Captain's Blog, Stardate: 4/17/08
Chill out, Jack; more Apples for the Big Apple; and doctors get stiffed.
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- "Everybody, listen to me, And return me, my ship. I'm your captain, I'm your captain, Although I'm feeling mighty sick." -- Mark Farner American Poet B. Flint, MI 1948
WORD: You know how everyone talks about the tens of billions of dollars of write downs that the investment banks have taken since last summer. But let's not forget that at one point, Time Warner (TWX, Fortune 500) (my parent co.), then called AOL Time Warner, once had a market value of $290 billion. Today it has a value of $52 billion. I know it's apple and oranges, still that's $238 billion up in smoke. Can you imagine???....Hey did you get your taxes in? Me too. Barely....Why is Jack Welch mouthing off about Immelt? Just let it be Jacko!!!!.....Google you're a rich man. Google you're a rich man. Google you're a rich man too!!
AGE OF UNREASON: "When you believe in things that you don't understand. Then you suffer! Superstition ain't the way." Yep that's the old Stevie Wonder song and I've been thinking about it a lot recently. After all isn't that what happened on Wall Street? Folks believed in things, bought things, that they didn't understand and they suffered, right? I wonder if this is tied in any way to the rise of religious fundamentalism? As in: "I don't understand it, I just believe in it." When the world is scary and complicated, just close your eyes and buy in, right? Whether its CDOs or radical anything, without a pretty sound foundation in rational thought, i.e. you can explain it, there is a potential for big trouble.
FORTUNE'S NEXT COVER STORY: I'm thinking Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and founder of Slide. Maxie and me along with a nice group had a great dinner a few months ago at Boulevard in SF (tee hee). I hear the big day for Max and Nellie (Minkova) is coming up soon. Of course if you read Fortune, you already know all about Max. We have told his tale a bunch of times.
APPLE: So how many more iStores (Apple stores) will Steve be opening up? Unclear, but in Manhattan there will be more. There are rumors about a Wall Street location. Maybe. But what about the Upper West Side?
BAD DRUGS: What to know about a growth business? A pal of mine told me that health care providers, i.e. hospitals and doctors, were hit with some $60 billion in bad debt last year. Do you think that will be more or less in 2008? Duh! People will pay their mortgages, car loans, and CCs before they pay their doctor's bills. What are they going to do if you don't pay? Break your other leg? And if you get really sick and have to go to the ER, what are they going to do, toss you out? Seems like another big problem beneath the surface, and someone's going to figure out how to make some $$$ off this!
Loose Change: Is Barack Obama going to back to Columbia College for his 25th college reunion this spring? Did he write 'em a big check????? ..... Congratulations to Allan Sloan for winning more awards than I can keep track of!!!......Here's a biggie: If you Google "Google" you get 2,160,000,000 results. Congrats to Peter Gumbel and his story on SocGen, in which he suggested that it might be best if CEO Boutin give up his role as CEO but remain as chairman. That's what just happened today....Went to see Edward Albee's "The American Dream" and "The SandBox" the other night, starring my pal Judy Ivey who is just THE best. Albee, is, how do we say this in English, very strange but it was FUN. Does Baron Davis remind you of Timmy Hardaway? Or is it just because of Nellie?.....Hey Blue, still luv you babe!!! "I'm getting closer to my home."