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  • Forbes: NFL Franchise Values Keep Climbing

    Yes, we're ready for some football. Americans seem to be always ready, judging by how recession-proof the NFL has proven itself to be. Much to the chagrin of Giants fans everywhere, the Cowboys seem to find a way to be number one even when their performance on the field is mediocre. Forbes has come out with their evaluation of each National Football League franchise's value, and the Cowboys are now worth roughly $2.3 billion. But there really don't seem to be losers--off the field--in America's most successful professional sports league. Five teams saw double digit increases in value over the last year. In this slow recovery, that should make for a lot of jealousy among owners of businesses who don't have quite the same control over pay structures. In this Forbes video, Michael Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen discuss the high values in the NFL, and what is driving the strong growth of the business.
  • Crowdsourcing for Real Stock Value

    A decade ago crowdsourcing became a buzzword in journalism. It has not taken over the field, as some predicted, but it has provided an additional tool to the media. What might its impact be in other fields? The use of crowdsourcing has grown as a tool to project market value. At Forbes , J.J. Colao profiles one firm that is using crowdsourcing to put forward projections that are "more reflective of actual market expectations." Colao: As everyone knows, analysts are often wrong. Occasionally, this is because they’re dumb or mistaken, but more often it’s because they can’t quickly integrate new, relevant information into a 25-page analyst report three days before a call. Add to that the incentives for conservative public estimates –no one wants to look stupid as a rogue outlier when projections miss the mark – and the need to stay cozy with companies to keep access, and analyst expectations veer even further from reality. The whisper number, unavailable to the wider public, is what analysts really think. (When a stock tanks after beating consensus estimates, for example, that may mean the company fell short of the whisper number.) While working as a trader at Geller Capital fresh out of college in White Plains, NY, this discrepancy wasn’t lost on Leigh Drogen. Now 26, Drogen runs Estimize, a website that collects the wisdom of the crowd – professional analysts and basement-dwelling savants alike – to produce a crowdsourced whisper number that beats the Wall Street consensus 67% of the time. Today the company announced that it’s raised $1.2 million in Series A financing from Contour Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners and a handful of angel investors. With 1360 members contributing earnings estimates to 230 stocks, the New York-based company makes its cash selling commercial data licenses to hedge funds. Seats run for $3000 a month, with large funds paying for 8-10 seats each. Since launching in December, the company’s members have made 11,000 estimates, 6,000 of which were in the last quarter. Read Beat Wall Street With Crowdsourced Earnings Estimates here .
  • Family and the Key to German Firms' Stability

    Whether the media reports on the EU's struggles portray the country as a model of fiscal responsibility or a stern parental figure, Germany has been seen as Europe's economic rudder. So what is the key to Germany's steady approach? "Family," says Olaf Plötner . As in, family-run-businesses. In a post at Forbes.com , Plötner, dean of executive education at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin, points to successful German firms that take a long-term view on business success: These organizations have been able to avoid the focus on the short-term shareholder that dogs so many large companies elsewhere because of an ownership structure that seems unique to Germany. A considerable number of successful German companies, such as Metro AG, the Oetker Group, and Fresenius, to name just a few, are family owned and therefore not constricted by immediate market demands. According to a 2012 study by the Institute for SME Research (IfM), in Bonn, the 4,400 major family-owned industrial firms with revenues of more than 50 million euros accounted for 43% of all German exports in 2011. In 85% of these businesses, at least one family member is active on the board. It’s a clear demonstration of the importance these companies give to uniting ownership and management. Furthermore, the study found that the main management ideals within these enterprises were securing the family business and an orientation toward long-term goals. Of course not all of Germany’s most high profile companies are owned by families. But of those that are not, many are owned, at least in part, by foundations. In a model that has been common in Germany for more than a century, foundations do not have return on capital as their principal goal. Contribution to society has always played an important part. The Robert Bosch Foundation, for example, owns 92% of Bosch the home appliances giant and focuses on long-term growth and employee welfare. The Bertelsmann Foundation holds a 75% stake in the media group Bertelsmann AG, and the legendary optics firm Carl Zeiss AG is completely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation, which states that its mains goals include the economic security of the company and social responsibility. Read The Family Secret That Makes German Companies So Successful here .
  • Grappling with Which Olympic Athletes to Hire?

