Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Austin Influencers on Social Media

If you're a charismatic, good-looking person who wants to blog or make videos about your clothes or  the restaurants you go to you might consider becoming an influencer.

Companies pay you to promote their products on social media but it looks all authentic and street and stuff because you portray yourself as just this cool person rapping about your life. Except your life has product placements.

Read all about it here – some people actually do this for a living.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

08-09 Financial Crisis Subject Headings

Read up on the  2008 – 2009 crisis and figure out the housing bubble, derivatives, sovereign debt, personal debt, TARP and more. 

Our subject headings:

the best one: US Financial Crises

Global Financial Crisis

Financial Crises United States History

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Link to Federal Reserve Speeches

Here's the link to past Fed Reserve speeches.

Don't fight the Fed, as they say. The speeches tell you what the Fed is going to do and their thought process. Right or wrong, they make the market, so listen.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Business At The Movies: Glengarry Glenn Ross

This is the famous speech Alec Baldwin gives to his sales force in the movie Glengarry Glenn Ross.
Always be closing.NSFW.

Margins in 10-K

10-Ks (a company's annual report) have a wealth of cool information.

Example: listing of profit margins for products.

In this example, here's the 10-K for VF Corp (VFC) the jeans company. Inside the report VFC lists the margins for its products, oftentimes breaking out brands and segments of its business.

10-Ks are long so do a ctr-f (find function) word search for margins

Screen shots

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Favorite Easy Statistics Book

Need a little refresher on standard deviation, median, mode, sampling error and more?

This is my favorite, easy to read book for the rest of us - The Joy of Stats.

Covers basic and advanced statistical topics. Other books on stats are in the same area.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Company's Financials Don't Display In Orbis - Fix

So you've done a search of our wonderful database Orbis, but there are no company financials displaying for your company! Go to my accounts and make sure that the 10 K annual report option has a check mark.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Herbalife, Pyramid Schemes and John Oliver's Take

Multilevel marketing, or for some people, pyramid schemes, have been in the news recently. Tune in for a lively critique of this business model.

Ad $ Summary

The help video for Ad $ Summary.

Mergent Tutorial

Here's a tutorial about using our database Mergent. It's a great way to do advanced company financials research.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Vemma Drink Biz Model Controversy

From Rolling Stone:
"Vemma is the latest mutation of an American invention. Multilevel marketing began in the middle of the past century with one company, a predecessor of Amway. The idea was simple: Instead of just selling a product, you could recruit people to sell it, too. Then, when they made a sale, you both shared in the profit. Recruiting soon became a lot more profitable than merely selling, a shift in incentives that produced a first in American consumerism: Suddenly the pitch was more important than the product. In some cases it wasn't necessary to even have a product. For some 50 years, lawmakers, consumer advocates and lobbying groups have argued over whether this unique setup constitutes a legitimate business or something more sinister, like an illegal pyramid scheme"

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Credit Ratings of A Company

Financial research firms rate the credit of publicly traded companies. Some of the most famous are Standard and Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, and Morningstar.

You can find Standard and Poor's credit ratings of a company using our Standard and Poor's Netvantage database.

Once you're in:

1. Enter the company's name or ticker
2. Choose stock reports over on the right side of the screen
3. scroll down and you'll see their credit rating.

See below:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Featured Book: Thinking Fast and Slow

Our copy here.

Should you think fast or slow? Some people say your Zen like first instinct reaction is the correct one. And that's a legitimate point of view.

Some people say no – saying that your first instinct is almost always wrong and you should stop and think carefully.

Thinking Fast and Slow is the title of this book by Daniel Kahnemann. He delights in pointing out how simple tricks like anchoring bias affect people's cognition. The book lists several other cognition failures that produce incorrect short-term judgment. It's worth reading to get an idea of these pitfalls.

Both schools of thought - be Zen, be cautious - probably have merit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: Reminiscences of A Stock Operator

This may be the best book ever written about trading stocks. Sure, it was written a hundred years or so ago, but the market behaves very similarly today. 

Jesse Livermore made millions in the glory years of early 20th century stock trading. He DID NOT use inside information either - just tape reading (the record of price movement).

Here's some major takeaways from the book:

1. Learn to read a chart (book doesn't discuss chart reading, just advises you to learn it)
2. Learn to trust your instincts, read the chart and ignore hot tips.
3. Learn that the market forms ideas that it is slow to abandon.
4. Learn to trade current events
5. Learn to recognize deceptive tricks (And this book has a lot of classic examples that still get used today!)

