Felix Salmon

Gawker’s rebound

June 13, 2011

It’s been more than six months since sales chief Chris Batty left Gawker Media as Nick Denton decided he was going to tear up the old way of doing thing and try something new. Since then, Denton has relaunched his sites to general dismay, and entered into a bet with Rex Sorgatz, which he will lose if Gawker Media fails to generate 510 million pageviews in September. My take, at the time, was noncommittal but ultimately on Denton’s side; since then, I became more bearish, and then more bullish again. Now I think that Rex ought to be very worried:

How much for lifetime health insurance?

June 13, 2011

Caroline Graham’s interview with Bill Gates has lots of interesting nuggets, but this bit in particular, about the amount of money his children will inherit, got me thinking:


June 13, 2011

Willem Buiter weighs in on the ECB Target2 debate, contra Martin Wolf — Citi

NY AG Schneiderman targets Bank of America in a new probe — HuffPo

The Economy and D.C.: Republicans’ Tax-cutting Fantasia — NYT

1Gbps fiber for $70—in America — Ars Technica

Bitcoin digital currency market has its first bank run — Daily Tech

The Onion scooped the Washington Post by one day — Onion, WaPo

3-Way Street: bikes, pedestrians, cars, taxis, trucks, all behaving very badly at 28th & Park — Vimeo

Why Fischer’s IMF candidacy is a non-starter

June 13, 2011

Stan Fischer’s quixotic decision to throw his hat into the ring as a candidate for managing director of the IMF has been lauded by Mohamed El-Erian, who reckons that “he would likely prevail in an open, transparent and merit-based selection process.” Insofar as this is true, it’s a bit depressing.

The big Groupon question

June 11, 2011

Mark and Joseph over at Observational Epidemiology have come to the end (I think) of a fantastic series of posts about Groupon which get to the heart of the question I was trying to ask here: does Groupon actually work, in practice, in the way it’s meant to work, in theory?

Real estate datapoint of the day, Bill Gross edition

June 10, 2011

How much would you pay for an empty lot in a highly desirable location? If you fancy moving to southern California, Pimco’s Bill Gross might have the perfect place for you: an 18,150-square-foot bayfront lot in Harbor Island which he’s selling for $26.5 million. According to Redfin, the buildable square footage on the site is 9,734, which puts the price at $2,722 per buildable square foot or $1,460 per raw square foot.

Dimon or Geithner?

June 10, 2011

I’ve just noticed that Jamie Dimon’s little speech to Ben Bernanke last Tuesday recapitulated many of the points that Tim Geithner made in his own speech the previous day. Let’s play Dimon or Geithner:


June 10, 2011

Fantastic post by Elie Mystal on living with bad credit — ATL

Anil Dash on why he favorites/likes so many things — Dashes

South Africa to Trevor Manuel to be head of the IMF — EM

The phone number: “a false technological prison built of nothing but laziness and hostility to consumers” — TIMN

Confessions of a Vertrue call-center operator

June 9, 2011

I had a fascinating conversation this afternoon with someone I’ll call Casey, who spent most of the past two years working for Adaptive Marketing, a/k/a Vertrue, a/k/a Ben Stein’s sleazy paymasters, as a Customer Care Assistant. Casey’s job was, essentially, to spend 40 hours a week, at $9 an hour, being abused by people who found out that they were being charged $29.95 a month on their credit card for a service they’d never heard of and had no idea they’d ever signed up for.