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Kanye West meets his match in Zappo’s Tony Hsieh

Written By | Nov 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2013 — The stock market proving volatile as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It’s been boring, actually.

But almost as if on cue, genius entertainer Kanye West-the nation’s most prominent narcissist after Barack Obama-has recently offered us some comic relief from the dullness by picking a fight with the the boss of online shoe merchant Zappos.

According to an article in USA Today, “the rapper/fashion designer got heated during a meeting with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh…. As West describes it: ‘I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos that he’s trying to tell me what I need to focus on. Meanwhile, he sells all this (expletive) product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling (expletive) product,’” West sagely observed.

Refusing to be intimidated by the obnoxious West, the puckish Hsieh didn’t miss a beat. He promptly countered the entertainment Sith Lord’s sage observations by putting up a special product page on Zappos’ website. You can see that product in the photo above, which appears at the link with the following caption:

“Interested in buying sh-t product? You’ve come to the right place! Here at, we happily sell sh-t products to everybody! This is the throne, everyone has been watching. Whether you’re #1 or #2, your clique will show no mercy, even in Paris.”

The video posted in our Zappos link no longer has the video portion but still carries the hilarious audio of Hsieh’s spoof commercial. The following video report on the incident catches the spirit of Hsieh’s rejoinder.

Meanwhile, business journalista types will be back at the end of the week for their annual, breathless reports on Black Friday shopping trends. On the flip side of the holiday shopping meme, with the fashionable winds of Kanye West hypomania at his back, Hsieh and his Zappos package packers had best gear up for a boffo Cyber Monday selling far more product than his blowhard antagonist will peddle over the next decade.

If you think about this whole West-Hsieh call and response thing, it makes you wonder: If we had even a few candid, decisive, unintimidated and action-oriented Tony Hsieh types here in D.C., the Federal government might finally learn to confront the kinds of in-your-face cosmic problems it generally avoids while spending most of its time trying to put the finishing touches on a national one-party system that will absolutely exclude the Brothers Koch. Little things like, you know, nonexistent budgets, out-of-control entitlements, a brand new, incomplete and entirely failing national socialist health scheme, the vanishing middle class, and the disgraceful dearth of meaningful jobs after a four-year “economic recovery.”

These and other failures — like the “diplomatic” capitulation to Iran, whose single-minded mullahs will systematically ignore everything it’s allegedly agreed to just as Ho Chi Minh once did — are likely to clobber markets early next year. That’s when the true magnitude of these epic debacles finally shows up on the radar screens of all but the most cretinous low-information voters.

But heck, we still have the rest of 2013 to celebrate. Après Ben, the deluge?

Trading Tips

After this highly unpredictable trading week runs its course, Wall Street is likely to resume 2013’s surprising Santa Claus rally before allowing fiscal realities to set in. For the present, portfolio managers need to do some year-end window dressing. They’re festooning their model portfolios with proven 2013 winners they’re only now getting into their Christmas lists, the better to cadge swell year-end bonuses, the likes of which the 99% will never see.

We’ll pretty much steer clear of the market this week, perhaps trying to short gold again, given the metal’s continuing, pitiful performance.

But note two year-end trends you can take advantage of. As those portfolio managers load their spreadsheets with holiday goodies they didn’t own this year, they will stuff their Christmas stockings with lots of blue chip stocks. Market-wise, this works to the benefit of the big guys and to the detriment of Russell 2000 small and midcap types. So stuffing your own stockings with a few Dow 30-sized companies mightn’t be a bad idea either.

Second, tax-loss selling likely started early in the fourth quarter and is wrapping up now. Perfectly good companies with great promise but with middling 2013 numbers have, by now, been beaten to a bloody pulp by traders eager to minimize outsize gains with some losses before submitting their totals to the IRS.

Collectively, such stocks are known as “year-end bounceback” candidates. That’s because, when the beatings cease, the best of these stocks tend to rebound with surprising vigor in the New Year when the pressure is off. This can lead to some impressive gains for your own portfolio if you pick them up now during the current holiday fire-sales.

We’ll list a few of our favorite bounceback candidates in a forthcoming column.

As for now, this week’s best investment idea is to start loading the kitchen and the fridge with a Butterball turkey (if you can find one) and all the trimmings—before Nannie Bloomberg and his fellow billionaire scolds ban them all.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate.

Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment ideas and decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk. Caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17