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My most exciting visit ever. Startups are exploding. I’m really psyched.

 WeWork rents big real estate space.cuts i up nd sells little space to entrepreneurs.

I toured WeWork on Varick Street yesterday.

They have 300 companies and 1400 people working in that one building. But they have many other locations in New York and other cities all over the world, including TelAviv,

This is startup heaven like you’ve never experienced. It’s exhilarating.

Here are five photos I took with my trusty iPhone 6 yesterday. This is the cheapest space — for you and your laptop. Free WiFi, AC, etc.

WeWork3

This is a startup lab which Columbia University runs for its chosen aspiring entrepreneur graduates.

WeWork4

When your startup gets bigger, you can rent closed and lockable offices. Lots of thick glass. Lots of strong locks. And plenty of overhead cameras.

WeWork2

You can sign up for conference rooms. First come, first served.

WeWork1

Downstairs in the “garage” they have a coffee bar and random tables and couches.

These four are starting a food delivery service in Manhattan. What makes it different from all the others? It’s “socially aware.” Some of its food will go to the needy.

WeWork5

If you look carefully at all the photos you’ll notice everyone — bar this one man on the right — is using an Apple. He’s using a Microsoft Surface. I’m told they’re getting him an Apple.

I asked people why they all used Apple laptops? Their universal answer: “They’re easier to use.”

Interestingly most everyone in the place uses their cell phones, though there are a limited number of phone booths.

WeWork has this many locations in New York City alone:

WEWorkSpacesinNewYOrk

You can read more on WeWork in the latest issue of BusinessWeek. Click here.

Space starts at $45 a month. WeWork’s web site is here.

When you see all this, how can you not be optimistic for America?

By the way, the startup I visited in WeWork’s space yesterday was started by a German and a Turk. They both chose America over their own countries to start — what I believe — could be a Unicorn, one day.

A Unicorn is a startup valued at $1 billion or more.

Don’t do stupid. The Nobel prize-winning mathematician, John Nash, and his wife died in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. They weren’t wearing a seat belt in their taxi rise from Newark Airport. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Nike to go to $120? Cowen & Co. raised its price target to $140, and “outperform.” Cowen said The footwear and apparel giant is set to report an upside fiscal fourth quarter in late June. Nike closed last night at $103.42.

 Rules to live by:

+ Measure two. Cut once.

+ Check. Check. Check.

+ When in doubt, stay out. When you (or God) closes a door, He opens a window. Usually very quickly.

+ Expect behavior. Do little tests. Do they respond quickly? Do they do promptly deliver what they promise?

How good are economists at predicting?  stock prices? In a word — lousy. Stocks are about about four times since Alan Greenspan’s famous “Irrational Exuberance” speech in December 1995. From Sunday’s Business Section of the New York Times:

Scoping Out a Phantom Recession

Economists are immensely influential. More frequently than the practitioners of perhaps any other academic discipline, they are called on for their learned judgments on public policy.

Yet on a public policy question that is central to their field, economists have often been dead wrong. Economists, as a group, have been so bad at forecasting the ups and downs of the business cycle that it’s a wonder they continue trying to forecast at all.

A refreshingly candid blog post by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2011 asked searching questions about “The Failure to Forecast the Great Recession.” Simon Potter, now head of the markets group at the New York Fed, said that most private economists, and the staff of the Federal Reserve, failed to foresee the greatest economic downturn since the 1930s. We now know that the recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Almost nobody saw it coming.

Presumably, if we’d had some early warning, it might have been possible to take action to forestall the disaster – or at least prepare for it. Governments, corporations, families, universities, pension funds – just about everybody was blindsided. That’s the nasty side of forecasting failure.

There is a lighter side, too. Economists often discern phantom recessions – downturns that never materialize in the real world. One of those hovered in the ether until last month, the recession of 2011 and 2012. Happily, it never happened, and we were all spared a great deal of pain.

