Friday, October 31, 2008
First up is "Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" by Clap Your Hands (linked by Fred Wilson). I've loved Clap Your Hands for a while. It's especially great road trip music. Phil Preuss and I drove back to California from Vail, CO.
Next is The Rosebuds on "When the Lights Dim" from the wonderful women of "I'm All Ears," a music club I'm in. I've missed the last two meetings but these ladies are always on the cutting edge and consistently surface good music.
Beth Stevens of Gonzo Gal brought Adele to my attention. I've heard the "Chasing Pavements" song a couple of times and really like it. Nice to put a face with the voice. You have to click through and launch the NPR player.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
One thing I want to get better at is listening to people who have an unpopular message, whether it's political, financial, or anything else. At times, I've had an unpopular message with the economic problems facing the country. I wish I would have been a little more vocal cause I could have saved my friends some money. Nobody's perfect but I'm happier than ever that people can express themselves in the old US of A.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
- Great rif on the type of people who can spot a Bubble like we have had vs. the Fortune 500 CEO who can't spot it, but is probably the right type of person to navigate it.
- Chinese Economy has Capital spending make up 39% of its GDP. That is just staggering. The US is at 19%, which is staggerlingly low. In my opinion, these numbers need to converge. Investment in capex can make our workers far more productive. They should be made.
- A great point on how the misallocation of capital (bubble) can get people to postpone necessary investments -- like in education. What a great point. How many people didn't get their graduate degree because they were making coin in the mortgage industry? How many PhD went into Finance instead of Biotech?
- The financial industry's share of all corporate profits went from 10% in 1982 to 27% last year. Wow.
- Finally, he advocates a Marshall Plan-like effort to make the US the world leader in alternative energy and infrastructure. I completely agree with him and would love the see the resulting boom in technology and jobs an effort like that would bring.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
She does things like find furniture left on the street, and fixes it up. Makes great Mix tapes, and draws cool aliens.
She's also launching a set of products for pets soon (that's her day job), so keep an eye on her and her blog.
Monday, October 27, 2008
"The first rule the music business failed to understand is that, at least at first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was. if you need the alternative to be better than the status quo frmo the very start, you'll never begin."
Loved the book and love his daily work on the blog. Definitely check it out. I think you can download a audio version on iTunes for 99 cents.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
For example, a lot of people in the Kellogg community are pissed about the Field Museum party. I'm mildly pissed. More like disappointed because I can see how something like this could happen in this day and age.
Regardless of feelings, if you do a Twitter search you can see how lite the comments are. This hasn't crossed over into the mainstream (yet).
Search Terms "Kellogg" & "Field" - http://search.twitter.com/search?q=kellogg+field
Search Terms "Kellogg" & "Party" - http://search.twitter.com/search?q=kellogg+party
Search Terms "Kellogg" & "School" - http://search.twitter.com/search?q=kellogg+school
Vs. something about Prop 8 (the Gay Marriage initiative on the California Ballot):
Friday, October 24, 2008
I'm on a huge Ryan Adams kick and loved this song that Bijansabet linked to.
Great cheesy video from Vampire Weekend.
Stars - Alternative, Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
I saw Stars a few weeks ago. they vacilated between epic and terrible. this one was epic.
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Todd is a very thoughtful guy and I enjoyed the conversations at many a Kellogg Healthcare Club open bar event (he's not afraid of a pint or two either). I think you'll find his blog just like Todd - solid, direct and thoughtful.
Start with these two posts:
1) Thoughts on the Financial Crisis: "The most tragic outcome of this entire episode is that government, Wall Street and individual consumers have managed to destroy the trust that’s necessary for a capitalist society to function...."
Like all good entrepreneurs, Todd knows that the most important factor is trust. He goes onto connect the dots, but I think the trust issue is his central point.
2) Todd is already invoking the power of commenting by asking an existential question about Fairness and soliciting comments.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
To get you started, check out his posts on two cool companies he has surfaced:
1) The Next Big Sound,
Check him out at 33 Forever.
P.S. What does that mean John?
Professor Razeghi was instrumental in helping a group of us develop our Hangover Drink, which went on to win the Kellogg Business Plan contest. He didn't stop there though. He called a meeting and asked to fund us. Pretty impressive stuff. You don't hear about many business school professors backing students.
Since then, we've kept in touch and he hit me with this interesting article he put together on the current recession. I enjoyed the read and I hope you will too.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Before you get all mad at me, Warren Buffet is the greatest, so there is a pretty good chance he is right. However, we all make mistakes, like Rockefeller did. Just something to ponder.
