Call me Rahodeb
If your faith in Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI) is rattled, maybe it's because there was a little artificial seasoning in the organic grocer CEO's obsession with posting on online financial boards. In one of the juiciest gems to come out of the regulatory inquiry into Whole Foods' pending acquisition of smaller rival Wild Oats (NASDAQ:OATS), it turns out that CEO John Mackey spent seven years on the often-salty Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) Finance discussion board, typically posting favorable comments about his company, with the occasional jab at Wild Oats.

Let me begin by saying that I have no problem with CEOs who take the time to mingle with the masses. It may open up a can of selective disclosure worms, but I loved it when the always-engaging Patrick Byrne -- CEO of (NASDAQ:OSTK) -- would post on the boards.

I don't come from the camp that feels that CEOs have more important things to do than to spend their idle time online. If executives can fly off in private charters to play golf overseas or spend hours at an upscale chophouse with a spouse, who are we to draw the line at other forms of interactive entertainment?

By his own admission, Mackey was a frequent poster -- under the Rahodeb pseudonym -- because it was "fun" to interact anonymously with those who were bullish or bearish about his company. He never intended to be caught, but bowed out last summer, hinting at his "true identity" at Whole Foods in the last of his 1,394 posts.

We can scrutinize every single one of those postings. The FTC -- and the SEC -- no doubt will.

Yes, Mackey should have been more transparent about his actual identity. No matter how entertaining it can be to spend time on a volatile, lightly policed equity discussion board, there is real money being made or lost within the community. It's bad form to show up in masquerade ball duds when you have a fiscal responsibility to serve many of those same investors.

This incident is bound to scare other company executives away from mixing it up with fellow investors, and that's a pity. A disappointed David Gardner seems to agree. Next time, Mackey, come natural.

TiVo giveth and taketh away
It was a mixed bag for TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) this past week. On Tuesday, the company announced that it was enhancing its relationship with's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Unbox digital delivery service. Films and commercial-free television shows can be beamed into your TiVo hard drive without you ever having to leave your couch. Yes, you can now order flicks and rentals with your TiVo remote.

However, as Tim Beyers wrote, chipmakers are looking into a flash memory-based chip solution that can pause live TV -- like TiVo -- but be contained within the actual set. I don't know how hard this would hit TiVo, though. I would argue that those who want simple DVR functionality can opt for cheap DVR boxes without monthly subscription fees. TiVo is a much richer experience.

Either way, let's see how TiVo does when the chips are down.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for TiVo. The Fool has a disclosure policy.