Thursday, October 09, 2008
It's been a while since I've posted here but given all the economic meltdown panic and confusion floating around I felt obligated to toss in my two cents (which apparently just became worth one cent while writing this sentence) in the hope of shedding some badly needed light on exactly what got us into this mess.
A few caveats;
- I'm not a finance geek (but I could probably play one on TV)
- I'm not heavily invested in any markets or complex financial instruments
- I don't own a TV (nor do I watch much)
In my opinion what's happening right now is not a stock market meltdown, it's a truly global, fully international, credit and commercial banking crisis the likes of which the world has never seen. Consumers everywhere (all of us, if we're not too busy panicking) are scratching our heads trying to figure out how we've become ensnared in something so complex...
How did we get here? I mean seriously, how did it come to this?
One of my heros was and is the late physicist Richard Feynman. Now I can't say I'm too crazy that he helped invent the Atomic Bomb but while serving on the Space Shuttle Challenger investigation commission he brilliantly (in front of panel members, NASA engineers and TV cameras) explained how the Shuttle exploded, simply by clamping some booster rocket "O" ring seal material, dipping it in ice water for 30 seconds and then saying (paraphrasing) "when this material is at or below a temperature of 32 degrees it looses it's resiliency (gets hard) and fails... and when you guys launched on a cold morning, the "O" rings were frozen and failed". You can see him here (30 sec clip).
For the past two or three weeks I've been waiting for someone of Feynman's caliber to come along an explain this economic meltdown to the world... but I'm afraid there's no one in sight. Even amidst the the US Federal bailout no one really knows the quantum of the problem.
Below are some of the clearest and most concise (non-TV, non-corporate controlled mainstream media) resources I've seen, heard and studied over the past few weeks and feel obligated to share them (and encourage you to share them with the people you know and love). My objective: help promote understanding of exactly what got us here in the hope we can rationally fix / rebuild / repair the situation via informed decision making... before it's too late.
There's a little over two hours of audio here so take your time plowing through it. Given its potency, relevancy, accuracy and high quality it's probably better to digest the links slowly, one at a time. Might even be a good idea to load up the MP3's on your iPod and listen (or share in the listening) with friends or loved ones, then have a discussion;
AUDIO: NPR's "This American Life" Part One:
The Giant Pool of Money (59:00 min)
Explains the nature, origin and history of the US Mortgage Crisis. Simply the best explanation of what led to this situation.
Download MP3 file here.
AUDIO: NPR's "This American Life" Part Two
Another Frightening Show About The Economy (59:00 min)
Recorded the Friday after the $700 billion bailout bill passed congress.
Download MP3 file here.
VIDEO: PBS NewsHour explains Credit Default Swaps. (7:00 min)
Those pesky, complex, unregulated, global financial instruments that Warren Buffet has called "weapons of mass destruction".
AUDIO/PODCAST: NPR's Planet Money is an outstanding daily audio resource that translates breaking news about global financial and economic matters into easily digestible bite sized chunks. Really easy to subscribe it it via iTunes.
PRINT: A great piece from The New Yorker's Think Tank section called The Rationality of Panic by Steve Coll.
UPDATE: Here's a recent Twitter exchange with Paul Kedrosky.
Given the gravity of the subject matter it's a disturbingly mixed blessing to be called "precise" by a guy this smart.
UPDATE: Here's the full slide deck (containing information and advice) that silicon valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital presented to it's portfolio companies earlier this week. Budding entrepreneurs should pay close attention to slide #49.
UPDATE: Great slide deck on making sense of the mortgage meltdown from the Milken Institute in Los Angeles (via Paul Kedrosky).
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I started a new gig today as company cofounder and;
Chief Marketing Officer / VP Business Development
“Swarmteams™ is a unified global messaging platform that integrates internet and mobile phone communications to enhance the performance of teams, groups and social networks through intelligent sharing of information among member devices — regardless of their location.”
We're essentially a mobile social networking technology platform but with a serious twist – "Multichannel, 2-Way, Mobile Group Messaging that bridges Mobile Devices with the Web/internet" (check out the TechBriefing/Demo links below)...
but more importantly – we enable our clients and business partners to engage, support and monetize their most important user communities (24x7) via integrated 2-way messaging across mobile phones, instant messaging, email, web and RSS – in a way that unifies, promotes and measures modern electronic "engagement marketing" activities.
