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Showing posts from 2018

It's All About Profit. Right?

When I review financial performance with managers of middle-market private companies I find, with few exceptions, that their focus is almost exclusively on their income statements.
“It’s all about profit,” they say. “It’s all about the bottom line.” In practice many chase revenue, even unprofitable revenue, but most understand that profit is necessary and that increasing it is a good thing.
It turns out, however, that it isn’t all about profit. Profit is very important, but there’s more to it than that. And some of the pieces of the puzzle can be found on the balance sheet.
Here's one example I often run through with businesses I work with:

Suppose we have Company A and Company B, both in the same industry and making similar products. They each have $10 million in revenue and $1 million in profit. Company A creates its profit with $10 million in assets (machinery, accounts receivable, inventory, etc), while company B creates the same profit with only $5 million in assets. Which one…

Musings on Global Travel

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As my recent trip to Hong Kong was short, I probably spent almost as much time in the airplane as I did on the ground.  While I have done a lot of international travel in the last couple of years, at 16 hours, this was the longest trip I’ve taken in a while.  
The perspective gained from a trip that transports you to the other side of the world is enlightening.  On the flight over I actually watched the sun set, rise, and then set again all in one flight.  How is that possible in only 16 hours?  Instead of heading West as one might think to get from Newark to Hong Kong, we headed Northeast. In the late afternoon.  We flew over Northeast Canada and Greenland into the sunset. We then passed just a couple hundred miles from the North Pole where it is always dark in the winter and flew south over Russia, Mongolia, and China into their late afternoon. By the time we were far enough South to reach Hong Kong the sun had set again.
Another peculiar aspect of a trip like this is the routing. …

An Informal Survey of Hong Kong

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I'm just returning from a short, but amazing trip to Hong Kong.  I went to see firsthand how markets in  this area of the world operate (and I had a Global upgrade from United Airlines  that was expiring at the end of the month). I have a cousin who has been living there for over 15 years and I wanted to not only catch up with him, but also to 1) learn his perspective on the Hong Kong economy, and 2) start exploring if any of the quantitative analysis he does as the head quant and partner in an algorithmic trading firm might carry over into my constant striving to better analyze and optimize lower middle market private companies. 
Many thanks to him and his family for hosting me and giving a better insider view of the city than I otherwise could have.
Here, I’ll focus on my reflection of the economy and the trip itself.  I have yet to dive deeper into how the automation involved with algorithmic trading can assist private company analysis, but a white paper on analyzing lower mi…