Welcome! This makes my third time hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists over the last three years.
It doesn't get easier to sort and order the influx in the inbox of business-economics-finance-leadership-marketing-etc submissions even for a seasoned host. Each year, each week brings us more authors, yet more posts.
If you're reading, though, who can complain? That means more business insight and acumen for you to peruse.
Truth be told, CoTC hosts can't complain either. Carnival hosting has many hidden advantages. (Shhhhh....we can't tell.) One fairly open secret about blogging is the quality of connections made. For instance, on this CoTC run - and the day is still young - I've already got an invitation from a fellow tea-lover to visit their cafe in Gothenburg, Sweden (The Blue Chip Cafe): "We have a special blend with three black teas (Darjeeling, Ceylon, Lapsang), vanilla, blue flower and rum." Yum. It's personal email like that that makes it all worthwhile.
So take a sip of your favorite morning brew whether you're in Sweden, Sri Lanka (they call it bed tea there in the a.m.), or Saskatchewan and enjoy yourself as you unfurl the virtual pages of this week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
Oh, and don't forget: respire la vie. - Evelyn, Crossroads Dispatches
p.s. The photo of the bull and bear is from the Frankfurt Stock Market.
Michael Dawson of The Time and Money Group's Blog shares straightforward bond advice: "As interest rates go up, bond prices go down. As interest rates go down, bond prices go up." Read the whole post to digest Michael's simple-to-understand, A Simple Relationship to Put Money in Your Pocket. He adds in the current position of "the Warren Buffett of the bond world" to apply this education immediately.
David Porter is asked by a reader and answers What do Mortgage Underwriters do? posted at Pacesetter Mortgage Blog. David concisely covers the ins and outs of mortgage loan approval adding a personal story to bring the mortgage loan approval process to life. The hook: "We just sold our personal residence a month ago. We were given a letter that stated that the buyers of our home were 'approved'."
Value investor (ala Warren Buffet) George over at Fat Pitch Financials generously shares a mini-tutorial on how to properly calculate the annualized return on investment for your various projects in How to Calculate Your Return on Investment. (And I didn't even know about Google Spreadsheets until I read George's post.)
Free Money Finance presents How High Mutual Fund Fees Can Cost You Millions (Another Reason You Should Love Index Funds). Crunching some numbers on Vanguard funds with sales loads and fees, FMF underscores their continued love affair with index investing.
Bill Lopasio uses airplane flight metaphors, such as windshear (also known as microbursts), to illustrate how and why he thinks the current housing market is headed for a crash in his post, Market Microbursts at LWilliamLosapio.com: "The FED’s manipulation of interest and credit creates “windshear” in the economy. Home-buyers and property speculators can be thought of as pilots trying to land in windshear."
Peter Kua presents How to make $1,000,000 in the stock market automatically at RadicalHop.com. Yeah, that's a clickable title alright. Peter presents his own personal experience of trying out the recommendations in the book of the same title. Shoot, it seems automatically means automated rather than overnight: "Of course, if you’re expecting to make a million bucks in a couple of months, then you’re out of luck."
Joe Kristan of Roth & Company Tax Updates blog in No Appraisal, No Charitable Deduction showcases Bruce and Marina Ney who claimed deductions in 2001 of just over $210,306 for the donation of two parcels of appreciated long-term capital gain property to a charity, the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation. Publicly traded securities are simpler, says Joe, as he shows what can happen when the paperwork for appraisals of donated land and/or art aren't handled properly.
Nina Smith of Queercents asked a prominent Bay Area pastry chef and food blogger to get personal about the economics of food, working in restaurants and how money plays a role in both her own life and restaurant life. CoTC often focuses on macroeconomics and macrofinance, but this interview, Ten Money Questions for Shuna Fish Lydon, sheds light on our intimate one to one relationships with money.
Bob Vineyard of InsureBlog says, "Often sold, incorrectly, as a subsitute for real health insurance, medical discount plans are coming under increased scrutiny" by state governments. Get the straight scoop from Bob on the details in Discount Plan Crack Down.
Bryan C. Fleming presents Day #29 of his Million Dollar Savings Club series How to Get Through a Cash Pinch by offering advice on saving in order "to protect you from yourself... You suddenly find you pushed your checking account a little too far and you have no money until your next paycheck. If you don’t think this happens a lot, look at how many pay-day-advance services have appeared in recent years."
HeJustLaughs shares his own personal stock choice in Why reinsurance companies like MRH are the place to be (yep, despite Katrina, he says) at his HJL Money Blog adding, "I'm currently up about 17% on this one since June 13th."
Scott at Scott on Money helps put things in perspective in Your Week Was Not as Bad As... In his CoTC submission, Scott shares that it's the "worst week I've heard of in the markets" but, hey, at least we're not the trader who lost $5 billion.
Dan Melman of Searchlight Crusade comprehensively breaks down the property market and loan types into common home ('stick built'), condominiums, and then drills down to look at housing loans as one veers away from the "stick built' house starting with the modular dwelling and so on. Check out Manufactured, Modular, and Site-Built Homes: How Lending Practices Drive the Sales Market for a consideration of differing housing properties and how ease of loans affects said sale prices.
