Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Victory for Texas Microbreweries

Texas microbreweries won an important right to sell beer on their premises without distributors. This is key in enabling these small businesses to operate profitably.

Good summary of the situation here.

A lot of the marketplace isn't exactly an open and free competition. 

There's a lot of unfair regulations designed to favor one interest group and that limits consumers' access to products at a good price or perhaps deny access entirely.

Note: The Governor hasn't signed the bill yet, but is expected to.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Estimating the Market for Lessons

Here's an interesting thing: what's the market for teaching adult classes - like rockclimbing, language, guitar, dance, belly dancing, cooking or whatnot?

I found some information in Simply Map.

Easiest thing: go to variables (left side of the screen), and click search.

I just typed lessons below, but you could search guitar/music lessons, etc.

The official category words are Education Hobbies (trust me) and "Recreational Lessons."

Simply Map Tutorial Here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Ratios Made Simple

Ratios Made Simple

This book breaks financial ratios down for you.

You may have heard of ROA, ROE, acid test, cash burn and other ratios. 

This book explains a lot of different solvency and liquidity ratios, and it explains WHAT IT MEANS IN REAL LIFE. 

Is the company likely to need more funding soon? Can it survive a downturn? A price war? Is it sitting on assets than could be better used?  

Written for both investors and company analysts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book review: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

The advent of do-it-yourself software and especially 3D printing could remake American Manufacturing and small business.

Suddenly, machines and software with vast capacity can be acquired by individuals or very small companies.

Everyone is having visions of  independent living or at least becoming an entrepreneur. But what exactly is the model for getting this to actually work economically? 

So I picked up Chris Anderson's The Makers: The New Industrial Revolution looking for answers.

(Earlier review of his Long Tail here)

The upshot is no one quite knows although anecdotal evidence suggests that it will lead to possibly a host of new smaller companies specializing in niche products (the reduced cost of production and sunk costs renders this possible). Anderson gives some examples of these in the book: a company that makes products for Lego that Lego won't make itself, and an aerospace firm. 

And while the heroic individual alone with his 3-D printer probably can't happen, some people do envision creating self-sustained communities or more local economies.

It's exciting to imagine a world continuing to evolve beyond mass production where very specific needs can be envisioned and manufactured.

This also might help solve the stubborn high unemployment problem

All in all, a good introduction to a very important topic.