Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Pretty crazy what they can piece together about you, especially using tricks like finding your aliases, etc...
The article includes opt out information but it seems a little quixotic.
Our database ABI Inform is a good place to read more on this topic from journals, newspapers and magazines.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Groupon will print you for a coupon for a local business - if enough people online show interest as well.
Groupon incorporates some of the key lessons of internet business: long tail marketing, greater efficiency in uniting sellers and buyers and social networking. I want you to think about that if you're starting an Internet company.
Here's a nice Analysis of Groupon in The New Yorker.
The article criticizes Groupon a bit for not being truly unique (there are already competitor sites) and for that greatest of sins in today's world: employing thousands of ad salespeople (hey, there's a job for you after graduation).
However, they do praise Groupon a bit for clever organization, adcopy and name recognition.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Mergent Industrial manuals cover most of the 20th century through today and list a corporation's financials, stock splits and dividends. Also included is a corporation's subsidiaries, acquistions and a brief corporate history.
The other categories are also as detailed with the information appropriate to their field.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
For example, the authors postulate that legalized abortion reduces crime (less unwanted babies), that the KKK model of information control resembles real estate agents' behavior, how wrestlers' cheat in sumo matches, the difference between white and black parents' naming of their children, and the economics of being a crack dealer.
You may have noticed that few of these chapters have anything to do with economics.
This reviewer puts it the best:
The drawback with such a freewheeling approach is that particular data may be consistent with a range of hypotheses. Picking a hypothesis to suit the data rather than testing
previously-formulated hypotheses may happen regularly in the academy, but written up so breezily, it smacks of ex post rationalisation.
I have hesitated putting this book on the blog because I don't think the authors really prove any of it. At best, there are some correlations that may or may not mean anything. If you want to shock and make flip arguments based on a few cherry picked correlations, read the book.
I suppose I can say two good things about this book: 1) it will teach you to rap persuasively about nothing and 2) irreverent breaking out of thought patterns is always to be encouraged.
By the way, did you know that crime may have declined due to making gasoline unleaded? Concentrations of lead make you homicidal....
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Track inflation (for multiple countries) based on online prices of anything you can sell at the Billion Prices Project from MIT.
I think this contains only aggregate inflation figures based on those products at this point...but still worth a look. Different gathering method than Consumer Price Index official figures.
By the way, here's the link (pun intended) to the infamous phone complaint to Jimmy Dean Sausage complaining about value deflation in his morning breakfast.
My Ivory Soap and oatmeal have already shrunk.
Monday, November 1, 2010
CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING A WEB PAGE:
* Identify the author and the author's expertise on the topic.
* Verify the facts, statistics, or quotes on the web page in another source.
* Identify the agenda of the page: are they selling something or promoting a point-of-view that benefits them?
* Check to see when the page was last updated. If you can't find a date, consider using a different source.
DO THE ABOVE BECAUSE:
* Most people don't know what they are talking about.
* Many people will make up facts, misrepresent facts, or leave out facts in order to support their position.
* People will tell you anything if money or power is somehow involved.
AND IN THE END:
* Learn to think for yourself and do not rely on gathering other people's opinions posted on the internet.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Ogilvy was a smooth, masterful advertising avatar of post-war consumerism. He successfully advertised shirts, tourism (notably Puerto Rico), Rolls-Royce and many other famous products.
In Confessions of An Advertising Man, Ogilvy (who's a gifted raconteur) stays mostly away from his colorful past and instead discusses his insights on the craft of advertising.
Confessions is full of surprising advice: for example, don't take an account from a company with declining sales (you'll fail) and sans serif is the easiest font to read.
Ogilvy, famous as a copywriter, also lays out some how-to in the art of copywriting.
If you're entrepreneurial, pay attention to how Ogilvy creates and runs his own advertising agency.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Please see the book review about Hernando de Soto's: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else about why the rule of law and equal protection before the law is critical to capitalism's success.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Don't forget the post about Reference USA to locate businesses by area.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
1600 Free videos from Stanford University featuring today's most successful entrepreneurs discussing their work, strategy and stories.
Also features their take on current business topics.
Listen and watch to the best business minds....
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Here's a quick summary (see annex 4.3 in the link for the good part):
A basic piracy operation requires a minimum eight to twelve militia prepared to stay at sea for extended periods of time, in the hopes of hijacking a passing vessel. Each team requires a minimum of two attack skiffs, weapons, equipment, provisions, fuel and preferably a supply boat. The costs of the operation are usually borne by investors, some of whom may also be pirates.
To be eligible for employment as a pirate, a volunteer should already possess a firearm for use in the operation. For this ‘contribution’, he receives a ‘class A’ share of any profit. Pirates who provide a skiff or a heavier firearm, like an RPG or a general purpose machine gun, may be entitled to an additional A-share. The first pirate to board a vessel may also be entitled to an extra A-share.
