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Guardiola: what Britain can learn from football’s philosopher king
Janan Ganesh

JANUARY 5, 2018

Guardiola’s mastery of the English Premier League is a chastening moment in national life. His foreignness is beside the point. The most cosmopolitan league in the world’s most global game is used to coaches, owners and players of exotic provenance. The sore point is his footballing style, or “philosophy”, as the sport grandiloquently puts it. He cherishes skill over physicality, baroque passing patterns over aerial punts, detailed tactics over raw volume of sweat. In short, he rejects what used to be known as the British way.
soccer  strategic_thinking  Janan_Ganesh  cosmopolitan  English_Premier_League 
january 2018
Globish just doesn’t cut it any more
January 10th| FT | by Simon Kuper.

12 HOURS AGO

Globish: a simple, dull, idiom-free, cripplingly accented version of English with a small vocabulary. .....“What is well articulated in English on the internet becomes ‘truth,’” says Japanese writer Minae Mizumura in The Fall of Language in the Age of English.
millennials  English-speaking  machine_translation  English  Simon_Kuper 
january 2018
The temptation of Oprah Winfrey
January 10, 2018 | FT | by Edward Luce.

[Oprah Winfrey & Donald Trump] share a disqualifying trait: they are celebrities with no experience in politics. If Ms Winfrey is the answer to Mr Trump, what was the question?

I mean no disrespect to famous people. America invented the celebrity and nobody does it as well. But America also came up with modern democracy. The problem is that celebrity culture is taking over politics, which is a dead loss for governing.....But there is nothing in Ms Winfrey’s background that would equip her to tackle the future of work, or the rise of China. All a Winfrey administration would bring is personal brand destruction. What is at stake is America’s ability to govern itself sensibly. The US constitution was designed to exclude mob rule. The people should have their say — but with safeguards. It was set up precisely to stop someone like Mr Trump from taking over. The fact that many Americans do not know this underlines the point. The popular view is that the US was founded as a democracy. In fact, it was born as a constitutional republic. There is a big difference. America’s founding fathers feared the demagogue. Their system worked until 2016. Now it is in jeopardy.
speeches  Edward_Luce  Oprah_Winfrey  African-Americans  demagoguery  founding_fathers  women  celebrities  Donald_Trump  politics 
january 2018
In the fashion industry, McShopping has gone global - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2017

invaded by the same global chains that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. In the main shopping districts of Paris, Madrid, London or Toronto, the invasion of the same global chains (e.g. Zara, H&M, Primark & Uniqlo) that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. It's destroying the visual identities of cities once visited for their unique charm.

The cheap-chic revolution has brought affordable fashion to the masses and, thanks to better monitoring of offshore factories, provided millions of decent jobs in developing countries. It also has its downsides. Massive amounts of "disposable" clothing end up in landfills each year. When clothes are this cheap, we don't think twice about chucking what we bought last month for something even trendier. Instead of four fashion seasons, we now have at least 12...... department stores are a dying breed. Those that survive will likely only do so by going global.
Konrad_Yakabuski  fast-fashion  fashion  apparel  retailers  department_stores  brands  globalization  concentration  identity  Uniqlo  H&M  HBC  Zara  Paris  Madrid  London  Toronto  disposability  Primark  uniqueness  J.Crew 
january 2018
Do less this year but do it better
January 7, 2018 | FT| Andrew Hill.

Accumulating multiple commitments poses other risks, too. If you try to do more than one thing, you will not be as efficient as if you concentrated on a single task. A 2001 paper found that people toggling between tasks took longer to solve complex maths problems than those who concentrated on one job.....Doing less “comes with this harsh requirement that . . . you have to obsess [about what you choose to do],”.........people who pursued a strategy of “do less, then obsess” ranked 25 percentage points higher than those who did not embrace the practice. ....Beware the danger of collaborating too little — or too much.....Sometimes achieving more requires more than individual effort. Managers can play a role in helping thier employees exercise self-discipline. Too often, organizations measure success by volume of work done — the law firm’s billable hours, say — or try to match the size of a team to the perceived importance of the project. Sometimes, though, the best approach may be to simplify a process, cut the size of a team, or impose a new strategic focus. How can you and your team achieve more this year? Try taking something away: impose constraints.
Antartica  busyness  commitments  constraints  monotasking  obsessions  overcommitted  overwhelmed  productivity  resolutions  Roald_Amundsen  self-discipline  South_Pole  teams 
january 2018
With Sale, Essence Is Once Again a Fully Black-Owned Magazine
JAN. 3, 2018 | The New York Times | By SANDRA E. GARCIA.

