Tuesday, August 30, 2005

An accounting dispute

So I seem to be involved in a minor accounting dispute in relation to a former venture of mine. Nothing involving untoward behavior or criminal activities/allegations, simply a matter of miscommunication. As such, I have refused to sign off on the statements, since there are few items that I do not understand, I cannot agree to.

Bottom line is that an accounting firm with whom I have had no contact other than email, has produced some statements with which I disagree and are looking to get paid for their work, yet have not had the courtesy to pick up the phone and call me, despite my repeated requests that they call me. They told me they would call me back at the end of May, but to my surprise they didn't. They did manage to send me a bill however, which I have no problem paying, as long as these issues are settled.

What Prescott is bogeying to this morning

How to avoid indictment - fork over half a billion dollars

Feds charge former KPMG execs; firm to pay fine

So it looks like KPMG just got wacked for about half a billion dollars and some former senior partners will be walking the plank. KPMG itself escaped an indictment and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.

My personal feeling is that the firm should have been indicted, a la Anderson. This would help reshape the accounting world, allowing it to shed old habits and evolve, much like how a forest fire clears out old growth for new growth...............

The accounting industry needs a good shake up..........if this can't do it, what will?

Why can't individuals get deferred prosecution agreements?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Music for a Monday

What we are funking out to at da'Thack this morning

The Refreshments - Banditos
Urban Dance Squad - Deeper Shade of Soul
Squeeze - Pulling Mussels/Tempted

Not that you really care

Our new venture

Arne,

We are keeping it under wraps until we are ready to launch, however if I was to use some VC/Corporate speak...it is a home accessory play aimed at fashion conscious segment of the market.


Kowtowing (I am of the belief that this term is non-offensive. If I am wrong, please accept my humble apologies) to the current trends in internet marketing, we have integrated a blog into the website, however unlike many "corporate" blogs, it will be interactive. Far too often I come across blogs that are strictly one way channels and I personally don't see the differentiation between these sorts of blogs and "traditional" websites. Am i taking some risk here, possibly, but that is life.

While will be launching a print campaign, we (attempted to at least) named and designed the site (and the product) in such a way that it should be relatively easy to optimize it for search engines and a high Google page rank due to the fact that the text anchor for links should be the same text as the URL for the site.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

New venture update

  • Website front end is done - backend almost finished - need to set up volume discounts, taxes and shipping costs
  • Still trying out how to package the product for shipping. Looking at a couple of options
  • Bank stuff is done and information set to credit card company. Sales rep from processor likes the product.
  • First product production should be done this week
  • Finished all costing and set pricing
  • Total cost to set up the venture are under a grand

Thursday, August 25, 2005

New Venture (Things I have learned so far)

  • That I actually know how to use photoshop;
  • Any props used for photos need to be spotless; and
  • There are some sick bastards on the internet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Goings on at Da' Thack

  • New venture is getting there. Have the website almost up, waiting for pictures. Bank documents have been signed, now have to get them to the credit card people. Logistics is becoming an issue. Insurance needs to be finalized
  • Got asked to give a guest lecture to a class at Ryerson University on Astrophysics and Black Holes.................just kidding...............Bootstrap/Alternative finance for business. The course instructor was a former instructor of mine when I did my MBA at York. His was one of, well probably the only worthwhile course in business school. The one thing I hope to hit on is the actual mechanics of financing since most business students don't have a clue about the actual processes.
  • Found a way to get free drinks at Starbucks. Have the person behind the counter spill one on you.

Why Micro Finance is So Difficult

It's really quite simple.............2 interrelated reasons really:

  1. Small/Microbusiness (say under 2 million a year in revenue) are often quite disorganized). From a legal point of view a company must have all of its ducks in a row before I can advance funds...........resolutions, minute books, tax claims, liens, registrations, solicitor's opinions............should I go on
  2. No one likes losing money, well at least I don't. Therefore I am just as hands on in dealing with smaller amounts as I am with larger amounts, so it gets pretty time intensive.

Unless you have actually lived through this, you think that finance is just about cutting a cheque and hoping to get it back. I am still waiting for the day when someone comes in and tells me their business is a mess, books non existent and shoe box bookkeeping system............at least I will know what I am dealing with right from the beginning.

