Category Archives: Best-of-Slope

A Butterfly Made of Sugar

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On that chilly January afternoon after school, i walked into the town library, needing to get a couple of books for a school paper I was assigned. I had made it about halfway over to the shelves when I heard a girl’s voice: “Tim!”

I whipped around, surprised to hear myself called. The voice was from a stunningly beautiful girl my own age whom I had known from my prior school. We had our own summer romance a year and a half prior, which she had broken off, and I thought I’d never see her again. And yet here she was.

That was a moment in time that changed a lot of lives. She told me later she wasn’t sure if she should get my attention or not, thinking that perhaps I would be upset with her and just storm off. But in that impulse, that very young woman decided to take a small chance to see what would happen. And, thus, here I am, as are you.

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Preserving My Sanity

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If I was completely dependent on the market for my mental health, I would have made myself into a six foot tall Christmas ornament hanging from a coniferous tree long, long ago. To be sure, the market influences my disposition: I’m about fifty times happier than normal (a very tiny starting figure, certainly) when the market is getting killed. Over the past seven years, this has happened approximately never. Indeed, even the most recent history of the market looks like the chart below: it is either (a) going up quickly, or (b) it’s going up slowly. This is what markets look like when the VIX is approaching single digits, people.

0722-es

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Compound W

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I haven’t done many real estate posts lately, although, as an update to this one (in which an empty dirt lot was being offered for $10 million) I’ll mention that although the For Sale sign seemed to linger longer than usual, it was supplemented with a SOLD sign yesterday. So I guess the Chinese are still buying.

I’ve become quite inured to the lunacy of Silicon Valley real estate, so not much surprises me anymore, but I saw a full page color ad this morning in Gentry magazine (which is a free magazine they distribute around here, packed with a combination of real estate ads, for the tech zillionaires, and plastic surgery ads, for their vain spouses) that demands a post. So I’m writing it, you lucky so-and-so.

The color photographs of this nearly $5 million property featured the most blase, ordinary, McMansion style place you could imagine, but the headline was……. (more…)

Devil’s Advocate

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I’m going to take a different tack today and examine the reasons why the stock market will just keep marching higher. The old “here’s why the market is going to fall right about now” doesn’t seem to be holding much water lately.

Before doing so, I must point out that the world right now is a contrarian’s dream (notwithstanding the fact that the market simply refuses to go lower. Ever.) Look no farther than this week’s Barron’s, which states that the market won’t crash (and I’m not making this up) for another thirty or forty years.

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Suicide Blonde

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I was amused yesterday evening to read about the implosion at Theranos, which is located right here in my beloved Palo Alto. Elizabeth Holmes has been the darling of the business press for years, what with her flowing blonde hair, big blue eyes, and slender neck peeking out of the Steve Jobsian black top. Like Holden Caulfield, I have no fondness for “phonies”, and she seemed like one to me.

The thing is, the phenomenon of attractive women leading high-tech companies is a relatively recent one. On the surface, we as a society will pat each other on the back about how progressive we are, now that we have unvarnished gender equality, even at the highest echelons of corporate power. But let me just spoil your little party and tell you something. The reason men gawk at photos like this……….

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