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Archive for April, 2009

Remember our logo?

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 20th, 2009

Someone asked about our logo.

Here’s a distilled version of its origin. Boy was our first logo ugly.

Luckily, we had a contest and got reader feedback.


Yes we have no bananas

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 20th, 2009

It’s worth reading “The Quite Coup” in this week’s Atlantic Magazine.

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

This graph tells the whole story:

NC unemployment

by henrycopeland
Saturday, April 18th, 2009

Sales tax off 12.8%

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

WSJ reports:

State and local sales taxes, among the largest sources of revenue for municipalities, fell 6.1% in the fourth quarter of last year, as consumers bought fewer clothes, ate out less and canceled vacations. Revenue from personal income taxes was down 1.1% in the fourth quarter; corporate income taxes dropped 15.5%, reflecting weaker profits.

The declines have continued through the beginning of this year. In the first two months of 2009, the 41 states that have reported tax revenue saw total receipts decline 12.8%, versus the same period a year ago.

Welcome Tina!

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Last week Tina Merrill joined us a COO in our Carrboro NC office.

Our US staff has grown steadily since 2002 to the current 17, so we’re all very excited to draw on Tina’s great energy, organizational skills and business insights.

Tina spent the last 3 years working as Finance Director for the Southern Rural Development Initiative. Before that, Tina founded and ran Citizen Canine, a luxury dog care business, in Oakland CA. Tina graduated from what is formally known the Stanford Graduate School for Business after a stint in the energy industry. (Her employer there had been acquired by Enron, so Tina can share some horrifying tales from inside the E-beast.) Rounding out her checkered past, Tina graduated from Harvard with a BA in economics.

NYC in photos

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 13th, 2009

The Palm.

Waiting for Godot with Nathan Lane and John Goodman.

Scary graphs

by henrycopeland
Monday, April 6th, 2009

Gotta take an hour to plow through these graphs.

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