Essence magazine is once again a fully black-owned publication.

The magazine, a mainstay of black culture for almost half a century, was bought by Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Sundial Brands, a large personal-care products company, from Time Inc.,
black-owned  magazines  digital_media  African-Americans  Essence  owners  publishing 
january 2018
The Limits of Amazon
Jan. 1, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

Amazon’s core mission as a data-driven instant-gratification company. Its fanaticism for customer experience is enabled by every technology the company can get its hands on, from data centers to drones. Imagine the data-collecting power of Facebook wedded to the supply-chain empire of Wal-Mart—that’s Amazon.

There is one major problem with the idea that Amazon-will-eat-the-entire-universe, however. Amazon is good at identifying commodity products and making those as cheap and available as possible. “Your margin is my opportunity” is one of Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’s best-known bon mots. But this system isn’t very compatible with big-ticket, higher-margin items.....

How Amazon Does It
Amazon now increasingly makes its money by extracting a percentage from the sales of other sellers on its site. It has become a platform company like Facebook Inc. or Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which serve as marketplaces for businesses with less reach of their own.....Eventually, Amazon could become the ultimate platform for retail, the “retail cloud” upon which countless other online retail businesses are built....Think of Amazon as an umbrella company composed of disconnected and sometimes competing businesses, though critically they can access common infrastructure, including the retail platform and cloud services.

Ultimately, these smaller businesses must feed the core mission. Amazon’s video business isn’t just its own potential profit center; it’s also a way to keep people in Amazon’s world longer, where they spend more money,

What Amazon Can’t Do
Ultimately, the strategies that allow Amazon to continue growing will also be its limitation. “If the platform needs to be one-size-fits-all across many, many different product categories, it becomes difficult to create specific experiences for different kinds of products,”
contra-Amazon  Amazon  strengths  data_driven  instant_gratification  customer_experience  platforms  one-size-fits-all  limitations  Jeff_Bezos  weaknesses  commoditization  third-party  Christopher_Mims 
january 2018
Start Spreading the News: Digital Fuels Superstar Cities - CIO Journal. WSJ
Dec 29, 2017 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Superstar companies are primarily driven by economies of scale, generally achieved through platforms and network effects. Whenever a product, service or process is captured in software and digitized, it becomes digital capital and the economics of abundance take over. The more products or services a platform offers, the more users it will attract, helping it then attract more offerings from ecosystem partners, which in turn brings in more users.....The result is that a small number of companies become category kings dominating the rest of their competitors in their particular market – the Facebooks, Googles, Twitters, Ubers and AirBnbs. Category kings generally take over 70 percent of the total market value in their category, leaving everyone else to split the remaining 30 percent.

“Cities have been caught up in this winner-take-all phenomenon, too,” noted Mr. Florida. “Just as the economy confers disproportionate rewards to superstar talent, superstar cities… similarly tower above the rest. They generate the greatest levels of innovation, control and attract the largest shares of global capital and investment.”

Network dynamics apply to cities just as they do for companies and talent. “They have unique kinds of economies that are based around the most innovative and highest value-added industries, particularly finance, media, entertainment and tech; businesses in superstar cities are formed and scaled up more quickly. All of this attracts still more industries and more talent. It’s a powerful, ongoing feedback loop that compounds the advantages of these cities over time.”

But, such a concentration of talent, wealth and economic activity in fewer and fewer places has led to what a recent Economist issue called the changing economies of geography, the rising inequalities between a relatively small number of superstar cities and the many towns and regions that have been left behind by technology and globalization.
Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  cities  winner-take-all  platforms  superstars  network_effects  disproportionality  geographic_concentration  geographic_inequality  feedback_loops  compounded  increasing_returns_to_scale  digitalization 
january 2018
How Retailers Can Thrive in the Age of Amazon - WSJ
By Stephen Moore
Dec. 15, 2017

How can a retailer flourish in such a daunting environment? By providing “emotional fulfillment,” = the joy customers take in seeing, touching, sniffing and testing the product before they pull out the credit card. A computer can’t match that experience...“We are social animals. We aren’t robots who are going to make all our purchases from robots.”

Somewhat counterintuitively....e-commerce is “not our enemy” but is becoming complementary to retail. Here’s his challenge to anyone who thinks digital sales are set to crush the old analog kind: ...If that isn’t enough, he adds: “Guess what’s one of our most successful stores we just opened up three months ago? Amazon. They already mastered online book sales. Why are they creating a physical presence? Because they know they need to connect and fuse with you as a consumer.” That’s what he means by emotional fulfillment.

