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Archive for January, 2008

Long, deep and muddy: d’Nile

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Australian journalist Tim Blair, who I’ve gotten to know over the years by reading his blog and selling his ads, wrote an incredible tale about his diagnosis with cancer.

What did Blair and Jerome Kerviel have in common with US Congressmen and home-owners?

A wonderfully resilient and inventive sense of denial.

(Don’t miss Blair’s incredible tale here … thankfully, he seems to be on his way to recovery.)

Unfortunately, a single operation won’t do the trick for the rest of us.

Some great Einstein quotes

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 25th, 2008

Max Kalehoff compares business pundits with Einstein and guess who loses? “The teachings of Albert Einstein offer far superior insights and lessons into business and marketing ‘ even life, for that matter.” I wish more of the stuff we all barf out online was as thoughtful and well-researched as this piece. But I guess that would mean we’d all have to do more hard chewing and digesting.

You know you’re in trouble…

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 25th, 2008

When your Bulgarian subsidiary wants to distance itself from you…

“The Societe Generale Expressbank Bulgaria issued a statement on January 25, saying that the massive fraud case which had been uncovered by Societe Generale in France, would not affect the results of the Bulgarian bank.”

Journalists need to start digging into SG’s margin calls. Sure the trader may have hidden evidence of his transactions. But someone higher-up should have noticed when futures exchanges started calling the bank asking for billions in margin.

Beginning of the big run?

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Ruby twitters “ABN-AMRO is not taking customer service calls right now. At all. And they don’t tell you until you’ve pressed lots of buttons and waited.”

Fed funds history and the persistent weirdness of markets

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Here’s a text file of fed funds averages stretching back to 1954. Note that while today’s three quarter percentage point discount rate cut was “the biggest since 10/84″ (as reported by CNN) it was in fact much larger in relative terms, since at that time overnight rates were at roughly 10%.

Take a look at the history of fedfunds and you’ll see that interest rates and reality they reflect have historically whipped around a lot faster and violently than we’re grown used to in the last 10 years.

This Sunday, the NYTimes magazine repeated the idiot line that the economic cycles have smoothed out “because the Fed and modern managers finally understand how to manage/dampen economic cycles.” (Will dig out the correct quote when I’ve got time.)

Let’s be real. No man or machine can out-think or out-manage the millions of minds trying to out-profit (by increasing/speeding up purchases or sales) in the myriad markets — for gasoline, GOOG, toilet paper, loans, CPMs, fortune cookies, carpet — we all constantly shop in.

It’s been a lucky 20 year run, with the US economy powered by ever-lower interest rates that were sustained by foreign investment in Tbonds, low real energy prices and Walmart’s unstinting price-cutting. Those scenarios have run their course. And with everyone now fully invested in and on those baseline assumptions, there are no buyers left.

Over the edge

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Well the S&P has gone over the edge.

pic

For an explanation, see this September post. For outlandish bets you might want to make, try this list.

Missing the target…

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Target says blog readers “not our core guest.”

Punching buttons

by henrycopeland
Saturday, January 12th, 2008

I’m not sure which is funnier, watching Denton’s team turn off big screen TVs at CES or watching Calacanis light up like a self-righteous roman candle, calling Denton’s team “selfish,” “scumbags” and “idiots causing huge financial damage to real companies.”

Huge.

ACLU ad strategy

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 11th, 2008

Today the ACLU is using a very cool blogad strategy featuring blogger posts about closing Guantanamo and the ACLU’s “turn it orange” campaign.

January 11 is the sixth anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo, and throughout the day, the ad will update with new bloggers’ posts periodically. What the feed can’t pick up is that some bloggers have gone so far as to restructure their blogs for the day or week… see The Seminal, CultureKitchen, Bilerico, Newscorpse.

I’m excited about the ACLU’s “bloggers are the focus” ad strategy, which uses Blogads’ livelinks to update headlines from their RSS feed. I hope we can get other causes and candidates to use this strategy in ’08, since it’s the purest embodiment of the “put the audience on stage” credo that makes social media so powerful.

The ad industry’s arrogance

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I’m reading Joshua Ferris’ Then we came to the end, a wonderful novel about a tribe of ad people perched 50 floors somewhere high above West Wacker Drive in Chicago. (Seems Ferris worked at Leo Burnett in around 1999/2000.) The book includes this great summary of the ad industry’s self-delusion:

“When we had trouble nailing an ad, our reputations were on the line. A good deal of sour self-esteem was predicated on the belief that we were good marketers, that we understood what made the world tick — that in fact, we told the world how to tick. We got it, we got it better than others, we got it so well we could teach it to them. Using a wide variety of media, we could demonstrate for our fellow Americans their anxieties, desires, insufficiencies, and frustrations — and how to assuage them all. We informed you in six seconds that you needed something you didn’t know you lacked. We made you want anything that anyone willing to pay us wanted you to want. We were hired guns of the human soul. We pulled the strings on the people across the land and by god they got to their feet and they danced for us.”


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