Monday, August 22, 2005

When in Libya...................

Condi, GW..................a piece of advice..................when in Tripoli don't stay at the Al-Kabir hotel...............it is complete crap!

Although I highly recommend picking up a Muammar Gaddafi watch.

Gaddafi invites Bush, Rice to visit Libya-senator - Reuters

A song for a Monday

This little diddy (an appropriate song for a Monday morning too) by Warren Zevon goes out to all of those who have found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time..........including you too David Radler (and maybe Mr. Conrad Black?)

Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

I'm the innocent bystander
Somehow I got stuck
Between the rock and the hard place
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck
And I'm down on my luck

Now I'm hiding in Honduras
I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
The shit has hit the fan
Send lawyers, guns and money...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Self Improvement

I've never really been into the whole self improvement thingy...............I'm good enuff thanks.

Just goofing on you.

Actually I have had a little bit of a projection going with myself for the last while, to stop using the word "Hate" in casual conversation, except where it is fitting, like "I hate nazis" or "I hate pedophiles", in short, something worth hating. My reason for doing this is that I took a step back from myself and realized how negative I sounded and thought it was a time for a change, especially because I felt there was a large connection between how I talk and how I feel.

So now I don't "hate" when this or that happens, unless it is something like getting hit by a car or a falling object, such as an anvil. That deserves to be hated.

So, as my darling wife can attest, I have mastered my "hate" and am moving on to my next project.................stop drinking pop, not that I drink a lot of it, but that crap is just no good. Give me about a month and I should have kicked that habit too. This one I am doing for lil'guy (so he won't start drinking the stuff) and myself (stop rotting my gut).

Baby steps tough guy, baby steps.

Gotta Flowboard to give away


Flowboards hit HBC in Toronto
Originally uploaded by Josh Kerbel.
Da' Thack is in possession of a Flowboard and is looking to give it away to the first person who can demonstrate to us why they deserve it.............be creative.

We will award the Flowboard next friday.

The only hitch is that you have to come to our office in Yorkville to pick it up

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Music to my ears

My favorite songs involving money:

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon (Now I'm hiding in Honduras, I'm a desperate man, Send lawyers, guns and money, The shit has hit the fan)
  • The Future's So Bright - TimBuk3 (Fifty Grand a Year Gonna buy alotta beer)

More to come later...........trying to keep away from cliche song's like money by Pink Floyd et al.

Do you believe in fate?

I am starting to. While there is probably a case ( I am a profit opportunist) to be made for suing Air France over the incident at Person Airport in Toronto a few weeks back, shouldn't these people just be happy to be alive? Associated Press

They walked away from an accident that should have killed them all, and save a few with broken bones, they are fine. Some of you may counter that they have sore necks and psych issues, but as someone who has dealt with these sorts of situations in a previous career, it is amazing how these conditions resolve themselves with the liberal application of money to the inflamed area.

Folks, regardless of what ever negligence Air France may or may not be responsible for, you all walked away and got a second chance at life. Now that is worth more than all the money in the world. Whether it was divine intervention or good karma, take advantage of the situation, very few people get two kicks at the can!

Search Engine Optimization.............Part.......not sure

So the little experiment continues.......lets look at the rankings today

Yahoo:

Toronto Factoring: #1
Toronto Invoice Discounting: #1

MSN:
Toronto Factoring: #2
Toronto invoice Discounting: #1

Google
Toronto Factoring: #2
Toronto Invoice Discounting: #1


The next step is to optimize for "Toronto Small Business Financing" and Toronto Small Business Finance".

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My addiciton

well not really an addicition, but I have this thing about tattoos. I have two already and am contemplating getting a third.

Nothing huge, but something, that stands out. Maybe something along the lines of Tommy Lee (i caught his reality TV show last night). Somthing around my belly button.............will force me to lose some weight and keep it off.......

I thought I kicked this habit

.........I swore that I would never read another business book again. While this doesn't limit me from reading biographies, i swore I would never read a book about the "next" big idea.

