Warning: Speed may not be good for our health!

“Speed, for lack of a better term, is good”.

That’s not quite what Gordon Gekko said in the original Wall Street movie, but it’s close enough for our purposes.

So, who’s complaining about the super-fastest fiber-cable ever? Nobody that I know of, but here’s what caught my attention. It isn’t just the extraordinary speed extolled in Forbes’s recent article, Wall Street’s Speed War. Sure, it cost about $300 million to bury a one-inch underground cable over the 825 mile distance between New York and Chicago. Yes, it’s been done in stealth mode so no one would find out and build one even faster, and yes, it’s about to go live.

Big deal? Apparently so … but here’s the thing. The only reason this cable got built was … grab your abacus … to save 3 MILLISECONDS off the previous route for such cable traffic. That’s equal to THREE 1/1000 OF A SECOND!

What for? Here’s a few of the effusive remarks that Forbes quoted: ‘That’s close to an eternity in automated trading” … or “Anybody pinging both markets has to be on this line, or they’re dead.” (more…)

Continue ReadingWarning: Speed may not be good for our health!

Warning: Sell Wine? Ignore Cash? Adios!

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Why is this so hard? We find ourselves entrenched in the quagmire of a lingering and painful recession … more companies than ever need stronger financial management … and yet so many of them remain painfully slow to recognize it. Sure, many have trimmed costs and are paying closer attention to nickels and dimes, but few of them have a comprehensive financial strategy.

Business Finance? Meet the Wine Industry!

So, in some misguided way, I guess it feels good to have some company … because the need for financial discipline was a common refrain among wine industry cognoscenti at this year’s Symposium, Competing in a Rapidly Changing Global Wine Market. The economic shock waves of the last 24 months have rocked the wine industry, dragging many of its members, in some cases kicking and screaming … into an era where professional management and greater financial discipline are demanding front row seats alongside the entrepreneurs and artisans that have reigned over the California wine industry
[pullquote]Stronger financial management is overdue in the California wine industry.[/pullquote]

Building a bridge between the financial community and the wine industry is one of the founding precepts of the Wine Industry Financial Symposium formed in 1992. Last Monday, I was privileged to lead a 90 minute workshop devoted to Practical Strategies to Improve Cash Flow, in which I shared a few “diamonds in the rough” about how to get more juice into your bank account … and how the California wine businesses can integrate Strategic Finance into their everyday business decision making.

Wine, Wisdom and Stronger Finance. Drink up!

During the preceding From Survival to Prosperity – Strategies for Transition session, (more…)

Continue ReadingWarning: Sell Wine? Ignore Cash? Adios!

Small Business Finance Bill passes – So What?

Do you often wonder how this country gets along with the Pollyanna views inside the Beltway, mostly comprised of those who have never had to meet a payroll? The Senate passed the Small Business finance bill last week as a few Republicans crossed the aisle to provide the needed votes. The House is expected to quickly pass this version. More later … but ….

So What? It’s a $30B bill so it sounds like a lot of money … but so did the TARP $750B number when it was announced … and it’s still a long way from fully invested. The NYT claims it will help “credit-starved businesses” … says who? Read Uncertainty is killing business – NOT credit in which I review why credit availability is NOT what’s killing small business. If you’re uncertain about what uncertainty we’re certain about … read the WSJ verbatim quote to be reminded of the painful litany of  the economic and regulatory  quicksand on the road to recovery.

[pullquote]Are you uncertain about what uncertainty we’re certain about?[/pullquote]

Sure, there may be qualified businesses struggling to get credit. It is tougher out there, the underwriting standards are less flexible … but will the economy recover when credit is extended to small and middle-market businesses? No, (more…)

Continue ReadingSmall Business Finance Bill passes – So What?