What’s behind the recent stock market volatility?


AMNA NAWAZ:  Today’s 800-point plunge on
Wall Street is just the most recent swerve for a stock market that had very recently
been hitting record highs. Jeffrey Brown reports that the high level
of volatility has investors large and small on edge and looking for answers. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEFFREY BROWN, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT: 
President Trump’s trade and tariff wars, major slowdowns in the economies of Germany and
China, the prospect of further actions by the Federal Reserve, and more. It may be August, but national and global
events are impacting markets and, maybe, the economy overall. Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent
for “The New York Times,” joins me now. Nice to have you back. NEIL IRWIN, SENIOR ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT,
THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Thanks, Jeff. JEFFREY BROWN:  Big drop in the market today. You see several things going on. Let’s start with the trade and tariffs. How is that moving markets? NEIL IRWIN:  Sure. So, we’ve seen a bit of a de-escalation of
the trade wars in the last couple of days — JEFFREY BROWN:  Uh-huh. NEIL IRWIN:  — as the president has kind
of backed away from one round of tariffs that were set to go into effect. (CROSSTALK) JEFFREY BROWN:  Which should be good in a
sense, yes. NEIL IRWIN:  It should be good, but remember,
that was only partially pulling something that was only announced back two weeks ago. JEFFREY BROWN:  Yes. NEIL IRWIN: What we’re seeing is that this
trade war, it’s something bigger than just one little dial that you can twist. It’s infecting the overall economic relationship
between the world’s two largest economies. Businesses worldwide are having to adapt and
adjust, and they’re nervous about making investments and really investing in the future given that
backdrop. JEFFREY BROWN:  Do we see actual damage already
or is this about fears looking ahead? NEIL IRWIN:  So, so far, in the U.S., economic
data, it’s pretty mild. You see some evidence that the industrial
sector is slowing down. Business investment has been weak in the last
few months. But it’s not a catastrophe so far for the
U.S. economy. So far, the U.S. economy seems to be holding
up. The question is what — what’s going to happen
in the future? JEFFREY BROWN:  And when the president pulled
back yesterday on the latest tariffs or at least postponed them, was that perhaps as
seeing that it might — this time, it might affect consumers, or why — why do you think
he did that? NEIL IRWIN:  Yes, I think this was — this
round of tariffs is going to affect consumers 10 percent on basically all Chinese imports,
including toys, including iPhones, including things that people are buying in the Christmas
season. They didn’t want to do that. The thing is you can’t really go back again. Sometimes, this idea of constantly escalating
global economic warfare, once that gets in place, it’s not so much the details of any
one tariff, it’s what’s going to happen to the relationship overall, and what does that
mean for the future. JEFFREY BROWN:  All right. So, there’s that on the one hand, but you’re
seeing something that’s part of — this is part of something much bigger, deeper,
a slowing, a weakening, perhaps even signs of a recession. What points to that? NEIL IRWIN:  So, the biggest thing is what
happened today is called an inversion of the yield curve. So, the yield curve is interest rates on the
treasury bonds for different durations, different time periods. And what’s happening now is you’re actually
seeing lower interest rates on longer term bonds than on shorter term. All that means is investors worldwide soon
to be pricing in an expecting slower growth, weaker growth, lower inflation, more Federal
Reserve rate cuts. That’s a pessimistic signal we’re getting
from global bond investors. JEFFREY BROWN:  And how — where are they
seeing that? I mean, what specifically are they looking
at that’s making them feel so pessimistic? NEIL IRWIN:  It seems to me this global forces,
not just the trade wars that we’re already talked about, but a sharp slowdown in the
European economy, geopolitical tensions. You have tensions between China and Hong Kong. JEFFREY BROWN:  Yes. NEIL IRWIN:  You have a very complex situation
where the entire world economy and the world political system seems to be in this very
fragile state. So, it doesn’t take much to undermine growth. JEFFREY BROWN:  Now, the president clearly
seeing what’s going on, he put out another tweet today, another blast at the Fed chairman. He referred to him as clueless Jay Powell. What is — what is that coming from? Or what do you seeing there? NEIL IRWIN:  So, look, President Trump wants
to blame the Fed for everything bad that’s happening in the world markets and the economy. And it is true — look, the Fed raised interest
rates four times last year. They’ve already taken back one of those. They seem to believe that — you know, there’s
some evidence that they overdid it last year and maybe raised rates too much, given where
the global economy is. But you can’t — you know, you can’t hold
the Trump administration blameless. They keep kind of throwing bombs in the different
elements of the global trading system in ways that are disruptive. And you talk to CEOs. You look at corporate earnings reports. There’s clear evidence that the Trump administration
has part of the responsibility. JEFFREY BROWN:  I mean, we’ve talked about
this before and over the years many times, the uncertainty unsettles markets, right? NEIL IRWIN:  Yes, if you’re a CEO, you’re
trying to decide whether to invest, whether to hire people, whether to build a factory. You look around — you don’t know what the
world economy is going to look at in a year because there’s this kind of chaos that
emanates from, not just Washington, from other world capitals as well. That’s a very difficult setting in which
to do business. And what’s happening in markets is reflecting
that more and more. JEFFREY BROWN:  It is still true, though,
that some numbers look OK, or even good, right? Job market is still OK. Wages are up. So, is everybody sort of parsing all these
numbers, huh? NEIL IRWIN:  Yes. Look, so far, the U.S. economy has been the
calm in the storm. The U.S. economy has been basically sound
even with all this — all this turmoil overseas. The problem is what’s being — what we’re
seeing in markets this month seems to be suggesting that could change. And it doesn’t have to be a recession. We can still avoid a recession, but the risk
of one is a lot higher than it was a month ago. JEFFREY BROWN:  And just briefly before we
go, what is it about August? Something about — everybody is supposed to
be relaxing, but a lot of things happen in the economy and market — markets. NEIL IRWIN:  We keep seeing this — happened
in 2011, happened in 2007, happened in 1998. You know, one explanation, it seems to be
that a bunch of traders are on vacation, so there’s liquidity in markets. You get wilder swings. It may be just a coincidence but I think we’ve
seen this pattern before where August is the month where global markets seem to melt down. JEFFREY BROWN:  All right. Neil Irwin of the “New York Times” — thank
you very much. NEIL IRWIN:  Thanks, Jeff.

U.S. China Trade War Explained: How Tariffs Work & Impact the Economy


Investors have no doubt heard about the trade
tensions between the U.S. and China. Both countries are locked in a power struggle as
they impose new tariffs on goods imported into their countries. But determining exactly
what a trade war between the U.S. and China means for the stock market or either country’s
economy, is difficult to predict. To understand its significance, it’s worth taking a closer
look at what the U.S. and China are fighting about and whether or not it should change
your current investing strategy. So, why are the U.S. and China imposing new
tariffs on each other? Back in 2017, the U.S. began looking at China’s trade policies
and decided that the deficit between the amount of goods coming into the U.S. from China compared
to the amount being exported to China was too great. The U.S. government then imposed
billions of dollars in tariffs on some Chinese goods coming into the U.S. In return, China
issued its own round of tariffs on some U.S. imports. The two countries have held talks
trying to resolve trade tensions, but they haven’t resolved it in
any long-term trade solutions. So, why exactly does this trade war matter
to investors? When new tariffs are applied to products, it’s not the countries that actually
pay for them. The companies that sell the products pay the additional costs upfront,
and then they usually pass the expense onto their customers. For example, prices on some
electronics that are manufactured in China and then exported to the U.S. could rise as
a result of the tariffs, which could cause certain device prices to rise. If that happens,
sales from the U.S. tech companies could fall. Not only that, but the higher cost of devices
would likely cause Americans to curb their spending. Rising tariffs on U.S. goods being
exported to China means that companies in that country could increase their prices as
well, and Chinese consumers could suffer in the same way that U.S. consumers are.
China and the U.S. have two of the biggest economies in the world, and the International
Monetary Fund has warned that an all-out trade war between them could hurt the global economy.
Because of this, trade war tensions between the U.S. and China have caused
some volatility in the stock market. But that doesn’t mean that investors should
panic and sell their stocks. The trade negotiations aren’t finished yet, which means that selling
stocks before any trade deals are made is just selling based on fear. Keep in mind that
over the long term, the stock market has produced some strong returns, even in the face of wars,
depressions, recessions, and other negative events. In fact, the current trade war is actually
creating some new investing opportunities. As investors flee the market, it’s pushing
some share prices down and allowing savvy investors to snatch up
companies at bargain prices. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about what
will happen with the U.S. and China trade negotiations, but the one thing that investors
should remember is that for the most part, it’s best to stay the course with their investments
and be on the lookout for bargains. Thanks for watching this video. Don’t forget
to like it and leave a comment below, and click the subscribe button to get more
videos like this from The Motley Fool.

