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Why America cannot fly alone
March 13, 2019 | Financial Times | by Edward Luce.

The US does not have a head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

It took about 72 hours for reality to close in on Donald Trump. One by one, the world’s regulators — led by China, swiftly followed by the EU — grounded Boeing’s 737 Max planes following two disastrous crashes. Under pressure from Mr Trump, America’s FAA held out. When Canada joined, America’s isolation was almost complete. Mr Trump’s stance offers a unique example of the world spurning America’s lead on airline safety. His reversal is a “teachable moment”.... on the realities of a fast-changing world. Why? The biggest factor is falling global trust in US institutional probity. Mr Trump’s budget this week proposed a cut to the FAA in spite of the fact that its air traffic control system remains years behind many of its counterparts. Moreover, the FAA lacks a chief.......The FAA has been flying without a pilot, so to speak, for more than a year. Little surprise America’s partners have lost trust in its direction.......More than halfway through Mr Trump’s term, one in seven US ambassadorships are still unfilled, including South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The same applies to key state department vacancies at home. Such is the level of demoralisation that William Burns, the former deputy secretary of state, talks of America’s “unilateral diplomatic disarmament”. US diplomats increasingly lack the resources — and trust — to do the patient work of persuading other countries to fall in with America...Recent examples of America failing to co-opt a single ally include its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, pulling out of the Paris climate change accord and asking others to fill America’s soon to be empty shoes in Syria....many countries, including Britain and Germany, have rejected Mr Trump’s strictures on Huawei........Trump appears to be signalling that US courts are no longer independent of political whim. ....the most teachable aspect of the Boeing 737 controversy is the reality of the global economy. When China and the EU agree to the same regulatory standard, the US has little choice but to fall in line.......Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which previous US administrations negotiated, the US and its allies aimed to set the global standards for China. .....By the yardstick of might, the US is still the world’s heavyweight. But it works well only when combined with right. US regulatory leadership on drugs approval, technology, environmental standards and much else besides is falling behind. In spite of the US having the world’s leading technology companies, Europe is setting internet privacy standards.
aviation_safety  airline_safety  Boeing  budget_cuts  Canada  China  cutbacks  Edward_Luce  FAA  fast-changing  institutional_integrity  regulators  regulatory_standards  TPP  unilateralism  Donald_Trump  EU  airline_crashes  teachable_moments 
march 2019
New York’s business elite decamps to millennial-friendly Hudson Yards
March 11, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Joshua Chaffin.

The $25bn Hudson Yards, the site of KKR’s new office and one of the most ambitious New York developments since Rockefeller Center, officially opens its doors this week after more than a decade in the works. It is big, boasting as much new office space as all of central Pittsburgh.

It is an engineering feat. Its towers are constructed on top of a platform that sits above a working rail yard. Its builders crafted 90-tonne columns to support the weight. They also devised a custom cooling system for the soil within the platform so that tree roots would not overheat.

As KKR can attest, Hudson Yards represents another extreme: it is the boldest expression of a new fashion in corporate real estate that buildings and “space” should be potent weapons in a fight to recruit and retain talented young workers.

The Related Companies and its partner, Oxford Properties, have made that a central element of a sales pitch that has persuaded KKR and other power brokers to quit Manhattan’s corporate strongholds in midtown and downtown and move west.

Joining Mr Kravis in his new home are Larry Fink, who is moving BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, to Hudson Yards; attorney David Boies and his law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, and hedge fund managers Daniel Loeb and Steven A Cohen, among others.
elitism  Hudson_Yards  KKR  Manhattan  millennials  New_York_City  Oxford_Properties  property_development  vitality 
march 2019
What It’s Like to Be a Black Man in Japan
March 9, 2019 | The New York Times |By Adeel Hassan.

diverse blackness is in Japan was limited. Through the column, I’ve learned of black lawyers, university presidents, stuntmen, filmmakers, J-pop idols, entrepreneurs galore, even true expats with political aspirations. This had the impact on me that I was hoping it would have on our Japanese hosts.

Second, I learned how writing is a form of activism. I never intended to be an activist but it’s inevitable that if you take on issues with passion and persuasiveness that will lend itself to activism. By virtue of your prominence, people will look to you for leadership. It’s a hell of a responsibility and has placed me and my work in the cross hairs of some unsavory elements over here, some of whom labeled me and any black person with a similar “can’t sit silent and still and accept the nonsense” mentality as dangers to Japan.
African-Americans  blackness  culture  expatriates  Japan  race 
march 2019
How to keep creative geniuses in check and in profit
March 10, 2019 | Financial Times | by Andrew Hill.

The story of how Eastman Kodak invented a digital camera in 1975 but failed to develop it is one of the most notorious misses in the annals of innovation. (It’s more complicated than that, but never mind.)

Polaroid, the instant-photo pioneer, took a slower path to the technology: its first digital camera appeared only in 1996. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, 11 years before Kodak.
Polaroid’s founding genius, Edwin Land, could, though, have been first to the digital party. In 1971, as part of a secret panel advising the US president, he advocated digital photography, which the US eventually adopted for its spy satellites.
But Land was blind to the promise of digital cameras for the consumer.

This tale of failures of leadership, innovation and organisation is well told by Safi Bahcall, a physicist, former consultant and biotech entrepreneur, in Loonshots. There are four types of failure:
(1) Leadership failure. Edwin Land was guilty of leading his company into a common trap: only ideas approved by an all-powerful leader advance until at last a costly mis-step trips up the whole company.
(2) Innovation failure. Bahcall distinguishes between product-type and strategy-type innovation. Classic P-type innovators are the folks at innovation conferences conversing about new gadgets with less attention being paid to the analysis of innovative business models. Indeed, at some forums, P-type innovations also crowd the lobby. Delegates line up to try the latest shiny robot, electric car, or 3D printer.

