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Archive for January, 2008

IMF estimates, the economy and that stuff..politics…

January 30, 2008 Leave a comment

The new IMF estimates about the economic condition on a global scale are telling a story where the word “recession” may not be explicitly mentioned, but “subprime crisis” makes the headlines.

Overall, there is a contraction of 0.3%, from a former 4.4% growth rate to the actual 4.1% (and a 4.9% in 2007…), given the impact of the crisis from the “Gekko” dashboard to the real economy. The US economy, unsurprisingly enough, bears the premium of a further reduction, -0.4% over the latest forecast, to a mere 1.5% of, say, organic growth, which will be coupled with some “spill-over” from 2007 to rise the US economy by2.2%.

Europe will be massively hit by the crisis, considering a reduction from Autumn’s forecast by 0.5 percentage points, an overall 1.6%, and a sliding off path more marked during the last quarter (same thing apply to the US, for consistency purposes!!). China and all emerging markets will slow down a bit, the Dragon will slip back from an initial 11.4% to a current 10%, allowing some overheating pressure over the economy to ease, but more notably the African countries will augment their positive impact on a global scale, posting a nice 7% growth, one percentage point above 2007 results. We saw that coming, supported also by Far East investments and “petro-dollars”. However, the IMF notes that

the deteriorating economic conditions could exacerbate pressures on major financial institutions that have already suffered big losses from the subprime crisis.

A nice warning, but quite off-timing I dare say… we are all wandering what actually is the work done to align risk management practices to the Basel 2 requirements..

Still.. if we apply what happened in the US, and the potential spillover of the subprime crisis to the credit environment (potential??? The Amex results yesterday – 10% decline in net income and some “$438m set aside to cover bad loans” stated the Financial Times) are chanting that story for a supposed above-par marketplace, nevermind the rest…) is it possible that another financial black hole may open up in East Europe??

Quite interestingly, the current Italian political turmoil, according to the IMF, should not affect the overall performance, set over a “healthy” path and stressing that all political conditions are “a worry” but all forecast are made on a pure economic evaluation… as if the two aspect, in a modern ans systemic socio-economic ecosystem, are totally separated and with no area of cross-over and influence!!!

It is so incredibly short-sighted not to consider the “system” as the real ruler of all human interactions and the main pillar for a viable and “effective” future… we may need to see a shift in global power and importance towards the East and the South of the World before realising we have missed a chance..

OK, stepping into far too complicated realms to be addressed in a short blog post, yet if anybody is at all interested I am more than happy to take it to an higher level!!!!

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Finger Food (25)

January 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Today is a pretty weird day… the Italian government fell under the strikes of some swingers within its grouping, leaving behind part of the Italian electorate cheering at the event, whilst there should be vast amass of worries to begin with…however, there will be plenty of time and room to discuss, should this be of any interest, such a drama as the Italian political scene..needless to say, timing is most inappropriate, given the economic and political scenario looming ahead, coupled with an array of international challenges difficult to understand and analyse by those who do not think “systemically” but care for their own wallet..

Still, it’s Friday nevermind what, so it is about time to have our Finger Food ready for nibbling, so there we are!!!