David Tufte of VoluntaryXchange quotes one of his old professors in saying that "we shouldn't knock the fact that "we don't make anything in America" anymore, because A Service Economy is a Rich Economy." And he has the charts from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook to solidify the case that deindustrialization may very well be a very good thing (income is first related to increasing industrialization, and then to declining industrialization; thus the US is ahead of the pack).
McKee Stewart shares his analysis of the California state "global warming" lawsuit (with similarities to the state tobacco lawsuits) against GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota and its implications to the economy and individuals. McKee predicts "depending on the prospects for success, expect other politically ambitious State AGs to try to muscle in for a piece of the action" in his post, What’s the UAW Think About This? at The Boring Made Dull.
James Hamilton of Econbrowser concurs quite a bit with The Boring Made Dull (above) in Environmental Totalitarianism on the California lawsuit against automakers and compares the state's with Russia's politics. James discusses Russia's oil production on Sakhalin Island citing that while "environment concerns about the project are real" essentially the environmental permit annulment appears to be a tactic to "help [semi-nationalized] Gazprom acquire a stake in the venture."
Barry L. Ritholtz of The Big Picture takes a good (and witty) shot at the recent New York Times article on wealth, Life is Better; It Isn't Better. Which Is It? Here's a taste of What is Wealth, Part II: "All temporal arguments are two-sided. The lowest economic strata -- with their indoor plumbing and their color TVs -- are "wealthier" today than long dead royalty of long ago... Sure, we may have Snowblowers, but we don't go to Mars for vacations, or have nano-tech cholesterol bots keep our arteries clean... Hey, we don't even have robotic servants to operate those snowblowers!Why, we are practically impoverished compred with people born merely 100 years from now."
Martin Lindeskog of EGO cheers on talk of The Privatization of Companies in Sweden sourcing an article that forecasts "mortgage provider SBAB, real estate firm Vasakronan, and drinks manufacturer Vin & Spirit (which makes Absolut Vodka) as first in line."
Wenchypoo at Frugal Wisdom from Wenchypoo's Warehouse uses economist F.A. Hayek’s 1945 book as the launchpad for her contemporary essay on liberal utopia, Interstate 5: The Road to Serfdom (L-O-N-G), citing it as a "well-written tome: a post-war warning to the nation about government-centralized planning and wholesale surrender of individual rights and freedoms to it."
BUSINESS - GENERAL
Tom Hanna takes a recent New York Times article to task in Whose fault is an inefficient government program? Wal-Mart's, of course posted at Tom Rants. Whereas NYT berates WalMart, Tom sees WalMart as providing reasonable prescription drug prices for the uninsured such as "290+ generic prescription drugs at a cost of $4/month, including literally lifesaving drugs like the insulin resistance drug metformin."
Kevin Hillstrom of MineThatData crunches the profit numbers and considers the positive implications in Starbucks: Is a Five-Cent Increase Necessary? Kevin points out Starbucks announced product price increase is top of mind for many, including morning fix consumers: "Based on the reaction of the blogosphere (216 unique posts about Starbucks in the past twelve hours according to Google Blog Search), many folks find the decision to increase the price of drinks by five cents to be conversation-worthy."
Greg Manter at the Retail Store Blog had an epiphany at a recent excursion for kitchen cabinets at Lowes: "These stores are self-serve all the way ... and shouldn't be afraid to admit it." The crux of Self-Serve Retail: the trouble with Lowes and Home Depot is about how these retail establishments set up expectations of solution consultants that they can't possibly staff and offers what can be done to better serve customers.
David Chamberlain of Exquisite Safaris discusses business-driven approaches to global problems in Clinton Global Initiative: Inspiring Change, Delivering Results citing for instance Richard Branson of Virgin: "The only way global warming's going to be whipped is if we can come up with alternative energies that are profitable," Branson said. "It's got to be sustainable. You can't just give the money away."
David Maister of Passion, People and Principles prepares for a speech to European business school faculty in Improving Mutual Understanding Between Business Schools and Business. He blogs his thoughts for feedback on biz school-to-biz interaction. Here's number 7 out of 9 ideas he tosses out for consideration: "Focus more on designing educational experiences (not content) that help students develop skills through guided practice (how to function in teams, etc.)"
A. Samuel thinks albeit the plethora of new low-cost airlines opening up routes that "the days of low-cost short-haul flights may indeed be in for a spot of turbulence" and makes a case for why at Talkback Msn Money Low Cost Airlines Part 2 posted at Property Investing. (See cartoon: If you've been travelling much lately, you'll appreciate the chuckle this Monday morning.)
Brian Gongol of Gongol.com offers clear step-by-step instructions in Using Gmail Filters to Control Spam. Brian uses Gmail himself for business mail, "but sometimes good email gets caught in the spam filters." His tutorial will help you sort within Gmail's spam folders so you can sift through and find the few false positives in less time.
