Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Power of Fun

Spotted on the web:

“All cities with populations of 3,000 or more are required by law to publish and distribute (yawn) drinking water quality reports. Cities hate doing them, and residents throw them away, often without a glance. Bo-ring.

This year, we developed a mid-year calendar (who sends out a calendar in July???) that featured fun photos of out Water Services employees — guys who never, ever get the spotlight or recognition. Yet they perform a mega-essential service. So imagine what people thought when they opened their mailboxes and found a calendar that has a cover photo of water guys synchronized swimming in a pool?”

“You have to open something like that and see what’s inside. And that’s exactly what people did. They loved the concept, the fun photos and…they even read the boring legal information. I move around town and quite often see the calendars hanging in businesses or in homes. We’ve had tons of requests for this thing — even from other cities. And I believe it will change the way cities approach publications like this because they never knew that they could show a sense of humor.”


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Filed under General Management

Hedge Funds: Alternative to VCs

Spotted at

“Growing companies could be tapping into a new source of capital in 2007: Hedge funds are getting into the private-equity business. And although some are investing in large venture capital or similar institutional funds, other managers are hitting the VC breakfast circuit in search of direct investments.”

“So far, hedge-fund managers behave less like venture capitalists and more like giant angels, including sometimes passing on board seats. “They’re usually not as active as the VCs,” Tencer says. “That’s what everybody thinks is so great about it.”

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Filed under Finance, Sources of Financing


Spotted on the web:

Why do people procrastinate? This is an effect psychologists attribute to “hyperbolic time discounting”: the immediate rewards are disproportionally more compelling than the greater delayed costs. In other words, Procrastination itself is the reward.

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Filed under General Management, Human Resource

Inventory Management

Here are some slides from a talk on Inventory Management I did earlier this year.

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Filed under Finance, Inventory Management, Operations

Report: Patent Law Stifles Innovation

Among drug companies, at least, according to the report:

“A report by the General Accounting Office concludes that current patent law discourages drug companies from developing new drugs by allowing them to make excessive profits through minor changes to existing pharmaceuticals.” Read more…

Whether this can apply to other industries is yet to be seen.

(Spotted at Slashdot)

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Filed under Patent Law, Political

Consumer Technologies in Corporate Computing

“In the past, innovation was driven by the military or corporate markets. But now the consumer market, with its vast economies of scale and appetite for novelty, leads the way. Compared with the staid corporate-software industry, using these services is like “receiving technology from an advanced civilisation”, says Mr Sannier.”

“Since the software and the data reside on the service provider’s machines, the danger is of losing control of sensitive data, which is now in somebody else’s hands. Most IT bosses find this scary…Google’s Mr Girouard says a similar evolution in trust occurred when people reluctantly accepted that their money was safer in a bank than under a mattress.”

Read more from The Economist

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Filed under General Management

Efficiency of Capital Markets

The theory is based on the efficient market hypothesis (EMH), formulated by Eugene Fama in 1970 which states that all pertinent information regarding the stock market or a specific stock is readily available to everyone. Advocates of this theory believe that investors cannot outperform the market and that stock prices change randomly and independently of one another. Due to this, say the followers, there is no way that investors can predict the outcome of a stock. Continue reading

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Filed under Finance, Portfolio Management