    If you are watching the Olympic Games and wondering which athletes would make the best employees, Steve Cooper says to focus on the wrestlers. Writing in Forbes , Cooper points to some (not a lot, but some) research that suggests the traits required to succeed in wrestling translate best to the working world. It isn't the most scientific argument, but it does raise some interesting points about how we value certain skills and attitudes in the workplace over others: In 2002, professors Daniel Gould and Kristen Dieffenbach published a study in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology which noted that Olympic champions display higher levels of specific attributes directly linked to success, in particular emotional intelligence. Their research showed that these elite athletes displayed high levels of stress management, interpersonal skills, and self regard. The conclusion of all this research could be seen during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, when American wrestler, Dan Gable, won the gold medal without giving up a single point! This is perhaps one of the greatest Olympic performances of all time. And while this level of performance would be hard to duplicate on any stage, can you imagine this same type of focus and determination on display in your office? While I acknowledge that nearly all athletes at an elite level have a tremendous amount of drive, wrestlers in particular seem to operate at a higher level of fortitude. Not that my athletic history is anything to write about, but I wrestled in college and have been surrounded by amazing athletes of all sports. I’ve known Olympians, world champions, college champions and everything in between. The one constant observation is that wrestlers have a capacity to push themselves harder than most and display an unrivaled mental toughness—that and a deep desire to eat. Read Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees here .
  • Forbes: ManU and Real Madrid the world's most valuable franchises, but overall, American Football dominates the Top 50

    When it comes to valuable sports franchises, football is king. Whether it be the original football (aka futbol or soccer) or American football, the top teams in Europe and the US make up 8 of the top 10 on the 2012 Forbes list of the 50 most valuable teams. Here is the top 10: #1 Manchester United ($2.23 billion) #2 Real Madrid ($1.88 billion) #3 New York Yankees ($1.85 billion) #3 Dallas Cowboys ($1.85 billion) #5 Washington Redskins ($1.56 billion) #6 Los Angeles Dodgers ($1.4 billion) #6 New England Patriots ($1.4 billion) #8 Barcelona ($1.31 billion) #9 New York Giants ($1.3 billion) #10 Arsenal ($1.29 billion) American football rules when it comes to the full list, with the NFL's 32 teams all making the list. TV contracts seems to be the key: The future looks even brighter for all NFL teams thanks to a new labor agreement, as well as a new round of TV contracts. The league and its players endured a four-month lockout last year, but no regular-season games were lost. The new collective bargaining agreement ensures labor peace for 10 years and gives owners a bigger piece of the pie, as players settled for a salary cap based on 48% of total revenues versus roughly 54% in previous years. The NFL inked extensions to its TV deals with CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC last year. The nine-year deals (ESPN is for eight years) start with the 2014 season and are worth $5 billion a year collectively, a 62% bump on the prior contracts. The average NFL team is worth $1.04 billion. Read about the full list here .
  • Kauffman 'Are You An Entrepreneur?' Survey

    The Kauffman Foundation , with the help of Forbes , has been asking individuals to share why or why not they start businesses. Some 5,000 people have answered the "Are you an entrepreneur?" questionnaire, and their answers provide a bit of a picture into what people think goes into being a successful entrepreneur. We were struck by a few of the answers, but especially the obstacles people cited as making it hard for them to start a business. From the release: See the full infographic, and read the report here .
  • Innovator Types from Forbes Insights

    Brenna Sniderman , Senior Director of Research at Forbes Insights , shares an interesting breakdown of types of innovators. She says that Forbes Insights research shows there are five key types of innovators. Here they are: Are some types of innovators more inclined for success than others? That isn't completely clear, though there are some signs that two of the types may be more inclined to take more risks, while others may be better equipped to lead others through innovation. Sniderman writes: No one group can be considered the purest “entrepreneurial group,” but Movers and Shakers and Experimenters may be the closest. They have the strongest tendency to be internally driven, in control and bridle the most at others telling them what to do. Younger, more innovative firms generally need Movers and Shakers at the top, channeling the energy of Experimenters into a vision that can be implemented. As organizations grow larger and more established, however, they need Star Pupils who can translate that vision into a strategy and lead it forward, Controllers who can marshal the troops to execute it and Hangers-On who can rein it in. A firm reaching maturity has greater need for strong processes, as well as those who value control. Read The Five Personalities of Innovators: Which One Are You? here
  • Consumer Loyalty and Apple's Success

