Laura Rittenhouse’s Candor Analytics; Inspired by Warren Buffett, a former Lehman analyst figures out that plain-speaking companies have higher performance

September 3, 2013

Sally Helgesen is an author, speaker, and leadership development consultant, whose most recent book is The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work(with Julie Johnson; Berrett-Koehler, 2010).

Laura Rittenhouse’s Candor Analytics

Warren Buffett’s annual shareholder letters are famous, a key element of his mystique. Inevitably, they’re described in the business media as “folksy.” But this description misses the reason these letters compel admiration from and influence the behavior of investors. The true strength of Buffett’s missives lies in their candor. (For example, here’s Buffett in the 2012 annual report of his firm Berkshire Hathaway, on his controversial investments in local newspapers: “Charlie and I believe that [some newspapers] will remain viable for a long time. We do not believe that success will come from cutting either the news content or frequency of publication. Indeed, skimpy news coverage will almost certainly lead to skimpy readership.”) Read more of this post

The Enduring Management Wisdom of Lincoln

Posted: August 26, 2013

James O’Toole is a senior fellow in business ethics at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and the author of 17 books, including The Executive’s Compass and Leading Change.

The Enduring Management Wisdom of Lincoln

Headlines espousing the relative decline of the U.S. industrial base, despite arecent upsurge, have left American managers focused on today’s news and this quarter’s results. As a result, few have heeded the invaluable lessons of the country’s longest-running manufacturing success story. For nearly a century, the Lincoln Electric Company has consistently ranked among the most productive manufacturing enterprises in the United States, all while not laying off a single permanent employee for more than 60 years and, for 75 years, paying bonuses to its workers that average 60 to 100 percent of their annual salaries. Yet not a single other company in the country has adopted the unique system that led to Lincoln Electric’s continuing record of success—one in which owners, managers, and workers have strong incentives to cooperate to meet the needs of customers.  Read more of this post

MIT’s Williams Decodes Economics of Gene Sequencing

MIT’s Williams Decodes Economics of Gene Sequencing

Heidi Williams’s dad helped with her high school science-fair projects by driving her two hours from their North Dakota town to get books on World War II German cryptography. After studying up, she would present new ways to crack the cipher. These days, Williams is trying to help scientists as they unlock the secrets of a different code: the human genome. The 32-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist is examining health-care innovation with a $430,000 National Science Foundation CAREER grant, an award given to “exceptionally promising” junior faculty who excel as educators and researchers. Read more of this post

Billionaires Halt Mining Deals on Rupee Erosion

Billionaires Halt Mining Deals on Rupee Erosion: Corporate India

Indian billionaires led by Kumar Mangalam Birla are stalling purchases of mines overseas as the rupee’s 13 percent drop this year inflates the cost of deals. The Aditya Birla Group, which runs the nation’s second-biggest copper and aluminum maker, has put acquisition plans on hold, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. JSW Steel Ltd. (JSTL), controlled by the billionaire Jindal family, would prefer to wait, Commercial Director Jayant Acharya said. Read more of this post

Sino Biopharm, Market Cap $3 Billion, Plunges After CCTV Bribery Report

Sino Biopharm Plunges After CCTV Bribery Report: Hong Kong Mover

Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. (1177) plunged the most in about 13 years before being suspended in Hong Kong trading, after a report by state-run Chinese Central Television alleged bribery at a unit of the medicine maker. Sino Biopharmaceutical fell 16 percent to HK$4.76, headed for the largest drop since October 2000, before being halted at 11:49 a.m. The stock has been suspended pending an announcement to clarify certain information in recent press reports, the drugmaker said today. Two groups of doctors attended 50-minute meetings organized by the company in China and then left on sponsored trips, according to the broadcast yesterday evening. Read more of this post

Hello Kitty Billionaire Found as Plush Toy Sales Surge

Hello Kitty Billionaire Found as Plush Toy Sales Surge


Tanya Stanich, a 43-year-old lawyer, clutched a handful of pink and black Hello Kitty notebooks at Sanrio Co.’s (8136) store in Manhattan’s Times Square and touched a sequined bag adorned with the face of a cartoon cat. Growing up in Wisconsin, Stanich was introduced to the white feline, which sports a red bow and no mouth, by a California aunt, who sent her a Hello Kitty lunchbox, stickers, hair clips and pencils. Now a resident of New York’s West Village neighborhood, Stanich says she still buys the stationery to brighten up her life. “It’s nice to have something a little girly and flashy and fun,” said Stanich, a slender brunette who keeps her iPhone in a Hello Kitty case. “I could go nuts in here.” Loyal fans like Stanich have helped make Shintaro Tsuji, the 85-year-old founder of Tokyo-based Sanrio, a billionaire. Since introducing Hello Kitty in 1974, Tsuji has captured the hearts and wallets of girls, women and celebrities such as Lady Gaga by licensing the character, which appears as stuffed toys, as well as on airplanes, golf bags and even vibrators. Sanrio’s shares have doubled this year, more than the 39 percent gain in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 (NKY) Stock Average, and reached a 52-week high yesterday. The company, which sells gift cards featuring cartoon characters, operates theme parks and produces and distributes movies, had 74.25 billion yen ($898.6 million) in sales its last fiscal year ending in March. “It must be way up there in terms of the most recognized franchises in the world,” said Ted Bestor, director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s very hard to see any diminution for the Japanese fondness for cuteness.” Read more of this post

How Wal-Mart’s Waltons Maintain Their Billionaire Fortune

How Wal-Mart’s Waltons Maintain Their Billionaire Fortune: Taxes

download (19)

Visitors to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, leave appreciative notes on a glass wall near the entrance. “Thanks Alice!” reads one. “Merci Alice Walton, pour la vision!” reads another. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) heiress Alice Walton founded Crystal Bridges in 2011 in a wooded ravine next to her childhood home, supplying dozens of paintings from her personal collection. Bankrolled by more than $1 billion in donations from her family, the museum attests to the Waltons’ generosity and vast wealth. It’s also a monument to their skill at preserving that fortune across generations. America’s richest family, worth more than $100 billion, has exploited a variety of legal loopholes to avoid the estate tax, according to court records and Internal Revenue Service filings obtained through public-records requests. The Waltons’ example highlights how billionaires deftly bypass a tax intended to make sure that the nation’s wealthiest contribute their share to government rather than perpetuate dynastic wealth, a notion of fairness voiced by supporters of the estate tax like Warren Buffett and William Gates Sr. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: