Admittedly I don't always get around to writing but at the very least, I'm constantly reading. Some things that piqued my interest over the last day:
Google Launches Chromecast's Most Important Phase - I've proudly been a cable cord-cutter for five years and am one of the only people I know who 1.) has GoogleTV 2.) prefers it over Roku. I'm really excited to see more innovation in this area especially at a low price point.
Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences - The Winter Olympics have always been the ugly stepchild to the Summer Olympics. We'll see what happens at Sochi, but for now it seems that athletics have a lot of competition for airtime considering mounting political tension in Russia and well, this comedic piece on hotel conditions. Enough to make you wonder if the Cold War is back on...
Putin's Olympic Hope: A Puny Ruble - More news from Sochi! As Russia moves toward a floating exchange rate and emerging markets struggle, the ruble has fallen against most global currencies. Perhaps journalists can take solace in comparatively lower vodka prices to ease their travel woes.
Fed Presidents Say Stock Decline Unlikely to Derail QE Taper - Last week when the stock market dipped following the announcement that the Fed would reduce its bond buying by another $10B, a friend asked me if the Fed made the right move. While I wish I had a crystal ball for these matters my first thought was, "Well, what would have happened in the markets if the Fed halted the taper?" While halting the taper would mean the market benefits from being somewhat artificially infused with cash, it also means our economic prospects are weakening. Pick your poison I suppose?
Kate Middleton Is Getting A Makeover (Not That She Needs One) - And now for something completely different. All I'm saying is, if we're not treated with a video montage of said makeover, I give up.
Lending Is Still Stuck on the Ice - I've been reading John Carney for years and he was one of my first Twitter followers. While I'll miss seeing him at NetNet, I'm thrilled to still be reading him at WSJ. Unfortunately, he writes that banks have yet to ease lending to consumers and businesses - a hint at a still stumbling economy.
Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers - My Twitter was atwitter yesterday with news of the farm bill which will represents $1 Trillion in spending over the next ten years. Suggested beneficiaries are farmers who will see expanded crop insurance and subsidies when prices fall. Suggested losers are food stamp recipients who potentially will lose an average of $90 a month in benefits. Also, the bill has been criticized for being representative of DC special interest lobbying and deal-making. All said, it makes me more inclined to pay attention to what I eat.
‘He knows his stuff’: CEO Satya Nadella is well-liked, low-profile - Redmond has finally chosen its new king. Satya Nadella is Microsoft's new CEO and Bill Gates will act as his adviser. Nadella has experience in cloud services and has made that team a viable competitor to the biggest name in the biz. Amazon's Web Services. We'll see if Nadella can bring much needed innovation and pizzazz to Microsoft.
Advisers need younger clients, but aren't reaching out: Survey - Financial advisers need to hustle if they want to lure Gen Y and Millennial clients. In addition to the aging out of their current client base, advisers need to realize that younger generations are more skeptical of financial institutions and may be more reliant on web based systems to assist in managing and allocating their wealth and investments.
The far bigger threat to smoking than CVS - CVS just announced that they will stop selling cigarettes which accounts for $2B in sales. Of course, the good will of the gesture will likely outweigh this cost. The tobacco industry which is perhaps the first "too big to fail" may finally see weakening as employers realize there is greater economic benefit in encouraging non-smoking than in covering smokers. As for me, a former (casual) smoker, I have to admit the rising cost of cigarettes combined with increased smoking bans and more information of the dangers of smoking certainly helped me kick the habit. Cheers to our health!