Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We are not fools after all

"No matter how efficient or inefficient markets may be, the returns earned by investors as a group must fall short of the market returns by precisely the amount of the aggregate costs they incur. It is the central fact of investing."
John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Investments, as quoted by Nick Kapur in his column in The Motley Fool.

My kids and I own Vanguard index funds, and I have been wondering if I was a fool for sticking with them. Maybe not. An excellent article summarizing some of the data that supports Mr. Bogle's sage advice appeared this past Sunday in a solid NY Times piece written by Mark Hulbert, The Index Funds Win Again. Mr. Hulbert cites a new study by Mark Kritzman, president and chief executive of Windham Capital Management of Boston. The upshot, after all the commotion, according to Mr. Kritzman: “It is very hard, if not impossible to justify active management for most individual, taxable investors, if their goal is to grow wealth.”

In other words, even in these parlous times a well diversified stock portfolio (think globally) is probably the best bet for most of us, and those of us who can't find our way into a hedge fund need not feel inadequate or worry that we're missing out. In fact, we might just make out and have the last laugh.

I believe the United States is on sale; theUunited States will lead the world back on track, and we will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a piece of the future.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Madness in their Method

It took a lot of digging in the wrong place, and then a serendipitous (try typing that fast) perusal of Inc. to find this cool statement about the importance of keeping it weird. I push my students to follow Tom Peters' advice in Re-Imagine to "Think Weird." Well, stodgy ol' Microsoft features Eric Ryan from Method Home. I heard the ad, but didn't see who it was; I did see that it was for that cool soap company. Thought their name was "Simple." It's not. Couldn't find it; gave up. Then today, while reading Inc. I came across some advice from Ryan about working in these tough times and I re-remembered what I was looking for. Weird, but real.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Cool jets

It's Friday. Normally, no big deal; I like every day, but it is also Science Friday, hosted by the very cool Ira Flatow on NPR. Today SF featured a cool bit on jets. New high-, really high-, speed video has allowed scientists to capture the intricate and previously mysterious reactions caused by things falling in water and, amazingly, sand and baking powder. I love the scientists' child-like curiosity and amazement. Entrepreneurs would do well to preserve that sense of wonder and awe about the world around them. Budding entrepreneurs should be asking questions about what goes on around them; especially "why" and "why not." There are a million questions out there, and some of them could lead to great entrepreneurial opportunities.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pitchman Extraordinaire--RIP

I bought a peeler from this gentleman years ago. Great street theater; great salesmanship, and I still use it all the time.

Entrepreneurs, budding entrepreneurs, and salespeople can learn a lot from him.
Thanks to Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing for posting this.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Yo; dis is pizza

Quick shout out to George Formaro and Centro Restaurant in Des Moines, my home (as I tell people, I live in Des Moines, but I'm from New Jersey; sheesh, after 14 years I still can't claim to be from Des Moines, anyway). My sweet sister Sue (now, she's really from Jersey and talks the talk) called to let me know that George and his terrific pizza were mentioned in her local paper, the Daily Record. But for a little geography mix-up in the caption to the photo of George (no Centro in Indianapolis), it is a terrific article that features George's heartfelt advice that we should all try making our own 'za. I'm going to try it one of these days, but in the meantime we will continue our weekly large, 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 mushrooms & roasted red peppers. Tastes like home.