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Current Topic: Business

Boil the ocean
Topic: Business 6:03 pm EST, Nov  2, 2008

The phrase ""Boil The Ocean" describes an attempt at something that is way too ambitious, effectively impossible. The first time I heard the term was several years ago from an IBM developer. I thought it was an IBM-ism but I've been hearing it more and more outside of IBM. A Google search turns up an early use of the phrase that really captures its meaning:

When asked by a reporter what to do about U-boat sinkings during World War I, Will Rogers is said to have responded: "Boil the ocean". "But how would you do that?" the reporter continued. Without a beat Rogers replied, "I'm just the idea man here. Get someone else to work out the details."


Boil the ocean

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats - Feb. 19, 2008
Topic: Business 2:40 pm EST, Feb 20, 2008

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats
If a big airline combination is approved, frugal fliers could feel the pinch.

NEW YORK ( -- It may be time to wave goodbye to some of those discount fares. If Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines complete a merger to form the largest U.S. airline, travelers can expect fewer deals and higher fares on some remote routes.

A combination has been rumored for weeks and reports Tuesday indicated that a deal was close.

Airlines generally try to keep flights as full as possible, and the proposed new carrier would continue that trend. "If all the planes are full," said Rick Seaney, founder of fare search site FareCompare, "they can increase prices and have them stick."

With fewer available seats, airlines cut back on the supply of cheapest seats first.

Delta-Northwest deal could mean fewer cheap seats - Feb. 19, 2008

RE: Panic on 43rd Street | Vanity Fair
Topic: Business 8:13 am EDT, Aug 29, 2006

Why isn't MemeStreams stickier? What will it take to get every registered user to visit the site daily and generate 20 page views? There ought to be a plan!

* Communication Function: MySpace replaces email; Memestream messaging does not.
* Demographics: Memestreams users, on average, seem to have lives and professions.
* Content: I read the RSS feed... through livejournal... with the exception of the links I follow through, most of my reading is likely untrackable. If I couldn't, I would read Memestreams less.
* Content navigation: Banging on the folksonomy drum again -- I read the front page. I read my recommendation page. But outside the cover articles, I have little inclination to "dive deeper". Except when entries link to other entries, or when I remember an article that I wish to recall, I don't go through the bulk of the site. If there were tags or other automatically generated clustering content links, I probably would.

RE: Panic on 43rd Street | Vanity Fair

Business Books - for the corporate revolutionary
Topic: Business 2:32 pm EST, Jan 12, 2006

A fairly serous reading list - directed more at the corporate revolutionary than at the corporate drone...If you find the range too broad and the selection on other pages too eclectic to be believeable...chances are you took the blue pill.

Business Books - for the corporate revolutionary

RE: CNOOC: Unocal Bid Not About Politics - Yahoo! News
Topic: Business 9:57 am EDT, Jun 29, 2005

Rattle wrote:

Two things that have been said often apply here. First, Chinese foreign policy consists of one word: oil. Second, its likely that any conflicts with China would be fought out on an economic battlefield.

So what does everything think? Should we be concerned about this?

The problem with the Chinese argument is that there is an asymmetric economic investment risk here. In the event of conflict -- or a poorly brewed pot of tea for the party chairman -- China would be all too likely to nationalize whatever resources it wanted. The complaint already exists that even private enterprise is guided by the government; just add direct policy initiative. China, like Russia, can nationalize foreign investments because they are so obviously growth markets that foreign investors are willing to accept the risk. And CNOOC is already state-run.

The US can not afford to seize investments because of our governance and because our markets are the best in the world because of foreign investor confidence. The US Treasury is considered a risk-less investment and the global markets would completely meltdown if there was ever even a whiff that the US Government was no longer playing by honorable rules. And the US economy is about the least robust economy without the global capital markets.

So if China decided CNOOC should shut down Unocal's operations but preserve the assets, we couldn't do much. And the US couldn't reciprocate by buying PetroChina and doing the same -- PetroChina wouldn't last long as a company with non-government owned assets.

It makes me nervous. Particularly that China is so vehemently attempting to pretend that this isn't a problem, it is just a business transaction. They are spilling their propaganda machine onto the global stage, where they expect everyone to know that what they say is unlikely true but go along with it anyway.

Ever play a strategy game where a player telegraphs their intentions early and there still isn't much you can do about it? It sucks. Like watching our trade deficits and fiscal policy.

