Far West Capital March 2012 Newsletter

If it were up to Thomas Tolbert, every dog would have his day…in the voting booths. The 45-year old New Mexico man registered his black Labrador, Buddy, at a University of New Mexico voting station. Buddy was registered under a made-up birth date and social security number, but his owner, Mr. Tolbert, still received a voter registration card for him in the mail two weeks later. How did Buddy’s fake stats slip through the cracks? As it turns out, the state of New Mexico doesn’t require its counties to verify voter’s dates of birth, social security numbers, or even names. Rock solid system you got there, New Mexico.



An alarming 49.5% of Americans pay nothing in income taxes, according to a report by the Heritage Foundation. Since 1984, the size of the non-taxing paying public has increased by a whopping 436%! How does that make you feel when you’re writing a check to the IRS?



A team of motivated employees is an invaluable asset to every business, regardless of the industry. Motivated employees are more likely to remain loyal to a company, and perform their duties at a high level. Not to mention, working alongside driven individuals can be a ‘re-charge’ for business owners, too! Monetary rewards can serve as motivators for employees, but the effects raises and bonuses have on worker productivity may not be as lasting as one may think. There are other ways to keep employees excited to come to work every day, and many of them do not include spending money. To name a few: allowing autonomy in work and setting fair work practices are two cost-neutral ways to motivate employees. Another thing to consider is whether or not employees are maintaining a good work-life balance. For executives, this could mean giving workers time-off or simply more flexibility in when or where they work, such as letting workers complete tasks from home and granting early arrivals and departures. Ambitious workers will set and achieve ambitious goals that translate into growth and/or greater client satisfaction.  




Facebook is at it again. Just when your company was starting to get the hang of the profile changes that occurred last fall, the Internet titan has confirmed even more major changes are coming soon. On March 30th, all Facebook users will be converted to the timeline format and with this change comes a new set of standards for business profiles. Go here to find out more information on how to ensure your company’s Facebook page is compliant.



SXSW is a lot of fun, but the three-part festival also brings some serious business to the Austin economy. Hotels, restaurants, bars and many other local businesses see a big benefit from the 10-day event. Last year, SXSW generated $167 million—that’s half the revenue of the Super Bowl! The festival has something for everyone – interactive, film and music. Whether you buy a badge or attend the free events, it’s definitely something you should experience.



I used to think the school lunches I ate as a child were bad, until I heard about pink slime. Pink slime contains “cow intestines, connective tissues, and other parts not used in traditional beef cuts.” And to make matters worse, pink slime is mixed with ammonium hydroxide – found under kitchen cabinets across America as an all-purpose cleaner – to kill the millions of E. coli bacteria that flock to the beef parts used in preparing it. Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Burger King have all stated publicly they would stop using the ‘meat’ product in their foods. Pink slime may be unsuitable for fast-food chains, but apparently it is O.K. for school lunch programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has bought millions of pounds of pink slime to be used in lunches for public schools. They claim the ground beef purchases for school lunch programs meet all the standards for food safety.  If that is the case, the USDA should set the bar a little higher. 

Many were disappointed two weeks ago when Apple revealed the name of their soon-to-be released iPad as simply “the new iPad,” but that has not curbed demand for the sleek tablet which boasts a 4G LTE network and 5 megapixel camera. iPad pre-sales sold out worldwide in just two days. Though early-birds, who placed their orders online, were promised to receive their iPads by March 16, Apple pushed back the shipping date due to a product shortage. And with the addition of the advanced retina display screen (which is more difficult to manufacture than the old screens) to the latest model, Apple will likely not make enough iPads to meet demand for about another 5-6 months. Sorry iFanatics; you may be waiting a very long time before you finally get your hands on the new device.



US News and World Report released their Best Business School rankings for 2013. Although powerhouses Harvard and Stanford shared the top spot, there was a sizable showing down south with UT’s McCombs School of business ranking at #17 and Rice’s Jones School of business coming in at #25. Check out the rest of the ratings!



Ah, springtime—warm weather, BBQs, and most importantly, March Madness. Whether you are a die-hard basketball fan or a novice with a penchant for sports wagers, the 68 team tournament is an enjoyable, but stressful, one. Thankfully, Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal is offering up some tongue-in-cheek advice on how to survive the Madness and ease the tension stirring up in offices right about now. His best advice? There is only one certainty to filling out a March Madness bracket, and it is this: You will lose to someone who has never watched an NCAA basketball game in his or her life. You will also lose to a 7-year-old, a golden retriever and a lobster.”



Was it just me or did ‘Super Tuesday,’ seem a lot less super with Texas not taking part in the GOP primary elections? Texas would have been a real game-changer in the 10-state primary event since it holds the second highest number of delegates to the Republican National Convention with 155 delegates, but because of the current voter redistricting debate, Republicans in the Lone Star State will not vote until May 29. I wouldn’t worry, though. Judging by the craziness of this thing so far, the GOP nominee race is still far from over!



A string of nationwide thefts is leaving police forces, from coast to coast, hanging out to dry. The perpetrators are stealing Tide detergent, and the crime wave is so baffling that law enforcement officials across the country are forming special task forces to get to the bottom of it. It is a case of branding gone horribly wrong—police believe that Tide is being targeted because its “Day-Glo orange logo,” is the most recognizable of all other detergents. In one Maryland police department, Tide is becoming known as “liquid gold,” due to its high retail price and equally high fetching price on the black market. You know the economy is pretty bad when people are turning to a life of petty crime just to get clean.



Have you seen the ad for Dollar Shave Club razors? This hilarious commercial is proof that marketing your business doesn’t need to be expensive, just creative. Now the next question is, will it translate to sales?



Snoop Dog purchased a lingerie football team that is part of the Lady Arena Football League. He’s now part owner of the Los Angeles Riderettes, which held tryouts this past weekend. Our prediction is a future Lingerie Snooperbowl.

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