Relocation and Kryptonite

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Unlike most mortals, I have a super power. Yes, it’s true. I drive with a New Jersey License plate. Able to flip off lane changers in a single bound. Faster than a speeding Uber. Angrier than a kid driving behind the old man in a hat. But I have a flaw. My Kryptonite is…Potholes. In […]

Confessions of a French Major

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Well, Kentucky’s Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, has decided that the state will support the education of  accountants but wants to limit the downside risk on French majors.  Understandable, I suppose, but as one of those who specialized in French, I can say with some pride that I have never had a day of unemployment in […]

Positive Corporate Culture is Free

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It surprises many clients that, when I am helping them to become more profitable, I spend a lot of time diagnosing, then supporting, the company’s organization. They say, “Why are you wasting your time on how we’re organized? We want financial improvements!” Turns out, the finance department has less to do with getting financial improvements […]

Ready for Shovels

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In the aftermath of the 2008 Lehman collapse, most banks froze lending and in fact requested their money back. At one point 74.5% of the banks said they were tightening their lending standards. This caused a full-blown banking crisis, in which money was leaving the economy at an alarming rate. In human terms, there was […]

On Wisconsin Education

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Wisconsin has always seemed to have influence larger than its 5.7 million population would suggest in this big wide world. Part of that influence arises from the audacious mission of the University of Wisconsin, which includes the directive “to serve and stimulate society.” It was under this banner, unfurled in 1904, that Harry Steenbock discovered […]

How YOU Doin’?

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I used to see Goldman Sachs alumni everywhere. It was weird – as if they were running things. But today I see a different influence. Now New Jersey and its crazy citizens are everywhere.  In the old days, New Jersey was a small state with no major cities, and its function was simply to keep Philadelphia the […]

Taking Control Amid Municipal Corruption: A Discussion with Harry Spence

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A couple of months ago, I got an email from Benton Harbor, Mich. It reported on the local strife following the appointment of a super-powerful municipal administrator under a new Michigan law. “Do you do this?” my correspondent asked. “Any comment?” And I replied that the only person I would trust to comment was someone […]

The Turnaround Assessment Test

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In 1968, Edward I. Altman formulated a simple, path-breaking scoring mechanism that could predict, with high confidence, the probability that any one corporation would enter bankruptcy within two years. He called the mechanism the Z score and, by publishing in academic journals, allowed it to enter the public domain. It has been, for many years, one of the most-studied […]

What Year is This? …Now Answered

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Here is a reprise of my In Business post of February, 2011, where I compared our current economy to the 1930’s.  We now know the answer to the question.  We are replaying 1937, the year the economy re-entered recession.   Even though the news is depressing, I encourage you to enjoy! In 1939, my grandfather’s […]

Summer Shorts

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This week I had hoped to be on a beach. Not sure if that’s going to happen, but here are two beach-appropriate short reads. Please consume while wearing flip-flops:   I. Capping CAPM A Google search on the Capital Asset Pricing Model returns over 1.2 million hits. This model, taught in finance courses as “Cap-em,” indicates that […]

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