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Five Things You May Not Need to Know, But Might Like to Know, Anyway


It all makes perfect sense. Business is glamorous.


The Glamour of Business, Part I

Today's New York Times reports that Condé Nast will be introducing a new business magazine, Portfolio.

  • The article takes a look at whether or not this is a particularly opportune time to be launching a business publication.
  • Ad pages for the first three months of 2007 were down for: BusinessWeek (3%), Forbes (9%), and Fortune (13%), compared to the same period a year ago.

  • Plus, the Audit Bureau of Circulations says circulation at the big three has been flat or falling for the last few years.
  • But, according to the Times, S.I. Newhouse, Chairman of Condé Nast, says he has "no patience with Portfolio skeptics."
  • Heck, Henry Luce founded Fortune only a few months after the Wall Street crash of 1929.
  • "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead," is the way Newhouse put it, borrowing Admiral David G. Farragut's famous statement during the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864.

    Admiral David G. Farragut

    S.I. Newhouse

  • And why wouldn't Newhouse crib a line from Farragut? They have a lot in common.
  • S.I. Newhouse has a school of communications named for him at Syracuse University.
  • Farragut has a middle school named for him in Knoxville, Tennesee.
  • Newhouse and Farragut are both eight letters long.
  • And, uh…I guess that's about it. So, they don't have much in common. But, Newhouse is still highly confident that Portfolio will be a winner.
  • Wait, there's something! Farragut was also confident that he'd be a winner-at Mobile Bay.
  • Farragut took his flagship safely through a minefield, followed by the rest of the fleet, which then defeated the Confederate flotilla led by the giant ironclad CSS Tennessee.
  • So, what's Portfolio's recipe for success?
  • Publisher David Carey says, "We're not giving you peas and carrots. We want to capture the glamour [of business]."

The Glamour of Business, Part II

Carey does have a point. Of all the industries out there, business can be one of the more glamorous areas in which to work.

  • Trader Monthly magazine recently featured a $15,000 turntable.

    The $15,000 ELP Laser Turntable

  • Business can also be slightly less than glamorous.
  • No $15,000 turntables in this guy's room:

    Enron's Jeffrey Skilling

    Jeffrey Skilling's "room" at FCI Waseca, Waseca, MN

  • Lots of peas and carrots at mealtime, though.
  • However, business and prison can be a pretty glamorous combination.
  • Corrections Corporation of America (CXW), the nation's largest operator of private prisons, seems to be doing reasonably well.

  • CXW President and CEO John D. Ferguson earned a base salary of $2,082,490 last year.
  • He's also in his early sixties.
  • He probably has a ton of old vinyl that he can't listen to anymore.
  • The ELP laser turntable would be perfect for him!

The Glamour of Business, Part III

You don't have to run a publicly-traded private corrections company to live the good life. You can just head over to Austria and go on a crime spree.

  • Das Justizzentrum Leoben (Justice Center Leoben) in Styria, Austria is about as glamorous as a prison can be.

    Das Justizzentrum Leoben

    A suite, er, cell in Das Justizzentrum Leoben

    While away the years with a spirited game of ping pong…

    …or tone up in the climate-controlled fitness center.

    Feeling lonely? Have your best gal stop by for a quiet, romantic evening!

The Glamour of Business, Part IV

German designer (not Austrian, but close enough for rock & roll) Jil Sander founded her eponymous fashion house, Jil Sander GmbH, in 1968, at the tender age of 24.

  • Six months later, Sander left, due to friction between her and Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli.
  • Sander then spent her time traveling, sailing, going to the opera, and gardening.
  • Glamorous!
  • The Jil Sander unit of Prada spent the next four years bleeding cash and sinking like a gravel-filled tube sock.
  • Not glamorous!
  • In late February 2006, Prada Group sold Jil Sander to Luc Vandevelde's London-based private equity firm, Change Capital Partners (CCP), for an estimated $120 million.
  • Glamorous!

The Business of Glamour, Part I

Male Species, a Las Vegas, NV company that specializes in cosmetics for men, has made a business out of something as seemingly ridiculous as galoshes for bluebirds. But, it seems to be making a go of it.

  • Who knew men wore eyeliner?

  • Who knew men used face bronzer?

  • Who knew men used blush?

  • I know of one "man" who does:

  • Here are some others you may not have known about:

    Warren Buffett, "feeling pretty"

    Alan Greenspan, showing his "softer side"

    Bill Gates has a heavy hand with the lipstick

  • It all makes perfect sense. Business is glamorous.
  • Why shouldn't Buffett, Greenspan, Gates, et al be able to enjoy it?
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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