Call Me Skeptical


Put me down as skeptical that this whole Tariff/Trade War narrative will blossom as the media fears that it will.  I believe the Trump administration is using tariffs as a way to negotiate and to extract other concessions from various trade partners.  Let’s take China, for instance.  Talk with any business person who does business with or has a manufacturing plant in China, and they will tell you that theft of intellectual property is a big issue.  Take golf clubs, for instance.  Most of the major golf club companies manufacture in China.  Why is it that you can go to a major golf retailer and find knock-off brands that look exactly like the major brands but cost much less?  Because Chinese manufacturers take the clubhead mold, copy it, and go down the street and set up shop on their own using the copied mold.  There are similar stories out there in a number of different industries.  The Trump administration states they are acting with tariffs in an effort to end intellectual property theft.

I hate tariffs because they harm the general public in an effort to protect a small segment of the economy.  Steelworkers may enjoy steel tariffs but the general population won’t enjoy paying more for their cars.  All that said, you can’t argue with the administration’s position that intellectual property theft is a problem.  I would argue that there may be better ways to affect intellectual property theft.  However, whatever has been tried to date has not been fully successful.  I am skeptical that the threat of tariffs will be any more successful than has any other method of negotiating with people who steal intellectual property.

Stay in the USA

I think another part of the tariff threat is to encourage US manufacturers to remain in the US.  This, in addition to Trump outright shaming companies who consider moving out of the US, such as he recently did with Harley-Davidson.  Maybe the thought that a company’s goods would be hit with a tariff once they are imported back into the US will be enough to make the company choose to remain in the US.  Seems far-fetched but maybe.


There is near unanimity in the financial press that tariffs are bad.  This is another reason why I am skeptical that the tariff threat will amount to much.  President Trump loves to tweak the press.  He will do things just to spite the press, but I don’t think he will actually act to harm the US economy.


Another reason given out there is that Trump is floating tariffs in order to prop up his electoral base prior to the 2020 Presidential Election.  This seems far-fetched to me because I am not reading about a groundswell of support for these tariff threats.


While I concede there will be some targeted tariffs implemented, I don’t think tariffs will be widespread and I think the negative press about tariffs will far outweigh the actual tariffs.  I believe tariffs will eventually put on the back burner as an issue when some other issue arises to take its place.  As for your investments, hold your course, and maybe look for any correction caused by new tariff threats as an opportunity to add to your positions.


Emerging Markets

Several other bloggers/columnists that I follow have pointed this out so I will as well.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) just issued its projected growth report for various world economies.  Here it is:

I know, it is hard to read.  Here is a link to the report, which is Table 1 on the IMF Website:

Good News

There is a lot of good news in the report.  The IMF projects worldwide economic growth to be 3.9% in both 2018 and 2019.  That’s a significant growth rate!  Emerging economies are projected to grow in the 5%-range for the next two years and Advanced economies in the low-2% range.  There are zero regions in which the IMF projects there will be negative growth for the next 2 years.  That is very good news for world economies!

Emerging Markets

What constitutes an Emerging Market for the IMF?  The two largest are China and India, the two most populous countries on earth.  Together, they represent most of the projected growth:  Mid-6’s for China and mid-7’s for India.  Pretty much every country except for the US, Western Europe, Canada, and Japan are Emerging Markets.  Russia is the laggard among Emerging Markets, with growth there projected at only 1.5%.  I see no downside to economic growth in Emerging markets.  Growth means more people will become employed, which means more tax revenues to the respective governments, which means more services to their populations.  Capitalism at its best.

Bad News

From an investor’s perspective, the bad news (if you want to call it that) is that the US economy is among the strongest in the Advanced world.  Because the US economy is stronger, our interest rates are going up faster than those in other Advanced Economies.  Higher US interest rates mean that the US Dollar will strengthen and other currencies will weaken, in relative terms.  For countries, especially Emerging countries, who need US Dollars to pay for goods such as petroleum products, the stronger US Dollar means those goods they need become more expensive, which may hinder their growth.  Thus, it is not as simple as looking at these IMF projections and conclude that you should buy Emerging Market equities because their growth will be greater.  The changes in currency values will be a check on the economic growth.  Will the US Dollar strengthen so much that it will overshoot the growth in Emerging Markets, and therefore cause Emerging Market stocks and ETF’s to depreciate in Dollar-denominated value despite their greater growth?  That is what we investment managers use our crystal balls for.


