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A runner’s guide to the perfect shoe - The Globe and Mail
ALEX HUTCHINSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Mar. 23, 2017
running 
march 2017
Where Halls of Ivy Meet Silicon Dreams, a New City Rises - The New York Times
By DAVID W. CHENMARCH 22, 2017
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New_York_City  Colleges_&_Universities  infrastructure  education  Cornell  NYU  Columbia 
march 2017
What Does It Take to Climb Up the Ladder? - The New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall MARCH 23, 2017

What drives success? Cognitive skills are important, but so are harder-to-measure strengths that fall under the heading of what is sometimes called character......In a 2014 paper, “The Character Factor: Measures and Impact of Drive and Prudence,” Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution, and two co-authors, Kimberly Howard and Joanna Venator, focus on what they call “performance character strengths” and the crucial role played by noncognitive skills in educational attainment, employment and earned income. These character strengths — “perseverance, industriousness, grit, resilience, curiosity, application” and “self-control, future orientation, self-discipline, impulse control, delay of gratification” — make significant contributions to success in adulthood and upward mobility.

As the accompanying chart demonstrates, upper-income kids perform well on tests of noncognitive skills, but there are substantial numbers of low-income children who do well also.
movingonup  social_mobility  perseverance  industriousness  grit  resilience  curiosity  hard_work  self-control  forward_looking  self-discipline  impulse_control  delayed_gratification  character_traits  up-and-comers 
march 2017
Why Robert Moses Keeps Rising From an Unquiet Grave - The New York Times
By DAVID W. DUNLAPMARCH 21, 2017
Robert Moses.

Builder of infrastructure. Ravager of neighborhoods. Maker of omelets. Breaker of eggs. Never mind civics texts. “The Power Broker,” Robert A. Caro’s biography of Mr. Moses, is the book that still must be read — 43 years after it was published — to understand how New York really works.

The reputation of Mr. Moses, good and bad, has outlived those of every governor and mayor he nominally served, with the possible exceptions of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, who had the sense to get an airport named after him, and Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, whose name speaks for itself.....“Before him, there was no Triborough Bridge, Jones Beach State Park, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, West Side Highway or Long Island parkway system or Niagara and St. Lawrence power projects. He built all of these and more.”

“Before Mr. Moses, New York State had a modest amount of parkland; when he left his position as chief of the state park system, the state had 2,567,256 acres. He built 658 playgrounds in New York City, 416 miles of parkways and 13 bridges.”

“But he was more than just a builder. Although he disdained theories, he was a major theoretical influence on the shape of the American city, because the works he created in New York proved a model for the nation at large. His vision of a city of highways and towers — which in his later years came to be discredited by younger planners — influenced the planning of cities around the nation.”

“His guiding hand made New York, known as a city of mass transit, also the nation’s first city for the automobile age.”
Robert_Moses  New_York_City  urban  urban_planning  cities  political_biographies  power_brokers  city_builders 
march 2017
How to start a business on the cheap - The Globe and Mail
DOUG STEINER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May 31, 2012

No money? Here's how you can start a business without any money.

1) Think about how to save somebody money. What do I pay for that you can teach me to do for less or for free? (e.g. helping someone renegotiate their mobile and cable bills).

2) Don't waste time. Don't watch TV or surf the Net until you've exhausted all the work that needs to done. Time wasted is money wasted. Keep a detailed log of what you do every hour of the day. Cut out wasted time and replace it with activities that will make you richer or smarter. Do you get up early? Do somebody's shopping for them at an all-night grocery store and charge them.

3) Trade skills. (e.g. If you cut hair for a living and need a website designed, find a web designer who needs haircuts).

4) Use online information aggregators to identify opportunities and customers. Online word of mouth is a great thing. You can be in Nelson, B.C., Yellowknife or in your underwear in your basement in Corner Brook and start a page on a social network or place a classified ad on Kijiji to explain what you can do.

Or identify something they aren't doing yet but might want to do as they expand their own businesses. Barbara Edwards was an assistant in a Toronto fine art gallery who began approaching respected local artists to represent them in a new gallery that she hadn't actually opened. After she got a small space, she wrote to the estate managers of several big-name deceased U.S. artists, asking if she could represent them in Canada. After meeting her, a couple

Ten years ago, I had lots of ideas and knew some stuff about business. I wrote several articles online for free and then sent them to editors at this paper. They gave me a try. Now I get paid to give advice.

Write me at dsteiner@globeandmail.com and tell me your no-money-to-success story. I'll convince my editor to let me write about you. He'll pay me and you'll get free publicity. You get it now? Once you start hustling using your brain, and see the fruits of your labour, you'll never stop.
self-discipline  productivity  howto  hustle  Doug_Steiner  bootstrapping  barter  proactivity  eat_what_you_kill  GTD  charge_for_something  side_hustles 
march 2017
Canada's big banks are no angels, but have any laws been broken? - The Globe and Mail
BARRIE MCKENNA
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

Media reports high-pressure sales tactics at Toronto-Dominion Bank and other Canadian financial institutions. Stories of tellers signing up customers to high-fee accounts and credit cards without their knowledge. Loan officers pushing clients to take on lines of credit they don’t want or need. And financial advisers selling unsuitable mutual funds to vulnerable investors. Sleazy behaviour, if true. Perhaps even illegal. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada this week warned banks to behave and launched a review of their consent and disclosure practices. .......The big banks are no angels. But what’s happening here looks a lot more like a labour-relations feud than a financial scandal. Employees are rebelling against a cutthroat sales culture that has permeated the once-staid retail operations of the big banks.

