For those of you who know me, you will be aware by now that my ambition is unlimited
You know that I will settle for nothing short of greatness, or I will die trying
For those of you who do not yet know me, allow me to introduce myself
My name is Per Jacobsen
And if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to change the world.

Only kidding! I really don’t want to change the world, and my ambition is not unlimited. However, my name is actually Per Jacobsen, and, by way of introduction, I am the owner of this blog.   You may have come to my blog (my corner of the Internet block, so to speak) by mistake, but don’t let that dissuade you.   Keep reading!

Subjects of this Blog

In this blog I share the gems and nuggets that I pick up, primarily in the areas of investments, business, and the economy.   However, I have a wide range of interests, some of which are best described as being esoteric and most of which are probably best characterized as being either amusing, subversive, radical, or enlightening — or a combination of these, and in this blog I often stray into those interests.   Moreover, I attempt to understand, at a very fundamental level, any field that I get involved in and often I will attempt to bend such understanding towards my core interests of making money from investments, business, and the economy.

I have a strong interest in radical and transformative history, primarily the history that evolves around warfare, originating from my belief that warfare, as an extension of politics and policy, in general, and life and death decisions, in particular, have a unique and powerful way of bringing things into focus and tend to prompt revolution, and — importantly — that significant business and investment lessons can be drawn from such history.  

Accordingly, I will frequently draw parallels from warfare to business — hopefully without doing something as trite as regurgitating the statement that business is war (it isn’t, by the way — far from it… in fact business, for the most part, is more akin to a video game about war — say Call of Duty, where, as a general rule, the worst thing that happens to you if you fail is that you lose time — than actual life-and-death combat.)

Since this is my first blog, and I am somewhat puzzled as to why so many people start blogging (I say start bloggging because it would appear that very few people continue blogging after a certain try-out period, discovering that no one really cares and that blogging actually requires the investment of an enormous amount of time) and, frankly, how people make money from blogs, you will find that a number of blog postings on this blog discuss blogging. This self-referential idea, blogging on blogging, is perhaps not new to you, but it is new to me, so please bear with me as I meander through this new universe.

The Nature and Style of this Blog

I believe that Kathie Hafner provided a pretty accurate analysis of blogging when she in an article in the New York Times’ technology section wrote that:

“The number of bloggers has grown quickly, thanks to sites like blogger.com, which makes it easy to set up a blog. Technorati, a blog-tracking service, has counted some 2.5 million blogs. Of course, most of those millions are abandoned or, at best, maintained infrequently. For many bloggers, the novelty soon wears off and their persistence fades.

Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research’s estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs.

Indeed, if a blog is likened to a conversation between a writer and readers, bloggers … are having conversations largely with themselves.”

Accordingly, my starting point is that I write this blog for myself, and so I write about whatever I feel like,  I write when I feel like doing so, and I write as much or as little as I want.   Fair warning:  I do not believe in the twitter-driven economizing of communications – you may actually have to read more than 140 characters per posting on this blog, so if you have ADD, this blog is probably not for you.   In fact, this blog deviates from a lot of the blogging “rules” that I was told were de rigueur, by my friends, advisors, and enemies when I casually told them that I was thinking about writing a blog, an,  so, this blog may not be for you if you believe that the mainstream view of blogs is the (only) correct one.

Consider yourself warned here — One of my recent blogs, discussing an investment paradigm, had a word count in excess of 3,000, which should be compared to accepted wisdom that appear to dictate that a blog should not exceed 500 words and the fact that an article in a major newspaper is considered large if it exceeds 1,500 words.  By way of reference, a randomly picked blog entry by Roger Ebert, his review of the movie Sparkle, as mirrored in his Chicago Sun-Times column, clocks in at 650 words.

On this note, I should probably make it clear that my objective is to write clearly, but, still, I violently reject the notion of writing in short declarative sentences, that, ultimately, draws blogging into an intellectual wasteland of ignorance and irrelevance.

