Monday, July 28, 2014

Austin Startup Blog

Blog devoted to startups in Austin. These tend to be cool companies: social media, software companies, laboratories and more.

A great resource for finding out how companies attract funding based on their business model and also who's HIRING.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Down in The Weeds: Researching Commodity Like Products in SIC/NAICS

So you are researching  a product that's almost a commodity. That is, the technology has been around, anybody can make it, and it's not patented. In addition the kind of machines used to manufacture this product could be used to make other kinds of products. So if you search SIC or NAICS for all the companies that make your product, you're likely to get a result of zero to only a handful of companies. How could that be?  

Think alarm clocks, key chains, or even a more sophisticated product like a tachometer. Because I got this question about researching all the companies that make tachometers. I found the official codes for tachometer manufacturing and received almost no responses.

Here is what I think has happened.  Due to the ubiquity of manufacturing equipment and the ease of manufacturing tachometers, there are few companies completely devoted to making tachometers.  Depending on economies of scale, vertical integration, and other factors, you'll find that almost no companies are exclusively devoted to manufacturing commonplace products. So very few companies would only make tachometers and get listed under that SIC/NAICS code (Yes, they should get listed, but the very often don't) . Of course this raises questions about the accuracy and usefulness of these codes, but the question is for another time.

So here's what you do.  Do a keyword search for your product.  You're hoping that it catches your word in the company description abstract. You might get a few false positives, but it's a good method.

When confronted with this problem, you probably need to approach in a different way.  Forget about who is already making your product.  The bottom line is almost anybody can.  You're looking to make it at a lower cost or differentiate yourself. 

In the screen capture below, almost any company with that code could make thousands of different products.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Resources for Bonds

Here's a round up of different ways to research bond issuance – both corporate and treasuries – and trading information.

From FRED, Historical data for US Treasuries:

Mergent Manuals Database has Current and historical data for the issuance of bonds.

Look up the company or municipality you're interested in and within that record there will be bond issuance information.

Standard and Poor's Database Has current price information for many years of corporate bonds with varying maturities.

Moody's.Bond Record (1977 to 1999)
Moody's Annual Bond Record (1990 to 1999)
Mergent Annual Bond Records (1999 to present; 2003, 2008-9 missing)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Check Regional Economic Data at RECON

You can search metro areas, cities, states and counties at Regional Economic Conditions (RECON) for a number of interesting data points:

Income growth, mortgage delinquincies, housing starts by type, industry diversity and personal bankruptcies are just some of your options. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Water Wars in Texas

Good article about the coming mass privatization of water in Texas.

Yes, it takes an anti-privatization, pro-conversation stance.

Main book category for water economics.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Texas State Students Win Business Ethics Case Competition

reposted. Congratulations! 

Posted by Jayme Blaschke University News Service June 3, 2014

Three graduate students from Texas State brought home two first place trophies from the International Business Ethics Case Competition held May 7-9 in Tucson, Ariz.
The Texas State team of Shanna Shultz, Alejandro David Tamez and Coleen Watson bested teams from England, Canada, France, Hungary, Spain and the U.S. to win both the 30-minute and 10-minute presentation at the graduate level on the topic "Is That Blood on Your Shirt? Exploitation in Garment Manufacturing."

The International Business Ethics Case Competition (IBECC) is the oldest and most recognized intercollegiate business ethics competition.  The event is held in conjunction with the Ethics and Compliance Officer Association’s  (ECOA) annual sponsoring partner leadership forum.
Each team selects a topic from any area of business ethics and prepares a presentation describing the problem and proposing a solution. Judges listen to the team’s presentation, question students and then give the team feedback. Presentations cover the legal, financial and ethical dimensions of the case, but special emphasis is placed on the strength of the ethical analysis of the problem and the ethical acceptability of the solution.

The Texas State team constructed a hypothetical situation in which they served as ethical consultants to GAP Inc. concerning the tragic events that occurred at the Rana Plaza, a GAP vendor, where more than 1,000 people were killed in a building collapse in April of last year. Using what they termed the "golden rule standard," they argued that GAP has an ethical obligation to sign the accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh as a step toward expanding its value framework toward a sustainable capitalism that recognizes human rights and advances the common good while simultaneously meeting the demands of a profit-driven business.

Schultz is in the masters program in communication studies, and both Tamez and Watson are philosophy students in the master of applied philosophy and ethics program. Team advisor is Jo Ann Carson.