China’s graft-fighting Xi tells party future is on the line; the Chinese leader peppered his latest speech with references to aphorisms from virtuous officials and philosophers such as Mencius and Zhuge Liang

China’s graft-fighting Xi tells party future is on the line

Xi, who will take over the reins of state power from outgoing President Hu Jintao this month, has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme since assuming the top job. -Reuters

Sun, Mar 03, 2013

BEIJING – China’s ruling Communist Party will only be able to mark its 100th birthday in eight years time if officials can learn from the selfless sages of the past, party chief Xi Jinping said in remarks published on Sunday, taking another swipe at corruption.

Xi, who will take over the reins of state power from outgoing President Hu Jintao at this month’s annual full session of parliament, has made fighting pervasive graft a central theme since assuming the top job in the party and military in November.

The Communist Party marks the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2021, one year before the second of Xi’s two five-year term ends and he steps down as party chief.

“Only if the capabilities of all party members unceasingly continue to strengthen, can the goal of ‘two 100 years’ and ‘the dream’ of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people be realised,” Xi said in a speech marking the 80th anniversary of the Central Party School, which trains rising officials.

“Two 100 years” refers to both the party and the People’s Republic of China lasting at least a century each. Read more of this post

Think New York Property Is Costly? In New Delhi, Seedy Goes for 8 Figures

March 2, 2013

Think New York Is Costly? In New Delhi, Seedy Goes for 8 Figures


NEW DELHI — The fading bungalow at 38 Amrita Shergil Marg does not immediately shout real estate bling. There is no tennis court, no infinity pool, no Sub-Zero refrigerator or walk-in closet. The paint is chipped, the bathrooms are musty and the ceilings have water stains. The house may ultimately be torn down. Yet when it went up for public auction, the winning bid was almost $29 million. And many neighbors consider that a bargain. One block away, a gracious if not quite Rockefeller-ready residence once leased by the Mexican ambassador is now reportedly on the market for more than $100 million. Other nearby houses are going for $40 million to $70 million. “The price of the Mexican residence is $110 million,” said Jorge Roza de Oliveira, Portugal’s ambassador to India. “You can buy a home in New York and Miami and Lisbon and London and keep a lot of change for that much.” Real estate prices in the heart of New Delhi, especially for the bungalows built nearly a century ago during the British Raj, are among the highest in the world.

Read more of this post

A Wonderful Lesson From Warren Buffett That Explains One Of The Biggest Mysteries About Amazon; Novy-Marx (2012) shows, however, that a simple quality metric, gross profits-to-assets, has roughly as much power predicting the relative performance of different stocks as tried-and-true value measures like book-to-price

A Wonderful Lesson From Warren Buffett That Explains One Of The Biggest Mysteries About Amazon

Joe Weisenthal | Mar. 2, 2013, 8:53 AM | 16,147 | 21

Warren Buffett is known as the world’s most famous “value investor,” but that term is not well understood.

In his latest letter to shareholders (.pdf), Buffett includes a great paragraph explaining that value is not synonymous for cheap.

More than 50 years ago, Charlie told me that it was far better to buy a wonderful business at a fair price than to buy a fair business at a wonderful price. Despite the compelling logic of his position, I have sometimes reverted to my old habit of bargain-hunting, with results ranging from tolerable to terrible. Fortunately, my mistakes have usually occurred when I made smaller purchases. Our large acquisitions have generally worked out well and, in a few cases, more than well.

As Charlie Munger evidently taught Buffett, it’s better to buy high-quality businesses for a fair amount than finding assets at bargain basement prices. Read more of this post

The Quality Dimension of Value Investing

The Quality Dimension of Value Investing

Robert Novy-Marx

Robert Novy-Marx is assistant professor of finance at the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, New York, and a faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Buying high quality assets without paying premium prices is just as much value investing as buying average quality assets at discount prices. Strategies that exploit the quality dimension of value are nearly as profitable as traditional value strategies based on price signals alone. Accounting for both dimensions by trading on combined quality and price signals yields dramatic performance improvements over traditional value strategies. Accounting for quality also yields significant performance improvements for investors trading momentum as well as value.

The No-Limits Job; for 20-somethings in creative fields, the work — often unpaid — never seems to end. Nor do the days

March 1, 2013

The No-Limits Job


Every generation has its own anthem of making the journey from youthful naïveté to adult reality, whether it’s Neil Young’s “Old Man,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or most recently, perhaps, the Taylor Swift song “22.”

“Tonight’s the night when we forget about the deadlines,” it goes. “It feels like one of those nights, we won’t be sleeping.”

If only it were as easy for Ms. Swift’s less affluent contemporaries to blow off their deadlines as it is for the singer-songwriter (now a slightly more seasoned 23). Sleepless nights are more likely because they are on the clock, not at the club.

“If I’m not at the office, I’m always on my BlackBerry,” said Casey McIntyre, 28, a book publicist in New York. “I never feel like I’m totally checked out of work.”

Ms. McIntyre is just one 20-something — a population historically exploitable as cheap labor — learning that long hours and low pay go hand in hand in the creative class. The recession has been no friend to entry-level positions, where hundreds of applicants vie for unpaid internships at which they are expected to be on call with iPhone in hand, tweeting for and representing their company at all hours.

