Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Da Radiologists

Preparing to leave Chicago—home of “Da Bears”—after two days of stalking the floor of the McCormick Place Convention Center along with 60,000 doctors, salesmen and investors at the annual radiology show, one scene that sticks in my mind illustrates better than any what makes Chicago, well, Chicago.

It did not occur during the Bulls game that I attended at the United Center (Bulls beat the Magic by 9)—although the legacy of Michael Jordan that still grips this city hangs from every rafter in the joint.

It did not occur at the McCormick Center itself, being, as it was, inundated with about as diverse a population from around the world as you could find under one roof, all talking animatedly and in great detail about those areas of the human body that most people do not talk about—radiologists deal with breasts and colons the way auto mechanics deal with brake pads.

And it certainly wasn’t at Fogo de Chao, the restaurant I went to with a group of radiologists where “The Gaucho Way of Preparing Meat” was demonstrated by a swarm of waiters slicing pieces of lamb, steak, pork and chicken from long metal stakes right onto your place without giving you time to inhale—thereby providing future customers for the radiologists at our table.

It was at a Starbucks.

Early in the morning most Starbucks look the same. Two weeks ago near Carlsbad California, the early morning Starbucks line-up consisted largely of forty-somethingish women weighing all of ninety pounds with their blond hair pulled back beneath a pink baseball cap, just finished with their morning run.

Yesterday in Chicago it was a sixty-somethingish guy who looked like he could have come from watching a football game at Solder Field—leather jacket, cap and a matter-of-fact manner. He got his coffee and joined a couple of friends already sitting down at a corner table, talking about Da Bulls.

Great town.

In a future post we will examine some investment ideas coming out of this conference. In brief, though, think digital.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2005 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations.


mark said...

ok I will take the bait. Think digital = MDRX.
Keep up the good work.

Dan said...

Go bears, Go bulls!

dkman said...

Staying true to the spirit of companies "making it up", Dow Jones Newswires yesterday carried an interview with Ken Lombard of Starbucks who basically said that the company remains firmly committed to enter into the music business, and is "looking into the film and books business as well."

Lombardi goes on to say in this article that "Starbucks is profiting from music sales, though the company does not break down music sales results."

I admire their decision to expand into new lines of business, instead of just following the crowd that is throwing billions into stock buy-backs. However, I can't help but wonder how sound this strategy is for a coffee chain.

credibility said...

More Technical Problems at the greatest E-tailer on Earth, this time during the busiest shopping weekend of the year. "O NO"

Its_strange said...

Mark ...i'm thinking digital imaging

credibility....Something very strange going on over there. Just wish i knew what.

Its_strange said...

credibility...Think ostk cut corners with the recent tech transplant ? Think they botched the job ? Tell you what. This story about thier head tech guy going on a leave just plain doesn't make any sense to me

credibility said...

Its Strange
Re: The head tech guy leaving:
You can goto the link below and read the post under Sanders.
It is a cut n paste quote from Patrick. It is really strange.
(it will probably get deleted after OSTK realizes it is there)

other strange stuff:
Their phone system had technical problems this year, so I am not suprised that their IT had problems.

They spend so much money on Television Ads, but who looks at Commercials anymore now that we all have TIVO. (At least the consumers who spend the most money have TIVO).

credibility said...

The Forum doesn't start till 1pm est. today. Meanwhile according to Ostk's press release @ 11:22 am est this morning, P atrick made the following statement at the forum?

How can that be? The forum hasn't started yet? Call Lt.Columbo

Wednesday November 30, 11:22 am ET

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --, Inc. (Nasdaq: OSTK - News) president, Patrick Byrne, issued the following statement today at the North American Securities Administrators Association's public forum on naked short selling:

Its_strange said...

yahoo board claims is reporting Patrick's comments . Now i'm not sure if its or not but Patrick's lawyer has worked for a internet publication that claims naked shorting has damaged them...

credibility said...

The Announcement is posted at OVERSTOCK.COM's website.

Its_strange said...

This NASAA hearing is being held in Washington DC . Where is Patrick ? lol !

Don said...

