Felix Salmon

How Ken Griffin would spend your money

April 27, 2009

Kelli K asks, in the comments, for a bit more detail on what exactly Ken Griffin was proposing this morning when he said that the government should socialize housing-market losses. He did use those words, but didn’t go into a lot of detail; later on in the panel, he talked about one idea which may or may not have been one of the proposals he had in mind.

What’s normal for the economy?

April 27, 2009

I’m at the Milken Global Conference for the next couple of days, where Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian kicked off the first morning’s big breakfast session with the blunt statement that the assorted plutocrats have to stop hoping that things are going to get “back to normal” — ever.

Conde Nast Portfolio closes

April 27, 2009

Very sad news this morning that Conde Nast Portfolio is closing. They were a wonderful home to me for two years, and I feel particularly bad for the amazing Ryan Avent, who’s got off to a truly smashing start at Market Movers and who looks to have jumped ship from the Economist at exactly the wrong time. But he’s chock-full of talent, and I’m sure will find an even more fabulous job soon.

How the Gaussian copula got adopted

April 27, 2009

In December 2008, Sam Jones of the FT was kind enough to mention the Gaussian copula function to me. That mention eventually became my Wired magazine cover story, and I always felt a little bit guilty about my story coming out first, since I knew that Sam was working on one too.

Brand licensing and counterfeiting

April 26, 2009

Ryan wades into one of my favorite subject areas today: counterfeiting.

Ryan is absolutely right that counterfeit goods are, in many cases, more likely to help than harm the business being knocked off. Dolce & Gabbana, as I’ve mentioned in the past, passively encourages the counterfeiting of its brand by refusing to lift a finger to help prosecute counterfeiters. But Ryan goes one further:

Friday links find new websites

April 24, 2009

TARP Tales: Your one-stop TARP shop. See also ProPublica’s Eye on the Bailout.

The Hearing: Simon Johnson and James Kwak add a second blog to their quiver, this one at WaPo.

Are CDS a good thing?

April 24, 2009

Kevin Drum asks whether I’m “still as bullish about credit default swaps as I have been in the past”. It’s a good question: after all, a large part of my speech to the regional bond dealers (more of the actual speech than of the notes) comprised me explaining that I was very wrong about a lot of this stuff.

The attraction of Lending Club

April 24, 2009

I just had a very interesting meeting with Renaud Laplanche, the CEO of Lending Club, the peer-to-peer lender, and I’ve come out very enthusiastic about what he’s doing there.

Can the stress tests breathe new life into PPIP?

April 24, 2009

According to the FT today, there are increasing signs that the PPIP is going to go the way of the MLEC — which is to say, nowhere. Potential buyers are worried about regulatory uncertainty, while potential buyers have very little interest in selling at fire-sale levels.