Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Could America Grow At 5%

I think it is extremely possible. The 2008 fiasco was a policy failure on a massive scale. The 2008 fiasco was preventable. The 2008 fiasco was stupidity run amok, on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill. Main Street paid the price, and continues to do so. In any other industry the fiasco would have given rise to a whole new generation of innovative companies. The rules in finance are obviously not market friendly enough.

It was like somebody (at home) bombed the interstate highways. The basic fabric of finance lay in tatters.

China is on its way to becoming the leading economy in the world by 2016. But that is based on PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) and that is a country with four times as many people as America. And a lot of that growth is coming from playing catch up with America. America still shows signs of coming up with the industries of tomorrow. I think the explanation is simple. A country that celebrates free speech will beat a country that does not celebrate free speech any day when it comes to cutting edge innovation.

Yes but of course America could hit 5% growth rates. The Great Recession could have been avoided, if only the people on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill had been doing their job.

The American economy: Comeback Kid
Unemployment is stuck above 8% and growth probably slipped below an annualised 2% in the first half of this year. Ahead lie the threats of a euro break-up, a slowdown in China and the “fiscal cliff”, a withering year-end combination of tax increases and spending cuts...... Led by its inventive private sector, the economy is remaking itself. Old weaknesses are being remedied and new strengths discovered, with an agility that has much to teach stagnant Europe and dirigiste Asia. ..... America’s sluggishness stems above all from pre-crisis excesses ..... Until 2008 growth relied too heavily on consumer spending and house-buying, both of them financed by foreign savings channelled through an undercapitalised financial system. Household debt, already nearly 100% of income in 2000, reached 133% in 2007. Recoveries from debt-driven busts always take years, as households and banks repair their balance-sheets. ...... in the past three years that repair has proceeded fast. America’s houses are now among the world’s most undervalued: 19% below fair value ..... because the Treasury and other regulators, unlike their euro-zone counterparts, chose to confront the rot in their financial system quickly, American banks have had to write off debts and raise equity faster than their peers. (Citigroup alone has flushed through some $143 billion of loan losses; no euro-zone bank has set aside more than $30 billion.) American capital ratios are among the world’s highest. And consumers have cut back, too: debts are now 114% of income. ..... a richer China has become the third-largest market for America’s exports, up 53% since 2007 ...... a growing “app economy”, nurtured by Facebook, Apple and Google, which employs more than 300,000 people; its games, virtual merchandise and so on sell effortlessly across borders .... even small companies are seeking a toehold in emerging markets ..... Many countries have shale gas, but, as it did with the internet revolution, America leads in exploiting it ...... Even the most productive start-ups cannot help an economy held back by dilapidated roads, the world’s most expensive health system, underachieving union-dominated schools and a Byzantine immigration system that deprives companies of the world’s best talent
America’s economy: Points of light
American companies have left their mark all over Shanghai’s skyline..... Five of America’s biggest banks wrote off almost $500 billion in the aftermath of the financial crisis and raised $318 billion in fresh capital. As a result, their equity ratios now exceed 10%—above both pre-crisis levels and those of euro-zone banks. ...... Consumers are now engaged in a long, hard process of shedding debt and learning to live within their means. .... an uncommonly feeble recovery. In the three years since the recession ended, GDP has grown by an average of 2.4%. ..... With many old mortgages defaulted on and written off, and new ones harder to get, debt burdens have shrunk considerably. ..... two things beyond America’s control: the slowing world economy and the rising price of oil, America’s largest import. ..... Sales to traditional markets in the OECD, a rich-world club, have risen 20% since the end of 2007. But they have risen 51% to Latin America and 53% to China, which is now America’s third-largest market after Canada and Mexico. ..... Services have long been an American strength, consistently making up 30% of its exports. ..... scientific, engineering and other consulting, plus financial services .... Exports of such services to Brazil, India and China nearly doubled between 2006 and 2010. .... This trend has been pushed on by digital technology, which makes effortless the sale of many services across borders. ..... Zynga, one of the largest makers of online games and mobile entertainment applications, recorded $1.1 billion in revenue last year, largely from the sales of virtual goods in its games. A third of this came from players who live outside America. ...... Manufacturing employment has risen steadily for two years now. ..... Traditionally, America’s largest companies, such as Boeing and Caterpillar, have dominated exports. Small companies find distribution, regulation and language barriers overwhelming in foreign countries. ...... Small companies (with fewer than 500 employees) accounted for 34% of exports in 2010, up from 29% in 2006. ..... Soaring grain exports have raised farmers’ incomes to record levels, and regulators fret about incipient bubbles in agricultural land. At the same time, surging oil prices have triggered a gusher of new output. ..... America is the world’s third-largest oil producer. ..... a bonanza of domestic gas. Americans pay less than $3 for 1m British thermal units, where Europeans and Asians often pay more than $10. ..... America’s most successful exporters employ relatively few people. .... Emerging markets may have survived the 2008 crisis largely unscathed, but their growth is now succumbing to their own financial excesses. Nor are they an easy place to make money. China’s government, in particular, often forces foreign companies to share with local partners the ideas that give them their competitive advantage
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Massive Power Outage In India

Hydroelectric dam
Hydroelectric dam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When about a third of the people in a country the size of India (US + Europe + Africa) lose power, that is massive.

