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This blog is a tribute to Carl Icahn’s career-long use of data with “predictive analytics”. When I interacted with Carl many years ago he told me that any of the data coming to him from underlings had to consist of just ONE page.  It seems he remembers that page of content word-for-word FOREVER.

Carl’s ability to absorb details that meet his standards of “predictability” has resulted in his becoming the world’s most successful “SPECULATOR STRATEGIST”.

Our company, 9W Search powered by IBM Watson can identify and return questions with “predictive analytic” data, through Watson’s “cognitive computing power”. (9W has considered hiring Carl Icahn but he probably will be too expensive for us.)


9W has made a lot of progress since our company was one of 25 semi- finalists (out of 1700 early entrants) in the IBM Watson Challenge and, as a result, became a partner of the IBM Watson Ecosystem.

The latest version of ASK 9W powered by IBM Watson for the Oil & Gas Industry is in the process of including significant new additional data into our Watson corpus sourced from a prominent Oil & Gas information provider as well as our own public company data store.

One  feature of the 9W Premium version is to provide a new level of “predictive analytics.”  This combines MONTHLY REPORTS of all state energy regulators (Texas Railroad Commission, etc.) who routinely collect data.  This data indicates trends-to-come such as total by-county BOE production numbers and hard-to-locate details such as what fracking-based operations-by-county average and well production decline rates.

ASK 9W’s mobile friendly data can effectively be utilized to legally “front run” the quarterly Oil & Gas reports  Forms 10Q,  as well in occasional Exhibits 99.1 of Forms 8K when the company elects to announce mostly good news. These are just two of the many innovations that 9W’s relationship with the IBM Ecosystem is creating.

We are interested in discussing business relations with companies to give them access to the high accuracy rate of 9W’s use of IBM Watson’s cognitive computing speed and coverage. 9W’s use of IBM Watson’s amazing technology will be changing the landscape of actionable financial information by democratizing access to key information, like EDGAR Online did at the outset of the Internet.

Here is a quote by Max Bowie of “Inside Market Data” that recognizes what 9W and IBM Watson have been accomplishing:.“’[G]reater importance will be placed going forward on well-known types of data but created and delivered in new ways. Meanwhile, to extract value, search tools such as those from search providers like 9W-will be critical in finding the right piece of data”

This is the entry page for our Oil & Gas specific site; aimed at the mobile device market. http://www.9wsearch.com/watson/login.htm. The Premium version is shown there.

9W would be pleased to demo White Label versions of our software.

Marc Strausberg
EDGAR Online & 9W Search

IBM & 9W

ASK 9W, powered by IBM Watson, the new software solution from 9W Search, delivers instant answers with “intelligent information”, not just data , to all consumers of financial information and specifically to users of mobile devices.

There are two components of our service that blend on the front end to provide users with both structured and unstructured financial information. The first utilizes 9W’s unique expertise in answering single questions found in financial statements; e.g. What was the last quarterly cash flow for HESS Oil (HES). The second utilizes Watson to deliver answers from textual data that we have curated in our SoftLayer cloud; e.g. What was the senior note interest rate in 2015 for Carrizo Oil (CRZO).

We are scheduling our first beta release of 9W powered by IBM Watson for the Oil & Gas industry imminently. We have been pushing the envelope with our application and in our testing and training process have seen remarkable results that provide solid proof that our results far exceed those available from any search engine.

We have had very special support in addressing issues unique to our application. We have been privileged to work with key development leaders, mainly in Austin, and to be provided with tools and insights that have made it possible to accelerate our time to market. We have already had great support from our Watson Ecosystem Engagement Manager Team , the IBM Watson External Relations Group, the Watson Group Ecosystem Partner Advocates. Having ongoing support and encouragement from the Austin Cloud Ecosystem team and the Bluemix team has been extremely helpful.

As we go to market and engage in the next verticals in our pipeline we expect to make more use of Bluemix. As we have said before, the changeover to SoftLayer was impeccable and we are very comfortable as we enter the market to know that we are relying on an infrastructure that will support our game changing service.


One lucky Oil & Gas Company EX -CEO

The former Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of one of the most successful US Oil & Gas Exploration and Production public corporations recently “voluntarily retired” from his executive position

When a 2009 employment agreement of this individual, as well as and some other key company executives, was due to expire on May 31, 2012, the company Board voted to approve an extension of  the 2009 Agreement and also added a new amendment  that would only apply  to the current CEO & Board Chairman. .

