Somebody said we were allowed to think out loud. Pardon the mess.

Friday, April 22, 2005

BusinessWeek dives in a crowded pool to explain yet another newfangled tech thingy to the laggards of the flashing 12:00 crowd. There are a few bits of candid self-awareness...
Friday 10:46 a.m. The question came up at a panel discussion last week: Any chance that a blog bubble could pop? The answer is really easy: no.

At least not an investment bubble. Venture firms financed only $60 million in blog startups last year, according to industry tracker VentureOne. Chump change compared to the $19.9 billion that poured into dot-coms in 1999. The difference is that while dot-coms promised to make loads of money, blogs flex their power mostly by disrupting the status quo.

The bigger point, which is blindingly obvious when you think about it, is that the dot-com era was powered by companies -- complete with programmers, marketing budgets, Aeron chairs, and burn rates. The masses of bloggers, by contrast, are normal folks with computers: no budget, no business plan, no burn rate, and -- that's right -- no bubble.

The role of the blog startups is to build tools for this grassroots uprising. Six Apart, a four-year-old San Francisco company, leads in blog software. Technorati and PubSub Concepts are battling it out in blog search. The founders all insist that they plan to remain independent. But if recent history is any guide, most of them will wind up in the bellies of the blog-minded Internet giants -- led by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The latest to disappear was Flickr. A photo-sharing service that spread madly across the blog world, 13-month-old Flickr was still running its software in its beta, or testing, phase when it was acquired by Yahoo in March for an undisclosed sum. Caterina Fake, Flickr's co-founder, wrote about the deal in her blog the day it happened: "Don't forget to breathe. It's not the end, it's the beginning."
I'll have to keep an eye on this "Blogg" thing. Seems awfully unstructured and hard to monetize, tho.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Your logo here

Another Worth1000 Photoshop extravaganza. (78 entries besides Mohandas K. Pret-a-porter.)

Question is, "Will Apple sue?"

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Golden Trampoline. Part I

The top three executives at Viacom Inc. received total compensation last year valued at about $52 million to $56 million each in salary, bonus and stock options, the company disclosed yesterday.

The three officers - the chief executive, Sumner M. Redstone, and the co-presidents, Tom Freston and Leslie Moonves - received a total of $160 million. Viacom filed documents disclosing the compensation with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, [Friday,] after the market closed.

"The compensation is beyond breathtaking, and it dwarfs what their competitors are earning," a longtime compensation specialist, Brian Foley, said.

"If any one of the men had gotten that payment as chief executive, it would still have been a story, but the fact that all three got it is amazing."

A Viacom spokesman, Carl Folta, said the overall compensation was "based on the operating performance of the company, and that was excellent in 2004." While Viacom's share price declined 18 percent last year, Mr. Folta said the compensation "was not based on the stock price."

...Last month, in a move aimed at increasing the value of the depressed stock, Viacom said that it was considering splitting itself into two public companies with Mr. Moonves at the helm of one company and Mr. Freston running the other. Splitting the company could lead to the compensation of the two executives being refigured yet again...

....Explaining the bonuses, the company documents pointed to "the overall position of the company's businesses at the end of the year," as well as the "successful transitioning" as justification for their bonuses.

A longtime compensation expert, Graef Crystal, said, "Sumner certainly qualifies for the 'unclear on the concept award' contest for paying himself $55.9 million in a year when the company lost $17.5 billion."

"Even though Viacom's operating income rose," Mr. Crystal said, " it still wrote off billions in noncash charges."
Yes, the emphasis is mine. More on the trampoline to come.
Bill Frist's going to a brimstone BBQ

But those Unitarians are havin' a gee-hawd!

SF Chron
...Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you??? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion...

More? Or is it less? Who cares, it's funny. For wobegon culture warriors and other tellers of Ole and Nina jokes, saddle up your spiritual Saxon with the Unitarian Jihad Name Generator.

Me? I now signify as your ever-humble servant: Brother Neutron Bomb of Love and Mercy; Gatling Gun of Desirable Mindfulness.

Amen, and pass the lutefisk.

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