Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quotes of the day

Apple couldn’t have killed Flash if HTML 5 hadn’t recently been adopted by major browsers. HTML 5 offers alternatives to most of the key features of Flash. And no one controls it the way Adobe controls Flash. Since no software company wants to build its products on a standard it doesn’t control, every company other than Adobe has a natural incentive to adopt HTML 5 over Flash.  This brings to mind Jonathan Zittrain’s book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. Zittrain warned that the success of the proprietary iPhone threatened to undermine the decentralized, bottom-up structure of the Internet. The Flash story is a useful counterexample to Zittrain’s thesis. On the one hand, iOS is a proprietary standard controlled by Apple, so its ascendancy looks like a threat to open standards. Yet the rise of the iPad was a major factor in the decline of another proprietary standard, Flash.  ... for at least two decades, it has looked like proprietary technologies were on the verge of taking over the software industry. Yet open standards have grown more and more dominant. This hasn’t been a lucky fluke, it’s a matter of basic economics. Proprietary software is central planning. And in the long run, central planning doesn’t work as well as bottom-up organization.--Timothy B. Lee

Trading is about being self-aware to obtain profits in excess of losses. Gambling is about the emotional payoff. ... When a trader lacks emotional intelligence and has no inner voice to listen to, he is more of a philanthropist than a trader. He’s giving money away, so it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the trade ... [rogue traders] didn’t deliberately trade a Martingale system, but this is what their emotions led them to do, whether they knew it or not. That’s how vicious a cycle it is if you don’t learn to take small losses and flush your ego. Traders don’t think it can happen to them, and then all of a sudden they’re emotionally invested in the outcome of a trade. A trader must detach emotionally from the outcome of any particular trade.--Joshua Brown

You [men] don’t have to take the pill, wear a patch, insert messy rings or go through the hassle of making an appointment with your doctor to change and refill your prescription for said pills, patches, rings and paraphernalia. As for the potential short and long-term health consequences such as nausea, decreased libido, blood clotting, cancer, and infertility? On us. Cervix with a smile. If I didn’t know better, I would say that it’s like men invented birth control. But, of course, that’s just the woman in me talking crazy.--Clare Halpine

... if your blogger was good at forecasting market movements, he would be running a hedge fund, not enduring the daily sardine-like commute on the Piccadilly line. It is that the nature of financial journalism is in assembling evidence from published sources, analysts, fund managers that other people know as well. By the time the evidence of a trend is convincing enough for an article, the trend may well be over.--Buttonwood

[Jamie] Dimon, a lifelong Democrat who was rumored to be on Obama’s short list for treasury secretary before he settled on Tim Geithner, met privately with Romney on Tuesday morning before a fund-raiser at Brasserie 8¹/2 hosted by Highbridge Capital, a JPMorgan-owned hedge fund. Dimon, who was spotted “in a discreet one-on-one” discussion with Romney, cannot publicly endorse a candidate because he sits on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But he donated to Democratic candidates in 2008 and privately supported Obama. ... Political insiders are buzzing that a defection would signal further Wall Street hostility toward Obama, who famously called them “fat cat” bankers in 2009. Dimon responded, “I don’t think the president of the United States should paint everyone with the same brush.” One insider said, “There is not a person on Wall Street, with the exception of the genetic Democrats, who would get anywhere near supporting Obama. The hostility to the administration is huge. Dimon will continue to look bipartisan, then work behind the scenes to get a Republican elected.” There were few big Wall Street names openly linked to Obama’s fund-raisers in New York. And we’re told ticket sales for Obama’s Friday event with Warren Buffett have been slower than expected, with staffers calling and e-mailing supporters to shift tickets at up to $35,800.--Page 6

High-frequency traders—often seen as the destabilizing villains of the currency markets—may in fact be helping it to run smoothly, a study by the Bank for International Settlements suggested Tuesday. Many traditional market players blame secretive high-speed traders for "predatory" or "unfair" practices, bemoaning the superfast computers they use to pick out trade signals and exploit banks' often slower machines. Some banks have even toyed with the idea of setting up closed trading systems, where they can trade with one another and avoid these accounts. But in a report based on research by officials at 14 central banks, the BIS said high-frequency traders help to make trading cheaper for everyone by squashing so-called spreads—the gap between where banks buy and sell currencies. High-frequency traders also support liquidity, and don't tend to flee the market in tough times any more often than banks.--EVA SZALAY And JACOB BUNGE

A good corporate board should be characterized by constant tension, with non-executive directors respectfully questioning the decisions of management. This can make board meetings very uncomfortable, especially for young people. Chelsea’s background makes her very well suited to dealing with this situation. So stop your hating, kids.--John Carney

Sometimes, frankly, it seems the Jets organization is afraid of Namath.--Mike Freeman
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