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Will Bitcoin Make a Good Investment? Phase 2: Economic Uncertainty

Bitcoin has emerged as a solid alternative to Venezuelan bolivars. Even when Bitcoin loses value from $19,000 to $3,000, it’s still out-performing the inflation of Venezuela’s currency. On the flip side, when bitcoin rises in value from $5,000 to $11,000 in one month, it allows global populations to hold an appreciating asset. Despite market volatility, bitcoin makes Venezuelans money, offers them accessible protection, and they are able to escape an autocratic regime.

Although many consider countries with the most dominant GDPs as the countries who set the world’s stage for economic conditions, the emerging markets play an important role as the unrest in these regions can lead to disruption.

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Highlights from Bitcoin Conference 2019

Last week, the world’s largest bitcoin conference took place in San Francisco. Despite bitcoin holding a $200 billion market cap in Q2 2019, cryptocurrency conferences receive less press than tech conferences from companies with comparable market caps, such as Oracle World, Dream Force or even Oktane, a conference by a company with a fraction of the market cap that receives ample press coverage.  Despite naysayers, Bitcoin has proven to be a revolutionary, digital asset. Worst case scenario, if you had invested in bitcoin as a long-term investment at the height of each bubble and sold at the bottom of the…

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Uber Stock Had Disappointing Q1 Earnings: So Why Did the Price Go Up?

Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is blaming timing and the trade war for the stock’s poor performance in its public market debut rather than focusing on the company’s unprofitability. When Uber filed to go public, the S-1 filing showed a massive operating loss of $3 billion per year. The most recent earnings report on May 30th showed the losses are getting worse at $1 billion per quarter for the “deeply unprofitable” company. Revenue is slowing down with growth of 20 percent to $3.1 billion in the most recent quarter compared to 25 percent revenue in the year-prior quarter. This was Uber’s…

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Slack IPO: Pros and Cons

June 20th is the official date of the Slack IPO, although the technical term is not an IPO but rather a DPO for Direct Public Offering. Of the cloud software companies to go public over the last few years, Slack may be Silicon Valley’s pet favorite. You can think of Slack as a cloud-based messaging and delivery hub for teams as email is ineffective for frequent communication and projects. The product is simply amazing in terms of productivity and team work flow. From a customer perspective, the cost of the paid product is offset by the time employees save by…

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Pinterest Stock: Price-to-Sales Risky

Despite Pinterest’s stock climbing from its initial public offering last month, analysts are expecting a first-quarter loss of 16 cents a share, adjusted, compared to a 10-cent loss in the year-ago quarter. With that said, analysts are expecting revenue of $197 million, reflecting growth of 50%, however there are discrepancies between the user base that is growing and the user base that is monetizing, which is what is causing the losses. Last month, I wrote an article on how mobile application companies hide user attrition and how Pinterest and Snap bury important key metrics in 10-Ks and S-1 filings. One…

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Fundamental Stock Analysis Webinar: May 22nd at 4:30 pm EST

On May 22nd at 4:30 pm Eastern, join four fundamental stock analysts on a webinar where they will discuss stock picks, trends and strategies to help strengthen your personal portfolio. Beth Kindig will discuss how to pick a solid tech growth stock and how to hedge in down market. Specifically, Beth Kindig will discuss the differences between how the financial industry defines growth and how the tech industry defines growth, and why a blend of both is essential for picking stocks in the number one growth sector. Beth predicted the biggest stock drop in history in Q2 2018 with Facebook’s…

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Uber IPO: Record-Breaking For All the Wrong Reasons

By now, investors know that Lyft’s ride-sharing IPO didn’t reach $100 per share like many of the media talking heads stated it would, and this will likely weigh on Uber’s IPO. Two weeks prior to Lyft’s IPO, I had warned that the risk listed in the prospectus, which warned Lyft may not become profitable, was more than fine print. Ride-sharing companies use investment money to lower the cost of the ride to create demand, which means the ride you take in a Lyft or Uber is not profitable, and will likely never be profitable. Not one analyst rated Lyft as…

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Update on $ROKU – Will Roku Miss Earnings?

