Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Sharing news and commentary about education, careers, investing, and life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's Links (Wednesday, 10-31-07): All Around The World

Happy Halloween!

- Ben's take on the impact of growing up in one place all your life vs. moving around a lot.

- How Penelope feels about Gen Y.

- Why Google still rules.

- In case you missed it, the Mythbusters answered questions on the Freakonomics blog. We saw them when they came to Georgia Tech and they were just as engaging.

- Chris questioning the world's work ethic. We disagree.

- Not all Democrats are poor...

- Sham Gad with some more interesting insights on the markets.

- A perspective on conservative teachers... check out the article.

- Does it take a near death experience to reinvent ourselves? Irving's post on the matter.

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We wish we could bring Today's Links to you everyday, but the work involved is just too much (imagine all the articles sorted through and read!) We hope you enjoy Today's Links as it is published, which should be about once or twice a week on random days.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Movie Review: "March of the Penguins", "Little Miss Sunshine", "The Departed", "Thank You For Smoking"

I find movies interesting because they cause varying reactions in people I (used) to think I understood. The first movie I saw recently was "March of the Penguins" and it was quite riveting. Though I tuned out halfway through the first time I saw it, the second time I was able to stay awake and give the movie the attention it deserves. I now see why it was so critically acclaimed, though Morgan Freeman's voice over didn't have quite the impact on the documentary that I thought it would. Regardless, the cinematography was wonderful and you could see the efforts taken to film the documentary.

The second movie I saw recently was "Little Miss Sunshine" and this movie had come highly recommended from peers and elders alike. To me it was not quite the funny movie I was expecting (and told it was) but rather an often time sad story that wasn't uplifting or even consistently entertaining. You'd have to see the movie for yourself, but it certainly didn't appeal to me in any way save for the occasional funny moment.

The third movie I saw recently is The Departed. Talk about an allstar cast! Now I don't want to spoil the movie by talking about the plot, but I enjoyed the film (though there are some strong scenes) except for the ending, which to me was disappointing. However, I can see why it won Best Picture in 2006.

The fourth movie is Thank You For Smoking, which I thought was a great satire. I had no expectations going into the movie, and didn't know about the plot beforehand, which made the movie even better. It's a (fictional) story about a national smoking spokesman and how he convinces people that smoking is not bad for you.

You'll be seeing more movie reviews in the blog, thanks to my new Netflix subscription. (Why did I chose Netflix? Because the plan I selected was a dollar cheaper than Blockbuster and there are no Blockbusters near my house).

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Like color? Check out the blog in its original form.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Memory

Amazingly, this excellent feature on Memory is available on National Geographic's website. It's certainly worth a look and here's a quote to entice you:

"Remembering everything is both maddening and lonely for AJ. 'I remember good, which is very comforting. But I also remember bad - and every bad choice,' she says. 'And I really don't give myself a break. There are all these forks in the road, moments you have to make a choice, and then it's ten years later, and I'm still beating myself up over them. I don't forgive myself for a lot of things. Your memory is the way it is to protect you. I feel like it just hasn't protected me. I would love just for five minutes to be a simple person and not have all this stuff in my head. Most people have called what I have a gift,' AJ says, 'but I call it a burden.'"

The quote "your memory is the way it is to protect you" really sticks out because of this woman's perspective. Check out the rest of the article for other perspectives that will make you think about your own memory.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Augusta Views: "It's a bittersweet symphony, this life"

Thanks to The Verve for the wonderful lyric that is the title of this post...

My family is currently going through a difficult time as my grandmother has been quite ill for some time now. I am taking some time to be with them, but I couldn't let y'all down; I know you've been waiting anxiously for my debut post!

Actually, I decided to post this morning because I wanted to share with you my thoughts. Despite everything that we're going through right now, my family and I are able to draw strength from one another and comfort from the knowledge that she is in good hands. The hospital staff has been wonderfully attentive not only to her needs but to ours as well. Everyone involved has shown true compassion and dedication towards our beloved grandmother, mother, and wife.

