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April 04, 2005

Welcome to the Carnival of the Capitalists!!!

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Law & Entrepreneurship News is pleased to be hosting Carnival of the Capitalists. This site is a collaborative project involving Professor Gordon Smith (that's me) and students at the University of Wisconsin Law School. We provide links and commentary on recent developments relating to law and entrepreneurship, and we hope that you find reasons to return here often.

Before we go to the entries in this week's Carnival, a word from our sponsor:

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is brought to you by Mantra Brand Consulting. Our "Brand Humanity" series of web seminars will look at high-level strategies to tactical “how-to’s” of opening dialogues with employees and customers using new technologies like blogs, wikis and forums. The series will also help business managers navigate the blogosphere and better manage their brands in a highly networked marketplace. You can enroll here.

That is a new development with the Carnival, and we appreciate Mantra Brand Consulting's support. Now, on to the posts ...

Featured Posts

I read every entry in this week's Carnival, and these were my favorites. The selections are completely idiosyncratic, but I make no apologies.

The Interested Participant is always intriguing, and this week he is writing about outsourcing in "U.S. Student Tutoring Outsourced to India," which discusses outsourcing tutoring services and phone sex to India. Yes, you read that correctly.

Even if Christine Hurt were not my co-blogger at Conglomerate, I would want to feature her post Is Hypocrisy Ethical?, which springboards off the firing of two Bank of America employees for "unethical, but not illegal" behavior. Christine examines corporations that fire employees for "morality reasons" even when laws are not violated nor rules broken.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends concludes that "Independent Coffeehouses Understand Their Market." This is an interesting short post describing a cafe crawl of coffeehouses in Cleveland. (Nice alliteration!) Plus this bonus: click through the photo for a slideshow! Although this event was not intended for marketing purposes, the end result is an example of a fabulous, low cost, new millenium marketing piece for independent coffeehouses in a local market.

Warren Meyer at the Coyote Blog offers "Case Studies on the Minimum Wage" from Warren's own business. This is a nice break from the usual abstractions about this perpetual hot-button issue.

Entrepreneurship

Travis McMenimon at Odyssey of the Mind recounts a talk by Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, star of Startup.com. (Who can forget govWorks.com?) Travis wants you to remember Kaleil's most important piece of entrepreneurial advice, which is steeped in centuries of philosophical thinking...

Jeff Cornwall of The Entrepreneurial Mind addresses the topic of "Bank Mergers and Small Business," admonishing entrepreneurs, "Pay attention to your banking relationship."

Social Security Reform

In Treasury Secretary Snow at FLIR Systems, Kyle Markley at Cap'n Arbyte's relates his experience as a blogger at this media event on Social Security reform.

Jim Glass at Scrivener.net wades into the Social Security debate with "Social Security, future economic growth, and stock returns," a thought provoking and contrarian take on the recent paper by Dean Baker, Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman. If investment returns fall, then reform becomes urgent soon to prevent the resulting larger funding gap from forcing big benefit cuts and tax increases in the future.

Micha Ghertner at Catallarchy addresses "Trust And The Spontaneous Order Of Money." The word "trust" does double duty here, as the topic is the Social Security Trust Fund. Micha provides an account of how trusting a decentralized network of millions of individual actors is more reliable than trusting a monopoly like the US government to fund social security.

Investing

Barry L. Ritholtz at The Big Picture discusses "(Why) You Suck at Investing." The short answer: "you just ain't built for it." You should read the whole thing for a more complete analysis, but what I really want to know is how Barry knew that I am a terrible investor.

David Strahlberg at The Media Stock Blog analyzes the split of Disney and Miramax and discusses its implications for the Weinsteins and "independent" film-making at Disney.

Ezra Marbach of The China Stock Blog wonders, "Time to re-consider China?" In the month of March, two stock funds tracking China outperformed a major emerging market index. The post suggests that the time might be right once again for international investors to take a look at China.

David Jackson of Internet Stock Blog describes how "Free financial content threatens YHOO, TSCM and other portals/news sites." The money line: "lower barriers to web publishing (using off-the-shelf blogging sofware), rising quality, and ease of aggregation due to RSS are providing the tools for the creation of next generation finance portals."

