Skip to content

Archive for

24 Days Until 24, Season 7 Debut

Yes, it was too cute not to say.  24 days until a new season of 24.  Interesting, because it feels like roughly 24 years since the last season of 24.

They have a teaser trailer up.  More details at BuddyTV.

Happy Birthday, Jo Jo

It’s hard to capture the delight of a 2 year old hearing the song “Happy Birthday”.

Happy Birthday, Jo Jo!

Applications are LIVE on LinkedIn

I am beyond happy to announce that the LinkedIn Application Platform is now LIVE on the site.  You can go to LinkedIn right now and experiment with almost a dozen new ways to build and share content with your colleagues and contacts.

As you can see from my profile, I’ve already added posts from this blog using the WordPress application (anything with the tag “LinkedIn”), selected books from Amazon, and a presentation I recently gave at the PDMA conference in Orlando using Slideshare.

The LinkedIn blog has all the details.  Also, as a bonus, there is a fairly nice launch video featuring Reid to announce the new platform.

For me, it’s especially gratifying to see these applications come to life.  It was just about this time last year that I gave an initial presentation with Elliot at Google on the concept of leveraging social applications for business and professional use.

My personal favorite is the Company Buzz application.  As a concept, this app began as an intern project this summer, and grew into a really compelling use of Twitter for business.  (At LinkedIn, we actually have an RSS feed of every Tweet with the keyword “LinkedIn” projected on a 50″ TV on the wall where the Product & Engineering teams sit.)

More to come… this launch is just the beginning.

LinkedIn Search: The Next Generation

Kudos to Esteban & the entire search team.  We’ve begun public testing of our next generation search engine on LinkedIn.com.

LinkedIn Blog: LinkedIn Search: Finding Just Got Easier

As the largest global professional network, we’ve had the privilege of having millions of users enter over a billion professional search queries, and we’ve been working hard to build a much more robust professional people search engine. We interviewed lots of users and aggregated thousand of pieces of feedback. The end result is a completely redesigned search experience aimed at making it easier and faster to find the most relevant professionals that you’re looking for.

Esteban wrote a great blog post, so rather than replicate it here, I’ll just recommend that you click through and read about all of the new features.  We’re still in testing, so the product isn’t finalized, but it’s a top-to-bottom rearchitecture and redesign of the search engine, and I’m incredibly proud of the team.

So, check it out. There is a link in the upper right of every LinkedIn search results page to opt into the test.

Of course, if you want to cheat, clicking this link will automatically opt you in.

Let us know what you think.  I’ve been using the new search exclusively for four weeks now, and I have to say it is changing the way that I use LinkedIn.  Just the speed alone is worth the switch.

Goodbye, First Spouse Gold Coins. I’m Over You.

Just posted the first of my First Spouse gold coins on eBay

2007 First Spouse Proof Martha Washington Gold Coin

For those of you reading my blog for a long time, you know a couple things about my history with this series:

I’ve decided that this series of coins isn’t for me… it’s too much cash tied up in coins, and frankly most of the first spouses just aren’t that interesting to me.  I may buy one or two in the future (Jacqueline Kennedy?), but I’ve decided to opt out of the full series.

As a result, I’ll be selling the first five off at a rate of one a week.

I think I’m going to steer clear of the more trendy, obvious collector-bait series going forward.  Yes, Native American $1 Dollar Coins, I am talking to you.  Of course, I am a sucker for truly beautiful new efforts.

Just remember, all bids on eBay are binding.  And you must bid from a PayPal account with a confirmed address.

Why the Price of Gold is Sinking Fast

The price of gold has dropped below $700 an ounce, and that has a lot of people in the precious metals community puzzled.

After all, isn’t gold supposed to be a safe haven in times of financial depression and panic?  And if these aren’t times of financial depression and panic, what are?

After all, every country in the world is busy running their printing presses to fund bailouts and fight deflationary forces.  Gold should be on its way up, not down.

If you want to see a good article on the topic, there is some nice coverage here on Marketwatch

Gold futures hit a historic high above $1,000 an ounce a few days after Bear Stearns was taken over by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on March 14. But in the recent round of crises triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. gold has fallen to below $700 for the first time in 13 months. The metal has so far lost nearly $170 this month.
The reason, according to analysts at the World Gold Council, is that the latest bout of the credit crisis has been deeper and more far reaching. Funds were forced to sell desired assets such as gold to meet margin calls, while weakness in European economies lifted the U.S. dollar, which then pushed dollar-denominated gold prices lower.
One of my readers commented today on a blog post I wrote back in August 2007, “The Lessons of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) & The Volatility of August 2007″.  That article is actually some of my better commentary to date on why historical diversification of assets isn’t helping very much in this downturn.  Here’s a snippet:

This decade has seen an amazing boom in investment tolerance for non-traditonal asset classes.  People freely talk about how different new investment assets have a “low correlation” to the stock market.  Real estate, commodities, rare coins, art, collectibles, long/short funds, you name it.   As a result, across the world, trillions of dollars are now factored into different asset classes, prudently distributed to minimize risk and maximize reward.