(3) Organizational failure. Loonshots is based, refreshingly, on the idea culture does not necessarily eat strategy for breakfast. In fact, bad structure eats culture. Bahcall gives this a scientific foundation, explaining that successful teams and companies stagnate in the same way water turns to ice. A perfectly balanced innovative company must try to keep the temperature at the point where free-flowing bright ideas are not suddenly frozen by bureaucracy. How? Since the success of Bell Labs, companies have been told they should set up “a department of loonshots run by loons, free to explore the bizarre” separately from the parent. The key, though, is to ensure chief executives and their managers encourage the transfer of ideas between the mad creatives in the lab and the people in the field, and (the culture part) ensure both groups feel equally loved.

As for the assumption companies always ossify as they get larger, that risk can be mitigated by adjusting incentives, curbing office politics, and matching skills to projects, for which Loonshots offers a detailed formula.

Success also requires a special type of leader — not a visionary innovator but a “careful gardener”, who nurtures the existing franchise and the new projects. Though not himself an inventor, Steve Jobs, in his second phase at Apple, arguably achieved the right balance. He also spotted the S-type potential of iTunes. Even if Tesla’s Elon Musk is not losing that balance, in his headlong, top-down pursuit of loonshot after loonshot, he does not strike me as a born gardener.

Persuading charismatic geniuses to give up their role as leaders of organisations built on their inventions is hard. Typically, such people figure out themselves how to garden, as Jobs did; or they are coached by the board, which may install veteran executives to help; or they may be handed the title of “chief innovator” or “chief scientist” and nudged aside for a new CEO.

(4) They may find themselves peddling a fatally flawed product.
Bell_Labs  books  breakthroughs  business_models  creativity  digital_cameras  Edwin_Land  Elobooks  Elon_Musk  failure  genius  howto  incentives  innovation  inventors  Kodak  leaders  moonshots  office_politics  organizational_failure  organizational_innovation  Polaroid  product-orientated  Steve_Jobs 
march 2019
How the nineties are coming back to haunt us - The Globe and Mail
March 10, 2019 The Globe and Mail | CHRIS FREY, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years: Our nostalgia for the 1990s obscures the story of how the decade created the crises of the present.....the nineties....is...a decade we have a hard time remembering right.....No matter how well or harshly you judge the decade’s music, films, fads or fashions, this recycling is largely to be expected, given nostalgia’s tendency to follow something like a 20-year cycle......Pundits may wax on about how unprecedented our current political times might seem, but they’re not without their moments of woozy déjà vu – signal events and moments of the nineties recast and remade.....So much of that decade’s politics – decisions made, issues unaddressed – haunt our current times more than any other. From societal issues of race and gender to the global economics of trade, from the radical transformations of the internet to the corrosive effects of growing political polarization, so many of the destabilizing forces that mark this current period in the United States and much of the West were either incubated, unleashed or amplified during that time. .........The ultimate revenge of the nineties is probably that the man now occupying the highest office of the United States was, through much of that decade, its most notoriously failed businessman – bankrupt and abandoned by his lenders, his name reduced to a punch line on late-night talk shows.......Which is entirely the point. In the introduction to his 2008 essay collection Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, the historian Tony Judt argued that, in time, we would come to regard the period between the fall of communism (1989-1991) and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “the years the locusts ate: a decade and a half of wasted opportunity and political incompetence on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Quite suddenly, Mr. Judt argued, we fell under the notion that history could have little to teach us, except in the most narrow triumphalist sense. “With too much confidence and too little reflection we put the 20th century behind us and strode boldly into its successor swaddled in self-serving half-truths: the triumph of the West, the end of History, the unipolar American moment, the ineluctable march of globalization and the free market.”........Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich, who, with his populist-tinged “Contract with America,” led the GOP in 1994 to seize control of the House for the first time in 40 years......had the more lasting impact on the tenor and style of U.S. politics.....in the cover letter to a memo from 1990, entitled Language: A Key Mechanism of Control, he endorsed a call for his Republican colleagues to brand their Democrat rivals as “traitors”, “pathetic”, “corrupt”, “radical” and, of course, “socialist.”........The decision by the FCC, in 1987, to stop enforcing the Fairness Doctrine.... had unleashed a boom in conservative talk radio. By 1991, Rush Limbaugh was already the most syndicated radio host in the United States.......One of the quainter predictions made in the nineties, no doubt influenced by the post-Cold War mood, when the West thought it had triumphed over authoritarianism, was that the internet would inevitably lead to more political freedom around the world.
'90s  demagoguery  foreshadowing  fractured_internally  gridlocked_politics  Newt_Gingrich  nostalgia  partisan_politics  political_polarization  popular_culture  reboot  revivals 
march 2019
Affirmations for Getting Organized
1. I am organized in all areas of my life.
2. I am organized and productive.
3. I enjoy getting my life in order.
4. I am working on getting my life organized every day.
5. I love finding new way...
affirmations  GTD  organizing_data  self-organization  systematic_approaches 
march 2019
Unlocking the secrets to military-grade fitness - The Globe and Mail
ALEX HUTCHINSON
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

.A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reveals some telling clues about which physical abilities are the best predictors of success in the U.S. Army’s storied 75th Ranger Regiment – though such clues, military experts are quick to point out, don’t tell the whole story.

Would-be rangers have to complete a gruelling obstacle course called the Ranger Physical Assessment Test (RPAT) that involves climbing ropes, scaling walls, dragging an 84-kilogram sled, and running more than five kilometres, all while wearing combat boots and nearly 10 kilograms of body armour. They have to finish in less than 40 minutes to pass.

A test such as this requires full-body strength, power and endurance in various proportions. So how do you train for it?

A team of U.S. Army researchers combed through data from more than 1,000 recruits who completed this test between 2014 and 2017, looking to see if success or failure could be predicted from the baseline physical tests the recruits had previously completed – things such as deadlifts, push-ups, jumps and sprints.

