On Hidden Risks and Volatility

Volatility in investing can be a great thing. The attraction to Bernie Madoff's scam can be better understood by its lack of volatility. His funds showed annual returns of an eerily consistent 10-12% and at one point reported 72 consecutive months of positive returns. His strategy used a split-strike or collar options strategy (not related … Continue reading On Hidden Risks and Volatility

Costco: Lessons from Member Obsession.

Some call them clients, others guests or customers. Costco (Ticker: COST, revenue $141B) calls them members, a term that makes you feel like you're part of a special club. It's a club that will not sell you junk*. They do not exaggerate. Theirs is not fake-Enron-style-ethics-bragging, and they actually list shareholders' interests last. Focus on the … Continue reading Costco: Lessons from Member Obsession.

The $20,000 Price Tag: Insights into the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Survey.

Today the cost of healthcare landed on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, just below a story on bond yields, and next to the dancing UK Prime Minister, Teresa May. The angle of the story is how the cost of family healthcare premiums in the United States now approaches $20,000. The genesis of … Continue reading The $20,000 Price Tag: Insights into the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Survey.

Business, Statistics, and the Carpenter’s Cup

The Holy Grail scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade shows the closing piece of the riddle to find the cup of Christ. Walter, businessman-turned-scoundrel, outsourced his decision on which cup to choose to Elsa, the archeologist. Caught by his lust for power, he drinks from a beautiful golden cup. “He chose poorly,” and … Continue reading Business, Statistics, and the Carpenter’s Cup

Is The Cheesecake Factory in the Healthcare Business?

People who work on the business side of healthcare often wish that companies would think about healthcare more often, or even concede that they are in "the healthcare business." I suppose part of this is the law of the instrument, which even if not said by Mark Twain, sounds like Mark Twain: "To a man … Continue reading Is The Cheesecake Factory in the Healthcare Business?