I think the US Dollar will not increase substantially more from where it is now because other economies and central banks will also raise interest rates as their economies grow faster.  Therefore I think it is wise to at least have exposure to if not overweight Emerging Market stocks through ETF’s such as iShares EEM.  Having international exposure is always a good idea and the high growth rate just projected by the IMF is another reason why you should not have all of your eggs in the basket of US markets.


Wow!  What an amazing run for Netflix stock (NFLX)!  It has risen from $192 to $400 YTD this year alone, which is a more than 100% increase.  That ain’t bad, as Yogi would have said.  As the below Weekly chart shows, NFLX was in the low-$100 range or below that during most of 2016, then began its upward run during the Fall of 2016, just before you-know-who was elected President.  NFLX hasn’t looked back since.  NFLX is so high now that 2 analysts (Buckingham and UBS)  have downgraded NFLX just because they believe NFLX has met its price target already and now may be priced too high.

Original Content

The impetus for NFLX’s run upward has been its original content.  Quality original content is what drives subscriber growth.  Netflix’s original content has been very good.  Emmy Award nominations were just announced and Netflix had the most of any network with 112 nominations, ahead of HBO’s 108.  This speaks to the high quality of Netflix’s content.  Subscribers will pay the $11/month if they are getting good value in return, and they are, so far.  This article posted on Investopedia says that Netflix will spend $13 Billion on original content in 2018, more than the $8 Billion Netflix had targeted at the beginning of 2018.  That’s what happens when your stock price doubles.  The Investopedia article also states that the average Netflix subscriber streams 90 minutes of original content per day and that Netflix streaming accounts for 1/3 of all internet traffic.  Think about that!  There must be subscribers out there who do nothing but sit there all day and stream Netflix, to bring the average up, because I don’t come close to streaming 90 minutes per day.

Will the quality original content continue to result in subscriber growth?  Many who follow the subject believe Netflix’s best opportunity for subscriber growth is outside the USA.  If so, Netflix will eventually hit roadblocks via regulatory (China) and affordability (India) issues.


Update:  Netflix’s 2nd Quarter earnings were released and revealed that Netflix’s subscriber base grew by “only” 5 million vs. 6 million forecast for the quarter.  The stock is down about 13% to about $347, meaning NFLX hasn’t doubled in 2018 after all.  That’s a big hit in the stock but it means the stock is only up 75% this year instead of 109%.  Still pretty good.  Let’s see how it runs from here.


I am skeptical that Netflix can continue its string of success in producing high-quality programming content at a relatively low and contained cost.  Netflix’s formula has worked so far, but this being Hollywood and the entertainment industry, there is likely to be a point at which either Netflix produces a dud or a string of duds, and/or stars will want to be paid more to do jobs for Netflix.  In a way, Netflix has been the New England Patriots of the entertainment industry:  getting good value work from previously-unknown players/actors, but then jettisoning them when they have problems (Kevin Spacey) or grow too big for their britches.  Every other Hollywood studio throughout history has eventually fallen victim to hubris.  Will Netflix be the first not to fall victim as such?  I doubt it, but that doesn’t mean Netflix will implode when it hits an inevitable rough patch.  I just believe that its rate of growth will slow down, which will disappoint Wall Street analysts, which will spark turbulence for NFLX stock.  I also believe that there will be increased competition for the streaming eyeballs.  Amazon Prime is a player and I believe there will be others.   With 5G connectivity on the horizon, we will see what new technologies that will spur and what companies will be there to take advantage of the new technologies.  I believe Netflix is a great service, but not one that will conquer the world.  I wouldn’t short it, but I wouldn’t go all in with it as an individual stock play.  I own NFLX through my QQQ and other ETF’s and I believe that’s the best way to play NFLX while remaining diversified.

Opening Day At Saratoga Race Track

Opening Day

Today is Opening Day at Saratoga Race Track, one of my favorite places to go.  I am reposting this from the same day a year ago because it discusses why I enjoy horse racing and why horse racing is different than investing.

One of my favorite hobbies is horse racing.  The Sport of Kings.  So-called because only a King can afford to own racehorses.  I do not own racehorses.  My interest is in watching them race and placing my bets to see if I can predict which one will win.  Our daughter rode Equestrian when she was in school, and we owned a horse and then leased a horse for her.  Owning an Equestrian horse is without a doubt a money-losing proposition.


