Andrea Toochin

Andrea Toochin

Business, work, and the path to and through the MBA.

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Could this new social media network threaten Facebook?

01.10.14 | ellosocial mediafriendsterpandorafacebookadbusters

Last time I saw signs of a new social network, it was Twitter. I was a late adopter, still am. I’m going to bury the lede, so just indulge me. I wondered what all these weird links were; that was before I knew the wonder of I need the younger MBA students and colleagues to tell me what apps are cool, and I ask the teenagers in my extended family what their friends use.

It’s pretty well known that Facebook has ubiquity going for it, but it’s quite a bore most of the time. I describe changes in Web content and sharing technology as an evolutionary process - each new technology replaces the prior and breaks down walls that prevented people from communicating, makes it easier to penetrate new circles.

Take the process of applying for jobs. When I was in high school and college, I snail mailed resumes. Then everyone had a fax and those submissions had a better chance. Then email replaced mail and fax. Now we have LinkedIn.

When it comes to interpersonal communication, letters were replaced by  phones. Then email came but managing the constant flurry of messages leads to unsent drafts, missed correspondence and the like. Then came social. Facebook is now active because it’s one place where we can communicate with multiple people and see pictures of their kids, whether we like it or not. Occasionally it’s useful to crowd-source ideas but solicited help in any way construed as an ad or advertorial leads to a low number of “likes.”

And of course Zuck and Sandberg went the way of the ad model, after adopting Google’s URL (Ubiquity First, Revenue Later) model, one could argue. But, increasingly I personally struggle with the idea of heading to a major corporation because struggle as I may with bureaucracy in academia, I believe in the mission of teaching and research. I am not selling anything to anyone, per se, at least not directly. But media is. Rare is the viable media business with a paid subscription model.

So, if Ello, which ironically I heard about on Facebook from two people, thinks it can build a sustainable ad-free model, I say bring it. I was one of the few that paid $1 for Pandora once I exceeded the 40 hours a month limit and I did it happily. What’s $1? Outside NYC, it won’t buy you a coffee - no Egyptian guys in coffee carts in Boston:(

Time will tell if this works. I’m just joined the waiting list. But I do know I can’t resist mentioning that genius quote from Marshall McLuhan, because it does truly seem as though “the medium is the message.”

Click here for the Business Insider article on Ello.

CalPERS Bails on Hedge Fund Investments

16.09.14 | CalPERSretirementhedgieshedge funds

CalPERS, the California Public Employees Retirement System, announced it is yanking its full hedge fund investment of $4 billion. According to Bloomberg, the fund spent $135 million in fees for the fiscal year that ended June 30 for hedge fund investments that earned 7.1%.

The Bloomberg roundtable noted that the issue is not that hedgies don’t provide a hefty return, which they often do. The issue for CalPERS, Bloomberg noted, was that for the hedge fund investment to “move the needle” given the cost (fees - 2/20), their investment would need to be ~10% of the CalPERS portfolio, which presents a risk issue for the fund.

via Hartman Group.

via Hartman Group.

07.08.14 | infographic food trends

NY Post: Hedgies to Save American Apparel

08.07.14 | 1 note | Standard GeneralAlvarez & MarsalAlix PartnersDov Charney

"Meanwhile, insiders said Standard General is in talks with turnaround consulting firms Alvarez & Marsal and Alix Partners to support the company’s finance department…"

The article also noted that the board may stay the same but at least one woman might be appointed to join the leadership team at the Los Angeles-based hipster apparel company.

Click here for the complete article from New York Post.

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