To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

2 Comments Now What? Steve Jobs & Jack Layton

Article written by on the 30 Aug 2011 in Current Events

What happens when Brands are Associated with One Individual?

The summer of 2011 will be remembered for the loss, and stepping aside, of two iconic leaders.  One dedicated his life to public service, and the other individual is a cultural icon.  One lived off the public’s dime, while the other individual created massive wealth for himself and shareholders.  Both individuals stepped aside for health reasons.  One individual lost his battle with cancer, while the other individual is stepping aside to fight the horrible disease.  The name Jack Layton and Steve Jobs are synonymous with their respective brands, the NDP and Apple.  Their respective brands today face the difficult task of determining…now what?  Who will fill the shoes of these iconic leaders, and what fate awaits the two brands?

ndp-brand-without-jack-laytonUpon learning that Jack Layton had passed, I was struck by the fact that so many people stated that they were shocked to hear the news.  If you watched his press conference in July, when he announced that he was stepping aside for health reasons, he looked like a man who has been told he should get his personal affairs in order.  Not to sound morbid but I have to wonder if the same doesn’t hold true for Steve Jobs.  It’s been widely reported that Jobs has been fighting cancer for last seven years, and his health today required that he step aside as CEO.  It was announced that Jobs will take on the role as Chairman of Apple, but that role is diametrically opposed to what Jobs role was as CEO.  The Chairman of the board is responsible for corporate governance, and ensuring the company adheres to corporate strategy.  The CEO role is responsible for creating the strategy, and being responsible for the overall business.  When you’re a CEO, you’re in the middle of all the action.  As Chairman your responsibilities are to the board, which customarily meets four times a year.  I suspect that neither Layton or Jobs would be happy unless they were in the trenches, making things happen.

Apple has already determined who their next CEO will be, Tim Cook.  The NDP will have a leadership convention to determineapple without steve jobs who will sit on the throne.  Both individuals will have an impressive CV, but I can assure that it will never be the same.  Quickly, name me two individuals that were a part of Layton’s cabinet, not including his wife?  Or who is Tim Cook, and what revolutionary technology was he directly responsible for creating?  You’ll have to google the answers.  Yet when it comes to Jobs and Layton we can rhyme off a number of their accomplishments.  The NDP would never be the official opposition without Layton, and Apple would never have left every other technology company in the rearview mirror without Jobs.  There’s plenty of examples where companies have thrived with the departure of an irreplaceable” leaders, Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, IBM etc.  But all these companies lost some of their mojo when their iconic leaders were no longer at the helm, and they all spent time in the business wilderness before making a comeback.  That’s the problem when brands are associated with one individual.  It’s inevitable that brand will take a step back before it finds its footing again.  I have a certain amount of empathy for the two individuals who will be saddled with the responsibility of making the electorate and markets forget about the past.  Joseph Bower, author of The CEO Within, captured it accurately when he said, “acorns seldom flourish in the shade of a great oak”.

Upon reflection I realized that we have a lot of “great oaks” in our industry.  Could that pose a challenge for these companies in the future? Possibly.  But the reality is these companies would never have reached the levels of success they are enjoying today without their leadership.  The one common trait they have is they are founders of their respective companies.  These individuals cast a very wide shadow.  I’ll prove it to you.  Let’s play name association.  I’ll mention four brands in our industry, and what name immediately comes to mind?  VERICO, DLC, TMG and MCAP.  Without a doubt you said Dreyer, Mauris, Thomas and Swift.  I don’t care what kind of credentials one has, filling their shoes would be a difficult task.  Business acumen alone will never trump business street smarts, and emotional attachment.

Until next time.

Cheers

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2 Comments Now What?

Article written by on the 30 Aug 2011 in Current Events

What happens when Brands are Associated with One Individual?

