Heisenberg Report: Site Update

First of all, welcome to the first day of the end of the world. Just kidding.

I wanted to offer a Heisenberg Report update this weekend for those who are interested. We’ll start with that and then I’ll give you my quick take on where we’re headed politically.

The site

On Traffic

Traffic to the Heisenberg Report has broken its own record every single week since I got out of the hospital in late November. Generally speaking, the w/w average increase is 22% or more. 

heisenberg

Daily traffic breaks its own record on the vast majority of weekdays. Average daily traffic is up 110% in January versus December. 

So thank you for that. I’m flattered that so many people have apparently made my writing a part of their day.

I’ll give you the actual numbers once they’re in for the whole of January.

On Content

One thing you might have noticed is that I haven’t attempted to make the site a news wire. I’m reasonably sure I could boost views by trying to report on each and every story that makes headlines and I’m absolutely sure I could boost views by reporting each and every economic data print that’s material to investors.

But I think that’s a mistake. It decreases the signal to noise ratio and, more importantly, I think it’s ultimately pointless. If I’m a reader and I want to read about housing starts or initial jobless claims, I can go to Bloomberg or one of the main wires. If there’s some anomaly that I think I can put a unique spin on, I’ll talk about it. If not, not. I see far too many sites trying to force their own bias on data that admits of no narrative. That is, sometimes a mundane print is just a mundane print. No one wants to hear someone’s painful attempt to spin something that’s not spinable.

Also – and I think this is really important – I don’t repost articles from other sites in full and I don’t repost articles from other sites in part without at least trying to provide some color of my own. The blogosphere – and especially the political and financial blogospheres – has become an echo chamber. I did an experiment lately where I went to sites that post political content and started clicking on linkbacks in articles that were reposted from other sites. What I found was that of the nine sites I ended up perusing, they were all just a collection of each other’s articles! It was a linkback fest with the same damn articles posted on each site. F*ck that. Why do I want to read the same article on nine different sites? It’s a blatant example of cheap traffic boosting and worse, it represents intellectual laziness in the extreme. I’m open to other sites reposting my content if they like, and I certainly enjoy posting excerpts from other sources when I think they are relevant and when I think I can add a little something or make a connection to one of my previous pieces, but I’m not going to be in the business of reposting entire articles from other sites just to fill up space and sucker you into giving me clicks for an article that’s also posted somewhere else. (Note: cartoons and charts a little different in that they’re just designed to give you a quick laugh or a quick “hmmm” moment)

Key Calls

By now you’ve probably noticed I label cartoon and chart posts. I do “Cartoon Breaks” and “Chart Checks.” That’s so you know before you click what you’re going to get. If you only want to read prose and aren’t interested in a quick chart or a cartoon, you can tell by the title whether you should click or not.

Next week, I’m going to add another category called “Key Calls.” These will be quick posts with key analyst calls. I think they’ll be particularly useful for those looking to stay abreast of markets.

On Submissions

I’ve had some questions on “op-eds.” First of all, let’s just call them what they are: submissions. If you have something that you think readers would enjoy and you want to send it over to me, then send it: walt@heisenbergreport.com

I can’t guarantee I’ll post it, but I’ll have a look.

***

So that’s the site update. Below (because some people have asked) is my quick take on the political journey we’re all about to take.

Trumplandia

It’s Saturday and Donald Trump is President of the United States. Friday’s inauguration speech sounded more like a battle cry than it did anything else and quite honestly, I think that’s probably all that need be said about it. I’m not going to waste my time or yours parsing it because you invariably watched it live and if you didn’t, God knows there are plenty of places you can watch the replay.

Clearly I’ve been an outspoken critic of the Trump campaign. And it’s not so much Trump that I’m concerned about. It’s the fact that large swaths of the American public seem to have no critical thinking skills whatsoever. As I wrote in my inauguration night letter, it’s truly astonishing that it took so little to dupe millions upon millions of people into throwing their full support behind a campaign that was built on nothing but bullsh*t. That’s far scarier than a 72-year-old man with a big ego and delusions of grandeur.

The saving grace for the country is that Trump isn’t very smart. People ask me if the political scientist in me is scared. The answer is “not really.” The comparisons to Hitler and fascism are exaggerated (in the US anyway). Hitler was a lot of things, but stupid wasn’t one of them (well, it was pretty stupid to invade the Soviet Union in the middle of winter, but you get the point). Trump is capable of inflicting irreparable damage only by accident. You may disagree with that, but I can promise you that a man who has benefited so much from stability and luxury isn’t going to intentionally bring about the end times.

What is scary however, is that if the people can be so easily swayed by an idiot, just imagine how they might react to someone who’s actually dangerous. That’s the situation Europe finds itself in going into a series of elections this year. In short, it’s not Trump that worries me. Rather, it’s the person whose name we don’t yet know who, thanks to Trump, now realizes how easy it is to take power.

 

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17 thoughts on “Heisenberg Report: Site Update

    • OK, lets see. You have Social Security, Medicare and Defense that take up the vast majority of the budget. Who gets whacked? Remember Bonnie and Clyde, you need to go where the money is.

