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Random Thoughts: Human Capital Is the Greatest Investment


Considering the big-picture vibe while understanding that the journey trumps the destination.

Editor's Note: Todd posts his vibes in real time each day on our Buzz & Banter.

The greatest opportunities are born from the most profound obstacles and that will again prove true.

I was in Palo Alto for the YPO Digital Media confab last week and spent some quality time with the folks at Google (GOOG), Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In (LNKD). It was an eye-opening experience; while portal usage is down (-24%) and search is flat (+1%), growth in social media has surged 52% year-over-year.

While there were a litany of factoids, tidbits, and nuggets of wisdom, my greatest takeaway was one of perspective. In the words of Roger McNamee, the insightful co-founder of Elevation Partners, "Eight-year-olds will never know what a personal computer is; in their eyes, an iPhone or an iPad is the computer."

I could rattle off some of the themes-how mobile was a persistent pattern across the Valley, how strategies are shifting from "pages" to "people and social patterns," or how the social media spend will surpass email marketing in 2012 -but they pale in comparison to perhaps the most important dynamic.

For the first time in years, there's a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't affixed to the front of a train. These kids-the millennial generation-will pull this country out of our seemingly endless economic abyss. They will demonstrate the distinction between real-world experience and applicable skills.

Given the destination we arrive at pales in comparison to the path we take to get there, there will be plenty of speed bumps, detours, potholes and roadblocks. But there's an upside to being naïve; instead of acting on the frustration that so many of us feel, these kids are more likely to think outside the box to identify creative solutions.

Random Thoughts:
  • Its quarter-end and tensions are thick; the bulls dug deep to hold S&P 1400 into yesterday's close and, as discussed, that helped shape overnight and early morning psychology.
  • The other news item of note is the European firewall being pushed up to an eye-popping $800 billion. That makes for a great headline but for the life of me I haven't been able to figure out where that money is coming from.
  • S&P 1386, the recent low, and NDX 2700, the first tangible support, are two downside levels to note. The bulls are large and in-charge and will continue to buy the dips until there is technical violation.
  • I continue to trade around a short-bias but used yesterday's early red mess to leg out of my front-month exposure. I-and a number of folks who are smarter than me-talk about what we're doing and why in real-time on the Buzz & Banter. Click here for a free sniff.
  • I own a handful of lottery tickets and I'm not talking about the $540 million drawing tonight. I'm talking about my September $15 calls in Research in Motion (RIMM) after it kitchen-sinked its quarter and explored strategic alternatives. This is house money (I got lucky on the 40% pop from mid-December to January) and I'm not planning on adding exposure as I wanna watch it trade.
  • In terms of the Mega-Millions drawing? Yep, I'm in it to win it and hope I'm not this guy!
  • I'm gonna hop over to the Buzz as we edge into our requisite respite. Enjoy your time off-it's most certainly deserved!

Twitter: @todd_harrison

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Position in NDX, SPX, RIMM
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