Crapshoots

April 25, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

What’s the old saying about risks vs. rewards?

Here we are worried about when to plant tomatoes. Too early and we risk the frost killing them. Too late and we have a weak crop. Get it just right and life’s good. Do nothing and no chance of tomatoes.

There are always risks to stepping outside our comfort zone: taking the plunge for new speakers, choosing a new album of an unknown artist, trying that tweak that seems nuts.

For some, the risk of risk seems so daunting as to lock them into taking zero action at all. And I feel that’s a shame.

If the worst that happens is a missed opportunity or a wrong choice, that seems to me to be a small price to pay relative to having something wonderful happen.

But, that’s just me.

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37 comments on “Crapshoots”

  1. Again, it’s usually about money for the majority.
    A new album…twenty bucks…no big deal, if the music ends up being bland & unexciting.
    A tweak that seems nuts (tweaks are supposed to be fairly inexpensive)…again no big
    deal if said tweak ends-up being inaudible.
    But ten grand for a new amp or loudspeakers that everyone says sounds amazing & you
    find a bit ‘meh’…well that’s a bit different, especially if you’ve got four kids & a mortgage.
    Different strokes for different folks.
    Luckily, with PS Audio, if you don’t like ‘it’ you can send it back within a month & get reimbursed…is there a better deal??

  2. I agree with Martin and I think as a consumer we all have more buying power than we all think and it has to do with patience. Impulse buying is what usually gets us into trouble in the first place because lack of research and due diligence are not as applied appropriately as such.

    As consumers. We need to look into things and not get too whisked away with the hype that surrounds whatever it is we want to buy. It is difficult I know.

    1. I think you and FR basically covered all the bases here. Money is the main factor. Is it $20 or $20000? Impulse buy is fine if its $20 but not recommended if its $20000.

  3. It sounds like Paul has a product nearly ready for release where some say it is ready and others think it needs more work….. these are the very hard decisions of a CEO and a great example of when some in our society say CEO’s are overpaid. Yet they forget that these can be make or break decisions for companies and all the families that rely on the health of a corporation to continue to provide jobs.

  4. It sounds like Paul has a product nearly ready for release where some say it is ready and others think it needs more work….. these are the very hard decisions of a CEO and a great example of when some in our society say CEO’s are overpaid. Yet they forget that these can be make or break decisions for companies and all the families that rely on the health of a corporation to continue to provide jobs!

  5. I’m not a gambler, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. I don’t even go into a record store and buy a random album, I will always check it out.

    I’ve never contemplated any significant level of risk, it’s not in my nature. I change audio gear because of changes in technology, changes in domestic circumstances, for clear performance improvement and occasionally for problem solving (isolators, mains conditioner) and wear and tear (cartridges). A loan or demonstration is pretty mandatory, I even had a new cartridge on loan recently.

    Rarely is it a “small price to pay”. I suspect money is for most people the main issue and, more importantly, depreciation. It makes a big difference if you know you can sell for 80% or 40% of what you paid. There is massive disparity amongst brands. A lot of this is due to popularity, and the more expensive something is the smaller the market it going to be. Best not to get into that position, buy things carefully and keep them.

    There will always be something better, but you don’t need it. My speakers were already one generation old when I bought them, but that doesn’t make them bad. When you have some idea what is possible (from dealer demo’s in my case), you don’t have to believe in miracles.

  6. Mothers Day for the northeast is a good rule of thumb for putting in tomato plants.

    Risk should be calculated with lots of factors (or at least some) taken into account.

  7. “Change comes when the pain of staying the same *exceeds* the pain of change.”
    – unknown

    Tomatoes here in the Seattle area are definitely a crapshoot, but we have had crops that last us forever. It’s a guarantee there will be nothing if we don’t plant then.

    1. Musically, Geddy Lee would sing, If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
      As for Paul’s offerings, I recently took a flyer on his HumZero, which was said to reduce noise from your system coming through your cable router. As I stream via WiFi I was curious. It did improve my sound, even though I had never had hiccups. Easy choice.

  8. When it comes to money, there comes a time when after risking a large percent of your income on investments that do not pan out, one must draw a line in the sand and wait for a safer risk-reward opportunity. Take the current stock market as an example. The risk-reward ratio is recently too great for most people right now, yet as the insiders are selling the public continues to pile in and buy what the insiders are selling. In a bear market those who buy high and hang in there will lose in the short and intermediate term. Those with plenty of money will not suffer. Those relying on stocks for retirement must worry about preservation of capital and would be wise to wait for a more stable market with better fundamentals. Even commodity stocks, the darlings of the past year are beginning to falter, just as they did at the beginning of the 2008 crash. In a serious bear market, all boats typically sink together. Sucker rallies offer hope with little follow-through. This is no time to be placing bets unless you can afford to lose the money. When everyone has soured on stocks and the percent of buyers vs sellers reaches historical lows, that will be the time to go all in. Blood in the streets at market washouts offer the greatest opportunity for gains. Those opportunities come every few years. We may see such an opportunity in the near future if the Fed continues to tighten, there is a new COVID outbreak and bond returns increase due to inflation. When pessimism and pain reach a climax, stocks may then have fallen to a fair valuation and be a safer bet.

