This article  in The New Yorker is short, sweet, and interesting.

Highlights:

  • “digital goods and services are everywhere you look, but their impact is hard to see in economic statistics” (because most content online is given away for free and/or stolen. also, hard to track.)
  • “You may think that Wikipedia, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Maps, and so on are valuable. But, as far as G.D.P. is concerned, they barely exist.”
  • ““information sector” of the economy—which includes publishing, software, data services, and telecom—has barely grown since the late eighties, even though we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of information and data that individuals and businesses consume.”
  • “New technologies have always driven out old ones, but it used to be that they would enter the market economy, and thus boost G.D.P.—as when the internal-combustion engine replaced the horse.  Digitization is distinctive because much of the value it creates for consumers never becomes part of the economy that G.D.P. measures.”
  • “Figuring out the invisible value created by the Internet is no easy task. One strategy that economists have used is to measure how much time we spend online (on the assumption that time is money).” (Funny. All the time we spend trolling on Facebook is counted as created value and real dollars.)
  • “The enormous gains for consumers in the digital age often come at the expense of workers. Wikipedia is great for readers. It’s awful for the people who make encyclopedias. Although the digital economy creates new ways to make money, digitization doesn’t require a lot of workers: you can come up with an idea, write a piece of software, and distribute it to hundreds of millions of people with ease.”

GDP as a measure was developed in 1930’s. They need to come up with a new method of tracking the value created by the Internet, but I’m not convinced that “time=money” in this case.

Frankfurt returns are on par with the S&P 500, except for the 10-year return which is much better. Guess the German market didn’t drop as much in 2008-09. This is all despite talks of instability, and “Germany isn’t what it used to be”, high unemployment, ethnic groups taking advantage of the generous social support system etc etc.

The dogs are barking, and the caravan keeps going. A large part of the German economy is still based on manufacturing, not services. They’re in a stronger position by default.

German DAX is like DJIA in the US – 30 bellwether stocks.

(DE: 123.75 -0.83%) – iShares DAX ETF

Click to enlarge

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Looking at the runaway action on (SPY: 249.44 +0.02%) and the abysmal performance of (SLW: 20.91 +1.26%), I just have to laugh at myself. I mean it takes a special kind of skill to do ALL trades wrong 🙂 The takeaway this year is – when distracted, don’t put on trades “just because”. Yes, the market and staying IN is addictive, but like drugs, it costs real money.

Thankfully, in other financial realms 2013 has been kind to me.

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Facebook latest stock quote – (FB: 170.54 -0.33%)

I’m doing more and more Facebook ad campaigns for our clients. Got 4 things to say about Facebook:

  • RELATIONSHIPS: The way I personally use Facebook has evolved from interacting with friends to mostly tracking the brands I like. I believe Facebook can be detrimental to real-life relationships, because it tends to make everyone lazy and gives an illusion of being involved in your friends’ lives when you track their updates or look at recent pictures. I prefer face-to-face communication, even if it’s not as frequent. Quality over quantity, basically. I don’t think I’m alone in this conversion to a more commercial bend, and that’s good news for both Facebook as a company and brands seeking exposure.
  • ADVERTISING COST: based on my experience with various sectors, you can budget $2 to $3.50 per page like. Which is actually reasonable. For $500 you can gain 200-250 new fans.
  • PRIVACY: Huge concerns there. Similar to Twitter, whenever you upload a picture to the site, you grant Facebook unlimited rights to the picture. What that means in real terms is this: they can – and more importantly, they DO – take your picture, sell it to a company, and not give you a penny. Unethical and outrageous, especially when you consider creepy stories like this one. (In short, photo of a girl who committed suicide due to having been gang-raped, was sold by Facebook for promotional use to a dating website!) I deleted all but one of my pictures from Facebook.
  • PRIVACY 2: When setting up an ad on Facebook, you have an option to really segment your audience. For example, there was an option to select people “buying a house in the next 6 months”. How the hell does Facebook know something like that? They must have some advanced algorithm analyzing conversations, in addition to tracking your every move on the web. I always make sure I’m logged out when browsing the web. Sneaky bastards.

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