Will Roku miss earnings? I believe Roku will miss earnings at times, but for the big picture, Roku is at the center of an important trend in advertising and this will make for decent returns now and sizable returns in the future. I also don’t play the earnings game often with stocks as my analysis does not change monthly or quarterly. My conviction on Roku is high and can withstand trade war news or a fledgling quarter, which is normal for smaller companies on the edge of incipient trends. What Investors Got Wrong With Roku The first thing Wall Street…

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Why Robotaxis in 2020 Are Impossible and More Truths About Autonomous Vehicles

This last week, we saw Tesla take advantage of the lack of information available on autonomous vehicle technology. Unfortunately, the facts around autonomous vehicles are elusive as PR copywriters fuel journalists, who are churning out content to meet deadlines. For starters, to get machines to respond like humans, within milliseconds, is one of the most difficult problems that technologists have aimed to solve. The truth about autonomous vehicles includes regulations, production cycles, and delays in implementation. I predicted when I wrote my analysis six months ago, that the gap between investor expectations (perception) and commercial deployments (reality) had created an…

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Smoke and Mirrors: How Snap and Pinterest Hide User Attrition

Social media companies today are using smoke and mirrors to hide an important key metric. I’m going to pick on Pinterest first because the social media company recently revealed these issues in its S-1 Filing, and meanwhile, Pinterest stock saw a 25% pop on the day of its public debut. To be fair, this 25% IPO pop pales in comparison to Snap’s 135% stock price increase from December lows. My best guess is that investors are hoping for the next Facebook, or perhaps they aren’t reading beyond the financials, which are on page 13 of the prospectus, compared to the…

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Alphabet Stock: Keep a Close Eye on Third-Party Ads

Towards the end of March, AdWeek broke the news that “Google Mulls Third-Party Ad-Targeting Restrictions.” Criteo’s stock dropped 30% and TradeDesk saw a 15% drop while Alphabet’s stock showed the least impact at 5%. I believe the market did not fully understand the implications of what advertising experts and insiders had leaked to AdWeek. It is my prediction Alphabet will have to let go of roughly $5 billion in quarterly revenue if the company aims to become a leader in artificial intelligence and sensitive data.

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Nvidia Versus Xilinx: Heavy Hitter AI Stocks

This week, I revisited Nvidia for the first time since the crypto bust. If you’re a regular reader of mine, then you’ll remember that I defended Nvidia as having a strong fundamental story due to their developer following and the GPU-powered cloud. We’ve seen the GPU-powered cloud story take shape with the recent acquisition of Mellanox. However, no analysis on Nvidia would be complete without a discussion on Xilinx, which is what I wrote about this week.

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Apple Stock: A New Era of Mobile Saturation

There are many positives to Apple’s story, with a wearables business up over 50%, cloud services up 40%, and Apple News readership at 85 million active monthly users. Apple Music is also now the number one streaming service in the United States over Spotify. Most importantly, Apple has a media announcement planned for March 25th, which will add to the growing services revenue. Investors should exercise caution, however, as the broader mobile market is slowing down and is nearing saturation.

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Lyft: Risky Valuation and No Intellectual Property

Silicon Valley produces a lot of winners; however, I believe investors should be careful with both of these IPOs due to bubble-like valuations, accelerating net losses, and a lack of geographic expansion opportunities. Yet, another concern is the liquidity event the large cap IPO provides, and the level of PR that can be bought leading up to the IPO, which will likely focus on the growing sales…

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“Algorithms are not biased; data is biased” – MWC 2019

AI may seem like an auxiliary technology to how we live our daily lives today, however, it will soon be the primary driver across the tech industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates the world economy will reach an additional 15.7 trillion in value by 2030 due to artificial intelligence. To put this into perspective, the top 5 technology companies today have a combined value of about $4 trillion, which includes Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Over the next decade, AI will drive a market 5x the size of tech’s current global spend. Although this growth is exciting on many levels, the panelists at MWC 2019 voiced concerns about the handling of inherent biases that comes from data, as clearly discrimination by age, race, gender, education or other factors within audience segmentation is counterproductive to the advancement of society that AI promises.

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MWC 2019: A Dose of Reality on 5G, Those Foldable Phones and Bitcoin Has a Serious Competitor

The financing firm Greensill puts the total cost for 5G at $2.7 trillion through the end of 2020. The issue is that it’ll take a few years to see any returns, which will put networks in the red until applications catch up. This, of course, is the fine print to 5G that the lights, camera and action of the booths at MWC didn’t portray. In fact, there was a panel where Mike Fries, the CEO of Liberty Global, pointed out that carriers in Europe have not recouped costs on 4G yet. “You’ve had 10 straight years of declining mobile revenues in Europe with the biggest issue being price,’ he said.

