October 1, 2008
Jesus and Mary Chain - Never Understand Psychocandy is a classic album that I’ll probably still be listening to when I reach old age. Back in high school, I would listen to this album almost everyday and wore out my cassette copy in reco
Author: gcn 
October 2, 2008
Sloan - I’ve Gotta Try (from Never Hear the End of It) Although this song is just straight ahead power pop… you really hear the Beatles influence in a lot of their other songs. With a deep catalogue, there is a lot of great music y
Author: gcn 
Kids, women, seniors… get out of the way… Brokers and Bankers first.
Author: gcn 
October 4, 2008
Heard this song on CBC Radio 2 which outside of internet radio, hype machine and music blogs, is fast becoming the only FM radio station I now listen to and is also the place where I have discovered so much new music and amazing bands. Sweatsho
Author: gcn 
October 5, 2008
Two Hours Traffic - Nighthawks (Taken from Little Jabs) Really digging this power pop band out of Prince Edward Island who were also a Polaris Prize nominee (they didn’t win… Caribou did… check out the site
Author: gcn 
October 6, 2008
Trend Following...
I started reading an interesting book titled, “Trend Following: How Great Traders Make Millions in Up or Down Markets” which covers the strategy of using price action, regardless of market conditions to make money.

I’m just getting into the book, so I don’t have a lot to say on it but I thought I would share some interesting quotes as I work my way through the book. Let me start with this:

“Nothing has changed during the 21 years we’ve been managing money. Government regulation and intervention have been, are, and will continue to be present for as long as society needs rules by which to live. Today’s governmental intervention or decree is tomorrow’s opportunity. For example, governments often act in the same way that cartels act. Easily the most dominant and effective cartel has been OPEC, and even OPEC has been unable to create an ideal world from the standpoint of pricing its product. Free markets will always find their own means of price discovery.” - Keith Campbell
Author: gcn 
The economy summarized in two words…
Author: gcn 
October 7, 2008
Trend Following Quote (Oct-7-2008)

But I think our ace in the hole is that the governments usually screw things up and don’t maintain their sound money and policy coordination. And about the time we’re ready to give up on what usually has worked, and proclaim that the world has now changed, the governments help us out by creating unwise policy that helps produce dislocations and trends. — Jerry Parker

Author: gcn 
Setting Main Street vs. Wall Street

“For the speculator, many new niches and many opportunity will arise. The government will be the ultimate slow mover. As they try to enter the market, as we have seen this last week, there are big waves kicked up. The least qualified populate government functions. Small and fast moving adaptors can thrive in such an environment. Seems that many big hedge funds are going down or weakening. The white shoe brokers are weak. The change will be good. It’s just like evolution and climatic change. New species will arise. Many will perish unless they adapt. Even the data itself is reinventing itself with data over a year old being almost irrelevant. As Lack says, regulation will be a joke. Every rule will create a dozen loopholes to exploit that the slow moving professors never thought about. THEY can’t control the markets. The big illusion is that government can cure the problems when in fact, THEY are the problem.” - Setting Main Street vs. Wall Street, from Jim Sogi

Author: gcn 
Dead Meadown - The Great Deceiver (Old Growth) Psychedlic rock with a hint of blues… if you like Jack White, Spacemen 3/Spiritualized, you might like this band. The whole album is worth a listen!
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October 8, 2008
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Rusty - Memories (Taken from Out of Their Heads) The mid-90s saw Toronto bands release some amazing music. Rusty was definitely one of those bands!! Love of the guitar on this one…
Author: gcn 
October 9, 2008
Trend Following Quote (Oct 09 2008)

“Markets aren’t chaotic, just as the seasons follow a series of predictable trends, so dose price action. Stocks are like everything else in the world. They move in trends, and trends tend to persist.” — Jonathan Hoenig, Portfolio Manager

Author: gcn 
Sarah Harmer - New Enemy (Taken from All of Our Names) Beautiful voice from another excellent Canadian singer/songwriter.
Author: gcn 
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October 10, 2008
Laura Cantrell - Love Vigilantes (Orig. by New Order) Here’s my Friday cover song… a mellow, folk version of New Order’s “Love Vigilantes”.
Author: gcn 
October 11, 2008
Living Beyond Our Means

On a national level, our circumstances are similar to those of a philandering playboy who inherits a huge fortune and then proceeds to squander it. During the dissipation period, he lives the good life, and by all appearances he seems prosperous. But his prosperity is a function of the hard work of his ancestors rather than his own. Once the fortune is gone, so too will be the gracious lifestyle that it helped support. The problem is that most Americans, including most economists and investment advisers, have confused conspicuous consumption with legitimate wealth creation. Our impressive gross domestic product (GDP) growth, dominated as it is by consumption, is not a measure of how much wealth we have created but of how much we have destroyed. — Peter Schiff - Crash Proof [How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse]

Author: gcn 
And now for economic downturn advice...

