Dec 21, 2008

How smart are your Financial Advisors

It's been a little while since this Madoff thing blew open, and even now it seems a bit unbelievable to me. Over the years, we have all read about Wall Street and how great it is to work there and how much money investment bankers are making etc. I heard anecdotes about 30 year olds making $2M and $3M. All sounded quite good, and impressive. And I thought that these guys must be really smart, and deserve all the success.

Then, came the financial crisis, and the TARP. $350B of tax-payer money doled out, and no real followup. Every time we have these Treasury TARP guys on TV - Paulson, Kashkari, etc. -  they come out looking like dolts, who gave away $350B and don't really know where the money went, or what the tax-payer got for it. Anyone else have a job where they can get away with being such incompetence?

And the arrogance on Wall Street continues. 'We must give bonuses, or people will leave'. Leave for what?? Where will they go? I say if they want to leave, let them. Its not like they did a very good job. Oh yeah, and we all gave crap to the Auto execs who came to DC in their corporate jets, looking for federal help. This included Senators who gave them hell for that. But, how about the execs in the financial industry? They are still flying Air Corporate - AP story via Yahoo Finance.

Now, throw in Madoff and his $50B scam. We hear about these 'funds-of-funds' who have invested in Madoff's scheme and lost big. Well, supposedly these funds were being run by professionals. Yeah right - some professionals. I saw this article on the Fortune website, by Nicholas Varchaver. He makes some pertinent points here. Madoff's investors did not include any large univerisity, or large institutions. He quotes widely from LJH Global Investments guy, who points out that there were tons of red flags about Madoff's operation. He pointed out that these were clear as day in 1997. 1997!! So, given that, how come these so called professional managers of funds fell for the ponzi scheme?

I think that investors who lost money because the funds they invested in, turned around and gave the money to Madoff, should be able to sue their fund managers for gross business misconduct. 

Dec 14, 2008

What Blackberry should do for Google Talk client

I was researching if there was a Google Talk client for the Blackberry, and there is. However, it only handles the text chat function. I read an article by Russell Shaw about why RIM will never provide a client that integrates the voice call capabilities of Google Talk. 

While I agree with Shaw that it does not make sense for RIM to tweak their cellular carrier partners, I think that there could be a happy medium here.

Here is what I think would work great for RIM, cellular carriers, and for users who want to have a full-blown Google Talk client for their Blackberries. 
  1. Build a client with all the capabilities of Google Talk - text chat, PC-PC voice chat, and what I believe will come sooner than later, a paid Gtalk - phone capability
  2. Then allow selective capabilities of this client, based on how you are connected
  3. Use the cellular radio for all data connections - email, browser, Gtalk text chat, etc when connected only over the GPRS/EDGE/EVDO signal
  4. But for devices that have Wi-Fi - when they are connected over the Wi-Fi, allow the full capabilities of the Gtalk client - voice calls, etc.
I think this would work great. You have to use the GPRS/EDGE/EVDO to make all you calls, and receive calls, even when roaming. But, when you are sitting in an office, home, hotel, hot-spot where you can get Wi-Fi, you can use your BB as a Gtalk voice client.

I would actually switch carriers to one that sells BB's with the ability to connect over Wi-Fi if this was possible.