The Management Problem For Yahoo

So, the old CEO’s didn’t get the job done. The board, also didn’t get the job done, but decided to not blame themselves and went and hired Marissa Mayer as their latest and greatest savior.

She’s done some decent things.

However there’s some things that, if I were a board member, would make me wonder if she was a good choice.

The issue with remote workers is a tad worrying. Of course why I think it’s a problem is not the reason that others had issue. Most of the digerati had issues with the fact she stopped the work from home privilege altogether. Hey, that’s a management choice.

My issue is her basis for it and why it still shows management issues. Her stated reason is that the people working from home weren’t signing in to their VPN.

After spending months frustrated at how empty Yahoo parking lots were, Mayer consulted Yahoo’s VPN logs to see if remote employees were checking in enough.

Mayer discovered they were not — and her decision was made.


She purely judged the remote workers by whether or not they used their vpn? Wow. Ok, on the one hand I get it. But really, shouldn’t you be judging your workers by whether they get their work done?

Not signing into the vpn in and of itself doesn’t mean someone’s not working. It just means, well, they’re not signed in to the company network. Nothing more and nothing less. I still don’t get it.

If you’re issue is that your workers aren’t, well working. Fire them.

If you don’t know which workers aren’t working then you have a management issue and not a worker issue. And yet this part of the problem has been completely and utterly ignored.

Yahoo has a management issue and firing the workers isn’t going to fix the management issue.

And now we have paperwork. Boy do we have paperwork.

How it works:

  • Mayer requires teams of at least four people to interview every single new candidate.
  • Then each interviewer fills out a series of forms.
  • Then HR compiles each form into one master form.
  • This form then goes to Mayer’s office, “to sit from between six weeks to two months before she gets around to approving it. This is not [the] wait [time] for the whole process, which takes longer, naturally, it’s just the Mayer-approval wait.”
  • Then there is more waiting.
And here I thought she came from Google and was all 21st century. That’s enough waiting and paperwork to make the IRS proud.
It seems again, we have a management issue. By themselves these may not be bad issues. It’s just that combined it would make me wonder what sort of bureaucracy is being created and really, how is that helpful when you are already so far behind the 8 ball.
Good luck and all but, I’d be hedging my bets on that stock.

CNBC Has A Truthful Headline

If you’re really wondering why the stock market is doing so well, I believe the headline from the following story pretty much sums it up.

Fed to Remain Wall Street’s Sugar Daddy: CNBC Survey

Yeah it’s pretty undignified but really, the market keeps going up because the market knows Helicopter Ben will take care of them and support them.

Every time there’s even a hint that the money train is slowing down causes a down day and then immediately the next day the cavalry comes out to reassure the market that Helicopter Ben isn’t going to act like an adult and cut off the purse strings.

And I Thought Greece Was The Broken Link

It turns out it all goes down the tubes on Cyprus of all places.

And really, let’s be honest, no one would have guessed Cyprus if you’d ask them last year. Everyone and their brother would have put the end of the Eurozone due to Greece, Spain or possibly even Italy.

But not Cyprus.

And now the EC is going to screw this up even more, which is truly impressive if you think about it.

From the FT: “a revised deal being discussed in Nicosia, with the blessing of the European Commission, would shift more of the burden on to deposits larger than €100,000, according to officials involved in the talks. Under a controversial deal struck with international bailout lenders in the early hours on Saturday, a 6.75 per cent levy would be imposed on all deposits under €100,000 while accounts over that threshold would be hit with a 9.9 per cent levy. The depositor levy was demanded by a German-led group of creditor countries to bring down the bailout’s price tag from €17bn…. Officials involved in last night’s talks said the changes in the levy’s rates were in flux, but they could see the higher rate increase to as much as 12.5 per cent while the smaller deposits could be about 3.5 per cent.”

Ah yes, let’s back up a step.

It was announced over the weekend that as part of getting “saved” by the EC, Cyprus would get some cash. Oh and they would have to go back on their promise of making depositors whole by “taxing”, ie stealing, various amounts depending on the amount in the bank at the time.

As various pundits here in the US have said, the markets don’t like uncertainty. So that is exactly what the geniuses in Brussels have decided to do.

They’ve bolloxed the situation by showing that no depositor is safe in the EU. No one. Not anywhere. They claimed this is a one time emergency but really, when it comes to money grubbing pols, there’s never just one time. There’s just the first time.

