Current money market yieds or money under a rock

Money market rates are so low these days  that under the mattress is such a poor choice these days. Vanguard Prime is currently paying .01% through the first quarter of 2010

But rates will probably remain soft at least through the transition of new liquidity rules for money market accounts being proposed by the SEC, the WSJ reports.

The new rules will require funds to shorten the average maturities of their holdings, restricting, among other things, the maximum weighted average maturity of a fund’s portfolio to 60 days from 90 days. Funds also will have to maintain a minimum of 10% of assets in securities that mature in one day and 30% in securities that mature in one week.

10 good quotes from SXSW Interactive 2010

Chris Shipley, Guidewire Group, on the state of venture capital and entrepreners:

“Today revenue is the new venture capital.”

“Even the state department now believes that world peace will come from entrepreneurs. So you guys are ambassadors of peace.”
Brian Solis, author of How your Brand Can Succeed on the New Web on social media :
“Social media feels like our summer of love. Twitter is our Woodstock.”
On brands and social media:
“Brands are going to have to think like media … Just checking in on the wall is not enough.”

Jesper Anderson started his business, freerisk.com from anger over the financial meltdown, the lack of information and wanted to do something about it.

“When you live in San Francisco, you’re obligated to try.”

Alan Martin, Campus Book Rentals, on why his company did not need social media to succeed:

“Luckily we had an angry audience. College students are angry about the college textbook deals. We had an audience that was angry and ready.”

Matt Chasen, uShip, on starting a new business:

“Go into a business where everyone attending the conference is over 70 and doesn’t own an iPhone.”

Paul Graham: Y Combinator, on picking the best seed accelerator group:

“It’s like picking a girl friend or a surgeon. With a girl friend you pick the one that’s right for you. With a surgeon, you pick the one that’s best. I’d pick one like I’d pick a surgeon

Naval Ravikant, Venture Hacks:

To be successful in a start-up you have to have high intelligence, high integrity and high energy. Inteligence and energy are easier to mesure. Integrity is the most important factor

David Cohen, TechStars: “If everytime you talk with the founders you get more excited. That’s a company I want to work with.”

The economic model for Free — reading around June 30

New Yorker: Priced to Sell Is free the future? — In Malcolm Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”, the value of free — as in no charge for content, no charge for use. It’s a big issue for newspapers, but others are affected too. Best example from Gladwell is YouTube, which is paying more for bandwidth and technical costs than it is making in advertising. Why don’t advertisers want to be on this category leader? They don’t want to be associated with most of the content created by volunteers.

The Seattle Courant: Thanks, Everyone — an online-only newspaper in Seattle folds.

Why?

The Courant failed because I didn’t have enough cash and I didn’t find someone who could handle the business side, such as finding customers, technologists and managing projects. The trick I had to pull off was to be able to fund the Courant while I not only built a newsroom, but also a technology firm to support it. I couldn’t do it all.

But for those who believe hyper-local is a sure thing, the Courant’s founder, Keith Vance, is less sure:

My advice to anyone who seeks to create something like The Seattle Courant is to make sure you have at least enough money to get you through the first year and someone who’s as committed as you are to the business. To generate revenue, focus your efforts on providing technology solutions to your customers and not just selling banner ads. You have to be able to do something that other people can’t, or don’t want to do. Going to city council meetings and covering press conferences counts as something people don’t want to do, but news doesn’t make money it costs money. One way to think of it is that instead of a print shop that supports a newsroom, we need to build a technology firm that supports a newsroom. It’s really not that different, it just requires a different skill set.

WSJ:  Ivy League Endowments Finally ‘Dumb’

The fiscal year for most endowments ends Tuesday and nearly every one has had big declines, but smaller endowments are poised to outperform heavyweights like Harvard University and Yale University by significant margins. Endowments with less than $1 billion generally held up better by putting more money in fixed income and less in alternative investments like hedge funds.

WSJ: Ruth Faces Living Off a Scant $2.5 Million — Ruth Madoff that is

Reading around — Dec. 23

WSJ: Best and Worst Ads of 2008 — no surprise that Microsoft’s Jerry Sienfeld ads were on the list.

Wired:Nation’s First ‘Underwater Wind Turbine’ Installed in Old Man River

ReadWriteWeb: XBRL: Mashing up Financial Statements —  Follow up to Dec. 22’s SEC Mandates Interactive Filing

USAToday: Ad Track: Microsoft wants you to throw a party for its Xbox — On a recent Saturday, about 1,000 women across the country moonlighted as marketers for Microsoft’s newest Xbox services. Microsoft … More proof that Wii found a niche that Xbox and Playstation 3 missed — women.