The workplace environment at TD and other major banks may well be toxic for many employees, who feel unduly stressed about meeting aggressive sales goals.
Canada  banks  Bay_Street  financial_services  toxic_behaviors  predatory_practices  regulators  organizational_culture  workplaces  disclosure  complaints  consent  consumer_protection  sleaze  Barrie_McKenna 
march 2017
Dating While Black · thewalrus.ca
BY HADIYA RODERIQUE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRISTOPHER WAHL
FEB. 15, 2017
online_dating  dating  race 
march 2017
A.I. Is Doing Legal Work. But It Won’t Replace Lawyers, Yet. - The New York Times
By STEVE LOHR MARCH 19, 2017

An artificial intelligence technique called natural language processing has proved useful in scanning and predicting what documents will be relevant to a case, for example. Yet other lawyers’ tasks, like advising clients, writing legal briefs, negotiating and appearing in court, seem beyond the reach of computerization, for a while......Highly paid lawyers will spend their time on work on the upper rungs of the legal task ladder. Other legal services will be performed by nonlawyers — the legal equivalent of nurse practitioners — or by technology.

Corporate clients often are no longer willing to pay high hourly rates to law firms for junior lawyers to do routine work. Those tasks are already being automated and outsourced, both by the firms themselves and by outside suppliers like Axiom, Thomson Reuters, Elevate and the Big Four accounting firms.....So major law firms, sensing the long-term risk, are undertaking initiatives to understand the emerging technology and adapt and exploit it.

Dentons, a global law firm with more than 7,000 lawyers, established an innovation and venture arm, Nextlaw Labs, in 2015. Besides monitoring the latest technology, the unit has invested in seven legal technology start-ups.

“Our industry is being disrupted, and we should do some of that ourselves, not just be a victim of it,” John Fernandez, chief innovation officer of Dentons, said.....Artificial intelligence has stirred great interest, but law firms today are using it mainly in “search-and-find type tasks” in electronic discovery, due diligence and contract review,
artificial_intelligence  automation  contracts  corporate_investors  Dentons  e-discovery  IBM_Watson  law  lawtech  lawyers  legal  NLP  start_ups  Steve_Lohr  technology 
march 2017
Good Schools Aren’t the Secret to Israel’s High-Tech Boom - WSJ
March 20, 2017

Israel’s shadow education system has three components. The first is our heritage of debate—it’s in the Jewish DNA. For generations Jews have studied the Talmud, our legal codex, in a way vastly different from what goes on in a standard classroom. Instead of listening to a lecture, the meaning of complex texts is debated by students in hevruta—pairs—with a teacher offering occasional guidance.

Unlike quiet Western libraries, the Jewish beit midrash—house of study—is a buzzing beehive of learning. Since the Talmud is one of the most complex legal codes ever gathered, the idea of a verdict is almost irrelevant to those studying. Students engage in debate for the sake of debate. They analyze issues from all directions, finding different solutions. Multiple answers to a single question are common. Like the Talmud itself—which isn’t the written law but a gathering of protocols—the learning process, not the result, is valued.

The second component of our shadow education system is the peer-teaches-peer model of Jewish youth organizations, membership-based groups that we call “movements.” Teenagers work closely with younger children; they lead groups on excursions and hikes, develop informal curricula, and are responsible for those in their care. As an 11th-grade student, I took fifth-graders on an overnight hike in the mountains. Being given responsibilities at a young age helped shape me into who I am today.

The third component is the army.
Israel  ksfs  education  high_schools  schools  Jewish  Talmud  protocols  Judaism  books  religion  coming-of-age  technology  science_&_technology  venture_capital  innovation  human_capital  capitalization  struggles  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  cultural_values  arduous 
march 2017
Europe Is Waving Goodbye to Sugar Cane - Bloomberg
by Agnieszka De Sousa
March 15, 2017, 8:01 PM EDT March 16, 2017,
EU  sugar  history  Caribbean  Caricom  Guyana 
march 2017
Why a Music Mogul Is Snapping Up Tiny Trade Magazines
March 19, 2017 | WSJ | By HANNAH KARP.

the music industry is mounting a comeback, one of the most powerful men in the business is snapping up some of its least flashy assets: trade publications.

Music mogul Irving Azoff and a business partner, Tim Leiweke, recently purchased Venues Today, and are in talks to buy Pollstar, people familiar with the matter said. Both outlets cover the live-music business.

