1) Undercover Billionaire: Sara Blakely Joins The Rich List Thanks To Spanx (Forbes) - I had to lead off with this story first of all because I love nothing more than a great underdog success story, but even more to the point this is a profile of a woman who took $5,000 and built a billion dollar company with no advertising and who has never taken a penny from investors. That's right - she still owns 100% of the company. If she could figure out how to keep her customers from bursting out of their Spanx like a fleshy inflatable life raft at the end of the day, she'd blow past Bill Gates like he was standing still.
2) Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Cheap Chex (Bloomberg) - I know shitty bonuses are no laughing matter, but this piece is probably gonna make you chuckle if for no other reason than the central figure in it is Peter Schiff's kid brother who lives in a 1,200 sq ft duplex and is struggling to get by on $350,000 a year. You'd think his salary would be indexed to gold, wouldn't you? This article has some EPIC cry-assing on the part of the country's top earners.
3) There has never been a better time to be an individual investor (Abnormal Returns) - It's not often you read a cogent case in favor of retail investors, but Tadas gets everything right in this one. It's not necessarily easier to make money these days, but it is certainly easier, cheaper, and faster to participate in the market than it ever has been.
4) The Facebook IPO Players Club (Fast Company) - Here's the rogue's gallery of all the soon-to-be multi-billionaires on the Facebook team. We've all heard about David Choe's $200 million payday for painting dicks on the wall at Facebook HQ, but what about Parker and Saverin and Moskovitz? Right place, right time baby.
5) Why I quit Facebook (NY Post) - And this is why investors are gonna get hammered on Facebook. It's one thing when old guys and early adopters like me get fed up and bail on Facebook. When high school seniors start to do it there's a problem. Here's a kid from New York explaining why he deleted his account. Could you live without Facebook?
6) Big Data + Machine Learning = Scared banks. (Pando Daily) - Get ready to see more and more of this in the coming decade. Leviathan banks just aren't nimble enough to "pivot", and for that reason they're going to continue to lose market share to innovative start-ups. It won't happen overnight, but I predict a lot of big banks will suffer the death of a thousand cuts from companies like these.
7) Banks Paying Homeowners to Avoid Foreclosures (Bloomberg) - Speaking of big banks and the crazy things they do to clean up their balance sheets, folks in foreclosure can now sell their property for less than the loan amount and walk away with over $30,000 cash. I was talking with a buddy in California last night, and he told me his lender offered to settle his second mortgage for ten cents on the dollar. That's some wild wild West shit right there.
8) We Can't Keep Growing Like This (Business Insider) - In light of the contraception debate we've been having for the past week or so, I thought it might be helpful to point out just how fucked the planet will be if we keep breeding. You're welcome.
9) Love Me, Hate Me, Just Don't Ignore Me (GQ) - Terrell Owens is in a world of shit. The future Hall of Fame receiver is flat-ass broke, he just lost his Dallas condo to foreclosure, and if he doesn't come up with $20,000 in back child support his four (count 'em - FOUR) baby mamas are gonna have him thrown in jail. Hard to believe this guy made $80 million during the course of his career.
10) My Top 25 Favorite Autocorrect FAILS (Damn You Autocorrect) - I defy you to go all the way through this list and not laugh out loud at least once. A couple of them feel a little contrived, but there are a couple others that are pure gold. Autocorrect was the first thing I turned off on my Touchpad, and this list is the reason why.
The Video of the Week this week is in honor of Apple announcing the iPad HD. Let's remember kids: technology is great but it doesn't always work as advertised. Case in point:
That's it for this week, guys. Let me know what you think of this week's batch in the comments, and have a great weekend!