Showing posts from September, 2007

Lambchop in La La Land

Investigating what it might take to succeed as a scenariste, I came across the following analysis of the role of the artist and the producer in David Mamet's Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose and Practice of the Movie business

"The artist is, in effect, a sort of gangster. He hitches up his trousers and goes into the guarded bank of the unconscious in an attempt to steal the gold of inspiration. The producer is like the getaway driver who sells the getaway car and waits outside the bank grinning about the deal he's made."

Artists, craftspeople and directors

CV: Experience as a ne'er do well

Medical history: Preferably Asperger's Syndrome. Surprisingly, Mamet fails to mention the inherent potential of manic depressive, obsessive compulsive and insomniac diagnoses

Motivation: Pleasure in creating something, doing the job well. Like a terrier gnawing on a bone, it's fundamentally what you do, an expression of who you are; you wouldn't be happy doing …

Behold! The Crepe Maker Cometh.

As part of the health section of my third grade daughter's IB unit of inquiry, her teacher sent out a request to parents to help with a French-themed breakfast. It seemed a simple enough request. Bring in crepe batter. Come into class and make them.

How could I go wrong? I had fond memories of gorging myself on sugar-filled crepes that my French-raised grandmother would make for Mardi Gras. My mother was a chef. I remember her riding the subway to work, her army-issue carrying case filled with cooking knives jauntily swinging from her shoulder. Surely such can-do spirit might have rubbed off on me.

One reason for doing this was the extra brownie points needed to redeem myself from the "What do people do for a living?" unit. I had signed up for the "Creative" section, on the heels of so-and-so's gastroenterologist mother who came into class to talk about how the digestive systems works. In contrast, my presentation would be something along the lines of



Douglas, a SUN employee, from the comments asks: "Marc, what do you think about Glassfish?". And I am thinking to myself: not much.

You know I am a bit out of the flow these days, in fact I am looking forward to traveling to EU this week to catch up with a lot of my old JBoss friends on the development side. They have their great mass going on and it is also time for "fetes des vendanges" which is a world class opportunity to get drunk with some of my favorite peoples.

The bad news: with all due respect, I do not think it matters much to JBoss or even the market frankly, what Glassfish does. For the foreseable future (5years) no market share movement will unseat JBoss from leadership. Things just don't move that fast in middleware as you know.

The good news: within the realm of what is possible however, it looks like you guys haven't completely embarassed yourselves yet again with an application server offering. I will believe that grass-root activism wi…

Activist investor targets BEA

It is all over the news this morning, private investor firm Icahn & Co filed a SEC report disclosing a 8.5% stake in BEA, with an activist investor agenda to follow.

From MarketWatch:

Icahn, known for forcefully pushing an agenda at companies where he acquires ownership, disclosed his stake in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the filing, he suggested that BEA Systems should put itself up for sale.

"A sale of the Issuer [BEA Systems] to a strategic acquirer will maximize the price of the shares," Icahn said in the filing, adding that he intends "to seek to meet with management of the Issuer to discuss the potential for such a transaction, as well as the Issuer's business and operations generally."

Shares of BEA Systems rose 57 cents to $13.32 before the market's close.

Icahn also notes in the filing that San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems has not held an annual shareholder meeting in over a year. Icahn "may seek to have such a me…

SUNW to JAVA and Behavioral finance.

John Authers in the FT this morning has an excellent editorial on they psychology of ticker symbol names.

Why do some stocks do better than others? There can be many reasons but one, it appears, could be a change to a new and catchier ticker symbol.

On August 24, Sun Microsystems announced that it was changing its ticker from SUNW to JAVA - a catchy name that ties in with its history of developing Java technology.

Since then, it has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 15 per cent and has outperformed the tech sector.

There are other examples. Since August of last year, Big Lots, the discount retailer, is up more tahn 60 per cent - far in excess of the market. OVer the previous decade, its stock had declined: but then it changed its ticker from BLI to BIG.

Academic research confirms that there is a pattern. A study of flotations on the New York Stock Exchange by Adam Alter and Daniel Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, shows that stocks whose tickers could be pronounced as a word …

TF3: All Hail Tony Wilson!

Click here for Podcast running time: 26 min.

(Ableton timeline is above)

Tony Wilson passed away earlier this summer due to complications from Cancer. Too much partying did leave a toll on the man. As covered in a previous blog entry, Tony Wilson was the boss of Factory Records and owned the mythical “Hacienda” in Manchester, UK.

In more ways than one, then, him and the “24 hour party people” cohorts gave birth to EU’s techno and house movement riding on the music that was coming out of Detroit (techno) and Chicago (house).

I dedicate this to Tony Wilson by trying to showcase some of the old Joy Division pioneering work and exploring the indie/electro-pop/post-punk sounds of today.

Putting this together was a bit like working on a puzzle. It was fun. I spend countless hours (>20-30) on this TF set. This “excercice de style” starts with the mandate to mix 3 Joy Division classics: Transmission, Love and Control with modern music. I started there, looked for harmonic matches in the …

Houston, We have a central-bank-run!

Judging by the comments, it seems many of you share my interest in understanding the recent economic news, at least Juha does. So I will continue covering that.

Yesterday, my brother Carlos, who works for BNP in Europe sent me this story: Apparently we are seeing a dumping of US related assets by what is speculated to be... the Chinese..

Forget the computer attacks, Asia's sovereign funds dumping US assets would have a real impact on the economy.

Credit and liquidity crises are not new and, when they turn bad, they turn bad. In 1929, the liquidity scare sparked a bank run. Banks didn't have enough cash and were defaulting, accelerating the mad dash and "bank-run" to get your money out while there was still liquidity. Then, the real economy wound up with no credit, and we all know the sad story from there.

2007 isn't like 1929. It isn't an "end-consumer" bank run. You and I are not going to the corner bank to take our savings out. Our confidence in…

Facebook, I don't get it.

When it comes to keeping up with what's in, in social networking technology, I am lost. I rely on my nannies to know what is hot. I call it the tech nanny-dar. If the nannies say it is in, it is in.

It started two years ago I noticed that the two nannies we took to Majorca, both in their early 20's couldn't wait to log onto MySpace in their free time. Meanwhile for the younger generation we took this year, it was all "Facebook, Facebook, Facebook!" Clearly MySpace was passé. Stuff for porn-stars and musicians, and, like, really ancient people, like, if you're older than 26 and all.

I tried to remember the first time I had heard about Facebook. Then, I remembered, it was Peter Fenton, one of our VCs. He mentioned it to Nathalie and me back in 2004 over dinner. He was all excited and hyped up on it, probably because Accel had just signed on as their lead investors. At the time, I drew a complete blank. I just didn't get it. I thought it was a passing fad, who…