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How to Be Super Productive
(1) Set Monthly Goals
(2) Make a List of Tasks Daily
(3) Stop Saying "YES" to Everyone
(4) Have Enough Sleep
(5) Plan A Weekly Calendar
(6) Stop Multi-tasking
(7) Write a "Stop Doing" List
(8...
affirmations  Boyce_Watkins  GTD  howto  monotasking  productivity  say_"no"  sleep  sustained_inquiry 
november 2019
Can contracts use pictures instead of words? | Financial Times
Bruce Love OCTOBER 22 2019

* David Sibbet in "Visual Meeting"
* Dan Roam in "Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work" 
Both writers advocate the use of graphics and charts to better communicate ideas between people.

Visuals and plain language make an adversarial process more constructive.

Every contract the company writes represents a business relationship that a company would prefer to see fulfilled mutually.....unwieldy contracts stand in the way of harmony.....you spend  so much time building customer relationships that you don’t want a contractual negotiation to then dismantle that relationship brick by brick.....redraft contracts using as much plain English as possible......Making contracts more faithful to the relationships they represent is a popular goal with commercial contracts.....businesses should write contracts that specify mutual goals and governance structures to keep the parties’ expectations and interests aligned over the long term........especially for “highly complex relationships in which it is impossible to predict every ‘what if ’ scenario”.....a curious innovation gathering steam in the legal world: visual contracts that incorporate images alongside or even replace text. The underlying idea is that a picture paints a thousand words.....visual contracts can be used for simple and complex agreements.....there are growing libraries of contract terms that can be assembled as modules to build complete agreements. The goal is to provide businesses with best practice examples of the most frequent and least divergent contract clauses.....While there are many benefits to visual contracts, “simple is difficult”..... It is counterproductive for negotiators to codify every minute detail of a relationship when instead much can be ascribed to a spirit of agreement, more similar to a constitution or code of ethics.
aligned_interests  books  charts  Communicating_&_Connecting  comprehension  contingencies  contracts  deal-making  graphics  infographics  legal  negotiations  plain_English  visualization 
november 2019
Opinion: Is Toronto too downmarket for Eataly?
NOVEMBER 6, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | SYLVAIN CHARLEBOIS, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

The Eataly chain is like no other in food retailing. It’s an Italian-only food court on steroids: nine restaurants, a cooking classroom, a wine bar, a brewpub, a grocery area and even a mozzarella-making counter, all in one spot. After opening its first outlet less than 12 years ago, its first Canadian location opens in Toronto on Nov. 13.

Like other locations, the Toronto Eataly, which will be the chain’s 40th store, will be almost 50,000 square feet and will employ more than 300 people. It’s a massive food emporium, celebrating the best flavours and tastes Italy has to offer, but with a twist of domestic savoir faire.
big-box  cuisine  customer_experience  Eataly  grocery  Italian  Loblaws  retailers  supermarkets  Sylvain_Charlebois  Toronto  upscale  Westons 
november 2019
Adventures in Corporate Venturing
January 1, 2001 / First Quarter 2001 / Issue 22 (originally published by Booz & Company)
Adventures in Corporate Venturing
A well-funded R&D program isn't enough. Corporations must invest in business opportunities outside their four walls to accelerate innovation and growth.
by Jill Albrinck, Jennifer Hornery, David Kletter, and Gary L. Neilson
corporate_investors  investors  start_ups  venture_capital  vc 
november 2019
The Failure of Venture Capital
APRIL 2, 2018 | Dartmouth Business Journal | BY AYAN AGARWAL '21.
failure  vc  venture_capital 
november 2019
How FleetOptic’s data analytics smooth the last mile of a parcel’s journey
SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail| by JOANNA PACHNER, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

FleetOptics specializes in so-called last-mile delivery, from a retailer's distribution centre to the customer's door—the hardest and most expensive portion, estimated to account for a least 30% of total transportation cost. It's also the most vital as, in the e-commerce era, receiving the package is often the only contact consumers have with a human during the transaction. FleetOptics' software makes the parcel's progress transparent for both business and consumer. Customers can track the driver on-screen as they might an approaching Uber car, avoiding that infuriating experience of the deliveryman arriving just after they jump in the shower. Retailers, meanwhile, can check packages' status in real time through FleetOptics' online portal. As co-founder Vince Buckley pithily sums it up, “Tesla is a battery company that also makes cars. We're a technology company that also makes deliveries.”
analytics  data  data_driven  delivery  delivery_networks  delivery_services  distribution  distribution_centres  e-commerce  FleetOptics  fulfillment  last_mile  logistics  package_delivery  retailers  same-day  start_ups  shipping  third-party  traceability  tracking  trucking  warehouses 
november 2019
US navy secretary warns of ‘fragile’ supply chain
November 4, 2019 | Financial Times | by Peter Spiegel and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York.