But until this month, the Economic Cycle Research Institute – a small Manhattan think tank that once had an unblemished track record in the brutal sport of economic forecasting – was on the record as declaring that this phantom recession actually took place.

In October 2011, Lakshman Achuthan, the institute’s chief operations officer, told me that a recession was imminent, if not already underway. “We’ve entered a vicious cycle, and it’s too late: A recession can’t be averted,” he said at the time. That was a distinctly minority view, but up until that point, the institute had been uncannily accurate for many years.

In 2005, for example, The Economist declared: “ECRI is perhaps the only organization to give advance warning of each of the past three recessions; just as impressive, it has never issued a false alarm.” It correctly forecast the 2007-9 recession, too. So it seemed worthwhile in 2011 to report its warning.

Unfortunately for the institute, if not for everyone else, it was clearly a false alarm. “Mea culpa,” Mr. Achuthan said in an interview last week. “We got that one wrong, and we regret it.”

Why did the institute need nearly four years to own up to the error? It’s taken that long to sift through the data, Mr. Achuthan said. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, a part of the Commerce Department, periodically revises the statistics on gross domestic product for up to five years, and until recently, Mr. Achuthan said, the institute wasn’t certain about the state of the economy in 2011 and 2012. It seemed possible, he said, that revised numbers would show that he was right.

They haven’t, though.

Instead, he has come around to the consensus view, which isn’t much more cheerful. The economic cycle shuddered and growth slowed but didn’t turn down enough to have registered as a recession. (He used the phrase “pronounced, pervasive and persistent” to describe the institute’s recession criteria.)

No one is cheering about the economy. Even without a second recession, the recovery from the last one that did take place has been the weakest since the Great Depression. That’s even after extraordinary efforts by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy – and while the Fed has stopped adding to its bond portfolio, it has yet to begin raising short-term interest rates, which remain near zero percent. Fed policy continues, in short, to be highly stimulative.

Despite all that help from monetary policy, for the most part the economy has grown in fits and starts at a very subdued level, and that anemic progress continues: The most current government figures show that the seasonally adjusted G.D.P. grew a mere 0.2 percent, annualized, in the first quarter of this year. The number for the second quarter is expected to be somewhat better, but even so, this has not been an economy to celebrate.

“It’s been about as weak as it could be without falling into recession,” Mr. Achuthan said. “We don’t see a recession on the horizon right now. But growth has been so low that there isn’t much leeway.”

The Federal Reserve and other central banks have certainly contributed to the sharp rise in the value of assets like stocks and real estate since the nadir of 2009, he said, and they have probably also contributed, indirectly, to global economic growth. But it’s quite possible, he said, that we have not fallen into another recession yet mainly because we’ve been “lucky.” There has been no negative oil price shock, for example, unlike in past periods when such shocks precipitated recessions.

He cited a 2003 paper, “Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?” by the economists James H. Stock of Harvard and Mark W. Watson of Princeton. In the years leading up to the last recession, the Federal Reserve was sometimes credited with having instituted a period known as the Great Moderation, because the business cycle appeared, for a while, to have lost much of its historical severity.

Professors Stock and Watson were skeptical. “Because most of the reduction seems to be due to good luck in the form of smaller economic disturbances, we are left with the unsettling conclusion that the quiescence of the past 15 years could well be a hiatus before a return to more turbulent economic times,” they wrote.

That could be true now, too, Mr. Achuthan said. He isn’t predicting another recession. But he is still forecasting economic weakness, and his track record is still unblemished on that score.

Stupid funny thoughts

+ Condoms don’t guarantee safe sex anymore. A friend of mine was wearing one when he was shot by the woman’s husband.

+ A recent study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

HarryNewton
Harry Newton who saw “stocks on sale” yesterday and is now seeing them bounce back today.  Looking for a vacation place this summer? Go to Europe. It’s really on sale. The Euro is now $1.09 down from $140 or so. I believe the Euro will stay down as we raise interest rates and they have to continue with QE and low interest rates. I’m playing tennis this afternoon. I have a new strategy.