What the India Blackout Says About India's Frailties
Even for India, though, the blackout that began in the early hours of Monday was extraordinary. Nearly 360 million people—more than the population of the U.S. and Canada combined—lost power across seven states in northern India when excessive demand and a shortfall in hydro power overwhelmed the electricity grid. The worst blackout in a decade started at 2:32 in the morning, leaving people sweltering in their homes and stopping service on trains and subways in Delhi..... Slightly more than 12 hours later, power resumed in the capital...... The less-than-normal rainfall has put strains on India’s hydroelectric power supply, which accounts for 19 percent of the country’s 205 gigawatt generation capacity ..... The blackout “is symbolic of the infrastructure bottlenecks of the country” ...... The government wants to spend $400 billion over the next five years on power-sector investment, adding 76 gigawatts of capacity by 2017. That’s on top of the 85 gigawatts of power India has added in the past 10 years.
The real solution might be on the moon.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Facebook's Money Problem

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
Facebook's Earnings Report Underscores Its Challenges
the decelerating growth of its advertising business, which accounted for 85 percent of its $3.7 billion in revenue ..... in the last quarter, Facebook got $1.28 in revenue from each of its users, which is barely changed from the same time last year. .... the average revenue per user in the U.S. and Canada jumped to $3.20 from $2.84 a year ago
There is no relationship at Facebook between user growth and revenue growth. And that seems to be the problem. Long term I am not worried. There are several ways to monetize Facebook. Facebook has to figure out Facebook-unique ways to make money.
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Friday, February 24, 2012

New Technology And Old Media

Earlier I got back from a dinner party at Arianna's place. (Dinner At Arianna's) If it had been a private party it would have been bad taste to blog about it.

I had no idea The Huffington Post has major international expansion gameplans. I am so impressed. The Huffington Post is still very much a startup, just with more resources.

Paramendra, I very much hope you can join me for a dinner for Juan Luis Cebrian, who heads El Pais, our partner in launching The Huffington Post in Spain. It is at 7pm at my home at _________ 17th Street_______. Let me know if you can make it. All the best, Arianna.
The Huffington Post has been in Canada for a while now. I did not know. It even has a French edition in Canada. And it has already teamed up with the top French newspaper. I did not know. And I thought Arianna bought a yacht and went on a world tour after selling The Huffington Post to AOL. Not so. She is hard at work. If you think the newspaper is dead, talk to Arianna. I did not know El Pais was the biggest newspaper in the Spanish speaking world. I had never heard of that brand name.

I got to meet a whole bunch of people on the El Pais team. And I congratulated each of them. I told them I was not with The Huffington Post, although looks like I might do a few projects for them. ("How do you know Arianna?" "I met her at a party a few days back.")

I told them, this is a really smart move for both of you to be making. You have the content and the culture and the local reach that The Huffington Post does not have. The Huffington Post has the magic that you don't have. They do not embrace new technology, they have not mastered new technology, it is more like they were born out of new technology. Being big will not save you. RIM of Blackberry fame was big. The Huffington Post does new technology better than any newspaper in the world. Teaming up with them will rub off on you.

And I got to meet Joe Klein, the Time columnist. "You are Joe Klein, right?"

And - take this - I got to meet Charlie Rose, the man himself. "Charlie, I am a huge fan of your show." So true. Nobody quite like Charlie in the business.

I also met the president of MSNBC, but he had to tell me that.

I met a Danish guy out of London who sold a video startup to AOL for $100 million, and another guy who sold a startup to AOL for an undisclosed sum.

Towards the very end I got to meet Arianna's sister: "I am the artist in the family."

Meeting Arianna Huffington

Ends up Arianna did not buy a yacht. She bought something better. She has a great, great apartment. The big, open space of the living room, the view of the Freedom Tower, the white coloring of the walls. It is nice.

Mike Arrington and Arianna Huffington are a study in contrasts. One sold the top tech blog in the world to AOL, another sold the top blog in the world to AOL. And the similarities kind of end there. Arianna's is the biggest startup newspaper in the world, a newspaper for the digital era. In short, you ain't seen nothing yet.

If AOL remakes itself in Arianna's image, it will more than thrive. It will not end up a Yahoo.

Friday, January 06, 2012

A Rising Economy?