All seven of the tests they analyzed were linked to RPAT success, but there were three in particular that had significant independent predictive power: broad jump (standing start and you have to stick the landing); pull-ups (overhand grip, straight body, locked elbows at the bottom each time); and average time in a pair of 300-yard shuttle runs (back and forth between two lines 25 yards apart, with two-minutes rest between runs).......“After pulling tens of thousands of pieces of hard data,” he says, “there was one that correlated in some statistically significant way to a higher likelihood of graduating from our basic special warfare training school: pull-ups.”
elite  exercise  fitness  pull-ups  strength_training  U.S._Special_Forces  functional_strength 
march 2019
Think Like a Libel Lawyer
March 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By David McCraw, deputy general counsel of The New York Times.

It's the best way to keep an open mind in our “pick your side and stay on it” era.

My job, when I am doing it right, is to please no one. I’m a press lawyer. I’m paid by this newspaper to vet stories before publication.

Think of me as a story’s first and worst reader: doubtful, questioning, blind to subtlety, skeptical of the facts, regularly prodding editors and reporters to do something more or different. And if I have done my job well, many of the subjects of those same stories will be unhappy as well, but for all the reasons we want them to be: We got it right.

The basic idea of libel law is simple. A publisher can get sued for making a factual statement that proves to be false and hurts a person’s reputation.......I am all about the villains in many pieces — the doctor who botched the surgery, the insurance company that shafted its customers, the professor who hit on the student, the greedy industrialist who ground up workers to make a fortune. I try to look for the counternarrative that they could (and their lawyers will) build from the same set of facts. It’s a counterintuitive form of reading. It’s looking for the innocent explanation or the possibility that what appears to all the rest of the world to be nefarious may in fact just be a mistake made in good faith. It’s a tricky skill to take into the real world....for a libel lawyer, a little sympathy for the villain is almost an occupational requirement. And maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us in the tribalized “pick your side and stay on it” era we are living in......Libel lawyers don’t serve as the fairness police. If anything, they are more like fact cops. Coverage can be wildly unfair and still be true. .....Over the past half-decade, The Times and others had reoriented themselves to reader-centered journalism. The shift in attitude has been like opening a window after a long winter. Journalism should be done as if the readers mattered.

But in a divided America there was a risk, too — the risk that we would set our compass by what people wanted rather than giving them the journalism they needed.......It was discouraging that so many people apparently believed that the time-honored journalistic act of telling a story straight had become a problem and that The Times needed instead to take sides and coach readers on what to think.

Journalism is hard when people feel the failure to take sides is in and of itself a surrender....The great risk we face comes not in giving them (the alt-right) voice but in taking their worst instincts and making them our own.

The First Amendment gives a lot of protection to even nasty speakers.....we write about people in the news, not just the people we agree with.....that is how the First Amendment works — thanks to our “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open,......Speakers are allowed to be provocative, colorful, contradictory and wrong.

....
counternarratives  counterintuitive  dark_side  facts  First_Amendment  free-press  journalism  lawyers  libel  NYT  skepticism  open_mind  villains 
march 2019
Canada must develop a backbone in its dealings with China - The Globe and Mail
CHARLES BURTON
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 DAY AGO

China’s spurious excuse for suspending some Canadian canola imports this week makes it clear that Ottawa needs to get serious about asserting Canada’s interests in diplomatic engagement with this rising global power.....This isn’t about canola. China is resolved to intimidate and coerce Canada, and wants us to realize this beyond any doubt.........China wants to abate any loss of face with a succession of get-tough measures that exterminate any goodwill remaining in the avaricious hearts of Canada’s business elite and their political friends.....The thing is, China no longer wants to comply with the Westphalian system of equal sovereign countries that underlies a rules-based international order, and that is hard for Ottawa to accept. Mr. Trudeau was seriously misled when he thought China would accede to international standards on environmental, gender and labour rights to get a trade deal with a Group of Seven country, but none of his incompetent advisers suffered any consequences for the ensuing fiasco........Ottawa’s feckless appeal to Beijing’s moral decency over the Chinese fentanyl manufacturers, whose product kills thousands of Canadians, was met with a Chinese demand to allow a police liaison officer to be installed in China’s Vancouver consulate – a request that was rejected over national-security concerns. This impudence squares with Beijing’s insistence that Canada allow Huawei equipment to run our telecommunications networks even though China fiercely restricts foreign components in its telecom systems.

Canada must change the channel, immediately. The current dynamic is poisonous to future Canada-China relations...We made a good start by removing John McCallum as ambassador......Ottawa missed a huge opportunity when it learned that China was blatantly violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by pressing Michael Kovrig, under severe duress. Mr. Kovrig would have been party to confidential files as part of the Five Eyes intelligence consortium when he had served as a Canadian diplomat. We should have immediately expelled some of the large cohort of Chinese security agents operating semi-openly in Canada.......But again, by our own design, CSIS is weak and misinformed on China. The best we could do was a pathetic exhortation to “please cease and desist.”Canadian law-enforcement agencies have established that the fentanyl that is killing Canadians is almost entirely from southern China factories, sent here via shipping containers or in the mail. Surely we must have the spine to initiate slow, thorough inspections of all Chinese mail and shipments into Canada, until Beijing takes serious, verifiable measures to address this scourge on our national well-being.

We also need to stop laundering, through Canadian casinos and urban real estate, the corrupt earnings by persons associated with senior levels of China’s Communist Party. We have laws that address this sort of thing, we need to enforce them.

And we can no longer stand idly by as China detains a million or more Uyghurs in its cultural genocide “re-education” internment camps. We have a Magnitsky law list of gross violators of human rights who are unwelcome in Canada. Why are there no Chinese names on it?