Our unique approach is based on research into the field of biology and the effective forms of team communications and collaboration found in nature. Ken Thompson, my new boss, is a software engineer and researcher and has spent the past 10 years engaged in coaching teams, networks, communities and groups to work more effectively together. His contribution in developing the “Bioteaming Manifesto” centered on research into how biological groups and teams (e.g. ants, bees, geese, penguins and dolphins) effectively communicate and collaborate to achieve their goals.
Swarmteams consists of a small group of wonderful people located in N. Ireland and now Toronto and I'm exceptionally proud to be working with such a talented team!
That said, I'm off to workbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Check out the Online TECH BRIEF/Demo videos I created for:
Enterprise/Corporate Messaging and
Mobile/Web Media: Owners and Distributors
(including Wireless Carriers and MVNO's)
Multichannel Mobile Group Messaging:
Link to my new Hive!
Link to "Bioteaming" concepts.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here's a great article from PCWorld that covers the history of the personal computer from the perspective of TV ads that ran throughout the years. Featured are Atari, Commodore, Coleco, Tandy, Apple, IBM, Packard Bell, Microsoft and others. The Ad above is a favorite of mine -- even thought it never mentions computers :-) Link via BoingBoing.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
With the dust settling on Google's acquisition of YouTube (in an all stock transaction last week) the boundaries of both business models and copyright law seem likely to get "reset" as massive media conglomerates (and the mandarins who run them) try to make sense out the emerging internet media landscape.
This ought to be fun to watch...
Link to VentureBeat.
UPDATE: here's a Prof. Michael Geist article from The Toronto Star (10/16/06) on why YouTube won't be the next Napster.
UPDATE: GigaOm reports "and so it begins" by Universal, but the suits are against relatively small companies. "Got Precedent"?
Monday, October 09, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
This is an amazing, harrowing and ultimately tragic story about surviving a midair collision -- which ultimately claimed 155 lives of the not so lucky.
Link to report of the crash in Brasil.
Link to NY Times with an excellent video piece.
UPDATE: an interesting post from Philip Greenspun at Harvard.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Via the "Lost Remote" blog:
"President Bill Clinton’s interview on Fox News Sunday is spreading like wildfire around the internet. (If you haven’t seen it yet, Clinton became upset when asked about bin Laden. “So you did Fox’s bidding on this show,” he told host Chris Wallace. “You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.”) Clearly, this is a viral video if there ever was one, yet the relaunched FoxNews.com dropped the ball. Yes, it’s displaying the story and video prominently. But there’s no way to email, link or embed the video. So what did Drudge and a fair share of blogs do? Linked YouTube’s clips of the interview, not FoxNews.com. So far, the first YouTube clip of the bunch as been viewed 988,000 times. A couple others are in the 200,000 range and counting. (And this is as of Sunday night.) You can bet FoxNews.com’s clip of the video isn’t even close. And they can’t blame YouTube — just themselves for the lost opportunity."
Link to video.
UPDATE: Like I didn't see this one coming ;-)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Here's a little Wierd Al diddy that attempts to answer the musical question:
"Kirk or Picard" ;-)
(via Merlin @ 43Folders)
First in my class here at MIT
Got skills, I’m a champion at D&D
MC Escher - that’s my favorite MC
Keep your 40, I’ll just have an Earl Grey tea
My rims never spin, to the contrary
You’ll find that they’re quite stationary
All of my action figures are cherry
Steven Hawking’s in my library
Link to full lyrics here.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
If you don't know Bob Lefsetz of "The Leftsetz Letter: First in Music Analysis" you should. It's a great blog and here's one of his Podcasts featuring the music of Gordon Lightfoot (with some interesting back stories) but hey, even before hearing it knew that the rights to "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" are almost impossible to secure because Lightfoot donated all royalties to the surviving families of the Fitzgerald crew...
Link to the Lefsetz Letter blog.
Link to MP3 Podcast file (explicit language).
Monday, September 04, 2006
I watched "Sideways" again last night. What a brilliant film and screenplay, especially with lines like this, where Miles uses metaphor to subconciously describe himself to Mia:
"Pinot is thin skinned, temperamental, ripens early, not a survivor, you know... like a cabernet, which can grow anywhere and thrive even when it's neglected. No, pinot needs constant care and attention. In fact it can only grow in these really specific tucked away corners of the world and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it really... only someone who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into it's fullest expression... and then it's flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ancient on the planet."
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Here are a couple of interesting pieces on the foiled London bomb plot.