The summer of 2011 will be remembered for the loss, and stepping aside, of two iconic leaders.  One dedicated his life to public service, and the other individual is a cultural icon.  One lived off the public’s dime, while the other individual created massive wealth for himself and shareholders.  Both individuals stepped aside for health reasons.  One individual lost his battle with cancer, while the other individual is stepping aside to fight the horrible disease.  The name Jack Layton and Steve Jobs are synonymous with their respective brands, the NDP and Apple.  Their respective brands today face the difficult task of determining…now what?  Who will fill the shoes of these iconic leaders, and what fate awaits the two brands?

ndp-brand-without-jack-laytonUpon learning that Jack Layton had passed, I was struck by the fact that so many people stated that they were shocked to hear the news.  If you watched his press conference in July, when he announced that he was stepping aside for health reasons, he looked like a man who has been told he should get his personal affairs in order.  Not to sound morbid but I have to wonder if the same doesn’t hold true for Steve Jobs.  It’s been widely reported that Jobs has been fighting cancer for last seven years, and his health today required that he step aside as CEO.  It was announced that Jobs will take on the role as Chairman of Apple, but that role is diametrically opposed to what Jobs role was as CEO.  The Chairman of the board is responsible for corporate governance, and ensuring the company adheres to corporate strategy.  The CEO role is responsible for creating the strategy, and being responsible for the overall business.  When you’re a CEO, you’re in the middle of all the action.  As Chairman your responsibilities are to the board, which customarily meets four times a year.  I suspect that neither Layton or Jobs would be happy unless they were in the trenches, making things happen.

Apple has already determined who their next CEO will be, Tim Cook.  The NDP will have a leadership convention to determineapple without steve jobs who will sit on the throne.  Both individuals will have an impressive CV, but I can assure that it will never be the same.  Quickly, name me two individuals that were a part of Layton’s cabinet, not including his wife?  Or who is Tim Cook, and what revolutionary technology was he directly responsible for creating?  You’ll have to google the answers.  Yet when it comes to Jobs and Layton we can rhyme off a number of their accomplishments.  The NDP would never be the official opposition without Layton, and Apple would never have left every other technology company in the rearview mirror without Jobs.  There’s plenty of examples where companies have thrived with the departure of an irreplaceable” leaders, Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, IBM etc.  But all these companies lost some of their mojo when their iconic leaders were no longer at the helm, and they all spent time in the business wilderness before making a comeback.  That’s the problem when brands are associated with one individual.  It’s inevitable that brand will take a step back before it finds its footing again.  I have a certain amount of empathy for the two individuals who will be saddled with the responsibility of making the electorate and markets forget about the past.  Joseph Bower, author of The CEO Within, captured it accurately when he said, “acorns seldom flourish in the shade of a great oak”.

Upon reflection I realized that we have a lot of “great oaks” in our industry.  Could that pose a challenge for these companies in the future? Possibly.  But the reality is these companies would never have reached the levels of success they are enjoying today without their leadership.  The one common trait they have is they are founders of their respective companies.  These individuals cast a very wide shadow.  I’ll prove it to you.  Let’s play name association.  I’ll mention four brands in our industry, and what name immediately comes to mind?  VERICO, DLC, TMG and MCAP.  Without a doubt you said Dreyer, Mauris, Thomas and Swift.  I don’t care what kind of credentials one has, filling their shoes would be a difficult task.  Business acumen alone will never trump business street smarts, and emotional attachment.

Until next time.

Cheers

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0 Comments Back To The Real World

Article written by on the 25 Aug 2011 in Personal,Travel

The family cruise to Alaska is coming to an end. As I write this blog we’re in Canadian territory, off the coast of B.C., on our way to San Fransisco, to head back to Toronto. Now that’s taking the long way home. Spending 12 days on ship is an experience, and it does take some adjusting. The biggest adjustment is being way from work for a prolonged period of time. It’s been close to four years since I’ve been away for more than five working days in a row. I’ve taken plenty of short vacations over the years but they’re usually four or five days in succession. The reason is simple, I can always come up with a reason why “now is not a good time to be away work”. Too busy or it’s too slow. There’s always a justification. If you’re guilty of the same thing here’s what I’ve learned, we’re not that important. I checked emails every morning, responded when I thought it was necessary but I made the decision that my family and this trip came first. MERIX wasn’t neglected in my absence because there’s a great senior leadership team in place, and they’re more than capable of taking care of the day-to-day tasks. If the business  consumes you that you can’t take a couple of weeks off, frankly, that doesn’t bode well for your business or yourself. Coming to this realization is an ongoing process, and I’m still working on it.

It’s interesting as a vacation draws to an end the work switch seems to get turned on. With every passing hour “work” issues enter your thoughts and I suspect it’s the minds way of preparing ourselves for what’s next. What’s next for me professionally? There’s been a number of changes at MERIX recently, and I’m really excited about the direction our company is taking. I’ll elaborate further about some of the changes in future blogs. I’m also looking forward to take on the challenges of being CAAMP Chair, effective this November. The next 16 months are going to be very busy, and I can’t wait to get started.