This experience has reemphasized to me the importance of having a good support system. In every aspect of life, being able to rely on others makes all the difference.

Who do you rely on in times of need? Which individuals in your life make up your support system? I encourage you to reflect on this and, as always, be grateful for what you have.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You've got to like posts like this from Penelope Trunk. Especially this bit:

Here’s an idea for candidates in the post-interview process. How about sending a thank you note, placing a followup call or two to show interest, and then if you don’t hear anything, move on?

Curious? Check out the rest of our blog or even take a look at our company website.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Luck, Part 2

Our previous post on luck, found here, delved into a certain aspect of being lucky and creating luck (namely that a good portion of success is due to luck).

We felt a followup was in order, due to this piece from (interestingly named) Richard Wiseman. There's really not much to say other than you should do yourself a favor and read the short piece. It's great.

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Like this post? Check out the rest of our blog.

Everything Investing: Quiz of the Day

1) Why do these factors matter so much when looking for a stock set to appreciate?

- Improving operating margins
- Sales growth
- Free cash flow
- High return on equity
- Insider ownership levels
- Earnings growth

2) Also, are there any other key factors?

Bonus) What book did we last review on this blog?

And for reference, head over to investopedia if you don't recognize any of these terms or concepts. The next "Everything Investing" post will answer these questions...

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Got a comment or idea? Shoot us an email by clicking here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Keeping Your Pipeline Full

Keeping your pipeline full is all about knowing what opportunities and options are available to you... and then making sure you keep many of them available to you for when you need them.

This concept works well with work/career/business but also works well in a school background. While there's no substitute for excellence and hardwork, we can offer a few tips for keeping your pipeline full:

1) It's not what you know, but who you know. That's a great saying, because it's often (though not always) true. You need to approach every new relationship with someone as an opportunity - it's often the people you least expect that will be able to help you out later on in life. This is a great way to maximize your exposure to good luck, which helps keep the pipeline full.

2) Not everyone can help you, but anyone can hurt you. In this case, the answer is simple: be nice to everyone because you never know when it could come back to haunt you. In this day and age, something like an angry email could be posted over the internet and seen by thousands... which immediately gives you a poor reputation. That's not a good way to keep your pipeline full.

3) Ask (nicely). You'd be amazed how a nice question about a job, industry, or company can go a long way. Most people want to help you but it's up to you to let them know you're open to help and advice.

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We've got plenty of other tips, but we can't give away all our secrets in one post... keep reading the blog for more posts and tips on life, work, education, investing, books, and the like.

And, as always, check out our website.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

What's in Your...

... if you answered wallet, then I got your attention but you're also wrong. The question of the day is this: what's in your pipeline?

We like the concept of a pipeline when referring to career and life opportunities and options. Frequently we find ourselves asking: what's in our pipeline? when it comes to CK Tutors, other business ideas, further schooling, and miscellaneous items. It is extremely important to frequently ask yourself this basic question for two reasons:

1) You need to know all the feasible opportunities and options you have available. By asking yourself the question every few weeks, you'll keep an opportunistic mindset that'll have you refining your current options and constantly seeking better opportunities. Another way to think of it is whether your cupboard is full or not.

2) It helps for setting goals/targets. By asking yourself what's in your pipeline you give yourself a clear idea of how you stand in terms of opportunities. From there, you can determine how long you'd like to be in a certain job or industry, where you'd like to go next, and so forth.

Sure, oftentimes life leads you in unpredictable directions that you cannot plan for... but the unplanned event won't take you by surprise as much when you know what options and opportunities are available to you. So what's in your pipeline?

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Join us Monday (10/21/07) for a post on how to keep your pipeline full.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Augusta Views: Welcome!

Hi everyone! Starting next week I'll be collaborating regularly with CK, so look for new posts each Thursday on a variety of topics. I'm excited to be an "official" part of the blog!