    Thankfully, growing tomatoes is a safer bet than the current stock market, although fertilizer and water is getting more expensive.

  9. My system sounds great. I don’t buy anything new until it breaks. If I buy something that sucks I dump it and buy something better within my price affordability. Sometimes I find something in great used condition that might not be state of the art but is the best bang for the buck and buying used could also be risky. Life forces us to live within our budget. When we stray outside of that we get into financial trouble. A good 100 watt amplifier and a pair of bookshelf or reasonably priced floor standing speakers are what most people can afford. There is that elite crowd where price is not a factor, they can take all the risks they want. Unfortunately I have yet to reach that level yet. The rich invest their money on something that will give them a good return on their money, that’s how they got rich. They didn’t get rich by spending their money first. That comes later for them. I bet my system blows away Elon Musk’s or Warren Buffet’s stereo, if they even have one.

    1. The world is living beyond it’s means.
      At some point the world decided that it was a good idea to run on credit.
      Every country is in debt…except maybe China, & we did that.
      The GFC of 2008 was a warning.
      China releasing CoViD-19 is a catalyst to the next world financial ‘correction’.
      Thankfully I have lots of great music to listen to while the world cannibalises itself.
      Democracy is now a joke because it doesn’t matter who we vote in, no one has
      the answers…& politicians know it.

          1. It’s accurate in real time. Looks like a sinking ship. How do they reverse it without putting massive taxes on that destroy the economy? In either case they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They are trying to tackle the problem by printing money but that just caused massive inflation and is forcing the Fed to raise interest rates. This is due to decades of government corruption and spending our money that they didn’t have. The only real solution is to grow the economy through capitalism not more socialism and spending. You cannot spend your way out of debt as some politician’s believe they can do and you cannot tax your way to prosperity. You end up like Venezuela that was once a rich country.

              1. Yep, they just keep kicking the can down the road until that can is like kicking a boulder and you end up like Greece who torched their banks when all of their money was confiscated by the government. People think it cannot happen in their country. “Can’t happen here,” “we’re different.” Sooner or later the piper must be paid. The Ukraine never thought Putin would pull a Hitler on them either.

                1. Taking back Crimea in 2014 should’ve been
                  a hint.
                  China has just signed a deal with the government of The Solomon Islands, 1,200 miles off the coast of Australia, where I live.
                  This means that in a few years Australia will have it’s own ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’.

                  1. The world has become a much more dangerous place since Covid broke out. Praying for peace and the end of the war in the Ukraine. Australia should join NATO. If the Ukraine was in NATO they wouldn’t be at war unless Putin is nuts enough to attack NATO which would be the end of everything. Australia is strategically in an ideal area surrounded by Ocean making a foreign invasion very difficult though. Thugs like Putin are deterred by military strength.

                    1. China & Russia have supersonic missiles & America doesn’t…yet.
                      Falling behind USA!
                      These things travel at 5 times the speed of sound & they can circle the Earth before they hit their target & travel below radar detection.
                      The fact that Australia is surrounded by ocean no longer makes us foreign invasion-proof.
                      Also I don’t think that you have any idea of the massive number of military ships that China has, plus the CCP’s 2 million strong army of soldiers.

                  2. 1200 miles is very far to trigger a Cuban missile type crisis. Cuba is only 90 miles from Florida. Though no distance is really safe with intercontinental missiles. Putin sees the Ukraine joining NATO as some kind of Cuban missile crisis type threat himself believing NATO would put Nukes there but I believe that was just an excuse to take back the Ukraine and try and build back the Soviet Union Empire.

                    1. Hello!!
                      An undetectable hypersonic missile kind of makes 1,200 miles more like 90 miles.

                  1. Also the USA doesn’t disclose all of its military capability so I’m not worried what Russia and China have. Russia is having a difficult time with the Ukraine due to the weapons we are providing them. The USA won’t disclose technology for 35 years. They did that with stealth aircraft that was in secret which were mistaken for UFOs when they were tested. We have capabilities the world does not know about which we should have with 801 billion in military spending a year which is almost equal to all the rest of the counties combined. We are fine believe me.

                  2. One last point. Almost all of China’s military technology was stolen from the USA and reversed engineered so the good thing is we do know how it works. There are a lot of Chinese spies in the USA. Many are young people here attending our colleges. I work for a space, defense, and industrial company and we are on high alert for any suspicious activity. They have their tentacles around the entire world. The west needs to wean off China as hard as that might seem or they will cause us continuing problems and threaten our national security. Communist dictatorship should never be allowed the lead the world economies. When they do you end up with our politicians, our corporations and Wall Street on the end of their puppet strings. It goes from a business relationship to central control of our lives.

                    1. Joe,
                      I absolutely agree with you 100% on that & I keep telling people the same thing, that we need to stop trading & manufacturing with & in China, but it’s like talking to a bunch of sheep.

      1. Some of the large spending is beyond our control from the many normal working class like us. The elites make decisions without any kind of approval from the mass populace that is us.
        I agree with everything you said, Martin. I also think that Climate change is gonna be the next agenda for Fianancial crippling and control. Gas prices right now are not even just the beginning of it. 🙁

        1. Agreed, cannot even trust elections anymore so good luck trying to change anything with voting. Eventually you reach the point of no return or a lot of suffering to fix the problem.

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