About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

28 January 2011

Mozart's Requiem

Mozart's Requiem (Mass in D minor (K. 626)) is one of the most famous choral and orchestral pieces, even though it is not completely written by Mozart (he died, leaving the piece unfinished). That said, it is still a very strange piece to play on his birthday anniversary.

The Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is back, although, this year I have far fewer chances to go to concerts due to other commitments. The theme this year is "One Wings of Songs", and the majority of the concerts feature vocal pieces. What is also nice, is that a number of concerts feature music and songs from South Africa.

The opening concert featured 2 pieces by by the "resident composer" Mokale Koapeng, and Mozart's Requiem. The performance was given by three choral groups - Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir from Germany, Chanticleer Singers and the Chamber Choir of South Africa; supported by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra.

The opening concert featured a new piece specifically written by Mokale Koapeng for the festival. I was not too sure of what to expect, other than choral gospel piecese (it is based on biblical passages). It was stunning - with the music perfectly matching the vocals, and the use of plucking strings and percussion beats gave it a more "African" vibe, and a really nice pace.

Mozart's Requiem itself, while great, did not seem to have the oomph that Verdi's Requiem from last year. Perhaps it is due to the smaller choir, but it just didn't seem to have the awesome power that certain passages (such as Dias irae) has in other productions I have heard. That said, the soloists were great, and it was certainly an enjoyable performance.

23 January 2011

Facebook Valuation

Facebook's recent valuation of 50 Billion USD, has created quite a lot of commentary - mostly centred around it being way too high (from most commentary I have read). The valuation is based on what Russian (and part South African) venture capitalist firm Digital Sky Technologies and Goldman Sachs were willing to pay for a share in Facebook. In essence, most commentators have argued, that they paid too much.

In terms of classical economics, that is true, or at least based on given information. Afterall, Facebook is a private company, and thus its financial results are not public information.

However, valuations can also be based on the net worth of Facebook's assets. And its biggest assets have currently no real means of being objectively evaluated - personal information. Facebook has over 500 million active members; which in turn translates to personal information including likes, dislikes, freinds, connections, activities, photos, and a whole lot more of 500 million people on the planet.

If one ignores Facebooks' traditional assets (servers, datacentres, offices etc) and liabilities, it means that the personal information of 500 million people is worth 50 billion dollars - or 100 dollars an individual.

The resultant question is simple - is the personal information of you, or any other person worth more or less than 100 dollars? In fact, if someone would offer you 101 dollars, would you give them more information than what you have willingly published in Facebook for free?

50 billion dollars? I think Facebook is undervalued ...