News Of The Day 4/16/2010

Hiring is up, the smackdown hits Goldman Sach, Ning looses people to others, and Infinity Ward members are likely to flee (possibly on their Celestial Mounts of Azeroth). It's one weird day in progeek and profan news, but that's just the way we like it!

A look at the issues, humor, and weirdness of coming up with a good business name these days.

Some sign of increased tech company hiring. I'm not sure this says "recovery" – my feeling is it says "filling a backlog that piled up during the recession," though it appears that LinkedIn is definitely growing (and if I may express my biases, I'm glad since I'm a fan). What does interest me is the talk of competition for talent – something I have witnessed myself. With people reluctant to leave jobs, people retiring early or changing jobs, some tech jobs may require intense competition for talent. So, be talented . . .

The Securities and Exchange Comission brings a civil suit against Goldman Sach over fraud. The rough summary is that an investor counting on the housing market tanking influenced the design of an investment fund by Goldman Sach – and lying that the fund components were selected by a third party. In short, making a killing while getting others to invest in a lousy investment, and lying all the way. Barry Ritholtz notes that this is basically The Producers. I hope this is the start of a lot more lawsuits to clean up the US financial system, and I'd like to see some criminal charges – hopefully in various countries.

(For that matter why the heck is Demand Media hiring Goldman to explore an IPO?)

Geek Law:
Discussions by Irish Government on internet filtering? Or to put it more correctly, censorship. That may sound shocking, but remember this is a country with a blasphemy law, so there is apparently political will there for regulation of speech. If you're relocation-minded, keep this in mind (not that Ireland doesn't a have other problems like it's economy, though it seems to be doing better than other troubled counterparts).

Anime and Manga:

Funimation makes a simulcast deal with Fuji TV. They're still going – and simulcasting is still growing.

Social Media:
Advice for Twitter developers from Mike Hirshland, after the Chirp conference. The observations are pretty solid, and focus on what 3rd party developers can do.

With Ning cutting free accounts (and staff), others are moving in to give their departing customers a home. Not sure how this plays out, but much like the Veoh, sale, a reminder that after big transitions and changes, life does go on. I want to see if any of these companies leverage the departure into growth.

MySpace launches an events platform for coordination and ticket purchases. They're also coming back on Android, so their effort to recover and regrow is certainly moving forward.


How apple can win a rematch with Microsoft in the PC market – By leveraging its unified ecosystem and starting in the mobile space. Some good points here, though as a Mac user my worry is that Macs could become more like Mobile devices, with all their limitations. A potential snapshot of what may just be happening in the PC market in the next few years.

Video Games:
The makers of Bionic Commando Rearmed have a new studio, Might and Delight, and a new game. They sound like they're still going retro. No word if they're hiring – I am no fan of Bionic Commando, but my roommate adored Rearmed, and others liked it as well.

Ubisoft and TQ Digital start a closed beta for an MMORPG based on Heroes of Might and Magic. I adored MM III and the Clash of Heroes Puzzle/tactical game, and this has me intrigued as it seems reminicent of MM III – which was a resource/turn-based tactical game whose charm was a freaky amount of units (and an amount of freaky units). Very curious to see where this beloved franchise goes – it could shake up standard MMOs if it stays true to its more tactical roots.

Predictions that the Infinity Ward mess cost Activision stock value and will mean more studio losses. Need I say that applying to Infinity Ward right now seems to be a bad idea? I still think this will drag on for ages, and may change the relations among companies and studios, who will remember this and change contracts and agreements and methods.

Virtual Goods? You got it. World of Warcraft's new Celestial Mount, a $25 extra, netted $2 million in four hours. 80,000 sales of what looks to be a rideable constellation. You better believe other game companies are paying attention. And with the amusing and clever design, its a reminder the folks at Gaia Online have known for awhile – good art design sells.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: With the success of the Celestial Mount, do you expect a further leap in virtual MMO goods?

– Steven Savage