Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Followup to Simply Map Tutorial

I decided to make a second part to the recent Simply Map tutorial video.

In the newer video, I discuss the mapping function of Simply Map in more detail. The original tutorial focuses more on comparing stats in a table.

Making a map in Simply Map usually limits you to one variable at a time - but there is a way to combine multiple variables in a map. Just watch the tutorial.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tips for Marketing Research

Here are some research tips for doing marketing research and using industry reports.

1. Dealing with broad categories of data. Your category - sportswear, for example - may very well be included in larger categories like men's apparel or even clothing retailing. Sometimes the data is broad like that. Charts inside the report will sometimes break it down.

2. If you can't find the exact product, look for a general category that fits. For example, if you're researching the Honda Fit, and are unable to find data in MRI+, select a close category like "compact cars with three doors."

3. Look out for whack keywords. The use of jargon has lessened in recent years, but sometimes you're forced to search with THEIR words like leisure, apparel, retailing, vendor, and the like. If you're having trouble, look at anything you get, and see if an unusual phrase is used in the title.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Text of Kalecki's Political Aspects of Full Employment

in 1943, Polish economist Michal Kalecki wrote a seminal article that studied a government's attempts to create full employment. This article often makes the rounds because of its provocative claim that private industry would oppose such a measure as it gives labor too much power.

Here's a link to the whole article "Political Aspects of Full Employment."

The whole philosophical question can now be quantified with theories and equation!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: A History of Interest Rates

Here's why this is an interesting book.

Most Americans' frame of economic history reference is less than 100 years old. There's a lot of still valid historical economic points about credit, interest, money expansion, default and bonds from the last three thousand years or so.

It's not irrelevant!

This book covers lending and credit from Sumer through the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and modern history. It can be hard to find these kinds of overviews!

In fact, as sovereign debt becomes the story du jour, read up to see how past cultures responded to default, high interest rates and policy responses of governments.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Read Austin Statesman's Business Blog

Great way to stay current on Austin businesses - the Statesman Austin business blog.

What's opening, changing, closing or coming to Austin. From food trailer to major companies like Stratfor, Samsung and Dell. Interviews, thoughts and rumors too!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Review: Griftopia by Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi's Griftopia is a good place to start to understand how many believe that derivatives and lack of regulation is damaging our financial system. Especially if you like your economic explanations to come with four letter words.

Taibbi - a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone - chronicles our national transition into a casino, where financialization of the economy takes precedence over allocating capital and actual work.

The result? Higher prices for food and oil, government officials paid to look the other way, and a towering edifice of credit and collateral debt swaps supported by a tiny amount of actual capital.

(By the way, that real capital has been sold and leased a hundred times over, so real ownership is unclear at best).

Features a great chapter that explains collateral debt swaps, and the musical chairs aspect of this form of financial insurance.

There's also a chapter about the ideology of the elite, and its growing influence in what is supposed to be a democracy under rule of law.

Friday, January 6, 2012

International Contract Law

So you need to look up laws and regulations in foreign countries. Here's how.


EIU Country Reports and Profiles

Includes the general legal environment and very often the actual relevant laws governing foreign enterprise.

here's how: type your country and select regulations tab. then choose "organizing an investment."


Digest of Commercial Laws K1005.4 D54 in reference section, main floor. contains most but not all major countries' commercial regulations.


hint: search the words (in the appropriate language) commercial or civil code to find online laws. usually, contract laws are in the civil code and business regulations are in the commercial code.

example: codigo comercio "costa rica"

bonus: our copy of the Mexican Codigo de Comercio....

bonus 2 : John R.Jagoe's export sales & marketing manual - everything you need to know about exporting rules and regulations. Covers licenses, container logistics, arranging for credit and everything else. Not the national laws, but the kinds of legal situations you will need to research.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How to Understand Company Financials

Sure, you know how to find raw financial numbers (use Mint, Orbis or Mergent for that) but what if you need help figuring out what they actually mean?

There are a lot of helpful books for that.

They are located on the fifth floor:

Browse the HG4028.B area here (includes e-books)

Also helpful: Corporations - valuation

There are also a lot of books on recognizing fraud, such as the wonderfully named Financial Shenigans (e book included in link)

Bonus: You can keyword search for books that address specific issues to an industry, such as how to analyze oil companies.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The New Black Market: System D

As the world fails to generate economic growth, many people are giving up on the system and starting their own businesses. These businesses are outside the regular legal and financial system

Actually, this is how most of the world lives, and now there's a word: system d.

System d comes from the French word debrouillard - which means a crafty, self-reliant person. The kind of person you might have to be.

It appears increasingly unlikely that the system is going to work any time soon. Consider reading this article and thinking about setting your own course in life.