Wonderful writing really gives you a sense of early 20th century stock plungers: the bucket shops, the trips to Florida for fishing, catching the train, going broke in Boston and starting over in Cleveland, the crusty characters at the local stock brokerages and more. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Marketline Video

I made a new video about getting market share, size, and company/brand shares in Marketline.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Texas Exports

See specifically what Texas exports and to where. You can search by industry and where the products end up.
Exports by metropolitan area.

Also check out our database USA TRADEONLINE (available only in the library unfortunately).

Economic Indicator Links

These sites are where you need to go to find the unemployment rate, consumer price index (CPI), number of housing starts, what people are spending, retail sales, and so on.

Well, you can get deeper. Read the agency name below to get an idea of what to expect there (labor statistics have such data as income, employment, etc...)

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Bureau of Economic Research's Economic Indicators (Awesome)
U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators (Also Awesome)
Fed Data on Money Flow and Supply 

You can also use our handy database Economagic. But the above links will work just fine for most projects.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Helping You Analyze Simply Map And Other Economic Demographic Data

Enrico Moretti's The New Geography Of Jobs can help you understand the significance of demographic and economic data like you would find a database like Simply Map.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Orbis Tutorial 2: Creating Your Custom Search

In this tutorial, learn to do custom searches in Orbis. Find companies by financial data, geography, ratios, industry and more.

Financial Ratios Resources

Ratio books give industry averages for costs, profitability, inventory and other measurements. Find out what to expect and how to measure yourself.


eStatement Studies - Online version of RMA Annual Statement Studies. More on this database here.


All current ratio book are located on the Reference Business Table on the third floor
Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios.
Annual Statments Studies (Robert Morris and Associates)
Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios

Find an Individual Company's Specific Ratios

Use Mergent to see an individual company's ratios. Once you get to Mergent, do a company search, then click financials and you'll see Ratios.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lynda.com: Computer Tutorials Database

Learn about Lynda.com here

Also available on the databases page.

Lynda.com is a great database you can now access for computer help tutorials. Learn how to use spreadsheets, image editing software, and any other computer program! People really like this database.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mathematics and Logic for Economics

Here's where those books on formal mathematics in economics are (official heading is economics mathematical).

Covers the use of symbols, rules of formal logic, sets, differential equations, theorems, variables and more. Check out one and curl up with it in front of the fire!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How To Find A Book Video Tutorial

This video shows you how to locate books at the Alkek Library.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Highest Paid YouTube Celebrities

Article from Forbes here.

Interesting list of self-made celebrities in telling jokes, playing the violin, doing your own comedy, reviewing video games, etc. and how you can make real money doing that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Business At The Movies: The Big Short

Our copy of the Big Short here.

This movie is a star-studded account of Michael Lewis's book of the same name. It's a good way to introduce yourself to the events leading up to the 2008 – 2009 financial crisis.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: Two Books By Frank Luntz (Recommended For Marketers)

What Americans Really Want 
Words That Work 

Frank Luntz is a political consultant who pioneered studying how people react to words - instead of actions. He was a master at calculating how people perceive a problem and packaging policies - both corporate and political -that met those expectations.  You didn't have to change your actual policy!

He's also very good at finding the gulf between people's stated values and their actual values and exploiting that.

We have two of his books here.  Interesting guy and a must read for marketers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Researching Banks' Balance Sheets

American Financial Directory is a good print reference source that provides information on individual banks' outstanding loans, deposits, and other information.

It doesn't seem to have detailed information on the big boys - just smaller banks - so Mergent is my preferred database for getting that kind of information. You know - Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Capital One, etc...Check their financials.

This is a cool website from the government that gives you up-to-minute financial information for your bank.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

American and Foreign Companies with Global Operations

Here's a database you may not have heard of. American and Foreign Companies with Global Operations.

Covers over 200 countries and 20,000 industries. A great way to do international business research or how to get a job living abroad.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Find Individual Consumers in Reference USA

Reference USA lets you enter characteristics (income, interests, and more) and then returns actual individuals (national, or by zip code, county, etc.). Includes street addresses and some phone numbers. You can also look up by individual name.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Prince And Artistic Control Vs Publicity

Prince famously hated YouTube and would not allow his music, nor even guitar lessons based on his songs to be posted. He wanted control over his music and wanted understandably to be paid.

He famously also held out on the major music streaming services until he signed with Jay'Z's service.

It's tough call – make sure you get paid at the expense of publicity?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stats on The Gig Economy

Traditional stats are lagging tracking the gig economy. You know, UBER, Airbnb, Lyft and so on. So I found Mish, the great blogger, who recently tackled measuring this subject.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Housing Starts and Building Permits

Housing starts (well, technically, building permits) by US Metro areas can be found here.

