Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for January, 2009

Barack Inc.: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign Focus of Feb 2 Economic Perspectives

Posted by HH on January 30, 2009

Barry Libert, co-author of BARACK, INC. Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Cam0137022077_Libert_Barack_cover.inddpaign, will discuss the best business insights to be learned from President Barack Obama’s election campaign on the February 2 edition of Economic Perspectives.   Libert and co-author Rick Fault believe the Obama campaign is an inspiring business case study of exemplary leadership values and winning tactics that can beat even the toughest competitors.

“We believe Obama’s political pioneering set a brilliant standard for any business seeking to prosper in the Web 2.0 world of the 21st century.  Hence this book: Obama’s campaign saga annotated for business use,” write Libert and Faulk.

Through interviews with Obama supporters and study of the presidential election coverage the authors identify the following three pillars of Obama’s successful campaign strategy:

  • Create a vast online community of supporters by harnessing the power of online social technologies
  • Keep cool under pressure
  • Become a catalyst for change

Barry Libert is chairman of Mzinga, a leading provider of social software solutions that create online communities for marketing, customer support, and learning for major corporations around the world including ABC, AOL, Disney, MTV, and Sports Illustrated.  Mzinga manages more than 14,000 communities and has over 60 million unique visitors every month.  He is a pioneer in using communities and Web 2.0 technologies to help enterprises thrive and accelerate business growth.  He was co-author of the recently published We Are Smarter than Me, a critically acclaimed book created in collaboration with Wharton Publishing that used the Wiki-based contributions of more than 4,000 people to illustrate how businesses could profit from the wisdom of crowds.

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Today’s Financial Crisis Explained By Lesson From Great Depression Focus of January 26 Economic Perspectives

Posted by HH on January 22, 2009

What lesson from the Great Depression can best illuminate today’s financial crisis? That neither lordsoffinance300dpiwas caused by an “Act of God” or the dark side of capitalism. Instead, in each case, it was the flawed judgments of a few key individuals argues Liaquat Ahamed, author of LORDS OF FINANCE: The Bankers Who Broke the World , who will be a guest on the January 26 edition of Economic Perspectives.

In a remarkably timely history that sheds light on today, Ahamed tells the fascinating story of how the Great Depression resulted from a series of catastrophic blunders of four powerful central bankers of the Jazz Age: Benjamin Strong in the U.S., Montagu Norman in England, Hjalmar Schacht in Germany and Emile Moreau in France. These powerful but flawed men straitjacketed the global economy by returning it to the gold standard and created a devastating bubble by holding down U.S. interest rates and keeping Germany afloat on borrowed money. “More than anything else…the Great Depression was caused by a failure of intellectual will, a lack of understanding about how the economy operated”, Ahamed writes.

Liaquat Ahamed has been a professional investment manager for 25 years. He has worked at the

Liaquat Ahamed

Liaquat Ahamed

World Bank in Washington D.C. and the New York based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as Chief Executive. He is currently an adviser to several hedge fund groups, including the Rock Creek Group and the Rohatyn Group, is a director of Aspen Insurance Co. and is on the board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution. He has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge Universities. His writing has appeared in Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast and Reuters.

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SBA Will Answer Questions About Credit Crunch Online January 15: Podcast of EP Interview Available at End of Article

Posted by HH on January 13, 2009

By Hopeton Hay

On January 15 the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Web chat series starts the new year with “How Small Businesses Can Deal with the Credit Crunch.”  This Web chat features SBA Associate Administrator for Capital Access Eric Zarnikow who will help small business owners and entrepreneurs get answers to their questions about credit and borrowing and other resources to help them access credit from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.  Participants can join the live Web chat by going online to , and clicking “Online Business Chat.” Web chat participants may post questions for Zarnikow before the January 15th chat by visiting, and posting their questions online.

Eric Zarnikow

Eric Zarnikow

“Its really an opportunity for them to ask questions and get advice on what they might want to do to access credit during the capital crunch,” says Zarnikow.

The Web chat addressing the credit crunch could not come at a more propitous time. There was a record decline in the number of SBA loans between fiscal year 2007 and fiscal year 2008.

“What we saw is the loans for the last fiscal year were down about 30 percent in numbers but only about 13 percent in the dollar amount,” explains Zarnikow.

While banks have tightened their credit standards, Zarnikow says the feedback received from banks indicates there are other factors affecting loan volume.  Because of the recession entrepreneurs are less willing to take on debt to either expand or start or acquire a small business.  Zarnikow says also that banks reported that borrowers generally are less credit worthy than they might have been a year ago.

“The small business may not be doing as well or their personal financial situation might not be as strong,” says Zarnikow.

Zarnikow recommends the following strategies for small business owners to improve their chances of obtaining an SBA loan.

  1. Make sure you have a well thought out business plan
  2. Talk to as many lenders as possible,
  3. Talk to other small businesses about what lender they may use and get a referral or recommendation if possible

To listen to the 8 minute Economic Perspectives interview with Zarnikow click here.

