July 2, 2019

A couple days ago former CNBC pundit Jeff Macke appeared on the QuothTheRaven podcast. It brought to mind his ignominious  end at CNBC which was punctuated, or perhaps precipitated by a bizarre on camera rant in May 2009. I blogged about it at the time, which is why I’m blogging about his QTR appearance now.

Chris Irons of course asked Macke to comment on that incident, and Macke obliged him, laying out the backdrop of the time (GFC meltdown) and what he was going through as a financial commentator who was expected to deliver witty repartee while many were going bankrupt and network TV was attempting to maintain the narrative (“everything is fine… Jeff, say something interesting, next up: puppies”).

This made me realize I had done something back in 2009 that I frequently criticize others for doing today, I piled on. I saw the article about the incident back when Business Insider was still called Clusterstock, in fact I don’t even think I had even heard of Macke before I saw the article, and yet I still pounced on it and wrote a glib hit on the guy that added no context or anything original. It was a dick move and a dumb, pointless post.

In those days I had zero readers following my blog, so no harm done other than karmically to myself I guess.

Today, after listening to that podcast I have newfound respect for Macke and really admire his knowledge of his sector, retail. Here’s a guy who provides a real life lesson of Warren Buffet’s famous maxim “Circle of Competence”. He knows what his circle is, and he is undeniably an authority in it.

What I liked about this talk was the historical context it put around what we’re going through today. Here at GC I frequently ruminate about 800 lb gorillas and how to compete with them, but as Macke takes us through the 800 pounders of yesteryear, like Sears (remember them?) and Macy’s, one realizes that nothing really changes other than successive waves of disruption will continually displace the leaders, and that a well run business that understands its niche and its customers can remain viable and profitable for a very long time as long as it does so.

This was a great edition of QTR, Macke is articulate, insightful and funny. A breath of fresh air in “Our Bullshit Economy”.

I started following Macke’s Twitter, and if you’re not already listening to QTR, you should (just never have it on when you have your kids in the car).


About the author 

Mark E. Jeftovic

Mark E. Jeftovic is the founder of Bombthrower Media and CEO of easyDNS.com, a company he co-founded in 1998 which has been operating along the lines described within these pages.

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