YouTube

Yesterday afternoon, the SEC and the Department of Justice charged hedge fund manager, YouTube star, and prolific Tweeter Anthony Davian with fraud. Like any good alleged Ponzi schemer, Davian applied the “one pot of money” philosophy to his funds’ assets, and used investor cash to buy himself an Audi Q7 Prestige, build a palace the likes of which Akron, Ohio had never seen, and collect rare pens. As is typical in these kinds of cases, the benefit of hindsight allows those who witnessed the crime unfold in real time (clients, employees, etc) say “Well, of course it was a scam,” even if it wasn’t readily apparent at the time. Although not for a lack of trying on Davian’s part! Behold, the amazing list of red flags he dangled in people’s faces (uncovered by reporter Roddy Boyd), all but begging them to pause and say “Hey wait second, would a hedge fund manager running a legitimate and successful shop…” Read more »

Citi today fired Mark Mahaney, its internet analyst, and was fined by Massachusetts securities regulators, for sending dumb emails to reporters. The Massachusetts consent order is here. Mahaney’s main misconduct1 is that on April 30 of this year a French reporter asked him about Google’s YouTube business:

  • Do you think that YouTube has been above your Total Net Revenue estimate 2011 ($876M)
  • Do you think that YouTube will be above your Total Net Revenue estimate 2012 ($1119m)
  • Do you think that they are largely profitable?

And Mahaney replied “Yes Yes Yes.” This was problematic because:

The information that [Mahaney] gave to the French Reporter had not been previously published. [He] had published a research report on Google, Inc. on March 21, 2012 and did not publish another research report until his interview with “All Things Digital” on June 21, 2012.

Two thought experiments. First, Mark Mahaney’s job was to drum up institutional business by producing actionable estimates and opinions about the stocks he covered. One way to do this is to publish research reports. Google, it is fair to say, is an important stock that he covered. He did not publish any research reports on Google for three months this year. What do you think he was doing during that time? Your choices are: Read more »

Are you frustrated with Bank of America? Do you have one simple request, but have found it impossible to get through to anyone? Do you feel like no one’s listening? Maybe you’re an employee who wants to have a frank talk about bonuses, and if you can expect to get one this year. Maybe you’re a homeowner who doesn’t want to get wrongfully foreclosed on and have your beloved parrot stolen, again. Maybe you’re a shareholder who’s been begging for a dividend increase. Maybe you’re an ex-CEO named Ken who just wants a tiny little bit of office space out of which to run the party promoting business you recently started with your friend Ang Moz. Whatever your desire, consider taking a page from Ken Williams’ playabook. He tried going through the normal channels to get what he wanted and then cut the shit and got serious, by appealing to BofA’s serious love of snappy tunes. Read more »