Connect


Entries in apple (5)

Wednesday
Dec032014

West Coast Companies at all time Highs



As the stock market trends higher -- now at record highs for many companies and major indexes, I decided to dig in to a few of my favorite companies to talk about. It's not likely I will find any deals out there, but we'll see.

Apple - $115 a share (deceiving since it was trading in the $500-$600 range a year ago), but the stock spilt did wonders for the company, made it more affordable for the average investor and Apple has never been worth more. On a rampage.

Nike - at $98 a share, this one is not cheap. At record highs and yet I believe this is close to the company's true value. I'd love to buy more at the high 70's, should it get there. Full disclosure: this is one of the few stocks I still own. (Waiting for the inevitible market correction).

Starbucks - Nearing record highs. Currently trading at $80 and the high is $81.46, if it gets past that, look out. Cha-ching!

The Habit - this one is new to my list as they recently entered IPO mania. I like them because they are a local company looking to grow. Based out of Irvine, California, one of Southern California's hottest start-up communities.

Lululemon - Yoga pants. What's not to like? And trading at about half it's value of a year ago. Yes, please.

Oracle - All time high territory. Still don't like them. But cannot deny they make serious cash.

EA Sports - I know several people who work there and they make bad-ass video games like Madden. Need I say more?

Tesla - Sillicon Valley's current darling and my favorite car on the road. I need one. Not want. Need. Here's the plan. Tesla's stock price drops to $200 and I load up. Then it sky-rockets (pun intended: Elon Musk, SpaceX, get it?) and I made straight cash, homie. Cash out. Buy Tesla. Drive in style.

What are some of your favorite West Coast companies? And would you buy stock in them? Why or why not?

 

Thursday
Dec152011

5 Commercials Inspiring Action

In advertising speak, you are a conversion. The goal: get the user to make a purchase. It's simple. Or is it? I'd like to argue that the goal of a commercial is to get a conversion and make the user feel something.

Perhaps you feel desire, excitement, anger, inspiration or motivation when watching certain commercials. Perhaps you feel nothing when watching others. This is where many businesses succeed and fail. You either feel good about a company, product or service or you do not. That's it. There is no middle ground. And if you are a business owner or company and users/consumers do not feel excited about your product, you have failed. 

Let's take a look at five commercials that got it right:

Nike My Better is Better 

Mac V PC Vista

RedBull Vegas

Nike Awake 

4 Hour Body

 

Thursday
Dec082011

Don't give up: How to change the world

"Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
- Steve Jobs

We are living in a time of technological revolution, most of which is focused on questions like: How can our lives become easier? How can we change our culture? How can we change the world? Business leaders have asked these over the last ten years. And you know what? They've come up with a few good answers.

Let's change the way people shop.

I just went to Amazon to research a product for WestSide Culture. The Social Network movie, based on Facebook's early years, is $11.99 for Blu-Ray. The place I used to work (I'll go ahead and say it), Borders, used to sell that for $39.99. No wonder they are bankrupt. Even when Borders had the liquidation sale and Blu-Rays were 75% off, it was still cheaper to go to Amazon (no tax). Amazon changed the world. They changed they way we shop.

Let's change the way people pay for things.

Peter Thiel decided one day, wouldn't it be easier to have funds available online where all we need to do is click a single button to pay for items? It would eliminate filling out forms (maybe job application sites should take notice) and regurgitating the same information over and over again just to buy something. Hence, PayPal was born. Another company is making it easy to pay by credit card in person simply by swiping your card into a square plugged into a cellphone, laptop or tablet. That company, Square, was founded by Jack Dorsey, who also helped create Twitter. And speaking of Twitter...

Let's change the way people communicate.

Facebook and Twitter have forever changed who we talk to and how we communicate with them. Today, I was thinking, I should really see what so-and-so is up to. This is someone I haven't talked to in over ten years, still he was one of my best friends, so I looked him up on Facebook. In the old days, I would have needed to remember his parents' phone number (which I still have ingrained in my brain), call them up, if they even still live there and have the same land line (yes, I said land line), just to get so-and-so's number. Or hire a private investigator to track him down. 

Now we can see what almost everyone is up to simply by reading status updates or timelines or newsfeeds or insert catchy web jargon here. 

Let's change what people buy.

Apple one day said, no more buying CDs from music labels. Also, no more blank CDs, which were a result of people needing a place to store music after illegally downloading it from piracy sites. Apple gave us a place to buy music cheaper than the labels and a place to store it and play it. iTunes and the iPod changed the music industry. 

Additionally, why pay $10-$30 for a DVD movie you are only going to watch once at home? Just download it from iTunes for $4.99 and watch it on your TV, laptop, iPhone, iPad or iPod. 

Let's change the way people think.

Walt Disney was told his ideas would never work. He had a dream and was determined to make it happen, even after many failures. Imagine the world without Mickey Mouse, without Disneyland, without animation. Now the Disney organization is training other business leaders how to be more creative with the emergence of the Disney Institure, referred to sometimes as D'Think.