    Forbes contributor Robert Passikoff says Apple has become The Most Valuable Company in the World thanks in large part to chart-topping customer loyalty. "So it’s axiomatic: more consumers behave well toward a brand, a brand sells more, a brand makes more money, its stock goes up," Passikoff writes. And in Apple's case, the stock goes up past $500 a share. So how does Apple do it? Bain & Company 's Fred Reichfeld says it all about loyalty. And, Reichfeld explains in this Harvard Business Review video, other companies would do well to follow Apple's example. It probably won't lead to the same stock valuation, but it might be a path toward sustainable growth:
  • Forbes: Top 12 Cities Primed for Real Estate Rebound

    If the economy is to pick up in 2012, we will need to see some recovery in housing markets. Forbes is featuring a slideshow of US cities that are "ripe for a rebound." Here is the list: San Jose, CA, Houston, TX, Boston, MA, Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, Oklahoma City, OK, Fort Worth, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, New Orleans, LA, and Rochester, NY. Note that cities like Las Vegas and Fort Myers--cities that saw home values seemingly drop off a cliff--are not on this list. The Forbes list features cities where housing didn't drop too much, as those cities simply have too far to climb to get back to level ground. Click here to roll through the slide-show and look at the data for each of the above cities. Then see what cities you would keep on this list, and what others you might add.
  • Brazil's Staggering Growth Rate: 19 New 'Millionaires' Per Day

    As developed nations in Europe and the US have struggled to keep from slipping into recession, Brazil's economy has, for the most part, continued to gain strength. One sign of growth in Brazil is the increasing number of wealthy Brazilians. At Forbes , Ivan Castano reports that Brazil's population of millionaires is now growing at a rate of 19 per day: Individuals with a net worth ranging from $539,000 – $2.7 million ($1m-$5m reais) make up the bulk of the new millionaires, [Guilhermo] Morales said, adding that most private banks tend to individuals whose net worth falls below $5.4 million ($10m reais). “I think that this trend will continue for the next three years but I don’t see it lasting forever. After all, there is a limit to everything,” Morales noted. Brazil’s economy has been growing at an annual average of 5% in recent years and is predicted to maintain that pace in the medium term. However, some economists have warned that the country’s economy could overheat as inflation rises to unsustainable levels. The 19-millionaires-a-day statistic was measured by taking all of an individual’s wealth into account, including investments, property, savings and other assets in addition to cash. Some in the private banking conference said the statistic seemed a bit overhyped but Emerson Pieri, Head of Wealth Management, Latin America, at Haliwell Bank (which unveiled the millionaire statistics as part of a Brazilian wealth management study) insisted they are reliable. Read Brazil's Booming Economy Is Creating 19 'Millionaires' Every Day here .
  • Tech Platforms as Key to Recovery

    While we're watching to for signs of whether the economy will grow more quickly or slide back into recession, Forbes contributor Joe McKendrick suggests we watch new technology platforms for signs of recovery. And he says the new platforms "tilt the scales" in favor of entrepreneurs (and consumers) for the following reasons: 1) Technology platforms offer new recruiting and employment tools. 2) Technology platforms offer entrepreneurial resources 3) Technology platforms offer access to capital 4) Technology platforms offer economic boosts for distressed communities or regions 5) Technology platforms offer access to new innovation Read Five Ways Cloud, Social and Mobile Technologies are Lifting Our Economy here .
  • Large Firms Use of Social Media May be Levelling Off

    Lisa Arthur is concerned that corporations are slacking off when it comes to using social media tools for reaching out to customers. At Forbes , Arthur--Chief Marketing Officer for Aprimo --shares some findings from a recent UMASS-Dartmouth survey of businesses that show very little increase in the use of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs by Fortune 500 companies. For starters, keep in mind that UMass-Dartmouth has conducted longitudinal studies on four major sectors of the US economy –the Fortune 500, Inc. 500, charities, and higher education –for the past four years. In every one of those years, the F500 has lagged behind the others in adoption of social media. (For example, last year, 71 percent of the Inc. 500 was on Facebook, as was a whopping 98 percent of the higher ed institutions and 97 percent of the charities studied. Compare that to the 56 percent of F500 companies that had Facebook pages in 2010.) Perhaps corporate silos are getting in the way? “Ownership” of social media can get sticky, and teams bogged down by border wars and artificial boundaries may find it difficult to innovate. Retrenchment could also be a factor, I suppose. And, I know that integrating social media and proving ROI remain significant challenges for many–although marketing automation technology continues to mature towards sophisticated and elegant solutions. While I recognize these obstacles, I still must admit that I’m disappointed in these survey results. Why? Because now is not the time for complacency. It’s not the time for companies to lose focus. Empowered consumers are here, and they’re here to stay. We’re just beginning to tap into the potential of strategies like intelligent 1:1 marketing, and that means marketers must continue to find ways to engage with their customers and prospects online in more personalized ways. To be clear, the survey does not show use of social media going down. Rather, firms of all sizes adopted these tools more and more over the last few years. The real question is whether those companies that have not adopted social media have actively chosen not to because they have concluded their use does not provide the right return on investment. Read Are Corporations Giving Up on Social Media? here .
  • Kothari: Future Growth in India Depends on Improving Infrastructure

