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jerryking : ambitions   19

Time to push the Western vehicle - Western Alumni
 Summer 2010
Time to push the Western vehicle

by Paul Wells, BA '89
UWO  Paul_Wells  ambitions  CEOs 
april 2017 by jerryking
Boundless ambition and sense of superiority comes back to haunt Cruz - The Globe and Mail
PATRICK MARTIN
HOUSTON — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Ted_Cruz  Campaign_2016  ambitions 
may 2016 by jerryking
The path to enlightenment and profit starts inside the office
(Feb. 2, 2016): The Financial Times | John Thornhill.

Competition used to be easy. That is in theory, if not always in practice. Until recently, most competent companies had a clear idea of who their rivals were, how to compete and on what field to fight.

One of the starkest - and scariest - declarations of competitive intent came from Komatsu, the Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, in the 1970s. As employees trooped into work they would walk over doormats exhorting: "Kill Caterpillar!". Companies benchmarked their operations and market share against their competitors to see where they stood.

But that strategic clarity has blurred in so many industries today to the point of near-invisibility thanks to the digital revolution and globalisation. Flying blind, companies seem happier to cut costs and buy back their shares than to invest purposefully for the future. Take the European telecommunications sector. Not long ago most telecoms companies were national monopolies with little, or no, competition. Today, it is hard to predict where the next threat is going to erupt.

WhatsApp, the California-based messaging service, was founded in 2009 and only registered in most companies' consciousness when it was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn in 2014. Yet in its short life WhatsApp has taken huge bites out of the lucrative text messaging markets. Today, WhatsApp has close to 1bn users sending 30bn messages a day. The global SMS text messaging market is just 20bn a day.

Car manufacturers are rapidly wising up to the threat posed by new generation tech firms, such as Tesla, Google and Uber, all intent on developing "apps on wheels". Chinese and Indian companies, little heard of a few years ago, are bouncing out of their own markets to emerge as bold global competitors.

As the driving force of capitalism , competition gives companies a purpose, a mission and a sense of direction. But how can companies compete in such a shape-shifting environment? There are perhaps two (partial) answers.

The first is to do everything to understand the technological changes that are transforming the world, to identify the threats and opportunities early.

Gavin Patterson , chief executive of BT, the British telecoms group, says one of the functions of corporate leaders is to scan the horizon as never before. "As a CEO you have to be on the bridge looking outwards, looking for signs that something is happening, trying to anticipate it before it becomes a danger."

To that end, BT has opened innovation "scouting teams" in Silicon Valley and Israel, and tech partnerships with universities in China, the US, Abu Dhabi, India and the UK.

But even if you foresee the danger, it does not mean you can deal with it. After all, Kodak invented the first digital camera but failed to exploit the technology. The incentive structures of many companies are to minimise risk rather than maximise opportunity. Innovation is often a young company's game.

The second answer is that companies must look as intensively inwards as they do outwards (e.g. opposing actions). Well-managed companies enjoy many advantages: strong brands, masses of consumer data, valuable historic data sets, networks of smart people and easy access to capital. But what is often lacking is the ambition that marks out the new tech companies, their ability to innovate rapidly and their extraordinary connection with consumers. In that sense, the main competition of so many established companies lies within their own organisations.

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, constantly urges his employees to keep being radical. In his Founders' Letter of 2013, he warned that companies tend to grow comfortable doing what they have always done and only ever make incremental change. "This . . . leads to irrelevance over time," he wrote.

Google operates a 70/20/10 rule where employees are encouraged to spend 70 per cent of their time on their core business, 20 per cent on working with another team and 10 per cent on moonshots. How many traditional companies focus so much on radical ventures?

Vishal Sikka, chief executive of the Indian IT group Infosys, says that internal constraints can often be far more damaging than external threats. "The traditional definition of competition is irrelevant. We are increasingly competing against ourselves," he says.

