Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I recently read Creation, by Steve Grand, which came highly recommended by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Grand is an expert in artificial life, but he tries to remove the "artificial" as much as possible by modeling his creations on real life, including evolution, learning and other features of real life that aren't natural to the way computers are as we know them.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Only the Paranoid Survive

One of the largest moats in the tech sector over the decades has belonged to Intel. Despite operating in a field characterized by changing and improving technologies, the company has posted double-digit returns on assets for the better part of a few of decades. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Intel's 3rd employee, and its CEO from 1987 to 1998, Andy Grove, shares some ideas on how he did it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Curse of the Mogul

I was blown away by Curse of the Mogul by Knee, Greenwald and Seave. If, like me, you have enjoyed Bruce Greenwald's other books, particularly Competition Demystified, you'll probably love this one too.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Global Sources: Special Situation + Value

Yesterday, business-to-business media company Global Sources (GSOL) announced that it would buy back $50 million worth of shares of the company at $10 per share. Nevertheless, shares of GSOL trade for just $8 despite the fact that the company trades for a P/E under 10 and operates with what appears to be a competitive advantage.Read more...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Emperors of Chocolate

A great deal of press is devoted to business rivalries. Coke vs Pepsi, the auto manufacturers, Amazon vs The World etc. But on one subject, the press is remarkably silent. The battle for chocolate supremacy is undoubtedly a topic dear to the hearts of many consumers, but it is one so shrouded in secrecy that there just isn't enough available on which to report. Joel Brenner put his investigative boots on and appears to have uncovered more about these secret companies (especially the privately-held Mars) than they are comfortable with. He reports his findings in The Emperors of Chocolate.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The 4-Hour Workweek

Author Timothy Ferris is one of the most resourceful people I've come across. Having been impressed by his book The 4-Hour Body a few weeks ago, I decided to check out his other book The 4-Hour Workweek, and I was not disappointed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Waving the White Flag on RadioShack

I think new management at RadioShack has the strategy right. They are testing out various configurations of different categories and labour models at a few concept stores, and rolling out the successful learnings to the rest of the store network. They are shutting down the least profitable stores, and cutting overall expenses. They are introducing new products (e.g. 3D printers) in an attempt to break reliance on declining categories. The problem is, it is taking too long.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Art of War

I've seen Sun Tzu's The Art of War recommendations in enough business books that I figured I should finally go ahead and read it. Written some 2,000 years ago, the book is literally about how to command an army in order to win battles. But it is often argued that the concepts apply also to businesses in competition.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Support.Com's Price Is Far Too Low

In today's frothy market, it's not easy to find US companies trading at P/E ratios below 6. But after the giant plunge in Support.com's (SPRT) share price over the last few weeks, that's precisely where shares of SPRT sit on an ex-cash basis. The dramatic decline in Support.com's share price offers investors an opportunity to pay little for a company with a lot of potential.Read more...