He sketches out a strategy for retail in the digital age. It starts with making the mall an appealing place to visit. Parking is free, he says, and the stores are full of helpful employees. “We tell our retailers that one of the primary value added of retail shopping is the expertise that the salesclerks can offer customers,” he says, “They better be knowledgeable about what they are selling, or people will go online or to a discount store.” He urges his tenants to pay well more than the minimum wage to attract better employees, and he says most of them do
retailers  Amazon  contra-Amazon  shopping_malls  e-commerce  bricks-and-mortar  emotional_connections 
january 2018
The Right Way to Pack for Travel - The New York Times
By MICHELLE HIGGINSJUNE 28, 2017

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travel  tips  packing 
december 2017
What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami -
DEC. 20, 2017 | The New York Times | Farhad Manjoo.

Manjoo posits that the Republican tax bill is the wrong fix for the wrong problem, given how tech is altering society and the economy....The bill (the parachute) does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement (the tsunami) that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.....some in Silicon Valley think the giants misplayed their hand in the legislation. In pursuing short-term tax advantages, they missed a chance to advocate policies that might have more broadly benefited many of their customers — and improved their images, too......This gets back to that looming tsunami. Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the “gig” economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb....technology is changing work in a few ways. First, it’s altering the type of work that people do — for instance, creating a boom in e-commerce warehouse jobs in large metro areas while reducing opportunities for retail workers in rural areas. Technology has also created more uncertainty around when people work and how much they’ll get paid.
Farhad_Manjoo  preparation  job_loss  job_displacement  Silicon_Valley  tax_codes  corporate_concentration  platforms  income_inequality  short-sightedness  e-commerce  cloud_computing  artificial_intelligence  gig_economy  precarious  automation  uncertainty  universal_basic_income  digitalization  Apple  Amazon  Netflix  Microsoft  Facebook  Alphabet  Google  inconsistent_incomes  Big_Tech  FAANG 
december 2017
China falls for the charms of an English education
December 20, 2017 | Financial Times | FREDERICK STUDEMANN.

Westminster School in London had signed an agreement to set up six new establishments in China in the next decade, the latest example of a British private school embracing the biggest education market in the world.

Under the terms of an ambitious deal, Westminster will export its successful teaching methods to Chengdu and other cities. In return the school will boost its bursary funds, making more money available to help families on lower incomes access an education at one of the UK’s leading — and pricier — academic independent schools...The venture sits within an initiative to promote collaboration between future leaders of both countries.

This all seems to tick many boxes. These range from a need for a “global Britain” to seize new opportunities, to Westminster acquiring the means to fulfil its obligations as a charity to make its schooling as widely available as possible.

The move is also in keeping with a broader trend. For years now British schools have been operating offshoots in China (and elsewhere), selling various brands of top-drawer education directly in to fast-growing markets....a broader question closer to home: what are overseas parents actually paying for? As the numbers of foreign students have increased, schools have adapted to their new customers. At what point do they lose the qualities that attracted overseas students in the first place?
United_Kingdom  education  globalization  China  high_schools  Brexit 
december 2017
Knowing what we don’t know is an important investing skill,
DECEMBER 19, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | Scott Barlow, Globe and Mail market strategist.

"Making short-term predictions about how a price chart reflecting the actions of millions of people will fluctuate is more than just hard. The word Mandelbrot uses is "unpredictable" rather than difficult. Again: not predictable… Mandelbrot is not saying that investors should throw their hands in the air and quit, but rather that they should use the tools of probability in a more refined and nuanced way… Risk comes from now knowing what you are doing and avoiding those areas [that are inherently unpredictable] is a very good thing."

Mr. Mandelbrot's concepts do not make for easy reading and I don't pretend to understand even a majority of their implications. It is important, I think, for investors to have a general understanding of his findings nonetheless.