Quoting Siddhartha by the German writer Hermann Hesse, Mr Sikka argues that companies remain the masters of their own salvation whatever the market pressures: "Knowledge can be communicated. Wisdom cannot." He adds: "Every company has to find its own unique wisdom." [This wisdom reference is reminiscent of Paul Graham's advice to do things that don't scale].

john.thornhill@ft.com
ambitions  brands  breakthroughs  BT  bureaucracies  competition  complacency  constraints  Fortune_500  incentives  incrementalism  Infosys  innovation  introspection  irrelevance  large_companies  LBMA  messaging  mission-driven  Mondelez  moonshots  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  outward_looking  Paul_Graham  peripheral_vision  radical  risk-avoidance  scouting  smart_people  start_ups  staying_hungry  tacit_knowledge  technological_change  threats  uniqueness  unscalability  weaknesses  WhatsApp  wisdom  digital_cameras  digital_revolution  historical_data 
april 2016 by jerryking
Five things the TD Centre can teach us about how to build Toronto - The Globe and Mail
MARCUS GEE
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 01 2015,

The TD towers were a radical departure both in scale and in style. The tallest of the original two soared to 56 floors, dominating the skyline like nothing before or since. Rising from its six-acre site at King and Bay, it was everything the old buildings around it were not. While they featured arched windows and gargoyles, Greek columns and bronze roofs, the design of the TD Centre was all austerity and simplicity.

It is just this sort of future that the creators of the TD Centre had in mind when they hired one of the era’s most renowned architects to build them something outstanding. The architect was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), the Chicago-based German émigré who liked to say that “less is more.” He referred to his works as “skin-and-bones” architecture, and his unadorned steel-and-glass boxes were meant to reflect the spirit of a modern technological era.

It took ambition and foresight to pull off something as bold as the TD Centre. It meant thinking about what the city would become instead of just coping with what it was. Those qualities sometimes seem lacking in today’s Toronto. There are still things we can learn from those dark towers.

First, don’t be afraid of tall buildings.
Second, investing in quality pays.
Third, maintain what you have.
Fourth, pay attention to details.
Finally, always think about the future. Toronto, and Canada, were in a risk-taking frame of mind when the first tower took shape. Expo 67, the wildly successful world’s fair, was under way in Montreal. The striking new Toronto City Hall by Finnish architect Viljo Revell had opened two years earlier.
'60s  ambitions  architecture  boldness  foresight  history  lessons_learned  Marcus_Gee  skyscrapers  Bay_Street  TD_Bank  Toronto  design  forward_looking  PATH  detail_oriented  minimalism  quality  Expo_67  risk-taking  mindsets  pay_attention 
may 2015 by jerryking
Innovation: If you can’t make yourself obsolete, someone else will - The Globe and Mail
GUY DIXON
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jun. 26 2014

I think at the root of the problem is a deficit of ambition [JCK: i.e. a lack of chutzpah or audacity] The larger the corporation, the safer they become. What I’ve witnessed, certainly between 2008, 2009, is this deficit of ambition.....All of our research points to the fact that companies that do manage and measure innovation outperform those that don’t. You can put resources into place, and that’s where managing it comes in: deploying resources that will support innovative, new ideas; ensuring that you have a strong knowledge architecture – and that it is a formal, systemic thing, so that people access knowledge that is already developed; ensuring access to markets – that’s a structural element. Do your people have access to customers and markets?; and actively managing talent and selecting people and promoting them and ensuring that they have an orientation toward innovation and the development of new ideas....What percentage of turnover or revenue is presented by products that have been introduced in the past number of years? And for different companies, in different industries, that’s going to vary. Companies that are very successful treat that number as sacrosanct for the sales projection for next year and the bottom line for next year....Way too many companies are focused on market share versus the modern metric of, ‘Are we gaining a disproportionate share of opportunity?’ [Is this distinction something to be explored with the help of sensors, location-based services and the LBMA??] And then we’re back to this abandonment thing.
Managing_Your_Career  organizational_culture  playing_it_safe  innovation  metrics  ambitions  opportunities  market_share  complacency  measurements  talent_management  ideas  obsolescence  disproportionality  latent  hidden  self-obsolescence  large_companies  new_products  Fortune_500  brands  Guy_Dixon  outperformance  systematic_approaches 
june 2014 by jerryking
Five savvy questions for strategic success
Feb. 05 2013 | The Globe and Mail |HARVEY SCHACHTER
Playing to Win
By A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin

(Harvard Business School Press, 260 pages, $30)
The strategy worked, by satisfying the five questions:

* Winning aspirations. Most companies have lofty mission statements but the authors say that isn’t the same thing as having a strategy. It’s a starting point, statements of an ideal future.
* Where to play. In which markets and with which customers is it best to compete? This is a vital question, because you can’t be all things to all people if you want to be successful.

