Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A new powerhouse in the Silicon Valley

Like Guillaume mentioned in his blog, Google is adding instant messaging with VOIP features to its large range of products. However, some people in the Silicon Valley are starting to complain about the increasing power of Google, making it difficult for the others to raise money, recruit talents or simply innovate. They are even comparing Google to Microsoft! That must be hard to swallow for some of the engineers working there. The increased competition for talent in the high tech industry is also lifting the salaries up by 25% to 50%. May be it was not the right time to leave this industry to go to business school...

Internet and high tech companies are clearly getting some good valuations today with transactions such as Murdoch buying Intermix (parent company of MySpace) for $580m a few weeks ago, the IPO of PartyGaming on the LSE for $9bn, the IPO of (Chinese search engine) on the Nasdaq or Yahoo! buying a stake in (Chinese again) for$1bn . Could this be a new bubble? I don't really know and in any case I cannot really buy any stock since I still haven't recovered from my losses from the last bubble. Yet I would be careful with stocks such as Google which are probably a bit overvalued now and it's actually not so surprising to see the company selling some additional shares for $4bn: the owners could very well believe that at $280 a share, this is the correct price.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

BA strike

We had a couple of meetings planned in Geneva last Friday so my colleague and I though: let's book a nice hotel and fly there Thursday evening so that we do not have to wake up at 5am to take the first flight from London. We took the Heathrow Express Thursday afternoon to arrive in the middle of a huge chaos at Terminal 4 of Heathrow. All the flights were cancelled (including ours of course) and the staff and information number were completely overload. We decided to check other airlines and even tried a London-Lyon then Lyon-Geneve by train but everything was fully booked by BA, probably for its business and first class customers.

After wandering a few hours in the airport, we finally decided to book the first easyJet flight on the Friday morning and do a day-trip. So guess what, I finally had to wake up at 5am on Friday! What's the point of leaving France, probably the only country where going on strike is a national sport (I'm half-joking), if it's to get the same kind of hassle here! I understand the reasons for the workers' strike who were sacked with a 3mn notice but I'm really pissed at BA's customer service, which was just terrible. I'll try to avoid that airline for now on.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

French youth is leaving the country

Great serie of articles from today's Liberation (in French) about the French 18-35 years old leaving the country to see if life is better overseas. And guess what... usually it is since only 15% of them are coming back to France (although I suspect this number is much higher on a long-term). The article on French living in London is interesting. Can you believe that there are approximately 200,000 French living in the UK capital?!? That makes it a quite large French city, almost the size of Bordeaux so just be careful if you bitch in French in public places in London since it is very likely that people around you will understand you :)