Canada’s years of appeasing China’s Communist regime, in the hope of obtaining economic favour, has led us to this horrendous mess.
acquiescence  appeasement  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Charles_Burton  China  China_rising  CSIS  cultural_genocide  fentanyl  Huawei  international_system  intimidation  Meng_Wanzhou  money_laundering  new_normal  reprisals  resolve  rules-based  security_&_intelligence  Uyghurs 
march 2019
Goldman Sachs | Careers Blog - 2017 Back-to-School Reading List
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Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
With three children under four coupled with a career in investment banking, I find it challenging to find time for reading books. But, I also struggle to find good books to read to my children, especially books for my daughters that aren’t about princesses and living happily ever after. I received “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” from a good friend who also has two daughters. Comprising a few hundred short stories depicting strong female leaders from recent history, the book provides great female role models for my daughters that aren’t princesses.
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The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin
I’ve been a science fiction fan my entire life but had never read any Chinese works until this book. The plot is super-ambitious; since I don’t want to spoil anything I’ll just say it starts off with a wave of scientist suicides in the wake of experimental particle physics results that suggest science is broken.
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Network Thinking: Beyond Brockhaus Thinking, by Ulrich Weinberg
An unusual roadshow to the most innovative locations and people around the world. Where network thinking drives actions. The book leads behind the scenes of large corporations that are leaving the analog 20th century “Brockhaus Thinking” mode, but also to small companies that never practiced it. It shows how a network thinking approach can make corporates and individuals extremely successful.
books  booklists  book_reviews  Goldman_Sachs  Edith_Cooper  fiction  networks  network-centric  nonfiction  science_fiction 
march 2019
I covered the City for 20 years — here’s what I learnt
March 8, 2019 | Financial Times | by Sarah Gordon |

Sarah Gordon says businesses must do more to improve their image and dispel widespread misconceptions
culture  farewells  finance  financial_journalism  leadership  lessons_learned  noughties  women 
march 2019
Every Company Wants to Become a Tech Company–Even if It Kills Them
March 8, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

Wall Street loves a good reinvention story. The tough part is finding a happy ending.

All the plots seem to go something like this: Every company wants to convince us it’s becoming a tech company–even if it kills them..... an increasing number of companies are at least dabbling in new tech ventures to improve operations......The boom in vendors offering affordable ways to crunch data or utilize cloud computing, for instance, unlocks new strategies for companies across a wide variety of industries........Planet Fitness Inc. is one of the interested companies. The gym boasts 12 million members but CEO Chris Rondeau admits the company knows relatively little about them.

“Besides checking in the front door, we don’t know what members do,”.....The company is spending millions to retool certain treadmills and cardio equipment to better collect data as people exercise, commissioning a new smartphone app, and wants to tie into its customers’ wearable technology....many other CEOs aren’t convinced they have the luxury (of time to take things slowly). Even if it is hard to figure out what to do with all the data gathered and tools employed in the course of regular business, paralysis is not an option. Like a shark, they feel they need to keep swimming or die....... Nokia Corp., the Finnish company, started as a pulp mill in the 19th century and then branched off into various industries, including a successful venture into rubber boot making, ditched its failed mobile handset unit in 2013 to focus on a networks business that was thriving under the radar. Today, it’s locked in a high-stakes race to deploy 5G technology......In 2000, Major League Baseball owners committed $120 million to fund MLB Advanced Media. It aimed to infuse technology into the game and resulted in initiatives like online ticket sales and expanded radio coverage. The gem of that initiative, however, was a streaming television network launched in 2002...... it has attracted outside clients, such as ESPN, the WWE Network, Playstation Vue and HBO. The Walt Disney Co. acquired control recently for nearly $3 billion.... Dunnhumby Ltd., the data and analytics consultancy owned by European grocery chain Tesco PLC. Tesco bought Dunnhumby after it created the chain’s loyalty-card program. Dunnhumby ballooned into a storehouse of information and amassed clients and partners...Searching for the next BAMTech or Dunnhumby is now a religion at many companies......Walmart Inc., which has already heavily invested in e-commerce, wants to take its technology, marry it with everything the world’s largest retailer knows about us and use it to get into the advertising business......“Everyone’s thinking ‘we’ve got a ton of this stuff (data), how do we use it,’” Executives are trying to answer that question by hiring outside firms to analyze trends or setting up in-house units for experimentation.

Walmart is dumping digital-marketing agency Triad, a unit of WPP PLC, and will try its hand at selling advertising space. Armed with a trove of shopper data and connected to a chain of suppliers wanting to place ads in stores and on websites, Walmart hopes to challenge Amazon.com Inc. on this new front......At Ford Motor Co. , CEOJim Hackett envisions a day when automobiles roam streets collecting data from the occupants and the cars’ behavior like rolling smartphones. This is part of that “mobility as a service” vision car makers peddle.......“Corporations tend to reward action over thinking,”“But the truth is…you’ll find the companies that didn’t do the deep thinking and acted quickly have to redo things.
BAMTech  digital_savvy  Dunnhumby  experimentation  Ford  in-house  Jim_Hackett  massive_data_sets  MLB  Planet_Fitness  reinvention  Wal-Mart  mobility_as_a_service  technology  under_the_radar 
march 2019
Opinion | Luke Perry Had a Stroke and Died. I Had One and Lived.
March 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Kara Swisher, Contributing Opinion Writer.

Kara Swisher was 49 years old, healthy and had none of the conditions--symptoms--like high blood pressure that might predict a stroke...yet she had one after arriving in Hong Kong after a long flight...not hydrating or walking around enough on the long flight to Hong Kong, created what the doctor, who immediately started the treatment of anticoagulant drugs and others, called a “hole in one.”.....The idea of death — the absolute nearness of it — has been ever-present for Kara Swisher. Since her dad died, she's lived her life as if she had no time at all or very little, making the kinds of choices of someone who knew that tomorrow might indeed be her last.

[Stanford University in 2005 by the Apple founder and tech visionary Steve Jobs:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.]

.....Sometimes {Steve Jobs'] urgency manifested itself in inspiration, sometimes in meanness, sometimes in humor, sometimes in seriousness. But it was always urgent.......[recast in my words...I have both the privilege to live more days on earth and the awareness that those days are limited.

Be tough-minded going forward--Basically, I don’t have the time to be so careless in what I do and I don’t have the time to not to ask the same of you.].........You get this kind of nudge again and again from death. It is, as the Buddhist teacher Frank Ostaseski noted, “a secret teacher hiding in plain sight.” Luke Perry’s death was yet another lesson from that teacher. ....... Mr. Perry’s Dylan McKay, who was given to saying things like, “The only person you can trust in this world is yourself.”
'90s  actors  hydration  Kara_Swisher  Luke_Perry  midlife  mini-stroke  mybestlife  op-ed  tips  speeches  Stanford  Steve_Jobs  strokes  symptoms  television  travel  It's_up_to_me  urgency  long-haul  deaths 
march 2019
Opinion | How to Tackle Venezuela’s Military Problem - The New York Times
By Javier Corrales
Mr. Corrales is a professor of political science and an expert on Latin America.

