SpaceX's first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (Reuters) – SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, on Monday named its first private passenger as Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo.

FILE PHOTO: Yusaku Maezawa, the chief executive of Zozo, which operates Japan’s popular fashion shopping site Zozotown and is officially called Start Today Co, speaks at an event launching the debut of its formal apparel items, in Tokyo, Japan, July 3, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

A former drummer in a punk band, billionaire Maezawa will take a trip around the moon aboard its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.

The first passenger to travel to the moon since the United States’ Apollo missions ended in 1972, Maezawa’s identity was revealed at an event Monday evening at the company’s headquarters and rocket factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.

In moves typical of his publicity-seeking style, Musk, who is also the billionaire chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc, had previously teased a few tantalizing details about the trip and the passenger’s identity, but left major questions unanswered.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted a picture of a Japanese flag. He followed that up on Sunday with tweets showing new artist renderings of the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that Musk promises will shuttle the passenger to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, using the hashtag #OccupyMars.

While the BFR has not been built yet, Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

FILE PHOTO: A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Thom Baur/File Photo

SpaceX plans a lunar orbit mission. It was not clear how much Maezawa paid for the trip.

Maezawa made his fortune by founding the wildly popular shopping site Zozotown. His company Zozo, officially called Start Today Co Ltd, also offers a made-to-measure service using a polka dot bodysuit, the Zozosuit..

With SpaceX, founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, the SpaceX passenger will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-cost reusable Falcon 9 rockets. The company has completed more than 50 successful Falcon launches and snagged billions of dollars’ worth of contracts, including deals with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

SpaceX previously announced plans to eventually use Falcon Heavy to launch paying space tourists on a trip around the moon, but Musk said in February he was inclined to reserve that mission for the BFR.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Los Angeles; Additonal reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Pullin

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Here's Why Valuation Determines Total Dividend Payments For Overvalued Stocks: Johnson & Johnson


In my most recent article, found here, a reader made a comment where a question was asked that I believe deserved a good answer. The following excerpt of the comment really reached out to me because this person claims to have been asking this question for 5 years without receiving a good answer. Here is the excerpt:

“Again, someone please explain to me how valuation determines the future direction for dividend growth and total dividend payments for overvalued stocks. I’ve been asking this question for five years here on SA w/o a good answer. Nothing theoretical please – I want to see actual data.”

Consequently, I felt compelled to write this article because this question is highly representative of what I consider my current life’s work. I have been in the investment business since 1970, and over those many decades, I have always followed a strict valuation investment strategy. However, when I was younger, I applied valuation to growth stocks because my objective was to build as much wealth as possible. As I have matured, my objective has become more focused on protecting my wealth while simultaneously letting my money that I worked so hard for to start working for me. In simple terms, I evolved from a growth investor into a more conservative dividend growth investor.

Examining the Theoretical In Real-World Conditions

The comment cited above asked to see actual data and nothing theoretical. Personally, I think that is a fair request because for theoretical to have any real value, it must apply under real-world circumstances. On the other hand, for a hypothesis (theory) to be proven, it must first be clearly articulated and laid out. Therefore, what follows is the theory, or perhaps more appropriately, the rationale as to why valuation has a material impact on total dividend payments.

The first and most important point about dividends are that they are paid on the number of shares owned. Consequently, regardless of what happens to the share price of the dividend stock once it’s purchased, the dividend amount is calculated based on the number of shares owned. Therefore, even if the stock price falls dramatically, your dividend income will remain the same and vice versa.

Consistent with this first point is the reality that lower valuation is simultaneously associated with lower stock prices – ceteris paribus. Therefore, when you buy a given stock at a lower valuation, you are initially purchasing more shares than had you bought it at a higher valuation. In this regard, price and valuation are related, but they are not the same. To be clear, a higher price earnings ratio related to a given level of earnings results in a higher price than a lower price earnings ratio related to the same level of earnings.

Moreover, it is true that the specific growth rate of the dividend itself (the rate of change of growth from one year to the next) will be identical regardless of valuation. However, the starting yield, which is often referred to as yield on cost, will be higher at a lower valuation than at a higher valuation. Consequently, your future yield will be higher, but more importantly so will your future level of cumulative dividends received.

