Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Back in the Game


It seems like forever since I posted. I know my readers probably feel similarly.

What happened, you ask?

The short answers is that both Velocity 2009 and Structure 09 happened. Both of these conferences, geared toward the Internet industry, occurred back to back last week in San Jose and San Francisco, respectively. Being employed in this industry, and extremely interested in the issues these conferences cover, it was imperative that I attend both. Along with, I spent some time working in my company's facility in San Jose, CA, which means that I can now officially claim a tax deduction for the airline flight to San Francisco, partial usage of the very nice rental car I gave myself, and my hotel room.

Unfortunately, my company did not see fit to send me to California to learn how to better serve our customers. Well, because, customers aren't that important anyway when you're a monopoly. You're going to get your pound of flesh one way or another, and 2 pounds on a good day. The tax deductibility of the 2 days I did work takes some of the edge off the fact that I was not fully able to enjoy my trip as a "vacation". I think I'll be returning some time in the near future, and I won't be working when I do.

I was in the Silicon Valley/Bay Area from 18 June until 25 June before taking off to Atlanta for a cousin's wedding. I have to admit, spending time in the Bay Area after such a long time away really made me consider moving back to California. There's just something about the thinking, the ecosystem, the infrastructure which has already been put in place and the people who are part of it. I don't generally like most Californians, but that could have a lot to do with spending so much time in southern California. NoCal and SoCal really are 2 separate states. For example, after Structure 09 concluded, Canaan Partners sponsored the post-event cocktail reception at which I met several very interesting people including Andrew Shafer of Reductive Labs and the great Paul Kredrosky himself. For some reason, this kind of experience only seems likely in Silicon Valley.

While I was gone, my positions in UCO and UNG didn't do too much, but they didn't move against me, which was welcome. I'm still monitoring them closely, probably even more closely now than I had been. The time is approaching when I have to unwind some of these positions. I still like the long term potential for natural gas, and I think oil is an obvious play long term. However, I also think short term technical factors may begin moving against both of these positions shortly.

While I'm at it, if anyone has suggestions for an oil ETF besides UCO, please chime in via the comments. I don't like the fact that UCO is an ultra (2x) ETF, for well known reasons. I want something with better characteristics and less inherent risk.

Anyway, that's what I did on my summer vacation. In the coming days, I plan to write a bit about some of what I did, as well as give my quarterly recap on my personal finances and goal achievement. 2Q2009 wasn't too bad on either front, and with a few tweaks to my debt payment plan, I think I'll be able to achieve my ultimate debt goal for the year.

Stay tuned, and thanks for sticking with me!

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