Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's been almost a year since I started this blog on a lark. All I wanted to do was post a comment on Blogger, and up popped the option of starting my own blog.

The Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had has gone in some unexpected directions. I didn't think I would post so much about the housing bubble, for instance, or about the changes downtown. But then again, I didn't know there would be so many changes downtown, or the credit crunch would hit.

I've posted every day, and -- I probably shouldn't say this -- I haven't found it hard to do. I guess I'm just a natural blabbermouth. For years, I kept a business journal, that was in effect the same as this blog. I did it to save my poor wife from having her ears talked off. I just tranferred that effort to online, without as much cussing and bitching and moaning, believe it or not.

The blog has been both more upbeat and reasonable than I expected, but perceived as more cynical and downbeat than I expected. I am probably more vociferous in private than I am here, because -- online -- I have time to think about what I'm saying. To count to ten.

I know that being outrageous is the surest way of being noticed, but I really don't want to go there. I'd like to believe that just being as thoughtful and informative as I can is enough. The face I'd like to present to the world.

But I really didn't really think anyone would read this thing.

I still haven't looked into how many readers or hits I'm getting. I don't really want to know. The blog has garnered way more attention from the media than I would've ever thought. It has actually maybe even helped my business a bit, though that was never my motivation. The thought that people might actually be reading this has almost made me quit a few times. Or rethink what I'm saying. Or to wonder if maybe I shouldn't do this so offhandedly, but actually take a little time to rewrite and ponder and work at it.

But no, that goes against what's been working. I want to keep it casual.

I've been able, I hope, to keep walking that fine line of being honest and candid and upfront, without giving away too many business secrets. To talk about issues, but from a personal standpoint.

I didn't realize when I started that most 'personal' blogs are anonymous, and most 'business' blogs aren't. I guess TBMWJAMAGEH is a hybrid. Not by design, it just evolved that way.
As usual, I underestimated the cyberworld. There is a whole community who is active that I would've never known about. Turns out blogging is perfect for a person who is both non-filtered but very private.

And finally, I do have one major lament.

I could've written a couple of books by now!


Duncan McGeary said...

Oh, yeah. And humble too.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Keep on Bloggin. Yours is one of the Best.

Duncan McGeary said...

You too, Paul-doh. Lots of ideas to bounce around.

rotorman said...

It's good that you are posting. Your stuff is measured and insightful. I worry that I am reading too many negative stuff about Bend. Like BendBubble2 and BendBubble. Some of the Bend Economy is very negative. I really don't think Bend is heading down as far as some think. Although I do think party is over for a while both for Bend and the rest of the country. The piggy bank is empty and it is not filling again for a while.. Home equity has fueled the Hummer crowd and others. Now we have credit problems and a dollar that is dropping like a stone. Gold is 800+, Oil near $10. I get the feeling the Ponzi scheme has been uncovered. But the financial world (including the RE crowd) is a creative bunch and unless I miss my guess, they will come up with something new that will pull us out of this mess. They almost have to because they have so much at stake. Government will also help because they have an equal stake. Things may be flat for a while, but unless I miss my guess, some new finacial product will pull the countries cohones out of the fire and start a new Ponzi scheme.

Duncan McGeary said...

Seems like there has been at least four times in the last 25 years or so when economic armeggeden seemed near.

The Reagan supply side economics, the 1987 stock crash, the savings and loan debacle, the nasdaq crash. Most times I don't pay much attention, but these four times caught me and made me do some reading and the more I looked the worst it looked.

And yet, it never happened. Some might say we've just postponed the day of reckoning. But it's taught me the economy is pretty damn resilent.

On the other hand, what was a minor recession for most of the country was a complete disaster for Bend. The Reagan recession was a depression in Bend, because it came with the end of a major construction boom (both malls and a sewer system) and because of the timber industry.

So it's impossible to know how it will play out. I think there is a chance the national economy could escape, and drag Bend up too.

But I do think there is a very, very good chance that it'll be much worse than that.

