Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

Run, don’t walk, to read Reuters' aggregation of eurozone banks in need of additional capital.

No shock and awe from the ECB -- more tame and timid.

In Trichet's last meeting, he signaled a neutral view on interest rates and increases from three to six months to 12 to 13 months on bank liquidity facilities.

Disappointingly, he indicated that he did not want the ECB to leverage up the ESFS.

The Jobs legacy is that Apple is built to last.

Importantly the accumulated profits from Apple's remarkable success is almost an "endowment model" or an insurance policy for the company to maintain its future market share leadership. With over $80 billion of cash currently on its balance sheet, Apple is uniquely positioned to spend at least five percent per year to "guarantee' that market leadership goal. Thanks to Steve Jobs, no other competitor is anywhere close to being as well positioned over the next decade.

- Doug Kass, Apple: With and After Steve Jobs (Sept. 6, 2011)

What I found very interesting about AAPL's Steve Jobs is that his personal life, especially his early upbringing, was so unusual and nontraditional:

* He was an orphan.
* He dropped out of Reed College after one semester.
* He dropped LSD, calling his acid trips "one of the two or three most important things done in life."
* Became a Buddhist and traveled to India to visit his Hindu guru for spiritual enlightenment.
* While in his teens, he joined Atari as a computer technician (and produced a circuit board for the game Breakout) in order to pay for a spiritual retreat to India. (He cheats his partner Wozniak out of a few hundred dollars in a project to reduce the number of chips in the Atari product).
* He dated Joan Baez very briefly because he idolized Bob Dylan (and Dylan was previously Baez's lover).
* He also idolized The Beatles. (“My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other's negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”
* He buys a huge mansion in Woodside, California but lives in it in a virtually unfurnished state.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life."

-- Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement speech

The ECB decision to keep interest rates unchanged may be viewed as unfriendly to risk assets.