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jerryking : boom-to-bust   11

Companies should learn from history to avoid repeating mistakes of the past
September 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -George Santayana
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BEST BUSINESS HISTORY BOOKS
If you want to improve your knowledge of business history, two good places to start might be Prof. Martin’s books, From Wall Street to Bay Street, the first overview of the Canadian financial system in half a century, co-written with Christopher Kobrak, and Relentless Change, the only case book for the study of Canadian business history. Beyond that, here’s three others he suggests you could benefit from:

* Northern Enterprise: Five Centuries of Business History by Michael Bliss;
* Historical Atlas of Canada, Volumes I to III with different editors;
* Madisson Database Project 2018 by The Groningen Growth and Development Centre, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
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Joe Martin, a professor of Canadian business history and strategy at Rotman School of Management, is on a mission. He believes Canadians lack sufficient knowledge of history in general and business history in particular. But rather than seize upon Santayana’s famed quote about the value of history, he points to an anonymous businessman who said, “I study history so I can make my own mistakes.”.....We fail in business schools, where virtually no courses are offered (other than at Harvard Business School, which has included history programs since its founding in 1908 and now has about 20 historians affiliated to the school). And we fail in corporations, where new leaders think history begins with their ascension and the few histories produced on the organization tend to be heavily sanitized....Certain themes recur in business history, of course. Recessions are one. Some signs suggest we may be on the cusp of one now, but each time they hit many corporate leaders seem flabbergasted, as if nobody ever experienced this situation before....Then there’s boom-and-bust. In the dot-com heyday of the late 1990s, Prof. Martin notes in an interview, he was chairman of Angoss Software Corp. and watching his net worth go up $250,000 a week. It was glorious until it started going down $250,000 a week. It seemed new, but history is littered with equivalent situations. .....At the core of understanding the history of our economy should be the baseball diamond growth model developed at the Stern School at New York University. At home plate is government because an effective political system enables economic growth. First base is a sound financial system, to allow growth. At second base are enterprising entrepreneurs to build upon that. Third base is for sophisticated managers of large corporations......As for corporate histories, he prefers them done by historians, with full access to the material, including key players. ....“Learn from history so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. That’s critical,”
best_of  boom-to-bust  books  business_archives  business_history  Canada  Canadian  dotcom  Harvey_Schachter  history  Joe_Martin  lessons_learned  Michael_Bliss  quotes  recessions  Rotman 
september 2019 by jerryking
Why further financial crises are inevitable
March 19, 2019 | Financial Times | Martin Wolf.

We learnt this month that the US Fed had decided not to raise the countercyclical capital buffer required of banks above its current level of zero, even though the US economy is at a cyclical peak. It also removed “qualitative” grades from its stress tests for American banks, though not for foreign ones. Finally, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, led by Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, removed the last insurer from its list of “too big to fail” institutions.

These decisions may not endanger the stability of the financial system. But they show that financial regulation is procyclical: it is loosened when it should be tightened and tightened when it should be loosened. We do, in fact, learn from history — and then we forget.....Regulation of banks has tightened since the financial crises of 2007-12. Capital and liquidity requirements are stricter, the “stress test” regime is quite demanding, and efforts have been made to end “too big to fail” by developing the idea of orderly “resolution” of large and complex financial institutions.....Yet complacency is unjustified. Banks remain highly leveraged institutions.....history demonstrates the procyclicality of regulation. Again and again, regulation is relaxed during a boom: indeed, the deregulation often fuels that boom. Then, when the damage has been done and disillusionment sets in, it is tightened again........We can see four reasons why this tends to happen: economic, ideological, political and merely human.

* Economic
Over time the financial system evolves. There is a tendency for risk to migrate out of the best regulated parts of the system to less well regulated parts. Even if regulators have the power and will to keep up, the financial innovation that so often accompanies this makes it hard to do so. The global financial system is complex and adaptable. It is also run by highly motivated people. It is hard for regulators to catch up with the evolution of what we now call “shadow banking”.

* Ideological
the tendency to view this complex system through a simplistic lens. The more powerful the ideology of free markets, the more the authority and power of regulators will tend to erode. Naturally, public confidence in this ideology tends to be strong in booms and weak in busts.

