Category Archives: Internet

Mattel Disney Pixars CARS: Collector’s Club …

More details here at our new site – TakeFiveADay.com

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San Diego Comic Con … Tick, Tick, Tick 7/8/2008


(Thursday – DefCon 2).

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San Diego Comic Con: Tickets Avail – Tick…Tick…Tick


Chart Reading 101:

4-Day Ticket SOLD OUT

Saturday Tickets SOLD OUT

If you’re planning on going Friday – you might want to hurry.

Not to get too technical but when the bar goes RED, you are out of luck. πŸ™‚

Eventually, we will get around to doing a post on all the exclusives at the SD show but so far, we also have some mighty nice Mighty Muggs to show you – scroll down to the bottom.

If you live in the San Diego area and are on a tighter budget, you can also consider volunteering three hours of your time and you get in that day for free.

There is only online registration now so plan ahead if you think you might want to go … and now, of course, you have to decide on a specific day of days. Good luck! See ya there!

(Thanks for the heads up “D” on Friday going critical …)

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Tiger Woods Apple Core – $36,000

Apparently the keyword in any auction is ‘APPLE.’

Wow, at this price, the guy could’ve gotten 18 Speedway of the South sets but hey, he’s got an Apple core … see, paying $1,500 for the Speedway set, not so crazy now, huh?

πŸ˜‰

Auction Link (sorry, closed in case you had $40k laying around and wanted an Apple core).

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Mac iCar (The Apple Car)

Β© Disney/Pixar & Mattel Red Line Club

No, it is not scheduled to come out in the next two months.

Beyond that, who really knows?

My opinion is that it will be out at some future time.

The time doesn’t matter because whenever it comes out, Mattel will sell it by the bushels.

(A bushel of course, being 4 pecks … er, okay, how about 48 apples to a bushel as an Apple to apple comparison?Β  πŸ™‚Β  )

It is literally an ace up the sleeve … anytime they’ll need revenue for the CARS line, they can whip it out … er, roll it out.

There has always been some concerns that Mattel doesn’t have the right to issue the car or now that it’s been released, those theorists have now modified their fears that it was a limited one-shot deal.

First, that makes no sense logically. Unless there’s some huge falling out between Apple & Pixar, that fear makes very little sense. Is Apple very protective of its imagery and logo, of course – so is any corporation these days because dilution of trademark is well, dilution of trademark …

But in this case, Pixar & Apple could not be more closely tied together and in some senses, even more so than 99% of corporations. In fact, in most corporations, you find it easier to deal with an outside 3rd partner than another department because at least with a outside partner, everyone understands their motive is profit and branding while with two internal departments, the fear is you might make the other guy look good and he takes your job someday (or becomes your boss) … in the case of Apple & Pixar, John Lassetter can pick up the phone to Steve Jobs and vice versa to resolve any issues with one phone call – not many companies have two heads who actually work together as well. So, Apple & Steve Jobs knows that John Lassetter & Pixar is not going to place the Apple logo on a garbage barge … of course, Apple will want to review the design but if John Lassetter & Pixar signs off to Mattel, they will accept it as if their brother vouched for it.

Apple certainly isn’t going to need the licensing money from selling a Piston Cup racer but again, because of the close relationship – they trust Pixar much more than any two corporations can.

So, where does this lead us. Now, I have not look at this particular contract so I cannot say 100% anything but generally, when you agree to license your logo for a film property and for ancillary merchandise, you agree to license for a certain amount of time and with certain provisions for approval. In the case where the “film role” is a car, it’s natural that the merchandising include a facsimile diecast car … anything outside of this “role,” will require new approvals – for instance, if they decided they wanted to make an Apple Car playset (which does not appear in the film), they would need additional approval but the car will be included in the general merchandising rights. With that said, there are obvious sign-offs for approval for each appearance. For instance, Apple probably wouldn’t approve a “wrecked” version of the Apple car.

Conversely, Mattel realizes this car is not only wanted by the CARS collector but also byΒ  Mac fans so there’s no real point in selling it as a single carded car when Mattel can make so much more selling it separately … (maybe not $250 as its going for on eBay) but certainly more than $3.59 … bottom line, Mattel could bundle a sealed box of 18 of just Dale Jr.’s & the Apple car and the store shelves would be stripped bare … so my prediction is that we won’t see the Apple CAR in another form until at least 2009 and it’ll be in some special format – why not, it’s clear people will pay anywhere from $40 to $75 for this car without a moment’s hesitation (at $250, the hesitation is a bit longer πŸ™‚Β  ).

