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2/22/2005

Winn-Dixie Files for Bankruptcy

Filed under: — 7:47 pm

How ironic. The store couldn’t have picked a better time to file for Chapter 11. All the meanwhile children are rushing out to see the new movie with the same name. Seriously, the dictionary probably has this under “ironic”.

..thats what you get for competing with Wal-Mart.

Social Networking Sucks?

Filed under: — 7:23 pm

…so says Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture. He writes about the overwhelming possibility of people losing control of who has their information.

…when the Bankruptcy Judge brings down the gavel, the most valuable asset these companies have — all of my personal info, plus all of your contact info, plus every person you know’s name/number/email address — will be sold to the highest bidder…

Coincidently I signed up with LinkedIn the other day. Personally, I think information like my name and email are already readily available to spammers. Gmail kindly filters that for me. I find the networking sites to be a effective way of finding and meeting people. I’ve heard a number of personal testimonials. One down side (that Barry points out is being worked on) is the lack of consolidation.

I don’t know, I haven’t heard many arguments against social networking. As far as I’m concerned, TheFaceBook has done me nothing but good lately. ;-)

2/21/2005

Another Blogging Business Sells Clothing

Filed under: — 2:04 pm

When I say blogging business I don’t mean another consultancy, I mean a group that has made a business from bloggers. Can you imagine yourself wearing a shirt that says “I haven’t been fired for blogging…. yet”? If so, Bloggerwear is the company for you. Check out their trendy clothing line, it’s certainly worth a laugh or two at the workplace.

Bloggerwear | via Blog Business World

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Filed under: — 1:56 pm

This weekend I was super-productive (or super-bored?) and read Malcolm Gladwell’s second book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. It describes exactly what the title alludes to. How people make choices based on thoughts they don’t consciously make. The idea coined is “rapid cognition”.

As with The Tipping Point, Gladwell presents examples of the thinking that goes on (as he says) behind a “locked door”. For example, we may consciously admit that we are in no-way racist. But, our environment has created thoughts that still force us to equate a black man with badness or evil. Similarly, we’ll more likely equate a tall man to be a CEO than one who is short (or a woman). There’s just some sense of power behind the image.

Theres a slew of concepts and ideas in this book that are all extremely interesting. Perhaps I was overly-tired when reading the book, but some of the concepts didn’t uniformly flow as well as The Tipping Point. I couldn’t completely follow a structure, but could understand the point that there are a number of factors and influences that affect how we think.

One interesting conclusion: experts better understand the reasons behind why they think something. For instance, we may taste two different drinks (Pepsi vs Coca-Cola) and determine one tastes better. We may do the same for mayonaise. But when we have to reduce that reason to writing, it becomes hard and almost counter-productive. The average person has determined one thing is better and they think that for a reason… those reasons are often times behind the “locked door”. Food-tasting experts, though, can explain why. The mayonaise has a better texture, nicer color, etc. There are thoughts that we have that don’t make sense without practice and frequent exposure.

Another example is the kouros sculpture that the Getty decided to purchase. Scientists ran tests and determined that it was real (after four months of deliberation and fact-checking). But, within a few seconds a number of experts saw the sculpture and immediately knew it was fake. There was something about it, perhaps not completely known to them, but they knew it. Turns out, they were right, too.

There are so many interesting stories, studies, and examples in the book I could exhaust a number of entries on it, but then I’d end up re-writing the book. My suggestion? Read it. There’s a certain number of concepts and examples where you’re forced to just believe Gladwell. That makes me uneasy at times. You might find yourself thinking “what about the possibility of _____”. Gladwell likes to point out, thats the point of his books: to create discussion and initiate thinking.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Filed under: — 1:35 pm

I recently decided to jump on the Gladwell bandwagon and read his two books. I started with the elder, The Tipping Point. The full title includes How Little Things can Make a Big Difference and is a quick insight to the concepts behind the book.

First things first, I loved the book. He presents everything to you anecdotally coupled with scientific experiments and research to back thing sup. In other words, theres a number of complex theories he tries to explain and Gladwell then uses stories to tie them to a simple, bit-sized idea. For instance, one of the “little things” from the title was an example of grafitti on the subways of New York. Simply cleaning them all up and keeping them grafitti-free radically reduced crime in NYC. Little things (in the right context) can spawn big change.

There are three main concepts in this book. The Law of the Few, The Stickiness Factor, and The Power of Context. The first talks about people and their involvement in creating epidemics (having an idea ‘tip’ over a certain threshold). The next is about, simply, how sticky an idea is (smoking, anyone?). Sesame Street is the key example used in this section. As a long-time fan of the show it was fun to read about it and then apply it to Gladwell’s concept. Finally, as mentioned earlier, context plays a huge role in how epidemics spread.

I admit it, this is my favorite book as of right now. It was a pleasure to sit down and read. It’s so easy to follow too. Gladwell comes back and will tap the reader on the shoulder and say “Remember what I talked about earlier? See how this all ties together?”. On top of that, this book is fun to talk about. I love sharing things I’ve picked up on. Plus, I can apply the ideas to things all around me. Just the other day I was explaining TheFaceBook.com to my dad while explaining the Law of the Few.

