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We need to be better at predicting bad outcomes
September 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

A question some of us ask all too often, and some of us not often enough: what if it all [jk: our plan] goes wrong?.....we don’t think about worst-case scenarios in the right way......
The first problem is that our sense of risk is pretty crude. The great psychologist Amos Tversky joked that most of us have three categories when thinking about probabilities: “gonna happen”, “not gonna happen” and “maybe”.....It would be helpful if our sense of risk was a little more refined; intuitively, it is hard to grasp the difference between a risk of one in a billion and that of one in a thousand. Yet, for a gambler — or someone in the closely related business of insurance — there is all the difference in the world.....research by Barbara Mellers, Philip Tetlock and Hal Arkes suggests that making a serious attempt to put probabilities on uncertain future events might help us in other ways: the process makes us more humble, more moderate and better able to discern shades of grey. Trying to forecast is about more than a successful prediction......we can become sidetracked by the question of whether the worst case is likely. Rather than asking “will this happen?”, we should ask “what would we do if it did?”

The phrase “worst-case scenario” probably leads us astray: anyone can dream up nightmare scenarios.....To help us think sensibly about these worst-case possibilities, Gary Klein, psychologist and author of Seeing What Others Don’t, has argued for conducting “pre-mortems” — or hypothetical postmortems. Before embarking on a project, imagine receiving a message from the future: the project failed, and spectacularly. Now ask yourself: why? Risks and snares will quickly suggest themselves — often risks that can be anticipated and prevented.......Contingency planning is not always easy......woes that would result both as the “base case” (the truth) and a “worst-case scenario” (the government sucking in its stomach while posing for a selfie).
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In our increasingly airbrushed world, it becomes ever more necessary to ask the unfashionable questions like ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ - and then plan for it...
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Humanity's survival may well rely on the ability of our imaginations to explore alternative futures in order to begin building the communities that can forestall or endure worst-case catastrophes.
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Amos_Tversky  anticipating  base_rates  beforemath  books  contingency_planning  discernment  failure  forecasting  foresight  frequency_and_severity  humility  nuanced  predictions  preparation  probabilities  risk-assessment  risks  Tim_Harford  uncertainty  worst-case 
29 days ago by jerryking
‘I Wish You Bad Luck,’ He Said With Good Intentions
Dec. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Bob Greene.

In Spring 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a commencement address to his son's grade 9 graduation ceremony that offered a universal lesson about the value to be found in generosity of spirit. Roberts prepared the advice offered in his speech specifically for the commencement address, as he set out to reflect upon “some of the harsh realities that everyone will face in the course of a full life,” and how to anticipate them and learn from them....His speech was structured in pairs.....He told his audience that commencement speakers will typically “wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why.

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice.

“I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.

“Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted.

“I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.

“And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.

“I hope you’ll be ignored so that you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.

“Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Also,......“Once a week, you should write a note to someone. Not an email. A note on a piece of paper. It will take you exactly 10 minutes.” Then, Roberts urged, put the note in an envelope and send it off the old way: via the mail.

The handwritten note, he said, might express appreciation for someone who has helped you out or treated you with kindness, and who may not know how grateful you are.........here’s a toast to bad luck, and to its hidden gifts. First, though, the corner mailbox awaits. Gratitude is priceless, but conveying it costs no more than a postage stamp.
advice  betrayals  chance  commencement  compassion  counterintuitive  failure  friendships  gratitude  handwritten  inspiration  John_Roberts  judges  justice  life_skills  listening  loyalty  luck  pairs  speeches  sportsmanship  teachable_moments  tough_love  U.S._Supreme_Court  values 
may 2019 by jerryking
Michael Lewis Makes Boring Stuff Interesting - WSJ
May 17, 2019 | THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | By Richard Turner.

The writer’s new podcast ‘Against the Rules’ asks what has happened to fairness in the U.S.......Michael Lewis doesn’t really need this gig. His new podcast, “Against the Rules,” doesn’t pay anything close to his book-writing day job. It’s unlikely to turn into a movie. Plus, the podcast’s subject is pretty abstract: Who are the referees in our society? Who determines what is fair and even what is true? Is our whole system rigged from stem to stern, as everyone from President Donald Trump to sports fans to the Black Lives Matter movement insists?.....The idea ...is to examine “what’s happened to fairness” in an age when America’s arbiters are no longer trusted. The Walter Cronkites of the world are gone, and those assigned to make the tough calls are reviled, threatened and assumed (sometimes correctly) to be corrupt.....“It’s a big problem for democracy if people don’t have a shared reality,” Mr. Lewis says. “It’s difficult to establish a referee in an increasingly unequal environment” like today’s U.S., “when there are powerful parties and not-so powerful ones. .......Mr. Lewis’s skills turn out to be well-suited to the podcast medium. His calling card, echoed by untold critics and readers, is this: He makes boring stuff interesting. He collects disparate ingredients, whips them up with character and narrative, and distills human stories into engrossing big-picture explainers........Lewis keeps seeing failures of refereeing. “There was no referee at the interface between Wall Street and the consumers—consumer finance. I saw the birth of that, when Wall Street hit segments of society it had never touched, through subprime mortgages, for car loans, through asset-backed securities. There was no one saying, ‘That’s fair and that’s not.’”.......Among his topics: correct English usage, judges, used cars, identity theft, credit-card companies, student-loan abuses, Cambridge Analytica, King Solomon and the famed mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who handled victim compensation for 9/11 families and those affected by the 2010 BP oil spill. Listeners can imagine myriad future topics related to fairness: expanding the Supreme Court, machines calling balls and strikes, cable-news coverage of the Trump presidency and so on.
boring  consumer_finance  credit-ratings  democracy  failure  fairness  gaming_the_system  Michael_Lewis  NBA  podcasting  podcasts  refereeing  rules_of_the_game  shared_experiences  unglamorous  Wall_Street  writers 
may 2019 by jerryking
Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling
April 19, 2019 | WSJ | By Lauren Weber.