Well I caved, and just checked out a bunch of Seth Godin's books from the toronto public library (great online service). Don't want to own them, just steal a few ideas for the new venture.

when I tell people that I use a library, the typical response is........a what-brary? a lib-who?

He shoots, he scores...........

almost.

Got us a number 2 google ranking under the term Toronto Factoring. Still have a few tricks to get the number one spot.

Looking at the other engines, on yahoo i seem to have a #5 ranking for Toronto Factoring, but the number 1 ranking for Toronto Invoice Discounting. And what the hell, lets take a look at msn, Toronto Factoring - #2 and Toronto invoice discounting - #1.

Given that most of our business does not come in from the internet, this little exercise was more about reducing my level of techno-stupidity and building some skills for our new venture. while I am not trying for a high ranking in competative terms, only an idiot would try at this point in time.

Keep on keepin' on

So while I am still trying to paper our most recent transaction (and bring in two other trucking deals), I am also in the midst of getting our new venture up and running.

Dealing with:
  • some minor integration issues between my shopping cart software and credit card processor;
  • getting the pictures back from my photoshoot on monday night;
  • the credit card processor who needs documents from my bank saying my company is who it claims to be. This requires some amendments to our existing banking agreements;
  • Shipping and logistics issues. Have to find a fulfillment house to do our picking and packing. Have a few feelers out. If anyone has any suggestions, drop me a line; and
  • the production time line required to produce our product. I will be submitting a small initial order, just have to come up with a logo to print on the product.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Big Play! (Web Site Optimization Part III)

So after our initial attempt at optimization of the Prescott Thackery site (with pretty decent results, I must add), I have decided to go for the big enchiladas, get the number one ranking for "Toronto Factoring". Right now I have a low first page ranking for that term. We are still showing well for the other search terms. Funny enough, we show higher for "Factoring Toronto" than "Toronto Factoring".

Just finished some more tweaking and we will keep an eye on where that takes us.

The next step is going to be changing hosting providers. Right now we use the Irun platform, which is pretty good for a techno-idiot like me, however they do not let you name your pages (it is done automatically) and this limits the amount of on-page optimization that one can do.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Production, duction, what your function?

Make me some stuff so my company can.............................. have a 4 week production lead time?

Ack, so much for JIT outta da gate for this venture. Looks like I will need to carry some inventory. May source the raw material myself and the send it to the manufacturer.

K.I.S.S

Keep it Simple Stupid

Seth Godin hit the nail on the head with his post. Remember, most people have the attention span of a gnat.

Irony in Action, Part Whatever

The National Enquirer paid someone to shut up? Has hell frozen over? Are pigs flying? Are Republicans less redneck? - Reuters.

Knowing who to scam...........

Looks like these fellows figured it out, like the pros of old. Don't waste your time conning widows and orphans, go after the big game.....................what is even better is that the big game won't make a peep once you have made your score..............they are just too embarrassed (New York Times)

Lesson to be learned here: No matter how much money a person may have, they are still willing to fall for stories that are too good to be true. Do yourself a favor, be an Ass, and ask the hard questions.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Air America - An interesting lil' controversy

that you just don't get enough of in Canada. A solid clash between the US left and the right............the right has mastered the art of the sound bite, which basically fits the attention span of the average adult, meanwhile the left has mastered the art of the dissertation, which fits........well basically the attention span of long winded bloggers.

The left has yet to figure out that the majority of people don't really research passed the sound bite, and if they do, it is probably using FOX/CNN..........which explains why the democrats are in the position they are in.

To rip off an ex-president "It's the sound bite, dummy"

The American Street - How to Fake News: A Primer

Somebody thinks I am a Hoot!

Finally, someone who appreciates my humor!

Damn all the rest of you!
Recruiting.com: Funny Banker Blog

68 dollars later (Ontario Tax Dollars at Work)

I have done a name search, registered the name of our new venture and got my master business license, all courtesy the wonderful website, Ontario Business Connects.

The site is a little confusing the first time you use it, but the phone support is pretty good, as they probably have piles of morons (bigger morons that me if you can believe, calling them all day).

