Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Salvation Army Week

Today is Shield Day.  A day when volunteers have been asked to wear their polo shirts or t Shirts with the Salvation Army logo on it.

When William Booth founded the Salvation Army in 1865, he did it in response to need.  The needs of the poor who were excluded from the Churches in London.

He knew that it was hard to bring the Word of God to people with empty stomachs.

The poor were hungry, ill, dirty, and hopeless.  Some Churches put up screens to hide them from the rest of the congregation.  And with that, General Booth founded the Salvation Army.

As he was nearing the end of his days, and with the convention nearing, everyone was eager to hear what may have been his last message.  However, he was too ill to attend.  So he sent a telegram to all the Salvation Army Officers in the world. It contained one word.  Others.
Today is Shield Day.  And here I am in my blue Salvation Army Polo Shirt with the red Shield on it.  Serving as a  volunteer, in the Food Pantry, and the Corps, and as a Bell Ringer during Kettle Season, has been some of the most rewarding times of my life.  Certainly the best Christmases ever.

And here are some ways to help.


The Salvation Army--Pen Argyl
3012 West Main Street
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

A Perfect Fit  For Women reentering the workforce.

Mission of Love

And, of course.

The Salvation Army, Pen Argyl or

The Salvation Army 

And remember....


God Bless you all.



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

China Does as We Did

"The many may oppress the few, but the few may not oppress the many.  Not for very long, anyway."

The Quotations of Slim Fairview.

Do you understand why the Chinese Government raised 500 million people from poverty to the Middle Class?

China created a Consumer Class
China created an investor Class
But most important (and not most importantly) China gave half a billion Chinese people a vested interest in the success of the Chinese Economy and a reason to work towards it.

"China will succeed because China will do as we did, not as we say."  Slim Fairview.

Remember these from our past?

Universal Public School Education
Manifest Destiny
The Trans-continental Railroad
The Monroe Doctrine
The Panama Canal
The Hoover Dam
The Labor Movement
The G.I. Bill
Affordable Single Family Homes

Capital Investment + Economic Stimulus =
Economic Development + Growth
Slim's Paradigm

How many of them has China implemented?

The Cultural Revolution
The Economic Revolution
Nicaragua Canal  (Pending)
Hydro-Electric Power Dam Project (Three Gorges Dam)
South China Sea
Belt and Road

China appears to be emulating our history.

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." ~Santayana

"Those who remember history are able to repeat it."
~Slim Fairview

The Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2019

Will China Implode? 

The Media Still Doesn't Understand China

If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Google Pixelbook and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.
Thank you.

Sincerest regards,


Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Copyright © 2019 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Media Doesn't Understand China

How naive can the news media be about China?

Almost 10 years ago, I tweeted, "When the numbers out of China are bad, the Wall Street Experts gloat.  When the numbers out of China are good, the Wall Street Experts doubt the numbers."

Things have not improved.

The experts, investors, analysts, are dancing around the glow-in-the-dark totem pole of China's recent economic travails and domestic peccadilloes.  To me, it all seems like chest thumping (or in milleniology--chest bumping) bravado.

I will try to explain things again.

Through the magic of metaphor, you are starting a business.  You're not a creative, innovative, high-tech entrepreneur.  You are simply starting a business.

You've tightened your belt.  You've been living on a shoe-string budget.  You've elevated your bank account from poverty to the investment class.  Everything you've made has gone into savings.  But the journey has only just begun. 

Now that you've started your business, every penny you make goes into your business.  At home, you have oatmeal for breakfast, half a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and Ramen Noodles for dinner. 

All your spending is committed to growing your business.

Gasoline to see clients or customers, parking meters, photocopy fees, ink-jet cartridges, postage.  You get the picture.

Now, on to China.

China raised 300-500 million people from poverty to the middle class.  That was the domestic economic activity.  Now, China has the Belt and Road Initiative. 

Back to you.

Your competitors deride and ridicule and dismiss you.  They mock your peanut butter lunches.  Meanwhile, however, you are cold calling.  You are building your client base. Your customer base.  You are gaining referrals.  All your money is being poured into your efforts to attract and keep customers.  Soon, you know, it will pay off handsomely.

China is tightening its belt a little more.  The Belt and Road Initiative is its business. 

Here is some guidance:

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."

"Those who remember history are able to repeat it."
Slim Fairview.

"Those who never learned history are doomed--period!"
Slim Fairview.

"China will succeed because China will do as we did and not as we say." Slim Fairview.

But most important (and not most importantly):

"In the tale of The Tortoise and the Hare, the Turtle didn't win because slow and steady wins the race.  The Turtle won because the Rabbit was stupid."  Slim Fairview. 

