JOBS Act crowdfunding is unlikely to help most startups

Earlier this year I wrote a series of columns about crowdfunding and the JOBS Act, which was signed into law last April with several goals, one of which was to help startups raise money from ordinary investors. Those columns were about the promise of crowdfunding and the JOBS Act while this one is about what progress has been made so far toward that end. For startups, alas, the news is not entirely good. Crowdfunding looks like it may not be available at all for the smaller, needier companies the law was supposedly designed to serve.

It’s one thing to pass a law and quite another to write rules to carry out that law. Title 3 […]

Off with their heads! Why financial regulation stopped working

Thirty years ago, when I was working for a time in Saudi Arabia, I saw a public execution. I didn’t attend an execution, I didn’t witness an execution, I just happened to be there. There was in the center of this town a square and in the square were gathered hundreds of people. I was working in a building next to the square and looked out the window to see what was causing all the noise. At that moment a prisoner was brought forward, his arms bound behind him. He was dragged up the steps to a platform and there fell to his knees. Another man whom I quickly came to understand was the executioner […]

Ticked off: How stock market decimalization killed IPOs and ruined our economy


Well it took me more than the one day I predicted to finish this column, which purports to explain that dull feeling so many of us have in our hearts these days when we consider the U.S. economy. Our entrepreneurial zeal is to some extent zapped. For a decade it seemed we needed to jump from bubble to bubble in order just to drive economic growth — growth that ultimately didn’t last. What happened? Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) went away, that’s what happened.

I wrote several columns on job creation over the last year, columns that explained in great detail how new businesses, young businesses, and small businesses create […]

Put LIBOR on Yahoo Groups

LIBOR, the London InterBank Offered Rate, has been in the news lately as heads begin to roll in London and soon New York now that it’s clear LIBOR was manipulated by big banks, affecting the value of hundreds of trillions worth of financial instruments. This is a complex topic and it will be awhile — perhaps years — before it is clear how or even if you and I were damaged by these shenanigans, but everyone seems to agree that it can’t be allowed to happen again. But how? To make this happen I think we need a new understanding of what “transparency” means in financial transactions in the 21st century.

Transparency is supposed to mean […]

The crowdfunding bubble of 2013 part 3 — how to make it successful

This is the third and final part of my series on crowdfunding. In part one we learned how important crowd funding can be for helping tech startups and the economy. In part two we worried about how criminals and con men might game the eventual crowdfunding system when it starts in earnest next January. And in this final part I suggest a strategy for crowdfunding success that essentially comes down to carpe diem — seize the day!

Crowdfunding done right will have a huge positive impact on any economy it touches. But by done right I mean done in a manner that maximizes impact and minimizes both corruption and unnecessary complexity. This […]