Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Subsidiaries and Brands

Sometimes the name of your company will not show up in a database search. One possible reason for this is that your company is a subsidiary of a larger one. Or, you may want to know what the subsidiaries are of a particular company.

This post will show you how to find owners of brands, the parent of a subsidiary or all subsidiaries of a larger company.

Here follow several options:

Type the corporate name (i.e. JC Penney ) into Mint and it's right there slightly off center to the right.

If you choose Standard and Poor's Netvantage, look up your company and then choose corporation record on the left side of the screen.

Bear in mind that subsidiaries are not the same thing as brands. If you need to know which brand goes with what company, consult Companies and Their Brands or Brands and Their Companies

Finally, if you wanna do it the official way (below courtesy of the SEC website):

A list of subsidiaries must be disclosed to the SEC as Exhibit 21 to registration statements filed on Forms S-1, S-4, S-11, F-1, F-4, 10, and the annual report filed on Form 10-K.

Book Review: Debt: The First 5,000 Years

What is money? Does it represent debt or stored value? And your answer to these questions carries a lot of implications.

In Debt, the First 5,000 Years, David Graeber follows in a long line of people that argue that money is debt/obligation, all economies are centrally planned in fact and so let's make the economy work for us.  

One reviewer's take follows:

"In advancing his thesis, Graeber introduces a number of anthropological and philosophical themes alongside a historical narrative of change. While the early chapters of the book engage with such subject areas as ‘Primordial debts’, ‘A brief treatise on the moralgrounds of economic relations’, and ‘Games with sex and death’, the latter half of the book is given over to a discussion of the changing role and nature of money and debt from the Axial Age (800 BCE to 600 CE) to the present day.

Three themes emerge as noteworthy for the economic historian: the myth of barter; the link between the introduction of coin as money and military activity; and long-run swings in the use of bullion versus credit money.
His conclusion is that the gradual extension of commercial or market exchange, primarily as a result of military imperialism, succeeded in reducing all moral obligations to a financial value, and in the process destroyed the ‘baseline communism’ that Graeber believes to have been the foundation of all social relations."

And this boils down to: 

"Only when we realize that paying one’s debts ‘is not the essence of morality’, but merely our current human arrangement, can we agree to change that arrangement for the benefit of us all."

Well, that's one take on the nature of money, and one you'll see asserted from time to time.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

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.

Book Review: Soft Sell

Soft Sell is the best book I've ever read about the art of sales. It contains both abstract and practical advice. Here is just some of the material you will find in the book:

*How to structure a telephone interview
*How to read people's personality and purchasing behavior by their dress and type of car
*How to keep your mind focused and motivated
*Dealing with sales resistance and reading people's unspoken priorities

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ad$pender - The Problem of Zero Results

Ad$pender is usually a wonderful database that gives you advertising budgets for categories of products, companies and brands.  You can use the database from off-campus with your regular net ID and password.

HOWEVER, a common problem is building your query and getting no results.

This is because a data point is missing. Instead of n/a in your results, you just get a big fat zero for the whole thing. Through trial and error, you'll have to adjust your query in order to get results.

I'll let AdSpender explain.

What does “There were no results for the report you requested” mean? This means that there was no activity found for the report you ran. This could happen for a number of reasons. For example, the brands included in your report may not have had any activity during the time period you requested, or perhaps dollars or ratings were not yet available for the time period you included in the report. In this situation you should check data availability or change some of your selections before running your report again.

Note: This tutorial is excellent, but it starts with the old library page. AdSpender still works exactly the same - just find Ad$pender here.

Business At The Movies: Executive Suite

Check out Executive Suite here.

Classic 1954 film about behind the scenes maneuvering during a corporate board meeting.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

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.