Richard Spencer says America is at risk of relying on China and Russia for critical warship components.....many contractors are reliant on single suppliers for certain high-tech and high-precision parts, increasing the likelihood they would have to be procured from geostrategic rivals.......moreover, China (Beijing) was trying to “weaponize capital” through its Belt and Road Initiative whereby Beijing offers developing countries “loan to own” debt that they could not pay back in order to gain leverage over critical assets.....efforts to improve the domestic supply chain have been hampered by repeated government shutdowns and haphazard federal budgeting in recent years......undermining the ability to convince domestic suppliers that there will be a steady stream of business for them if they invest in building out their manufacturing capabilities......the Secretary of the U.S. Navy has recently launched a “trusted capital” programme whereby large private equity firms are invited to bid on failing or non-existent supply needs in areas from ship maintenance to weapons manufacturing.
adversaries  China  developing_countries  fragility  industrial_policies  maritime  military-industrial_complex  One_Belt_One_Road  precision  private_equity  rivalries  Russia  security_&_intelligence  supply_chains  U.S._Navy  SPOF 
november 2019
How to Give People Advice They’ll Be Delighted to Take
Oct. 21, 2019 | The New York Times | By Anna Goldfarb.

Giving spectacular advice doesn’t necessarily mean people will take it. Advice is a gift, albeit one bundled with inherent power dynamics. That “I know your situation best and here’s what you should do” attitude is what can make advice-giving so fraught.
“Expertise is a tricky thing,” “To take advice from someone is to agree to be influenced by them.” Sometimes when people don’t take advice, they’re rejecting the idea of being controlled by the advice-giver more than anything.
Three  factors determine whether input will be taken to heart. 
(1) was the advice costly to attain and the task is difficult (think: lawyers interpreting a contract)?
(2) Is the advisor more experienced and expresses extreme confidence in the quality of the advice (doctors recommending a treatment, for example)?
(3) Emotion plays a role, too: Decision makers are more likely to disregard advice if they feel certain about what they’re going to do (staying with a dud boyfriend no matter what) or they’re angry (sending an ill-advised text while fuming).

**Make sure you’re actually being asked to give counsel.  ask, “Would you be willing to hear some of my ideas, or is now not a good time?”

** Be clear on the advice-seeker’s goals. identify the exact problem: “What do you want to know specifically that I can help you with?”  Repeat back what you heard to be sure you’ve grasped the heart of the issue. Ask what outcome the advice-seeker hopes to see so your ideas align with the person’s desires. Next, inquire about what has been done to address the problem so your suggestions won’t be redundant.

**Consider your qualifications. People often go to those close to them for advice, even if family members and friends aren’t always in the best position to effectively assist, Ask yourself: “Do I have the expertise, experience or knowledge needed to provide helpful advice in this situation?” If you do, fantastic! Advise away. If you don’t, rather than give potentially unhelpful advice, identify someone who is in a better position to help.

**Be friendly. Words have power. Words can heal.

**Share experience. People tend to resist when advice is preachy. Saying, “I’ve been there and here’s what I did,” makes people more receptive. Recommend books and tools that might provide additional insight: Don't not tell what to do, offer real resources beyond me.

**Look for physical signs of relief.  Examine facial cues and body language.

** Identify takeaways (and give an out).  It’s not realistic for people to act on every piece of advice given. After discussing a problem and suggesting how to handle it, ask what tidbit resonates the most. Then give permission to disregard any suggestions made that weren’t a good fit. 

** Agree on next steps.  What kind of continued support is needed (if any) and what efforts should be avoided (i.e. too overbearing)?
advice  contracts  howto  legal  power_dynamics 
november 2019
CIBC Acquires Accenture's Tech Venture Portfolio - WSJ
Aug. 6, 2002

In a move that surprised some secondary market executives, CIBC World Markets said Tuesday, Aug. 6, it has purchased most of Accenture Ltd.'s venture capital portfolio for an undisclosed price.

The Hamilton, Bermuda, consulting firm will retain 5% of the portfolio, which comprised 80 early- to mid-stage technology companies, mostly in software. Accenture has paid about $325 million for minority stakes in them.

Accenture, which rode the venture capital investment wave starting in 1999 with an intent to invest $500 million, is one of many corporate venture capitalists to exit the industry now that returns have soured. It has shopped the portfolio around to secondary-market buyers at least since March, when Accenture said it was halting new venture capital investments and selling its venture portfolio because of its losses. At that time, it reported a book value of about $95 million for the portfolio and said it would take a charge of $212 million in the second quarter to cover anticipated losses from the sale. No additional charges are expected in connection with this sale.

CIBC, the New York investment arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was a surprise buyer. It has not been an active buyer of secondary private equity interests for at least 18 months, despite frenetic dealflow coming from corporate venture portfolios.