Rather than simply trying to pry readers or advertisers from the music industry’s biggest trade magazine, Billboard, the two men are primarily interested in using the magazines to break into the conference business.....The surge of interest in music’s more obscure trades comes as the concert industry continues a long boom and the recorded-music business rebounds after years of declining sales. While magazines and newspapers across the board are generally struggling to compete for advertisers and readers with Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, industry trades are closely tied to the health of the businesses they cover, with the firms in those industries being their primary advertisers.

Billboard executives view the entrance of Mr. Azoff and Mr. Leiweke into music media not as a threat but as welcome validation of the music industry’s recovery, according to a person familiar with the matter, who added that Billboard’s revenue has increased 86% since 2013....Mr. Azoff is the former executive chairman of the country’s biggest concert promoter, Live Nation Entertainment Inc.; Mr. Leiweke is the former chief executive of Live Nation’s next-largest competitor, Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Messrs. Azoff and Leiweke could use conferences to help Oak View Group, their venue-management company, which collects annual fees from about two dozen arenas in exchange for sponsorships, event booking and other services.

Controlling the concert trades also allows Mr. Azoff to take on Billboard, a publication he has publicly criticized as it broadened its appeal to woo readers and bigger advertisers from outside the music industry.
music_industry  mergers_&_acquisitions  the_Eagles  M&A  trade_publications  back-house_opportunities  Tim_Leiweke  music  magazines  moguls  concerts  live_music  live_performances 
march 2017
Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe on millennial matchmaking | Evernote Web
18 March / 19 March 2017 | FT| by Alice Fishburn.

. . . Half a year in tech-app time, it’s like a normal-world five years.” What’s the solution? “You just have to run faster than it does.’’
Wolfe has surfed an extraordinary sea-change in how we approach relationships. Our phones now allow us to identify potential life companions through location, ethnic origin or hatred of the same thing and reject them just as quickly. Such opportunities come with a healthy serving of ethical and personal dilemmas.....Bumble’s USP — “truly not a gimmick”, Wolfe stresses, and timely for a feminist age — is that the woman has all the power (while both sexes swipe to show interest, only she can start a conversation). Wolfe may be firmly on-brand but she laughs wickedly at the ambitions of many tech evangelists. “So many entrepreneurs approach me and say, ‘I want to start the next big thing’, and I say, ‘Well, what are you solving?’ And oftentimes they say, ‘Oh, I’m not sure. I want to start something big.’ ” Sigh. “You can never start something big without solving something small, right? And for me, that was not being allowed to text guys first.”.....What has all this time with the data taught her about humans? “You understand when people are the happiest, the most busy, the most detached, most involved.” Sunday nights and Mondays are the busiest times on the site: “I think that’s probably really telling because that’s usually people’s downtime, when they are relaxing or when they’re feeling bummed out . . . a little bit lonely.”
Our view on the idea of technology running our love lives unsurprisingly depends on our culture. One transatlantic dater tells me that, in the US, Bumble is strongly associated with empowered women. In the UK, some moan that it just caters to lazy men.
women  entrepreneur  Tinder  Austin  dating  mobile_applications  relationships  feminism  millennials  match-making  sexism  Silicon_Valley  accelerated_lifecycles  algorithms  gestures  online_dating  downtime 
march 2017
Empty talk on innovation is killing Canada’s economic prosperity
Mar. 19, 2017 | Globe & Mail | by JIM BALSILLIE.

Immigration, traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges, tax policy, stable banking regulation and traditional trade agreements are all 19th- and 20th-century economic levers that advance Canada’s traditional industries, but they have little impact on 21st-century productivity.

The outdated economic orthodoxy behind our discourse on innovation is causing the steady erosion of our national prosperity.

Over the past 30 years, commercialization of intellectual property (IP) became the primary driver of new wealth. The structure of the 21st-century company shifted and IP became the most valuable corporate asset. IP is an intangible good that requires policy infrastructure that’s completely different than the infrastructure required to get traditional tangible goods to market. IP relies on a tightly designed ecosystem of highly technical interlocking policies focused on scaling companies, which are “agents” of innovation outputs.....Canada doesn’t have valuable IP to sell to the world so we continue exporting low-margin resource and agricultural goods while importing high-margin IP. If our leaders want to create sustainable economic growth, Canada’s growth strategy must focus on creating high-margin IP-based exports that the world wants and must pay for.........IP ownership is the competitive driver in the new global economy, not exchange rates that adjust production costs. That’s why despite the strong U.S. dollar, U.S. company valuations and exports are soaring – IP-intensive industries added $6.6-trillion (U.S.) to the U.S. economy in 2014. So what is Canada’s strategy to increase our ownership of valuable IP assets and commercialize them globally? Supply chains in the innovation economy are different than in traditional economies because IP operates on a winner-take-all economic principle with zero marginal production costs. IP is traded differently than tangible goods because IP moves across borders on the principle of restriction, not free trade. Trade liberalization increases competition and reduces prices, but increased IP protection does the exact opposite. The economy for intangible goods is fundamentally different than the one for tangible goods. Productivity in the global innovation economy is driven by new ideas that generate new revenue for new markets. What Canada needs is a strategy to turn its new ideas into new revenue.....The Growth Council missed our overriding priority for growth: a national strategy to generate IP that Canadian companies can commercialize to scale globally.

