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jerryking : primary_field_research   18

Chinks emerge in the armour of prized malls
22 July/23 July 2017 | Financial Times | Miles Johnson.

A defining feature of the financial crisis was a group of hedge funds making vast sums by wagering against supposedly AAA-rated mortgage debt well before markets imploded in 2008.

Now some believe a similar story will play out for US shopping malls — that the most risky investments will end up being those that investors now believe to be the safest. Central to their premise is the idea that too much faith may be being placed in a classification system used for shopping malls that is little known outside of the real estate sector.....investors are also actively leaving the office and conducting field research.

In April researchers from a large US hedge fund travelled to the outer boroughs of New York to a shopping mall that is home to Apple and Armani among other retailers....To their surprise the researchers quickly came across a pop-up shop selling cheaply manufactured stuffed teddy bears and plastic toys. Two months later the store had disappeared....
The stock market has until recently appeared to believe that prime “A” malls are largely insulated from the pain being felt across a US retail sector being shaken by e-commerce.

Shares in Washington Prime, an operator of lower quality B and C classed malls, are down by half since the start of 2015. However, until recently shares in “prime” mall operators Simon Property Group and GGP had held up, underpinned by the belief that their A-quality malls in prime locations were safe from the challenge of online shopping.......Yet there is growing evidence to suggest that these prime malls, which have been treated by investors and lenders alike as rock solid bets in the face of the internet headwinds, are not as protected as once thought.

Shares in Simon Property, the largest Reit in America with a market value of $50bn, are down by almost 30 per cent over the past 12 months, having held up strongly to the middle of 2016. Short interest in Simon, which tracks the amount of shares hedge funds have borrowed to bet that its value will fall, rose to the highest level since the financial crisis last month, with bets worth more than $1bn.....The hedge funds wagering against the highest quality malls believe that the wider market will come to believe these A-quality malls are far more similar to lesser ranked ones. “This idea that there are these magic malls in America that are immune to secular change is a myth,” the US-based hedge fund manager says.

Some argue that the market under-appreciates that A class mall operators and B and C class mall operators all have very similar tenant bases, in spite of being in different locations. L Brands, the owner of lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret, is the largest single tenant for prime operator GGP, according to company filings.....it is also the biggest tenant for the lesser ranked CBL and second largest for Washington Prime.....Russell Clark of Horseman Capital notes the vulnerability malls have to the loss of single big brands, known as anchor tenants, with their departure often triggering a wave of rent loss with other tenants.

“Many tenants have a clause in their lease to reduce rents should an anchor close a store. Thus, even though the loss of rent due to an anchor closing is minimal, the knock-on effect of reduced rents from the remaining tenants is a serious concern,” he noted.....the hunt for opportunities to bet against quality malls outside the US. The share prices of Intu Properties and Hammerson, the UK’s largest publicly listed shopping centre operators, have not yet followed the falls seen in the shares of their largest tenants.
shopping_malls  commercial_real_estate  real_estate  MappedIn  mapping  hedge_funds  primary_field_research  pop-ups  store_closings  pretense_of_knowledge  illusions  under_appreciated  retailers  vulnerabilities  anchor_tenants  REITs  L_Brands  A-class  B-class  C-class  Victoria's_Secret 
july 2017 by jerryking
'Virtual fieldwork' is no substitute for travel
Oct. 10, 2015| FT | Tyler Brule
From time to time this column takes on the part-time role of concierge for its readers. The requests that come across this desk are not unlike those that greet the men...
travel  due_diligence  concierge_services  market_research  sleuthing  primary_field_research  research_methods  Tyler_Brûlé  interpretation  forecasting 
november 2015 by jerryking
Traders Seek an Edge With High-Tech Snooping - WSJ.com
Dec. 18, 2013 | WSJ | By Michael Rothfeld and Scott Patterson.

A growing industry uses surveillance and data-crunching technology to supply traders with nonpublic information.