But when will it be out is another question. We still have 4 long years before the next movie comes out – this car is worth its weight in gold to Mattel. They can release on tax day in a recession and make serious money with it. Imagine it bundled with a Pit Crew and a trailer? $99? $149?Β  AND it will sell out. So, there are hundred of CARS we’re still willing to buy so my prediction is it will be out but not just yet …

(With that said, look for an update to this chart in the next day or so πŸ™‚Β  ).

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of the South? Bring $1,350, Yep, $1,350 USD

FOR THE LATEST CARS & Piston Cup Info, be sure and visit our new site, TakeFiveADay.com – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!

Motor Speedway of the South? Bring $299, $500, $750, $850, $1,100, Yep, $1,350 USD. $1,100? That was so like yesterday … get with the times!

Man, I guess they were right about the dollar not being worth anything, why I remember when $1,100 would buy more than 36 CARS, a display case & a track … but hey, I guess I’m just a old geezer who think $1,100 is real money … I guess I’ll have to take another 3″ off my bed and sleep just a little lower to the ground … damn nasty 300%+ inflation … and man, it’s a short click from $500 to $1,100.

Or today where $1,350 is the new benchmark … that MOPPY guy was not to be denied going from $911 to $1,305 in a little over 6 hours … where $1,280 of your money is NO FREAKIN’ GOOD here … bring $1,350 (with shipping) or don’t come at all, DUDE!

Yesterdays’ bidding blow by blow …

There were actually THREE people willing to pay $1,000 – t***7 who thought his hidden max bid of $1k would surely carry the day, the e***e guy who jumped in thinking his $50 extra would buy him the set but nope, you needed another $26 USD + shipping …

Mama said Knock You Out.

What recession are people talking about again? It’s all great here at the Billionaire’s CARS Club … Well, I’m off to crush my Apple car and have an Crushed-Appletini – would you like yours stirred or shaken?

We now have at least 3 people who have bid $1k for this set and have nothing to show for it except carpal tunnel … and as “BMW” points out, another auction is at $1k so we’ll have a few more crying into their spilled caviar …

Now, maybe I’m not the right guy who should tell people how to spend $1k of their hard earned money (gold leaf chocolate is nice after my shift at The Dollar Tree).

But maybe this might be a more er, uplifting way to go … $30 buys you a meal for 70 kids or $100 for clean water for 40 people … Or buy an African family a starter farm & sustanance … (a cow, 2 goats, 5 chickens and a cockerel) for $50. Or 40 chickens for $60

Just remember, there’s no point to bidding $1,280 for 36-CARS if you lose! You must bid to win – come on, people, just type that 2 first and be done with it and hey, why not type the 3 first … how many people can say they own a $3,000 dollar set of CARS – not many – be the first! Be the first! Be the first! (just make sure you get the Apple CAR).

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Mini’s Playsets Coming Next (Summer 2008)

First, yes, the Screamin’ Banshee is considered a Mini Adventures vehicle …

If you look closely, Screamin’ Banshee’s front/mouth scoops up CARS (up to 5 at a time) and then expels them off to the side …

Here is a screenshot – as you can see, the Mini Adventures Screamin’ Banshee is so huge – he’s in scale to both Mini Mater & 1:55 Mater … just that you lose the “Mini CARS eating” feature …

Available at Amazon & Children’s Toy Closet.com.

There are also three new playsets coming for the Mini’s line – you’ve seen some photos at Toyfair – here are some shots without the distracting background.

And yes, Lizzie seems an odd choice to include with the Wheel Well Motel playset though somewhere the listings says Sally so the photo might be wrong.

In addition, there will be a box set of the Mini’s called “Crusin’ with Flo,” (Christmas time?):

“… contains 6 favorite Radiator Springs characters. Hang out with Mater, Lightning McQueen, Doc, Sally, Flo and Ramone all in their original decos as they get ready to roll onto more fun Mini Adventuresβ„’!”

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS – Still 100% SELLOUT on eBay (with 11 minutes to spare!)

The Motor Speedway of the South Piston Cup race set continues to roll like a real life Katamari Damacy – and like the game, now at this level, it is just rollin’ & sucking in people right and left and no matter how you struggle, you are in the big ball and there is no getting out πŸ™‚

Yep, after a week and over 60 auctions of the actual set itself – 100% compliance.

That’s right – EVERY full set that has been listed has sold. EVERY SINGLE ONE!

Something like 65 for 65!

Resistence is futile.

