Commitment or Death

We’ve always been lead to believe that commitment was a good thing. It often is cited as the only real thing that distinguishes us from animals, although that’s clearly an exaggeration, as most animals are incapable of ever winning two games of checkers in succession.

Curse that capuchin, especially for not agreeing to best out of five.

CommitmentWe all marvel when hearing of a couple’s impending 50th wedding anniversary. What a wonderful show of commitment.

In fact, as well all know the commitment is “until death to us part.” Commit or die. Commit and die. It’s all the same.

Using the new Google “Translate” module made for this blog, you can now understand that when I say “marvel,” I really mean “shudder.” and when I say “wonderful,” what’s really meant is “terribly sad and confining.”

“Shudder” of course, is just further code for” violently puke.”

Obviously, Sugar Momma has better things to do than read my drivel.

For many, the end to commitment came when the unwritten social contracts providing lifelong employer-employee relationships in Japan came to an end. If the employer-employee relationship in a land that the overwhelming majority of us will never visit, nor know is no longer sacrosanct, what else could be left for the rest of us?

A good point, for sure, but for me, the end came when new TV shows were no longer given the obligatory 13 episode production commitment. Thanks to the one-time sanctity of that commitment the cable TV archives can be filled with such past unrecognized jewels as “Camp Runamuck” and “I’m Dicken’s, He’s Fenster,” as well as some recognized disasters as “Dundee and the Cullhane.”

As an aside, I also don’t understand how “Dundee and the Cullhane” could have flopped. On the surface, it appears to appeal to every demographic.

With divorce rates now beyond 50%, TV shows getting cancelled after just a single episode and Japanese workers actually being laid off, there is obviously no love lost for commitment. The fact that paul Reiser now works at at Nagashima Datsun assembly plant is reason enough to decry the loss of our sense of commitment.

And then there’s “buy and hold.” A strategy which to me always seemed more commited to a specific stock rather than to profits.

I received some interesting feedback on Twitter today, in response to yesterday’s blog “Achilles and his Heel”  that actually was the impetus for today’s theme. Interestingly, that same Tweeter, Dasan, was responsible for the theme of the previous day, as well.

Follow him. I’ve said so before. He’s funny, insightful and humble. Plus, given his training, he probably knows at least a dozen ways to decapitate or incapacitate you in the event of a perceived need to do so.

The comments were related to the commitment and loyalty people had for Amazon and Jeff Bezos, in part, because they also believed that Amazon was loyal to their customers.

Whereas you can be both loyal and stupid, this is not one of those situations. Despite what may be a near term stumble with its Apple like hyped Kindle Fire, based on early adopter comments, the very idea that the loyalty is perceived to be bi-directional is beyond MasterCard “priceless.”

It’s almost like Japan redux.

I think that I’ve demonstrated commitment in the past.

Forget about the 27 years with Sugar Momma. That’s a walk in the park, especially compared to the 75+ years that her grandparents put in together.

Until they died.

Instead, let’s talk about things that really matter.

Earlier today, Mohammed El-Arian of PIMCO commented that “US economic conditions are terrifying.”

As we both continue to New York Mets fans, you obviously have to excuse El-Arian for his emotions getting the best of him. Continuing to be a Mets fan, even after moving far away and after such a performance drought, has to shed some darkness on your credibility and ability to critically assess circumstances.

But that’s commitment. Not the same level of commitment that he showed to the Harvard Fund, but far greater.

I don’t practice “buy and hold” and don’t have an emotional attachment to any of my shares, but I still think that I have commitment in that area, as well.

I certainly haven’t bailed on Amazon, which although up a bit in Tuesday’s trading, has had a bad recent stretch.

My tendency is to stick with loseres. Now that may be an example of where loyalty and stupidity do intersect, but I’m much more inclined to give up on winners in the name of profits.

A commitment to profits means letting go and giving up on the loyalty to your winners.

How ironic, especially if you take a superficial view of things.

In one regard, I suppose that I’m like Charlie Sheen, in that I don’t lke losing and I especially don’t loke taking losses. Again, not really a commitment to a specific stock, but rather a commitment to avoid losing.

Oh, and I also like hookers and crack.

In the case of Amazon, it currently makes up about 7% of my portfolio. At one recent point it was higher, as its price drop has outpaced the S&P 500. Although offset a bit by options premiums, that bit, in homage to the recently departed Lee Pockriss, is itsy bitsy.

I shop Amazon consistently. I hate going into stores and malls. Sugar Momma hasn’t bought a real book in a couple of years, although she probably buys two new Kindle titles each week. We give Amazon gift cards.

Get the idea?

Best of all, I sell more copies of the Option to Profit book on the Kindle platform than any other.

Did I mention that I like profits?

But all of that spells commitment.

Whatever happens to the Kindle Fire or any of its successors, if any, Amazon, as lead by Jeff Bezos will continue to reward loyalty, whether you’re a shareholder or consumer.

Yet, I look forward to the day that I can let my shares go. And really, I never ask for much. I usually am happy to see my shares go for whatever I paid for them, as long as there were plenty of options premiums in-between.

But when I do, I further make the commitment that I’ll re-purchase shares the very first opportunity that they’ve come down in price.

The nice thing is that there’s really not that much downside to commitment unless it’s stupidity that keeps you in the game.

In a totally unrelated Tweet, yet from the very same muse was the thought that there’s no reason to worry unless the SPX goes to zero.

That’s precisely why you need to follow him.

On the road to zero, and I have no doubt that day will come, there will be a near infinite number of other melt down situations that will cause many to give up their commitment and forever take it on the chin. That lack of commitment will just lead to a double dose of disappointment as the obligatory upswing is seen only with the eyes of a spectator.

You show your commitment by being a participant, even if that means “buy and hold.” You show your stupidity by “panic and sell.”

Would you like to buy Amazon shares from me?