Bonus Bananas Apr 27, 2012ST
1) Aviva Mistakenly Fires 1,300 Employees at Investment Unit (Bloomberg) - DOH! I thought I'd start this week's Bonus Bananas off with a little comedy; at least it's comedy in retrospect. Massive UK insurer Aviva mistakenly fired the company's entire investment unit by email when the email in question was meant for only one person at the firm. Sorry guys, all a big mistake. No, not you Bob. You're still fired.
2) Why Wall Street execs want to silence their shareholders (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) - It's no secret that Say-On-Pay is unpopular with Wall Street CEO's, but I don't think an argument can be made that shareholders in a company shouldn't have some say over what their employees are paid. And the Republican argument that allowing shareholders to have a non-binding vote on the compensation practices of the shareholders' companies is government interference is absolutely laughable.
3) The Road to Crowdfunding Hell (Harvard Business Review) - It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the recently passed JOBS Act and that I expect it to do great things for the US economy. In the interest of fairness, however, I wanted to post an opposing view and of all the opposing views I've read, this one is the best.
4) Inside Harvard B-school's startup boot camp (CNN Money) - While we're on the subject of Harvard and start-ups, 150 MBA teams at Harvard Business School were given $3,000 and tasked with starting a viable business. Harvard then created a mock stock market for the start-ups, which quickly determined which ideas were the best. Very interesting stuff here.
5) Infographic: The United States of Student Debt (Mint) - We all know student debt is way out of hand and is likely the next bubble to burst. This scary infographic breaks it all down for you. The scariest thing for me is the fact that there is $870 billion in loans out there and over $85 billion is already delinquent. Yikes.
6) A Primer on Peak Oil (EconoMonitor) - I thought I'd throw IlliniProgrammer a bone with this one. Peak oil is back in the news and here's a great piece explaining the theory. It's always seemed like common sense to me: hell, they aren't making any more dinosaurs and we don't have another 100 million years to wait around for them to turn into oil even if they were. But I'm probably missing some of the nuance.
7) Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman (Rolling Stone) - This one is almost too easy for Matt Taibbi. He makes the point that authorities were too slow to act in the MF Global debacle, and Corzine hasn't even been arrested yet. It is pretty amazing what a good spin doctor can accomplish. Cut and dried theft has suddenly become "chaos".
8) As Stock Continues Dive to All-Time Lows, Can Groupon Regain Investor Confidence? (All Things D) - Groupon is just one FUGLY deal from start to finish. The stock put in a new low this week, down more than 50% from its November IPO. I'll bet Google is glad Andrew Mason spurned their buyout offer.
9) 'Bump' technology transfers money via smartphones (3 News) - The days of cash money are quickly drawing to a close. It won't be long now before all currency is digital, and "bumping" might be the vanguard. You no longer have to pull out your wallet and handle filthy cash to make purchase, lend your buddy some dough, or pay for a hooker. Just bump smartphones before you bump uglies.
10) How Legalizing Marijuana Could Reduce The Federal Deficit (Puffington Host) - This is another subject about which I'm baffled that there is still any debate. Full disclosure: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a pothead. It just doesn't do anything for me. I am, however, a free human being and anything I choose to ingest is my business and no one else's. But if you need to put a price tag on that freedom, how about an annual savings of almost $14 billion? Can anyone explain to me why weed is still illegal?
The Video of the Week this week spread through the Game Theory crowd like wildfire, mostly because one contestant on this game show game theorys the shit out of his opponent to achieve the optimal end for both of them. If you're interested in a detailed analysis of the strategy used check out Economists Do It With Models. Fascinating stuff if you're a game theory nerd like me.
That's it for this week, guys. Let me know what you think about this week's Bananas in the comments, and have a spectacular weekend.