Carnival of the Capitalists 9-24-2007

Welcome to the September 24, 2007 (well, depending on your time zone) edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. Sorry for it being late — I had the joy of spending the weekend figuring out why my laptop was overheating and shutting down after 20-30 minutes of use. Once I got it working and reassembled, I had a couple of days of catching up to do. Anyway, please excuse my rambling rant and give your attention to this week’s worth words of wisdom:

Start Here

Charles H. Green presents The Cancer of Short-term Thinking posted at Trust Matters, saying, “Short term thinking in American business has become so endemic, and so harmful, that it is essentially a cancer – destroying otherwise healthy businesses and damaging the economy.” This is such a great post, and a topic that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. In fact, you’ll see several other posts in this edition tied to this theme, so I highly recommend starting with this one and letting it provide context for the rest of your reading.

Economic Policy

Leon Gettler presents Interview with David Rosenthal, Managing Director of Curtis-Rosenthal on subprime posted at Sox First, saying, “The fallout from the subprime debacle is likely to take three to six months, according to this interview with David Rosenthal, MD of Los Angeles based real estate consultancy Curtis-Rosenthal. That’s regardless of what the Fed does.” The result of more short-term thinking from the decision-makers.

James Hamilton of Econbrowser takes a look at exactly what “Helicopter Ben” Bernanke has done over the last 6 weeks in Money creation and the Federal Reserve. I sure wouldn’t mind having James in charge of the Fed.

Ian Welsh presents The Economic Outlook posted at The Agonist, saying, “My short take on the economy as it stands right now: the US is going into recession.” Or at least it’s going to feel like one.

Stirling Newberry presents Hi. Can We Talk Greenspanism? posted at The Agonist. This is a great bit of storytelling used as an instrument for a scathing review of Greenspan’s less-than-stellar track record.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Curb Your “Age Of Turbulence” Enthusiasm posted at Mad Kane’s Political Madness. At the other end of the spectrum (lengthwise, that is), Madeleine cracked me up with her brilliant haiku summary of Greenspan’s "self-serving, history-rewriting The Age of Turbulence".

Steve Faber presents Tax Breaks for the Wealthy posted at DebtBlog. I like the fact that Steve is thinking systemically about the possible unintended consequences. But Steve… is it really "punishing" the oil and gas companies to be removing industry-specific corporate tax breaks? Or just rectifying something that perhaps should never have been done in the first place?

Numerian presents Mortgages as Derivatives:How Abusive Practices Destroyed the Mortgage Market posted at The Agonist. Yet another example of unintended consequences and the importance of systems thinking.

Personal Finance

Aundi presents Complexity Theory and Economies posted at Queercents, saying, “Aundi at Queercents writes about how it makes simple economic sense that if demand changes, the product naturally alters; and, well, everything, including love and relationships, is an economy. Aundi came up with a few ideas about how we might alter our biochemical bodies and our governmental bodies… and this in turn would impact our economies.” I love her writing. More on systems thinking (recurring theme) from a very personal perspective.

MoneyMan presents A Look at Salary Data (from an MBA perspective) posted at Watch Your Wallet, saying, “A blog entry that takes a look at a recent MBA salary data survey and compares the hourly base salary of someone in the highest-paying category (MBA consultant) with someone in the lowest-paying category (Someone with an MBA working at a nonprofit/government organization).” Factoring in the work load really changes your perspective on salaries.

Moneywalks presents Car Gas Experiment: Regular or Premium? posted at moneywalks. Can premium gasoline actually save you money by getting better gas mileage? Apparently not on older cars, but the jury’s still out on newer ones. Just run the experiment yourself and see.

Phil B. presents The Best Mortgage Comparison Website is Bankrate.com « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity. This reads like an ad for Bankrate.com, but in light of Phil’s posting history and the fact that I can’t find any connection, I think he’s just a genuine fan.

The Financial Blogger presents 6 Ways of Increasing Your Cash Flow posted at The Financial Blogger, saying, “This could be useful to many readers as I am pretty sure that we are all looking at increasing by one way or another our monthly disposable income.” Common sense, but sometimes we all lose touch with that, don’t we?

Dan Melson presents The Affordability of Property in San Diego September 2007 posted at Searchlight Crusade. Get in while it’s still a buyer’s market.

Marketing

Steven Silvers presents Bury my rant on the Internet. posted at Scatterbox at stevensilvers.com, saying, “Consumer advocates take issue with SEO companies that get paid to push legitimate product reviews down into the clutter. But relevance is not the Internet’s obligation. It’s a commodity to be bought and sold, manufactured and manifested out of thin air. And eventually modern Internet users will figure it all out.” Really insightful — highly recommended reading.

Gabriel presents Facebook Practices Search Engine Reputation Management posted at <
a href="http://seoroi.com">SEO ROI Consulting, saying, “Search Engine Reputation Management is a cutting edge practice in the field of SEO, which consists of controlling as many spots as possible in the SERPs. Sometimes you can’t directly control it though, so you need to do PR with someone who has one of the spots. This post is a case study in Search Engine Reputation Management done properly.”