Investing in new technology can often be easier for companies than negotiating the organizational challenges that come with reskilling workers, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT.

“It’s one thing to invest in machine learning; it’s another to reinvent an organization or a business model,” he said. “Human capital is quantitatively a much bigger share of the capital in the economy than physical assets like plants, technology and equipment, and we understand it less well.”

Cumulatively, firms spend billions of dollars every year on technology devoted to digital transformation, but executives admit to confusion and uncertainty about the impact.....Other countries are being more proactive: Singapore and France recently started giving workers an annual allowance for approved career training. Through a program called Second Career in Ontario, Canada, low-skilled workers displaced from their jobs receive grants of up to 28,000 Canadian dollars to cover training in growing occupations, along with costs such as child care and transportation.

“Many countries we compete with see continual worker retraining as part of their economic strategy. The way we’ve traditionally treated education in this country is the government is responsible for your education until age 18, and after that it’s more of a private matter,”......How to break through the challenges, inefficiencies and resistance?.....employers and educators can do a better job of helping people find logical, reasonable career paths. Labor experts call this “skill adjacencies,” essentially diagnosing a person’s present skills and identifying promising careers that offer higher wages or growth in demand while requiring minimal investments of time and money in retraining.

“We need a Waze for your career,” ... the navigation app that offers real-time maps and driving directions. “You could look at jobs that are adjacent to your skillset or role, and with fairly light training, you can make a jump into a better job.”

The secret to successful reskilling, he says: keeping training short enough and achievable enough that workers can learn real skills and both they and employers get a return on investment.

Training Daze
Companies face a number of hurdles to successfully training workers for the skills needed in the evolving digital economy. Among the challenges:

* Data: Companies typically don’t have a clear view of their own employees’ talents. Few firms have repositories of data on a person’s skills, internal reputation, learning capacity, ambitions and interests.
* Speed: Converting a mechanical engineer into an electrical engineer, or a business analyst into a data scientist doesn’t necessarily happen in one quarter— or even a fiscal year—the cadences that shareholders understand. “Upskilling takes time. A hiring manager can usually find someone quicker outside the company,” even if it’s a more expensive contract worker.
* Worker engagement: If companies involved workers in decisions on new technology to implement, they would find that some already have the knowledge and others can be trained. “If we change that process, then we would see the potential of the workforce. We would see where the training needs are,”.
* Money: Employers have long shown a reluctance to invest the dollars needed to successfully retrain large swaths of staff, even when the economy is strong. In 2017, organizations spent around $1,300 per employee on training, up 8% from 2013, according to the Association for Talent Development. And as the economy declines, training budgets are typically slashed. One paper found a 28% decline in employer-funded training between 2001 and 2009.
* Unrealistic expectations: Society needs to recalibrate expectations for worker retraining. Laid-off coal miners probably won’t become data scientists, and few AT&T lineworkers will morph into software developers as the company transitions from a telephone company to a wireless and services business.
adjacencies  career_paths  digital_economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  future-proofing  labour_markets  layoffs  retraining  reskilling  skills  training 
april 2019 by jerryking
At a Critical Time for U.S. Soccer, Abby Wambach Is on a Mission
April 15, 2019| WSJ | By Jocelyn Silver.

Wambach’s latest book, a feminist guidebook called Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game. The crisp, 112-page “rally cry” stems from a viral commencement speech that Wambach delivered at Barnard College in 2018, in which she recounted the story of how biologists reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park, where they improved the park’s ecosystem. Wambach compares women to wolves, encouraging them to break out of fairytale narratives. “If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing it would be this,” she said in the address. “Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood. You were always the Wolf.”

At Plymouth Church, Wambach sports a shirt reading “Ain’t No Little Red.” Doyle opts for a “Wolfpack” hat and black patent leather Louboutins. She comes onstage with arms whirling, miming punches.

As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the world’s all-time top goal scorer of any gender, Wambach retired in 2015, notching a World Cup title on her fourth try. Though she wrote a more traditional sports memoir shortly after, Wolfpack marks a shift into more clearly demarcated self-help. It traces an arc in her personal life.
Abby_Wambach  affirmations  athletes_&_athletics  books  commencement  domino_effects  empowerment  failure  inspiration  leadership  lessons_learned  mission-driven  quotes  rules_of_the_game  rule_breaking  soccer  speeches  sports  superstars  tokenism  women 
april 2019 by jerryking
Bezos on why failure is not failure
April 11, 2019 | By | FT Alphaville : Izabella Kaminska

According to Bezos no customer was asking for Echo before it was launched, thus Amazon's foray into listening tech was definitely them wandering. And yet, if they'd listened to market research (a firm no thank you!) they'd have lost out on more than 100 million sales of Alexa-enabled devices. So there.
Alexa  Amazon  Amazon_Echo  AWS  big_bets  experimentation  failure  Jeff_Bezos  large_companies  market_research  scaling 
april 2019 by jerryking
Abby Wambach’s Leadership Lessons: Be the Wolf
April 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Maya Salam.

“So many of us can relate to playing by rules that were never set up for us to win.”
— Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion.

Abby Wambach, who led the United States women’s team to a World Cup championship in 2015, is focused on a new kind of goal: motivating women to become leaders.....In her new book, “Wolfpack,” Wambach, 38, shares lessons she learned from decades of training, failure and triumph on the field. It is based on the commencement speech she gave at Barnard College in New York in 2018.

