Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Bush-Rice tragedy: Two foreign policy wins, but no one to applaud

The W Bush administration and Condi Rice have had two huge foreign policy wins in the last couple of weeks: the awesome Indo-US nuclear deal (which was all quality hard work), and now the deal with N. Korea. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin and the roller-coaster stock market are hogging all the attention.

Sequoia's message to startups: Wrong and dangerous

This Sequoia slideset has been doing the rounds for the last few days. Most of the stuff it says is obvious, but some of the stuff does not make sense to me and seems dangerous and wrong:
  1. All the macroeconomic stuff it talks about -- overextended US households, for example -- is something that has been developing for a while; something that each and every business should have taken into account for a long time; what's new there?

  2. The prescription seems a mix of the obvious and the dangerous:
    • ADAPT QUICKLY: Again... d-u-h
    • USE A ZERO-BASED BUDGETING APPROACH: Duh... again!!! You're a startup, hello?
    • MAKE CUTS: That does not make sense... if the company wasn't running as lean as possible, what are the chances it's going to cut in the right places now?
    • REVIEW SALARIES: Same as above
    • EMPLOY A HEAVILY COMMISSIONED SALES STRUCTURE: Stupidest thing I've ever heard -- read how commissions screw things up in Joel Spolsky's column
    • BOLSTER BALANCE SHEETS: Who wouldn't want to?
    • SPEND EVERY DOLLAR AS IF IT WERE YOUR LAST: Who wouldn't want to?

  3. What's missing is useful tips, like "sell to the Federal government". In this nuclear winter for business, governments will be forced to spend more and this time, they'll spend on tech and services too, not just roads and bridges. Start selling to the governments, people.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

I prefer the stimulus package

The idea seems to be to avoid stopping the music. When the music stopped for Lehman, all hell broke loose. So why not start playing the music from the bottom up (money to citizens) rather than top down (money to the big banks)?

Wouldn't it be better for the government to give all taxpayers, say, $50,000 each? Some of them will start paying their mortgages again (solves the subprime problem), others will save it in banks (solves the bank solvency problem), yet others will invest in the stock market (the market steps out of its swoon), and the rest will go spend it in the mall -- nothing wrong with that either.

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