Monitor Group, co-founded by Michael Porter, filed for bankruptcy a couple of months ago. That bankruptcy was somewhat puzzling. Like a few financial companies, ones that are expected to know how to manage assets, went bankrupt in 2008, Monitor Group preaching other businesses on strategy and competition, sadly struggled to manage its own strategy and lost to its competitors. While certainly other factors played their roles in Monitor Group bankruptcy, there is an obvious general question – why does division of labor fails here. How much should we trust a consulting company and believe the consulting company is competent enough? In my opinion, that largely depends on how much of moral hazard is involved. If that’s true, consulting as a form of business will become very tricky until consultants take more responsibility for their actions and consequences of those actions.
Today Deloitte has acquired Monitor Group. I hope Deloitte will make better decisions based on Porter’s framework, which I still believe is good, but not as sufficient to achieve success.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals
My news feed today was full of news about Apple’s WWDC. And it is no surprise. However, I am getting more and more concerned about Apple’s leadership. Reading Bloomberg, I felt that Apple is focused on Google rather than making existing and new customers happy. Users and developers are just a tool to beat Google. But it should have been clear for Apple executives that their customers fill Apple’s pockets for good products, not Google. I guess, Apple clearly belongs to the group of companies that work to try to charge more. I thought this is my opinion that might be wrong.
But later I read another article on Barron’s that appeared to be more disturbing to me. According to Barron’s, Tim Cook dropped this phrase of the day in front of a crowd of loyal Apple developers:
Only Apple could make such amazing hardware, software and services.
I guess, in Apple’s opinion, no one in the audience at WWDC (those who grow Apple’s ecosystem) is capable of making software better than Apple does. Unless they are employed by Apple. Let consumers decide what is amazing and what is not. Okay, this is about the insult. The injury (kind of)? Used MacBooks flooded the market. Yesterday’s treasure is today’s trash. I wonder how much an average Apple customer spends to get comparable functionality available on other platforms.
All above is my opinion as a user of Apple products.
I am having difficulty understanding the outrage against JPMorgan. Well, I understand the story and what media is trying to say. But that is not the whole story. More importantly, if any measures are taken and they are based on incomplete information lead to unintended results, ironically, similar to JPMorgan loss, again. That is, the “monster” replicates itself over and over again.
Let me clarify my point.
- JPMorgan made bad decisions.
- JPMorgan lost the money.
- Other parties made the money – no one bothers even to suggest who made the money. I do not even mention suggesting why other parties made a good decision. But it is clear, wealth does not disappear that easy.
- The government wants to introduce more regulation based on incomplete information. Sadly enough, that regulation would apply to those who make bad decisions and those who make good decisions, but would cost almost equally for many market participants.
- If regulation is based on incomplete information, it leads to unintended results.
- Like I already said, the situation repeats.
So I do not understand why it is okay for other investors to loose money and not okay for JPMorgan and why it is okay for JPMorgan to profit and not okay for other investors.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
News about the Occupy Wall Street protests and their clones are still in the media and we will continue to hear them, but I think not for too long.
The Occupy Wall Street movement likens itself to the Arab Spring, calls that it represents 99% of all population of the United States. But like it or not, this is a big stretch. I believe that the movement will fail to deliver anything for a few reasons that distinguish it from the Arab Spring.
- Demographics. For some reason, the media does not talk about this much, but I believe this is the primary reason. If you look at the median age of the population where protests took place, you will see that it mainly varies from 18 to 32 years. That is a half of the population is younger than 18-32 years old. As people get older they are getting wiser and tend to play safe.
- Wealth. Obviously, youth does not have much to loose. Especially in poor countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In the United States the median age is above 36 years. Now, take into account the number of baby-boomers in spite of all recessions and financial crises accumulated enough money to be concerned about any calamity that could evaporate all their retirement savings. If you subtract baby-boomers (and children, of course), it is roughly 50% (around 140 million people of age 18 – 50 out of a bit over 300 million people of the entire population). So 99% is an overstatement.
- Goals. Protesters in the Arab Spring countries had a clear goal. The Occupy Wall Street movement does not have a clear goal. Anger is justified, but misdirected. Any meaningful discussions about goals would break up the movement.
- Climate. The winter is around the corner. Obviously, it is colder than to the South and East of the Mediterranean Sea and it will not get warmer for a few more months.
In essence, this is mostly about getting enough support to gain a critical mass.
The situation can change rapidly if retirement savings do evaporate due to a political or economic gridlock.