Felix Salmon

Chart of the day, free checking edition

August 30, 2011


American Banker runs this eye-opening chart today, showing what’s happened to the availability of free checking over the past couple of years. In a nutshell, at small and medium-sized banks, and at credit unions, things are little changed. It’s down a bit; it’s not down a lot. But America’s biggest banks, behaving in a pretty cartel-like manner, have nearly all abolished it in unison. Two years ago, 96% of them had free checking; now, only 35% do.

Lagarde leads from the front on Europe

August 30, 2011

Going into the Jackson Hole conference, everybody was breathlessly awaiting Friday’s speech from Ben Bernanke, which turned out to be incredibly boring. The most important speech of the meeting, by far, came on Saturday, and came from the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde. In decidedly undiplomatic prose she came right out and said what needed to be done:

How to hack voicemail

August 29, 2011

When the NYT killed off its famous 111-111-1111 caller ID, one stated reason was “an expected change to federal law that will require legitimate caller ID signatures”. And the video above explains why such a change to the law makes sense — caller ID spoofing, up until now, has been easy, legal, and a great way of getting access to other people’s voicemail accounts.

In praise of DealBook

August 29, 2011

Every so often, Andrew Ross Sorkin will ask me when I’m going to write something nice about him. It doesn’t happen very often, because I’m more likely to feel the need to disagree with someone on the internet than I am to feel the need to agree with them. It’s called Siwoti syndrome, and it’s endemic to the blogosphere.

The future of Groupon’s business model

August 27, 2011

Has Groupon created an inherently profitable industry? Or is it one of the most effective means ever invented of taking investors’ money and setting fire to it? Since I wrote my big post on Grouponomics in May, the optics surrounding Groupon have changed considerably. Jeff Bercovici, for one, is convinced there’s nothing there:


August 26, 2011

Here’s a fairly great, cranky interview Der Spiegel recently did with Gorbachev.

Don’t ignore Tim Cook’s sexuality

August 25, 2011

Tim Cook is now the most powerful gay man in the world. This is newsworthy, no? But you won’t find it reported in any legacy/mainstream outlet. And when the FT‘s Tim Bradshaw did no more than broach the subject in a single tweet, he instantly found himself fielding a barrage of responses criticizing him from so much as mentioning the subject. Similarly, when Gawker first reported Cook’s sexuality in January, MacDailyNews called their actions “petty, vindictive, and just plain sad.”