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African American Unemployment in December 2008 Highest Since 1993

Posted by HH on January 11, 2009

NOTE: For the latest post on African American unemployment click the following link: African American Recession Job Losses Surpasses 1 million, Obama Announces Training Initiative for Unemployed

By Hopeton Hay

African American males unemployment reached 13.4 percent in December of 2008, its highest level since March of 1993 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Since the recession began in December 2007, unemployment for African American males has risen at a much faster rate than African American females, white males and white males.  It has risen 5.3 percentage points since December 2007. During the same time period unemployment has risen2.6percentage points for white males, 1.9 percentage points for African American females, and 1.6 percentage points for white females as exhibited in the chart below.

Overall African American unemployment in December 2008 was 11.9 percent, the highest since April 1994.  The number of African American unemployed increased by 117,000 from November 2008 to 2, 122,000 in December 2008.

Overall unemployment for the U.S. was at 7.2 percent in December 2008, the highest level seen since January 1993.

The one bright spot in the unemployment data is the health care industry according to a statement from Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  “The only major private industry sector that continued to add a significant number of jobs was health care.  Employment in this industry rose by 32,000 over the month and by 372,000 over the past 12 months,” said Hall.


Educational Attainment Impacts Racial Disparities in Unemployment

One of the causes of the large disparity in unemployment rates for African Americans, especially males, may be the lower level of educational achievement.  An analysis of unemployment data from BLS reveal an inverse correlation between the level of educational achievement and the unemployment rate.  In 2007 for example, the average unemployment rate  was 3.0 percent for African Americans with a bachelors degree or higher, while it was 7.3 percent for African Americans with only a high school diploma, and no college.

Unfortunately, the percentage of African Americans 25 years or older with a bachelors degree or higher lagged far behind whites according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2007 American Community Survey.  Only 15.8 percent of African American males in 2007 had bachelor degrees  compared to 31.9 percent of white males.  Among females, 18.5 percent of African Americans had bachelors degrees and 29.2 percent of whites.

Because African Americans families have median income and wealth far below the average American, it is much more difficult to finance the cost of college. Thus public policies that increase the level of funding to subsidize the cost of college for low to moderate income families can play a critical role in reducing unemployment in the African American community.

Because African Americans families have median income and wealth far below the average American, it is much more difficult to finance the cost of college. Thus public policies that increase the level of funding to subsidize the cost of college for low to moderate income families can play a critical role in reducing unemployment in the African American community.

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Economic Perspectives Jan 12: How Our Unconscious Minds Influence How We Buy

Posted by HH on January 7, 2009

January 12, 2009: Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, will discuss the results of a 3 year marketing study focused on how our unconscious minds influence how we buy.  In the book Lindstrom writes, “…if marketers could uncover what is going on in our brains that makes us choose one brand over another —what information passes through our brain’s filter and what information doesn’t–well that would be the key to truly building brands of the future.”

Martin Lindstrom

Martin Lindstrom

Among the questions he explores in Buyology:

  • Does sex actually sell?
  • Despite governmental bans, does subliminal advertising still surround us?
  • Can “cool” brands, like iPods, trigger our mating instincts?

As one of the world’s most respected marketing gurus, Lindtrsom advises top executives at companies including the McDonald’s Corporation, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline. Martin Lindstrom speaks to a global audience of close to a million people every year. He has been featured in numerous publications, including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, USAToday, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek, BusinessWeek and TIME and featured on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, ABC News, CNN and BBC, his previous book, BRAND sense, was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the five best marketing books ever published. His five books on branding have been translated into twenty-five languages.

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Global Advertising Executive Will Discuss How Businesses Can Raise Value of Their Brands on Jan. 5 Economic Perspectives

Posted by HH on January 1, 2009

John Gerzema, co-author of The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It, will discuss how businesses can raise the value of their brands on the December 29 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM.brandbubblecvr

In the book Gerzma writes, “It’s clear to us that the traditional business models and strategies marketers have used for generations no longer work…Consumer behavior has changed so rapidly and so profoundly it requires an entirely new vision of brand management.”

He says that the one factor that today’s consumers respond to is: “energized differentiation” – a brand’s questing spirit for continuous evolution.  According to Gerzema’s theory, a brandy with energy:

  1. Has velocity and direction
  2. Constantly reinvents itself
  3. Engages consumers on its own terms
  4. Attracts without chasing
  5. Moves culture as well as categories

    John Gerzema

    John Gerzema

Gerzema is Chief Insights Officer for Young & Rubicam Group, one of the largest marketing and communications companies in the world.  Gerzema oversees brand strategy including Young & Rubicam’s planning departments worldwide and its proprietary brand study, Brand Asset Valuator.  His client experience includes Coca-Cola, BMW, McDonalds, Citibank, Sony in Japan and China, Nikon and Nikon Digital.  Gerzema has written for, or appeared on/in, CNBC/ASIA, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and various industry publications in the United States, Asia, and Latin America.

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