Monday, May 19, 2008

Link Roundup

Not sure that I really want to break each of these down into their own individual posts but I think they are of interest, so here they are:

  • [Markets] Greg Mankiw points to a graph of historical market p/e's and an article in the WSJ. I'm not sure that I accept the idea that because today's p/e's are higher than they have been historically, that it means the markets are overvalued. Here's a reason why (Investopedia): p/e's tend to be higher during low interest rate environments - something I'm surprised the WSJ missed. Further, higher p/e's are indicative of anticipated higher earnings which is one reason why stock markets tend to outperform (or at least recover) prior to the end and during a recession ( and why some people say you should buy now.
  • [Entrepreneurship] Some contrarian notes from Inc. and a book called "The Breakthrough Company" though unsurprisingly, some are are pretty obvious. Here's a taster: Entrepreneurs don't have a larger appetite for risk than the general population, identifying the best market opportunities is more important than focusing on what you do best, making the your existing employees more productive is just as if not more important than finding and hiring the best and brightest.
  • [Finance] For those who still don't understand why and how the subprime crisis happened (Asia Times, h/t Instapundit): "Derivatives are like sausages. You take the low-quality parts of the pig that you don't want to look at while you are eating them, and grind them up into a package that seems more appetizing. [Global investors] wanted to consume low-quality American assets, but did not want to look on what it was eating."
  • [Commodities/Finance] Despite the lack of rising inventories, here's yet another view with the Economist pointing to an argument by James Hamilton (an economics prof in California) who in turn points to the massive investments into supply as oil has made its dramatic runup (Wikipedia). So on one hand we have the speculators and incrementally rising demand racing against permanent destruction of demand and rising supply. Hmmm - if I were to bet, I'd bet on the latter. It's also why I'm not as concerned about hysterical analytics like this (China Economic Review).
  • [Marketing] Oops (CrunchGear). While I don't think that this is so much of a big deal for the smaller (and generally industrial) firms we serve, when using stock photography sites (like iStockphoto that I'm particularly fond of), you've got to recognize this is a risk. But then again, I've never really tried to use a generic, publicly available photo to pass it off as my own.

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