For one thing, Mr. Mandelbrot's work throws a huge wrench into Modern Portfolio Theory, the highly popular efficient frontier investing strategies that use distribution curves and standard deviation as a measure of risk. As Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger said, "if you think [distribution curves] apply to markets, then you must believe in the tooth fairy. It reminds me of when I asked a doctor at a medical school why he was still teaching an outdated procedure, and he replied, 'It's easier to teach.' "
investing  risks  financial_markets  investors  Charlie_Munger  unpredictability  pretense_of_knowledge  unknowns 
december 2017
Actually, You Do Want to Know How This Sausage Gets Made
DEC. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By VERONIQUE GREENWOOD.
sausages  cured_and_smoked 
december 2017
A Rainmaker Seeks to Grow His Firm at a Time of Big Media and Tech Deals - The New York Times
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCEDDEC. 17, 2017

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rainmaking  John_Malone  moguls  dealmakers  investment_banking  boutiques  Wall_Street 
december 2017
The Trouble with Optionality | Opinion | Commencement 2017 | The Harvard Crimson
By MIHIR A. DESAI May 25, 2017

This emphasis on creating optionality can backfire in surprising ways. Instead of enabling young people to take on risks and make choices, acquiring options becomes habitual. You can never create enough option value—and the longer you spend acquiring options, the harder it is to stop. The Yale undergraduate goes to work at McK for two years, then comes to HBS, then graduates and goes to work Goldman Sachs and leaves after several years to work at Blackstone. Optionality abounds!

This individual has merely acquired stamps of approval and has acquired safety net upon safety net. These safety nets don’t end up enabling big risk-taking—individuals just become habitual acquirers of safety nets. The comfort of a high-paying job at a prestigious firm surrounded by smart people is simply too much to give up. When that happens, the dreams that those options were meant to enable slowly recede into the background. For a few, those destinations are in fact their dreams come true—but for every one of those, there are ten entrepreneurs, artists, and restaurateurs that get trapped in those institutions......optionality is a means to an end.
....The shortest distance between two points is reliably a straight line. If your dreams are apparent to you, pursue them. Creating optionality and buying lottery tickets are not way stations on the road to pursuing your dreamy outcomes. They are dangerous diversions that will change you....By emphasizing optionality...students ignore the most important life lesson from finance: the pursuit of alpha. Alpha is the macho finance shorthand for an exemplary life. It is the excess return earned beyond the return required given risks assumed. It is finance nirvana.

But what do we know about alpha? In short, it is very hard to attain in a sustainable way and the only path to alpha is hard work and a disciplined dedication to a core set of beliefs. ....one never even knows if one has attained alpha......Ultimately, finding a pursuit that can sustain that illusion of alpha is all we can ask for in a life’s work.....So, give up on optionality and lottery tickets and go for alpha. Our elite graduates need to understand that they’ve already been winners in the lottery of life—and they certainly don’t need any more safety nets.
optionality  Mihir_Desai  drawbacks  safety_nets  alpha  straight-lines  hard_work  self-discipline  life_lessons 
december 2017
‘The Wisdom of Finance’, by Mihir Desai
Review by Gillian Tett

JULY 17, 2017
The Wisdom of Finance offers a thoughtful explanation of how money works that recognises how perverted the industry can be, but which also argues that “there is great value — and there are great values — in finance”.

Desai does this by using a clever and unusual device: literature. Most notably, he explains how money works by citing stories ranging from Chaucer to Jane Austen to the 1988 film Working Girl. He knows that stories are a powerful narrative device. But the wider philosophical point is, Desai argues, that one of the great failings of our modern world is a “chasm” between the arts and science, and between finance and humanities. This prevents financiers from understanding the social context in which they operate. It also means that non-financiers do not understand how finance drives our world, or the fact that money encapsulates and crystallises social patterns and values. “
books  book_reviews  finance  Gillian_Tett  humanities  Mihir_Desai  non-financial  storytelling 
december 2017
Mihir Desai explains the Wisdom of Finance | FT Alphaville
ERDAY By: Matthew C Klein

The theme of the book, and of our conversation, is that finance is a humanistic discipline. It deals with the same question that philosophy and literature have grappled with for thousands of years: how can we mortals thrive in a world full of danger?

The textbook answers finance provides to this question might be filled with maths and specialist jargon, but Desai’s point is that the concepts should be familiar to anyone.

We covered a lot of ground, including but not limited to:

The connection between poetry and insurance
What it means to create value
The power of leverage
The benefits of bankruptcy
The ways that finance can improve or derange people’s personalities
finance  Misir_Desai  HBS  humanities 
december 2017
Disney Makes $52.4 Billion Deal for 21st Century Fox in Big Bet on Streaming
DEC. 14, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES.

The Walt Disney Company said on Thursday that it had reached a deal to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox, the conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, in an all-stock transaction valued at roughly $52.4 billion.

While the agreement is subject to the approval of antitrust regulators — and the Justice Department recently moved to block a big media company from becoming even bigger — the once unthinkable acquisition promises to reshape Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It is the biggest counterattack from a traditional media company against the tech giants that have aggressively moved into the entertainment business.