“If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: ‘Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood; you were always the wolf,’”.......In “Wolfpack,” Wambach offers eight new rules to help women succeed professionally and personally. And she hopes her ideas trigger a domino effect. “When one person stands up and demands the ball, the job, the promotion, the paycheck, the microphone, that one gives others permission to do the same,”

Here are the four of her “new rules,” and the norms she hopes they’ll upend:
(1) “Champion each other.”
Old Rule: Be against each other.
New Rule: Be FOR each other.
“Power and success and joy are not pies,” Wambach writes. “A bigger slice for one woman doesn’t mean a smaller slice for another.”
(2) “Be grateful and ambitious.”
Old Rule: Be grateful for what you have.
New Rule: Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
“I was so grateful for a paycheck, so grateful to represent my country, so grateful to be the token woman at the table, so grateful to receive any respect at all that I was afraid to use my voice to demand more,” Wambach writes. “Our gratitude is how power uses the tokenism of a few women to keep the rest of us in line.”
(3) “Make failure your fuel.”
Old Rule: Failure means you’re out of the game.
New Rule: Failure means you’re finally IN the game.
“Imperfect men have been empowered and permitted to run the world since the beginning of time,” Wambach writes. “It’s time for imperfect women to grant themselves permission to join them.”
(4) “Lead from the bench.”
Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.
New Rule: Lead now — from wherever you are.
“The picture of leadership is not just a man at the head of a table,” Wambach writes. “It’s also every woman who is allowing her own voice to guide her life and the lives of those she cares about.”
Abby_Wambach  affirmations  athletes_&_athletics  books  commencement  domino_effects  empowerment  failure  inspiration  leadership  lessons_learned  quotes  rules_of_the_game  rule_breaking  soccer  speeches  sports  superstars  tokenism  women 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why we should be honest about failure
March 15, 2019 | Financial Times | by Janan Ganesh.

"Disappointment is the natural order of life. Most people achieve less than they would like".

Failure — not spectacular failure, but failure as gnawing disappointment — is the natural order of life. Most people will achieve at least a little bit less than they would have liked in their careers. Most marriages wind down from intense passion to a kind of elevated friendship, and even this does not count the roughly four in 10 that collapse entirely. Most businesses fail. Most books fail. Most films fail.

You would hope that something so endemic to the human experience would be constantly discussed and actively prepared for. Ganesh regrets that failure is unacknowledged, little discussed, except as a character-building phase.....For many people, failure will be just that, not a nourishing experience or a bridge to something else. It will be a lasting condition, and it will sting a fair bit.......Our inability to look [commonness of failure] in the eye is...inadvertently [making] the experience of failure more harrowing than it needs to be. By reimagining it as just a [way station] before ultimate triumph, those who find themselves stuck there must feel like aberrations, when their experience could not be more banal......[in some cases, career failure]...was just the law of numbers doing its impersonal work.....In almost all professions, there are too few places at the top for too many hopefuls. Lots of blameless people will miss out. Whether at school or through those excruciating management guides, a wiser culture would not romanticise failure as a means to success. It would normalise it as an end......Those who overcome setbacks to achieve epic feats tend to universalise their atypical experience. Amazingly bad givers of advice, they encourage people to proceed with ambitions that are best sat on, and despise “quitters” when quitting is often the purest common sense.
bouncing_back  disappointment  failure  Janan_Ganesh  mediocrity  setbacks  the_human_condition  natural_order  underachievement 
march 2019 by jerryking
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 by jerryking
Do You Keep a Failure Résumé? Here’s Why You Should Start. - The New York Times
What is a failure résumé? Whereas your normal résumé organizes your successes, accomplishments and your overall progress, your failure résumé tracks the times you didn’t quite hit the mark, along with what lessons you learned.

Melanie Stefan, a lecturer at Edinburgh Medical School, knows this well. A few years ago, she called on academics to publish their own “failure résumés,” eventually publishing her own. On it, she lists graduate programs she didn’t get into, degrees she didn’t finish or pursue, harsh feedback from an old boss and even the rejections she got after auditioning for several orchestras.

What’s the point of such self-flagellation?

Because you learn much more from failure than success, and honestly analyzing one’s failures can lead to the type of introspection that helps us grow — as well as show that the path to success isn’t a straight line.
advice  failure  lessons_learned  résumés  self-flagellation  straight-lines  tips  anti-résumé  personal_accomplishments 
february 2019 by jerryking
Walmart tells investors to expect more risk-taking
October 16, 2018 | Financial Times | Alistair Gray and Pan Kwan Yuk in New York.

Doug McMillon said at an investor meeting on Tuesday that the Arkansas-based company was experimenting with technology ranging from floor-cleaning robots to augmented reality and biometrics as he urged Wall Street to “challenge your thinking about Walmart”.

Walmart superstores have transformed shopping habits and became a dominant force in American retail. The bricks-and-mortar model, however, has been upended in by the rise of ecommerce.

“Looking back, we had a proven model, and we naturally focused on execution. As the numbers grew, we . . . unintentionally became risk averse,” Mr McMillon said at a meeting for investors.

“But today we’re getting to reimagine retail and our business. To do that we take risk — try quite a few things and learn from our failures. That type of behaviour’s in our DNA, and we’re waking up that part of our culture.”.....Online sales, in which Walmart has been investing aggressively as part of its response to Amazon, are expected to increase around 35 per cent for the fiscal 2020 year, compared to the expected 40 per cent for 2019.

