Archive | insiders group RSS feed for this section

Computers Rule Wall Street

15 Aug

By Ken Sweet, contributing writer August 12, 2011: 7:08 PM ET

U.S. stock marketTraders said they’ve seen high-frequency trading volumes jump sharply since the beginning of the month, which may have ampilfied the recent volatility. Click the chart for more market data.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The computers have taken over Wall Street, and they’re taking investors on a wild ride.

This week, the Dow swung back and forth more than 400 points on four straight days. Trading volume is at or near record levels.

It’s not fast-talking traders on the New York Stock Exchange behind the action. The majority of trading is done on large server farms based in New Jersey and elsewhere.

“These types of moves are certainly greater than anything we’ve seen in the last 10 years, and it’s absolutely because now the majority of the orders are being done by these high-frequency trading robots,” said Sal Arnuk, co-founder of Themis Trading, an independent brokerage firm.

High-frequency trading, also known as algorithmic or programmed trading, relies on software to determine when to buy and sell shares, usually based on a particular pattern or technical level in the market. These trades can happen several times a minute.

High-frequency trading makes up 53% of all trading in U.S. stock markets, up from 21% in 2005, said Larry Tabb, president and CEO of market research firm Tabb Group. Other estimates put it even higher, at around 65%.

Gary Wedbush, executive vice president and head of capital markets at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg News on Friday that more than 80% of the firm’s orders since Aug. 1 have come from high-frequency trading clients, at five times the typical volume.

Nearly everyone on Wall Street is involved in algorithmic trading in some form, Tabb said, including large banks, hedge funds and mutual funds.

“These firms often piggyback on large orders, so it can amplify a stock’s movement,” Arnuk said.

Experts don’t blame high-frequency trading entirely for the market’s nauseating moves, but they say it certainly exacerbates them.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in a report blamed high-frequency trading in part for the May 6, 2010 “flash crash,” when the Dow fell nearly 1,000 points in minutes. To top of page

First Published: August 12, 2011: 7:05 PM ET

Realizing Innovation’s Full Value in Alignment with The Insider’s Group’s Revelation on Innovation Age…

10 Aug

Realizing Innovation’s Full Value

Forbes

By Deborah Mills Scofield | Forbe

August 9, 2011 at 7:59am

Many of us agree innovation = invention + commercialization.  Commercialization is usually defined as

launching the ‘invention’ so you and your customers realize value.  But how many of us include how well we’ve extracted the innovation’s value in the market as part of our innovation process?  Probably, not many; it’s just not that easy.  Whirlpool, a long-time innovator, discovered that many of its innovations were not succeeding as planned in the marketplace.  Moises Noreña, Whirlpool’s Director of Global Innovation, was tasked with finding out why and fixing it.  He recently detailed how they went about it.

Moises created a team to focus on the go-to-market aspect of innovation.  They discovered innovations were handed off to traditional market category teams and included in existing product lines.  So, when the innovation didn’t seem to sell well, the usual excuses were given: the product was too expensive, it didn’t work as promised, and consumers need to be converted.  So, what was going on?  Apparently, the innovation & marketplace performance processes were separate and mutually exclusive so products were killed because non-traditional go-to-market options were not explored.  In addition, business leaders frequently confused experimentation with market research leading to unrealistic expectations.  Bottom line? The issues were cultural and process – self-reinforcing both positively and negatively.

A very thoughtful and comprehensive approach was taken to address how to really extract an innovation’s value in the marketplace.  I encourage you to read the detailshere. Whirlpool’s values were the foundation for all approaches: teamwork, respect, diversity and collaboration.  The approach included selecting the right pilot to test, in this case, a pilot right in Whirlpool’s core – laundry; challenging the status quo; integrating innovation and marketplace performance processes; and having the business ‘own’ and take the lead for the pilot.

The pilot was a success, resulting in the creation of a new process.  Many new insights and ideas were created that translated into actionable opportunities for development, sales and operations with significant revenue potential.  Perhaps more significant were the intangible benefits.  The team’s common pilot experience resulted in a common consumer language, aiding understanding of and empathy with consumers’ issues.  Result? The team started dreaming about other business opportunities with a sense of camaraderie and hope not seen in the standard S&O process.

How can you apply Whirlpool’s learnings to your company? What can you adapt and apply?  Provide your experiences, comments, suggestions in the comment, at Moises’s MiX story or email me.  Let’s leverage each other’s learnings!

Follow Yahoo! News

Gigwalk: Make money on your morning commute

2 Aug

By Jennifer Alsever @CNNMoneyTech June 22, 2011: 6:06 AM ET

Gigwalk founders (from left) Matt Crampton, Ariel Seidman and David Watanabe.Gigwalk founders (from left) Matt Crampton, Ariel Seidman and David Watanabe.