WSJ: Regulator Let IndyMac Backdate Infusion

NY Times: For Craft Sales, the Recession Is a Help

WSJ: Notebooks Overtake Desktop PCsNotebook shipments rose nearly 40% to 38.6 million units during the period, while desktop shipments fell 1.3% to 38.5 million units.

WSJ: Who Should Foot the Bill of a Lawsuit?
— In the U.S. the loser of a lawsuit pays the legal fees, which differs in other countries, including Canada, Germany and the U.K. Also tort costs as a percent of GDP are 2.2 percent according to a study by Towers Perrin, which are twice the rate of other countries. Germany was second with the costs being 1.1 percent.

Hybrid incentives, 401(k) Plans

WSJ: Incentives to Buy Hybrids Are Dwindling disappearing tax credits and falling fuel prices stretch the payback of hyprids

For instance, let’s say you buy a Honda Civic, which gets 42 mpg and currently has a $525 credit. Assume you drive 15,000 miles a year with gas prices at $2.91 a gallon. The Civic hybrid’s price is some $4,000 higher than a gas-engine Civic, meaning it would take nearly 10 years to recoup the premium in gas savings, according to an Edmunds analysis.

WSJ: 401(k) Plans Face Disparity IssueAs cash-strapped workers curb their 401(k) contributions, more employers could be forced to limit or refund the retirement-plan contributions of higher earners to meet federal nondiscrimination rules.

UAL stock falls after Sun-Sentinel posts old story

Today was not a good day for the Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and UAL, the parent company of United Airlines.

Someone at Sun-Sentinel posts a 6-year-old story Sunday by the Chicago Tribune about UAL bankruptcy as a current story. Income Securities Advisors Inc., a Florida-based investory information service, distributed the report on Bloomberg terminals on Monday, after having first saw the story on Google Monday morning. According to Forbes, in 10 minutes 24 million shares changed hands and the stock fell to $3. Before NASDAQ halts trading, UAL stock has fallen from $12.16 a share to 1 cent a share. When stock reopens, about two hours later, stock recovers to $11.22, down only 8.77%.

As Sun-Sentinel sorts through what happened, one point is that the date of the article was not shown. One unanswered question is whether NASDAQ will allow the trades, but when similar things have happened in the past they did not block the trades.

Editor & Publisher: United Stock Nearly Wiped Out on Old ‘Chicago Tribune’ Story
Forbes: Inside The UAL Story Debacle
Bloomberg Television: United Parent UAL Says It Didn’t File for Bankruptcy

Wealth distribution in 2004

WSJ: The ranks of the ultrawealthy grow. From 2004 tax reports, the number of individuals with net worth of more than $2 million is is less than 1.5 million individuals. For the top range of $20 million or more, only 47,000 peole were at that level.

California had the largest number of residents with a net worth of $1.5 million or more, with 428,000 in 2004. Florida came in second, with 199,000, followed by New York (168,000), Texas (108,000), Illinois (101,000), Pennsylvania (86,000) and Massachusetts (83,000).

Salaries after college graduation

WSJ: Ivy Leaguers’ Big Edge: Starting Pay. PayScale Inc. looked at starting salaries for various professions for graduates of Ivy League colleges and other colleges and then compared the salaries for graduates at their mid-career.

The results showed that starting salaries were higher from Ivy League colleges, but the rate of growth was the about the same.

The study also looked at how mid-career salaries compared with starting level salaries. Engineers as a group saw the lowest increase — 76%. Other careers, including liberal arts, tended do much better at their mid-point.

W. Va. study finds teachers didn’t have enough in their 401(k)

From WSJ: When 401(k) Investing Goes Bad

Seventeen years ago, West Virginia school employees joined millions of workers nationwide in a shift from a pension plan that guaranteed a monthly check, to a retirement-savings plan that would make the teachers, bus drivers, custodians and other staff responsible for their own investment accounts.

Interesting facts from the article:
* The median 401(k) balance for people over 60 and above at the end of 2007 was $34,420, according to Hewitt Associates.
* For teachers in West Virginia the average balance in their defined-contributions plan was $41,478.
* Of the 1.767 employees over the age of 60, only 105 had balances of more than $100,000.
* The state of West Virginia and some private employers are considering returning to a defined-benefits (pension) plan.