FitBit ($FIT) – Another “West Coast” IPO

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$FIT FitBit Goes Public (And No One Seems To Mind)

Last week, FitBit stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $30.40 per share, 52% higher than the price of the initial public offering (IPO) price of $20.00. (Source: CNBC.com) The stock closed on Friday June 20, 2015 at a price of $32.50 after reaching a high of $33.95 in less than two days of trading.

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

As I listened to the business media reaction to the IPO, I could not help but notice the lack of negative sentiment.  FitBit is already profitable, shushing the usual nay-sayers. The price action was also strong, which makes investors happy about it, and gives the media something positive to broadcast. And much like the FitBit product line, there were two distinct camps: those who love it, and those that simply don’t care (instead of the more common ‘love it or hate it’ division on Wall Street when it comes to IPOs.)

So, if the stock is anything like the FitBit product line, and its ‘fit’ community, then Wall Street may continue to see the love grow on $FIT next week, as the rest of the market deals with its 2015 mood swings.

Why $FIT Smells A Lot Like $GPRO $RWLK and $LOCO 

$FIT FitBit is what I like to call a “West Coast Stock”.  Not only is it headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but it also has a certain “tech appeal” that resonates in the hearts of what I call “West Coast Investors”. Notice that the word investor is included in the quotes.  An example of a West Coast Investor might be a current or former Facebook employee who has a lot of extra money and is looking to “invest” into the next Facebook ($FB) or Tesla ($TSLA) or Chipotle Mexican Grill ($CMG).

Since these West Coast Investors are early adopters of technology, and usually made their money on some form of technology, they also tend to invest into (chase) other technology stocks like GoPro ($GPRO), Gogo ($GOGO), or ReWalk Robotics Ltd ($RWLK) which is not located on the west coast, or even in America, but I still considered it a “West Coast IPO”.  ReWalk makes medical exoskeletons, and since a lot of people on the West Coast are gamers, and/or work in the video game industry, I think there was a video game / robot virtual connection, which pushed the stock up over $43 dollars per share. It settled Friday at $11.86, and I am sure there are lots of disgruntled folks who bought in much higher, and have decided to hold their shares as a long term investment.

Similarly, $LOCO had a strong IPO before shares topped out at their 52 week high of $41.70.  Its price is now $21.45 per share.  GoPro ($GRPO) got as high as $98.47 per share, before falling back to below $40 pps.  $GPRO closed this week at $57.97.  These momentum plays are subject to quick pullbacks after their initial run-up, which also illustrates that they are “overbought” by West Coast Investors who may also be learning to “trade”, getting stopped out on the red market days, only to see the stock recover again. This causes them to regret their sell, and so buy in again at the highs, driving the pps higher and higher until it can’t take any more.  The Wall Street analysts set their price targets lower, the bears emerge, and the momentum shifts drastically downward.

My hypothesis continues: I think that Wall Street is somewhat disconnected and late to the party on many of these “West Coast” IPOs, maybe because they have never eaten at El Pollo Loco, but more likely, they don’t understand the “West Coast Investor” attitude.  I don’t think they realize how much “fun money” is floating around Silicon Valley right now, and how many tech-centric thirty-somethings are jumping into the stock market, day trading on their cell phones based on overall uptrends in technology, or buying shares based on something they read on Twitter five minutes ago.

My theory is that the typical “west coast investor” doesn’t have more than a year or two experience with stocks; but since they have much more access than previous generations, and are more comfortable with transactions over the internet, they dove into the stock market head first, tablet in hand, and have since rode the tech sector trend upwards. Many “west coast investors” have taken huge losses because of their inexperience and devotion to the momentum stocks they purchased, but since they get paid so much, they don’t really care. They had money to lose, and lost it, while still having some luck in the market, keeping them in it.

Which brings me back to FitBit ($FIT), and how it fits this west coast investor perfectly. Its west coast tech; its cloud; its early-adopter; and more importantly, its not getting any hate from Wall Street (yet), so I expect the love to grow on this stock this week, with a lot of buy-and-hold-ers who may easily turn into bag-holders as the momentum eventually shifts.  The top is always hard to predict, (but not as hard as asking a FitBit user to give up their device: check out this post I wrote over a year ago, about how FitBit and other wearable tech can be very addictive.)

In full disclosure, I currently hold a very small position in $FIT.  I am currently bullish, but I could also exit the trade this week if the charts and uptrend do not hold up.  I am not a financial adviser and I am not giving a buy or sell recommendation, ever.

 

Would YOU Date A Dead Rock Star?

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After hearing that the Grateful Dead reunion shows will be streamed from Chicago, IL and Santa Clara, CA, I have heard a couple people say things like “wouldn’t it be great if so-and-so showed up, wait, is he still alive?” and “I wish I could go back in time and hear Jerry play, just once (more)”. I am sure we have all had a similar daydream at some point; if I could go back in time and see anyone play live, Jimi Hendrix would be my choice.