A a final thought relative to my trip to Alaska? Russia sold Alaska to the US in 1867. The land and all if its natural wonders sold for $7.2 million. That worked out to 19 cents an acre. As some of my Jewish friends want to say…”such a deal”.

Until next time.

Cheers

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0 Comments Cruising: Summer Vacation

Article written by on the 23 Aug 2011 in Personal,Travel

The excellent adventure continues and I’ve come to learn a lot of things about taking a cruise.  Firstly, don’t ever call it a boat.  The crew doesn’t like it, and given that they would be responsible to haul my sorry ass out of the water if I went overboard, no need to make them upset.  It’s called a ship. So ship it is.  I also learned that all cruise liners are not equal.  This is my first cruise so I’m basing this on what some of my fellow passengers have told to me.  It appears the magic number is around 900 passengers.  I’ve been told the really big cruise liners, the one’s which hold 3,500 people, are nice but given the amount of passengers on board it impacts service levels.  I’m told there are wait lines for everything.  From waiting to eat to going to the bathroom.  No such issues exist on the ship we’re on.  We’re on a Crystal Cruise Liner, and they have a reputation for not overcrowding and superlative service. I’ve come to learn that’s a fact. I’ll get to the service in a moment.

I also learned that many passengers are frequent cruisers.  Example, I met a man by the name of Barry last night in the cigar lounge. Yes, the ship has a cigar lounge…high backed leather chairs….mahogany wood…cognac…and a giant flat screen TV with Fox News on all the time. It’s paradise! I digress, Barry and I got to chatting, the usual small talk, what do you do for a livening, first time on a cruise etc?  This is Barry’s 10th cruise, and he’s already booked his cruise for next year, the Atlantic crossing.  Barry has time on his hands, he’s retired, as most of the passengers are.  I think the median age on board is 73.  It’s been a long time since anyone has referred to me as young man.  Barry did, and I like Barry.  He’s a big bear of man, a retired family law lawyer from Virginia.  His specialty was divorce.  He said to me in his Virginia accent, “young man, when I was practicing law my matto was…I’ll guarantee I’ll win your case or you’ll get your spouse back”.  Let me tell you, laughing so hard that you’re coughing up cognac through your nose is damn painful.

As for the service on board, it’s almost over the top.  After a couple of days on board I wanted to yell, “enough already…trust me…if I need something I’ll snap my fingers”.  Just kidding!  I would never snap my fingers…I’d whistle.  Truly the  service is exceptional, and it’s consistent throughout the ship.  I’ve spoken to crew members from Croatia, Poland, Check Republic, Australia, South Korea, US and Canada.  They’re all so happy and willing to please. Being an employer I asked many of them why they excelled at customer service.  Every one of them said the same thing, “the company is good to us, we’re good to the company, and we always put the passengers first”.  Truly inspiring when you consider that crew members are on contract anywhere between 4 to 6 months.  They work each and every day of their contract.  No time off, that comes at the end of the contract, usually two months off.  I can’t imagine working for six months straight, with no days off, away from family.  Many of the crew members indicated that it’s difficult being away from their kids for such a prolonged period of time but they do what’s necessary to provide for their families. 
Damn, if we could convince these people to become brokers and lenders we would all be golden. They’re committed…they have passion…and they’re willing to sacrifice.

The most important thing I learned about being on a cruise is…food.  It’s everywhere and it’s available 24/7.  Something happens to you when you’re on a cruise.  You’re on the ocean…you see an iceberg…and you say to yourself…”wow, that’s a big iceberg…I think I’ll have a hamburger”. 

