Barack Obama and family in Springfield, Illino...

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The good news about Barack Hussein Obama is that 87% of my Spanish readers would vote for him. This results are almost exactly like the most global polling taken by Iftheworldcould vote. Now the bad news is that when I decided to change my middle name on the internet during the last days of the election to Martin Hussein Varsavsky, around half of my Spanish readers spoke against the move. What I infer from this is that Spanish readers seem to be far more willing to accept a leader of the world with an African father than a leader of the world with a Muslim father. Personally it was interesting to use Hussein as a middle name because while I had experienced antisemitism I had never experienced what Islamophobia felt like. Some of my Spanish comentators were in favor of my endorsement of Obama but not in the same percentage as when they voted for Obama in my blog poll. Others were not openly Islamophobic but they said that they found my endorsement silly, crazy, and stupid. Others went further. One of them said that while she supports Obama my adopting Hussein as a middle name, was ” a total irresponsibility because the real danger to the world today is Islam” and goes on to call Muslims “the devil”.

As I read that comment I remembered the many times that my Muslim friends have told me how frequently they were harassed at US immigration, or just going around Europe in spite of the large numbers of Muslims who live in that continent. As my good friend Daniel Lubetzky, founder of One Voice says, our objective in the Middle East should be to amplify the voice of the majority, the moderates. As we know the vast majority of Muslims around the world have never been involved in acts of terrorism. This blog episode reminded me of the McCain moment when he said that Obama was not an Arab that he was a decent man as if “decent” was the opposite of Arab. So as Martin Hussein Varsavsky, for a few days I could experience how bad it feels to be blamed, as a whole culture, for an activity, terrorism, that while horribly harmful, it is practiced by an tiny percentage of its members.

Yes it´s an ad. It´s a 30 minute political ad. But considering that most US elections were won by trashing the opponent I encouraged you to see this video.

This is what Howard Wolfson, former manager of the Hillary campaign for presidency said about it.

This ad won’t win Senator Obama the election–he was going to win in any case. But it was a highly effective, well-produced and well-executed closing argument. And at a time when the McCain campaign is doing everything it can to knock Senator Obama off his game, it’s another example of how and why that task is so difficult.

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Forbes Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City

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You have all been reading about the times of economic hardship that lie ahead for all of us. But there is a silver lining to this cloud. As a result of the global financial meltdown, the rich poor income gap that according to a study from the OECD had been growing in the last 20 years, is now rapidly shrinking.

Why? Because the people who are well off are far more exposed to the financial crisis than the average person. Just as a rising market made the rich richer, the fastest falling market in 80 years, is making the rich less rich at the fastest rate in 80 years. Forbes recalculated its Forbes 400 list at the beginning of October and 17 billionaires lost more than $1 billion in September. And that was then. As you know things got much worse in October. By September some of those severely hit by this financial crisis were Oracle founder Lawrence Ellison, who saw his fortune drop by $2bn (and ORCL went down another 15% in October), Maurice Greenberg, who was ranked by Forbes as the 135th wealthiest American and is not on the Forbes 400 anymore, since as a former chairman of AIG much of his $2.8 billion net worth was in company stock. Sergey Brin and Larry Page are both down $1.5 billion (GOOG went down 11% during October). Bill Gates was down $1.5 billion too at the beginning of October and MSFT is down another 14% since the end of September. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his fortune dropping from $15 billion to $11 billion in September and lost even more in October, with his LVS shares down 75%. The list goes on, you find other examples on Forbes here and here.
. And this is a global phenomenom. Former communist countries like Russia and China who had become the biggest factories of billionaires around the world now see this billionaires rapidly disappearing. I leave you with this article from Bloomberg explaining how Russian billioanaires lost a staggering quarter of a trillion dollars recenly.

Now the thing is, will this shrinking gap between rich an poor do any good? No, because it won’t make the poor any better off. It will just make the wealthy less wealthy.

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Image representing John Doerr as depicted in C...
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I was just reading John Doerr 10 points advise on how to save a start up and while I agree with many of his recommendations I saw a very important point missing. While start ups that are near break even should definitely be saved, there are many start ups that should simply not go on. Let´s face it, a lot of bad ideas were financed in the last 3 years. We were in the second bubble. And now that hugely profitable companies like Apple, Google, Dell and Nokia down over 50% why should money losing start ups with weak advertising models not close down and return whatever money they have left to investors?

The first bubble was about trying and failing to be like Amazon and the second bubble was about trying and failing to be like Google. If you are running a start up, even if you have a lot of cash left, and you look at yourself in the mirror, and you cannot possibly break even in 09 my advise is that you cut the agony and close shop. Even for your employees it´s just better to take a break and find a job in a healthy company.

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In case that you don´t know how Intrade works below is their boring, outdated, and yet very informational video that explains the rules of their trading or gambling platform on current events and the odds are for Obama big time. Over the year Intrade has proven to be more accurate than polls mainly because people vote with their money.

In the meantime if you are my friend in Facebook you will see that I changed my name to Martin Hussein Varsavsky. I did it because I like this endorsement style being followed by many friends of mine. McCain is going around making us feel that Obama is not “one of us” and frankly the choice of his middle name is unfortunate so let´s all make it sound like any other name. I was going to write an elaborate article on why I support Obama but I found that Tim O Reilly had written such a good one that I will just link to it. I even agree with Tim´s criticism that Obama´s green plan does not go as far as it should. America needs a big “public works program” and green should be it.

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I share a presentation on Gspace, an application that I own. So far I’ve been lending it to FON, which is using it to advertise and in exchange covers the cost of keeping Gspace up and running (around 100 euros per month).

Gspace is a Firefox extension that lets you store your files online at no cost (using your Gmail account), play music files and browse your pictures. More then 3 million people downloaded it in the last 3 years that´s a lot of people for something that promotes itself.

So what should I do to make it useful? These are the ideas I had:

– put advertising and make some money with it
– send traffic to websites charging for online storage (and get commissions on sales)
– integrate it with the Fonera 2.0 so that the Fonera can upload files from a hard drive, photocamera or MP3 player to Gspace.

Fon Labs has two other complementary products. The Gmail Uploader that allows you to send old emails to Gmail so you can search them, and Fon Backup which is a way to back up folder by folder in the cloud via email.

I don´t have time now to explain the Volkswagen short squeeze in detail. It is well explained by Bloomberg. It is a crazy story. Hedge funds were shorting Volkswagen until Porsche started buying its shares and all the shorters were forced to cover. As a result Volkswagen right now is the most valuable corporation in the world its shares are up 90%. It is worth 100 times more than GM, 12 times more than Boeing. And the banks who were shorting it have lost their shirt. Can somebody end this madness? These are the banks that all of us are financing through our tax money?

I blogged this then. I reblog it now.

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At Fon we are selling the Fonera 2.0 to developers who write apps but if you really believe that the expense is outside of your budget please write to me at requesting a Fonera 2.0 and what you plan to do with it and if I like the idea I will be happy send you one for free. If you already bought one and you came up with a good app we will send you a refund.

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This is the video on the Berlin Web 2.0 Expo Europe on stage interview.

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