2 years ago Jay and Rob created the Carnival of the Capitalists. This edition celebrates the end of the 2nd year and looks forward to the Anniversary editions from the founders the next two weeks. In that time there has been some 3,500 hundred posts (see the graphic at the bottom) growing from an average of 25 for year 1 to 45 this last year, 85 hosts, a low of 11 entries to a high of 71. Every week for the last 104, CotC has featured posts from professionals, pundits, professors and practitioners about business, management, accounting and finance, human resources, taxes and regulations, economics, marketing, advertising, sales, business people, blogging for business, markets, capitalism, entrepreneurship and legal issues in commerce.
Welcome to the Carnival of the Capitalists.
Anita Campbell of the Small Business Trends asks why Are Small Businesses Avoiding or Embracing Online Banking? as results from 2 studies present different results. See the comments for some insights online bankers should note.
One of the main issues that hold back small businesses from adopting online banking is security. Small business owners fear for the security of their accounts when transactions occur online. (I happen to be quoted in the article on the reason that some small businesses do not adopt online banking.)
I've been following the Times online for some time. Originally most of the content was free, as time went one the Times started with a two week archive. Even then there was a way around that. If you used Yahoo! News you could still link to older stories; even those that you could only access from the paid archive if you tried to get them from the Times website directly.
But then the Times cut out the Yahoo! exemption and, without warning, reduced the free archive time from two weeks to one week.
Another free service the Times started, News alerts, has also become a pay service.
Barry Welford at The Other Bloke's Blog offers a suggestion for how Google can be more while retaining their simple User Interface: Happy Belated Birthday, Google. Here's Your Present
The bluest of blue chip Wall Street investment banks had been pitching MLB trying to win the offering and had dangled the carrot of proceeds in the neighborhood of a couple of billion dollars before the owners. However, the prospect of upcoming union negotiations with those proceeds as additional player ammunition, not to mention the public scrutiny of their fortune and operations led MLB to take a pass.
It's something that you might not talk about often, but your work ethic tells your clients all about you everyday. By observing your performance, your clients are sure to learn plenty about your character. Their decision as to whether to continue a work relationship with you will depend greatly on what signals they pick up and how they interpret them. Try to see yourself through the eyes of your clients, and put your best professional foot forward.
More and more leadership gaps in the non-elected ranks of government are surfacing worldwide. For example, I live in Toronto. Toronto is Canada's largest city with 2.5 million citizens. We have a new mayor that came in office with a "new broom" after a corruption scandal. The Mayor moved quickly to reinvent City Government and demonstrated great leadership. A case study of great public sector leadership...well almost.
The Capitalist Blogger, Nick Racanelli asks why on earth Palm would announce that its newest smart phone would run Microsoft Windows technology? What made these two enemies combine their resources in the handheld computing market? Palm Takes a Back Seat explains all.
Palm Pilot, the original big name in the handheld device world has recently stunned the technology industry. On September 26th 2005 the company publicly released that its newest smart phone would be running the Microsoft Windows CE operating system. As quoted from David Ewalt at Forbes.com, “…it was the equivalent of Coca-Cola agreeing to fill its bottles with Pepsi.”
Blogging for business
Blog Business World resident expert Wayne Hurlbert knows about Blog message boards: A blog traffic builder. His daily posts are required reading for anyone serious about building, maintaining and enhancing their blog.
One proven technique, that is well known and practiced by the internet marketing pros, is posting on internet message boards and forums. By posting on the message forums, savvy marketing people gain visitors, establish themselves as experts in their field, and multiply their success many times over. You can too.
All you have to do, is start to think like a marketing professional. The internet discussion boards, and even some of their other members, will do much of the marketing on your behalf.
Last week's host, Andrew Hughes of AnyLetter weighs in on different aspects of hosting "Carnivals" and hosting 3 in one week has given him some insights to share On Carnivals, Capitalists, and Technophiles.
By Thursday I’ll have entered three Carnivals (two Computing, one Capitalist). I’m amazed at how well received the Computing Carnival has gone, especially with Robert Scoble and Instapundit (you are both “the men”) have helped. But this isn’t the topic of the post, is it? No.
