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Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

No Thrills Mom - Towards the Giving Car


All this stuff with new-fangled autos has become overwhelming. Self-driving cars, connected autos, car-sharing, electric vehicles, and so on. But the big question is, what does it do for me? Self-driving cars will change everything. It used to be all about thrills. Hmmm, if I have a high-performance car, I want to drive it myself. Don’t trust anyon...
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Is widespread pill usage actually making us more disease prone?


Did you see that employers looking to hire are having a hard time finding them free of drugs , especially marijuana? Meanwhile the House of Congress looks like it’s going to pass a bill to help recovery by drug addicts , especially those who use prescription drugs. But for the moment, it looks like Congress is focused more on helping people to reco...
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Could Genetically-Modified Humans Re-Ignite Global Growth?


I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vermont law that says that all foods that include genetically-modified ingredients must be disclosed on the label starting July 2016. Of course most of Europe doesn’t allow GM foods. China officially bans GM crops, although in fact the vast majority of them are in fact GM . So the movement to ban all GM foods is pret...
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Fast fashion for Wall Street? Spice up investing with synthetic sectors!


Are you into fashion? You’ve probably noticed that retailing icons like Banana Republic and The Gap are getting crushed by the fast fashion guys like Zara and H&M. I mean, who wants something that’s a week old anyhow? Hmm, tell that to the guys on Wall Street. The same old asset classes, the same old sectors. I was just reading an analyst repor...
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High Frequency Trading Trashed by Quantum Computers?


I’m sure you’ve all heard of high-frequency trading (HFT). We now realize that  HFT could actually bring down the stock market . As it is, HFT accounts for at least half of all the stock trading in the US. This isn’t to complain about HFT. It is what it is. Maybe it makes it hard for small investors. It’s certainly changed the nature of equity...
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We need the Interplanetary Monetary Fund now!


So finally SpaceX made it and soft-landed its booster rocket. An epochal achievement. And Bezos’ Blue Origin did much the same although on a lower orbit. So now the race is on. Next it will be the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, maybe even the North Koreans, God forbid. It’s now obvious that we have pretty much everything we need up there to keep body...
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Sleeping with the enemy – should central banks adopt bitcoin?


Hands up anyone who hasn’t heard of Bitcoin. No takers of course. So far it has been a qualified failure. Its most faithful users are the wrong kind of people who use if for money laundering and criminal activities. Yet bitcoin has many good uses and there are even legitimate companies that are starting to use it. But there is a use for bitcoin whi...
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Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like?


Did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal lately about how investors are pulling cash from hedge funds?   Seems like their returns are lagging the stock market. Of course that’s hardly new. The era of managed investing seems to be coming to a close as index funds take over. Far better to do as badly as everyone else than to once in a ...
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Are recessions contagious?


We're in one of the longest economic expansions in history right now. So of course the forecasters are jumping off the bandwagon to predict the next recession. The only thing though: economists are tragically unsuccessful at predicting recessions. According to the IMF, in the 1990s private economists only predicted correctly 2 of 60 recessions one ...
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What’s Your Next but One Career?


I guess you just saw that Hulk Hogan was awarded $115 million for having his sex videos publicly uploaded by Gawker? My thought on this is I wonder whether this will form the basis for a new career. Celebrity litigant? Sexpert? Another reality show? The Hulk has had a few careers so far , starting with his wrestling career. Naturally dropped out of...
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Behavioral M&A – Yahoo Needed It But Too Late Now


So what’s behavioral M&A anyhows? See here for the skinny , will tell you more below. When Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO I predicted she would fail. Right on the money (“ Yahoo – Product Bling 1, Business Acumen 0 ”). Was the problem Ms. Mayer or something else? How about the 70 or so acquisitions she made? They cost around $4 billion; it’s n...
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Should exercise be compulsory?


Did you hear the latest about the benefits of exercise? Seems it reduces cancer tumors, in whole or in part (“ A run a day keeps the tumor at bay ”)? It was a study in mice but it looks like it will extend to us humans. As well as this the study showed yet again that exercise has a major impact in boosting the immune system. So it just doesn’t impa...
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Gravitational Waves Reveal We’re Worth Reconnoitering


See that scientists have just discovered the existence of gravitational waves ? Well, hopefully. They also announced the same discovery a couple of years ago but then retracted it (see my post “ Dust on Your Lens: Gravitational Waves and Cognitive Biases ”). But assuming this time it’s for real; it’s a pretty amazing feat. To wit, they detected two...
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Index Investing an Even Worse Fate than Stock Picking?


By now everyone knows that stock picking doesn’t work – on average. That’s why hedge funds and the like are doing so poorly. Active investing is just about finished. In response the so-called smart money has headed into index funds and ETFs. That way you are supposed to be able to keep pace with the S&P or whatever index you care to choose. Let...
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“The Big Short” – The Real Problem with Ratings


Did you see “The Big Short”? I’m sure Bernie Sanders is having a field day, his ticket to the big job he thinks. It’s worth seeing if only to reveal the zeitgeist in 2007, a fin de siècle moment. Naturally it paints the banks and the ratings companies in the darkest of colors. So what went wrong with the mortgage bonds and such-like? The film sugge...
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Behavioral Economics & Finance Need a Killer App (ahem)


So if you look at my LinkedIn profile you’ll see that I am billed (inter alia) as a thought leader in behavioral finance. So why would I be casting aspersions on my chosen field? A while back I was discussing behavioral economics and finance with a very senior executive (British btw) for strategy and innovation in a well-known and respected global ...
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Can we create irrational AI?


Did you notice that an AI program from Google just beat a top human player at Go ? It’s a big deal; the chess problem was solved years ago but Go was still a challenge. So now that problem has fallen, AI has got to go to the next step. What will that be I wonder? The problem is getting more difficult as we come to understand that humans aren’t the ...
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Are women smarter than men – but only after babies?


So while Trump disses women, the women are nonetheless showing their mettle a la Hilary and Fox's Megyn Kelley. That brings me (well, kind of) to an article I read recently in New Scientist “Busting the baby brain myth: Why motherhood makes minds sharper ”. The author (a woman btw) is out to debunk what she sees as being the myth of the “baby brain...
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e-Wallets – China is Winning


For all the angst about the problems in the US, at least we still lead the world in innovation, right? Not so fast, read on for this telling little story. The US Is still in the throes of deciding which e-wallet it will use. There’s a ton of them around so mass appeal is limited until John Q. Public makes up his tiny mind. Then retailers can finall...
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General Anesthesia – Chemical Concussion?


After being ignored for years, including by the medical profession, we have finally woken up to the huge brain damage that can be caused by concussion. Now there’s even a movie about it . We’ve woken up to what a sensitive plant our brains actually are. I think we have another such sleeper in our midst about whose dangers we will soon wake up too. ...
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