Carnival of the Capitalists New Year’s Edition 2008

Author: Gab Goldenberg

Here we are in 2008 and it’s time for another Carnival of the Capitalists! This is one of the longest-running carnivals in the blogosphere and it’s largely due to the great organizational skills and dedication of Jay, from the Business Sphere. The carnival is going strong and there are some excellent entries again this week, just like the last Carnival of the Capitalists that I was lucky enough to host!

Just before we begin, I’d like to apologize to Jay and everyone who submitted an entry for posting this late. I had some rush work to do for business yesterday and it dragged until just before my New Year’s party. Also, I’d like to make the point that while trying to include a diversity of posts, I left out others that had no ‘value-add’. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the Carnival of the Capitalists, New Year’s Edition 2008!

General Business

Andreas presents Lifelong Learning Is Changing My Brain, posted at the Brain Fitness Blog. You want to hear some original discussion of business? How about this: “As a scientist, being placed in an exciting start-up company in a novel market like brain fitness was a huge learning experience that gave me hands-on knowledge of business and entrepreneurial culture.”
Also, have a look at this item Andreas links to on 20 applications of the 80/20 rule. I’m willing to bet you’ll learn some new tricks from there that you can apply immediately!

Wally Bock asks “Why do we only talk about training and skills when it comes to leadership development? His answer? Well, answers, really: “Leadership development is about experiences, not just skills. [...] Permanent and temporary development assignments are important, too. [...] Leadership development is also about building relationships, not just skills.

Steven Lohrenz presents 4 Sites To Confidently Outsource Your Internet Business, posted at Steven Lohrenz. He also gives mini-reviews of them, rather than just list the sites, which is nice.

Rob presents Picking the Right Tool: Why Absolutes Aren’t the Path to Success
, posted at Coconut Headsets.

People who think you only need to master one thing to build a successful business should try to build a house with just a saw, or only a hammer.
“2. Cycle your focus by occasionally halting your broad search for new ideas to spend a few months focusing on depth. Dig in deeper and learn more about the tools and ideas that seem most useful. Don’t worry about what you may miss when you stop your broad based reading, because important ideas will bubble to the top eventually.”

Bravo!

FMF presents You Only Need $40,000 a Year to Be Happy, posted at Free Money Finance. I loooove Free Money Finance and their submission for this carnival just reinforces that.

“Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing.” I should specify that the intent there is not that if you can feed, shelter and clothe yourself then you’ll be happy, but rather that these are prerequisites to being happy and that it only takes 40K to meet those needs.

Taxes and Stocks

Pinyo presents Would You Like to Pay My Taxes? posted at Moolanomy. There’s an eye-opening look at investing in mutual funds if ever there was one! I, for one, certainly didn’t know that if you buy in at the wrong time, you might pay taxes for other people’s gains!

Matthew Paulson presents Donate Shares of Stock and Get Double Tax Savings!, posted at American Consumer News. “Most people write a check to their favorite charity, take the tax deduction, and call it good. This is not the best way to go if you have any sort of investments.” Well how about that? News to me…

Mike from Business Tax Books compares LLCs, C-Corps and S-Corps. It’s an easily digestible item, which you can’t always say of tax writing. It’s understandable then that he’s also written a book on the topic.

Dan Melson presents Yield Spread is a Beneficial Tool That Can Be Misused, posted at Searchlight Crusade. “Yield spread is a beneficial tool, offered voluntarily by lenders, that is an alternative to consumers paying all of the costs of a mortgage themselves.” Dan also suggests there are no such things as free loans, but perhaps he hasn’t heard of Kiva?

On a related note, Value Seeker presents Stock Investing Vs. Stock Trading, posted at Bull Returns’ Stocks. “Both stock investing and strock trading have their pros and cons. What is important is to understand the major advantages and disadvantages of each method that most people overlook.”

Law for Capitalists

Steve Bainbridge presents The Formalities of Board Meetings are Requisite, posted at Professor Bainbridge’s Business Associations Blog. A recent decision of a Delaware court said, “Directors often think that if they get together that is a real board of directors’ meeting. Not so.”

Prof Bainbridge has some great commentary on board meetings and making sure that yours meet regulatory guidelines. ” As with other aspects of the rules governing board meetings, accordingly, there seems to be a legitimate basis for otherwise formalistic rules.” This is definitely one of my editor’s picks for this carnival.

Duncan Bucknell presents Shaping the Terrain and IP Strategy, posted at IP Thinktank Blog. I should specify that Duncan’s idea of IP is Intellectual Property, not IP addresses that computers connected to the internet have.
Duncan has an interesting idea for IP lawyers (and especially litigators and lobbyists): “Terrain is one of the five fundamental factors from Sun Tzu’s ancient treatise on ‘The Art of War’.
In Intellectual Property Strategy, terrain can be anologised to a variety of strategic factors. One of the best is the legal environment of the country of interest (the legislation, case law, procedures and practice).”

