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PayPal no longer works in Greece—and why that matters

Originally posted on Quartz:

Adding to their list of woes, Greeks can no longer use their PayPal accounts.

Limits on how much money Greeks can take out of banks put in place by their debt-stricken government as it negotiates with lenders have effectively crippled the online payment service, which relies on traditional banks and credit cards to transfer money.

According to a PayPal spokesman:

Due to the recent decisions of the Greek authorities on capital controls, funding of PayPal wallet from Greek bank accounts, as well as cross-border transactions, funded by any cards or bank accounts are currently not available. We aim to continue serving our valued customers in Greece in full, as we have for over a decade.

The economic crisis in Greece is obviously not emblematic of the greater global financial system. But the fact that PayPal’s business has ground to a halt there underscores how much it and other financial technology companies are…

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Introducing SliceMatrix: a tool for the exploration of large matrices

Originally posted on MKTSTK:

Screenshot from SliceMatrix Screenshot from SliceMatrix

For a lucky few MKTSTK readers, today you found a surprise in your email inbox. You see, way back in April we hinted at the forthcoming release of a software tool for visualizing large correlation matrices. We initially named it Corexplore and to gauge interest we put out some feelers in the form of a signup via our storefront. The response was pretty immediate: the idea sounded great so we thought about a time-line and got to work… As we worked we realized that this could be more general than just looking at correlation: these data visualizations would be useful in representing ANY large matrix in an intuitive way. Thus we changed the name to SliceMatrix.

Zoom forward three months later and its kind of obvious that we were WILDLY optimistic about the amount of effort it would take to even get to the Beta…

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This is what Uber looked like before it took over the world

Originally posted on Fusion:

Today Uber operates in 57 countries with more that 160,000 drivers, but back in 2010 Uber was just a couple of bros with the dream of turning a mere cab ride into the kind of experience worthy of, in the words of founder Travis Kalanick, “a frickin’ pimp.” An “UberCab,” if you will.

“For almost a century the process of requesting a car service has been extremely similar to what it is today,” the founders wrote in their very first UberCab blog post, still up on a Tumblr site unearthed by the site UberExpansion.com. “You could place a request by telephone for a car arriving the next day or you could walk to the street and hope that an available taxi would happen to pass by at the same time.”

Uber is in the midst of planning a massive, two-building, 423,000 square-foot headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood…

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Could This 1970s Patek Philippe Be The Inspiration For The Apple Watch?


I don’t often covet objects, in this case, it’s literally “the case” + that band, so I guess I covet the design & construction.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

In what could be the most interesting conspiracy theory of the morning, the folks at ABlogToWatch have found a watch that could have been the inspiration for Apple Watch. It’s a Patek Philippe Ellipse Ref. 3582 (3582G) made in the 1970s and usually sold through high end watch stores. The piece, which is amazingly rare in white gold, almost perfectly matches the case shape of the Apple Watch and the thoughtfully attached grains-of-rice band (the real name for the “Milano” strap) makes this square watch a dead ringer for a AW Steel.

Jony Ive has said that he has a predilection towards fancy watches and Patek makes the fanciest. This watch in particular is pretty hard to find and I’ve never seen it mentioned in the literature I’ve read. While it’s not unique – there are plenty like it out there these days – the detail, case shape, and even…

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When people ask to borrow money, the words they use can foretell whether they’ll pay it back

Originally posted on Quartz:

The words people use say a lot about their personalities, emotions, and thinking. And the ones they use when asking to borrow money, it turns out, also says a lot about whether they are likely to pay others back.

According to a new study, borrowers who try to appeal to their prospective lenders’ emotional side—by mentioning God, divorce, or the needs of family members, for example—are less likely to fulfill their loan obligations (something to keep in mind when our buddies or family members try to mooch off of us).

On the other hand, people who mention aspirations like graduate school or weddings are more likely to pay back their loans.