"Acquiring portfolios with direct investments is a much different game than buying limited partnership interests in venture funds," said Scott Conners, a principal at Landmark Partners Inc. of Simsbury, Conn. "It's much less diversified, and managers of corporate venture units don't normally have the same disciplines as the traditional venture fund managers. Also, even if they had the requisite management skills, why not handpick your own investments rather than acquire other people's baggage?"

According to sources, Accenture had been negotiating with frontrunner Thomas Weisel Partners LLC of San Francisco. Credit Suisse First Boston, retained as investment adviser, was also believed to be a potential buyer. Neither could be reached for comment.

CIBC gave no details on the transaction, due to close at the end of the year. As with all secondary market transactions, it remains subject to transfer approvals from companies within the portfolio.

Some secondary market sources said they had given Accenture's offer a "quick look" but declined because the portfolio consisted of direct investments that are tougher to manage or require undetermined extra financing to make them viable.

"They've been trying to sell for a long time now, and it didn't look spectacular to me," said one potential New York buyer.

Conners added: "Many corporate venture deals tend to be 'me-too' deals that they pay a high price for."

CIBC executives described the deal as "an attractive investment" opportunity.

"The acquisition clearly demonstrates our commitment to the technology sector generally and software specifically," said Marshall Heinberg, a CIBC World Markets managing director and head of U.S. corporate finance, in a statement.

It isn't clear whether the transaction will include the transfer of any managers from Accenture Technology Ventures, the Palo Alto, Calif., business unit that made the original investments, to help manage the assets.

CIBC's venture group, consisting of six investment professionals, makes direct investments as part of CIBC Capital Partners. Its portfolio currently includes about 50 companies, primarily in North America. Since its inception in 1989, CIBC Capital Partners has invested more than $1 billion.

The firm would not elaborate on its secondary market activities, but one New York-based secondary specialist said CIBC hasn't bought such interests since a $300 million purchase nearly two years ago.

Accenture, which split from Arthur Andersen LLP and was formerly known as Andersen Consulting, said it will continue its existing client relationships with companies in the portfolio.

Accenture made only direct investments in companies, putting in $2 million to $30 million, according to New York financial markets research firm Capital IQ. Portfolio companies include AltoWeb Inc., a Palo Alto-based supplier of application production platforms, and Epylon Corp., a San Francisco-based online procurement company.

Accenture and CIBC World Markets also said they plan to join an alliance to offer CIBC access to Accenture's technology-sector knowledge.
Accenture  CIBC  corporate_investors  early-stage  economic_downturn  exits  mergers_&_acquisitions  portfolio_management  secondary_markets  selling_off  start_ups  venture_capital 
november 2019
The U.S. is sinking. Maybe it's time for Canada to jump ship.
Oct 30, 2019 | Macleans.ca | by Scott Gilmore.

Things are not going well for American foreign policy. At the geopolitical level, tectonic shifts in world power are leading to a relative decline in American dominance.......Institutionally, the U.S. State Department is in utter disarray......Donald Trump is steering from one collision to another.....we can speculate whether the U.S. decline is an inevitable result of historical political and demographic trends. Or whether it's entirely due to Donald Trump.....whether incompetence or fate, there is no question the American ship of state is leaking badly. The question we should now be asking ourselves, as Canadians, is whether we should help bail or build our own raft.....The instinctive answer is to grab a bucket......In the halls of Global Affairs Canada, the orthodoxy is that we sink or swim with Washington, and therefore, when the Trump circus finally leaves town, we should undoubtedly be there to help rebuild American prestige and influence wherever we can.

But—what if we didn’t? What if we simply boarded our own raft, or paddled over to another ally? What if we decided to “Trump-proof” Canada? What if we consciously and ambitiously began to build a new foreign policy alignment in anticipation of the next American wreck?.....Who else supports human rights, a rules-based international system and strong Western institutions like NATO? The obvious answer is the EU......we are far more likely to achieve our common goals of multilateralism and the rule of law if we join forces more closely. As Canada’s diplomats begin to brief Canada’s next government on the menu of foreign policy options, it would be nice to think that there is a tiny footnote that points out this one small but true idea—when it comes to Washington, there are other options.
America_in_Decline?  Canada  Canadian  crossborder  beyondtheU.S.  Donald_Trump  EU  foreign_policy  generating_strategic_options  geopolitics  Global_Affairs_Canada  imperial_overstretch  international_system  middle-powers  multilateralism  retreats  rules-based  rule_of_law  Scott_Gilmore  seismic_shifts  Trump-proofing  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  Washington_D.C. 
november 2019
Opinion | The Glorious Return of Funk
November 1, 2019 | The New York Times |
funk  music 
november 2019
The Man Who Solved the Market — how Jim Simons built a moneymaking machine
November 1, 2019 | | Financial Times | Robin Wigglesworth

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution, by Gregory Zuckerman, Portfolio, RRP$30/£20, 384 pages

Jim Simons looked to math and computers as ways to eliminate the emotional ups and downs of investing. “I don’t want to have to worry about the market every minute. I want models that will make money while I sleep.”
algorithms  books  finance  hedge_funds  James_Simons  massive_data_sets  mathematics  moguls  quantitative  Renaissance_Technologies  talent_spotting  winner-take-all 
november 2019
My time on The Apprentice taught me a lot about black men in business
Fri 1 Nov 2019 | The Guardian | by Samuel Brooksworth.