The comment referenced in my introduction was presented and asked in two different yet similar ways. Here is a second excerpt, which was originally stated in the first two paragraphs of the comment:

“*** re: NEE “…there are some who think they can redeploy the net $12,000 into a better investment that will grow even more over the next 5 years. ***

In order to define “better”, the question that needs to be answered is what is the goal of the investment? If the goal is dividend growth and total dividend payments over a defined time period, someone needs to explain how the “elevated” valuation will affect future dividend growth and total dividend payments.”

I offer this second excerpt in order to establish a clarification. If the question relates to the current investment, the “elevated valuation” will not change the future dividend growth nor the total payments of that investment. However, if the “$12,000” is invested into a lower valued company that offers a higher current yield than the original investment is currently offering, then the future dividend payments will be significantly higher. On the other hand, the dividend growth of either the original or the new investment will be directly proportionate to the amount of operating growth and subsequently dividend growth rate that each individual investment would achieve.

The following screenshots cover purchasing Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) over two historical 10-year time frames. With the first, Johnson & Johnson is purchased when valuation was excessive, and the second when Johnson & Johnson was purchased when valuation makes sense. Both historical earnings and price correlated graphs, as well as the associated performance graphs, tell the story. However, to really receive a clear explanation of how and why this works, I suggest the reader watch the analyze out loud video covering the same time frames that follows.

Johnson & Johnson: Purchased on December 31, 1998 Overvalued P/E ratio 38.4

Johnson & Johnson Purchased December 31, 2008 Undervalued P/E Ratio 13.1

FAST Graphs Analyze out Loud Video: Johnson & Johnson 10 Yr Results Overvalued Versus Undervalued

In the following analyze out loud video, I’m going to clearly illustrate how valuation does have a material impact on the dividend income. As an aside, valuation not only has a material impact on dividend income, it also has a major impact on total return. As a clue to what you will see in the video, when Johnson & Johnson was purchased when it was overvalued was also during a time when its earnings growth was over 13%. In contrast, when Johnson & Johnson was purchased when it was undervalued was during a time when its earnings growth rate was only 6% or half as fast. Nevertheless, Johnson & Johnson delivered more dividend income and a higher total return thanks to attractive valuation even though its growth rate was much lower.

Summary and Conclusions

In summary, and with all things remaining equal, you can increase your income and your total return by selling an overvalued dividend growth stock and reinvesting into a similar quality undervalued dividend growth stock. It’s important to remember that in both cases, the forecast of future growth is equally as tenuous. In other words, this will not work out if the original investment continues to grow while the new investment falters. Therefore, the concept of similar quality is essential, as well as the predictability of future growth.

Consequently, I do not suggest that investors act impetuously or frivolously when making buy and sell decisions on their portfolio. I’m a fervent believer in the old adage that “a portfolio is like a bar soap, the more you handle it the smaller it gets.” Therefore, and to be clear, this kind of strategy only works over a complete business cycle. Investors need to recognize that out-of-favor stocks tend to stay out of favor for a period of time and in favor stocks likewise. In other words, these decisions make sense as long-term decisions and not as short-term trading decisions.

If you enjoyed this article, scroll up and click on the “Follow” button next to our name to see updates on our future articles in your feed.

Disclosure: I am/we are long JNJ.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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How the big five storage array makers tier data to the cloud

In recent articles we have looked at the extent of cloud storage products and services available. These have included the file, block and object storage available from the main cloud providers, and virtual storage appliances available in the cloud from the big storage array makers.

In this article we take a snapshot of integration between on-premise storage arrays and the cloud.

Methods used tend to break down into three main categories.

First, there are features and functionality that offer actual tiering to the cloud with various degrees of automation, mostly aimed at migrating inactive data off to cheaper storage.

Second, there are products and features that offer some form of backup and archiving to the cloud, through software or hardware appliances.

Finally, some suppilers – notably IBM and Hitachi Vantara – focus their cloud tiering efforts around a product that provides some kind of on-ramp to the cloud, as a facilitator of hybrid- or multi-cloud storage.