My opinion: I'm not sure either way, that's why I haven't bought any stock yet.
This is why Google Books is so great by the way. A specific page in a very old book is suddenly significant and we can all read it and reflect on it. Way to go Google!
Thanks to Andrew Miller who forwarded the Buffet editorial to me last week.
Thanks to Becker for sending this in.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here are a couple good posts to check out but I recommend reading her daily.
Google saves us from drunk emailing...
But it wasn't the vigilance of monetary policy that facilitated the construction of the tree house of leverage that is falling down on our heads today. On the contrary: Artificially low interest rates, imposed by the Federal Reserve itself, were one cause of the trouble. America's privileged place in the monetary world was -- oddly enough -- another. No gold standard checked the emission of new dollar bills during the quarter-century on which the central bankers so pride themselves. And partly because there was no external check on monetary expansion, debt grew much faster than the income with which to service it. Since 1983, debt has expanded by 8.9% a year, GDP by 5.9%. The disparity in growth rates may not look like much, but it generated a powerful result over time. Over the 25 years, total debt -- private and public, financial and non-financial -- has risen by $45.1 trillion, GDP by only $10.9 trillion. You can almost infer the size of the gulf by the lopsided prosperity of the purveyors of debt. In 1983, banks, brokerage houses and other financial businesses contributed 15.8% to domestic corporate profits. It's double that today.
That's one little part describing the problem but this is a great essay that should be read because it's proscriptive too. Cheers
Friday, October 17, 2008
He also linked to this video, which was great.
Fiery Crash is my favorite but listen to them all.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I noticed right away, at my shows, that whenever I opened my mouth and sang, “I am sitting, in the morning…”, people would stop drinking and talking, and immediately whirl around and stare at the stage. So I used it as an opening song. I can’t think of a single time that this didn’t work. Even at the Prince’s Trust concert in 1986, in front of 10,000 people, I went onstage as the opening act and began the entire concert with that song — and it worked!
Susan Vega - Tom's Diner (Acoustic)
Suzanne Vega - Tom's Diner (Remix)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
BUILD provides the infrastructure that allows "at risk" kids to experience these challenges and joys. The difference in high school grades, graduation rates and college attendance between average kids in these schools and the kids who enroll in BUILD is off the charts. If you are looking for something to volunteer at, please reach out to Barbarra at BUILD.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Eric Schmidt told him to find 100 happy users for Gmail. Paul tried that and said it turns out that it's surprisngly hard to find 100 happy users. People would ask for really complicated stuff, so then he just went around finding people who wanted easy stuff, and then they would be happy.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
P.S. They had a really unique Tip Jar thing set up. Here's a quick pic.
Do you have any closing thoughts about how we got into this financial state?
I ask myself, "Why is it that several dozen people saw this crisis coming for years?" I described it as being like watching a train wreck in very slow motion. It seemed so inevitable and so merciless, and yet the bosses of Merrill Lynch and Citi and even [U.S. Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson and [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke -- none of them seemed to see it coming.
I have a theory that people who find themselves running major-league companies are real organization-management types who focus on what they are doing this quarter or this annual budget. They are somewhat impatient, and focused on the present. Seeing these things requires more people with a historical perspective who are more thoughtful and more right-brained -- but we end up with an army of left-brained immediate doers.
So it's more or less guaranteed that every time we get an outlying, obscure event that has never happened before in history, they are always going to miss it. And the three or four-dozen-odd characters screaming about it are always going to be ignored.
If you look at the people who have been screaming about impending doom, and you added all of those several dozen people together, I don't suppose that collectively they could run a single firm without dragging it into bankruptcy in two weeks. They are just a different kind of person.
So we kept putting organization people -- people who can influence and persuade and cajole -- into top jobs that once-in-a-blue-moon take great creativity and historical insight. But they don't have those skills.
Where do you see all of this going?
I want to emphasize how little I understand all of the intricate workings of the global financial system. I hope that someone else gets it, because I don't. And I have no idea, really, how this will work out. I certainly wish it hadn't happened. It is just so intricate that all I can conclude, by instinct and by reading the history books, is that it will be longer, harder and more complicated than we expect.
Btw, if you are going to start sending more thank you cards, buy them at Sugar Paper. That is where mine are from and they are awesome.
