Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jenna Marie James: Ball State student wins lunch with Warren Buffett

A truly awesome presentation!  Must watch!  The message is applicable to our lives too!

Thanks Jenna,


A Ball State University senior has won a chance to have lunch with investor Warren Buffett, which is something others have paid millions to do. 
Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, Business Wire, said Tuesday that 21-year-old Jenna Marie James's video about the future of public relations won the contest it sponsored.
So James will join Buffett and Business Wire executives at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30.
Earlier this year, a private lunch with Buffett sold for $2,626,411 at a charity auction.
James says she's excited to learn from Buffett and talk to him about her generation.
James' winning video ( talked about some things that are already changing communications, like mobile applications on cell phones, as well as some things that haven't happened yet, like holographic technology.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buffett’s New Hire Is Marathoner Whose BofA Bet Beat Berkshire

Ted Weschler, the hedge-fund manager and marathoner, made money trading Bank of America Corp. stock and held the biggest stake of a bankrupt chemicals firm before being hired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 
Weschler bought 2 million Bank of America shares in the first quarter of 2009 when the credit crunch pushed down financial stocks. The shares had more than doubled, on a quarterly average basis, when he sold them a year later. Weschler’s $217 million holding of W.R. Grace & Co., which entered bankruptcy in 2001, dates from at least 2003. 
Weschler, 50, is part of the second generation of Berkshire leaders whom Buffett, 81, is picking to maintain the culture and performance of the firm he built over four decades. Weschler’s bets will get bigger at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire, which holds about $100 billion in stocks and bonds. His investment approach may serve him well under Buffett, who touts his own fondness for reading corporate regulatory filings, said Bruce Kershner, a headhunter who previously worked for Weschler. 
“All he liked to do was read and read and read,” Kershner, president and founder of Bethesda, Maryland-based Kershner & Co., said of Weschler. “He said he took vacations and he would just read his financial statements.” Kershner recruited analyst Bill Beisswanger for Weschler’s fund. 
Weschler and Todd Combs, the former hedge-fund manager hired by Berkshire last year, will assume Buffett’s investment responsibilities when the billionaire chairman retires, Berkshire said yesterday in a statement. Until then, Buffett will oversee the bulk of the portfolio. A third manager may eventually be added to the investment team, Berkshire said. 
Peninsula Capital
Weschler is shutting his Charlottesville, Virginia-based Peninsula Capital Advisors LLC and returning funds to limited partners. He’ll join Berkshire early next year. Peninsula, which had about $2 billion in nine U.S. stocks as of June 30, counted Michael Bills, the former chief operating officer of Tiger Management LLC, among its investors. 
“This is a brilliant move for Berkshire,” Bills, founder and chief investment officer at Charlottesville-based fund of hedge funds Bluestem Asset Management LLC, said in an e-mail. “We are fortunate to have been limited partners with Ted, and think the world of him.” 
Peninsula held stock in Cincinnati Bell Inc., Cogent Communications Group Inc., DaVita Inc., DirecTV, FiberTower Corp., Liberty Media Corp., Valassis Communications Inc. and WSFS Financial Corp. at the end of the second quarter. 
The hedge fund is run in a three-person office, with Weschler assisted by an analyst and an office manager, a person familiar with the business said. It is based in an office above a bookstore in downtown Charlottesville.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Ted Weschler: Buffett auction winner, Berkshire's new hire

It is surely unprecedented for a person to spend $5,252,722 to get a job, but in a funny way, that is precisely what Ted Weschler, of Charlottesville, Virginia, did. The details, in all their improbability: 
Warren Buffett announced this morning that Weschler, 50, the highly successful managing partner of hedge fund Peninsula Capital Advisors, will soon join Berkshire Hathaway to run a portion of its investments. That move, added to thehiring of Todd Combs last year, is aimed at preparing investment-rich Berkshire for a day when Buffett, who just turned 81, will no longer be running the company's investments.

And how did Buffett get to know Weschler? It's here that fact becomes stranger than fiction.

Irving Kahn: Advice From a 105-Year Old Banker

The stock market is imploding, Europe is on the brink, and, if the doomsayers are to be believed, we could be headed for a double-dip recession. 
None of that worries Irving Kahn, perhaps the world’s oldest working investment banker. “There are a lot of opportunities out there, and one shouldn’t complain, unless you don’t have good health,” says Kahn. At 105, he might well be the last man on earth who can speak authoritatively on both longevity and making money amid a historic market meltdown. In 1928, at the age of 23, he went to work on Wall Street as a stock analyst and brokerage clerk. By the tail end of the Great Depression, in 1939, he’d made enough money in the market to move his wife and two children out of public housing and into their own house in the suburbs. 
Kahn is still in the game, waking every morning at 7 and going to work as chairman of Kahn Brothers, the small family investment firm he founded in 1978. Until a few years ago, he took the bus or walked the 20 blocks from his Upper East Side home to his midtown office. “For a 105-year-old guy, it’s pretty remarkable,” says Thomas Kahn, Irving’s 68-year-old son and the company’s president. “I get tired just thinking about it.” 
Perhaps his closest rival for the title of oldest person working in the securities industry was the financier Roy Neuberger, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 107. But Neuberger had retired at 99. Two of Kahn’s older sons, both in their mid-70s, have likewise retired. 
Small and gnomish, Kahn counsels patience in hard times as he holds forth on market distortions and the roots of economic unrest, which he pins on “a bunch of gamblers going crazy on the floor of the exchange.” “Wall Street,” he adds, “has always been a very poor judge of value.”
“This may surprise you, but there were a large number of valuable buys during the Depression.”