Is there a way to keep "its strange" from immediately attempting to hijack every thread on this blog to a discussion of Overstock?

Its_strange said...

Bob OBrien has been going off on naked shorting for years and years and just when NASAA holds hearings he pulls a no show. That should tell you all whats going on here. And the bull analysts should understand now

Don..Fair enough . I'm done

dkman said...


I think Jeff's done a great job of succintly defining the purpose of his blog (see top left frame of this page). I think all would-be posters should read it before deciding whether their contribution will be appropriate. This way I think we will all end up with a better quality discussion, there would be no hurt feelings or need for Jeff to police the comments.

Jeff Matthews said...

Perhaps the world needs an Overstock blog, where those who wish to keep readers apprised of the latest news from from Salt Lake, can do so, without clogging up these pages with irrelevant musings.

Patrick is certainly in the press these days, bragging in Monday's WSJ about an 80% sales gain from 3 months ago, which sounds great until you realize that OSTK's sales have increased roughly 100% from 3Q to 4Q in each of the last 3 years.

And there is today's "I commend NASAA" press release from Patrick, full of self-righteous blather about naked shorting.

By the way, I am against naked shorting and hope the appropriate exchanges will do away with it. I just have no time for putting out press releases.

Fun as it would be to keep up our loyal readers on the reality behind the Overstockian spin, this is not an Overstock blog and was never meant to be. Patrick just made it too easy.

So, how about a blog devoted to Overstock itself? Anybody interested?

MuleMan said...

I was right there with you - for the 15th straight year as one of the bleary eyed salesmen on the floor of the largest Medical convention in the world.
The future of Radiology is in your word "Digital" - Digital aquisition, via direct digital (DR) or digital conversion (CR) is the buzz.....and even more so storage, retrieval, and viewing. Since the advent of PACS, the number of vendors has increased rapidly. I know in my market it is pursued by customers and discussed daily.

Is it me or does every year GE "invent" something that other vendors have had for years? Boy they are some kind of marketing machine.

It was great to see Iron Mike at Ditka's.....and great blues at Kingston Mines....Chicago is a great town, similar to NY but the people are nice.

Aaron Koral said...

Hi Jeff - I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to our fair city. As a quick aside, if anyone is interested, a great place to go when you're in the Chicago area for a Chicago-style hot dog with the works is Superdawg on Milwaukee Ave. near Devon. In my humble opinion, it's the best joint in the city to get good eats to go (I'm glad the Cubs finally signed Howry to upgrade their bullpen relief).

P.S. - When you mention "think digital", however, I hope you're not suggesting speculators think about stocks like Eastman Kodak (ticker - EK) - what a dog!(I could be wrong, though)

Jeff Matthews said...

"MuleMan": GE appears to be the IBM of the healthcare industry--perenially losing share to newer, better products, but still retaining a huge business because no hospital administrator ever got fired for buying GE.

(For one thing, I understand Toshiba's CT scanner is crushing GE's scanner business.)

I visited several of the PACS companies--any in particular that seem to have an advantage?

Jeff Matthews said...

Aaron: no I am certainly not recommending Kodak--they are just as vulnerable in healthcare film-based imaging as they were in consumer film.

Film is, for starters, made of silver--it is expensive and it is heavy. Buildings need to be built specially to handle film.

Film gets lost, gets damaged, gets misplaced. It can't be maniplated.

And with new scanners generating thousands of slices (images) per scan, the docs need help reading all these images.

So film is as dead in healthcare as it is in consumer.

Roberto said...

Oh my god did Jeff just admit that naked shorting does occur? Wow, what a 360 we have all been graced with. Stop the presses immediately! Jeff I thought naked shorting doesn't occur, or as you put it I don't know how to do it or something along those lines. Jeff I am really disapointed in you.

rub1232000 said...

Thinking digital ... how about Amicas? They are the only publically traded pure play on the internet based RIS/PACS market that I have come across. Did you have a chance to speak with them at RSNA? Would love to hear what your thoughts are.

rub1232000 said...

I would also like to hear your thoughts on others in the RIS/PACS space.