Category Archives: Financial

stultifying effects of social proprieties

James Turrell's The Light InsideLess fairy tale than fable about the consequences of collective hypocrisy, Andersen’s story bears a message that has become a proverbial truth… Choosing to ignore what is in plain sight and blindly acting as if there were nothing wrong are the targets of Andersen’s satirical barbs. That it takes an “innocent” child to divine the truth that “His Majesty” is unable to discern is a reminder of the stultifying effects of social proprieties and the way in which culture and civilization produce duplicity and hypocrisy.

The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, Maria Tartar on The Emperor’s New Clothes

big companies more than small ones

So which is it?

WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy looks to be in better shape, but a full recovery will only be achieved once small firms begin to prosper, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.
….
The Fed’s most recent moves to boost the economy by buying bonds tend to benefit big companies more than small ones. Through its planned purchase of $600 billion in government bonds, the Fed aims to keep long-term rates low, a move that benefits mainly large companies that can borrow by issuing bonds at low rates. The Fed’s so-called QE2 also helps by stimulating exports via a lower dollar, but small companies account for less than one-third of U.S. exports.

WSJ article here.

3 Rules to be a Billionaire

There are three rules to becoming a billionaire in business. First the business rules, then the story: Hugh MacLeod gets even with Shel Israel

  1. Sell at a profit.
    1. You have to sell at a profit. You can’t sell at a loss and make it up in volume. Any fool can reach 10M in sales by simply selling $10 for $1. Granted he will have lost at least 9M, but he will have achieved 10M in revenue! The point is you have to sell at a profit.
  2. Love what you do.
    1. You can’t sustain unless you love what you do. At least in your initial business. Sure you can tough it out for a year. Two years. Three or four. But you can’t sustain 10 to 20 years if you don’t love it. You have to love what you do (at least in your initial business!)
  3. Have a recurring revenue model.
    1. You MUST have a recurring revenue model. It takes too much energy to make a sale no matter what your profit margin is. Your customer must come back to you, and refer business to you, or you won’t make it.

The story of the three rules of becoming a billionaire:

Years ago I heard Ken Jones` speak. Now Ken has never been accused of having a shortage of ego (#heh, forgive me Ken). And I heard him speak at an IABC, or maybe a PRSA function in Houston when he told the story. I remember it as “so I talked to a man who was in the room with these three billionaires and he asked them “what is the secret” and their reply was the three rules.” I probably got that wrong, or paraphrased it poorly, but what I do know is as follows.

I have had 5 dba’s counting my current 13 year old company. 2 were play dbas for home businesses that I can barely remember. 1 dba (1994/95 ish) was real for web design but failed. The next was a corporation with a partner that never made real money and basically failed. (I never said I was a fast learner!) Then this corporation started in 1997 *almost* failed in the recession of 2001 and 2002 because we did not have a recurring revenue model. I learned my lesson. Follow the three rules.

More? Take a class from Ken at U of H for more. But know what you love before you show up because they can’t teach you that. Business is tough; stack the deck in your favor. And don’t believe that crap from wall street. Go sell something. No seriously, go SELL SOMETHING!

Religion is the overwhelmingly dominant factor in predicting generosity

Some stats from the book Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks:prayers

  1. Religion is the overwhelmingly dominant factor in predicting generosity —religious liberals and religious conservatives are identical.
    1. “Religious” is defined by Brooks as individuals who attend worship service at least once a week (30% of the population) and;
    2. “Secular” is defined by Brooks as people either don’t believe in a deity, or attend a place of worship one or less times per year.
  2. Religious people are 25% more likely to donate money than secular people
  3. Religious people are 23% more likely to volunteer, and even within the population of people who volunteer, religious people devote twice as much time.
  4. Conservative people give more money. Possibly a correlation as religious people are conservative.
  5. Political Affiliation (e.g. Democrat vs Republican) itself isn’t the predictor.

I believe it is worth pointing out that the definitions of “Religious” and “Secular” are polarized on opposite ends of the spectrum. There are many who perhaps attend a religious service once a month who would not fit either category as defined by Brooks.

All data from Who Really Cares – Compassionate Conservatism on Amazon.

TIAA/CREF Sucks – But Cool New Advertising Campaign

I was reading the NYT and ran across this article about the new advertising campaign for TIAA/CREF. Nice. Warm. Fuzzies.

Now talk to someone who is the survivor from someone who died with a TIAA/CREF account. This is why TIAA/CREF sucks. Ask a surviving spouse. You can’t get any money out of TIAA/CREF. They send you a print out of what you theoretically have. But isn’t that like theoretically having oxygen?

TIAA/CREF’s strategies to delay payment of any kind include switched account numbers. Delays responding. Long telephone wait times. Ridiculous duplicate forms. A dizzying array of numbers that only have meaning to them yet they are your problem. Divisions of the SAME COMPANY demanding duplicate originals of the same document just to delay. Oh please. Where is the common sense you crazies?

This just goes back to the best marketing, the best advertising, is great customer service. That is why USAA Insurance completely rocks. I love USAA. They continue to exceed expectations.

And that is why TIAA/CREF sucks despite their ad campaigns. They don’t do what they say. Like your Mom told you – do the right thing. Sorry – just calling it like I see it. And the way I see it TIAA/CREF sucks. There it is.