social media

Social and Anti-Social

© Can Stock Photo / deandrobot

The 21st century forms of communication include social media. These venues, like Facebook and Twitter, feature the opportunity for interaction. Comments or replies, likes or favorites, those are the things that put “social” into social media.

Together with our blog site at 228Main.com and the weekly email newsletter, digital communications helped us stay connected with you when life was challenging. I’ll ever be grateful for being in the right place at the right time to use these methods to stay connected.

Social media can be a source of news and information and perspective. Experts in many fields are on Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook. These are sources we did not have in the olden days.

But there is a dark side to social media. Some use their participation to send negative messages or say hurtful things, or promote stuff that just isn’t worthy of your attention. We’ve heard some say “Twitter is a cesspool” or “There is so much garbage on Facebook.”

The slang term for a person who posts objectionable viewpoints as comments on another’s post is “troll.” It may just be part of human nature, not a unique feature of social media. At the café, barbershop or salon there is also a mix of people with a mix of opinions and varying ways of expressing them.

But objectionable people and posts can be blocked or hidden on social media. Life is too short to pay attention to trolls. Blocking and muting are valuable skills you can use to keep your social media from being a ‘cesspool’ or full of garbage.

Nobody needs to be on social media to get our viewpoints, not with 228Main.com out there and the weekly email newsletter. But if you are on it, you are welcome to connect or follow. There are social media links on the home page of 228Main.com.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.

Warm and Fuzzy Productivity

© Can Stock Photo / arosoft

The last fifty years in business have seen the transformation from pencil and ledger to spreadsheet, the secretarial pool typing letters to email, research in the library replaced by internet services. Every process can be done exponentially better, faster, and cheaper than half a century ago.

With the incredible increase in productivity over this period, it is a wonder some believe that more increases in office productivity will fix the central issues we face. In our business, as in every business, cost pressures continually push us to do more with less.

It is the conceit of every industry that margin pressure is something that uniquely affects it. In fact, the whole history of human enterprise can be summed up in two words: shrinking margins. The first supermarkets had lower margins than the butcher, the baker and the dairy they replaced. The Sears catalogue had lower margins than the general store. Charles Schwab had lower margins than E.F. Hutton.

The way we see our work, honesty and competence are the entry requirements to the business arena. Beyond that, the productivity issues do not center around software and systems, but people and connections:

1. Do we have the empathy to put ourselves in your shoes and understand your heartfelt objectives, to learn what you can tell us about your needs and situation?

2. Do we have the creativity to collaborate with you on strategies and tactics that may get you closer to where you want to go, in light of all factors: market, economic, tax, everything?

3. Do we have the ability to communicate what you need to know in order to work effectively toward your goals?

‘Relationship’ is the word that sums up these points. Relationships are at the heart of whatever past success we’ve had with you, and whatever exciting future we may build. You, the best clients in the world, play a starring role.

In this view, the key technologies are not how fast some back-office process gets done nor the colors in the pie chart nor pages of dense calculations of statistical history. The key technologies are those things that enable you and us to communicate. When we get basic information to all of you at once, our one-on-one talks can start at a higher level and go farther.

Blog posts at 228Main.com, social media, videos, and our email newsletter are the ways we talk to everybody at once. (None of these existed fifty years ago!) Emails, phone calls, and meetings let us go one-on-one to work on your issues. We have worked diligently to master the technology that most matters to our mutual success: communications.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Our Digital Communications: 4th Anniversary

© Can Stock Photo / iqoncept

As we complete four years in the world of digital communications, it makes sense to take stock. What have we gotten done, where are we headed?

We began with three thoughts. We had the intent to be able to communicate at the speed of light when events demanded – sort of a civil defense system for times of stress. And we wanted to communicate with all of you each week about our current thinking on a wide variety of topics. Finally, make available a complete archive of our philosophy and strategies, for you to find and read on your schedule, available 24/7.

We worked out a way to deliver these things with a combination of three methods. Nobody needs to access all three, but we can reach more of you by being more places.

228Main.com hosts our blogs, nearly 400 already published, one or two new ones each week. Daily posts in social media offer additional features, plus links to the blog articles, comments about developments in our thinking, and weekly short videos. And weekly email newsletters provide links to the new blog posts and videos, along with schedule notes.

We love the way you forward emails or like or share our Facebook or Twitter posts. Some of your friends and relatives have gotten to know us this way, at their leisure, with no threat of us bothering them with unwanted approaches (as if we ever would!) The 21st century is a great place to live if you like to communicate.

We are working on consolidating selected blog posts into books, thinking about a YouTube channel to make our video library more searchable, and continuing to explore new ways to communicate.

21st century communications played a key role as we met the challenges of the last few years. But instead of being a pale substitute for the way we had done business before, we learned that more communication is just plain good for you and good for us.

If you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.

It Really Is All About You

© Can Stock Photo / ShutterM

Time is finite, limited, for everyone. We have diligently restructured how we take care of business for you over the past few years to create more time for our key activities. One of those key activities is talking to you, one on one.

