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Entries in strategy (37)

Tuesday
Oct162012

Timing and luck

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Are successful people right, lucky or both?

In the mid-1980s, I listened to Nobel prize-winning finance professor, William Sharpe, address the Hong Kong Society of Securities Analysts.

Sharpe was one of our heroes, having developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model, or CAPM. (We don’t need to go into that here but for investment geeks CAPM is up there with sex).

Then the professor told us it was impossible to consistently beat the market.

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Tuesday
Sep182012

Beer Mat Strategy

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A few ideas can be better than a lot.

What was Steve Jobs first strategic call when he returned to Apple in 1997?

According to biographer, Walter Isaacson, he slashed 90% of existing product development. On a whiteboard he drew a simple alternative plan.

It was a two-by-two matrix. The columns were Consumer and Pro; the rows were Desktop and Portable. Four market segments; four products. Everything else was eliminated. Apple was reborn.

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Tuesday
Sep042012

What you are thinking is not what will happen

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The problems with planning.

Do businesses turn out exactly like the business plan? None of mine did. Even my most sophisticated spreadsheets never produced anything like the numbers I forecast. Personal plans were not much different.

Some have gone worse, some have gone better, but none mirrored the profile I had so carefully constructed. The late John Lennon was not far off the mark: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Does that mean planning is a wasted exercise?

I don’t know whether Lennon lived by that quote or was just making an observation.

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Tuesday
Aug282012

Gold medal sponsorship

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Make it last longer and matter more

Sponsorship chews up a lot of dollars. The London Olympic Committee raised around one billion dollars for the 2012 event. All the big global names were there – Pepsi, Samsung, MacDonald’s – but so were domestic brands and smaller firms, even local businesses.

The principles of sponsorship apply at all levels. For large corporations, it’s a given. It extends name identification and keeps a brand entrenched. Research suggest that firms engaged in sponsorship grow net income more quickly than those who don’t.

It also boosts valuation. The value of brands like Coke, IBM or Microsoft is estimated to be in excess of $60 billion.

Is it a game worth playing?

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Wednesday
Aug222012

Has anyone noticed the good news?

What is this historic stock market chart?

It’s looks like a nice ride for any investor. It moves higher over time but not in a straight line. It does so with the usual higher tops and higher bottoms. It covers a period of several years.

What is it? It’s the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the traditional proxy for the US market. This was one of the best performances in US market history. Over the 40 months covered by this chart, it doubled.

When did this happen?

It was the last three and a half years. In March 2009, the DJI stood at 6,595. When I made this chart yesterday, it closed at 13,275. Up 101%.

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