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Latticework Linkfest 2/20/08

20 February 2008 2,174 views 5 Comments


  • For the masochists, Nouriel Roubini proposes a perfect storm to demolish the financial markets. Of course, the probability of financial armageddon is extremely low, but you never know. Even if a handful of his scenarios come to fruition, the pain will be significant.
  • Oil sets another record today and breaks $101. This is half of the two-pronged vice that will be giving Bernanke & Co. at the Federal Reserve fits as they try to navigate between this economic downturn with rate cuts while the threat of inflation remains. The other half is rising food prices spurred by demand from a growing world population.


  • Sharper Image (SHRP) files for bankruptcy. As a little boy, I used to love borrowing my father’s Sharper Image catalogs and fantasizing about trading my toy soldiers for the overpriced remote controlled cars and suits of armor. The Ionic Breeze, arguably their most successful and popular product, is also the nail in the coffin after Consumer Reports raised doubts about the product’s efficacy.
  • One prong of the inflation vice is the rising price of food. Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) has been a big beneficiary of that price strength. MagicDiligence has a nice short piece about why Cal-Maine may be riskier than the rosy superficial metrics suggest. Can’t stop making omelettes.
  • Continuing on with this theme on food inflation, NutriSystem (NTRI), the company that delivers ready-to-eat meals that help consumers lose weight guided earnings lower and saw its stock plunge. Interesting that it has not been able to pass on higher costs to consumers without seeing a corresponding loss in “subscribers.”


  • Social networking and, to a lesser degree, cloud computing are the hot topics in web business models right now. Blist, a startup that just raised $6.5 million is attempting to combine both by providing a cloud database web application with a social networking twist for sharing that data. The dominant social networks revolve around sharing pictures, music, and videos. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of data schemes will arise out of the social interactions that take place. It’ll be interesting just to see if people will gravitate towards such a tool. My intuition tells me this will be relegated to the geeks amongst us.
  • Online video advertising network VideoEgg unveiled the new AdFrames program. Advertisers are going to gravitate towards this model where they only pay if consumers interact with the video ads and perform a predefined action. Unlike the traditional CPM model which is harder to measure from an ROI perspective, the CPA (cost per action) model lends itself to detailed analytics and ROI measures.
  • Open platforms have been all the rage in the social networking space since Facebook exposed its APIs to the developer community. Now we see video game platforms following suit as Nintendo (NTDOY) announced WiiWare, essentially opening the Wii gaming console to allow independent game developers to create and distribute games to the Wii community. Many of the most successful Facebook apps are simple, fun games. This is an outstanding move by Nintendo to get all that gaming creativity into their camp.
    • [update]: VentureBeat is reporting that Microsoft (MSFT) just announced that it too will create a platform for independent game developers to make and distribute games for the Xbox. The Xbox Live system is currently the best online gaming system amongst the top three gaming platforms. It looks like we will indeed have a future in which we will never have to go to GameStop (GME), Best Buy (BBY), or Wal-mart (WMT) to buy games, they’ll be sent over the Internet into our gaming consoles or computers.


  • Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the executive team at GeneTree, a social network based on DNA. The concept is very exciting to me for the possibility of being able to add a deeper level of understanding to a family tree, finding out about ancestors’ migratory patterns, and even the potential to be warned of diseases I am particularly susceptible to. While preparing for our meetings, I had to bone up on my college biology and chemistry. I stumbled upon a Sanger Institute web page today that puts a mind-numbing spin on DNA.
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  • Investing Linkfest 3/12/08 said:

    […] Reports Increase in Net Income of 174% in 2007 – Food prices keep rising – an issue I’ve mentioned here before. Brazilian pork and poultry producer Perdigao S.A. (PDA) has been a big beneficiary. […]

  • Investing Linkfest 4/17/08 said:

    […] Russia’s White Gold – Cramer is an entertaining fellow. He’s onto the story of how American food conglomerates are beginning to crave Russian food makers. Gobble, gobble, gobble, buying on acquisition speculation is for turkeys. Wimm Bill Dann (WBD) is one such Russian food maker and has benefited from the worldwide inflation of food prices. I’ve mentioned before that food inflation will make us all a little hungrier and Ben Bernanke’s job a little harder. […]

  • Investing Linkfest 5/27/08 said:

    […] of the Bank of England here, but that is essentially the same “rock and a hard place” I expected Ben Bernanke and our own Federal Reserve had to contend with. Not only is oil a key component of rising inflation, but food is the twin in the vice that is […]

  • The Case for Interruption and Disruption said:

    […] to solve bigger problems. What are some huge problems facing this world? Haque mentions skyrocketing food prices, unstable financial systems, and a worsening energy crisis. To this list I would add terrorism, a deteriorating and […]

  • us fidelis said:

    Allan thanks for the Linkfest, you really seem very careful about who you choose to link to, and for that reason, i am very comfortable clicking through and know that I will find some interesting and educational information.

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