So what you are suggesting

is that in order to make my blog popular, I should just regurgitate, re-regurgitate and re-re-regurgitate already useless pop culture crap?


Thanks for the advice, and filling the world with more American idol crap.

How To Be A Blogging Idol Instead Of An Idle Blogger

News of the Day

- What is this, a spa? Getting future executives used to the cushy life as part of the curriculum?
How's this for a suggestion, get a pair of running shoes and go for a run - personal trainers for MBA student - my ass! Maybe they are just a bunch of princesses at Queen's? The Globe and Mail

- Another story (how many do you need to read to know that the average money manager sucks) on how passive index investing outperforms active investing. Yes, I know it has its downsides, but so do money managers The Globe and Mail

- Another one bites the dust? Is KPMG going the way of the Anderson? Or will they buy themselves out of trouble.........stay tuned folks!BusinessWeek

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Onwards and Upwards

Ok, moved passed my moment of introspection.

Just picked up some webspace for the new venture via that good folks at Godaddy. Why, because I am a sucker for the Go Daddy Girl. I was advised to use a different host, but Go Daddy was cheaper and had a much cuter corporate mascot. Will it come back to haunt me (like my lunch)? Hopefully not.

Now to download the shopping cart software and get it ftp'ed to my site.............

Still have to formally register a business Trade Name in order to complete my credit card application

Back on the financing front, I am still in the process of trying to paper a deal. My client's lawyer is out of town for a while, so I had to send them to another one. Also, we still need to fromally deal with the tax department and get a subordination agreement out of the BDC, which they have agreed to verbally, but you know what that is worth.

It hits home once in a while

when someone you went to school with checks out.........permanently.

Second guy in as many years. Both were probably around 34 years old at the time they died, a few years older than me. One had a young family, one was single.

While I wasn't particularly close with either of these guys, it really does hit home that you really never, ever know what is in the cards for you. When you are 18, 19, 20 you just can't fathom what it is like to be over 30 and it what is even further from your mind is that, well tomorrow, you could just be dead.

So what am I getting at here folks? Well, with out sounding like a cliche out of chicken soup for the soul, get out there and do something with your life.

I still think that if it ended for me now, there would be so many things left undone and well the truth of it is, I don't know if you get a second chance at it.

This is about as sentimental as I get.

I wonder if he is taking some of this "openness" back to the Kingdom with him?

Bhupinder's Back - Outgoing Saudi Arabian envoy says Bhupinder Liddar will bounce back, praises Canada's openness to legal appeals

Thanks for that vote of confidence. I wonder if Mohammed Al-Hussaini Al-Sharif (Just call me Mo) is going to take this Canadian openness back to Saudi Arabia with him. I am sure that William Sampson will be glad to hear this praise.

No way.............I disagree

........He should start with a new hair cut and wardrobe - He is so square that it hurts. I still think that Harper wears a toupe.

After that, he can get out and meet world leaders - The Hill Times

You figure this one out

Massachusetts' state police raid the offices of the Big Dig's largest concrete supplier and found evidence of faked records that hid the poor quality of concrete delivered for the massive highway project, while in an "unrelated" investigation, inspectors are looking for reasons behind the 100's of leaks that the tunnel has sprung.

Massachusetts AG Tom Reilly is quoted as saying there was no reason to suspect a connection to the hundreds of leaks discovered in the highway tunnels that take vehicles under Boston

The article from the friendly folks at AP.

Huddle Up Now

GWB - I'm the quarterback so here is the play:
Rove - I thought I was the quarterback
GWB (to Rove) - No, you were the architect, but now your on the offensive line. So you just stand there and take a few hits.
Dick - You and the rest of the offensive line, Scooter and Rove, run a screen.
Donny - This play is to you. Go long, cuz we are going for the Hail Mary..I mean Bomb.
Condi - Get in the kitchen and whip us up some grub.

On two.............ready break!
Bush, Defense, Foreign Policy Teams to Meet - AP

There's a hole in the pension dear liza, dear liza

With what should we plug it?

The Globe and Mail: Stelco says union plan would kill firm
You know what I would love to see one of the Canadian
dailies pick up on.......

