Monthly Archives: March 2012

100 Best Business Books of All Time

Any list invites discussion and debate. The 100 Best Business Books of All Time is a book about just what the title says. Debateable and discussable it is. Nevertheless, having an MBA, I’ve already read over half of them. I’m now challenging myself to read every book on the list.

Here’s the list of books in the Strategy section:

In Search of Excellence
by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen (also available inaudio)
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (also available in audio)
Discovering the Soul of Service by Leonard Berry
Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (also available in CD andaudio)
Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad


Why people buy local

Buy Local campaigns are sprouting up all over the country.  Most seem to be very successful because most people say they want to buy local.  And most people who want to buy local will do when the price is competitive.  If price is not competitive then it is off to the big box stores or to the computer to buy online.

So what are other reasons that people shop locally? In 2010, market-research firm Synovate eNation asked 1,000 Americans, “What makes you choose to patronize a small, local, independent business over a larger chain?”  The top three answers were:

– I want to support my community;

– The local merchant is more conveniently located; and

– The service is more personal.

Another survey of interest was conducted in 2011 by the Institute for Local Self Reliance, a nonprofit research and educational organization. It revealed that having a Buy Local organization makes a big difference in spending habits for the communities they serve. Among the results are as follows:

– Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally-owned businesses had increased in the last year, while 24 percent said it had stayed the same and only 3 percent said it had decreased;

– 45 percent of businesses reported that the campaign had brought new customers to their business;

– 55 percent said the Buy Local Campaign increased the loyalty of existing customers.

– 68 percent said that the campaign led to an increase in local media coverage of independent businesses;

– 51 percent said that the campaign made local government officials more aware and supportive of the needs of independent businesses; and

– 49 percent said it had led to more collaboration, purchasing, and mutual support among local businesses.

Mississippi, Michigan, Massachusetts libraries win 2012 Bookapalooza Program

March 16, 2012 (From American Libraries Magazine)

Hats off to the First Regional Library in Hernando for being one of three winners of the 2012 Bookapalooza Program.

“The applicants demonstrated a great need for new materials but also provided creative ways to use the variety of Bookapalooza materials they will receive,” said Nancy Baumann, Grant Administration Committee chair.  “The committee was pleased and excited about the creative ways the new materials will impact these library programs.”

The First Regional Library in Hernando, Miss., plans to distribute its Bookapalooza collection among five libraries that demonstrate the greatest need and to support current and desired programming. Teen volunteers are being recruited to read with younger children and perform reader’s theater using the new materials. In addition, a poetry collaboration project will be conducted with the public schools.

Economic Impact of the USA International Ballet Competition

March 15, 2012

(From the latest Mississippi Arts Commission newsletter)

An independent economic impact study shows that the ninth USA International Ballet Competition generated $10.2 million for Miss. The impact is a 35 percent increase from the 2006 competition and a 61 percent increase over the 2002 event.

Compiled by the Department of Economic and Workforce Development at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg the results are based on program operations and participant/attendee expenditures during the last competition July 12 27, 2010. Other figures from the study reveal just over a $500,000 associated impact for state general fund revenues and also personal income of $5.2 million locally. The economic impact was calculated using ticket data, hotel reports and USA IBC records.

Thirtyone countries were represented by 100 competitors and another five were represented by the international jury. Ticket buyers flocked from 40 states including Puerto Rico and 10 foreign countries. The total attendance for the two-week competition and ancillary events was 27,040. The companion USA IBC dance school drew 258 students from 24 states and two countries. The 2010 event garnered over 2 billion in online and print media impressions and welcomed nearly 800 volunteers from the metro area.

The next USA IBC will be June 1429, 2014, and a Reunion Gala will be held July 14, 2012. MAC would like to congratulate the IBC on being an outstanding example of Mississippi’s Creative Economy!

House Speaker Philip Gunn to address Mar. 19 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum

Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn will address the March 19 Forum.

Since 2004 he has been a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, serving on the Judiciary, Juvenile Justice, Conservation, and Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks Committees. He chairs the House Republican Conference and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Mississippi Republican Party.

In addition to his legal and public service careers, Philip is actively involved in his church and in community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He is a former member of the Clinton School Board and is currently a Trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

He earned a B.B.A. from Baylor University and the J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he was elected Student Body President.

Top 10 Lies of Entrepreners – and Investors

March 12, 2012

This is straight from Guy Kawasaki’s blog.  He’s seen it all.

Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs

  1. “Our projections are conservative.”
  2. “Jupiter says our market will be $50 billion in ten years.”
  3. “Several Fortune 500 companies are set to do business with us.”
  4. “No one else can do what we’re doing.”
  5. “Hurry up because other investors are about to do our deal.”
  6. “Our product will go viral.”
  7. “The large companies in our market are too big, dumb, and slow to compete with us.”
  8. “Our management team is proven.”
  9. “We filed patents so our intellectual property is protected.”
  10. “All we have to do is get 1% of the market.”

The average number of these ten lies that I hear in most pitches is ten. At the very least, tell investors new lies.

Top Ten Lies of Investors

  1. “I liked your company, but my partners didn’t.”
  2. “We are patient investors who want to help you build a great company.”
  3. “If you get a lead, we’ll invest too.”
  4. “There are no companies in our portfolio that conflict with what you’re doing.”
  5. “Show us some traction, and we’ll invest.”
  6. “We love to co-invest with other firms.”
  7. “We’re investing in your team.”
  8. “We have lots of bandwith to dedicate to your company.”
  9. “This is a plain, vanilla termsheet.”
  10. “We will get other companies in our portfolio to work with you.”

Bill Maher panel mocks Mississippi rednecks.

There is no shortage of conversation about Mississippi’s image.  Not surprising given that the Magnolia State comes in at the bottom of most “good” lists and at the top of most “bad” lists.

Unfortunately, sometimes there are those who take a lot of license with Mississippi’s image for the apparent purpose of perpetuating the negative.  Because Mississippi is at the top of the political news this week now is a good time for mockery and bad image perpetualization.

Enter Bill Maher. Below is the link to an article that contains a rather unbelievable video. What makes it so unbelievable is that it only features so-called redneck white men as representative of Mississippi and its political views.

Link to article: 

How Four Women Revived a Derelict Mississippi Town

March 8, 2012

“They Made Main Street Their Own: How four women revived a derelict Mississippi town” is the headline in a March 8, 2012 New York Times article.  It profiles four young women and their husbands who moved to Water Valley, Mississippi.  Among them, the women have rehabbed three houses and one storefront.  They have also brought new life to main street. It is a good story, and one that I highly recommend for anyone involved in economic and community development.

What is happening in Water Valley may be a good illustration of what can happen in small, rural towns that are losing population and have little hope of attracting a big industry.  Now not every town has what Water valley has going for it.  It is 25 miles from Oxford, Mississippi, where there is a good supply of creative people – even pioneers – who are attracted to nearby small towns that have seen better days.  These creative people not only rehab buildings into grocery stores, art galleries, restaurants and retail shops, they bring other people to town for events at their businesses.

This story is one more example of what this thing called Mississippi’s Creative Economy is about.  Fortunately, several state organizations, namely the Mississippi Development Authority, the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Mississippi Main Street Association, are serving as resources and catalysts for small towns in Mississippi just waiting for a member – or four – of the creative class to arrive on the scene.