Disney now has enough muscle to become a true competitor to Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook in the fast-growing realm of online video.
Disney  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  streaming  mass_media  antitrust  21st_Century_Fox  Department_of_Justice 
december 2017
Ten Years Out
December 5 2017 | FT | By Gideon Rachman, James Kynge, Vanessa Houlder and Richard Waters.

From massive migration to prying governments, businesses will have to weather startling changes over the next decade.....It can be difficult, when assailed daily by news of populism, terrorism and cyber hacking, to look to anything beyond the next crisis. Yet business leaders need to focus on the future. What, for example, does it mean for employers that by 2027, Africa’s population will have grown by a third and Europe’s will have flatlined? How will companies cope when governments expect them to gather more staff data and play ever larger roles in enforcing tax laws?

In Ten Years Out, four senior FT journalists outline what they see as the biggest challenges that no chief executive will be able to ignore. They also provide some tips on how companies can best prepare themselves for the changes that are coming.
forecasting  trends  CEOs  challenges  migration  tax  artificial_intelligence  China  Richard_Waters 
december 2017
Review: New biography Leonardo da Vinci examines the archetypal Renaissance Man - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL HARRIS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 3, 2017

Da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance Man, ignoring the borders of science and art. His promiscuous curiosity was – well, the stuff of genius......Isaacson argues that da Vinci is history's greatest creative genius and, given the evidence amassed in this 600-page work, one would be hard-pressed to argue.....da Vinci's genius springs from his disregard for categories. Whereas a visual artist today would be encouraged by a hundred confounding factors to "stay in her lane" and pursue visual art for its own sake, da Vinci would have been disgusted by such constraints. Science was no distraction; in fact, science fed his paintings.....da Vinci had a reverence for the wholeness of nature and a feel for the harmony of its patterns, which he saw replicated in phenomena large and small."......Da Vinci's was a world where life held knowable patterns. Dig deep enough, expend enough honest curiosity, and the mysteries of the universe began to unfurl. .....The book – as approachable as it is enlightening – achieves something similar; it inspires the reader to become more curious about the patterns underlying its subject – just as da Vinci was curious about the patterns underlying everything else.
biographies  books  book_reviews  creativity  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medici  patterns  pattern_recognition  polymaths  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  transgressiveness  Walter_Isaacson 
december 2017
Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 4, 2017

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration  silo_mentality 
december 2017
What you should know about driving on winter tires - The Globe and Mail
JASON TCHIR
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 22 HOURS AGO
winter  driving  safety 
december 2017
Windfall, by Meghan O’Sullivan
Windfall: How the New Energy Abundance Upends Global Politics and Strengthens America’s Power, by Meghan L O’Sullivan, Simon and Schuster $29.00

the shale revolution has meant the US has become a leading global oil producer and net exporter of natural gas. Extraction from shale rock has upended global oil and gas markets, but could also have geopolitical ramifications. For most of the 20th century, western powers were locked in a scramble for oil across the globe. So what happens when technology unlocks substantial supply on home turf?

According to Meghan O’Sullivan, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, the answer is a geopolitical shift that should benefit the US. She provides a powerful argument for how America should capitalize on the “New Energy Abundance”. Having a domestic supply of oil and gas not only strengthens the US economy, it can also provide leverage globally......US gas has transferred low prices to Europe and also offers an alternative source of supply. That “has helped make Europe less vulnerable to one of Russia’s longstanding foreign policy tools — the political manipulation of natural gas markets”, O’Sullivan writes......the book details the benefits to US “hard” as well as “soft” power,....It will not lead to reduced US involvement in the Middle East, .....Nor can the US ever be self-sufficient to provide all the oil it needs,.....The book points out that energy is likely to be a major future determinant of geopolitics....China’s One Belt One Road project shows Xi Jinping’s intent to change the strategic orientation of the Eurasian landmass......a challenge to O’Sullivan’s thesis is that renewables and electric vehicles could drive seismic shifts. If China becomes the Saudi Arabia of batteries, will this give it greater influence? What about those who control the raw materials needed, from lithium to cobalt? O’Sullivan hints at this in her introduction, saying we should expect renewables “eventually to have major repercussions for global politics”. These could include cartels around lithium or the state collapse of some oil producers.
nonfiction  books  fracking  energy  natural_gas  soft_power  policy_tools  shale_oil  hydraulic_fracturing  pipelines  oil_industry  geopolitics  renewable  electric_cars  batteries  One_Belt_One_Road  Xi_Jinping 
december 2017
Lost Einsteins: The Innovations We’re Missing -
DEC. 3, 2017 | The New York Times | David Leonhardt.

societies have a big interest in making sure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to become scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs. It’s not only a matter of fairness. Denying opportunities to talented people can end up hurting everyone.

