Geek Aspects of Economic Failure & Recovery

With all of the media hype surrounding the Jon Stewart/ Jim Cramer death match, I finally caved and watched an episode of the Daily Show for the first time since the night before election day. I had to see what was causing the brouhaha.

Jon did a pretty good job of reminding us that the public beating never goes out of style. To Jim’s credit, he took it like a champ and handled himself well. You can check out the episode on Hulu (Hulu doesn’t like to embed on this blog. If anyone has any suggestions for getting it to embed, I welcome the assistance).

You might also want to check out the Jim Cramer interview that Jon pulls clips from. Cramer says some insanely damning things in it:

*As you may notice, the original video was killed. Try this one instead.

An important lesson for business here is the cost of silence. Allowing rumors to flow freely without a prompt and clear comment doesn’t just damage the companies reputation, it actually can become a means for market manipulation. Apple’s reputation for remaining silence in the face of everything made it an easy target. Transparency helps everyone.

I also want to share this October 1, 2008 post from The RegisterEmails show journalist rigged Wikipedia’s naked shorts

It is the story of Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne’s attempt to bring the dangers of naked shorting to public light in the Wall Street Journal, only to be censored and labeled a fringe loony. It is also a story about the manipulation of the Wikipedia entry on”naked shorting.” It is a bizarre tale that never should have happened in the first place. If you want to understand at least some of the major failings of our economy it is a good start (and it isn’t written in econo-babble). I read it for the first time five months ago and rereading it still makes my blood boil.

Finally, I will point you in the direction of an article from this past month’s Wired MagazineRoad Map for Financial Recovery: Radical Transparency Now

They did a good of summing up their own article:

Set the data free!
Set the data free!

Without delving too much into my political ideology, I think radical transparency is the best way to regulate. It allows companies to do business without a jumble of federal regulations which almost always have negative unintended consequences, while also shining a big spotlight on businesses and their financial activities.

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