Friday, August 20, 2010

Fannie and Freddie can’t keep up the PACE | first tuesday journal online

Fannie and Freddie can’t keep up the PACE | first tuesday journal online

Another cool article. For those who are interested in Real Estate issues.

Condos for less than the cost of a Corolla

Condos for less than the cost of a Corolla

This was a very good article, and amazing bargains. Of course, not in California, but you can buy a condo for almost nothing, if you are young and ambitious. I think, it could be possible even if you have student loans.


The Greatest Brands in American History

Most of the analysis about super-brands focuses on companies and products that have been prominent in the last few decades – companies like Apple, Google, Toyota, or Starbucks. According to how many experts evaluate brands over the last two centuries of the U.S. economy, however, none of those brands are among the most important in American history.  All of the brands 24/7 Wall St. looked at for this analysis were created many decades ago.
24/7 Wall St. has reviewed the history of American brands. We have examined how well they were known to the public during their most successful years – which may include today – as well as the size of their businesses over time. Many of the brands on this list, like Standard Oil, represented a large part of U.S. GDP early in the company’s history. Others, like Ford, have been among the largest U.S. companies for over 100 years.
Another aspect of the brands that 24/7 Wall St considered for this list is how long it has been in use and how long it has been widely known. Sears began as a catalog business in the 1880s and is still a well-known brand. Marlboro was first manufactured in 1902 and is one of the most valuable brands in the world.
In looking at the list, what is surprising is the number of companies that started out in one business and ended up in another, shown by Sears transition from catalogs to retail outlets and Marlboro’s transition from being a brand targeted at women, to being the most hyper-masculine of all brands.  What is even more surprising, however, is the number of companies that started out in a business in which they almost immediately became dominant and in which they still remain dominant today.  AT&T and JPMorgan are prime examples of this event.
What emerges from the analysis is a list of brands, many of which were important a century ago and all of which have remained dominant during their long reign at the top.  Coca-Cola, Marlboro, and Ford all appear regularly in top global brands lists. So do newer brands which have not been dominant for decades.  Although Apple, Toyota and Google may be premiere brands today, it is to be seen whether they will stand the test of time.

1. Standard Oil
Standard Oil was the largest crude oil exploration and production company in the world in the second half of the 19th and early part of the 20th Centuries. The firm was founded in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller. According to Forbes, his net worth was 1.5% of the American economy, making him the richest man in American history. Standard Oil was a trust that controlled oil drilling, refining, and shipping across a large number of states, particularly in the east. A decision in 1911 rendered by The Supreme Court and largely based on the Sherman Antitrust Act forced Standard Oil to be broken into 34 companies. Many of these, including the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, survived as huge corporations and brands for decades. The New Jersey branch served as a foundation for the company that eventually became Exxon.
Long before GM, Toyota, or VW were founded, the Ford Motor Company was the dominant car brand in the U.S. It remains one of them today. Ford was established in 1903 by Henry Ford. One of Ford’s earliest brands, the Model-T, became so popular that Henry Ford created two revolutionary concepts to address demand. The first was the modern assembly line, which was the basis of manufacturing for decades and which is, to some extent, still used today. The other, established in 1914, was the $5 workday, and turned the Ford name into one of the most famous brands of the first quarter of the 20th Century. According to the company’s description of that period, “After Ford’s announcement, thousands of prospective workers showed up at the Ford Motor Company employment office. People surged toward Detroit from the American South and the nations of Europe. As expected, employee turnover diminished. And, by creating an eight-hour day, Ford could run three shifts instead of two, increasing productivity.” Ford was also critical to the start of aviation in the U.S. and was a huge manufacturer of weapons and war materials in WWII.

3.  Sears
Founded in the mid 1880s, the company was originally known for its catalog, not as a brick-and-mortar business; it did not open its first store until 1925. The catalog was originally a way to sell watches. As the catalog expanded, it became an important source of goods for Americans living in rural areas, which were then a substantial part of the population. The catalog grew to 532 pages by 1895 and included, according the company’s history, shoes, women’s garments and millinery, wagons, fishing tackle, stoves, furniture, china, musical instruments, saddles, firearms, buggies, bicycles, baby carriages, glassware, and jewelry. Revenue for the company was over $400,000 in 1893 and $750,000 in 1895. The retail operation of the firm grew “to 192 stores in 1928, to 319 stores in 1929 and to 400 stores in 1933. During one 12-month period in the late 20′s, stores opened on the average of one every other business day. When two huge stores opened in one city on the same day, more than 120,000 people visited them during the first 12 hours they were open.”

4.  Kodak
George Eastman created the first personal camera and began selling it in 1888 with the slogan, “you press the button, we do the rest.” The new product made photography available to tens of millions of American in the following decades. According to several histories of Kodak, its goal was to make photography “as convenient as the pencil.” By 1891 Kodak created the first camera that did not have to be loaded in a darkroom, further increasing the appeal of the personal camera. In 1900 Kodak began to market the “Brownie,” which sold for $1 with film that cost $.15 a roll. Kodak also dominated the businesses of technology for movies and industrial photography. Along with Polaroid, which was founded in 1937 and launched a line of portable cameras in 1948, Kodak brought the ability to record history on film to anyone who could spend a few dollars on a camera.