At least 12 other volunteers are recruited as militiamen to provide protection on land of a ship is hijacked, In addition, each member of the pirate team may bring a partner or relative to be part of this land-based force. Militiamen must possess their own weapon, and receive a ‘class B’ share — usually a fixed amount equivalent to approximately US$15,000.
If a ship is successfully hijacked and brought to anchor, the pirates and the militiamen require food, drink, qaad, fresh clothes, cell phones, air time, etc. The captured crew must also be cared for. In most cases, these services are provided by one or more suppliers, who advance the costs in anticipation of reimbursement, with a significant margin of profit, when ransom is eventually paid.
When ransom is received, fixed costs are the first to be paid out. These are typically:
• Reimbursement of supplier(s)
• Financier(s) and/or investor(s): 30% of the ransom
• Local elders: 5 to 10 %of the ransom (anchoring rights)
• Class B shares (approx. $15,000 each): militiamen, interpreters etc.
The remaining sum — the profit — is divided between class-A shareholders.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Yeah, there's lot of fun anecdotes about getting Dogfish off the ground - he's a free spirit to say the least.
But the real value here is a case study of watching a small business grow from incubation to being an established success story. In fact, the book is organized more about business principles than beer per se.
You're going to learn a lot about managing growth, product diversification, bouncing back from mistakes (not all of his competitors do so), identity as a brand, listening to customers, and a lot more.
Another cool thing about this book is that it addresses a basic reality in our economy: forget about taking on the big boys and find that long tail of the niche market.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Guides to working abroad in the database Business Source Complete
1) Hit country reports (kinda on the right side)
2) Choose your country
3) Career guides will be mixed in your results.
Once you get past some boilerplate text in the guides, there's some good specific information here.
The books can be found under music trade and sound recording industry.
Oh yes, there's music marketing.
Be sure to read this sobering article from The Root about the artist's portion of sales....
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Also interesting: a big viral hit does not necessarily translate into bigger sales....
Update: Despite a few naysayers, it appears that Old Spice sales (one of the most popular viral ads) have spiked recently. Of course, it's correlation not causation, but highly likely to be related to the campaign's popularity.
Still, popular ad campaigns don't always increase sales.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Hernando de Soto: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else
De Soto is a Peruvian economist that tackles one of the oldest mysteries: how can societies unlock their human potential? The answer, as he argues, lies in individual rights and a predictable, open legal system. Which the third world poor lack.
But how do you establish such a thing? De Soto's central idea is that the poor need titles for their often informally owned land and property. If you have legal title, you can get loans, and grow economically with that capital. But obtaining titles to some of these holdings would be fraught with controversy and entanglement....
This book is more of a thought piece and critics have noted De Soto's lack of empirical data in his work. But it's an interesting idea and ideas have to start somewhere.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I would also suggest Lexis Nexis to find the actual text of the law.....
Friday, July 2, 2010
Some newer information is given here, but much less prominence is given to outsourcing in these new figures and often it is not mentioned at all.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Four things I noticed about the defrauded victims:
- Naivete about the process of investing
- Lack of risk control (put all their eggs in one basket)
- Vulnerable to affinity fraud.
Affinity fraud is one of my favorite examples of how people get taken down. Affinity fraud means that the fraudster plays up similarities in ethnicity, politics, or religion in order to gain the trust of the investor. IMO, Bernie Madoff and Bernie Ebbers (of Worldcom infamy) both engaged in this strategy.
Or.....maybe don't invest with people named Bernie!
Friday, June 18, 2010
They come up with some surprising nominations. Read this and ponder.....Incorporate this into your career choices....
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Busted: Life Inside The Great Mortgage Meltdown is a sad and in hindsight predictable tale of the consumer real estate excesses of 2000s America. The land where credit was inexhaustible and enormous home mortgages just didn't matter. In fact, critics of this debt-doesn't-matter mentality were widely derided. It goes to show you that a culture can develop temporary insanity.
Eventually reality came a- knockin'.
No, this is not a book with abstract theories but rather a personal history of America's experience with debt.
Keep your eyes open out there!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The IRS breaks down income tax stats by income group. If you follow this link, you'll have to negotiate a rather busy page of links to various tables.
But it's worth it to see how the economy is doing (less wages=less taxes) or if you want to wade into the waters of tax politics. Just remember, this represents INCOME taxes - not payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes or which socio-economic groups serve in the military ;)
Monday, May 17, 2010
The database Business Source Complete has a limited number of videos that are filmed lectures of Harvard B-School people.
Access the database then choose videos on the right side of the screen. Then search by keywords.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
This is a thoughtful article from The Atlantic that seems unhappily prescient about how rootless, disconnected part-time work will become the norm and how that will affect our society.
I'll let the magazine summarize the content:
"...The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come."
No-one has a crystal ball, but sometimes these things turn out to be remarkably on-target. This stuff will affect the life course of a nation. See: Russia.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Understanding this stuff is key to deciphering how gold fits into the big picture of the global monetary system. So I'm going to lay a little knowledge on you.
