Pay What You Want

The place is the SAME Cafe in Denver, a “pay-what-you-want” restaurant. Recently, one person paid $5 for a large soup and coffee and a second individual left $7.50 for 2 slices of pizza, a large soup, and a salad. Then,…

Lessons for a Rainy Day

Last Tuesday was a bad day for most umbrellas. In New York City, it poured, it was windy, and most umbrellas were flipping out, blowing sidewards, and doing everything except what they were supposed to do.  It makes sense that…

Public and Private Incentive

For centuries, the US Postal Service delivered most of the mail. The job it did was satisfactory but not optimal. Yes, through sleet and snow, etc., we received our letters and packages but employees rarely focused on cutting costs and…

A Demand and Supply Lesson

A recent NPR report on the changing status of marijuana in California is also a supply and demand story. The story begins in 1983 when the Reagan administration sought to decimate pot production in California. As a result, supply would…

The NYC Economy

With “Law & Order” being canceled by NBC, the New York City economy will feel it. Of course actors are affected but also the caterers who feed them, the stores that sell them the lawyers’ clothing (Barney’s and Saks), and…

Grading a Country

We could say that the graders of sovereign debt use a “rubric” to decide whether a country has a high or a low score. In the classroom, students are given rubrics which specifically describe how a test is graded. A…

Entrepreneur Incubators

Which words do you associate with “entrepreneur”? Risk taker? Ambitious?Creative? Smart? Energized? Henry Ford? Steve Jobs? Clarence Birdseye? The words and names convey a recipe for success. And yet, according to a recent FT article from Tim Harford, the ingredients are…

Conspicuous (Coffee) Consumption

How can you show your friends that you have ascended to your country’s middle class? Starbucks. A recent BusinessWeek article on the world’s most caffeinated countries cited a connection between an emerging middle class and coffee consumption. With the demand for instant…

Khakis and Lettuce

Do you remember when we only had Levi’s? Until the late 1970s when Jordache arrived in department stores, buying jeans was not about style. After that, designer jeans became a fashion statement as did their higher prices.   I wonder…

Max Bialystock and CDOs

Comparing the deal to Bialystock, Bloom, and Springtime For Hitler in The Producers, NPR’s This American Life looked at how a Chicago hedge fund made money on seemingly unprofitable CDO transactions. Available as a podcast, the story made the CDO derivatives world entirely understandable.  The…