Individ writes about Uranium For Plowshares: Another Hot Commodity, discussing the uranium market, prices, and stocks, and some background on the geology of Uranium deposits.

Mover Mike is writing about "Derivatives!," collecting a host of bad-news derivatives stories about Freddie Mac, AIG, and others.

Management

Writing from Lovely Deseret at a blog called Hit Coffee, Will Truman  offers "Turnover and Out," which explores the issue (and gives accounts) of unavoidable turnover and how companies deal with it.

Ironman at Political Calculations has a post entitled "Project Managing to Win," from which you would not guess that this is a deconstruction of "The Apprentice." But it is, and it is worth a read.

Ankesh Kothari at Marketing eYe offers "Mistake to Money," the story of how a a waldrobe malfunction led to crazy profits for a company that sells prom dresses. (I'm just glad that my daughter didn't buy this one!)

Lisa Haneberg at Management Craft writes about "Fuzzy Success." According to Lisa, fuzzy can be good! Great management is often a small, indirect, or abstract act. Leaders who define their success in terms of completed tasks deprive themselves of the success and satisfaction that can come from more facilitative and indirect acts.

John Dmohowski at Drakeview presents CPO added to Mahogany Row, which looks at "Chief Project Officers," a new C-level role within organizations seeking to align their project management activities with their strategy.  According to John, this may not be the best approach for organizations that are process oriented.

Rosa Say at Talking Story with Say Leadership Coaching offers some tips on meetings with "Another take on Meetings: The 5-Point Plan." Here are the taglines: "Have a meeting. Get something done. Enjoy the experience. All three phrases do belong together. I love meetings." You can read the whole thing for yourself and decide whether Rosa is sane.

Steve Shu of Steve Shu's Blog (who did you expect?) relates a "Personal Experience: How MBAs and Non-Profits Can "Profit" From One Another."

Skip Angel at Random Thoughts from a CTO discusses "'Stop doing' Lists, do you have them?" In Good to Great, Jim Collins writes that great companies have better focus by knowing not just what to do but also what not to do. He recommends starting a "Stop doing" List. This post explores some of the challenges of an organization to say No and add to this kind of list.

Technology

Adam Siegrist at Techronization offers "The Convergence Factor," a post about how phones are increasingly becoming fashion items that people purchase for looks. It also gives a sneak preview into what is going to happen in the cell phone industry over the next 12 months, including 3 Megapixel cameras and full MP3 players included with a phone in a single device. According to Adam, these markets are converging, and he wonders: are you ready?

Martin Lindeskog at EGO thinks "Voice Over Internet Protocol" will be one of the big internet trends this year.

Barry Welford at The Other Bloke's Blog presents "Psst: Heard The One About The New Internet Search Directory." This is one of today's posts that caused me to click further. Barry writes about specialized Internet Directories, a little history and a little about the future. Worth a look.

Retailing

mad anthony at his eponymous blog responds to Best Buy getting rid of rebates. Anthony examines the proposal, offers a potential rationale, and explains why, unlike most people, he loves rebates. (The reason surprised me, so you might want to take a look.)

David Foster of Chicago Boyz asks what you would do if you were running Sears Holdings, the company that resulted from the merger of K-Mart and Sears. No answers provided, but you can register your own thoughts in the comments.

International Business

Steve Conover at The Skeptical Optimist posts on Debt Thermometer: A rankings shuffle. Fascinating graphics on current debtloads of various countries.

Marketing

Christopher Bailey at The Alchemy of Soulful Work is contemplating the best airline I have never flown in "JetBlue's Cultivation of a Soulful Workplace." Here is the teaser: "Knowing that David Neeleman's business philosophy is guided by his experiences serving the poor makes me MORE likely to fly his airline than United or American (frankly, I have no idea who runs either of these companies) and far more dedicated to helping this company maintain it's mission."

Mario of AnumatiNews explains "How To Value A Brand." According to Mario, "what this amounts to in most cases is little more than a thought experiment," but he does a nice job of breaking down the pieces of the analysis.