Genscape's clients include banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, hedge funds including Citadel LLC and large energy-trading outfits such as Trafigura Beheer BV. Surveillance and analysis of the oil, electricity and natural-gas sectors can run Genscape clients more than $300,000 a year.
surveillance  data_driven  slight_edge  traders  hedge_funds  sleuthing  Genscape  sensors  commodities  corporate_espionage  competitive_intelligence  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  market_research  exclusivity  investment_research  research_methods  LBMA  nonpublic  primary_field_research  banks  Citadel  oil_industry  natural_gas  snooping  alternative_data  informational_advantages  imagery  satellites  infrared  electric_power 
december 2013 by jerryking
Incognito
October 2003 | Report on Business Magazine | by Doug Steiner.

"...He always seemed a step ahead, and he did it by working harder, thinking harder and trading harder—and in ways that the competition couldn't quite grasp."

Steiner's 10 rules for making serious money:

1. Economists say investing is a zero-sum game It isn't. Money moves to smart hands quickly, and lazy investors pay a price. Tiger Woods became the been golfer by practising a lot. How many prospectuses have you read in bed after the news?
2. Really good investors rarely crow. If there is $5 to be made from a trade, there will be loss than $2.50 after you've blabbed about how smart you are. There are traders who quietly take home $10 million a year. They live beside you in a modest house and drive a beat-up Nissan.
3. The best follow rules and they‘re patient. They may not invest for months. One great trader I know wanted to buy a house in a fancy neighbourhood. He spent more than a week in the registry office on his vacation, searching the title on each property in the neighbourhood to find what buyers paid and how much of that was mortgaged, going back 20 wars. He got a good deal. He does the same amount of homework investing.
4. Sharp traders never add to losing positions. Too many headaches.
5. Smart investors. when puzzled about when to sell. wonder if they should buy more. If they don’t think they should buy more,they sell.
6. The most information wins. If you like a company, phone some people who work there. Apply for a job. Try their products. Phone the shipping dock to find out if they're busy.
7. Get a Bloomberg terminal. Bloombergs have more information in them than you can use, but smart people use a lot of it.
8. Following really smart traders around the market is hard. Most have more money to invest in a position than the arbitrage or opportunity can handle. They leave few tracks.
9. Great investors an: like great athletes—they see opportunities that others don’t. Often you don't realize that what they've made the most money on is even fungible.
10. If you can't do it yourself, find someone who likes the foldouts in annual reports more than anything. Their management fees are usually worth it. And they usually don't have slick marketing brochures.
absorptive_capacity  arbitrage  Bay_Street  Bloomberg  dedication  Doug_Steiner  hard_work  hedge_funds  humility  idea_generation  investment_advice  investing  investors  money_management  obscurity  opportunities  overlooked_opportunities  patience  perception  primary_field_research  prospectuses  rules_of_the_game  self-discipline  sleuthing  slight_edge  smart_people  traders  training  unfair_advantages  zero-sum_games 
december 2013 by jerryking
Bark with bite
January 30, 2012 | FT | By John Quelch.

Academics succeed if their names are linked to one important idea that outlives them. Professor Theodore Levitt’s name is linked to many. The first was a blockbuster. “Marketing myopia” was published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 1960, one year after Harvard Business School plucked Prof Levitt, the son of a German immigrant cobbler, from the University of North Dakota.

The article famously asked: “What business are you in?” It critiqued railroads for “letting their customers get away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than the transportation business”. They were product-orientated rather than market-orientated....the importance of tangible evidence to reassure customers choosing among suppliers of intangible services (the impressive bank building, the authoritative logo)....I gave him a wide berth until it was time for feedback on my thesis proposal after three months of hard labour. The meeting lasted five minutes, barely long enough for Prof Levitt, whose mentoring style was more tough love than hand-holding, to dismiss me with: “Throw this out, start again and come back in a week with something important!” Fortunately, I did.

Prof Levitt’s advice was always to work on important problems that are important to important people in important companies. It spurred me to get out into the field, talk to business people, write case studies and understand the messy complexity of the world, rather than work behind my desk on mathematical models based on unrealistic assumptions.
advice  discernment  feedback  hand-holding  HBR  HBS  John_Quelch  marketing  market-orientated  messiness  myopic  primary_field_research  product-orientated  reminiscing  sophisticated  Theodore_Levitt  tough_love  worthiness  worthwhile_problems 
december 2013 by jerryking
To Avoid a Job Failure Learn the Culture of a Company First
July 14, 1998| WSJ |By Hal Lancaster.