Don’t get me wrong.   I do understand and acknowledge that the goal of the a large part of written communication is to concisely and authoritatively communicate undisputed facts, rules, and regulations to a large community with members that have varying degrees of reading skills — making the use of dumbed-down, short, declarative bursts highly appropriate.  However, since I reject the notion that blogs are authoritative sources of anything, except if found to be so by a sizable part of a community, and since I believe that blogs should aim to elevate the discourse, rather than dumb it down, I refuse to apply short-burst, unilateral verbal vomiting on this blog.  The objective of my writing style, in other words, is to avoid proving Dr. Ian Sussman right when he in Contagion says “Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.”

By virtue of postings in this blog being written by me, with an intended audience consisting of, well, …. me, you need to be prepared for the fact that whatever shows up in a posting reflects what is on my mind, and, if whatever topic is on my mind really is on my mind, you may see multiple postings on it. For instance, no less than three articles in one week or so revolved around speculation in MER Telemanagement Solutions, reflecting the extent to which this topic was on my mind. I recognize, of course, the obsession flip side of keen interest, and I will be attempting to avoid straying into the obsession area, but, you, the reader, needs to know that if I feel like obsessing about a subject, I will.

In my defense, by the way, the apparent obsession about a given topic may simply reflect that there are multiple lessons to be learned from such subject.

Caution: Experimental zone ahead

You should know that it took me a very long time to decide to write a blog, and, once I had decided to do so, it took me a long time to getting around to actually writing anything.  Interestingly — to me at least — the seed to this blog was laid when I read a blog posting by James Altucher, in which he compared feel-good, folksy, corporate marauders such as Warren Buffett with the back-alley gun-toting, sadistic robber, that propelled Bruce Wayne into Batman infamy.    The posting from James Altucher changed my view, not only of Warren Buffett (who, in the interest of disclosure, I hasten to say that I had been suspicious of for a long time,) but also of what a blog posting can achieve.

The factor that pushed me over the edge, so to speak, was that my friend, Mehran Moghaddam, spontaneously — and on the tail-end of a couple of beers — declared that blogging was now an obsolete communications form (being superseded by other, and more direct, social media outlets,) which, of course, prompted me to join the — now obsolete — group of bloggers.  By the way, in many ways I think that Mehran is right, and I am increasingly seeing established bloggers attempting to overcome the impact of this trend by switching delivery medium, scope, and form to Facebook or Twitter and their (highly) abbreviated formats, changing media (for instance to video,) or — paradoxically — by growing the size of their blog postings.

Since I have been thinking about blogging for a while you would be entirely justified in assuming that I have a clear idea of how to blog and what to blog about. You would be wrong. To show you the depth of my doubts about this, I still have not decided — on the most fundamental level — if a blog posting should be heavy in data and light on conclusions or vice versa, should emphasize synthesis over analysis, and should be opinionated or objective. Accordingly, your best bet is to view this blog as being experimental in nature, which, of course, means that it can’t really be relied on and probably will undergo continuous change.

Read the Fine Print — Then read it again

I invest money from time to time so, notwithstanding the doubts shining through in the above, you can be sure that this blog will be talking about money, business, and investments, and, therefore, you need to read the disclaimer below.  The disclaimer is important!  Also, you need to read the policy and copyright statements below.  Together, these three components govern your allowable use of this blog, so, if you don’t like something about any one of the components or if you can’t agree with all of the restrictions laid out in the components, stop reading the blog.

I reserve all rights to change the disclaimer, including the right to change the disclaimer without notice, so if you are returning reader it is important that you make an effort to review this About section every time you visit the blog.  Moreover, if you have any questions about the disclaimer, send me a note and I will be glad to clarify.

If you would like to contact me, please use my the following electronic mail address:

engineeredreal [at] gmail [dot] com

All opinions expressed in this blog are my own.  I don’t make any representation on behalf of past, present, or future employers, employees, partners, customers, friends, enemies or anyone else, and my topics and writing are not encouraged, reviewed, or in any way influenced or approved by anyone.  No spin or angles.  Just personal views.   You can view postings in this blog as op-ed pieces, and should be aware that expressing opinions often will take precedence over presenting data.

