Reconn Radio: Podcast #29 – Week ending 10/03/14


The “Torture That You Love” Issue. It’s not so bad.

There are some folks in life that have it because they want it. There are others in life that have IT because they know no other way. They struggle and they love it. Their steadiness in the face of adversity and success, their focus on the now, and their flexibility in the moment when integrity calls is certainly admirable, and sometimes award-winning. The funny thing is they don’t even know they’re on a pedestal. They just keep on working.

In this week’s podcast, we discuss not only the challenges of life and how to handle them, but also the challenges of the economy, including the NASDAQ bank index, the DJIA, and last week’s mixed economic news. We also include a killer quote from Jerry Seinfeld, and, oh yes, a reminder to stretch.



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Reconn Radio: Podcast #27 – Week ending 08/22/14


The All-Kinds-of-Respect Issue: It’s not me, it’s them, and another Midnight Run

What does your grand opus look like? How much of it is really yours? This week, we pay respect to those that have gone before us and consider those that will come after us. The movies. Yes, the movies. Midnight Run is on our minds this week. We neglect thinking before taking action. I understand in moments of craziness and emergency, thinking is an obstacle we don’t need. Otherwise, thinking caps on. And, believe it or not, Labor Day is almost here.



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Our quarterly review of the economy: 2Q2014

Economic Review

The Second Quarter of 2014: A rudderless economy in a sea of stronger capital markets

The Indices You Love

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, as well as broader US capital markets, settled into an upward momentum in the second quarter of 2014. The DJIA gained nearly 370 points for the quarter, moving from 16,457.66 to 16,826.60, or nearly 2.25%. The S&P 500 gained nearly 88 points, or nearly 4.7%. It increased from 1,872.34 to 1,960.23. The NASDAQ enjoyed equal success. The 5% increase, or nearly 210 points, speaks to the strength of technology stocks. The index, which closed at 4,198.99 at the end of the first quarter, leapt to 4,408.18 by June 30, 2014. Growth in the second quarter was decidedly different from the negative or sluggish growth experienced in the first quarter of the year. This is a good thing.

However, banks did not fare as well in the second quarter. The NASDAQ Bank Index lost nearly what it gained in the first quarter of this year. The index slipped nearly 63 points, or 2.35%, losing all of the spring in its step. The index fell to 2,605.67 from its March 31, 2014, close of 2,668.29. Based on SNL Financial’s compilation of data by bank asset range, the smaller community banks fared somewhat better than larger community banks. The following details the gains and losses for the quarter:

Index Quarterly Change
SNL U.S. Bank < $250M Up 1.52 points, or 2.47%
SNL U.S. Bank $250M-$500M Up 3.73 points, or 1.31%
SNL U.S. Bank < $500M Up 7.6 points, or 1.38%
SNL U.S. Bank $500M-$1B Down 3.25 points, or .53%
SNL U.S. Bank $1B-$5B Down 18.13 points, or 2.46%
SNL U.S. Bank $5B-$10B Down 22.72 points, or 2.59%


The Broader Economy

The Institute of Supply Managers Purchasing Managers Index showed a slight gain for the quarter. It moved up to 55.3 from 53.7, up 1.6 points, or 2.98%. However, we should take note that the index is lower than the December 2013 figure of 56.5. Consumer sentiment, according to the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, dipped to a low of 80 in March of this year. It has since rebounded to 82.5, which it reached in December 2013. Employment continued to improve as well.

However, it remains a rudderless economy. Politics and government interference aside, we believe that continued wage stagnation along with geopolitical instability will keep things cool. It’s not a prediction. It’s preparation. We certainly hope things increase at a better pace. Regardless, upcoming planning sessions should reflect a desire for continued growth and pursuit of better economies of scale.

05/12/14 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

R financial toolsIn good times and in bad times, there is one constant: bad governance. The surprising thing is that the market rarely takes this into consideration as long as bad governance doesn’t affect sales and profits. There is gnashing of the teeth. There is wringing of the hands. There is much commiseration. My heart bleeds for thee of fickle camaraderie.

So, as the market looks for higher and higher ground, we continue to struggle with the notion that bigger is better, higher is grander. It’s tough to sell. It’s a challenge for the poor marketing staff, too. But, alas, we do our best to forge ahead. Well, we sort.

For the week ending May 9, 2014, the NASDAQ Bank Index, which we provide compliments of SNL Financial, lost ground, giving up another 15 points during the week. Bank stocks can’t seem to find their footing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on the other hand, put on some weight for the week, adding just over 70 points and ending the week at 16,583.34.

There was decent news on the calendar last week, including positive signs in the service sector and a growing willingness to borrow. This week, we look to the NFIB and its small-business sentiment index, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index, and one of our favorites, the Empire State index. As always, our economic calendar is provided by and can be found here.

Reconn Radio: Podcast #21 – Week of 05/05/14


The Flop Sweat Issue: Economic Review, Simple and Elegant Design, and Broadcast News

May the Fourth be with You! Yes, May is here and we continue our discussion on disruptive banking. We’ve discussed the first part, scale, and now we turn our attention to simplicity. Enter Dieter Rams and his principles of design. We consider four of them and how they might spark conversation about disruptive banking. Simple and elegant disruptive banking.

Of course, we begin where we always do, the economy. We end on a journalistic note, the movie Broadcast News, which is the source of our main title.



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03/24/2014 – Our weekly perspective on the economy

So, we meandered a bit last week. Leprechauns and limericks; beer and cheese. Well, we’re back. And it’s time to talk about the economy. This week the economic calendar (which you can find here, compliments of has some gritty material for you to consider. From consumer confidence and housing prices, it looks like it could be a mixed week. It feels like we are getting nowhere fast with this economy.

I daresay that we are too focused on the outcomes. We have become an economic powerhouse fueled by hope and pixels, which I think is a bit naïve.  I’m not against globalization. I’m not for it. However, we need to seek a higher ground in the method to our madness, the path of our revival. As a nation, we must break away from the role of arbitrager and actually do some work. Make things. Think of things. Build for a future.

Weather you are or not

The terrible practice of trying to predict the exact nature of weather has got to be stopped. Whether or not weather will bear down on you is a matter for Mother Nature. I understand the general discipline identifying the threat of rain, sun, snow, or sleet and all disturbances in between. But, the tortured analysis of predicting weather down to the lamppost is really unnerving. And yet we all watch it like rubberneckers on a freeway, and more graphically, like vultures circling around its kill.

It’s not that different from predicting the economy. An undetermined amount of effort goes into predicting the future of the economy. I understand. I even commiserate with those that tell fortunes for I studied that soupy, messy subject, too. A great deal of money changes hands in this process of prediction. What do we gain?

The point is preparation. The point is to remain calm knowing you have done all you can do to prepare. The unceasing tantrums over storms we cannot begin to control, be they atmospheric or economic, warrant a different type of scientist, a different approach. It requires men and women of mental equanimity and immeasurable integrity.

The weather? Even this too shall pass away. The economy? That’s a little more of a stubborn issue for our readers. Stay on top of the storm, but don’t be consumed by it.

For delivery of disciplined planning and project management, please drop us a line by clicking right here. Or, if you’re looking for a bright spot in your day, then call Beth at 908.368.1270.