.....Raj Chetty....is a Stanford professor who helps lead the Equality of Opportunity Project.... considered among the most important research efforts in economics today.....The project’s latest paper, out Sunday, looks at who becomes an inventor — and who doesn’t. The results are disturbing....The key phrase in the research paper is “lost Einsteins.” It’s a reference to people who could “have had highly impactful innovations” if they had been able to pursue the opportunities they deserved.....children who excelled in math were far more likely to become inventors. But being a math standout wasn’t enough. Only the top students who also came from high-income families had a decent chance to become an inventor.

This fact may be the starkest: Low-income students who are among the very best math students — those who score in the top 5 percent of all third graders — are no more likely to become inventors than below-average math students from affluent families:

....“There are great differences in innovation rates,” Chetty said. “Those differences don’t seem to be due to innate ability to innovate.” Or as Steve Case — the entrepreneur who’s now investing in regions that venture capital tends to ignore — told me when I called him to discuss the findings: “Creativity is broadly distributed. Opportunity is not.” [or life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.]
innovation  equality_of_opportunity  Steve_Case  Albert_Einstein  achievement_gaps  affluence  high-income  low-income  mathematics  capitalization  human_potential  inventions  inventiveness  inventors  creativity  quotes  unevenly_distributed 
december 2017
How to Build a Successful Team - Business Guides - The New York Times
By Adam Bryant

Make a Plan
You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.

HIRING WELL ISN'T ENOUGH - Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team, of course, and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator.

But managing a team is not that simple. Leaders have to play a far more hands-on role to make sure the group works well together and remains focused on the right priorities.

CREATE A CLEAR MAP - Leaders owe their teams an answer to .....“Where are we going and how are we going to get there?” In other words, what is the goal and how are we going to measure progress along the way? ..... What does success look like? If you were to set up a scoreboard to track success over time, what would it measure?

The trouble often starts when leaders start listing five or seven or 11 priorities. As Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management books “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” is fond of saying: “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”

HAVE A SHARED SCOREBOARD - Another benefit of having a simple plan is that it creates a shared goal that will offset the tendency of people to identify themselves as part of smaller groups. Think of a football team, for example. There are many “tribes” within a team – offense and defense, linemen and receivers, running backs and defensive backs. But because the goal of the team is clear, and there’s an external scoreboard to track progress, there is a greater sense of “us” on the team than the “us and them” dynamic that can often divide colleagues in companies.

“Metrics are actually the way that you can harmonize a large number of people, whether it’s dozens or even thousands,

YOU MAY FEEL LIKE A BROKEN RECORD--Once you have a simple plan... keep reminding your team of the priorities, even if it can feel repetitive. ....“You say something seven times and they haven’t heard you,” he said. “Until they start making jokes about how often you repeat it, they haven’t internalized it.”

Rules of the Road
You’ll need a set of values, behaviors and cultural guardrails so that everybody knows how to work together.

CREATE YOUR TEAM'S CULTURE

All families have values, even if they aren’t discussed explicitly. There are certain behaviors that are encouraged and discouraged — like rules of the road — for how everyone is going to (try to) get along and spend their time. ...As a leader, you can take a laissez-faire approach and hope the team meshes well over time. Or you can look for opportunities to set some shared guidelines for how people will work together.

There are no hard and fast rules for developing the cultural values of a team. In some cases, the founder of a company will issue them to employees. In others, top executives will turn the exercise over to employees to make it a bottom-up effort.

...AND STICK TO IT
teams  howto  lists  specificity  sticktoitiveness  shared_goals  cynicism  Jim_Collins  organizational_culture  values  repetition  priorities  metrics  subordinates  guardrails  the_right_people  cultural_values  tribes 
december 2017
Why Trying New Things Is So Hard to Do - The New York Times
By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN DEC. 1, 2017

Experimentation is an act of humility, an acknowledgment that there is simply no way of knowing without trying something different.

Understanding that truth is a first step, but it is important to act on it. Sticking with an old habit is comforting, but one of these days, maybe, I’ll actually buy a bottle of generic soda.
experimentation  habits  choices  personal_payoffs  decision_making  novelty 
december 2017
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