English: Okun's law: the relationship between ...Image via WikipediaThe recovery is slow but sure. I would have liked something more dramatic, but good news is good news. I don't think it's fragile. I don't think next month we will be like, oops, we are going down again. The rise I think will be steady, although not a smooth steady. Much of it is about growth in jobs. People need work. And the economy simply has to come up with those jobs.

There has been some good news especially on the jobs front today.

A dramatic realignment that I was expecting did not happen. The stimulus bill of 2009 was not dramatic enough as far as I was concerned. But the president perhaps did what he could under the given political alignments.

How long before the unemployment rate hits 6% again, you think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brazil: The Largeness Of A Country

Some countries are huge geographically but minuscule in population: Canada, Russia, Australia. Brazil is not one of those. Its large presence on the map is matched by the people who populate that map.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

After Party

I have missed three NY Tech MeetUps in a row. That is uncharacteristic of someone who used to show up when the NY Tech MeetUp was half a dozen people at a Lower East Side bar. But I missed. And livestreaming does not work for me, I never really went that route. So I showed up for the after party last night: 218 Sullivan. No presentations, and no beer, I decided, and it was such great fun. I worked the room like a politician.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Am Big In Canada

An image is worth a thousand words, so let me not elaborate too much. This map above is based on the traffic to this blog this past week. The major countries seem to be as follows.

The Germans Called Me Robin Hood

United States
United Kingdom
South Africa

Sergey Brin's Is The Right Stand

I got Brazil and India but not Russia and China.

A 4 AM Traffic Peak, Mostly From Canada
Traffic: Canada Top Country, 2 AM Peak
What Just Happened? 3,000 Page Hits

The page hits for yesterday stand at 2,000 and for today so far stand at 1,000. So I guess that 3,000 hits a few days back not an aberration. That 3,000 could be my new daily floor.

Weekends tend to be slow for bloggers in general. People read blogs when they are at work! So 1,000 for a Saturday is good, it is like getting 2,000 hits on a week day.

My Secret Sauce

If you want to know how to do this, this is my attempt at a formula.

Blog Traffic = (Number Of Total Posts)*(Number Of Inbound Links)*(Frequency Of New Posts)
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Friday, July 16, 2010

A 4 AM Traffic Peak, Mostly From Canada

Internal development of Canada's internal bord...Image via Wikipedia

How do you explain this? I think people in Canada sleep less. Or this is traffic from the northern parts of Canada where the sun is around many more hours of the day. Or parts where the sun never sets in summer.

Hello there. Thanks for dropping by.

The page hits for today stand at 1200, which used to be the previous peak for the longest time. And the day is still young. Looks to me like this blog's traffic is about to take off, enough that I can do this full time, if not right away then perhaps in a few months, or maybe even right away.

Blogging full time would be the best thing I could do for my startup that I expect to launch in about 15 months after I get my green card. Blogging full time would allow me to read all I want to read, to network feverishly in the New York tech ecosystem. I would explore the landscape for my startup through my blog.

If I have 1200 page hits for the day, and the top page for the day is getting only 80 of that, and that page is not a new page, but from a week back, that means I am doing well with the search engines. Traffic from search is the best kind. Otherwise sometimes you get a spike in traffic because some big shot blogger linked to you, and then all that traffic has evaporated in a day.

Search engine traffic is the good kind. It is more stable. Although Google can always tweak the algorithms and make you go away. But then that tweaking can go the other way as well. You could see another spike, spike upon spike.

If I were to treat this blog like a full time business, what would I do?

I like the blog's name: Netizen. It is a solo operation.

Every day I would put out a page of links to all the top stories from all the top tech blogs and from top news sites. A top story is what I determine a top story is. I would be making no attempt to be objective.

And I would write a few blog posts every day on topics of interest to me.

I would go to and blog about many of the key tech events in town. The two top tech events in town are:
I would watch and share videos from the top tech events anywhere and everywhere. You do that enough and you realize watching those videos is often better than showing up for many of those events. You can't show up for all of them anyways. And if you are going to every event on the list, your networking is not focused enough.

I would be commenting at other blogs much more. You have to be out and about, you know.
  • Content
  • Traffic
  • Monetization 
Those are the three elements. 

As for monetization, the Google ads are back up. But Google ads only make good money if you have a ton of traffic. I wish I could dig into the NY tech ecosystem to have more companies let me do blog post ads. 

Or maybe it is too early to think of full time pro blogging. The traffic is building up but it's not there yet. But it would be nice to be able to do it full time for a year. And then I could do a $1 salary thing for my startup the way Bloomberg does for the city, he is a $1 a year Mayor

I should probably send out a few emails. Hey, how would you like for me to do a blog post ad for you? Letting me do a blog post ad or two for you is almost like hiring me as a business consultant. I bring along more than exposure. I bring perspectives. 
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Traffic: Canada Top Country, 2 AM Peak

Image of Dario Meli from TwitterImage of Dario Meli
Now I remember why I disabled Google Analytics for this blog months back: you keep wanting to go back to check the latest numbers.

