Archive | February, 2009

The math equation that blew up the world

I’m a huge fan of Felix Salmon, who writes the Market Movers blog for Portfolio.com, and he has just writtenthe most approachable explanation as to what went wrong in the collateralized debt obligation market in this month’s Wired. It’s a charming little bedtime story about a little-train-that-couldn’t-but-everyone-thought-it-could called “the Gaussian copula function.” This fine little [...]

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Web sites on the thinnest of shoestrings — Synthasite

As our readers know, Shoestring Venture is all about providing the most effective but low cost resources for building a home-based business — or even running a small business on a budget. We conducted exhaustive research on Web site development and hosting — and make some great recommendations — but for the very thinnest of [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 27

Why is it all the bad news we’re getting keeps coming with the adjective “unexpected”? The U.S. economic contraction in the fourth quarter was deeper than the government first estimated, with other reports today signaling little prospect of relief until at least the middle of 2009. Gross domestic product shrank at a 6.2 percent annual [...]

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The San Diego Business Journal takes note of Shoestring Venture

The San Diego Business Journal noticed our humble little book on Wednesday. Entrepreneur Steve Monas teams up with Richard Hooker to publish “Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible,” now available at a libratorium near you. . . . the book is the first to show entrepreneurs how to run a business in the Internet age, and [...]

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Everyone’s entitled to my opinion about Northern Trust February 25

I told you this one would blow up. When Cafferty has an opinion about something, you know it’s the height of dumb-hunting season. So as I line up all the outraged opinion peddlers (come on, what’s to be outraged about? This is like Britney Spears — it gives something for these people to write about), [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 25

Thanks for the bank bailout plan. Not like there was any rush, guys. Under the plan, US banks will have six months to raise enough private capital to continue lending through a deeper-than-expected recession, or be forced to take a special form of government capital. This government capital will come in the form of convertible [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 24

If you read one piece of news today, this is the one to pick. Last year’s failure rate is a sharp increase over past years. In 2004, the SBA loan failure rate was 2.4%, but it has increased each year since, rising to 8.4% in 2007, according to Coleman’s calculations. The 2008 failure rate of [...]

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Blogging the stimulus package, part one

Eight hundred billion dollars. I don’t care who you are, that there is a lot of money. And if you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur — even if you’re operating a one-person business from a laptop parked on your kitchen table — that enormous money pie probably has some slice of opportunity with [...]

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Good news in the housing starts numbers?

Good news in the housing starts numbers?

According to The Curious Capitalist, David Rosenberg, the telegenic Merrill Lynch economist, claims there’s good news buried in the housing starts numbers for January: The Commerce Department reported that construction of single-family homes decreased to an annualized 347,000 last month. Rosenberg shaves about 30% off that number in order to exclude people who are signing [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 21

In a preview of the next fall’s “Geithner’s Anatomy,” upstarts stress test the big four. On envelopes, of course. Citigroup has a projected leverage ratio of just 3.8% — far lower than what it would need to be considered well capitalized [i.e., 5%]. How much would the U.S. have to give the bank to nurse [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 20 — Back after a three day absence!

Guess who’s buying the world now . . . China is taking advantage of the economic downturn to go on a major shopping spree, investing in energy and other natural resources that could give it an economic advantage it has never had before. . . . “What’s changed for China is that their key competitive [...]

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Beer jello

Beer jello

Just in case you’ve been racking your brain for so-out-there-there-is-no-there-there product ideas, our seriously dumb department gives you beer jello (called “jelly” ゼリー in Japanese) from Yebisu. Pack these in your kids’ lunches and let the hilarity begin! Hey, in Minnesota we used to cook all sorts of fun and frolicky things in our jello, [...]

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Top Ten Myths about the Economic Downturn*

*You don’t know fear until you’ve faced number seven. One of the curiosities about the current crisis is the sudden currency of economics opining, blogging, and just plain bloviating. Once the exclusive stomping ground of people you’d never invite out for a beer, economics is bringing the Bill O’Reilly out in all of us — [...]

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Managing outsourcing, part 2 — the performance evaluation

Our basic premise, of course, is that running a shoestring, startup, or small business in which part or all of the business functions are outsourced or offshored demands that you become an effective outsource manager. Too often, entrepreneurs turn to outsourcing to get rid of the headache of dealing with the business function they’re outsourcing. [...]

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Top Ten Myths about the Economic Downturn*

*Special boring banking blog for boring blog readers. That’s you, bucko. All joking aside, there’s a real reason why I’m blogging about the economy on an entrepreneurial and small business blog. It’s not just that economics matter, but business owners and consumers are making real and rational decisions based on the fear and nothing that [...]

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The Biz Roundup February 13

And we now have a stimulus. So, get stimulated already. The stated aim of the US fiscal stimulus package is job creation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was priced at $820bn when it was passed by the House of Representatives on January 28. The bill passed by Senate on February 10 totals [...]

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Managing outsourcing — organization charts

Our book, Shoestring Venture, is all about harnessing the power of outsourcing and offshoring in order to realize the fullest potential of a start-up business. But the book isn’t a cheerleading, rah-rah book about making millions from outsourcing. Realistically speaking, business requires work and running a business that relies on outsourcing requires that you become [...]

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Top Ten Myths about the Economic Downturn*

*Well, one, actually, but who’s counting in this panic? In a previous post, I started ticking down ten misconceptions many of us, especially those paid to have an opinion, seem to be laboring under as the economy continues to head south and our fearless leaders continue to head nowhere. Today is our special banking edition, [...]

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“Veni, vidi, asswhupus sum” for February 11

Veni, vidi, asswhupus sum. (“I came, I saw, I got my ass whupped.”) At a closely-watched hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, members of Congress blasted the eight CEOs, including the heads of embattled firms Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), for their actions since the eight banks collectively [...]

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Something to remember about the stimulus package

From Brad DeLong: But when fiscal boost was tried on a large enough scale, it certainly did the job. And it is reasonable to infer (with all the caveats provided by the CBO) that what is true in the very large will be true in the merely large as well. Eugene Fama says that it [...]

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