Jason Koeppe presents How To Optimize My Site – 10 Best On-Page Search Engine Optimization Tricks posted at Strategic Internet Marketing Blog, saying, “Learn the top 10 things you can do to your web site to optimize it for the search engines and why they work. These whitehat principles will get and keep your site ranked high in the engines. While your competition is still looking for the next new sneaky trick to fool the search engines, you’ll be optimizing more pages and getting more sites ranked!” I’m not sure I agree with his order — my experience shows directory structure and domain name to be of much higher importance. Still, it’s a good list, especially if you’re trying to bump up those last few places in the rankings.

Yvonne DiVita presents Women are Readers – Talk to Them in Text posted at Lip-Sticking, saying, “Women and words – it’s a winning combination. Talk to us and…you’ll win us over. Listen to us…and we’ll fall in love with you.” Is the flip side of this that men are more visual? We know that’s true when it comes to sex, but does it also apply to marketing? I don’t know… but I’d like to.

David Kam presents Screensaver for Promoting Your Company posted at MarketingDeviant.com. I have to admit I’d never thought of this one, but I can see how it would make sense for some companies. I think, though, that the images used in the screensaver need to also be in line with the branding of the company.

The Relationship Economy

Jay Deragon presents Quick Fix Factors posted at A Relationship Economy….. With Whom & What, saying, “Getting improved economic results from social networks is an issue of methods.” Companies looking for a quick solution as to what to do with this whole Web 2.0 thing are in for a surprise.

Anita Campbell presents 100 Small Business Audio Podcasts posted at Small Business Radio | Small Business Experts, saying, “Being interviewed on podcasts, and interviewing others on your podcast series, is a fantastic way to network (I’ve met tons of people through my own podcasts). This post makes it easy for you to find other podcasts. We’ve collected over 100 different podcast series and given a brief description of each in this master list.” Obviously you can’t listen to 100 shows every week, but this is a great resource for finding relevant podcasts both for listening and for approaching as a possible guest.

James Cherkoff presents Packing Up The Big Top posted at Modern Marketing – Blog by Collaborate PR & Marketing, saying, “How marketeers can regain their corporate mojo…” Cluetrain redux.

Scott Allen (that’s me) presents Why Apply Different Rules of Connecting on LinkedIn? posted at Linked Intelligence. Different social networks have different ways of connecting with friends/contacts and different consequences of being connected. Context creates meaning, and since each site is its own unique context, connecting with people on one site has a different meaning than connecting with them on another, and that’s OK.

Edith Yeung presents Should I Refer You? posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act., saying, "You are who you know. If the person you refer sucks, does it mean you suck too?" That explains very succinctly why I don’t connect with anyone and everyone on LinkedIn.

Sue Kleiner presents Blogging? What is it all about? posted at Trade Show Display Exhibits. This is a great first-hand account from a blogging newbie of the power of blogs as a relationship-building tool.

lecentre presents Google Maps Reversed = Spam el Goog posted at SEO Montréal SEO: Specialist’s Consulting Services, saying, “Local SEO expert Mike Blumenthal discovered some Google Maps spam on a huge scale!”

Investing

Asset Manager presents Small Company Investing – Scrumping For profits posted at Asset Manager, saying, “Those pesky small company profits. How do we get them?” Ahh, the joys of investing in penny stocks. If you can figure out how to beat the odds even just a little bit, the potential returns are enormous. I’m pretty familiar with this space, as one of my clients works heavily in the OTCBB markets. It’s a really misunderstood market — the redheaded stepchild that the SEC would just as soon see disappear, which is too bad, because it’s really a great opportunity for both business owners and investors.

NCN presents Learning A Little Bit About Dividends posted at No Credit Needed. Stocks growing in value isn’t the only way to realize returns on your investment. A solid, profitable company may be able to deliver dividends as well.

Matthew Paulson presents Don’t Invest Money in Your Company’s Stock posted at Getting Green. Generally I buy Matthew’s argument. The only problem is that he overlooks the fact that often employee stock purchases are made at a significant discount, e.g., 15%. That mitigates a lot of risk right there. Still, your portfolio needs to be diversified.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Deciding To Sell Or Keep Your Employee Stock Options posted at The Digerati Life. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have stock options rather than just employee stock purchase, you still need to consider diversifying. You may want to cash out and move some of that potential somewhere else.

Babak presents Sell Something: Dow High Relative To Moving Average posted at Trader’s Narrative. Babak looks at the recent market volatility and what that means to your investing strategy.

nickel presents "http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2007/09/20/vanguard-reduces-barrier-to-entry-for-voyager-services/">Vanguard Reduces Barrier to Entry for Voyager Services posted at fivecentnickel.com. If you have the money, Vanguard offers even better ways to make more.

