Upstart to Monetize Your Future Potential

Want to sell a future portion of your income to fund a business idea? Welcome to Upstart .

After passing a rigorous background check, would-be entrepreneurs build a fundraising page with their business proposal and credentials laid out, just like an artist might raise funds on Kickstarter. Then, the site's cache of "backers" (i.e. investors) have their pick of the litter. Investments start at $100, and backers can fund however much or little they'd like. On the flip side, Upstarts can also deny investments from backers if they choose.

Is Allegiant Air the Future for Airlines?

Today might just be as un-productive as the day after the Super Bowl. My office is a ghost town, and that is putting it mildly. Luckily, first day of NHL free agency is providing some entertainment. Anyway, as yields soar into the stratosphere again today airlines are again getting lambasted over ever increasing ancillary fees.

Sean Parker Biting the Hand that Feeds

It's Friday. I'm struggling to find anything that interests me enough to post about, certainly not anything else about Hernandez... god knows there has been enough media coverage forever on that one. So I settled on a few interesting quips from Sean Parker regarding the current state of social media in the United States.

Projecting the time-honoured pain of celebrities whose personal reputations have been trashed by the media, Mr Parker complained: "Never mind the fact that none of the accusations were actually true: truth has a funny way of getting in the way of a great story."

However, compared with journalists in the traditional media world, who he painted almost as paragons of balance in his online account, the former Facebook executive denounced the new online pack as "link-baiting jackals who believe that 'truth' is whatever drives clicks".

When Will the Chinese Learn?

Apparently, someone forgot to pass along the message to the Chinese that the most important part of government bond auctions is making sure they can't fail. Bond auctions should function more like Storage wars, where there is always a buyer, than what happened in China. Here's the story out of China this morning .

The finance ministry sold only Rmb9.5bn ($1.5bn) of the Rmb15bn in government debt on offer, the first time in nearly two years that Beijing has fallen short of its target bond sale. The failure stemmed from a jump in money market rates that has occurred because the central bank has refused to pump liquidity into the economy despite signs of stress in the banking system.

Long story short, rates have spiked and markets have tightened up over the past few months without the central bank injecting short term liquidity into the market. Also, look at that 7 day repo... almost 7%! Juxtapose that against ours at all but zero. Anyway:

Looking Through the PRISM

If you haven't heard some leaked NSA documents show that they have been getting direct access to large tech companies servers to gather data on their customers i.e. citizens of the united states and, well, everywhere for that matter. Here's one story for you.

On it's face i want to scream, shout and holler about how awful, illegal and invasive this could be. Then I realize this is the NSA we are dealing with here. They have the capacity to eavesdrop on conversations all over the world and literally pull a needle from a haystack on a second by second basis. You REALLY think that they give two wits about legality and court orders if they want something? I'm not saying I'm for or against large tech companies handing over data but if you think a simple no will even slow down the NSA you are dreaming.

Would You Cancel Your Home Internet Service?

Somewhat interesting article in the journal regarding cutting internet service in favor of using their wireless connections on their smartphones combined with wireless hot spots in places like starbucks.

[quote]For all the fuss over Americans dropping their cable subscriptions in favor of Internet video, another type of cord cutting appears to be more common.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans canceled their home Internet service last year, surveys suggest, taking advantage of the proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots and fast new wireless networks that have made Web connections on smartphones and tablets ubiquitous.

ESPN and the Business of Sports

Sports is a fascinating business to me. It is truly amazing how quickly sports have grown into billion dollar franchises with top end players making up to $30 million a year. Baffling. On top of it, the numbers for broadcasting rights keep climbing right along with them and frankly seem to be entering into nosebleed territory. Even the vaunted ESPN is feeling the effects of the bidding wars and rising content prices.


In the last 24 months, ESPN has agreed to huge rights deals with a bunch of leagues and events. Some of the highlights:

$15.2 billion over 10 years for Monday Night football (73% higher annually than the previous deal).

Counterfeit Condoms From China... Who Would Have Thought?

Look, I can understand counterfeiting Gucchi or Prada stuff and even electronics like Iphones. But Condoms... Really?? That is just... absolutely absurd.

Private Equity Taking Over the Housing Market

This doesn't seem like it should end well. Large amounts of institutional money coming into the housing market, pushing prices up. Blackstone is apparently getting into it in a big way.

Our bet right now is the scale of the opportunity is very big, and the pricing seems quite compelling," said Jonathan Gray, head of Blackstone's real estate group, at CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference in 2012.

A year later, the scale has become huge. So far Invitation has spent $4.5 billion, snapping up 25,000 distressed single-family homes in regions hardest hit by the financial crisis, and in those slowest to recover, the company said. Most of the homes are refurbished and then rented out by Invitation. The appeal of the rental market comes, in large part, from consumers trying in a variety of ways to avoid taking on new debt, said Invitation spokesman Eric Elder.

The Fabulous Fab is Still Kicking

Here's a fun one. Remember Fabrice Toure, owner of the infamous emails from Goldman that the SEC is still battling of Abacus? Apparently, he is now at University of Chicago and is even a TA.

[quote]The SEC sued Goldman and Mr. Tourre, then a vice president, in April 2010, alleging they misled investors on a collateralized-debt obligation called Abacus 2007-AC1 that produced big losses for investors and big gains for hedge-fund firm Paulson & Co. A collateralized-debt obligation, or CDO, pools loans, such as subprime mortgages, with slices of the security sold to investors.


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