Now let’s take this thought experiment a step further and ask ourselves the following question: if you were given an opportunity to go back in time and date a rock star, someone who died prematurely because of their personal demons, would you do it?

Close your eyes (not yet! you have to keep reading first) and imagine a time machine with a very limited feature set and GUI (graphical user interface). As you step into the time machine, all you see are a dozen or so buttons on the wall. Beside each button is the name of a dead rock star (don’t focus on the music genre, could be a pop star or country singer, but with “rock star” status.) No other controls are in the time machine, just buttons and names.

Amy Winehouse, 2007.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Amy Winehouse in LA circa 2007; photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Each rock star next to each button has died prematurely due to alcohol, drug abuse, suicide, or maybe a car accident. The buttons might include Amy Winehouse, Curt Cobain, even Michael Jackson, who did not technically kill himself, but definitely had issues, both growing up and as an adult; I think we can all agree on that. The names don’t really matter, because in this thought experiment, you only need to choose one.

Back to the time machine, like I said, it has limited functionality and you can not choose exactly what time you get to travel back to. In fact, let’s call it The Limited Time Machine. When you hit a button next to a rock stars name, you will be transported back in time to a point in that rock star’s life where you can meet them, and get to know them on a personal level. You might even start dating them, and/or develop a long term relationship.

The Limited Time Machine would not guarantee love, but it would put you in a time and place where it could happen. All you can choose is which rock star you might want to date. That might be difficult for some readers, knowing deep down that your time with them is limited, either by the limited time machine taking you back to the future, or by their death. Or maybe another reason, it doesn’t matter; your time with them is limited.

Would you try to save them from their eventual demise? Or would you worry that if you tried to save them, it might negatively affect their music that brings so much happiness to the world? Do you really think you could save them if you tried? Wouldn’t it just be a matter of time until they died, or you were swept away by the Limited Time Machine?

Perhaps it would be better to just sit in the front row and watch, as your lover and confidant performed and delighted the crowds. That is where this blog post began, right? Going back in time as an innocent concert attendee, who did not know the person behind the mask, or what happened in the back of the tour bus. Could you love them just for who the were, and stop there?  Would you be able to handle a relationship with them in the years leading up to their death, or only if you could know them in their earlier years, when things were easier?

So again, I ask you to close your eyes, and imagine you are stepping into this limited time machine.  Would you push the button to date a dead rock star?  Which one, and why?

Please submit your comments below or email me at pkav.info@gmail.com .

Thanks -pk

I Miss Music On Hold

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We’re sorry.  Your call is very important to us.  Please remain on the line, and the next available customer service representative will be with you shortly.

Sound familiar?  Well, it should, as many telephone systems have similar recordings that usually repeat every 30 seconds while you wait on hold for 3 minutes… or 30 minutes… it really depends on who you are, and reason you are “on hold”.

If I am ordering a pizza, for instance, and I get put on hold for more than 5 minutes, I know they are busy, and I will often just hang up and dial another establishment.  But if I am trying to reach my credit card company or cable provider, I usually have a reason that I need to call them in particular, not someone else.  Oftentimes, it does not matter when I call, I will be put on hold.

In the old days, you would be put on hold and hear nothing. Silence. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But I guess some people did not know if they were still on hold after hearing silence for a few minutes, so someone invented “music on hold”.  The music source could be a service like Muzak but usually, it was just a short loop recording of classical music that would repeat.

Then one day, someone (let’s call him or her The Devil) got the bright idea to add the “We’re sorry.  Your call is very important to us…” and made it REPEAT OVER AND OVER.  Does this really help anyone?  Seriously, I swear, it was The Devil, Bobby Boucher, The Devil!

The last time I was put on hold, it was even worse: in between the verbal lashings of digitally remastered sarcasm mentioned above, they had inter-weaved advertisements for their services!  It was at that moment that I realized we need a revolution.  If We, The People, have to be put on hold, we demand respect; I personally think we should be educated and/or entertained while on hold.  Here is what I think should happen:

You have been put on hold and you are listening to an automated telephone system. I will try to make it as painless as possible by speaking to you in a polite, personal tone.

First, push 1 to mute me at anytime; push 1 to un-mute me.

You will be on hold for approximately 10 minutes. That is a estimate, and I will try to keep you updated if that amount of time changes significantly.  You can press 2 at any time to find out the estimated time you will still be on hold. 

Now for some entertainment, if you are in the mood for it…

Press 3 for local news, sports, traffic, and weather forecasts

Press 4 to listen to light classical music

Press 5 for jazz, funk, and r&b music

Press 6 for rock or indie music

Press 7 for rap and hip hop music

Press 8 for country music

Press 9 to hear these options again

Otherwise, I will leave you to wait in silence, ok?  Just speak up if you need something.  Sorry about putting you on hold. I know its really rude, but we do it to keep our internal expenses to a minimum, which in the end, should mean cheaper prices for you. Thanks for waiting. 

-pk