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Facebook Stock: Too Good to Be True

Facebook has financial statements that Wall Street dreams are made of. Profit margins are at 40 percent, free cash flow outperforms due to low capex, and annual growth exceeds 20 percent year-over-year. In fact, FB posted 35 percent growth this past year with lots of runway to go. Meanwhile many of its FAANG peers struggle with high capex (Netflix) and diminishing growth (Apple).

To put it simply, Facebook’s cash flow and profit margins are not only some of the best in the S&P 500, but the best in the world. The ad dollar machine has incredible inertia and advertisers simply can’t turn away. If you are looking at the income statements, then you have every reason to go all-in on this company.

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Pure Play Tech Stocks to Benefit from IaaS Growth

Hybrid is what will drive near future adoption for IaaS. This means security is still the dominant concern while data accuracy and productivity are the primary benefits to IaaS. Therefore, small and mid-cap companies that assist with either of these can benefit from IaaS growth. Below are a few of the more popular stocks in the cloud space. Although it is my belief some of these are overbought, and will have to prove themselves if we do go through a bear market, it most certainly doesn’t hurt to have them on the radar and to look for the right entry point.

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Best Bet for Tech Stocks in 2019? Secular IaaS.

On a micro-level, mobile is hitting saturation, social media faces privacy regulations, chip makers are getting hurt in the trade war, and meanwhile, 5G, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles are too nascent to see returns in the near term. This is one reason I continue to hammer on IaaS as a safe, secular bet. Companies are going through a major transition right now by transferring work loads into the cloud.

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Autonomous Vehicles: Fact vs. Fiction at CES 2019

Nvidia and Intel had a different tone at CES this year in regards to autonomous vehicles. Nvidia’s launch of DRIVE AutoPilot is a smart strategy to boost sales in the short term while the AV future of Level 3 or Level 4 sorts itself out. The Mercedes CLA class is another great example of a strong Level 2 automation strategy. Intel is clearly betting on China, especially Baidu, although China is not …

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CES 2019 – AI Assistants Are Multiplying, Are We Privacy-Ready?

To experience CES this year was to experience the sensation of exiting a large football stadium. You essentially walk in a continuous herd of over 180,000 people. There were many noteworthy displays and freebies, as long as you don’t mind standing in line for two hours or having hundreds of people blocking your view. (The only line I stood in was for Starbucks). I’m also not one for flying taxis or the never-ending release of new television screens. At this point, if you buy an 8K television, it will take years for content producers to catch up to 8K content…

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Why Microsoft (Not Amazon) Will Win the Pentagon Contract

In 2019, the biggest cloud customer in the world will be the United States Department of Defense. The DoD is currently reviewing bids to award a single cloud provider a multi-year contract. Obviously, this isn’t your typical enterprise IT department, transferring from on-premise servers, or a startup who needs the flexibility of cloud infrastructure to scale. The program is called the Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative, or JEDI, and its purpose is to move the DoD’s massive computing systems into the cloud. This one contract is worth $10 billion, or 25% of the current market, which currently stands at $40 billion…

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Here’s Why Microsoft Stock Could Overtake Amazon on Cloud Infrastructure

The cloud infrastructure market is expected to reach $83.5 billion by 2021, up from $40.8 billion in 2018. Amazon Web Services was launched in 2006, which means it took twelve years for the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market to reach $40 billion – but will take only three years for the next $40 billion to accumulate. Therefore, the investment window for cloud infrastructure stocks is far from over. The IaaS segment is currently Amazon’s most profitable revenue stream comprising 55% of its quarterly operating profit, and is also the top growth-driver for Microsoft at 89%. Considering these are two of the three…

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GM Stock Risky Due to Autonomous Vehicle Bubble

This week, General Motors Company cut more than 14,000 salaried staff and factory workers with plans to close seven factories worldwide in what Bloomberg calls a “sweeping realignment to prepare for a future of electric and self-driving vehicles.” Unfortunately for GM, and their employees, the future of autonomous vehicles is much farther off than what the company represents. Investors in GM stock should be cautious, and realistic, as to when new revenue streams will occur, as cutting costs, even to the tune of a net savings of $4.5 billion, might not be enough to wait out the innovation cycle. In…

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Holding Nvidia Stock Will Pay Off Due to Two Impenetrable Moats

