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jerryking : scuttlebutt   25

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
Journalism’s problem is a failure of originality - The Globe and Mail
KELLY McBRIDE

The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Sep. 28 2012

Professional journalism isn’t facing a plagiarism problem. It’s facing an originality failure....We have no way of knowing whether, proportionally, there’s more plagiarism in journalism today than there was 20 years ago. But we do know that commentators now work in very different circumstances. It used to be that local columnists used the phone and their feet. They spent time out of the office, just like their reporter colleagues. They went to the bar, the barbershop, the local college, the courtroom.

Why? Because, that’s where ideas took shape. Talking and thinking, thinking and talking, then trying it out on the keyboard. That’s how writers write. Sometimes, the work was good; more often, it was mediocre. Sometimes, editors sent it back. Whatever the quality, the ideas belonged to the columnist, informed by her reporting and research but grown in the writer’s head....In our panic to keep up with a changing world, we’ve failed to identify new methods for originality. We need to look to the writer-editor relationship, to the community of writers and thinkers and to the very process that writers use to go from nothing to something.

We’re mystified by the prospect of building a culture that breeds original thinking and writing in today’s digital world. Yet, we can look to writers who are successfully hitting the mark of originality and imitate their methods.

Today’s most original successful writers often combine the new and the old to foster their thinking. Writers such as Anne Lamott or columnist Connie Schultz test out their ideas in social media settings such as Twitter or Facebook. And they stay grounded in the real world, allowing for the influence of other people and experiences.
in_the_real_world  journalism  originality  scuttlebutt  thinking  plagiarism  editors  writers  writing  social_media  testing  original_thinking  ideas 
october 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
Go Ahead, Take a Risk
June 22, 2004 | WSJ | By ADRIAN SLYWOTSKY

What are the risks you should be taking but aren't? Most managers treat risk as an unwanted byproduct of the business. They think narrowly of financial, operating, and hazard risks, such as currency fluctuations, employee fraud, and earthquakes. And they defend themselves through practices like hedging, internal controls, and insurance.

But disruptive strategic risks can be a much larger source of value destruction for a firm. I looked back to the bull market of the 1990s to analyze movements of the Fortune 1000 stocks; even then, before the market collapsed, 10% of stocks lost over one-quarter of their value in a single month, primarily because of strategic-risk events.

The most successful companies do not try to simply minimize strategic risk; they embrace such risk by making prudent bets in their growth-oriented strategies. Strategic risks include not just the obvious, high-probability events that a new ad campaign or new product launch will fail, but other less-obvious risks as well: Customers' priorities will change quickly -- as when baby-boomer parents quickly migrated from station wagons to minivans, catching most automakers off guard. New technology will overtake your product -- as mobile telephony has stolen market share from fixed-line voice. A one-of-a-kind competitor will render your business model obsolete -- as the Wal-Mart tidal wave has washed over mid-range department stores.

Although insurance and hedging can't address strategic risks, there are an array of countermeasures that can, including these three:
1) Smart sequencing for new growth initiatives. Look for incumbents that are moving deliberately, leveraging existing assets and customer relationships to gain the experience, knowledge, and reputation necessary to take the next step with confidence.
2) Proprietary information to reduce the risk of each new initiative. Gather and generate proprietary information that produces a depth of insight into the customer's needs and activities that traditional suppliers cannot match. This will make you a supplier of choice, reducing bidding volatility and allow you to plan with greater certainty.
3) Double betting to minimize the risk of obsolescence. When several versions of a new technology are competing to become the standard, it's impossible to predict which will prevail. So smart managers make double bets. Betting on both Windows and OS/2 positioned Microsoft to be the winner, regardless of which operating system prevailed.

Traditional risk management seeks to contain losses. But that's just one-half of the growth equation. By embracing strategic risk, Cardinal, JCI, and other risk-savvy companies have raised their growth potential in addition to reducing their economic volatility. That's important at a time when aggregate market growth is sluggish: The biggest risk of all is not to take the right growth risks for the business.
leaps_of_faith  Adrian_J._Slywotzky  risk-taking  proprietary  sequencing  scuttlebutt  information  growth  strategic_thinking  Mercer  Oliver_Wyman  product_launches  nonpublic  low_growth  slow_growth  insights  customer_insights  value_destruction  disruption  insurance  new_products  obsolescence  countermeasures  volatility  customer_risk  one-of-a-kind  hedging  overly_cautious  risk-aversion  de-risking  double_betting  risk-management  bull_markets  customer_relationships  dark_data  risk-savvy  internal_controls  financial_risk  risks 
june 2012 by jerryking
What makes Mick Davis stand out -- strong nerves
27 Mar 2007 | The Globe and Mail pg.B.2. | Eric Reguly.

