Naked came the shorts

| Print |  Email
Archives - November 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008

I’VE BUILT THIS MONTH’S column out of a house of cards and it’s only a matter of time before the bubble bursts. My only hope of getting out of this bad metaphor with my investment intact is to sit tight, do nothing. Irrational exuberance has given way to irrational panic. I’m hiding under a TARP. All I want is to default-swap my toxic verbiage.

I could have made deadline and had something really interesting to say, but I was busy breaking the buck all weekend, taking Mark to market and painting the town with commercial paper. Then the naked shorts came by and who can concentrate with that kind of thing going on? I’m only human. I tried to reverse-auction my way out, but by that time the run on my creative bank was serious.

s_Robin ROBIN DOUSSARD

I invested heavily and early in toxic sub-prime ideas, hoping that I could fool my regulator, the managing editor, with some fast talk, and betting that in our deregulated newsroom, no one would be the wiser. We go on the honor system around here. Can you believe that? And frankly, my regulator is a member of the media, so how smart can he be? He’s one of those business journalists I’m blaming for my failure to perform even though he told me every day for almost two years what my deadline was. I happily ignored him. He trusted me. Who’s the schnook? I wouldn’t be in this shape if he had made sure I was following the Strunk and White rules. As soon as I can gather a like-minded media-hating crowd, we’re going to light the torches and chase him down Broadway.

The media is to blame for me missing deadline!

Oh.

The Democrats are at fault! They said Fannie and Freddie were nice people, so I spent all weekend partying with them. But they trashed my house and stole my wallet and now I’m deleveraged up to my eyeballs with poor sentence structure and weak transitions.

The Republicans are to blame! If they had supported the first bailout vote, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time trolling end-of-the-world blogs. I could have written a column with unregulated adjectives, plenty of free-market associations and offshore banks full of rich hyperbole.

If only I could get a little more stimulus.

Yes, I know my column hasn’t had a good week, but I believe the fundamentals are still strong. I’ll face the TED spread with courage. I’ll take my lumps, downsize my ending paragraph, cut a few loser verbs, but I will not lose faith that the American people will forgive me for writing a column that is seriously derivative and artistically bankrupt. Who among us hasn’t faced a moral hazard and come back writing an even better narrative?

I’m thinking of writing my next column on Iceland. I hear they like exotic nouns and unsustainable plots. Sounds like my kind of reader.

 

More Articles

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

The short list: Holiday habits of six Oregon CEOs

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121214-xmaslist1BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS