In 2014, the back office of this site changed dramatically for reasons beyond the editor's control. Since then, the coding and formatting has been done on an ad hoc basis, and that cannot continue if the publishing schedule is to increase. Thus, there will be a pause in any publishing at LWRAS (which includes the Transportation Technology Journal as well as the PrimaBrainArena) as I choose a new web design program. Hopefully, once I have one, not only will publishing occur more regularly, the site(s) will look better.
The inspiration for these ramblings is this post at the Harvard Business Review. I suppose I should start with a disclaimer: these are my observations as a consumer and observer, I’m not now nor have I ever been in marketing (nor have I ever wanted to be.) With that said, I think the notion that marketing is dead is ridiculous.
The thesis of the linked piece is that loyalty programs have killed traditional marketing. 1) I don’t believe this is remotely true, but 2) loyalty programs ARE a type of marketing. I’m mystified as to how they can be seen as anything else.
Apple may create products that fans are loyal to, but the company also spends a good bit of money advertising and marketing those products. Or perhaps we simply watch different TV stations, because the ads for the new larger iPhones were ubiquitous when they came out.
The last example given is a blog written by a marketing flak at J Crew— see what I did there? Just as catalogs used to be (and still are) written by marketing types, so are blogs that belong to a brand. The writing maybe longer form or less directly linked to a product, but selling (marketing) the brand IS the reason for the blog. Marketing is not dead. All in all, just a silly position to assert.
LWRAS continues to monitor, analyze and learn about the oil market.
Product Design & Development reports that Halliburton is cutting up to 8% of its workforce due to the decline in oil prices. Halliburton cut 1000 jobs in December 2014 (Merry Christmas in the traditional corporate style!) as well. The company claims that the job losses are not a result of its purchase and merging with Baker Hughes, which means the job shedding at Halliburton is likely not over. There is always staff redundancy after an acquisition.
The answer to the question appears to be yes for the time being. At the end of 2014, LWRAS took a look at oil prices and factors affecting the market. This is the second installment in that series. Many analysts are speculating as to the future of oil prices. There are winners and losers at the current price level, and the effects are being felt worldwide.
Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ) recently presented its forecast for oil prices in 2015 in a webcast. Its analysis indicates that expected growth from low oil prices will be mitigated by taxes and regulations. Gas taxes and regulations vary by state in the US, which most of the analysis concerned. Using data from US government sources as well as the International Monetary fund (IMF), OGJ reported that demand is still declining. IMF thinks world GDP (Gross Domestic Product) will gain .3-.7% gain from the oil price drop. Which for the large numbers involved, is significant.
The most interesting part of the presentation, however, was the modeling of the effect that supply, demand, and speculation of traders has on the price of oil. Based on this model, what OPEC did is crush the speculation. By her model, it’s speculation that’s crushing oil prices now more than supply and demand. Speculation exacerbates the movement. Looking at the chart from the slide deck, the speculative pulses tend to last about year (at least in the time frame presented)
As is traditional here, the new year brings a new resolve to publish on a more regular basis and build and audience. Rather than waste too much time listing resolutions and promises, as editor I will simply note that much has changed here behind the scenes at LWRAS. Much of the organizational shifts implemented in 2014 will continue into 2015. New areas of coverage will include food technology, specifically the bourgeoning faux meat from plants industry.
The 2014 archive of content can be found here.
LWRAS is a long term shareholder in Microsoft Corporation. Recently, after years of languishing, the price of Microsoft’s shares have risen to close to a five year high. At that point, a review of the reasons for holding the stock become necessary. What follows is the information used to answer the question.
MSFT replaced Steve Ballmer and Wall Street rewarded it with a higher stock price. Mobile is the new focus of the company. Had MSFT it decided to kill its cash cow? Rather than keep the bottom line until, well the bottom of this post, the answer to question was that after reviewing the articles and and SEC documents discussed below, the decision was made to hold the stock. Microsoft stock trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker MSFT.