* Political

the financial system controls vast resources and can exert huge influence. In the 2018 US electoral cycle, finance, insurance and real estate (three intertwined sectors) were the largest contributors, covering one-seventh of the total cost. This is a superb example of Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action: concentrated interests override the general one. This is much less true in times of crisis, when the public is enraged and wants to punish bankers. But it is true, again, in normal times.

Borderline or even blatant corruption also emerges: politicians may even demand a share in the wealth created in booms. Since politicians ultimately control regulators, the consequences for the latter, even if they are honest and diligent, are evident.

A significant aspect of the politics is closely linked to regulatory arbitrage: international competition. One jurisdiction tries to attract financial business via “light-touch” regulation; others then follow. This is frequently because their own financiers and financial centres complain bitterly. It is hard to resist the argument that foreigners are cheating.

* Human
There is a human tendency to dismiss long-ago events as irrelevant, to believe This Time is Different and ignore what is not under one’s nose. Much of this can be summarised as “disaster myopia”. The public gives irresponsible policymakers the benefit of the doubt and enjoys the boom. Over time, regulation degrades, as the forces against it strengthen and those in its favour corrode.

The cumulative effect of these efforts is quite clear: regulations erode and that erosion will be exported. This has happened before and will do so again. This time, too, is not different.
boom-to-bust  bubbles  collective_action  complacency  corruption  disaster_myopia  entrenched_interests  economic_downturn  financiers  financial_crises  financial_innovation  financial_regulation  financial_system  historical_amnesia  Mancur_Olson  Martin_Wolf  policymakers  politicians  politics  procyclicality  regulatory_arbitrage  regulation  regulators  stress-tests  This_Time_is_Different  U.S._Federal_Reserve 
march 2019 by jerryking
Howard Marks, the ultimate bargain hunter
October 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Javier Espinoza.

Howard Marks : “I have a high degree of creativity,” he says. "In order to outdo others you have to think differently from others. If you don’t, how can you expect to have superior results?” His new book is Mastering the Market Cycle.

Mr Marks is the founder of Oaktree Capital Management. Based in Los Angeles, it is one of the world’s most prominent value investors. He makes money by finding situations where he can buy low, especially distressed assets, then sell high.

Today, market conditions mean Mr Marks faces as strong a challenge as ever: trying to sniff out bargains when valuations are steep, debt is cheap and competition fierce.

In 2015 Oaktree raised about $12bn for its distressed-debt fund. It was the second-largest amount in its history......The veteran financier regards delaying gratification as key to success. Like Warren Buffett, he believes waiting for the right investments is an important part of the process.

He often cites Hyman Minsky, the US economist famous for his work on bubbles and crashes....as Minsky would say, ‘there are always cycles’.”

“There are up-cycles with too much enthusiasm, too little discipline and too little risk aversion," he says. "And there are down-cycles when the economy does less well, corporations do less well, security prices fall and there is too much risk aversion, too much fear.”

“A quote said to have been uttered by Mark Twain is: ‘History does not repeat but it does rhyme’. The point is that the patterns of cycles do repeat and the details – the amplitude, the timing, the duration, the speed and the reasons – are different from cycle to cycle but the themes that underlie the causes of cycles are similar from one to the next.”

