Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
– Ben Franklin

Companies

John Lewis: trouble in store
John Lewis still has enormous advantages. It can draw deeply on the respect and loyalty it has built up over 151 years. And for all the grumbles, the partners, as surveys show, still generally provide top-quality service. The question, in a mobile and screen-crazy world, is whether that will be enough to sustain Spedan Lewis’s remarkable democratic experiment.

How Bad Will It Get for American Express?
Yet they decided not to tell us that 23 percent of their business was actually co-branded, which means it’s using someone else’s brand. I find those two things somewhat inconsistent.”

Square’s deal with Starbucks is a bust, and will end in Q3 next year
In 2012, Square received $9.47 million in revenue from Starbucks, and that amount increased in 2013 to $114.45 million, until finally reaching $123 million in 2014. However, the transaction costs from the Starbucks deal paint a very different picture: In 2012 Square paid $12.54 million in fees associated with the processing it did from Starbucks, $139.8 million in 2013, and $150.96 million in 2014.”

The company behind Tinder and OkCupid just filed to go public
In 2014, Match Group had sales of nearly $900 million and earned $240 million in profit.”

Markets

Americans’ Spending on Dining Out Just Overtook Grocery Sales for the First Time Ever
That younger cohort has been identified as being more willing to spend on “food away from home.”

It Is Expensive to Be Poor
If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel.”

Investing

Charlie Munger: Academic Economics — Strengths and Weaknesses, after Considering Interdisciplinary Needs
First, he said Berkshire beat the market in common stock investing through one sigma of luck, because nobody could beat the market except by luck. This hard-form version of efficient market theory was taught in most schools of economics at the time. People were taught that nobody could beat the market. Next the professor went to two sigmas, and three sigmas, and four sigmas, and when he finally got to six sigmas of luck, people were laughing so hard he stopped doing it.”

When Evidence Fails
It’s not enough to look back on history and pick out the strategies that would have worked in the past. Anyone can show you strategies that would have worked brilliantly in the past. That’s the easy part. What matters is looking back at past data and figuring out why something will continue to work in the future (or not work anymore).”

Long reads

The Reasons We Work
The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive for working is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from—you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to the worst performance of all. … As destructive and insidious as it is, inertia is surprisingly common in the workplace.”

Graph of the week

China is playing an expanding role in U.S. exports

cotw-2015-1005-chart

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