Session 2, Part 1: Marketing and Sales


The following content is
provided under a Creative Commons license. Your support will help
MIT OpenCourseWare continue to offer high quality
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visit MIT OpenCourseWare at ocw.mit.edu PROFESSOR: Recap last night
and give you– remember what we had for an overview. The first part was that it’s
not about the business plan, it’s about planning. That was the first
point I hope you got. The second one is that planning
is not a static process. It’s dynamic. And therefore, your plan
is going to be dynamic. However you write it
down, or put it in slides. That’s the first set of points. The second is the
three Ys– or sorry, the second is your goals and
tasks in this whole process. It’s to create value. And the second goal is to
harvest some of the value. And as we pointed out,
those are easy to say and it’s increasingly
hard to do. The rest of the course
will be telling you try to how to do those things. The questions that investors
are going to be asking are the 3 Whys. Why this? Why is this something important? Why now? Why is now the
right time to do it? And why this team? Why is this group of
people the right people? And if they get through
those, the fourth one is why won’t it work? Now, I said that that’s
what investors ask, and that’s probably what
you ought to be asking. Because the final point is,
the most scarce resource is not money, it’s your time. So if you’re not happy
with those answers to those questions,
then you ought to iterate and find some new
questions– a new approach to those. In fact, tonight our
speaker Bob is probably going to talk about how you’ve
iterated [INAUDIBLE] things on that score. OK, so tonight
we’re starting down the path of filling
in the business plan. The first thing we said if
you’ve got to create value. And one of the ways
you can create value is to find a customer. And Bob Jones, who’s one of
our highly paid volunteers, once again tripling your income. Bob is– was a classmate
of mine at Sloan. People in the
audience from Sloan, do you know about
the C-function? Still going on? You like that? That’s Bob. He’s the guy that organized
the first C-function. In addition to being a serial
entrepreneur– for those of you who are not from the
Sloan side of campus, the C-Function is consumption
function in economics. And you can picture what might
be consumed at a Friday night consumption function. So we’ll leave it with that. Bob’s a serial
entrepreneur, still at it. Like a lot of the speakers
that we’re going to hear from, they’re actually
doing the very things they’re talking to you about. So this isn’t just an
academic exercise for them. Bob’s other claim to fame is he
plays pretty good blues guitar and he has a blues band. But I’ll let him
decide whether he wants to say anything
more about that. And with that, Bob, the
clicker is yours, sir. BOB JONES: Thanks, Joe. So good evening, everybody. I’d like to congratulate you
on the good sense required to sign up for one
of the best courses that the Institute offers. It’s not the first
course here you’ll take here that has you
drinking from a fire hose. But this one’s pretty
valuable stuff. How many of you are
in this because you’re thinking of competing
in the 100K competition? Good. How many of you
are contemplating making your living
in entrepreneurship when you get out of here? Oh dear, you poor things. How many of you actually have
something going right now? Wow. Well there’s therapy available
for you guys, and medication. This is a little bit
like chronic illness, you might be able to
tamp it down for a while and then it’ll pop up again. You won’t be able
to get rid of it once you’re infected
and afflicted. I’d love some sense of what
you guys are working on, just some sense of the spectrum
of who’s doing what here. Do you have a dog
walking service for two-income
families, or do you have something that detects
the need for insulin in a patient with diabetes? So somebody raise
your hand and give me some sense of what it is
you’re working on, please. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Business systems
for small- and medium-sized BOB JONES: I’m
sorry, business what? AUDIENCE: Business
systems, IT systems, for small- and medium-sized
businesses [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: OK. What’s broke that you fix? AUDIENCE: They don’t have
large enough IT organizations. They can’t afford to have
[INAUDIBLE] like more large organizations do. [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: All right so you’re
sort of an outsourcing service. AUDIENCE: Correct. BOB JONES: Rent an expert. Good. Who else? Who else is working
on something? You can’t all be IT people. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Personalized
cancer treatment. BOB JONES: I’m sorry,
say that again. AUDIENCE: Personalized
cancer treatment. BOB JONES: Personalized– AUDIENCE: Cancer treatment. BOB JONES: Oh. Well, tell us a little
more about that. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: I know that cancer is
actually a family of disorders it’s not– AUDIENCE: For one cancer, there
are about 20 [INAUDIBLE] drugs. [INAUDIBLE] And they
are not the same. You have to choose
the right one. BOB JONES: So do you have a set
of molecular diagnostic tests which help determine
which form they have and therefore which
therapy they should get? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]
–personalized drugs. BOB JONES: And who
will be your customer? Who will write you a check,
the patient, the hospital, the insurance company? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] the
insurance company [INAUDIBLE] the patient [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: How many of you
are thinking about working in the medical arena? Yeah, OK. You know then that there’s a
sort of a cluster of customers that you have to work with. The doctor has to
request it, then you have to go arm wrestle
with the purchasing agent, or the formulary
committee, or whatever. It’s really quite convoluted. OK, well that gives me at
least some idea of how eclectic you guys are. So what I’m going
to try to do– Joe, tell me how to make
this gizmo work. PROFESSOR: Turn the
switch on the side. BOB JONES: Oh, God, turn it on? Really demanding. OK. I like to learn a
little bit about you. I think we’ve covered that. I’m going to try and
provide you with a couple of hot tips in the course
of this 90 minutes. I have the sort of
quaint notion that if I’m going to ask you
to pay attention to me for an hour
and a half I ought to try to give you something
of value in return. I realize that’s
sort of old school, but I hope to help you
find some customers and succeed with
your businesses. And I’m going to do that
using a couple of product launches that I
was involved with. There are times when
people speak to you and they say, well, there’s
been 20 clinical trials done and the results are
almost indisputable. This is not one of those. This is anecdotal. You’re not going to be
hearing the voice of God. You’re hearing my opinions, and
they may be wrong, disclaimer. But I’m going to walk you
through a couple of product launches and some lessons
that maybe you’ll learn. And there may be an opportunity
for equal opportunity embarrassment in the
course of this evening. I will fulfill the
responsibilities of leadership by embarrassing myself
first, and then I’ll offer you the
chance to follow on. So I went to a couple schools,
I had a couple normal jobs, and then I realized there
was something wrong with me. And left and went
off and started up three different medical
companies in a row. And took a break
from entrepreneurship to serve as CEO of
a soy foods company. It was turnaround. The company was a dreadful
mess and took a couple years to fix it. Had to fire 75 people
in the process, so it was a lot of, sort
of, block and tackle work. And I thought it
would be kind of fun and relaxing to join a
boutique consulting firm, helping people do what I did. And it was fun
for a couple years and then it got bored–
boring, and I left and started another company. Which I’ll tell you
about, maybe a little bit, in the course of the evening. So a couple years ago,
The Wall Street Journal did a study, during the last
recession, of who succeeded and who failed. And did the people who
succeeded aggregate around any particular plans? And they did. One group turned out
to be cost leaders. They aggressively
cut their costs. And that was their
differentiator. That’s not you. The other group were
innovators and they focused on building brands. That might be you. But there was a
fundamental question that the successful
ones asked, which is how is your end
user dissatisfied? Because that’s where
the opportunity lies. And at an august
institution like this one, it’s often thought that
the answer is technology, but it doesn’t have to be. If there’s 50 kids in
town that want a bicycle, and there’s no bicycle shop,
that could be your opportunity. So I’m going to make an
assertion right up front, which is your business
might survive, but it won’t prosper until you know
what are you really selling. And there’ll be a
couple times tonight when I may interrogate you
ruthlessly on this point. Who wants it? So, literally, who cares? And how do you find them? And I know that our friend
Steve talked to you a little bit last night about
raising capital, but it’s kind of a dirty
secret amongst investors that most of them
really live in terror. Because they know that if
they invest and 10 of you guys– eight of you
are going to fail. You’re all smart, good
looking, charming. I’m sure you’re good to your
parents and all of that, but you are going to fail. Which means their investment
is gonna evaporate. And investors, venture
capitalists in particular, raise money themselves. They go around to pension
funds and say, please contribute to our fund. And if you lose
their money they are unable to raise a fund next time
and find themselves unemployed. So, oops, the emperor is
not wearing any clothes. So when they look at
you, they want to try and figure out do you have
a chance of succeeding with your business. And the experienced ones
know, there’s really one non-negotiable requirement. And that’s you have
to have customers. You don’t need to be smart. You don’t need to
be good looking. You don’t need to get rich. If you have customers, people
will think you’re smart, you will make money, and
if you make enough money, they’ll think
you’re good looking. So they want to know, do
you have any customers? Will you have any? Do you even know you need them? And by the way, have
you done some homework? How are you gonna find them? And how much are they worth? Are you going to spend $5
to acquire a customer whose lifetime value is $3? Whoops, probably
not a good idea. How long is it going to
take you to get there? How many do you need in
order to reach prosperity? I think there’s two
descriptors that you want. You’d like to be important
and you’d like to be unique. And, of course, the sweet
spot is when you’re both. So I think you can make pretty
good argument that air is important arguably, not unique. And I don’t want to
traumatize any of you, but some would argue that MIT
decals are unique but possibly not important, possibly. So can you make
a decent business selling either of these? Well, yes, no? AUDIENCE: People do. BOB JONES: People do. People do. Give me an example of an
opportunity to sell air. AUDIENCE: Chem labs. BOB JONES: Chem labs,
OK, that’s a bit exotic. You guys scuba dive? I did my check out dive off
Catalina Island in California. I was about 100 feet down
in the kelp beds, ooh, I’ve got about 15 minutes left. I would have paid
a lot for some air. You know those packages that
have all those little bubbles in them and you get really
neurotic and pop them all? You know what that
companies called? Sealed Air Corporation,
six billion. And of course the
opportunity for– to take $0.15 worth of material
and sell it for $4 or $5, obviously, is picking
the right positioning and the right opportunity. So I’m being a little tongue
in cheek here, obviously, but the point is
to figure out who is going to find your
offering unique and important. So rather than start
with how fabulous your product is, who cares? Who actually thinks it’s unique? Who’s important? Figure out how you’re going
to find them and tell them about what you’ve got,
and then take their money. Now, simple is not
the same as easy. This is simple, it’s
not necessarily easy. But what happens if you can’t
meet those two requirements? I’ll give you a hint,
what kind of fish is that? Right, that’s what’s
going to happen to you. You will flounder. So let me give you an example. This was back in the day. I joined a company
in California. It had been 200 million
in annual revenue for 12 straight years,
arguably a sleepy business. And they got bought
by an entrepreneur, took them private,
leveraged buyout. So I want to kick up the
sales of this outfit 50% in three years and
take it public. So we fired the senior
management team, brought in a bunch of ostensibly
energetic entrepreneurs, and gave everybody some stock. So here’s some stock for you,
and here’s some stock for you, and here’s some stock for
you, and let’s not argue. Let’s make this worth something. Really, very good idea. It was highly motivating. I was running the
clinical nutrition division, really profitable. We would make a liter of
solution, IV fluid, for $3, sell it for 70. Nice margins. But I had a bad habit of
going out in the marketplace. And I did, and I discovered
that this business was going to go away. Managed care was coming,
changes in reimbursement structures, et cetera. And it was going to
go away before we had a chance to go public. This was bad news. I needed to find
a new opportunity. So I thought about it. And I thought, well, if
this science of nutrition is so awesome for people who
are in the intensive care unit it ought to be pretty
good for people who are just out walking on the street. Maybe we could reposition this,
go for a much broader market. Nobody had done it. Power bar didn’t exist, none
of those things happened. But, like most entrepreneurs,
it was a triumph of energy over good sense. I said, let’s try that, even
though no model for success existed. I had spent some time at
Baxter and I knew something about the market for people
who have kidney failure. At the time, there were
400,000, the market was growing like crazy. And every one of the
patients who was on dialysis went three times a week to
one of 300 dialysis centers in the country, all of
which are identified in a federal document. So I knew where to find them. I knew literally where they
would be on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Now, when your kidneys fail
you can’t casually do something that so many of us do,
which is have a drink, because you’re unable