    India's rise to the top of the global economy has been put on hold. Yes, the economy is still growing. But not at rates that we saw over the last few years. MIT Sloan School deputy dean and professor of management S. P. Kothari points to India's improve conditions for the more than 400 million Indians living in poverty. Without significant improvements in the education and overall standard of living for its citizens, India will always struggle to reach its economic potential. Kothari give a bit of a prescription at Forbes : First on the agenda: improving India’s hard infrastructure. The country’s power systems are woefully out of date. Its highways are congested; its roads are riddled with rocks and potholes. Its railways are limited, and its buses are overcrowded. Infrastructure is like a blood circulation system for an economy: It allows people and goods both physical and electronic to move quickly from one part of the country to another and out to the rest of the world. To make sure India’s economy is efficient and its exports remain competitive, India must make much-needed investments in infrastructure. Its soft infrastructure, especially its education system, is also in need of investment. Competing in the global economy requires an educated workforce, and though the country has made great strides in establishing a number of world-class universities, its primary and secondary schools are sorely deficient. India’s literacy rate is 74%. China’s, by comparison, is 92%. Rectifying this must be a priority. The country’s regulatory apparatus, also part of its soft infrastructure, needs an overhaul, too. Corruption is an integral part of Indian society. Bribery is common even among middle class households. So is tax evasion. Business owners routinely squirrel away undeclared profits. And regulators look the other way. Kothari goes on to write that more regulation is not the answer (just real enforcement of existing regulations), and no positive change will happen until India finds ways of increasing foreign direct investment. Read India's Faltering Boom, and How to Revive It here .
  • Five Personality Factors for Successful Entrepreneurs

    At Forbes , Mary Frakes and Thomas Harrison teach us about five personality factors they say are key in assessing whether one has the necessary makeup to be a successful entrepreneur. The first four may seem obvious: Openness to Experience Conscientiousness Extroversion Agreeableness The fifth personality factor stands out a bit: Neuroticism . Here's how Frakes and Harrison introduce this trait: This one's a biggie. Neuroticism measures how strongly and negatively you react to the stresses of life. Highly neurotic people have strong emotional reactions to problems and take a long time to get over bad moods, anger or hostility. They often feel anxious or depressed, and are seen as worriers. Those at the other end may not always be happy or cheerful, but they don't tend to be overwhelmed if they occasionally feel depressed, anxious, or angry. Such equanimity gives them an advantage as entrepreneurs because they tend not to let snags get them down. Frakes and Harrison provide a quiz that examines one's neuroticism, and the other 4 factors, as a means of determining whether one is better suited to work in a company or for herself/himself. Take the quiz here , and then read more on the methodology here .
  • Harley-Davidson and Other Brands that Speak to Women

    Do women want Harleys? Well, some certainly do. And it seems even a lot of women who don't own a motorcycle really like the brand. We'll leave it up to you to figure out why that is. But we mention Harley-Davidson because it scored very highly among women in a recent survey. Forbes contributor Caleb Melby took a look at the survey results, and he highlights a few of the brands that do well among women: Barbie, CVS, Kotex...and Harley Davidson. Melby writes: Harley Davidson, the traditionally male-associated brand, scored with women this past year – landing it a spot on the index for the first time at number 194. The iconic motorcycle brand staged a series of initiatives to celebrate the growing number of women enthusiasts, including women-only garage parties, a first-ever female “biker boot camp,” and the launch of “women riders month.” The company also gave women the chance to interact with fellow female riders on a new website, featuring tips and advice on how to turn their riding dream into reality. Read What Brands Do Women Want? here . Incidentally, Forbes has a lot of content focused on women in business right now. Click here for Forbes's list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women .