      • Thanks Heisenberg for this, and all of your amazing posts! I read each and every one of them (even though most of it is over my head). I can only hope to continue learning by reading yours, and others’ articles…and maybe one day I’ll know a fraction of what you do.

        BTW, love your posts on SA as well.

        -James-

  1. I wanted to draft a short note on my own feelings about the final passage of power to Trump. I could simply do a copy-paste of your very to-the-point analysis. How is it that so many of our citizens have no critical thinking when it comes to politics? Surely this is the result of decades of “training” in our consumer society where people become “mobile consumption devices” to be programmed and manipulated. The average white male spends thousands of times more analyzing sports teams than he does thinking about government policy and actions, and those who implement it. The French will have the opportunity to elect a “lady Trump” in the form of Marine LePen. I’ll go out on a limb, and suggest that they will pass on this even if she does get a large number of votes.

  2. Thanks again for your insights,
    the truth in history, when wallstreet/ bankers/financiers/military are running the show for an extended period of time say 50 plus years or a generations worth, that economy/ civilization starts having problems.
    When Main Street , unions/ labor/ socialist government / military’s are running the show for a generation plus, that soverian state/ economy/ civilization starts having problems.
    The pendulum continues to swing,
    It’s a balancing act that no civilization has figured out because there always are haves and have nots/ competing interests have a hard time with compromise.
    Rather then complain, one must figure out approx where the pendulum is at as it relates to your own personal circumstance and then make the necessary adjustments to take full advantage of the situation.
    Self preservation and greed have always ruled know matter which way the pendulum happens to be swinging.

    Thank you Heisenberg for confirming my bias

  3. H- Interesting times coming, hopefully France and Germany voters will realize the importance of this moment for not only their countries but all of Europe. The fallout from these votes could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back and with it probably the Euro Zone. The building east/west split in our continuing currency/trade war with China is directly in the headlights and possibly at the mercy of Protectionist Trump. With the yen buried in GDP hell, the Euro looking like a walking corpse and the Brits reeling as their currency bounces like a rubber ball the SDR basket is setting up for even more intervention by status quo banks yelling “Don’t worry everything is fine,good, great” as we create more debt for everybody on the planet. “Hey, if we ban currency we have control of all those stupid people’s $$$$”. There is something in the air and it feels like a historical moment with evil lurking as we move toward some kind of reckoning. Will we again embrace more progressive ways to enhance the planet or will we choose con-men and/or women who want to revert back to protectionist fascism from our not so distant past. Thanks for all the good “food for thought” and I’m very glad you survive your latest ordeal.

  4. Although left-biased, I appreciate your earnest analysis, always thoughtful. You think of the ‘ignorant’ right as lacking critical thinking skills, which you over-rate. But are they also a canary in the coalmine, hedging over-action (or non-action)? They, as the left (also lacking critical thinking skills although educated (by someone’s definition)) are responding to personal interests. And should be listened to.

    But of all, you are a worthy addition to the cognoscenti, always interesting and eminently worth reading.

  5. Love your stuff, but would gently ask for quality over quantity! I see so many posts on a daily basis from you, and don’t have the time to read every one. So would gently ask for focus and prioritization or you risk “tune out.” Keep up the good work. BTW, loved you inauguration dream. Harrowing but true.

    • Great comment.

      I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about “tune out risk.” It’s a balancing act, but ultimately the larger risk for anyone looking to build a following is failing to deliver consistent content. With so much information out there, every second of people’s time is valuable. I take that very seriously. Let’s say you hit the “refresh” button on a site once an hour. That’s a time investment. It’s small, but it’s still time spent. If you refresh a site once an hour say, six times on a weekday and after six hours there’s nothing new, you’re likely to take that site off your list of sites it’s worth spending that extra 3 seconds to refresh.

      I don’t want to produce so much content that people can’t keep up, but more importantly, I don’t want the Heisenberg Report to be relegated to “weekend reading” status in people’s minds. So ultimately, I try to balance it to the best of my ability, but I err on the side of consistency so that the 3 seconds it takes to refresh the page isn’t a wasted 3 seconds for readers.

      Side note: sometimes there’s a deluge on Sundays and Monday mornings. That’s NOT because I wrote 26 articles on Sunday and decided to hit you with them all at once. It’s publishers clearing the weekend backlog.

      Again, appreciate the reply.

  6. I wonder how you define “smart”? Very few if any presidents are smart – IQ over 130. The very good presidents have great instincts, Reagan and Clinton in my lifetime. Trump seems to have pretty good instincts to have laid waste to 18 competitors. Hard for me to believe his supporters are on average any different from Clinton’s supporters in terms of critical thinking, which is simply vanishing on both sides. Would love to see any scientific study comparing the average intelligence of the supporters of both parties. BTW, I have been an independent my entire life, don’t care much for either party.

  7. As someone who has taught economics and finance and written for public consumption I can certainly testify to the depressing ignorance of the American public on important economic and financial concepts. It is important to realize that such ignorance serves to maintain the hold of those who have benefited from the status quo (as does the vast system of influence peddling we have in place). Now we have a president that wishes to have the public distrust the media and (apparently) only follow his tweets. He is charismatic and enjoys talking/tweeting, making it every more important that there will be critical analyses of his (and the GOPs) actions (not words).

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