The team suggested questions to ask during interviews. How does the company communicate with employees? Does the company encourage employees to learn more about the business? How do people get feed back? How do executives expect to be addressed? What's the company's dress code? What are typical work schedules? How are decisions made? How are raises and promotions decided? Who are the stars, and how did they reach that exalted state?

The consultants also advised employees to take their research beyond the interview. Michael McGinn, President of Executive Transition Group, an executive coaching and outplacement firm, suggested talking to current and former employees and members of professional trade associations to which the company's employees belong.

There are also clues in the stories told in annual reports and other company literature. Look for tales about company heroes to determine what is valued in an employee. Also, read open letters from the leadership and other self-descriptions.
Hal_Lancaster  organizational_culture  failure  first90days  sleuthing  primary_field_research 
december 2012 by jerryking
ASAP Interview_Don Valentine
Forbes ASAP | by Rich Karlgaard.

The great thing about evaluating markets first is that usually there are very poor data sources. So you have to create these scraps of information and most people don't do that--they prefer to make a judgement on some other basis, whether the product is patentable, whether the technology is differentiated, whether the people are world class. To us, you can scrape and push and dig and find out tidbits of information which when you put them together, you get a conviction about when something will happen. You talk to people in distribution, you talk to all the sources of information that you can, and you make a judgment....Are you solving a problem? Are there great installations of incompatibility that need to be linked? Who cares about this product? and do they care with a time frame that's important to us--eight years, the length of a fund?...To me, the most important person in management beyond the president has always been the sales manager. I want to meet and get comfortable with the guy who is going to create the backlog. This is different that marketing. Marketing runs the company, as it should, but it is the sales department that creates the orders and creates the cash-flow. So the sales manager is always a very important character to me, much more important that a log of other people. They must be relentless, driven and have enormous energy. Winning is terribly important to them, Where we've had great successes with companies, we've had great sales managers. Where we've had mediocre success with companies, we've had mediocre sakes managers. Nothing happens if you don't get a backlog.
Sequoia  Don_Valentine  Rich_Karlgaard  due_diligence  sleuthing  information_sources  sales  tacit_data  scuttlebutt  incompatibilities  primary_field_research 
june 2012 by jerryking
Snooping in the Age of E-book - This Life - NYTimes.com
September 23, 2011 |NYT| By BRUCE FEILER. How does one snoop
bookshelves in the age of e-book?...a bit of gumshoe in someone’s
cupboard or closet can reveal far more about them than an entire
evening’s worth of chitchat. “Places reflect long series of behavior,”
“If I have a conversation with you, I just get snippets of behavior.
Your books, your chairs, your wall hangings represent an accumulation
over many yrs. A space distills repeated acts. That’s why it’s hard to
fake.” …A perfect storm of clues is what makes bookshelf sleuthing so
appealing — and so difficult to replicate elsewhere in a home. “The
kitchen & pantry are pretty good,” …“But they don’t interest me as
much as a person’s bookshelf,” because the kitchen and pantry are
reflection of how the person eats, whereas the bookcase is reflection of
how he thinks.”… For all the benefits of snooping, the activity does
present certain ethical quandaries. Is it O.K. to look in someone’s
closet? Their medicine cabinet? Their iPad?
sleuthing  books  personal_libraries  e-books  artifacts  physical_place  primary_field_research  snooping 
september 2011 by jerryking
How to Be Like Apple - WSJ.com
AUG. 29, 2011 | WSJ | RACHEL EMMA SILVERMAN. Driving
Innovation: Mgmt. experts say there are specific ways firms can generate
and execute new ideas. Solicit input. Great ideas come from all levels
of the organization, not just the top. Provide workers time for
"unofficial activity," set time to work on creative ideas. Executing
ideas is often tougher than generating them. Companies need a clear
process to prioritize, resource & test ideas quickly and cheaply, so
that they can afford to experiment...Observation can help companies
understand not just what people say they want, but what they really
need. Clay Christensen says P&G's new-product success rate in recent
yrs. came from observing that people were concerned about how their
clothes smell (Febreze) & were always looking for simpler ways to
clean the floor (Swiffer.). P&G overhauled its new-biz strategy
after realizing that just 15% of its ideas, developed in more of an
ad-hoc approach, were meeting revenue & profit targets.
Apple  ideas  idea_generation  innovation  execution  Vijay_Govindarajan  P&G  business_development  Clayton_Christensen  new_products  kill_rates  success_rates  ad_hoc  new_businesses  slack_time  companywide  observations  experimentation  primary_field_research  process-orientation  large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  unarticulated_desires  Michael_McDerment 
august 2011 by jerryking
Seven questions that managers should ask
March 29, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by Harvey Schachter.

