Thursday, January 28, 2021

GameStop Thoughts to a Friend

It’s very common for either the SEC, the exchanges, or brokerages to do something “unallowed” in an extreme situation and then see their actions turn into a new trading rule.

That happened during the flash crash in May of 2010, when the market dropped 1,000 points in minutes. I have a local buddy who owned many puts and made millions, literally, only to have the SEC unwind a number of trades and his bona fide profits were wiped away.

I really had no idea how crazy this week was until my 18 year old godson messaged me, for the first time ever, to ask for trading advice. The biggest issue with this week's big moves was there were no fundamentals to support the meteoric rises we saw in GameStop, AMC, BB, etc. It’s not the buying that makes money, it’s the selling – when were these casual day traders going to sell their stock? They had no exit plan and got caught up in the moment.

The problem with this week’s activities was the motivation of the Redditors was nefarious – they intended to hurt the hedge funds that were short, so that might not bode well for them. But I’m still evaluating what happened and my opinion is in flux. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Solving the Social Media Dilemma

The following are additional thoughts to my earlier piece.

E-mail was the Wild West in the 1990s, without any non-repudiation regarding the authenticity of the sender of an e-mail. There was no simple way to confirm that an e-mail was sent from the e-mail address in the from field

High-tech fixed that problem, for the most part, with spam filters and refusal/authorization lists (formerly known as blacklists/whitelists). 

Now, social media faces a similar problem when people pass fiction as fact with harmful intent that violates laws, terms of service, security, etc. This is exceptionally easy and dangerous since these platforms amplify the content, especially using curated means (humans or algorithms).

What's the solution?

Social media needs to take on more publishing responsibilities like the classified ads in a newspaper. One way is by creating a third category in Section 230 other than publisher or service provider for platforms that amplify content.

It doesn't matter if it's hard to scale. High-tech needs to figure it out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

How to Give a Great Online Presentation


How do you give a great online presentation?
Rehearse. Online. A lot.
Rehearsals are where you make your money.

Step #3, below, is the most important one.


Both in-person and online presentations require the same amount of rehearsing. When presenting in person, you'll want to rehearse in the actual venue. The same applies online... Rehearse in the medium you'll use for your live presentation.

I recently gave a presentation that lasted less than 20 minutes but I spent several hours practicing it, over and over, so it would flow smoothly. Rehearsing/practicing/simulating is how we make hard things look easy.

1. Use big fonts.
When online, use no font smaller than 50 point since some people may be watching your presentation on a mobile device. Ideally, use a much larger font than 50 point.

In my presentation, the smallest font I used was 56 point on one slide with nearly all of my other slides using a 72 point font.
The only exceptions should be references at the bottom of a slide such as, "Source: United Nations Charter" or text used for effect, not to convey specific information.

2. Prepare software to be demoed ahead of time by scaling up fonts.
This applies to Web browsers, apps, command line, etc. Keep in mind that your full-screen presentation will be scaled down on other devices, i.e. most people do not view YouTube videos at full screen.

3. Practice your slide deck many times, online, while recording it.
I use Google Meet for my presentations. To practice online I set up a Google Meet for myself and I attend the Meet on another device, simultaneously (one device for presenting and the other device for viewing to simulate an attendee). This gives me an idea of how my presentation will look to others; plus it'll gives me an idea if my ISP bandwidth is adequate since I have two simultaneous video streams.  Ideally, when presenting, make sure no one else on your network is "stealing" your bandwidth by steaming videos (YouTube, Netflix, TikToc, etc).

4. Don't cut it close, time-wise. 
Plan for delays during your presentation that didn't occur during your rehearsals. Technical issues with your computer or bandwidth, people asking questions or making comments, etc. 

5. Postmortem: Record and review your actual presentation.
Learn from your mistakes and don't repeat them. In my recent presentation I wished I had minimized the "Stop sharing" strip at the bottom of the screen. Additionally, next time, I would consider raising my video camera so I'm looking straight into the camera rather than down at it.