We urgently need sophisticated strategies to drive the commercialization of Canadian ideas through our most innovative companies.
revenue_generation  innovation  Jim_Balsillie  happy_talk  intellectual_property  scaling  winner-take-all  productivity  intangibles  digital_economy  ideas  self-deception  patents  commercialization  national_strategies  global_economy  property_rights  protocols  borderless  tax_codes 
march 2017
Dinner Tonight: Beer-Battered Fish Recipe | Serious Eats
For the Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
one 12-ounce can beer (ale, larger)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Fish
6 cups peanut or canola oil
1 ½ pounds skinless fillets (cod, flounder, fluke, or haddock), cut into four pieces, less than ¾-inch thick
salt and pepper
malt vinegar, or lemon

DIRECTIONS
1.
For the Batter: Whisk together flour, cornstarch, beer, egg, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Make sure there are no lumps. Cover bowl and place in fridge for at least 20 minutes, and up to 3 hours.

2.
For the Fish: Pour oil into a large dutch oven. Turn heat to medium and bring to a temperature of 375°F.

3.
Dry fish fillets with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Drop each piece into the bowl of batter.

4.
When oil is at 375°F., remove one piece of fish out with a pair of tongs, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Then lower it into the oil, holding on to it for a few seconds to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Repeat process with other fillets. Adjust heat to medium-high to keep temperature at about 350°F. Cook until fillets are golden brown, about five minutes.

5.
Drain fish fillets on a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Serve with cole slaw, malt vinegar, lemon, or whatever you like best.
beer  fish  recipes 
march 2017
Why I’m Moving Home
MARCH 16, 2017 | The New York Times | By J. D. VANCE.

" The economist Matthew Kahn has shown that in Appalachia, for instance, the highly skilled are much likelier to leave not just their hometowns but also the region as a whole. This is the classic “brain drain” problem: Those who are able to leave very often do.

The brain drain also encourages a uniquely modern form of cultural detachment. Eventually, the young people who’ve moved out marry — typically to partners with similar economic prospects. They raise children in increasingly segregated neighborhoods, giving rise to something the conservative scholar Charles Murray calls “super ZIPs.” These super ZIPs are veritable bastions of opportunity and optimism, places where divorce and joblessness are rare." ......“The sociological role [colleges and universities] play is to suck talent out of small towns and redistribute it to big cities.” There have always been regional and class inequalities in our society, but the data tells us that we’re living through a unique period of segregation....This has consequences beyond the purely material. Jesse Sussell and James A. Thomson of the RAND Corporation argue that this geographic sorting has heightened the polarization that now animates politics. This polarization reflects itself not just in our voting patterns, but also in our political culture...JD Vance has decided to move [back] home-to Ohio....."we often frame civic responsibility in terms of government taxes and transfer payments, so that our society’s least fortunate families are able to provide basic necessities. But this focus can miss something important: that what many communities need most is not just financial support, but talent and energy and committed citizens to build viable businesses and other civic institutions."
sorting  segregation  neighbourhoods  polarization  geographic_mobility  brain_drain  super_ZIPs  cultural_detachment  Rust_Belt  midwest  Red_states  whites  political_partisanship  political_polarization  working_class  J.D._Vance  highly_skilled  industrial_Midwest  Appalachia  cities  engaged_citizenry  talent  Charles_Murray  civics  social_mobility  self-perpetuation  values  opportunity_gaps  college-educated  geographic_sorting  regional  compartmentalization 
march 2017
U.K. says White House spying claims are ‘ridiculous’ - The Globe and Mail
GCHQ, based in a futuristic building located in western England, is one of three main British spy agencies alongside the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service and the MI5 Security Service.

GCHQ has a close relationship with the NSA, as well as with the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in a consortium called “Five Eyes.”
GCHQ  Five_Eyes  security_&_intelligence  United_Kingdom  White_House  Donald_Trump  lying 
march 2017
How to stay social when you’re single - The Globe and Mail
JENNIFER PATERSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2017
relationships  friendships  solo 
march 2017
Fintech Fictions, Fallacies, and Fantasies
July 20, 2015 | Subscribe to The Financial Brand for Free

A Snarketing post by Ron Shevlin

There’s No Debate

Towards the end of the Great Debate (referenced at the beginning of this post), I suggested that the question at hand–Who would rule banking: fintech or banks?–was the wrong question to ask. There is no one or the other. Banks need fintech, fintech needs banks. And banks become fintech, as fintech become banks.

