Passion and Performance

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:34+00:00 December 16th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Why is passion so powerful? German Wright Flyer stamp. Source: Wikipedia We all know that 113 years ago the Wright Brothers were first to fly an airplane. But did you know that they had a well-financed, expert administrator as a rival? Samuel Pierpont Langley wanted to build the first airplane. He was Secretary of the Smithsonian and taught at Annapolis. He obtained a grant from the War Department and hired engineers, inventors, and a test pilot. What he didn’t understand—like the internal combustion engine—he [...]

Passion and Performance

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:06+00:00 April 4th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Why is passion so powerful? German Wright Flyer stamp. Source: Wikipedia In 1890 Samuel Pierpont Langley wanted to be the first man to fly a powered airplane. He did what many successful administrators do: he assembled the most powerful team he could think of. He got a grant from the War Department; he hired engineers, inventors, and a test pilot. What he didn’t understand—the internal combustion engine, for example—he contracted out. He courted the press and famous writers, like Rudyard Kipling. He had already [...]

Above Average Investing

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:24+00:00 October 20th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Above Average Investing Photo: Jim Machley. Source: Mountain Graphics. Used by permission “Raise your hand if you’re an above-average driver.” Ask that question in any group and see how many hands go up. Usually it’s way more than half. That’s because we’re pretty overconfident. We think we know more than we do, and we think that we’re better than we are. This isn’t because we’re naturally arrogant. It’s because the folks who lack a true expert’s abilities simply can’t discern what makes someone really [...]

Peak Performance

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:25+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Peak Performance Why do we choke? Photo: Dodgerton Skillhouse. Source: Morguefile It’s the what every performer dreads. Nothing seems to go right. Your feet feel like lead. Your hands won’t do what you tell them to. You try to focus, but stray thoughts keep breaking in. What’s going on? Any time we learn a new skill—whether it’s how to play a musical instrument or how to golf or how to drive a car—our minds have to focus intently on coordinating muscles, hand and finger [...]

My Favorite Ratios (Part 2)

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:40+00:00 August 12th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, These are a few of my favorite things Photo: Gracie Stinson. Source: Morguefile My favorite financial ratios combine a company’s efficiency at generating cash from its marketplace with a willingness to deliver cash to their shareholders. I focus on three indicators: Return on Invested Capital (ROIC), Cash from Operations divided by Net Income, and Shareholder Yield. It’s a fine theory, but how well does it work in practice? Let’s compare two wild geese, the [...]

Performance Anxiety

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:45+00:00 June 5th, 2015|Global Market Update|

How are your investments doing? Photo: Ryan McGuire. Source: Gratisography On one level, this seems like a straightforward question: divide the portfolio ending balance by its beginning balance: that’s your return. But it gets more complicated. Did you add or subtract money? What are the tax implications? How did the rest of the market do? Above all, how much risk did the portfolio experience? […]

Musical Chairs?

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:01+00:00 March 10th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Where you stand depends on where you sit. Source: Interior Designing Blog That’s what a lot of companies are finding. In order to increase collaboration and innovation, some firms are moving employees around every few months. The idea is that by seeing and hearing what different colleagues do, workers can get new insight into how to do their jobs differently. […]

Luck, Skill, and Money

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:04+00:00 February 10th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Are top-performing investors good? Or just lucky? Source: Wikipedia It can be hard to tell the difference. When Nobel laureate Gene Fama studied outperforming mutual fund managers, he found that most of them were just taking big risks. Their portfolios returned more than the market, but their portfolios were also more volatile than the market. […]

Keys, Lights and Investment Success

By | 2017-07-17T12:23:13+00:00 November 17th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Are investors looking for success in the wrong places? Source: There’s an old story about a man searching for something under a streetlight. A policeman comes by and asks what he’s lost. The man replies that his keys are missing and he can’t get back into his house. After a few minutes searching together, the policeman inquires whether the man is sure he lost his keys under the lamp. No, the man replies, he lost them in the park. “Then why are we searching [...]

The Competitive Edge (Part 5)

By | 2014-02-21T12:33:42+00:00 February 21st, 2014|Global Market Update|

So how do you get a competitive edge? The answer is simple: you already have one. Everyone has something they’re good at. Whether it’s understanding how a store’s layout might be confusing or knowing what kind of computer games kids are playing, everyone has some kind of expertise. As we go about our lives, we all have favorite activities, favorite stores, favorite brands we use. We become experts on motorcycles, camping gear, or farm equipment. Suppose you work in a hospital; you likely have [...]