Selling New England to the Youth Market

We’ve known for a while that young people are leaving northern New England in droves, to pursue opportunity elsewhere. So it’s a relief to see area governments are doing what they can, in a somewhat cost effective manner.

But it does raise the question of what will come of the area if current trends continue. The irony is that for young families, this area can’t be beat for raising kids. And at least in New Hampshire, lean government makes it easier for entrepreneurs to succeed.

New England Issues Sales Pitch for Young Graduates (WSJ subscription required)

Why Bookstores are Dying

A well-known author of thrillers passes on a $500,000 advance from his publisher so that he can self-publish online. Not so risky, when his self e-published short story has earned him $30,000.

It’s hard to imagine that kind of success without having had the prior benefit of a publisher’s marketing muscle, but it’s nice to think about. This is a great read:

The Heart of the Matter: Ebooks and Self-Publishing: A Conversation Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath.

The Hell of E-mail

I started the day intending to make some phone calls and updating the blog. Instead, I got sucked into cleaning out my inbox. This isn’t the kind of flow that excites the Malcolm Gladwells of the world, is it?

Volcker on financial reform

Paul Volcker, who did the dirty work that pulled us out of recession and stagflation 30 years ago, has been busy during his year with the Obama administration. His explanation of proposed financial sector reforms appears in today’s New York Times.

I might be wrong, but the idea that forcing commercial banks to divest themselves of proprietary trading desks and in-house hedge/private equity funds appears to be a win for some banks (Wells Fargo)  and a major loss for others (JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs).

WFC’s focus on traditional banking has served its investors well over time, even if the stock price had stalled before the meltdown. Analysts say it is working out the headaches that came with Wachovia and Golden West, and will emerge from these doldrums in an excellent position relative to its competitors. (WFC ended the week up, while GS, MS and JPM tailed off.)

Volcker makes a good point about the continued moral hazard facing fragile financial markets, and the proposal to bring back Glass-Steagal barriers between investment and commercial banking seem reasonable. They will be hard to implement, even if they can make it through Congress. But who knows, perhaps we’ll see Obama get behind this in a big way. Maybe he’ll forget about that ill-begotten tax on former TARP recipients.

How to Reform Our Financial System.

Teaching an Old Brain New Tricks

An interesting article in The New York Times describes how our brains continue to develop as we age. Sure, we might not be as swift to remember specific facts or details. But we can draw more connections between facts. The best mode of learning, according to the author, is to engage with ideas that push us to reconsider our own conventional wisdom.

Read more about it here:  How to Train the Aging Brain

If I only had stable limbs …

After 11 days with the DBS system lit up, I can return to a daydream I used to indulge in, back when I was shaking too much to hold the babies or was too dyskinetic to drive a car.

How about another Porsche, but with a six-speed? Uh, well, no, not until college is paid for, and WFC begins paying a dividend again. How about driver’s ed at a racetrack? Tommy sent me an e-mail this year about the Porsche driving school somewhere down south. I told him I couldn’t drive the manual, and definitely would not be safe to drive until I knew I could hold the steering wheel with two hands.

So I’m settling on a decent digital SLR camera. I’m not tossing the little point-and-shoot camera that I can stuff in my shirt pocket. But I miss the control and quality I used to get from my old SLR cameras. I’ve been heavily geeking out reading reviews, doing comparison shopping, doing research on vendors. With cameras, it really does seem like you get what you pay for, and I don’t care about using an SLR to shoot video.

I’ll let you know what I can successfully negotiate with Santa. Do you think it would help if I explained it as, “Well, I could get a deal on a nice camera, or hey! Year-end sale at the Automaster!” ?? Maybe not. Maybe it’s the Mirapex triggering an obsessive reaction. Or one of my quests for subject-master expertise, like my flirtation with everything related to graphic novel/comic book. At least I have the Photoshop and design expertise to go with the camera bug … Did you know Norman Rockwell used a camera for nearly all of  his work? He used a projector to cast the image — careful composed, down to the last detail — onto canvas.