Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quotes of the day

Over the next two years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will increasingly collide in the markets for mobile phones and tablets, mobile apps, social networking, and more. This competition will be intense. Each of the four has shown competitive excellence, strategic genius, and superb execution that have left the rest of the world in the dust. HP, for example, tried to take a run at Apple head-on, with its TouchPad, the product of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm. HP bailed out after an embarrassingly short 49-day run, and it cost CEO Léo Apotheker his job. Microsoft's every move must be viewed as a reaction to the initiatives of these smarter, nimbler, and now, in the case of Apple, richer companies. When a company like Hulu goes on the block, these four companies are immediately seen as possible acquirers, and why not? They have the best weapons--weapons that will now be turned on one another as they seek more room to grow.  There was a time, not long ago, when you could sum up each company quite neatly: Apple made consumer electronics, Google ran a search engine, Amazon was a web store, and Facebook was a social network. How quaint that assessment seems today.--Farhad Manjoo

High tech runs three-times faster than normal businesses. And the government runs three-times slower than normal businesses. So we have a nine-times gap.--Andy Grove, Intel CEO

... the average salary in the securities industry in New York City was twice the average in other private sector jobs. At last count, in 2010, it was 5.5 times as much. (In case you want to gnash your teeth, the average is now $361,330.)--Nicholas Kristof

In 1988 (earliest year available from the USA Today Salaries Databases), the average salary of a baseball player on the New York Yankees ($700,339) was 28 times the average salary in other private sector jobs in New York City (about $25,000). By 2010, the average salary for the Yankees (if you want to gnash your teeth, the average was $8,253,000) was 124 times the average private sector salary in NYC ($66,120). Where's the outrage about "excessive" salaries for Yankees players, which have increased relative to average New York City salaries much more than salaries for NYC bankers? What about an "Occupy Yankee Stadium" protest?--Mark Perry

... couples who say money is not important to them score about 10 to 15 percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic.--Science Daily

If there is any unifying them surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement – and I use that noun in the Brownian sense – it’s that some people have too much, and others (the protesters) have too little. Exactly how much of the former’s property they should be allowed to keep, and how much must be yielded over to the latter has yet to be made clear.  But one thing has become clear – property redistribution is all well and good, so long as it’s somebody else’s property that’s being redistributed.--Neptunus Lex

Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not.--Thomas Sowell

The amount of disrespect that the players involved here showed to each other, to the organization, to Tito [Francona], to the game, is staggering to me. Probably as staggering are some of the names that are on that list. I'm blown away. I'm incredibly disappointed. Things have changed here for a long, long time, and I think it's for the worse. I think the way that this was handled by the organization is pathetic and embarrassing. Why would you want to root for this team?--Curt Schilling

The negative growth impact of the sharp drop in China’s trade surplus may have forced GDP growth rates to nearly zero, and the sudden and violent expansion in investment was necessary as the counterbalance to keep growth rates high. Changes in the declining consumption share of GDP have had very little impact on changes in GDP growth. And it continues to decline.--Michael Pettis

Like classic demagogues, Berlusconi has displayed, since the beginning of his political career, a remarkable ability to fascinate the masses with political theater that exalts his image. At the same time, he has an impressive ability to win over the Italian public by telling them exactly what they want to hear. His speeches are skillfully crafted to exploit the electorate's beliefs and offer a comforting and simplified vision of reality. Unlike almost all demagogues, however, Berlusconi is immensely rich, and he uses his fortune to obtain and consolidate political power. With his money he buys people, and more often he uses his money to distribute favors of various sorts and value, from presents to jobs. In turn, he gets, as has always been the case with this kind of politics, the loyalty of a large number of supporters. One could say that Berlusconi has established an oligarchy within a democratic system.  ... Berlusconi is surely unfit to govern a democratic republic, but Italians are unfit for liberty.--Maurizio Viroli
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