to eliminate the fluids. So it’s not uncommon
for a dialysis patient to gain eight to ten pounds
between Monday and Wednesday. Part of what dialysis does is
it wrings out that extra fluid. So these patients
are fluid restricted. For– due to other things
that your kidneys do for you, many of them are
clinically malnourished. And the only nutrition
supplements that were available were liquids, Ensure,
things like that. I said, well, duh. What’s wrong with that? Why don’t we make a supplement
that’s high in the stuff they need, doesn’t have
the stuff they don’t need, doesn’t have any fluids. Let’s make a nutrition bar. We had the technology to do it. We created something
we called Regain. We weren’t required to
do a clinical trial, it was just food, but we did. Kaiser Permanente, for those
of you who live in California. Stuff worked. Got the results
published in the Archives of the National
Kidney Foundation, peer-reviewed journal. Good scientific support,
all the biomarkers improved, patients got better. We said, well, we
know how to do this. We know where to find them. We know how to find
the market leaders. Let’s call the renal physicians. Let’s call the
dietitians, say we’ve developed something that’s high
in what your kidney failure patients ought to have and
doesn’t have any fluids in it. And, what do you think? The typical reaction was I
wish I had thought of that. So, well, how many
of your patients do you think this
would be suitable for? They’d say, well, all of them. How many days a week
would you recommend this? Seven. Say what, how do you
feel about $3 a bar? Sounds right to us. We said, this is a pretty
good little business here. Let’s do it. We said, how do you feel
about the competition? They said, well, yours
is the only one that doesn’t have any liquid in it. It’s obviously going to have
a stranglehold on this market. It’s perfect. So we said, well, that’s
a pretty good opportunity for the corporation,
it’s going to replace some of the revenues. Let’s make a whole bunch of it. Let’s take the beauty shots
and make the brochures. Let’s haul in the sales force,
set up a commission plan, train them on how to do it,
give them some incentives to go out there and sell it. And let’s launch, which we did. It was a complete disaster,
just an absolute failure. Revenues came in at less than
10% of what we forecasted. And, to make matters
worse, I was part of the senior management team. And we would meet once a
week, conference room– once a month we would go over
how our business was doing. So I’d have to stand up in
front of my peers and say, well our forecast for
this month was $400,000 and we came in at 32. They’d say, Bob, didn’t
quite understand you. What was that number? 32. So what did I do wrong? Tell me why. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: Your customers
didn’t like it. BOB JONES: My customers
didn’t like it. Tell me more about that. What didn’t they like? AUDIENCE: They didn’t
like the Regain. They were happy with
the liquid product. BOB JONES: They were happy
with the liquid supplement. That’s a perfectly
plausible answer, but it’s not the right one. It’s a very good speculation,
happens not to be the problem. Go ahead, sir. AUDIENCE: Taste? BOB JONES: Taste, well
that was a factor. We thought it
tasted pretty good. But it turns out when your
kidneys fail, something shifts in your palate and protein
tastes like spoiled meat. Oops, that was an issue. What was the big issue? What was the fundamental flaw,
the most obvious thing that I did wrong, in retrospect? Go ahead, sir. AUDIENCE: I have a question,
who paid for the product? BOB JONES: OK, that’s
a pretty good question, who paid for the product? We’re closing in on the issue. OK, here’s a hint, what’s
the title of my talk tonight? That was a clue. OK, so what did I do wrong? Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: You
misidentified the customer. BOB JONES: I
misidentified my customer. You may be exempted from the
rest of the course, that’s exactly right. Who did I survey? I surveyed the clinicians. But they don’t buy it, and they
don’t put it in their mouth and eat it. Oops. Perfectly logical, in
the pharmaceutical world you call in the doc, the
doc writes a prescription. Doesn’t matter whether
you like it or not. You got an ear ache. Take this stuff for five
days, your ear ache goes away. Too bad for you if it
doesn’t taste good. If I get her to write the
prescription I’m done. Not in this business. In this business, they have
to go to the store themselves, pay for it with their
own money, but it, eat it, like it,
and buy it again. Well, when we finally talked
to them, they didn’t want it. And they couldn’t afford it. OK, who gets end-stage
renal disease? Well, it turns out
that 33% of them get there from a lifetime of
mismanaging their diabetes, and 44% of them get there
from a lifetime of mismanaging their high blood pressure. So 3/4 of my target
customers have not taken care of themselves
for their entire life. Why would they start now? Furthermore, once
your kidneys fail and you end up on dialysis,
a well-intended social worker sort will say,
well, Bob, you got to be in here tethered to this
machine three days a week. Obviously you can’t work, so
I’ll put you on public aid. Well, now you don’t
have any money. If you do have $5,
you’re going to spend it on beer and cigarettes,
not on my product. There’s one final issue. What was our sales channel
at the IV nutrition company? We sold to hospitals. With this business, we had
to sell to retail pharmacies and they wouldn’t carry it. Well, let’s talk about
that for a minute, because that’s kind
of fundamental. If you ever want to have a
laugh on a Saturday afternoon, walk up to the pharmacist
in your local Walgreens or CVS and say, I’ve got
a product you’ve never heard of from a company you’ve
never done business with, and I’d like you carry it. And watch as he falls on
the floor and hysterics. Why? Well I wasn’t
familiar with this. I’d never had any
exposure to this world and finally, one
day, one of them kinda put his arm around me
and said, Bob, come here. See this foot of shelf space? It’s a linear foot, right? I have Crest toothpaste on
that foot of shelf space. I have all these
complex algorithms that are going to tell
me, within a couple of dollars, how much revenue
this for a shelf space is going to generate
for me each month. Now, if I make room
for your product and push Crest off there,
put your product on. I don’t want to lose any money. So, don’t go to any trouble,
just write me a check. They call it slotting fees,
you might call it extortion. With most of the major pharmacy
chains this tab is $1 million a quarter, plus 6%
of your top line revenues, plus
guaranteed resale, so if it doesn’t sell to ship
it back to you for full credit, and you put one SKU in
each of their stores and fill the entire
pipeline for free. They’ll pay you, if
anybody reorders. It’s pretty expensive. Well, we couldn’t afford that. So, we had a few problems
with this business model that we’d put together. And we were trying
to show Wall Street we were good candidate
for a public offering. And if we had our
public offering the stock that we handed out
was going to be worth something. My failure was jeopardizing
our ability to do that. Which meant not only was I’m
the doghouse with my boss but also with my peers. And each month I
would say, well, you know it’s taken a
little longer to take off than we thought. Give us a while to keep
moving with the sales force. And each month it continued
to be a train wreck and it went on for
an entire year. It ruined a year
of my life because, as this gentleman
said over here, I misidentified my customer. So, what did we do about it? Well, we learned
about inside sales. We said, 25% of these people
take care of themselves. We ought to be
able to find them. Furthermore, somebody
ought to pay for this. Let’s try Medicaid. Now, you may or may not know
that Medicare covers you if you’re old, it’s
a federal program. Medicaid covers you if you’re
broke, it’s a state program. What do you think
are the chances that Illinois and Indiana
have the same program? Real slim. We got it reimbursed
in 40 states. It was almost as fun as 40
consecutive dental extractions. I said, this is
just a god-awful way to make a living,
sold the business. Parenthetically, yes,
we did well enough in our group with
our other products that we compensated for
the shortfall with this. And when we sold the business,
we didn’t make any money but we recouped our investment. So I escaped financially
intact, spiritually battered and abused, much
wiser, but considerably sadder. But let’s fast-forward
a couple years. I did two more of these
things and got better at it and after a while got
recruited by a group of docs at Harvard Med School. And they hauled me
in from California, tough sales pitch to my family. Because we were in
Southern California. They said, it snows
in New England, right? It does. So we launched a new
company with these guys. We looked over all the stuff
that they were working on, figured out none of
it was going to come to market before we
ran out of money, said well how you guys
feel about diabetes? The answer was, well,
we like diabetes. OK, well, we need to be in
a field that’s big enough to get us noticed
and a need that’s small enough that we can handle
it with one poor underpaid employee. So I had tuition that
there was something they needed and weren’t getting. Statistics, at the time
there were 10 million people diagnosed with diabetes, 4
million of them used insulin. You have diabetes and
you eat something, your blood glucose goes
up and it stays up, because insulin incorporates
it into the cells and brings it back down. And if your body stops
generating insulin, or if you stop being
sensitive to insulin, then it stays up and causes
all manner of problems. 4 million of these
10 million people injected insulin to
lower their blood sugar. And if you get it wrong your
blood sugar goes too low. Well, most of the publicity
for the damage that’s done from diabetes comes
from it being too high. It’s a leading cause of
blindness, kidney failure, and peripheral amputations. So it’s catastrophic. Introducing tight control–
that’s three meals a day, three small snacks a day,
regular injections of insulin, restricts the
bandwidth, good thing to do– triples the incidence
of low blood glucose. And it must be treated right
away, because you faint, which is bad if you’re
stuck in a traffic jam. And it’s particularly bad if it
hits you while you’re asleep. If you’re awake, you start
feeling clammy and tremulous, and you know you’ve
got a couple minutes to go drink some orange juice,
or eat a candy, or whatever, and elevate your
blood glucose again. But if you’re asleep
you may not wake up. OK so what do they do about it? Well, typically, big injection
of insulin, big nighttime snack, the hope, that the
two will balance each other in the course of the evening. Unfortunately it doesn’t
work because everything in the nighttime snack turns
into glucose at the same time. So the spike is higher,
but the duration no longer. Translation, grossly
oversimplified, is that the food runs out at
about 2:00 in the morning, and the insulin
is still working, and from 2:00 am until you
get up is the danger zone. We had a bunch of focus groups. I lost control of myself, threw
the moderator out of the room, walked in, and said,
well, now that we’ve explained this stuff
to you, tell me what your greatest
fear really is. What do you actually
worry about? And they all sort
of said, well, I’m afraid I’ll die in my sleep. I sleep in that La-Z-Boy
in my living room, or I have alarm clock goes
off every hour or two, just to make sure I don’t have
a good night’s sleep, ever. I thought, well,
that’s gripping. And the parents of
kids who had diabetes say, every night I
worry about my daughter. I go and I check on Jessica
at 2:00 in the morning. My wife and I stand there
and say, is she awake? I mean, is she asleep,
or is she in a coma? Well I don’t know. We say, Jessica, wake up. What, what? You all right? Yeah, I was asleep. Good, go back to sleep. It sounds comical but
it’s quite gripping. We said, well, we’ve identified
something emotional here. So we put together a
combination of nutrients that turned into
glucose consecutively, sucrose, protein,
uncooked cornstarch. Being fundamentally a
marketing guy, of course I dubbed it
timed-release glucose. And those ingredients
are in a birthday cake. But we managed to get
a patent on it anyway. Because if you use those
ingredients in conjunction with materials
that say diabetes, you’re violating my patent. How about that? Novel and non-obvious to
a person of ordinary skill in the art, and you have one
of the great experts as one of your resources, that’s
your host, Joe Hadzima. I hope you’ll talk
about this a bit later. So we did make it taste good,
tasted sort of like fudge. And we gave it a
non-medical name. Would anybody care to guess why? I heard a murmur, but
I don’t see a hand. Yes ma’am. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: That is true but
that was not the explanation. Sir? AUDIENCE: Bypass FDA? BOB JONES: Again? AUDIENCE: Does that mean you
do not have to go through FDA? BOB JONES: Well, we
didn’t have to go to FDA but that’s not why we gave
it a non-medical name. Sir? AUDIENCE: Because you’re
trying to reduce fear? BOB JONES: Yes, but
perhaps not the fear that our audience would think. We talked to our
patients, our customers, something I’m going to
encourage you to do. And they said, Bob,
I’m not a diabetic. I’m a person who has diabetes. I’m a lawyer. I’m a banker. I’m a professional. I have a condition,
but I manage it, just like you might have a
headache, but you manage it. It’s nobody’s damn business
whether or not I have diabetes. And if I end up in a meeting
that lasts half the night, and I have to
consume your product, I don’t want the other people
around the conference table knowing I’m medicating. It’s none of their business. Thank you. Furthermore, I had been
arm wrestling with the FDA because I wanted to put “for
diabetes” on the package. And what our customers told
me was, if you do that, I won’t buy the product. So I was trying very hard to
do the one thing that would have scuttled the business. Fortunately, our customers
advised us and we listened. And they said, our
kids have sleepovers, and they have to do
one of these at night. And they would rather
eat worms than be different from their peers. So make it look
like something they can offer their friends,
like an energy bar. Timed-release glucose, ooh. Hey, guys, you want one? So I said, OK, we’re bringing
some consumer marketing in to all this science. So this time around instead
of just talking to clinicians, they were important but
they were not sufficient, we talked to parents,
we talked to patients. We went to all these things