March 4, 2019
Venezuela 
march 2019
Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime
March 4, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Claws of the Panda, Jonathan Manthorpe’s new best-selling book, a meticulous and well-researched highly readable history of decades of Canada-China relations, is important because it's a primer on the central challenge of our era – how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum.....The Communist Party of China, its presumption of sovereignty not only at home, but also over ethnic Chinese worldwide, is not about to relinquish or dilute its central and presumptive power and control. It certainly won’t do this as a result of peaceful entreaties from middle powers, however respectful or well-meaning.....while the People’s Republic of China has every right to manage its internal affairs without interference, we also have the right to pursue our own national interest without undue Chinese influence......Manthorpe’s work clearly underlines is the economic, social and political equation at China’s core: Prosperity is the result of central control, focus and a clearly defined Communist Party and state-driven purpose. Qualities we hold as important – the right of dissent, democratic pluralism, freedom from fear – are seen by the Chinese government as weaknesses in our democratic societies to be exploited in the new great game of global trade and diplomatic competition.......Our challenge, in terms of diplomatic, trade and strategic policy, is with the Communist Party and the government and forces it controls, not with the Chinese people.........In assessing the intent of any global competitor, contextual awareness is one of the first requirements for tactical understanding and strategic planning. The revelations of Claws of the Panda offer a clear set of contextual conclusions for a well meaning middle power like Canada......We need new rules of the road.

Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion, including the freedoms of our fellow Canadians of Chinese extraction. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyber attacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state. We must invest more with our allies in counter-intelligence and joint naval, air and cyber capacity in the Asian Pacific, not to threaten China’s legitimate regional dominance, or peaceful global economic aspirations, but to preclude illegitimate adventurism which a Chinese communist authoritarian regime might well pursue if costs and risks to them are unclear.
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Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The party's aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China's advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada's international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents.
authoritarian  alliances  Asia_Pacific  authoritarianism  books  Canada  Canada-China_relations  centralized_control  China  China_rising  Chinese  Chinese-Canadians  Chinese_Communist_Party  counterintelligence  cyberattacks  economic_protectionism  fair_minded  history  Hugh_Segal  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  maritime  mercantilism  middle-powers  naivete  new_rules  primers  rules_of_the_game  security_&_intelligence  situational_awareness  worldviews 
march 2019
The U.S. Is Ceding the Pacific to China
March 3, 2019 | WSJ | By Mark Helprin.

While Washington’s focus is elsewhere, Beijing plays the long game—that means preparing for war.

The only effective leverage on China, and by extension North Korea—which otherwise will retain nuclear weapons whether overtly or covertly but certainly—is to alter the correlation of military forces in the Western Pacific, and indeed in the world, so that it no longer moves rapidly and inevitably in China’s favor, which is what China cares about, the essence of its policy, its central proposition. Though with some effort the U.S. is perfectly capable of embarking upon this strategy, it has not. It seems we lack the awareness, political will, intelligence, probity, discipline, leadership, and habit of mind to do so.
America_in_Decline?  Asia_Pacific  balance_of_power  China  China_rising  geopolitics  hard_power  long-term  long-range  maritime  Mark_Helprin  North_Korea  nuclear  PACOM  political_geography  political_will  rivalries  South_China_Sea  strategic_geography  submarines  trade_wars  U.S.  U.S._Navy  USMC  U.S.-China_relations  Xi_Jinping  zero-sum_games 
march 2019
Amazon to Launch New Grocery-Store Business
March 1, 2019 | WSJ | By Esther Fung and Heather Haddon.

Amazon is planning to open dozens of grocery stores in several major U.S. cities....as the retail giant looks to broaden its reach in the food business and touch more aspects of consumers’ lives......The new stores would be distinct from the company’s upscale Whole Foods Market chain. It isn’t clear whether the new stores would carry the Amazon name......Amazon in recent years has become increasingly focused on physical retail, posing a threat to traditional grocers. The new chain would help Amazon in fulfilling a yearslong initiative to build out a physical grocery presence, which was at one point potentially envisioned to reach more than 2,000 brick-and mortar stores in a variety of sizes and formats......Amazon is also exploring purchasing regional grocery chains with about a dozen stores under operation, one person said, that could bolster the new chain......Amazon’s further push into physical retail is its latest move far beyond its origins selling books and music on the web. Over the years it has become a cloud-computing giant, a major player in Hollywood entertainment and a burgeoning provider of logistics services. More recently it has emerged as a major competitor in digital advertising and launched forays in finance and health care......The new stores aren’t intended to compete directly with the more upscale Whole Foods stores and will offer a different variety of products, at a lower price point, these people said. Whole Foods doesn’t sell products with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners, among other quality standards.

Suppliers with big brands have hoped to have inroads into Whole Foods since Amazon bought the chain nearly two years ago. While Whole Foods has gradually expanded the big brands it carries—such as Honey-Nut Cheerios and Michelob beer—a conventional grocer can carry a much larger assortment of items. Amazon has had mixed results with its food-delivery business, and it wants to better understand how it can cater to grocery shoppers....Supermarket operators Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and others are also trying to find ways to offer delivery and pickup to customers in a more cost-efficient manner...Amazon’s new grocery brand also comes as the retailer rolls out its cashierless Amazon Go stores in urban areas. It is testing that checkout technology for bigger retail stores. Meanwhile, Whole Foods is expanding its national footprint....For its new stores, Amazon is targeting new developments and occupied stores with leases ending soon.....Amazon doesn’t want restrictions on the type of goods it may sell at its stores and wants the ability to change the store and sell health and beauty products for instance......It is unclear whether these new stores will be cashierless, but they will be heavily tilted to customer service and pickup capabilities......a strategy where big retailers combine e-commerce with physical stores is the direction the industry is heading.
Amazon  BOPIS  bricks-and-mortar  cashierless  e-commerce  food  grocery  home-delivery  in-store  Kroger  new_businesses  physical_retail  rollouts  supermarkets  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods 
march 2019
Jeff Bezos’ family office invests in Chilean plant-based food start-up
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris.

