Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hillel - JacksonFish - Calacanis

Hillel Cooperman of Jackson Fish Market has a great post up about startup work efficiency that is semi-in response to Jason Calacanis's note about startups during hard times - so go read Hillel's post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Demon Of Our Own Design - Bookstaber

I am currently reading A Demon Of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber.

I've read just about everything that is even moderately available to the public about quantitative finance and this sort of thing over the years, and so far I definitely recommend this book. That would be Icarus & Daedalus on the cover:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

IntVen Myhrvold Patent Consortia

Good WSJ article and derivative TC article about IntVen - Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures raising and returning some serious money.

People have been knee-jerking like crazy over this - but as someone with more than a passing knowledge of intellectual property and patent licensing - I want to say this:

This isn’t that crazy or diabolical - big companies have been creating cross-licensing consortia for years that lets them interact in the marketplace and get things done - like sell DVD players that depend on a whole bunch of different patents held by different companies - intven is the same model but organized in a more ongoing vehicle way rather than one project at a time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Sounds Get Geico Payoff - Plus Cavemen

One of my favorite Swedish Bands - The Sounds - just got a nice payday from Geico for providing 'Hurt You' as the soundtrack for the new Geico Motorcycle Cavemen ad - Nice work!


Why Gnip Will Displace Google

Whether search is 90% solved or whether the last 10% will take 90% of the effort, - either or both according to Marissa Meyer - there is a lot of improvement to be had in search. If you honestly want to find authoritative information about a topic that’s been over-SEOed like ‘ring tones’ or ‘mortgages’ – or you’re searching for a semantically challenging term like ‘bush’ - or you’re looking for something particularly esoteric – Google leaves you with a lot of cruft to wade through.

Particularly in technology and the Internet – there is no such thing as a permanent monopoly – eventually someone will challenge Google in core search and start taking their market share.
It sure won’t be Cuil – now that they are in self-destruct mode. It won’t be Powerset now that their assets have been assimilated. But it just may be GnipEric Marcoullier’s ping server to rule them all. In this recent interview with Om Malik, Eric humbly calls Gnip’s service ‘commodity work’ that takes away some logistical headaches for web service developers. But what Gnip is really doing is fundamentally changing the nature of aggregation and indexing on the web from a pull model to a push model.

Search engines today send out spiders to actively crawl the web and pull content into the index – at so great a cost in overhead that crawling is generally considered to be a powerful barrier to entry in the search market.

Contrastingly, if you subscribe to a blog, you get pushed a notification whenever that blog is updated – with a push model, there is no need to scan through every blog you like to read to find out which ones have been updated as a spider would. This push model provides enough of an advantage that webmasters will use Google Adwords & Adsense as a way to ping Google and get new content or sites indexed more quickly than simply waiting for the spider.

This is not a new idea – back in the circa 2000 era, visionary Seattle startup 360powered had the same idea – and even managed to perfect an interesting patent enumerating this architecture. Unfortunately, 360powered fell victim to the dot com crash and their IP ended up auctioned off in bankruptcy.

In a Gnip world, every website would have a feed – whenever content changes – the index gets pinged. Simultaneously, the overhead of crawling is distributed out to the edge, removing the burden from the search engine, and the delay for new content to get indexed goes to zero.
Gnip is nothing less than a fundamental cornerstone of the next generation of dominant search.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Sure What To Think

One of my oldest friends just had a baby - and this is one of the first photos - honestly I'm not really sure what to think:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creative Accounting: Einhorn Greenlight Lehman

Creative accounting rulez - reading a regular stream of items like this maintains a healthy level of skepticism about conventional wisdom:

"Lehman was taking advantage of a new accounting mechanism that allowed it to book revenue based on the declining value of its own debts. In other words, because of the increasingly risky state of Lehman, loans that other firms had made to Lehman had dropped in value, and under the new accounting, Lehman could count this as a gain."

Relatedly, this is a great article about David Einhorn and Greenlight Capital.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mid-East Roadmap To Success

All you got do to is:

"Americans might better understand the region, experts here said, if they simply listen to what people are saying — and try to understand why — rather than taking offense. The broad view here is that even before Sept. 11, the United States was not a fair broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that it then capitalized on the attacks to buttress Israel and undermine the Muslim Arab world."
-Memo from Cairo

This is excellent reporting by the NYT, go read the full article, and very much in line with my own experiences talking to Cairenes.