Sports Business

R.Pettinger presents Irrational Behaviour and the Economics of Football posted at Economics Essays, saying, “Football is big business, but it doesn’t necessarily conform to rational economic analysis.” Just so you know, that’s British football, aka soccer, but the analysis holds true for just about every top-tier professional team sports.

Mark presents The Jake May Get a New Name posted at SportsBiz, saying, "The Cleveland Indians have selected a firm to explore naming rights opportunities for Jacobs Fields. Is there a market rate discount for used stadiums? Will the Indians have to settle for less than a new stadium would have received as a result of built-in brand recognition of The Jake?" Who knows? When the new Enron Field was (understandably) rebranded as Minute Maid Park, the naming rights actually went up in price about 70%.

Management

Carmen Van Kerckhove presents If diversity training doesn’t work, why do companies do it? posted at Race in the Workplace – how race and racism influence our working lives, saying, “Studies show that diversity training doesn’t reduce bias or increase managerial diversity. So why do companies continue to spend millions of dollars on it every single year?” According to Carmen, "[M]any diversity trainers actually teach people to hide their racism." That’s a scary thought.

John Crickett presents Selling To The Supermarkets posted at Business Opportunities And Ideas. While this is specifically about supermarkets, the advice here could really apply to any small supplier dealing with a large customer.

Customer Service

Todd Earwood presents How CYA is a Sign of a Slow Company posted at Todd Earwood, saying, “A recent client discussion smacked me in the face that CYA is a tell-tale sign of slow company.” I appreciate what Todd is getting at, but in the example he cited, I also don’t think the employee was out of line. At least she took it in an email and didn’t require him to actually put it on paper with a signature. Now that would have been really annoying.

Wayne Hurlbert presents Customer service: Putting clients first posted at Blog Business World, saying, “Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business. Without customers to purchase the business’s products and services, the company cash flow dries up faster than a rain shower in the desert. While most business people instinctively understand the importance of customer service, they all too often forget that customer service is part of every employee’s job.”

Personal Development

David B. Bohl presents Driven to Succeed, Prisoner of Success, Workaholic, or Someone Who Can’t Say ‘No’? posted at Slow Down Fast Today!. As someone who doesn’t say "no" very well, this particularly struck a chord with me today.

Christopher J. Brunner presents What Successful People Do – Part 1 posted at GreatFX Business Cards, saying, “Part one in a two post series – According to Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life, successful people exude similar qualities that make them a success.” I’m a big believer that you should "become like that which you wish to be". If you want to be successful, do those things that successfuul people do. This is a good start — I’m looking forward to Part 2.

savingadvice presents Why Money Is Not the Root of All Evil posted at SavingAdvice.com Blog, saying, “If any major religions truly pointed to money as the root of all evil, a lot of people would be trying to be as poor as possible.” Hmm… I love money – does that make me evil?

Miscellaneous

Raj Sheelvant presents Globalization of Labor – II posted at IT Strategy, saying, “The role of Labor is changing because of globalization.” It’s true. The ability for small business owners like me to outsource affordably overseas changes everything. Me personally, I like it, but American and Western European knowledge workers are going to be in for a shock as their job functions are outsourced to increasingly qualified professionals in every corner of the globe.

Dax Desai presents WSJ is free today! posted at Dax Desai, saying, “What is Rupert Murdoch up to with The Wall St. Journal. Explains his media strategy and plans. also talks about how this will benefit the Wall Street Journal.” With so many good free sources out there, is there still even a place for paid subscription content on the web?

Joe Kristan presents Compared to This, Private Tax Collection by Phone Isn’t So Bad posted at Roth & Company Tax Update, saying, “How the IRS once took the Fuller Brush sales route.” A little frightening to consider, but ultimately our "volunary" tax collection system is backed up by armed forces breaking into your house and hauling you away at gunpoint.

Golbguru presents Buy A BlackBerry For $10.5 Million, Get A Private Island Free posted at Money, Matter, and More Musings, saying, “Smart advertising for rich people or really lame stuff to get attention? Check out Sprint’s advertisement in TIME magazine.” Funny, if a little bizarre. Wouldn’t it be easier to just buddy up to Richard Branson and spend a few weeks every year at Nekkar?

That concludes this edition. Thanks to all who participated. You can submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of the Capitalists using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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  1. [...] Carnival of the Capitalists 9-24-2007 Welcome to the September 24, 2007 (well, depending on your time zone) edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. Sorry for it being late — I had the joy of spending the weekend figuring out why my laptop was overheating and shutting down after 20-30 minutes of use. Once I got it working and reass… [...]

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  4. [...] admin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptPhil B. presents The Best Mortgage Comparison Website is Bankrate.com « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity. This reads like an ad for Bankrate.com, but in light of Phil’s posting history and the fact that I can’t find any … [...]

  5. [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMatthew Paulson presents Don’t Invest Money in Your Company’s Stock posted at Getting Green. Generally I buy Matthew’s argument. The only problem is that he overlooks the fact that often employee stock purchases are made at a … [...]

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