Tech stocks are getting slammed right now, and Nvidia may be one of Wall Street’s biggest losers in the sell-off that began last month and continued into this week. Nvidia’s stock has seen a 30-day high of $292 and a whiplash low of $176 – equaling a 40% plunge in the matter of four weeks. Today, it stands at $197.60. Economic indicators and earnings from tech companies have not exactly warranted this reaction from the market. Fears the semi-conductor industry is slowing down based off Advanced Micro Devices earnings report were negated when Intel reported strong Q3 earnings. And while…

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Prediction: Here’s Why Roku Will Be The Next Tech Darling

Roku’s earnings report for Q3 is scheduled on a potentially volatile trading day depending on how the broader markets react to the mid-term elections. The uncertainty around this outcome, along with rising rates, geopolitical trade uncertainty, and a host of companies tempering their Q4 outlook has caused a style rotation, which has pummeled tech stocks. Regardless, Roku is a mid-cap growth stock in the tech sector that will continually prove itself against headwinds as the company is poised to become one of the most opportunistic growth stories in the market by 2023. The reason for this is simple: connected TV…

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Can Programmatic Ads Save Spotify?

Summary: According to Q3 earnings calls, Spotify may seek to broker user data in order to keep average revenue per user afloat. Known as programmatic advertising, this method of monetizing data to supplement music revenue may be Spotify’s only hope to stave off competitors who nip at the heels of the music-streaming app Portions of this article were originally published September 27th, 2018 under 8 Reasons Spotify will be a Sell Recommendation by 2019 at $184 per share. This analysis has been updated to include the recent partnership with Google and programmatic offering Ad Studio. Half Full or Half Empty? -6%…

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What Everyone Should Know Before Facebook’s Q3 Earnings Call

Facebook’s earnings call today may be the most anticipated call of Q3. The stock has tumbled since the last quarterly earnings call from a high of $217 in July to a low of $142. Three months ago, Street analysts did not think this was possible – and many still have price targets at $200. I believe bullish financial analysts are distracted by Facebook’s security costs, news feed fatigue and Instagram while underestimating the most important number on Facebook’s earnings call tomorrow –user growth rate. Background on Facebook’s User Growth Trajectory Facebook’s rampant growth from 2004-2017 was due to a viral…

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The Level 2 Autonomous Vehicle Bubble – Tesla, GM, Audi, BMW, Waymo, Nvidia, and Intel

Last month, Autonomous Vehicles fell into the “trough of disillusionment,” which is the downward slope that analyst firm Gartner publishes to show the hype cycle for certain technologies. You can think of this as “winter is coming” for tech products – a time when all of the buzz and excitement finally meets reality (note: artificial intelligence winter is a well-documented thing). The reality for autonomous vehicles includes regulations, production cycles, and delays in implementation for what is an extraordinarily difficult problem to solve – how to get machines to respond like humans at crucial moments. This gap between investor expectations…

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Why Apple Will Never Buy Tesla: Autonomous Vehicles 101

It’s understandable if you missed the headlines that Apple may buy Tesla. That piece of speculative news, like most news about Tesla, has been overshadowed by the PR storm that surrounds the CEO’s behavior rather than based on the technology behind the product. Here’s some background information for those who missed it. Simultaneously with the CEO’s investigation for violation SEC law 10b-5, rumors began to circulate that Apple may buy Tesla. Some of these rumors were started by Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor, while others sourced the VC firm Loup Ventures, and the gossip is still being echoed a month…

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Is Spotify a Bandwagon Stock? 8 Key Issues Famous Hedge Funds Are Ignoring

Bandwagons are easy to jump on but it can be hard to decide when it’s time to get off, especially considering Spotify stock has famous hedge funds like Soros Fund Management, Philippe Laffont of Coatue Management, and Louis Bacon’s Capital Management holding sizeable stakes. Since its IPO in April, Spotify has seen an $8 billion rally in market value for an all-time high market cap of $34 billion following Q2 earnings. The bull storyline is that Spotify is the leader in streaming music with nearly 40% of market share in 2017 – which is double what Apple Music holds and…

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Here’s Why Roku Stock Will Surpass $100 In Next Two Years

Roku’s stock (ROKU) is getting a lot of attention after it reported stellar second-quarter results due to 57% year-over-year revenue growth to $156.8 million beating the analyst forecast of $141 million. Compare this to 37% year-over-year revenue growth in Q1. However, as I stated in my Q1 article, the platform revenue is where Roku will continue to see a majority of the gains. The video streaming platform revenue was up 96% during the period to $90.3 million with player revenue up 24% to $66.5 million. Some of the analysis below is taken from an article I wrote last quarter on Seeking Alpha. The…