The family office of Jeff Bezos is among the investors in a $30m funding round for a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian alternatives for animal-derived products such as mayonnaise and ice cream.

Four-year old NotCo on Friday announced the financing round led by The Craftory, a fund co-founded by consumer industry veteran Elio Leoni Sceti, as well as Bezos Expeditions.....The funds will be used to finance product development and help NotCo expand to Mexico and the US later this year. It sells its plant-based mayonnaise, which is made with chickpeas, in grocery stores in Chile......NotCo has developed a software platform that analyses the molecular structure of foods, such as beef or milk, so as then to derive combinations of plant-based alternatives that most closely resemble the original in taste, colour, and texture. The technology seeks to map the similarities between the genetic properties of plants and their corollaries in animals, so as to more accurately mimic the properties.....“The potential is massive because NotCo is not just a meat-replacement company or a milk-replacement company,”.....The technology can be applied to all foods derived from animals,” he said, adding that if successful, the opportunity was there to create a major food company to compete with the likes of Nestlé and Danone......the approach of analysing the molecular structure of foods to engineer vegetarian versions of meats, cheeses and dairy products is similar to that of US-based start-up Just Inc, formerly known as Hampton Creek.....The company changed its name after a series of setbacks, including an alleged food safety issue that led to it losing distribution at retailer Target. Nevertheless, Just Inc is well-funded; it has said that it has raised $220m from investors.....Venture capital investors have been pouring money into start-ups to create plant-based or lab-grown alternatives to traditional meat and dairy. Impossible Foods — which is backed by Bill Gates and Alphabet’s GV, formerly Google Ventures, among others — has raised $387.5m,
Chile  Chileans  Danone  family_office  flexitarian  food  Jeff_Bezos  machine_learning  Nestlé  plant-based  start_ups  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019
Nortel hacking went on for years
FEBRUARY 14, 2012 | FT Alphaville | By Joseph Cotterill.
Chinese hackers had undetected access to sensitive Nortel data for almost a decade from 2000, the WSJ reports. The extent to which Nortel, the once-mighty telecoms giant, was compromised shows the lack of corporate defences against hacking. Nortel didn’t disclose its hacking problem to buyers of its assets. Spy software was so deeply embedded in Nortel computers that investigators failed to spot its existence for years. The SEC last year began pushing companies to classify serious cyber attacks on their infrastructure as “material risks” that may require financial disclosure.
China  Chinese  cyberattacks  cyber_security  cyberintrusions  disclosure  hackers  Nortel  regulators  risks  SEC 
march 2019
The Free-Form Funeral - WSJ
By Clare Ansberry
March 2, 2019 11:00 a.m. ET

There are new ways to say goodbye.

While many still turn to the funeral rites that have comforted generations, others, led by baby boomers, are taking a different approach than their parents and grandparents. They are instead choosing individualized and symbolic memorials: a party with a punk-rock band for a tattoo artist, or a gathering at an airport hangar for the devoted mechanic.

“It’s more about a life lived than a ritual of religion,” says Jimmy Olson, a spokesperson for the National Funeral Directors Association.

A changing society is fueling this trend. Nearly a quarter of adults in the U.S. aren’t affiliated with any organized religion, according to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center. A rise in cremations, which now outnumber burials, gives leeway on when and where to hold memorials. Although there are some laws about where ashes can be scattered, many people spread them surreptitiously in especially meaningful places. In the past year, more than half of around 1,000 people surveyed had attended a memorial in a non-traditional place—in a backyard, atop a mountain, aboard a boat—according to the NFDA.
farewells  free-form  funerals  memorials  nontraditional  symbolism 
march 2019
Russian General Pitches ‘Information’ Operations as a Form of War - The New York Times
By Andrew E. Kramer
March 2, 2019

MOSCOW — The chief of Russia’s armed forces endorsed on Saturday the kind of tactics used by his country to intervene abroad, repeating a philosophy of so-called hybrid war that has earned him notoriety in the West, especially among American officials who have accused Russia of election meddling in 2016.
cyber_warfare  information_warfare  Russia  security_&_intelligence 
march 2019
How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019
5 Ways to Value Your Collection, Whether It’s Fine Wine or Shrunken Heads
March 1, 2019 | The New York Times | By Paul Sullivan.

Collectible assets include wine, spirits, coins, trading cards as well as more unusual items, like lighters, belt buckles and even shrunken heads. These collections cost money and time to assemble and certainly have a value to their owners, but can they be considered legitimate investments? That depends on the market.

For many collectors, the only option to buy, sell or even value these assets is through online auction platforms like eBay or enthusiast sites, but for others, their possessions are treated as fine art.......the market for collectibles, which are often valued in the millions of dollars, may not always be so easy to weather. It can experience sudden surges that put desired items out of the reach of true collectors or it can collapse, wiping out the gains speculators thought they had made.