And to make things worse, after rightfully getting pummeled this way to next Tuesday, it seems they’re going to adjust the amount they take. Please don’t. Now you’re just going to confuse the situation. It’s a bad situation. I’m amazed that they’re going to make it worse by muddling what’s going on by changing how much they steal.

Really, these guys in the EC make the keystone cops and the Washington Generals look world class. Can’t wait to see the flight to treasuries and how everyone leaps out of the Euro. At least it’ll make Monday interesting.

Rational And Efficient? Are You Kidding Me?

So, you may have seen. The markets were up big today.

U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, giving the S&P 500 its best day since December

And why were the markets up today?

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested earlier Wednesday that further stimulus to tackle the euro zone’s debt crisis would not necessarily be forthcoming…
The ECB left interest rates unchanged following its meeting Wednesday.

So the ECB did, nothing. No really. It literally did nothing at all today. It specifically said, typical of pols in trouble, that someone else should be doing something about the finance issues in Europe. And that caused markets worldwide to soar?

But what is the real reason people say the markets went up today?

but speculation persisted that the ECB could act if financial market tensions intensify further.


The market went up that much on speculation, rumor and innuendo.

But but… I’ve been told repeatedly that the market is efficiant. It is rational and all the information needed exists in the prices. Entire careers and economics departments have been created due to this theory.

Again, I’m an amateur, however, it seem easy to me to see that the market is most definitely not efficient and runs rampant on rumor, innuendo and speculation. That theory is the triumph of the academy over reality. The market is not efficient and yes, does run on rumor, innuendo and speculation. That’s bloody obvious to see and today proves it rather simply.

Why Do You Trust Greece Now?

As you may have heard, the Greeks are holding the EU hostage for some coin to pay off their debts. It’s been down to the wire now for, oh the past 20 years, or so it seems.

As one deadline after another has come and gone, leaders of the three parties in the coalition of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos postponed what was supposed to have been a crunch meeting on Tuesday until the following day.

Here’s the thing though. The Greeks lied before about their budget.

One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

The current Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, brought in to save the day for the EuroZone was Governor of the Bank of Greece while the lying was going on.

His reward for lying to the EuroZone ministers was a promotion to become Prime Minister.

Tell me again, since the people that did the lying are still in office now, why anyone in the world expects the behavior of the Greek government to change? They won’t. And yet the usual suspects will proclaim how shocked they are when it happens again.

It’s obvious that of all the poor choices available, they Greeks should leave the Euro and return to the Drachma. It is not a good choice, but it is, regrettably the only rational choice. Unless the Germans intend to keep Greece on life support forever.

Dear Verizon, You Call That Customer Service?

As you may or may not have heard, my current phone manufacturer decided to kill off the phone. Yes I’m one of those idiots that has a Palm Pre Plus. I have to say it’s a great little phone and I’ve not had many complaints. Contrary to HP’s statements, webOS is dead. It is an ex-parrot.

Since my phone has no upgrade path I thought I’d go to my wonderful cell phone provider and see what I could do about upgrading today.

Yes, I was willing to spend CASH today for a new phone. But what I got was a complete waste of my time.

First of all, for the money I’m spending, I have to put my name down on a list? Is this a friggin night club? Seriously? Ok fine, put my name down and chat with the white girl with the dreads who tries to sell me on an iPhone after watching me play with a Droid 3. Um, hello? Some sales incentive going on or what?

So this dude with two thick pieces of metal stuck in both his ears asks if he can help me. I say hey, my phone company killed my phone. I was thinking of upgrading and wanted to get some pricing. Over to the counter with all the other sheep.

He pulls up my account info and literally says, you can wait until December, which is when you’ll get a full upgrade or you should ask around your friends for an old phone since Verizon is used by a third of all Americans.

Um, that’s it?

I did mention to you that I’m willing to buy today.

Didn’t try to sell me anything. Just said, wait until December, when prices will be different or get a phone from a friend.

Hey schmuck, were you even listening to me?

I want a new phone NOW!

But no, I get some worthless drivel about asking a friend for a phone.

Hello Verizon! Do you seriously call this customer service? Don’t you see how useless your store personnel are?

He did mention I could pay the full price but as soon as he saw my account info it was, wait until December or get a phone from a friend. And that was that and he didn’t care about me, just wanted me out of the way for the next suck, um, customer.

So this tells me one thing. Verizon has really crappy store salespeople. I mean really crappy. He spent zero time trying to determine those little things like needs and wants. He spent zero time trying to determine whether I wanted to buy TODAY, which I did. He just looked up my contract and said wait until December or get a used phone from a friend.

