Felix Salmon

Chart of the day, equity and GDP edition

March 22, 2012

The Epicurean Dealmaker has been watching global equity markets metastasize:

Over the past few decades, the public equity markets have evolved from a relatively staid and selective backwater, a playground for pension funds, insurance companies, and the idiot sons of wealthy men, into a gigantic global pool of capital, driven and supported by huge amounts of money from literally everybody… I will leave it to an enterprising PhD student to research the data, but I suspect the aggregate amount of equity market capitalization as a percentage of GDP has swelled tremendously over the past three decades. Equities have gone mainstream, and as they did, the size of equity markets ballooned.

The ideal nominee for World Bank president

March 22, 2012

Now things are getting interesting. Lesley Wroughton has the wonderful news: two very highly qualified non-American candidates — Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and  Jose Antonio Ocampo — are going to be nominated to be president of the World Bank. This really puts the pressure on the White House to knock it out of the park with their nomination, because Ngozi, in particular, is broadly regarded both within and outside the Bank as being pretty much perfect for the job. She’s a whip-smart economist, she’s honest, she’s imaginative, she’s dedicated, she’s expert at navigating the Bank’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and politics, and she’s passionate about the way that the Bank can really make the world a better place.

Why Twitter will get more annoying

March 22, 2012

Happy sixth birthday, Twitter! You’re the service which started off as a way for groups of friends to keep in touch with each other via text messages, and you’ve grown into a revolutionary platform for connecting and sharing with millions of people around the world.

How the IPO market is broken

March 21, 2012

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry has a very smart response to my Wired story about IPOs.

Gobry has one main point. VCs aren’t bad for pushing their portfolio companies to grow at all costs he says; indeed, they have to be that way.

The problematic JOBS Act

March 21, 2012

I have a piece in the latest issue of Wired magazine on the problem with IPOs in general, and technology IPOs in particular. In it, the JOBS Act comes across rather well:

Annals of dishonest attacks, Stephen Dubner edition

March 21, 2012

Super Freakonomics came out in 2009, and Ezra Klein was not impressed:

The problem with Super Freakonomics is it prefers an interesting story to an accurate one. This is evident from the very first story on the very first page of the book.

Buying equity in people

March 20, 2012

The idea of buying equity in individuals rather than companies has occasionally been the subject of dystopian satire. And when Michael Lewis wrote in 2007 about a nascent attempt to set up a market in sports stars, he was far too early: Protrade closed in 2009, never having come close to achieving its dreams. (There are lots of echoes there of HSX, but that’s a different story.)

When journalists take money from Wall Street

March 20, 2012

Many thanks to Paul Starobin for getting to the bottom of the question of journalists being paid by Wall Street to give speeches. This is one of those issues, a bit like the exact meaning of “off the record”, where everybody thinks they know what the standard is, but everybody also thinks it’s different.

SecondMarket’s unnecessary Facebook Fund

March 20, 2012

The latest sign that the Facebook IPO is going to be particularly bonkers comes from Jon Ogg, who has discovered a Facebook Fund over at SecondMarket.