Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

"Much of risk is subjective, hidden and unquantifiable."
Can Risk Managers Manage Risk? -- If you go by job titles, rhetoric, and even resources allocated, the financial sector has made a massive effort to improve risk management over the past three decades. Look at results, though, and the whole thing seems to have been a bust. Financial risk management became a profession in the 1980s. Soon after, markets began to careen from crisis to crisis. The risk managers' arcane tools--from portfolio insurance in the 1987 stock market crash to Value-at-Risk (VaR) in 1998 to the Gaussian copula in 2008--have had a curious habit of turning up at the scene of the crime.

The distribution of 2012 Olympic contracts.
Data needed on spread of Olympic gold -- The 2012 London games are one of the UK's biggest business procurement opportunities for decades with total public sector funding of £9.3bn but will the benefits extend beyond the capital? Chris Tighe, in the first of a series examining Olympic pledges, looks at the distribution of contracts. Lord Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee, promised in 2005 that the games would provide "a unique opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK, providing essential goods and services for this historic event."

Shelf space has been rendered useless. Attention is the new scarce market commodity.
The extraordinary revolution of media choice -- In the traditional model, you can only play one program at a time. One radio show or one movie or one show...Scarcity of spectrum has changed just about every element of our culture. Scarcity of shelf space as well. There are just a few radio stations in each market, and each station gets precisely one hour to broadcast each hour. Scarcity of spectrum, inflexible consumption (listen now or it's gone forever).

Spate of disasters exposes supply chain weakness -- When flood waters rose in Thailand, Wal-Mart stores in Japan ran out of mouthwash. "We were out of mouthwash in Japan for about four days," Scott Price, Wal-Mart's Asia chief executive officer, said at the APEC business leaders' summit. "A good portion of mouthwash is manufactured in Thailand for Asia." A string of natural disasters has exposed a vulnerability in global supply chains: How do you set up a network that is compact enough to be efficient but spread widely enough that no single unexpected event can knock it out?

Sheena Moore

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