That’s customer service?

No that is not customer service. That is called losing customers. You keep that up for long and you become HP.

Do I expect anything? Not really. Verizon’s store salespeople pretty much showed me what they think of me with their lack of, well, any effort. I guess it’s good that my phone manufacturer is giving up the ghost. I guess it’s a good time to see what else is available.

Is Open Source Finance Possible?

Open Source. Is it just for software or can it be used in other industries?

I ask that because as I’m on twitter and also checking out other blogs, I see all sorts of people offering premiere access to their tweets and blogs for a bit of monthly cash. Hey, nothing wrong with that. If I could get someone to pay me money for my musing, I’m all for it.

The thing is, I remember reading one guy begging for money, and no, it doesn’t matter who he is, it’s more the point of what he was saying. He was asking people to sign up for his site because all the research he “publishes” and his bandwidth cost him money.

Um, I had two quick thoughts. First of all, he was going to do the research anyway since he’s well, an independent trader. Regardless of whether he actually published anything, he was already doing that research. He was doing that research because that’s what he does to help support his trading. In other words, there was no extra cost since he was going to do that research anyway.

His second point was about bandwidth. Seriously? I have a website. I have a great host. Bandwidth, even 5 years ago, is the least of my issues. Bandwidth is so cheap it’s not even funny. If anything, he would have had to pay money for a dedicated box in a colo somewhere and someone to admin the box, but really, bandwidth just wasn’t a reasonable excuse to ask for money.

Of course that got me to thinking of all the different people that do charge for their blogging and tweeting. And that reminded me of all the late night real estate folks hawking their courses. It always seems that there’s always something new to buy, some new technique or something that’ll make them rich.

It got me to thinking, I bet if you gave it away free people wouldn’t even follow you. You could have a sure fire guaranteed no way to lose money and people still wouldn’t follow the instructions. So what’s the best way to see if that’s true. Well obviously open source your method and give it away. I bet you could create a system that does make money and people still wouldn’t follow the instructions. Hey, what a great mental exercise. Would it work? Good question. People smarter than I have their doubts.

But Eric Raymond and other founders of the open-source movement have sometimes publicly argued against speculation about applications outside software, saying that strong arguments for software openness should not be weakened by overreaching into areas where the story is less compelling.

Don’t know ESR? Really famous hacker, in the good sense, and author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar. His pinky is probably smarter than my entire brain. And yet here I’m proposing to do something that ESR thinks may not be a good idea.

You know what? Let’s find out. I’m fairly new to the whole trading thing. I want to learn and try to make a good at it. Why not write it up and let others learn too. I’m thinking a series of articles, all copyright by me but with maybe a Creative Commons license or something. I’ll have to think more on it, but hey, it’s a challenge to do something and a way to keep me honest on learning.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Dear Auto Industry, Take Responsibility, Will Ya?

It’s obviously too much to ask that since the auto industry has started to stuff all sorts of electronic goodies and networks, that they actually lock that stuff down. Having since abrogated their responsibility to release safe cars, the feds have decided to step in and screw it up even more.

As cars and other forms of transportation increasingly rely on online systems for everything from safety to onboard entertainment, the cybersecurity threat from those who would exploit such electronic control packages has also increased. That’s why the US Department of Transportation (DOT) today issued a Request For Information to the security industry to help it build a roadmap to build ‘motor vehicle safeguards against cybersecurity threats and assure the reliability and safety of automotive electronic control systems.’

Great. Cause the feds did such a great job with the deficit and debt, let’s give them direct control over all automobiles in the country.

Is there any real reason why the automakers in this country aren’t being held responsible for this sort of thing? You know that Cisco and HP spend a heck of a lot of money trying to keep their hardware safe and secure. Is there any reason that GM or Ford shouldn’t also be held responsible? I mean, they’re responsible for creating bad steering and braking systems, why not bad networks? They’re the ones putting it in the cars, right? They should be held responsible for those networks then.

The Politics Of Debt Destruction

So I follow this guy on twitter. He seems like a nice enough guy and pretty smart too. But then he posts this and I’m pretty angry about it. I’m angry because it’s so off base. It’s so off base and he even admits it. It’s almost like it was created for linkbait.

The worst thing about these Tea Party assholes is that they’re actually right – even as what they are about to do may go down as the worst self-sabotage in the economic history of the United States.

