Explaining Southern California's economy

DeBord Report Live: Felix Salmon edition

A sign announcing Facebook IPO is flashe


The Facebook IPO announced on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Did it's inability to live up to the hype doom the IPO revival?

We welcomed Reuters finance blogger — and recent Loeb Award winner — Felix Salmon to the Crawford Family Forum last Thursday to talk IPOs, as part of my "DeBord Report Live" series. Specifically, whether the IPO is D-E-A-D. Felix has lately been making a very strong case against the traditional IPO, in Wired and elsewhere. He's outlined an alternative model, of sorts. So we got to engage in some lively conversation on the topic, and we enjoyed some excellent contributions and questions from the audience.

We also got more mileage out of the three terrible slides I grabbed to contribute to the conversation than I ever thought possible.

An interesting product of the evening's discussion was our kind of shared realization that the business of Silicon Valley (broadly defined, but basically the Bay Area tech scene) isn't necessarily the creation of new companies — it's the creation of venture capitalists. 


Felix Salmon takes a whack at JPMorgan

You might be wondering what all this brouhaha is over JPMorgan Chase and its now $3 billion trading loss. It's all enormously complicated.

But at Reuters, Felix Salmon does an excellent job of not just explaining it but also turning a spotlight on the real scandal: it's bad that JPMorgan lost billions, but it's even worse that JPMorgan was doing the trade in the first place.

One small addendum: Note that JPMorgan takes the excess deposits that Felix mentions and "ships them off" to London. By which he means the City of London, England's equivalent of Wall Street — if Wall Street were even more reckless than Wall Street was in the lead-up to the financial crisis. This is a place that went into such a cold sweat when the European Union proposed restraints on buccaneer trading activity that Prime Minister David Cameron had to step in and throw his weight around to rescue what is effectively a solid square mile of pure unadulterated hedge fund.


Euro Crisis: The French, they are a funny race (the Germans, too)

Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon and Marketplace New York bureau chief Heidi Moore went on "The Madeleine Brand Show" this morning to discuss the ongoing (Neverending?) European debt crisis. It was a lively discussion, moving beyond the probability of a Greek default in its debt and raising the specter of Italy defaulting on its debt — or more accurately, being unable to "roll it over," or pay off maturing bonds with new bonds, at the same interest rate. Unfortunately for Italy, its borrowing costs are going up, making it difficult to execute this maneuver.

At one point, Heidi made reference to a video of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the odd couple of the European Union, who together have been lurchingly trying to cobble together a rescue package for the Eurozone's common currency.