“It’s the world’s biggest, fastest auction, a never-ending, automated, self-service version of Tokyo’s boisterous Tsukiji fish market, and it takes place, Varian says, “every time you search.” He never mentions how much revenue advertising brings in. But Google is a public company, so anyone can find the number: It was $21 billion last year.”—Secret of Googlenomics: Data-Fueled Recipe Brews Profitability
One regulator, two regulators, three regulators, four. Is anyone ready to acknowledge that top-down regulation might not be the answer? We need a system that channels greed and fear to keep bankers in line. Layers upon layers of bureaucracy will only benefit the bureaucrats.
“A government program designed to rid banks of bad loans, part of a broader effort once viewed as central to tackling the financial crisis, is stalling and may soon be put on hold, according to people familiar with the matter…the reasons appear to be twofold. First, few investors or banks want to work with the government. And second — and maybe more importantly — few investors and banks now think they’ll have to. The banks, in particular, are apparently enthused by their ability to raise private capital, and now think they can wait out the market turmoil and sell their toxic assets in a few years, when they’ll be worth more money.”—Marginal Revolution: Is the Geithner plan dying a natural death?
“‘We have to tell people that diamonds are valuable,’ he said. ‘We are trying to maintain the price, just as De Beers did, as all diamond producing countries do. But what we are doing is selling an illusion,’ meaning a product with no utility and a price that depends on the continued sense of scarcity where there is none.”— Aleksandr A. Malinin, an adviser to the president of Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond producer. (NYT) (via likethereligion)
Publishers, of course, object to the lower pricing, citing the reason that printing and shipping are not the main components of a book’s costs.
publishers argue that those costs, which generally run about 12.5 percent of the average hardcover retail list price, do not entirely disappear with e-books. What’s more, the costs of writing, editing and marketing remain the same.
Within that paragraph lies the reason why traditional publishers will not survive the digital disruption. They have not change their operating structure to leverage on the new economics brought on by the Web. Each of the functions cited (writing, editing, marketing) should not be bundled within the same organisation. They should be replaced by light weight services that are loosely connected to each other. Only with such a structure can the $9.99 price point be sustain.
“There are many businesses (both independent companies and small, local divisions of larger corporations) that, in a recession, move from positive to negative cash flow. When that happens, many business owners would rather just get out than continue to bleed. As a result, you can walk in, sign the papers, and take over a business.”—
That would be a fun way to earn a living. There is still potential downside on a free business, though. If you don’t do due dilligence you could get pretty royally fucked and end up with all kinds of creditors chasing you down. This is not a plan for the faint of heart or the financially vulnerable.
Deutsche Bank puts together a pretty compelling thesis that the commercial real estate market is more fucked than people realize.
The basic premise is that it is too difficult to get financing today (tougher standards, major retail bankruptcies) so there is going to be a glut of property hitting the market when deals cannot get refinanced.
“Any hopes that Europe might do better were dashed when its regulators promised to conduct similar tests, to keep the results secret and to avoid singling out individual lenders. That points to a Japanese-style future for Western banks, in which a thinly capitalised system staggers along, insisting on its rude health, while the state follows holding crutches an inch beneath its armpits. If that is the answer, then the stress tests were asking the wrong question.”—Banks pass the stress test | Hospital pass | The Economist
“You’re correct that the Obama administration’s overhaul of antitrust policy will stifle competition under the guise of fostering it. But this fact is unsurprising because governments respond only to interests that are organized and visible.”—Cafe Hayek: Government Is Anti-Trustworthy
“I think when the books are written about this entire era in 4-5 years you will see so much dirt exposed, but by then the “solution” of pumping up every asset class via magic hand waving and disingenuous information (leaked of course) will have “succeeded”. And we’ll all just chuckle as we look back - Banana Republic style.”—Banks Won Concessions on Stress Test — Seeking Alpha
“But wait: The conveyer belts, the prices, the smart salespeople, the fact that they recommend cheaper products almost as a rule — none of these is actually the most amazing thing about B&H. Really, the most amazing thing is that because the owners of B&H are Orthodox Jews — Hasidim, in fact — the store closes every Friday afternoon for the Jewish Sabbath, and on Jewish holidays. Moreover, B&H’s website, which reportedly accounts for 70 percent of sales, shuts down, too. Bhphotovideo.com is, to my knowledge, the only major online retailer that closes for 25 hours every weekend.”—Why Circuit City Failed, and Why B&H Thrives, Managing Technology Article - Inc. Article