at elementary schools that parents of kids with
diabetes would attend. And you know those
little, bitty chairs? Sat there with our knees
banging against things and took lots of moms to lunch. We learned an awful
lot about this. How many of you know
someone who has diabetes? It’s really important to go
have these conversations. And finally, I said, well,
what kind of advertising do these people see? There are all sorts of
diabetes magazines out there. So I bought a half
a dozen of them. And the typical ad was on the
back cover, a full page blow up, of a hypodermic needle. Just the thing to make you
feel warm and resonant, right? I mean the copy
would say, my needle is sharper than his needle. It doesn’t hurt
as much, buy mine. I said, ew! So we put together an
ad with this agency that had flying pigs. It was just so ludicrously
out of place in this magazine, nobody turned the page. And there was some kind of
lame copy about sleep perchance to dream, et cetera, right? Everybody read it. We ran a little violator
across the corner of the ad. It says, for a free sample
call 1-800 and our number. Stuff started happening. We were at 238 Main
Street, up above what was, at the time, a barber
shop, in a little ratty office. When we started getting
100 calls a day, we needed more phones. 200 calls a day, we
said, jeez, we better get some people to
answer the phone. Kendall Square, of
course, has more geniuses per square foot
than most places. So we basically just went
downstairs with a mirror, and we held it under
people’s noses, and if it fogged up we
said, would like a job? And filled the office. 300 calls a day,
we said, God, we can’t keep track of these
people on index cards, we better install a database. 500 calls a day. 500 calls a day, we went off
and rented some of these tables and stuck like three
computers on the table. And we got all these people
sitting there, elbow to elbow. We said, I think
we’re onto something. I’m going to fast-forward
to something here. We ended up in all of
the major pharmacy chains and all of the
major wholesalers, I’ll tell you about
that, and the amount we paid for slotting
fees was zero. Unprecedented, in our field. I think the lesson is that
understanding our customer, as opposed to with Regain– thank
you for your observation– helped us build a better product
and a successful business. So how did we reach them? Well, we said, who
influences them? Who’s our customer? Who’s their influencer? How do we reach the influencer? Where do they spend their money? And we discovered–
all right back up. I hate to be crude but
there are some people who have diabetes who
are just determined not to take care of themselves. So should we spend time and
effort trying to reach them? So how do we find the ones
who do take care of themselves and, furthermore,
are willing to spend a little money on their care? Answer, they’re
seeing a clinician. The clinician is called a
Certified Diabetes Educator. And their association, I
know this will astonish you, is the American Association
of Diabetes Educators. And if you go on
their website, there’s little tab, locate an educator. You put in 02142 out
comes a list, names, contact information, et cetera. We said, well, what do
the educators worry about? We know what the
patients worry about. Patients worry they’re
going to die in their sleep. They go see an educator, what
does the educator worry about? Who would care to speculate? What do the diabetes
educators worry about that we could hook
onto in a phone call? AUDIENCE: That their patients
are gonna die in their sleep? BOB JONES: Well
that’s one, they’d like to know that
what you have works. Thank you. What else? When I ask them,
what’s your greatest professional frustration? Anybody care to guess
what their answer was? Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: People weren’t
following the advice? BOB JONES: Oh my god,
that’s absolutely right. I tell them what to do,
and they don’t do it! Drives me crazy. We hear it over and over
again, single greatest professional frustration,
the medical term, of course, is compliance. They don’t comply. So we said, well, we need to
figure out how to address that. So we’d call them up, having
located and– by the way, I know these days an
increasing number of people are terribly uncomfortable
picking up the phone and calling someone
without five emails to set up the appointment first. So this may strike you as
emotionally difficult to just make cold calls, but we did. And when they’d answer
the phone, we’d say, our company’s worked with a
group of docs out of Harvard Med School and
we’ve invented what looks like a candy
bar for addressing nocturnal hypoglycemia. And the patients love it. Do you have 30 seconds? Say again? And we’d talk to them. The last thing we would
say in the conversation is, who else that you
know should we call? Oh, you’ve got to call my
friend, Susie Cream-cheese, she would absolutely love this. So we’d call Susie
Cream-cheese and we’d say, Susie, Janet says we
ought to call you. Oh, well, how’s Janet? Well, you know, her
dog’s got a hip problem, going to go in for surgery,
but other than that Jan– Oh, she loves that dog. Yeah, she does. Anyway, she said we should call. Building relationships, right? So we started doing this stuff. Pretty soon we ended up
with several thousand, highly trained clinicians
talking about our product on our behalf. And their reward
was not financial. Their reward was that their
patients came back to see them and said this stuff’s awesome. And they complied. So we built a little flowchart. We said, we have a
sales force, and we’re calling on the educators. The educators, if
we do this right, will tell their patients. The patients will call
us and buy the product. Well that’s attractive,
but it’s not the path to financial heaven,
because there’s this group out there called retailers. How do we get into
the retailers? Maybe we could have the
educators call the retailers. Maybe we could have the
patients call the retailers. Maybe then we could
call the retailers and we’d make more money. Well, this weekend, if
you have the opportunity, stand in a pharmacy and
watch the pharmacist when they answer the phone. They’ve got this phone tucked
in their ear, pharmacy? You got 12 seconds. So how did we address this? Well people would call, we’d
send them a free sample. By the way, we had to
put in some questions, because we made it under
one of these web pages that said this outfit’s
giving away free fudge. So we got plenty of phone calls
from people who were never going to be our customer. So once we figured
that out we had start asking some
qualified questions, tell us what brand of insulin
you’re typically using. If we heard, uh,
oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have anything
for you, next. Right? But we’d send them a
sample, we’d follow it up. Did you get our product? Yes. Did you wake up dead? No. Must have worked. Guys, that was a joke. We’re providing free shipping
if you care to order. OK, love it. We’d take their order,
we’d track it carefully, we’d call back and say,
aren’t you about out? Don’t you need some more? Why, yes. Then one day, we’d
say, you know, this free shipping
is coming to a close. And we’re going to have to
start charging you for it. And I know you go someplace
to buy your insulin, wouldn’t it be more
convenient to buy the stuff at the same
place you buy your insulin? Well, yeah it would. OK, we did some homework. There was about 3% of the
people in the country, at the time, that had diabetes. And they were worth about 24%
of retail pharmacy purchases. Because you go in and buy
toothpaste and a greeting card, they go in and buy a blood
glucose monitor, strips, right? And they’re worth
a lot of money. So we’d say, well,
why don’t we set up so you can pick it up wherever
it is you buy your insulin? Where is that? And they’d say, oh,
Jost’s Pharmacy. We’d say, would you
mind if we call Jost? No, no, no. You tell that turkey that
Mabel wants to buy this stuff. I’ve been buying
from him for years. Well hold on a second, let
me get you his phone number. Right, so, Jost would answer
the phone, we’d say, Jost, we’ve just been
selling our product to five of your customers
that have diabetes. They want to buy it from
you, and you don’t have it. What? Who is this? OK, let me back up, Jost. And I’d walk him through,
here’s the five customers. So what can we do about that? Jost would say, well, you know,
we probably ought to have it but I can’t possibly buy this
without corporate approval. I mean, we’re just
one Walgreens, right? I mean, you’ve got
to go to Deerfield, to corporate headquarters. Jost, we know that. But we also know that there’s
a level below which you can buy without corporate approval. That number’s probably $100. Well, yes, it is. Well, you’ll be pleased to know
that our initial starter pack costs $99.95. And I can take your
purchase order right now. And by the way, if
it doesn’t sell, you don’t need to ship it
back to us for a refund. We’ll take your word for it. Throw it in the trash. We’ll send you back the money. OK, nobody ever
mentioned slotting fees. Why not? What did we have that
gave us the ability to trample all over
that convention? AUDIENCE: Customers? BOB JONES: Who said customers? Excuse me. While my heart beats. That’s exactly right. So, we’ve talked
about this a bit Oh, you know, there was
a neat thing we did. A lot of these educators
would have a class on Saturdays, one
Saturday a month, they’d bring in all
of their people, talk about new developments
in diabetes care. And like everybody
who’s got to write a monthly column, or
a blog, or whatever, it’s hard to come
up with content. So we’d say, well, when’s
your next one of these? Oh, it’s a week and a half. Do you have your whole
agenda set up yet? No. If you like this, would
this be something worth talking about to your
patient population? Well, yeah, actually. Well we’ll send you the stuff,
we’ll send you the literature, but let’s suppose
they do like it. They’re going to ask you
three questions, how’s it taste, how much does it
cost, where can I get it? It tastes like
chocolate fudge, you’ll figure that out for yourself. It’s $1 a bar. How do we answer
the third question? Oh, man, there’s a ShopRite
I send all of my people to. Well, can we call him and
tell him that a week from now you’re going– or a week
and a half from now, you’re going to be
sending some people? No, we can do better than that. Tell that bone head to get
in here on Saturday morning, he can stand up and
talk to them him self. And he can see what we’re doing,
and he’ll stock the product. Very cool. Pharmacists would agree, nobody
ever mentioned slotting fees. And I bet, you know why not. So this was good, now we
were in with the retailers. But, one day, we
discovered retailers really didn’t want to deal with us. They want to deal
with wholesalers. Why not? Well, there’s about
5,000 different items in even a small
drugstore, and they don’t want to be
sending out 5,000– taking in 5,000 invoices and
sending out 5,000 checks. So the wholesaler
consolidates all that, the truck comes,
brings them a bin, sends them one bill. Now if you think getting
into a retailer is difficult, try the wholesaler. So we said, well, if we could
do this, oh my goodness, we’d just need wheelbarrows to
carry out all the money. How do we do it? We said, well, what do the
wholesalers care about? The wholesalers want
to know that there’s an order already there, this
is going to be painless. They’re fundamentally lazy,
make it easy for them. We said, OK, what can we do? We looked about and
realized there was a trade show coming up in New Orleans. We hadn’t planned to go,
but we said we ought to go. And let’s find
the 25 drugstores, I think it was Walgreen’s,
that are surrounding the area. And let’s tell them that
we’re going to be at the show, we’re going to be meeting
with the educators, and we’re going to be pimping,
excuse me, selling our product, and that they should stock it. And, in fact, they
should pre-order it. Which we did. They took the orders, or, pardon
me, they gave us their orders. And then we called
the wholesaler that Walgreen’s used and
said, you don’t know me, but I’ve sold a
bunch of this product and I’ve built in
a margin for you. You don’t have to do anything. I’m going to take
their order, I’m going to ship their
product, I’m going to send you the money that you
would have earned if you’ve done this, even though
you haven’t earned it, and you haven’t done anything. What I want is for you
to put us in your system. Just key us in the system. So if they reorder,
they can call you. And I’ve built a
business for you. Tell me that again. But I want to be able to say to
the Walgreens when they said, jeez we’ve sold all that
stuff, we could say, great call your wholesaler. He’s got it. Of course, he didn’t,
but he was in the system. Wholesaler called us, poof. Off it went. One last example, we
got a letter one day, sitting in the office, from
a major retail pharmacy chain headquartered in
Clearwater, Florida. We’re drawing up our
planogram for the coming year. Who can tell us
what a planogram is? Sir. AUDIENCE: Layout of the store. [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: That’s exactly right. When you walk in, and you
see all these products in different places, they’ve got
that laid out like a blueprint. And many places, in
fact, have a room somewhere near their corporate
headquarters with shelves. And they put stuff on it, and
they step back, look at it, and they photograph it. There’s a lot of analysis. We’re putting together our
planogram for the coming year. If you’d like to
be a part of it, you have to come to
Clearwater, Florida, for a 15-minute meeting. We didn’t solicit this letter,
it just, sort of, washed in. They, evidently,
had heard about us. So I said, who
runs this meeting? Well, it’s a guy named Jeff. I called a few people
I knew in the industry and said, how is Jeff
rewarded for this? And they said, Jeff
spends a whole week having one 15-minute
conversation after another, all day
long, five straight days. Oh my god, this
sounds like something out of Dante’s
Inferno or something. This is terrible. But he’s rewarded by the
amount of slotting fees but he can extort from
these eager vendors. I said, well, we don’t have any
money, but let’s do it anyway. So we went down there, and we’re
sitting in this huge lobby. And there are all these people
with these poster boards, that look like in end caps and
briefcases that open out to be these fabulous displays. And they’re all like,
god, can I walk your dog? Can I pick up your dry cleaning? Please put me on your shelves. There were two of us there,
and we were empty handed other than one little portfolio. We came in and we
said, Jeff, this isn’t going to be like your
other 15-minute meetings this week, because we’re a start
