The Long Tail

So last nite was a Kudlow & Company appearance; Larry was absurdly complimentary on my "Avoid BIg Cap Tech like the Plague" call. They asked about my cash position (93%), and very amusingly ran video showing mattresses (get it? stuffing cash in mattresses) It was funny.

My one complaint about the show was that that Tim Kane, economist at The Heritage Foundation, trotted out the tired old Household versus Establishment survey argument, and I didn’t get to rebut him. Robert Shapiro, former Clinton undersecretary of commerce/co-founder and chairman of Sonecon, did explain why 75% of the country is worse off than they were 10 years ago.


After the show, I went to Wired’s The Long Tail party in Tribeca — I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the book, and enjoying it a lot. Its much weightier than Blink or even Freakonomics. (There’s a podcast interview with author Chris Anderson by Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds here)

I only know Chris Anderson virtually, and we finally got to meet in person tonite. He must have been surprised to see me, cause he gave me a great big hello — that surprised some of the nearby guests (more on this below).

I got there right after K&C, at 6:30, so I was somewhat early, and the place hadn’t filled up yet. I had a few minutes to talk to Chris, and we were discussing the music industry — my idea is to overlay pricing issues to the Long Tail and see the results. The name I worked for this study is so amusing, I can’t wait to release it (its a play on the Long Tail). Just as I was telling him about this economics variation of the Long Tail, Talking Head David Byrne walks by — so I reach out and literally tap him as an example of alternatives to the recording industry (along with Chris’ hello, it certainly got Byrne’s attention). 

Afterwards, I spoke with Byrne for 20 minutes — he is unbelievably cool, and I continually apologized for monopolizing his time. It was all I could do to not gush like an idiot fan.

I suspect he is rather frustrated by the recording industry’s more foolish behaviors (se this for example of their stupidity). We marvelled over why the 2 hour audio video DVD of Stop Making Sense cost less than the CD? Also, his website’s streaming radio has continually run into permissions issues and the mandatory (anti-streaming) license fee problems. Why does a non-commercial station get hit with $20-30k per year? Makes it an expensive hobby. The only way around this is to either sell subscriptions or get an advertising sponsor.   


The funniest thing was the only other guys I met in suit & tie were two agents from the William Morris Agency, which has the coolest business card logo ever.

I swear this is true: I pitched them on "The XXXX Show" — a young Rock-n-Roll hedge fund manager turned media personality who does on the street TV interviews — they said "We’ll get back to you," but I have my suspicions otherwise . . .

Anyway, very very cool evening.

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  1. royce commented on Jul 13

    The Long Tail sounds like another one of those fashionable books media folks love to go on and on about with talk of “paradigm shift” and “everything has changed.” And in a couple of years, someone writes a new book pointing out how nothing has really changed and that the now original book looks dated and poorly reasoned. So I’ll pass on that.

    But it’s still cool to go to the launch party and mix with celebrities.

  2. rrh commented on Jul 13

    I think Kudlow was very complementary to you , and despite his overoptomistic bent , has always been gracious ….. his biggest negative is always having too many bulls on , but that may be a function of there not being enough of them out there ….. which is a good thing for us BEARS

  3. crack commented on Jul 13

    Why did Larry let Kane trot out that argument? Shouldn’t it be the hosts responsibility to police misleading information when they hear it?

    I could understand if Larry didn’t know the problems with it, but I think highly enough of him that I suspect he did.

  4. Alaskan Pete commented on Jul 13

    You should check out Byrne’s record label “Luaka Bop”. Mostly “world music”. Zap Mama and Jim White are a couple of the better artists on his label.

    rrh…Kudlow’s biggest negative is not having too many bulls on his show, every show does that…his biggest negative(s) are being a raging right wing nutjob shill, and generally having horrible forecasting/insight ability as a result of his judgement being clouded by the same rightwingnutjobshillspeak he spews (apparently he actually believes the batshit crazy arguments he makes). The guy really earns the moniker of “CLOWN”.

    Is it any wonder Bear Stearns put his ass in the road? Not in this corner.

    And Barry, please do not legitimize Glenn “Instacracker” Reynolds by linking to him. This guy is one of the most intellectually dishonest, partisan hatchet men you’ll ever meet. UTenn should be ashamed to have this guy on its faculty…not because he’s a wingnut hack, but because as evidenced in his writings, he doesn’t understand law particularly at the federal level. Pretty dismal considering he’s a law professor…and apparently tenured at that.

  5. RW commented on Jul 13

    “Why did Larry let Kane trot out that argument?”

    Because he uses essentially the same argument himself (see It appears Kudlow’s worldview trumps his knowledge of economics and/or willingness to comprehensively analyze same.

  6. Mark commented on Jul 13


    “not because he’s a wingnut hack, but because as evidenced in his writings, he doesn’t understand law particularly at the federal level. Pretty dismal considering he’s a law professor…and apparently tenured at that.”

    Are you licensed in Alaska? Still practice? I am licensed in IL and MO but gave it up after 13 years with the corner office.

  7. ItsAWrap commented on Jul 13

    Barry, I know its Kudlow’s show and all. But why do you let him typecast you as the short/bear voice? Kudlow made it a point to belittle you for holding a large cash position. But he doesnt care one bit that your stops were hit and as a disciplined trader you closed out positions. As far as he’s concerned, anyone holding cash is a fool; the court jester if you will.

    Crack, you better believe Kudlow prefers the household study. Its the only way he can make his great Bull case. He is a REPUBLICAN cheerleaderl hoping to talk the market up. Anemic job growth hurts the message. Shapiro completely trashed Kudlows “best story never told” BS. He pointed out how strong GDP and Productivity growth still has not keep pace with inflation. and as a result 75% of americans are worse off than they were 10 years ago. Kudlow had NO response to that argument.

  8. KirkH commented on Jul 13

    Someone laid out fact and Kudlow said “I don’t think that’s true.” I don’t think he gets that the middle class is fading away. Maybe that’s the greatest story never told.

    I saw Mr. Anderson talk at the ’05 Emerging Tech Conference but couldn’t muster the courage to poke him in the arm and ask a few questions. The guy oozes brains without losing any. Not sure about Byrne’s radio station. It’s painfully eclectic, it’s like the music forces you to concentrate.

  9. kgc commented on Jul 13

    just a grammatical note:

    alot is a verb meaning to portion out, not an adverb
    as in ‘enjoying it alot’ (the long tail). in the latter case, ‘enjoying it a lot’ is the way to go.

    thought you’d like to know

    BR: thats a typo (fixed it)

  10. gary lammert commented on Jul 13


    I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
    of the nation.
    Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air
    go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.
    (All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men
    and women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall
    pass to ashes.)
    I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he
    answers: “Omaha.

    Kindly visit the Economic Fractalist

  11. eb commented on Jul 14

    the price of CDs…living in japan, here for some damn reason CDs cost some $25 to $35 (rough currency calculation). unbelievable. strangely you can get a bottle of 12-year glenlivet for a mere $18 (Y2,100) as opposed to $45 in NYC. anyway, agreed. CD prices are absurd and the music industry is a confused mess.

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