I like how they include counties and smaller cities as well. Oh yeah - "they" are the US Census Bureau.

Here's the link to the main Census New Residential Construction Page. There is a helpful explanation of methodology and a few other categories like Quarterly Starts by Purpose and Design.

Business Passings: Andy Grove, CEO of Intel

All of our books about Andy Grove here.

Andy Grove was a Hungarian born refugee who joined Intel - one of the first companies that made the processors for computers. He eventually became the head. A fascinating classic business American success story. Read the books above for a glimpse of how Silicon Valley worked in the early days.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Freeters - Japan's Part Time Underclass

There's a growing underclass of part-time workers in Japan.  Called Freeters, they tend to be intelligent, educated university graduates from middle class homes, but cannot find fulltime positions.

Update: the original video I embedded has been removed but here's a link to all YouTube videoes on freeters.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Money Changes You (but not the way you think): The Case of Ancient Sparta

Many societies have attempted to control how money is earned, saved and spent.

This seems to have been an attempt to create a centrally planned economy, to create a certain psychological state in the citizen, and to keep wealth within the national borders.

Here is the case of ancient Sparta.  According to Plutarch, the semi-legendary founder of Sparta, Lycurgus, mandated that money be iron trinkets rather than the more common gold and silver of the time.

You couldn't possess gold and silver, or any other objects that conceivably could store value, And the iron trinkets themselves were treated in such a way they could not be melted down and made into other iron objects.

It was difficult to earn, spend or save other kinds of money outside the official rules. It might be done, but was difficult and also illegal. 

So you're stuck doing what the system wants you to do.

And most people won't even think to notice this.

Estimating Construction Costs

Here is a list of great construction cost estimation books.

Direct link to Means construction estimation books.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States has a really cool PDF that shows you housing starts, types of housing built, and the cost of materials (among other things.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Business Statistics Demystified

You need a good introduction to a HARD topic. Written to get you started, and as intelligent as you are.You already know what the median and mode are; you need a discussion of Bayesian probability, or 12 ways of looking at correlation, or population distribution, etc.

Enter the wonderful Demystified series.

We're looking at business stats today. So check out these out and get caught up:  

Business Stats Demystified.
Stats Demystified
Probability Demystified

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Where to Research Bonds @ Alkek

Here's how to find current bond prices, specific securities available (including corporates, sovereigns, municipals and more), coupon rates, CUSIPs, upgrades and downgrades and more.

Mergent Annual Bond Record (print): Corporate, Municipals, government plus exhaustive entries for these categories. Moody's ratings, bond coupon rate, CUSIPs, ratings up and downgrades,

Mergent Bond Record (print/recent): Corporate (including international), Government, Convertibles, Features Moody's ratings, when issued, amount outstanding, currency,  etc.

Mergent Manuals (electronic resource - industrials, municipals, utilities and more) should have complete issuance up to the date, plus 52 week high and low for those.  

Standard and Poor's Netvantage (electronic): Features a corporate bond screener. Search by parameters if desired or by issuer/CUSIP. Current trading price, yield, etc.


The Bloomberg Terminal in 4th floor Alkek  Computer Lab. Features current trading conditions on any security you could want.

You could also search back issues of the Wall Street Journal. You can oftentimes find the original issuance announcement as well as other information.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Shares Outstanding

You can use Mergent to look up shares outstanding for a company.

1. Enter your company
2. Select the Company Financials Tab
3. And change to income statement, then scroll down

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bowie Bonds

David Bowie pioneered the use of intellectual property and royalties as a security.

From the article linked above:
"...Investment bankers helped Bowie raise $55 million by selling royalties from songs and 25 albums, such as "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars." It's a way for the 50-year-old Bowie to raise money upfront and then pay off the bonds with royalties from his music as they come in.

The bonds, which have an average life of 10 years, were priced in February to pay investors 7.9% interest. The benchmark 30-year U.S. Treasury bond on Monday was yielding 6.90%. Prudential Insurance Co. of America, the nation's largest insurance carrier, bought the entire issue."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pink Sheet and Over the Counter (OTC) Stocks

Not every stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.

Historically printed on pink paper, these smaller stocks are called pink sheet stocks or Over the Counter Stocks. Another phrase you'll hear is penny stocks.

These smaller companies and certain foreign companies are traded on this exchange. The stocks are usually highly volatile startups that are either the next big thing or scams designed to part you from your money.

Be careful because these stocks are very volatile.

They do not have to undergo the same vetting process as regular SEC registered stocks, although some do register with the SEC.

SEC page with Pink Sheet Information

Homepage for OTC Markets