Hello everyone.

Although posts have been posting for the last few weeks, this is officially my first written post of 2014. I’ve been on holiday. It was awesome. Here’s “the” photo of the trip (that’s the skyline of Istanbul in the background):


While I was away, I did a lot of eating. Including the best dessert in my life so far (it involved clementine sherbet).

Anyway, while I was away, business/economic things happened. Here’s a list of the ones that I think are important (feel free to add more in the commentary section:

  • Google bought Nest, a company that builds thermostats that can be controlled via the internet. Some say that this is just further expansion of the google/android ecosystem (literally). Others that Google will soon be responsible for, um, global warming.
  • The World Bank announced a casual optimism about the global economy, declaring that it’s “showing signs of bouncing back”. At some point, the positivity will eventually prove itself. After all, we’ve had five years of general decline – which is just another way of saying that the starting point is quite low.
  • Samsung announced that its forthcoming earnings announcement would be much lower than expected. Analysts keep talking about “bonuses”. Except that bonuses are not really a surprise – and they would have been factored into those expectations. But maybe that’s just me.
  • Inflation in Britain fell to 2%, after increasing energy prices were offset by falling prices in…wait for it…computer games. Well – that – and a slower increase in the price of food and soft drinks.
  • Moody’s declared that Qantas is junk (or, more specifically, its corporate debt).
  • JP Morgan paid another fine. This time, for failing to realise that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme after being told by people that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Here’s the post I wrote last year: No One Would Listen: the Bernie Madoff Story.
  • The gold price fell by 28% in 2013 (the final numbers are now in).
  • Alibaba banned the use of bitcoin.
  • Latvia adopted the euro.
  • Obamacare experienced a surge of private insurance plan enrollments in late December (about 2.1 million of them). The goal of 7 million by the end of March still seems far-fetched. But you never know. PS: for why I think Obamacare is a great idea, here’s this post: Shutdowns and Affordable Health Care.

Here’s to 2014.

Chris Riddell 05/01/2014