Horse racing and Investing are similar but not the same.  They are similar because the racing fan can get the Daily Racing Form (similar to an investor’s Value Line or Morningstar report or even a company’s financial statements) and analyze the data therein.  The better determines which horse they think will win or be in the money (like an Analyst who labels a stock Buy, Hold or Sell after their review), and then watches the race play out (like those of us who watch the stock ticker or look at our monthly brokerage statements).  They are similar because money management is of paramount importance.  One of the best books on money management in any capacity is “My $50,000 Year At the Races” by Andrew Beyer.  In the book, Beyer discusses how he went from his Ivy League education to trying to make enough money to live on by gambling at the horse races.  It was the late 1970’s and $50,000 was enough money then.  He bided his time until he felt the odds were in his favor and then wagered big.  At the end of that year, he calculated he made the bulk of his $50,000 in only about a handful of races.  A great lesson for investment managers as well:  Bide your time and stay in the game until you see a great opportunity, whereupon you Bet The House.   Beyer became a newspaper columnist and also developed a system of normalizing past performances by horses and come up with a Speed Rating number that today is a standard that is provided for every horse for every race in the Daily Racing Form.  That book is called “Beyer On Speed”.  If you haven’t yet figured it out, I love reading the Daily Racing Form.  Past performances, fractions, pithy descriptions of what each horse did in each race, jockey/trainer profitability based on $2 bet each time this jockey rode a horse trained by this trainer – the Daily Racing Form has it all.  I so wish there was something equivalent in the Investing world, where all the information an investor wants is in one newspaper.  


Horse Racing and Investing are similar also because, different than other forms of gambling, in horse racing the bettor can hedge and diversify.  Let’s say there are 10 horses in the field, and you think after reading the Daily Racing Form that 3 of the 10 are clearly better than the other 7.  However, you can’t tell which of the 3 will win.  There are some simple ways to address this.  One is to “box” the three horses in an Exacta.  Then, if 2 of your 3 horses run 1st and 2nd, then you win.  It costs more for an Exacta, but then again Investing hedges also cost more than a pure play investment.

Another way to hedge in horse racing is to bet to Place (2nd place in the race) or Show (3rd place in the race).  The payoffs are smaller, but a bettor can still make money through Place and Show bets.  Sometimes, Exacta and Place and Show bets are the difference between winning and losing at the Track.  

What would an Exacta Box in Investing look like?  Let’s take the 3D Printing industry as an example.  You determine that the 3D Printing industry is likely to have exponential growth, but you don’t know what specific companies will come out on top.  You think 3D Systems, Stratasys and Protolabs are most likely to succeed, so you invest in all three equally.  Then see how it plays out.  In doing so, you have invested in the 3D Printing industry, not necessarily just one company, because you think these 3 will clearly be the winners.  This strategy should outperform a 3D Printing ETF, because you have not invested in non-winning companies.  What if a new player enters the 3D Printing market?  You can adjust your bet – there is not an “ending” to the 3D Printing industry.  

This “Exacta” strategy makes a lot of sense in a lot of emerging industries.  In many new industries, 2 or 3 companies usually emerge as the market leaders over time.  Think Coke and Pepsi, McDonald’s and BK, or Boeing and Airbus.  


Other industries, though, are different, with one giant market leader.  Google has destroyed all rivals in web search.  Microsoft owns the operating systems business.  Apple is top of the heap in smartphones.  Facebook seems to be the Social Media leader.  Amazon wins hands down in retail.  Netflix?  I’m a skeptic.  These are the FANG stocks (FAANGM?).  These were all Win bets.  They are all Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes (YouTube it if you don’t know it).  Win bets always pay the most.  What do you think is the next Win bet?  


Investing is different than horse racing because, in horse racing, results and payoffs are binary, and horse racing odds are stacked against the bettor and in favor of the House.  The race is run, and you either win or lose your bet.  The race is over.  In investing, it is never over, and you can always adjust your investment allocations.  