Any rational, non-partisan person can see that the reckless spending and gigantic government of the last ten years are absurdities that need to be corrected – but there is a time and a place

So there is a time and a place, but we never get there.


The only time anyone has become serious at looking and actually doing something about the debt is because of those assholes. So on the one hand you actually give those assholes credit for being right but on the other hand you then have to go and call them names. Nice.

How dare these sonofabitches choose now to put the US on a collision course with a ratings downgrade?

Dude, I know I’m not even close to being as smart financially as you are but, we’re already toast. Maybe you haven’t seen the signs because you’ve been making all sorts of money. Hell, you even put a chart from Barron’s who then says we can’t stop a ratings downgrade anyway. Did you even read the friggin chart you posted? It’s right there.

Even S&P is saying the obvious, that it’s the total debt that’s a serious concern.

“The more important issue is really the long-term growth rate of the debt … as well as the deficit,” S&P President Deven Sharma told a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on oversight of the credit rating companies.

We’re basically at 100% GDP for debt. Seriously think about that statement. That’s banana republic territory. Even the OMB admits we’ve got that much freakin debt.

The Office of Management and Budget forecasts that, by the end of fiscal year 2012, gross federal debt will total $16.3 trillion. Thus, the projected debt will equal 101% of projected gross domestic product, which represents a milestone in the U.S. economy.

And don’t forget. The US government is currently operating without a budget. The Senate is supposed to submit a budget but hasn’t even bothered to do that either last year or this year, in violation of the law. You’re complaining about the asshole tea party folks and the democrats controlling the Senate couldn’t be bothered to even submit a budget for the past two years running.

Don’t forget about the Enronesque off balance sheet accounting of Fannie and Freddie.

The on- or off-balance sheet obligations of those two independent GSEs was just over $5 trillion at the time the conservatorship was put in place, consisting mainly of mortgage payment guarantees.

Do we even want to go near the Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities?

The U.S. government is committed under current law to mandatory payments for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The GAO projects that payouts for these programs will significantly exceed tax revenues over the next 75 years. The Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) payouts already exceed program tax revenues and Social Security payouts exceeded payroll taxes in fiscal 2010. These deficits require funding from other tax sources or borrowing.

The present value of these deficits or unfunded obligations is an estimated $45.8 trillion.

Yeah you can go ahead and argue the actual valuations and whether that number is correct to the penny but you can’t deny there’s an issue when the Social Security and Medicare “trusts” agree that things are seriously unfunded.

I’m trying to prove a point. We’re already on the Titanic. Do the math yourself, but really, we’re all just arguing over who’s going to hell in first class versus steerage. There’s already so much debt and no one, not one single professional politician did anything about it until these assholes were elected.

Dude, you even say yourself that a downgrade is going to come unless something is done. You obviously don’t pay much attention to politics because, nothing has been done, by either party. Both party’s suck. Neither is credible when it comes to overspending. But, one group of a party actually tries to do something and they’re the assholes? Seriously?

Want to know what an asshole is? It’s the Secretary of the Treasury going on national tv and telling gullible seniors that they’re not going to get their Social Security checks. And then those wonderful old folks then do things like not eat because they’ve been told by the Treasury Secretary, a lying tax cheat by the by, they’re not going to get their checks.

Tim Geithner knows for a fact that those checks are going out. He deliberately lied to people for political purposes. There never was a snowballs chance in hell of that ever happening but he did it. And his boss did it too. Those people are assholes. They deliberately cause people pain purely for their own political advantage. How is that not an asshole?

So while you’re most certainly allowed to pick on one group over another, I think you’re missing the forest for the trees. The problem is government itself. Both parties will do anything they can to stay in power for as long as they can. That’s the issue. Anything else right now is just music on the Titanc. Enjoy your ride.

Yeah, It’s The Rating Agencies Fault

That’s the ticket.

“Yesterday’s decisions by one rating agency do not provide more clarity. They rather add another speculative element to the situation,” Barroso told reporters, adding that the agencies were not immune to “mistakes and exaggerations.””It seems strange that there is not a single rating agency coming from Europe.

It shows there may be some bias in the markets when it comes to the evaluation of the specific issues of Europe,” he said, stating publicly a view that many senior EU officials have pushed privately for some time.

I almost, and I mean almost, feel bad for the ratings guys. They blew it on housing and are now trying to make it up by being tough on bad government debt and they’re still getting hammered. A no win situation. I guess they didn’t spend enough lobbying money on buying up enough European MP’s so they don’t get criticized. They certainly spent enough on buying American pols.