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December 7, 1998

We've had this fantastic bull market in the last 16 years. In fact, the best in financial assets that I can find on record, with both stocks and bonds recording enormous gains over such a long time. Compound real returns on stocks of 16% a year for 16 years, compared to 6.5% historically. And bonds, 11% compounded, versus 3% historically . . . these extraordinary returns were caused by a specific set of factors that won't continue forever and have pretty much run their course. And since those factors aren't permanent, it's unreasonable to expect the same sort of returns going forward.
Martin H. Barnes in Reality Check $$ from Barron's (12/7/98)

In the investing business, there's a lot of salesmanship and hucksterism and things that are done that are not in consumers' best interests . . . [Self-help authors] in the vast majority of cases have an agenda -- often self-promotion.
Eric Tyson in Help Yourself $$ from the Wall Street Journal's Personal Finance Special Report (11/30/98)

What's really quite remarkable in the investment world is that people are playing a game which, in some sense, cannot be played. There are so many people out there in the market; the idea that any single individual without extra information or extra market power can beat the market is extraordinarily unlikely. Yet the market is full of people who think they can do it and full of other people who believe them. This is one of the great mysteries of finance: Why do people believe they can do the impossible? And why do other people believe them?
Daniel Kahneman in A Series of Gambles RR from Dow Jones Asset Management (Nov/Dec 98)

Okay, so the web has been hyped to the pointy of absurdity by fanatical true believers, but when you strip away the frenzied predictions of the digirati, you're still left with an inescapable fact: The Internet will change the relationship between consumers and producers in ways more profound than you can yet imagine. The Internet is not just another marketing channel; it's not just another advertising medium; it's not just a way to speed up transactions. The Internet is the foundation for a new industrial order. . . The Web is not about push' it's about suck. Online consumers can suck out of cyberspace whatever interests them and leave behind whatever doesn't . . . Make no mistake, the web will drive the last nail into the coffin of set prices. Customer ignorance--about prices and relative product performance--has been a profit center for many companies. But consumers are about to get much, much better informed--and the consequences will be awe inspiring . . . The Net is a noose for mediocrity. But it's a humongous springboard for products and services that are truly great and truly consumer-friendly. Consumers everywhere, stand up and sheer!
Gary Hamel and Jeff Sampler in "The E-Corporation" from Fortune (12/7/98)

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