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Gill Blog

Monday, November 28, 2005

Carnival of the Capitalists

Welcome to this week's Carnival of the Capitalists, which is sponsored by Gill Advisors Inc. where our work focuses on business continuity and risk management.

Recently, on the Gill Blog, we’ve discussed natural disasters that have caused disruptive slowdowns for business, including these posts about Hurricane Katrina.

"Continuity Planning in a Post-Katrina World", our most recent article, is published in The Public Manager, a Washington-based public policy journal. Ours is one of four articles in the Fall 2005 issue providing a new view on the potential direction of Homeland Security.

But enough about us, let’s get on with the show of shows, the Carnival of the Capitalists, a weekly roundup of some of the best business blog posts. This week, we start with discussions about disaster planning and business continuity.

FEMA Pays $236M For Cruise Ships!
Wonkette says, "FEMA's Ship of Fools Sails Onward." The author of Strange Women Lying in Ponds writes, "Perhaps FEMA made an error in negotiating this deal. But don't blame the cruise line for making the decision." Douglas Shaftoe at Big Brass Balls gets credit for having the balls to tell it like it really is.

Scary Stuff
The flawed response to Hurricane Katrina by local, state and federal officials has experts worried that the nation is unprepared for another major disaster. Legal Redux has gathered information, graphs, and charts, from an article published in CQ Researcher, an academic journal that looks at current events.

Katrina Sparks Evacuation Plan Changes
W. David Stephenson, who blogs about homeland security issues, says, "the lesson for other states and municipalities (not to mention companies, which have their own business continuity issues to deal with) is that they've got to be going at this collaboratively, and that there's no room for 'not invented here' prejudice about some other area's ideas."

Business Continuity Planning Practices
Freedman Consulting's Law Practice Management blog reports that fifty-two percent of the 669 business continuity planning (BCP) professionals who participated in a recent survey said they didn’t think their plan would hold up in the event of wide-spread communications failures such as those following a Katrina-like or 9/11 event.

Not Walking the Walk
Chris Nerney at the Datamation IT Management Blog says that although there has been a resurgence of interest in "business continuity" since Hurricane Katrina, in too many cases, that interest isn't being translated into action in the enterprise.

Blowin' in the Wind
Insurance Scrawl has commentary on the law of insurance, the insurance business, and the business of insurance. "Seemingly in anticipation of the expected deluge of coverage disputes arising from Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, the Second Circuit released a careful opinion in a case where rain damage resulted from wind-caused openings in a building," notes Marc Mayerson.

Worse than a Murderer?
Warren Meyer, at Coyote Blog, writes about Jason McBride, arrested for selling gasoline at too high of a price during the shortages that followed Katrina, under an Alabama anti-price-gouging law.

The Price of Doing Business in New Orleans
Mises Economics Blog posts an email from a reader about price-gouging and the generally high cost of doing business in NOLA...comments ensue.

People Are Weird
Micha Ghertner of Catallarchy argues that people who prefer shortages from price controls to availability of goods at a high price in a non-price controlled market are "weird".

Buy Nothing Day Protest
Mad Anthony is mad at people protesting capitalism [consumerism?], who buy nothing on the day after Thanksgiving, and says, "If you want to protest against the consumer culture, join a commune, live off the land, and grow your own food while wearing homemade clothing made of burlap." [hemp?] But, yeah, I wish the lines at Staples had been even longer.

Shameless Commerce Weekend
Tom Hanna won't be joining the anti-capitalists from left and right who combine to decry the "commercialization of Christmas" and he's using his blog, Tom Rants, this week for a series of posts featuring lots of goodies for Christmas from lots of different places.

Will anyone be working, today?
Diane Pfadenhauer, the editor of Strategic HR Lawyer, says that today is Black Monday, the cyber-cousin to Black Friday, the mad-shopping day after Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Also, known as Cyber Monday, the first workday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is the biggest online shopping day of the year. Cyber Monday seems to be the better name for this day, as Black Monday is the name ascribed to Monday, October 19, 1987, which recorded the largest one-day decline in stock market history.

Small Businesses Anticipate Strong Sales
Anita Campbell, the editor of Small Business Trends, has posted a pdf of a recent survey of nearly 1,300 small businesses that indicates small businesses in the United States have confidence in holiday season sales in 2005.

Season's Greetings
James Howard Kunstler thinks the holiday frenzy will be as instructive as the hurricanes of late summer.

What is it?
Whatever it is, you can get it on eBay. Wordlab links to the leading online merchandiser's new marketing campaign.

Thanksgiving Lesson
Michael Cale, at Financial Methods, says they should teach kids in school that Plymouth Colony was founded with community property, where all pilgrims shared equally in the colony's production and, as a result the colonists nearly starved, and that only when the colony instituted private property did the colony flourish.

The Golden Age of Television
Mark Cuban, blog maverick, thinks we are entering the golden age of television; tv like we've never seen it before, and we will want more more more.

First take: XBox 360 Media Center extender
Chris Anderson, at The Long Tail, suspects that the release of the Xbox 360 is going to be one of two breakthrough events that take the Media Center concept mainstream.

