The two-way path between government, politics, and private industry, densely shaded by lush money trees, is so well-worn it seems to have been carved by the finger of God, a well-known capitalist, long ago. And yet, fresh trade routes establish themselves all the time. David Plouffe, the man who successfully convinced a majority of the United States in 2008 that Barack Obama would change the country for the better, is now going to make the same argument for Uber, a service that seeks to deeply weave itself into the infrastructure of cities in order to make as much money as possible. Meanwhile, Kara Swisher notes, former Obama press [...]
Near the end of Mike Isaac's boldly headlined piece on the fifty million dollars that BuzzFeed has raised from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and what it plans to do with it, he notes:
And the future of BuzzFeed may not even be on BuzzFeed.com. One of the company’s nascent ideas, BuzzFeed Distributed, will be a team of 20 people producing content that lives entirely on other popular platforms, like Tumblr, Instagram or Snapchat.
Right now, "75 percent of BuzzFeed's traffic comes from referrals from social sites." From a publisher's perspective, this is the ideal relationship between it and a "social site": It plants a stick of [...]
A theory as to why the rent is too damn high and a potato salad is ten thousand dollars and Uber is ten billion dollars and you'll have to buy reservations for restaurants like concert tickets and tickets for Transformers 4 in IMAX are like twenty-five dollars so that it made three hundred million dollars its opening weekend: Welcome to the Everything Boom — and, quite possibly, the Everything Bubble. Around the world, nearly every asset class is expensive by historical standards. Stocks and bonds; emerging markets and advanced economies; urban office towers and Iowa farmland; you name it, and it is trading at prices that are high by [...]
My understanding of what it means to be a publisher has been skewed ever since I first heard the word. My mom was reading A Wrinkle in Time to me—I must have been around 8—when she explained that my great-grandfather had published the book. She told me how Madeleine L'Engle had taken the story of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe to publisher after publisher, only to repeatedly be rejected. After being turned down by 26 or so houses, the book came to my mom’s grandfather, who read it and loved it, but "was afraid of it," L'Engle later said. He did say he would buy the book, [...]
"When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a [...]
I have a theory about money in this age of financial services and valueless commodities which is essentially that there is one big pile of money on the table and the people who are in charge of things let you move the pile around. Sometimes it stops in front of you for a bit before you pass the pile on to someone else. If you're lucky a couple of coins fall into your lap for you to keep, but mostly you push the pile to the next person. For a while the memory of the money in front of you keeps you warm and happy, and when that finally [...]
Post-publication update, January 9th: According to Roxanne Palmer at the IBT, the founders of the library are certainly lying about this situation. ("The funding scenario the library describes in no way comports with the open and transparent way in which we make charitable and philanthropic donations," an ExxonMobil spokesperson told her.) In our fact-checking email to Mellow Pages Library earlier this week, we wrote: "So, I guess the first appropriate question is: ExxonMobil reached out to you and offered 10x of your donations for your November benefit?" They responded: "The situation is, generally, how you summarized it. Obviously it's a little more complicated than that. We [...]
The Times has published its third or so major piece on the part-time and gig economy in nearly as many weeks—this one focussed on those employed by apps, commonly known as members of the "sharing economy." Predictably, the founder of a car-sharing marketplace that will be crushed by Uber, called RelayRides, describes it as "transformational.” And yet:
“On average, you’re going to make $7 per favor,” [Kelsey Cruse] Cruse explained, using the company’s euphemism for a delivery. “If you are running two favors in an hour, that’s $14 an hour. It’s pretty awesome.” She hadn’t yet racked up enough “favors” to earn that much consistently. So far [...]
Equilibrium in nature: The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, announced in February, has set off a wave of activity in the media industry, with AT&T Inc. announcing a $48.5 billion deal for DirecTV that would rival Comcast’s heft in the cable and satellite business. One rationale for the deals is that they would give the cable and satellite groups more leverage in negotiations with entertainment companies and help contain rising programming costs.
In turn, the $80 billion offer that 21st Century Fox made for Time Warner, which was disclosed last week, would restore some leverage to the entertainment groups.
Why worry about the endless series of mergers, consolidations, [...]
The New York Times, 1986: The recently spruced up Union Square area has become fertile ground for a new crop of restaurants. Union Square Cafe, an inviting, low-key newcomer on the site of the former Brownies, a health food restaurant, is one of the most appealing of the lot.
In 1995: "We're still in the same area, which is important," Ms. Hirsch said. "We think that people who come to Barnes & Noble will appreciate having our store nearby because what we have at our store, you can't get anywhere else."
In the last few years, Revolution Books seemed something of a lonely hanger-on on East [...]
"You know what’s been the biggest job creator over the last few decades? Financial bubbles. The labor demand created by the dot-com bubble in the 1990s and the housing bubble of the 2000s created millions of jobs and sent the unemployment rate below 5 percent in both cases."
It is once again time for the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament. The eventual champions will get to bask in the national spotlight. And sure, winning a basketball title is worth bragging about—but we all know the real champion is the institution of higher education that can charge the most tuition and still have enough students to keep its rejection letter printer warm. It's The Awl's annual NCAA bracket by tuition, using the college information resource Peterson's. (Where available, in-state tuition was used.) Since we first began March Madne$$ in 2009, the winning tuition has risen from $38,622 to [...]
TWC goes to Comcast. This chart helps put it in to perspective. pic.twitter.com/XmlAZvOE3Y
— James Gross (@James_Gross) February 13, 2014
That chart above went around a bit last night, with the news of the purchase of Time Warner by Comcast for $45.2 billion. It compares the "market value" of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google v. the "market value" of CBS, Viacom, Disney, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. You know, the new establishment v. those stupid old dinosaurs. Hmm, how else could we compare these companies?
Oh right, how about by that crazy out-of-fashion metric: by the money they make? I made you a chart! Here's that [...]
The consequences of human workers becoming just another piece in the long chain of an algorithm optimized for efficiency above all else In Brooklyn, Sandianna Irvine often works “on call” hours at Ashley Stewart, a plus-size clothing store, rushing to make arrangements for her 5-year-old daughter if the store needs her. Before Martha Cadenas was promoted to manager at a Walmart in Apple Valley, Minn., she had to work any time the store needed; her mother “ended up having to move in with me,” she said, because of the unpredictable hours. Maria Trisler is often dismissed early from her shifts at a McDonald’s in Peoria, Ill., when the computers [...]
People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer and co-founder of The Toast Mallory Ortberg tells us more about what it’s like to work at a famous conservative think tank.
I used to intern at the Hoover Institution AMA
— Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) July 7, 2014
Mallory! So what happened here?
Oh! I forget how this came up, exactly, but yes, for one summer I was one of several interns at the Hoover Institution, which is a fairly conservative public policy think tank attached to Stanford University, and woe betide you if you [...]
According to a government dataset analyzed by Planet Money, "Real Personal Income for States and Metropolitan Areas, 2008-2012," U.S. currency goes further in Danville, Illinois, than in at least three hundred and fifty-five other American cities. Thirty thousand dollars there is more like thirty-five thousand dollars.
Here are some other facts about Danville, Illinois, in case you are considering moving there because ten dollars barely covers cost of a Chipotle steak burrito in New York City these days, and that's not even with guac:
"Borrowing sustained the mass consumption model for a few decades. Non-rich households borrowed to buy cars, buy food, pay medical bills, buy ever-more-expensive houses, and so on. Conveniently, rich households had plenty of spare cash to lend them. That model broke apart in 2008 and has not — and cannot — be revived."
"A few weeks ago, over dinner with half a dozen entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, the question came up again. The table, which included a few people already worth more than $100 million, went quiet. One man in his late 30s twirled the stem of his wine glass as he thought. Then he tipped back his head, downed his pinot noir and said, 'one billion,' his glass landing back on the table with a thud. 'That’s it. That’s my number. One billion dollars.' The others nodded." —How much money would you take to [...]
"Shawn Ryan recalls the hungry years, before his first big strike. The prospector and his family were living in a metal shack on the outskirts of Dawson, the Klondike boomtown that had declined to a ghostly remnant of its glory days. They had less than $300 and no running water or electricity. One night, as wind sneaked through gaps in the cladding, Ryan’s wife, Cathy Wood, worried aloud that their two children might even freeze to death. Today the couple could buy—and heat—just about any house on Earth." —National Geographic reports that if you make like 1896, you can [...]