In an economic slowdown, how these investments are treated depends on supply and demand as well as unpredictable forces like fashion and popularity.....Collectibles can be broken into categories determined by provenance, rarity and even a moment in time. Here are five issues to consider when weighing the investment potential of your collection.....
(1) The standouts in the crowd - Leading the pack are high-quality items that have broad name recognition.
(2) High risk, high reward -
(3) Not all collectibles are investments- jewelry is not an investment....because the market is driven too much by changing fashion.
(4) Obscure and difficult to sell - establish the value of esoteric collections by using third-party appraisers. But insurance companies like A.I.G. value these collections by their replacement value, not by the price someone would pay for them.
(5) A market downturn - =hether it’s shrunken heads, 1,000 bottles of wine or sheets of trading cards, a ready buyer may not be available — or may want to pay much less (i.e. a step change in the valuation).
collectibles  collectors  high-risk  howto  obscure  valuations  AIG  auctions  assets  brands  eBay  economic_downturn  esoteric  fine_arts  high-end  high-quality  investing  investments  passions  step_change  unpredictability  wine  whisky  online_auctions 
march 2019
Meet Amanda Cox, Who Brings Life to Data on Our Pages
Feb. 28, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jake Lucas

Ms. Cox was stepping into a new role: data editor. She will help coordinate data work across departments, in interactive news, computer-assisted reporting, graphics and The Upshot, and pave the way for journalism using data to play a bigger role throughout the newsroom. She will also act as an adviser when big questions arise about how to think about and use data thoughtfully, without overstating what it supports.
charts  Communicating_&_Connecting  data  data_journalism  infographics  NYT  quantitative  visualization 
march 2019
Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.
Feb 28, 2019 | Kaieteur News | Columnists, Peeping Tom.

Cake shop management cannot suffice for a modern economy.

The style of governance since political Independence has not been conducive to development. It is ill-suited for modernization. Given the expansive nature of relations and issues which governments have to address, there is a need for greater devolution of power. Centralized government can no longer cope with the multiple, overlapping and multilayered aspects of governance.......Guyana, however, is going in the opposite direction. The more modern the bureaucracy, the more swollen and overstaffed it becomes. The more complex government becomes, the more centralized is decision-making. The greater demands on resources, the bigger the bureaucracy.
The public bureaucracy is now a cancer. It is sucking the life out of public administration. Merely keeping this inefficient and revenue-guzzling monstrosity alive is costing taxpayers in excess of 500 million dollars per day. This is wanton wastage. That money could have been put to help boost private sector development to create jobs for the thousands of young people who are unemployed. The more the government implements technology, the more inefficient it becomes. It is all part of what is known as cake shop management........Guyana is going to continue to be left behind the rest of the world. It has seen Guyana retrogress and we will always be in a fire fighting mode rather than ensuring forward thinking and planning. A country today simply cannot be run like a cake shop. The world is too modern, and too many things are taking place to allow for such a style of governance. Once the policy is made by the government, the mechanics should be left to lower level officials who should be held accountable for ensuring its implementation and who should be held responsible for any failures........What is required is for faster decision-making so as to allow for the multitasking.........Plantain chips and breadfruit chips and other small businesses cannot make the economy grow. It cannot generate the massive jobs needed to impact on unemployment. It will not lift large numbers out of poverty. This is catch-hand approach to helping poor people.
Cake shop management cannot run a modern economy. Never has; never will.
bureaucracies  centralization  complexity  decision_making  devolution  Guyana  inefficiencies  modernization  policymaking  public_sector  public_servants  technology  traffic_congestion  forward-thinking  multitasking  decentralization  digital_economy  governance  knowledge_economy  centralized_control  implementation  unsophisticated 
march 2019
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
march 2019
Regulatory showdown awaits for Big Tech — but who gets the job?
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Waters.

Wanted: an antitrust enforcer to lead the charge against Big Tech. Must be able to invent novel applications of competition theory to digital markets.

There is a growing list of candidates for this job — but it isn’t at all clear who is best placed to jump into the hot seat.

The US Federal Trade Commission has just volunteered itself, setting up a task force to examine the dominant tech companies. Among the agency’s promises: it will consider new theories of harm that until now haven’t made it out of academia, and it won’t hesitate to push for the court-ordered unwinding of past mergers if it turns out they’re hurting competition.

One problem for competition regulators in the US is that they have taken too narrow a view of their roles, according to Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School. They are concerned almost exclusively with protecting consumers from higher prices — something that doesn’t apply to “free” (advertising-supported) internet services. In his latest book, The Curse of Bigness, Wu calls for a return to a much broader interpretation of the US antitrust statutes, treating market concentration itself as an evil needing be to rectified.
antitrust  Big_Tech  books  FTC  regulation  regulators  Richard_Waters  Tim_Wu 
march 2019
Opinion | The Good-Enough Life - The New York Times
By Avram Alpert
Mr. Alpert is an author and writing teacher.

Feb. 20, 2019
good_enough 
february 2019
The Best Type of Exercise to Burn Fat
Feb. 27, 2019 | The New York Times | By Gretchen Reynolds.

A few minutes of brief, intense exercise may be as effective as much lengthier walks or other moderate workouts for incinerating body fat.... super-short intervals could even, in some cases, burn more fat than a long walk or jog, but the effort involved needs to be arduous......high-intensity interval training, which typically involves a few minutes — or even seconds — of strenuous exertion followed by a period of rest, with the sequence repeated multiple times. Most H.I.I.T. workouts require less than half an hour, from beginning to end (including a warm-up and cool-down), and the strenuous portions of the workout are even briefer......studies show that interval workouts can improve aerobic fitness, blood sugar control, blood pressure and other measures of health and fitness to the same or a greater extent than standard endurance training, such as brisk walking or jogging, even if it lasts two or three times as long....the most common question..... is whether they also will aid in weight control and fat loss....Plan your workouts around your preferences and schedules, he says, and not concerns about which type of exercise might better trim fat.
aerobic  arduous  best_of  cardiovascular  exercise  fat-burning  fitness  high-impact  high-intensity  interval_training  endurance 
february 2019
Skeuomorphs: our little digital helpers
February 27, 2019 | Financial Times | by Lucy Watson.