Today I got two Instalanches. Check out wikipedia’s definiton of a Slashdot Effect if you’re unsure of an Instalanche. Basically, it’s when someone with tons more web traffic than you have a link to your site, sending their traffic to you.
Jim the BizInformer considers The First And Most Important Question To Ask Yourself If Considering A Business Blog and provides a straightforward answer.
Blogs are part of a web and marketing strategy. And like any tactic or strategy, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Follow your primary customers and market to them where they look and qualify the goods you offer.
Yvonne DiVita who maintains the Lip-Sticking blog has some advice for those who maintain blogs - look at your referrer logs occasionally and you'll discover other interesting blogs. Jane Gets Smart by seeing who visits and fondly recalls flip books.
We were reminded of those fun days of the 1960s today when we were checking out a new blog on marketing. We uncovered this smart blog by checking our stats. We know you all do it...don't deny it. You may not do it religiously, or overtly, but you do it. You click into the 'check your stats' section of Typepad and take a peek at who's been to your blog today. If you're a business, this is valuable information.
Structural Failures of a Mass Evacuation by Automobile from Brian's eponymous Gongol.com examines the fundamental problems with getting a large number of people out of harm's way even when sufficient warning is provided.
All of the following are observations about the failures of mass evacuations by automobile, based especially on the well-documented evacuation of Houston, which occurred with considerable advance notice of the threat from Hurricane Rita. It is assumed that future evacuations of major American cities will also be performed primarily by automobile.
ex-Inflation, There is No Inflation from Barry L. Ritholtz at The Big Picture posits that removing volatile inflationary data to get to a convenient measure of core inflation is perhaps not a best practice. Read the whole thing.
If that title has you confused, than you are probably not a fan of the CPI ex- food and energy, occasionally referred to as the core inflation rate. That’s the measure some Economists have been using to track the rate of inflation. It’s a foolish game played by those whose grasp on economic reality is tenuous at best.
Yet even if the Fed believes the core PCE is the best measure of inflation, why have they raised the Federal Funds rate 11 times 3.75% (and presumably up to 4.0% next month) when the core PCE is showing only 1.6% year-over-year inflation as of Q2? The answer is the Fed would like others to exclude energy when measuring inflation, while they include energy in their own analysis.
Properly understood, inflation is an expansion of the money supply. That's it. What is commonly referred to in the media as inflation should really be called price-inflation. Price-inflation is the symptom, not the disease. I try to be careful in my own use of the terms, but I occasionally get sloppy too.
Don Lloyd of Catallarchy poses this economics puzzle: Name a non-government organization that effectively inflates the money supply. The answer is revealed in the comments.
Consumer sentiment is a terrible leading indicator, but a tolerably good follower. What that says to me is that people's perceptions of the economy, and even of their own finances, are more a reflection of what they've been reading than of what they've been saving.
UCSD Economics professor James Hamilton of Econbrowser presents two interpretations of a recent reduction in consumer spending: But you said more saving was a good thing. Some economists see this as positive means of promoting long term growth and reducing the trade deficit while other economists aren't sure this won't lead to other more ominous outcome.
Macroeconomists sometimes distinguish between the short-run and the long-run consequences of a rise in the personal saving rate. In the short run, a key determinant of national income can be the total demand for goods and services, and consumption spending is the biggest single factor in this. A lower level of consumption spending acts to reduce current income through this effect. In the long run, a key determinant of national income is national wealth, which is only acquired over time through national saving. A lower level of consumption spending means higher national saving, and therefore raises future income through the second effect.
Steve Conover, The Skeptical Optimist is not joining the caterwauling about post-hurricane fiscal impacts exhibited by our elected leaders but rather posts a useful suggestion about The fun way to pay for Katrina, and a new Constitutional amendment
There are two economic results which are far more important than the dollar numbers flying around in the headlines and in the interparty and intraparty accusations. Those two results are:
• the debt burden (debt-to-GDP ratio), and
• the growth in federal tax receipts.
Warren Meyer pulls out the divining rod and finds Water: The Only Market the Government Screws Up Worse than Oil over on the Coyote Blog.
