weekend reading

Weekend Reading

Ah summer, the season of sipping lemonade (or your libation of choice) by the side of the pool, long lazy days in hammocks and chasing the ice cream truck down the street.

Oh. Wait. It is also the season of earnings, political conventions, strategic planning, mid-year reviews and flights delayed by thunderstorms (ORD. Always.).

For those of you, like me, who are not in your hammock with a libation but are coming into the weekend at full speed, here’s your short round-up of some of the more thought-provoking news of the week. Feel free to peruse these links over your Saturday morning coffee or, you know, that hammock libation. Cheers.

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C.E.O.s Meet in Secret Over the Sorry State of Public Companies (NYTimes)

When Warren Buffett speaks the world listens. And when Warren Buffett, Mary Barra, Larry Fink and ten additional leading public company CEOs, investors, and fund managers sign their name to a set of “Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles” it’s time to sit down and think seriously about the current state of public companies. The group came together to advocate that public companies take a “long-term approach to management and governance of their business.”

Read the open letter and full set of governance principles here

Audacia Takeaway: There is hope for those of us who really do appreciate -and yearn- for more common sense in the world of governance. It’s time to stop being too “fancy” with our governance and our messaging. Real talk works.

There is a lot to like in this manifesto. Here’s one of my favorite comments in the Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance

A company should not feel obligated to provide earnings guidance – and should determine whether providing earnings guidance for the company’s shareholders does more harm than good. If a company does provide earnings guidance, the company should be realistic and avoid inflated projections. Making short-term decisions to beat guidance (or any performance benchmark) is likely to be value destructive in the long run

Venture Capital Investments Rebound for Tech Startups (Entrepreneur.com)

As the public markets go, so goes venture capital apparently. Entrepreneur.com is reporting that venture capital placements are up 20.5% over Q116. But it’s not all fun and buzz, valuations are down 30-50% from last year and VCs are getting more selective.

Audacia Takeaway: Differentiation and relevance still matter.

My favorite comment from the article

“We are being more selective,” said Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and faculty adviser to the university’s venture capital fund. “We’re not going to invest in everything that says ‘We are the Uber of X’ or ‘the Facebook of Y.'”

How Market Strategists Got 2016 Right and Wrong at the Same Time (Bloomberg.com)

Once again proving that the investment crystal ball more often acts like a Magic 8 Ball, “Reply hazy try again.”

In a year that has brought us Brexit, lone-wolf terror attacks, attempted military coups and a U.S. presidential election, economic forecasting is even more difficult than usual.

Audacia Takeaway: Refer back to our first set of news stories today. Run the business for the long term.

My favorite comment from the article

“We are in a world where you’re going to fixed income to get your capital appreciation, and you’re going to equities to get your yield,” said Bhanu Baweja, the London-based head of emerging-market cross-asset strategy at UBS. “It’s an upside-down world.”

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