It's the Tuesday after a holiday Monday, so it must be time for me to post my weekly business and economy segment from "America Now with Andy Dean." A day later than usual. We will be back on the non-holiday schedule next week!
Andy and I covered the complete disaster that the Facebook IPO has become, especially the potential trouble CFO David Ebersman may face.
But we also discussed the bloodletting at HP under new CEO Meg Whitman, as well as just replacing the entire IPO process with massive Japanese all-girl bands and — this is a very good one — Barry Diller's kindasorta completely aggressive attempt to resell the broadcast T.V. signal to digital users by, get this, renting special antennas! That last one is fascinating.
Listen in to my weekly business and economy report on "America Now with Andy Dean." Last Friday, Andy was kind enough to introduce me as the business-lovin' liberal, which he figures is a paradox, an oxymoron, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. All very good, as I felt like an riddle-wrapped-enigma on Friday afternoon.
Much talk of Facebook, of course, as the IPO and a big tax payout for the budget-challenged state of California looms (it's this week, May 18). But also a revisitation of the wild life of Eduardo Saverin, the jilted Facebook co-founder who is now living large in Asia and, much to Andy's dismay, giving up his American citizenship so he can collect more of his nearly $4-billion payout from the Facebook offering.
But we also discussed President Obama's boffo, $15-million Hollywood fundraiser last Thursday, at the house of George Clooney, and we did a little run-through of what the Next Big Tech Startup could be. My personal favorite is Quora, but we also talked about Square, which is one of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's companies. It's a potentially big player in the mobile-payments space. You use, for example, the iPhone app and get a small, square (naturally) card-reader that plugs into the audio jack of an iPhone. Valuation: $1 billion.
Listen in to last Friday's business and economy report on "America Now with Andy Dean." As you may know, Andy graduated from a modest institution of higher learning on the Charles River in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, not far from Walden Pond and within reasonable striking distance of Fenway Park. While Andy was there, so was a kid from Long Island who wore sandals all day long and wound up having a movie made about his entire life before the age of the 30, a movie that was cruelly denied an Oscar for Best Picture, but that's okay, because that kid from the Island has made plenty good and is now showcasing his company to investors and buying other companies for just slightly less than the 2009 GDP of Antigua & Barbuda.
Andy and I discussed how he could've, should've been working for Facebook. I said he'd get another chance! And then we enjoyed a few laughs about Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg's early Facebook co-founder who, according to many, got swindled out of his big stake in the company. He still has something like 2 percent, which could be worth...$2 billion if Facebook hits the high end of its IPO valuation. And he's currently residing in Singapore, living large and spending tens of thousands a night at clubs with models while Zuck...meets with bankers.
The redoubtable Andy Dean is, like I just said, redoubtable. But he's also human and needs a vacation every now and then. Hence the absence of our weekly business and economics rundown two Fridays ago. But we were back at it last Friday, rested and ready to go. A good thing, as we covered a good bit of ground. For starters, Jeffrey Katzenberg, a big Obama donor, and the studio he runs, DreamWorks, has gotten itself embroiled in a bribery scandal in China. And...Joe Biden is mixed in.
As if that alone wasn't enough, we then moved on to the always thrilling realm of French politics, where the socialist candidate, François Hollande, beat out Nicholas Sarkozy, the current president, in the first round of elections. Interesting, whenever I rap with Andy about this stuff, I wind up thinking about the issues in ways that I hadn't before. As the European debt crisis enters what seems like a new phase, with Spain struggling with a potential banking meltdown, there is a good chance that, if Sarkozy loses and his partner in rescuing the Euro, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, suffers some political setbacks, the unified front that's been subjecting countries like Greece and Ireland to austerity measures will crack. It's unclear that the opposite — massive spending to prop up underperforming economies — will work, either. So a financial crisis may morph into a political one, as Europe gropes for a new solution and voters get disgusted.
Listen in above to my weekly business and economy segment on "America Now with Andy Dean." Last Friday — Friday the 13th, no less! — Andy and I wrangled over some his favorite topics and a few of mine. Talking about the extra days that taxpayers will have to file this year yielded some lively banter about Mitt Romney and a set-up to talk about the Buffett Rule and capital gains.
A bit later, Andy was able to vent about public-sector pensions and unions, while I was able to make the point that...he's a got a point, and that we're going to have to develop new ways to administer these benefits, given that big pension funds, like Calpers in California, aren't going to be able to meet the 7-8 percent targets for returns on investments.
We even got to spend some time discussing Google's stock split, which is either moderately evil or sort of desperate, depending on your point of view. And by the way, I agree with Andy that YouTube's lack of "conservative" channels in a new roll-out is a problem (Google owns YouTube). Conservatives provide great entertainment and it's a miss for YouTube to fail to include them, if that's YouTube's intention.