I cannot understand why water can't be sold at a market rate. If you subsidize water prices, and more people then come to the desert than the water supplies can support, is it the fault of the individuals who show up, or is it the fault of the government that can't seem to allow markets to operate when it comes to water? This is yet another example of the government creating a problem with regulation, blaming the adverse results on the free market, and using the ensuing mess to justify more regulation.
We, of course, do not determine market value. We could influence it, I suppose, by buying up all the stock of a certain item and then releasing only one title at a time, but the truth is that this would be impossible for us to do, and if we did manage it, somebody else would then step in to make a better title available.
It is not the responsibility of anybody to satisfy somebody else's lust for books at less than the market rate.
My point was that gas prices are inelastic, because demand doesn't change much despite higher prices, and I offered my own personal thoughts on why it hasn't changed my purchasing. But even if alternatives exist, it doesn't change my hypothesis - that gas prices are inelastic - if people choose to still buy gas instead of using those alternatives.
Stephen Karlson of Cold Spring Shops was DOING MY HOMEWORK as he prepared for testimony before the House Republican Task Force on Motor Fuel Prices. The post examines the sources of high gasoline prices, the role of prices, and the commercialization of bio-fuels for a hearing conducted by Illinois state legislators in Rockford.
Et Tu Bloge author Neal Phenes looks on in dismay at a recent Tim Russert interview with Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman and David Brooks. And what goaded Neal to write Friedman's Flat Economics was the unanimous opinion that a tax increase was needed to defray the post hurricane clean-up costs.
Besides impoverishing Americans (including those middle-class Americans that politicians and the NYT claim to care so much about), the reduced demand caused by such an artificially high price would net very little additional tax revenues to pay for “our deficits, our schools, our budgets, our infrastructure”. I think we know that such a $1 tax on gas would likely have reduced government revenue due to lower growth and exacerbated the deficit and hamstrung locals dealing with the 2 natural disasters.
Martin Lindeskog of EGO is joining the entrepreneurial class and has submitted his paperwork to the Swedish Companies Registration Offices. He has been surveying the economic landscape in this post EGO Small Business. Martin is also looking for suggestions on books covering small business, entrepreneurship and project management.
The Stalwart, Joseph Weisenthal, takes a look at the current punk market for IPOs, M&A and venture capital's interest in network effects: Metcalfe's Law, Reed's Law Revisited; Question New Valuation Models.
You see, during Bubble1.0 analysts said "CMGI can grow at 150% as far as the eye can see so it makes sense to pay 1000 times earnings for them". Now the thinking is that if you can grow users 50% per annum, then the value of your user base grows in value even faster--by maybe 200% each year. Such is EBay's logic behind the $3 Billion price tag for the profitless Skype. These lofty valuations are based on so-called network effects. Read on.
I am not sure that in this day and age, in how many countries we can see this ironbox in action. In markets like the Indian market, with abundant labour supply (yet), the old model beats the new model hands down. Perhaps there are more examples out there on how the abundance of labour (or other resources) creates differences in the way markets adapt to technologies.
Crossroads Dispatches contains this remarkable post about The Doing It Ourselves Culture. Evelyn Rodriguez assembles a collage of thoughts and images about survivors and individuals she refers to Do It Yourself-ers. Brilliant.
If you think this is seat-of-the-pants story is atypical, you've not met many entrepreneurs of late. Or many DIYers.
We have gumption and guts and a reservoir of strength beyond that that which we know. Our mettle was rarely tested in the consumer age. We bought into the illusion of safety - but heroes and heroines don't get forged there. (And we're all heroes and heroines of our own lives - check out Joseph Campbell and Maureen Murdock.)
The DIYers are heeding their call.
Fear of Failure, Lack of Balance is certainly a feature that drives many entrepreneurs. A character strength or value can become a handicap if not kept in perspective. A good post from Adrian Savage over at The Coyote Within.
Every strength can become a weakness. Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes makes it into a handicap. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure it ruins their lives.
Free Money Finance looks at the shortage of pharmacists and some creative ways businesses and communities are filling the need: Help Wanted at Your Drugstore; Maybe an Opportunity for You.
Most people who are perceived as being talented started with very little talent. And a lot more perseverance. They practiced while the competition slept. And that has made all the difference for them.
