Deer Snorts, Bubbles and M&A


While peacefully enjoying a book the other night, I was jolted out of my seat by a bizarre sound in the woods. After peering into the darkness for a few minutes, I realized it was a deer snorting. I had no idea that deer made any sounds and this one is very strange (click to listen). Having my quietude disrupted by this ungulate made me think about how this current marketplace for all-things-technological is going gangbusters (aka a bubble). ...

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Timber Harvest Strategy


Driving by a state-owned forest the other day, I saw the telltale sign of a pending timber harvest – the 20 ton skidder parked on the edge of the woods. I was somewhat curious since this land is part of the watershed for the reservoir that quenches the thirsts of a couple million Bostonians, and I did not think that harvesting timber led to pure clean water.

So to satisfy my curiosity, I looked up the timber harvest plan to ...

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Ptyxis and Planning


Walking by a black birch tree the other day, I noticed that the tips of the branches all held long, prominent, pointed buds that seemed ready to burst into a spring flush of leaves. These plump buds are compact little packages whose embryonic leaves are folded in an intricate “ptyxis” and packed tightly together, awaiting their call to arms in 5 months’ time. Somehow these trees have the ability to prepare for next season to insure that they have a ...

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New Puppy and Focus (or not)


My new puppy is intrigued by every leaf, acorn, pile of moss, and stump in the East Woods. Any attempt at walking a straight line is thrown off by spontaneous lunges toward new, apparently life-altering odors and smells. This constant deviation from a (hoped for) simple walk along a path reminds me of some of the companies I spoke with at this week’s Eastern Analytical Symposium. Though seemingly well-intentioned in their path, they nevertheless seem to sometimes chase opportunities without ...

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Lightning Rods and Risks


A lightning bolt hit the big pine nearby the other day, rattling the surroundings and sending fifty pound splinters flying. I have a new appreciation for the power in those flashes, and am now looking at installing lightning rods to keep my house intact. This reactionary approach is similar to how businesses often deal with rapid changes in their environments.

When one of these big challenges suddenly appear, businesses scramble to handle the them. Here are a few rather unpleasant surprises ...

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Dribble Castles, Organic Growth


I had the pleasure of sinking my hands in sand puddles all Sunday afternoon, making a dribble castle. For those of you who are uninitiated, just scoop handfuls of wet sand and drip the slurry onto a pile, moving ever higher until the parapets and ramparts take on their epic shape. It is a gratifying, although somewhat painstaking endeavor. Unlike the piled-buckets-of-sand approach, this will take hours to get to a good form and height.

It is similar to the actual ...

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Stumpage, Synergy, and Valuation


I was walking around the East Woods last weekend, enjoying the wonderful Fall colors, and came to the conclusion that there are lots of valuable trees standing there. Big red oaks, tall and straight, that would surely fetch a hefty price at the sawmill. I came back home smug that a woodlot is a great investment (and me a savvy investor…)

However, my bubble was burst when I read up on the potential revenues from a timber sale. If I harvest ...

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