I was just looking at the list of top brands I posted on Sunday and I notice a lot of technology companies on that list. I wonder if technology companies were as prominent one or two decades ago, and whether the brands have staying power. Thirty or fourty years ago, I would imagine that these lists would have been mostly dominated by branded consumer goods companies. Will companies like Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Google, Amazon, and so forth, stay near the top? It'll be an interesting situation to watch.
Anyway, here are some articles I encountered in the last few months that you may find worth reading...
- Current state of Live Nation (Fortune): One of the companies on my watchlist is Live Nation (LYV), a ticketing and events promoter created out a merger with Ticketmaster. Fortune has a story updating the current scenario.
- Sal Khan's free online teaching modules (Fortune): Apparently a favourite of Bill Gates, Salman Khan's webiste, khanacademy.org, offers free online video tutorials on subjects ranging from history, to science to mathematics. These are good tutorials for students and others who want to learn on their own. There are even some good investment tutorials, such as this excellent tutorial on P/E ratios for newbies.
- Canadian Coffeeshop Tim Hortons to take over the world? (Report on Business magazine): I have no interest in the cofeeshop business but I always find it worthwhile to read long articles on various businesses. Although it doesn't help your immediate investing, it can provide insights that may be useful in the long run.
- (Recommended) "Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds" by Michael Lewis (Vanity Fair; h/t http://www.gurufocus.com/forum/read.php?1,106875,106915): As usual, an entertaining, no-holds-barred article from the great business writer, Michael Lewis. There were some funny moments in the story and it's worth reading just for that.
- Does a poor 10-year return lead to strong future return? (Hussman Funds; h/t GuruFocus): Bill Hester evaluates the thinking used by many to justify an expectation of strong stock market returns over the next 10 years. Historically, poor 10-year rolling returns has almost always resulted in very strong, above-average, returns for the following 10 years. Hester argues this may not be the case right now given how valuations aren't low and the forward-looking economic picture looks poor (compared to the historical cases where the returns off a poor decade were strong).
- (Recommended if macro-oriented) Hugh Hendry audio interview with King World News (King World News; h/t Vlado): A pretty good interview, although I didn't learn much from this. Hugh Hendry reiterates his super-bearish view of Japan—so much so that he appears to have taken a $2 billion bearish bet on Japanese corporate bonds. Some of what Hugh Hendry does seems very speculative to me but macro investors always do this. Betting a small amount with a potentially large upside sounds good on paper but a 100% loss is still a total wipeout, whether you invest a small amount or not.
- (Recommended if you are into entrepreneurship) Slideshow - America's most promising start-ups (Bloomberg Businessweek): Interesting ideas being worked on... who knows which ones will be successful...