Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout and Deleveraging

Unless you live in a cave, you have heard a ton about the $700 billion bailout of so-called "toxic" mortgages that Wall Street firms hold. Poor risk controls, lack of regulation and easy credit are all mentioned as reasons for this. They all have their elements in this, but essentially the US has been living on credit. The government has been borrowing to the tune of $500 billion this year alone. Wall Street, insurance companies and banks have used derivatives to lever themselves up to deliver on ever greater profit expectations. Families used inflated equity and easy credit to renovate and expand their homes and buy all sorts of goods. Americans were told to spend post-9/11, not sacrifice to pursue a war on terror. Don't worry, we'll just issue more debt and everything will work out. Our trading partners bought US debt supplying the capital necessary to keep up with ever increasing budget and trade deficits.

The music has stopped and everyone is looking to grab their chair. Unlike when a stock moves, when real estate drops, no one is betting on the other side. Credit movement has halted, causing intense fear in the financial community.

We are now in a very difficult period of deleveraging. It will be painful. Credit access will not be easy. People will not be able to tack on to growing home equity lines to buy whatever they want. Mortgages will have equity requirements. Companies will need strong fundamentals to get access to debt capital. It will not be as easy to hit profitability targets by levering up. Foreign governments are starting to shift away from pumping money in the US (Has anyone noticed that financial plans are completed before the opening of Asian markets?). Confidence has diminished.

The question is will the $700 billion in cost to buy mortgages + the $5 trillion in Fannie/Freddie debt + $120 billion debt in AIG & Bear Sterns + $9 trillion in existing US debt serve as a tipping point?

Or will this begin a period of stabilization?

It is not sustainable to run $500 billion fiscal deficits + $700 billion trade deficits year after year without having an impact. Forget the fact that the fiscal deficit is much higher if you include Medicare and Social Security obligations.

The process of deleveraging is akin to a drug addict quitting cold turkey. It is visceral. It is physical. In the end, it is the best thing that could ever happen.

Thursday, September 25, 2008 Sign Effinfunny's Sandeep Parikh to Groundbreaking Internet Content Deal

At Position2 we are happy to see Sandeep a groundbreaking first look internet content deal with Comedy Central's site. Our team has had a hand in building and marketing, and related social media applications. Congrats Sandeep on being an Internet video pioneer!

This article was published in CNN & International Business Times: Signs First Look Deal With Content Creator Sandeep Parikh

NEW YORK, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Viacom (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTVN Entertainment Group’s, a digital comedy network and COMEDY CENTRAL’s exclusive partner and anchor brand for original digital comedy content, announced today that it has signed writer-director Sandeep Parikh to an exclusive first look production commitment. The deal follows the success of Parikh’s "Legend of Neil" series (, which has generated 700,000 plays since debuting on in August and reached over 400,000 more viewers when it made its television debut on "Atom TV" on COMEDY CENTRAL on September 15.

The production deal gives Atom the first option on new digital content ideas from Parikh and it has committed in advance to developing two of them to pilot stage. In addition, Atom and Parikh are in discussions on future seasons of "Legend of Neil," building on the adventures of a guy who gets sucked into "The Legend of Zelda" after a night of heavy drinking and game playing and must fight his way out or risk perishing in the magical world. The series was a hit among gamers, who also know Parikh from his work as an actor in Felicia Day’s "The Guild," a popular web series set in the world of massively multiplayer online games.

"Working with Megan and the team has been an absolute blast," said Parikh. "I couldn’t be more excited about the success of ’The Legend of Neil’ and the new deal we’ve struck."

"Sandeep’s funny and inventive first season of 'Legend of Neil' has resonated with the Atom audience online, on Atom TV and on all of our platforms," said Atom’s VP of Development and Acquisitions, Megan O’Neill. "He really understands the Web and we are thrilled to be creating more content with him."

The digital comedy network extends far beyond the Web site, reaching almost every screen that plays video. Elsewhere on the Internet, Atom channels are featured on iTunes (which is currently selling the complete first season of "Legend of Neil"), AOL, AT&T, Bebo, Dailymotion, Veoh, xBox Live, and Parikh’s own site. On television, the weekly "Atom TV" series (TV-MA) features original Atom comedy videos and top user videos on COMEDY CENTRAL every Monday night at 2:00 a.m. On mobile phones, Atom has prominent channels on Verizon Wireless’ V CAST as well as AT&T’s CV and AllTel.