I keep going back to the fact we have too many damn houses. Which means we have too many people employed in building those houses. Hard to see how we are going to escape that. The credit crunch is just extra.

Keeneye said...

I can somewhat relate with you on this. Since opening our restaurant a month ago, I'm surprised to have customers ask to talk to the owner because they read "her blog". That's just weird to me.

I've found that I censor myself a lot more than I did before opening our business, too.

I really enjoy reading your blog. Congrats on writing your one-year public diary!

Bend Economy Man said...

I get the feeling the Ponzi scheme has been uncovered.

Things may be flat for a while, but unless I miss my guess, some new finacial product will pull the countries cohones out of the fire and start a new Ponzi scheme.

I had that thought too. But in order for a Ponzi scheme to work, the participants (except those at the top) can't know it's a Ponzi scheme, right?

Anonymous said...

Bend will get hit very hard. It always gets hit hard. Look even on this forum 90% of the folks haven't been around. Most of the booster have been around less than ten years.

Bend was number #1 for two years, this means it will be the biggest to fall. This is a simple fact. Also Bend was over-sold. A simple fact.

There has been a lot of progress in the past month, on behalf of the media. The SORE has actually brought SDC into the light. This is a BIG change, this is the essence of the ponzi scheme of Bend.

Too many homes, too much debt, huge SDC costs due, as Hummel himself said before he resigned, Bend is going to get hit with a BiG tax bill to pay for what didn't get paid for during the boom.

A 50% drop in RE prices from 2005 will be NO problem. This is not a bad thing. The rich in Bend are going to get hit very hard. Most of our rich are equity rich, not income rich, they're burning through their equity very quickly. Many have huge homes in town, and 'cabins' in Brasada, Pronghorn,... None of this stuff can sell, none of it can be rented.

The little guy in Bend knows how to live in his car, or in Redmond, and work a $7/hr job in Bend, he'll see a little drop, but not big.

Bend is going to see the biggest recession since 1983, but the last one was a blue-collar recession, this one will be a 'rich persons recession' we had one back in the late 1800's.

Bend priced itself out of the market for real people, of course I have long said that a home in Bend can only be sold for 4X, e.g. our income is perhaps $40k/household, that's $160k affordability. Our city tried to drive all these people away, they only built homes for the 'rich'.

Now the rich will leave in mass, and the 'poor' can rent the rich mens homes. The poor cannot afford to heat the big homes, so they'll sit empty.

Just talking facts here, there is no enjoyment, or emotion. Just facts.

The next 3-5 years will be a rich mans recession in bend.

Little people homes down -20%, rich mans homes down +50%, and many of them will become ghost-town property's.


Check out the SORE this week in Print, the printed the most hard-core comments about SDC I have ever written, and yet they mention that these comments go #1 use on their website. This shows that most people in Bend now know what's been going on.

The talk will soon start.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

The Reagan supply side economics, the 1987 stock crash, the savings and loan debacle, the nasdaq crash. Most times I don't pay much attention, but these four times caught me and made me do some reading and the more I looked the worst it looked.

I think it's hard if not impossible to compare what is happening in this country, much less in Bend, to previous downturns. Look at each of the "problems" you list above, and they have this amorphous quality, they affected small segments of the population. Reaganomics I'm not sure was the root cause of a major economic downturn. The others were compartimentalized: S&L to the oil patch, and stock market crashes to the rich or retired.

The housing implosion affects almost everyone. It takes away a HUGE segment of income that people have grown to depend on. I think it'll have an adverse impact unlike anything that's happened before. And it'll adversely impact Bend many times worse.

Lots of people seem "tired" of negative talk re Bend... but do they think that being "tired" of it, will somehow turn the tide? I don't. I don't think it'll really accelerate it either. Bend will just do what fundamental economics make it destined to do: Implode.

Duncan McGeary said...

The Bulletin did publish a long article about shrinking equity. But it was buried three pages in, and was a generalized national content.