There is a lack of black men in senior positions. We need to tackle the discrimination that is holding so many people back
Black_British  FTSE_100     men  race  racial_discrimination  reality_tv  start_ups  systemic_discrimination  under-representation  United_Kingdom 
november 2019
Want to transform your industry? Be ready to embrace resistance - The Globe and Mail
BRETT BELCHETZ
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

important lessons that we learned along the way:

TAKE WHAT’S USEFUL, LEAVE WHAT’S NOT
Comments and criticisms can be invaluable for young companies – but you need to become a master at differentiating between feedback that matters and feedback that doesn’t. ...... it’s critical to pay attention to actual customers, zeroing in on their feedback (both good and bad) and continuously improving our offering. It’s important not to dilute the quality of the user experience in an effort to jump over hurdles raised by non-customers.

FOCUS ON THE “PERSUADABLES”
It’s essential that your company identify those who are persuadable from those who are not... Pick targets carefully and convert them strategically......Circle back to the “unpersuadables” at a later point.

VIEW CHALLENGES AS COMPLIMENTS
.....If your vision didn’t have a chance of succeeding or wasn’t ambitious enough, nobody important would care enough to challenge you. The reality is that many industries are in need of evolution, and those pushing for change are rarely celebrated or welcomed by their peers. To succeed as a leader with a transformative vision, it’s necessary to celebrate resistance.

NEVER FORGET YOUR MISSION
Focus on your original mission – the problem you set out to solve in the first place. That’s your North Star. And surround yourself with people who believe in it too. Everything you do from day one onward has to tie back to your mission in a clear and compelling way. Resistance is inevitable, but it can never – not even for a second – throw you off course. The leaders and companies that succeed are the ones who remain dead focused on their reason for existing. It’s much easier to deal with resistance when you know, without a doubt, the value you will bring by overcoming it.
challenges  compliment  feedback  industry  mission-driven  North_Star  persuasion  resistance  transformational  UX 
november 2019
Byron Allen On Economic Inclusion, Buying The Weather Channel, Comcast Racial Bias Lawsuit + More - YouTube
“I’m going to take my seat at the table”

“Own the game don’t play the game”
Be clear of what you need and your ask.
Making money is easy. It's a mindset. Figuring it out with the internet.

$300 MM is not a lot of money. Understand how much money is out there and is there for YOU.
In the U.S., $20 T in liquidity in our financial sys. Swirling. Looking for places to invest, and to get a safe return. There aren't that many people who can actually invest, protect it and give it back with a return.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The story of how the struggle for civil rights intertwined and intersected historically with the struggle against monopoly provides a lesson for the future. It suggests a need to recognize how political independence connects with economic independence in the struggle for social justice. Without freedom from domination in one sphere, there is no freedom in the other.
African-Americans  Byron_Allen  civil_rights  economic_clout  economic_inclusion  economic_independence  entrepreneur  equality_of_opportunity  racial_discrimination 
november 2019
Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows - The New York Times
By Denise Lu and Christopher FlavelleOct. 29, 2019

John Wyndham's "Out of the Deeps" (UK version, "The Kraken Wakes") has alarming scenes of London and much of the UK inundated. In that novel, it's aliens, melting the Greenland glaciers.
books  cities  climate_change  coastal  dislocations  extreme_weather_events  floods  flood-risk  flood-risk_maps  floodplains  geopolitical-risk  infrastructure  internal_migration  mass_migrations  population_movements  refugees  sea-level_rise  societal_collapse  weather 
october 2019
Opinion | ‘You Promised You Wouldn’t Kill Me’ - The New York Times
By Kimberlé Crenshaw
Ms. Crenshaw is an expert on civil rights and black feminist legal theory.

Oct. 28, 2019
African-Americans  killings  women 
october 2019
A millennial’s hymn to Generation X
October 25, 2019 | Financial Times | by Janan Ganesh

Thought-provoking article by Janan Ganesh arguing that the Gen X cohort are passing through life without having left anywhere near the kind of societal impact of either their larger numbered predecessors, the baby boomers, or their larger numbered successors, the millennials.  Generation X have avoided embracing big ideas,  or embracing nobel causes or political zeal.  lack of passion, big vision, no protest movements, no electoral shocks, etc.  Ganesh argues that Generation X's unpretentiousness--their unwillingness to  made a big splash--is standing them in good stead...."No living generation has shown less interest in changing the world. As a result, no living generation looks wiser today." This is because those who are wildly engaged in causes today (e.g. populism, climate activism, etc.) look like utopian true believers.  By contrast, Generation X'ers look like healthy, sober, sceptics....representing a certain hardheadedness or tough-mindedness or prudence.  Even Generation X' popular cultural touch points, movies like Pulp Fiction and Fargo are really more about the  particular and personal rather the evincing a larger societal message.

