I just learned that Warren Buffett’s shareholder letters can be found here in PDF format.
Motley Fool has an excellent collection of Jeff Bezos quotes going back to the 1990s.
Bloomberg has a nice article about business strategy titled, Best Buy Should Be Dead, But It’s Thriving in the Age of Amazon.
Dries Buytaert has a good story about how he created the now-defunct Mollom anti-spam service. No word on why they didn’t try to sell the service rather than just shut it down.
Seeking Alpha has a good article on how the last eight corporate scandals/problems have affected their stock prices over time. Useful stats: “Excluding Facebook, the median length of the declines is 63 days. The median percentage decline is 35%.”
“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.”
That’s a quote from Elon Musk. In this context a vector is what I know about from my engineering background, a company of both a speed and a direction, something like this:
case class Vector(speed: Double, direction: String)
The correct thing about that quote is that the worst employees I ever had pulled in a direction that was somewhere around 180 degrees opposite of the direction we were aiming for. For example, if nine out of ten employees are rowing a boat that’s headed east, an employee that’s rowing towards the west is going to slow everyone else down.
Unfortunately I never had much success turning those people around, so they were always fired or encouraged to find other work. Over the years we had everything from people whose work had to be completely re-done to people who had agendas during the 8-5 work hours that had nothing to do with the company’s agenda.
Way back in 2005 I read an SI.com article about football coach Dick Vermeil, and the article mentioned a story called, The Parable of the Carpenter. I’ve never found an official version of the story, but here’s a version I cobbled together from multiple sources, including that SI article:
There is a mistake technical and scientific people make. We think that if we have made a clever and thoughtful argument, based on data and smart analysis, then people will change their minds. This isn’t true. If you want to change people’s behavior you need to touch their hearts, not just win the argument. We call this the Oprah Winfrey Rule. (It’s also the way good politicians operate, but Oprah does it better than anyone.)
~ Google’s Oprah Winfrey Rule, from the book, How Google Works
Lost in the recent announcement about JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway combining forces to get into the employee insurance business is the fact that they are already self-insured employers. I read that in this Business Insider article, where I also read that 80% of large companies are already self-insured.
If you’re into understanding business financial statements and/or interested in investing, I’ve been reading Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements for the last week or so, and I can confirm that it’s a good book for non-experts like me. With just a few exceptions, all of the terms you’ll encounter on income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements are explained simply and easily.