Reid Hoffman on Networking:
In the next day: Look at your calendar for the past six months and identify the five people you spend the most time with — are you happy with their influence on you?
In the next week: Introduce two people who do not know each other but ought to. Then think about a challenge you face and ask for an introduction to a connection in your network who could help.
In the next month: Identify a weaker tie with whom you’d like to build an alliance. Help him by giving him a small gift — forward an article or job posting.
1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout.
2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits — period.
3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk.
4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from.
Tom Friedman’s ideas on how to fix banking system:
Great article. With the Spotlight on Andreessen and Horowitz, it was interesting to learn about the firm’s ‘army’ of 20 partners and associates sourcing talent for their portfolio companies, just like VC A&R’s - a term borrowed from Saul Klein of Index Ventures, who got video-interviewed at Midem in Cannes yesterday.
Peter Vesterbacka, Creator of Angry Birds
My take aways from this quote:
- Apple provides a platform and leadership that developers may not like, or even agree with, but respect. And, respect enough to confidently base their businesses around, If you’re deciding between starting on the iPhone or Android I would follow his advice and pick the iPhone.
- What Apple has built could have only come from Apple. Its in their DNA. Its who they are at the molecular level. Copy cats will fail.
- In its current instantiation, Android is trying to copy Apple, and the cracks are already beginning to appear in the foundations of the ecosystem. I think we’re going to see Android take some major shifts in direction over the coming months. One that I will be paying particular attention to is the inevitable collision of Android and Chrome OS.
- Android needs clear leadership to succeed. Not just a corporate front man or developer relations managers, it needs a real leader. Someone who has a clear voice and direction for where the project is headed and can rally support for it without major concessions.
- Complexity is never a word you want associated with a consumer product. And, the android experience is still complex. I’ve played around with Android devices on and off since they first hit the market. I want to love them. I want to see a real rival to the iOS. But after test driving the device for 10 to 15 min, I’m thrilled to hand it back to the owner. From a user perspective, Android reminds me of the worst Christmas present I ever got. As a 10 year old, I hounded my parent for months leading up to Christmas for a specific BMX bike- a Diamond Back. I clipped out pictures, I called shops so they would know which had the bike in stock and I clearly spelled out the specific bike I wanted on my Christmas list that year. I woke that Christmas morning and rushed to the tree to see my new wheels. There was just one problem. In the spot my brand new Diamond Back was supposed to be placed, there sat a cheap ‘ole Huffy with a chocolate bar seat. Sure, technically it was a BMX bike but it was a huge disappointing step down from the bike I had wanted. Android is the Huffy to the iOS Diamond Back.
- Battling over who is more open is a losing strategy. In the end, openness is only as important as the user experience it enables.
Regardless of who wins this battle, consumers will win the war. One clear result of all this will be the transformation of every handset in every pocket to a modern, smart handset. We’re already starting to see a massive shift as entrepreneurs focus on these handsets first and traditional computing experiences second. I think that’s an exciting shift and we’re very interested in looking at services tuned to these modern mobile environments.
A common view of budgeting and finance is that housing costs should make up no more than 30% of a household’s pre-tax income. Unfortunately, according to the US Census (via the WSJ), there are currently 41.7 million households (36.7% of the total) above this threshold.
Most of the stress is falling on households with lower incomes- households that most need to refinance, but cannot given their low incomes and banks’ tightening of lending standards. Households that are paying higher mortgage rates are at a greater risk of default and then foreclosure and are less likely to spend money in the economy.
Glen Hubbard (Dean of the Columbia Business School) and Chris Mayer (Vice-Dean) argue in the New York Times that the solution is to refinance Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages at current rates. Their argument:
Consider a family that bought a home in 2006 for $225,000, taking out a $200,000 fixed-rate mortgage at the prevailing 6 percent interest rate with monthly payments of about $1,200. That home is now worth about $175,000. The family still owes $189,000 and thus cannot refinance because they are underwater.
But under our proposal, the family would be offered a new mortgage at today’s prevailing rate of 4.3 percent. The family would see a 15 percent decline in their monthly mortgage payment, saving more than $2,000 per year. This would not only help homeowners through the current crisis, but would be the equivalent of a 26-year tax cut of more than 4 percent of income, assuming the family spends around 30 percent of income on housing.
There are about 37 million outstanding mortgages now guaranteed by the federal government. Analysts at Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have crunched the numbers on programs like ours, and have estimated that it would save homeowners, most of them middle class, about $50 billion a year in mortgage payments.
Seems like a win-win situation that will decrease foreclosures and help the economy. Would be great to see it enacted.
A few weeks ago Google rolled out a new feature called Google Instant which shows Google results as you type. Google Instant will change how people search since someone can alter their search and see what comes up to hone in on exactly what they were searching for.
I own about 30 sites that generate organic traffic from Google, so was very curious how Google Instant would affect traffic. Here’s a chart from Google Analytics tracking organic traffic on one of my sites:
Though this is just one site, the traffic patterns are similar across all of our sites; no significant change in traffic. I would like to see more data on Google Instant’s effect on site traffic- but as a consumer who uses Google, I’m a big fan.
I do want to look into what’s causing that big jump in traffic that started a few days ago- but am not complaining!
(or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Yuan)
There’s been a lot of chatter in the news about currencies and currency malipulation. This came to a head yesterday when the House of Representatives passed a bill 348-79 which would “allow the U.S. to seek trade sanctions against China and other nations for manipulating their currency to gain trade advantages.” (Washington Post)
China keeps their currency artificially weak which makes exports from China cheaper for US Consumers. China’s government keeps their currency weak against the dollar by selling Yuan and buying Treasury Bills, since the exchange rate of the Yuan is tied to the Dollar.
Meanwhile, the government of Japan is taking the exact opposite tact of the US- they sold $25 billion worth of Yen (2.12 trillion Yen) as an “attempt to weaken its currency,” Business Week.
So the US wants a stronger currency, Japan wants a weaker one. What is going on?
There are advantages to a weak and a strong currency: A country that relies heavily on imports (like the US) would like a stronger relative currency since it makes it less expensive to purchase imported goods.
However increasing imports will hurt domestic manufacturing, leading to a loss of jobs. The US’s manufacturing industry is likely going to see a continued deterioration over the long run; there are several reasons for this, but essentially this is because China has a lower standard of living, which allows them to pay lower wages to workers.
The argument is that if the US had a weaker currency against the Yuan, US-made goods are more affordable to Chinese consumers, which could help reduce America’s large trade deficits. This is a fallacious argument and here’s why:
Since the Chinese are not buying an equivalent amount of American goods and services, they are using the dollars to finance the US government spending- they are buying Treasury Bills, loans to the US Government.
As such the Chinese are the largest foreign holders of Treasury Bills, holding $846.7 BILLION as of July, 2010, out of the $2.7 trillion held by foreigners.
If the Yuan strengthens and the trade balance shrinks, China will buy fewer Treasury Bills, making it more expensive for the US to borrow money. But be careful what you wish for: the US has a $1.27 trillion projected deficit in 2011, and that money needs to come from somewhere!