5.  Coca-Cola
The drink was first introduced by John Stith Pemberton in Atlanta in 1886. The drink was sold for a nickel a glass and the early slogan for marketing the brand was “Delicious and Refreshing.” By 1895, according to the company history, the firm’s annual report stated that “Coca-Cola is now drunk in every state and territory in the United States.” The company worked to expand the value of sales in the early 20th Century by establishing a nationwide system of bottlers. From 1899 until 1920 the number of bottlers grew from two to over 1,000. The iconic bottle with its curves, still seen in retailers today, was created in 1916.

6. J.P. Morgan
The firm was formed in 1895 by J. Pierpont Morgan, one of the richest men in American history. It had operated before that under different names. The company provided early financing for U.S. Steel and, in 1895, supplied the U.S. government with $62 million in gold to underwrite a bond issue to improve that national balance sheet. The firm also provided financing for railroads to aid their expansions in the latter part of the 19th Century. The company was broken into two pieces as a result of laws established by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933: JP Morgan—the commercial bank, and Morgan Stanley—the investment house. The commercial bank remained one of the primary banksin the U.S. and eventually became one of the cornerstones of JPMorgan Chase. Morgan Stanley remains one of the most famous investment banks in the U.S. and around the world.
Sam Walton, the company’s founder, worked at JC Penney in the 1940s. The Wal-Mart 5 & 10 was founded in 1950. By 1975, Walmart operated in nine states, had 125 stores and 7,500 workers. Walton decided to keep prices extremely low through aggressive sourcing and highly disciplined distribution and inventory control. By the 1980s, Walmart began to overtake larger retailers like Kmart, Macy’s, and JC Penny. By 1995, Walmart was the largest retailer on the Fortune 500 with sales of $83 billion – well ahead of Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Costco, and Home Depot. In 2009, Walmart was in first place on the Fortune list with sales of over $400 billion and two million employees worldwide.

8.  McDonald’s
The first “McDonald’s” was called McDonald’s Bar-B-Que and was built in 1940. Founders Mac and Dick McDonald created a highly efficient way to serve food on a system that resembled an assembly line. Fast food legend Ray Kroc, who built the modern company, opened the first of a number of franchises in 1955, using the model established by the brothers. The company began to market itself under the “Golden Arches” logo in 1962 and served its one billionth hamburger in 1963. That same year it created Ronald McDonald as the company mascot. By 1968, McDonald’s had 1,000 stores and was clearly the leader in the fast food sector. In 1976, they served 20 billion hamburgers and sales hit $4 billion. In 1991, the company had 9,000 stores. McDonald’s now has sales of $22 billion and is the largest fast food company in the world.

9.  AT&T
The company that would become the de facto monopoly in the phone business in the U.S. was founded in 1885 as part of the America Bell Telephone Company – a company founded by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. The company settled its first antitrust suit with the government in 1913. In exchange for spinning off Western Union, the telegraph company, AT&T retained rights to most of the local and long distance phone lines in America. Bell Labs, one of the premier R&D facilities in the U.S. opened, was launched by the company in 1925. Bell Labs created the first technology for cellular phones in 1947. By 1955, AT&T was the 15th largest company in the U.S. In 1982, AT&T settled monopoly charges brought against it in 1974. In 1984. all the company’s operating units became independent. The parent company continued as an independent brand operating long-distance and R&D facilities. Several of the operating units were merged over the twenty-five years after the break-up and the largest, SBC, bought AT&T in 2005. It renamed the new company AT&T.

10. Marlboro
The cigarette brand sold by Altria in the US and Philip Morris overseas is often listed as one of the most valuable brands in the world and is the largest selling cigarette in the world. Marlboro was introduced in 1902. Philip Morris, its parent company at the time, began to aggressively market the brand to women using the slogan “Mild As May.” Marlboro sales dropped off in the 1940s and the brand was removed from the market. It was re-introduced as a hyper-masculine brand in 1955. Philip Morris developed Marlboro as the cigarette for rugged individuals. It created the idea of “Marlboro Country” and “Marlboro Men.” The brand’s signature slogan was “Come to where the flavor is…come to Marlboro Country.” Marlboro was one of the single largest advertisers on radio, TV, and in print from the late 1950s through the 1970s.

11. Microsoft
The company was founded in 1975 by Paul Allen and Bill Gates. In 1980, the company created the operating system that would run the IBM PC. The first version of Windows was launched in 1985. Two years later Microsoft released a version of Windows that was built to run on all PCs, moving away from its relationship with IBM. By 1993, 125 million PCs were sold worldwide and over 95% of them ran on Microsoft Windows. By 1998, the figure was 350 million and Microsoft still ran on over nine out of ten machines. Starting in the late 1980s, Microsoft diversified into business software and server operating systems. In the 1990s, it entered the online content business, and in the 2000s it built search engine and gaming systems.
Credits to: 24/7 Wall Street. Com 
By: Douglas A. McIntyre
Read more: The Greatest Brands in American History - 24/7 Wall St.

JFK; Bush; LBJ; Nixon