Do you miss opportunities that others spot?

Despite massive investments in information technology and sophisticated data systems, many companies miss market shifts that rivals sense and exploit. To continually identify gaps in the market, you need real-time data, the ability to share it in your company, and the wisdom to supplement that data with direct observations in the field. He notes that Spanish retailer Zara, known for its capability to respond speedily to market shifts, has its designers, marketing managers and buyers work side-by-side in an open office setting that stimulates sharing and discussion.

Are your hydraulics broken?

Organizational hydraulics, Prof. Sull explains, are the mechanisms that senior executives use to translate corporate objectives into aligned actions by individuals across the organization. But in many companies, top executives deluge staff members with multiple, often conflicting, priorities, and everything plugs up. Alex Behring, chief executive officer of Garantia Investment Bank in Brazil in the 1990s, set out to repair the deteriorated organizational hydraulics in a railway bought from the government through such measures as capping the number of corporate priorities at five per year and requiring every employee to meet and negotiate with his or her boss both team and individual priorities for the year, again limited to five.

Do you reward mediocrity and call it teamwork?

In many organizations, he says, executives socialize bonuses in the name of teamwork, believing that differential payouts can stifle co-operation and long-term thinking. Variable pay represents a small portion of overall compensation, with the range of bonuses narrow. He argues instead for rewarding individuals who do what they say they will with outsized bonuses.

Are your core values a joke?

The most agile organization that Prof. Sull studied shared a core set of values: strong achievement ethic; personal responsibility by all employees for results; creativity to challenge the status quo; and integrity, to offset the temptation to cut corners when taking on ambitious goals. "Rather than print posters listing the values that then languish on conference room walls, executives should breathe life into the corporate culture by hiring and promoting individuals on the basis of the adherence to values," he says, noting that Reckitt Benckiser, a consumer goods company, created a pre-screening tool that allows potential employees to assess their fit with the organization.

Are you talking about the wrong things?

Managers spend about three-quarters of their time in discussions, and need to be adept at four different types of conversations that facilitate execution: making sense of volatile situations; deciding what to do, not do, or stop doing [Sounds a lot like Peter Drucker] ; soliciting and monitoring commitments by others to deliver; and making corrections in mid-course. Beware of executives who excel at only one type of discussion, and struggle with or avoid the others.

Have your Vikings become farmers?

Effective executives are like Nordic Vikings, who attacked when they saw an unprotected spot, and retreated when they realized they couldn't win. Do some of your executives have that same instinct, or are they all like farmers, more interested in protecting and tilling their current fields?

Do you rely on heroic leadership?

