Don’t Trust Analysts

From the New York Times article, “In BP’s Record, a History of Boldness and Costly Blunders”:

BP stepped into another tricky political situation last year, when Iraq offered foreign companies $2 a barrel to help it increase production from the country’s oil fields, which had suffered from years of war and neglect. BP’s competitors blanched at the low price, but Mr. Hayward teamed up with a Chinese state-owned company and accepted the deal.

The chairman of a rival company was so enraged that he called Mr. Hayward and demanded: “Tony, have you gone mad?” BP’s move forced other companies to agree to similar terms. As one analyst noted, it was “disastrous to profitability” for the industry.

The deal referenced happened in November 2009. I’m not sure when these “disastrous” reductions in profits happened:

Shell profit soars on oil price, output growth

BP profits soar, but investors eye oil spill

Higher oil prices boost Exxon, Conoco profits

Chevron, Total profits climb as oil gains

i didnt write it my dad did im only fifthteen what do i know about obama im from austraila so is my dad hes a werido he tinks he can beat gladiator my dad

I had a pretty entertaining conversation with Clint today about internet comments. The above is from a Barack Obama YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44_GDWsm1ZA). It’s indicative of the quality of many internet comments.

Our discussion focused on all the one-star reviews the Hulu Plus app was receiving. Basically everyone is giving it one star because although you can download the app for free, the Hulu Plus service is not free. It will cost $10 a month to be able to watch Hulu on your iPhone (Hulu Plus is currently in beta). I’d say 90 percent of the “reviews” use some variant of this argument: “Why would I pay for something that I can get it for free from my computer?” This question is normally accompanied by several descriptive words, such as “stupid”, “idiot”, “ridiculous”. The review may be, partially or wholly, rendered in all caps.

I’m not saying I love paying $10 a month for, well, anything basically. So I can understand the dislike of a pay service, especially when (given the free nature of the content on the Hulu web site), many probably hoped or assumed it would be free. However, I also don’t think that “paying for something that you can get for free on the computer” makes you an idiot. I think there is a very simple line of reasoning that would lead someone to “pay for something free”:

Can you currently watch Hulu on your iPhone?
No. (Unless you work up some wonky solution like screen sharing your desktop from your iPhone over VNC).

Do you want to watch Hulu on your iPhone?
Yes.

Is watching Hulu on your iPhone worth $10 a month to you?
Yes.

The real key here is the first question. You see, you aren’t paying for something that’s free. You’re paying for something that has no free version; that is, Hulu streaming on your iPhone. Maybe you don’t want that. Maybe it’s worthless to you. Okay. But to act like its some crime for them to offer that product, at a certain price, is indefensible.