Blogger Stats

For the past week Canada has been my top country, it has given me 50% more traffic than the US. Go figure.

There is a peak for 2 AM on July 13 for the week. I thought that might be India. Nope. It's Canada. Might those be college students pulling all nighters? Toronto? Hello there. Thanks for dropping by.

@quikness might appreciate my Canada popularity.

This has been my top post this past week: Brazil.

What Just Happened? 3,000 Page Hits

Given enough page hits, I could do this near full time while I wait to launch my company. That would be swell. Would be a great way to prepare for a company launch. Somebody once said blogging is like graduate school seminar. It can be. It can be many other things as well.

Blogging falls in the mind food domain.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Coated Paper Stock

Logo of the United States International Trade ...Image via Wikipedia
Recessions are complicated business. Demand shrinks. Markets go awry. Jobs are lost. And you want to look for someone to blame. Some domestic paper suppliers in the US have managed to push out some foreign suppliers unfairly using trade rules to their advantage, raised their prices and in the process have hurt many industries in the US that rely on paper, printing, for example. You are looking at a few paper mills intent on pushing many American printing jobs to Mexico and Canada. Ends up not only are they hurting printers, these paper mills hurt themselves when they push the foreign suppliers out through unfair arguments placed with the Department of Commerce. Their action has also awakened to China to contemplate measures that looks like the early signs of a trade war. Trade benefits are across the board. Protectionist tendencies, though sentimentally understandable, are counterproductive.
Forbes: The Asian Paper Chase Economic downturns typically spark a spate of allegations by U.S. companies and unions that foreign exporters engage in pricing and business practices that violate global trade regulations...... Three U.S. paper companies and a union representing 6,000 mill workers filed a petition last fall against Chinese and Indonesian competitors ..... "We will take product and put it into different markets: Mexico, Canada, South America, Southeast Asia. To redirect it to other parts of the world will be relatively simple." .... Printers of glossy brochures, catalogues and viewbooks just across the border in Mexico or Canada would benefit from lower paper prices and pass those savings along to customers, who might be compelled to switch from costlier domestic printers. ..... Coated paper imports from China and Indonesia in 2008 were worth an estimated $228.7 million and $44.3 million ...... only 8% of total shipments from APP's China arm go to the U.S.; and American clients account for 9% of its Indonesian business ..... the reason the petitioners-- Appleton Coated in Kimberly, Wisc., Sappi Fine Paper of Boston and NewPage Corp. in Miamisburg, Ohio--are losing market share is due to declining demand for paper products in the U.S., which is reflected both in the number of catalogs mailed and the number of magazine pages advertisers buy, which have been steadily dropping since 2007
Facebook Page: International Paper Coalition

Trade wars are a very bad idea. Trade wars don't cure recessions, they make them worse. By now that thought is common sense in economics. It is imperative that common sense wins the day in this case. Otherwise there is going to be economic hurt all around. The global economy is too interconnected for protectionism, however well intentioned, to work. If you act to protect 6,000 jobs, you are going to end up losing 60,000 jobs in some other industries. The market truly is the best force to decide. Protectionism does not even protect the industries it seeks to protect. The "protected" companies end up catching cold. They start performing not so well no more.
  • NewPage overall revenue was better in 2009 than 2010. Foreign coated paper left the US market in 2010.
  • NewPage Core Paper Prices have increased $50 per ton.
  • Paper supplies are now at an all time low.
  • Even though they had better sales in 2010, their debt increased to a whopping $697 million.
    As NewPage net income increased foreign paper (specifically coated stock) was present in the market place. When NewPage net income went down foreign coated paper was no longer being imported. NewPage had better earnings and market share when there was foreign coated paper was present. It is better for NewPage if foreign coated is present in the US market.
  • As the ability for printers to buy coated paper has decreased, NewPage raises their price when they have no competition.
  • With NewPage’s anti-competitive tactics, they have removed much needed paper from the market leaving printers hurting from higher prices.
  • As a result of greed, mismanagement and Cerberus’ business model of running up debt and shutting down mills. This is what happened to the NP Plant in Kimberly, WI.
(Blog post ad)
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Monday, November 07, 2005


WiFi was wireless but not broadband, and not large area. Broadband over power lines was broadband but not wireless. WiMax was both: wireless and broadband. And today I read about xMax. It is wireless broadband without the WiMax hassles, it seems like. It looks like power to the people to the power of x. This is delightful. This is real good news. The basic thrust is towards wireless broadband. For a city in a wireless broadband soup, cellphones should become free. Cellphones that are ad-based. This is a brave, new world.

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