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What should the IRS tax?

I recently read this article in the Silicon Valley Business Journal about free lunch and other perks getting onto the radar of the IRS. It got me thinking about how much value is really there in some of these perks and how incredible they really are as a recruiting tool. I can see the case of the IRS… sure instead of an employee paying for his own lunch out of a salary that was taxed, the company is now paying for it and thus the employee has a bit of a raise. Where is the line though? If I would normally spend $10 on lunch out of pocket and my employer is feeding me a $50 lunch everyday, should my employer be taxed on the $50, the $10, or the $40? What … Read entire article »

Filed under: Innovation

Startup success and learning to hustle

Following up to my post on Econtalk and his recent series on startups and investing, I’ve really been enjoying James Altucher’s podcast series. Some of them are boring for sure and others are more interesting for different people. Here are a few though that I find interesting either because of the guest on the show or because of how James interviews the guest. By now you can guess that I like podcasts where an interview takes place and the interviewer is an important aspect of that. James has a good style, provides context, and obviously knows the area they are discussing to some extent. The type of content is much different though between Russ & James – Russ can be much more technical and discuss major academic issues as well as … Read entire article »

Filed under: Entrepreneurship

Reported and Pro-Forma earnings

I was reading this article on “Fixing CAPE“, the article itself is interesting if you are into debating the finer details of predictive financial/economic models, but that isn’t the point of this post. One of the concepts that the article discusses at length is how reported vs. pro-forma earnings are shaping the analysis of company and market valuations. Included here is one of many interesting charts in the article – it is amazing that the gap exists at all (pun intended), considering earnings should be earnings and the fact that these are such incredibly different numbers indicates that there is a growing amount of financial wizardry at play. If nothing else, this hurts the individual investor more as understanding the financial structure of the businesses available to invest in becomes harder … Read entire article »

Filed under: Startups, stocks

Copycat investing

Another great talk by Mohnish Pabrai – one of my favorite investors… This is a talk at Google (still waiting for $MSFT to bring Pabrai, Mauboussin, or one of my other fav investors to talk). This is a good follow-up from the last talk I posted from Pabrai at Boston University. I love the insights on excel and it’s lack of value in investing. Another favorite insight is Monish’s expansion on his thoughts around optionality and how he views that in his investing.   … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Landlord luxury

I often end up in conversations about getting into real estate. Sometimes it is related to a first commercial transaction, other times it is simply buying a first rental home or investment duplex. I’m always happy to talk to new investors about the space and find myself emailing or having lunch with someone on the topic every week. This week’s episode was rather interesting, I was emailing with a new potential real estate investor along with several other compatriots of mine. One of them sent a response that I thought was insightful and interesting. The question we were approached with in an email was a question about the profitability and decision making guidelines for a particular single family home rental property. The investor was interested in buying their first investment property … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

Economic shifts

The last ten years have been an incredibly fascinating time, being 34yrs old I am really excited to have lived during this time and hopefully have been paying enough attention to take better advantage of the next HUGE cycle change. This one isn’t quite over yet though and there are some interesting things that none of the media pundits, fed, or economists really predicted. The corporate shifts that started small in 2010 are getting really big and impactful now in 2014 and I suspect will continue in 2015 even if the fed stops flooding the market with cheap dollars. What am I talking about? Tobacco buyers are going to get their fix from mostly one company going forward The new hot disruption in real estate is ALREADY consolidating – sorry Estately Washington isn’t really … Read entire article »

Filed under: Technology

Interview with Michael Mauboussin

Another great interview with Michael Mauboussin – I don’t really care what you invest in (early stage companies, public companies, real estate, indexes, casino chips…) – you should understand the insight from Mauboussin… Enjoy! … Read entire article »

Filed under: Investing

An economists view on startups

It’s no secret I am a sociologist at heart and love economics or at least parts of economics as a result. I have been listening to Russ Roberts’ EconTalk podcast nearly every week for the last seven years. Not quite from the beginning but pretty close. I have grown as a thinker and ultimately have refined how I approach economic data and quantitative analysis as a result. That said, some of the deeper details about the usefulness of econometrics isn’t for everyone so I won’t be offended if you think worse of me for being such a HUGE Russ Roberts fanboy. What is interesting is his trips out to the bay area that result in a bunch of EconTalk interviews with people from the startup ecosystem. Recently Russ had Sam Altman, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Technology