March 3, 2014







Sbarro goes bankrupt

The filing would represent the company’s second trip to bankruptcy court in the past three years. Sbarro first sought protection from creditors in April 2011, citing slower sales and higher costs for ingredients such as cheese. As part of its latest efforts to streamline the company, Sbarro announced plans last month to close 155 locations in North America.

Exponent Private Equity purchases Scotch Distillery

The deal sees Exponent Private Equity take control of assets including the Loch Lomond distillery in West Dumbartonshire, the Glen Catrine packaging plant in Ayrshire and the Glen Scotia malt distillery in Campbeltown. Alongside these, Exponent has also taken ownership of the Loch Lomond and Glen Scotia single malt brands, the High Commissioner blended Scotch whisky and Glen’s Vodka.

Apple enters the car

The company confirmed that Ferrari,Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will demonstrate the new technology at this week’s Geneva Auto Show and it expects more than a dozen other major car manufacturers to bring the system to its automobiles in the future.

Berkshire Hathaway’s 2013 Annual Letter

Most of you have never heard of Energy Future Holdings. Consider yourselves lucky; I certainly wish I hadn’t. The company was formed in 2007 to effect a giant leveraged buyout of electric utility assets in Texas. The equity owners put up $8 billion and borrowed a massive amount in addition. About $2 billion of the debt was purchased by Berkshire, pursuant to a decision I made without consulting with Charlie. That was a big mistake.


What to Read

February 6, 2013

Segway inventor’s next endeavor (Forbes)

Called the Slingshot… this 300 pound, dorm fridge-sized box can take any kind of sewage or even salt water and create 200 to 250 gallons a day of clean water. Kamen once demonstrated the Slingshot by turning his urine into clean water and drinking a glass of it.


How Panda Express brings Chinese food to the mall (CNN Money)

Andrew and Peggy Cherng, now 65 and 62, respectively, opened their first Chinese restaurant in 1973 with $60,000 from savings and a Small Business Administration loan, plus relatives who worked for free. Today Panda Restaurant Group is the nation’s leader in Asian fast-casual eateries, exceeding $1.7 billion in revenue in 2012.


Citysearch’s Mobile Comeback Strategy (Business Insider)

Citysearch, once synonymous with local reviews in the ’90s, is battling back against the upstarts with its refreshed iPhone app. The app is chock full of quality recommendations for restaurants, shopping, spas, and what’s hot in big cities. Citysearch, now part of CityGrid Media, started out as an online city guide written by professional editorial staff. Its modern, mobile incarnation still emphasizes tips from its expert “scouts” rather than crowdsourced recommendations from customers, like you’d find on Yelp or Foursquare, though those are also present.

The New York Times invites media startups to work from its headquarters

The New York Times is opening up its office space and expertise to media startups through timeSpace. The scheme is opening up office space at the newspaper’s headquarters at 620 8th Avenue, New York City, to provide fledgling businesses with a four-month program. The company is looking for entrepreneurs or startups within the journalism or digital media industry and with these fledgling enterprises it hopes to work on refining their ideas and to open up opportunities to meet with relevant staff members. timeSpace will be home to three to five companies during the four-month period, who will be able to collaborate with, learn and teach each other. The New York Times will also benefit from gaining access to the innovative minds of new businesses entering the media sphere today.

Pensions bet big with private equity (WSJ)

With so much riding on returns, Harris has created an investment operation that looks and feels more like a hedge fund than a government agency. The office lobby buzzes with a flat-screen television that hangs next to photos of school children. Two of the fund’s traders work into the night from a windowless room, following the markets in Asia and Europe. Staff—including secretaries—can score annual bonuses provided the pension beats its peers by just a small fraction.