In many ways, fintech is a–or the–path to reinvention for many banks. This is why a Capital One acquires design firms, or a BBVA acquires a Simple. It’s not simply to acquire the technology, and certainly not to “usurp the threat of FinTech by co-opting it.” It’s to inject new thinking and new capabilities into the company.
fin-tech  myths  fantasies  financial_services  banks  symbiosis  large_companies  new_thinking  start_ups  capabilities  Fortune_500  brands  Capital_One  design  Simple  BBVA 
march 2017
Is Your Stuff Safe in the Cloud? - WSJ
By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER
March 14, 2017

COnsider private clouds
cloud_computing  privacy  digital_storage  Dropbox  Apple  Google 
march 2017
Cyber Heroes | Ivey Alumni | Ivey Business School
Craig believes that businesses and individuals, even countries, must accept that we live in an “era of compromise.” “You have to understand that somebody already has your sensitive data, likely a former employee,” he says. “Have you rehearsed roles for when that becomes public? Does the CEO know what she needs to say? Does the IT team know what they need to do? Being prepared with an appropriate response to data loss is a leading practice that helps maintain, or even build, an organization’s reputation.”
alumni  business-continuity  CEOs  contingency_planning  cyber_security  data_breaches  insurance  Ivey  rehearsals  risks  vulnerabilities 
march 2017
Wealth Management Simplified | Ivey Alumni | Ivey Business School
It was the proceeds Katchen earned from that sale, and a love for investing dating back to his childhood, that led him to launch online investment manager Wealthsimple in September 2014.

“Investing has always been a hobby of mine,” says Katchen, the youngest of three siblings, all of whom attended Ivey. (One sister specialized in marketing, the other sister in finance, while Katchen chose the entrepreneurship stream).

Wealthsimple, now the largest online investment manager in Canada, has 60 employees, about 25,000 customers, and close to $1 billion in assets. The financial technology company offers an alternative to traditional ways of managing investments, catering to consumers – in particular Millennials – who are comfortable with online banking and investing.

Katchen has a vision to build Wealthsimple into “one of the largest and most innovative financial services firms in the world,” including plans to expand outside of Canada to places such as the U.S. and Europe.
Ivey  alumni  WealthSimple  CEOs  start_ups  personal_finance  investment_management 
march 2017
Regulator Will Start Issuing Bank Charters for Fintech Firms - WSJ
By RACHEL WITKOWSKI, TELIS DEMOS and PETER RUDEGEAIR
Updated Dec. 2, 2016
regulation  regulators  fin-tech 
march 2017
Big Companies Should Collaborate with Startups
Eddie YoonSteve Hughes
FEBRUARY 25, 2016

Growth is increasingly hard to come by, so large companies are increasingly looking to entrepreneurs to help them find it. In the food and beverage category, growth came from 20,000 small companies outside of the top 100, which together saw revenue grow by $17 billion dollars.
Despite that aggregate revenue growth, not every startup is successful — in fact, the vast majority will fail.

Ironically, startups and established companies would both improve their success rates if they collaborated instead of competed. Startups and established companies bring two distinct and equally integral skills to the table. Startups excel at giving birth to successful proof of concepts; larger companies are much better at successfully scaling proof of concepts.

Startups are better at detecting and unlocking emerging and latent demand. But they often stumble at scaling their proof of concept, not only because they’re often doing it for the first time, but also because the skills necessary for creating are not the same as scaling. Startups must be agile and adapt their value proposition several times until they get it right. According to Forbes, 58% of startups successfully figure out a clear market need for what they have.

In contrast, big companies often end up launching things they can make, not what people want.

Successful collaboration between startups and established companies must go beyond financial deals: it must be personal and mission-oriented.....areas of emerging and latent demand are often highly concentrated.... spend time physically in hotbeds specific to your sector. ....met people...walk the aisles ...... explore up and coming datasets. SPINs is a retail measurement company that covers the natural and organic grocers. Yet too many companies don’t even bother to acquire this data because they dismiss it as too small to matter.....Just as important as personal knowledge are personal relationships. ...spend time with customers....skew more toward emerging customers......connect with key people who have tight connections with both startups and established companies in your industry.....collaboration needs to be mission-oriented, meaning it has to be focused on something larger than financial success. ......Executives who wish to tap into the growth of these smaller companies will find that having a big checkbook is not going to be enough, and that waiting for an investment banker to bring them deals is the wrong approach. A mercenary mindset will only go so far. When big companies try to engage with startups, a missionary mindset will create better odds of success.
large_companies  Fortune_500  brands  scaling  start_ups  collaboration  face2face  personal_meetings  personal_touch  information_sources  personal_relationships  personal_knowledge  HBR  growth  funding  M&A  success_rates  latent  hidden  proof-of-concepts  mindsets  missionaries  mission-driven  Mondolez  cultural_clash  Gulliver_strategies 
march 2017
‘Beneficial opportunities’ are all in China’s favour
25 February 2017 | FT | Sir Christopher Ruane

This is disingenuous. Africa provides dozens of examples of lopsided investment that bolsters China politically and provides little or negative local economic benefit, from its dangerous copper mines in Zambia to the decimation of Nigerian textile manufacturing by Chinese imports. A similar pattern emerges globally.
China’s outward investment has been politically charged, socially disruptive and environmentally damaging in many ways.
disingenuous  China  Africa  textiles  letters_to_the_editor  FT  exploitation  deindustrialization  asymmetrical  dangers  predatory_practices  Zambia  Nigeria  neocolonialism  imperialism  FDI  environment  lopsided 
march 2017
Hyena capitalism receives a swift kick from the Unilever giraffe
25 February/26 February 2017 | FT| Robert Armstrong.