Two years ago we were preparing a total makeover of our communications program. In the 21st century, thoughts can emerge from our fingertips and travel at the speed of light to the screens of your computer, tablet or smart phone. The instantaneous aspect of new media is nicely complemented by the permanent archive of our philosophies, methods and views at 228Main.com—available anytime, anywhere.

If we get the same question twice or need to tell the same story twice, we figure a lot more people have the same question or should hear the same story. So we put it out there for everyone.

We also write about case studies, retirement concepts, financial planning issues, the economy, investment strategy and tactics. Topics in the news also get our attention, particularly when there is context we would like to add.

Bottom line, if we think of something that has a chance to improve your financial position, we are going to write about it. It might be a story or a parable or a bit of history or biography.

Each one of you is unique. Some pay attention to our daily comments and features on our Facebook page, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Others ignore all that, but read our blog posts. At least one client already knows how we think, and doesn’t need any more. And a few read everything in every venue.

We get a lot of feedback from our colleagues—but we are writing for you, not them. What would you like to tell us about our blog or social media activity? Are there topics we aren’t covering, but should? Are you getting anything out of it? Do you feel like any time you spend reading our stuff is well spent—or wasted?

Email us or call if you would like to let us know how we are doing.

Meanwhile, if you aren’t connected to daily commentary but wish to, you can bookmark https://twitter.com/MarkLeibman even if you are not registered at Twitter. Or ‘like’ our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LFNEWS. Or connect on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lfnews/. We look forward to hearing from you.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

New Media is Bigger Than You Know

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / buchachon

The first birthday of our online communication efforts is upon us. 228main.com was intended to provide us with a means to talk to a lot of clients at once, especially useful in times of stress. There were other objectives as well.

We know that communications influence behavior; behavior influences investment outcomes; and client outcomes are what we are about. The new media lets us highlight each day the thing we find most pertinent or interesting. We can drive home the lessons that help people invest and plan effectively.

If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, you know we have created some regular features to help us tell our story. The Junior Staff and Market Haiku show up weekly, along with links to pertinent articles and news.

The most surprising thing we’ve learned about the new media is how useful it has been to people we know, for much broader purposes than business communications. One retiree became acquainted with Twitter to keep up with a grandchild’s college sports team. A sports fan has grown a custom news feed of local print and broadcast sportswriters as well as recruiting clearinghouses, player and team accounts and other knowledgeable fans. A political junkie collects thoughts from candidates, opinion leaders, polling experts and major newspapers. We follow the best minds in the business world. Others pursue news about hobbies or interests.

In other words, Twitter can be a customized information source, tailored by you to your preferences. You choose the sources to follow. Whether or not you register, you can see our daily quick notes and commentary. You do not have to ever post anything in order to use the tool. However, if you do have a message, you can get it out.

LinkedIn, we’ve noticed, is more of a business forum and networking affair. Facebook is popular with many of our clients for many reasons. People see what their children or grandchildren are up to, and keep up with more distant relatives like never before. Facebook also allows businesses to have pages, which is how we can communicate with those who choose to ‘like’ our Facebook page.

Perhaps the biggest misperception among non-users is the idea that the whole world will know what you are up to if you participate. The fact is, you choose what to publish and who to interact with, if anybody. Many people just take in information, and post or publish very little. You might explore these venues to see if they can improve your life. The menu buttons at 228main.com can connect you.

Meet the “Junior Staff”

Do you know about our junior staff? These four appear in our real-time new media venues. They are tasked with producing a weekly comment, posted on Mondays. They also make other appearances from time to time.

portrait_grumpymcfussface

Grumpy McFussface was the first to join the team. He is definitely a ‘glass-half-empty’ type, serving as Junior Analyst. We value his input, a way to keep in touch with negative sentiment in the marketplace. We usually do the opposite of what he suggests, but please do not tell him. He might throw a tantrum.

portrait_brainyMcbaby

Then Brainy McBaby joined the team as Research Intern. He’s wiser than his years, a thoughtful one. He has an uncanny ability to take the long view, even though he isn’t quite two years old. A true prodigy.

portrait_happymctoddler

Happy McToddler is a good counterweight to Grumpy. She is almost always positive. Happy is our Trader Trainee, helping us implement our strategies. Of the whole junior staff, Happy does the most to help us keep your portfolios in shape. She loves to talk investment tactics and strategy.

portrait_youngwarren

We may have the only shop in the world with an investment philosopher on staff. Young Warren adds a lot, usually by posing questions of fundamental importance. He makes you think.

You can look in on the junior staff and see their work in any of three venues. You do not need to register or anything to see all of our daily comments, notes, links to articles, and other real time features if you go here: http://twitter.com/MarkLeibman. Of course, if you are a Twitter user, please click the ‘follow’ button.

Facebook users can ‘like’ our Facebook page to connect: http://facebook.com/LFnews. It is a two-step thing: click the link AND ‘Like’ the page. This won’t put your stuff out there to our other clients, it just shows you what we are talking about.

LinkedIn is another alternative. Click and connect, if you are registered: http://linkedin.com/in/lfnews.

For now, the junior staff appears only in these ‘real time’ media outlets. Hope you follow them.Twitter