Hellman to invest $5 million in journalism nonprofit

yeah the “dwindling” coverage of the SF Ballet is a real bitch…

“We’ve lost a lot,” said Hellman, who specifically bemoaned dwindling reporting on subjects like the San Francisco Ballet, local business openings and vetting of political candidates. “We’re going to be meeting an unmet need.”

[From Hellman to invest $5 million in journalism nonprofit]

Cadillac Hearts GMAC

Cadillac, despite considerable progress on quality and performance issues (e.g. Cadzilla anyone?) has another major problem that is again entirely of it’s own making… they can’t compete with lease deals offered by other manufacturers.

Just 6% of Cadillac customers in August leased a vehicle as opposed to buying one, according to Edmunds.com. That compares to 32% of customers taking the lease option at the five import luxury brands that Cadillac competes with: Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Audi and Acura.

[From Lease Cutbacks Leave Cadillacs Idling - WSJ.com]

With the residual value of Cadillac so low the leasing companies can’t offer a low monthly payment without taking a bath on the backend of the lease. When GM and GMAC were one in the same it was easy for GM to bury that fact in order to remain competitive with leases, they can’t do that anymore and sales are drying up. I don’t like leases but if I were in the market for a lease I would probably look at Acura or Lexus, both of which have the best resale values which means the amount of depreciation you are financing is considerably less than any other manufacturer.

Cadillac can “get aggressive” all they want with lease deals but unless the underlying brand issues are resolved nothing material will change and GM will continue to buy customers.

Feedly Adds Topic Exploration

Feedly is one of my favorite services, not only does it offer a highly polished presentation layer that makes reading my subscriptions more pleasing but it has a nice set of social features for sharing content and with their latest release a really compelling set of search and topic exploration features.

If you have been reading my stuff over the last few years you will know that one of my big criticisms of existing feed readers and content services is that they are very good at presenting sources that you already know exist, very poor at finding the best content, not just the most popular, for any given category or topic.

Feedly has now moved into content discovery in a major way, leveraging their substantial installed base and ability to capture and analyze metadata related to content sources and individual posts. As much as I liked this service before, I love it now…

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A123 Systems ($AONE) Revisited

In August of last year I wrote about A123 Systems and their planned IPO, it’s out of the gate today and what a ride as the IPO was oversubscribed with the market cap right now approaching $1.8 billion and showing little signs of slowing down.

Energy storage is the most potent sector in cleantech because it doesn’t require wholesale infrastructure development and beyond transportation has a very broad range of applications that are currently not served by any existing technology, like storage for home and commercial solar installations.

I’ve been writing about the energy storage sector for over a year. I believe energy storage will be a fundamental enabling technology for cleantech, the sixth industrial revolution and a major investment theme for the next 20 to 30 years. I’ve written about an emerging consensus that sales in the energy storage sector will grow from $30 billion to well over $100 billion by 2020. I’ve also written about a variety of technologies and companies that will benefit from explosive growth in the sector.

- John Peterson, AltEnergy Stocks