Friday, November 21, 2008

Too negative? Compared to what?

I was talking to the employee of another store who mentioned that he had suggested to his boss that she read my blog.

"Too negative."

O.K. I totally understand that.

I really do.

But you know what? I look at what I wrote two years ago, and if anything I underestimated the problems...

And, if I'm allowed to say this, I was more right about what was coming than most people at the time.

So...if my estimate that it's going to be horrid the first half of next year turns you off, so be it....

I don't see how you can begin to plan or deal with the problems if you can't acknowledge them.

Feel free to ignore me. But I wish I could find some sites where owners actually talk about what's happening. It's just not in their natures, I figure. Business owners are a canny bunch.

I mean you can find no end of local and national blogs run by business that are nothing but rosy, nothing but "look what shiny new things we just made, or got, and isn't it just wonderful?"

Try to find anyone talking turkey. I've pretty much given up. Just as I had to give up years ago asking them face to face, or over the phone. I never know what they're really feeling until after the fact, usually about 6 months later when they've either made it through and are looking back ruefully, or they're closing shop.

There are a fair number of business news blogs who can be honest, but they are depending on facts and figures that don't usually get reported until long after the actual timeline.

It doesn't really matter.

But much of this blog is about preparing myself, because....believe it or not...I consistently underestimate the problems, and overestimate my ability to deal with them.

I'm just trying to narrow that reality gap.

And as I always say, if I ever STOP talking about it, then you'll know I've got real problems. As it is, I'm doing pretty good because I've made the necessary steps.

Postscript: I've just had two really good days in sales. Mostly due to two customers, but then they do count. I don't know. I just think I can talk about a slowdown without scaring people. That it's just one of those parts of the business cycle. Maybe not. You tell me.

7 comments:

RDC said...

Duncan,

As far as being negative. I consider myself to be fairly pragmatic and I see three potential outcomes and they are Bad, worse and worst. At best we are looking at a 1980-82 type recession (8-10% unemployment) lasting a year or two, The medium potential is a Japanese style deleveraging event (though not quite the same level of stock market losses) which has the recession followed by 10 years or so of stagnation. The third is a recession worse than 82 with unemployment reaching into the teens, followed by a collapse in the value of the dollar (2.5-3 dollar to the Euro level) which would combine the unemployment, the stagnation in growth and massive inflation.

At this point I am putting option 1 at 45%, option 2 at 35% and option 3 at 25% probability of happening.

BilboBend said...

This debate I liken to 'Journalism' that I was introduced in High School, back in the 1950's.

They taught us "Who, what, where, when, and WHY?" All in the first paragraph.

Today we get where&when, that's it,

I recently questioned our 'bruce' who call's himself a 'journalist', and asked 'WHY' he never ask's city-hall 'WHY' they do what they do, and he responded he doesn't care 'why'.

It's not really about NEGATIVE, its that people are so dumbed down stupid now 'WHY' is off the table, 'WHO' is off the table, . Modern Journalism is now only 'Where & When & a little What"

Is it really 'negative' to ask WHY?? Is it really negative to ASK WHO??

WHO & WHY is FAR more important than what. Long ago the masters said "Its NOT what is said, but WHO said it and WHY".

Today the MOST critical part of journalism has been removed, and the majority of the people who profess to engage in journalism proclaim they have NO interest in "WHO & WHY".

Business, e.g. small proprietor business is about 'survival', you cannot survive with out good information. Survival is war. Know thy enemy, and know thy self. You cannot survive an economic battle with your head in the sand.

This whole debate of 'negativity' is insane, let the chip's fall where they must. We MUST return to the days 'who,what,where,when&why', otherwise we're just morons running from one TV game show to the next flipping channels.

tim said...

Duncan,

You are the one causing the recession. We all know it.

BilboBend said...

Ok, want numbers??

Look at this way, in the great depression the de-leveraging was ten to one, that is how far the bubble went up, virtually everybody was able to borrow a buck for ten cents, when the blood-bath was at bottom in 1938 ( from 1929 ) , most stuff was down 90%.

Forget about 1982, that was a cake-walk.

Now today, leveraging is almost infinite, but certainly 1,000 to 1, how low will stuff go?

GM is already trading for less than it did during the depression.

Today we have de-flation caused by massive selling to meet margin calls, and bad debt trades. Everything MUST be sold. EVERYTHING.

The US government has printed about $10TRILLION in the last 3-6 months, and nobody knows who got it.

This means hyper-inflation in the coming years.

This one will be far worse than the great depression. The real question is where are we today?

Was 2001 ( dot-Com crash ) really our 1929?? Then today could be our 1938, where the stock-market goes for the dead-cat bounce.

It took WWII 1942 to pull the USA out of depression.

The US is gearing for WAR, as the BULL says today, never been a better time for kids to go off to war to make money.

The OREO can re-instate the draft and send blacks&mexicans because he isn't white the PUG's couldn't have done this. Figure by 2012 when this economy gets terrible a HUGE WAR.

There is a lot at stake, new alliances, Europe is a basket case, the US is terminal. China, India, Russia are the future, and South America; If they form a new pact, the US in isolation with Europe will start a new proxy. For all purposes it will be the middle-east the difference is that the future will include Dubai, Saudi-Arabia, ... Libya, everything will be up for grabs.

With the US&EU broke, the Asian world will use this a historic opportunity to grab the worlds economic prize. It's already in effect happened, most of Africa today is slowly being taken over by the Chinese.

This is NOT a 1980's BEND/ORYGUN TIMBER RECESSION. This is a generational redistribution of wealth on a global scale.

Bend Economy Man said...

I can kind of see her point. Now the negative economic outlook is the orthodoxy and what we need is a ray of hope so we can see what good things might be waiting for us on the other end of this mess.

If everyone goes along with what the news is saying - that it's dumb to buy anything but the essentials, that the Christmas shopping season is going to be crap, that it's smarter to cook pea soup at home than to go out for bacon-wrapped scallops - then soon we're all going to be living like Charlie Bucket's family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 8 to a room and considering a candy bar a luxury.

Though the bubble blogs and negative economic predictions are fascinating from a spectator perspective, they now do harm rather than good. They're like house-flipping blogs in 2005 - reinforcing beliefs that are going to cause more pain if people base decisions on them.

Duncan McGeary said...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Duncan McGeary said...

Not to be flip, BEM.

You very logical in pointing out the bubble.

But you're being very illogical about a turnaround.

But I'll leave it to you.

Please talk me off the ledge.

What positives do you see in Bend?