Horse racing odds are not in the bettor’s favor.  The odds on the racing tote board are Odds Against that horse winning the race.  The Odds can easily be converted to a Probability, as follows:  

Second Number listed in the odds divided by Sum of Both Numbers listed in the odds

So, let’s say a horse is listed as 5:1.  That means bettors think there is a ⅙ probability that horse will win (1 divided by 5+1 or 6).  ⅙ means a 16.7% probability (or possibility) of that horse winning.

How are the odds stacked against the bettor?  Take the odds for all the horses in the race, convert them to a percentage possibility using the math above, and then add up all of the percentage possibilities for all of the horses.  They will add up to more than 100% – usually between 120% and 150%.  That means that, collectively, the horses are overvalued, and that their odds against winning are understated.  


Horse racing is for fun, for my own entertainment.  Investing in the market is serious business, even though it is still fun for me.  I only bet up to $20 in one race, usually much less.  I take much larger positions in the market.  They are not the same thing.  It is interesting to transpose the terminology from one activity to the other.  Think about how you are approaching them each within a theoretical framework.  Smart money management is key to both activities.  So is discipline – don’t bet or invest without first having done your homework, and then don’t do your homework and not wager or invest accordingly.  Have a methodology and stick to it.  

Wages Are Increasing

The US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its June 2018 report on employment and wages last week.  Among other things, it showed that wages increased at a faster pace than they have in several years.  Overall, non-farm wages increased 2.7% year over year in June, which is faster than several years in the 1’s and low 2’s.  However, wages increased in some industries faster than they did in others.

Here is a link to the BLS table that shows the raw data.  Here is a link to an Excel spreadsheet that I created using the BLS data that shows the percentage increase by labor sector:


My Excel spreadsheet shows that the wage increases were labor sector-dependent.  Wages in the Financial sector were up 4.63% and wages in the Leisure and Hospitality sector (Vegas, Baby!) were up 3.37%.  However, if you work in Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, your wages rose only 1.19%.  It is not unusual for wages to rise at different rates in different sectors of the labor market.  The news is that the average increase of 2.7% is higher than it has been in several years.

Rise in Prices?

It’s one thing if wages are rising.  It’s another thing if companies raise their prices to customers in order to offset the rise in wages.  According to this Wall Street Journal article, as with the rise in wages, the ability of companies and industry sectors to raise prices varies from sector to sector.  The article says discount retailers and fast food restaurants have not yet been able to raise prices to offset the increase in wages.  The Leisure and Hospitality sector has been particularly squeezed:  it has not yet been able to recoup that 3.37% increase in wages.  Prices for your hotel room may be heading up in the future, but the data shows that they haven’t yet.

Another Part of the Story

The Industrial sector, including all goods-producing sectors, actually had some of the lowest wage growth.  However, the Industrial sector has other headwinds, including higher raw materials costs which are starting to be exacerbated by higher tariffs.  Industrial companies are having a hard time raising wages while remaining profitable because their materials costs are increasing.  So much for the Deflation theory.  Something has to give, and I believe Industrials will have to raise retail prices, which will stoke overall inflation.


This whole scenario is why we are seeing higher interest rates (at least on the short end of the curve) and more stock market volatility.  The labor market remains tight with no sign of loosening.  Unemployment ticked up to 4.0% but that is still low.  Former “non-participants” in the labor force are deciding now to participate (at least at the margins) because of the higher wages.  I believe longer-term bonds (10 years and over) are over-bought currently, meaning that I believe their interest rates are too low and will have to rise.  I believe core inflation will start to match the wage growth, in the mid-2% range.  All of this is not the end of the world, and could actually be healthier for workers seeking higher wages.  However, the stock market may not like it in the short term and so we will have more volatility ahead.

Stuck In a Cave

The world is riveted to the story of the Thai youth soccer team and their coach who got stuck in a cave in Thailand.  It is an international rescue operation, which is something for humanity to be proud of, regardless of the outcome, which has turned out to be positive.

Don’t Go In There

Most people recognize that the mistake was to have gone into the cave in the first place.  This group went all-in on an adventure wherein there was only one exit and its door was closing quickly.  There may have been upside to exploring this particular cave, especially to pre-teen and teenage boys, but the upside could not have been commensurate with the downside, which was the possibility of losing their lives.  Of course, this lapse in logic is not atypical when it comes to teenage boys.

