My name is Michael Nystrom, partner and editor of Depression2.tv, and Stock Market Chronicles. I have a B.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies and MBA from the University of Washington.
In college I studied the economics & development of Modern Japan, and through the years have kept up with the political and economic events in that country. Needless to say, I'm well versed in the rise and fall of a great industrial economy. In 1990 I was living and working in Japan and witnessed firsthand their economy tipping from boom to bust. The amazing part is that no one, last of all me, noticed it at the time. No one grasped nor understood the gravity of what had happened for many years.
From 1995-98 I worked in the Seattle branch of a national brokerage chain (which has since closed its doors locally, though not nationally). My job was great because I got paid to watch and learn about the market every day from the opening to closing bell, and had the opportunity to talk to a great cross-section of investors with different investment styles and theories. Actually, it is generous to call many of them "investors," as this was the height of the day-trading craze. Gamblers is, perhaps, a more appropriate word.
In April 1998, sensing a top in the increasingly crazy stock market, I retired to travel the world. Things at the brokerage were getting crazy enough with all the day traders that I started feeling more like a dealer in a casino than a financial professional! Y2K had me sufficiently spooked that I assigned 50/50 odds to TEOTWAWKI, and decided to do the things that I'd always wanted to do in my life, lest it be my last chance.
Y2K was not the end of the world, but in many respects, the world will never be the same again. The stock market bubble is popping. War is beginning. And I wouldn't want to travel to Israel or Egypt today, these days. And though the market continued to climb for 2 years after my retirement, I'm happy to say that I left the business the same month as the orthodox top, when the NYSE A/D line began its decline.
Fresh from my vacation and looking for a new challenge, I jumped into the real world internet in April 2000 as a web designer and developer for a design firm in Seattle. Things were great at the beginning - lots of money, lots of optimism, lots of fun. Big, grand parties. As it turns out, I jumped into that one right at the top as well. The NASDAQ had just completed its 2 week dead cat bounce, the grand, final top when I was hired. Like 1990 in Japan, no one paid much heed at the time. Things seemed to go on as before, only with the NASDAQ at a lower level.
Over the next two years, I witnessed the downturn first hand as business slowed, companies folded, and friends and colleagues were laid off. From a distance I have watched with great interest the drama unfolding in the stock market. When I started this website, I was still employed as a web designer, though the outlook for the company I worked for was bleak. The metric had shifted 180 degrees. In the past it was easy to make a lot of money for very little work; now you're lucky to make a little money for a lot of work. The supply demand equation has shifted, and deflation has arrived. In web development, it's a buyer's market. I was laid off from that job in October 2002, one more casualty in the ever deflating bubble.
I've been around the block a few times, seen my share of euphoria and misguided optimism, and I have a feeling that I know what it looks like. The current overconfidence displayed in the mainstream media reminds me things I've seen before in Japan, at the brokerage firm, and at the end of the internet boom.
These are the events which led me to start depression2.tv, with the idea that the Second Great Depression Will Not be Televised. After all, I don't recall anyone on Japanese TV telling folks to prepare for a twelve year recession when I was there in 1990. Nor do I recall anyone on CNBC telling people to sell at the top in 2000 (the mantra at the time was "buy and hold"). That's what I'm here for. The Second Great Depression will be televised on Depression2.tv, but it will also be brought to you live.
Some publications to help you anticipate the changing landscape: