Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is Boston Still a Venture Capital Hotbed?

From the New York Times: Is Boston still a Venture Capital Hotbed? Now that Greylock is moving out, concentrating on Silicon Valley...

One quote stands out: "The differences start early; Stanford students think about working at start-ups while MIT students think about working at big companies"

There is also the conundrum that Boston-area companies reach a certain size, but don't go supernova (e.g. compare Lycos with Yahoo!).

Hopefully this article is being read by many people in the Boston area who are thinking "I'll show them!!", and will get fired up to create their own start-up.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today's "Irish economy not what it was" story

This time from Fortune Magazine. It covers the same ground as other articles about the "decline of the Celtic Tiger", though with better photos.

I did enjoy reading that Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, was "sipping vending machine espresso bought with a euro bummed from a flight attendant."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The MBTA's bizarre map for the No.42 Bus

I took the No42 bus at the weekend, and couldn't help but notice the bizarre map which the MBTA puts out for that bus.

It shows a Stop and Shop on the edge of the Arboretum, on Centre Street. There is no Stop and Shop there!. A Stop and Shop right in the Arboretum like that?

Are Tedeschi's and Store 24 really the only thing of note on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain?

And what is the obsession with Check Cashing places?

I mean, look at the map below. What if someone is looking for, let's say, Brigham and Women's Hospital, or the Museum of Fine Arts. They are nowhere to be seen on the map. But we do see two check cashing places.

That said, this map will come in very useful for my mammoth check-cashing trip this coming weekend, not to mention my weekly shopping in the new Arboretum Stop-and-Shop. :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why is the Obama Administrations clamp-down on multinational tax avoidance not a big story in Ireland?

Only Niall O'Dowd is covering this story, in the Irish Times. In the run-up to the US election, nobody in Ireland seemed to point out that it was McCain who was more in favour of free trade, and would not interfere with the ability of US corporations to avail of low Corporate Tax regimes such as Ireland. However, the Obama team won, and now it is clamping down on something which was a fundamental part of Ireland's growth over the past 10 years. e.g. last year I had dinner with a US software executive who invested European profits (realised in Ireland) in Irish buildings, land, jobs, and research, in order to avoid US tax. Is that good for the US? No. However, it was clearly good for Ireland.

O'Dowd notes:

"This is about much more than the Obama administration. The tax law issues will also be in the purview of key senate and house figures, all of whom will have a major say on the final legislation. It is there, more than with Obama. that the key Irish influence may lie. It is ironic that Ireland’s best friend currently on this issue is right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh who has been castigating Obama daily for his attempts to force American corporations to repatriate profit earnings. In the brave new world of Obama’s Washington, Ireland will have to take their friends where they can find them and they will likely not be within this administration on this issue."

It is the Republicans and right-wing radio (which includes many Irish-Americans, let's not forget) who are against this proposal. Though, not for any pro-Irish (or pro-Cayman Islands, pro-Bermuda, etc) reasons, but rather because it actually puts US corporations at a disadvantage against non-US companies which can still take advantages of low corporate tax regimes.

On this one, Ireland can't assume that the Democrats are automatically "friends of Ireland".

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The top stories right now on CNN

"Indie Rockers Death Cap for Cutie talk about touring" is a Live Developing Story???

Some people have to move out of a house which has Chinese-made drywall?

These are the biggest stories in the world right now?