Clyde Smith who writes at the ProHipHop - Hip Hop Business News blog has some interesting observations about Communication Successes & Tech Failures at MySpace, Meeting Customers' Needs & Wants in a Complex Environment.
What I'm trying to get at is that people will accept dysfunctional technology and spend lots of money on it if the functions that are provided fulfill needs and wants that aren't otherwise filled. People flock to mobile phones yet the actual voice quality and security is far inferior to landlines because they need/want that mobility. People love the LCD screens because they can get larger screens cheaper and they allow cooler design (and probably other reasons that I haven't checked out). People love Myspace because it's a premier hookup spot and it offers lots of features that allow for personalization of both the look and the modes of communication.
Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur's Journey offers this insightful post on How To Buy A Website And Flip It For Profit. It is an interesting analog to buying and flipping businesses or homes. Yaro offers a list of recommended strategies and points to consider.
Given the time it takes to get a new website off the ground because of issues like the Google Sandbox and the amount of work and effort it takes to create a site, produce content and build backlinks, the prospect of buying a ready established domain and website is very appealing. If you have a sound understanding of search engine optimization and the industry you work in online, you should have no problem finding under optimized websites, or perhaps fully fledged web e-commerce businesses to buy. By adding content, fixing title tags, linking structure and all the other good search engine marketing practices you can very quickly start reaping rewards.
We found out Friday that the union chief in one of our Western plants will be resigning his post. This is most worrisome. He has headed up the local for 15 years. He knows the company, knows the system, knows the limits. We will now enter into the twilight zone of transition with, potentially, a new team and a new outlook.
Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog reports on a motivational seminar he recently attended in Las Vegas. Zig Ziglar, Rudy Giuliani, Joe Montana, entertainer and fund raiser Jerry Lewis and former FCC Chair Michael Powell were among the featured presenters. Most went over well with Steve, a couple didn't including:
Real estate guru Tom Hopkins spoke about sales techniques, particularly how to lead a prospect all the way to the closing of a sale. One technique involved using different words that people are more comfortable hearing and which reduce sales resistance. For example, you would say total investment or total amount instead of price, initial investment instead of down payment, own instead of buy, approve instead of sign, paperwork instead of contract. Another technique was to use leading questions to get the person to say “yes” a lot, so they’ll eventually say “yes” when you ask for the sale.
What makes this one unique is that the carrier is paying the employee to stay healthy: the plan includes a Self Directed Account, funded solely by the insurer. That’s right, the carrier puts in $1,000 a year for each covered employee ($2,000 for families), to pay for routine and preventive care. Services such as annual physicals and immunizations get reimbursed directly by the carrier, but still count toward one’s annual deductible. Pretty cool.
The Enterprise System Spectator, Frank Scavo suggests that CIOs start Using Economic Value Added (EVA) to justify IT investments:
Historically, many IS organizations have not used formal ROI calculations to justify technology investments. There are two main reasons for this. First, in the past, business executives often did not ask for formal justification. It was often good enough for a CIO to quote one or two case histories, or to make general statements about industry best practices.
Regina Miller of HR's Brand New Experience alerts managers and subordinates to a couple of new websites that allow employees to rant - Bad Bosses, Bad Management and Bad Companies will get “Outed”. Regina looks at the implications.
When we talk about the valuations of the stocks or stock market indexes we always use P/E ratios as valuations criterion. Also, for bonds we use the yield or coupon of the bond as a valuation measurement. In the following table I display the inverse of the common valuation ratios.
According to the NY Times: “Superfund is guaranteed at least 8.75 percent in brokerage and management fees, and can take up to a 25 percent cut of any profits after expenses in any month when a fund reaches a new high.”
Imagine that you are a new investor and you get this advice: Buy businesses that you don't understand, which don't have a track record that you can make any kind of coherent prediction from, and which big institutions are buying but you don't know why. Oh, and don't even consider what the business is worth or whether the numbers make any sense at all. Just buy it. It could go up fast and you don't want to miss the boat.
This summer, while I was in Tunis, I read a story by Robert Reed called the Opal Ball. It tells of a time with a sort of Ebay-like marketplace, where instead of goods, predictions about the future are traded. It is the norm to put details on potential dates, career strategies, etc. on the market where they are traded like any other futures and it is only quite infrequently that the Market is wrong.
