Gongol.com Archives: December 2009
Brian Gongol


December 1, 2009

Business and Finance BlackRock now manages $3.2 trillion in assets
The firm just bought out Barclays Global Investors and now manages the equivalent of 22% of US GDP. For reference, the total household wealth in the United States is about $53.1 trillion after taking a big dive over the last two years. It's well-nigh impossible to figure out how BlackRock can manage that large a set of assets without delivering positively mediocre results -- before taking out what they charge for expenses. Warren Buffett has warned repeatedly that the biggest impediment to the growth rate of his company (Berkshire Hathaway) is its size. As it gets bigger, he finds that his universe of available great opportunities shrinks. And Berkshire has just $25.5 billion in assets by comparison. Imagine: If Buffett thinks his options are limited with $25.5 billion to invest (because the greatest opportunities are in businesses too small to land on his radar), then how can BlackRock possibly serve its investors with more than $3,200 billion? They can't. Period. They can only achieve mediocre returns in the aggregate, and extract a huge amount in fees along the way. That's not fair to investors who think they're getting real service.

Business and Finance We can't improve the economy by creating another housing bubble
Too much of the anticipation of economic "recovery" has hinged upon the notion that people buying homes will kick-start the construction market -- and by a parallel notion that the government can spend the economy into growth. Both assumptions are wrong.

News How to run a news organization with no central office

Iowa Fong drops out of Iowa gubernatorial campaign
Christian Fong is an intelligent guy, but instead of promoting a vision based on economic freedom and social libertarianism, he went to the Iowa Family Policy Center and parroted an absolutist line on social conservatism which just didn't seem appropriate to his agenda, nor responsive to the state. And now that speeches once given in private now appear on YouTube, one's message has to be consistent.

Business and Finance Why families need to think about wealth across generations
People are living longer than ever, and a 100-year lifespan isn't an impossibility. 100-year business plans are in short supply, just like 100-year family plans. And that's unfortunate, because plans don't have to be adhered-to absolutely, but they do have to be formed. A 100-year plan (for a business or for a family) is like a flight plan: It identifies a starting point and a destination, but allows for course corrections and revisions along the way.

The United States of America A few observations for anyone running for office

Broadcasting Podcast: Why I don't hate Bill Gates anymore

Water News Clorox wants to take its factories chlorine-free

Recent radio podcasts