(CNNMoney) — Most people make a living while they’re at work. But what if you could earn a few bucks just walking to the office?

Gigwalk, a startup founded last summer in Mountain View, Calif., takes the phrase “mobile workforce” literally. The company harnesses America’s vast army of iPhone users, enlisting them to complete various “gigs” when they’re out and about.

Rates for these micro-tasks have included $5 to snap a picture of a restaurant’s chalkboard menu for an online restaurant guide, $7 to visit a wireless store and check on product placement for a cell phone manufacturer and $30 to test out a new iPhone app. Users are encouraged to work gigs into their regular routines, picking up pocket cash while they make trips to the gym or run errands.

“It’s whatever is convenient,” says Ariel Seidman, the co-founder and CEO of Gigwalk. Inspiration for the service came last spring when Seidman, 34, was the director of mobile search for Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500). He watched mapping companies spend exorbitant amounts of time and money dispatching contractors to gather information from far-flung locales. What if they could rely instead on iPhone users who were already there?

Seidman left his job last June. He enlisted two former Yahoo colleagues, Matt Crampton and David Watanabe, to help build the software platform that would bring his idea to life. In December, Gigwalk landed $1.7 million in startup capital from sources including the Greylock Discovery Fund, managed by LinkedIn (LNKD) co-founder Reed Hoffman, and Harrison Metal, founded by Michael Dearing, a former senior vice president of eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) and an early funder of AdMob, which Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) bought for $750 million.

“I thought it was an amazing concept,” says Jeff Clavier, a managing partner at SoftTech VC, which also invested in Gigwalk. “After five minutes I thought, ‘This is like mobile crowdsourcing.'”

Gigwalk’s corporate clients include TomTom, the Dutch maker of portable GPS systems, and MenuPages.com, the New York online restaurant guide. Gigwalk executives would not say how many clients, in total, have signed on so far. They also declined to release their revenues and the number of active “gigwalkers,” saying only that thousands of people have completed tasks in seven cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

To sign up for the service, iPhone users download an app, then register with Gigwalk and pass a background check. The company plans to launch an app for Android owners later this year.

Gigwalk uses iPhone owners’ GPS locations and home addresses to filter and distribute appropriate gigs for them. Once a user accepts a gig, there’s a limited time to finish it, usually a couple of days. After a completed task is approved, the user gets paid through PayPal.

To commission Gigwalk for a job, companies specify what tasks they’d like to outsource to smartphone users and pay Gigwalk a lump sum upfront. A percentage of that sum goes directly Gigwalk — the company would not disclose how much — and the rest goes to paying “gigwalkers” as they complete their tasks.

Reliable workers — those who do a good job and don’t submit fuzzy menu photos — are rewarded with the first pick of better-paying gigs.

Gigwalk has become a big time-saver for MenuPages, which maintains 32,000 online listings for restaurants across the country, according to Tom Bohan, the company’s director of content operations. One of MenuPages’ biggest challenges is keeping track of current information: new food items, hours of operation, whether there’s outdoor seating and wheelchair access. In the past, they’ve mostly used Craigslist to hire hourly contractors who can visit those businesses in person to collect data.

Bohan discovered Gigwalk late last year. Though they cost about the same as his regular contractors, gigwalkers turn assignments around for him much faster, he says — typically in about two weeks instead of eight.

Gigwalk’s biggest challenge? Getting people to take time out of their day for small payouts of just $2 to $15 apiece. Seidman says he doesn’t expect anyone to drive 15 minutes to do a $2 or $5 gig. But he hopes they’ll be willing to work multiple gigs into their morning commutes, or squeeze in a task that’s just two doors down from wherever they happen to be at the moment.

That’s worked out well for Andrew Schut, 47, a medical device consultant in New York City who’s the top-grossing gigwalker so far, earning $2,173 since March. Schut maps out clusters of gigs whenever he goes for a walk and tries to knock out a couple on the way to his clients’ offices.

“It’s given me the motivation to see parts of the city I didn’t know about,” says Schut, who created an online community called gigwalkingtips.com. “The beauty of it is you do it when you have time, and if you have time.” To top of page

Men and Women on Money: Dual Surveys Reveal Surprising Differences

26 Jul

By Eamon Murphy

So it seems two out of five of men wouldn’t mind sitting down with Warren Buffett and listening as the avuncular Oracle of Omaha dispenses bon mots like, “Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”

That’s according to AskMen, a division of News Corp’s (NWS) IGN Entertainment that advertises itself as “the leading men’s lifestyle website.” On Tuesday, AskMen unveiled the results of its Fourth Annual Great Male Survey. To complement this study, AskMen partnered with women’s mag Cosmopolitan to create a Great Female Survey, a kind of online poll-Bride of Frankenstein. Together, these surveys comprise “the ultimate guide on how men and women think in 2011,” culled from more than 80,000 respondents, according to a press release. The combined poll has been approved by Ipsos-Reid, Canada’s largest market research and public opinion polling firm; read on for some of its more striking results.