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I Predicted Facebook Would Miss Q2 Earnings: Here’s What Investors Need To Know For Q3

This is a crucial time to point out to investors that my predictions were correct. Last April, I published an in-depth analysis on Seeking Alpha along with predictions for Facebook (FB) stock. The analysis urged readers to ignore post-Cambridge Analytica hype as Facebook’s quarterly earnings would miss as a result of GDPR. Specifically, I stated the culprit would be revenue and data sources outside of the Facebook “family of apps.” However, with this article, I’d like to explore this point even further and explain with granularity why the issues have only begun and what Facebook isn’t telling you (source for Facebook…

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Google’s $5 Billion Antitrust Fine

To summarize, the $5 Billion Antitrust Fine on Google is due to the following issues: Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store); Google made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and Google has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called “Android forks”)  source: European Commission…

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Oracle Hit From All Sides: Iaas Cloud and Programmatic

Summary: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the fastest growing cloud segment and will continue to be with AI, machine learning and connected cars. Gartner, an authority in tech analysis, placed Oracle in the “niche player quadrant” (not the leader quadrant) for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) May 22. In addition to IaaS, Oracle’s Data as a Service business model will weaken as marketers fail to get proper consent for ad targeting. Cloud infrastructure is hot right now and for good reason. The world increasingly relies on cloud data centers due to server virtualization, smartphones, movies and entertainment, chatbots, office…

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What Alphabet Won’t Tell You About the GDPR

Summary: This analysis answers the following questions: Search is a large driver of revenue and doesn’t require data but what other portions of Alphabet’s advertising model will be affected by the GDPR? How much revenue do the higher risk methods currently contribute to earnings? Where is Alphabet most likely to incur GDPR fines? How will non-personalized ads affect earnings and network sites? Alphabet (GOOG) was announced in 2015 as a holding company to help separate Google’s advertising business from the sprawling investments in Fiber internet, cloud computing, smart home products and connected car products. While these new gadgets and the…

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Long on Roku – Even if they Miss Q1 Earnings

Summary: Despite knee jerk volatility, Roku will become a large cap stock in OTT (over-the-top) within 2-5 years. While Pay TV operators continue to bleed subscribers, Roku has the best business model to capitalize on these losses compared to highly fragmented OTT and SVOD competitors. In addition, Roku has maintained competitive vigor as the number one streaming device in the United States while remaining vendor agnostic. Going global will cement this position. Roku (ROKU) stock prices have fluctuated wildly from being one of the hottest stocks in 2017 with a 400% return from the IPO price of $14 to a…

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Facebook’s Challenges Are Much Bigger Than Cambridge Analytica

Next month, when General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR) take effect, there will be a seismic shift across many technology stocks reflecting a private data drought. Facebook is a half a trillion-dollar profit machine because of a business model dependent on first-party data which will come under scrutiny May 25 under the new GDPR policies. Average revenue per user (ARPU) currently stands at $26.76 compared to $4.08 at IPO. With strict policies for data control, consent, erasure and portability, ARPU and earnings will drop significantly.   Editor’s note: This article was published on Seeking Alpha on April 17th, 2018 Investors should…

Podcast: How Mobile Modules Will Help Bees

In episode 5 of Tech Lightning Rounds, Beth Kindig goes directly to the source of expertise in hardware devices and hosts discussions with technologists who specialize in the field. Interviews are held in “lightning round” format, which are rapid interviews with tech experts for immediate depth on each topic. The GSMA, or the Global System of Mobile Communications, is the hub of the mobile industry. The GSMA is a trade body with over 800 mobile operators and a further 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem as associate members and is tasked with organizing the largest world’s largest mobile conference,…

PODCAST: Is the Mobile Market Saturated? Mobile Experts Answer

The mobile market is beginning to show signs of saturation with Samsung’s operating profit dropping 60% recently and Apple issuing warnings in Q4 2018. The mobile market contracted in 2017 to 1.462 billion units and in 2018 to 1.42 billion units, and is expected to return to minimal yet positive growth percentages at a CAGR of 2.5%. IDC estimated Apple will sell 242 million smartphones by 2022 up from 221 million in 2018. The most up to date number available from IDC is an anticipated decline of 0.8% in worldwide mobile sales in 2019, published on March 6th. GSMA Discusses the…