Steve Pavlina at Steve Pavlina's Blog examines "Marketing From Your Conscience." This intrigues me: "Eventually I figured out that when people said, 'I don’t know how to do marketing,' what they’re really saying is, 'I don’t want to market this product because deep down I know people would be better off not buying it....'" If you like that, read the whole post.

Peter Caputa at pc4media writes about "Shortcut Marketing. But What About the Feedback? This post briefly discusses some of the ways that companies (read: Marqui) have tried to use blogs to market themselves and have failed because they've taken shortcuts. It also goes into how some of these attempts were also attempts at soliciting feedback for the company and solicits entrepreneurs and bloggers to join me in an experiment in using blogs as feedback tools for companies to help them improve their products.

Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World has some thoughts about "Blog posting frequency and other dilemmas." Only three times a week? Read Wayne for an explanation.

By way of personal marketing, Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality offers thoughts on ways to make your resumes and cover letters just a little bit better.

Heather Burke of Pro Wrestling Impact spells out "The ABCs of Promoting Your League."

Jim Logan at JSLogan describes "Step-by-Step Sales": "If you can’t envision the steps necessary to get from where you are to where you ultimately need to be, the chances of getting there are just that…chances." Not bad advice for life generally.

Economy

In "Kudlow's great point can be made even better," the South Park Pundit suggests that Lawrence Kudlow's "pro-business" ideas are not ideas that most large-company CEO's embrace. SPP suggests that when Kudlow says "pro-business," he really means pro-worker, pro-prosperity, pro-employment growth, pro-entrepreneurship, pro-fairness, and pro-meritocracy. According to SPP, Kudlow (and indeed Republicans) could win more converts if they explained how their policies help consumers and disappoint executives.

Chan Eddy at Weekend Pundit discusses "The Cost Of Housing," arguing that the cost of housing is no longer affordable to the average wage earner. It's not a question of wages not keeping up with the price of housing but the cost of housing going up faster than the rate of inflation. Why is this?

Matthew at TriggerFinger discusses Conflicting Interests: Taxation, illegal immigration, and liberty and introduces me to a genre of blogging I had not encountered before: gunblogging.

Insert-Name-Here at Insert-Blog-Here presents "Basic Economics" in six easy-to-remember rules.

Business Ethics

Joe Kristan at Roth & Company Tax Update asks the provacative question: "Do you fire a thief who helps you cheat on taxes?" Check here for some thoughts on a Tax Court case that illustrates the perils of dealing with a problem accomplice.

Director Mitch at The Window Manager offers HBS Case Study Input, providing his thoughts on an ethics case study for an HBS student.

Humor and Trivia

Will Franklin at WILLisms.com offers Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 3, this time on whale oil. He observes that the price of a gallon of whale oil, widely used for heat and light and so on, in the 1850s, was higher than a gallon of "rock oil" gasoline today, both in real dollars and in constant dollars.

Anita Campbell at The RFID Weblog links to a spoof on the congressional steroids hearings in For a Bit of RFIDHumor.... In this rendering, Congress holds hearings on bar codes using steroids to become RFID tags (a play on words, as RFID has been called "bar codes on sterioids"). RFID stands for radio frequency identification technology, and its use has accelerated dramatically as companies like Wal-Mart have mandated that all suppliers use it to track inventory they ship to Wal-Mart.

And, finally, this post from Lip-sticking, which defies categorization: "Jane Gets Organized" is a post from the archives that "reflects the on-going desire for human beings to organize--themselves, their sock drawers, and their businesses. But, really what we need to do is organize our human connections to each other, and the rest will fall into place."

Thanks for reading. We hope that you enjoyed this week's Carnival. Next week's Carnival stop: TJ's (Excellent) Weblog.

P.S. Thanks to killbyte on Flickr for the excellent image at the top of this post.

P.P.S. Somehow I failed to note that Law & Entrepreneurship News will be hosting Blawg Review, the new carnival of the law bloggers, on May 2. The Blawg Review will launch next week at Notes from the (Legal) Underground, and Conglomerate will host on May 9.

Posted by Gordon Smith at 10:53 PM in Around the Blogs | Permalink

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