The fees and costs associated with this 19 month corporate
melodrama from all of the parties involved in this transaction.

Let see, you would probably have:

Legal Fees for every party to the restructuring. I am sure by now
even the lawyers have their own lawyers
Lender's fees along with the cost of financing (and the lender's lawyers)
Accountants (and their lawyers)
Trustees (and their lawyers)

I wonder if all of these fees are coming out of Stelco (Duh?) Ya think that some of these
fees could help plug the alleged hole in the pension?

I love watching executives spend other people's money.

Dear Willie, Kathleen, David and..........

whoever else is sending me these emails:

Dear Homeowner,

You have been pre-approved for a $402,000 Home Loan at a 3.45% Fixed Rate.
This offer is being extended to you unconditionally and your credit is in no way a factor.

To take Advantage of this Limited Time opportunity all we ask is that you visit our
Website and complete the 1 minute post Approval Form.

I get about 15 of these things a week. From what I can tell, these are used to generate leads that are then sold to mortgage brokers. I am still trying to figure out who responds to them. The other thing I am trying to figure out is how many times is each lead sold to a different mortgage broker. I may have to fill out an application and see how many calls I get.


Darling, you should have been in pictures

Just set the time up for my photo shoot (well, not mine per se, but for the product we are launching).........Monday evening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Now on to the Credit Card Processing (Factoring in Action)

Spent a lot of time looking at different credit card processing options.

And, as I have said before, it is fucking (whoops, I swore) expensive - this coming from a guy who runs a factoring business.

InternetSecure seem to be the best option for me...........so it is off to fill out their application..............after all, what is 4% between friends.

This is cute

Ever want to know where your money has really been? - Where's Willy? 2.0

News of the Day

  • Sorry, you cannot die of exhaustion after playing video games for 2 days. While the guy may have had a heart attack, it wasn't because he was exhausted - AP
  • I guess what is most ironic about the WorldCom convictions is that low level executives are told that "they should have done something" when given instructions to cook the books. I am willing to bet that most of the jury members and the judges would not have the balls to blow the whistle - CBS
  • Damned if you do, Damned if you don't - Europeans and Americans don't like the idea of the manufacturing being sucked out to China, but then again, they don't like higher prices either. - TimesOnLine

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Got the Prototypes

Look excellent if I do say so myself.

Now to set up a time with the photographer.............hopefully sooner rather than later.

Finally

Prototypes are done..........have to go get them now

Texas Man Aims to Visit Every Starbucks

What? - AP

Wouldn't putting out a porn tape be an easier way to get attention?

Give Me Those Stocks.....ARGH!

Ok lil' guy, here are the stocks we picked out for your DRIP (no, you cannot put them in your mouth or feed them to Rex, the insane Viszla).

Paychex - PAYX
McGraw Hill -MHP
Bank of America - BAC
3M - MMM
Cash America - Csh
Textron - TXT
Dow Chemical -DOW
AON - AOC

We picked these stocks for a number of reason:
- Well established companies. Yes, they go through some rough patches, but these are not start ups
- Low cost of entry. Most of the DRIP's have low minimum purchases (as low as 10 bucks) and no fees on cash purchases or dividend reinvestment, so aside from the $300 to set up the plans, all of your money goes to work for you. Sometimes, you will even get a discount on your buys.
-This helps diversify your holdings geographically. It is too bad you can not hold these stocks inside your RESP as you can't run a proper DRIP plan due to registration requirements.

- So, if we put 1000 a year into these stocks (DRIP's let you buy fractional shares) for the next 21 years and assume a conservative growth rate of 5%, by the time you finish your Ph.d in computer science at the age of 25, you should have about 37,000 USD put away. If by some dumb luck, I mean sell side analytic skill, you manage to earn 10% a year, you should have about 70K USD by the time you are 25.