Unlit next time

Cheers

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0 Comments Day of Reckoning: Canada’s Healthcare System

Article written by on the 18 Aug 2011 in Canada,Current Events

It’s finally here and there’s no way to avoid it. I’m not referring to recent headlines, the stock market, US debt and downgrading or the economic crisis in Europe. What I am referring to is the funding of our healthcare system, and our aging population. No political party, while governing or in opposition, has had the courage the face these issues. For too long government has put votes in front of fixing the problem. Health care in this country has always been treated like the sacred cow, and because of inaction, the system is broken. To be clear, healthcare in this country is provided by some of the best medical practitioners in the world. But they are expected to perform miracles within a system that’s flawed. The system is going to have to change because the government will no longer be able to throw money at the problem. There just isn’t enough money anymore.

healthcare canadaThe reason the government is facing this problem is simple, the number of working-age taxpayers will not be able to foot the bill going forward. The Globe and Mail reported last week that the government has held closed-door meetings, at the highest levels, about this issue. According to the Globe and Mail, “Canada, currently the 27th oldest country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, is on track to become the 11th oldest within 20 years. It’s a challenge that will spark debate over Canada’s retirement age, fertility rates and immigration, while risking generational tension between a growing population of older voters and a shrinking pool of younger taxpayers.“. These figures are staggering.

Healthcare and the aging population will impact us all of us economically. Today we have a tiered healthcare system. Irrespective of what anyone says it’s in place today. Why is that a professional athlete in this country, who requires a medical procedure, be it testing or surgery, can have the procedure done within 24 hours? The reason – someone is paying for it. I recently experienced this first hand. I went to see a specialist a couple of years ago and he said that I required a MRI. He said that he could get me in within 3 months. However, if I wanted to go to a clinic in Buffalo, he could get me in within 24 hours, for a cost of $1,000. I went to Buffalo the next day, and gladly paid the money. I think this is our future, private healthcare. I don’t see what other option we have. A combination of public and private healthcare is the only solution. If this indeed comes to fruition it will have an impact on all employers. If the day comes where employers in this country recruit based on private healthcare insurance, there will be a direct correlation to wages. Private healthcare is costly, and employers will have to balance the capital cost of insurances versus wages. Last time I checked yearly income was an important factor when qualifying for a mortgage. There’s always a domino’s effect.

As for the aging population, I can see the day when reverse mortgages become more common place. The challenge will be to develop products which are more affordable for the elderly, and to create securitization vehicles for reverse mortgages. Nursing homes are costly, and adequate care is always a concern. The elderly may chose to remain in their homes for a longer period of time, and they have every right to live out their lives with dignity, in the comfort of their own homes. Ah, but what’s left for the kids? In this new world, maybe not so much.

Hopefully these issues will be confronted in an honest way. The government has responsibility to lead in these matters, and the partisan rhetoric will have to be put aside for the greater good. The taxpayer, the elderly and the sick deserve better from our government. It’s time to be honest.

Until next time

Cheers

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3 Comments Gone Fishing – Alaskan Cruise

Article written by on the 16 Aug 2011 in Personal,Travel

Alaska CruiseWell not exactly.  I will be on the water for the next 12 days, and if I’m lucky I might be able to see a really big fish, like a whale. Yeah, I know, a whale is a mammal.  It’s family vacation time and we’re off on a Alaskan cruise.  Alaska’s a place that I’ve often thought about visiting but I really didn’t think I would actually ever go.  It’s like when you say to someone “we should do lunch”, and both parties know full well that it won’t happen.  The food would be nice, maybe even the company, but neither party is going to make the effort to make it happen.  Well, the effort was made to go on this trip, and here’s what I’ve learned so far about going to Alaska.

To get to Alaska costs an unbridled fortune.  The word fortune is relative, and I’m sure this trip will provide a lifetime of memories.  Based on the cost I better have memories in the next life as well.  In fairness, value is perceived. Example, if I was to get a call tomorrow inviting me to play golf at Augusta National, home of the Masters, I’m not sure how much I would pay but it would definitely fall in the stupid category.  So, it’s never about cost.  I now realize It costs big money to see big ice.

Packing for a trip like this is interesting.  “Let’s see, I packed shorts, golf shirts, winter coat and boots…all set”.  Recommended clothing for Alaska is layers.  Okay then, I’ll be walking around Anchorage looking like the Michelin Man.  Styling in Alaska.  I’m going to ask everyone I talk too in Anchorage if they know Sarah Palin …. Why?  It’s payback.  It’s for all the times that an American has asked me, when they find out I’m from Canada, “I know guy from Canada…his name’s Bob…do you know him?”

As I write this blog we’re just about to passed under the Golden Gate Bridge to begin our journey. What a site.  I’m really looking forward to all the sites on this trip, and continuing to blog. The wonders of technology…
always connected.

Until next time,

Cheers!

