FR: Service Restored, but at What Cost?

Article: Service Restored, but at What Cost?

The next “Fool Revisited” piece this week was inspired by a BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB) network outage. Remember that was a thing that mattered? Back when BlackBerry was called Research in Motion and they were considered the best at cell phone and security tech. It was truly an interesting time in our relatively recent history. At the time of article publication, BlackBerry was in third place among the use of mobile networks. Third place!! How times have changed. BlackBerry now gets lumped in with “Other” when discussing its mobile market share. Ouch!

I once owned a BlackBerry phone. I dropped the Android phone I had at the time and I needed a replacement. I didn’t want to get an iPhone, and it was too early in my personal replacement cycle to get another Android device for a reasonable price. Enter my BlackBerry Z10 that I had high hopes for, but I should have known I was going to be disappointed when I was able to get a refurbished version for less than $50. Let’s just say it didn’t go well – primarily because of a lack of apps and other fun things I had gotten used to – and it wasn’t long before I was back on an Android device. Continue reading

FR: An Airline Stock Rebounds

Article: An Airline Stock Rebounds

The second “Fool Revisited” piece this week covers another company that I’ve written about previously in this series, this time now (technically) defunct American Airlines. Despite the rosy title on this one, it wasn’t going to be a good month for the airline. In my previous article about the airline, I discussed the potential spin-off of American Eagle and how it might have been a last ditch effort to save the flailing airline. Spoiler alert: they never spun it off, and the company still ended up eventually declaring bankruptcy a month later.

The article was kind of written as a panacea for my sister, whose livelihood at the time was kind of dependent on the company. It also served as an earnings preview of sorts, with another subsequent article of mine reporting on that earnings release (it wasn’t good). I may have written about the airline again when it emerged from bankruptcy to become American Airlines Group (Nasdaq: AAL) after its merger with US Airways, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Here is an ancient tweet telling my sister that she made her public debut in my article:

Since the company went bankrupt in November 2011, effectively removing all value from its previous shares, it doesn’t make sense to have one of my comparison charts. Nevertheless, the airline industry is still one that I would avoid, especially when there are so many other options out there for your investing dollars.

Until next time…

Disclaimer: I do not own currently own shares in any of the mentioned companies, and I have no plans to purchase shares of either company within the next 60 days in any account in which I manage investment funds. You can read a little about my personal investment philosophy here.

FR: You Can’t Judge a Brand by Its Uniforms

compound annual growth rateArticle: You Can’t Judge a Brand by Its Uniforms

The first “Fool Revisited” piece this week covers a (former) favorite company of mine for the second time. I wrote about Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) previously and pointed out some of the reasons why my affection for the company was influenced by a friend. I decided to continue covering the company because I was enamored by Kevin Plank and his rocket to relevance versus Nike (NYSE: NKE), and a future article in this series will show just how well Mr. Plank has done for himself – at least at the time – on the back of the clothing company he started out of the trunk of his car at the University of Maryland.

Speaking of the University of Maryland (a school that made the short-list when I was deciding where to go to grad school), it was their Under Armour produced uniforms that inspired this article in the first place. In what has become a “thing” for all levels of sports – look at what the NBA did this season with their “city jerseys” – teams can no longer just simply have home and away jerseys. Maryland was no exception, and their initial offering of “special” uniforms was widely derided at the time back in the fall of 2011, including midweek tweets from then head coach Randy Edsell announcing the garish monstrosity the team would be wearing that weekend. Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton, Part 2

As I work my way through the biography of Alexander Hamilton (hopefully in advance of seeing Hamilton: An American Musical when it makes its stop in Salt Lake), I’ll be writing some thoughts about the book, or just thoughts about Hamilton in general. They won’t always be a direct critique of the book, but we’ll see what happens.

Alexander Hamilton wrote a lot. Three-quarters of the Federalist Papers. A report on public credit and the national bank. A pamphlet about an affair in an attempt to clear the air. Biographer Ron Chernow noted that Hamilton “must have produced the maximum number of words that a human can scratch out in 49 years.” If there were notes to be taken or thoughts about something, It was almost a guarantee that he wrote it down.

This was evidenced by his courtship of Elizabeth Schuyler. Granted, at the time, it wasn’t as if he could spend hours upon hours on the phone speaking with his future wife. For one, the telephone wasn’t yet invented; second, he was mostly away with the Army fighting the Revolutionary War as George Washington’s aide, so he didn’t really have a bunch of free time. Nevertheless, he wooed the young Eliza with his words on paper, sending her a letter nearly every day he was away (we know this because he chastised her for not keeping up with his prolific pace of letter writing). Continue reading