The economic crisis forced many executives into firefighting mode but, over the long haul, you need leaders who can build up your organization's execution strength in a disciplined way. "Senior executives who dash from crisis to crisis are a sign of organizational weakness, not leadership strength," Prof. Sull warns.
Harvey_Schachter  IT  Donald_Sull  observations  questions  wisdom  conversations  sense-making  real-time  data  mediocrity  overlooked_opportunities  Peter_Drucker  missed_opportunities  long-haul  primary_field_research  core_values  Zara 
march 2010 by jerryking
Finding exclusive information is tough, but rewarding
May 28, 2005 | Globe & Mail | by AVNER MANDELMAN. Superior
investment information must be triple-good: It must be true, important
and exclusive. "We called or met 13 HTE clients, which took two months,
and a dozen low- and mid-level employees, which took another month.
Because the latter live paycheque to paycheque, they take pains to learn
how their company is really doing. What we learned was crucial -- few
things are more important than clients' opinions. And it was exclusive,
no one else talked to the workers and clients."
exclusivity  sleuthing  due_diligence  Avner_Mandelman  investment_research  inequality_of_information  scuttlebutt  primary_field_research  personal_knowledge  personal_connections  personal_meetings  personal_relationships 
february 2010 by jerryking
How to tell good buys from bad: Talk to people, trust your gut
Jun 3, 2006 | Globe & Mail | by Avner Mandelman. 2 mths
ago Giraffe put an ad in RoB, looking for a research analyst. We asked
for a 1-pg. résumé, a half-pg. letter, and a 1-pg. tech stock pick/pan.
All presented themselves well, and some even gave interesting stock
picks/pans. Two things were missing: First, nearly all had based their
analysis on public, 2nd-hand data -- the kind that everyone else sees
also. Very few did primary field research and none thought it important
to highlight exclusive info. Instead, the recommendations were rife
with data copied from the Web, corporate filings or famous analysts'
reports. The interviewees saw their role as financial scientists
massaging data gathered by others, rather than gatherers of exclusive
info themselves. Second, very few spoke of the company's people: the
character of their pick's CEO, the trustworthiness of the CFO, or the
high integrity of the company's team viz. a viz the competition. This
lack of people-mention was glaring.

===========================================
A technique for finding out information about companies. When you talk to people , you do not ask them to talk about their company. What you do is ask them to talk about the other company. That is not reg FD or insider information per se. It is their observations on the generalized business conditions and what the other companies are doing. Folks like to shoot their mouths off about other people
Avner_Mandelman  research_methods  hiring  sleuthing  due_diligence  proprietary  exclusivity  primary_field_research  secondary_research  research_analysts  gut_feelings 
february 2010 by jerryking
FT.com / UK - Sharp focus gives design group the edge
February 18 2005 | Financial Times | By Scott Morrison. What
sets Ideo apart from most design companies is that it begins every
project by focusing on the consumer experience - whether it is asked to
design a product, a store or a service. This is where the group's
so-called "human factors" team comes in: shadowing consumers, taking
pictures of them as they use or buy products and interviewing them to
evaluate their experiences. "We are looking to design a better consumer
experience,"..."We want to know what is going right and what is wrong."
Ideo says it is selling more than just hot product designs. By drawing
clients into the design process, it is trying to teach them to think
differently and show them how to shake up their own internal design
processes.
ideo  design  customer_experience  P&G  AT&T  Ford_Motor_Co.  human_factor  primary_field_research  think_differently 
january 2010 by jerryking
Switch to the low-income customer
14-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Jeremy Grant. "When AG
Lafley came in [in 2000] and said, 'We're going to serve the world's
consumers', that led us to say, 'We don't have the product strategy, the
cost structure, to be effective in serving lower income consumers'.
"What's happened in the last five years has been one of the most
dramatic transformations I've seen in my career. We now have all of our
functions focused on that," says Mr Daley. P&G, the world's largest
consumer goods company, devotes about 30 %of its $1.9bn in annual
research and development spending to low-income markets, a 50 % increase
from 5 yrs. ago. Consumer research: spend time in consumers' homes to
gain insights into daily habits; Cost innovation: use proprietary
technology to design low-income products; Innovation productivity: use
"matchmakers" such as InnoCentive; Manufacturing efficiency: cut mfg.
costs by developing a network of suppliers in China, Brazil, Vietnam and
India.
P&G  BRIC  market_research  consumer_research  primary_field_research  customer_insights  innovation  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  A.G._Lafley  InnoCentive  supply_chains  China  Brazil  Vietnam  India  observations  insights  cost-structure  jugaad  proprietary  behavioural  cost-cutting  match-making  CPG  low-income 
december 2009 by jerryking
Stock Sleuthing 101: Talk to the company's customers
June 30, 2007 column by AVNER MANDELMAN counseling investors to
avoid fixating on the numerical side of the analysis to the detriment
of talking to a company's customers to understand truly the business'
strength or franchise.
stocks  Avner_Mandelman  market_research  sleuthing  personal_knowledge  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  biases  stockmarkets  primary_field_research 
january 2009 by jerryking

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