Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Everything was going so well - what happened?

Do you ever wonder what changed? Sure people where borrowing too much. Spending beyond their means by buying homes they could not afford and taking out loans on assets that where valued higher than they probably should have been. And sure rich bankers where getting richer by trading in something called derivatives that Warren Buffet calls economic weapons of mass destruction. But...

It does not make any sense. It's not like production facilities suddenly evaporated or consumers are less interested in consuming. Nor is the service industry saying, we don't want to perform services any more. Ok, so values got a bit out of hand and some of that leverage stuff was a Ponzi scheme, but how about we just fire those guys and wipe the slate clean. It's only paper money anyways. And since governments are in a mood to print money, they can hand it back to the underlying owners of the leveraged assets.

A bunch of value was created on paper that turned out to be worthless. Now its really hard to figure out who should be held accountable. Kind of like the dot-com boom and bust. Just on a much bigger scale. So now a bunch of people wake up and don't have the money they thought they had. It sucks. I know, it happened to me in the dot-com bust. But I got over it. Lets tell the bankers to get over it. Look at the upside: finally it may become possibly to buy a two bedroom apartment in New York and London for someone who has a normal job.

Beyond all the paper value that got created and then vanished, nothing really changed. We're all the same. Surely the American consumer will continue to consume if given more cash. Just hand it out and watch - it'll happen all over again. The Chinese can continue to produce and grow. The Europeans can continue to host tourists. In short, this doesn't have to stop. Why don't we just all start it over again. I suggest we all volunteer to take a 30% write-down in our net asset values (based on where we were 2 months ago) and then start the whole thing over again. How's that for a plan?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Share Space Personal announced today

Big changes over at www.plum.com. We just announced Share Space Personal today - a free way to create personal micro-sharing networks.

Kind of like social networking meets groups. We're really stoked about this. Try it out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No new MacBooks for the digerati in Monaco

The people I see on the conference circuit tend to like gadgets - a lot. Most have or have had an iPhone by now. Some are on their second one as 3G became a "must". Others decided they didn't like it so they're sporting Nokia N95s or the latest Blackberries. Cameras - still and motion - with the highest megapixel and HD resolution is a part of the repertoire. Small is good, but big can be impressive too as witnessed by recent lusty comments over the announced new over the top Cannon EOS 5D Mark II. Its not uncommon for folks to show up with a dedicated (big) bag for the gizmos and cameras - yes David Sifry, that's you I'm talking about.

What was surprising at the Monaco Media Forum last week was the lack of new Macbooks. These hot, new, shiny, eco devices - where notable in their absence. This is the crowd that would normally have them first.

Might even the digerati be walking the talk? Cutting costs to the point that they're not picking up the latest, fastest and hippest of tech gadgets?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This, the America I love

In 1982 I boarded a plane in Oslo Norway bound for America. I was moving to a country of freedom, of great promise and unbounded opportunity. A country of optimism and diversity. I was full of hope and I was full of gratitude. I was among the fortunate few that had been awarded the privilege to study at one of the world's finest educational institutions. I had been given an opportunity that I to this day am humbled by, the opportunity to receive a fantastic education, to meet people from every corner of the world and an opportunity to expose myself to ideas and thoughts that pushed my buttons and challenged my views in ways I had never before imagined.

The America I so strongly believe in has been ill. She has been infected with a disease called "fear". It is an insidious disease. It breeds anger and resentment. It kills hope and it stifles openness. It causes us to loose sight of our greater purpose. It replaces connections with consumption. It substitutes dialogue with dogma. It favors aggression over diplomacy. It leads us astray.

The America I knew in 1982 is the America I believe in. It is the America that billions of people around the world believe in. It is the America of light and promise, of a higher purpose and of hope. That America is alive again. Tonight is the proof. The America I know and love was reborn tonight.

America has been very good to me. I have formed deep friendships. I have found love. I have learned and I have achieved. But, most of all I have made the American spirit my own. The American spirit of acceptance, of ideas and of wonder and openness. A spirit of endurance and of optimism. Generosity. Creativity and ingenuity. That American spirit was reborn tonight.

Tonight is the beginning of something different and something new that is old. I have a strong intuition. I feel it in my bones and I know it in my heart. Today is a new beginning. Thank you Barack Hussein Obama. Thank you for holding up the promise of change. Thank you for leading. Thank you for having the audacity of hope and for reintroducing me to the America I love.