Here are some books about Bretton Woods, which was the international monetary conventions that lasted from World War II until the early 1970s and is still often referenced today.
Finally, Peter Bernstein's (again) delightful book is an overview of the history of gold in human affairs.
Hopefully this information will get you beyond the day to day of the market and into a deeper understanding.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
To make this list, the company had to meet standards of accounting openness and adherence to conservative (i.e. reality-based) accounting standards.
In an ethically and reality-challenged world where companies' financial statements are often, er, enhanced....it's good to know.
Yup, Bed Bath and Beyond topped the list of large cap companies.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"...The state has its own electricity grid, which is not connected to neighboring states. That has allowed it to move swiftly and decisively in deregulating power markets, building new transmission lines, and pursuing alternative sources. "We can build transmission lines without federal jurisdiction and without consulting other states," said Paul Sadler, executive director of the Austin-based Wind Coalition. Ramping up wind power nationally would require connecting energy fields—the windswept, sparsely populated plains—to population centers on the coasts and in the Midwest. Texas' grid already connects the plains of West Texas with consumers in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston."
Monday, April 19, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
True, Texas is relatively unscathed by the recent economic troubles. But what's really interesting is the WHY of how most mortgage holders stayed solvent.
According to this article in Slate, it has to do with sane state government regulation of cash-out and home equity loans. You can't borrow crazy amounts of money against your home equity.
In fact, this provision is in the state constitution.
Aw, who are we kidding. The answer is we have Chuck Norris!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yes you can! Harvard Business Review assigned reading
Save your pennies, students! Alkek Library has just acquired rights for you to use the Harvard Business Review in EBSCO's Business Source Complete for your course assignments and research.
Rest assured that the 'Notice of Use Restrictions' that displays at the end of the articles does NOT APPLY to Texas State University students thanks to those Library Fees collected at the beginning of each semester.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well, those days are gone.
Production is much cheaper and there's more supply. New models of distribution (as in one big national Internet store) mean cheaper warehousing - which means an explosion of niche demand. And the development of mass number of differentiated products means people can buy stuff they actually love - instead of settling for the one big hit that everybody liked OK, but few actually loved.
So- capture niche sales and understand that much of the marketplace will become semi-niche.
Of course, the author Chris Anderson goes into more detail, as in more specific company strategies for distribution, structure and pricing. So read the book.
One criticism of the book is that these lessons are valid but may only apply to certain kinds of consumer goods - most obviously media, book, and music products. Whaddaya think? Drop me a line in the comments.
Monday, March 22, 2010
It's a little weird to find.
1. Go to ABI Inform
2. Choose the Browse tab.
3. Choose Just Series Market Research Reports.
4. Choose Just Style.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
These are the people with the benjamins, ducats, dough, and dinero.
The statistics measure the form the wealth takes (income or stocks for example), what states have the most wealthy people and how much money that is, and family net worth at the top.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Other Texas areas (including San Antonio) are here.
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Statistical Abstract of the United States has some information about the distribution of income by family.
Or you check it out by individual if you like.
Here are some of our books about the topic.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
According to the Federal Reserve website:
"Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources."
This is the schedule to the different 2010 Beige Book releases.
Friday, February 26, 2010
You, as a businessperson, have to deal with this problem.
This is the subject of Chris Anderson's Free: Future of a Radical Price. This book discusses the various revenue models you may have to adopt.
Here's an excerpt from the New York Times review:
We just ordered our copy. It'll be here anyday. Check out is free.
Monday, February 15, 2010
If you are doing a search on this topic, don't forget to search informal economy (or some derivation) as a keyword.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
This link takes you to all our treatises, but many of the treatises are about business subjects - bankruptcy, contracts and on and on.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Didja know that Texas took in about $92.4 million from hunting and fishing licenses last year?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The standard figures, from an organization called American CoreLogic, has come up with a report that is cited by several newspapers and business newspapers.
It includes the top 50 metropolitan areas by underwater status.
I would have put the report up in PDF form, but you must register for free beforehand, and I don't want to step on anybody's toes over at American CoreLogic.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The other good one is American National Biography. It only does Americans though.
Finally, all the British people are in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Sure, you could use Wikipedia for this, but sometimes non-experts DO get small details and historical events wrong. Plus, you don't have to wade through the controversies that polemical figures (such as economists) engender on the W.
I would rather get you all the facts so you can decide what it means. Especially after you read the original source material after getting this grounding.
Friday, January 22, 2010
We also have it in print - the 2010 edition is behind the reference desk. It's still table 605 in the print.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Bloomberg has my favorite economic calendar. Manufacturing surveys, employment reports, inflation numbers, consumer sentiment and more are all here.
Or you could use the NASDAQ version. It's just as good really.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I suggest you look here for some excellent analyses of pending bills and their impact on taxes, fiscal policy, money, and the larger economic picture.
Cap and trade, the stimulus package, raising or lowering taxes, trade policy, etc... all get the policy wonk treatment here.