Why Do Billionaire Bond Traders Bother to Tweet?

… Donald Trump insult women and hoax accounts impersonate billionaires like Elon Musk (even if his own account is often entertainment enough).
ByLionel Laurent | Bloomberg

January 22 at 4:30 AM

Famed bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach has tweeted that he is quitting Twitter. This is the equivalent of promising everyone at the bar that this will be your last round. His account remains active, and all his tweets visible – including the one where he labels the head of French bank Societe Generale SA “moronic.” He has given no extra details on the “suspicious activity” that apparently triggered his desire to close his account. Still, if he does walk away, it would be no bad thing.

It’s hard to really see what the upside is for someone like Gundlach to be so vocal on Twitter. There’s something to be said for the old-school fund manager maxim of: “My performance speaks for itself.” And Gundlach’s performance is comparatively decent. His $47.2 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund returned 1.8 percent last year, the best of the 10 largest actively managed U.S. bond funds, according to Bloomberg. Why not tweet about that, instead of tax or the price of milk? Why tweet at all?

The spin doctor’s answer might be that the old ways of communicating – everything’s rosy, here’s a press release, now get lost – are over. David Dubois, associate professor of marketing at INSEAD, reckons there’s no obvious way of putting the Twitter genie back in the bottle. Today’s customers have become so used to engaging directly with companies and CEOs that sticking one’s head in the sand is no longer tenable.

So in that sense, if Gundlach’s performance were to fall off a cliff, his public persona (free-thinking, contrarian, cynical in a realpolitik way) might reassure clients more than a canned statement or newsletter.

But Twitter isn’t exactly a controlled environment. The more users sign up, the greater the platform’s obvious helplessness in the face of spam accounts, hoaxes and what its own CEO calls conversational “toxicity.” The online megaphone that allows Bill Gates to enlighten fans about philanthropy or Tim Cook to thank customers personally is the same one that lets Donald Trump insult women and hoax accounts impersonate billionaires like Elon Musk (even if his own account is often entertainment enough).

Twitter Inc. says it is combating malicious activity like spam and fake accounts, but it seems woefully under-resourced, with about 3,372 staff in total at the end of 2017 – Facebook Inc. has seven times as many – and a CEO unsure of specific measures to take. There’s a so-called “tragedy of the commons” at play: Plenty of people like using Twitter but no-one’s interested in cleaning it up.

Which brings us back to Gundlach’s Twitter account. The fund manager became noticeably more aggressive on social media in 2017, taking exception to a “fake news” article about outflows from his flagship fund before it was even published. There’s an increasing temptation to shout aggressively to cut through the noise, and that’s one way in which a trigger-happy Twitter persona can backfire. How long before clients start to gauge a fund’s performance from the agitated tone of its manager’s tweets? Regulators might also get involved: Musk’s infamous “funding secured” tweet for Tesla Inc. ended up costing him $20 million and the carmaker’s chairmanship for at least three years. He still tweets daily.

There are many ways to be on Twitter that don’t involve taking extreme risks with your image or company. Letting communications professionals take control of your account is one. Taking a deep breath and counting to 10 before posting – preferably calling a lawyer during that interim – is another. But however much self-restraint and control CEOs apply to their tweets, Twitter has problems as a platform. When the medium is the message, and the medium is toxic, sometimes stepping away is good for everyone.

To contact the author of this story: Lionel Laurent at llaurent2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.net

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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Brian Armstrong’s new business idea: Wi-Fi access point that accepts crypto

Are my funds safe in Coinbase? Before thinking way too far, the business idea is actually a series of tweets that the CEO, Brian Armstrong uttered on …

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase gives a new business idea, a Wi-Fi access point that accepts crypto.

Is Coinbase not making enough money that they want to diversify their business? Are my funds safe in Coinbase?

Before thinking way too far, the business idea is actually a series of tweets that the CEO, Brian Armstrong uttered on his Twitter account.

He started with a question if anyone has tried creating a wi-fi access point that accepts crypto. “Plug it in and it makes you money,” he tweeted.

Armstrong then elaborated his idea by stating his fact that most apartments or dense housing are within the range of many access points, all of which are password protected, although each may only have 1% utilization during the week.

He said that if someone is “tenacious enough” to deal with lots of small details, such as the tricky integration with numerous low level OS stuff or firmware and create a paywall for all protocol would be very likely to create a value worth using and paying for.

5/ lots of little details to get right, but this is how value gets created for someone tenacious enough

— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) January 22, 2019

The responses on the tweets vary, some are relevant, some aren’t.

@XRP_News responded by saying, “Slow down, Brian. Why don’t we try to get BTC accepted at Starbucks first?”

A developer said, “This is pretty easy (can build it in a day, WiFi, captive portal, wait for XRP/ILP payment to unlock internet). However, I’m seeing a trend where captive portals are being used less and less: more free and open WiFi. Or is it just me?”, while others are referring to the projects that they claim to be doing such thing or at least have a similar concept, such as Althea, OpenGarden, Substratum, or Helium.

Follow Chepicap now on Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and Facebook!

