Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Bitcoin ATM

This week we got out of the MoneyBeat studio to meet the Josh and Zack Harvey, who have developed what they say is the world's first bitcoin ATM, which may be coming soon to a restaurant or retail store near you (assuming, of course, that bitcoin expands past the small group of online aficionados who use it.)

You can read the post here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Yumblr? Yamblr? Yahoo's Got Work To Do

Here's myself and the Journal's Spencer Ante talking about Yahoo and its Tumblr deal on Monday's MoneyBeat show.

The bottom line is that Yahoo is still playing catch-up, and it's going to have to prove that "Yumblr" or "Yamblr" or whatever the cool kids call it isn't another waste of time and money. Nobody's giving them the benefit of the doubt.

The most telling thing about this whole deal was that Yahoo, right at the top of its press release announcing the deal, promised "not to screw it up." You don't hear that kind of thing from companies very often; never, actually.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Amerigo

This is a short story I wrote that's going to be part of a longer piece I'm working on.
“The Amerigo was the big time,” Randy said.  “The Dorsey Brothers, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, everybody played there.”  He arched his rough, scarred hands across the wheel, one over the other, easing the truck into a turn, shifting the cab’s three occupants leftward.  Each man braced just a little, to avoid too much physical contact.
“I never heard of it,” Chris said.  Sitting in the middle, he had the fresh, tousled look of somebody who hadn’t heard of a lot of things.  The truck rumbled down an empty two-lane highway, winding through the morning mist and green hillside dense with green oaks and sycamores, and pines and walnut trees, the sun just poking through the leaves.
“They turned it into a rock club when I was growing up,” Bruno said from the passenger seat.  A good 35 years Chris’s senior, he sat with one hand slung out the window, already warm from the July sun, the other holding a styrofoam cup of coffee.  He had smooth hands, office hands.  “The Amerigo-go, they called it.  Just local bands, nobody very good.  But I saw Springsteen there in ’72.”
“You don’t say,” Randy said.  He was a burly man, with deep-set dark eyes, a heavily creased face and a thick black and gray beard.  Wiry hair escaped from under a rumbled, blue-striped seer sucker baseball cap on his head that looked completely out of place up there.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Far Better Resting Place for Jim Kirk

William Shatner made a surprise appearance on my show, The Markets Hub (, in 2011. He was in the Wall Street Journal newsroom taping an interview for his new (at the time) book, and one of our producers thought it would be exciting to have him walk onto our show live.

You can watch the video here; Shatner comes on right at the 16:00 mark, and if I don’t seem all that surprised, trust me, it was just because I was keeping cool. Capt. James Kirk was a childhood hero, and to have the guy who played him come onto my set unannounced was an out-of-body experience.
Also, and much to his credit, he actually talked about the markets with us.
Anyhow, as you may imagine, I had Capt. Kirk on the brain a lot after that appearance. I started thinking Kirk deserved a better send-off than the one he got in Generations (as a truly deranged Trekkie, I will watch just about any Star Trek story if I come across it on TV, but Generations is pretty lame when you think about it). I started thinking if J.J. Abrams could screw with the Star Trek universe for his silly re-boot (see my take on that one here), then why couldn’t we redo Kirk’s final tale? That’s when this Kirk story started forming in my mind.