Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Francis Fukuyama Trust


Why are some societies more economically successful than others?  It is an age old question and Francis Fukuyama believes the issue is trust.

Find his book here. 

Trust allows larger scale economic enterprises beyond the immediate family.  But how does this occur? Fukuyama argues that large private organizations like guilds or church based civic Associations are key. If the state replaces these organizations, trust withers. Somewhat confusingly the author argues that individual rights taken to an extreme are also to blame. Perhaps the author is suggesting a return to paternalistic corporatism?

Read a review here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Finding SWOTs

SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. These are great reports that discuss competition, product development, regulation (important to drug companies among others) and the macroeconomic picture that might affect a company.

Recommended databases:

Business Source Complete – from the main page, scroll down and choose SWOT analyses on the right side and search your company

Marketline Advantage - Type in your company name, get results and then select SWOT on the right side of the screen.

ABI Inform (keyword search your company and the word SWOT)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Finding Case Studies

The best databases for finding case studies are

ABI Inform

Limit under to case study under document type.  


Emerald (do not click on the tab marked "case studies," instead do a keyword search for "case studies" and whatever you are researching. Emerald is management oriented.)

Business Source Complete.(limit under publication type to case study)


Whatever database you use, I recommend you also do a keyword search for case studies and your topic.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wikipedia Hoaxes News Roundup

Here are some recent articles documenting maliciously wrong Wikipedia information, and even some articles about entirely fictitious entities. In many cases, the wrong information stayed on Wikipedia for years and was cited by other sources. Food for thought if you are using Wikipedia.

I Accidentally Started a Wikipedia Hoax

The 10 Biggest Hoaxes In  Wikipedia's First 10 Years

Read About the Infamous Nonexistent Battle That Stayed on Wikipedia for Five Years

Wikipedia's own entry on Wikipedia Hoaxes (yes, we know)

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)