Until Thursday,
Becca Wehunt

Managing Your Networks

Great piece today from McKinsey about managing employee networks. However, the takeaway from this (at least to a student or a non-business person) is such:

As we studied these social and informal networks, we made a surprising discovery: how much information and knowledge flows through them and how little through official hierarchical and matrix structures. As we used surveys and e-mail analysis to map the way employees actually exchange information and knowledge, we concluded that the formal structures of companies, as manifested in their organizational charts, don’t explain how most of their real day-to-day work gets done.

So it’s unfortunate, at a time when the ability to create value increasingly depends on the ideas and intangibles of talented workers, that corporate leaders don’t do far more to harness the power of informal networks.

How are you harnessing the power of your informal networks? It's food for thought...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Everything Investing: Intuition and Hard Work

Do you have a "knack" or "intuition" for investing?

This one is tough to answer unless you're willing to risk some capital. While it's great that there are more and more investing simulation games, there are also limits to these games in finding one's intuitive abilities. For example, in a game you will make a different decision (I promise) when the market is volatile than when you're risking your own capital and have your skin in the game. So to find out if you have a "knack" or "intuition" for investing, you probably need to jump into the markets with your actual money. Important thing to remember: most people don't have this innate ability.

What do you do once you've discovered you have good intuition?



This is where the hard work comes in because now you need to build upon your natural abilities (and you can't coast). Ability and luck only take you so far; hard work does the rest. I can only speak for myself, but I work hard to grow the depth and breadth of my investing knowledge by doing a few things that I enjoy (enjoying all of this is a key to success as well, otherwise this part is torture).



What does the hard work include?

- Reading annual reports of companies that strike me as interesting potential investments.

- Reading investment and business books, but also reading books on technology, pyschology, history, and strategy.

- Reading a lot of magazines and newspapers (I prefer WSJ and The Economist for general news and then a host of other magazines, websites, and blogs for ideas).

- Secret sauce/luck.

And what about luck?

Our views are here.

What authority do you have to speak as an investment pundit?

I'm not a pundit. I don't even like that word! I'm just giving advice based on what's worked for me though it's always good to take advice with a grain (or two) of salt. But you can't go wrong with the general message of this post: always work hard, always try to improve, always be open minded, and realize some or all of success is due to luck.

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Like colors? Well, if you're reading this message through Facebook Notes you won't be seeing the great formatting and colors in our posts. Click through to the actual blog by clicking here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Book Review: "The Little Book That Makes You Rich"

Well, I had just finished writing a long review on The Little Book That Makes You Rich when Blogger decided to mess up and lost the entire post. I'll do a quick recap instead:

This book is a 7 out of 10 for a few reasons:

- It is quick: I finished in an hour and a half and experienced investors can just flip through to parts of the book they'd find interesting.

- It is formulaic: you can see how Louis Navallier invests and what he looks for in investment opportunities.

- However, I am skeptical of his free resource at getrichwithgrowth.com. You can't just rely on the numbers to find a good opportunity and as more people find out about his method it just causes diminishing returns. Take the resource (and results) with a grain of salt.

So what can we learn from a book like this (other than the title makes me gag)? Well, it's important to have a consistent approach to investing. Don't flipflop on your approach, much less the companies you invest in. Conviction is key; with that in mind, absentminded stubborness is dangerous.


A hint: the entire series of "The Little Book of..." books are excellent and I have read them all multiple times (check it out in our Book Reviews). However, the one I still like best is The Little Book of Value Investing.

Interestingly enough, my personal approach is a consistent mix and something I'd just characterize as Opportunistic Investing. But, unfortunately, I can't give away all my secrets...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today's Links (Weekend, 10-13-07): People

- For those techies out there, here's 10 strategic technologies for 2008.

- Looks like the special/gifted program movement is gaining steam.

- Schwartz on globalization, a topic we like to visit often on our blog.

- Hopefully anyone applying to college/grad school knows this stuff but if not check this out.