Appreciation is Appreciated

Come back often, or better yet, follow my musings by using the “follow” function.  And please let me know when you enjoy or get something out of a post by leaving a comment.  Also, if you find the materials in this blog useful or very entertaining, you can express your appreciation through donations via Paypal (yes, I am breaking another blogging rule here.)   In fact, you can do so right now, right here…..

Here is how your donation dollars are spent:

    • 25% go to Second Chance Wildlife Center in Maryland a true not-for-profit, only-for-good rehabilitation center focused on orphaned, injured and ill songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other native species. Unfortunately, with the increasing encroachment (or assault) by the sub-divisions on the natural habitats of our wildlife, the center is seeing a dramatic increase in the demand for its services.
    • 50% go to operating this blog, funding research and operational costs.
    • 25% go to developing not-for-profit, for-good mobile applications with a grass-roots bend.

Donations can be on-going or one-off.   If you enjoy this blog (and come here regularly,) please donate regularly, for instance every month or every quarter.   If you happen to come by and enjoyed a particular posting, please make a one-off donation.   From time to time, I will suggest a donation for a particular posting based on how much time and effort it took me to write the blog posting and/or the value (including entertainment value) that I think the blog posting brings.  However, don’t let me constrain you — feel free to exceed my expectations.

Kidding aside, the suggested donations are just that — suggestions.  If you want to donate less, please feel free to do so.  In my book, a donation of $3.20 — the price of a Latte at Starbucks, which, arguably, will have an impact of no more than 30 minutes on your life (actually, I think it will be much less because of the exponential decay that coffee is subject to) — is better than nothing and still constitutes a meaningful indication that this blog somehow did or does something for you.

You can also donate via checks, and you can donate in other forms than money (for instance subscriptions to newspapers.) Send me an electronic mail to learn more.

Why Beg for Money?

I get asked a lot about why I request donations in my blog, and this is something that I intend to write about at length in a blog posting, in which — in a self-referential act of defiance — I will ask for donations.   However, the short answer is threefold: Blogging beyond 140 words requires a lot of time and effort, blogging content is valuable and should not be free — and you should not expect to get this content for free if it helps you make gains of any sort or it entertains you (you know this… that’s why you pay when you go to your lawyer, your dentist, or the movies,) free content — conversely — is not valuable, and — crucially — it is my view that understanding the value of the blog is critical to the blog owner and the only true way to measure such value is through people’s voluntary willingness to help fund the blog.

My good friend Michael Schutterop, who used to blog, but seamlessly has shifted to more direct forms of social media, primarily Twitter (hat off to Mehran Moghaddam here,) wrote on his — now more or less defunct blog — that Blogging is about giving.   Observing the blogging “out there,” I disagree entirely, although I do like the idea of blogging being altruistic — a force for good, so to speak.    In fact, it is my experience and belief that the bulk of non-trivial blogs in the web-sphere have a commercial or ideological raison d’être and agenda.

Upcoming Postings — Defying the concept of timeliness

In a side-bar (on the right, people!) called upcoming postings, I will list the working title of postings that I am considering writing.   I provide no guarantee that I will actually ever write these postings, but if you are overly optimistic, perhaps you can consider them an indication of what is to come (of course you will have to decode the titles in order for it to make sense, which can be a daunting task.)

You may note that this — planned blogging — implies that I am breaking another blog rule, which, loosely,  states that a blog must be timely and relevant to the up-to-the-minute discourse. 

Broadly speaking, timeliness is not a concept that I believe in when it is defined in terms of minutes, hours, or days.   Although I see the value of the timeliness of breaking news, I rarely see the value of someone commenting on or regurgitating, in near real-time, such breaking news.   Moreover, I think that the instant reaction eliminates reflection, and, so, removes something really valuable from the real discourse, which, of course, is not confined to the up-to-the-minute discourse.  Simply put, in blogging there is trade-off between timeliness and thoroughness (or perhaps more accurately, thoughtfulness,) with the emphasis in mainstream blogging currently being on timeliness — leading to a sacrifice of thoroughness, and you should expect this blog to emphasize thoroughness.