All quotations except as noted are from
The Quotations of slim Fairview. © 2019
All rights reserved.

Sincerest regards,


"If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Google Pixelbook and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with a thank you note." Slim.

Robert Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA

Copyright © 2019 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Elevator Pitch: Ultimate Disaster Film.

The Elevator Pitch--The Ultimate disaster film.

Astronauts on the international space station witness a series of natural disasters on Earth, soon realizing that they are witnessing the destruction of the the entire Earth.  Soon there may be no place to return to.

During this, a supply ship docks at the stations.

Now they must weigh the options.

How long can they stay, eating food, waiting to see if it's safe to take the supply ship back to Earth?

Can they establish contact with anyone on Earth?

If they return, where should or can they land?

They will need their food supply until they can find food on Earth.

Who will be left.  Hostile survivors?  Those who need  the astronauts tech skills.

They can return to Earth as we ready ourselves for a sequel, or turn this into a TV series.


Copyright (c) 2019
Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Failure as an Asset

Failures & shortcomings can be assets
I'm sitting at a lunch counter having a cup of coffee. Next to me is a teacher. He likes to talk. Here is his story.
The opportunity came up for a one week skills improvement seminar...wait for Hawaii. All they had to do was to write an "essay" on why they should be chosen to attend.
He tells me, all the other teachers got it wrong. They wrote about their skills and successes. He did not.
He wrote about how he, [for the purposes of discussion only]
Lacked classroom organization skills.
Needed to improve his communication skills.
Needed help in finding and using resources to teach lessons.
You get the idea
He was chosen to attend
I can't help but thing that states & cities competing for the Amazon HQ or the Apple HQ could learn the lesson
Instead of telling what wonderful things they have to offer, they might have appealed to the corporate need to develop and environment better suited to their needs
They could work together to attract skilled employees instead of forcing the corporate giants to compete for them
Develop housing that would appeal to skilled employees the corporate giants want to attract
Develop a program to attract the sort of businesses that would both benefit from and provide support to the corporate giants
Just saying....
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Copyright © 2019 Bob Asken  
All rights reserved

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Isaac Newton's AAPL

Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell and hit him on the head.  He suddenly had a great insight.
"I am going to rethink buying Apple.  Both the product and the stock."

There was a confluence of reasons.

1.  While Apple admits to missing out on Netflix, there is no mention of Time Warner.  It was reported on CNBC that Apple discussed the idea in 2015.  However, I wrote the article 11 February 2013. 

AAPL + FB Should buy AOL, Time Warner, CNN

2.  Apple is planning to go into Original Content.  Then, too, so is everyone else.  They missed a base to build on.  Did AT&T lose money on buying Time Warner?

3. Samsung announces a new foldable phone. Actually, this is not a cell phone.  This is a computer. And, Samsung announced 5G.  The news reports?  Apple will be coming out with its own 5G.  Ho hum.

4. I posed the question, "What happens when a Chinese tech company announces the launch of the Pomegranate? About 60 years ago, the pomegranate was known as a Chinese Apple.  I started out in life as "an English Major". I would call that foreshadowing. 

5. Tim Cook is touting the Apple Watch.  A fine piece of equipment.  However, does it work independently or does it require an i-Phone?

6.  Tim Cook chose to distance himself from data-gather-security-issues claiming we make machines. In the next breath, he announced a move into health care.  This, I understand, requires Apple to gather and retain every personal, medical, and financial aspect of everyone's life. 

7.  While the health care is a fine strategic move, losing out on 5G, competition in the phone business, competition from China, losing out on "content", and moving into credit cards with Goldman Sachs impugns the veracity of Tim Cook's claim on personal data.

A few more articles about Apple

Newton's AAPL

Polish the Skin Off AAPL

Apple, Google, Facebook, India

And the Winner Is...

AAPL Meets Hollywood


If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Google Pixelbook and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.

Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, :PA 18072

Copyright (c) 2019 Bob Asken
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Polish the Skin Off AAPL

In a frantic effort to polish the Apple, Tim Cook has polished the skin off the Apple and it's starting to brown. Acidulated water please.

While people are looking at earnings reports, sales figures, and charts and graphs, there are more important indicators of Apple's health that I call Markers.


It all began with something Mr. Cook said that he should have said in his head before saying it aloud.

This is what I heard,

Apple is fine.  The problems come from 
The China slowdown
The slowing global economy
The trade war.
But Apple is doing fine.

The Analogy?

General Motors is doing fine. The real problem is that people are buying fewer cars: Millennials are using ride shares and older people are keeping their cars longer.  But General Motors is doing fine.