the rise in hyena capitalism — broadly, the emphasis on squeezing the maximum present return out of assets — is an effect of low economic growth. When the number of US workers was increasing and innovation was delivering faster productivity growth, there were lots of reasons to invest. Today it just makes more sense to focus on cost.....More generally, it may be that, since the financial crisis, spooked managements and, in the case of public companies, investors have become increasingly risk averse — more so than the state of the economy would justify. So money piles up on balance sheets, is paid as dividends, or goes to repurchase shares. Investment falls, despite the availability of cheap credit to fund new projects.
It also looks increasingly likely that the change in management incentive structures, in particular the increase in share-based incentives and shortening tenures for top executives, have made company leaders less inclined to invest. there is a risk that it could become self-reinforcing. Lack of investment affects not just future productivity, but also demand. At the extreme, if no one invests, no one earns and there is no growth. If companies are forgoing opportunities to invest, they are depriving the economy of customers with money to spend.
More insidiously, it could be that hyena capitalism undermines trust in the institutions and mores that makes corporate capitalism possible in the first place. If workers know they are regarded as dispensable cost centres, why should they commit to learning company-specific skills and procedures? Why not shirk instead? If the gains from corporate transformations go overwhelmingly to investors and financiers, why should voters support free market policies?
Capitalism needs both giraffes and hyenas. But in a time of modest growth, low productivity growth and rising inequality, one must keep an especially close eye on the hyenas.
CPG  Unilever  3G_Capital  private_equity  public_companies  consumer_goods  Kraft_Heinz  inefficiencies  capitalism  sweating_the_assets  undermining_of_trust  deprivations 
march 2017
Can 3G Capital Keep Thriving on Acquisitions and Cost Cutting? - The New York Times
By STEVEN DAVIDOFF SOLOMON MARCH 7, 2017

the larger question about 3G is whether it is possible to keep creating value by acquisition. At some point, you might think, the music stops playing.

Were that to happen, it would become clear how much long-term value is actually being created, and how much of the gains are short-term lifts from acquisitions and cost cuts. Restaurant Brands, for example, has reduced costs but revenue has remained relatively flat. Last quarter, Kraft Heinz’s revenue fell 3.7 percent.

In other words, with flat revenue, income has to come from somewhere, and you can only slash so much.

It’s a model that private equity firms don’t follow. To be sure, they also cut costs, but private equity also prides itself on revenue expansion and innovation. And the reason is simple: If the merger and acquisition pipeline dries up, so does the growth.....one has to wonder if a firm can succeed simply by cutting. To be sure there will be some gains and value made from the cuts, but eventually part of running a business means actually building something.

Like it or not, that will require spending on new products and the business itself, something 3G’s managers appear to hate above all else, as opposed to simply acquiring more companies.
3G_Capital  mergers_&_acquisitions  cost-cutting  new_products  private_equity 
march 2017
‘An Anthropologist on Wall Street’ — Cultural Anthropology
Tett, Gillian. "‘An Anthropologist on Wall Street’." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, May 16, 2012.

Anthropology can be extremely useful for understanding the contemporary financial world because of all the micro-level communities—or ‘tribes’ to use the cliché term—that are cropping up around the financial system....The event pulled together bankers from all over. They staged formalized rituals with PowerPoint presentations, but also engaged in informal rituals like chitchat in the wings.

As they came together and talked, these bankers were creating a network of ties. But they were also inventing a new language they felt made them distinctive from everyone else. The way they talked about credit was to emphasize the numbers and to quite deliberately exclude any mention of social interaction from the debate and discussion. In the first couple of days I sat there, they almost never mentioned the human borrower who was at the end of that securitization chain. They were also very exclusive. There was a sense that ‘we alone have mastery over this knowledge’....Part two of the CDO gospel was that bankers had had this sudden inspiration that they should stop concentrating credit risk and find ways to scatter it across the system....Looking back there were many elements of securitization that were evidently flawed. The tools bankers were using to disburse risk across the system were themselves very opaque and complex. The very way by which they disbursed risk was actually introducing new risk into the system.......fundamental contradiction at the very heart of the system that almost nobody spotted. Why not? To put it crudely, because there were too few anthropologists, using basic anthropological techniques, trying to understand what was going on. Having an anthropological perspective is very useful. The very nature of anthropology is to try to connect up the dots. That’s something that most modern bureaucrats, most bankers, and most company executives are not able to do, precisely because they’re so darn busy running around in their silos.
Wall_Street  Gillian_Tett  anthropologists  financial_system  securitization  finance  ethnographic  insights  CDOs  connecting_the_dots  cultural_anthropology  anthropology  tribes  silo_mentality 
march 2017
Don't kid yourself that robots are colleagues
4 March 2017/5 March 2017 | Financial Times | by John Thornhill

Lunch with the FT: Daniel Dennett
Cambrian_explosion  philosophers  philosophy  artificial_intelligence  transparency  privacy  institutions 
march 2017
Oxford Diary
4 March / 5 March | Financial Times | Madhumita Murgia.

