Category : Business

A First Class Ticket on the Titanic

As I mentioned in my return post, I have now taken a full-time job at Fannie Mae.  When I tell people this, I usually get a queer look and a question.  My favorite of these questions is, “Isn’t that a little like buying a ticket on the Titanic AFTER it…

How Slow Can You Go?

Just how bad is immigration policy in the United States?  There is a plot being hatched to park a ship in international waters and allow skilled, foreign-born workers the opportunity to work for US companies (including startups) from there.  H1-B visas are capped at 85,000 and were exhausted in 10 weeks this…

The Facebook IPO’s Effect on Software Startups

Two of the heavyweights in the startup world have now weighed in on the Facebook IPO and how it impacts the early stage software world, so I figured it’s time I did to.  Paul Graham has warned the companies in Y-Combinator about the dangers of needing money at a time…

Zuck’s Sweatshirt

Mark Zuckerberg goes on TV to ring the bell in 5 days and the big question is, will he be wearing his Sweatshirt or will he put on a suit jacket? I’m not planning to invest in Facebook, but if I were, I would be hoping he sticks to his…

Twitter and Patents

I, like many of the innovative people in the startup world, am very uncomfortable with the way patents are being used today.  Market economies succeed because c competition based on usefulness and price.  Today, instead of trying to innovate in ways that will increase usefulness or decrease price, too many…

Life’s Risky Business

I’m doing some work with banks lately and it always impresses me the size and importance of their risk departments.  They study counter-party risk (the risk someone you’re doing business will fail), credit risk (the risk that someone won’t be able to pay due to other obligations), market risk (the…

2 Ways to Spend 1 Billion Dollars

$2 Billion changed hands yesterday in the form of the two biggest news items of the day: Facebook spent $1 Billion on Instagram.  They acquired an innovative, competitive (if tangentially) product to make their company better. Microsoft spent $1 Billion buying patents from AOL.  The rumor is that they may have…

The JOBS Act’s Most Important Provision

The Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) act has been getting a lot of press for allowing “crowd funding.”  For the most part, when you think “crowd” you think of something like the company Kickstarter that I talked about last week, and it is… sort of.  Kickstarter may be the closest thing…

Learning From Others: Morning Star Tomatoes

There aren’t that many new and innovative management styles in the world today, but I recently heard of one.  Morning Star Tomatoes (which generates $700M per year processing tomatoes).  Want to know what there management structure is?  They don’t have one.  There aren’t any managers. Instead, at the beginning of…

Matrix Realities: Corporations for Corporations Sake

The premise of the popular Matrix movies is that the humans have generated robots that have become so sophisticated that instead of simply serving the needs of humans, they reverse the relationship.  Humans become subservient to the robots.  This requires, of course, that the robots grow intelligence.  Anyone who has…