On this note, if you think that you can decode the titles, and have an idea that one posting should be written earlier than another, please feel free to contact me to suggest elevating the priority of a posting.  Moreover, if you have a subject that you would like me to blog on, please feel free to contact me and let me know (of course, I reserve the rights to not do so!)

Did you come here from another blog or newsletter?

If you arrived here through a link from another blog or newsletter, please enjoy your visit, and, if possible, please support my blog through subscriptions on Twitter and financial or in-kind contributions.

If you arrived here from a financial blog or some sort of investment or trading newsletter, please pay close to the disclaimer provided below and note that anything I write in this blog is simply my belief, which may be erroneous (after all it used to be a commonly held view that the world was flat) and may be anchored in a number of unstated assumptions, the failure of any of which would completely undermine the potential opportunity.

If you come here as a blind follower of a investment or trading newsletter’s recommendations such as those provided by Profit.ly, I urge you to read my words of caution (here.)

Disclaimer, Copyright, and Policies

The disclaimer, copyright statement, and stated policies of this blog is subject to change without notice, and, so, you should review these every time you visit the blog.

The materials in this blog are provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. Generally, the materials may not be suitable for everyone and the material certainly may not be a suitable basis for you making investment decisions. Nothing in this blog is intended to be an offer or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any securities.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only.  I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any content on this site or information found by following any link on this blog.   By reading this blog you agree that I will not be liable for any errors or omissions in information provided herein, nor for the availability of this information.   Furthermore, you agree that I will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages that you may incur from the review or use of this information.

I may from time to time write about something that I have an economic interest in, and I will not always make it clear that I have such interest.   You should be aware that this is the case and carefully consider what I write in light of such possibility.  Also, my economic interest may change (I could, for instance, have a long position in an equity today and a short position tomorrow.)  Again, you should be aware that this is the case and carefully consider what I write in light of such possibility.  Put squarely, you should exercise critical reading, and, again, be aware  what I write may not be a suitable basis for you making investment decisions.

Currently, we do not allow submission of comments to this blog. From time to time, however, this may change and someone may post comments on this blog.  I am not responsible for the contents of such comments, and I reserve the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog for whatever reason and without notice. 

Generally, you should expect that comments that I, in my sole opinion, deem to be spam, meaningless, offensive, or stupid are deleted immediately and without comments.   Your comments may also be deleted automatically (or, rather, never posted) by WordPress if Akismet, WordPress’ built-in comment spam prevention engine, deems that your comment is spam.  I may from time to time review Akismet’s list of deleted comments, but, as a general rule, you should not count on this or expect me to disagree with Akismet’s findings.  Overall, in all probability, if what you write is treated as spam, it is spam, so if you find your comments being filtered out, consider not writing spam comments.

If you believe that a posted comment or a posting written by me on this blog violates someone’s copyright, please contact me immediately, so I can investigate and take corrective action, if appropriate.

A copyright statement is provided below.   For the avoidance of doubt, if you are a student, then the copyright does apply to you, and if you want to use what I write for a school project, you can do so only if you comply with the letter and intent of the copyright statement of this blog, which, among other things, limits the length of excerpts and lays out guidelines for allowed use.

To be clear: I will aggressively pursue any copyright infringement. If you wish to use information from this blog in any way, I urge you to contact me and seek my permission rather then infringing on my rights and forcing me to take action to protect my rights.

The above disclaimer and policy statements are subject to change at anytime.

© Per Jacobsen, 2012 through 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Per Jacobsen is strictly prohibited. Except for pictures, videos, images, and charts that are copyrighted by Per Jacobsen, excerpts of up to 200 characters and links may be used without notifying Per Jacobsen, provided that full and clear credit is given to Per Jacobsen and this blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content, including URL links where possible. Per Jacobsen reserves all rights to any pictures, videos, images, and charts that are copyrighted by him.