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Thomas W. - Extern Winter 2010

January is named after the Roman two headed God Janus.  He looked back to the last year and forward to the new one.  The Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people decorated their homes and gave their neighbors gifts.

This January I am a Roman and Volkswagen, Apple, and James Glickenhaus are my gift bearing neighbors.


Lets start off with Volkswagen.  The brand recently launched a new campaign to gain more control of the American market with the new 6th generation Jetta’s launch in fall 2010.  The Jetta is VW’s best selling car in the U.S. while the Golf/Gti is the best international seller.  The Jetta outsells the Golf by a huge margins, however worldwide for every Jetta sold, nearly 5 golfs are sold.

Americans like having a boot rather than a hatch; and for the first time the Jetta has a lower base price than the Golf.  Why is that?  VW in order to sell more cars, tightened the belt on the base model and cut many costs.  The new 6th generation base model Jetta has a 115hp engine that originally debuted in the 3rd generation Jetta 20 years ago.  Volkswagen also reverted to a torsion beam rear suspension and rear drum brakes, last seen on the second generation Jetta from 1985, 25 years ago.  The interior is characteristically un-Volkswagen-like, with many cheap hard plastics, which are used in econoboxes and souless grocery-getters.  Lets hope the cost cutting formula does not continue with VW’s unofficially named New Midsize Sedan, set to replace the Passat.  This January 10th, the NMS’s looks and real name will be revealed.  The NMS will be an American-market-only car to be made in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Therefore I anticipate it will be a little cheaper design to be more inline with VW’s new plan of dominating the American market.  I personally don’t care for the new cars’ direction.  I will be satisfied with my 1996 VW GTI VR6 for many years to come.  It captures the essence of European hot-hatchbacks perfectly.

VW will also reintroduce the Phaeton, previously sold from 2004-08, in order to give Volkswagen fans a sportier/more luxurious alternative to the grocery getter that the NMs will undoubtedly be.  The Phaeton was originally pulled because it was a $80,000 Volkswagen with a huge engine and countless electronic gizmos that all notoriously failed.  This time the Phaeton comes to the states, expect a smaller engine (280hp v6) less gizmos and a cheaper pricetag.  The gadgets will be available on the Phaeton’s chassis-mate the Audi A8 and the Bentley Continental, all products of companies owned by VW Group.  Another anticipated VW Group product will be released.  It is the Bugatti Galiber, which replaces the Bugatti Veyron supercar.  Expect another million dollar price for the Audi A8 platform mate.


Last year was the year of the iPad.  It dominated the market with its innovation.  2011 will be the year of the tablet as a whole industry.  It will be up to Apple to redesign the iPad.  Following Apple’s once a year refresh process for all its products, the iPad 2 is due for a design announcement this month, with the initial iPad being announced in January 2010.  When will Steve Jobs release his latest innovation?  I’m guessing tomorrow January 6th.  Why?  The Apple Mac App Store is being released on that date, allowing mac computer users (like myself) to download applications from an interface similar to the iTunes store.  This was supposed to be released with the new operating system OSX Lion (coming summer 2011) but it was detached from that product and set to release tomorrow.  It should be interesting to see Apple’s stock prices after this new product release.  I’m actively looking forward to it.

James Glickenhaus and his Ferrari P4/5C

Movie director turned Wall Street investor James Glickenhaus has finally completed building the racing version of his Ferrari P4/5, itself a custom one-off car.  Glickenhaus bought the last example of the limited production 2002 Ferrari Enzo and turned it over to Ferrari’s designer Pininfarina for a custom body and interior.  3 million dollars later and over 200 custom-made pieces of carbon fiber, aluminum, leather and steel later, Glickenhaus had his dream Ferrari.  The design was a modern interpretation of Glickenhaus’s 1967 Ferrari 412P and 1967 Ferrari p3/4, both racing cars that competed at Le Mans and numerous other endurance races.  The enzo-based P4/5 was always meant to be a road car, with no provisions for racing.  However, this past year Glickenhaus offered up his 2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia to go under the knife and to become Ferrari P4/5 Competizione.  The car was completed on new year’s day.  It is slated to do 2 six hour races before tackling the 24 Hours of Nurburgring later this year.  As a Tifosi I say Good Luck Jim!!!

And that’s why January should be a pretty good month for me.


My First Impressions

My name is Tom and I’m taking part in Cornell University’s Freshman Externship Program (FEX) at Hedgefundlive.com and the Frommer Group.

I came into the office today and was immediately impressed by the office’s extremely up to date technology and the informal nature of the office.  I was placed at a computer station like every other employee, making me feel as important and equal to the other members of the Frommer Group.

After that one of my duties as an intern was to tweet financial news through hedgefundlive’s twitter account.  I had never done twitter before as I personally feel my life isn’t interesting enough to make everyone aware of my actions and feelings.  It would be pretty uneventful, as it would read like this:

As you can tell, my tweets would be the same as all other college students.  However, in my opinion the use of twitter for a business, especially one like Hedgefundlive that prides itself on the openness of its operations, MAKES SENSE.  People following @hedgefundlive will be updated of all the operations of the business on a minute by minute basis.

I also used hedgefundlive’s facebook account to post comments on other news stories.  This was fun, as I didn’t only have to post on financial stories, but ANY stories.  My first post was on a news story about Jersey Shore’s Snooki writing a book.  It’s not necessarily the writing you’d expect to be doing as an intern for a finance business, but the fact that I posted helps get the name of the website out on the web.

As I finish this, I’ve been here for an hour and fifteen minutes and I’ve enjoyed every second.  I’m happy I’m actively participating and not just watching over someone’s shoulder, which has happened to friends with other FEX opportunities

-Tom W.