There’s definitely a reason it’s a national bestseller…

2/16/2005

National Work-in-Your-Bunny-Slippers Day

Filed under: — 3:32 pm

A recent celebration of homebased entrepreneurs who, apparently, roll out of bed and work in their PJs:

…event and promotions company Wealth Promotion has founded “National Work-in-Your-Bunny-Slippers Day” to be celebrated this year on Friday, February 18. “We want to build awareness about the success . . . small business owners enjoy, and the personal freedom and work/life balance this lifestyle represents,” says Wealth Promotion president Barbara Drazga.

How fun. My slippers actually actually have big stripes with two colors. They look like a Harry Potter scarf…

Entrepreneur Daily | via Business Opportunites Weblog

Circuit City Follow Up: Closing 19 Stores

Filed under: — 3:28 pm

Not but a day after the takeover bid, Circuit City has announced that it would close 19 superstores, five regional offices and a distribution center by the end of the month. From this $170 million in revenue will no longer be generated, $30 million will be created in additional expenses (terminate leases, etc), a gain of $1.8 million (from the headquarters sale) and $12.6 million in debt eliminated.

Mexican Economy Becoming Stronger

Filed under: — 3:21 pm

According to the Kiplinger Letter (Feb. 11) the number of mexicans migrating into the country will decrease over the next five years. The economy in Mexico has become stronger and the job market is growing faster than the population. Thus, less desire to cross the border. Perhaps an increase in agricultural wages is in the future then?

Greenspan Comments On Interest Rates

Filed under: — 3:18 pm

Everyone is reporting on Greenspan and what he had to say this morning:

U.S. interest rates are still “fairly low” after six straight increases, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Wednesday, warning that despite the economy’s good health, fiscal discipline is vital. Financial markets took Greenspan’s hotly awaited testimony to the Senate Banking Committee as confirmation that more interest-rate hikes lie ahead in a cycle that began in June, as well as a vote of confidence in the expansion.

It may not be very subtle but its clear that gradual increases should be expected. In addition he commented on the coming wave of retiring “baby boomers” and the need to act before 2008.

Reuters

Circuit City Gets Takeover Bid

Filed under: — 12:53 am

Circuit City announced that Highfields Capital Management LP put in a takeover bid at $17 a share:

…it received an unsolicited takeover bid valuing the struggling electronics retailer at $3.25 billion, and its shares rose above the offer price, indicating expectations of a better offer.

Highfields feels that management hasn’t worked aggressively enough to battle its inconsistent sales and earnings.

Retuers

FDA Creating New Safety Board

Filed under: — 12:48 am

Development in the drug world:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it was creating a new drug safety board to improve the monitoring of medicines already in the marketplace, a response to charges the agency has failed to protect the public from dangerous side effects. The announcement came on the eve of a three-day FDA meeting called to discuss the safety of painkillers, such as Merck & Co. Inc.’s now-withdrawn Vioxx, that have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The main concern is that the Office of Drug Safety has really dropped the ball, lately. On the plus side, some liability will now shift from corporations to the government.

Yahoo

New Boeing Passenger Jet For Long Trips

Filed under: — 12:46 am

Today travelers rejoyced as Boeing annouced a new 777 that will be able to fly from London to Sydney. Wait, no, I doubt anyone really did. But, the fact that it can travel anywhere is certainly an interesting prospect.

The new, 301-passenger, long-range 777 is expected to make its first flight in March and will be delivered first to Pakistan International airlines, its launch customer for the new version of the 777, in January of 2006. The twin-engine airplane, when equipped with three optional fuel tanks, will be capable of flying 9,420 nautical miles, enough to “connect any two cities in the world today,” said Lars Andersen, Boeing’s vice president in charge of the 777 program at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Reuters

2/15/2005

Business Blogging Awards

Filed under: — 12:29 am

You know who has been better at updating than me lately? Other than everyone else in the blogosphere I meant Jesse Perry, author of AppleWatch. I voted for his blog as soon as I saw it .. but failed to put two and two together. I think if you check his site out you’ll see that he deserves a quick vote

2/14/2005

Movie Gallery Has Buy Clearance

Filed under: — 5:06 pm

Earlier I wrote on Movie Gallery’s intentions to buy Hollywood Video. Well… February 11th was the end of the waiting period.

Nokia and Microsoft Deal to Sell Media

Filed under: — 5:04 pm

From Reuters:

In a comprehensive agreement, which involves a separate deal with digital media company Loudeye, Nokia agreed to put Microsoft’s music player software into its handsets. In return, Microsoft, will introduce open standards for digital music compression and piracy protection in its Media Players for personal computers.

The idea is to allow users to synchronize their media with their mobile devices. Perhaps users will be motivated to buy music online, but I doubt it’ll have a huge impact. Plus, I’d rather just put it all on my iPod and be done with it.

Reuters

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