Ganan concludes by arguing that it is a category error to misinterpret Generation X's circumspection for mediocrity or ineffectiveness. Many tech company founders are Generation X members. " It is just that these gifts were seldom deployed in public life. The cream of the generation chose business and the arts over politics," Janan mistrusts vision. Sometimes, vision results in blameless people having to pack their things in the night and flee their own country to survive. I like caution. I like moderately countercyclical fiscal policy with a view to 2.25 per cent annual growth over the period, thanks.
'90s  baby_boomers  demographic_changes  generations  Generation_X  Janan_Ganesh  millennials  popular_culture 
october 2019
Don Valentine, Founder of Sequoia Capital, Is Dead at 87 -
Oct. 25, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith

In 1959, when Don Valentine joined a silicon company, “the word ‘Silicon Valley’ hadn’t been created yet,” he said in an interview at a technology conference in 2013.

In 1972, Mr. Valentine established Sequoia, and it soon became one of Silicon Valley’s most successful and enduring firms. Sequoia backed companies including Oracle, Microchip Technology, Linear Technology and Network Appliance. Several tech giants, including Electronic Arts and Sierra Semiconductor, were created in Sequoia’s offices.

Mr. Valentine invested in Atari in 1975, and three years later, he wrote a $150,000 check for Apple Computer. He also invested in Cisco Systems and was the networking equipment company’s chairman for three decades.......Unlike other venture capital investors at the time, he played an active role in the companies he backed....Venture capital is often called a “people business,” and many top firms have stumbled as they have tried to pass the reins from one generation to another. But Sequoia survived that transition when Mr. Valentine handed control to Michael Moritz and Doug Leone in the mid-1990s. He continued to attend partner meetings for the next decade. Mr. Valentine evaluated start-ups by their ability to answer the question “Who cares?”.........Mr. Valentine explained one element of his success. “The key to making great investments is to assume that the past is wrong, and to do something that’s not part of the past, to do something entirely differently,” he said.
Don_Valentine  founders  Michael_Moritz  obituaries  Sequoia  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
october 2019
Investment managers need to become coders, says former CPPIB CEO - The Globe and Mail
CLARE O’HARAWEALTH MANAGEMENT REPORTER
DAVID MILSTEADINSTITUTIONAL INVESTMENT REPORTER

Mark Wiseman is learning Python, one of the world’s top computer programming languages.

The former chief executive officer of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is not trying to become a master coder, but instead believes investment managers must become proficient in manipulating large data sets to beat the market.

“If you are waiting to get a company’s quarterly or annual report and you think that is how you’re going to make an investment, you are dead meat,”........

“Sources of information are completely different than they were even 10 years ago for investors,” he says.

Today, BlackRock has already begun using “alternative data sources” to gain more in-depth information on companies such as sales predictions, customer traffic and inventory......“As we look at data in industry and how fast it’s moving, there is going to be an increasing bifurcation between proprietary and non-proprietary data."

Non-proprietary data is information that is readily available on the internet and can easily be used by competitors. Now, money managers are increasingly looking for proprietary data to win a competitive advantage.

For BlackRock’s equities business alone, Mr. Wiseman says the firm has tripled the budget for data over the past two years and holds between 400 and 500 proprietary data sets at a time.......learning Python is a more important skill for a young investment manager than learning foreign languages, or even some of the curriculum taught to chartered financial analysts.

“But this is what investing is about today,” he said. “So those of you who are spending your time on your CFA Level III, that is really nice to have the letters after your name on the business card. But you probably would have been better off spending your time learning how to code Python.”
alternative_data  BlackRock  coding  commoditization_of_information  CPPIB  information_sources  investment_management  Mark_Wiseman  massive_data_sets  proprietary  software_developers  software_development 
october 2019
The myth of green growth
October 24, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Simon Kuper.

voters tend to place their personal interests ahead of their political ideals.
aviation  carbon_emissions  climate_catastrophe  climate_change  de-growth  electric_cars  energy  environment  fuel-efficiency  green  growth  myths  One_Belt_One_Road  reality_checks  renewable  shipping  Simon_Kuper  society  tradeoffs  William_Jevons 
october 2019
Susan Rice Recounts Making Policy at the Highest Levels
Oct. 10, 2019 | The New York Times | By Abby D. Phillip.

TOUGH LOVE
My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
By Susan Rice
Illustrated. 531 pp. Simon & Schuster. $30.

