Friday, October 23, 2009

Origin of Focus Groups

I am going to order this for the library, but check out this excerpt from Century of The Self.

This is an acclaimed BBC series about the development of modern marketing based on psychological principles.

The excerpt above covers the origin of the focus group format and the psychological methods used to prompt people to buy products.

Go beyond your assignments and learn the real story behind marketing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

400 Richest Americans

An after-dinner mint of information: Forbes's 400 Richest Americans.

There is a cool way to search by industry and state.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Measuring Short Interest in a Company's Shares

Let's say you need to know the short selling interest in a stock. Short selling means that you sell borrowed shares at today's prices before you have to pay for them. Which means you can make money in a declining market.

The easiest way to do this is to check the NASDAQ (EVEN FOR STOCKS THAT ARE NYSE-LISTED) website.

In NASDAQ, put in the name of your company, and then look at the left hand side of the screen. You should see short interest listed there.

If you are interested in long and short interest in commodities, check out the official Commitment of Traders link here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Review: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk

These books are the kind of thing that can put you over the top in business, school and life.

So let's do another one.

Peter Bernstein's Against the Gods, The Remarkable Story of Risk.

Here's what Publishers Weekly said about this title:

Risk management, which assumes that future risks can be understood, measured and to some extent predicted, is the focus of this solid, thoroughgoing history. Probability theory, pioneered by 17th-century French mathematicians Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat, has made possible the design of great bridges, electric power utilities and insurance policies.

The statistical sampling methods invented by dour Swiss scientist Jacob Bernoulli undergird diverse activities such as the testing of new drugs, stock-picking and wine tasting. Bernstein (Capital Ideas) animates his narrative with a colorful cast of risk-analyzers, including gambling addict Girolamo Cardano, 16th-century Italian physician to the Pope; and John Maynard Keynes, whose concerns over economic uncertainty compelled him to recommend an active, interventionist role for government.

Bernstein also traces the development of business forecasting, game theory, insurance and derivatives, and surveys recent advances in risk forecasting made possible through chaos theory and by the development of neural networks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Candlestick Charts in Stock Analysis

Candlestick chart analysis is an amazingly visceral way to represent technical analysis in stocks. It actually comes from Japan and originated in rice futures trading.

The resemblance to candlesticks gives this method its name. Seen together on a chart, the candlesticks reveal the same information - and sometimes more - that Western technical analysis does. It's quicker visually to grasp and the patterns have great names like "gravestone," "shooting star," and "spinning tops."

Candlestick charting is great for determining market direction and particularly useful to short-term traders.

I have ordered more candlestick charting books, but here's a link to our current holdings.

Friday, October 2, 2009

How Much Does A Company Spend on Research and Development?

Do you need to find out how much a company spends on Research and Development?

My favorite way to do this is through the Mergent database. Find your company, select financials and then choose income statement (see below):

By the way, the above example is Apple.

Business Classic: Barbarians at the Gate

The 1980s are the prototypical Wall Street decade. The country had emerged from a lengthy slumber marked by stagnant growth and a bear market.

Many of the high profile deals of the 1980s were in fact part of a massive industrial reorganization of America. It was the age of the junk bond, leveraged buy-outs and hostile takeovers.

Barbarians at the Gate covers one aspect of that story: the machinations surrounding the massive 1988 RJR Nabsico leveraged buy-out. It's a titanic struggle of egos between CEOs and corporate raiders as both sides want to take the company private and line their pockets as well.

Read this book to better understand corporate finance, learn about the origins of modern Wall Street dealmaking, and read a business book you will be expected to know. Plus, it's a good time with classic real-life Wall Street sleazeballs!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reference USA Database and Your Entrepreneur/Start-up Project

Reference USA is my preferred way of looking up all the current and new businesses in your selected industries. There are geographic limiters - city, county, zip code and radius that you may use as well.