Friday, August 16, 2019

10% Rule of The Spread of Ideas

From a few years ago, but still interesting.

Sociological theory: Ideas don't go anywhere until they are adopted by approximately 10% of the population. After that, there's a good chance they continue to spread and  become the majority idea.

This is important to understand as a marketer.

What are Trade Journals?

What are trade journals? These periodicals feature real-life nonacademic experiences of people on the ground in a particular trade.

They contain management advice and hard numbers, among other things.

I've used trade journals to track down profit margins for Alamo Draft House locations, measuring sales from adding healthy items to restaurant menu and the process of opening an indoor ski run.

Use the following databases (be sure to limit your results to magazines in the tab):
ABI inform,

Business Source  (Open the source types on the left)

 

InfoTrac Small-Business Collection  (see below for limiting to trade publications)





Friday, August 2, 2019

History Of Video Games

As you probably know, Austin is a center of video game creation and the industry.

Check out our books on the history of video games here.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Company Strategies in 10-K

This was a real assignment. 

Looking for a summary of a company's business strategy? The 10-K annual report form is one possible source (available on the company's internet site, through Mergent or the SEC's Edgar database

In this example, Ross Stores explains its strategy of sourcing and pricing. This material usually comes in their business description, which is Part 1 of a standard 10-K format and early in the doc. You may also do a CTRL-F word find for keywords.


Here's a partial excerpt from their 2013 10-K:

By purchasing later in the merchandise buying cycle than department, specialty, and discount stores, we are able to take advantage of imbalances between retailers’ demand for products and manufacturers’ supply of those products. Unlike most department and specialty stores, we typically do not require that manufacturers provide promotional allowances, co-op advertising allowances, return privileges, split shipments, drop shipments to stores, or delayed deliveries of merchandise.
For most orders, only one delivery is made to one of our four distribution centers. These flexible requirements further enable our buyers to obtain significant discounts on in-season purchases.

The majority of the apparel and apparel-related merchandise that we offer in all of our stores is acquired through opportunistic purchases created by manufacturer overruns and canceled orders both during and at the end of a season. These buys are referred to as “close-out” and “packaway” purchases. Close-outs can be shipped to stores in-season, allowing us to get
in-season goods into our stores at lower prices.

Packaway merchandise is purchased with the intent that it will be stored in our warehouses until a later date, which may even be the beginning of the same selling season in the following year. Packaway purchases are an effective method of increasing the percentage of prestige and national brands at competitive savings within our merchandise assortments. Packaway merchandise is mainly fashion basics and, therefore, not usually affected by shifts in fashion trends.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Death of Hollywood and the Politics of Monopoly

Ever notice Hollywood doesn't make creative, adult-oriented films anymore? Sure, there are great. American films for grownups but they tend to be indie.

Wonder why?

Here is one answer by the great writer Matt Stoller:

"Both the Paramount Consent Decrees and the Fin-syn rules were designed to break creative industries into a three-tiered structure: production, distribution, and retailing. Producers were prohibited from vertically integrating into the traditional distribution business. That way, there are fewer conflicts of interest in the content business; producers had to create high quality work, and if they didn’t, distributors could choose to sell someone else’s art. Policy removed power as the mechanism of competition, and emphasized art."

Sunday, July 14, 2019

What Do P/E Ratios Really Mean?

Taken from p. 143 of Active Value Investing, the classic book from Vitaliy N. Katsenelson.

P/E (price per earning) refers to the amount of money stock investors are willing to pay for the stock as reflected in its stock price. First, determine how much the company is earning per share. Then check the stock price. Divide the current stock price by the earnings per share number. You have the P/E ratio!

So is a high P/E a good or bad sign? Depends.

A new growth stock will typically show much higher P/E ratios than an established company. Once a company stops growing rapidly, the P/E ratio will actually decline. 

Katsenelson quotes the legendary Benjamin Graham as giving a P/E figure of around 8 as about right for a company with solid fundamentals but low growth.

Katsenelson includes a cool chart on p.143 that shows appropriate levels of P/E in relation to expected levels of growth.