Archive for November 17th, 2011

Microsoft is not only putting its weight behind Hadoop the open source platform for crunching large amounts of data across thousands of servers. It’s abandoning the proprietary platform it built to do much the same thing.




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There is little debate about the need to recapitalize European banks that have yet to fully disclose or mark their obviously troubled sovereign exposures. In fact, it is all but certain that those same banks are at least a hundred billion euros short in their capital accounts (and likely a multiple of that). Since the modern banking system is based on the idea of capital buffers rather than actual, physical cash (or gold), the accounting of capital stands as the basis for the entire system.
These projected capital shortfalls typically leave only a couple of options for the banks most…

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Follow The Daily Ticker on Facebook here! U.S. stocks fell sharply for a second-straight day as worries intensify about the crisis in Europe. In recent trading, the Dow was down 190 points, or 1.6%. Overnight, Spanish bond yields approached the critical 7% level after a $4.8 billion bond offering garnered lackluster demand. Yields on Italian [...]

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Skype Thursday announced that Skype and Facebook can now be linked from Skype’s end. With Skype’s new 5.4 Beta for Mac and 5.7 Beta for Windows, users can conduct a “Facebook to Facebook” call from within the Skype platform. It’s a major component of  July’s announcement that Skype would be powering Facebook’s new video-chat feature.

To …




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Follow The Daily Ticker on Facebook here! Today marks the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. To celebrate, organizers have called for a national “Day of Action” for the country’s 99% to rally against Wall Street and the richest 1%. This morning, the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters in New York tried to shut [...]

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It should be no surprise that when MF Global failed, the market reaction was a virtual yawn. We have been told so often that the failure of a large nonbank financial institution will cause a systemic breakdown that some otherwise sensible people have come to believe it.
The underlying idea - that financial institutions are “interconnected” and the failure of one will drag down others - is not implausible. But like so much else that underlies the Dodd-Frank Act, it was accepted as true - and acted upon - without much evidence, or even much thought.
It is certainly true that chaos…

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Follow The Daily Ticker on Facebook here! The Move Your Money project, which encouraged Americans to close accounts at large banks and open accounts at smaller institutions, was designed to send a message to the nation’s biggest financial institutions. But the movement away from large money-center banks and toward more cuddly community and alternate money [...]

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If an unfrozen caveman CIO showed up at Google Atmosphere 2011, he could be forgiven for thinking that “cloud” is just a fancy new way to do email. And as long as Microsoft Office is essentially a critical communication network runs atop email, Google will be confined to owning just the transport layer of the enterprise collaboration stack.




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Follow The Daily Ticker on Facebook here! In recent years, it’s become conventional knowledge that the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is under threat. In his new book, Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, James Rickards makes a compelling case for not just why the dollar will lose its reserve [...]

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There is less than one week to go before the so-called Super Committee must provide a framework to cut $1.2 to $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years. But from the looks of it, the bi-partisan gang of 12 is far from cutting a deal. The partisan politics being played out [...]

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How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful BusinessesI started reading Eric Ries‘s new book The Lean Startup last night and so far it is very, very good. Almost ‘can’t put it down’ good, or at least as close to that as you could expect from a business book.

Most of you will be familiar with the lean startup methodology by now. Testing your assumptions in the market and pivoting if they are wrong and keeping costs low until you have found product-market fit. Some of you will be tempted to think that because you understand the basics you don’t need to read this book.

That would be a mistake.

There is a lot of important detail which sits underneath the main ideas that Eric proposes, and probably more importantly Eric’s main point is subtly different from the lean startup summary I gave above. The real essence of the lean startup methodology is to make learning how to build a sustainable business the central objective of management. The learning should derive from a continuous process of hypothesis generation, hypothesis testing and iteration. This goes much further than iterating the product to achieve market fit (important though that is). It also requires much more discipline to execute and I would say is more difficult for most teams to adopt. Those that do, however, will have a better chance of success.

I’m going to finish with a passage from the book which shows one of the management challenges that arises if you follow the disciplines of the lean startup methodology.

The context for this passage is that rapid experimentation requires small targets so success or failure can be assessed quickly.

Despite IMVU’s [Eric's second startup] early success our gross numbers were still pretty small. Unfortunately, because of the traditional way businesses are evaluated, this is a dangerous situation … Zero invites imagination, but small numbers invite questions about whether large numbers will ever materialise. Everyonr knows (or thinks he or she knows) stories of products that achieved breakthrough sucess overnight. As long as nothing has been released and no data collected, it is still possible to imagine overnight success in the future. Small number pour cold water on that hope.

This phenomenon creates a brutal incentive: postpone getting any data until you are certain of success.

The emphasis is mine.

Having the strength to set small targets and be prepared to reject hypotheses if they are not met is an example of a discipline that many managers find tough to stick with. Remember that our natural tendency is to do the opposite, and seek out only the data that confirms our beliefs.

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