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The Roundup July 11-12 What They’re Saying

ATM machine
Venture capital funding is down 82% this quarter, but Marc Andreeson throws $300 million into the pot.

Andreeson, Marc: “The cash machine is now open.”
In one of the worst recessions ever, Andreeson and his long-time business buddy, Ben Horowitz, open up a new VC shop with over $300 million in funds. Turns out that they have a soft spot for blogs, as they take Talking Points Memo into another round of financing (does raising $500K count as a round of financing?) I’ve been saying it for-practically-ever: recessions are good times to launch a start-up. At best, they’re not a worse time, since statistically start-ups founded in a recession have the same success rate as those founded in good times.

GM “Woo-hoo! Okay, celebration over. What do we do now? Anyone? Anyone? (Crickets)”
40 days. Downright biblical, that. Now, do we follow that up with a bender on the beach (like Noah)? Or do we get down to business by radically restructuring management? Building a strategy for the next twenty years? Preparing the company for a post-carbon world (or at least the transition period)? Or do we keep the same faces at the same desks? “I think I’ll take . . . SAME FACES AT THE SAME DESKS, BOB!”

Geithner, Timothy “If you can’t understand what I’m saying, then obviously I need to regulate these suckers.”
Geithner testifies to Congress about Treasury’s plans to regulate the derivatives market and further befuddles the befuddled.
“It’ll be a nice spanking, I promise you.”
Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan send a must-attend invite to the top 25 mortgage servicers to discuss the mortgage industry’s paltry track record in renegotiating mortgages to avoid foreclosures. Expect this to be a “don’t talk, take notes” type of meeting, like the one Hank Paulson had when he crammed TARP down the throats of the nation’s most powerful bankers.

Google “What bounces off me sticks to you!”
In response to Microsoft’s successful launch of their rival Bing search engine and their coming announcement of Microsoft Office In The Cloud (Monday), Google announces a new netbook operating system to great fanfare from the Microsoft-hating tech journalist world, eager to anoint the next Microsoft-killer. Open the box, however, and you find just a warmed-up serving of Linux leftovers.

Madoff, Ruth “He got exactly the prison he wanted!”
Clipping coupons at California Pizza Kitchen. And so we leave the Madoffs with their expired CPK coupons and their new status as tabloid fodder. From Wall Street Journal to Page Six — let this be the coda to the whole sorry story of our modern-day Karamazovs. I won’t be paying attention when the Globe posts any embarassing beach bikini pictures on page 1.

Small business: “Over here! We’re the folks hiring half the nation, guys!”
The Obama Administration notices that business means more than just investment banks and GM and targets some of the TARP money to help grease the wheels of small business loans. In a rare act of intelligent government policy-making (becaming less rare in these days than in the past), the Administration doesn’t give away the money (“Do what’s right, friends”), but uses it to guarantee actual loans that banks make to small businesses.

Printed Blog, The: “It seemed like a good idea until you actually thought about it.”
Six months ago, Josh Karp started up The Printed Blog to breathless fanfare from the national mainstream media, including people who should know better, like the New York Times. The idea was to collate all the best blog posts of the week, print them in a newspaper, and then give that newspaper away (and make money from advertisers). Somehow, for some reason, nobody noticed that giving something away for free in an expensive medium when the exact same content is already being given away for free in a costless medium probably isn’t a long-term sustainable business strategy. Turns out, in fact, it was not even a six-month sustainable business strategy.

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