    • “If men could ask for financial advice from one person,” the survey reports, “40% said it would be Warren Buffett. Next highest: 25% of men said they would look to their fathers for advice, 19% said Donald Trump, and 10% said Jim Cramer. Only 6% percent said that they would turn to Suze Orman for help.” A mix, then, of mild sexism, moving nostalgia, and extreme starstruck-ness. (Trump, of course, has seen his share of business bankruptcy, but maybe men figure that’s just capitalism — creative destruction and so on. Cramer, too, has made some questionable calls.)
    • Fully 77% of men think women put too much value on a man’s financial worth. What’s somewhat strange is that 82% of women agree.
    • Good news for sex equality — although, weirdly, women are slightly lagging men: “85% of men said that they would be okay with having a partner who makes more money than they do, and 73% of women say that they would be okay with having a partner who makes less than them.” Perhaps that’s a sign of our hard economic times.
    • Somewhat puzzling news, given that women tend to live longer: “45% of men have a plan for retirement and either are currently saving or will start saving for retirement soon.” But only 21% of women have any plan, and 45% of women surveyed said they “have not even thought about retirement.”
    • Maybe that discrepancy relates to a sex-correlated difference in retirement expectations: 34% of women think they’ll only need savings of $500,000 to retire comfortably. By contrast, 46% of men think they’ll need between $1 million and $2 million.
  • Finally, the survey’s most counter-intuitive result: “43% of women think that a beautiful house is the ultimate status symbol, while only 26% chose having a successful partner. On the other hand, men ranked ‘family’ as their number one choice (39%).”
Reprinted from An AOL Money & Finance Site

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/26/men-and-women-on-money-dual-surveys-reveal-surprising-differenc/

 

Children of Gen Xers Are Key Brand Influencers

21 Jul
Children of Gen Xers Are Key Brand Influencers
JULY 18, 2011
Family affects Gen X shopping habits

Gen X shoppers are significantly influenced by their families when choosing brands and making purchase decisions both online and in-store. Children especially have a major role when Gen X consumers decide what to buy.

In March 2011, Experian Simmons asked US adult internet users about the primary factors that affect their shopping behaviors and attitudes. Those ages 35 to 44 overindexed in a number of influences, several involving their children.

For instance, when asked whether their children had a major effect on the brands they choose, Gen X shoppers were 32 percentage points more likely than the average consumer to say yes. Shoppers in this age group also tend to be affected by their children’s requests for certain items. But kids could also be a burden for purchase decisions, if they asked for too many nonessential items.

A study on American consumers conducted by GfK MRI and published in June yielded similar results. Indexing at 25 points above average consumers, Gen X shoppers tended to be more influenced by their children in brand selection than adults overall.

Both studies found that coupons and family are influential factors for Gen X shoppers. Consumers ages 35 to 44 are more inclined to try new brands and stores if they have a coupon. Gen Xers enjoy shopping with their significant others and family, as they play an important role in shaping their brand opinions.

According to the US Census Bureau’s “Current Populations Survey,” more than 60% of the Gen X population is married and a comparable percentage has children under the age of 18. Given the importance family and children play in Gen Xers’ purchase decisions, marketers should make sure their branding appeals to the entire family. Promotional offers and coupons would also appeal to Gen Xers, who are frequently seeking opportunities to save additional money.


©2011 eMarketer Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.emarketer.com

What Does A New Historic District Approval Mean for Crown Heights, Brooklyn?

21 Jul

St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights - one of the more historic blocks in the area

The intrinsic value of a neighborhood cannot be duplicated. From it’s limestone and brownstone buildings, to its long-time inhabitants full of culture and yes, at times vitriol, Crown Heights is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the United States.   Will this new historical district approval mean rising rents or simply more pride?  Will it improve neighborhood relations in a place ripe for religious and racial differences?  I suppose we’ll see for sure in the next few years.

Read the full article below from WNYC.org  writer Marlon Bishop.

July 22, 2011

On Tuesday, the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission approved the creation of a new historic district in Brooklyn’s predominantly West Indian-American and Hasidic Jewish neighborhood of Crown Heights: the Crown Heights North II Historic District.