* How to win.After selecting the playing field, you must choose the best approach, which the authors stress might be very different from your competitors.
* Core capabilities. What capabilities must be in place for your organization to win?
* Management systems. What needs to be in place in your management approach to support the strategy, and measure how successful you are with it
Harvey_Schachter  Roger_Martin  book_reviews  P&G  A.G._Lafley  strategy  mission_statements  questions  ambitions  internal_systems  core_competencies  instrumentation_monitoring  measurements  books  capabilities 
february 2013 by jerryking
Big Science Breakthroughs on Canadian Campuses
Spring 2007 | Western Alumni Gazette | Paul Wells.

Ottawa is a great place to be in February if you want to meet university presidents eager to brag about their pet projects. February is the home stretch of the federal budget-writing cycle, and administrators responsible for big research programs like to make sure they’re not forgotten. But these days I’m tempted to look at some of the big science going on in Canada, not as budgetary politics, but as a demonstration of the scale of Canadian ambition and ingenuity. I’ll be happy to argue another time about the economic benefits or the competitive edge we get from big science in a world where dozens of countries are constantly courting the brightest minds [JCK: war for talent] . For now, let’s just consider how cool all these projects are.........There’s a bit of a funhouse quality to Canada’s university campuses since federal and provincial governments started taking research seriously again in the late 1990s after long doldrums. At the University of Waterloo, Research in Motion founder Mike Lazaridis has funded a few years’ research into quantum computing, which offers the promise of computers hundreds of times smaller and faster than today’s best. Now he’s decided to mix quantum computing with nanotechnology in a new Quantum-Nano Centre, the country’s — perhaps the world’s? — headquarters of investigation into impossibly small and speedy machines. Over at McGill they’ve built a new music building whose central feature is a huge, eerily quiet performance studio floating on neoprene pads, the better to filter out unwanted noise and to study musical sounds — and the human brain’s response to them — with the most sophisticated diagnostic instruments. As a kind of bonus, it’s also a fantastic place to record movie soundtracks. I could go on, but hopefully you’re starting to glimpse the scale of what’s going on in this country. Researchers, with plenty of help from taxpayers [JCK: public_funding, public_investments] and philanthropists, are bringing the big investigative guns to bear on questions as fundamental as the shape of our oceans; the transformative power of a beam of light; the transformative potential of the incredibly small and quick; and the magic of a song. It is a tremendously exciting story, one Canadians never get enough chances to hear.
alumni  ambitions  breakthroughs  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  budgets  Canada  Canadian  Colleges_&_Universities  fundamental_discoveries  ingenuity  Mike_Lazaridis  nanotechnology  Paul_Wells  philanthropy  public_funding  public_investments  quantum_computing  R&D  RIM  science  uWaterloo  UWO  war_for_talent 
november 2012 by jerryking
The Young & Restless of Technology Finance
November 1993| The Red Herring | Anthony B. Perkins.

We think that marketing is everything. We try to help our companies figure out what is going to set them apart. We encourage companies to define their biggest risks-up front, work hard to put the risks behind them, and then move forward with very innovative marketing...During the interview process, you see whether entrepreneurs have passion and tenacity. The hardest thing to determine is their ability to stick-to-it. Entrepreneurs need to be very dynamic, wi11ing to adjust. And that's why an important part of our process is checking references, we have to be convinced the entrepreneur has never give up, even when things get tough. In other words, when Plan A work, because Plan A never works, we like to hear entrepreneurs say "That's O.K.,Plan B is on its way. I've twisted this valve and turned this knob and I really think we've figured it out." What we don't like to hear is "Well,it didn't work out...sorry." We also like to see entrepreneurs who are singularly focused on building -great products that fill distinct market needs. We are less interested in people who like nice digs, hype,and PR.

Moritz: ‘We have a very tight on making sure there is a sizable market opportunity in front. of us before we make an investment. We are much more focused on market growth potential and the ability for a company to reach a market successfully and profitably. We have also demonstrated as a firm and individually the ability to get companies off the ground with a small amount of fuel. We like to start wicked infernos with a single match rather than two million gallons of kerosene. This is clearly a differentiated way of getting a company put together. This approach has terrific benefits for the people who start the companies and for all our limited partners. You might say that we have a morbid fascination with our ROI, as opposed no the amount of dollars we put to work. And this is a very different message than you get from a lot of other venture firms.
The: HERRING: How often does a Sequoia partner actually go in and help operate a company?

