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Comment Tech dividends (Score 2) 284

All those tech companies with their famously large cash hoards should have massive investor lawsuits over dividends -- but they don't. Why?

Because it's more tax-efficient and potentially higher return for companies to reinvest their profits into new development or acquisition. Google's purchase of (and further investment in) Android provided much better use of cash than if they had paid out a $50M dividend, which the recipient would then owe tax on. Instead the shares became more valuable due to the cash generating machine getting bigger.

When tech companies start paying out a dividend, it's a sign or surrender: "hey, we don't know how to invest this.... you can have it." See Cisco, Oracle, Apple, etc.

Comment Re:iPhone cash cow is more important (Score 1) 230

Well, let's think about this one...which one would you rather manufacture?
- A high-margin computer, with high end components, requiring a lot of engineering effort to get right and keep supporting over an extended life cycle, or
- An even higher-margin, throwaway, replaced every 2 years, locked down device, on which you get a 30% cut of every single thing a user installs on it -- requiring lots less engineering since user interactions are artificially limited

If there was such a choice to be made, surely the latter. But Apple is generating $60B in cash flow annually, with $60B already in the bank. They shouldn't need to make a choice. GM is a much smaller company, but somehow they're able to make cars AND trucks.

Comment Twenty Billion (Score 1) 230

I dunno... it certainly seems that way, especially when you consider that Macs (or rather, OSX-running stuff) represent what, 10-20% of their revenue nowadays, when compared to iPads and etc?
I think it's part and parcel of Apple's response to usage patterns among the general public (not the geeks, but the general public), which makes more sense to them, at least financially.

10% of Apple's revenue is still 20 billion dollars. Not exactly a niche market (or maybe it's a really, really big niche).

Comment Re:Contra-Indicated. (Score 1) 263

If you divest, you are not a stockholder. You have no say in how the companies invest or spend their money. Much wiser to invest and help to steer the company by participating.

Divesting (and refusing to invest) affects demand. Dumping and refusing to buy oil stocks makes future share offerings less lucrative, and therefore increases the cost of doing business. Dumping and refusing to buy bonds of oil companies makes their cost of doing business increase (via paying a higher interest rate).

Will it work? Eh. It's kind of like a boycott, it depends on the participants and the duration.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 406

Sure you can retire at 55 years old without a mega-buck, but the risks that you will either end up broke in a medicaid nursing home or die early due to lack of ability to afford medical treatment goes up dramatically.

And from the other side of it, the longer you wait to retire, the increasing chance that you'll get dead before you hit traditional retirement age.

Best to consult family medical history and actuarial tables first. It'd be a shame to waste good (younger) years of your life toiling away for money that you won't be able or won't care to spend in your later (less-fun) years.

Comment Primary sellers aren't incompentent (Score 2) 221

Promoters and venue owners are professionals at selling tickets. Incompetence is not the cause for under-priced tickets. They intentionally set the ticket price below the market-clearing price to: 1) gain free promotion with shows that sell-out in minutes and 2) add an additional performances in the same city.

While it's possible that the initial demand was underestimated, promoters and venue owners largely know what they're doing.

Comment Re: Union power! (Score 1) 306

If you're a grown adult, and the job in question takes up your working day, then you're damn right that it should remunerated well enough to be enough to live on.

No, because not every activity a grown adult can do is worth $livable_wage. Say some guy likes to repair VCRs... they're a dying breed, but he likes working on them. The market has decided that VCRs aren't valuable any more. Likewise, a person with a broken VCR is unlikely to value repairing one very highly. But if some guy wants to do it for a price the market will pay, so be it.

Or take volunteers. Why is it ok for someone to work for $0 as a volunteer for a full day, but paying them $5/hr isn't ok?

Comment Re:We heared the same over and over again (Score 1) 426

Keynes is always being called out as getting this prediction wrong, because the average work week isn't 15 hours now. But it's largely due to people changing how they live: lifestyle inflation. Keynes had no idea the role consumerism would play in modern America. Houses have gotten larger (with fewer people in them), one car for every driver in a household, more than one phone per person, all manner of processed convenience foods, and a deluge of leisurely entertainment options.

If you live like someone from the 30s today, you can surely do it on a 15 hour work week. But you'll be in a multi-generation household, not driving, cooking at home, and entertaining yourself by reading books (the horror!).

Comment Re:I know some countries consider... (Score 1) 271

I think for your plan to work, it would require vacant apartments.

San Fran has chronically underbuilt housing for decades. For every 12 new jobs added last year, 1 housing unit was built. The market is signaling that SF should become a big city, but the NIMBYs prefer things as they are (or prefer seeing their own property values increase).

Comment Re:Lots of cheap housing in US, just not in San Fr (Score 1) 271

According to the Tech Crunch link, the demand for spaces in homeless shelters is outstripping the supply. I think steve here is pointing out that there are lots of other cities around, some of which are probably better able to absorb homeless people.

Comment Re:Funding the vision (Score 1) 497

We didn't go to the moon for science. We went to the moon to beat the Soviets. The only way I see it happening is if we get into another space race with the Chinese or the Russians and that seems improbable at the moment.

That's true. I think Elon's not so much concerned with this moment.... he's playing the odds that such a situation will arise in the next couple of decades. When the time comes, SpaceX will be have the best vehicle for getting people to Mars.

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