Lessons for Investing

Perhaps I am drawing an obtuse connection here, but I think there is a lesson here for investors.  The lesson is:  Don’t enter an investment where there the risk/reward ratio is asynchronous:  limited upside but unlimited downside risk.  And, if you do so, please don’t go All-In!  You could lose everything!  Always leave yourself a plausible exit strategy.  Realize that if you potentially could lose everything in an investment, make sure it is only a small amount that you can afford to lose.

Casino Analogy

Imagine a casino in a Communist country, and you decide to play Roulette there.  You decide to put all of your money on Number 4.  If you lose, you lose everything.  If you win, that’s great, but the Communist government takes 90% of your winnings.  That is effectively what this Thai soccer team did:  They entered a situation where the risk/reward ratio didn’t make any sense.

Investing Analogy

Most publicly-traded stocks have some market, so you can usually get out of a stock, even if it is for pennies on the dollar.  The same thing for real estate – there is value in the land if nothing else, and the owner can usually sell it for some value.  The closest examples to the Thai Cave are probably some type of private limited partnership, such as an individual oil well that is a dry hole, or an annuity or another insurance vehicle where the insurer is poorly-rated and ultimately goes bankrupt.  In these situations, it is very difficult to sell your interest once you buy it.  However, there is upside to both, and so these are imperfect analogies but you probably get the point.


This being 2018, and with the world’s media focused on these unfortunate Thais, now that they have been saved, it is likely that their story will be sold for big bucks, and their upside to them will have been monetized.  That was probably not their intent when they entered the cave, but things could work out that way.  Another upside to the story, as I mentioned above, and also not the intent of the cave explorers has been the sense worldwide that everyone is pulling for them and hoping for their rescue, even for the poor coach who led them into the cave in the first place.  Beware of caves when you invest your money!

Rules of Thumb

To research this post, I Googled “Rules of Thumb”.  Most of the results were 8 or even 10 Rules of Thumb.  That seems like a lot to digest in one post, so I will discuss 4, all related to investing, money management, and asset allocation.

Rule of 72

This one is pretty well-known.  It relates to how long it takes for an investment to double in value.  The easiest example is an investment that earns 8% will take 9 years to double, an investment that earns 9% will take 8 years to double.  8 times 9 = 72.  If you only earn 4%, it will take 18 years to double.  This assumes compounding of returns.  This is one reason investors are favoring equities.  With returns on fixed income securities as low as they are, investors are seeking a shorter time for their investments to double in value.   Do the math yourself.  The Rule of 72 us a rough estimate but it is very helpful.

120 Minus Your Age

This is an estimate of how much of your portfolio you should allocate to equities.  If you are 50 years old, this rule says you should allocate 70% of your portfolio to equities, and the rest to safer investments such as cash, cash equivalents, and bonds.  If you are only 10 years old, you should borrow 10% of your net worth and stick it in the stock market (just kidding!).   I like this because it illustrates that you should keep a relatively large percentage in equities even when you are over 50 years old because you are probably going to live many more years and you will need the money.  It also reflects that equity returns have continued to exceed returns on fixed income investments and older investors will need the equity returns as they get older.

Save 20 Times Your Gross Annual Income

If your gross annual salary is $100,000, this Rule posits that you need to have $2 million in the bank when you retire.  If your salary is $200,000, then you need $4 million.  You can achieve a good chunk of this by following my advice in my 401k Millionaire post from May 11, 2018.  For the remainder, you have to discipline yourself to save more.  The alternative is to keep working after you “retire”, or file for Social Security well after your full retirement age, or to put your investments in income or dividend-generating securities such that your cash flow needs will be met and you will live comfortably.


This Rule of Thumb states that, once you retire, you can withdraw any earnings on your investments plus up to 4% of your principal and still continue to live comfortably and keep enough money for your future.  If you had a bad year last year and you didn’t make much or even lost money in your portfolio, then you will have to make some cuts this year.  Too bad our governments don’t abide by this!


Ok, I will bullet-point some others:

  • Don’t buy a new car unless you are planning to drive it for at least 10 years.
  • Only borrow as much in student loans as you are planning to make as an annual salary during your first year out of college.
  • Don’t buy a house that costs more than 3 times your annual gross salary.  This is very difficult in most cosmopolitan areas.


The point of these Rules of Thumb is to incent investor discipline.  They give you some shape and guidance around what you are trying to do.  I’m sure there are other Rules of Thumb that you may live by that I haven’t covered here.  What are some of your Rules of Thumb?  Please email me and I will consider writing about them.