  • Noblesse oblige, I have to include some comments (international, just in case) about Italian recent political turnaround… long since someone said “it is not impossible to govern Italians, it is useless..” and by the way the owner of this sentence and myself are radically at opposite political views.. I rather quote “Obi Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope”, and see whether there is life in outerspace, it may help us a tad..
  • Second massive news spot: Davos!!! It is all getting along nicely, with plenty to discuss about sovereign funds, supposedly going to run the universal fate, something Soros was accustomed to, and something about how green is your backyard or, rather, some chit-chat over the recent turbulence on global economy… full blown event here!
  • John Donahoe is the new eBay CEO and will have to lift the company to the former glory.. daunting task, mind you, since the market has got a number of new Web darlings, the site has witnessed some harsh time with eCrooks (nice one!!)..long term, a give us something new to cheer about, John.. mind you, it was going all that bad, according to Compete
  • Windows Vista and its new upgrade!?!?!?!? ROTFWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please….. or are you rather thinking about Windows 7???? and IE8??? seriously guys, you should stop those pills..
  • In the meanwhile, Dell is adding Ubuntu Linux to its flashy XPS range of PCs, on top of some more dull Inspiron.. just a nice change, isn’t it??? UbuWhat????? Gosh.. there you are!
  • Wikipedia would like to know why those who post on Wiki actually do so… ego, for heaven’s sake, ego!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or willingness to participate to something worthwhile, interest, keen on sharing…plenty of reasons, including something like “spare time to waste in a constructive manner apart from running wild with SecondLife..”
  • The above statement about spare time to waste in a constructive manner has always included “reading” within answers’ range.. as found, there is a booby trap in the library: some books make you dumb.. or dumber, depending on the case… follow the link, fun to see…
  • Millions of millions of users for virtual or synthetic worlds.. but how many??? 173 million to latest K Zero counts.. and growing, I trust… an hefty population that would be probably interested in cross checking what’s behind the fence..
  • Everything is “Open”, and at CES this was remarkably undelined.. however, and the Italian politics with 39 parties running the show may testify, too much choice turns out to be unproductive and detrimental, as highlighted in the linked post, particularly when referring to consumer electronics, open connectivity, wireless industry and such… , I believe there is some wisdom here to put at work….!!
  • To add to complexity, MySpace will begin offering videos since its latest agreements with BBC and ABC.. gosh, my eves are going to get complicated, must revamp the PC home section, I believe.. don’t you find however quite boring the fact that everybody does everything just to lure you?? Is the concept of “champion” such an absurdity today?? I rather have variety..
  • Diamonds may actually be girls’ best friends, but gold and platinum are surely best buddies of scared investors and shaken markets!!! Record highs for both in the last few days…
  • America begins to realise that hegemony is a dream long gone, the planet complexity is beyond control, or at least is a long shot away from a single country ability to manouvre.. multi-polarity is an issue to face, disgregation of power and the rise of micro-geopolitical centers.. working at the edge of chaos, managing complexity, augmenting the overall reaction capability, improve lateral thinking are paramount for companies, nevermind a country… a nice primordial broth..

Plus, some nice earnings alert to care for (including those down-putting statements from Apple, however bloated with Air it may be.. and the reason behind Nokia success…), Dubai is working hard to became the Islamic world financial hub, Billy Gates is patting on the back of world leaders from the Davos speaker corner, a chart about East meet West sort of chat..

Virgin Galactic is gettin’ out (but the outer space is not the only target, India may be a nice alternative still).. and playing with toys makes the life and story of Nintendo a nice tale, above all expectations (price rising in Japan..), China is still running fast, but some sweat on its forehead begins to show, together with some social “modernities”, sort of…

Right.. time to close up this session, the sky is clear, temperature is sort of late winter, early spring like, tomorrow I will hit the slopes to try out my new snowboard boots (nice sturdy Nitro Anthem, a picture is here, just in case…), hope to be back on Monday and with all my pieces at the right place!!!

Have a nice weekend you all!!!

Categories: Finger Food

Davos 2008 opening day…

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Today is the opening day of the annual Davos Economic Forum, and the scenario is hard to forget: first of all, a magnificent and perfectly winterly landscape, a tad spoiled by a significant global financial shake off, a ever so complicated balance between the East and the West of the World, a tactical shift of business confidence from developed markets actors to the rampant ones, notably India, China, Russia, Mexico.. also I would add there is the awaiting of Bush’s closing act and the stabilisation of the Persian area, the growing interest in ripping out part of Sub-Saharan Africa from famine and foster a new markeplace (with Chinese and Arabic money, perhaps?!?), the role Europe will take over the global chessboard, given its internal extreme differences, both in economic and political terms and an invisible parallel divides North and South as never before, I would argue..

Climate changes, financial turmoil, political unrest, the ingredients are ready to build up a spectacular first course.. or the perfect storm, this depending on the intelligence and social responsibility level all the top guns in Davos will show…

Let’s hope for the best…

Finger Food (24)

January 18, 2008 Leave a comment

It is a gorgeous day in Milan, the sun is shining bright and it seems winter is out of the way, at least for some time.. it feels like Spring, and these will be our first Finger Food “al fresco” for 2008!!!

