Fun financial stories. No really.

January 25, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m the last person to get excited about finance. How refreshing then to read a book that makes stories around finance/Wall Street actually readable, and then some.¬†Business Adventures

The book, Business Adventures, is a set of stories that the author (a former, now deceased, writer for the New Yorker) wrote in the 1960s. The scope of the stories is impressive: from the launch of the ill fated Edsel to insider trading to international finance. The complete list is here:

  • The fluctuation: the little crash in ’62
  • The fate of the Edsel: a cautionary tale
  • The federal income tax: its history and peculiarities
  • A reasonable amount of time: insiders at Texas Gulf Sulphur
  • Xerox Xerox Xerox Xerox
  • Making the customers whole: the death of a president
  • The impacted philosophers: non-communication at GE
  • The last great corner: a company called Piggly Wiggly
  • A second sort of life: David E. Lilienthal, businessman
  • Stockholder season: annual meetings and corporate power
  • One free bite: a man, his knowledge, and his job
  • In defense of sterling: the bankers, the pound, and the dollar.

But it was not the topics that kept me reading. It was the way the story was told – clearly, without fuss and with a subtle sense of humor. Highly recommend for any consultant that wants to get a better understanding of how the (finance/business) world works.

Categories: tips Tags: ,

Uber growth in SFO comes at expense of limos, not taxis

January 3, 2015 Leave a comment

I found the chart in an article (“There’s an app for that“) in the most recent issue of the Economist interesting.

uber growth

If this is based on real data, then what it seems to imply is that the total “taxi/limo/on demand car” market (in SFO) has actually grown, with most of the “on demand car” growth coming at the expense of the limo operators, and not (as is popularly believed) at the expense of taxis. Interesting.

Categories: trends Tags:

Great course on machine learning

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

For those looking to get a good (yet deep) understanding of machine learning, they could do worse than sign up for the course offered by Andrew Ng at Coursera.

ml course

The lectures are clear, the exercises make you think (and force you to code a bit) and the topics covered seem pretty practical (rather than just academic). While there’s clearly dross on MOOCs in general, this course is a goldmine. Highly recommended.

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Top 5 tech companies invest more than any other company in the world

December 21, 2014 Leave a comment

The top 5 tech companies (Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter) invested about $66B in the last 12 months. That’s more than any other single company in the world.


This amount is 8x what they invested 5 years ago. This is also double the amount invested by the entire VC community. No wonder the prices in SFO are insane. The full article can be found in the Christmas issue of the Economist.

Categories: trends Tags: ,

3D bio printing

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Nice little article on 3D bio printing in the New Yorker. i.e. the attempt to print tissues. Very interesting.

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Uber grossing $1B a month

November 23, 2014 Leave a comment

The Economist reports that Uber is grossing $1B a month. Yes, with a B. And yes, monthly. Wow.

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(Consultant) Humor: On the beach

November 17, 2014 Leave a comment

I thought consultants struggling through a tough case may get the humor in this. Source: The latest New Yorker.

on the beach

Categories: consulting, humor Tags: ,

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