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2 Comments Is it just me? – People taking to the streets to protest.

Article written by on the 11 Aug 2011 in Canada,Current Events,Politics,World Events

Is it just me, or does it appear that world has gone mad? Based on the images we are seeing from England, I asked myself that very question. TheLondon Riots 2011 images are shocking and very troubling when you consider why it’s happening. What started as a peaceful demonstration in Tottenham, has now become a violent uprising in many cities. There’s doesn’t appear to be any visible reason for why this is happening. Cities are burning for kicks. Maybe it’s just me getting older but after the third day of watching cities burn I was wondering why the British Government had not deployed the military to quell the civil disobedience. At the very least the police should have been using stronger measures to bring this to an end. The police seem to be taking the velvet glove approach with the anarchists. So far no water cannons or rubber bullets have been used. There’s reluctance by the police, pardon the pun, to pull out the big guns. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, questioned police methods in parliament yesterday. He’s demanding the police use a much more aggressive approach with the hooligans, anarchists, arsonists and petty thieves. Gee, hugging won’t work?

The average age of the rioters is between 18 and 21. I’m not sure how the state has wronged them to such a degree that they would be willing to burn their cities down, and shame their country in front of the world. But it’s clear that in their tinny pointed heads they’ve found some irrational justification.London Riots youth I get it, 18 to 21 year old are dumb or rather have a lot to learn. I remember being that age, I had all the answers, how my parents survived all those years without my council was beyond me, but even being that dumb at no time did I say to myself, “I think I’ll go burn down Toronto, just for the hell of it”. Why? Because we respected authority, we were taught right from wrong, and I was more afraid of my mother than I was of the cops. That part still true today. When the civil unrest finally ends in London, we will hear the usual verbal diarrhea. The youth of Britain feels disenfranchised, they’re poor, they have no hope, blah, blah, blah. What that really means is, “I live in a world of entitlement, I’m accustomed to getting something without earning it, the state owes me, and if I don’t get mine I’ll burn the city down”. No, that’s not just anger, that’s nuts.

Conversely we’ve witnessed the Sprig Arab Uprising. It still continues today in Libya and Syria. These people took to the streets peacefully in the name of freedom and Syria Protestsself-determination. They faced jets, tanks and bullets because they wanted to overthrow oppressive totalitarian regimes. I live in the greatest country in the world, Canada. I’ve been accorded every opportunity to succeed. My parents worked themselves to the bone to provide a better life for their kids. My success or failure is my responsibility. As I compare my so called “problems” to those who took to the streets in the Arab world, I’ll take my problems any day of the week.

There does seem to be a common thread in the in the world today. People are taking to the streets to protest. Is some cases it’s warranted, in others it’s mind boggling. So I can’t help but wonder – can it happen here? The Tea Party in the US is a populist movement. So far Tea Party demonstrations have been peaceful but partisan politics in the U.S. has become so anger based one can’t help but wonder if they will be able to keep a lid on this boiling pot. Based on the language being used by both sides in the U.S., I think there’s reason for concern. As for Canada, I think we would all like to believe that it won’t happen here. We’re far too reasonable and respectful of our community. Then I think about the G20 in Toronto, and the aftermath of game seven in Vancouver, and now I’m not so sure.

Until next time,
Cheers

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0 Comments Déjà vu All Over Again – US Economy

Article written by on the 09 Aug 2011 in Canada,Current Events,Economy,Politics,US Politics

That famous line was attributed to Jogi Berra, Hall of Fame New York Yankee baseball player. Besides being a great ball player, Berra was also known for malapropism, mangling the English language. Normally it’s done for comedic relief but in Berra’s case it was his standard way of speaking. I thought of this quote based on what’s been happening to the markets over the last week. It’s starting to feel like 2008 all over again. Back in 2008, the world faced an economic crisis. The news was stunning. How on earth could iconic companies such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns fail? Yet that’s exactly what happened. The U.S. Government forced banks to take T.A.R.P. (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money to ensure that lending would continue. The ministers of the G7 countries rushed to Washington for emergency meetings because there was fear that the markets wouldn’t open. As events unfolded in 2008 we were all left wondering what’s next? It appears the other shoe has dropped.