Walmart also on Tuesday struck a partnership with Advance Auto Parts, allowing it increase its presence in the car parts business. Under the tie-up the companies will offer home delivery, same-day pick up at each other’s stores and installation of some parts.
Amazon  e-commerce  experimentation  failure  innovation  retailers  risk-taking  Wall_Street  Wal-Mart  augmented_reality  auto_parts  biometrics  bricks-and-mortar  home-delivery  same-day  shopping_habits 
october 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | The Strange Failure of the Educated Elite - The New York Times
By David Brooks
Opinion Columnist

May 28, 2018

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
See also
"Jun 18, 2007 | WSJ | Robin Moroney. Extreme intelligence might
undermine a person’s managerial capacity, he speculates. “What is
required at the top levels of govt. is not brilliance, but managerial
skill,” says Posner. That includes knowing “when to defer to the
superior knowledge of a more experienced but less mentally agile
subordinate.” Especially intelligent people also have difficulty
trusting the intuitions of less-articulate people who have more
experience than they do. That might be why many smart senior officials
in govt. have tried to reason their way through problems on their own,
assuming their civil servants’ inadequate explanations rendered their
judgments invalid."
the_best_and_brightest  books  civics  mental_dexterity  David_Brooks  diversity  dysfunction  elitism  failure  fractured_internally  the_Greatest_Generation  institutions  IQ  meritocratic  Steven_Brill  college-educated  baby_boomers  Tailspins 
may 2018 by jerryking
Novartis’s new chief sets sights on ‘productivity revolution’
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 | Financial Times | Sarah Neville and Ralph Atkins.

The incoming chief executive of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, has vowed to slash drug development costs, eyeing savings of up to 25 per cent on multibillion-dollar clinical trials as part of a “productivity revolution” at the Swiss drugmaker.

The time and cost of taking a medicine from discovery to market has long been seen as the biggest drag on the pharmaceutical industry’s performance, with the process typically taking up to 14 years and costing at least $2.5bn.

In his first interview as CEO-designate, Dr Narasimhan says analysts have estimated between 10 and 25 per cent could be cut from the cost of trials if digital technology were used to carry them out more efficiently. The company has 200 drug development projects under way and is running 500 trials, so “that will have a big effect if we can do it at scale”.......Dr Narasimhan plans to partner with, or acquire, artificial intelligence and data analytics companies, to supplement Novartis’s strong but “scattered” data science capability.....“I really think of our future as a medicines and data science company, centred on innovation and access.”

He must now decide where Novartis has the capability “to really create unique value . . . and where is the adjacency too far?”.....Does he need the cash pile that would be generated by selling off these parts of the business to realise his big data vision? He says: “Right now, on data science, I feel like it’s much more about building a culture and a talent base . . . ...Novartis has “a huge database of prior clinical trials and we know exactly where we have been successful in terms of centres around the world recruiting certain types of patients, and we’re able to now use advanced analytics to help us better predict where to go . . . to find specific types of patients.

“We’re finding that we’re able to significantly reduce the amount of time that it takes to execute a clinical trial and that’s huge . . . You could take huge cost out.”...Dr Narasimhan cites one inspiration as a visit to Disney World with his young children where he saw how efficiently people were moved around the park, constantly monitored by “an army of [Massachusetts Institute of Technology-]trained data scientists”.
He has now harnessed similar technology to overhaul the way Novartis conducts its global drug trials. His clinical operations teams no longer rely on Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, but instead “bring up a screen that has a predictive algorithm that in real time is recalculating what is the likelihood our trials enrol, what is the quality of our clinical trials”.

“For our industry I think this is pretty far ahead,” he adds.

More broadly, he is realistic about the likely attrition rate. “We will fail at many of these experiments, but if we hit on a couple of big ones that are transformative, I think you can see a step change in productivity.”
adjacencies  algorithms  analytics  artificial_intelligence  attrition_rates  CEOs  data_driven  data_scientists  drug_development  failure  Indian-Americans  kill_rates  massive_data_sets  multiple_targets  Novartis  pharmaceutical_industry  predictive_analytics  productivity  productivity_payoffs  product_development  real-time  scaling  spreadsheets  Vas_Narasimhan 
november 2017 by jerryking
Dancing with Disruption - Mike Lipkin
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By Mike Lipkin
#1. Become someone who knows.....a secret is a formula or knowledge that is only known to a few. If you own a secret, you have the power to share it so you can turn the few into the many. Secrets are everywhere – hiding in plain sight. The difference between someone who knows and someone who doesn’t is the willingness to do the work, find the information, talk to the people and formulate one’s strategy. Be a source of joy and not a source of stress!! Disruption begins long before.....Mastering other people's emotions....Add in a way that thrills and delights others!! Prospective of Personal Mastery....industry connection + internal influence.
# 2. Have an audacious ambition. If you want to be a disruptor, you can be humble, but you can’t be modest. You have to dream big....dream bigger than anything that gets in its way.
#3. Be simultaneously analytical and creative. There may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap? ...Disruption demands left and right brain firing together. Your intuition may alert you to the opportunity but it’s your intellect that builds your business case. That’s why you need wingmen or women to complement your capacity. Fly social not solo.
#4. Be prolific. The more you lose, the more you win. 1.0 is always imperfect. You will hear the word “no” hundreds of times more than the word “yes.” The best way to get ready is to do things before you’re ready. The best you can do is get it as right as you can the first time [i.e. "good enough"] and then get better, stronger, smarter. Disruptors try a lot more things than disruptees. They fail fast and they fail forward. [Practice: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.
#5. Communicate like magic. If you want to be a disruptor, you must be a great communicator. ... the right words generate oxytocin – the love hormone, whereas the wrong words generate cortisol, the stress hormone. .... tell your story in a way that opens people’s hearts, minds and wallets to you. Create a vocabulary.
#6. Be a talent magnet. Disruption demands the boldest and brightest partners....The best talent goes where it earns the highest return. Reputation is everything. [What would Mandela do?]
#7. Play like a champion today. Disruptors may not always play at their best but they play their best every day. They bring their A-Game no matter who they’re playing....you feel their intensity and passion. How hard are you hustling on any given day? Everything matters. There is no such thing as small. They’re all in, all the time.
disruption  personal_branding  uncertainty  hard_work  Pablo_Picasso  creativity  intuition  intensity  passions  talent  failure  partnerships  reputation  Communicating_&_Connecting  storytelling  thinking_big  expertise  inequality_of_information  knowledge_intensive  imperfections  audacity  special_sauce  prolificacy  affirmations  unshared_information  good_enough  pairs  Mike_Lipkin  CAIF 
april 2017 by jerryking
Life lessons: Looking back and taking stock - Western Alumni
Life lessons: Looking back and taking stock

