Meebo Web Site Check-in Browser Plugin is Very Useful

Have you ever wanted to easily share the web sites you visit on a daily basis?  Here is my web site profile that will allow you to see the Meebo web sites I like.  While Foursquare and Google are fighting over location based check-ins and now Meebo has launched a new tool to allow you to checkin to web sites. Browsing by your friends is a new but obvious concept and I am surprised that Facebook has not developed a similar tool.  Now its possible if you download and use the Meebo Checkins Plugin for your browsers.  This concept is for real as Khosla Ventures led their $25M Series D venture round.

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Google Places + Hotpot vs Yelp

Google just launched Hotpot, a new service baked into Google Places that lets you rate restaurants, stores, bars, clubs and businesses to see which ones your friends like or dislike. It crowdsources rating or 1-5 stars or "best ever" if you really like it and think it special.   It also allows you to view unrated, friends and all locations based on a search.  One nice feature is the ability to click a box that says you are not interested as well.  Its a very clean interface and the only thing it needs is an Android App which I assume is coming or will be integrated with Google Maps and Places.  See the video below for more details on Google Places if you are restaurant or business owner and another video explaining Google Hotpot.

Its not surprising to see Google launching a business and restaurant recommendation service that would try and take market share from Yelp based on the traffic numbers below.  This is great news for anti-spam lovers as Yelp's service has been gamed and is very spammy.  Hotpot attempts to convert the recommendations of user connections for business recommendations advice for users. Recommendations and warnings will be used as signals to determine which establishments are presented to friends when they search and vice versa.  Google Places is very well established geo location service that helps you find places nearby and  likely understand where Free WiFi is available in the future.  This ratings tool is also be another tool to help the company become more social and compete with Facebook. 

How to Pitch Like Baba Booey

They Call Me Baba Booey
Gary Dell'Abate (aka Baba Booey) is one of the greatest radio personalities on the planet is Howard Stern's producer. Gary was visiting Torrance, California this weekend for his book signing "They Call Me Baba Booey" and also appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show to redeem himselft to show everyone he can throw a baseball properly.   If you listen to the Howard Stern show on Sirius / XM on a daily basis you will know about his famous pitch at the Mets game earlier this year and then now on the Jimmy Kimmel show.  In the 2nd video below from the Jimmy Kimmel show he hits a woman in the head and an audience member catches the wide pitch. He has thrown 4 pitches and they all have been wild pitches.  I love him but Gary how can you possible coach your son's baseball team? I hope you are not the pitching coach.  On a side note Howard Stern's contract ends this year and it remains to bee seen if he will stay with Sirius or move to an new company like Pandora internet radio.  Gary will likely follow him their having been together for more than 25 years.  This should be a great book to read given all of the goofy bits over the last 2 decades.

Hilarious Video: Federal Reserve Explained

Kudos to Omid Malekan, who created this amazing video explaining quantitative easing to the average person to understand. This comes on the on the heals of a great video about why mobile phone consumers are so dumb the company has come . In this new video the two characters discuss the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy. The present it as a desperate and hopelessly misguided effort to save the world economy. One issue I have with the short film is that it also places the blame on Goldman Sachs which I don't agree with. They are simply helping to execute and should not be brought into this.

Related Articles:
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Video: SNL Skit on US Debt to China at G20

Scarlett Johansson was on Saturday Night Live this weekend and it had a hilarious but scary skit. Hollywood and the mainstream media are finally starting to get the implications of our $800B debt to China.  President Obama was in Seoul South Korea this week at the G20 summit for business leaders.  This is a hilarious video that show the aloofness of Obama with regards to the magnitude of the problem we are facing and our deficit  I think it unfairly places the blame on Obama but it makes the point that the US needs to get its act together because the G20 Summit was exactly successful in terms of building business alliances.  The dollar has lost 30% of its value in the last 6 years and stands to lose more.  This is great for US exporters but it makes it even more expensive for US travelers and importing.  This chart implies the lack of faith investors have keeping their reserves and making investments in dollars.

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Ben Bernanke has Purchased Double D's

Ben Bernanke has Purchased Double D's

The Fed has spent most of the last two decades artificially inflating and deflating the stock market whenever they feel the economy needs a boost or is getting overheated. They know what they do has no direct effect on the economy but its a quick fix and doesn't provide any organic growth. Today, the only weapon the Fed has is the so-called wealth effect by driving the stock market up so people feel wealthier because interest rates are at 0%. The stock market went up 80% in 2009 so investors should be spending 2.4% extra of the entire value of the stock market, which is about two percent of GDP.  Here is a great video explaining the boom and bust cycles and is a warning to all entrepreneurs to stay current with stock and currency markets because it now directly effects you even if you are a small business. Maria Bartiromo sits down with Jeremy Grantham who has made some incredibly good predictions over the last few years.  Has the Fed lost control of the bond market?