The new amendment contained a “early termination provision” that allows the CEO to “retire at any time after he reaches age 65”, and “this retirement will be considered a “voluntary termination” under the terms of  the new entended employment agreement”.

The result of this fortuitous new amendment, added in 2012, enabled the CEO, upon his voluntary retirement, to receive a total compensation package, in 2013, that would include a “Payments Upon Termination” with a total compensation value to him of approximately $82,000,000.

That’s not all. The new Employment Agreement with this Titan of the Oil Industry also eliminated the restrictivet non-compete obligations that were part of  his original employment agreement. The companies value gained from this amendment was; “no further obligation to the now ex-CEO”.

Not a bad deal; $82 mil payment resulting a “termination” now to be considered as  “Normal retirement”. And he still is  involved with EOG in a new role as a  unpaid member of the Board of the Company  who just paid him $82 $100 mil to no longer be  an “executive officer”.

Here is a definition of “termination”, from the Encarta Dictionary; “something that happens or is produced as a result of something else”. Some synonyms for “termination” from the same source; “Extinction”, “Annihilation”, “Execution”.  Sound about  right for a “normal retirement”!

Mark G. Papa  

Executive Benefits and 

Payments Upon Termination 








or Death


(For Cause)


(Not for


Change of

Cash Severance                      







Restricted Stock/RSUs                      









Performance Stock/Units                      














Health Benefits                      






Unused Vacation(j)                      










All Other                      





















Source DEF 14A 2013


FierceFinanceIT : financial info engine with Watson


 Edgar Online founders develop financial information engine powered by IBM Watson

March 19, 2015 | By

In the early days of the Internet, Marc and Susan Strausberg founded Edgar Online, a company that made the Securities and Exchange Commission’s vast warehouse of financial information on companies accessible and consumable. Now the husband-and-wife team are reentering the space with a new tool, a cloud-based platform for harnessing the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson and applying them to financial information.

With their newest venture, 9W Search Inc., the Strausbergs are working to combine their extensive experience in structured financial data with the artificial intelligence capabilities of IBM Watson. The goal is to “train” IBM Watson to answer sophisticated freeform questions about financial companies, drawing from a combination of structured and unstructured data sources. While still evolving, the first proof of concept is available for the oil and gas industry.

For example, the company’s cognitive computing tool, called Ask 9W Powered by IBM Watson, has been taught to answer energy industry-specific questions like “What is the life cycle of Bakken production decline rate?”

Susan Strausberg, the company’s CEO (Marc Strausberg is CIO), said in an interview with FierceFinanceIT that the pair did not plan to return to financial information after leaving Edgar Online. The company went public in 2007 and it was eventually sold to RR Donnelly in 2012.

“We had an epiphany, and that was that the underpinnings of the financial information industry really had changed, even though the changes were not being adopted by legacy players. We felt we were capable of leading a paradigm shift in that area,” Susan Strausberg said.

While still with Edgar Online, the Strausbergs were involved with the consortium developing the XBRL language. They drew from their XBRL experience to create the base from which the cognitive computing product is developing. The company currently has two cloud-based financial services tools–9W Search and a version of Ask 9W that is not powered by Watson. Those two offer access to databases of five years of historical data on all public companies and ADRs (licensed from Edgar Online). That data is tagged with a few hundred of the 14,000 XBRL tags the company considers most relevant.

“Everything in our cloud, every number has a barcode associated with it so it stands alone. If you say ‘show me Microsoft’s Q3 2013 cash’ the answer comes back by itself,” Susan Strausberg explains.

9W Search, currently available for $9.95 per month, allows users to compare different companies using financial ratios, charts and graphs, and Ask 9W, the free non-Watsonized version, allows users to find financial data by entering a ticker symbol and a keyword.

But Ask 9W Powered by IBM Watson is being taught to answer more sophisticated questions.

“We currently have 2500 question and answer pairs that we train the entire oil and gas database on,” Susan Strausberg says. “As you start to use it, it becomes better and better at finding the right answer.”

The company is targeting the product at investment banks, investment managers and corporate users. The corporate users are more “underserved” in this area, she says, but she expects interest from finance players as well.

From oil and gas, the company’s tech team is planning to expand Ask 9W Powered by Watson across industries, with newer industries coming on board quicker as the system “learns” the basic cross-industry financial questions.

“So far in our own process, there has been a high level of accuracy. The accuracy grows because the point of cognitive computing is it learns, so it is more like a person that it is like a computer,” Susan Strausberg says. “Therefore before you bring it to market you treat it like a student. You train it, so that it becomes very powerful.”