by Paul Wells, BA'89

“Young people are educated in many ways,” he wrote, “but they are given relatively little help in understanding how a life develops, how careers and families evolve, what are the common mistakes and the common blessings of modern adulthood.”.....every few months when I sit down to write one of these columns, I do a little stock-taking. And a few times after a major screw-up or a minor triumph I’ve tried to do it in a more formal way. It’s true that just about every time I’ve bet everything on a new direction, it’s worked out better than if I’d stayed put. Once I bet everything and it worked out very badly. But even then, failure made a better life possible.

These are not lessons university teaches us well. Partly that’s because the young so rarely have any interest in learning them. I spent a lot more time at Western trying to figure out how to be successful than I did trying to figure out how to be happy. I figured 'happy' was in the gods’ hands, not mine. Almost everything that followed was accident.

To the extent we can learn how to live a good life, I think that so far, we learn it better from the arts and humanities than from science or even social science. Aristotle and Haydn have helped get me out of more fixes than cell biology did, although to be fair I was a lousy scientist. I’m quite sure it’ll never be possible to know, to three decimal places, how to live life well. Too many variables. But the question is still worth asking.

I’m with the Yale class of ’42. Change and risk have stood me in better stead than stasis and worry ever did. There may be a role for universities in teaching that much, at least.
advice  anti-résumé  chance  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  failure  happiness  lessons_learned  next_play  no_regrets  Paul_Wells  reflections  risk-taking  success 
february 2017 by jerryking
Venture Capitalist Bill Gurley Warns of Dumb Money - WSJ
By ROLFE WINKLER
Oct. 25, 2016

Unsophisticated investors continue to pour money into Silicon Valley startups.....fueling companies with weak business models and preventing a big downturn......new investors flooding startups with money in recent years, arguing that the rising valuations and aggressive spending by startups are caustic for Silicon Valley [Tom Friedman would argue that dumb money sloshing in "blocks signals" that otherwise would lead to a housecleaning, firings, and a re-deployment of capital] .......new money is not as educated as the previous money, so even though some lessons are being learned,” the “corrective mechanism” that should go into action following big startup failures hasn’t kicked into gear....At the same time.....risks remain in the financial system. Because global interest rates have been so low for so long, investors are seeing “asset bubbles” appear in many places, including real estate.....there's been an increase in “bankruptcies, layoffs...shutdowns,” but you haven’t had the kind of “wholesale” decline that happened in 2001 that “scared everyone out of the water.”
venture_capital  vc  Silicon_Valley  failure  liquidity  bubbles  course_correction  start_ups 
october 2016 by jerryking
Laurier initiative to separate the strong startups from the weak - The Globe and Mail
JENNIFER LEWINGTON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 08, 2016

[For Corey & UpSpark]
Earlier this year, the school’s Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises issued a report, Scaling Success: Tackling the Management Gap in Canada’s Technology Sector, that concluded Canada “continues to underperform its peers in the creation of high-growth firms.” For example, a majority of tech startups in the professional, scientific and technical sector demonstrated “consistently negative rates of business creation” between 2001 and 2012, according to the report.

Given the poor showing, the dean asks: “So how do we take our most promising startups and take them to the next level?”

One answer, he hopes, is a new collaboration between the Lazaridis Institute and several tech-focused industry partners.

Working with Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation centre that supports more than 1,000 technology companies, the Institute plans to develop an assessment tool this fall to identify startups with the potential to scale up. The tool, currently being tested, would evaluate companies for the quality of their product, technology, staff, management and financial muscle.
business_schools  start_ups  failure  WLU  gazelles  scaling  Communitech  Colleges_&_Universities  Kitchener-Waterloo  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  high-growth  under-performing  culling  assessments_&_evaluations 
july 2016 by jerryking
Africans were pioneers in business in Guyana
January 12, 2010 | Stabroek News | F. Skinner.

Africans are the pioneers of the majority of business trends and innovations in Guyana, but there is hardly any tangible proof of this. Their ideas were worked and developed only to change hands with no royalties attached. ...Mr King identified many problems/obstacles facing the African businessman. He pointed out that if an Indian is a barber his son and even grandson are destined to be barbers. Next, the lack of other rich African businessmen to turn to for support – financial or business advice – when the banks and your competitors gang up against you.....He discussed the proposition with his closest friends and was asked, “What you gon do wid all that property?” He admitted that it was not that his friends were deliberately giving him bad advice, it was that they simply did not know and he was no different. He regretted the missed opportunity because a few years later one year’s rental of a small section on the ground floor would have paid for the entire property at the time....They ran into financial problems and got some assistance from the government, which was not enough. Which African organization could they have turned to for financial assistance? The same can be said about another three who had the stone quarry....All the persons mentioned were out there with their shoulders to the wheel. There are reasons for their failures. We must identify these reasons and address them as a community. Glaring though is the lack of a support system in the community.
We must accept that we must generate wealth and not just depend on education, a salaried job or a government. We must be able to be trustworthy to each other. We must stop this individualist approach to business. One ‘pointer’ can’t sweep. Our foreparents trusted each other enough to form co-ops and bought land.
Afro-Guyanese  small_business  history  '70s  entrepreneurship  letters_to_the_editor  Guyanese  trailblazers  trustworthiness  advice  pioneers  missed_opportunities  regrets  support_systems  challenges  wealth_creation  failure  post-mortems  disunity 
june 2016 by jerryking
The brokerage bust: Why Bay Street will never be the same - The Globe and Mail
NIALL MCGEE
TORONTO The Globe and Mail Last updated: Saturday, Feb. 06, 2016
boutiques  Bay_Street  failure 
february 2016 by jerryking
An Old-Media Empire, Axel Springer Reboots for the Digital Age - The New York Times
DEC. 20, 2015 | NYT | By NICOLA CLARK.

When Axel Springer CEO, Mathias Döpfner, and a handful of his top managers first set their sights on the US three years ago, it was with notebooks in hand, rather than checkbooks.

A decade after taking the helm in 2002, Mr. Döpfner had already made significant strides in revamping Germany’s largest print publishing group for the digital age. ...Still, Mr. Döpfner, 52, worried that the company’s management culture was too hierarchical and risk-averse, leaving it vulnerable to challenges from nimbler American technology companies like Google and Facebook, as well as rising digital media brands like BuzzFeed and Vice....“It was very clear to me that we needed to accelerate our cultural transformation"...instead of enlisting an army of high-priced consultants, Mr. Döpfner opted for the corporate equivalent of electroshock therapy. In the summer of 2012, he sent three of Axel Springer’s most senior managers to California (Silicon Valley) for nine months. ...Digital activities now generate more than 60% of Axel Springer’s revenues and just over 70% of its operating profit. Mr. Döpfner’s boldest pursuit in the last year was one that ultimately failed. Over the summer, Axel Springer lost out in a bid to acquire The Financial Times, beaten in the final stages by a $1.3 billion offer from the Japanese publisher Nikkei.... the recent scramble among the world’s big media groups for new — and in many cases, unproven — digital companies has driven up valuations, and some analysts warn that Axel Springer’s investment-led strategy represents a potentially high-cost gamble....“Digital companies today are selling for huge multiples, but they also have a high failure rate. Many are literally fireflies.”...
digital_media  Axel_Springer  Silicon_Valley  publishing  newspapers  failure  sclerotic  Airbnb  experimentation  organizational_culture  Germany  German  digital_disruption 
december 2015 by jerryking
Fail Fast, Fail Often, Fail Everywhere - The New Yorker
MAY 31, 2015
Fail Fast, Fail Often, Fail Everywhere
BY JOHN DONOHUE
failure  start_ups  entrepreneurship 
june 2015 by jerryking
In business and government, think differently - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL SABIA
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, May. 16 2015

here’s the paradox. At a time when creativity is relentlessly driving change in so much of our world, many would limit governments to managing their way through, rather than working with others to solve problems.

It started in the 1980s and ’90s, when we decided governments needed to become “more like businesses,” adopting the metrics – and vocabulary – of corporations. Citizens became “clients.” Compliance replaced creativity.

The job of government was defined in terms of its “efficiency,” and the emphasis was placed on the minimal “must do” instead of the aspirational “can be.”

Of course, governments have to demonstrate good stewardship of public resources. But if all they do is count change, it limits their ability to effect change. The fact is when big problems arise – whether it’s a financial crisis like 2008 or a tragedy like Lac-Mégantic – people’s first instinct is to look to government for a solution.

Yet opinion researchers tell us that people are increasingly disappointed with our collective response to the issues that matter most: income inequality, health care for the elderly, climate change and so on....It’s about different government. This is about government moving away from a manager’s obsession with doing things better to a leader’s focus on doing better things. Think of fostering innovation, being open to new ideas, encouraging experimentation, rewarding risk-taking. And, frankly, accepting failure as a condition precedent to success.
Michael_Sabia  CDPQ  thinking  CEOs  innovation  leadership  experimentation  risk-taking  failure  trial_&_error  government  public_sector  open_source  disappointment  business  stewardship  compliance  replaced  creativity  efficiencies  effectiveness  think_differently 
may 2015 by jerryking
Why doctors fail
2 December 2014 | The Guardian| Atul Gawande.
Atul_Gawande  health  medical  failure 
april 2015 by jerryking
Take a page from Hemingway for your next meeting - The Globe and Mail
SHIRLEE SHARKEY
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Feb. 16 2015
Do it. Creating great art or innovative business solutions is about discipline and hard work. Effort and commitment are needed to cultivate the environment for that magic beanstalk to take root.
Work with your team to schedule creative time and stick to it.
Clock it. Similar to routines, specific time constraints can also allow creativity to blossom. Ernest Hemingway set aside each day, from 7 a.m. until noon, to write between 500 and 1000 words. Even with such a creative and vivacious personality, he knew discipline was a key element of artistic expression.
Be it. bringing that kind of energy into your organization takes commitment and devotion to the outcome. I am certainly not suggesting crash diets or extreme behaviour, but I think we can learn from these techniques to foster a better focus.

Be creative.Change the environment and embrace new situations. Take your team on a field trip to meet a competitor; go to a movie together; have your meeting in a fast food restaurant – or a gallery.
Blow it. Actors who don’t perform well on auditions; writers who can’t find a publisher; artists who can’t sell their work – failure, followed by the long crawl back to the drawing board – is a vital step to creating great things.
inspiration  meetings  leaders  failure  creative_renewal  art  discipline  creativity  Pablo_Picasso  routines  focus  hard_work 
february 2015 by jerryking
Four ways to harvest value from ‘failure’ - The Globe and Mail
JOE NATALE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 04 2015

Here are four ways to bring tuition value to life in your organization:

1. Reward the blunt and the honest.

2. Make sure everybody has some skin in the game...Reflect upon our successes and our failures and, most importantly, to share and study them and create a constructive dialogue within their teams. Creating tuition value only works if it becomes everyone’s responsibility.