When Tim Cook said, I want Apple's legacy to be that we cared about people.  True, there is a major plus to the Apple Watch saving peoples lives.  But the success of this comes about only if Apple is in good health.  (Hold that thought)

Day 1.  What I heard: People don't have to worry about their information.  We are a manufacturing company. We make machines. We don't store data.

Day 2. What I heard:  We are going into the health care industry.  We will have access to all your personal health and financial information.


False Analogies:

What I heard:  General Motors saying to Jim Cramer, "We aren't going to release the number of units sold.  It doesn't make sense.  We make so many different brands at so many different price points.  We make Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles. We make Buick Electras and Skylarks.  We make the Chevy Impala, and the Caprice, and the Bel Aire.  We make the Cadillac Sedan Deville, the Coup Deville, the Eldorado, The Seville.  It doesn't make sense to release the number of cars we sell.  If you go to the supermarket and put food in your cart and get to the checkout, the cashier doesn't ask, how many items do you have in your cart.

Would you buy that?


Some stuff various people said on CNBC when discussing Apple.

I-Phone growth is stagnant.  They will have to raise prices.

Apple won't always be the leader of the pack.

They said they will be moving into Emerging Markets.  People in Emerging Markets can't afford a $1000. phone.

We are selling services. Seriously?  With a flat growth curve in phone sales.

Apple is the first Trillion Dollar Company.
Apple was a Trillion Dollar Company.  Then, Apple dropped to $700 Million.

Jim Cramer said, "I used to pay a G for an EKG. Now I get it for Free.  [Shop at Crazy Eddie's. His prices are insane.] This reminds me of Ackman selling Penney Stocks.


Tim Cook admits his mistakes.  He admits he missed the boat on Netflix.  He also missed the boat on Time Warner.  On CNBC it was reported that the Apple board discussed buying Time Warner in 2015.  Slim Fairview wrote the article saying Apple should buy Time Warner 11. February 2013.
Two year is a long time in Tech.


We are developing original content.
Everyone is developing original content.


Name calling.

The haters, the haters, the haters.
Seriously?  Anyone who has doubts about Apple is suddenly a hater.  Name calling is a weapon in the arsenal of a twelve year old.  Repudiate the reasons for concern.  Don't attack those who are concerned

Sometimes the analysis has more to do with numbers.

What happens when a Chinese Tech Wizard invents 
"The Pomegranate"?

I wrote in a review, if Ron Johnson had read only the first three pages of Sandy Richardson's Book, 
Business Results Revolution, he would still be CEO at JCP.

I also wrote, On pages 44 and 45 Richardson demonstrates how to address the issues confronting Tim Cook and Apple.

I was going to quote the second and third paragraphs on page 45.  Instead, read the review, read the book.  It's not that hard.

Sincerest regards,


If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Google Pixelbook and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.  Slim

Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA

Copyright © 2019  Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Global Economic Recovery

The obituary of Mr. John C. Bogle, who transformed the investment industry, contained the following quote: "You get what you don't pay for. Costs matter." This is the underlying principle of "Forming an E 20 Group of Nations" and "Solving the Emerging Economic Crisis" Natural Resources are what Emerging Nations have to invest. That and the time and talent of their citizens. Emerging Nations should be circumspect about the cost of making these investments. This was the caveat about Emerging Nations doing business with The European Union (Germany/Merkel) and with the G 20. There is a steep cost to surrendering autonomy. A cost borne by Italy and Greece. Too many people act like global slowdowns are caused by Sunspots or meteor showers. Global slowdowns are nothing more than a retrenchment analogous to profit taking in the stock market investment paradigm: Buy low, sell high," When the global economy slows down to a level sufficient to trigger reinvestment, the reinvestment will occur and the global economy will rise.

This is not a global conspiracy.  This is the nature of the beast.
The metaphor.  We have an investor, Warren Buffet who heads up Berkshire Hathaway.  Their shares sell at $300,000.  This is too high for an average investor.  However, if there was a stock split: 1000 to 1, then someone holding one share of BH would now have 1000 shares each worth $300.  This is a more manageable level for investors.  This was not uncommon half a century ago.  The stocks become affordable, people invest, the stocks rise. The Global Cash Holdings (in Trillions of dollars) are waiting for the global economy to go low enough to where bargains are to be found enabling those with the money to invest, to purchase a greater share of what is available.  They can invest at a very large discount.  This, of course, is how a smaller number of people end up owning a larger segment of the global economy. This is another reason why Emerging Nations should form Economic Unions and a Union of Emerging Economic Unions.  And beware the cost. "You get what you don't pay for.  Costs matter." 
John C. Bogle. Sincerest regards,,

If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Mac Book and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note. Sincerely, Slim.

Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072
Copyright (c) 2019
All rights reserfved.