Ray Dalio: Cash Will Move Into ‘Stuff’ in 2013 (Market Folly)

The bets are zero sum.  In order for you to beat me in the game, it’s like poker, it’s a zero sum game.  We have 1,500 people that work at Bridgewater, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research, and so on.  We’ve been doing this for 37 years and we don’t know that we’re going to win.  We have to have diversified bets.  So it’s very important for most people to know when not to make a bet.  Because if you’re going to come to the poker table, you’re going to have to beat me, and you’re going to have to beat those who take money.  So the nature of investing is that a very small percentage of the people take money essentially in that poker game away from other people who don’t know when prices go up whether that means it’s a good investment or if it’s a more expensive investment.


 Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco, Deutsche Bank’s Anshu Jain, French Minister of Finance Pierre Moscovici, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, China Investment Corp.’s Jin Liqun and Bridgewater Associates Founder Ray Dalio debate the future of the global economy.


Mike Maples on Investing in ‘Thunder Lizards’ (The Dish Daily)

According to Maples, thunder lizards reflect how the success of startups generally follows a power law distribution. Maples discussed how in a YCombinator cohort, the best company is worth more than all of the others combined. Similarly for most VC portfolios, the best company’s returns will exceed all of the other companies invested. The second best company’s value will also surpass the value of all other companies in the portfolio, excluding of course the most valuable one. Maples mentioned that the power law also applies to the movie industry (box office revenues) and web sites (page views).

The World’s Most Depressing Tech Infographic Says You’re Dead In 9 Years



October 13, 2012

“You’ve been sort of trained by circumstances, by school and work, that there is going to be someone who will nag you if you do badly,” he says. “If you’re not delivering, your boss will say, ‘Hey, you’re not delivering,’ and eventually he’ll fire you if you’re not delivering. Here, we don’t fire you. The market fires you. If you’re sucking, I’m not going to run along behind you, saying, ‘You’re sucking, you’re sucking, come on, stop sucking.’ ”

Inside Y Combinator (Vanity Fair)

“Why should a pair of glasses cost more than an iPad? Well one answer is because one company controls a big chunk of the business… a little known but very big Italian company called Luxottica. If you own a nice pair of specs or shades, they’re probably theirs. “

Sticker Shock, Why do Glasses Cost so Much? (CBS Interview)


The #1 company-killer is lack of market.

Andy puts it this way:

  • When a great team meets a lousy market, market wins.
  • When a lousy team meets a great market, market wins.
  • When a great team meets a great market, something special happens.

You can obviously screw up a great market — and that has been done, and not infrequently — but assuming the team is baseline competent and the product is fundamentally acceptable, a great market will tend to equal success and a poor market will tend to equal failure. Market matters most.

And neither a stellar team nor a fantastic product will redeem a bad market…

The Only Thing that Matters (Mark Andreessen)

UX Design for Non Designers (Jason Shen)


January 19, 2011

  • Crumbs Cupcake Bakery is going public via a reverse merger with a SPAC
  • Overall, there were 445 pirate attacks last year – a 10% rise from 2009.

    Last week, a separate study found maritime piracy costs the global economy between $7bn (£4.4bn) and $12bn (£7.6bn) a year.

  • Euro Debt Crisis all in one picture from SG
  • Mr. Elmer, who previously provided documents from his former employer to national tax authorities including the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, said he had turned to WikiLeaks to “educate society” about what he considers an unfair system that serves the rich and aids those who seek to launder money.
  • Great collection of talks from Guy Kawasaki, President Obama, David Rose, and many more.
  • “China Development Bank… has become the financial muscle in the country’s overseas drive. In the energy sector alone, CDB has awarded loans to other developing country governments or companies of more than $65bn in the past two years. Beijing has made more than $110bn in long-term loans to developing countries over that period, a number that exceeds the World Bank’s lending”

    “The American consumer may still be one of the main driving forces in the global economy, but about half of China’s exports now go to developing countries”

    “among Chinese officials and scholars, there is a widely held view that the US has been abusing its position as controller of the main reserve currency by pursuing irresponsible economic policies. Nor do they hide the underlying geopolitical objective of the currency push – to place limits on the role of the dollar in the international monetary system”


June 19, 2010

RTNW #30

June 18, 2010


June 17, 2010