Business thrives while consumers languish

Via Curious Ellie’s TypePad Annex: Business investment is doing fine, July 23 2011.

Residential construction investment is still profoundly depressed. Commercial real-estate isn’t thriving either.  Yet businesses aren’t feeling any pain. Why? Well, wages are flat due to recession. Corporate taxes are not overly burdensome. There is capital available for businesses to invest in equipment and software. 

This observation from Professor Bradford de Long is troubling news, specifically in the context of the U.S. economy. It doesn’t bode well for a speedy recovery any time soon.



A Systematic Approach to Managing Business Associate Risk

The need for a structured Business Associate oversight program for data security risk management.

HIPAA and the HITECH Act have highlighted the importance of Business Associate (BA) security. Covered Entities (CEs) need to effectively manage Business Associates security risk, and BAs need to understand their compliance requirements and liability under HIPAA and HITECH for PHI.


Market Cap Reference for Valuing Inflated Tech Companies

 This is not very reliable data! It is probably at least three or four years old, although the article publication date is May 2011. 

Why do I say that? Well, the market cap of AAPL (Apple Computer) was only $68 million, CVS and Caremark were reported separately (they completed a merger in 2007) and there is data for Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, yet both have been out of business for years.

Also, the units look suspect. M usually means “millions”. Which would imply that every one of these 200 companies had market caps greater than $10 billion, and many with market caps of $100 billion or more. That seems high, particularly for old data. Maybe I should just delete this entire entry….


Long Tail Tales

I found this chart on Chris Anderson’s old TypePad blog. Chris Anderson is the original “Mr. Long Tail” (more details follow at the end of this post).

The Long Tail of Travel

What does the long tail of travel look like now? What is the breakdown of the stacked bars for years 2009 and 2010? I would guess that the long tail of travel has shortened. Why would the trend reverse? (Note that I resisted the temptation to say “turned tail”).

Two reasons:

  • Air fare increased due to higher fuel costs, discouraging those who would take the path less traveled, and 
  • Less leisure travel, and probably less business travel as well. This would be due to an increase in risk-averse tendencies for passengers concerned about deteriorating economic circumstances, whether their own or in general.

Chris Anderson’s 2009 post included another premise: Travel destinations had become more diverse due to the effect of social media tools. Specifically, that

  • better word-of-mouth communications, and
  • peer ratings and reviews

were highly credible. As a result, travellers were more willing to try destinations that were less mainstream, not necessarily promoted by the travel industry, and thus more diverse. And so the long tail grew.

Social media effect

Has the “social media effect” (I prefer to think of it as a more efficient means of information propagation) been sufficient to overcome the economically-motivated forces to the contrary?

There is only one way to answer that. Run the data! 

I’ll see what I can do, as a follow-up post. Any expression of reader interest would be an additional motivation. Feel free to express your enthusiasm (or otherwise) as a comment. Note: Study included U.K. travel data only.

The Long Tail

For fans of the original New York Times best seller, published in 2006, or even for those who never read it (like me), here’s your reward for stopping by my Annex.

The Long Tail is now available as an 80-page graphic novel. As part of the promotion, read it free of charge for the next two months, before the official release date by SmartComics in late April. Or check this Twitter communique for additional details.

Disclaimer: I am a 100% UNPAID communicator of information. This is not an endorsement. But I will mention that Chris Anderson seems to be reasonably worthwhile as someone to follow or better yet, include on a suitable list for Twitter users. He is @chr1sa.