Thanks to the new Sarbanes-Oxley laws, my job is now mired in so much bureaucracy that motor vehicle personnel are green with envy. We can’t make a move in IT without “someone in the business” signing off giving us permission to do our jobs. Since when does “someone in the business” understand IT? Does the world really want business people making complicated technology decisions? Wouldn’t it be better to have your technologists doing that?
If you are looking for customers who spend more than average online, you could do a lot worse than target blog-visiting, small-business owners and managers.
Brad Warbiany, The Unrepentant Individual examines the tax rates vs. tax receipts argument that supply-siders make with The Useless Laffer Curve. Brad suggests an alternative and provides evidence that at this point lowering tax rates will negatively impact revenues.
The Left is correct. With current tax rates, lowering rates will immediately lower revenues. The problem is not that supply-side economics is false. The problem is that the Laffer Curve is a static analysis. Supply-side economics does not imply that if we lower tax rates, we will immediately increase tax revenues, unless tax rates are tremendously higher than they are now.
The editorial advocates raising taxes on gasoline to get people to use less gasoline -- "The nation's careless guzzling of fuel harms the environment and creates an unhealthy reliance on autocratic oil exporters" -- and advises taxing the hell out of gasoline as if it were cigarettes.
Millions of Americans have exercised the right to give away their organs by signing organ donation cards or the donor statement on their driver’s license. It is “legal” to give your organs away, but not sell them. It is because someone has decided for us what is ethical for us and we didn’t get a vote.
Boxer Watch poster Gary Gross looks at a recent House Resources Committee's reports on a proposal to relax regulations limiting gas exploration and production off of the California Coast: Panel Backs Offshore Drilling. Not surprisingly, Gary found House members on either side of the aisle had different perspectives on this proposal.
The level of work done for a pre-qualification varies. In some rare instances, the loan officer doing the work not only runs the credit, but verifies the income as consisting of the proper income documentation paperwork (w-2s and/or taxes, plus pay stubs and/or testimonial letter) for the loan, and determines how much of a payment you can qualify for based upon known income and known indebtedness, and actually includes the assumed property tax due to purchase price in the payment calculations, and gives you an answer in how much you can qualify for based upon current rates at the time.
I hope the print media is smarter than the record companies that fought the download trend for at least a decade, hauled 13-year olds into court, and assisted crippling their industry further while still managing at least to satisfyingly bilk the musical artists of their share, you'll be pleased to know. It seemed impossible for them to understand their young customers might like new ways of experiencing and receiving musical content, and the ones that could provide would make profits- hello iTunes.
Elisa Camahort of the Worker Bees Blog laments Web 2.0: Versioning the Web? Huh? As a former product manager familiar with requirements, specs, schedules and milestones she wonders why the Web has to be versioned. Good question.
McDonald's current campaign slogan sings, "i'm lovin' it." But that doesn't reflect the feelings of the customers, today. These days, people feel overwhelmed, beat-up, sick and tired. They've had about enough. They deserve a break. Abnu at Wordlab looks at 45 years of McD's slogans in You Deserve a Break Today
LiftPort Staff Blog author Brian Dunbar has a report on the progress being made with developing a space elevator. Photos and a short video are included as links in this post Photos & More from 1,000-ft Robot Test. Fascinating project worth watching.
Parody of Business
And there had been a massive aerosol event; thousands of miners and their families were dead, losing their facial features, or getting sick. The Massively Helpful Insurance Company was on the hook for billions of credits in health care, that is, until they called in Darth Jeremy, Dark Lord of Insurance Agents. It would take him weeks, but the powerful villain visited each policy holder in turn.
That concludes the 104th edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists. Again thanks to Jay and Rob for their creation and all who contribute so much every week to make this a success. As always, to particpate send your posts for consideration via Brian Gongol's CotC Submission Page or Conservative Cat's universal Carnival Submit Form.
If there are problems, comments, concerns, errors or other matters please contact me at drakeview @ gmail dot com.
And for those interested, a chart of posts by week by week comparison for the last 2 years.