  • Web 2.0 or anything .0 is increasingly perceived (finally, for Heaven’s sake..) as a potential business tool, or at least it is appreciated people discuss about markets, business, companies et alia not only in meeting rooms or at coffee machines… StrategyEye is supposed to gather and analyse this amass of blurb… nice one, guys, nice one.. you may end up being bought by some research powerhouse and drop working in London SW borough in a matter of a blink!!!
  • YouTube is still in the leading position…oh, yes, we are talking about videos here.. in this Compete post, there is a clear market picture that suggests how YouTubers are more active than any other video-community on the Web… what is the main differential driving users to roughly quadruple the visits on this site compared to the behaviour of other groups??? Recipe for success anyone??
  • Some time ago, in a far far away galaxy, we heard about Google mimicking Microsoft and blatantly searching for a similar spotlight.. there came the desktop application, the interest in the corporate environment, the “me, everywhere” sort of approach and, last but not least, the .org after the name.. philanthropy is on the agenda of the Fantastic Duo, but as it seems here, it will take a Google-only road..
  • Oracle is back!!! And BEA was then gobbled down and digested! BUT the M&A frenzy is hitting badly, and Sun goes shopping too.. MySQL is on the menu! Nice add for both, albeit of different magnitude and overall strategic and branding value.. will we see more of it??? Some likely picks could possibly be Compuware and Unisys…the industry said..
  • A friend of mine just told me that the UK marketplace is looking for replenishments, people to foster and support the growth..incidentally this was a nice supporting article! And, i we want to consider that in US the situation is heading the very opposite direction (unemployment rising over 5%…), two hypothesis: US is definitely on a crisis landslide, and the global power may shift a little bit over to Europe and some Far East, and there it goes, or there will be another geopolitical trouble spot to sort out with a nice and surgical war… debatable?? Of course, help yourself!!!!
  • By the way, European corporation are increasingly looking eastward… andSouth, to be fair… and where there will be some sort of potential and market development… right, yes..
  • The week has been also pestered by the MacWorld event.. ok, should you be at all interested (and you should, who knows, there may be some directions you may want to tackle…) here are the Day One, Day Two and Day Three roundups… just in case you have nothing better to do!!!!!!!
  • Funny, though… there will be a new definition of “pitch black” coming shortly, since with nanotubes some scientists have created the ultimate black, an hellish substance that will eat the light and give nothing in return apart from that shiny and quite worrying shade of black… mind you, it would look amazing on my motorbike….
  • Nevemind what, SecondLife economy is there and growing… mind you, that “charging VAT” thing….
  • Meanwhile, it seems there is a lot of talking about the “evolution” of the role of Second Life.. I had some little chat with Nobody here, and there are also some projects on how to back up the entire experience of a synthetic world, as to preserve its essence for future reference … the interesting debate stemming from this post is about the determination of value, what is fundamental to be backed up and what can eventually disappear into the dust of time… SL, as possibly the entire social computing evolution, is not easy to frame, since it is fundamentally composed and brought to life by people, their feelings, needs and creativity. Back up that, then…
  • Whilst talking, China is about to overtake US as the leading Internet market worldwide, in overall number of users.. that was not exactly a tough prediction to make, wasn’t it???
  • Rankings, more rankings.. the 2007 top growing web sites!!!  Ok, there is some little “red lights” here, but apart from the obvious, it is interesting to notice the P2P bias of the rank.. now that we are all connected, what’s next??? making the most of the connection, I believe…

By the way, since I believe that the above is more that enough, and considering that I am desperately crying for some early sunshine, I believe I may leave you with this early 2008 Finger Food, with a small recommendation: take your time, slow down, do not get bogged by evolution, IT, the Web, best of all, do not be a “Google generation“.. impatience does lead to skim the surface  and miss the innermost.. to play with words a bit “life is best lived where Googlers fear to tread”!!

Enjoy your weekend, catch you later!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Categories: Finger Food

Apple is on Air, really!!!!!!!!!!

January 16, 2008 Leave a comment

That time of the year has come, pretty much like xMas, my birthday, the first MotoGP race or the very first swim before summer season starts: MacWorld!!! (One out of the zillion links you may already have…)

The 2008 edition will be remembered possibly for the flashy side of computing, the unbearable lightness of being Apple, the MacBook Air. A thin jewel of hardly 3/4 of an inch max, a featherlight computer… basically a MacBook on diet like, say, comparing Jessica Alba with Kate Moss, without illegal boost, mind you…

I won’t spend more time on it, it is gorgeous, stylish, the ultimate tech fashion statement, nothing all that new when considering Apple, isn’t it???