We had the closest call today a couple hours ago. One auction went down to 11 minutes left on a one day BUY-IT-NOW auction before someone somewhere went AHHHHHHH!!!!! and then went click-click-click-click BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! (okay, maybe that’s just how I shop on eBay ;- ) )

With 11-minutes to spare … we’re still “perfect.”

The next BUY IT NOW auction with no bidding opportunity is at $750 in 3 days with all the auctions ending before that – all seemingly meeting reserve – so, we are probably a good three days or another 6 auctions before we might face the next test. Of course, anyone can step in and click BUY IT NOW between now and then to move the bar further away but it looks like we can pretty much safety say, Motor Speedway of the South – eBay 100% sellout – in May 2008.

Or at the end of May – something like 70 for 70 and presuming a selling price of around $650 – that’s about $45,000 worth of this set on top of the $300,000 Mattel received on the 20th or about $350,000 in retail sales for less than 2 weeks. I think even Warren Buffet would like those numbers.

For CARS, it’s 2006 again – what economic problems? What inflation? What credit problem?

How many other items are 70 for 70 – nevermind about $650 for an average selling price?

(There was one set of the individual CARS only (no box) that didn’t meet reserve at $730+ but that’s an oddity – also some individual CARS with BUY IT NOW pricing set a prices a bit too high and didn’t sell but if you have the complete kit with the CARS – you can do no wrong – from $600 to $800, we’ll take it!)

So, we’ll see in three days if CARS Motor Speedway of the South can stay at 100% …

This thing is still SMOKIN’, SIZZLIN’ and BLAZIN’!

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of South – Future Value

Reader Matt asks about its future value … while there is no definitive answer, here are some things to keep in mind.

There’s not a lot of history to gauge, for some collectibles, there are some similar things like you can look at the Speed Racer Barbie and compare it to a “Fast & Furious” Barbie and sort of project its future worth and you also have a reasonable expectation of how others display, hide or protect their Barbies to retain their value.

With this set, there is not much to go by – first, there are not very many examples of “general interest” $300 sets of diecast available even limited to 1,000 pieces around … sure, there are $300 1:24 or 1:12 scale diecast CARS but 98% of collectors would shrug to name them … CARS, everyone knows but will people care 5 years or 10 years down the line? Yes, most likely – especially with the sequel coming out in 4 years but if every Piston Cup racer gets re-released, does that effectively negate its value to the racetrack & box … so MAYBE only a Mattel cardboard still sealed and NEVER opened retains the maximum value for this set? You could argue that – let’s say 100 never get opened and the Mattel box is mint and in 5-10 years, it’s worth X.

But what is that mythical X amount worth to you to just store, carry around and preserve a cardboard with something inside? (temperature controlled surroundings – like a closet instead of the garage, etc …) That’s something only you can answer – you just have to look at the prices of the sets selling for this first week – one person made approximately $50 return on buying & selling the set, another person made about $475 after costs … of course, your age, your income and your interest play a great part in valuing things – and of course, the return and effort is all relevant. You might list a magazine you see is selling for $20 because if you sell it, you can just drop it in an envelope to ship it but if you could make $20 selling an old ‘fridge, would you bother? For some people, it’s easy and fun to photograph an item to list for sale, for others – it’s tedium and work. Or look at baby boomers and muscle cars, 40 years ago, even though a muscle car was usually around $4k, scraping together that kind of cash was impossible but now, $60k to buy a driveable muscle car (not even a museum one), sure, why not – just as with this set, for most adults, they remember their college days – who had $300 dollars they could spend randomly then but now, it’s a bottle of wine for a special dinner … 6 hours later, what was that we drank?

So, let’s say a totally sealed box is worth $2k in 10 years, is it worth it to you to know you can have $2k in a 3 foot box? But because the set is so uncommon and Mattel never got around to releasing two of the CARS in any form (they got distracted by the 11,000 CARS in CARS2 πŸ™‚ ) maybe even the open ones are worth 90% or about $1,800 so is it worth $20 a year you’re “losing” to play with them? Or for those number crunchers, note – right now, your set is worth about $700 with minimal effort to sell and maybe $750 with a little more effort … so, even at $2k in 10 years, your appreciation is about $150 a year – not a bad return on $350 in 2008 but that’s if everything plays out accordingly. What if in 10 years, the set sells for $700? Then the appreciation has hit in 1 week and growth essentially went to ZERO for the next 9 years and 50 weeks – now, not such a good investment … things are impossible to predict. There are some toys – even recent ones that worth twice what the store sold them for and of course, there are dozens of examples of toys worth $10 and like a real car, depreciates to a few dollars (in CARS, someone paid over $150 for a Crusin’ McQueen on a SC card – now maybe $2?). Conversely, the Motor Speedway set would’ve returned 30% in TWO hours even before the RLC Club offer closed … worth it or not worth it to you to sell right then and there – there was a profit just waiting to be made.

