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Some fodder for your studies

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

4

May
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Recent news is all about Goldman

  • Not Goldman, but This American Life does a spot on one company that used the very same tactics Goldman is getting targeted for.  Stream the episode, and make your own decision.  Shrewd or criminal?

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Two quotes from Warren that I find worthwhile

“I don’t care if John Paulson is shorting these bonds. I’m going to have no worries that he has superior knowledge,” he said, adding: “It’s our job to assess the credit.” The assets are the assets. The math either works or it doesn’t.

and

On Sunday, Mr. Buffett said that the case against Goldman seemed to be based only on hindsight.

“It’s very strange to say, at the end of the transaction, that if the other guy is smarter than you, that you have been defrauded,” he said. “It seems to me that that’s what they are saying.”

It seems to me that people just don’t like to be duped.  Should we be able to expect more out of a name that is as prestigious as GS, sure, should we be disappointed when we are taken for a  ride when we don’t do our own homework, sure.  Is it criminal, no.  Is it ethical …

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This American Life, while obviously liberal in its politics, Ira Glass represents a pretty solid middle line report fairly consistently, and in a very engaging manner.  This one was particularly insightful to me, and did much to help me understand the current issues being argued in the media.  From the stories synopsis –

“A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities… while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create.”

Give it a listen, I’d love to hear what you come out of it with.

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Calacanis is a great eccentric who is entertaining to read.  He makes a great suggestion in light of all the recent drama, boycott Wall Street and put your money into innovation and startups.  Invest in companies doing things that you like and believe in.  In my own experience, my money has come back to me with better returns when investing in myself and young companies I believe in, versus what my IRA has done in the past 5 years.  Some Jason quotes –

“The only thing that will save our country from the death spiral of obscene government spending, unsustainable wars and financial miscreants, is true innovation and value creation. This simply doesn’t happen on Wall Street. It happens at startup companies.

It’s time for Americans to stop feeding the Ferengi and start angel investing.

Place your bets on young people who are building real products and services that solve real problems and delight real customers … Encourage young people going into the work force to forgo the promise of unearned and absurd compensation on Wall Street for the more appropriate and soulful option that comes from creating real value at a startup company. When you meet a young person who wants to go to wall street scold them. Tell them how sad it is that they are going to waste their talents trying to manipulate money instead of creating value. Explain to them that when they look back on their career, even if they are successful, they will see a bunch of transactions and models (they’ve dated and built), but they will never know the satisfaction of having built something real. Something tangible that they can be proud of.”

I support the idea of focusing in innovation and startups, but I wonder how much of an influx of cash it could support?  Meaning if everyone shoved money into startups, billions of dollars even, is there enough good stuff going around to support the influx of cash, and sustain our GDP?  I d’know, but I’d like to find out.

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Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Bootstrap like a missionary

Posted by Al Doan under Online Media Reviews

26

Apr
Hard Knock MBA (Personal MBA)

Andrew Warner did a great workshop entitled “Bootstrap like a missionary” where he talks about using missionary like passion and conviction to accelerate growth and build an audience.  I had two main take-aways from the discussion, love to hear yours?

Start with garbage

If you wait till everything is perfect, you’ll circumvent the best way to build out your product. Start with a high level iteration, then let your customers/audience give you feedback and determine the direction of the product. The risk the other way is that you get the perfect (in your mind) product, you show it to your users, and they hate it. Don’t waste time, start with whatever you have and build it out as you can. You get position in the market as well.

Force your audience to grow

Find ways of positioning your product that will include others. Make me invite my friends. Put your logo in your emails, make it easy to share, etc. Tell your audience to tell their friends. If you don’t, they won’t ever think to do what you want them to do.

Go watch it. Let me know what you think.
Andrew Warner – Bootstrap like a missionary

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