Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Google's "Brain Drain"

Came across an interesting presentation today on The Business Insider that they posted back in September - "The Google Brain Drain Goes On And On."

Interesting because it augments what I wrote back in June 2008 about Google's Employee Retention. The mental infrastructure of Silicon Valley encourages this behavior to the betterment of the technology, venture capital, and related industries. This trend is what makes Silicon Valley a great place - employees learn that their personal and professional growth becomes limited within a large organization, so they take what they learned and move on to the next big opportunity.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Too Big to Fail" & Charlie Rose

A recent issue of Fortune Magazine included a nice piece about Charlie Rose - "Why business loves Charlie Rose." I'm thankful for the article because it reminded me how much I enjoy his program so I've now set my DVR to record these episodes. Heck, if Warren Buffet watches it, I probably should.

Mr. Rose interviewed Andrew Ross Sorkin this week, author of "Too Big to Fail" - a book about the events and people surrounding the financial market crash, and I found myself completely engrossed with the conversation between Rose & Sorkin on the program. Lots of intricate details about Hank Paulson, Richard Fuld, Tim Geithner, and others. I just ordered a copy of the book from Amazon...

The discussion quickly reminded me of "Barbarians at the Gate" by Bryan Burrough and John Hely on the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in a previous decade. I finally got around to reading this book over the summer.

While it's hard to believe how Wall Street deals sometimes go down, it's really not when you read about the people behind the deals. In the interview with Rose, Sorkin described his book as a recounting of people and their personalities as much as it is a book about the events themselves.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Greenspan on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos

Was fortunate to flip on the TV the morning to catch Alan Greenspan on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. Here are some key statements during the interview with some additional explanation in parenthesis that I've added.

  • The economy loses skills with elongated unemployment (When workers are not working and keeping up with new technology, new processes, and deploying new innovation, the skills of the worker deteriorate and fall further behind competition in the global economy.)
  • Just after the financial crash, business (defined as economic participants) expected production and consumptions levels to fall off far more than they did. This spurred business to cut employment and production more than could have been economically supported. As a result, we're getting "horrendous" labor productivity numbers, meaning that the output per worker is declining.
  • On unemployment, Greenspan noted that unless there are more than 100,000 new jobs a month, the unemployment rate will not improve.
  • On government intervention and the stimulus package, the focus should continue to be on trying to get the economy going, but don't be counterproductive. As Greenspan stated, "we're in a recovery, his is what a recovery looks like. Looking back after this is over, we'll see ups and downs on a graph but look right through them right through them." The stimulus package is only 40% spent, so before considering a second package, the remainder (Evan Bayh on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace said he would have liked to have the stimulus go into effect sooner.)
  • On GDP growth, Greenspan predicted 2.5% GDP growth in the third quarter and sees the numbers coming in higher than that once the estimates and revisions are completed. We're getting close to end of job loss, "but this is not the same as unemployment going done. We'll get to 10% barrier and stay there for a little while."
  • On temporary actions, he feels that measures such as extended unemployment benefits are needed in the short term and is not a stimulus activity but may have some stimulus effects.
  • On health care, the real problem exists in health care because of the huge fiscal hole as seen in Medicare. There is significant issuance of treasury bonds to finance the budget deficit. Historically we have kept our debt well below the borrowing capacity but that cushion is being tested which will affect LT interest rates. "Budget neutral is not adequate, weed to have address the long term."