Friday, October 10, 2008
One of the things that is still discouraging to me is that the people who are most vocal about what we need to do, are the ones who didn't see this coming. Greenspan is the worst at this and most of the policy makers can be lumped into that bucket. I think Paulsen is giving it his best but this is a horrible problem. Chris Cox, head of SEC, and his pathetic ban of shortsellers doesn't look so smart now, does it. Anyways, I thought it would be helpful to post some articles that helped alert me to what was going on.
1st: Matt McCall, a MD at Portage Ventures. Matt came to speak at Kellogg a few times while I was there. He seemed like a nice guy and I was impressed about how realistic he seemed. I started reading his blog and I was rewarded when he posted this little gem about how he expected advertising revenue to start going down quickly. A little alarm bell went off in my head when I read this. He's the first guy I heard talking about an ad recession.
2nd: Marc Andreessens comments embedded in Ning's Series D financing. Andreessen is a founder of Netscape and Opsware and Ning. He's one of the most important people of the last 20 years and makes outrageously good points. When he says something, I pay attention. His final bullet point in this announcement read:
That was March 2008 ladies and gentleman and it's as close as a tech luminary will get to giving advice. When I saw that, I got really scared.
3rd: Bill Fleckenstein. I've been reading Bill for about 8-9 years. He runs a pay site that is the best $100 you can spend in a year. Those $900 I've paid have saved me thousands. Plus, he's a great writer. You can read his weekend summary for free on MSN. I highly recommend you do this. He saw the credit crisis coming from 2001 and detailed the bad decisions and recklessness along the way. That's when I first started to understand what was happening and when I bought my first Gold and Short S&P500. Fleck has a book out taking Greenspan to task if you are interested.
4th: Three Authors: 1) Jim Grant, who writes the incredible Grant's Interest Rate Observer, 2) David Einhorn - MD of Greenlight Capital and author of Fooling Some of the People (thanks Walmsley), and Marc Faber, author of among things, Tomorrow's Gold. These people were all great sources of information. Grant and Faber saw this coming a mile away, and Einhorn exposed Lehman which we should be eternally grateful for.
5th: This American Life's team did an amazing public service when they produced Big Pools of Money. Listen to this podcast and you'll have a good idea how we got here.
Tomorrow will be the ramifications of the last few weeks.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
For those of you who don't know, Hole in the Wall and Painted Turtle (sister camps) are week long camps devoted to letting kids with cancer and their siblings (different weeks), have a good time, find camaraderie amongst each other and rid them of their sense of isolation. It's an incredibly powerful week.
I've already bought my ticket.
Here is a link with information.
Here is a link for tickets at TicketWeb.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I was starting to feel this way and then came into work today and saw Fred Wilson's post today about looking forward. He covers a bunch of great companies that are getting relatively cheap, have a lot of cash and should be able to weather the storm. Can you imagine how many cheap startups Microsoft and Google will be able to pick up? They'll have their pick of the litter and these acquisitions will make them stronger. They'll also be able to issue slugs of stock options at far more attractive prices, thereby giving their employees a lot of upside.
I think this time period is going to be really bullish for a few companies and I've started making my list: Google, Microsoft, Enernoc (smaller company but interesting). What other companies should I be thinking about buying?
Monday, October 6, 2008
Furthermore, the Internet just keeps giving today. Kelli Aitchison forwarded this on.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We went to Suckered: Writers Confess a Profound Lack of Judgment. Basically, 8 different authors got up there and told ten minute stories. They vacillated between amazing and not so much. My two favorites were April Sinclair and Jonathan Ames. Sinclair told a story about Whoopi Goldberg but peppered it with lot's of good Southside Chicago-isms. Ames brought the freaking house down with a story about his passage to manhood. If anyone knows him and can reccomend some of his pieces, I'd really like to read his stuff. Post in the comments.
Litquake will be going for a few more weeks. Check it out.
Just for fun, enjoy this YouTube clip. :)
Friday, October 3, 2008
Well the magic of the Internets brought us together via his blog. He wrote a nice note on the Fleet Foxes recently. The gist was that this is a scary time but there are plenty of little gems out there, you just need to look for them. Deplorable / Beautiful fits into that category too. Know that it's edgy and adult, check it out.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
For Friday Chill Music, I'll include my picks below.
Here are my two suggestions:
You've Got the Love - The Source
Wilco - california stars
Bonus: A couple extra songs to fill out the list this week's list that have no relation to the wedding.
Jenny Lewis - Pretty Bird
Pearl Jam - Fatal (rough mix, Binaural outtake, 1999)
Nice work Graham.