Explaining Southern California's economy

An October Surprise on September jobs? Jack Welch thinks so


An October Surprise — on Twitter?

Business legend and — yes — tweeter Jack Welch is also, it seems, something of a conspiracy theorist.

When the surprising news that the U.S. unemployment rate had fallen from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent Friday, the arrival of the lowest jobless number since 2008 prompted Welch to make certain accusations.

Here's the tweet that lit up the Twitters this morning:

Um, okay ... What really happened was that a bunch of part-time workers came into the labor force.

If that's an October Surprise, then the Obama administration is setting the bar pretty low. Chicago guys can dream bigger.

Welch will reportedly not be tweeting anymore Friday.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.


For Facebook IPO, Twitter was the superstar


The DeBord Report Twitter feed. Truth in advertising: I was actually following and tweeting from @mattdebord today about Facebook.

If you wanted to follow the Facebook IPO today and get the kind of crisp insight that helped you understand what was going on and maybe develop a few storylines, you wouldn't have turned to Facebook itself, nor would you have stayed glued to CNBC, which seemed to playing catchup with...


Yes, Twitter, that other kindasorta social network that's really an (increasingly mobile) breaking news and opinion service. 

Twitter is sometimes seen as a sad stepchild to lordly Facebook, but despite the intense levels of engagement that some generate on Facebook, when stuff is happening in the world, Twitter shines.

I went on the "Patt Morrison" show right after the markets closed and basically kept myself informed in the postgame not by studying the subtitled in-studio comments of Erin Burnett on CNN but by keeping one eye on my BlackBerry's Twitter feed, which was churning out real-time 140-word analysis.


CNN buying Mashable for $200 million? Well, this is awkward...

Republican presidential candidates takes


CNN hosted GOP presidential debates. It may now be debating whether to buy social media and tech blog Mashable.

There's a rumor floating around — reported by Reuters and others — that Mashable, the social-media and tech blog, is about to be bought by CNN for $200 million. Mashable denies it

But what difference does that make? According to Quantcast, Mashable pulls in around 16 million page views a month and has a robust audience that accesses the site's content through what it's really good at, social media. To me, that's what Mashable is all about. It's TechCrunch optimized for Facebook and Twitter. In my own experience, that's the only way I ever access Mashable content: by clicking on Twitter links from the Mashable account that features founder Pete Cashmore's handsome, and now quite possibly rich, mug.

Does it make sense? Actually, I think it's a bargain. CNN is SUCH a mature brand that for it to grow into social-media and a more modern type of tech coverage, it needs to either build a Mashable itself — or go shopping. Is $200 million too much to pay for 16 million PVs and 5 million monthly unique visitors? That's forty bucks per user per month. Bringing those readers into the CNN fold at that price is probably far less costly than what it would take CNN to develop a Mashable on its own (Mashable has been around since 2005).


Yammer: Nah, let's not do the IPO


The enterprise social network that will do anything to avoid an IPO.

With the frenzy surrounding Facebook's impending initial public offering later this year, you'd think that every startup ultimately wants to do that IPO voodoo. Not so. In fact, it's not clear that Facebook even wants to go public. It's just that it has to many private shareholders now that the SEC is kind of forcing it to. San Francisco-based Yammer is a similar if not exactly quite as lucrative story. Yammer is a sort of Twitter for business — an "enterprise social network." And it just secured a new $85 million venture round. Which it's thinking of as a virtual IPO. The best kind, as it means you don't have to do the actual IPO.

Even better, the business is starting to boom. This is from Forbes:

A few years ago many companies were skeptical of enterprise social networking, now it’s become much more common. Now the industry is in a land grab phase, Sacks says. “Five to ten years from now every company will have an internal social network and maybe an external one as well,” he says. “Five years from now not having a social network in a company will be like not having email or phones.”


Presentations are the bane of business, but this isn't how to make them better

Jimmy Wales Presentation

Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales gives a presentation.

At Harvard Business Review blogs, Ron Ashkenas of Shaffer Consulting has some advice for fixing bad presentations, which he thinks are too long and boring, weighed down by data. He breaks the cure down into three simple initial steps:

So how can you get better at clearly conveying a message or helping your people develop this skill? Start with these steps to get it right:
1. When you prepare a presentation, work backwards. Start with the key message or takeaway that you want to convey. Then imagine that you had to send that message via Twitter instead of using slides, charts, documents, and discussions. Force yourself to summarize your key points in no more than 140 characters. Based on that focus, then think through what other information you'll need as backup and support.

2. Practice making your presentation without any slides or other supporting materials — and limit the time to six minutes. Think of it as a TED talk that's going be watched by millions of people on YouTube. Doing this (and getting a friend to capture it on video) will force you to be very clear about what you want to say and how to say it with conviction and zest.

3. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and imagine how they might react to your condensed message. What questions will they ask and what concerns might they have? How will you address these, and how open will you be to alternatives? Speculating about these scenarios ahead of time will give you confidence to state your position clearly and respond to audience feedback.