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OILIT article about Ask 9W powered by IBM Watson for oil and gas

Ask 9W—Watson for oil and gas

(February 2015)
Edgar Online founders team with IBM on ‘Siri-like’ artificial intelligence solution. Susan and Marc Strausberg’s 9W Search start-up claims to provide a ‘Siri-like’ function targeting oil and gas users. Ask 9W answers detailed questions about US oil and gas in what is claimed to be a more informative fashion than Google.
Ask 9W is powered through a partnership with IBM Watson using the cognitive computing technology atop of 9W Search’s Edgar-style structured data of US companies’ financials. A demonstration video is available showing typical use cases. These include queries relating to mergers and acquisitions, companies’ latest cash flow numbers and the like. In a blog posting Strausberg plugs the tool as providing opportunities for investors and traders who need to ‘pay close attention to current key metrics before they make any purchase of shares in oil companies.’ Often critical information, such as a companies hedged position, is ‘buried in hard-to-find places in filings.’ The 9W/Watson combo answers complex questions like ‘What is the average price of oil in current derivative contracts and other hedging instruments that protect the company’s present and future cash flow.’The answer may be salutary as small and medium sized companies’ debt burden often have draconian terms which may not be obvious to the casual investor. The Strausbergs co-founded the Edgar Online company information service in 1993. The company was sold to RR Donnely in 2012.Click here to comment on this articleIf your browser does not work with the MailTo button, send mail to info@oilit.com with OilIT_1502_27 as the subject. Copyright © 2015 The Data Room – all rights reserved.

The precipitous drop in the price of oil is creating opportunities for investors and traders…

The precipitous drop in the price of oil is creating opportunities for investors and traders who should  pay close attention to  current key metrics before they make any purchase of shares in oil companies Here are some of the metrics that should be carefully evaluated and the reasons why.

Important operational details affecting the future stock price of oil & gas industry companies are generally located in the footnotes of SEC filings. Investors should seek highly specific information about how efficiently individual companies are “hedged” in order to avoid losses from a falling commodity price. This vital information is often buried in hard-to-find places in filings. However, they offer important clues that likely affect stocks’ immediate and long-term price action. Companies without adequate protection usually don’t mention this important fact in their Investor Presentations.

Anyone interested in the future price movement of an oil & gas company should make the effort to find the answer to this question: “What is the average price of oil in current derivative contracts and other hedging instruments that protect the company’s present and future cash flow”.

In simple language, virtually every small to medium sized oil & gas Company has gone deeply into debt to expand (or just maintain the current level) of the amount of production of oil from acreage they control.

Clauses found in the Debt Covenants in the often humongous debt burdens of these small and medium sized companies generally have draconian terms regarding what the borrower must agree to in order to avoid default of the debt.

The “junk bond” structures of this type of debt generally contain the following features:

  • Substantially higher interest rates then the rates charged to more credit worthy large integrate  oil companies like XOM, CVX, COP)
  • Agreements to maintain high levels of “cash flow” – which is the principal reason for an oil and gas producing company to utilize derivatives. The cost of buying and selling options (derivatives) actually negatively impacts the price that a company would get from just selling the oil.
  • Agreements regarding sales of marginal assets to increase liquidity and resulting in the lowering of  the “illiquid” asset value of the company.

Investors can instantly get the information about derivatives and hedging, onerous debt terms and higher-than –normal Interest rates by accessing  9W Search to gain instant access  to all of the specific footnotes in a company’s  filings.

APPLE Computer’s Untaxed Offshore Cash Hoard

SEC’s Robocop and his helpers are interested in APPLE Computer’s untaxed offshore cash hoard

A “Letter of Comment” from Kathleen Collins, the SEC’s Accounting Branch Chief, makes it clear that the SEC is carefully monitoring EVERY STATEMENT that AAPL management makes in order  to challenge AAPL’s aggressive accounting policies, currently protecting the $16 Billion in cash, accumulated from their undistributed foreign earnings, from being taxed by the IRS.

Her letter to AAPL’s accountants states that “Your financial statements indicate that you provide for any related tax liability on undistributed foreign earnings that ‘may be repatriated.’ Please explain to us how the phrase ‘may be repatriated’ should be interpreted in this context. We note that Tim Cook, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, stated in testimony before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate on May 21, 2013 that you have no plans to repatriate these earnings at the current tax rate …

In addition, explain to us how you evaluated the criteria for the exception to recognition of a deferred tax liability in accordance with ASC 740-30-25-17 and 18 for undistributed earnings that are intended to be indefinitely reinvested.”

