No Place Like Home Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
No Place Like Home
For those of you who regularly read my postings, you know that travel is a part of my work routine. I travel for business more than most, not as much as some, but more than I like. After 30+ years, the novelty has more than worn off. The period between Christmas and the end of February is particularly grueling. I've traveled all or part of almost every week since December 23, except for one week in January, when I was on jury duty in New York City, and one in February, during both of which I was lucky enough to sleep in my own bed every night. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this installment on American Airlines Flight 22 from LAX to JFK at 9:15PM EST on Wednesday. I hope to arrive at JFK just before midnight and, if all goes well, be home and asleep before 1AM.1
This particular trip was different. As I've written in the past, I do the NY/LA trip every 6-8 weeks, roughly eight times per year. When I was planning this trip, my wife Tracy asked if she could tag along. From reading my past postings, some of you know that Tracy and I have three small children, ages 5, 3 and 1 1/2. So needless to say, Tracy hasn't been able to travel much since we got married six years ago. In fact, the last time she was in LA was the summer of 2007 for the premier of The Bourne Ultimatum. Since then, I've probably made 40-50 trips to LA. And having a young family doesn't give us the opportunity to get away by ourselves all that often. So she called her mother, Grandma Carole to our children, who was more than happy to spend three days with her grandchildren, and we were off.
What's Up with the WhatsApp Deal? Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
What's Up with the WhatsApp Deal?
So Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $16,000,000,000. For anyone who can't count the zeros, that's $16 billion with a B. For those of you who don't know what WhatsApp is (and I was one of them until Wednesday), it's a text messaging application with 450,000,000 (that's 450 million) users around the world (none of whom I know) who pay little or nothing to use the service. Facebook will pay $4 billion in cash (real money where I come from) and $12 billion in Facebook stock. As if this combination weren't enough, WhatsApp's employees and founders are getting an additional $3 billion in restricted stock which vests over the next four years. $16 billion or $19 billion, what's a couple of billion among friends?
According to The New York Times, "Facebook is paying a steep price for a service that is widely used internationally but is less known in the United States. WhatsApp does not sell advertising and has very little revenue. It charges users a flat fee of $1 a year to use the service, and the first year is free." Just for clarification, that's $1, no zeros.
The True Olympic Gold Standard Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
The True Olympic Gold Standard
If Sid Caesar had not passed away this week at the age of 91, he would have found a treasure-trove of material in Sochi. From American bobsledder Johnny Quinn punching his way through a jammed hotel bathroom door, to the contaminated water, unfinished construction and (purported) shower surveillance that have plagued athletes and journalists, the 2014 Winter Olympics have provided a steady stream of late night one liners. But alongside the short-comings of the host city's hospitality, Sochi also symbolizes a much more insidious fault line within the character of modern-day Olympics. Unbridled commercialism.
You have to wonder how the International Olympic Committee arrived at the decision to give the winter games to Russia, knowing that Sochi was a wasteland that would need a total and complete overhaul, from basic infrastructure to world-class facilities capable of housing the largest and most important sporting event on the planet. You can’t blame President Vladimir Putin, or any other national leader, for courting the Olympic Committee. Landing the summer or winter games can revive a failing local economy and restore national pride like a shot in the arm. But you don’t have to be a genius to recognize that the committee was incentivized to not notice that Sochi was ill-prepared to provide for the basic necessities of the tens of thousands of athletes, journalists and fans who would descend on the seaside town. It’s hard to imagine any other explanation.
Warm Thoughts About Cold Weather Super Bowl Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Warm Thoughts About Cold Weather Super Bowl
New York hosted the Super Bowl last weekend, and by all accounts (well, maybe not Peyton Manning's), it was an overwhelming success, despite the fears and trepidations of staging the event in a cold weather climate without a domed stadium.
The weather gods must be football fans. Since January 1, the metro New York area, which includes New Jersey, has had some of the worst weather I can remember. We've had unusually bitter cold days and several major snow falls. In fact, the week leading up to the big game started off in the single digits, and the day after the game put us in the throes of another blizzard. But at game time, the temperature was a balmy 49 degrees. Who would have predicted that?