The new $600B of quantitative easing goes into the banking and corporate sector of the economy who is largely sitting on the largest cash balance in business history.  They don't need the money at all and its not the sector of the economy who is going to take our unemployment rate down from 10-15%.  Those who need the stimulus money the most, small business & private investors, can't get it. Seeing a company like General Motors go public again makes me want to puke.  I can think of 100 other companies who deserve to be public companies before GM and that create far more future value, jobs and innovation in our economy.  GM going public is simply a private equity, government money and investment banker ponzi scheme.

I was a apart of one the largest business boom cycles in the late 1990's and there were a lot o great things about that time the US Government, FDIC and Fed have forgotten.  Investors were pouring money into Venture Capital funds that were providing funding to companies who were providing real long term jobs and creating new markets of innovation.  Much of this money came from the Government in the form of FDIC subsidies and they made lots of money for taking this risk.  Once the bubble burst and hedge funds drove the market 80% lower there was no optimism or money left in the VC industry to spark new growth.  The VC industry has shrunk drastically in the last decade and almost 80% of the VC funds not based in Silicon Valley are virtually out of business (aka "the living dead funds").

Capitalism in general is kind of a ponzi scheme but it can be done organically if the IPO market is fair and open.  Capitalism also works when Government regulatory agencies stay out of our way and don't favor big business monopolies.  I think if $100B in stimulus for struggling VC funds this would create another boom of optimism that we need.    The Fed and FDIC should also consider an Emergency Fund to fund to solve overweight population epidemic that is slowing the US economy down.  Here are a few other ways President Obama could help create jobs.

Health & Wellness Venture Capital Funds

I heard an interesting investment thesis yesterday on CNBC that obesity is a major reason for our poor economy. The analyst said that fighting obesity with new health and wellness companies could add nearly $1 trillion dollars to our economy and create lots of jobs.  While at the same time taxing fat and food companies that are responsible for putting this in our diets.  Southern California would undoubtedly be the leading region of the US where outdoor activity and fitness are embedded into our everyday life.  When you travel East or to the Midwest you begin to really notice how the Country has changed in the last 10 years.  Kids are fat and parents are lazy.  

Over the last 10 years Venture Capital has become increasingly more specialized and VC funds have become much smaller. The idea fund size in my opinion is around $25-$100M in order to accommodate smaller funding rounds. Health and wellness companies have been criticized by almost every VC fund over the last decade because they are thrown in into the category of a life style businesses. I think this could soon change if the US Government and Wall Street decide they want to take some companies public and a few private equity groups start looking to buy companies.

This is one reason I think the the health and wellness category could emerge as a new investment category that could garner lots of FDIC or government subsidy money.  Are there any funds out there that have the thesis?  If there are I want to know about them because exercise is a passion of mine.   The types of companies a specialized fund would look for would be the following:

1) Running, triathlon and race organization groups (Marathons, Ironman, 10K Races)
2) Health Food Manufacturing, Distribution & Marketing Companies
3) Exercise Equipment Manufacturing, Distribution & Marketing
4) Adventure & Health Travel Marketing and Organizations
5) Natural supplements and vitamin companies. No drugs allowed
6) Internet publishing - coaching, counseling, advice, therapy
7) Physical therapy, employee health and chiropractic groups
8) Healthy diet and meal marketing & distribution
9) Software & mobile applications
10) Restaurants (maybe)

How About Some QE for Venture Capital?

"Quantitative Easing" from the Federal Reserve just sounds like another theoretical way to pump up the markets and the economy when they can't drop interest rates any further than 0%. $2 Trillion dollars of Qualitative Easing has already gone into the banking system and what has it done for you and me?  What is another $600B going to do? Absolutely nothing.

It really makes me sick to hear that $600 billion dollars is going to be pumped into the banking system when these are the same "bone heads" along with the Hedge Funds that got us into the mess.  What is the last time you heard a story about a Bank giving money to a company that really needs it?  All bankers do is lend money to companies who don't need it because they are risk averse.  All these morons do take your money and the Feds at 0% and "try" and lend it at 5-15%.

Venture Capital and small business is what drives the US economy and this sector of the economy is still being overlooked.  Organic growth is the ONLY thing that will get the US out of this recession and create jobs. Why not give $100B dollars to some VC Fund Managers or Private Equity Groups at no cost and require them to invest it in the next 12 months?  I guarantee you they will get a return on this investment.  The Venture Capital industry has shrunk drastically in the last decade and I think this is the sole reason why we are still in a recession and will be until politicians recognize this. VC fund managers cannot raise money from LP (Limited Partners) because the returns have been horrible as a result of the IPO market being virtually closed.  Sometimes I think the Federal reserve spends too much time listening to politicians and not enough time in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles where new ideas are created and organic growth is created.

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