Miscellaneous Stuff; Not Your Typical Market Watch

I read a lot of stuff. From time to time I come upon something I want to share with you. Often I hold on to it until it fits into something I’m writing. But at this point, I’ve got a few articles I’ve been saving that it’s just time to spring on you in the hope you might find them interesting or even useful. 

The first, and the most eclectic of the three, comes from the investor George Soros. It’s entitled “The Tragedy of the European Union and How to Resolve It.” Soros has been a hell of a successful investor over many years and at this point is worth bazillions. Part of the reason for his success, I think, is his sense of history and culture and his ability to look beyond the next month or year or more. As an investor, that has allowed him to see more clearly than most and to have some patience.
This is written at a high level, but the quality of the writing makes it a pretty easy read, and there are no graphs or mathematics. Obviously, it’s not about action sports or youth culture or fashion. But many of you do business in Europe, are already impacted by what’s going on there, and know there’s a great deal of uncertainty about a how it all work itself out.
Soros has an opinion about what the choices are, or at least should be. Whether those seem reasonable to you or not, his historical analysis of how Europe found its way to its current mess is about the best I’ve seen in the space he uses. I recommend turning off your cell, disconnecting from the internet, locking your door and reading this thoughtfully.
The second article is called “A Seasonal Business Aims to Survive the Off-Season.” I imagine this might strike a little closer to home for those of you in the snow business. The business in question is a restaurant and specialty food store, and its lean months are October through April. Still, I think you’ll find some of the issues they face and actions they consider to improve their off season and manage their cash flow recognizable. From time to time, I’ve said that we spend, as an industry, way too much time talking to each other and confirming what we already think and want to believe. Here’s a chance to see how a small business not in our industry deals with a similar issue.
Building a Brand When You Can’t Afford an Ad Agency” will strike a chord with everybody in our industry who has built a business from scratch. Interestingly, it’s not about social marketing and the internet.   I like it of course because what this guy did is pretty much consistent with what I’ve told people who’ve called me to ask how to build their new brand.  If I can find some Tito’s Handmade Vodka, I might have to change from Grey Goose (straight up with a twist).