- The college admissions game. Not too much to read here except for this telling passage: My girl has an unweighted GPA of 3.4, one JV and three Varsity letters in sports, has taken AP classes every year, and is building up her number of community service hours as well. I honestly, truly don't know if this is enough to get her into the college(s) of her choice these days. Tuition rates are soaring, colleges are looking for the brightest and the best, and we all know how competitive the world has become these days for a variety of reasons.

- For anyone worried about the distribution of wealth, read this first.

- Sometimes maybe it's better to think "inside" the box. It could boost your productivity...

- Looking for cheap airfare for weekend trips or the upcoming holidays? Thanks to Frommer for unearthing an interesting online search service.

- The debate on the future of email. Scoble is sometimes ridiculed, but to us the guy is really spot on. He even replies to FB messages and emails. Anyways, the linked debate might change your stance on the topic.

- Stuff like this really makes us excited to know someone like Rizwan. Check out the rest of his India blog here.

- Speaking of people we know, Sham Gad gives out good advice as usual. One nitpicky counterpoint we'd like to make: there is a way you can lose money if you just sit on it (hello inflation) but it's a small price to pay as you wait for the right opportunity.

- Once more on the topic of people, check out our post on investing in people.

- Penelope said she'd link to one of our posts (and while that's going to hopefully happen soon) we'd like to point you to this bit on image and the effect it might have on your career.

Tips for success: when going into a test, go in confident. Even if you missed some classes, or didn't cover all the material, your confidence will make up for some of the holes in your knowledge. It's certainly better to *think* you know the answer than to second and third guess yourself (where you'd flipflop from one answer to another and waste precious time). Then when you get out of the test, be cynical (only temporarily, then forget about the test). It'll make it so that when you get your score back you will have done better than you "expected".

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Did we miss something? Feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. Feedback is always welcome and always read. *We've actually been getting a lot of emails, which is always great news but also means you shouldn't be shy to chime in!

Who would you invest in?

Of all the people you know around your age who would you invest in? If such a thing were possible, who would you pick to be the most "successful" person over the course of their life? Granted, you can't just measure success by amount of money earned/net worth/etc. but it's an interesting thought exercise.

I'd have a hard time picking just one person, but I think I'd do pretty well if I could pick 3 or 4 people I know, with 20% of my allocation being reserved for someone in the future who would fit the bill. As for what characteristics I personally would look for, if trying to find the person who would earn the most money over the course of their life, well that'd be easy. I'd go for someone hardworking, always willing to learn, open minded, and able to thrive in spite of disappointments or setbacks.

What are the traits you'd look for? And do you have the same traits? If not, this is a great way to have a clear picture of what you're looking to improve upon in yourself.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Youth is for exploration

This is a great post from Ben Casnocha about how youth is for exploring. But what if you can do exploring while also NOT being financially dependent? Or better yet, what if you work hard, save up, then go do your exploring? These are tough questions, but they definitely merit deeper thought.

We've read through the couple of emails we've gotten regarding the blog, and of course the Facebook messages, and it seems like the previous style we were using is something we should keep. Unless there's a flood of new messages soon, we're going to get back to the daily "Today's Links" and the occasional topical post such as this one.

Getting In (and Out) of Ruts

Do you ever find yourself getting in and out of ruts? This happens to a lot of people in a wide variety of things. For example:

- Going from eating poorly to eating well back to eating poorly.
- On and off diets.
- Going from not working out to working out and back.
- Studying responsibly to lounging and back.
- Being lazy, then working hard, then going back to being lazy.

There are many other examples of getting in (and out) of ruts but perhaps the most successful people we've met do the best job mitigating getting into these negative ruts.

Note: a small irony is that not having posted consistently since the robbery was a small rut in and of itself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We are back!

The robbers couldn't keep us down (they stole the main blogger's computer) because we've now got a semi-reliable computer from which to blog. Look for the blog to come back, better than ever.