Monthly Archives: November 2009

An art auction failure linked to every Gen Xer’s fantasy

The art market isn’t sure if it wants to recover yet. This month, Sotheby’s had a fantastic contemporary art sale, while the one at Christie’s just plain sucked. Among the paintings at the latter was “Brother Sausage,” by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It entered the Christie’s art auction with the highest presale estimate, but nobody was interested in buying it.

Life’s a bitch.

What’s interesting, though, is where this painting comes from. Word on the street is that Peter Brant, turned art collector by his soon-to-be ex-wife, is trying to move the piece. He and Stephanie Seymour are battling their way through a divorce, and “Brother Sausage,” with a presale estimate that approached $10 million, is bound to be one of the assets they fight over.

Why does this matter to the millions of Gen Xers who don’t give a fuck about art? Or, to those of us who like art but still don’t give a shit about the squabbles of the rich and famous?

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Goldman says sorry, ponies up $500 million for small businesses

For its role in the global financial crisis, which had an impact of several trillion dollars, Goldman Sachs feels just awful. The incredibly prestigious bank, one of the few to come through the market mayhem looking pretty damned good, wants you to know that it’s sorry. CEO Lloyd Blankfein said at a conference in New York, “We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret.” And then, he pulled the trigger on the big one: “We apologize.”

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Blog versus reblog and the content supply chain

dsc029091Every blogger does a bit of both: originating some stories and coverign those written by others. The latter is not only easier but gives you access to news and reporting resources that you may not be able to marshal on your own. And, counter intuitively, reblogged stories can get plenty of play — in traffic and other reblogs and retweets. But, there’s still a certain value in developing your own original news. Doing so is easier than you may think. To pump up the amount of original content on your blog, go retro: press releases.

Many believe that press releases are passé, but these tools can be quite useful.

Think through the “reblog supply chain.” Except for hardcore reporting (of which we’re seeing less and less in general, everywhere), most traditional outlets do a lot from press releases. When you’re reblogging one of these stories, you’re unnecessarily giving props to a media outlet that really only did what you could do on your own. Because of the reblog, you’re making yourself look disproportionately dependent on other outlets.

Stop the madness!

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Publicists: tweet your coverage

twitter_logo_headerI’m still surprised by how little tweeting some publicists do. You’d think that they’d want to maximize the coverage their clients receive. Yet, I’m continually stunned by how little this happens. Active tweeting can kick off a virtuous cycle that benefits the writer, publicist and client.

For bloggers especially, performance matters. Success is defined by how much we write and how much it’s read. The presence of “tweet counters” on many blogs has made retweets a new metric, as well, even though it’s a subordinate measure of readership. As the retweets tick up, we look good. If we know that the publicist is part of the reason, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll cover your clients more. When this happens, the publicist wins: both coverage and readership are demonstrably higher (and the retainer, too, maybe?).

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Microsoft Hoping to Go Global with Yahoo

microsoftMicrosoft and Yahoo! inked a 10-year search partnership in the United States, and they’re hoping to ride that deal around the world. The two technology companies are trying to chip away at search engine giant Google‘s market share in the space. If all goes well, Microsoft thinks the deal will close early next year, even though there are some regulatory hurdles to clear.

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Microsoft to cut 800 more jobs

microsoftLegendary software firm Microsoft, the people who brought you Windows 7, is about to cut another 800 jobs. The company announced it was letting 5,000 people go back in January. Lou Gellos, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday that the chopping will happen around the world. No specifics are being given. This was the first year that Microsoft has had major layoffs. At the end of last year, 94,000 people worked at Microsoft. Three quarters later, the employee population dropped to 91,000, suggesting that another 2,000 people were hired along the way (for a net loss until then of 3,000 jobs).

[Via USA Today]

North Korea Looking for an Ear

Copy of dprkThe reclusive Communist state wants to talk – but only to the United States. After a year of silence, it’s willing to revisit the issue of nuclear disarmament, but it wants one-on-one time instead of the usual six-party format.

A DPRK official visited the United States last week, a rarity, in what has been called a “’charm’ offensive” by Reuters. The country is desperate for money and aid.

Reuters reports that a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said to the Korea Central News Agency, “The conclusion we have reached is that the direct parties, which are the North and the United States, must first sit down and find a rational solution.”

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Government Money Fuels GM Acquisition

gm-logoGeneral Motors is going shopping. The recently bankrupt auto manufacturer got government permission to use $2.8 billion of its federal cash to buy a chunk of auto parts supplier Delphi. Once upon a time, Delphi was GM’s parts division. According to an SEC filing, the Treasury Department is letting GM use $1.7 billion to buy post-bankruptcy Delphi and another $1.1 billion to pick up Delphi’s global steering business and four parts manufacturing facilities.

[Via USA Today]

Miley Cyrus Is Nuts, Fan Is Worse

twitter_logo_headerYes, Miley Cyrus is on an anti-Twitter crusade and thinks that “Twitter should be banned from the universe.” Her commitment, however, is about to be checked: is the banishment of Twitter worth the life of a small kitty?

A Miley Cyrus fan absolute fucking nutjob has threatened to kill his cat unless Cyrus comes back to Twitter. Can you believe this? Retarded.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Send the weirdo to an institution; he could use the help
  • Keep Miley Cyrus focused on what she does best (hint, it involves Annie Leibovitz)