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Just Eat CEO exits with growing competition from Uber, Deliveroo

However, over 2018, the shares fell 26.2% after facing increasing competition from new rivals including Deliveroo and Uber Eats, causing the …

LONDON • Just Eat plc’s CEO is leaving after a surge in competition from rival apps and pressure from an activist shareholder to speed up decision-making and consider the sale of assets.

Peter Plumb is stepping down with immediate effect, with Peter Duffy, chief customer officer, appointed as interim CEO. In December, shareholder Cat Rock Capital Management LP recommended Just Eat’s board consider selling its minority stake in Brazilian start-up iFood, arguing it could generate up to £650 million (RM3.44 billion) that could potentially return to investors.

Shares in Just Eat fell as much as 5.8% in early trading yesterday before turning positive, up 0.8% as of 9:06am in London yesterday.

Plumb was appointed to the top role in mid-2017 with a target of getting the company in the FTSE 100, achieved in December that year. However, over 2018, the shares fell 26.2% after facing increasing competition from new rivals including Deliveroo and Uber Eats, causing the company to fall out of the FTSE 100 last month.

The food delivery operation of Uber Technologies Inc is looking to expand how users can pay for meals and generate more business via its website rather than its app — a key part of Just Eat’s business.

“The business is in good health,” said Plumb, “Now is the right time for me to step aside and make way for a new leader.”

Just Eat also posted a positive trading update yesterday, with full-year 2018 orders of 221 million and revenue of £780 million. The company previously saw revenue between £740 million and £770 million. Guidance for 2019 is revenue of £1 billion to £1.1 billion, and underlying earnings before tax in the range of £185 million to £205 million.

“The departure will raise questions about why it has taken place,” said Ian Whittaker, analyst at Liberum, in a research note. “One possible explanation is that there may have been a dispute over the direction of the Latin American strategy.”

Just Eat said it expects its Latin American operations, dominated by its stake in iFood, to report an earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) loss in the range of £80 million to £100 million. Just Eat added that it expects to grow marketplace Ebitda margins year-on-year and for its Canadian business, SkipTheDishes, to report its first full-year profit in 2019.

Cat Rock, a small hedge fund with around US$850 million (RM3.49 billion) under management, has a stake of about US$50 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Just Eat will provide further detail on its plans at its full-year 2018 results on March 6.Bloomberg

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Cheaters force Ark dev’s pirate MMO Atlas offline for a second time in less than a week

Grapeshot Games, an offshoot of Ark developer Studio Wildcard, has been forced to takes its pirate MMO Atlas offline for a second time in less than a …

Grapeshot Games, an offshoot of Ark developer Studio Wildcard, has been forced to takes its pirate MMO Atlas offline for a second time in less than a week, following yet more shenanigans from cheaters – who this time spawned in drakes and hijacked official in-game server messages.

Late last week, Grapeshot elected to shut down its Atlas servers and instigate a rollback of more than five hours after cheaters, believed to belong to player group Black Butterfly, caused havoc by spawning the likes of tanks, giant whales, and airplanes into the pirate game. The studio later claimed the incident was a result of an admin’s Steam account being “compromised”, and that it had “taken the appropriate steps to ensure this does not happen again.”

Unfortunately, while Atlas’ downtime and server rollback initially appeared to resolve cheating issues, it wasn’t long before more antics ensued.

As documented in a thread on the official Atlas subreddit, a second wave of illicit activity saw unscrupulous players seemingly using cheats to spawn drakes and giant whales (a few of which were spotted floating forlornly through the air) into the game. Additionally, cheaters managed to seize control of the server’s status message, encouraging players to “Subscribe to Pewdiepie” before announcing “Black Butterfly strikes again”.

All these events were captured during a livestream by Atlas clan (or Company, in game parlance) StreamerHouse. Grapeshot reportedly responded quickly once notified, taking its official network offline for “emergency maintenance” in order to investigate the issue and roll back North American PvP server world states by around three hours.

In an official statement posted to the Atlas website, assistant community manager Dollie blamed the second wave of cheats on a “technical exploit”. The studio insisted that, unlike last week’s events, “no administrator accounts were compromised in this situation”.

It also offered assurances that it has now “protected against” the new technical exploit, and that “multiple accounts have been banned in relation to this”. Additionally, the developer attempted to quell speculation as to the identity of those responsible, claiming that “the evidence and our extensive logging indicates that this group does not have any specific ties to any one company, but are instead targeting streamers and large or well-known companies.”

“We will continue our investigation and will take action on all involved accounts and companies when we learn of their involvement immediately,” Grapeshot concluded.

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#NYCtech Week in Review: 1/13/19-1/19/19

… sex life, Maude Group raised $1.5M in Seed funding from investors that include Sriram Krishnan, RRE Ventures, Outbound Ventures, and Niv Dror.

The NYC startup creating the essentials to enhance peoples sex life, Maude Group raised $1.5M in Seed funding from investors that include Sriram Krishnan, RRE Ventures, Outbound Ventures, and Niv Dror. Maude Group was founded by Dina Epstein and Eva Golcochea.

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