5555

Ottawa-20111205-000645555. My work office is on the 5th floor of the building, and elevator number 5 was not working today on December 5. 555. But there is one more important five to consider: the five people, including myself, who were using BlackBerrys on my bus ride home. 5555.The fourth five of my day and the one which I want to talk about for a bit. (Picture at the right is one of my paintings I bought last summer)

I’ve wanted to write about BlackBerry and its parent company RIM for a while now but wasn’t really sure what to say. RIM has had a horrible year. If you pay any attention to what I call the big 3 in tech (Apple, Google and Microsoft) you would know that RIM this year has fallen far behind. Its share price is at its lowest levels in years and the buzz around the company is almost nil. It’s tough to say where the company will end up, especially while the other 3 are continually pushing new products which have consumer bases that are fanatical/evangelical about them.

But today on the bus showed me that people still care about BlackBerry. To see 3 people on the left of the bus with their BlackBerrys out and 2 others, myself included, with ours out on the right side, it was a telling reminder that the company might still have life. To be honest, the tech space is one of the most emotional spaces, arguably the most emotional place on earth to invest in. People wear their iPhones or BlackBerrys on their sleeves, display their MacBook Pro as the piece that differentiates them in a sea of PC users and their crappy Gateways (I had one which died on me badly).

When looking at my personal investing experience in junior mining small caps, much risker investing, where losses of 20% in a month are not uncommon should the slightest production hiccup occur, investing in the tech space is comparably safer. Also, by investing in companies worth millions rather than billions, you expose yourself to more risk.

So when looking at RIMs dramatic decline, it’s hard to say they have been that bad to dive over 60% this year, from a high of almost $70, to under $18 currently. Because if you go into what the company has been doing, rather than not doing you see a company making a recent $100 million dollar acquisition, having cash on hand, and trying to transition to what everyone believes is their last hope with QNX or BBX or whatever name the operating system for their new phones next year will be, is hardly a resume of a company on its way into oblivion.

With everything considered, whether BlackBerry and RIM get back to being number one in the smartphone game when it debuted or back into a favourable light with consumers and analysts as it was earlier this year, I’m just hoping that the iconic Canadian company gets back on solid footing. It’s hard to fight against the trend and popularity, where Apple and Google are so dominant in the tech space. However, to borrow from what Jim Prentice, a former Federal ministry leader in the Canadian government wrote so well in this piece for the the Globe and Mail said, I’m keeping my BlackBerry and cheering for RIM. And waiting patiently for my ordered PlayBook to arrive as well.

Advertisements

Birthing birthers

You’ve probably have heard of Donald Trump recently stirring up quite the controversy through the media by requesting U.S. President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate to prove he is an American citizen. Trump, who may be vying to be Obama’s opposition in the 2012 U.S. Presidential race, has been adamant that Obama was not born in America. He has also made remarks on how did Obama get into law school at Harvard, saying something along the lines of he has friends whose kids which have high marks and can’t even get into Harvard, so how could Obama, who according to Trump was “a poor student” get in.

This aside, the real issue Trump has is the first one, believing that Obama was not born in the U.S., thus making him illegible for the U.S. Presidency. This is the “birther” issue. You are a “birther” if you reside in Trump’s camp, which is that Obama

What is sad about Trump is I actually liked him before all this. I enjoyed the early seasons of his Apprentice TV series, that gave you an interesting glimpse of reality TV, of real people trying to make it in the business world. He seemed honest, open, and even with the silly scripted “You’re fired” thing, he seemed human. But that was all in the past. From a PR point of view it is clear what he is doing here. He is positioning himself as a champion of those  who want to question, undermine, bring him down and Obama’s character and stature as president. Obama, being a soft spoken non–Caucasian U.S. president, is quite an easy target, for Trump’s claims, which definitely have a racist tinge to them.

Another part of the problem is the role the media plays in providing Trump a stage. Traditional media, such as CNN, entertainment media like TMZ and social media like Twitter and Facebook, all come together to create what can be described as a highly sensational environment. This environment is one which I feel has hit a critical mass, especially in America, where the media helps elevate individuals agendas. Why? Because it makes money of course, and sensational headlines bring in viewers. With the rise of social media and the competition being as fierce as ever, traditional media has to pander to the tastes of the population. Take a look at  what Charlie Sheen is doing on Twitter as the perfect case and point. Over statured and overexposed in the media.

Back to Trump. This attempt is just something to dominate headlines, with him leading the fight against this supposed “injustice” as a way to accomplish this. Whether Trump, or Sheen are mentally inept, trapped in their ways of thinking or it is part of their PR strategy I have no clue. All I know is discovery is a good thing, however  ignorance is not.