And as I noted before, you might actually have more bidders for an open set because some people think – if I buy a sealed set, I won’t want to open it – defeating the purpose of buying it so they might be willing to pay nearly as much for a set you had fun with and that they have no excuse not to also play with … I sold off a bunch of redline Hot Wheels that were well played and loved – some even missing wheels but they did not sell for a lot less than ones in much better condition … presumably because they had no excuse not to swap out the wheels or repaint them. And to circle back – you never know – all those people who were eager for Roger Clemons to go into the Hall of Fame so all their memorabilia would be worth tons more … now, suddenly, that rookie card they paid $800 for? Now, not so much.

I think it comes down to this. Whatever happens happens. One reason why Hemi muscle cars are worth so much – a lot of people thought, why bother with a Hemi for a few hundred dollar more for just 20 or 30 more horses … now, worth several hundred thousand dollars more or people who bought DeLoreans because they thought they would be classics – very little actual appreciation – you never know – so just be true to yourself. Some things retain value in spite of everything and other things are pristine but no one cares. Because you can argue that spending $340 on a thing you store away is not the best way to spend $340 also, right? It’s all perspective – so as everything is all about the Star Wars … either stare at your kid and say, “these are not the CARS you’re looking for …” or the other thing πŸ™‚

If you like to collect and keep them in cards, mint and in boxes – neatly organized – great. You do that. We might want to buy them from you someday. If you & your kids want to chip them and smash them – great, that’s what toys are for and in some way, you are contributing to the greater good of all collectors and you’ve take one more off the market as it were πŸ™‚ … so there’s value and there’s value – there’s value in taking out your objects and appreciating their beauty or the value in play (whether with your kids or just yourself) … it’s one thing not to hang a Van Gogh in your 2-year old kid’s room πŸ™‚ and another to not play with a mass produced item … and don’t get carried away in trying to determine appreciation and depreciation for everything. Because like the baby boomers who might be spending $60k to buy their childhood dream, if your net worth is now $1 million, what’s $60k … what are you saving it for? Same with this set, maybe it is worth $3k in 10 years but if filling a tank of gas is $300, big whoop, right? πŸ™‚ and 😦

So, you do the voodoo you do and I will re-enact the great crash in the Piston Cup race – get out a grinder to all the CARS and smash up Mood Springs … make a diorama and sell it for $5k πŸ™‚

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Mac’s: 66% Market Share – Facts Not Spin

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. NPD’s report that Apple Mac’s market share of $1,000+ personal computer is 66% is not really subject to interpretation – except apparently for the last dying gasp of PC fans.

Here’s how this works.

Of the people who had and were willing to spend $1,000 on a personal computer, 66% looked, shopped and choose a Mac. It’s as simply as that.

You can dig further down but extrapolate that generally, the more well-heed your customers are, the better off you are (as a seller) – whether you’re selling cars, refrigerators or computers. For the company selling products, it generally means you have higher margins or better yet, have created a brand of higher value.

In other words, the market share of Windows OS personal computers in the $1,000+ group has slipped from 98% to 34% in 7 years. That is not a good trend.

Why is that? Part of the reason is that Microsoft has poisoned its own name. They traded short term profits (1992 to 2002) for long term branding. By neglecting Windows and placing their NAME large & square in FRONT of every virus report, every global trojan and the poor customer choice of blaming the hardware manufacturer who then blamed Microsoft for the user woes – what are they left with?

A brand that is perceived as a commodity that’s just built in – it’s the OS assigned to you at work much like the OS on the fax machine or the copier. It’s just there. Now, in the beginning of the desktop technology age (1985 to 1995), Microsoft’s brand held esteem as the leading edge of technology and why not buy the brand I’m using at work, right? Why not get my opportunity to own the leading edge also? But Microsoft frittered that away through arrogance, later neglect and now apparently cluelessness – what does the name Microsoft now mean to the average personal computing consumer?

It is the OS you get when you buy a $499 computer. It’s useable, it’s passable but that’s all it’s worth. How can we tell? What percentage of PC users paid for the full Vista upgrade? Versus what percentage of Mac users paid for the full retail upgrade?