Artificial Intelligence and Investing

There are a number of firms out there that are trying to marry Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Investing.  Machine Learning is closely related to AI, but slightly different, insofar as you need the AI before the machine can learn anything.  The goal is to “code (computers) to think like human beings, and then plug them into the internet to give them access to all of the information of the world (Forbes Magazine, 12/6/16).”  There is so much Past Performance information out there on all types of securities that the hope is that, through AI, computers can learn and discern patterns from all of this information and can make wise investment decisions parsed from all of that data.

My Experience

I am not computer savvy-enough to develop my own AI/Machine Learning program for trading securities.  However, I did for a while employ an outside service that had developed an excellent machine learning program to predict market downturns in certain specific securities.  There are a lot of services that try to do this but I believe the service that I used was the best out there.  Without giving too much away, the service would send me an email whenever it calculated that there was about to be a market downturn.  It was up to me to determine what to do when I got that email.  I found that the service was accurate most of the time.  However, the overriding issue during the period that I used the service was that the market was in an overall upward trend.  Any “warning” signals that my AI provider gave me turned out to be short-term.  The service did not follow up with an “all clear” email once the downturn was over, although the service has since developed something similar that works on the long side as well as the short side.  I have not used this service since we have had market turbulence dating back to February 1, 2018.


Instead of the AI service, I rely on overall market indicators.  While these may not be as up-to-the-second as my AI service was, I find that they are as accurate in discerning the large trends in the overall market.  My indicators tell me that we are still in a general uptrend but there will continue to be hiccups.  We won’t go straight up again but up is the overall general trend.  As a result, I am finding that I am holding on to positions for a longer period and not getting caught up as much in day-to-day market fluctuations.


Having spoken with other investment managers that have used or are currently using AI/Machine Learning tools, I find that my experience is not out of the norm.  These systems are nice to have but don’t bet the farm on them.  They work if the data that they crunch plays out in a manner that is consistent with the past, and they are useful if they are correct more than half of the time or if they show that their trades are more profitable than they are not.  I wrote in my previous blog about the necessity of continual reinvention.  AI makes such reinvention more possible, but there is never an end to it.  For the individual investor, it is better to stick to your plan of investing in a diversified basket of financial assets and leave AI to the rocket scientists.  AI investing may one day have mass appeal but it is better right now to invest the old-fashioned way, through your own diligence with help from investment professionals you trust.



Let’s say you decide one day to buy stock in Google.  You look it up and find there are two tickers:  GOOG and GOOGL.  What is the difference between the two, and which one should you buy?


First of all, the parent company is now known as Alphabet, so when you want to buy stock in “Google”, you actually buy stock in Alphabet.  Google, Inc. is one subsidiary of Alphabet; others include Waymo (self-driving cars), DeepMind (AI) and Google Fiber.  Any business that is internet-related reports up through Google, including YouTube, Google Search, and Android.

Voting vs. Non-Voting

The main difference between GOOG and GOOGL is that owners of GOOGL have a right to vote in corporate elections whereas owners of GOOG do not have such a right.  The difference resulted from founder/owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s desire to retain as much voting control over their company as they could.  Alphabet actually has 3 classes of stock, summarized here as follows

  • Class A:  GOOGL – Has Voting Rights
  • Class B:  Owned entirely by Brin and Page.  Have 10 votes for every 1 vote of owners of GOOGL, thus ensuring control by Brin and Page
  • Class C:  GOOG – No voting rights, but has the same claim on corporate earnings as the other Classes of stock.

Which One to Buy?

If you want a vote in corporate issues, then buy GOOGL.  If you just want to participate in the awesome company Brin and Page created and don’t care to participate in corporate elections, then buy GOOG.  Because of their voting rights, GOOGL is typically priced very slightly higher than GOOG from a P/E standpoint, but the difference is less than 1%.  The current P/E difference is 0.26% (34.46 times earnings for GOOGL and 34.20 times earnings for GOOG, according to  So you are not paying very much more per share for GOOGL and you get the voting rights.  That sounds like a better deal to me, but it can be a pain to vote in proxy elections, so if you want to avoid the hassle of voting, buy GOOG.  Either way, you get the same company.