不亦快哉

有一所中国人不太熟悉的学校叫做Vanderbilt University, 位于田纳西洲,历年在U.S. News & World Report的排名都在全美前20之列。没想到这所学校居然是以大名鼎鼎的Cornelius Vanderbilt命名的! 今日有幸读到林行止先生的专栏,细读Vanderbilt彪悍的一生, 真是痛快淋漓, 不亦快哉. wiki特别列出其名句, 真是气势非凡:

If I had learned education, I would not have had time to learn anything else.


You have undertaken to cheat me. I won’t sue you, for the law is too slow. I will ruin you.

Cornelius Vanderbilt


Cornelius Vanderbilt

林行止專欄
「蠻荒時代」弱肉強食

信報財經新聞 2007-01-23

溫得標的事舻值得大寫特寫。溫得標生於一七九四年五月二十七日,十二歲失學,在曼哈頓的「街渡」上當水手,十六歲向雙親貸款一百元(美元.下同),購下第一艘渡船,第一年賺了一千元;生意上軌道後,溫得標的船愈來愈大,航程愈來愈遠,在二十三歲那年,溫得標的「淨值」已達一萬五千元!

就在溫得標生意興隆之際,他突然宣布將船隊出賣,轉而當白領,因為他看出帆船的前景有限,當時開始流行的汽船必有取替它之一日,因此投身汽船公司當船長;溫得標身材魁梧,加上好勇善鬥,對「即使對他有利的法例亦不屑一顧」,令他得以在競爭劇烈的

環境下脫穎而出,為公司賺了大錢。溫得標在這家公司工作了十一年,每季薪金由一百八十元增加至二千元,當公司有意將他每季薪金加至五千元的時候,他拒絕了,原因是其他船長只賺一千元,他覺得這種情況必會帶來不良後果,因此急流勇退,辭職不幹,自組公
司在哈德遜河做航運生意;加入了這位勇往直前的競爭者後,原本壟斷哈德遜河航運生意的公司大驚失色,最後答允給他每年十萬五千元的薪酬,為期十年,以交換他不插手哈德遜河的生意。

一八四九年,加州發現黃金引致歷史上有名的掘金狂潮,溫得標聞風而至,不過他不是參與掘金,而是提供運輸服務,他當年建造的船隻載客量達六百名,令他覑實發了大財。一八五三年決定乘搭他專為遠航而建造的豪華汽船赴歐洲度假—他從十二歲開始苦幹了四十七年後的第一次假期—由於赴歐漫遊博覽須時一年半載,因此辭去公司主席職位,將管理權交給二名得力助手摩根和加里遜,哪知這二名助手做出種種對他不利的決策……

溫得標在英國聞訊後寫了一封可能是商業史上最獨特最出名的信給這二位「叛將」(簡單明瞭,毋須譯出)—

Gentlemen :

You have undertaken to cheat me. I won’t sue you, for the law is slow, I’ll ruin you.

Yours truly, Cornelius Vanderbilt

結果溫得標於一八五六年六十二歲那年重新控制公司,當主席,趕跑「叛將」;「叛將」把公司資產搜刮一空,一溜煙跑到尼加拉瓜,取得經營當地船務的特權,令溫得標在該國的業務一落千丈。原來在大約一年前,尼加拉瓜發生政變,政權落在美國冒險家獲加(W. Walker)之手,而獲加之成功,得力於摩根和加里遜的「經援」,現在知恩圖報,遂不顧法紀,給予他們種種特權……

按照傳統的做法,溫特標最初要求美國政府干預,但政府「慢慢考慮」的態度令溫得標不耐煩;本來,溫得標仍可循尼加拉瓜法律解決問題,但他嫌「法律程序太慢」,於是自己組織了一支一百二十人的「現代化武裝部隊」,偷渡入境,一舉將獲加擒獲,摩根和加里遜的生意亦給摧毀了!

溫得標其後不僅在橫渡大西洋的航運上有所突破,在國內航線方面,他一早看出水陸聯運的重要性,大事收購鐵道公司股份,到了一八七二年,溫得標已「上岸」成為鐵道大王。溫得標晚年為經營鐵道生意定下的準則現在仍然甚具參考價值—

獲得控制權;

將上任徇私舞弊徹底清除;

以合理代價提高效率;

和其他公司合併以節省開支;

不斷發行股票集資(Water its stock);

盡可能派高息。

除了第六項,其餘均「實際可用」。值得一提的是第五項「沖淡股票的價值」,原文出處是牲口商人在牲口過磅出售前猛灌水使牲口增重;在溫得標的例子中,他是設法擴大股本,「沖淡」每股資產及盈利,而他則從不斷開股集資中牟取暴利。

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[转贴]UP WITH HEMLINES, AND WITH SOME LUCK, THE DOW

From The New York Post

By TERRY KEENAN

October 22, 2006 — WHAT are the sure telltale signs that we’re in a bull market?

This past Thursday’s close above Dow 12,000 is a good start. Although one may convincingly argue that the market has no clue what a round number is, these millennial marks have often been significant guideposts in the past.

That’s especially true when it has taken years of hard work for the Dow Industrials to crack one.

When the market finally cracked the Dow 1,000 level in 1972 after 16 years of climbing from 500, it inaugurated the great bull market that stretched into the early months of 2000.

This time, in similar fashion, it took the Dow seven and a half long years to go from its first close above 11,000 to this week’s finish above 12,000. It took the blue chip barometer just 34 days to make the leap from 10,000 to 11,000 back in the waning days of the bull market back in 1999.

That’s one big reason why many market technicians and historians consider Dow 12K a more important market event than the eclipse of the old Dow high of 11,722 a few weeks ago.

Still, for my dollar the clearest signs of a new bull market came this week from the fashion page, not from the financial section.

Have you noticed that hemlines, this fall, are rising faster than a Google call option? And it’s not just skirts that are getting skimpier – short shorts inspired by Daisy Duke and worn most effectively on screen by Jessica Simpson are all the rage as well.

The good news for those with good legs and an ample stock portfolio: Mini-skirts often mean maxi-rallies. Of course, while there’s no direct connection between hem lengths and stock prices, history shows a strong correlation. In the 1920s and the 1960s hemlines soared and so too did stocks.

If this 40-year pattern persists, we’re just about due for a bull market in both. And when it comes to stocks and hemlines, the old rule still seems to apply: buy high, and sell low.

Come to think of it, the hemline indicator has a certain logic. Not only does a short skirt reflect its wearer’s exuberance and confidence, it often takes a decade or two before women forget just how silly they looked during the last mini-skirt craze.

The same is true with investors. Only a long, grinding bear market can erase memories of the last bull market’s losses, and endless cocktail parties where the latest dot-com tip was the most popular hors d’oeuvre.

So keep an eye on those hemlines. On 7th Avenue, the return of the short skirt has been long overdue, and this fall it is as welcomed by many as Dow 12K.

TERRY KEENAN is anchor of Cashin’ In, an investing program that appears on Fox News Channel on Saturday mornings at 11:30. E-mail:
terry.keenan@foxnews.com.