The goals is to build a conversation around change, to make technological change less scary, to make sure people don't feel left behind because of technology---do this within 26 hrs.....In the Cotswolds, too, senior British media executive tells me his own experience of working with YouTubers "was more like a one-night stand than a marriage". "We use each other for numbers and legitimacy, but the question is will they ever understand the subtler issues of traditional programming? Rules? Political correctness?.....A government adviser tells me that they are afraid that AI will change the relationship between state and citizen....Algorithms helping governments make important social decisions. Algorithms are a kind of black box and that government many not be able to explain its choices when questioned.
Google  future  conferences  change  handpicked  entrepreneur  ISIS  civil_servants  algorithms  YouTube  mass_media  digital_media  artificial_intelligence  biases  value_judgements  large_companies  print_journalism  technological_change  cultural_clash 
march 2017
The A.I. ecosystem | Computerworld
By Kris Hammond, star Advisor, Computerworld | MAY 11, 2015
ecosystems  artificial_intelligence 
march 2017
Freeland moves from the Davos bubble to the real world - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017
......the Davos consensus (i.e. open borders, combined with activist government policies to redistribute income and promote social mobility, are the keys to ensuring global growth and stability. Ethnic and religious diversity as linchpins of modernity, not threats to social cohesion).

It is also a vision inimical to the Trump administration and senior Trump adviser Stephen Bannon, who is tasked with keeping white working-class voters on board the Trump train. In the Bannon world view, globalism, diversity and the nanny state have eroded everything that once made America great. He admires Russian President Vladimir Putin’s skillful cultivation of ethnic and religious nationalism and wants to revive their domestic counterparts in America.....Rex Tillerson has been criticized for putting Texas-based Exxon’s bottom line ahead of U.S. national security interests. But as CEO, that was his job. If he applies himself as effectively on behalf of his country, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be ruthlessly focused. Realpolitik, not values, will dictate policy. Canada may be an afterthought.

Ms. Freeland will need to direct all of her abundant energy to earn the trust of both Mr. Bannon and Mr. Tillerson. The Trump people have no particular animus toward Canada – but they will not do us any favours either on softwood lumber exports or renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement.
cabinets  in_the_real_world  Davos  WEF  Chrystia_Freeland  Donald_Trump  Rex_Tillerson  Konrad_Yakabuski  Exxon  CEOs  NAFTA  Realpolitik  U.S.foreign_policy  whites  social_cohesion  Stephen_Bannon  working_class  open_borders 
march 2017
Connecting Trump’s Dots to Russia - The New York Times
Nicholas Kristof MARCH 9, 2017
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Nicholas_Kristof  Donald_Trump  Russia  connecting_the_dots 
march 2017
The Bombs of Steve Bannon
MARCH 10, 2017 | The New York Times | Timothy Egan.
Stephen_Bannon  Donald_Trump  Thomas_Cromwell  Tudors 
march 2017
What Romantic Regime Are You In?
MARCH 7, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

In Russia, people tend to regard love as a sort of divine madness that descends from the heavens. Love is regarded... as “a destiny, a moral act and a value; it is irresistible, it requires sacrifice and implies suffering and pain....In America people tend to ask: Does a partner fulfill your needs? Do you feel comfortable asserting your rights in the relationship? Does your partner check the right boxes?

While Russians pursue a "Regime of Fate", Americans seek a "Regime of Choice".....The most important requirement for choice is not the availability of multiple options...but the existence of a savvy, sovereign chooser who is well aware of his needs and who acts on the basis of self-interest. Brooks sees those who have mastered the notion of lifelong commitment to belong to a third regime, one he calls the Regime of Covenants in which a covenant is not a choice, but a life-altering promise and all the binding the promise entails.....In the Regime of Covenants, making the right one-time selection is less important than the ongoing action to serve the relationship.

The Covenant people tend to have a “we” consciousness. The good of the relationship itself comes first and the needs of the partner are second and the individual needs are third. The covenant only works if each partner, as best as possible, puts the other’s needs above his or her own, with the understanding that the other will reciprocate....Covenant Regimes require a framework in which exit is not an easy option, in which you’re assured the other person’s love is not going away, and in which the only way to survive the crises is to go deeper into the relationship itself.

The final feature of a covenant is that the relationship is not just about itself; it serves some larger purpose. The obvious one in many cases is raising children. But the deeper one is transformation. People in such a covenant try to love the other in a way that brings out their loveliness. They hope that through this service they’ll become a slightly less selfish version of themselves.
romantic_love  David_Brooks  reciprocity  self-interest  serving_others  covenants  Russia  lifelong  marriage  relationships  commitments  sacrifice  transformational  parenting 
march 2017
Samuel L. Jackson and Others on Black British Actors in American Roles - The New York Times
By CHRISTOPHER D. SHEA MARCH 9, 2017
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actors  Black_British  African-Americans  Hollywood  diversity  visible_minorities  television  films  movies 
march 2017
Harvard Law, Moving to Diversify Applicant Pool, Will Accept GRE Scores - The New York Times
By ELIZABETH OLSON MARCH 8, 2017

Harvard Law School, moving to open its doors to a larger, more diverse pool of applicants, said on Wednesday that it would accept the graduate record examination, known as the GRE, for the admission of students entering its fall 2018 class.