What I've learned from all of these companies and iconic leaders is never to give up. If you have a dream and are passionate about it, you can make it happen. It doesn't matter what others say. In the words of Walt Disney, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

What will you do today?

Saturday
Dec032011

Turn the Page: Business Books that Inspire Me


In no particular order here are a list of books that represent WestSide Culture to me. Most of them are business books and some self-improvement, although I believe the two categories are interchangeable. 

What Should I do with my Life - Po Bronson 
I read this book just before I decided to start WestSide Culture. In it you'll read the stories of those who discovered their own passion and unique purpose in life. Many are well off, others are still finding their way. Definitely recommend. Inspiring. 

Highly Recommended: Buy this book now at Amazon!Steve Jobs - Walter Issacson
I am currently reading this. Steve Jobs was much crazier than I imagined him to be. He had what many referred to as the "Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field", meaning he'd distort reality until it became what he wanted and needed at the present moment. True geniuses are often crazy, present company excluded. 

Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
At a certain point some movements, ideas, advertising campaigns, and businesses tip. That is the Tipping Point. What makes some companies icons and others fail? Often it is just a few key people who make the difference.  

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
What really made people like professional hockey players, the Beatles and Bill Gates successful? They are outliers and cannot be put in the same bucket with others because of opportunities that were given to them.

Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
Our instincts are generally correct. We are much more effective at judging situations correctly and in a split second than when we take a ton of time and do research and analyze data.

Accidental Billionaires - The Social Network - Ben Mezrich
From Harvard to Stanford, Facebook expanded rapidly based on it's exclusivity, much like when a nightclub is impossible to get into. Mark Zuckerberg had an idea and a dream and nothing would stand in his way.

Bringing Down The House - 21 - Ben Mezrich
The true story behind the MIT Card Counting team portrayed in the movie 21. How a bunch of math geeks took Las Vegas by storm and brought casinos to their knees. 

Pour Your Heart Into It - Howard Schultz
Schultz's first book on Starbucks culture and business. This memoir gives insight into how to build your business based on passion, following your heart and hard work. Starbucks started with one store. It now has over 15,000 stores world-wide and is one of the most recognized brands across the globe.

Moneyball - Michael Lewis
How can a team near the bottom of Major League Baseball in payroll compete with the New York Yankees, Boston RedSox and Chicago Cubs, teams with payrolls over 4 times larger than theirs? This story of Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics will show you. Warning: It just might inspire you to greatness.

The Big Short - Michael Lewis
What really happened to the American financial system and the mortgage crisis. Gordon Gecko, the character in the Wall Street movies, said, "Greed is good." Well, in this case, it wasn't.

Switch - Chip Heath and Dan Heath
How to change things when change is hard. 

The 4-Hour Workweek - Tim Ferriss
How can you live the life you've always dreamed of? How about working less? Like, a lot less. Ferriss shares with you how to redesign your lifestyle and do the things you really want to do. He calls it a Muse. I call it WestSide Culture.

A Whole New Mind - David Pink
The author discusses how as we continue to move towards a more creative, artistic society, those who have developed their right brain are in a unique position to capitalize on this momentum shift. Still using your logical, analytical left brain? That's okay, Pink will show you how to be more creative. 

DRiVE - David Pink 
In Pink's newest book, he picks up where Whole New Mind left off. As our society continues to move away from large corporations and towards more nible, quick, artistic businesses, the entire way we are managed changes. People are no longer simply motivated by a pay check and health benefits. It will take far more than that to keep an employee engaged, challenged, motivated and working hard.

Lay The Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling - Beth Raymer
A girl down on her luck and unsure of the direction of her life meets a sports gambler and former bookie. Raymer tells her story of working for one of the smartest gamblers in the business. From Vegas to Rio de Janeiro to offshore gaming sites in the Caribbean, what Raymer finds is herself and a life she never would have imagined.

The House Advantage - Jeffery Ma
Jeff Ma is the real life person behind Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down The House. In the book, it is Kevin Lewis. In the movie 21, it is Ben Campbell. In real life, it's Jeff Ma. After MIT and card counting, Ma took his math skills and started his own sports analytics consulting business, where he provides data for the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers among other teams.

What I'll be reading next:

Onward - Howard Schultz
Fortune Magazine's Businessperson of the Year writes his second book, Onward, about saving Starbucks in a tough economy.

Paul Allen - Idea Man
The Co-Founder of Microsoft tells his story in this memoir. Allen now owns the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers and is a part-owner of the Seattle Sounders FC.

Delivering Happiness - Tony Hsieh
Vegas based company Zappos has a new breed of owner, Tony Hsieh. He is to Zappos what Mark Cuban is to the Dallas Mavericks.

Thursday
Oct062011

Steve Jobs, Apple and Nike

2 of my favorite west coast companies. So what does the CEO of a $345 billion company give as advice to the CEO of a $41 billion company?

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, asks Steve Jobs, "So do you have any advice for me?"

Jobs says, "No. No. You're great."  ...... pause

"Actually, I do have some advice. Nike makes a lot of really great, beautiful, inspiring products. You also make a lot of crap. Focus on the great stuff."

And he walked away. 

Steve Jobs, you will be missed.