Also discussing Sun Tzu’s famous treatise is this gentleman: Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan: Performance Expectations – A smidgen of Sun Tzu, posted at Coaching Sales Champions. Friendly tip Karl: use bolded headers, lists and break up your larger paragraphs into shorter, more digestible ones. (I realize this is not a legal post, but it just flowed with the previous one from Dan.)

Economics and Management

Leon Gettler presents Tips for surviving the recession, posted at Sox First. I was recently emailing a former economics prof of mine to communicate my feeling that we’re headed to a recession, and it’s interesting that I keep hearing important financial players making comments to that effect. Leon’s post is a must-read.

Personally, I’d say that it goes beyond credit and the housing market – online advertising is in a boom period very reminiscent of that of the dot-com bubble, with VCs fighting each other to fund companies that don’t have a business model besides bringing a lot of visitors to their site (with the result that the business model becomes “build critical mass then sell advertising”). Whether the recession happens in the first few months of ’08 remains to be seen, but my guess is also that the recession is going to happen this year. And, though I’d prefer not to say this publicly, I’m afraid the tech sector may again be a leading cause of the next recession.

Jonathan Dingel of Trade Diversion says the NYT’s conventional wisdom on international trade has some merits, despite the influential Dani Rodrik’s criticim of the New York Times’ attack on protectionist rhetoric. This one’s for the advanced economists in the crowd.

Charles Green of Trusted Advisor presents Customer Loyalty Meets Rate Tarts. “The buying and selling of “relationships”—it’s beyond absurd metaphors.” I’m a big fan of Charlie’s analysis, and this is a case in point. He’s running along the same lines as McGill University’s Henry Mintzberg, who was recently criticizing the trend towards downsizing for short-term savings as gutting a company. Charles shows the impact of related managerial theories on customer loyalty.

Wayne Hurlbert presents Making business adjustments to fit the times, posted at Blog Business World. This item is a high-level management-oriented post. “The question arises frequently about how to make the necessary adjustments in a business to not be caught moving in the wrong direction. The first step is to examine the economic climate with eyes wide open.”

Ian Welsh presents Circuit City Reaps What It Sowed, posted at The Agonist. If you’re looking for a piece to make you think, Ian’s got you covered. “Bosses who think their organizational chart reflect the reality of how the job is done are almost always fooling themselves [...]“. Concise and intelligent, this is something word having a look at, particularly for anyone in management or aspirations to it.

Yvonne DiVita presents An Open Letter to The World: How About This, posted at Lip Sticking. She’s like to know when merchants will say: “No, I will not disrespect this religious experience in the name of consumerism.” Quite an insightful read – particularly for the tie-in with religious intolerance.

Jay M presents Business Plan Basics II
, posted at 4 entrepreneur. Here’s another writer with an understanding of how to be short and sweet. I love these posts! There are some points you won’t find in other business plan articles that make this post a good read.

Andrew presents Personal Asset Inventory – The Secret to Easy Business Ideas
, posted at How To Get Business Ideas. He’s also got a related post on considering barriers to entry, before starting a business, which I recommend.

Marketing

I’d like to include something from my own SEO ROI here: Why Google is Broken. Hint: They’re not looking at links the way they used to, with the result that their measurement is now different. The result is that they’re having difficulties scaling, amongst other issues.

Lori Prokop Keyboard Culture Co-Founder presents Conquering the Fear of Promotion, Marketing, Branding and PR, posted at Raleigh Pinskey Branding, Publicity and PR Expert at Keyboard Culture Expert Community. “The Small Business Association reports that the top two reasons businesses fail in the first two years are poor management and lack of promotion. I would make it three, adding attitude to this critical measurement.” You know that, her having been in business since 1980, she’s got the requisite credibility to talk about this.

James Alenteal presents 5 reasons Why Blogs & Content Marketing Beats SEO & PPC, posted at James Alenteal’s Conversion Rate Clinic. I disagree completely. First, James’ idea of SEO isn’t what any respectable SEO understands it to be, but rather what get-rich-quick-with-my-system “gurus” sell to the naive through ClickBank. Second, Marketing strategy is not about either this tactic or that one. It’s about taking a holistic approach and integrating the different disciplines in your marketing mix, which is my philosophy and that of my company, SEO ROI.

By the way, James, if you’re going to have a line like this, “Hi there, good to meet you! If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed over on the right-hand column,” shouldn’t you have a right-hand column visible from your individual posts’ pages? You know, to increase conversions or something like that? (On a related note, I hear misspellings decrease credibility and conversions … like, say, “dramtically.” ;) Hehe.) See also my comment on James’ post.

Business Policies

Cehwiedel presents Make Customer Service Easy, posted at One Man Band. “Take-away: add customer service to your year-end business review. How can you improve customer service, so that your customers feel better about you and your business when they come out the other side?”

Michelle Cramer presents Easy Return Policy Means Return Customers, posted at GreatFX. (My apologies for the nofollow, but a prospective client is in the same business…) I will say that this is an original take on business policies and such.

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