The law school, whose alumni include senators, chief executives, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and President Barack Obama, is the second accredited law school in the United States to accept the GRE for admission. It follows the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, which made the change a year ago.

At the time, Arizona’s decision provoked a heated debate in the legal profession, which has long supported the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, over whether that test should be relied on as a single valid predictor of law school success.

Since Arizona’s move, around 150 law school deans, including Martha Minow of Harvard Law, have expressed support for the change. Now Harvard Law is taking the same step. The school said it would start a pilot program in the fall, when students begin submitting applications for the three-year juris doctor program that begins in 2018.

The change “will encourage more students in the United States and internationally from a greater degree of disciplines to apply,” said Jessica Soban, assistant dean and chief admissions officer. Applicants who want to can still submit LSAT scores.
Harvard  law_schools  diversity  applicants  standardized_testing  HLS  pilot_programs 
march 2017
Machine learning, algorithms drive this advertising company’s growth - The Globe and Mail
MARK BUNTING
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Mar. 08, 2017

What is programmatic advertising?

Canadian company AcuityAds Holdings Inc. (AT-X) is at the forefront of that transformation. It specializes in what’s called programmatic advertising where algorithms are used to allow advertisers to target, connect with, and accumulate data about their campaigns and their audiences. One of AcuityAds’ co-founders has a PhD in machine learning and algorithms. It’s one of the reasons the company believes its patented technology stands out from its peers.....
A happy advertiser spends more money

“The whole idea was build the algorithm in a way that delivers a positive ROI for clients,” Mr. Hayek says. “As long as they get a positive ROI, they’re going to spend more with us. And that’s proven itself to be a very good concept because we deal with advertisers. When they make money using our system, they’re very happy and they spend more money on our systems.”

Risks

Is Mr. Hayek concerned that in the fast-growing, rapidly changing sector in which AcuityAds operates, a new technology or unforeseen competitor could emerge to disrupt its model?

“Digital advertising is an $83-billion (U.S.) market place. $51-billion out of that is already programmatic,” Mr. Hayek explains. “All the pipes are already built, it was a fundamental shift that this is how we do this kind of business.”
machine_learning  algorithms  ad-tech  advertising  programmatic  risks 
march 2017
Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera - The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART MARCH 8, 2017

The rising dependence on cameras & picture-based communications system is changing the way we communicate and could alter society in big ways. ...Snap’s success or failure isn’t going to be determined this week or even this year. This is a company that’s betting on a long-term trend: the rise and eventual global dominance of visual culture.Snap calls itself a camera company. That’s a bit cute, considering that it only just released an actual camera, the Spectacles sunglasses, late last year. Snap will probably build other kinds of cameras, including potentially a drone.

But it’s best to take Snap’s camera company claim seriously, not literally. Snap does not necessarily mean that its primary business will be selling a bunch of camera hardware. It’s not going to turn into Nikon, Polaroid or GoPro. Instead it’s hit on something deeper and more important. Through both its hardware and software, Snap wants to enable the cultural supremacy of the camera, to make it at least as important to our daily lives as the keyboard.....the rising dependence on cameras is changing our language. Other than in face-to-face communication, we used to talk primarily in words. Now, more and more, from GIFs to emoji, selfies to image-macro memes and live video, we talk in pictures.
Farhad_Manjoo  Snap  Snapchat  visual_culture  cameras  big_bets  Communicating_&_Connecting  IPOs  Ikea  trends  Instagram  imagery  Polaroid 
march 2017
White House Echoes Tech: ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ - The New York Times
Charles Duhigg
ADVENTURES IN CAPITALISM MARCH 8, 2017

It remains to be seen, however, whether Mr. Trump will successfully transition from a start-up to a mature commander in chief. Just as Uber and other young tech firms have stumbled while growing, so Mr. Trump seems, right now, in over his head at the White House.

But understanding these early missteps — and how start-up thinking vaulted Mr. Trump into power — is important, because it gives us a lens into the strengths and weaknesses of management techniques that are increasingly being imitated by other industries around the world.

Put differently, the president’s success has demonstrated the strength of the start-up philosophy. But is it a good or a bad thing if Mr. Trump becomes the first political unicorn?....The Trump team’s embrace of Silicon Valley philosophy goes much deeper. As Mr. Trump’s campaign gained steam, for instance, top officials began a dedicated effort to study the tactics of successful digital advocacy groups, particularly the left-leaning Moveon.org, as well as #BlackLivesMatter, to reverse engineer methods for rapidly mobilizing voters.....The influence of start-up philosophy on Mr. Trump’s team extends to day-to-day management. The campaign and the White House have looked to tech industry management techniques to empower staff members to start policy initiatives, to conduct rapid digital tests, and to push fund-raising and advertising campaigns without seeking authorization from senior officials.....
White_House  Campaign_2016  disruption  Silicon_Valley  Donald_Trump  Sam_Altman  reverse_engineering  Y_Combinator  digital_advocacy  Black_Lives_Matter  missteps 
march 2017
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