Canadian mining bosses should get out of the office more often...For Canadian (mining CEOs) when the price rises sharply, visions of price collapse immediately fill their heads, and for good reason. The last downward cycle was so brutal that the mining companies were lucky to come out of it alive. They totally misjudged the current cycle, though. The Canadian CEOs should have spent less time on the golf course and more time watching stockpiles of nickel (and copper, zinc and lead) in Shanghai, Mumbai, Taipei and Seoul disappear like beer at Oktoberfest....Xstrata CEO Mick Davis and the intelligence gatherers at Glencore International, the commodities trader that controls 35 per cent of Xstrata, endlessly traipse around the planet to pick up information on reserves and supply and demand. They feed the data into a black box, which rattles and shakes and spits out a range of eye-popping numbers. Then Xstrata runs out and buys nickel companies when nickel prices are outrageously, unsustainably, stupidly high, or so everyone else thinks. Then the company and its shareholders make obscene amounts of money....CVRD and Inco have been spectacularly right, the Canadians spectacularly wrong. The result is a Canadian nickel mining industry with no nickel miners left of any size. Falconbridge, Inco and LionOre have been eradicated as independent, home-grown names. Investors who sold Inco and Falconbridge left fortunes on the table...The Xstrata lads didn't just get smart on price forecasts. They also figured out how to treat the hedge funds: Respect but don't fret about them. The hedgies pump volatility into the system. When commodity prices fall, say, 10 per cent, share prices might fall by double that amount as the hedgies head for the tall grass. As a CEO, you need strong nerves to endure such violent up and down movements. Mr. Davis has strong nerves and it has paid off. Many other mining bosses look at the hedge funds with fear.
CEOs  commodities  commodities_supercycle  Eric_Reguly  Glencore  inventories  lessons_learned  market_intelligence  Mick_Davis  mining  price_forecasts  scuttlebutt  sellout_culture  stockpiles  volatility  Xstrata 
june 2012 by jerryking
Crovitz: Before 'Watergate' Could be Googled - WSJ.com
April 17, 2012 | WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ.
Before 'Watergate' Could be Googled
The Internet is no substitute for hands-on reporting.

"Watergate 4.0: How Would the Story Unfold in the Digital Age?" Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein gave their assessment at the annual American Society of News Editors conference this month by referring to how Yale students answer a similar question assigned in an advanced journalism class.

Mr. Woodward said he was shocked by how otherwise savvy students thought technology would have changed everything....Bob Woodward contrasted the reporting goal of "advancing the story and providing new information" with using the Web to find or distribute already-known facts.

He also doubted that "tweeting and blogging would have created an immediate avalanche of public opinion." It took more than two years between the Watergate break-in and Richard Nixon's resignation, including special prosecutors, Senate hearings and a Supreme Court order to the White House to turn over secret tapes.

Mr. Woodward concludes that the Internet is "not that magic and it doesn't always shine that bright." It's a great tool for research, including for linking data that before might have been public but was hard to put together.


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Watergate  scandals  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  journalists  hands-on  legwork  journalism  Bob_Woodward  Carl_Bernstein  digital_media  public_opinion  Yale  Colleges_&_Universities  investigative_journalism  students  technology  digital_savvy 
april 2012 by jerryking
Why Your Target's Is a Good Read
Sept. 2004 | | Mergers & Acquisitions: The Dealermaker's Journal, 00260010, , Vol. 39, Issue 9 | By:David K. Thornquist

Traditional due diligence focuses on reviewing board minutes, reports, financials, sales forecasts, and other writings that are fully vetted. This is supplemented by interviews with managers who answer questions to the best of their ability, but with the caveat that management can't have complete knowledge of everything and everyone under their watch. And individual managers may have a host of motives and objectives that prompt answers that are not fully candid.
Uncovering the real story