up, we don’t have any money, we’re not going to
give you a nickel. But we propose to spend five
minutes telling you who we are, five minutes telling
you what our product is, and five minutes telling you
why you want us on your shelves anyway. And he sort of kicked
back in his chair and he said, well, it’s
your fifteen minutes, sport, whatever you want to do. So we’ve spent the
first ten minutes saying, we’re so fabulous,
as you would expect. And the last five minutes,
we said, Jeff, this printout is of the people
with diabetes that have contacted us in the
states where you have stores. There’s 10,000 of them. All of us are asking
us the same question, where can I go to
buy your product? How would you like us to
answer their question? He sat there, and he looked
at us for almost a minute. Which is like, hold your
breath for a minute sometime, it’s agonizing. And then he started grinning,
and he said, OK, you’re in. So we said, well, we
want to stage this. We’ll go in where
we built the demand, I hate returns, and et cetera. But nary a word
about slotting fees. I bet you can guess the next
thing that’s going to pop up. Why no? What gave us that
negotiating power? We had– AUDIENCE: Customers. BOB JONES: Thank you. It wasn’t for being smart, or
charming, or anything else. It was just good,
old, hard work. But we came in there
and essentially said, you’re not generating
the demand, we are. So we’re not paying you for it,
we’re bringing you business. So, impressive growth in
sales, real high reorder rate, a lot of good publicity. Ended up selling the business to
a billion-dollar pharmaceutical firm. Everybody was happy. So, I was 10 years older
at the end of two years, but I learned a lot. So tell me, what should
I have learned from this? What might you have learned,
given that many of you raised your hands
when you said you were in the process of
doing all this stuff? What should I have learned? What should you have
learned that will help facilitate your
progress with your business and my current venture? So let’s have some hands. Tell me what I should
have learned from this, and which, maybe,
can have gleaned. What mistakes should
I avoid going forward? What things should I
do that were right? Help me out. In the back, yes. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: Did
everybody hear that? OK, let me paraphrase. With the first
one, the disaster, I did focus on some
of the stakeholders, but not the key ones,
not the customers who are actually going to buy it. It’s important to
know, and I think I asked this question
of one of you, who’s going to write the check. Who’s actually going
to put their money on the table for this? And then who influences them? So that’s certainly one of
the more painful, but crucial, lessons. Anything else? That’s fundamentally
it, by the way, but if you’ve got nothing
else, listen to that. Yes, sir. AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: Well,
we certainly tried. This gentleman said we made it
almost impossible for everyone we contacted to say no. How did we do that? Go ahead, sir. AUDIENCE: You built up demand. BOB JONES: That was part
of it, but each time I called somebody
that didn’t know me, what homework did I do first? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: Pardon me? AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] BOB JONES: Finding out
what motivates them. What do they care about? People think of selling as
this, sort of, tainted activity, and it can be. But a hugely important
component of it is just finding out
what people want. OK, I think you need to know
what they’re really buying. And I think you have to
have some positioning. I think if you have a
product that’s for everyone, I’m sorry to tell
you this, but it’s my opinion that it’s
not actually for anyone, you need some focus. And I am also sorry to
tell you, nobody actually needs you product. They might need the benefits. I actually don’t
need these glasses, what I need is to see better. So I hired, in the
consumer sense of the term, I hired glasses. Some of you hired
contact lenses. Some of you I’m willing
to bet, hired the surgeon to do the little
laser procedure. But all of us had the
same fundamental need, we wanted to see better, we
just took different routes to get there. So sell the benefits first. And I’m a huge believer
in market segmentation. I don’t think everybody
on the market is equal, and I think there’s
a lot of them who aren’t going to
be your customer, and I like to segment them by
motivation to buy what I have. I think there’s a small group at
the top feeling the pain right now. Underneath that, I
don’t know, let’s say I have something that reduces
the likelihood of heart attacks. So if you had a heart
attack yesterday, and you’re still
alive, you could be a good customer for me. If you’re not
alive, I’m sorry, we won’t do any business together. His immediate family,
they’re in the second tier. They’re worried. Sheesh, maybe we should
pay attention to this. Down below that, people
who are kind of vigilant. And then there’s a huge
bunch of people that’s just a graveyard for you. Don’t go there. Start at the top. Couple reasons, if you can’t
build a business there, time for your next idea. Think of yourself as a jockey. Not as a horse. If you start at the
top and you fail, you might be a very
good jockey you just picked the wrong horse. Pick another horse. Also, by the way,
if you’re thinking one day you might
sell your venture, you can go to big company
X, Johnson & Johnson, and say, guys I spent
$1.98 and penetrated that block at the top. You have a million dollars,
you can take it further down, you can do the math, let’s talk
about the discounted value, future earnings, and pull
together a little purchase package. Right? If you can’t succeed at the
top, you don’t have a story. But if you want to
change your buying habits it requires a lot of motivation. And I’m sorry if this sounds
manipulative, it’s just blunt. I think pain is
very motivational. Fear, greed, vanity,
these are– I’m not trying to list the
seven deadly sins here. But ask yourself,
what would cause people to stop doing
what they’re doing now and buy what you have. Are they dissatisfied with
their current cancer care? Are they dissatisfied with
something that you’ve got? What’s going to motivate them
to change their buying habits? And, I gotta tell you,
virtue is a tough sell. Buy my vitamins because 20
years from now the antioxidants will have caused you
to have fewer mutations at the end of your chromosomes. [WHISTLES] I don’t think so. So, with that as a context,
what was I really selling with the one that failed? I was selling virtue. Take this stuff and your
bio markers will improve. What was I really selling
with NiteBite By the way, answer that question for me. What was I really
selling with NiteBite? Sir? AUDIENCE: Peace of mind. BOB JONES: Peace of mind. That’s exactly right. In fact, once we figured that
out, all the lights went on and the ad copy wrote itself. It was corny, one bite
and the rest is easy. But we got it, that’s
exactly what we were selling. So with no disrespect
whatsoever, you have a question? AUDIENCE: Going back to
dealing with the wholesalers, how do you know that
the slotting fees wasn’t a big part of their
revenue and not having them would be a no-go? BOB JONES: Well I knew, in
fact, that slotting fees were a big part of the revenue,
and not having them, normally, would
make for a no-go. But what I produced for them
was a pretty, nearly guaranteed income stream which exceeded
the value of the slotting fees. I also introduced the
topic of competition. I said, our customers
have mentioned you as their favorite pharmacy, or
our customers, the pharmacists, have mentioned that the
wholesaler they most like to do business with is you. They have, of course,
other wholesalers. They don’t concentrate all
of their eggs in one basket. I’m hopeful that we can do
business, because otherwise I will have to go to number two. So how would you like me to
handle their need, can we work together? Don’t get me wrong, we did
get told no from time to time. And, in fact, if you’re
going to be an entrepreneur, I hate to tell you this, you
will kiss a few frogs out there. Nature of the beast, right? OK as I started to
say, some of you are taking MBA courses that
are focused on marketing. I’m going to give
you an entire year of business-school-level
marketing in two bullet points. Find out what your customers
want give it to them. End of lecture. Now, there’s all manner of
sophisticated regression analyses, et cetera,
et cetera, that can be employed to do this. But if you lose track of
these two fundamental points, you’ve missed the point. So, focus. And I hated the boss I had,
that said this to me, because I could never get it out of
my head, drove me nuts, it was so corny. He’d say, Jones, there
is no hocus-pocus that takes the place of focus. I’d think, you’re killing me. But it’s true. So a different way of looking
at this, it’s not sales, it’s detective work. If you are to succeed,
do some detective work. Find your customer rather
than promote your product, because your customers
hire these things to do a specific job. Design your product
to do the job they want for a
specific customer. Go find them, and if
you’ve done this right, the selling will be easy. How do you do it? Talk with them. Cold calls, oh god. Literally, phone calls. Emails are helpful, but
they’re not adequate. Talk to them. Surveys are helpful,
they are not adequate. Talk to them. Some years ago, I
wanted to do a deal with a group in Finland that
had invented a margarine that lowered cholesterol. And I was intrigued. Johnson & Johnson offered them
a huge sack full of money, our startup couldn’t
compete, we lost. But I watched what
J&J did, and I went into a number of supermarkets. It actually didn’t take long. I stood off to the side near
where people had the margarine, and I would watch
customers come in. The stuff that J&J had
was about eight times as expensive as
traditional margarine. Margarine shoppers
would come in, and they’d look and
say, $1.19, $1.39, $8, $1.4– $1.4– I’ll
take the $1.39. So I would stop these
people and say, excuse me, I was thinking of
buying this $8 stuff, and I noticed you didn’t. How come you didn’t? Oh man, I got all
manner of other ways to take care of my cholesterol,
and besides I don’t feel bad. So talk to them. Know them. How do they view their problem? And think about your
service and ask yourself, how are they solving
the problem now. More importantly, what are they
spending their money on now to solve this problem? And there’s a great quote
attributed to Henry Ford. We said, Henry, do you ever ask
your customers what they want? And Henry said, oh
hell, if I’d asked them what they wanted they’d
have said faster horses. So understanding
what’s behind that was part of Henry’s genius. You do have competition. OK, my Regain customers
needed my product. They didn’t want it,
I couldn’t sell it. So what matters is
finding people who want it and figuring out how to
communicate the benefits in just 30 seconds. And this is harder
than you think, because if you don’t
really understand the benefits good
luck trying to put it into collateral material,
put it on your website, any of that stuff. And, of course, as Steve
probably told you yesterday, you are unlikely to raise money. Customers buy benefits. So, some of the questions,
what’s broken we fix? Who cares? Do they have any money? As a working musician
I know that it’s just futile try to make
something for that market. Guitar players are all starving. How do you find them? How are they solving it? Why is what we have better? I’m going to zap through
a couple of these. I want to spend a
second on this, though, is this all right? All right, something that we’re
doing with our little outfit, we said– we’re not the only
ones doing this, mind you, but we are applying this. Start with the ideas, identify
some unmet needs, et cetera, go interview people who
might want it, and then make a bare bones
version of the product. We’re making a
2.5 ounce beverage that helps you sleep at night. And we made a little
prototype, and it looks bad, it tastes bad, and you
can’t get the cap off. Arguably, this is not a good
profile for a retail product. But we had one primary
concern, does it work? We give it to 30 people
and nobody goes to sleep, well then we stop right there. Silly to have spent any
time making it look good. So go out there
and see if you can identify customers for launch. And, in fact, the first group
of customers that we thought would be suitable for
our business turned out to be wrong. I had a really bad five
or six weeks where I got told no, all day, every day,
for five or six straight weeks. Finally figured out,
they don’t want it. They might need it,
but, time to iterate. Once you get it
right, then you can get about the business
of doing your branding and packaging more formally. And then you can get
about the business of growing the company. And, by the way, you might be
able to raise a little money at a couple of those points. A little money to
build your prototype, and then, once you figure
out what you’re doing, a little money to actually take
something to the marketplace, because you have
reduced the risk. But that stage of the
game is hugely useful. And I submit that that’s
what Aleem and his team have done already. They’ve made a minimum
viable product, they’re circulating
a pancake mix, and they’re getting
valuable customer feedback. Aleem, your recipe calls
for sparkling water. I don’t keep sparkling
water at home. How can I make pancakes
without sparkling water? Oh, well, useful, right? OK, so we’re going to
skip what I’m doing now. Though, of course,
it’s fascinating. We’re out of time. So, I have one set
of final questions. Where do customers go for help? How are you going to reach them? Paint a picture of who’s going
to write you that first check. What evidence do you have that
they will pay for your product? This was crucial to
me for the gentleman talking about calling
on IBM and calling on people who would want
his augmentation of Google. What evidence do you have that
somebody’s going to pay for it? How much? And then, it calls
for someone who’s a kind of a pervert to actually
be responsible for sales, although some of us like it. Who’s going to do it? I don’t think we have time
for anymore of your questions, with regret, so
let me summarize. The only non-negotiable
requirement for successful business
is your customers. And if you’re going
to succeed, you have to have something
that’s unique and important for someone. You gave us a great
example of pivoting that from the head of IBM
to college students. It’s got to be
important to someone. So figure out who can’t live
without it, go find them and tell them about it,
and take their money. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

