Insightful articles

Here are some articles that I found interesting and insightful...

  • (Recommended) "Stephen Elop's Nokia Adventure" (Bloomberg Businessweek): This is a good article on Nokia and its CEO, Stephen Elop. This article touches on why Nokia rejected Meego, its internal operating system, and also why Google and its Android platform was rejected. Anyone interested should check out the accompanying video and audio as well. Unfortunately for Elop, Nokia stock has fallen off a cliff and things aren't pretty.
  • Investigation of Muddy Waters' allegations against Sino-forest (James' Analysis): Not sure who this person is but he seems to have started a blog with good analysis of the allegations by Carson Block of Muddy Waters. According to 'James,' some allegations appear incorrect while others may be plausible. I think the Sino-forest saga is only in chapter 1 and there is likely to be more to all this.
  • Fundamentally-weighted passive investing and pure passive investing (Bloomberg): I'm not into passive investing so I don't follow it. This article provides a brief overview of Rob Arnott's fundamentally-weighted indexing. Hardcore passive investors such as John Bogle have apparently labelled fundamentally-weighted indexing as "witchcraft"—I wonder what he calls stockpicking strategies such as value investing?!?—but Arnott's record over the last 5 years looks good.
  • Online retailers may have to start paying sales tax (Bloomberg Businessweek): This is an important story. Online retailers like Amazon don't pay sales tax unless they have a location in the same state as the customer. This has given a big edge to online retailers over traditional, physical, retailers. If online sales tax is implemented, the edge will dissapear.
  • Groupon's numbers (Fortune): A look at some of Groupon's financial metrics. With Groupon poised to IPO, a lot of potential investors have started analyzing the numbers. As for me, I don't consider IPOs.
  • (Recommended) Angry Birds' pricing scheme (Fortune): The popular smartphone game, Angry Birds, is utilizing an interesting pricing strategy.
  • (Recommended if interested in entrepreneurship) Canadian manufacturers' battle to survive (The Globe & Mail): Trying to maintain a manufacturing operation in North America is like trying to keep a farm going in the 1930's. This is a story of how some are battling it.
  • Are colleges a waste of time? (The New Yorker): "More and more Americans are going to college, but how many of them are actually learning anything?" This is a big issue—students are literally paying $30k to $100k with no certainty of getting professional jobs—that I'll try to cover in the future.
  • Story of fashionable Canadian retailer Lululemon (Canadian Business): Stock looked overvalued when it had its IPO a few years ago, with a questionable business model—what's to stop other retailers from copying its trendy yoga-inspired wear?—but it has been hitting its business goals and succeeding against competition.
  • Companies fire back against Chinese short-sellers (Bloomberg): It's very difficult to say who is right in many of these cases but it has certainly made foreign Chinese stock investors aware of the problems.
  • Hackers fight to take over infected computers (Bloomberg): Big battles are happening in the underworld where computer criminals roam.
  • (Recommended) Slideshow: Nigeria and its oil business (The Atlantic): Good slideshow featuring the dirty side of Nigeria's oil business.
  • (non-investing) Fifteen classic books reviewed (The Atlantic): The Atlantic is one of the oldest magazines in USA and here are some original reviews of classic books over the century.
  • (non-investing) "After Japan, where's the next nuclear weak link?" (Reuters): "Imagine a country where corruption is rampant, infrastructure is very poor, or the quality of security is in question. Now what if that country built a nuclear power plant?" My wild guess—I hope this doesn't become true—is that you will see several castastrophic nuclear meltdowns in some poor countries with high corruption and high population count. It would not surprise me if some crazy crisis with millions being irradiated unfolds in China or India within our lives.
  • (non-investing) "If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls" (Reuters): The disastrous 'war on drugs' continues to take its toll: "In just four years, Monterrey, a manufacturing city of 4 million people 140 miles from the Texan border, has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico's drug war chaos, sucked down into a dark spiral of gangland killings, violent crime and growing lawlessness. ... Since President Felipe Calderon launched an army-led war on the cartels in late 2006, grenade attacks, beheadings, firefights and drive-by killings have surged. ... That has shattered this city's international image as a boomtown where captains of industry built steel, cement and beer giants in the desert in less than a century -- Mexico's version of Dallas or Houston. ... By engulfing Monterrey, home to some of Latin America's biggest companies and where annual income per capita is double the Mexican average at $17,000, the violence shows just how serious the security crisis has become in Mexico, the world's seventh-largest oil exporter and a major U.S. trade partner." If the drug cartels infiltrate US border agents or take over towns on the US-side of the border, it's all over; we may finally see the end of the 'war on drugs' and legalization of drugs.
  • (not safe for work) Book reviews of Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter; and Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked Our Sexuality by Gail Dines (The Atlantic): A lengthy book review touching on sexuality, pornography and the relationship between men and women. In liberal societies, pornography has become more prevalent—sex isn't what it once was. The question is, does this trend hurt society and women in particular? I would argue no. One will notice that women's rights has also increased significantly in such societies. It may come as a surprise to some that women are discriminated against and abused more in societies that are less open—say Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or India. I'm not saying there is a causality between 'sexual openness' and women's rights but I do think the issue isn't what it seems. Anyway, interesting topic. I disagree with some of the author's arguments but it's certainly a provocative look at the issue.

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1 Response to Insightful articles

January 30, 2013 at 2:05 PM

It's going to be ending of mine day, however before ending I am reading this enormous article to increase my experience.
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