Traditional due diligence, however, typically ignores email, the lifeblood of an efficiently run business. The spontaneous and unpolished nature of e-mail presents the most candid view of what is really going on in a company. It provides context. It also can fly in the face of the fully vetted printed record offered by a company under the due diligence microscope.
due_diligence  M&A  e-mail  e-discovery  scuttlebutt  unstructured_data  tacit_data  contextual 
march 2012 by jerryking
Quid Emerges From YouNoodle, Delves Into Data on Private Firms - Bloomberg
By Ari Levy - Sep 14, 2010. Quid Inc. aims to shed light on
the insular world of technology innovators & investors while making
money itself. While public companies disclose financial results and
research plans quarterly, private-company information is less
transparent. That’s where Quid comes in, using its relationships &
research to fill in the gaps. The challenge will be getting enough
customers to pay for the data. “It’s in private companies where so much
of the world’s technology is being developed,” “To date, no one has
delved into what these companies are doing. That’s the data we care most
about.” To succeed, Quid will have to go beyond the kind of data that
more-established competitors have collected. Hoover’s, a unit of D &
B., has info. on 65 million companies, both public and private. It
sells the data via subscriptions. Quid’s likeliest customers are
companies that need to track technology trends, as well as govt. groups
involved with economic development &security.
Quid  Peter_Thiel  privately_held_companies  start_ups  scuttlebutt  opacity  data 
october 2010 by jerryking
Learning to Love Hedge Funds - WSJ.com
JUNE 12, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By SEBASTIAN MALLABY.
Mr. Jones's hedge fund, like most later hedge funds, embraced four
features. To begin with, there was a performance fee. Mr. Jones's
second distinguishing feature was a conscious avoidance of regulation.
Thirdly, Mr. Jones embraced short selling. By insulating his fund from
market swings, Mr. Jones cleared the way for his fourth distinctive
practice, which was later to become the most controversial one. Because
he had hedged out market risk, he felt free to embrace more
stock-specific risk, and so he magnified, or "leveraged," his bets with
borrowed money.
hedge_funds  financial_history  scuttlebutt  short_selling  Wall_Street  market_risk 
june 2010 by jerryking
Are Charity Fundraisers Spying on You?
May 18, 2010 | SmartMoney Magazine | by Anne Kadet. Donor
research isn’t new, of course. In a bygone era, fund-raising sleuths
spent days at the library and county clerk’s office, scribbling facts on
index cards. More recently, major charities have spent large sums on
donor data to prepare for capital campaigns. But now, for as little as
$3,000 a year, even smaller nonprofits—like the Cape Cod Commercial Hook
Fishermen’s Association—can use databases that estimate everything from
a donor’s net worth to the size of her mortgage. According to nonprofit
marketing-research firm Campbell Rinker, nearly half of all charities
now use these tools to research donors.
privacy  charities  target_marketing  scuttlebutt  hospitals  nonprofit  fundraising  data_mining  high_net_worth  personal_finance  estate_planning 
may 2010 by jerryking
Get smart: scooping the competition in six easy steps—without breaking the law | Managing | Strategy | Canadian Business Online
December 27, 2004 | From Canadian Business Online |
Gathering competitive intelligence is all too often confused with
corporate espionage, but practitioners say it really has nothing to do
with planting a mole inside your competitor's HQ or hacking into a
computer system. After all, that's against the law. Still, there are
perfectly legal, ethical and effective ways to find out what your
competitors are doing.
competitive_intelligence  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  market_research  sleuthing  moles 
february 2010 by jerryking
Opening doors
Feb. 20, 2010 | Globe & Mail | WALLACE IMMEN. "Googling" a
company isn't enough- everyone does that. A source of insider info. is
your local librarian. S/he can help you access business data bases,
trade journals, newspapers and annual reports that aren't available free
anywhere else. Also, scope out competitors of the company you hope to
work for and informally contact current or former employees of either
your target company or a competitor who might give an idea of the
corporate culture & priorities of mgmt. Research the hiring mgr. via
LinkedIn & Facebook to find clues to the person's hobby or
charitable interests...Turn tables on the interviewer...respond with:
"I've been doing some research on your company and the industry."
After mentioning a challenge you've found the company is facing, follow
up with something like: "I can completely relate to that issue and, in
fact, I faced it many times when I was in my previous role." Talk about
how you see it creates an opportunity.
interview_preparation  job_search  Wallace_Immen  due_diligence  scuttlebutt  Managing_Your_Career  libraries 