AAPL currently reports $16 Billion in undistributed foreign earnings as “Non-Current  liabilities” in its Form 10Q, dated June 29th, 2013. http://bit.ly/1ep29hV


As Apple stated in its last 10Q, “In the event that the Company determines all or part of the net deferred tax assets are not realizable in the future, the Company will make an adjustment to the valuation allowance that would be charged to earnings in the period such determination is made.”


An interesting tussle over a mountain of cash. Wouldn’t Carl Icahn like to see these funds included in his proposed dividend?

Is Victory Electronic Cigarettes Losing The Battle For The Dying Breed?

You have to wonder if ANYONE who owns shares in Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp (OTC: ECIG) has looked at the financial metrics of this maker of electronic devices that deliver nicotine smokeless. Victory is aiming their product at the dwindling smoker marketplace. Here are some key metrics, brought to you by www.9WSearch.com.



The share price has had an interesting journey:



Some other significant metrics for Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp are:



Potential sales and profits from ECIG’s electronic cigarettes have created a market cap value in excess of $1,000,000,000 with revenue in the last quarter of $711,845.

For additional insight, see U.S. Attorneys General urge FDA to regulate e-cigarettes and The E-Cigarette Industry, Waiting to Exhale.

IBM Continues Using Cash For Stock Buy Back

On Oct 29th IBM announced a 15 billion dollar stock buy-back program;  a sum equal to the last several years’  buy-back programs. It is clear that IBM prefers to use its cash to own more of its own stock rather than acquiring another company and its problems.

A comparison of IBM’s to HPQ’s  operating metrics shows IBM’s wisdom to continue to improve its own long-term successful  business rather than having to deal with risky turn around problems of a competitor.

The current stock prices surprisingly indicate that, in the last year,  Wall Street has effectively chosen to  bet on a risky “bargain” like HPQ.



source: http://www.9wsearch.com/current-pricing-data/report/index.htm?sid=110296


source: http://www.9wsearch.com/integrated/report/annual.htm?sid=110293

Icahn As Raider

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RECIPE: Answered Prayers for Public Companies

  • Introduce a greatly improved model of an already wildly successful product (the IPhone)
  • Sell even more of the latest model wildly exceeding expectations.
  • More and more money pours into the corporate piggy bank
  • THE RAIDER SMELLS THE CASH and invites you to dinner

Carl Icahn has constantly displayed an uncanny ability to spot unusual situations to achieve his goal of accumulating great wealth. Here is a little-known fact about one of his short sale triumphs and an ingenious solution that helped speed him up his path to the top of Financial Mount Olympus.

[caption id="attachment_201" align="aligncenter" width="360"]Carl Icahn Says He's 'Not Threatening' Apple Over $150 Billion Buyback, But He's 'Not Going Away' Either Carl Icahn Says He’s ‘Not Threatening’ Apple Over $150B Buyback, But He’s ‘Not Going Away’ Either[/caption]

In 1993 a company, named Cyrk did a public offering of 1,700,000 shares of stock through Montgomery Securities at $12. By 1994 Cyrk stock was selling around $37. Carl decided to short the stock believing it was overvalued because Cyrk’s principal business was creating premium programs to sell products such as Marlboro Cigarettes. Their campaign was designed to compete head-on with RJR’s incredibly successful “Joe Camel” cartoon promotion, which, like the Marlboro program, was targeted at young smokers.

Carl was rightly offended by the use of capitalism to hook kids on smoking. He also decided that shorting CYRK was a good way for an emerging corporate activist to make some serious money.

In examining the details of Cyrk’s operations 72% OF CYRK’s 1993 revenue was generated by the Phillip Morris Marlboro campaign. At the same time, there was a broad social campaign afoot to prohibit cigarette companies from pandering to America’s youth. Conclusion: If the campaign were successful, then Cyrk’s profits would drop precipitously and the stock would tank.

Carl undertook his own activist campaign to encourage publication of facts that led to the conclusion that Cyrk’s future earnings model would be unattainable. He let Phillip Morris know that he was “thinking” of entering the premium business and would be in a position to offer Phillip Morris cheaper and better alternatives to the CYRK promotion. Business writers soon became aware of the risks facing CYRK and its business.

All of this combined to knock Cyrk’s stock down precipitously and assure a substantial profit for Carl with a great ROI.

In homage to Kurt Vonnegut – “And so it goes….”