RE: CNOOC: Unocal Bid Not About Politics - Yahoo! News

RE: / Home US - Jury calls WTC attack two events
Topic: Business 8:46 pm EST, Dec 20, 2004

Decius wrote:
] ] This is a big deal, a lot of the insurance world was holding
] ] its breath on this. Not only is it a significant settlement
] ] (+$1.1B is never small) but a significant precident in
] ] insurance coverage in the terrorist age.
] Ugh... that means your rates for insurance are going to go up.
] Again.

Unlikely in most cases, unless you are talking about business insurance. And specifically, large/catastrophic policies. The companies that were hit hard with this were the ReInsurers -- I think Munich and Swiss Re are the major players in the WTC market, but I haven't tracked that industry much lately.

One of the floating questions, though, was that some of these Re's are in shaky financial position already, from curious derivitives plays, large exposures, improper policy discipline. And the business is such that it doesn't take much to cause a Re catastrophy, as their business is entirely based on their credit rating, and so payoffs reduce their liquidity, which can trigger a rating deduction, and if you go below A or A-... forget it. Debt covenants, cost of capital...

RE: / Home US - Jury calls WTC attack two events / Home US - Jury calls WTC attack two events
Topic: Business 8:49 pm EST, Dec  6, 2004

] NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (Reuters) - A jury on Monday decided the
] hijacked airline attacks that destroyed the World Trade
] Center were two separate events, doubling to $2.2 billion
] the damages leaseholder Larry Silverstein can collect
] from insurers.

This is a big deal, a lot of the insurance world was holding its breath on this. Not only is it a significant settlement (+$1.1B is never small) but a significant precident in insurance coverage in the terrorist age. / Home US - Jury calls WTC attack two events

Computer makers face slowdown, firm predicts - 11/30/04
Topic: Business 10:03 am EST, Nov 30, 2004

] Slower growth and reduced profits will likely squeeze
] three of the nation's top 10 personal computer
] manufacturers out of the market by 2007, a research firm
] predicted Monday.
] While manufacturers' shipments increased by double digits
] in the past few years, tougher times lie ahead, according
] to Gartner Inc.
] Gartner did not name any candidates for departure but
] suggested many are vulnerable. Dell is the only
] consistently profitable global computer vendor in the
] past several years, Gartner said.
] The top 10 worldwide vendors, by units shipped, are Dell,
] Hewlett-Packard Co., International Business Machines
] Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Toshiba
] Corp., NEC Corp., Apple Computer Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd.
] and Gateway Inc.
] Personal computer growth, by unit, is forecast to average
] 5.7 percent annually from 2006 through 2008, according to
] Gartner, half the 11.3 percent average of 2003 through
] 2005.
] "With PC replacements still in full swing, 2005 should be
] a reasonably strong year for PC vendors," said Leslie
] Fiering, a research vice president with Gartner.
] "However, the end of the replacement cycle is likely to
] strain viability for even the largest PC vendors in 2006
] and beyond."
] The personal computer divisions of Hewlett-Packard and
] IBM are vulnerable to being spun off if their drag on
] margins and profitability are deemed too great by their
] parent companies, Gartner said.

Another silly Gartner report?

Computer makers face slowdown, firm predicts - 11/30/04

Times Online - Markets
Topic: Business 8:30 am EST, Nov 17, 2004

] "Business should get used to paying taxes and
] observing the law and not seek ways to avoid paying
] taxes," Mr Putin said in his speech to the Russian
] Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

Sounds less sinister when Buffett says it of American companies... why? Oh yeah:

] "The state will guard the interests of reputable
] business, and large-scale investigations, including tax
] probes, should not be regarded as a signal that every
] newly founded company poses a threat to the state's
] interests," he said.

Because "State's Interests" mean "Putin's Interests", not 'the good of Russia' or its economy.

Times Online - Markets

MediaDailyNews 11-15-04
Topic: Business 9:10 am EST, Nov 15, 2004

] Yahoo! Hires Founder
] Dow Jones Acquires MarketWatch, Deal Consolidates Online
] Financial News Market

It was actually expected that Yahoo! might buy MarketWatch; this is kind of a funny mix of daily news (Dow Jones' MarketWatch competitive/complimentary page is

MediaDailyNews 11-15-04

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