David Foster of Photon Courier celebrates an important birth (that is, if you use computers) in his post. The baby? "The disk/computer combination was about the size of two refrigerators, and weighed around a ton." Check out: A WHOLE LOT OF SPINNING:
50 YEARS OF THE MAGNETIC DISK.
LEADERSHIP / MANAGEMENT
Leon Gettler of SOX First puts the people question squarely in front in his post, Marriages and Mergers. Citing Cisco as a role model for successful mergers, Leon deftly delves into the marriage analogy: "Company mergers are like marriages where the parties have to take the time to get to know the potential spouse and decide on money, children, religion, whose furniture survives and which gets turfed out."
David St Lawrence nudges us toward expanding in the first of a series, Moving out of your "comfort" zone over at Making Ripples: post corporate adventures. Says David: "A "comfort zone" is a pattern of behavior that gives you a sense of security... That certainly sounds like a great idea until you consider the following: Growth of any kind involves overcoming the fear of events, ideas, and people who cause you distress."
David Daniels of Business & Technology Reinvention writes in Who Do You Listen To?: "One of the reasons I left a well known technology company years ago was that the organization had shifted from being a focused group of smart people, without barriers, working across all levels through the hierarchy accomplishing amazing things..." David questions the wisdom of execs listening only to peers in a provocative post.
Wayne Hurlbert of BlogBusinessWorld sings a similar tune as Daniels above in his post Building A Creative Company: Embrace New Ideas: "Letting go of control of idea generation often takes a giant leap of faith... Seek out ideas from all employees, regardless of level. Creativity isn't an exclusive property of the executive suite, and doesn't require degrees and credentials."
K T Cat of The Scratching Post presents an employer-employee history lesson in the post, Passchendaele in the Office. Citing anecdotes from the 1917 battle where 310,000 British soldiers were wounded or killed: "A huge part of the problem was one endemic to World War One. The staff officers planning the attacks never visited the front. They had no idea what trench warfare was really like."
Carmine Coyote of Slow Leadership succinctly states the summary in the post title Leisure is the Meaning of Work. Want more of a taste? How's this appetizer: "The restlessness of today’s work-for-working’s-sake culture has more to do with an inability to relax into the leisure we need to be fully human than any innate desire to get more money and possessions."
MARKETING / SALES
Anita Campbell presents Apply for Small Business Awards, But Have A Great Story at her Small Business Trends blog. Being a judge for various small business awards, Anita notes that most award entry's "format begs for a great story as part of the application package." She offers her top six tips for how to tell your business story in a way that will get you to the finalist round, including: "Tell it like a story. Write it like a scene in a play, rather than some dry-as-dust financial analysis."
Starling David Hunter looks at the buzz surrounding Cocaine, a new teen-targeted energy drink. "Redux officials [the manufacturer] must be riding high right about now. But like all highs, this one won't last. The novelty surrounding Cocaine will wear off about as quickly as its buzz does - and without the sugar crash." Why the thumbs down? Read She Don't Lie, She Don't Lie, She Don't Lie at The Business of America is Business.
Jack Yoest was once privileged to introduce Steve Forbes at a fundraising event with 950 of his closest friends. Jack writes, "I was tempted to honor him with the most flattering, and shortest intro by saying, "Here's Steve Forbes, who needs no introduction..." Well, that may work for Steve Forbes and Steve Jobs, but what about the rest of us? Luckily Jack doesn't leave us hanging with that post intro, he freely offers his Six Steps to Your Perfect Introduction From the Podium over at Jack Yoest.
Andrew Trinh of Trizoko Biz Journal shares a pricing strategy tip and research from Northwestern’s Kellogg and MIT’s Sloan in How to Price What You Sell. You'll get a whiff of the breezy post if you start by taking Andrew's "Test Your Bizo-coolio-ness in 3 Seconds". The Game: Name the pricing point that sells more — $81, $83, $85, $87, $89. (Now, you gotta go read the post for answers.)
Jim Logan asks some provocative questions - and raises some good points about credibility and gaming the system - such as: "Do you trust reviewers whose every review concludes something is great? Or do you value a less than favorable review?" in his post, Are The Recommendations You Receive Sincere? After pondering his thoughts, I think you'll agree: "All this makes me think I ought to have a policy of sorts for reviewing books, courses, programs, and the like."
In Recipe for Presentation Disaster, Pawel Brodzinski of Software Project Management shares his how-don'ts. Or, how to screw up your next presentation, including: "Slides are the king. No matter what you’d say – the slides matter. Good slides will cover poor speaking... just read the slides and everything will be OK." (It'd be funnier if we hadn't made these mistakes ourselves, and learned the hard way.)
Evelyn Rodriguez (that's me) of Crossroads Dispatches shares some inspiration from a recent shopping research excursion in Manhattan in Respire La Vie. Sometimes writers, bloggers - and marketers - can try too hard, explain too much. Perfumery Le Labo eschews "explaining art" and rather successfully relies on the sensory experience of their boutique and a definitive focus on product freshness and quality to sell and to spread the word.