Friday, August 30, 2013

Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Fun and Profit

"Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Fun and Profit" is a classic article that critiques traditional behavioral models of economics. 

If you're a bank or savings-and-loan, get your deposits insured, gamble the deposits in an unsustainable boom and bust cycle, take the profits, declare bankruptcy, wipe out the deposits, and make the Federal government pay for the lost deposits.

Inspired by the late eighties savings-and-loan debacle and real estate boom and bust cycle in Texas, and perhaps a sign of things to come.

Definitions of PRIZM Categories

You know those PRIZM marketing categories of consumers? The marketers use a variety of metrics to come up with names like Second City Elite, Park Bench Seniors (!), Young Digerati, Back County Folks (!) and many more.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hoovers Is Inside Campus Research and Lexis Nexis

Hoovers (company financials and company history) is available inside Campus Research and Lexis Nexis

The Campus Research link is easier: the Hoovers link is simply located in the upper left screen. 

The Lexis Nexis Way is more complicated.

Go to Companies, select Company Dossier and search your company. The information will be from  Hoovers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Texas Electricity

Brownouts in the winter and now maybe electrical brownouts in the summer. What's going on?

Well, ERCOT is the name of the entity that supplies electricity in Texas.

I found this article from 2008 that breaks down the history, law and intent of ERCOT's mission. Even though some time has passed, it's a pretty good introduction to the subject.

Bonus: There is also a very good summary discussion of the different models of electricity distribution (including regulation vs deregulation) in Energy for the 21st Century.

Monday, August 26, 2013

WRDS Database for Serious Data Crunching

We have access to the WRDS database. CRSP, Compustat, CCM, Audit Analytics, and Bureau van Dijk are among the datasets you can crunch. This database allows sophisticated, multi-decade analysis of stocks and bonds.

A coupla caveats:

First of all, access is basically restricted to graduate students and faculty. Undergraduate students may receive one semester access only if their professor has created a special course.

Also, you will have to e-mail the database company to set up an account. There may be a delay of one to two days in this process.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: Zygmunt Bauman and Consuming Life

I think this guy Zygmunt Bauman will be recognized as one of today's leading lights. He's doing great work on consumerism and the breakdown of social institutions and their replacements.

The nature of a consuming society (as opposed to our cultural language based on a production society) is not well understood. It has profound implications for self-identity and social relationships.

Here's my translation of Bauman's idea (I hope I got most of it right) in his book Consuming Life:

In a producing society, institutions tend to be large. You belonged to large groups that bestowed automatic identity.

Increases in productivity meant smaller institutions and less individual belonging to social institutions. Individuals were left to socially and psychology fend for themselves (incidentally leading people to the need to brand themselves). Without overarching, permament themes in society, social relationships are tentative and brief and identities are driven by the latest consumer good.

This is because modern communities are underlain by consumer goods.

Modern communities tend to be created by consumer technology (social media is an example), thereby rendering your participation in the modern world a function of economics (your ability to buy the technology). Those who will not or cannot participate will be left behind.

The take away for marketers is a deeper understanding of what motivates consumers and why.

Remember, if you truly want to excel, you have to understand the big picture.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tutorial Part 2 On Using The Reference Section

Here's the second half of using the reference section through our catalog. The reference section is a great way to get caught up to speed!

The tutorial covers accessing our e-resources and also finding physical encyclopedias you can check out.

The Persuaders

The Persuaders is a great Frontline documentary about modern advertising.

It covers the psychology behind lifestyle products like Nike, Apple, the SUV, and luxury products. These products use values of faux religious spirit, community, and transcedence, among others.

The real payoff is the great cameo towards the end by the "reptilian brain" genius French marketer

His idea is that people have primal instincts that are unspoken. Identifying needs for dominance, being in a mother's womb and more primal instincts can help sell your product.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Groundbreaking BMW The Hire Ads (2001-2)

Here is the first ad for BMW's The Hire, a multipart series of short films for BMW that featured big stars like Clive Owen and top flight directors.

If you're in marketing or advertising, it's a must see. Debate continues over the impact.