february 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
To get an investment edge, learn to recognize business stars
Feb 10, 2007 | The Globe & Mail pg. B.9 | by Avner
Mandelman. Therefore, if you invest, see yourself as a business fan, and
pay attention to individual business stars: Follow their careers, learn
what they do and how they do it, what they succeed in and where they
fail -- and try to remember what they look like. If you do that, you'll
often have an edge over those who don't. Sure, you must know the
numbers, too, and the industry. But if you can identify a young
business-Kobe-Bryant joining -- or quitting -- a company, you may take
the money of those who only see a press release. Star talent matters
greatly, both in sports, and in business.
Avner_Mandelman  sleuthing  scuttlebutt  proprietary  star_power  slight_edge  Bay_Street  sports  Pablo_Picasso  talent  personal_knowledge  pay_attention 
february 2010 by jerryking
Turing was right: Don't be ruled by words and numbers
January 13, 2007 | Globe & Mail | by AVNER MANDELMAN.
Numbers alone aren't enough. You must seek out physical facts too,
because that's where the exclusive edge is. But if you have read this
column before, surely you know all this. So why am I mentioning it
again? Because when I interviewed analysts prior to hiring one, I found
that fresh MBAs or those with a CFA designation have never been taught
to do physical sleuthing. In fact the entire CFA material never mentions
physical investigation. It's all done by numbers and letters -- which
are, of course, reflections of reality, not physical reality itself.
The implicit assumption then is that screen blips and printed matter can
capture the full human drama of commercial conflict -- which, after
all, is what business truly is. But is this assumption valid? Can
letters and numbers alone tell you whether a company's president is
competent and trustworthy?
Avner_Mandelman  sleuthing  proprietary  due_diligence  scuttlebutt  physical_place  personal_knowledge 
february 2010 by jerryking
Killing Gossip With Kindness - WSJ.com
JANUARY 6, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JEFFREY ZASLOW.
Before saying something to or about someone else, ask yourself: "Is it
kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?" These three questions have been
around for centuries, attributed to Socrates and Buddhist teachings, and
linked to the tenets of Christianity and the Jewish prohibition on
"lashon hara," or evil language. Replace words that hurt with words
that encourage, engage and enrich."
etiquette  Jeffrey_Zaslow  discretion  scuttlebutt  Socrates  public_decorum  gossip  think_threes  grace 
january 2010 by jerryking
Finding competitive intelligence on Internet start-up companies: a study of secondary resource use and information-seeking processes
October 2001| Information Research, Vol. 7 No. 1 | by Sanda
Erdelez, School of Information Science and Learning Technologies,
University of Missouri-Columbia and Nicole Ware, Graduate School of
Library and Information Science,
University of Texas at Austin.
competitive_intelligence  start_ups  market_research  sleuthing  due_diligence  scuttlebutt  secondary_research 
october 2009 by jerryking
Prudential Research Model May Have Been a Dinosaur
June 8, 2007, WSJ letter to the editor by a Mr. Scot Patterson.
Points out that deep-pocketed investors such as pension funds and
hedge funds are hungry for exclusive, specialized research that can give
them an edge over competition.
hedge_funds  equity_research  due_diligence  scuttlebutt  exclusivity  ProQuest  private_information  inequality_of_information  slight_edge  nonpublic 
march 2009 by jerryking
Seeking an Edge, Big Investors Turn to Network of Informants - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 27, 2006 WSJ article by LAURIE P. COHEN profiling Mark
Gerson and his research firm, Gerson Lehrman. The firm is an
information broker to hedge funds and private-equity firms. These
private investment firms, which are loosely regulated, have Gerson
Lehrman Group, for information they hope will provide them with an
investing edge
research  investing  information  Gerson_Lehrman  proprietary  inequality_of_information  scuttlebutt  due_diligence  expert_networks  market_intelligence  slight_edge  private_information 
march 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
Cargill's Inside View Helps It Buck Downturn
Jan 14, 2009, WSJ article on Cargill.

"Cargill freely acknowledges it strives to profit from that information.
"When we do a good job of assimilating all those seemingly unrelated
facts," says Greg Page, Cargill's chief executive, in a rare interview,
"it provides us an opportunity to make money...without necessarily
having to make directional trades, i.e., outguess the weather, outguess
individual governments."
CEOs  Cargill  business_development  market_intelligence  scuttlebutt  insider_information  information  information_flows  commodities  grains  farming  agriculture 
january 2009 by jerryking

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