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What's the connection between curiosity and happiness?

This study examined curiosity as a mechanism for achieving and maintaining high levels of well-being and meaning in life. Of primary interest was whether people high in trait curiosity derive greater well-being on days when they are more curious. We also tested whether trait and daily curiosity led to greater, sustainable well-being. Predictions were tested using trait measures and 21 daily diary reports from 97 college students. We found that on days when they are more curious, people high in trait curiosity reported more frequent growth-oriented behaviors, and greater presence of meaning, search for meaning, and life satisfaction. Greater trait curiosity and greater curiosity on a given day also predicted greater persistence of meaning in life from one day into the next. People with greater trait curiosity reported more frequent hedonistic events but they were associated with less pleasure compared to the experiences of people with less trait curiosity. The benefits of hedonistic events did not last beyond the day of their occurrence. As evidence of construct specificity, curiosity effects were not attributable to Big Five personality traits or daily positive or negative mood. Our results provide support for curiosity as an ingredient in the development of well-being and meaning in life. The pattern of findings casts doubt on some distinctions drawn between eudaimonia and hedonic well-being traditions.
Source: "Curiosity and pathways to well-being and meaning in life: Traits, states, and everyday behaviors" from MOTIVATION AND EMOTION, Volume 31, Number 3, 159-173,

Crisis Checklists for the Operating Room: Development and Pilot Testing

Because operating room crises are rare events, failure to adhere to critical management steps is common. We sought to develop and pilot a tool to improve adherence to lifesaving measures during operating room crises.
Study Design 
We identified 12 of the most frequently occurring operating room crises and corresponding evidence-based metrics of essential care for each (46 total process measures). We developed checklists for each crisis based on a previously defined method, which included literature review, multidisciplinary expert consultation, and simulation. After development, 2 operating room teams (11 participants) were each exposed to 8 simulations with random assignment to checklist use or working from memory alone. Each team managed 4 simulations with a checklist available and 4 without. One of the primary outcomes measured through video review was failure to adhere to essential processes of care. Participants were surveyed for perceptions of checklist use and realism of the scenarios.
Checklist use resulted in a 6-fold reduction in failure of adherence to critical steps in management for 8 scenarios with 2 pilot teams. These results held in multivariate analysis accounting for clustering within teams and adjusting for learning or fatigue effects (11 of 46 failures without the checklist vs 2 of 46 failures with the checklist; adjusted relative risk = 0.15, 95% CI, 0.04–0.60; p = 0.007). All participants rated the overall quality of the checklists and scenarios to be higher than average or excellent.
Checklist use can improve safety and management in operating room crises. These findings warrant broader evaluation, including in clinical settings.

Reversion to the mean

“What goes up must come down” is an everyday expression which explains the statistical concept, reversion to the mean. Most statistical theories or investment models are very complex and have limited successful track records, but reversion to the mean is intuitive and easy to grasp.Most important, reversion to the mean is the basis of value investing. Many well-known and successful investors, including Benjamin Graham, David Dodd, Warren Buffett and Seth Klarman, are value investors. These investors use reversion to the mean as an investment philosophy to guide them to buy certain companies. By exploiting time arbitrage, a fancy term meaning one has a long-term time horizon and can weather short-term fluctuations, investors can make money by buying undervalued stocks and waiting for them to return to their historical valuations — to revert to the mean. An easy to understand example illustrates this basic philosophy.
Imagine that company XYZ has traded throughout the past five years at an average multiple of 18 times earnings. This means that the stock price divided by earnings per share — the company’s net income divided by common stock shares — has equaled 18. Now, the company trades at 12 times earnings. We can see that the lower multiple, 12 compared to 18, means that the price for a share of stock has decreased in relation to the profitability of the company. Clearly, something in the market has occurred to cause shares to dip and reach a lower valuation. Perhaps a top manager such as the CEO or CFO suddenly resigned, or the company had to deal with a product recall or fell short of Wall Street’s earnings expectations. But if the investor sees no secular, long-term changes in company XYZ, this dip in share price and valuation creates a great buying opportunity because the stock should eventually revert to the mean and trade at its historical 18 times earnings.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Conflict Levels Don't Change Much Over Course of Marriage

Think about how much you fight and argue with your spouse today. A new study suggests that your current level of conflict probably won't change much for the remainder of your marriage. 
That may be good news for the 16 percent of couples who report little conflict or even the 60 percent who have only moderate levels of conflict. But it's not such happy news for the 22 percent of couples who say they fight and argue with each other a lot. 
The study followed nearly 1,000 couples over 20 years, from 1980 to 2000. 
"There wasn't much change in conflict over time," said Claire Kamp Dush, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

Brunello Cucinelli: A philosophy that fits snugly

Great philosophy.

His employees, who include most of the 500 inhabitants of the sunkissed maze of streets, as well as families in nearby villages, earn higher than average wages. They do not clock in and out. Work ends promptly at 6pm. Lunch is three courses daily for €2.80 – including wine and olive oil from Mr Cucinelli’s groves – cooked by those workers who are not in the workrooms using magnifying glasses to sew buttons or stitch on lapels. 

“In order for people to want to stay and work with me and build their skills, they have to be offered something more,” Mr Cucinelli says. 

Mr Cucinelli says he believes consumers will want more than that. “If you buy a sweater for €1,000 and you know that the funds you are paying are also going to help to build a hospital and a school, wouldn’t you think better about it? If I know a product is made well I will buy. I don’t want to buy something that has harmed anyone, this is my absolutely strongest belief, and I believe other people think this too. Or if they don’t now, they will”.