News of the Day

- I guess liberals can get caught with their hands in the cookie jar too (well maybe as the Air America "scandal" is still just a bunch of allegations). This goes back to my initial thoughts that the only difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are more fun to party with and conservatives are better at shooting guns. - Michelle Malkin: AIR AMERICA: STEALING FROM POOR KIDS?!
- In light of the allegations regarding the UN food for oil program, will Iran just try to bribe its way into nuclear weapons by giving inspectors a cut of the profits from nuclear weapon sales to third world despots? - Associated Press
- How will US rate hikes affect those dandy negative amortization mortgages? - Reuters

Thumb Screws In Action

So why did Benon Sevan, the director of a $65 billion program that generated about 1 billion dollars for the UN, allegedly pocket a measly $147,000 in kickbacks? - Associated Press

The same reason "Little Boy Blue" - He needed the money!

A perfect example of how to exploit someone else's financial pain for your financial gain. Having said that, I would have rather gone hungry (the lesson here folks is never show that you are weak, except when you are strong). But now that Sevan is making a whopping $1 a year plus diplomatic immunity (Say "diplomatic immunity" with a thick South African accent like in the Lethal Weapon 2.), I wonder what he is doing for dough?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Any idiot can lend money, the real skill is in getting it back.

Despite my jaded exterior, I tend to expect people to be honest, I really do. Having said that, it doesn't take a lot get my suspicions aroused. Like the deal we are grappling with this week:

  • $300,000, 3 month mortgage (a bridge loan really) against raw land valued at about 1.6 mm Cdn. Land is in a desirable industrial area just outside of Toronto.
  • Borrower claims that he needs the money to buy out his partner, who happens to be his brother
  • Borrower claims to have arranged a one year interest only mortgage for about 50% of the value of the land, but needs about 1 month (the city and the utility company need time to locate the services on the land before the bore holes are dug) for some environmental testing that the long term lender requires, hence he need us to bridge him.
  • Borrower has agreed to a large amount of fees (to both us and the mortgage broker) in addition to sub prime lending rates (12% to 20%) for both of these mortgage.
  • Every day he promises to bring us a certified cheque for a deposit, which has yet to show up. My bet is that he is just going to ask us to take it out of the advance when this deal "closes"

Now here is where it gets interesting:

  • The borrower refuses to meet us at his factory that he co owns with his brother. This despite having offered to meet us there on multiple occasion;
  • We call the factory the borrower claims to own, ask for the borrower, and end up speaking to someone we don't recognize who owns the land, but has no knowledge of or interest in mortgaging the land. We call the borrower on his cell phone and he says that was his brother just trying to cause him problems and make us nervous;
  • We call the city to see if there if there is an order ticket to go and located the services on the land before the bore holes are dug............nothing has ever been requested;
  • We call the local utility to see if they have been contacted to locate the services on the land.....................same thing, nothing has ever been requested; and
  • Finally, we ask the engineer who was to do the testing if he ever requested for the municipality or the utility company to go out mark the services. He said that all he did was write up a proposal for the testing and that the borrower never requested him contact the city/utility for them to locate the services on the land before the testing occurs.

Now you tell me, what do you think about this? While our business is far from cookie cutter, transactions tend to follow a certain "normal' sequence of events. When you start getting outside of the sequence, you start getting suspicious. When you start seeing a lot of this stuff, you get good at picking it up, often after a single phone call. The guy we are dealing with now is good, real good.

Most people would not have dug as deep as we have, but unlike most people, I treat every dime as my own. And if that means me digging into my own pocket or not getting a fee on a deal, I'll live with that.

It's a lot easier to lose a bit of income that it is investing capital. Explaining why I didn't pull the trigger on a deal is a much easier conversation that saying "I pissed all of you money away, sorry about that old fella"

While sometimes this has me coming off as overly aggressive and abrasive initially (I don't have the time for people who talk crap), I don't have a problem throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

CIBC/Hunkin Debacle of 2005

While discussing the recent events at CIBC and their close to 3 billion dollars in settlement payments with a colleague, it was pointed out to me that no one at CIBC (or any of the major banks for that matter) would be too quick to chase down Hunkin et al. in an attempt to have them return some (or all) of their recent bonus payments.

The reason my colleague gave was quite simple, it would set a precedent that others would be compelled to follow.....................no sense in setting the bar too high ya know.

I thought it was an interesting perspective (for what ever my thoughts are worth) .

Sanitize Your Blog

Came across this little diddy on corporate blogging. Not quite sure how blogging can be "cutting edge" if you take all of the "edge" out of it (let's make this boring and vanilla so that no one gets offended). No?

If you don't piss somebody off, it means no one is paying attention!

A Word to the Wise

If you are going to go into money/asset management, do not rip your clients off (they usually find out).

However, if you cannot resist the urge to short change your clients, avoid doing so to anyone who uses the name "Murder Inc." in the ordinary course of business - New York Times

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Our little baby

So, we are awaiting the delivery of the final production quality prototypes of the new product we are looking to launch. While decidedly low tech, it has still be a bitch to get off the ground.

Assuming these samples are good, they are going off to the photographer to get some art work done, and the we set up the web site, credit card processing and fulfilment process.

Our goal is to create a negative working capital situation where almost all costs are variable. while this may impact gross margins, it eliminates almost all fixed costs.

We actually have a whole line of products to introduce, but will only do so once we get this puppy off the ground.

I actually came across an interesting, well sort of interesting article about someone who tried to diarize their business success and failures. It is worth a read.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Wow, can things get worse for GM

Apparently, yes.............as their former subsidiary, Delphi (MarketWatch), has come back to the cap in hand, looking for bail out. Hey Delphi, have you not been reading the news, you are looking to GM for help? No wonder you dudes are up shit's creek. If you need a bail out, at least go to someone who has money!

Given the way things have played out across the street at Visteon, one can only wonder what these "employee discounts" are going to do to the companies that supply the automakers.

News of the Day

  • You messed up, but keep our money. Sources close to CIBC say that they don't believe that the bank has any legal basis to get Hunkin to forfeit pay/bonus. I didn't realize you could have an inept idiot clause in a contract. - Globe and Mail
  • Another new CEO left holding the bag, this time at Daimler Chrysler. A major corporation bribing foreign officials? Repeat after me, The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act hurts big business (we want to keep the bribery money in the US, its good for the economy ya know!)... MarketWatch
  • Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, so what...like with the story about the TSX composite index passing the Dow. Why is this a story? The two indexes are not calculated the same way and they don't measure the same things. Hey the Nikkei is sitting at close to 12,000 and has been over 28,000........but who cares! . Why is this even a story? This story epitomizes the Canadian business mentality.............we think we are really important! Globe and Mail
  • Space jalopy - More issues with the shuttle Discovery. A very apt name for the shuttle as they are currently "discovering" how some duct tape repairs will work in space and more importantly, on re-entry. Definitely not a place I would like to be right now. Best of luck on the return flight - Boston Globe
  • And on the internal front, someone else just tried to pull a fast one on us. I seem to get 1 bogus deal for every 2 or 3 legitimate deals across my desk. Am I swimming in the shallow end of the financing pool?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Macy Gray..........the next Governor General of Canada


Wow, is there anything Macy Gray can't do?

Seriously though folks, I didn't think that Ben Mulroney, unlike his father, had any influence on federal politics any more, but it looks like the search for a Governor General of Canada has gone Canadian Idol (ya know, elevating some obscure figure into the center of the public eye).

Ya, I'll Give Some of My Fortune Back

As an expected follow up to the post The cost of avoiding liability just went up, it looks like some shareholders are a little pissed at John Hunkin.

If I was a shareholder, I would go after Hunkin, I would also go after CIBC itself for acting like surprised fucks at this settlement, unless of course it was all initiated after Hunkin left. Wow, a bank that screws its customers and its shareholders.........that's a business model to grow on.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oh look

The carve out I predicted for the automakers is starting..........with GMAC................on the same day they (they being GM) extend the employee discount program.

I wonder what goes next!

News of the Day

  • Movie star Paul Walker gets into the distressed lending business. I hope he knows that when it comes to lending, you do your own stunts - The Deal
  • How did we miss this, Homolka takes a shot at PQ leadership - The Hammer
  • Will investors walk away from Air France stock like passengers walked away from the airplane in Toronto yesterday - CBC
  • I'm not sure that using a company from a socialist country is a valid example of the benefits of putting rank and file works on a company's board of directors - NYTIMES

Frist Not Quite Redneck Enough for Us

Country Music, Christian Conservatives Activist Groups.........is Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and this Honorable Court being held in a trailer park? Associated Press

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The cost of avoiding liability just went up

to about $2.5 billion - Reuters.

-kinda surprised that this settlement didn't take place before Hunkin left the CEO position. Anyways, McCaughey can still blame the old boss.

Afternoon News Flash - Brought to you by the letter M

  • Proof the persistence is every thing. Bricklin at it again - Inc.
  • Is a tax accounting "issue" at a tax preparation firm the definition of irony? - Bloomberg
  • Low tech document security. No, its not invisible ink! - Wired
  • A perfect example of how to get free publicity by the makers of Grand Theft Auto. How many units have they moved? - Newsweek

Strong Arm of the Cisco

How not to make friends with Cisco - Boing Boing

Jihad? Holy War? A Little Too Emphatic? Just a Bit?

Bill Gates needs a holy war? Bill Gates is into Jihad?
Wow, talk about over dramatic prose. Buddy, were talking computers here, not the Middle East. Maybe someone should issue a fatwa outlawing the use of the word jihad in a story about computer software - ItWorldCanada

News of the Day

  • Race to the bottom? Collusion? Why don't the Big Three just make better cars? - Business Week
  • Yuan goes up, Yuan goes down - Why do people think that China should revalue its currency by 10% overnight? That would be a little shocking to say the least - Hindu Business Line
  • Get out the hedge clippers, returns and cash start to dry up - The Globe and Mail
  • Family Matters - how 2 and 3 year old girls can shake up a company - New York Times

Monday, August 01, 2005

Maybe I missed the MBA class that explained:

  • How GM can continue to increase consumer incentives in the wake of mounting losses - Newsday
  • How institutional investors let corporate executives get away with the concept of guaranteed bonuses, unless the institutional investors themselves have guaranteed bonuses in their contracts - Times Online UK
  • How real estate in Australia is linked to real estate in North America - The Australian

A scary story

An extreme example of how business success can push you over the edge.

Remember kids, its just a game.

The Ass


The Ass
Originally uploaded by Josh Kerbel.
Yup, here it is, the Ass.

May have to look at handing out the Ass Awards. Not for boneheaded business initiatives (it's easy to be a critic), but for those who are brave enough to laugh in the face of conventional wisdom............knowing that is is often wrong.............in other words.........Don't Be An Ass!

Our new corporate mascot

As part of our expansion strategy, Da' Thack has brought on a corporate mascot, the Ass.

This is not a rip off of the Democrat's donkey (go figure that one out) but rather a clay statue of the human posterior. I'll post a picture of it shortly. This statue has been in my family for at least twenty years and has been passed around almost all of the members of my immediate family with the exception of my sister.

"Josh", you may say. "This doesn' t really sound like a symbol that any reputable business venture would associate itself with."

Ah grasshopper, there is meaning to the madness, I promise you. You see there is symbolism behind the Ass. It serves as a reminder to me, and should to anyone else who runs a business, whether you do 100K a year in sales or 100 million, that at any time, events can occur that can result in you having your ass handed to you on a silver platter. The moral of the story is, consider the consequences of your action and the impact they will have on your future.

This is especially relevant for smaller businesses, that are often penny wise and pound foolish.

I'll work on coming up with a snappy motto to go along with the Ass, but you should get the idea............Don't be an Ass! (in fact, that may work as a motto)

Let the Ass be your reminder.

News of the Day

  • Someone needs to go on a diet. Atkins files for Chapter 11. - Seattle Times
  • Oh, I mean Oy, Canada. Air Canada cancels flights over long weekend because its pilots can't fly. Thank god we have foreign ownership rules, they help keep this country efficient - CBC
  • This is the guy who is going to be running the SEC? Maybe Mr. Cox would like to buy some Florida real estate or invest in the new Bagdad condo that I am trying to build - New York Times
  • Will these guys get their asses handed to them if the Toronto real estate market tips? Only time will tell. - Toronto Star

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