Get Your Unclaimed Property Back
Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog has information about where you can go online to find out how to get unclaimed property that’s rightfully yours, and one of his commenters has already found something.

Relationship as Investment
Noah Kagan's devotes a week of posts to his special series about creating friendships and enjoying all the good things that go along with relationship management.

Partnerships: Handle With Care
Harshly Mellow has a discussion of the caution needed with partnerships, inspired by what became Pajamas Media, and the early involvement of Dennis the Peasant.

Rich versus King
Professor Noam Wasserman, in the Entrepreneurial Management unit at Harvard Business School, follows up with charts his original post in which he argued that most founders will have to choose between building valuable companies in which they are minor players (being "Rich") versus being major players in less-valuable companies (being "King").

Coyote and The Grim Reaper
Adrian Savage's blog on business life, The Coyote Within, presents a story to share insights and thoughts into how to survive and prosper in a harsh world.

The Traits of Slow Leaders
Slow Leadership contrasts slow leaders and traditonal leaders; it isn't what either believes, it's what they do that provides the contrast.

Niche Content Websites
Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur's Journey asks, "Does the idea of continuous passive income from websites you can set-up and forget about sound good to you?"

Scientology's Marketing Lessons
Andy Wibbels asks, "What can the Church of Scientology teach us about viral marketing and the sales cycle?"

Blue Law Insanity in Massachusetts
Rhymes With Right looks what happened when the state decided to protect consumers and employees from the evil of open grocery stores on Thanksgiving. Greg says, "Don't you love it when the governemnt decides to make economic decisions on behalf of the people, rather than letting market forces run free?"

Union Cars vs. Foreign Cars
Kevin at The Liberal Wrong Wing shares his opinion of the UAW and its influence in the American auto industry.

Foreign Investors Dig Japan Stocks
Steven Towns, at The Japan Stock Blog, takes a brief look at the numbers behind the Tokyo Stock Exchange's climb to five-year highs and why the bulls will keep running through '06 and into '07.

To Think or Not To Think
That is the question, asked at *Star In The Margin by Michael Chaffin. He thinks you should employ "thinkers" to ensure your organization moves forward, because passionate, imaginative, creative people have a natural tendency to prosper and to be successful.

Does Google plan to overtake Microsoft?
Or just take over the world. Gaurav takes a look at how the times have changed since Microsoft decided to take over the world in 1980 to how Google is planning to do it now.

Google Base Porn
David Jackson, on The Internet Stock Blog, notes that Google Base is gaining rapid traction with regular people and the porn industry, and thinks that's a bullish data point for GOOG.

Coke-Pepsi-Google Test
Will Crawford at The Integrative Stream points to Seth Godin's recent post about a blind taste test of search engines, and concludes that "a lot of perception is bound up in the branding."

Lie, lie, stinking, heaping, vile lie!
"Humans aren't paralyzed by choice," says Brian Gongol, adding that Barry Schwartz at Slate is "fundamentally wrong" to suggest that people are more free when they have fewer choices.

Communications for IPO
Steven Silvers at Scatterbox has six communications tips for young companies considering Initial Public Offerings.

Delphi & GM: a pledge and ruin is near
Capital Chronicle suggests that, fates inextricably linked, Delphi and GM may not survive the next five years - even with Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Will the United Nations spoil the party?
Jeff Cornwall at The Entrepreneurial Mind says, "If there is a wet blanket that could be thrown over the entrepreneurial economic boom that should follow the emergence of real convergence, it is the regulation and taxes that the UN is about to put in place."

Benzene Leak from Chinese Chemical Plant
An expat American is blogging on the Harbin disaster in China, as linked on Instapundit, where Glenn Reynolds also points to an excellent roundup of links on the disaster by Pajamas Media.

The Economics of Fear
Tony Gill looks at some recent news concerning avian flu pandemic fears having an effect on global markets.

Economics, Politics, and Psychology
Economist Gary Becker says, "Hurricane Katrina and now the danger of an avian flu pandemic--one an actual, the other a potential, catastrophe for which the nation failed or is failing to prepare adequately--underscore the need for institutional reforms that will overcome policy myopia based on inability to plan seriously for responding to catastrophes of slight or unknown probability but huge potential harm." Judge Richard Posner responds.

Starbucks Challenge, Part Deux
Peter Begley, of Credo Advisors, who blogs about business ethics and social enterprise, had an encounter at an independent coffee shop that has unfortunately sprouted a new batch of questions about Starbucks and their Fair Trade claims.

Watch People And You'll Know
Evelyn Rodriguez at Crossroads Dispatches presents Part 2 of a series on observing customers for consumer insight, the bedrock of innovation.

Save Endangered Species: The Middleman
Mr. Proteus at Liberate Wisconsin says the legislature can raise taxes, but how dare they mess with the price of our beer!

13 Ways to Live Well on Less
Free Money Finance has great savings tips, practical advice, and top-notch personal finance personalities -- all in one series of posts!

