Feeds

Overstock's Byrne deciphers Economic Meltdown Civilization Deleveraging

Wall Street as post-coitus behavorial psychology

New hybrid storage solutions

Radio Reg Patrick Byrne doesn't call it an economic meltdown. He calls it "the de-leveraging of a civilization."

When the ever-quotable Overstock.com CEO last sat down with Radio Reg, the world still pegged him as a tin hat–wearing crackpot. But now that Wall Street has buckled under its own excess, he's been recast as an financial soothsayer.

For years, Byrne warned that a Wall Street sleight of hand known as naked short selling was threatening the health of the American markets. And in July, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac struggled to stay afloat, the SEC laid down an emergency order banning naked shorts in the two mega-mortgage houses and seventeen other major stocks, including ill-fated investment banks Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

The temporary ban — lifted in August — wasn't enough to save civilization from its ostensible de-leveraging. And as the SEC steers clear of a permanent ban, some still question the role of naked shorts in the eventual collapse of Fannie, Freddie, Lehman, and Merrill. But the world now listens when Patrick Byrne speaks.

You can listen here, as the three-time cancer survivor discusses his bittersweet Wall Street vindication and the future of a worldwide economy he compares to a teetering tower of milk bottles. The sub-prime mortgage crisis doubles as the baseball tossed from across the fairgrounds.

As growth flatlines at his semi-recession-friendly e-tail biz, the Warren Buffet confidant predicts even tougher times ahead for the world's web businesses. Excepting Google. When Mountain View calls itself meltdown proof, Byrne nods in agreement.

Naturally, he goes on to gab about his epic crusade against Wikipedia and the New York financial media over the naked shorting issue. But we begin with a glitch in Overstock's Oracle-based ERP system, which recently forced the company into a five-and-a-half-year earnings restatement. "Our first commandment is 'maintain a bulletproof balance sheet,' but while the spirit is strong, the flesh made a mistake," the CEO told investors.

Patrick Byrne has a way of tumbling into such serio-comic situations. And talking his way out.

You can download an mp3 here or an Ogg Vorbis variation here. But it's much easier to simply hit the play button on the player over on the right hand side of the page or below:

Patrick Byrne

Somewhere along the way, Byrne compares the country's financial brain trust to a pair of post-coitus behavioral psychologists. And that's the boring bit. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
Alibaba swings a large one with STONKING IPO legal bills
Chinese e-commerce beast searches for $21bn from investors
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.