The audacity of Facebook

Thursday, 2 February, 2012

To not write about the Facebook IPO filing would be to exhibit a disregard for news bordering on iconoclasm of the worst kind and that’s not what Rainy Day readers expect, so here goes. The numbers porn is fascinating: user base of 845 million, almost $4 billion in revenue, $1 billion in net income year… […]

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We’ve got to talk about Hollywood

Friday, 27 January, 2012

Backgrounder: “What Happens At Y Combinator” is a lengthy and informative post written by Paul Graham in September 2010. Snippet: “The overall goal of YC [Y Combinator] is to help startups really take off. They arrive at YC at all different stages. Some haven’t even started working yet, and others have been launched for a year or more. But whatever stage a startup is at when they arrive, our goal is to help them to be in dramatically better shape 3 months later.”

And this segues nicely into the recently issued Y Combinator RFS, where “RFS” stands for “Requests For Startups”. It was the title wot done it: “RFS 9: Kill Hollywood“. Typical of the tenor of the piece: “How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?”

This is pretty incendiary stuff and, sure enough, is has generated some heated responses. The entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis has just kicked back with, “We Need to Empower Hollywood–Not Kill Hollywood“. As always, Calacanis is entertaining: “What if YC’s screed winds up on the desk of some angry or delusional CEO or studio head’s desk with a list of stolen files in Dropbox folders and says, ‘These guys are trying to kill us, let’s unleash a trillion dollar lawsuit on them and harass them to death!’ That’s what Hollywood does — it harasses startups to death and YC’s post is EXACTLY what those lawyers are looking for: the smoking gun that internet people want to kill them.”
Y Combinator is right in demanding a creative response to the increasingly legalistic, stultifying, predictable, biased Hollywood output, but Calacanis is on the money when he points out that no amount of Angry Birds can match the magic of Hollywood when the result is something like Drive.

The provisional wing of Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, 22 December, 2011

Dublin’s newest favela can be found on Dame Street in front of Ireland’s Central Bank. The occupants of Dame Street, however, do not appear to be suffering very much at the hands of the system they wish to destroy. Indeed, if only these scruffy types were to sell their iPhones and give the proceeds to […]

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A vote of confidence in the euro

Thursday, 15 December, 2011

The outlook for the “Project”, as the crazed commissars in Brussels call their beloved common currency, is grim and prospect of implosion is so threatening that even Guardian columnists are pondering THE END, but this does not mean that a contrarian must run with the herd. Quite the opposite, in fact. So, when the manufacturer of the new Rainy Day laptop offered the option of a keyboard with the euro symbol, we voted for it. If the currency, miraculously, manages to survive, it’ll be handy to have at hand, and should the euro go down in flames, the value of the computer will increase due to the antiquarian aspect of the keyboard. Win win!

Rappers join models insisting on euros

Wednesday, 7 December, 2011 0 Comments

Ah, those were the days. And those days were in 2007, which is when the Independent was telling its envious readers, stuck with their dull sterling, about the product placement in “Blue Magic”, the new video from the “mega-star rapster Jay-Z”. Here’s the lyrical bit: “It is not a fancy car that he is endorsing — although both his rides, a Rolls-Royce and soft-top Bentley, are plenty spiffy — but rather a currency — and it is not the dollar.” It was, of course, the euro!

Rappers join models in insisting on euros as greenbacks fall further out of fashion” was the headline. Gossip about other celebrity endorsements was rife: “Chatter about his video comes on the heels of reports that Gisele Bundchen, the world’s richest model, is asking that payment for her numerous advertising gigs be in euros.”

And today? “Metallica rocked by euro crisis“. According to the Telegraph: “Heavy metal band Metallica has brought forward a European tour scheduled for 2013 to next year over fears the single currency will collapse, jeopardising the chances of getting paid for the gigs.” O tempora o mores as Cicero said. Watch Jay-Z flashing those €500s at 0.50.

AEP picks his Unwort: Fiskalunion

Monday, 5 December, 2011 0 Comments

This is going to be a critical week for the beleaguered euro, and the common currency’s most incisive critic is starting the week in top form. We’re talking about AEP (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard) of the Telegraph. With “Fiskalunion is worst of all worlds for Europe“, AEP comes out of the blue corner, hitting hard: “None of Mrs Merkel’s proposals — whether enshrined in EU treaties or not — offer any meaningful solution to the crisis at hand. They continue to ignore the cancer in the EMU system: the corrosive 30pc currency misalignment between North and South, and the German-Dutch trade surplus.” After that jab, comes the right hook: “Her plan clings to the Wagnerian myth that Club Med fiscal extravagance is the cause of all the trouble, though Spain had a budget surplus of 2pc of GDP five years ago and never broke the Stability Pact — unlike Germany — and Italy has long had a primary surplus.”

By the way, the EU might not be the ideal organization to enforce Fiskalunion as its auditors have for the last 17 years running refused to sign off its own budget because of “material errors” amounting, last year, to 3.7 per cent of all its expenditure.

It’s going to be a critical week.