Dell EMC

Dell EMC’s midrange/enterprise Unity storage arrays offer file and block tiering to the cloud, “seamlessly” according to its publicity materials, using its Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA).

This sits between the Unity on-prem deployment and the cloud. Files are migrated to the cloud according to user-defined policies and an 8kb stub left on the on-prem hardware. For block storage, snapshots are taken and these can be migrated to the cloud while the originals are erased. The snapshots can be restored to the original system or any other.

Cloud tiering from CTA is supported for Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, and IBM Cloud Object Storage as well as Dell EMC’s Virtustream and Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage.

Dell EMC also offers CloudArray, which is a cloud tiering tool available as hardware or a software virtual appliance. CloudArray – gobbled up from TwinStrata in 2014 – can work with any SAN or NAS on-prem hardware, and can tier data to public cloud. It also offers snapshots, data deduplication and encryption functionality.

In addition, Unity arrays can be managed from the cloud and also come with Cloud IQ, a free cloud-based software-as-a-service suite with predictive analytics, alerts and remediation suggestions. Cloud IQ is supported in Unity, SC, XtremIO, VMAX, and PowerMax storage hardware.

Dell EMC’s scale-out NAS product, Isilon, has CloudPools, which allows policy-based automated tiering of data to the three key cloud providers as well as to private clouds.

Xtremio all-flash systems can tier data off to Dell EMC’s Virtustream, as can Unity and VMAX. No such option is available for PowerMax NVMe-equipped arrays but then if data is on those it’s not likely to be cold anyway. Dell EMC doesn’t seem to provide any cloud tiering for its SC series storage arrays. 


HPE’s StoreOnce data protection appliances have a feature called HPE Cloud Bank Storage. This offers use of the cloud as a target for backup and archiving, with change block tracking and data deduplication.

Cloud Bank Storage works with AWS and Microsoft Azure as well as private clouds built with Scality (see below) and can restore to any – presumably HPE – system in case of recovery from a disaster.

HPE 3Par publicity refers to use of Cloud Bank Storage as a “cloud tier” but it’s pretty clear this is backup/DR capability rather than a storage tier as such.

With HPE’s acquisition of Nimble Storage, it gained that company’s Cloud Volumes offering. This sees customers able to set up and provision Nimble flash-driven cloud storage instances in the Azure and AWS clouds. HPE calls it a tier, but there doesn’t seem to be any automated tiering functionality between on-premises deployments and Cloud Volumes.

HPE’s Scalable Object Storage – based on Scality’s RING architecture – presumably comes with the Zenko multi-cloud controller, announced in March.


IBM’s link between on-premises storage and the public cloud is IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud.

This is the public cloud-capable update of IBM’s venerable SAN Volume Controller, formerly a hardware storage virtualisation box, but now runnable as a software appliance in the cloud and on-premise.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud allows access to the public cloud – only IBM’s own, for now – from IBM storage to move data between on-premises datacentres and the cloud, to use the cloud for disaster recovery, devops and to provide asynchronous and synchronous remote replication.

Hitachi Vantara

Hitachi Vantara’s VSP all-flash F and hybrid flash G series arrays offer automated tiering via the company’s own Hitachi Content Platform to the Amazon, Microsoft Azure and IBM clouds. The focus is on reduction of storage costs by movement of inactive data to the cloud.

Hitachi Content Platform is based on an object storage platform, which can run in hardware and software versions and operate as private cloud storage with access to Azure, Amazon and Google clouds. With access from existing storage infrastructure it acts as an on-ramp to public cloud storage.


For NetApp’s FAS all-flash and hybrid flash hardware it offers FabricPool. This allows tiering of inactive data off to public cloud storage, with Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure Blob Storage supported, as well as private clouds. Tiering is automated and policies for data movement can be set on per-volume basis.

NetApp’s E-Series all-flash arrays can use NetApp SANtricity Cloud Connector for block-based backup, copy, and restore of E-Series volumes to an Amazon S3 account, with RESTful API job management of backup and restore tasks.

NetApp doesn’t appear to provide any connection to the cloud for its Solidfire all-flash storage. But then that may be because Solidfire is targeted as storage for those that want to provide cloud storage. 

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