The new district includes 610 row houses, apartment buildings and large Queen Anne-style homes, most of which were built between 1870 and 1920. The area is bound by Bergen St. to the north, Brooklyn Ave. to the east, Eastern Parkway to the south and Nostrand Ave. to the west; and it borders a pre-existing, 472-building historic area that the Landmark Preservation Commission designated as a historic district in 2007.

“The neighborhood is really an exquisite mosaic of remarkably well preserved examples of architectural styles and building types,” said the commission’s chairman Robert Tierney.

Area resident Deborah Young created the Crown Heights North Association to help generate interest in landmarking in the community and to educate her neighbors on the benefits of a historic district, which she says include increased property values and protection from the kind of over-development happening elsewhere in Brooklyn.

“Look at what’s going on in Downtown Brooklyn with the building of these huge structures,” said Young. “Not that they’re not nice in their own right, but they’re keeping with the brownstones that you have in many of our neighborhoods. So, for us in Crown Heights, we want to maintain what we have.”

According to the Crown Heights North Association, Crown Heights was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the late 19th century. Eastern Parkway was lined with opulent mansions that were eventually torn down and replaced with townhouses. African American and Caribbean families began to buy homes in the area in the 1920s, even as the neighborhood became home to the Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch movement and several Yeshiva schools.

Opponents of landmarking argue that protected status makes renovation and development unnecessarily difficult for landlords. Others claim that the resulting increase in property values leads to higher rents, which accelerates gentrification.

Before the Crown Heights North II Historic District becomes official, it must be approved by the City Council. A third historic district in the area is also being considered by the commission.

The Divergent Demographics of Groupon and LivingSocial

29 Jun

JUNE 22, 2011

Targets, advertising strategies vary

Daily deal sites Groupon and LivingSocial saw their audiences approximately triple in the year to April 2011, with gains of 250% and 182%, respectively, according to comScore’s “State of the US Online Retail Economy in Q1 2011” report. But while both play in the same space, differences have emerged in the geographies and demographics of their users, as well as their deployment of display and paid search advertising.

The comScore analysis found that LivingSocial had an edge among East Coast-based users, while Groupon had more of a foothold among Midwest and West Coast-based consumers. This may not be all that surprising as LivingSocial is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Groupon is based in Chicago.

Beyond the geographic divergence, each provider appears to attract different types of users. comScore found that internet users under 45 leaned toward Groupon, while those ages 45 and older skewed more in favor of LivingSocial. Those ages 12 to 25 underindexed on usage of daily deal sites in general, but underindexed less strongly on Groupon. Both sites were used by women more than men.

But Nielsen found the opposite age skew when it examined the sites’ demographics in March 2011. That analysis found that 33% of LivingSocial visitors were ages 21 to 34, compared to 25% for Groupon, while 51% of LivingSocial visitors were ages 35 to 64, vs. 57% for Groupon.

However, Nielsen also found that visitors to both sites were similar in that nearly two-thirds were female and that their visitors were more likely to be affluent and better educated than the average internet user. In contrast to comScore’s May analysis, LivingSocial’s visitors trended younger, slightly more affluent and more highly educated than Groupon’s. In addition, Nielsen found visitors to LivingSocial 49% more likely than the average American online to earn $150,000 or more, while Groupon’s visitors were 30% more likely.

Rewinding to February 2011, Morpace found that the plurality of Groupon users, 40.2% , were 18 to 34 and that less than a quarter were 55 or older.

The dynamic nature of users opting in and opting out of Groupon and LivingSocial’s emails may, in part, be responsible for driving changing user demographics from month to month. This is a plausible scenario given consumers’ fickle spending behaviors and the services’ monthly churn rates.

In April, Groupon’s churn rate was 18% while LivingSocial’s was 22%, according to comScore. As of Q1, Groupon had about 83 million subscribers compared to LivingSocial’s 26 million.

The larger site has an edge with consumers in terms of awareness, according to research from Bloomberg and YouGov.

Where advertising is concerned, while neither Groupon nor LivingSocial skimps on spending to attract users, they place a different emphasis on how they promote their deals.

The comScore analysis found that LivingSocial concentrated the majority (73%) of its display ads on the top five US Web properties, particularly Yahoo and MSN where the ads run mainly in email and news. The rest of the ads ran throughout the web. Groupon, however, ran only 31% of its ads on top publishers’ sites, spreading the majority (69%) around on mid-tier and more obscure sites.

Another strategic difference between the two providers, comScore noted, is that more than half (56%) of Groupon’s offers were for restaurants, while the hefty portion of LivingSocial’s deals (41%) were for books and magazines.

©2011 eMarketer Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.emarketer.com