Are you Renting Your Customers?
David Daniels at the Business & Technology Reinvention blog offers 5 easy things you can do to enable long lasting customer relationships

Personal Finance, Pensions, and Politics
Ted, whose blog is chronicling an insane attempt to Retire at 30, tells the story of his father who was "forced into retirement" at 60 by an archaic FAA regulation (although wished to keep working) only to find the airline now in bankruptcy and trying to jettison their pension obligations.

Listing New Sites on Search Engines
Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur's Journey knows how to get a new site listed on search engines, and he shares some simple first steps toward Search Engine Optimization.

Discount Health Insurance Plans Debunked
Henry Stern at InsureBlog presents an assessment of the pros and cons of so-called "discount plans" for medical services.

Will the FDA kill Brian White?
Different River has a compelling post about people who are dying waiting, not for an organ transplant or a cure to be invented, but for a signature on a piece of paper.

Where's the Value in Digital Media?
Andrew Raff says, "With the variety of entertainment options available, copyright owners have to be very careful with deciding how to set prices. Digital delivery may create new services, but those services are competing for limited free time and entertainment budgets with existing media, so these prices are not set in a vacuum."

Eliminating the Mortgage Tax Deduction
Barry Ritholtz, at The Big Picture, is wondering what the economic ramifications of this would be of the President's suggested tax reform capping the mortgage deduction at significantly lower levels.

Hedge POG
Mover Mike discusses hedging and the future price of gold as it affects the hostile takeover bid for Placer Dome by Barrick.

Hedge Fund Risk
James Hamilton, at Econbrowser, discusses one way a hedge fund could earn outstanding returns over the period, and one reason you should be careful about investing your money in strategies that you don't fully understand.

Hedge Fund Crosscurrents
Abnormal Returns wonders, as hedge funds become more ubiquitous, raising issues for institutional and individual investors alike, should we prefer simple portfolios to the complexity of hedge funds?

Shareholder Activism
Professor Bainbridge thinks the importance of hedge fund activism is vastly overrated.

Reviewing a Proxy
George at Fat Pitch Financials discusses how he reviews corporate proxy statements. He walks though Microsoft's latest proxy statement as an example of what to look for in a proxy.

Process Thinking
Elisa at the Worker Bees Blog has read the latest thinking about the "end of process" and has some thoughts of her own.

Joe Kristan at Roth & Company Tax Updates pauses to give thanks this year for a new and unexpected blessing from New York's other senator. Chuck Schumer has slipped a provision into the new tax bill that, while horrendous tax policy, may just finance Joe's retirement. Bonus photo of the InstaCat as digital art.

Sounding Board
Decibels, defects and the anecdotes of disgruntled customers are the take-aways of our warranty service reps. This is clearly not a job for everyone, according to Big Picture, Small Office.

Non-profit organizations: a blog can help
Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World says, "The value of blogs to any non-profit orgainzation is almost unlimited."

John Locke, Fearless Philosopher
Stephen Littau at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds presents a biography of John Locke and an overview of his writings, concluding that the free world owes a debt of gratitude to this fearless philosopher for the clarity he brought to the cause of freedom.

Grand Theft Otto
Starling David Hunter, at The Business of America is Business, looks at the problems Germany's first female prime minister, Angela Merkel, and the economy faces in light of the legacy of Germany's first Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.

Peter Drucker, 1909-2005
Rob May, at BusinessPundit, has a great tribute post with excerpts from Fortune magazine and a lot more on his main page, where Rob has temporarily removed his blogroll and replaced it with a dedication to Peter Drucker. There, we found a link to Bruce MacEwen's excellent post at Adam Smith, Esq.

Peter Drucker vs. Henry Kissinger
Jack Yoest compares the styles of Peter Drucker and Henry Kissinger when dealing with students or staff.

Horatio Alger, Asian Style
David Foster, at Photon Courier, recounts the story. From a tin-roofed hut in Malaysia to founder and CEO of a water treatment company, competing with GE and Suez.

More Space
Jackie Huba, at the Church of the Customer Blog, reviews a new kind of business book. More Space: Nine Antidotes to Complacency in Business, edited by Todd Sattersten of 800-CEO-READ and A Penny For, gives some of the leading business bloggers more space to ruminate about their passions than is typically found in short-format blog posts.

Five Hundred Dollars Cash Prize Offered
Noah Kagan is going to give someone with a great business idea $500 to pursue that idea. The cash might as well go to support one of your good ideas, or one of mine.

Business Blog Carnivals
Speaking of good ideas, look at the new Carnival of Marketing. And business bloggers might also be interested in Blawg Review, the carnival of law bloggers. For information how to participate in future editions of Carnival of the Capitalists, be sure to check out the spiffy new blog at, which has the complete list of upcoming hosts and much, much more.

Giving Thanks
Raymond Ward, a lawyer in New Orleans, has a new perspective on things to be thankful for in a post-Katrina world. For more blog posts and stories concerning hurricane recovery efforts, please visit this week's Carnival of Hurricane Relief.