Links for Thought -- March 2, 2012

Apple: Thoughts on bias, value, excess cash and dividends (Musings on Markets) -- Two weeks ago, Aswath Damodaran brought us his valuation analysis of Facebook, this week he takes on Apple.  Aswath is a long-time Apple investor and a valuation guru.  He is generous enough to share not only his thoughts on Apple, but also his model.  Go check it out!

Mapping Solar Grid Parity (Energy Self-Reliant States) -- This is a really cool interactive map that shows when solar energy will hit grid parity around the United States.  Importantly this chart is taking a look at solar WITHOUT subsidies.  

The Silver Lining to Scarcity: It Drives Innovation (Harvard Business Review) -- Necessity combined with scarcity are powerful forces in the drive for innovation.  Too often innovation is not anticipatory, but rather reactionary to need.  Herein lies the "silver lining to scarcity."  This is a particularly relevant piece considering the questions about scarcity with regard to the future supply of crucial commodities like oil amidst surging emerging market demand.

Big Market Worries: Profit Margins (A Dash of Insight) -- Jeff Miller takes his stab at debunking one of the oft-stated mantras of today's market valuation: that margins are mean regressing and high, therefore they are due for contraction.  This is an important debate in establishing whether we are dealing with the real long-term compression of valuations, or whether this is simply a temporary uptick that will inevitably fade.  My belief--I side with Jeff.

Let Your Winners Run (A VC) -- Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures tells us all to ride our winners.  When people see they are making money, it's very hard to take that itchy trigger finger off the sell button, especially in these days of high volatility.  Yet, to build outstanding performance over the long-run, it's important to recognize that the benefits of winners that keep growing are greatly increased by the effects of compound interest.  This is one of Kevin Douglas' strengths.