 
bargain_hunting  books  boom-to-bust  creativity  distressed_debt  economic_cycles  financiers  founders  Howard_Marks  investors  Mark_Twain  moguls  money_management  investment_research  Oaktree  patterns  pattern_recognition  quotes  think_differently  value_investing/investors 
october 2018 by jerryking
Boom amid the bust: 10 years in a turbulent art market | Financial Times
July 27, 2018 | FT| by Georgina Adam.
September 15 2008, the date of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing, was also the first day of a spectacular gamble by artist Damien Hirst, who consigned 223 new works to Sotheby’s, bypassing his powerful dealers and saving millions by cutting out their commissions........The two-day London auction raised a (stunning) total of £111m.......o the outside world, though, the Hirst auction seemed to indicate that despite the global financial turmoil, the market for high-end art was bulletproof....in the wake of the Hirst sale, the art market took a severe dive.... sales plunging about 41% by 2009, compared with a market peak of almost $66bn in 2007. Contemporary art was particularly badly hit, with sales in that category plunging almost 60 % over 2008-09. Yet to the surprise, even astonishment, of some observers, the art market soon started a rapid return to rude health...the make-up of the market has changed. The mid-level — works selling between $50,000 and $1m — has been sluggish, and a large number of medium-sized and smaller galleries have been shuttered in the past two years. However, the high-performing top end has exploded, fuelled by billionaires duelling to acquire trophy works by a few “brand name” artists....A major influence on the market has been Asia....What has changed in the past 10 yrs. is what Chinese collectors are buying. Initially Chinese works of art — scroll paintings, furniture, ceramics — represented the bulk of the market. However, there has been a rapid and sudden shift to international modern and contemporary art, as shown by Liu and other buyers, who have snapped up works by Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso — recognisable “brand names” that auction houses have been assiduously promoting......Further fuelling the high end has been the phenomenon of private museums, the playthings of billionaires....In the past decade and even more so in the past five years, a major stimulus, mainly for the high end, has been the financialization of the market. Investment in art and art-secured lending are now big business....In addition, a new layer of complexity is added with “fractional ownership” — currently touted by a multitude of online start-ups. Often using their own cryptocurrencies, companies such as Maecenas, Feral Horses, Fimart or Tend Swiss offer the small investor the chance to buy a small part of an expensive work of art, and trade in it.....A final aspect of the changes in the market in the past decade, and in my opinion a very significant one, is the blurring of the art, luxury goods and entertainment sectors — and this brings us right back to Damien Hirst....Commissions are probably also lucrative. E.g. a Hirst-designed bar called Unknown was unveiled recently in Las Vegas’s Palms Casino Resort. It is dominated by a shark chopped into three and displayed in formaldehyde tanks, and surrounded by Hirst’s signature spot paintings. Elsewhere, Hirst’s huge Sun Disc sculpture, bought from the Venice show, is displayed in the High Limit Gaming Lounge. ...So Hirst neatly bookends the decade, whether you consider him an artist — or a purveyor of entertainment and luxury goods.
art  artists  art_finance  art_market  auctions  boom-to-bust  bubbles  contemporary_art  crypto-currencies  Christie's  Damien_Hirst  dealerships  entertainment  fees_&_commissions  fractional_ownership  high-end  luxury  moguls  museums  paintings  Sotheby's  tokenization  top-tier  trophy_assets  turbulence 
july 2018 by jerryking
Artificial intelligence is too important to leave unmanaged
September 26, 2016 | FT | John Thornhill.

Investors are scrambling to understand how technology will enable wealth to be created and destroyed

In the 60-year history of AI, the technology has experienced periodic “winters” when heightened expectations of rapid progress were dashed and research funding was cut. “It’s not impossible that we’re setting ourselves up for another AI winter,” says the co-founder of one San Francisco AI-enabled start-up. “There is a lot of over-promising and a real risk of under-delivering.”
One of the more balanced assessments of the state of AI has come from Stanford University as part of a 100-year study of the technology. The report, which brought together many of AI’s leading researchers, attempted to forecast the technology’s impact on a typical US city by 2030......Apart from the social impact, investors are scrambling to understand how such applications of AI will enable wealth to be created — and destroyed.
Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, says “AI is the big question of the now” for many investors. The clue, he suggests, is to identify those companies capable of amassing vast pools of domain specific data to run through their AI systems that can disrupt traditional business models. [Large data sets with known correct answers serve as a training bed and then new data serves as a test bed]
artificial_intelligence  boom-to-bust  investors  disruption  data  training_beds  test_beds  massive_data_sets  wealth_creation  wealth_destruction  social_impact  venture_capital 
march 2017 by jerryking
Yes, It's a Tech Bubble. Here's What You Need to Know
SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE | | Inc.com | BY JEFF BERCOVICI.