It is rather interesting the attack Steve Jobs is setting up at the movie industry or, better, how consumer actually USE the movie industry.

iTunes Movie Rentals is going to revolutionise the movie experience.

Rent any movie for 24 hours, choosing from a large collection from majors portfolios such as 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony, Warner and the rest of the pack, watch it on any device you may like, with obvious preference for Apple hardware (Macs, iPod, iPhone, haven’t read about iTouch…), pay $2.99 or $3.99 and there you go… a thousand titles by the end of February, more to come, and add to the pack some TV shows, concerts, video podcast and some more goodies..

From your couch directly to the smashing flat screen you just bought on sales, your digilife is going to get pampered, boosted, enhanced, whatever!! Isn’t that nice????

This move was somewhat expected, and yet it is quite likely that this will change massively the entire industry approach to entertainment. Also, more significant, it redefines the concept of “ownership” compared to “timely experience”: it is not necessary to own, it is rather more important to experience something. I do not need to “have” everything, to hold it in my safe, I could and possibly will be much more selective, and the entire idea of value could be reorganised.

Clearly, we are talking about movies, really not a cornerstone, but heck, life is a glittery game nonetheless!! See whether Steve Jobs is able to make another miracle, at least for himself and Apple’s shareholders!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, nevermind what, in my wardrobe there are no black turtlenecks…

How social are you?? Fast enough??

January 14, 2008 Leave a comment

I have started my blogging experience a little short of a year ago, and I have to admit it has been rewarding and challenging, fun and worrisome, but most of all it has been like a long, unplanned backpacking trip along the roads of social evolution and global changes! And, should you be so nice to have read me all along this time, it is a bless for a curious being the like of myself..

I have started this personal journey when MySpace was one of the coolest place to be in, SecondLife was supposed to position as the next big thing for human interaction and business ventures, one year ago there were articles about how cool is blogging about, the entire 2.0 was an humongous affair encompassing and including the whole of mankind and any aspect derived from it (almost, say…).

Then, I went on holiday in Tanzania, Zanzibar to be precise, and spent a whole week without even thinking about wearing shoes, my feet gorging on white and warm sand and more white and warm sand, my skin crackling into the African sun..let alone considering the World stressed about whether being 1.0 or 2.0 or x.0 at all…

I stepped into a plane, packed full with over-talkative holiday village goers, and slowly but surely I hit the -2° in Milan… a night sleep, on it was the PC the morning after and here it is…

MySpace has been dubbed as “uncool”, nevermind the overall results (incidentally, this drop in page views I saw it first mentioned here, dating back Sept. 11th.. ouch…), SecondLife seems to have trouble in mocking the real world as someone was hoping it would have done (silly, silly, silly!!!), recently the most “real” stuff, money, has been quite regulated and there is no longer that “be there, be rich” sort of approach (something along the lines of the first appearance of the Web in our daily existence back in, say, ’95), and most of all there is no longer such ranting about “2.0”….

More importantly, CES in Las Vegas has finally completed the transition to a “business-determined” social ecosystem to a “consumer-driven” fabric… I read endless analysis concentrating on how the corporate environment has to mimic the private users dynamics, how important is to accomodate users’ needs, also in technology terms, as to foster a superior working environment, tailored and geared to make the most of each individual working style and “social graph”….

Now, this is the next one you will be pestered about in the coming months: SOCIAL GRAPH.

Six degree of separation, networks, nodes and hubs, this is all making the news, together with complexity theory and chaos.. finally someone have made the point: interconnecting more than a billion people is not as simple as plugging a PC into the socket.. it is a matter of re-defining the social canvass, it is a matter of managing a life of endless information streaming across the planet, it is about one, large, living organism… quite a long time ago I posted about what I called LITO, Living Information Technology Organism.. we may all want to go back and study evolutionary theories instead that SecondLife for Dummies…

Welcome back, I hope a marvellous 2008 for all of you!!! It will be a nice ride, stay tuned!!