Alan Saracevic’s article “Dancing to the Street Waffle” discussed the tendency in business towards “blaming the other guy” as a means to avoid facing hard business problems. So I asked him “One question – from my reading of your article, it seems that we’re heading towards a big fall again – maybe another Black October? Or do you think they can continue to invent more excuses easily digested by gullible investors until past the election?”
So what did Alan say? Well, he’s been around and I’m sure heard the “crash” worries time and again to be too worried about it. “I wouldn’t say we’re heading for a crash. A story I read today tells me a lot – insiders are buying stock at a pace unseen in two years. That means they believe it’s heading up – but if I knew anything about trading stock, I wouldn’t be working at a newspaper…”
Harry Domash wrote in the SF Chronicle today about how Intuit has “…apparently realized that it can’t make money by giving its products away”. So they’ve done some housecleaning, making some investment and banking tools only available to registered buyers of the product (so those who “borrowed” a copy are out of luck), and eliminating some other tools completely. Mr. Domash goes on to tout other places for free products to replace those that went away – “It’s too bad that Quicken deleted or restricted access to its stock tools, but as you can see, there are plenty of alternatives.”
But if Intuit, a very frugal company, couldn’t find a way to monetize the goodwill from it’s free stuff, what does that say about the software business?
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In my discussion a few days ago about the Anita Borg get-together at Google, I discussed the impact of outsourcing, the loss of tech jobs, and parents refusal to pay for science degrees as interconnected.
Karl Schoenberger of the Mercury News SF Bureau actually decided to drill down on some of my assumptions. So for those of you who wanted more, I’m going to let him cross-examine me for your reading pleasure:
Karl: I can see how taxpayers subsidize free trade when the US Treasury and the Fed have policies in place that weaken the dollar against foreign currencies, making our merchandise trade more competitive.
Lynne: As seen with such stars as Enron, you can do a lot with clever macro economics. Lots of fast, little transactions add up fast. And it can take a while before the accountants with the eyeshades see the net conclusion.