Both touch on the issue of "emotionally potent oversimplifications" and the effect they have on us all.
Personally, I subscribe to the concept of not being afraid.
Link to an interesting video piece by Ze Frank (adult language).
Link to a NY Times OpEd piece.
(via Dave Winer)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I just caught this browsing YouTube:
A girl takes a picture of herself every day for three years.
With the internet increasing in power and scope as a distribution platform, will user generated content like this lead to a kind of renaissance in art and communications?
You be the judge.
Here's some pretty cool vintage content (photos and videos) from the Government of Ontario, Ministry of Industry and Tourism's web page.
I'm pretty sure I sang this song more than once on the way to the cottage when I was a kid ;-)
Link to video. Link to main page (via Cory at BoingBoing).
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Vanity Fair has an amazing story on The North American Air Defence (NORAD) response to the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The web article also has interspersed audio links that let you hear actual conversations between ground controllers and F-16 pilots.
Link via BuzzMachine.
and here's a related post from a while back that may help you visualize air traffic density on any given day in the continetal US. Pretty amazing.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
During my first days in University environment (specifically, 97 King Street West in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada -- don't look for it, it's not there anymore ;-) with a great group of guys I'm still friends with today, Tom Petty was a house favorite... and still is. Here's a great interview between Tom and Terry Gross of NPR's talk show "Fresh Air".
Link to NPR Fresh Air page.
Link to interview MP3 download.
...has come to this?
I suppose the old adage about political elections ("it's not the voting that matters, it's the counting") sort of applies to sports ("it not the winning, it's the not getting caught").
"Landis Tests Positive for Doping" Washington Post
and New York Times story link via Paul Kedrosky.
UPDATE: Freakonomic's has this to say re:
cocktailing the night before a race.
UPDATE: and in further defense of Floyd...
Mexens Technologies CEO, Cyril Houri, is interviewed by the MSMobiles tech blog. A fairly gruelling but truly outstanding technical conversation (read: "full on geek out" :-) about how the Navizon Wireless Positioning System works with PDA's, cell phones and smartphones as an augmentation / replacement for GPS positioning.
Link to MSMobiles.
Direct Link to the MP3 audio file (90 minute interview).
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In a recent CBC.ca story Cory Doctorow writes:
" Wikipedia gets it wrong all the time. So do bloggers. But then, so do newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. The interesting thing about systems isn't how they perform when they're working to specification, it's what happens when they fail.
Blogs, Wikipedia, and other online media fail gracefully indeed. When a newspaper gets a story wrong, it can take 24 hours to get a correction out – if it corrects it at all. There's no ready way to link criticism of a newspaper article with the article itself. Certainly, you can't make the edits yourself.
But if you find an error in a Wikipedia entry, you can fix it yourself. You can join the discussion about whether a blogger got it wrong. Automated tools like Technorati link together all the different blogs discussing the same topic, turning them into a conversation. "
Link to CBC.ca via BoingBoing.
Is the net erasing national borders?
Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith (Assistant US Attorney General under John Ashcroft) talks about his latest book (co-written with Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu) called "Who Controls the Internet?"
Aside from a very concise summary of the book, what's cool about this 20 minute speech is that he mentions a company called Infosplit and it's role in developing geographic identification technologies.
I was proud to serve as Infospit's VP of Business Development prior to its acquisition by Quova and extremely priviledged to work with an absolutely brilliant CEO/Architect/Engineer, Cyril Houri. Both Cyril and Infosplit are mentioned fairly prominently in the good Professor's book in the context of the Yahoo! US / Government of France / Nazi item auction case and the role Infosplit technology played in settling it.
powered by ODEO
This audio is part of an ongoing series offered by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
OK, I just finished a long walk through some forest trails in downtown Toronto and while I was chugging along this KQED radio Podcast episode of "Forum" (hosted by Michael Krazny, NPR San Francisco) popped up on my iPod.
Michael was interviewing / chatting with Steven Kotler, author of the book "West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief".
What an amazing conversation, ranging from spirituality to neuro chemistry to biology to healing -- and let's not forget that wonderful, acquatic, slacker-hippy nonsense called "surfing" ;-)
Highly recommend you make / find some time to give this a listen... and feel free to pass this blog link along to your surfing and non-surfing pals alike. Really great stuff.
Here's a link to the KQED "Forum" interview hosted on Odeo
(you can listen in your browser or download the MP3 version).