"Investors change priorities. Soon, they may be telling you, 'We want to see profitability at the expense of growth.' So you need to think about the levers you can pull to make that happen." (JCK- How does redirect from a growth mindset and plans to one of profitability?--Scott Kupor)

First, there will be some upside. Sky-high home and office rents in certain cities and neighborhoods will drop, and if you're not in the market yet, you'll have a great buying opportunity. If you're hiring, the drum-tight talent market for anyone with programming skills should loosen up considerably, although big companies may reap the benefits more than small ones, says Oliver Ryan, founder of the tech recruiting firm Lab 8 Ventures. "The 'war' for engineering talent is primarily a supply-and-demand issue, so a widespread pullback of venture capital would likely diminish demand to a point," he says.......a burst bubble could also create new types of adversity. ....suppliers and distribution partners may disappear, your business notwithstanding......money is time, and the best way to ride out a downturn is with a couple of years' worth of cash stashed in your mattress. Just be sure you're prepared to deliver a couple of extra years' worth of growth, because you'll need to if you follow the raise-more-than-you-need plan. "It's not without risk," .... "You'll have to make the numbers to justify your valuation at some point, so you're raising the hurdle on yourself."......To make it over the chasm, you have to show investors traction and momentum--a PowerPoint slide with a line pointing up and to the right. A startup can often manufacture these things by spending enough on advertising and customer acquisition. But the attributes so richly rewarded in the current environment aren't necessarily the same ones that will be selected for once the bubble bursts......In October 2008, Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital gave a famous presentation titled "R.I.P. Good Times," in which he counseled entrepreneurs to squirrel away their nuts for winter and "spend every dollar as if it was your last." In hindsight Leone's forecast, and his warning was seen as alarmist......be more careful about the terms on which you raise money as that "extreme end of a cycle" approaches. Typically, you'll seek the highest possible valuation: (a) It minimizes dilution and generates publicity that attracts talent and clients and even more capital. But as valuations settle--and the inevitable rise of interest rates all but guarantees they will--founders who overreached will struggle to support, or defend, those valuations. In the worst instances, if you finagled an extra 10 or 20 % of paper value by granting investors aggressive downside protections--the "features" and "ratchets" that VCs use to make reckless bets without incurring real risk--you'll find yourself downgraded from owner to employee. "
boom-to-bust  bubbles  downside  economic_cycles  economic_downturn  founders  growth  investors  mindsets  overreach  profitability  priorities  pullbacks  recessions  Sequoia  start_ups  Silicon_Valley  silver_linings  upside  vc  venture_capital  war_for_talent 
october 2016 by jerryking
As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding for Career Change - The New York Times
By STEVE LOHR JULY 28, 2015

Whether the on-ramp proves to be a lasting pathway to high pay and stimulating work remains to be seen. The boom-to-bust cycles in the tech business can be wrenching, like the last downturn in the early 2000s after the dot-com bubble burst. Nearly everyone in the industry was hit. Yet software development and engineering jobs held up better than ones in finance, marketing, sales and administration.

For now, at least, it is a seller’s market for those who can master new technology tools for lowering a business’s costs, reaching its customers and automating decision-making — notably, cloud computing, mobile apps and data analytics.

Companies cannot hire fast enough. Glassdoor, an employment site, lists more than 7,300 openings for software engineers, ahead of job openings for nurses, who are chronically in short supply. For the smaller category of data scientists, there are more than 1,200 job openings. Demand is highest in San Francisco. Nationally, the average base salary for software engineers is $100,000, and $112,000 for data scientists.
coding  software  Steve_Lohr  software_developers  boom-to-bust  software_development  programming  career_paths 
july 2015 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Peter Thiel - FT.com
December 20, 2013 4:06 pm
Lunch with the FT: Peter Thiel

By Richard Waters

Venture capital, where success depends on picking winners in the next hot tech markets and sticking with them, seems a long way from riding booms and busts as a hedge fund manager. In Thiel’s world, however, all things are connected, as he stitches ideas together into a grand unifying theory of our times.