Comment: I just wonder if this advice/common sense was offered and then continuously reinforced, if things could have been different… for the better? Endless post-mortems, debriefs and analysis of past behaviour and outcomes, yet we still keep making the same mistakes, never seeming to learn from them.

Author: gcn 
Oh no, the world is on the brink...

Here’s the latest sensational headline….

Global leaders race the clock - IMF warns system is on the brink of a meltdown if more is not done

It is hard to believe political/business/economic leaders expect to solve years worth of problems in one weekend. If they can’t get things right when the heat is not on, I don’t really think we should expect them to get it right when we are on the “brink” of financial disaster.

And read the entertaining comments in the linked article above… very interesting and sometimes bizarre stuff.

Author: gcn 
Rewritten Stock Market Terms


CEO —Chief Embezzlement Officer.

CFO— Corporate Fraud Officer.

BULL MARKET — A random market movement causing an investor to
mistake himself for a financial genius.

BEAR MARKET — A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no
allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING — The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO — The percentage of investors wetting their pants
as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER — What my broker has made me.

STANDARD & POOR — Your life in a nutshell.

STOCK ANALYST — Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT — When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your
assets equally between themselves.

FINANCIAL PLANNER — A guy whose phone has been disconnected.

MARKET CORRECTION — The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW— The movement your money makes as it disappears
down the toilet.

YAHOO — What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker
for $240 per share.

WINDOWS — What you jump out of when you’re the sucker who
bought Yahoo @ $240 per share.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR — Past year investor who’s now locked
up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT — An archaic word no longer in use.

Author: gcn 
Cloud Cult - No One Said It Would Be Easy (Taken from Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) “when it all comes crashing down try to understand your meaning no one said it would be easy this living it ain’t
Author: gcn 
October 12, 2008
Okkervil River - Unless it Kicks (Taken from “The Stage Names”) This song rocks… perfect to get you going on a gorgeous Toronto, fall morning!
Author: gcn 
Here is a free song Everclear has posted on their website. Obviously it is politically biased towards the Democrats…. but I want to think over and beyond politics and a couple of men who are running for the most powerful office in the world.
Author: gcn 
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October 13, 2008
Autumn Millet Bake and a Sweet Potato Cheesecake Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!
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The War on Drugs - Arms Like Boulders (Taken from Wagonwheel Blues) Here’s a little Americana today… totally Bob Dylan on this one. Other songs on the album sound like Bruce Springsteen. Really good stuff….
Author: gcn 
October 14, 2008
Pop Levi - Oh God (What Can I Do?) (Taken from Never Never Love) Pop Levi is a witches brew of pop, glam-rock, electronic… a little over the top at times. If you want to hear something a little different, this album is it!
Author: gcn 
October 15, 2008
Billy Bragg - Help Save the Youth of America (Taken from Talking With The Taxman About Poetry) Folk Punk! “And the fate of the great united states Is entwined in the fate of us all”
Author: gcn 
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October 16, 2008
A Helping Hand


I’ve been meanging to write this post for the last few months. But I’m struggling with the best way to do it.

So here goes.

I’m almost 40. I don’t consider myself old (denial?) but I’ve seen good markets and down markets. A few times over. After college, when I moved to Silicon Valley in the early 90’s the market wasn’t great at all. Then it was very interesting. Then it was amazing. Then it was ugly. Really ugly. I was there from 1992-2001.

When I moved to Boston in 2001 it was a tough market and only got worse in 2002 in many ways. Then in 2005 Boston/Cambridge started coming back with tons of great startups. And we have seen big companies like Google & Microsoft investing big time here in beantown. And now we are back in a down market. The cycle continues.

But the thing I can’t stand and it seems partciularly true of late is how some people turn inward or become really unwilling to give a helping hand when times are tough.

Suddenly calls go unanswered. Or patience grows thin. Sympathy goes away. We start things like FuckedCompany. Or some folks will only make introductions if you promise them something in return. Or people start asking (demanding?) compensation for something as innocent as advice.

