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No marshmallow cars & the next big thing: Blog

Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights, and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

One of my best investments ever!

Billionaire entrepreneur Ken Langone has picked a lot of winners. He co-founded Home Depot after all.

So when Langone told us that clothing fiber-maker Unifi was a top investment, we took note. The company is kind of small with about a $421 million market-capitalization. He's on the board.

Langone can also go big. He said he "likes" Facebook's stock. Ironically, he has know idea what to do on the social network. What he said he does know is that the company is figuring out their ad model.

A self driving car, why?

Google's driverless car prototype
Google
Google's driverless car prototype

My question of the week. Just because you wrote some code that allows you to find stuff on the Internet, why does that make you think you can fix something like the American Automobile?

We love our cars. We love driving them. We love collecting them. And we don't want self-driving cars that look like marshmallows with no steering wheels (my opinion here).

So Google, I know you're bored with the Internet. That's fine. But then how about you go fix the education system, or health care or the tax code. Anything. Just please, leave our cars alone.

If you don't believe me, check out this cautionary tale from the HBO comedy series "Silicon Valley."

Time to build the next BIG thing

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco.
Getty Images
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote address during the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco.

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella said he's also focused on building something big. He also spoke this week at Re/Code's Code Conference.

Let's just hope his version of "the next big thing" is not a self-driving, no steering wheel, marshmallow. OK, I'll get off my soapbox.

Disclosure: CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

Can Apple buy 'cool'?

Top executives of Apple and Beats Electronics
Source: Apple
Top executives of Apple and Beats Electronics

So what do you do when you wake up one morning and discover you're not cool anymore (or at least not as cool as you used to be)?

I guess if you're Apple, one answer is to buy something that's cool. And from what I can tell, Beats is still cool.

And so are the headphones and streaming music company's co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, who are coming to work for Apple as part of the $3 billion deal.

But according to a top VC guy in Silicon Valley, it might not be enough.

Prediction 2014!

Byron Wien of Blackstone Advisory Partners (Joe jokingly and lovingly calls him "BYRONosaurus Rex!") discusses his call on the markets and provides his outlook for the remainder of the year.

Master of the market

Denis Doyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Stocks are STILL cheap! This is the lesson from Wharton Business School Professor and Squawk Market Master Jeremy Siegel. Personally I hope he's right!

He told us that the stock market has not adjusted to the new environment of slower economic growth and low interest rates.

The Piketty debate

Economist and author Thomas Piketty prepares to speak to the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley on April 23, 2014 in Berkeley, California.
Getty Images
Economist and author Thomas Piketty prepares to speak to the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley on April 23, 2014 in Berkeley, California.

On the left, we have former Biden economic chief Jared Bernstein. On the right, it's Kevin Hassett, advisor to Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

They both responded to a Financial Times investigation into the data underpinning the highly acclaimed book on wealth inequality, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by French economist Thomas Piketty.

The FT said it found problems, including unexplained entries in the author's spreadsheets, cherry-picking of sources and transcription errors.

On Monday, Piketty will defend his book on "Squawk Box" at 8 a.m. ET (for the record, the author has called the FT's criticism of his work ridiculous and dishonest).

Squawkward Moment: Classic Kernen!

NCAA's 21st Century Blueprint

Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, shares his thoughts on implementing major reforms at the NCAA and whether or not college athletes should be paid.

Cramer clip

Here is Jim Cramer's take on the food fight going on over Hillshire Farms!

Hair Nation

Joe was really excited when he heard Paul McCulley (facial hair and all) is coming back to Pimco as chief economist. Thanks to our director @PaulDeFabo and technical director @Keith_Falcone for this quick low-tech look at what Joe would look like as The Dude from "The Big Lebowski."

Must follow them @

Let's give a shout-out to our friends from @OnTheMoney. The show airs on CNBC at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday evenings. It's hosted by our very own Becky Quick!

It also airs locally on many major market local TV stations. Here's a link for days and times in your area.

Check out the show

Kansas, circa 2008
Source: Wikipedia
Kansas, circa 2008

@KansasBand Phil Ehart is the official drummer of "Squawk Box" (and as a side gig he's also the official drummer of the band Kansas)! Anyway, when Kansas is in town we always plug their shows.

On Friday, Kansas is literally right around the corner from CNBC World Headquarters, at The Bergen Pac in Englewood, N.J. So if you live in the tri-State area go check it out!

Overheard in the control room

Producer #1: "Long show, but at least it's Friday."

Producer #2: "Um, it's Wednesday"

Producer #1 "OH, S&%#!"

Word Jumble

It was a shortened trading week because of the Memorial Day holiday. But Joe and Becky were still able to get some Word Jumble in—with Becky getting the only win. Joe's bonus Jumbled word of the week is OORTDC. Becky's word is ARREES. You can find the answers at the end of the blog.

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR)

  • Monday: Thomas Piketty and Michael Dell
  • Tuesday: Mark Okada (Highland Capital), Stephen Joyce (Choice Hotels CEO), Martin Mucci (Paychex CEO)
  • Wednesday: Mikel Jackson (AutoNation CEO)
  • Thursday: Mark Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz), John Donahoe (eBay CEO), Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO), Robert Benmosche AIG CEO
  • Jobs Friday! The CNBC ALL Star Employment Panel

Next week's economic calendar

  • Monday: ISM Manufacturing; Construction Spending
  • Tuesday: ICSC Goldman Store Index; Factory Orders
  • Wednesday: ADP Employment Report; International Trade Gap
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims
  • Friday: Employment Report

The Corny-Sappy Motivational Business-Based Inspirational Quote

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
—Theodore Roosevelt

*Joe's Jumble bonus word answer: OORTDC = DOCTOR
*Becky's Jumble bonus word answer: ARREES = ERASER

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