Moritz: Pierre is the great unsung hero of Cisco Systems. He spent a tremendous amount of time at the company. working behind the scenes helping to make sure the engineering department was designing and getting new products to market. People don't realize the significant contribution Pierre made to Cisco because Don's name is on the hubcaps as the chairman of the company. The ability we have to help operate companies is a useful tool in our arsenal.

The HERRING: Sequoia's image on the streets of Silicon Valley is that you are the Los Angeles Raiders of venture capital--the tough guys who are quicker than the other firms to boot the CEO or pull the financial plug.
Moritz: We are congenitally incapable of pouring good money after bad. Some people. for their own will thrust us into a position to be harbingers of bad new to management, which is all right. But we do not want to continue propping up a company if we think its chances for success have evaporated. We would be wasting our money as individuals and wasting the money of our limited partners. There have been very few instances where we decided to stop funding a company and have regretted it.
The HERRING: What ’s the hardest part of your job?
Moritz: We usually don't make mistakes when it comes to assessing market opportunity. And we are reasonably accurate in predicting how long it will take to bring a product to market. The great imponderable is to judge accurately and predict how well a president is going to be able to run the business. It is easy to mistake the facade for reality
The HERRING: ‘What characteristics does Sequoia look for in a company president?
Moritz: Frugality, competitiveness. confidence, and paranoia.
venture_capital  vc  howto  Kleiner_Perkins  Sequoia  career_paths  Michael_Moritz  no_regrets  endurance  frugality  competitiveness  paranoia  self-confidence  market_sizing  market_windows  team_risk  market_opportunities  ambitions  large_markets  sticktoitiveness  entrepreneur  perseverance  indispensable  Plan_B  off-plan  champions  reference-checking  unknowns  assessments_&_evaluations  opportunities  unsentimental  wishful_thinking  illusions  overambitious 
july 2012 by jerryking
Canada must actively recruit the best and brightest immigrants - The Globe and Mail
Globe Editorial
Canada must actively recruit the best and brightest immigrants
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 04, 2012

The world has changed, and when it comes to its immigration system, Canada is not changing fast enough to compete in it. It is no longer possible to sit back languidly, as the best and the brightest queue on its doorstep. The global market for human capital is voracious. There may always be migrants wanting to come to Canada, but they may not be the ones that Canada needs. People with options are less and less likely to tolerate hidebound and cumbersome immigration process, waiting as long as eight years to have their applications processed. If you are ambitious, if you are skilled, if you are entrepreneurial, if you are educated, if you are impatient for success, you will look elsewhere. Increasingly, elsewhere is looking better.
ambitions  best_of  cream_skimming  editorials  hidebound  highly_skilled  human_capital  immigrants  immigration_policies  impatience  recruiting  talent  talent_flows  the_best_and_brightest  war_for_talent 
may 2012 by jerryking
Viterra another example of Canadian short-sightedness - The Globe and Mail
ERIC REGULY | Columnist profile | E-mail
ROME— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 23, 2012

The point is that Viterra is irreplaceable, certainly within our lifetime. Glencore is nabbing 63 grain elevators and seven port terminals in Canada that could not magically be built overnight should another group of investors decide to clone Viterra.

This industry has massive barriers to entry and that’s why Glencore, led by the ever-savvy Ivan Glasenberg, pounced. For him, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity (and pocket change compared to Glencore’s $45-billion market value). If he didn’t nail Viterra, he knew it would have disappeared into the maw of Archer-Daniel-Midlands, Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus or any of the other agribusiness heavyweights who know that food isn’t going out of style and that feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 just might translate into compelling growth story....If there is one industry that had a bright future, it was global agriculture and Canada had all the components: Land, water, fertilizer, technology, schools, expertise, infrastructure, agri-business companies. What it lacked was ambition.

