A Puzzle

(Advance Note: You’ll need to click on the thumbnails to get the full effect.)

The red of tumult, struggle, grimly faithful companion of sweat and tears.

Verdancy, at long last, celebrated and doubted.

A vision at once near-unthinkable, mundane, fantastic. Inherently uncertain, even as a record not yet written already knows.


What was I, what am I? What might I yet be?

Am I one, more than one, inseparable from the more?

I understand the entirety of tumult is difficult to see at this scale. This should help:


Feel free to ask, discuss, or guess, whether on Twitter or in the comments below (you just need to choose a name and start typing). Enough right answers may lead to a follow-up, or simply the end of the puzzle. Otherwise, perhaps another clue.

I do like puzzles, even if I might not be the best at crafting them (to say nothing of poetry). Hope you have a little fun with this one.

4 thoughts on “A Puzzle

    • Not bad! The chart is singular, first factual, then gets speculative.

      The magnitude shifted because it zoomed in on the red section of the mystery chart.

      • Hmmm, I might dip deeper. If the yellow section is all speculative, that leaves 18 units, likely years though potentially quarters. Years would put us back to MSFT’s investments in June or July of ’97, just before I bought my first shares. Quarters wouldn’t put us at the start of the iPhone, but might line up with the more recent share repurchases, and/or the recent dividends. (both also existed many years ago….just not to this scale)

        I guessed at the (minus cash) since both numbers were negative in your first increment.

        Ahhh, you have been leaving clues, so cash vs net income is likely in there. If I remember right, part of that is because they set aside money to pay taxes on all that foreign income that’s yet to be actually taxed and repatriated. This Q, foreign cash was 181B of the 202.8B total cash/equivalents, or 89% of cash.

        Of course there’s also for China acceleration you mentioned, but international sales really have only climbed a tiny bit. Q1 ’10 it was 58%, and for the year maybe around 56%. 5.5 years later, it’s 64%, maybe 65% for the trailing 4 quarters. While a 16% increase, it’s just less than a 3% annualized rate, and has been somewhat steady unlike your graphs.

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