About, a division of Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks, is a digital comedy network for young men that reaches millions of consumers each month on the Web site and millions more through multiplatform distribution on television, mobile phones, and the Internet. Drawing on a strategic partnership with COMEDY CENTRAL and its own 10-year history of online video innovation and leadership (formerly as AtomFilms), delivers Web comedy like nobody else.

SOURCE MTVN Entertainment Group

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Position2 on Yahoo Digital Advisory Council

At Position2 we are pleased to be members of the Yahoo Digital Advisory Council. Some time ago we were asked to join. We were interviewed in detail by Yahoo management on their upcoming platforms and services and were delighted to have input.

There's a large and fast growing marketing for online advertising. This is a step in the right direction for competitiveness in this sector.

Woo Hoo! Red Sox Go to the Playoffs

A very exciting day today. Just saw Papelbon pitch 2 strikeouts and a popout. It's a thrill to watch Boston teams do so well. This was a much tougher year than last with so many injuries and the Manny meltdown. The team really stepped up and clinched.

No matter what happens from here on out, this is fun!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Using Twitter for Business

Here's a case study on using Twitter for business as posted in the site. In this example, Coverity has worked with Position2 to interact with people interested in static source code analysis and solutions. It's a niche field, but it enables critical software to function effectively.

Twitter is a powerful tool for staying connected and interacting in a more personal manner. Coverity is one of many clients who are taking using social media to interact with their prospects and customers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New device may change asthma treatments

Here's a great piece from ABC (KGO-7) on Apieron's revolutionary asthma management device. You will notice Bhairavi explaining the technology behind the device. Click here to see the video. Below is the accompanying article. I can't think of a better way of helping people understand the impact than that little 8 year old girl...

By Carolyn Johnson

A new device that's just received FDA clearance could make the treatment of asthma much more effective, especially in young children. It's technology that was developed in the Bay Area.

Hud Staffield had brutally crippling asthma.

"Felt like I had an anvil on my chest," said Staffield.

Eight-year-old Gillian Coan's symptoms were harder to spot, according to her mom.

"We noticed she was slowing down in daily activities," said Gillian Coan's mom.

But both were diagnosed with a new technology that allowed doctors to give them the precise dosage of steroids to control their attacks.

The machine, developed by a Menlo Park company called Apieron, measures minute particles of gas in the patients breath, known as eNO -- or exhaled nitric oxide.

"It gives us a window into the bronchial tubes without having to stick a bronchoscope into the lungs," said Asthma specialist Dr. James Wolfe.

Dr. Wolfe says nitric oxide passes from the blood supply into the bronchial tubes, when the tissue is inflamed. And being able to measure its concentration gives doctors a far more accurate reading on the severity of the inflammation than older methods that simply calculated the volume of a patient's breath.

"It's a marker of how many cells and how much inflammation is in the lungs" said Dr. Wolfe. "This test tells us about the degree of inflammation. It tells us does the patient have asthma, if they have asthma is controlled, do they more medication, less medication, more steroid more steroids."

The technology was the brainchild of Bhairavi Parikh, who came up with the concept as a graduate student at UMass Medical and whose husband and son have both suffered from asthma.

She says the key is a small cartridge, embedded with protein molecules that change color when they come in contact with the gas.

"You can't see it by the eye, but our machine actually measures the color change and correlates it to a concentration of nitric oxide," said Parikh.

From there, there is the severity of inflammation. In the case of Hud Staffield, the more precise readings allowed doctors to trim back the dosage of the powerful steroids that were giving him nausea.

But for Gillian, it told doctors that while her symptoms were mild, the problem wasn't.

"Measure the eNO levels and they're sky high. And even though she has minimally reduced symptoms she has tremendous inflammation in the airways, so we treated her fairly aggressively," said Dr. Wolfe.

And with the early intervention, Gillian and her family say her symptoms are now completely under control.

"I feel a lot better," said Gillian Coan.

Nitric oxide technology may also have an application as an early warning device. Dr. Wolfe says eNO levels often rise in the days preceding a bad asthma attack. Eventually, patients may be able to monitor their own levels at home, and adjust their medications accordingly.