Friday, October 28, 2011

Simply Map Tutorial

Simply Map just changed its look, and is more awesome than ever.

For those new to Simply Map, it features 3,000 data series on zip codes, counties, states, cities and census tracts that measure economic activity, local brand shares, product use profiles, demographics and attitudes toward products and activities.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Economics of Water

A growing population in some of the world's driest areas is leading many people to study the economics of water. Why is a diamond expensive and water free? It's a famous question posed in economics.

Actually that may not persist much longer.

Here is the main category for the economics of water.

To get an idea of how much renewable water a country has, go to Worldbank/World Development Indicators database.

Type freshwater as a search term.

Or check p.142 of the paper copy of World Development Indicators.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Legendary Investor Explains The Financial Crisis and Aftermath

Michael Burry ran a relatively nondescript hedge fund - until he realized that the US housing market was about to collapse and set about to profit from that.

(Remember, the market was overvalued, corrupt and unbalanced, and there is no ethical problem with benefiting from its implosion. Correction from corruption is part of the ecosystem. You don't want wasteful and unjust imbalances - like abnormally high housing prices - to persist.)

Made about $700 million that way.

Burry - one of the central characters of Michael Lewis's book The Big Short - has written a very interesting article here.

Read his take on what caused the crisis, how no-one noticed, what's next, and his view that our society still has not come to terms with an unresponsive elite class.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How To Compete in Business

In order to compete in business, you need a strategy.

Don't reinvent the wheel. Let Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy show the way.

Is your industry fragmented, emerging or declining? What is the appropriate strategy for competition and profitability in each?

Interesting ideas abound. Some examples: if you work in a fragmented industry, understand why your industry is fragmented (many businesses with no clear advantage over each other). If no clear advantage can be had - learn to focus on profitability over market share.

Or this: price wars differ in implementation depending on the industry.

Porter also explains how to read hidden signals that reveal what your competition is doing.

In short, this book will help you:

Explain to backers what your business brings to the table and what opportunities it is hoping to exploit.

Be able to explain how you will respond to challenges from other businesses in the field.

Here's a list to other Michael Porter analysis books.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Copywriting Books

Here are our books on copywriting
. Well, we call it advertising copy, but they're copywriting books.

Copywriting is the art of writing the text in advertisements.

Learn from the masters what makes a good tagline, how to appeal to a customer, and the absolute don'ts of the business.

And don't forget to read Hall of Fame advertising guru David Ogilvy's book on his experiences in the trade.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Books on Steve Jobs and Apple

To me, the legacy of Steve Jobs is bringing design, creativity and intellectualism to the corporate world and mass production.

Big business done (mostly) right.

Here are a couple of books on Steve Jobs

Books on Apple Computer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beware of Get Rich Schemes: The Death of Don Lapre

You may have heard of Don Lapre (video here), the manic TV spokesperson, promising riches to anyone that would follow his system.

Well, he died/committed suicide in prison, awaiting trial on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

True, Mr. Lapre had not gone to trial, but authorities felt something was wrong enough to charge him with several serious crimes.

It's a jungle out there, and without knowledge you are toast.

Link to my previous post about American Greed, the most excellent television series about real life financial frauds. There is some wild stuff on that show (you can watch it online).