In this economy, the fortunate among us spend two-thirds of our days at work. So good businesses are constantly having to re-learn some simple truths:
- Happy employees are more productive.
- More productive employees make up more productive firms.
- More productive firms are likely to be more profitable firms.
So, how do you get happy employees? Here’s a top ten list (in no particular order):
1. Autonomy - People don’t more »
Do low prices cost jobs? In a new report from the hard-left group Demos, that's what we are supposed to believe. According to the report, the U.S. has suffered job losses -- specifically in manufacturing -- in no small part due to Wal-Mart’s (NYSE: WMT) extra-low prices and low wages. But the Demos report is an object lesson in poor analysis, bad economics and good old-fashioned Wal-Mart bashing. And more »
Crony capitalism or "cronyism" is finally becoming a household word. If you’ve never heard of it, cronyism is the practice of investing resources to secure favors from government officials -- rather than in creating more value for more customers. The effect of successful cronyism can be big corporate profits as measured by the balance sheet. But the costs of cronyism are almost always borne by customers, taxpayers or both.
Whether more »
An Interview with David Gobel
David Gobel is Chief Executive Officer of the Methuselah Fund. He founded the original non-profit in 2000 in an effort “to reverse or preempt the damage of aging and the suffering it inflicts.” David and I sat down, albeit in two different parts of the country, to discuss the cutting-edge technologies that fight aging, the companies that are leading the way, and the quest to more »
When most people think of investing in comics, they think about getting their hands on X-Men No. 1 in mint condition. While $400,000 is no small potatoes for the lucky collector who pulls the original Superman out of her grandfather’s attic, comics on the silver screen are killing at the box office. Could there be solid returns among movie mutants and superheroes? It's certainly a less dusty more »
Could a new private space race inject some dynamism into dinosaur defense contractors?
Without government largess, many companies wouldn’t exist at all. Specifically, because the U.S. government enjoys a virtual monopoly on military power, defense and military contractors live almost entirely on that big trough that runs alongside the Pentagon. Otherwise, aerospace companies have been suppliers to an $18 billion-a-year monopsony called NASA.
But that may soon be more »
I don’t care how environmentally conscious you are. At some point the numbers don’t lie. If you’re investment strategy is based in wishful thinking and pegging your hope of returns on crony capitalism and subsidies, you should expect to lose money. Green energy is a sinking ship and it’s time to find a lifeboat in some other sector.
Take a look at this from Sterling Burnett more »
Back in tech's olden days, people used to pay a lot of attention to “first-mover” or “second-mover” advantages. The idea was (specifically with new technologies) you could be first to market with a new product and, if you were successful marketing it, you could dominate that space early. Failure to dominate would give your competitor a second-mover advantage. That competitor could come in with a similar product and capitalize more »
By Max Borders - June 12, 2012
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All value is. That’s why some of the most cutting-edge businesses are the ones slavishly devoting themselves to the customer’s aesthetic experience. A lot of companies ignore beauty. But this utilitarian -- and rather boring -- take on business is going out of favor in many sectors. That’s because we’re not just moving into the knowledge economy, but into the more »
If I were an investor of the bearish sort, I’d listen to Lao Tzu. And I’d put my money on “flow” businesses.
Kindly no comments about Galt’s Gulch on the sea. Please no snarkiness about tax havens and floating resorts for the ‘one percent.’ Yes, Blueseed will feature a barge 12 miles off the coast of California's Halfmoon Bay. But it's no Sealand.