter of breaking news. It’s imperfect, but if you want a taste of America, a truth you might not be able to handle, even if it’s riddled with falsehoods, you need to log on. Just ask the NBA, which lives on Twitter. But the mainstream media comes last, and that includes Fox and the WSJ.

But at least the right wing has a self-serving agenda.

The left wing media, the NYT, is all about self-flagellation and a return to the past. That’s right, there was an article in the paper of record how to return to a flip-phone. What’s next, an article how to return to standard transmissions, even though automatics can now shift more quickly and get better gas mileage?

Oh, then there’s the canard that phones are distracting and we must turn them off, take vacations.

What hogwash.

People need to CONNECT!

We heard these same stories when teenagers were addicted to telephones.

I mean I’d love to live in today’s world as a teen. Where you come home and connect with all your buddies, where you are not isolated. Sure, there’s some increase in bullying, but every step forward comes at a cost. A/C in automobiles ended vent windows. We lived!

Wall Street is Las Vegas for experts and chumps.

And the truth is some experts are not that smart to begin with. The index fund beats the pickers. And hedge funds are doing poorly. If it all made sense, there’d be better predictions, but there are not!

So Facebook stock will go back up, just you watch. It’s not about the death of tech, but the power of tech. Where else are you gonna put your money, GE???


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