3. Know when to fold them. We have heard many times that it’s important to fail fast, and yet too many organizations take far too long to put a bullet in projects that are going nowhere.

4. Pump up the volume of your customer’s voice.
attrtion_rates  failure  lessons_learned  value_creation  customer_feedback  feedback  reflections  kill_rates  skin_in_the_game 
february 2015 by jerryking
Bret Stephens: The Marvel of American Resilience - WSJ
By BRET STEPHENS
Dec. 22, 2014

Innovation depends less on developing specific ideas than it does on creating broad spaces. Autocracies can always cultivate their chess champions, piano prodigies and nuclear engineers; they can always mobilize their top 1% to accomplish some task. The autocrats’ quandary is what to do with the remaining 99%. They have no real answer, other than to administer, dictate and repress.

A free society that is willing to place millions of small bets on persons unknown and things unseen doesn’t have this problem. Flexibility, not hardness, is its true test of strength. Success is a result of experiment not design. Failure is tolerable to the extent that adaptation is possible.
resilience  Bret_Stephens  hydraulic_fracturing  flexibility  experimentation  failure  adaptability  autocracies  strengths  innovation  risk-taking  Cambrian_explosion 
december 2014 by jerryking
The Data Companies Wish They Had About Customers - WSJ
March 23, 2014 | WSJ | by Max Taves.

We asked companies what data they wish they had—and how they would use it. Here's what they said....
(A) Dining----Graze.com has a huge appetite for data. Every hour, the mail-order snack business digests 15,000 user ratings about its foods, which it uses to better understand what its customers like or dislike and to predict what else they might like to try...more data could help him understand customers' tastes even better. Among the information he wants most is data about customers' dietary habits, such as what they buy at grocery stores, as well as better information about what they look at on Graze's own site. And because the dietary needs of children change rapidly, he'd like to know if his customers have children and, if so, their ages.
(B) Energy-----Energy consumption is among its customers' main concerns, says CEO William Lynch. For instance, the company offers a product giving homeowners the real-time ability to see things like how many kilowatts it takes to heat the hot tub in Jan. Because of privacy concerns, Savant doesn't collect homeowners' energy data. But if the company knew more about customers' energy use, it could help create customized plans to conserve energy. "We could make recommendations on how to set up your thermostat to save a lot of money,
(C) Banking-----the Bank of the West would like "predictive life-event data" about its customers—like graduation, vacation or retirement plans—to create products more relevant to their financial needs...At this point, collecting that breadth of data is a logistical and regulatory challenge, requiring very different sources both inside and outside the bank.
(D) Appliances-----Whirlpool Corp.has a vast reach in American households—but wants to know more about its customers and how they actually use its products. Real-time use data could not only help shape the future designs of Whirlpool products, but also help the company predict when they're likely to fail.
(E) Healthcare----Explorys creates software for health-care companies to store, access and make sense of their data. It holds a huge trove of clinical, financial and operational information—but would like access to data about patients at home, such as their current blood-sugar and oxygen levels, weight, heart rates and respiratory health. Having access to that information could help providers predict things like hospitalizations, missed appointments and readmissions and proactively reach out to patients,
(F) Healthcare----By analyzing patient data, Carolinas HealthCare System of Charlotte, N.C., can predict readmission rates with 80% accuracy,
(G) Law----law firms that specialize in defense work are typically reactive, however some are working towards becoming more proactive, coveting an ability to predict lawsuits—and prevent them.How? By analyzing reams of contracts and looking for common traits and language that often lead to problems.
(H) Defense---BAE Systems PLC invests heavily in protecting itself from cyberattacks. But it says better data from its suppliers could help improve its defenses...if its suppliers get cyberattacked, its own h/w and s/w could be compromised. But "those suppliers are smaller businesses with lesser investments in their security," ...A lack of trust among suppliers, even those that aren't direct competitors, means only a small percentage of them disclose the data showing the cyberattacks on their systems. Sharing that data, he says, would strengthen the security of every product BAE makes. [BAE is expressing recognition of its vulnerability to network risk].
data  data_driven  massive_data_sets  Graze  banking  cyber_security  BAE  law_firms  Whirlpool  genomics  social_data  appliances  sense-making  predictive_analytics  dark_data  insights  customer_insights  real-time  design  failure  cyberattacks  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  network_risk  shifting_tastes  self-protection  distrust  supply_chains 
november 2014 by jerryking
Welcome to the Failure Age! - NYTimes.com
NOV. 12, 2014 | NYT | By ADAM DAVIDSON.

The unexpected truth about innovation is that it is, by necessity, inextricably linked with failure...one major side-effect of innovation through the ages: pure terror. Every week brings news of a profession or an institution in the target of the next Uber. But terror—of losing a job or having no skills for the information age or being attacked by tiny drones– “can also be helpful,” “The only way to harness this new age of failure is to learn how to bounce back from disaster and create the societal institutions that help us do so.
failure  innovation  Industrial_Revolution  institution-building  resilience  bouncing_back  social_fabric 
november 2014 by jerryking
Bill McFarland: Why it’s crucial to embed innovation in business plans - The Globe and Mail
GUY DIXON
TORONTO — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014,

When it comes to innovation, wouldn’t it be better to be second--to let another company assume the headaches and expense of innovating first?