This would all be fine except for one thing.  And it’s the one thing that more than anything led to LTCM’s demise.

That one thing is that all of these great measures of risk are based on historical records.  And as all mutual fund prospectus readers know, “past history is not necessarily indicative of future performance.”

You see, you can take two things that historically have not been correlated.  Asset A & Asset B.  But the minute that an investor owns both A & B, there is now a correlation that didn’t exist historically.  The investor is that correlation.

If Asset A goes down, and the investor needs to sell something, they may now turn to Asset B for liquidity.  And that means selling pressure for Asset B, based on nothing but the asset price of Asset A.  Voila, correlation.

Gold didn’t used to trade like a stock in an ETF that anyone could buy.  It was expensive, hard to store, and was distributed through inefficient, clumsy channels.  It was diversified from other investment classes because it couldn’t be bought & sold easily like stocks or bonds.

Now, buying a Gold ETF is trivial, and can be done for less that $10 a trade with very little spread.  In fact, many commodities can.

All of a sudden, in this market, people are realizing that the investors are the correlation.  And that correlation is much stronger than historical analysis would suggest.

Not to get to gloomy, but re-reading my August 2007 post, I caught this somber realization:

What’s worse, those historical models lead investors to believe that they have less risk on their books than they do have, which leads rational investors to introduce leverage into their portfolios.  That means when the risk shows it’s ugly head, the results get magnified by the leverage of loans.

That’s what happened to LTCM.  Their models were excellent, but they were based on historical correlation.  The minute some of their investments turned the wrong way, their incredible leverage forced pressure in previously uncorrelated investments.  What’s worse, other investors, smelling the “blood in the water”, discovered this new-found correlation, and pressed trades against them.

So, this scares me a lot, at least intellectually.  There are very good reasons why major investors like hedge funds and other asset managers can’t share their up-to-the-minute holdings.  That means, however, that no one really understands this type of “co-investment risk” that is building in mass across the markets.  Unfortunately, the only way I can imagine to properly handle this risk would be to have a universal monitoring set up to accurately reflect this new type of correlation from mass “co-investment” across assets.

Ugh.

Carter:Bush, Reagan:Obama, Clinton:???

Whimsical pondering on politics tonight.

The Conscience of a Liberal has had more of an impact on me than I thought.

Let’s assume for a second that Carter was an unmitigated disaster, leading to an opening for a conservative rebirth with a Reagan presidency.  After all, before Carter, Reagan couldn’t even beat Ford for the nomination.

Let’s assume for a second that Bush (W) was an unmitigated disaster, leading to an opening for a liberal rebirth with an Obama presidency.

What might that tell us about 2012, 2016, 2020?

If the pattern repeats, inverted:

  • We’ll have a very hard 2009/2010 economically
  • Bernanke = Volker, and is kept by Obama for stability.
  • We’d see limited military actions in 2011
  • By 2012 it will be morning in America again
  • Obama will over-reach with his liberal tax/spend plans, but will rebalance in 2nd term
  • Obama will be followed by 1-term me-too candidate in 2016
  • We’d see a significant new military engagement/war in 2018-9
  • 2020 will see a fragmentation of the electorate, generating a third party candidate with some form of populist message (Perot analog).  This allows a centrist Republican (Clinton analog) to take office.

People want to map Obama to FDR or JFK.  But the parallels to Reagan, inverted, seem stronger.  The complete humiliation of Mondale in 1984 seems likely to repeat for Republicans in 2012 if they don’t adjust, and it seems like this election will be close enought that conservatives will argue McCain wasn’t conservative enough.   It’s only complete, abject humiliation ala-1984 and 1988 that makes a party redirect.

The pattern can’t be perfect, since Reagan had to deal with a Democratic Congress throughout his Presidency.  Obama is getting the Clinton 1992 situation with one party rule (similar to the Bush 2000 situation… yes, it’s not a good pattern historically).

Of course, I’ve also been known to muse about a Chelsea Clinton candidacy in 2020, since she has many of her father and mother’s best traits, without the baggage.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,999 other followers