How the economy got so bad

If you are curious as to how we got into the financial mess we're in, this article is a fascinating read. It's by the guy who wrote Liar’s Poker, which is a semi-autobiographical account of his time spent as a bond trader in the late 80's.

Turns out he knew the guy who started the mortgage-backed securities market. And in this article, he goes back to talk to some of the players in the current market. He concludes that not much had changed -- until this last September when Wall Street changed forever. But it's a fascinating read about abject greed and pure contempt.

It's long, but well worth the read.

Posted by wee on 11/18/2008 at 10:50 AM | Main Page | Category: Random Stuff

Take a look at this story: Google Pulls out of Yahoo. That, I must say, is a very fine piece of work. Google screwed Yahoo and Microsoft, and didn't have to spend a penny. Someone in the bizdev team over at MTV (that's "Mountain View" in googlespeak) is a very bright person. Bravo.

When MS made the offer to buy Yahoo, Google screams "Hey! Antitrust! Too much market power!" Then they offer to do ads and stuff for Yahoo in order to fend off MS. That torpedoes the MS-Yahoo deal, with Yang thinking the Google help will keep the creaking hulk alive. I mean, the stock's at $25/share, MS is only offering $31/share. "That's not much headroom to make up for, is it? Now that we have Google's search that actually works and ads that are easy to buy?" MS is seen as ineffectual, can't do search or ads, can't even buy a struggling internet company that does! "What can they do?!" the advertisers and shareholders ask. Yahoo stock drops like a rock, now Google says "Well, yeah, that'd be too much market share for us too" and backs out. Yahoo is left a wallflower, and has to go slinking back to the MS it once spurned. That's its only option right now. Nobody else wants to go on a date.

And now Yahoo will have to go to MS, unzip, and say please. It's their only option. Meanwhile Google is capturing more search and advertisers while Yahoo and MS sort out whatever the heck it is they think they need to do.

I bet we see MS come in with a $15/share offer. It's gonna be lowball, for sure. Yahoo has no other options, and they know it. If it needs to, MS can go to the board and have Yang tossed no problem. He's basically cost the stockholders $19 billion by not taking the first deal, and so he's hoping right now that he'll be around long enough to take the second one. Hell, he's probably trying to find a second one. He's trading his dignity for the chance to run what's left of the company he started. Sad, but true.

In any case, it'll happen for certain. Because you have in Yahoo a wounded fawn, trying to hobble its way to safety, and MS a slavering, ravenous beast that smells blood. I imagine Balmer heard the Google news and absolutely wet himself in greedy glee. He's doing his best Burns imitation right now, running around in his soaked-pits shirt, rubbing his mitts together, salivating at thoughts of conquest -- at half the price no less! The man has a permachubby or he's impotent, I'm telling you. It's obvious what has to happen. The man's a power-mad brute. He can't not acquire Yahoo, in order to see his enemies crushed before him and hear the lamentations of its women. It's like the only thought he has rolling around in that shiny noggin' of his.

It's going to be hilarious when MS comes storming into Sunnyvale, showing them all how to use Windows Live SQL 2010 Express or whatever the hell they're calling it. The sales and marketing crowd at Yahoo will love it, since they'll get to run around with a monster budget doing useless things, and tell everyone to bow down to them because they work at MS (I've met a bunch of MS's S&M people; bigger prima donnas I've not seen). But I bet 1/3 of the Yahoo engineers are gone within three months. Half are fixing up resumes in that time for certain. It's more than failure, or having to work for "the enemy". There's a certain class of people that can't morally work for Microsoft. I'm not sure I could, to tell the truth.

If you're a geek, the next 6-9 months is going to be a really, really bad time to look for work in the valley. I'm really glad I got out when I did.

Posted by wee on 11/06/2008 at 01:17 PM | Main Page