I noticed this behavior with some folks in the last crash and I’m starting to see it again.

So I just want to remind everyone. We gotta help each other out. It’s not just about personal karma but it’s important for the entire startup & business ecosystem

And it’s especially true in times like this.

When we are in a down market we need to be more helpful to each other, not less.

Author: gcn 
Gabe Dixon Band - Far From Home Piano driven music, so if you are fan of Ben Folds, you should like Gabe Dixon Band.
Author: gcn 
October 18, 2008
Author: gcn 
Initial MacBook Impressions...

I decided to go for it and buy the MacBook (2.0Ghz model) so I hit the Fairview Mall Apple Store with my Brother after work on Friday.

The store, which just opened about 3 weeks ago, was fairly busy but not as busy (where you are literally shoulder to shoulder) as I’ve experienced in other stores (like the Eaton Centre). That said, people were buying… it looked like iPods and the MacBook were moving quite well. Apple makes the buying process so easy… it’s so fast and streamlined.

So, let me share some of my initial MacBook impressions:

1) The unibody case is unbelievable. This thing is solid yet still lightweight. Line it up against the white Macbook, and you see the difference in construction. Apple has made huge strides here. If you are trying to decide between the white MacBook and the aluminum MacBook, I say spend the extra few bucks (if budget permits) and grab the aluminum MacBook. Cosmetically, there is almost no difference between the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Apple has closed the gap here.

2) The screen is nice… haven’t fully run it through any major tests (videos/games) but considering what I will be using this notebook for, I’m not a big stickler. And I don’t mind the glossy screen but then I’m saying that because I don’t spend much time outdoors working where the sun’s glare makes it more difficult to see the screen. I have seen a couple of companies selling anti-glare films, but I’m not sure I really people really want to mess with the screen.

3) The multi-touch pad is sweet! I have never really like trackpads because I would find my wrist getting sore and tired pretty quickly. I spend most of my time using a mouse but so far, I’m impressed and think that I could easily transition away from a mouse and still be quite productive. The multi finger gestures, swiping, scrolling, window dragging etc… it is pretty natural. Seeing the multi-touch pad in action, I don’t think Apple is far off from introducing a tablet or device.

4) I’m not really liking the keyboard… they keys feel a bit loose and clanky. Of course I’m saying this being a user of those thin aluminum keyboard, which is the best keyboard I have ever used. So might not be fair to compare.

Have you picked up a new MacBook or MacBook Pro? Are you thinking about? Let me know what your thoughts are!

Author: gcn 
Iron and Wine - Arms of a Thief Iron and Wine seems appropriate for a cool, crisp fall day.
Author: gcn 
October 19, 2008
Glasvegas - Go Square Go (Take from Glasvegas) A Scottish band I just discovered today… noisy indie rock that sounds like Jesus and Mary Chain.
Author: gcn 
October 20, 2008
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Amy Millan - All the Miles (Taken from Honey from the Tombs) Sultry vocals with songs that have a country/folk feel.
Author: gcn 
October 21, 2008
Song of the Day: Stephen Malkmus - Gardenia (Taken from Real Emotional Trash) Heard this song for the first time today… and played it few more times because it’s that good!
Author: gcn 
October 22, 2008
Author: gcn 
Well, I think what we want to do is deliver a lot, an increasing level of value to these customers. There are some customers which we choose not to serve. We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that. But we can continue to deliver greater and greater value to those customers that we choose to serve and there’s a lot of them. And we’ve seen great success by focusing on certain segments of the market and not trying to be everything to everybody. So I think you can expect us to stick with that winning strategy and continuing to try to add more and more value to those products in those customer bases we choose to serve”.
Steve Jobs, Apple Q4 2008 Earnings Call
Author: gcn 
October 23, 2008
Jason Fried’s talk at Business of Software 2008. He talks about about momentum, why roadmaps, specifications and projections are useless, simplicity and more interesting insights in the world of software development.
Author: gcn 
The Courteeners - No You Didn’t, No You Don’t (Taken from St. Jude) If you dig Britpop, here’s a great release that seems to have gone under the radar in North America. Consider if you like Arctic Monkeys or The Libertines.
Author: gcn 
October 24, 2008
Billy Bragg - Tracks of my Tears (Orig. by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) My cover song of the day….
Author: gcn 
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October 25, 2008
The Cure - Harold and Joe (Mixed Up album b-side) You could easily make an entire, solid album of Cure b-sides. This one would definitely be on it!
Author: gcn