“We need to hire a 22-22-22,” one new-media manager was overheard saying recently, meaning a 22-year-old willing to work 22-hour days for $22,000 a year. Read more of this post

Cave Explorer Hunts Antibiotics 1,600 Feet Down: Health

Cave Explorer Hunts Antibiotics 1,600 Feet Down: Health

By Meg Tirrell  Feb 27, 2013

In a remote cave 1,600 feet below New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Hazel Barton, a microbiologist working with Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST), has found a drug-resistant bacteria that may one day help extend the life of Cubist’s best-selling antibiotic, Cubicin.

“We know what the resistance is going to look like,” said Barton, an associate professor at the University of Akron in Ohio. “There’s no resistance now, but in something like 20 years when there is, we’re going to know how to inhibit it.”

Barton’s discovery in Lechuguilla Cave, where humans have rarely set foot since its opening in 1986, is part of a global hunt for never-before-used antibiotics to combat the spread of drug-resistant superbugs. Last month, the World Economic Forum declared drug-resistant bacteria one of the greatest risks to human health in its 2013 Global Risks report. With the pace of new antibiotic development slowing to a crawl, the report warned that the world may face “a scenario in which all antibiotics are rendered ineffective for treating even common infections.”

As bacteria develop resistance to available medicines, modern methods of antibiotic development in labs have failed to keep pace with an emerging crop of superbugs. Many drugmakers have dropped out of the market because of regulatory hurdles and poor return on investment.

That failure carries a steep price. Antibiotic-resistant infections are estimated to add $21 billion to $34 billion in costs to the U.S. health-care system each year, according to the World Economic Forum’s report. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause the majority of the 99,000 deaths annually in North America from infections acquired in hospitals, the report said. Read more of this post

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy[Hardcover]

Emily Bazelon (Author)


Book Description

Release date: February 19, 2013

Being a teenager has never been easy, but in recent years, with the rise of the Internet and social media, it has become exponentially more challenging. Bullying, once thought of as the province of queen bees and goons, has taken on new, complex, and insidious forms, as parents and educators know all too well. No writer is better poised to explore this territory than Emily Bazelon, who has established herself as a leading voice on the social and legal aspects of teenage drama. In Sticks and Stones, she brings readers on a deeply researched, clear-eyed journey into the ever-shifting landscape of teenage meanness and its sometimes devastating consequences. The result is an indispensable book that takes us from school cafeterias to courtrooms to the offices of Facebook, the website where so much teenage life, good and bad, now unfolds. Along the way, Bazelon defines what bullying is and, just as important, what it is not. She explores when intervention is essential and when kids should be given the freedom to fend for themselves. She also dispels persistent myths: that girls bully more than boys, that online and in-person bullying are entirely distinct, that bullying is a common cause of suicide, and that harsh criminal penalties are an effective deterrent. Above all, she believes that to deal with the problem, we must first understand it. Blending keen journalistic and narrative skills, Bazelon explores different facets of bullying through the stories of three young people who found themselves caught in the thick of it. Thirteen-year-old Monique endured months of harassment and exclusion before her mother finally pulled her out of school. Jacob was threatened and physically attacked over his sexuality in eighth grade—and then sued to protect himself and change the culture of his school. Flannery was one of six teens who faced criminal charges after a fellow student’s suicide was blamed on bullying and made international headlines. With grace and authority, Bazelon chronicles how these kids’ predicaments escalated, to no one’s benefit, into community-wide wars. Cutting through the noise, misinformation, and sensationalism, she takes us into schools that have succeeded in reducing bullying and examines their successful strategies. The result is a groundbreaking book that will help parents, educators, and teens themselves better understand what kids are going through today and what can be done to help them through it. Read more of this post

Want To Build A $1B Consumer Tech Company? Look For Long-Haul Founders And Don’t Fear Incumbents

Want To Build A $1B Consumer Company? Look For Long-Haul Founders And Don’t Fear Incumbents

JACOB MULLINS ,posted 6 hours ago

Editor’s note: Jacob Mullins is a VC at Shasta Ventures who primarily focuses on consumer web and mobile companies. Follow him on Twitter @jacob

With the recent talk about the growing “billion-dollar club” in startups, I’ve been wondering, as a Series A investor, what characteristics a $1 billion consumer tech company has. I examined the pool of consumer companies that have had exits over $100 million within the current era of consumer tech, which I consider to be post-recession 2008. I wanted to see what I could learn and ideally reverse-engineer common characteristics that would help me identify the next big winners when I see them today or in the future. I created a dataset pulling from a number of venture capital data sources, including CrunchBase, and narrowed it down to my own specifics: U.S., venture-backed companies that have had realized outcomes, both IPO and M&A, over $100 million since 2008. Because private-equity funding and M&A details are less clearly reported, this may not be a comprehensive list of consumer companies. Also, I did not include software/enterprise companies, of which there are many more.


Here are a few highlights:

  • 38 companies over the past five years have exited over $100 million
  • Only nine companies over the past five years have exited over $1 billion; all but one of these nine (Zappos) exited in 2011/2012
  • 29 of the 38 outcomes happened in 2011 and 2012
  • 14 of these companies exited via IPO, all in 2011 and 2012
  • seven of the nine most valuable exits were all public offerings (Zappos and Instagram are the two M&A transactions worth $1 billion or more. I’m continuing to value the Instagram acquisition at the original offer of $1 billion, not taking the decreased market value of public Facebook stock into account.)

This simple survey affirmed my belief that achieving outsized results within the consumer company landscape is incredibly difficult. Now that we’re sure it’s difficult, what insight can we glean? Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: