Saturday, March 14, 2009

GMAT Stats

I'm studying for the GMAT right now and I came across this graphic from Kaplan. Pretty interesting...according to the practice test I just took (the first I've taken), I'd be at a starting post-MBA salary of about $87k. My goal is to be in the $115k+ range!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not Willing to Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Paul Krugman, the Nobel winning ninny at the New York Times, is so hallow in his grand and glorious predictions of GDP growth this year, that he will not accept Greg Mankiw's (a conservative economist at Harvard) wager.

Well, well, well, turns out old Paul really does know what everyone else knows - Obama's predictions about GDP growth are garbage. He just won't admit it.

What a ninny.

Read Greg Mankiw's post here, and read the story about Krugman's response, or lack thereof, here.

Too Much Excess

This chart pretty much adds another bit of insight to our current economic collapse. The good news is that consumers are getting the message and starting to save more, the government on the other hand...

You can't spend your way out of a financial crisis. At some point, you've got to cut back. I just wish the collective wisdom of Washington was half as wise as the collective wisdom of the nation.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Internet - Information On Demand

I think I've grown to love the internet simply because it is information on demand. Those of you who have Tivo or any kind of DVR know how great On Demand content is.

To give you an example of what I'm talking about, when I'm just "surfing" the internet, I'm primarily doing it through Google Reader. Google Reader is like my Tivo menu for the internet. There I have thousands of articles from sites, blogs or twitterers that I like all compiled into one nice menu for me to look through. Then, as I'm going through my Reader list, I will be reading something interesting that has a link to something else interesting. From there I build my reader list and using my Reader analytics I can view my reading/interest trends and weed out those feeds that I seldom read and replace them with feeds I reed a lot. It is like a wonderful, almost perfectly efficient market of information.

To illustrate the power of this democratization of ideas, consider that right now I'm subscribed to Greg Mankiw's blog. Greg Mankiw is a world-renown professor of ecomonics at Harvard University. The reason he stands out to me is because he wrote the economics book that I bought (and still have) for my Econ 110 class at BYU. I liked the book, and figured I would also like his blog so that's why I subscribed. Now, back in the days before blogs and Google Reader, the only way I could know about Greg Mankiws thoughts on economics was through buying and reading his book. Well, now that he has a blog and I'm subscribed to it, I get to read his thoughts as they pertain to current economic conditions. It's awesome! And this is just one example of thousands that I've experienced as I've used Google Reader for surfing.

It makes me think that the internet with its immediate proliferation of ideas to people worldwide is as significant (if not exponentially more significant) as the invention of the Gutenburg Printing Press which brought books to the masses and helped jump start the reformation.

The internet can be an enabler of a societal good that is of enormous proportions. I feel privileged to be alive at this time to experience it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where have all the leaders gone?

Ever since I read Lee Iacocca's book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" I've thought a lot about leadership during times of crisis. In his book he says "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car."

I agree with him %100. Where is our outrage?! Why the heck are those AIG executives still going out on vacations on the tax payers dime?!!! It is a sick and twisted person who can justify bringing a trillion dollar business to the brink of ruin, beg for government help, receive it, then run off to Vegas to have a $1500 massage!! What kind of leadership is that?

I'm sick of this stuff. And now we have to bail out the auto industry because for one, after 17 years of watching their market share plummet and the hand writing on the wall foretelling their doom unless they change course, they haven't changed anything! A few weeks ago I took a ride in my friends brand new Chevy truck only for the handle to nearly slice my hand open because the mold edging on the plastic wasn't properly shaved off. And they want us to bail them out!

Given the serious repercussions of losing jobs and seriously burdening our economy, it's easy to understand the reasons why we should bail out the Big Three. But I tend to think that if we do, Detroit will learn nothing and will just continue doing stupid things and making junk cars until they either die or come begging for more from the taxpayers. And the biggest reason why I'm not sure an auto bailout will work is because the UAW (United Auto Workers) need to learn a lesson - COMPANY'S DO NOT HAVE ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF MONEY! All unions seem to have this fairy tale belief that every company is a big bad wolf which greedily hoards tons of money while everyone else suffers. That's why they fight tooth and nail for every tiny concession a company is willing to give up in order to keep their skilled workers. Unions, especially the UAW, will stop at NOTHING SHORT OF COMPLETE BANKRUPTCY before they make any compromises with the Big Three. And they may just drive the companies to bankruptcy, then we'll find out if they're willing to negotiate.

I hope Obama is the great and chosen leader everyone seems to think he is. We certainly need someone to step up and lead us out of this mess.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Obama's Star-Studded Economic Advisory Board is Lacking

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, says it best in his post "PE Obama's 1st Big Mistake."

Cuban points out that Obama has an economic advisory board full of economic hot shots - everyone from Google CEO to Warren Buffet. But Obama's star-studded line up is lacking input from the real stars of our economy - small business entrepreneurs. People who's entire living is on the line each day. Guys like Joe the Plumber who don't have a multi-million dollar golden parachute!

Obama, you're economic team is totally one-sided. Though I think the people you have are great, don't neglect getting some input from the real people who can and will fix this economy!

Search Engine Optimization

One of the biggest marketing and public relations challenges new companies often face is getting their site ranked on Google searches. Google basically owns the internet, and when it comes to search, approx. 50% of everybody who searches online is using Google. The other 50% are using one of the myriad of other providers (Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc.).

So if you start a new business and you want to get your website up at the top of the search engine results, what do you do? Well, a good place to start is by getting yourself familiar with the way Google's algorithm decides what pages are relevant and what pages are irrelevant or just spam. Google uses what's called "Page Rank" to assign a number between 1 and 10 to every website Google's robots will crawl. It is that Page Rank that determines where your site lands on a Google search. The higher your website's Page Rank, the higher your site is listed on Google.

While there are many factors that determine a particular site's page rank, the top three in order of importance are these:
  1. The number of other pages that link to your page - or "back links."
  2. How long the web page has existed.
  3. Frequency and location of keywords (the search terms) on the web page itself.
So now that you know what determines the Page Rank, how do you get "back links" for your site? The first thing I would suggest is to order the book "Search Engine Optimization - An Hour a Day" which will give you a step-by-step explanation of SEO and how you can begin right now to optimize your site so it shows up in the search results. Once you've familiarized yourself with SEO through reading the book, you can then go to that same website and download some SEO campaign planning templates. Use these templates to organize the steps you will need to take to optimize your website for search engines.

One thing you'll notice while getting into this process is that you need to know and understand well a host of new terms. Some of these include:
  • Anchor text - the text or words in the web address itself. If the anchor text of your website is not similar to the search keywords, you'll have a much more difficult time ranking your site. For example, if I own a company that sells vacuums but my website is called, I'm going to have a harder time ranking because when someone searches for vacuums, Google's index will skip right over my URL and instead favor listing sites that have the keyword "vacuum" in the anchor text itself.
  • Meta tags - the html tags embedded in web pages which only search engines can see. These tags provide search engines with the description text below links in a search listing.
  • Black hat - an adjective phrase used to describe deceptive SEO tactics that eventually lead to being delisted from a search engine database. For more information, see this Wikipedia article.
While there are so many more things involved in proper search engine optimization, I hope this gives you a nice starting point to help your site become "king of the hill" search results wise.