Tough Love is Susan Rice's memoir. Susan Rice doesn't allow herself to be defined by the events of September 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, after which she was demonized by the right-wingers in the U.S. ....Rice’s personal story is rooted partly in slavery in America and partly in economic migration to the United States.....Rice benefitted from privilege that gave her access to well-heeled private schooling, elite advanced degrees (i.e. Stanford University, and later was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford) and membership in the even more elite Washington society. Rice’s unflagging work ethic and drive stems from her family's belief that, "The only constraints we faced were our own ambition, effort and skill.” ......Early in her career at the National Security Council, Rice navigated some of the most difficult foreign policy challenges the country has faced in recent history, and in a pattern that continued into the Obama years her fate seemed constantly intertwined with Africa. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda provided an object lesson in the moral failures of inaction. Later, she dealt with another major crisis that would reverberate later in her career. The 1998 Nairobi embassy and Dar es Salaam embassy bombings.
Rice is clinical in her retelling of the foreign policy decisions of the Clinton and Obama administrations. And there is no attempt to neatly sew together an overarching narrative about her approach to foreign policy challenges based on her years of experience in government. In fact, that may be the lesson of her tale of “tough love.” Public policy, Rice argues, is pragmatic, and sometimes a little dark: “We did fail, we will fail. Our aim must be to minimize the frequency and the price of failure.”.....Rice's “assertiveness and relentlessness” has cost her reputation within the State Department as a difficult boss. Rice has considered--and ruled out--pursuit of elected office, preferring the comfort of policy-focused, behind-the-scenes roles.
African-Americans  APNSA  assertiveness  Benghazi  books  book_reviews  cost_of_inaction  failure  memoirs  NSC  Obama  policymaking  public_policy  relentlessness  Rhodes  Stanford  Susan_Rice  tough_love  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  women  work_ethic 
october 2019
The lesson for all investors arising from the lewd comments of a billionaire fund manager
OCTOBER 23, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by IAN MCGUGAN

The money management industry that, in one way or another, is trying to seduce you.....The key to arriving at a mature relationship is seeing through the patter. Every fund company can trot out attractive, well-educated people with well-researched insights about the market. But look beyond the superficial charm.
More often than not, this will result in disappointment. The performance of most actively managed funds consistently lags passive market benchmarks, especially as you look at longer periods. In Canada, more than nine in every 10 funds underperformed their respective benchmarks over the 10 years to the end of 2018, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In the United States, similar long-term trends hold true. Even the endowments of Ivy League universities, managed by teams of highly paid professionals, have failed to keep pace with a simple 60/40 portfolio of 60 per cent U.S. stocks and 40 per cent U.S. bonds over the past decade, according to research firm Markov Processes International. One simple lesson to take away from this is that indexing should be the default strategy for most small investors. Unless you have a strong view of where the market is going next, or a compelling reason to believe in a specific money manager, putting money into a low-cost, widely diversified index fund makes sense. No, it’s not going to work all the time – no investing strategy does – but it is hard to shrug off the long-term evidence of superior performance.

John Huber at Saber Capital Management, is often asked what his edge, or advantage, is. “Institutional investors seem especially interested in this question, and the edge that they are almost always looking for is some form of informational edge or insight that the rest of the market isn’t aware of,”......The problem is that such edges don’t exist any more. Oceans of financial and corporate information are available to any professional investor. Legions of professionals pore over that data, looking for reasons to buy or sell. Nobody knows more than anyone else – at least, not legally.......The only sustainable edge, Mr. Huber argues, is maintaining a different time horizon than the overall market.....
active_investing  commoditization_of_information  disappointment  index_funds  informational_advantages  investors  Ken_Fisher  lessons  money_management  passive_investing  slight_edge  time_horizons 
october 2019
Sleep Hygiene Instructions
* "No More Sleepless Nights" by Dr. Peter Hauri
* "Goodnight Mind" by Dr. Colleen Carney
* Sleepontario.com -Selfmanagement of Insomnia
best_practices  books  howto  insomnia  sleep 
october 2019
Winners in Silicon Valley put in the hard yards
October 24, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Michael Moritz 6 HOURS AGO

The genuine formula for success among Silicon Valley's "real companies" are longevity and persistence against all odds. It is no coincidence that the greatest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley and its sister regions in China share hallmarks that are very different from popular perception. These companies are never “overnight sensations”, and they have usually had plenty of close encounters of the worst kind.

Their founders will not be leading the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Instead, they will be strapped to the mast displaying single-minded devotion to their business, jealous of every minute that is not associated with the welfare and sustenance of their company.

Their reading lists will be long; they will be voracious in their willingness to learn from others; harbour insatiable curiosity; display a fetching mixture of supreme confidence and humility; and have a keen understanding of how to make the impossible possible.

