Quattrone and IPO allocations — Wrong!

Media making much this weekend of ex-investment banker Frank Quattrone’s supposed admissionof having a role in IPO allocations. People think he said one thing on Thursday to his own lawyer, and something else on Friday to the prosecutor.
If only that were true. Quattrone is too clever for that. On Thursday he said that he didn’t make decisions about IPO allocations; On Friday he talked about recommendations & suggestions that he had made. While the distinction might seem like a fine one, it is the one on which his case balances: How much influence did Quattrone really have?
[Source: Financial Times]

Talking Point on “talking points”

Typically savvy comments from Josh Marshall. These are indeed “talking point heavy” comments from GW Bush.

Here’s the transcript of the president’s brief remarks on Wilsongate today in Chicago.

If you look at his words, you can see immediately what talking points he was given. There’s no mention of blowing the cover of a CIA covert operative, no mention of Wilson, the issue of retaliation, or anything like that.

His repeated mantra is his opposition to “leaks of classified information.” That of course is a much broader issue and, not coincidentally, a charge that the White House has previously levelled at Congress.

[Josh Marshall]

McDonald’s gets serious about healthy good

I understand, it’s hard to imagine McDonald’s really taking this healthy-eating thing seriously, but I think people are understimating the chain — Bob Greene et al., aside ….

McDonald’s(R) Partners with America’s Best-Selling Health and Fitness Expert, Bob Greene, on Healthy Lifestyles Campaign — Source: PRNewswire, September 17,… [PR Bop]

Forbes Online has an article

Forbes Online has an article today that discusses TiVo and the slower than expected adoption rate of the device given all of the praise. Call it first-mover disadvantage:

“That’s really remarkable,” says Adi Kishore, a media and entertainment analyst for the Yankee Group in Boston. “I can’t think of any product that has had the satisfaction levels it has had but has been as sluggish in terms of the growth of the market. It’s certainly unusual for a product to have this kind of enthusiasm from the community that’s using it without being able to tip over and really become a mass-market phenomenon.”

Currently, TiVo, which hit the market more than four years ago, serves fewer than 800,000 subscribers. Only about 1% of America’s households employ TiVo or similar digital video-recording products, according to the Consumer Electronic Association. By comparison, market penetration for DVD players has hit 41% and is rising, making it one of the most rapidly embraced products in history.

But as Andrew Anker pointed out elswhere, TiVo is a feature, not a product. It should be built into TVs, DVD players, cable receivers, etc.

When you absolutely, positively have to have yourself there overnight

On the bright side, if this catches on it will be much quieter for us folks sticking to economy class.

US transport officials demand answers after a man sends himself as air cargo from New York to Texas. [BBC World]

Monocultures in markets

Thoughtful piece from Jon Udell on monocultures in markets elicited thoughtful responses:

You can’t turn Windows’ installed base on a dime, but you can turn it eventually. In four or five years, the true nature of the struggle between the methodologies of Microsoft and the open source community may finally begin to emerge. My hunch is that both strategies will produce reliable and secure software, and that competition between them will benefit everyone. Neither strategy will deliver perfect security, of course, because no such thing exists. We’ll always be assessing risks and making trade-offs. [http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/09/05/35OPstrategic_1.htm]

Last week’s column provoked more than the usual number of responses. Here are some of them.

[Full story:
Monoculture, competition, and security

[Jon Udell]

John Griffin, Jeffrey Harris, and

John Griffin, Jeffrey Harris, and Selim Topaloglu (2003), “The Dynamics of Institutional and Individual Trading,” Journal of Finance (December).

Abstract: We study the daily and intra-daily cross-sectional relation between stock returns and the trading of institutional and individual investors in NASDAQ 100 securities. Based on the previous day’s stock return, the top-performing deciles… is 23.9% more likely to be bought in net by institutions… than… the bottom performance decile. Strong contemporaneous daily patterns can largely be explained by net institutional (individual) trading positively (negatively) following past intra-day excess stock returns (or the news associated therein). In comparison, evidence of return predictability and price pressure are economically small.

Sobig and SARS: China as virus ground zero

Various reports making clear that one of the reasons Sobig.F grew so quickly was China. Not because it started there — it looks like it started in a posting to a Usenet porn group — but because so many Chinese computer users don’t know the basics of online self-protection. According to this AFP story, 30% of Chinese Internet users were infected, amounting to 20-mm computers in total. This created a storm of Sobig emails that flooded the region, and, eventually, leaked back into North America. It also explains, in part, why during the outbreak’s initial stages traffic reports showed the worst network responsiveness in SE Asia.

British Columbia drought leading to catastrophe

The record drought in British Columbia has spawned a fire near Kelowna that has destroyed more than 200 homes — so far. While this is terrible, it could very well be happening in Vancouver, not Kelowna, and the costs would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars

About 203 homes have been lost overnight, as B.C. fire crews assess the exact damages Saturday morning from a roaring forest fire that continues to threaten Kelowna, B.C.

[Globe and Mail]

One argument why university IP should be free

From Brad DeLong’s site:

John Quiggin: Patently right: There’s an interesting piece in today’s Fin (subscription required) about Uni of NSW Vice-Chancellor Rory Hume, who says universities should give away (nearly all) the research they produce rather trying to make money out of intellectual property. I think he’s right for a number of reasons. First, despite some impressions to the contrary, the returns to universities from commercialising research have been very poor, even in the US where this has been going on for a long time. The Australian Research Council did a study on this and found that the returns from commercialisation were about 2 per cent of the cost of research. In fact, if unis fully costed their commercialisation outfits, including land and administrative overheads, I suspect that the true figure would be negative. Second there’s the standard public good argument. The social benefits are greater if the results are free to use.

Third, the university’s intellectual “property” has already been bought and paid for–by the donors in the case of a private university, and by the citizens in the case of a public university.

[Brad Delong]