Nothing is Invincible…

You know how I said you were often guilty of “undergraduate hyperbole.”

One example was imagining Apple, Inc, or any company, is pre-destined to being powerful or successful.  When you all talk in glowing terms about Apple, Inc, and write things like “an indestructible company,” I try not to chuckle too much. You are young. You don’t recall Apple’s own brush with corporate death in the 1990s (when Microsoft infused them with cash). You don’t know that the Fortune 500 has very high turnover (i.e. today’s 500 most profitable firms are unlikely stay on the list).

Uncertainty is inherent in business, and while this may be good for economic growth (and hopefully society broadly), it can cause heartburn to managers.  More so if this comes as surprise to them.

So, uncertainty rules in American business. At the same time, it is a damn good gig. What do I know? I am just some college professor.

You know who agrees with me?  Warren Buffet.  Yep, that one.
Well, Warren Buffet said the same thing in his recent letter to shareholders. (

“A thought for my fellow CEOs: Of course, the immediate future is uncertain; America has faced the unknown since 1776. It’s just that sometimes people focus on the myriad of uncertainties that always exist
while at other times they ignore them (usually because the recent past has been uneventful).
American business will do fine over time. And stocks will do well just as certainly, since their fate is tied to business performance. Periodic setbacks will occur, yes, but investors and managers are in a game that is heavily stacked in their favor. (The Dow Jones Industrials advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th
Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and
many recessions.
And don’t forget that shareholders received substantial dividends throughout the centuryas well.)
Since the basic game is so favorable, Charlie and I believe it’s a terrible mistake to try to dance in and out of it based upon the turn of tarot cards, the predictions of “experts,” or the ebb and flow of business
activity. The risks of being out of the game are huge compared to the risks of being in it.

…The country’s success since that perilous time boggles the mind: On an inflation-adjusted basis, GDP per capita more than quadrupled between 1941 and 2012. Throughout that period, every tomorrow has been
uncertain. America’s destiny, however, has always been clear: ever-increasing abundance.

If you are a CEO who has some large, profitable project you are shelving because of short-term worries, call Berkshire. Let us unburden you.”

LOL. Love the last line…

Session 7 Snaps- Homogeneous, cohesion, paper mills

Snap word: 2-for-1.  Homogeneous and heterogeneous   Both are about how much internal consistency or variation a “thing” has.  Hetero=more variance; homo=consistent.  So, Bucknell’s student population is fairly homogeneous.  UCLA has more racial heterogeneity.

Bonus snapword: only for true sociology nerds.  Weltanschauung is from Weber and means worldview.  Jordi’s weltanschauung is deeply constructionist.

Snap style: For cohesion in a paragraph (Williams, Chapter 5), in general, structure your sentences so they go from familiar information for the reader to newer information.

Also, words that signal reference to information you have provided, like this, these, this point, are often signals of you referring reader to old information.  If they come in the middle or the end, you may be sacrificing cohesion.


The Great Recession was the result of a toxic mix of perverse incentives, moral turpitude, and sclerotic regulatory agencies.  An otherwise expected swing in housing prices became a bubble that inflated the economy and was made worse by these causes.

The Great Recession was the result of a toxic mix of perverse incentives, moral turpitude, and sclerotic regulatory agencies.  These causes made worse an otherwise expected swing in housing prices. They inflated the prices into a bubble. The bubble…

Which has more cohesion?

Snap Ethics: Would you buy a paper from a paper mill?

Would You Buy a Paper?

Here is an older post (below) I wrote about a year ago about my interaction with a paper mill, Well, hell, at least the URL is clear marketing.

Also, a recent article about a former ghost writer…  I need to read.

Text of older post:

As you know, we have been doing short vignettes-“What Would You Do?”-all semester.  A survey sent to BU faulty about “dishonesty among students” got me thinking about the ability to buy papers on the Internet.  I surfed to .  The following transcript is verbatim.  I only changed the name of the customer service rep a I worried she would potentially face some retribution. Continue reading

Notes from class: February 21, 2013

Paper 2

Ethical Analysis + 1 Case

  • Nike – post 1998
  • Bear Stearns
  • Case study of country X
  • A. Anderson
  • Case of implementing “C Termism”
  • Apple
  • Foxconn
  • Windmill manufactures
  • Tesla
  • Interface


White Paper


  • Should there be derivative policy
  • Alternatives to social security
  • Does Sox work
  • International IP
  • Subsidies direct and indirect for energy sources which undermine any claims to an absolute “free market” price

Session 6 Snaps- Blase, To Affect, Fat Sucking ?

Snap Word: Blasé

Snap Style.  Affect is a verb.  Effect is a noun.  Usually, people mean that X affects Y.  and that E causes effects.  You can recall this with this mnemonic: “TO affect causes effects.”  The verb comes first and the alphabetical order of a to e means you know that affect is always the verb.

There is a rarer use of effect as a verb meaning to bring about a change.  “The laws are designed to effect less insider trading.”

Affect as a noun can mean emotion.  “The sociopath lacked affect regarding his victims.”

9 times out of 10, you mean that something affects another thing leading to effects.

Look, I didn’t invent English.


Snap ethics.

This ad ran in the Bucknellian two weeks ago.

This ad ran in the Bucknellian, paid for by Geisinger doctors' group.
This ad ran in the Bucknellian, paid for by Geisinger doctors’ group.

Should it have run?  Should it be made?  Should Geisinger offer this elective surgery?

The Bucknellian also ran an editorial a week later defending itself for printing the ad.

For the record, I know of no faculty interested in “censoring” the Bucknellian.

Related articles

Play Ball! Prompt 5- Sports

For this week’s blog post we will be revisiting the topic of ethics.  We have talked about ethics in business during our class time, but ethics goes beyond the realm of business into nearly every aspect of our lives.

When it comes to sports, ethics also play a major role.  Whether it is the conduct of a single athlete, the coach, or the organization, ethical decisions are constantly being contemplated.

For Blog 5, write about your own experiences or opinions on ethics in sports.  Have you ever been presented with a situation where you felt you had to be “unethical” in a given play?  Is there even such a thing as ethics in sports?  Are there any sports organizations you feel are the models for ethical or unethical behavior? Can the idea of ethics in sports be tied to ethics in business?  Do people take what they learn and internalize from sports into business (or their careers in other areas), or is it the opposite?  What they learn in sports becomes the basis for understanding one’s own actions in business, work, and professional contexts.

These are a few questions to get your brain active but feel free to approach the prompt however you feel addresses the overall topic of ethics in sports.

You need not be an “athlete” to write!  Feel free to discuss other aspects of sports in society.

Also, please show us your wordpress chops.  Add images, video, a poll!  RATE any posts you read.  And comments.  Like what you wrote?  Promote it via twitter, facebook, google +.  Be proud of your writing.  Flex your muscles.