They will also adopt healthy corporate habits in their early days, have a sound appreciation for how their company will become profitable and refuse to pursue a strategy for growth come what may. They will pay keen attention to unit economics, operating expenses, cash balances, positive cash flows and dilution. The founders of the flagship technology companies of the past 50 years — Intel, Cisco, Qualcomm, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Alibaba and Tencent — have all shared these traits and that is true for today’s best privately held companies.......In the technology world, fatuous slogans, broken promises, unlaced basketball shoes and black turtlenecks can only get you so far. It is then that the absence of a sound business model suddenly becomes evident. It is then that heaps of protective voting rights melt away. It is then that people understand gravity has not been repealed and that patience is the best way to build what you want. That’s the life of the persistent majority.
business_models  character_traits  dotcom  founders  hard_work  illusions  Juul  ksfs  longevity  Michael_Moritz  persistence  Silicon_Valley  reading  Sequoia  single-minded_focus  start_ups  WeWork 
october 2019
Opinion | H.B.C.U.s’ Sink-or-Swim Moment - The New York Times
By Delece Smith-Barrow
Ms. Smith-Barrow is a senior editor at The Hechinger Report.

Oct. 21, 2019
African-Americans  Colleges_&_Universities  education  HBCUs 
october 2019
Fidelity’s search for the technology of tomorrow
October 20, 2109 | Financial Times | by Robin Wigglesworth in Boston.

Buffeted by falling fees and rising costs, the asset manager is investing heavily in an effort to remain competitive...
Bolstered by 2.8 tn invested in their  mutual funds, Fidelity administers another $7.7tn on behalf of various clients, making it one of the biggest, broadest and most powerful financial groups in the world. ....The investment industry has come under intense pressure in recent years, buffeted by falling fees and rising costs.......Abigail Johnson is trying to reforge Fidelity for a new era, where technology permeates and reshapes every aspect of the company’s disparate businesses.......“Across all financial services, the trend is towards fee compression....Fidelity is dabbling in cryptocurrencies...  Ms Johnson is now spending about $3bn a year on tech to modernise every business line, from trading to retirement planning. “Financial services is becoming another winner-takes-all industry, so you need to spend a lot of money on tech to get the advantages of scale and play both offence and defence,”.... the question is whether an organisation as big, established and complex — and with a culture as ingrained as Fidelity’s — can evolve quickly enough to navigate the industry’s ferocious headwinds.......Fidelity is exploring whether virtual reality can make it more palatable to consumers via the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. .....The technology centre is also where Fidelity’s initial bitcoin experiments took place, which last year evolved into a standalone company, Fidelity Digital Asset Services.....Ms Johnson has embraced the index funds once mocked by her father. Fidelity now has about $530bn in passive funds, making it one of the biggest providers.......Fidelity last year promoted Steve Neff, its chief technology officer, to lead its $2.8tn asset management division....... A lot of asset managers are spending a lot of money on computer scientists, and they don’t end up being used.” Upgrading Fidelity’s core tech infrastructure — which was largely developed in the 1980s — is time-consuming and expensive......Fidelity is using artificial intelligence to write more neutral job ads shorn of subconscious biases, to test the outcomes, and to better target job sites that might have more prospective hires from minorities.
Abigail_Johnson  artificial_intelligence  asset_management  blockchain  CEOs  Fidelity_Investments  financial_services  investment_management  legacy_tech  money_management  organizational_culture  the_great_game  virtual_reality  winner-take-all 
october 2019
Labels in finance have become meaningless     | Financial Times
OCTOBER 18, 2019 | Financial TImes | by Tom Braithwaite.

In the hunt for returns, investment banks now offer credit cards and hedge funds sell books

Some of Goldman’s investment bankers fear the company’s diffuse range of activities dilute its core role. Once, Goldman Sachs touted itself as “a leading global investment banking and securities firm” advising on mergers and trading debt and equities, Goldman is now: a venture capitalist investing in the likes of Uber and WeWork; a retail bank offering accounts and short-term loans to ordinary consumers; a credit card issuer in partnership with Apple; and a software developer with a suite of applications. ....The finance industry is now full of companies uncomfortable in their own skins and trying to adopt more fluid identities. Blackstone, notionally a private equity firm, today makes more money from property. BlackRock, famous as one of the world’s biggest owners of public equities, is now getting into private equity buyouts. Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund, has ended up owning a football club, AC Milan, and two bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. Barriers are breaking down and labels are fraying......It is this yield-starved world that sends financial companies roaming far and wide in a hunt for returns.....the IMF has pointed to renewed risks from pension funds’ headlong rush into alternative assets. The allocation to alternatives such as property and private equity has risen from just over 5 per cent in 2007 to more than 20 per cent today. The IMF warns of Woodford-like runs on a grand scale when investors rush to withdraw assets from such “open-ended funds”, yet another misnomer. “Such runs could force fund managers to engage in fire sales, further depressing asset prices, inflicting losses on other market participants, and, in the extreme case, increasing the risk for the financial system,” the economists warned. Always read the label, but never rely on it.
alternative_investments  Blackstone  BlackRock  Elliott_Management  finance  Goldman_Sachs  layer_mastery  selling_off  special_sauce 
october 2019
Actor Wendell Pierce: ‘Fame is obscurity in waiting’
October 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Henry Mance YESTERDAY
actors  African-Americans  HBO  The_Wire 
october 2019
City Parks Piggyback on Infrastructure
Oct. 8, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jane Margolies.

