Felix Salmon


January 26, 2012

It’s time to move the World Economic Forum away from the Swiss enclave with which it has become synonymous, at least for one year. A Greek island — Arianna Huffington suggests Patmos, while Andrew Ross Sorkin is more partial to Santorini — would be perfect: a change of climate, a change of scenery, and an opportunity to bring the forces of global plutocracy to bear exactly where they can do the most good. Davos has billionaires, but it doesn’t have any yachts.

Esther Dyson’s hopes for Russia

January 25, 2012

In the general atmosphere here in Davos of worry and apprehension, it was great to be able to sit down with Esther Dyson this afternoon and get a dose of refreshing optimism — and about Russia, of all places. There’s an elite group of Russian technologists here — Dyson, a lifelong Russophile who’s fluent in the language and on many boards of Russian technology companies, introduced me to both Arkady Volozh of Yandex and Anatoly Karachinsky of IBS. And she’s convinced that the success of the Russian technology sector can not only make for thriving companies but also for a much improved country.

Fear in Davos

January 25, 2012

It’s highly unscientific and anecdotal, but the winner by far of the most-talked-about-person-in-Davos award, at least when it comes to people in my earshot, is George Soros.

Greece: What happens if bondholders hold out?

January 25, 2012

What happens if Greece puts forward an exchange offer which is acceptable to the Troika (the EU, ECB, and IMF), but unacceptable to bondholders — and only say half of them accept? In that event, there wouldn’t be nearly enough acceptances to be able to bail in the holdouts — and as a result, Greece would be paying out on its new bonds and would be forced to default on the old bonds which weren’t tendered.

The mortgage investigations drag on

January 25, 2012

The shape of a possible settlement with the banks over mortgage fraud has never been clearer. But neither has the fact that it’s not going to happen any time soon. And without a deal in hand, Barack Obama ended up making a different announcement in his State of the Union address:

The Greek debt talks fall apart

January 24, 2012

The news out of Greece isn’t good. Remember here that Greece itself is basically just an intermediary, stuck between the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) on the one hand, which is going to fund its deficits for the foreseeable future and therefore can demand anything it wants, and bondholders, on the other. And the problem is that what’s acceptable to the bondholders — a 4% coupon, basically, on restructured debt — is unacceptable to the Troika:

Chart of the day, ETF size edition

January 23, 2012

I’m sorry I missed Devin Riley’s excellent post when I was writing about ETFs on Friday. Here’s his chart:

Udacity and the future of online universities

January 23, 2012

The most exciting (but also, in a small way, slightly depressing) presentation at DLD this year came from Sebastian Thrun, of Stanford and Google. Or formerly of Stanford, anyway.

How sharing disrupts media

January 23, 2012

I’m at DLD in Munich, where David Karp of Tumblr and Samir Arora of Glam Media helped me understand the way that media and publishing are evolving these days, and the way in which creating, editing, and publishing are increasingly separate things which interact with each other in fertile and unpredictable ways.