And of course, now this stat. Which basically can be summed up as such: If I have or am willing to spend more than $1,000 on a personal computer, I’m 66% more likely to buy a Mac. That’s what the numbers say in black & white. Not many ways to spin it.

Whether you think Macs are over-priced does not matter in this equation because there are literally thousands of PC’s choices that are readily available – it’s not as though there is limited competition in the $1,000+ PC category – the bottom line is those can afford or are willing to spend more than $1,000 on a computer will 2 to 1 buy a Mac now after considering a PC.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with selling to the masses at the low end – there is certainly money to be made, the audience is large – the margins are much lower but it’s a living.

But PC fans & MS still think it’s 1995 – it’s not for Microsoft’s real reality. Face the facts, they are simply the low priced OS of “choice” for those who don’t wish to spend $1,000 on a personal computer. Microsoft should stop having pretensions otherwise, that is the problem. Somehow, because Bill Gates is worth $50 BILLION dollars, that means his company brand should carry high esteem and brand worth but it’s exactly like Wal-Mart. There are dozens of Wal-Mart billionaires also and like WM, the store – they are profitable but everytime WM tries to go upscale or even slightly upmarket, they get pushed back to their new natural order (with WM, it’s the George apparel line).

It is exactly the same with Microsoft now. They occupy the low tier of brand value for consumers now – hence why MSN, the ISP could not defeat AOL (after MS spent $4 BILLION dollars!), why WIN mobile phones sell so poorly after 8 years in the marketplace, nor could they “revolutionalize” the watch industry … not the home networking industry and why after 18 months, they have “shipped/sold” as many Zunes that Apple sells in 1 WEEK.

When given a CHOICE, consumers do not choose Microsoft unless price is the sole factor.

This is also why MSN Search is such a colossal failure – even when FREE and a switch is 2-seconds away, MSN or LIVE Search is still such a failure and LOSING market share after plowing $6 bilion in R&D & marketing.

Consumers didn’t randomly arrive at their mistrust and assignment of MS products and technology to the low tier/price as the sole factor in decision making – this is a hard fought battle of amazing neglect on Microsoft’s part. From blithely ignoring and blaming users for viruses and trojans, their solution after 6 YEARS and hundreds of millions of infections? – send us $100 for virus patches … to the case of the Xbox 360, instead of building consumer goodwill by actively acknowledging build & over-heating issues, again, their solution is to try and ignore the problem – again, poisoning their own well for a short term gain … triumphing 10-million console sales but not accounting for the 10-30% returned and non functional units … and after a year, they have lost 30% of the market to the Wii and slipping behind sales of the PS3 – the pattern repeats itself. They still have a fan base but beyond that?

This is a company that has literally and figuratively failed in EVERY consumer venture since 1995. The company has been propped up by enterprise sales so unlike most companies that can spend some $50 BILLION over the past ten years on divisions that has accounted for ZERO profit, they just keep plugging along as if showing up and saying we’re #1 is enough for everyone to fold up and go home. It doesn’t work that way in the consumer market. Microsoft should do two things – a) either just concentrate on the enterprise market or b) acknowledge that they are a lowly consumer brand and accept that fact and just sell on pricing. They have spent too long on poisoning their own name for anything loftier and even if you want to go upscale and upmarket – their recent attempts are just as feeble and ill-conceived such as the Zune or Vista – both positioned as if they’re cool and better than anyone else. They simply aren’t because it’s from Microsoft – a brand that consumers mistrust and associated with poor working technology. It can be fixed but first they have to get off their arrogant horse and realize they are riding an ass and not a horse – no one is fooled.

Buying Yahoo and/or causing further complications (such as requiring users to have a LIVE name to access anything) is only going to further sink their cause.

They are rapidly losing the highest margin customers to Apple. Those with more than $1,000 to spend on a computer are buying Macs 2 to 1.

We know in all computer sales, while PC sales have slowed to a few % points growth, Apple is galloping at 35% – of course, Apple is starting from a smaller base but growth is growth and apparently with each sale, Apple is obviously adding in revenue at $1k per machine while MS only adds $50 per machine in OEM Vista sales.

So, Microsoft is losing market share in the below $1,000 personal computer category – even to Linux in the below $500 category – and what is their response to forces pushing them in from all sides?

To buy Yahoo?

What happens if Google builds an internet desktop that doesn’t require Windows – knowing Google, it will be bundled for FREE with a $300 personal computer … leaving Microsoft with no high end margin sales (or very much diminished if Apple continues to add 35% growth every year) and Google gives away a free OS?

Windows 7 available in 3 years selling for $169 will resolve this?

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