The pieces fit together something like this. The historically anomalous bubbles of recent years – Japan’s stock market boom of the 1980s, the dotcom mania of the 1990s, the housing finance frenzy of the past decade and, now, the government bubble – all resulted from the fact that people retained outsized expectations for the future, even as reality came up short.
"Twitter may not be enough to take civilisation to the next level"

The reason for this expectation gap, Thiel argues, is that technological progress came to a halt at the end of the 1960s. As the website of Founders Fund declares: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Thiel is still making it up to Twitter for this jab: it’s a perfectly fine company, he says, and may even be worth the high valuation placed on it by Wall Street, though he adds with deadpan irony that “it may not be enough to take civilisation to the next level”
anomalies  boom-to-bust  bubbles  dotcom  expectations  Founders_Fund  libertarians  Palantir  Peter_Thiel  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Twitter  vc  venture_capital 
december 2013 by jerryking
Review & Outlook: Microsoft and Nokia Were Giants Once - WSJ.com
September 4, 2013 | WSJ | Op-ed

Nokia itself has been the veritable avatar of corporate reinvention, starting out in wood pulp in the 19th century. As recently as the early 1990s, the company was an unwieldy Finnish industrial conglomerate, trying to make its pivot into mobile telephony. Few then predicted its meteoric rise, or its equally meteoric fall. In shedding its handset business, Nokia will become essentially a maker of network equipment for cellphone operators.

The larger point here is that corporate giants come and go in a competitive economy. No monopoly is permanent, unless it is enforced by government, which as everyone knows almost never changes. It thinks and usually behaves the same even as the rest of the world evolves or leaps ahead.
op-ed  Microsoft  Nokia  19th_century  boom-to-bust  Finland  Finnish  impermanence  monopolies  reinvention 
september 2013 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Booms but Worries About a New Bust - NYTimes.com
The Airbnb founders Nate Blecharczyk, left, Joe Gebbia, and Brian Chesky talked to guests at the party.
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Published: August 20, 2011
Airbnb  hospitality  start_ups  bubbles  silicon_valley  boom-to-bust 
august 2011 by jerryking
A Tale of Several Cities: What explains why Boston flourishes while Philadelphia flounders?
Friday, October 20, 2006 12:01 A.M. EDT, WSJ op-ed by JULIA VITULLO-MARTIN.

Why isn't Philadelphia Boston? Why does Boston prosper, people and businesses outbidding one another to get in, while Philadelphia languishes, with acres of vacant and underused property announcing the lack of local demand? .......The answers are not to be found in conventional 20th-century analysis, which emphasized the seemingly unsolvable urban crisis: the decline of industrial jobs, the burdens of excessive taxation, the inevitability of racial tensions and the dominance of geography....At least part of the answer stems from their underlying cultures..... In his "Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia" (1979), E. Digby Baltzell argued that Boston Brahmins, with their belief in authority and leadership, embraced a sense of responsibility for civic life, while Philadelphia Gentlemen, with their inward but judgmental Quaker ways were deeply unconcerned about their city's welfare.....cultural analysis -- long out of fashion as too soft (as as opposed to econometrics) or too racist (who is to say that one culture is better than another?) -- is due for a comeback. .....The old answer of urban success was deterministic: taxes and geography.....as the historian Richard Wade has noted for years, against the tide of his field, this theory has its flaws: If the sheer excellence of a harbor truly determined a city's fate, then the greatest city in America would be Upper Sandusky, Ohio....What flourishing cities often have in common, instead, are two crucial cultural characteristics: combativeness and cunning.....That same energy contributes to New York's cyclical boom-and-bust nature, regularly pushing speculation beyond the limits of an exuberant boom, thereby encouraging a bust. ....Cunning and combativeness, however, often restore cities financially without making them many new friends, except, perhaps, for the young -- who, for the past two decades, have been returning in great numbers to the old neighborhoods long ago abandoned by their parents and grandparents....But what makes cities successful -- or even just lovable -- can seldom be quantified.
boom-to-bust  municipalities  Toronto  ECONOMY  city  cities  Boston  Philadelphia  gentrification  cultural_analysis  cultural_values  leadership  Boston_Brahmins  bubbles 
february 2009 by jerryking

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