Skeuomorphs are design elements that mimic older, precursor objects. They crop up everywhere, but especially in software interfaces: consider the shutter-release sound of a digital camera or the original yellow legal pad of an iPhone Notes app, or the Windows MP3 player that looked like an amp and speakers. Interactive icons that are shaded to look like 3D buttons, floating above your home screen, are a minimalist species of skeuomorph......On the iPhone, skeuomorphs acted as a guide for users unfamiliar with touchscreens: the bulbous shading of an icon meant it could be pressed, a representation of a leather-bound Filofax was where phone numbers were kept, and so on. These visual elements act as little markers of a shift in our development: they were designed to make the devices that they populated look as if they had one foot in the pre-digital era (i.e. analog). Which is almost a lifetime ago.....Yet for all Apple’s efforts to fetishise the immaculately virtual, the smartphone is still a physical object that demands some haptic interaction — even if it’s just a swipe.....In order to create a more watertight device, the home button had been replaced by a dimple. It cannot be depressed as a button would, but a vibrating motor within the phone called a “taptic engine” recreates the physical feedback a button would provide. It’s another type of skeuomorph: an electronic interface given the familiar feel of a mechanical component
skeuomorphs  design  GUI  icons  iPhone  millennials  software  analogies  haptics  senses  prompts  cues  digital_cameras 
february 2019
Store wars: short sellers expect more pain in US retail
February 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Alistair Gray in New York.

Short sellers who made big bets against US retailers a couple of years ago had hoped for carnage across the board. No one could compete with the rise and rise of Amazon...which would make life hard for every mall tenant across America.

But after a period in which internet shopping seemed to hit almost every brick-and-mortar retailer, the industry seems to be dividing into winners and losers. Casualties are still piling up: bankruptcies since the turn of the year....Payless Shoes ....Sears, the once dominant department store chain, narrowly avoided outright liquidation.

However, some of the biggest companies e.g. Walmart & Best Buy are reporting their healthiest metrics in years......For short sellers trying to profit from falling share prices, it makes for a perilous environment.

“It’s a slow death by a thousand paper cuts, and not the kind of ‘mall-mageddon’ originally anticipated by that trade,”.....“Retail has been much more volatile than many would have expected. It hasn’t been decidedly one way down.”....an over-reaction in 2017 and that led to pretty nice opportunities [for longs] in 2018,”.....Investors who put money on the demise of retail that summer have lost out in many cases......It was almost as if they [shorts] were acting like no retail real estate space can work,” ....overcapacity doesn’t mean retail real estate is dead.”...Shares in the sector have been volatile in part because investors have had to consider a series of seemingly contradictory data points about the health of both the US consumer and the retail business.....Traditional chains are also trying to take on Amazon by improving their online offerings and making their stores more enticing. Both require hefty investment, although successful examples include Lululemon, which offers yoga lessons in its stores. Shares in the company have tripled since a 2017 low.

“Those who are innovating and investing in ecommerce, marketing and social media tend to be doing well...“The US is still over-stored,” ...Ecommerce meant “more of the store base is not economic. That’s going be a secular pressure for years to come. For those retailers that don’t have a digital strategy, it’s just a matter of time before they fall.”
Amazon  apocalypses  bankruptcies  barbell_effect  bear_markets  bricks-and-mortar  commercial_real_estate  death_by_a_thousand_cuts  department_stores  digital_strategies  e-commerce  innovation  investors  investment_thesis  Lululemon  pain_points  overcapacity  retailers  shopping_malls  short_selling  structural_decline  Wal-Mart 
february 2019
20 Minutes With: Bridge International Academies’ Shannon May
Feb. 25, 2019 | Barron's | By Mitch Moxley.

Bridge International Academies, a private company May co-founded that transforms failing government schools into high performing ones. The results have been astounding. May, an Arizona native in her early 40s, oversees the education of more than a quarter of a million children every school day in six countries. On average, these schools charge just US$7 per month per child, and some graduates have gone to elite secondary schools in the U.S.

Bridge is backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, and has raised over US$140 million.

What was the original goal when you launched Bridge?

The original goal, seriously, was to serve a million kids in more than 1,000 schools…. It’s a lot harder than we thought, but 10 years on, now we’re working with close to 300,000 kids every day in six different countries.
billgates  China  education  high-achieving  PhDs  teachers  teaching  scaling  schools  transformational 
february 2019
Opinion | Putin’s One Weapon: The ‘Intelligence State’ - The New York Times
By John Sipher
Mr. Sipher, a former chief of station for the C.I.A., worked for more than 27 years in Russia and other parts of Europe and Asia.

Feb. 24, 2019
security_&_intelligence 
february 2019
Grand follies and the art of thinking big
February 22, 2019 |Financial Times| by Janan Ganesh.

Who would rather that Airbus had never made the bet at all? Who would live in a world that never risks over-reach?

A defender of grand follies is spoilt for examples that turned out well........Today’s vainglorious travesty is tomorrow’s untouchable fixture of the landscape. We are lousy judges of future tastes, including our own....Even if an audacious project fails, and fails lastingly, it can still trigger success stories of other kinds. Some of this happens through the sheer technical example set: the A380, like Concorde before it, forced engineers to innovate in ways that will cascade down the decades in unpredictable ways. Some of the most banal givens of daily life — dust busters, wireless headsets — can be traced back to that messianic project we know as the space programme.

Then there is the inspiring spectacle of just trying to do something big. Progress through tinkering counts no less than progress through great leaps, but only the second kind is likely to electrify people into venturing their own efforts. Without the grand gesture — and the risk of humiliation — any field of endeavour is liable to stagnate.....Perhaps an exhausted west now prefers to tinker all the same. Big ideas are often paid for out of idle wealth (think of Elon Musk’s fortune, or Alphabet’s cash pile) and the existence of this can seem almost distasteful in a culture that is newly sensitive to inequality. As for largeness of vision, there was plenty of the stuff in the forever wars and pre-crash banking. It would be strange if people who lived through those events did not now flinch at the sight of excitable visionaries brandishing schemes.
Airbus  audacity  big_bets  breakthroughs  Elon_Musk  fallacies_follies  game_changers  humiliation  incrementalism  inspiration  Janan_Ganesh  Jeff_Bezos  marginal_improvements  moonshots  overreach  risks  thinking_big  tinkerers  visionaries 
february 2019
The value of a network
Business Life: The value of a network
First published in Business Life, January 2009

The value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users (or devices) on that network.
Facebook  Microsoft  Metcalfe's_Law  networks  network_effects  social_networking  Tim_Harford  valuations 
february 2019
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