One of the significant differences, relative to our present day situation, is the fact that back in 2008 nobody questioned America’s credit worthiness. That all changed last Friday when S & P (Standard and Poor’s) downgraded the US from AAA to AA Plus. Not since 1917 has the US been rated lower than AAA. Not surprisingly the Obama administration has come out swinging against S & P. The administration is questioning S & P calculations and motives for the downgrade. Funny how S & P’s motives were never questioned when the US had a AAA rating. I should note that the other two rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have not downgraded the US. So the question is, which rating agency has it right? In time the answer will become clearer but I’ll say this about S & P, the move they made on Friday took a lot of chutzpa. That’s a Yiddish word for tenacity and guts. I suspect shirt collars are feeling a little tight today in the corporate offices at S & P.

Based on what’s happened in the last week, what does this mean for Canada?jim-flaherty-canada-is-not-an-island Firstly, no one can predict with any certainty. We’re in-uncharted waters here. Besides what’s happening in the US, numerous countries are in dire straits financially in Europe. All of these factors will have an impact on us. “Canada is not an island,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said late Friday in a statement. “We are a trading nation, with about a third of output generated by exports and deep linkages with the U.S. economy. The global economic recovery remains fragile and this uncertainty may eventually impact Canada”. One of the ways it may impact us is that if borrowing costs increase in the US, due to S & P’s downgrading, there could be further negative impact to the US economy. This impacts us because we export so much of our goods to the US. If the Americans are not spending, we feel it. There’s also predictions that the loonie will go higher relative to the US greenback. That of course makes our goods more expensive in the US and abroad.

Conversely there’s been some positive speculation about Canada. Investors will look for a safe haven. There’s plenty of cash on balance sheets today but given the uncertainty of the market place cash is being hoarded. Eventually corporation will want a return on their capital, and Canada is a safe bet. Based on workforce, commodities, stable financial sector and fiscally responsible government, Canada should benefit. Countries which are AAA rated today will be in demand. S & P rates Germany, Britain, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Australia and Canada AAA. If Europe makes investors nervous, Canada’s a solid option.

Standard & Poor's AAA countries US default

It’s become fashionable in this country to pat ourselves on the back and say, “we’re so much smarter than the Americans”. Frankly, recent history clearly shows that we have managed our affairs far more effectively than our neighbours to the south. But things can change. In 1993, the Canadian Bond Rating Agency downgraded Canada from AAA to AA Plus. In a short period of time the other international rating agencies followed suite. How did we get our AAA rating back? The government attacked the deficit. If you recall back in the 90’s the Liberals, remember them, ran things in Ottawa. Under Finance Minister Paul Martin, programs were slashed, transfer payments reduced, and taxes were increased. This was done all in the name of deficit reduction, and it worked. Here we are in 2011, our deficit is too high and the Harper government will have to do something about it. Harper’s backed himself into a corner by campaigning that our taxes are too high, and increasing taxes is not the answer. He had me at hello. So then the only way to reduce our deficit is to cut spending. Don’t expect him to use a scalpel to cut programs. This may require a hatchet.

Until next time

Cheers

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4 Comments A Tarnished Icon – Tiger Woods

Article written by on the 04 Aug 2011 in Current Events

The sports pages are making a fuss about Tiger Wood’s return to the links this weekend after an absence of three months.  The Messiah returns and if truth be told he did tiger woods come backbring golf to the promise land.  Thanks to Wood’s, prize money on the tour has increased dramatically over the last ten years.  It’s his star power that attracts sponsors, the paying public, and the rest of players on the tour went along for the ride.  What I find interesting is the deafening silence from players on the tour as it relates to Tiger’s indiscretions.  Not many are saying, “he’s paid a price and now it’s time to forgive and forget”.  The odd player will say “he’s good for the tour and it will be good to have him compete again”.  The few that say anything about Tiger usually reference the good of the game, and not that it’s good to have Tiger back, the person.  Now why is that?  Could it be that every player on tour is angry at him because they now get grilled by their wives as to their whereabouts at every tour event?   “Baby, pinky swear…it was only Tiger that was doing it”.  Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to conceive. Or could the lack of enthusiasm being shown by other players towards Tiger because he’s an, you know, an A-hole?  It’s been widely reported the if you weren’t in Tiger’s inner sanctum, you were no better than the goose poo on the bottom of his golf shoe.  Like the saying goes, karma’s a b*#$h.