How to Find the Best Growth Stocks


Chris Hill: Hey, everyone! Thanks for joining
us! I’m Chris Hill, here with Chief Investment Officer Andy Cross. Welcome to Fool Global
Headquarters here in Alexandria, Virginia. We’re going to be taking your questions.
Go ahead and type those into the chat box. First, we need to talk about monster growth
stocks. Last time we were in the studio, we were talking about dividend-paying stocks.
A lot of benefits to dividend payers, including the stability. A lot of big companies,
stable businesses that aren’t really going anywhere. Today, we’re talking about monster growth
stocks. A little bit more risk involved, but also the rewards when the growth
stocks pay off are really incredible. Andy Cross: Chris, that’s right. When you
think about the areas of the market over the last 10, 20, 30 years, it’s really pivoted
to these big growers, both earnings and sales, companies that can grow and compound over
time, that eventually reflects in the stock price. That part of the market, especially as
technology has become more and more prevalent, has really started to be the place where investors
are going for the return. We started to see the shift away from dividends, more towards
companies that can really grow sales and earnings at very high rates for very
long periods of time. Hill: You and I were talking before we
started taping — a lot of times, it breaks down into those two basic categories. You’ve got the
companies that are turning a profit, and they are compounding those profits. You’ve got
the companies that maybe aren’t profitable yet, but they’re growing that top
line revenue in an incredible way. Let’s start with the earnings compounding.
Particularly for people who are new to investing or they’re just starting out, they’re may
be a little bit more comfortable with companies that are profitable right out of the gate.
Cross: Yeah, that’s right, Chris. When you think about the theory of investing,
it’s that a company generates profits, and over time, those profits
accrue back to the shareholders, and the shareholders win
by the stock outperforming and performing well, based on how fast and
how long those companies can grow the earnings. I consider these excellent, these earnings
compounders. Companies such as Starbucks, Visa, Home Depot, Ulta Beauty,
Booking Holdings — the owner/ operator of Priceline. These are companies that, just looking over
the last 10 years, Chris, have grown earnings north of 20%, 25%, 30% per year. If you look
at the stock performance, it often tracks that earnings growth. These are well established
companies that really, over time, can grow earnings at very high rates and
they can reinvest that capital back. The sales growth may not be nearly as high,
but because of the way the business models work and the markets they’re serving, they can
grow those earnings for very long periods of time. I call those earnings compounders.
Hill: Let’s take a couple of those businesses and dig into them a little more. You think
about, whether it’s a company like Visa or Booking Holdings, better known as Priceline,
not only are they compounding machines, but they’re also in industries and taking advantage
of trends that have a long runway in front of them. In the case of Visa, it’s more and
more people not using cash, going digital. In the case of Booking Holdings, that was
a company that got out early in the trend of online travel booking, and really expanding
not just here in the U.S., but around the world. Cross: When you think about a company like Home Depot, which has benefited so much from
the growth in housing, even through the financial crisis — and that crisis was driven by a bubble
in the housing market. Companies that can really benefit from those growth trends,
they can grow sales — and all these companies do grow sales, but really, what I think investors
have been rewarding them for over time is the growth in the earnings. Those earnings
that they can redeploy, invest back into the business, to continue to grow the business
at higher and higher rates, and they can expand their margins over time. Not many companies
can expand margins for five, 10, 15, 20 years over time. So, when you think
about the ability for these companies to be more profitable over time,
that ultimately is going to end up showing the earnings growth, and investors are going
to reward that. The companies I mentioned, they’ve been able to do it for sometimes 10,
20 years at a clip. Those kinds of companies can ultimately lead to an
investor having a very nice portfolio. Hill: The other type of growth stock that
we were talking about earlier was the ones who are growing sales. They’re growing that
top line revenue. They’re not profitable yet, but they see a pathway towards that profitability.
Again, for a lot of investors, it’s a little unsettling to be like, “OK, they’re not actually
making money. I’m taking a leap of faith that at some point, they’re going
to be able to turn that on.” Cross: The market, I think, rewards those
sales growers. These are the companies that, when people think traditional high-growth
stories, these are the ones I’m talking about. The Shopifys of the world, the Oktas,
Appian — those are all recommendations here at The Motley Fool — Twilio, Ellie Mae, although
Ellie Mae is profitable; Splunk, MercadoLibre. These are businesses that can grow 25%,
30% at a clip. Very high level. They may not be making money now, but based on experience
and the leadership teams, investors have the patience to be like, “OK, it’s OK. I eventually
will see those profits accrue to me and accrue to the business. I’m going to benefit that way.”
In the meantime, they’re going to continue to grow sales at very high levels and the
stock gets continually rewarded for that performance. Then you see this performance like we’ve seen
for so many businesses over the last five years, especially those based on technology.
Hill: Another thing you mentioned to me before we started taping was the companies that are
essentially hybrids of the two we just talked about. Maybe the most obvious example is Amazon,
which was not profitable for so many years. A lot of people on Wall Street saying, “When are
these guys ever going to make any money?” Now they’re doing that in a pretty solid way.
They’re not the only ones who are those hybrids of earnings compounders and
being able to grow that top line. Cross: Chris, these are what I call the
hybrid heroes. These are the kinds of businesses that can really make your portfolio. A company
like Salesforce, Amazon, Netflix, a company I follow, EPAM Systems. Facebook was actually
one of these right out of the gate when it came public. It was very profitable. Apple,
the same way. Grows sales at 20% a year for 10 years, and earnings at 27%.
When you think about it in context, Chris, the average company in the S&P 500 probably
can grow sales at maybe 5% to 10% over time. Profits at about the same level because they
can’t expand margins. But these businesses, like Salesforce, you just look at what it’s
done growing sales 29% a year for 10 years, and earnings more than 30%. And that obviously
has been rewarded in the market by patient investors, like those, hopefully, watching the show,
and who have listened to our advice here. These are the kinds of businesses,
they’re attacking markets; they have leadership teams that are principled, aggressive; they’re delighting
customers; and they can grow these sales and turn that right into profits over time.
And that ultimately helps shareholders. Hill: I’m glad you mentioned the management.
That’s something that we always love to see here at The Motley Fool, is great management,
management that has a stake in what they’re actually doing at the business. Ideally,
it’s a founder-led company, but not all of these companies that we’ve talked about are necessarily
founder-led. That doesn’t mean they don’t have great growth potential.
What are some of the other factors investors, viewers, should be watching for
when they’re looking for growth stocks? Cross: Chris, you teed off our conversation
talking about the market opportunity. One thing that we look for, and I think many of
us at The Motley Fool understand, is trying to find companies that are serving a market
that is really growing, that will continue to grow for many years, is going to be changing,
and that a company can operate in the growth market, deliver the kind of services that
are going to be able to take market share in a growing market. If you have that combination
of a market that’s expanding and a company that can take more and more market share,
often from legacy performers and maybe a little bit more of the staid companies that aren’t
acting as aggressively, that’s probably the biggest factor I look for. I look
for these market opportunities. And then, like you said, you want the founders
who have a lot of ownership in the business, ideally. That’s been great. We mentioned some
of those earlier on. And the financial performance can’t be overlooked. Unique companies that
can deliver the solutions, and into a financial model that ultimately is going to continue to support
the sales growth and the financial performance. One thing David Gardner looks for when he talks about his six signs of a Rule Breaker,
one of the very first ones he looks for is this idea of a top dog and a first mover.
So, someone who’s really going after a market and basically inventing the market. Salesforce
basically invented the market for customer relationship management software and cloud-based
solutions. We can see where that market is today. If you can find teams and businesses
that are operating these big market opportunities, they do have these first-mover characteristics
and they have both a management team that can deliver the solutions that customers
want and the financial model that can back it. That right there is the secret sauce
for finding great growth companies. Hill: You mentioned the financial performance
of the company. That ties into another thing that David Gardner says he likes to look for,
which is the stock appreciation. A lot of times, investors look at a growth stock that’s
had a great six months, 12 months, that sort of thing, and it’s easy to think,
particularly with a lot of financial media saying, “Boy, that thing’s had a great run.” So, naturally,
we think, “OK, I don’t want to jump in now. I want to wait for it to dip.” But actually,
share price appreciation in the past is something he likes to look for.
Cross: Statistically, studies have shown in the short term, it’s actually a good way
to be able to invest and find some of these great growth companies. In our perspective,
the twist we add to it is, as long-term shareholders, so many of the media that you talked about,
Chris, calling a company totally overvalued, or a company that has gotten ahead of itself,
or, “Oh, I missed it! It’s up 35%, maybe a double, and I missed that opportunity.” Well,
those are companies that tend to have been performing well, as I just talked about,
the financial performance. If they’re performing well, that’s often — not always, but often
— a good indicator that they’re doing something right, they have good management teams that
will be able to continue that success in the future. Don’t be scared by
past appreciation in the stock. What really matters is where the business
is going from here on forward and the kinds of market opportunities and solutions they’re
delivering for their customers. If that continues to have success, the stock price
often will track that success as well. You look at a stock like Salesforce,
I mentioned earlier. That stock really has never, ever looked cheap on traditional metrics.
I’m sure if you go back over the last 10 years, there were plenty of times that was called
overvalued and that the stock got ahead of itself. And yet, that stock is up almost
19X in value over the last 10 years. Hill: We’re going to be taking your questions
in just a moment. Keep those coming. I know a lot of good questions
are already in the queue. One thing I wanted to touch on before we get
to the Q&A from the audience. Some of the names that we’ve been talking about here are
names that everybody is familiar with, even if you’re not an investor. Netflix, Amazon,
Starbucks, Facebook, Apple. These are all very strong consumer brands. Some of the other
names, not really consumer brands. Salesforce, Twilio. It does seem, however, that the one
thing that those have in common is, they all have customers. Some of them are
everyday folks like you and me, but some of them, you have to look for. But it seems like what ties
them together when it comes to growth stock potential is, the customers who are buying the goods
and services are happy with what they’re getting. Cross: Yeah, absolutely,
Chris. When you think about trying to understand what may make one
business better, different than another business, one thing we do like to look at is consumer
appeal, and whether that consumer is like a you and me consumer, shopping online,
or it’s maybe a B2B business, business-to-business provider more like a Salesforce or a Twilio.
Finding companies that continue to add to their client base — Okta is one, it does customer
identity management and security solutions. Including The Motley Fool, it helps thousands
of customers manage their employee logins. That is a business that continues
to add more and more people and add solutions and grow at scale in ways that I think,
even though they’re not profitable, over time will really benefit because they continue to deliver
solutions that their customers want to have. You really have to do that. Everybody says
they can do that. But, again, and I’m talking over 10, 20-year periods. Find the businesses
and the management teams that can do that time and time again, learn from their mistakes.
Look at the mistake Netflix made with Qwikster. They don’t always get it right. And sometimes
that’s a great time to be thinking about buying the stock. But they do it more right than
wrong, and they do it for long periods of time. That’s where the founder ownership,
Chris, is so important. You have founders who own parts of that business or a large
part of that business. They have the patience and the investing base who has faith in
those founders to be able to get it right. Hill: Alright, we’ve held off long enough
in terms of taking questions from the audience. Let’s start with this. A couple of people
asking about, what are your thoughts on the upcoming class of IPOs in 2019? Next month,
we’re probably going to have Lyft and Uber going public. Airbnb expected to go public
later this year. Any of those get you more excited than the others?
Cross: I think Slack is also slated to be in there. They’ll be in that class at
some point. I think that’s exciting. All those businesses, they’re very popular and they’re
large businesses. One thing, historically, when we look at our results here at
The Motley Fool, trying to find these businesses that are a little bit on the smaller side —
not the big, large, billion-dollar-plus so-called unicorns that have come public,
but maybe a little bit smaller. So many — Uber, the valuation at $60 billion or so; Lyft is
somewhere around $20 billion or $30 billion. These are very large companies. They have
the potential to grow at very high rates. But generally, when I think about growth companies,
I try to find a little bit more on the smaller side. Those companies are all going to come
out very big and large, high valuations and large sizes. They could be wonderful investments.
We’ll have to see how the financials play out. But they clearly are going after markets
that are changing and evolving and growing. That’s a good place to start thinking about
your research when you’re trying to find growth companies that over time should
be able to deliver for your portfolio. Hill: Jackie asked, “What do you think about
Nike?” A few weeks ago, we were here in the studio doing a live Q&A, and one of the things
we talked about, it was right in the wake of Zion Williamson blowing out his Nike sneakers.
Shares fell a little bit. They got some bad press. Where do you think that company is?
Cross: I think Nike’s in a great spot from a consumer appeal side, from a global brand side.
I don’t think the stock is that expensive. It doesn’t grow as fast as the companies that
we talked about earlier on the top line, but it’s exceptionally profitable, a very solid
management team. So when I think about that global appeal… Nike probably will not be
as volatile as some of these technology stocks we’ve been talking about, yet they’re utilizing
technology more and more. They continue to grow around the globe. And their competitors
have had some stumbles. The likes of Under Armour, Adidas here in the United States is
getting a little bit more traction now. But I think Nike’s in a pretty good spot to
do pretty well for the next five years. Hill: Richard asks, “With these monster growth
stocks, how does one know when to sell?” Great question!
Cross: That’s a great question! Hill: It’s different for everyone because
everyone’s got a different financial situation. Obviously, one reason to sell any stock is
if you need the money for something else. Cross: That’s right. This could be a whole
podcast for us, talking about selling. In fact, we probably already have done that.
I think the first rule is, think about not selling. If you need the money, like you said,
those are some reasons to sell. I would start with your worst performers and your lowest-conviction
stocks rather than the ones that are winning. But certainly, some of these stocks, as they
appreciate, you may wonder about when to sell, or what are my selling principles.
I think generally, I would urge you to try to sell as little as possible, try to transact
as little as possible. If you do need to sell, I would start with the ones that are underperforming
— this is what I’m doing — in your portfolio, and maybe a smaller part of your portfolio,
to raise capital you can think about deploying more in your winners rather than your losers.
Hill: A couple of people asking about the so-called FAANG stocks — Facebook, Apple,
Amazon, Netflix, Google. Di asks, “Which FAANG stock is the best buy right now?” Jim asked, “Which FAANG
stock would you shy away from right now?” Cross: Oh, gosh, two great questions! I own Facebook. I own Netflix. I think they’re both
good buys here. Facebook’s struggled, obviously. But if you look at their past quarter,
and I applaud Mark Zuckerberg for the direction that he is now thinking more towards private
interactions as opposed to public ones. I know you and Jason and I have had conversations
about that on some of the podcasts. I think our Alphabet, the investments they’re making
today, obviously, they got some bad news from the EU. I don’t think that was a huge surprise.
I like the optionality they have to invest. The one to avoid, I think it’ll be a fine
company, it just won’t grow nearly as much, although I’m very excited to see what they announce
next week, is Apple with the streaming service. That’s going to be a really new development
for them. They’re pushing more and more into that. These are businesses that can innovate
at very high levels, and their balance sheets or things of beauty. They’re just so large,
Chris, that these are companies that just are not going to generate nearly the kinds
of returns that they have in the past. Hill: I want to go back to a word you just
used because I think it’s particularly relevant to these companies. It’s optionality. By virtue
of the amount of cash on the balance sheet that Apple has, for the past decade,
people have looked at Apple and said, “Well, they could… ” They could go into this space,
they could go into that space. And technically that’s true, again,
simply by virtue of the cash. On the flip side, I look at companies like
Alphabet and Amazon, they’ve demonstrated their willingness to explore optionality.
Sometimes it doesn’t really pay off. We saw the restructuring of Google into
Alphabet a couple of years ago, and part of that was to give Wall Street and everyday investors
a little bit more transparency into their so-called Moonshot division. But it really
does seem like Alphabet and Amazon, they’ve explored optionality in a way that Apple
— this is not a knock on Apple, but Apple hasn’t really explored it in the same way.
Cross: You’re right, Chris. I think the way Steve Jobs built that company was really from
the inside. He was so principled and dedicated, sometimes tough to work with, and such a perfectionist
on the product development inside the family of Apple that they’ve really chosen to invest
their capital that way. They earn $60 billion a year, Chris. They have $85 billion of cash
on the balance sheet and they have exceptional returns on capital. They generate so much
money that they just can’t invest it fast enough, which is why they’ve
been buying back a lot of stock. Now, they’re putting a lot of money,
apparently, into this different streaming service, which is much different than selling iPhones,
which makes up 70% of the revenue. It is a change for them, and the first big one, I think,
since we’ve seen the iPod launched in the early 2000s. It will be very interesting
to see. But historically, you’re right. They have not been an acquisitive company,
where the other ones, Facebook and Google — Netflix has not been an acquisitive company,
they’ve just been able to grow because they’ve had this huge market opportunity.
So, Apple, I see this one really with slowing growth rates from the iPhone. We’re at a little
inflection point with Apple. That’s also why the stock, from a valuation perspective,
doesn’t sell nearly as expensively as the other ones. Hill: Usha asks, “Is it too late
to enter into The Trade Desk?” Cross: No. I don’t think so. This is a company
that really specializes in, one of the leaders in programmatic digital advertising, helping
clients place ads all over the web, and moving more and more off the web into TV. It’s done
exceptionally well and is continuing to grow at very high levels. Led by Jeff Green,
who was the founder and owns 11% of the stock. I don’t think it is too late to get into
The Trade Desk. Now, the company is not as small as it was when we first found it, but the
market opportunity they have and that changing market, I think it’s not too late.
However, with all these growth companies, Chris, one thing I do want to emphasize is
that we have to understand that these will come with some volatility. When they tend
to miss earnings, maybe, whether it’s theirs or the analysts’, the stocks will sell off
very aggressively at times. You just have to be able to withstand that in your portfolio
and not get scared away from owning these businesses. Lastly, when you do
buy them, make sure you really are buying them with a five, 10, 20-year
time horizon. I’m not kidding, think about this as a 20-year hold or 15-year hold,
because that’s the way you’re going to be able to sustain the volatility that will come with
owning some of these growth stocks. Hill: A few people asking about Tesla. A few
more people asking about Square. Let’s start with Tesla. Where is Tesla
right now, as yousee it? Cross: Oh, gosh! I don’t own the stock.
I know it has a lot of mixed opinions here inside the company. I think when you look at what
Elon Musk is doing, I’m impressed with him just from the mission that he is taking on.
The business as it tries to continue to generate — it’s actually been a very high-growing
sales company, but not profitable. This is one of those sales superstars over the
last five, 10 years. Now, they’re starting to get a little bit more profitability.
I think if you want to be an owner of Tesla, by all means, you could buy the stock.
That’s one that is definitely going to be more volatile, and it’ll be more volatile with every
communication Elon Musk makes. Hill: To the point you were making earlier
about management, there are some businesses out there, some that we like a whole lot,
that are even more of an investment in the leader of the company than they are in the
business. If you’re investing in Tesla, you’re all in on Elon Musk.
Cross: I think you have to be. You cannot, in this case more so than maybe almost
anywhere else, very hard to separate — even though, they did separate the CEO and the
chairman positions for him. Very hard to separate Elon Musk from Tesla.
As far as Square goes, I think the world of Jack Dorsey and what he’s trying to build
over there. Payments is a spot that’s getting a lot of attention and more and more competition,
and they have been able to really build a sustainable advantage, I think, that continues
to grow over time, even though there’s a lot of money going into the fintech space that’s
attacking and challenging them when it comes to payments. What they’re
building is pretty exceptional. Hill: As we talked about earlier with Visa,
Square is playing in that war on cash space. From everything I’ve read, in terms of customers,
the small merchants, the small businesses across America that use
Square really seem to like it. Cross: I think so. I’m using it more and more
as I shop. Heck, a dog groomer came to our house to groom our dog, and I think I used
Square when I paid for her. Square is a business that, they can grow these gross payment volumes
25%, 30% per year, and the profitability curve is just really starting to show up. This is
a business that I could very much see over the next five, 10 years, this one
moving into the hybrid hero level. Hill: Edward asks, “For small companies that
are not yet profitable, what can people look at to value the business?”
Cross: Sales growth. For these companies, when you think about Oktas and Appians, ultimately,
it’ll come down to sales growth for them. With sales growth, especially if you’re in
the technology space, you get a lot of the scale, and the profitability will come down
the line. Companies now have, from technology, the ability to be more profitable sooner than
maybe historically. And they have different ways to be able to manage
that profitability. It comes down to sales growth. I think it comes down also, one thing I watch
more and more is customer acquisitions. If the company does report customer acquisitions,
the number of customers they have, making sure they can continue to add to their
customer base because it will show that they’re in a market that, A, is growing, hopefully;
and B, that they’re actually growing with that market, or ideally taking market share.
Hill: We’re going to have to wrap up in just a moment. But first, I know next week,
you’re going on a well-deserved vacation. Kudos to you, have a great time!
Cross: Thank you! Hill: The market still proceeds,
even though you’re not going to be around. Cross: That’s right.
Hill: So let’s get to a couple of stocks that are reporting earnings next week.
We’re going to start with Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Fourth quarter report is going to come out
next Tuesday. Think whatever you want about how they will maintain… what are they? Cross: Semi-lovely. Hill: The semi-lovely locations that they
operate. Stock’s up 35% over the past year. Cross: It’s actually pulled back a little
bit. Had a great run, I think as of last fall it was up 70% or 80% for the year. This is
a company that operates about 300 of these semi-lovely stores that sell excess inventory
and close-out inventory. It’s been able to grow. It’s been one of these profitable and
sales growing companies, a small company that’s able to continue to have a niche that they
have been able to excel at. Almost all their stores are on the Eastern Coast area.
Sales estimates for the quarter coming up 12%. That was a deceleration over a year ago.
But earnings per share estimates up about 37%. Things that I’ll pay attention to is, again,
this is going to the store to buy your stuff. This is not an online purchase. But they
did introduce a new app. They want to see how their most loyal customers,
Ollie’s Army, almost nine million consumers that have joined Ollie’s Army, and how the app integrates
with their buying habits. Will they expand? They say their market opportunity is maybe
900 locations. That’s up from 300. I want to see if they’re going to expand that to other
spots they think they can grow the Ollie’s company. Hill: OK, from bargain
outlets to global consulting, very different businesses. Accenture
reporting second quarter results on Thursday. This is a stock that’s basically flat over the
past year, although long-term, Accenture’s been a good stock to own.
Cross: It’s a really great businesses. $100 billion company. They specialize in technology
and strategic digital consulting for some of the largest companies in the world.
They help with things like the internet of things or digital security. They talk a lot about
making these investments in the new businesses, and that’s cloud and security and digital.
That now represents about 60% of their sales. I want to see if they’re going to expand that.
That’s up, it continues to grow. I want to see how far they can expand that. This is
a business that has more than $4 billion on the balance sheet with very little debt.
They just announced an acquisition recently, Digital Storm, this week or maybe last week.
They generate maybe $4 billion in earnings a year. They buy back maybe $2.5 billion worth
of stock. For Accenture, I want to see how they continue to deploy that
cash to be able to grow that business. Hill: Have a great vacation next week! Cross: Thank you! Hill: Andy Cross, thanks so much for
being here! Thank you so much for watching! Please click the subscribe button down below
so you don’t miss any of our live Q&As that we do here from Fool Global Headquarters.
I’m Chris Hill. Thanks so much for watching! We’ll see you next time!