The findings were presented at the Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making this week and come from research by Columbia University professors Oded Netzer and Alain Lemaire, and University of Delaware professor Michal Herzenstein. The research is…

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The Power of Long-Term Compounded Growth

Originally posted on David Cummings on Startups:

Recently I was reading about Liquid Web and their new CEO from Atlanta, Jim Geiger (founder of Cbeyond). Liquid Web is a well known web hosting company with over 400 employees and many thousands of customers. Now, when thinking about web hosting, it’s often viewed as a commodity and a low growth industry. Only, Liquid Web was on the Inc. 5000 last year with 79% three year growth. Founded in 1997, Liquid Web has well over $50 million in revenue (probably much higher) and shows the power of long-term compounded growth.

Here are a few thoughts on long-term compounded growth:

  • Starting with $1 million in revenue, at the end of 20 years of 20% per year growth, the company would have over $38 million in revenue
  • Recurring revenue businesses are among the easiest to grow every year because of the existing base of business to build from (that’s one of the…

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Get on a Plane

Originally posted on David Cummings on Startups:

Several months ago I was talking to a successful, serial entrepreneur. He had sold several companies and hadn’t had to work for many years. Even still, he loved creating companies and so was at it again with his next startup. After talking for a while, the topic of travel and sales meetings came up. Naturally, he loved chasing big deals and was on the road 50% of the time. His mantra: get on a plane. There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction.

Here are a few thoughts on the importance of getting on a plane:

  • People buy from other people they like (this is one of the reasons the best product doesn’t always win)
  • Collaboration tools like Google Hangouts and Skype Video are good, but in person is significantly better
  • Rapport and strong relationships help when challenges inevitably arise (e.g. bugs, downtime, late delivery, etc.)
  • Body language and subtle feedback are critical when negotiating important…

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Lessons Learned from Failed Startups

Originally posted on David Cummings on Startups:

Autopsy.io is a new site that aggregates info on failed startups. As an entrepreneur, some of my most important lessons learned came from failures. Take the eCrowds post mortem – poor customer discovery, mismatched on-boarding costs relative to monthly pricing, and slow application speed – now it’s included in Autopsy, and more accessible to entrepreneurs.

Here are a few thoughts on failed startups:

  • Failure is a normal and accepted part of the startup ecosystem
  • Most startups will fail
  • Even if a good idea was too early, it’s still a failure
  • One of my favorite questions to ask entrepreneurs – regardless of success or failure – is “what did you learn?”
  • Running out of money is most common reason startups shut down

Entrepreneurs would do well to research startups on Autopsy.io and learn from previous experiences. With the recent growth in tech startups over the past few years, look for an increase in failed…

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What Twitter Can Be.

Originally posted on LOWERCASE capital:

Disclaimers: 1) This is a very long read. Thinking about a company and using its product obsessively for nine years straight will do that to you. 2) My funds and I own a lot of Twitter stock. 3) I do not speak for Twitter. 4) I have no inside information about Twitter. The company could already be building all the stuff below. I sincerely hope they are.

Summary For Executives And Non-Executives Alike:

I believe in Twitter. The company itself is improving, not worsening. The stock market doesn’t get that because Twitter has failed to tell its own story to investors and users. Here is how I think that story could unfold:

Hundreds of millions of new users will join and stay active on Twitter, hundreds of millions of inactive users will return to Twitter, and hundreds of millions more will use Twitter from the outside if Twitter can:

  1. Make Tweets…

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What does it look like when a central bank pimp slaps a market?


from my friend @mktstk about some of our common interests $MACRO $USDJPY $ZB_F $TLT and #ASIA

Originally posted on MKTSTK:

H/T to Rooster360 for beginning this conversation…

We have long been keen watchers of the complex relationships between Asian economies and the US Treasury curve. Early readers of this blog will remember more than a few rants about the Yen Carry Trade. In the past we have been vocal about the evolving correlation between the Yen and the 30 Year Bond. For most of this year this relationship has been firmly positive when measured from a price correlation standpoint.

Correlation is important because the volatility (or stability) of correlation represents the health of a market. Individual prices may go up, prices may go down, but if correlation stays stable then everything makes sense. Dealers can hedge their risk more easily when they can be assured that their hedges will actually perform as advertised. When correlation itself becomes volatile, liquidity decreases: market makers and dealers cannot easily…

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