Business and Tech Links and Notes #3

January 6, 2010

1-6-10

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aRLrsdwRkcB4&pos=1

“ADP Says U.S. Companies Cut Estimated 84,000 Jobs (Update2)”

This is not encouraging news. I know some news agencies may try to spin this as positive news, considering fewer jobs were lost lately than in previous months of the recession. But this shows economic upturn only to corporations, if anyone at all. Consumer spending will still fall, because more people are going to be out of work and be unable to afford as many goods. 10.1% is a horrible unemployment rate for the United States; until it drops to about 7-8%, enough that noticeable change is happening to the average person, I do not think people on Main Street will have increasing confidence in our economy.

2. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aWj75b2VIbn8&pos=5

“Intel Vulnerable as Consumers Shift to Phones to Browse the Web”

I really do not think Intel has a lot to worry about here. It is true that handheld devices are skyrocketing in popularity, but these devices have not the same, exact capabilities of PCs yet. For example, I have yet to see a handheld device where you could reliably use MS Office or something similar. If such a handheld device exists that has any functionality with such programs at all, one certainly cannot efficiently type papers and spreadsheets with it. Moreover, I have yet to see handheld devices that can play high-end video games (e.g. World of Warcraft) or use high-end applications (e.g. Photoshop). Even if handheld devices get browsing dominance and even if there are major advances in cloud computing, I still think handheld devices have a long way to go to be able to have dominance over all computing tasks.

3. http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/04/china-consumer-marketing-leadership-managing-rein.html

“How To Sell To The Chinese in 2010”

I kind of agree with the idea that the Chinese will pay for safe, quality products, but only to an extent. Like someone in the comments section of the article said, it all depends on if the consumers can afford higher quality goods. There is a high percentage of impoverished Chinese who can barely afford the basic necessities of life, and when they buy anything at all, they have to buy whatever they can afford. I do believe the more Americanized, affluent Chinese buy premium foreign goods when they can, but that does not help those who cannot afford those goods.

4. http://www.entrepreneur.com/franchises/franchisingyourbusinesscolumnistmarksiebert/article204188.html

“The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Franchising”

This article just seemed like common sense to me. The moral of the story is simply that an entrepreneur should not attempt tasks that he or she is not qualified to undertake. Furthermore, failing these tasks could have grave circumstances. Are many entrepreneurs really that short-sighted? It just seems obvious to me that someone should leave some parts of expanding a business to professionals who have experience in averting financial and legal disasters. There are some tasks that cannot be done on a “learn as you go” basis, because a single mistake can be way too costly.

5. http://www.entrepreneur.com/money/financing/venturecapital/article204198.html

“4 Common Venture Capital Myths”

I do not know much at all about the ins and outs of raising venture capital, so this was a good article for me to read. I know that it is very difficult to get venture capital and that companies will try many other ways to raise capital before resorting to that, simply due to how difficult it is to get. It makes sense to me that venture capitalists will want significant control over the company, since their money is just as much on the line as that of the founders and investors. It also just makes sense that any venture capital is good venture capital, regardless of how much and from whom, since money is the most important thing to a business.

6. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10426368-17.html?tag=newsLatestHeadlinesArea.0

“Nielsen: You sure have a lot of TVs”

I was not surprised in the least to hear that so many people have four or more TVs in their households. We live in a society where people nearly worship television. What I found to be a far more interesting part of the article was the mention of how the newest technology is infiltrating the mainstream, while people still watch the overwhelming majority of their video media on television. My belief is that video media technology will further consolidate to the point that one day, not in the too distant future, the average person will tune into their integrated media set, and be able to watch online videos as well as television media in a smooth, seamless fashion. Obviously, one who is technologically savvy can already watch YouTube with the help of a PlayStation3, but I am thinking about something much simpler.

7. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10425553-17.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0

“First dedicated 3D networks coming to TV”

This is the worst idea I have heard in a long time. Seriously, why would anyone actually pay money for this? There may be a few people who think this is an interesting idea and would like to maybe watch a few shows with 3D glasses, but I cannot see people willing to shell out significant amounts of money to pay for such a gimmick. Once 3D technology gets to the hologram stage, people may be more inclined to spend money on that, but even then, I have my doubts.


Business and Tech Links and Notes #1

January 4, 2010

1-2-10

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=arp0XyPoRxW0&pos=10

“China Property Bubble May Lead to U.S.-Style Real Estate Slump”

Although the Chinese government still tries to hold onto its communist ideals in name, China is really just as heavy into capitalism as America is. The practice of “flipping” property is a good short-term means of making money, but investing too heavily into it can have major pitfalls, as was shown in the American property market during this current recession. If China wants to continue moving forward, it needs to stick to an economy based on manufacturing.

2. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aeuJT_pSE68c&pos=11

“Ethiopian Farms Lure Investor Funds as Workers Live in Poverty”

African agriculture is a sound investment right now, particularly considering few people are actually invested in it. Land values, to buy and to maintain, are incredibly cheap right now, even in comparison to other poor, largely agriculture-based areas of the world. Unfortunately, workers who previously tended to their own land have become employees to these investors, and the workers’ pay is barely enough to sustain life for themselves and their families.

3. http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/23/evolution-resources-biowillie-business-energy-ethanol.html

“‘BioWillie’ Chief’s Questionable Comeback”

Dennis McLaughlin, head of Evolution Resources, is trying to break into the biofuel industry, but he failed to tell his investors about his colorful past, where he ran another company into the ground with a similar project. Also, there are allegations that he impropriety occurred regarding the sudden jump in value of the empty property where the old biofuel project was to take place. It seems to be this person emphasizes raising capital at any cost, as opposed to actually creating a sound business, especially considering a large chunk of his money was raised by celebrity endorsements of a concept.

1-3-10

1. http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/2010-tech-career-outlook-460?page=0,0

“2010 Tech Career Outlook”

The fact so many IT jobs are being sent overseas is not surprising. It is equally not surprising that the IT jobs that will be available are going to be increasing in sectors that are still trying to get off the ground, such as fully blown cloud computing. But, as the article says, countries such as India and China have no desire to continue to be sources of cheap labor for lower-end IT positions; these countries will want to compete against the U.S. and Europe. Although this is an obvious claim, the key for the United States to maintain technological superiority is through continuing innovation.

2. http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/need-job-in-it-cloud-needs-you-689

“Need a job in IT? The cloud needs you”

Cloud computing is not entirely brand new technology, but innovation is in progress to make cloud computing the way of the future, as opposed to specialty or novelty technology as it is now. Regardless, creating such a transition requires qualified people who have an updated skill set. Although the author of the article is confident cloud computing will go forward, he also believes salaries for qualified people will skyrocket, due to a lack of competent people in the sector.

3. http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/mixed-bag-stimulus-unemployment-keys/

“Keys to Next Year: Stimulus, Employment”

The current recession has caused general investment volatility. The author mentions a bond bubble near the end of the article, and although that sounds worrying, it just seems to be an effect of investors having run away from stocks when the stock market had its freefall in late-2008. Furthermore, the article mentions how there may be a major selloff of stock in late-2010 as a result of lessening stimulus packages. To me, the economy sounds like the tide that goes in an out like it always does, but the waters are just a little choppier than usual right now. Obviously, real estate also took a hit, and appears to only be stabilizing a marginal amount, but I wonder how other investments are holding up, such as commodities.

4. http://www.cnbc.com/id/34643627/

“Amazon May Pay for Touting Kindle Without Details”

What is interesting is the level of controversy over such as small percentage of Amazon’s profits. I wonder if the worry is over Amazon’s possibly making less money on the Kindle as it should right now or if there is a greater worry over the e-reader market as a whole, which Amazon currently leads. Amazon touts high numbers and percentages of e-book sales, but is the craze really latching on as much as they want us to believe? Why would Amazon be more worried about creating “media buzz” about the Kindle than being more honest with investors?