As for Tigers indiscretions, I could care less what the man does in his private life  It’s his life, his family, his conscious to deal with. Who am I to judge?  But ever since that day over two years ago, when his 105 pound Barbie-Doll ex-wife chased him out of the house with a nine iron, his life has become a train wreck. To watch the hookers, porn stars and hostesses from Denny’s to Perkins come out and tell their story is mind numbing.  I don’t understand how a man who is worth that much money didn’t pay to have the right people around him to protect him.  For god sakes, anyone who has watched one episode of the Sopranos knows that if you’re going to engage in questionable activities you need a disposable phone.  I guess Tiger was too busy to watch TV.

From an economic standpoint this has cost Tiger untold millions of dollars.  Sponsors have pulled out, no pun intended.  The prize money hasn’t been much, and now he’s ranked 28th in the world.  Not exactly a ranking that has sponsors running towards you with a blank cheque.  He’s replaced his management team, his caddie  and pretty well everything else that was connected to his previous life.  He’s looking for a clean slate. Will sponsors give him a second chance?  They will if he wins.  His sponsors might be different, Viagra versus Buick, but the cash will be there.  Every one loves a winner, especially if the winner has been savaged and torn down.

I hope Tiger Woods makes a successful return to the game he changed and dominated.  If for no other reason than to silence all the sanctimonious, pious and the morally superior critics who cloak themselves in righteous indignation.   The man changed the sport of golf, he was about to set new records for winning majors – and yet may still do so – then human frailty got in way.  It’s not easy being perfect.

Until next time

Cheers

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0 Comments This and That – Florida, U.S. Default & Broker Volume

Article written by on the 02 Aug 2011 in Current Events,Economy,Mortgage,Personal,US Politics

Florida

I’m writing this blog from Florida. Hey, where else does a guy from Toronto go to escape the heat?   Florida, of course.  It’s steamy hot down here as well, but the heat and humidity seem tolerable when you’re in vacation mode.  I have to say that the state of Florida has really grown on me.  I love it down here.  Why? The weather is great all year round.  Secondly, they have all the amenities you can ask for – beaches, great restaurants, fantastic cigar stores, golf courses galore, professional sports franchises.  Thirdly, everything is cheap. The best part about buying anything down here is that you always feel like you got a good deal.   The best deal you can get today is real estate. I think it’s a good time to buy down here.  Distress means great value and flexibility by the home owner, be it the vendor or the bank.  A word of advice, if you decide to explore what’s available you better pick one specific location.  There’s just too much product available to bounce around from one side of the state to the other to check out homes.  Secondly, if you decide to buy, the day after the deal closes forget about values. It’s going to take years before Floridians see any appreciable increase in values. If you’re looking for a second home, a place where the family can go, a place where your parents can go to escape the winter, it’s a great time to buy.  I was speaking to a real estate agent yesterday and he said if it wasn’t for Canadian’s buying up product in his area he wouldn’t be busy.  Great value, and good exchange rates, is attracting a lot of Canadians.   What I don’t like about Florida?  Old farts that drive on I-75 doing 15 miles under the legal speed limit, while in the left hand lane.

The U.S. Avoids Default

Well that was a shock – There was little doubt that an agreement would be hammered out.  The only question is what the agreement would look like.  What I read and hear down here is both the Democrats and Republicans are not happy.  I guess in some ways that makes me believe that it’s an okay deal.  If both sides aren’t happy it means there was give and take.  As details come out about the deal, and is actually passed in Congress and the Senate, we’ll get a better idea if the agreement is a band-aide solution or something that has substance.  My money is on political cover rather than doing what’s best for the country.  Winston Churchill said this about U.S. politicians, “they always get it right but only after failing everything else they try first“.

Volumes Decrease

Over the last few weeks we’ve been hearing that volumes for Q2 are down year over year in the broker world.  We know for a fact that submissions are down as of the end market-share-does-not-mean-share-marketof June.  How that translates to actual volumes will become clearer when D + H publishes their market share report for Q2 in the second week of August.  The market share report will probably validate what I’ve been hearing from brokers in the last 90 days, it’s slower and banks are still very aggressive.  If the Ministry of Finance wanted to cool things down from a borrowing perspective, with the changes they made in April, mission accomplished.  The only question is did the broker world take a bigger hit than the direct to bank world?  We’ll find out soon enough.

Until next time,
Cheers.

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