Viterra could have been the foundation of a Canadian Glencore or Cargill. Now it’s a piece of someone else’s global vision.
Eric_Reguly  agriculture  agribusiness  barriers_to_entry  Viterra  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  farming  sellout_culture  short-sightedness  one-of-a-kind  Glencore  ADM  Cargill  Bunge  Louis_Dreyfus  vision  ambitions  uniqueness 
march 2012 by jerryking
Who gets the money: 'aggressive, hungry and paranoid' - The Globe and Mail
MARK EVANS | Columnist profile
Special to Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Mar. 02, 2012

there is financing available for “aggressive, hungry and paranoid” entrepreneurs who want to change the world. The problem is that there aren’t enough of those kinds of entrepreneurs in Canada....“Venture capital is made for people who are very ambitious, people who want to make a dent in the world, eat someone’s lunch, and want to disrupt someone’s business. That attitude, we don’t have enough of in Canada.”
iNovia  venture_capital  vc  entrepreneur  change_agents  disruption  mindsets  paranoia  ambitions  Mark_Evans  aggressive  frugality  pitches  thinking_big  champions  competitiveness  self-confidence  overambitious  staying_hungry  torchbearers 
march 2012 by jerryking
In praise of power seeker
Oct. 19, 2010 | G& M | Harvey Schachter. 7 qualities
build power: ambition, energy, focus, self-knowledge, confidence,
empathy, & capacity to tolerate conflict. Unlisted is intelligence
(overrated).Power must start somewhere,“People err in choosing where to
start accruing their power base.The common mistake is to locate it in
the dept. dealing with an org.’s core activity/skill/product – the unit
that is the most powerful at the moment,” The problem is that’s where
one encounters the most talented competition, well-established career
paths & processes. Further, what’s vital to an org. today might not
be in future. To move up, seek unexploited niches where one can develop
leverage with less resistance & build a power base in activities
that will be important in future. e.g., Robert McNamara & the whiz
kids at Ford built their power base in finance, acctg. & control
functions, rather than eng. allowing McNamara to become the 1st non-Ford
president. Wherever you start – stand out!
ambitions  conflict_toleration  core_businesses  empathy  focus  Ford  Harvey_Schachter  influence  leadership  movingonup  Niccolò_Machiavelli  overrated  Pablo_Picasso  personal_energy  power_brokers  Robert_McNamara  SecDef  self-confidence  self-knowledge  unexploited_resources  whiz_kids 
october 2010 by jerryking
Fear of China - WSJ.com
APRIL 21, 2006 | Wall Street Journal | by ROBERT D. KAPLAN.
"Given the stakes involved in the competition between the U.S. and China
in the new century, the only way that the business community's optimism
can be sustained is if the U.S. military thinks and plans in terms of
worst-case scenarios." "Motives -- especially in a dynamic and volatile
society such as China's -- can easily change over time, and are
dependent upon unforeseen domestic and foreign crises. Thus, when it
comes to countries that are not allies, the job of a military is to
think in terms of capabilities; not motives."... While American and
European elites think purely in terms of globalization, Chinese leaders
think also in terms of 19th-century grand strategy. "relationships are
more important than hardware." "Thinking pessimistically about China
should never be a self-fulfilling prophecy,"
Robert_Kaplan  China  ambitions  scenario-planning  worst-case  U.S._military  motivations  capabilities  strategic_thinking  PACOM  grand_strategy  thinking_tragically 
march 2010 by jerryking
Ambition: Why Some People Are Most Likely To Succeed -- Printout --
Nov. 06, 2005 | TIME | By Jeffrey Kluger. Why is that? Why
are some people born with a fire in the belly, while others--like the
Shipps--need something to get their pilot light lit? And why do others
never get the flame of ambition going? Is there a family anywhere that
doesn't have its overachievers and underachievers--its Jimmy Carters and
Billy Carters, its Jeb Bushes and Neil Bushes--and find itself
wondering how they all could have come splashing out of exactly the same
gene pool?
Success  ambitions  overachievers  gene_pool  inner-directed  intrinsically_motivated  high-achieving 
january 2010 by jerryking
Learning the path to extraordinary wisdom
Jan. 3, 2003 | First published in the Globe and Mail |By
Brian Babcock

People will gladly associate with a leader whose personal character
shows balance in at least three areas: ethics, ambition and competence.
presentations  leadership  introspection  Brian_Babcock  feedback  public_speaking  Communicating_&_Connecting  wisdom  think_threes  ethics  ambitions  competence 
april 2009 by jerryking

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