Constellation Brands Has a Weed Problem — Canopy Growth


Chris Hill: Shares of Constellation Brands
taking a hit this week after the company announced that guidance for 2019 would be
lower due to weak wine sales. Aaron, Constellation Brands, they’ve got a
portfolio of wine labels, spirits, beer, probably best known for Corona. They’re also already writing down their investment
in Canopy Growth, the cannabis company up in Canada. Aaron Bush: Yeah, that’s the
bigger part of the story to me. Really, this was all about
expectations vs. reality. I don’t think anybody’s too surprised
what’s going on in their core business. But writing down their investment
in Canopy Growth already, that’s news. Canopy Growth is the world’s
largest medical cannabis company. It has tons of brands in the recreational space.
They’ve continued to make lots of big deals. As that industry grows, Canopy Growth will
be a relevant player, it will be one of the largest players. I think that needs to be respected.
But, it takes time to scale. It takes time to get there. And I think lot of the valuations that we’ve
seen in the stock market, a lot of the deals that we’ve seen companies like Constellation
Brands make with companies like this, they really were pricing in that that would
happen much faster than it could in reality. I think this write-down is probably the first
of many for different companies out there in this unrolling in 2019. Hill: They made a $4 billion
investment in Canopy Growth. Bush: That’s a lot of money. Hill: I think we were all surprised, not that
they made the investment, but that it was that big. You mentioned, we’re going to see
more writedowns from more companies. Is it safe to assume we’re going to
see more writedowns with this company? They invested $4 billion last year.
They just wrote down $160 million. What are the odds that at one other point
in 2019, Constellation Brands is going to come out and say, “By the way,
we’re writing some more of this down.” Bush: It’s certainly possible. The deal hasn’t been there for very long,
so I don’t know how much they’d write down so quickly. The deal was premised on being able to
move fast and build something big quickly, so it is possible, but I don’t know to
what degree a write-down could be.

Why Docusign is a Growth Stock With Huge Potential


Dylan Lewis: We are going to be doing another
breakdown of a company that has been publicly traded for a little bit, and that is DocuSign.
This is another software-as-a-services company. Brian, I know how much you love the SASS space,
so I had to bring you on to talk about them. Brian Feroldi: Absolutely.
I love SAAS companies. DocuSign is a recent IPO. I went through my checklist on them,
and I think there’s a lot to like about this business. Lewis: When we did that episode on Upwork
a little while back, we got so much positive listener feedback on your approach
that it only made sense to do this again. Why don’t we start out with the backstory on this
company, how they got to where they are now? Feroldi: DocuSign, as I’m sure many listeners
know, they are a leader in the move to e-signatures. DocuSign was founded in 2003
by an entrepreneur name Tom Gonser. He looked around the world and he saw that
everything was going digital, but the foundational business process, like the agreement where
two sides of parties agree to some terms, that was still done using pen and paper.
That process had not been updated in centuries. He decided to disrupt the process, and he
founded DocuSign with the goal of moving the entire agreement online. The opportunity that he saw would be, if you
could move it online, you would make it far faster, lower cost, and you would greatly
improve accuracy over the traditional way. And if you look at DocuSign today, they now
have hundreds of thousands of customers that pay them for their services. Millions of people have used
DocuSign in one way or another. They have been wildly successful. Lewis: Not only have we researched
this company, we are users of the platform. I’ve used it to make some signatures for Fool internal
stuff, and I know you’ve used it, as well, Brian. Feroldi: I used it actually just this week
to open up a new account with Vanguard. When I was on the phone with the rep trying
to open my account, he told me that he was going to send me a DocuSign. I think there’s an argument to be made that
the name has become synonymous with the product. Lewis: And we love to see that as investors,
because it means that a company has a pretty good foothold in a space. With that background, on today’s show,
in case anyone missed the episode we did on Upwork, we’re going to put DocuSign through Brian’s
patent-pending six-step stock ringer. That is going to be a look at the financials,
moat, potential, customers, management, and risks facing this business. Then, we’ll wrap up talking a little bit about
what we think of the stock, and anything else people should be aware of. Brian, why don’t
we kick things off looking at the books? Feroldi: DocuSign went public in April. They raised about $629 million
at their IPO before subtracting fees. A good chunk of that, about $440 million,
went right into the company’s bank account. Another $150 million was used
to cash out existing shareholders. After the IPO, they had over $818 million
in cash on their balance sheet as of the end of the second quarter, and no debt. Just a couple of weeks ago, they added another
$500 million through a convertible note offering that closed in September. That did bring debt into their books, but
it’s convertible, so there’s a possibility that they might
not have to pay that back. So, this company has lots
of cash and a little bit of debt now. Lewis: While there is cash in there from this
IPO process, and while the company is growing a decent amount, it is currently operating
at a GAAP loss, as people might expect for a relatively early-stage as-a-service business.
This is something pretty common for the space. Feroldi: Yeah. DocuSign is purposely operating at a small
GAAP loss because they are investing aggressively into growing out the company. Specifically, they’re spending
heavily on sales and marketing. To put the number in context, last quarter,
the second quarter, they lost in total about $36 million. That’s really a drop in the bucket compared
to their $1.3 billion plus in cash that they now have on their balance sheet. It’s also important to know that
that loss was on a GAAP basis. If you look at their free cash flow,
they actually produced $18 million in free cash flow during the same time period.
So, I don’t think the GAAP loss is a huge issue. Lewis: Turning our gaze to the second
criteria you like to look at, Brian, that is moat. One of the reasons why you really focus on the SAAS
space is because these products tend to be very sticky. Once you get people using them, you get very
comfortable using them, there are pretty high switching costs of doing that.
People get used to the interface. It gets built into workflows at businesses.
It’s really difficult to break that once it’s there. Feroldi: DocuSign, I think, has a couple of
advantages going for it that will make it continue to be the leader in the space. First off, DocuSign works with many different
tech giants and has their software embedded in 300 different pre-built integrations with
some very popular programs that are made by giants like Alphabet,
Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce If you want to use a DocuSign, and you’re
using those products natively, it’s a very seamless integration because
it’s already pre-built in. That convenience is one of the reasons
why its software is very, very sticky. A nice metric that you can look at to determine
how sticky a SAAS business is a dollar-based net revenue retention rate, which basically
says, from one year to the next, how much money are the same existing customers
spending with the platform? Most recently, that figure was 115%. So, not only is DocuSign keeping its customers
around, but its existing customers are spending more with DocuSign each and every year.
And those just lead to wonderful economics over time. Lewis: That dollar-based net
retention rate number is a little wonky. People in the SAAS space know it well. If you’re not familiar with it and you follow
restaurant stocks, think of it as a comps number. You have a store that was open
a year ago, you have it open now. How are those sales performing?
That rate of 115% is pretty darn high. Correct me if I’m wrong, Brian, they’ve typically
been in the 112-119% range with that metric. There are a lot of SAAS companies that would
kill for that type of net revenue retention rate number. Most of them are slightly
over 100% if they’re doing okay. Feroldi: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Another thing that I think is working in DocuSign’s
favor is that its brand is extremely well-known. The name DocuSign, as I mentioned
before, is quickly becoming a verb. People say, “I’m going to DocuSign something.”
That creates instant name recognition. Another reason that stands out is, when a
company is looking to adopt an e-signature platform, the name DocuSign not only instantly
comes to mind, but there’s a lot of social proof out there, because these
guys have so many customers. That makes it easy for them to
choose DocuSign because they’re the leader. And DocuSign has the data to show that their
signature has never been challenged in a court of law. They have the data to prove that,
when somebody signs using their e-signature platform, it stands up in a court of law.
Lewis: Turning to item #3, this is potential. This is really just a look at what is out
there in terms of a total addressable market? What is out there in
terms of a customer base? It seems like this is a company that is going
to benefit from some pretty strong tailwinds. Feroldi: The paper and pen, despite how long
DocuSign has been out there, is still the dominant way that agreements are
made in the world of business today. But DocuSign does have
hundreds of thousands of customers. As of the end of the last fiscal year, it had
over 370,000 customers that were paying DocuSign, including tens of thousands of them
that had at least 250 employees. These are fairly big-sized customers. That number sounds impressive,
but DocuSign believes that it’s penetrated about 1% of its total core target market. When you take all the potential agreements
that are out there that are made every day, only about 1% of them are currently
made through DocuSign’s platform. Management estimates that its total addressable
market, when you add everything together, is about $25 billion. When you compare that to the $518 million
that it hauled in last year, there’s plenty of room left for this company to grow. Lewis: I think there’s a really big opportunity
for this business internationally, too. Right now, most of their revenue, about 80%,
is coming from the U.S. Management has talked a decent amount about how there’s a pretty
big international opportunity out there. I’m inclined to agree.
Feroldi: I totally agree. DocuSign also can make use of M&A
and also layer in additional services over time to expand its total addressable market, too.

