Monday, September 26, 2011

A Musical Interlude

Shannon Farrell Williams and Jamie Hofman performed "Lament" by Frank Bridge at a gala on the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of the String Academy of Wisconsin in 2010. 


The String Academy is closely associated with the distinguished Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where both Mr. Hofman and Mrs. Williams continued their studies, working with Mimi Zweig, Atar Arad, Jerry Horner and others.   Today Mrs. Williams plays with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival.  Mr. Hofman is on the faculties of The String Academy, Carroll University and the Eastern Music Festival and has been a member of the Louisville Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the Louisville String Quartet.

The String Academy of Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers a unique educational experience for students ages four to eighteen to study the violin, viola and cello.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Personalized Product Solutions

Unique Solutions is rolling out a new business concept called MyBestFit, based on its Intellifit® Plus technology. First introduced in 2002, this body scanner records hundreds of thousands of body measurements and matches them to garments in its database. The consumer receives a personalized printout, showing which garments from participating retailers will fit.

The technology is amazing; the business concept is genius. Originally conceived as a brand-specific solution, the machine has now been moved out of the store and into the public space of the mall. Retailers subscribe to and pay for the service, not only marketing their wares, but also closing sales more quickly. Shoppers confidently and privately select the garments that fit.

Unique Solutions calls this a PPS, a "personalized product solution." They think women will love it because it takes the frustration and embarrassment out of trying on clothes. Men might never have to go to the mall again.

To learn more about our practice, you may contact us here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Work We've Done

Click on the links below to see case study summaries of some of our past projects.

See our newsletter on Restaurant Lifecycle Management here.

A collection of posts about the US Economy is maintained here.

A Management Consultant @ Large

Restaurant Lifecycle Management

See these posts for perspectives on the development of retail and restaurant chains:

To learn more about our work in consulting, please see our Profile or check out our Case Studies.
Contact JP Farrell & Associates, Inc.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Spymaster and the Economist

Jan Kmenta, Professor of Econometrics

The work of the best novelists and scholars burrow into the psyche. Peculiarly in my own mind the British intelligence officer and novelist David Cornwell (aka John
le Carré), and Czech-born Jan Kmenta, the wry professor of econometrics, are inextricably linked. Both exemplify their generation's dedication to finding truth in ambiguous settings through careful application of craft.

Kmenta would begin his graduate course in econometrics with a set of definitions:

  • An Economic Historian goes into a dark room looking for a black cat.
  • An Economic Theorist goes into a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there.
  • An Econometrician goes into a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there and declares: "I found it!"
The rest of the course (and the three that followed) was devoted to an arduous study of the theory and practice that would keep us from making any such a mistake. With humor Kmenta could shoulder the futility of his quest, but he could not abide those who mistook shortcuts for progress.

John le Carré

These ruminations began when by some happy accident I picked up my decade-old copy of John le Carré's The Tailor of Panama. Writing in the mid-1990's, as the West was celebrating the end of the Cold War,
le Carré adapted his method to the times. Turning away from the earnest style of his previous spy novels, le
Carré surprised his readers with a comic approach.

His unlikely protagonist, an expatriate tailor with a good heart and a questionable past, is recruited by a novice spy of uncertain virtue.
Together they set out to prove the existence of conspiracy fabricated from whole cloth. True to his craft but inept in spycraft, the tailor weaves selective data with imaginative storytelling to flatter the careless and comfort the powerful. The institutions charged with analyzing and verifying his reports fail to question false information that suits their narrow interests. Let loose in a benign environment, the misdirected agents of change wreck havoc.

In the aftermath of the intelligence failures of this twenty-first century, John
le Carré seems eerily prescient. By the same token, clients are advised to select their consultants and govern their projects with unusual diligence. It is all too easy to prove the existence of black cats that were never there.

To learn more about our work in consulting, please see our Profile, read a few of our Case Studies, or Contact JP Farrell & Associates, Inc. directly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Timeline of Financial Bailout of 2008

Q3-Q4: 2007
Subprime mortgage meltdown begins
JP Morgan completes acquisition of Bear Stearns
U.S. Treasury seizes control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored mortgage guarantors
Bank of America agrees to buy Merrill Lynch under terms set by the US Fed
Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy
Treasury agrees to loan $85 billion to A.I.G.; takes control
Treasury/Fed worry about runs on money markets and investment banks
Paulson and Bernanke present 3-page plan to Congressional leaders
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs become regulated bank holding companies, ending era of Investment Banking
Economists submit letter in opposition to the original Paulson Plan, claiming it is unfair, ambiguous and short-sighted
Regulators seize Washington Mutual Saving and Loan and arrange sale to JP Morgan Chase
First draft of Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (HR 3997)
HR 3997 fails to pass the U.S. House
Senate passes HR 1424, a modified version of the bill
Congress passes HR 1424 and President G.W. Bush signs it into law
Week ending 10/10
Dow Jones loses 18% of value in one week. Iceland seizes its banks. Britain proposes direct investment in banks
G7 finance ministers, then Group of 20 meet at White House to coordinate policy
Paulson and Bernanke meet with leaders of 9 largest banks. Get agreement on direct infusion of cash
AIG bailout restructured to include $60 billion loan from US Federal Reserve, $40 billion in securities purchased by US Treasury, and credit lines of up to $30 billion backed by Credit Default Swaps and $22.5 billion against mortgage-backed securities

A collection of posts about the US Economy is maintained here.

To learn more about our work in consulting, please
see our Profile, or read some of our Case Studies.

Contact JP Farrell & Associates, Inc.