With land scarce, green space is being built into needs like transit hubs and power stations. But the projects come with challenges.....Salesforce Park is a lush landscape that stretches four city blocks atop a transit center in San Francisco. With lawns, hillocks, lavender beds, leafy trees and a walking path, it gives commuters a relaxing place to wait for their bus and attracts people who live and work nearby looking for respite in the middle of a busy city.

Despite its presence as a calming oasis, Salesforce Park faced stressful start-up challenges....Building a park 70 feet in the air atop a transit center showed how complex it can be to piggyback green space on active infrastructure. Such projects require coordination among many consultants and, often, multiple levels of government, with possible construction delays, cost overruns and pushback from residents....still, with land for urban parks scarce and prohibitively expensive, the practice is becoming increasingly common......“It’s a way of making infrastructure do double or even triple duty,” ....Parks add value not only for relaxation, recreation and human health,....but also for combating heat, absorbing storm water and providing habitat for wildlife....an infrastructure project with a park can cost less than two projects undertaken independently, ......“There’s an economy of scale and an efficiency,”....The idea of building parks on infrastructure can be traced to the rails-to-trails movement, which for four decades has transformed abandoned rail corridors into walking and biking paths.......The wildly popular High Line in Manhattan, which opened in 2009, gave impetus to the idea of adding greenery to infrastructure that is raised off the ground.....The High Line is considered a design and tourism triumph, but it has also drawn criticism for accelerating gentrification along its route and not better serving residents of nearby public housing.... adding green space to functioning infrastructure has gained traction.....The vast majority of projects are built on transportation infrastructure, however, including so-called deck parks over highways — adding green space while stitching back together sections of cities that the roadways ripped apart long ago...
economies_of_scale  green_spaces  High_Line  infrastructure  parks  public_spaces  repurposing  Salesforce  San_Francisco  overlay_networks 
october 2019
Ad Giant Wins Over Disney With Big Data Pitch
Oct. 15, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tiffany Hsu.

Advertising pitches have come a long way since the 1960s, when creative teams tried to impress potential clients with snappy slogans, catchy jingles and arresting visuals while pledging to attract the housewife segment or the businessman demographic.

These days, big companies look to ad companies for their data smarts as much as their marketing expertise. The agencies with the most persuasive pitches are those that have increasingly personalized data on the patterns and preferences of a broad range of consumers.

Disney already has plenty of data on its customers. But the prospect of precisely targeting potential moviegoers, theme-park visitors, hotel guests and subscribers for its coming Disney Plus streaming service appealed to the company, according to two people familiar with the pitch process.

While the Disney-Publicis deal may benefit both companies, some worry that it may put consumer privacy at risk.

“This is in essence creating a data broker division to Disney, expanding what Disney already knows, which is a lot,” said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. “You’re telling your entire life history to Mickey Mouse.”

On Nov. 12, the Disney will start its streaming challenger to Netflix, Disney Plus.
In North America, Publicis will take charge of media strategy for the Disney Plus streaming service as well as Disney resorts and amusement parks. Epsilon was a major draw because of the extremely detailed data it has compiled. The company may very well know if you are lactose intolerant or are in the market for a pickup truck with 60,000 miles on it. If you are into astrology or have taken out a home-equity loan, it may know that too. Epsilon could, for example, beam a Disney Plus ad to parents who have bought a Lion King costume for their toddler.....“They have the capacity to really understand who is a likely prospect for the streaming service and where that person resides online, and they can send messages in the appropriate media to that individual,” .....most of the advertising industry is struggling to compete against Facebook and Google, analysts said. The platforms dominate the business of buying and selling digital ads, leaving the agencies little room to negotiate. Facebook and Google have also started working directly with many advertising clients, luring them away from traditional ad companies.

In leaning on data to improve its fortunes, Publicis is part of a larger industry trend. Dentsu bought a majority stake in the data marketing firm Merkle Group in 2016, and Interpublic Group bought the data marketing firm Acxiom in 2018.....a “huge consolidation” within advertising that has allowed huge holding companies to gobble up agencies and data companies that are increasingly looking for ways to advertise using personal data.

He said that viewership data from the ad-free Disney Plus, including details involving children, could be passed on to Epsilon, which could use the information to target consumers with marketing for other Disney offerings.

“It’s Madison Avenue bringing you Silicon Valley,”
advertising  advertising_agencies  analytics  big_bets  data  Disney  Epsilon  Madison_Avenue  marketing  Omnicom  personal_data  pitches  privacy  Publicis  Silicon_Valley  streaming  target_marketing  theme_parks 
october 2019
Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
october 2019
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