Could Europe’s style of monetary policy come to the US?


>>>BACK TO MY EDITORIAL AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR. I WANT TO BRING IN THE MAN WHO HAS BEEN WARNING US ABOUT EUROPE’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND PRINT-AND-SPEND POLICIES WHICH I THINK THE LEFT WANTS TO USE HERE. MARK GRANT’S WITH US. MARK, YOU HAVE WRITTEN EXTENSIVELY ABOUT THIS STUFF. I SAY THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO BRING THIS MAMMOTH PRINTING AND SPENDING POLICY TO AMERICA. AM I ON THE RIGHT TRACK?>>YES, STUART, I THINK YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK. AS YOU KNOW, WHERE DO WE PRINT MONEY IN THE UNITED STATES? WE PRINT MONEY AT THE FED. SO THIS GETS EVEN MORE COMPLICATED. WHAT EUROPE HAS DONE, THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS DONE, THEY NOW HAVE A BALANCE SHEET OF 5.3 TRILLION VERSUS THE FED’S BALANCE SHEET OF ABOUT 3.7 TRILLION. OUR BALANCE SHEET, THE FED REPRESENTS 18% OF THE GDP OF THE UNITED STATES, THE ECB’S BALANCE SHEET REPRESENTS OVER 40% OF THE BALANCE SHEET OF THE ENTIRE EUROPEAN UNION. THE ECB HAS NO FREEDOM, NO INDEPENDENCE. THEY DO EXACTLY WHAT THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TELL THEM TO DO. STUART: AND IF WE ELECTED A PROGRESSIVE TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT PERSON WHOMSOEVER IT IS, WOULD LAY ON HEAVY PRESSURE TO JUST PRINT AND PRINT AND PRINT AND PAY FOR MEDICARE FOR ALL AND THE GREEN NEW DEAL. THAT’S WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN AMERICA. ANSWER THIS FOR ME. IF YOU JUST PRINT AND PRINT AND PRINT THE WAY EUROPE IS, WHAT’S THE END GAME? WHAT HAPPENS?>>EVERYBODY WANTS TO KNOW THAT. I’LL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS. EVENTUALLY, YOUR CURRENCY GETS DEMOLISHED AND YOU PRINT MONEY OUT OF NOTHING BUT KEY STROKES. BEAR IN MIND THAT THE FED WAS CREATED BY CONGRESS IN 1913, AND THE FED HAS SEVERAL TIMES CHANGED — I MEAN, CONGRESS HAS SEVERAL TIMES CHANGED THE MANDATE OF THE FED AND THEY COULD CHANGE IT AGAIN TO TELL THEM THEY HAVE TO PRINT MORE MONEY, THEN TO GIVE THE MONEY TO CONGRESS TO SPEND ON ALL THESE SOCIAL PROGRAMS. IT WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR OUR ECONOMY AND IN MY OPINION, AN EVEN WORSE DISASTER FOR THE DOLLAR OR AMERICAN CURRENCY. STUART: CAN YOU DEAL WITH THIS REAL FAST, BECAUSE WHAT I SEE HAPPENING THIS MORNING IN OUR MARKET IS INTEREST RATES ARE ABSOLUTELY TUMBLING. I’VE GOT THE YIELD ON THE FIVE-YEAR AT 1.31%. THE 30-YEAR, 1.91%. THAT SETS THE FEAR OF GOD INTO A LOT OF INVESTORS. SHOULD THEY BE NERVOUS WHEN YOU’VE GOT IT TUMBLING AS FAST AS THAT?>>NO, STUART. I DON’T THINK THEY SHOULD BE NERVOUS. WHAT’S GOING ON IS SOMETHING, IF YOU UNDERSTAND IT, THERE’S A GREAT RATIONALE. OVER 50% OF THE BONDS IN EUROPE RIGHT NOW, INCLUDING SOVEREIGN DEBT AND CORPORATE DEBT, ARE YIELDING LESS THAN ZERO. WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS THE STEADY FLOW OF MONEY OUT OF EUROPE, BUYING THE ONLY STABLE PLACE LEFT, PRACTICALLY, WITH POSITIVE YIELDS. I’LL TELL YOU WHEN EVERYBODY SHOULD GET NERVOUS, THEY SHOULD GET NERVOUS IF ALL OF A SUDDEN, WE START HEADING TOWARDS NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES, BECAUSE THE OUTCOME OF THAT WILL BE A DISASTER FOR THE COUNTRY, IN MY OPINION. STUART: IT’S VERY — IT CAUSES A LOT OF ANXIETY WHEN YOU SEE THIS KIND OF THING HAPPEN, THIS WILD VOLATILITY. WHILE WE HAVE YOU, MARK, I KNOW YOU ARE IN FORT LAUDERDALE. YOU HAVE BEEN THERE ALL WEEKEND. I THINK YOU ARE STAYING. CAN YOU LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW AND TELL US WHAT YOU SEE AT THE MOMENT? WHAT IMPACT DORIAN’S HAVING ON YOU?>>I WILL TELL YOU, STUART, FORT LAUDERDALE AND MIAMI WERE INCREDIBLY LUCKY. WE SKATED. ALL WE’VE HAD SINCE DORIAN HAS GONE TO THE NORTH OF US IS SOME WIND, A FEW SQUALLS, A LITTLE RAIN AND NOTHING. I THANK GOD THAT WE WERE — GOT BY THIS. STUART: DID YOU TAKE YOUR DOGS FOR A WALK ON THE BEACH?>>I TOOK MY DOGS OUT IN THE BACKYARD. WE WEREN’T HEADING TO THE BEACH. STUART: OKAY.>>I HAVE THREE AUSSIE RESCUES.

Peter Navarro: Yield curve is inverting due to bullish circumstances


COURT. LOU: AS WE ARE USED TO. THE YIELD CURVE INVERTED AGAIN, BUT INVESTORS NOT EXCITED AT ALL. THE DOW UP 258 POINTS. THE NASDAQ UP 30. TWO WEEKS AGO, MUCH IF NOT MOST OF OF THE LEFTIST MEDIA AND BUSINESS PRESS PANICKING OVER THE INVERSION OF THE YIELD CURVE AND USE IT TO FUEL THEIR NARRATIVE OF AN IMPENDING RECESSION. OFTEN FORGETTING TO KNOW IT USUALLY TAKES TWO YEARS BEFORE A RECESSION SETS IN AFTER AN INVERSION. JOINING US TONIGHT PETER NAVARRO, STARNT TO THE PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND TRAIL POLICY, DIRECTOR OF THE WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL TRADE COUNCIL. LET’S START WITH THE YIELD CURVE INVERTED AGAIN. TO A GREATER DEGREE THAN TWO WEEKS AGO. AND INVESTORS DISMISSING IT. I READ THAT AS A PRESIDENT WHO HAS GREATER CREDIBILITY THAN THE BUSINESS PRESS. THEIR HAIR WAS ON FIRE TWO WE KNOW WE HAVE THE JAY POWELL PROBLEM WHERE THEY ARE NOT LOWERING RATES FAST ENOUGH. LET ME GIVE YOU MY 60 SECONDS.>>CAN YOU MAKE IT 30, WE ARE ALREADY A MINUTE AND.>>TRUMP FOR PILLARS, TAX-CUT DEREGULATION, TOUGH TRADE REFORM. THE WAY WE GET THIS, FROM 2% TO 3% GROWTH, FED CREDITS RATES, EUROPEAN CENTRAL KIT CUT RATES. AND WE GET CHINA ENGAGING IN THE STIMULUS. IT IS ALL GOOD. THAT IS THE KEY AND FINALLY ALL THE ACING ON THE CAKE.>>USMC I, THAT SOUND A LOT LIKE A TRADE AGREEMENT WITH MEXICO AND CANADA.>>WHAT IS INTERESTING, I KNOW YOU’RE ON A ROLL AND A HATE TO INTERRUPT, BUT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING MOTIVATION TODAY AT LEAST REPORTED BY THE BUSINESS PRESS. THAT IS OPTIMISM ABOUT THE CHINA U.S. TRADE AGREEMENT, IS IT MISPLACED, THE OPTIMISM, OR IS IT WELL-PLACED.>>I THINK WHAT THE MARKET WAS RESPONDING TO WAS THE REALITY OF ALL THE GOOD THINGS HAPPENING IN TERMS –>>LET ME TRY THIS AGAIN, I KNOW YOU WOULD LOVE TO FOLLOW –>>I WOULD SAY IS OPTIMISM I’M NOT SURE WHETHER IT’S MISPLACED, YOU KNOW ALL NEGOTIATIONS TAKE PLACE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS –>>WE WON’T BUY THAT. SO WHAT IS YOUR PRECISE QUESTION?>>IS SUCH OPTIMISM MISPLACED OR WELL-PLACED CUSTOMER WELL-PLACED?CUSTOMER>>WE HAVE SERIOUS STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS BUT THE CHINESE ARE COMING HERE IN SEPTEMBER TO TALK ABOUT THEM. LET’S SEE IF WE CAN WORK THROUGH THAT. I TELL YOU IS UNLIKELY THAT ANYTHING QUICK WILL HAPPEN GIVEN THE STRUCTURAL BASIS OF THE PROBLEM. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE, STEALING OUR STUFF AND KILLING AMERICANS WITH FENTANYL AND EVERY THING IN BETWEEN. BUT FOR ME, LOOKING AT THE ECONOMY. LIZ: THERE NOT A NICE BUNCH ARE THEY?>>I THINK THEY HAVE A REPUTATION GOING BACK TO 1949 AND NEVER FOR FILLING ANY OF THE COMMITMENTS AND THEN GOING BACK TO 2001 AND BREAKING EVERY RULE IN THE WTO BOOK AND TAKE OVER 70000 FACTORIES AND 5 MILLION MAIN FACTORY JOBS. YOU THINK AMERICA HAS FINALLY REALIZED THAT’S EXACTLY WHO CHINA IS IN SUPPORTING PRESIDENT TRUMP AND TAKING ACTION. LOU: I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANY DOUBT ABOUT THAT SUPPORT AND IT IS UNDERSTATED POWER IN THE LEFT-WING 80 LEFT-WING M0 LEFT-WING MEDIA. I DON’T HEAR A LOT OF BLUBBER FROM WALL STREET ANYMORE OR THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS OR COMMERCE OR THE BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE ABOUT FREE TRADE. THE PRESIDENT SEEMS TO HAVE MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THERE HAS BEEN NOTHING FREE ABOUT FREE TRADE FOR THE LAST FOUR DECADES IN THE BALANCE TRADE IS THE FUTURE AND AS A LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD, HE IS PERSUADING IN THE REST OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION CERTAINLY THAT THIS IS A NEW DAWN. WHAT DO YOU THINK?>>ITS RECIPROCAL TRADE AND EUROPE IS GETTING ON BOARD AND I THINK EUROPE VIEWS CHINA JUST AS WE DO, AS A COUNTRY THAT IS VIOLATING ALL THE ROLES AND THREATENING THE INTERNATIONAL ABILITY TO HAVE A DECENT TRADING SYSTEM. SO LET’S SEE WHAT HAPPENS. IN THE MEANTIME, IN THE NEXT MONTH OR TWO, WE NEED THE FED TO DO ITS JOB, TO CUT RATES, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK WILL HELP US AS WELL. LOU: LET ME MAKE A FORECAST, THAT IS THE FED WILL CUT RATES, JEROME POWELL HAS HAD — HE IS BEEN TUTORED, HE IS MORE EXPERIENCED BY EVENTS. THERE IS NO WAY IN THE WORLD HE WOULD NOT CUT RATES. AND I WILL BET YOU ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY ON THAT ONE.>>LET’S MAKE SURE HE IS PLAYING CHESS NOT CHECKERS. LOU: I CANNOT MAKE SURE OF ANYTHING AND IF YOU’RE NOT GONNA TAKE MY BET I GOT A GO.>>WILL BE PUT MONEY DOWN ON IT.