What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collaborative team came across this week …


No matter how good you are, if what you’re doing is very profitable, others will copy you and will be “good enough” to impinge on your game. Which is why the best investments are those with moats – companies that are so good at something that their abilities and assets literally act as a barrier to those who would follow and imitate. These competitive advantages you build won’t necessarily keep crowds off the mountain trail, but if you can build them to be formidable enough, they should dissuade enough of the horde to follow other trails elsewhere.


In the first quarter, American companies for the first time invested more in software than in information-technology equipment. Indeed, outside of buildings and other structures, software surpassed every type of investment, including transportation equipment such as trucks and industrial equipment such as machine tools. Software spending is even higher if the cost of writing original software programs, now classified as research and development, is included.


The authors found that the presence of a first-class cabin, in addition to an economy-class cabin, was associated with more frequent air rage incidents. And boarding through the first-class cabin rather than the midsection of a plane increased those incidents.


About 6.5 percent of U.S. sales in the fourth quarter were flips, or homes sold within a year from when they last changed hands. That was the highest share in seasonally adjusted data going back to 2002, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic. (It’s even higher than during the last boom, when there were more newly built houses for buyers to choose from.) Such deals were particularly attractive in Western markets such as Northern California and Seattle, where prices climbed by double-digit percentages annually. But some areas got too hot, and prices are flattening or falling. Fourth-quarter losses for flippers who sold within a year were the highest since 2009, according to a CoreLogic analysis that looks at buying and holding costs, but not rehab expenses. In the San Jose area, 45 percent of flips lost money.

Offering help:

When I first got diagnosed, I got smothered with “if there is anything I can do to help just let me know.” I appreciate and am grateful for all of those messages. But those messages kind of fall into the same bucket as “go get some help”. It takes the burden of responsibility away from the onlooker and puts it back on the slumped shoulders of the recipient. “Well if he doesn’t let me know what I can do, I guess he’s alright. I did my part.” So here’s what everyone can do for me, be proactive. Be specific. Be direct.

Have a great weekend.