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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.

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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The Latest “Star Wars” – Utter Rubbish and Utterly Uplifting


So yep, went to the “The Force Awakens” really no choice, you’re a pariah or worse if you snub it. In a word it’s awful, utter rubbish. So how come it’s the highest-grossing film of all time? What’s wrong with me? Let’s dispose of the plot; worse than infantile. Content banal and repetitious, old-hat way past a million faults. Acting: total crud. S...
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Self-Driving Hoverboard Flash Mobs are the Next Big Thing!


I guess you’ve seen all these new-fangled hoverboards? Clearly a totally new and superior form of transportation. As usual the powers-that-be are trying to shut them down. Like planes banning them coz their batteries may catch fire . What a bunch of sissy-poos. I mean think of all the new stuff you can do with them. Walking – oops – hoverboarding i...
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Gluten is not the problem – herbicides are


See all those gluten-free foods at your local supermarket? Think you’re gonna lose weight when you eat them. Fuhgit about it. The skinny is that they are a useless fad. Don’t take my worthless opinion for it – instead check out the respected Consumer Reports’ article “ 6 Truths about a gluten free diet ”. The conclusions are that gluten-free diets ...
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Is Alzheimer’s Contagious?


Did you notice that Gene Amdahl (Founder of Amdahl computers, the company that ran against IBM and won for a while) just died? He was one of the pioneers in computing and a true global innovator. Tragically he died of Alzheimer’s. That puts paid to the notion that you can avoid this terrible disease by having an active mind. You couldn’t get anyone...
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Mother Knows Best – Leadership is Innate in Women, Learned In Men


Did you see that Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, just got Time’s Person of the Year ? She’s the only Western leader who can deal with Putin. She’s really the leader of “united” Europe which has the combined heft of the US. So she certainly deserves it. Definitely in the same class as Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Outshines any of the other Eu...
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The Unicorn Innovation – Address Dumbed-Down Basic Needs


Unicorns are so….fashionable. You know what they are right? Startups valued at at least $1 billion, amazing right?. Right now in the US there are over 80 unicorns, mainly in Silicon Valley. One of them, Square, just went public at a valuation of $6 billion which was felt to be a low figure now. Hmmm. Now there are so many unicorns that there is a n...
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Antibiotics cause obesity – not fast food!


Ok since its Thanksgiving it’s ok to eat too much. But some time you gotta pay the piper. That’s the case as revealed by the latest survey from the National Institutes of Health about obesity . It shows that obesity is still rising even further and that women now have overtaken men as being most obese. The headline is that obese individuals are aro...
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