A lack of drive to innovate or even taking solace in being second best has been a trait of Canada’s business DNA. ... innovation as a means to try out new things, even if they mean going out on a limb, with a greater possibility of failure. But he notes the importance of building innovation into a business plan. Some companies, he said, also reward employees for trying and even failing, setting up a company culture in which not trying is seen as a bigger problem than continual success.
PwC  fast_followers  innovation  business_planning  CEOs  Sobeys  grocery  supermarkets  customer_experience  failure  organizational_culture  mediocrity  Michael_McDerment  messiness 
september 2014 by jerryking
The PNC when in power did not amend the constitution to protect African Guyanese should it ever lose office - - Georgetown, Guyana
JUNE 25, 2011 | Stabroek News | M. Maxwell.

"Political power in this country is a zero-sum game thanks to the PNC and more pointedly to Forbes Burnham, who replaced a good (not great, but good) constitution with a monstrosity in 1980. ....The PNC had sufficient opportunity from at least 1985 with his demise to before the election of 1992 to implement constitutional and institutional reform that would protect African Guyanese and other minorities in the future following free and fair elections where ethnic voting would put the heavily Indian-supported PPP into power for a long time. ....However, the PNC failed African Guyanese in particular and Guyanese in general. A great opportunity to rewrite the constitution to benefit the minorities of this country of minorities was missed. The presidency continues to destroy this nation. ...Instead of beneficial change to protect its constituency and the Guyanese public in general, some charlatans who sat atop the PNC heap in 1992 ran for the hills leaving the African masses with no constitutional or institutional protection against exactly what they complain of today. It was a classic act of the shallow thinking, missing foresight and ineptitude
Afro-Guyanese  constituencies  constitutions  Guyana  failure  foresight  history  ineptitude  letters_to_the_editor  LFSB  minorities  minority_rights  PNC  zero-sum_games 
september 2014 by jerryking
From healthy fries to segways: Why most products fail - The Globe and Mail
SUSAN KRASHINSKY - MARKETING REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Sep. 18 2014,

The vast majority of new product launches end up failing.

In fact, 72 per cent of new products are failures, according to a global study released by Bonn, Germany-based marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners. The firm surveyed 1,615 managers in 40 countries. It found that most newly launched products fail to meet their profit targets “because companies neglect or ignore essential pricing and marketing activities in their new product development processes.”.... set aside a budget for research to measure customer demand for the product, as well as what people are willing to pay for it......So many products are launched that haven’t established basic things, such as research into the need of the product, the efficacy of the product, testing the product with consumers,”

marketing a new product:

1. Is there a market for the product?
2. Can you own the name?
3. Do you have data that prove the idea has merit?
4. Do you have a credible, knowledgeable spokesperson who can talk about the product?
5. Have consumers or customers used the product and will they talk about their experience (hopefully positively)?
6. Have you had everyone you are talking to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)?
7. Can you identify a third party who can corroborate that the world needs this product that will go on record?
8. How long will it take to manufacture the product and will you meet the deadline for the market (season, trade show, holiday)?
9. Do you have money to capitalize the manufacturing and launch of the product?
10. Do you have a business plan and a budget?
11. What is your day job and can you do both?
attrition_rates  stage-gate  failure  marketing  Susan_Krashinsky  new_products  product_development  products  product_launches  kill_rates 
september 2014 by jerryking
James Surowiecki: The Startup Mass Extinction : The New Yorker
BY JAMES SUROWIECKI
MAY 19, 2014

"Starting a company may be easier, but making it a success isn’t. Competition is fierce, profits are scarce, and venture capitalists aren’t generous when it comes to later stages of funding. As Gideon Lewis-Kraus shows in “No Exit,” a new Kindle Single about startup culture, the life of a new company is often brutish and short. Though we may be seeing a “Cambrian explosion” of new companies, as The Economist recently put it, there’s a mass extinction going on, too.

The fact that most new businesses fail is hardly a secret. So why are so many people gambling on ventures that are likely to end badly?
start_ups  biases  overconfidence  failure  James_Surowiecki  new_businesses  Cambrian_explosion 
june 2014 by jerryking
Disruptive entrepreneurs: An interview with Eric Ries
April 2014 | McKinsey & Company |

All of our process diagrams [in major corporations] are linear, boxed diagrams that go one way. But entrepreneurship is fundamentally iterative. So our diagrams need to be in circles. We have to be willing to be wrong and to fail. But modern management says, “Failure means you get dinged.”

For example, one of things I’ve tried to do is to tell companies, “Put on your employees’ performance evaluation a concept we call productive failure: ‘How many productive failures did you have this year?’ If someone comes to you and claims that they didn’t fail this year, you know one of two things: they’re either lying to your face or they were incredibly, unbelievably conservative.”

In both cases, it’s actually not a positive attribute. You want to say, “Show me a time when you failed but learned something really valuable, or were able to pivot from something that didn’t work to something that did.” I have a lot of examples now where it’s possible to say: “You saved the company an incredible amount of money, because instead of spending $10 million on something, we spent $100,000 and did an experiment that proves conclusively there ain’t no business here.”
Eric_Ries  lean  open_data  innovation  experimentation  entrepreneurship  McKinsey  disruption  failure  linearity  iterations  performance_reviews 
april 2014 by jerryking
Why Canada’s tech companies fail - The Globe and Mail
RICHARD BLACKWELL

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Apr. 10 2014,

Missing in Canada, though, are advanced skills related to intellectual property rights. At companies, sophisticated IPR capacity is a “precondition to commercially scaling innovative technologies,” he said, noting only U.S., Japanese and South Korean companies have been among the top patent filers in the United States. BlackBerry is the only Canadian company in the top 100.

Mr. Balsillie said Apple Inc. and Google Inc. spend more on acquiring intellectual property rights than they do on research and development.

IPR skills are crucial if Canadian companies are to compete internationally, he said, or else they will end up as a “lambs for slaughter” in the global marketplace. “They will never grow and Canada will continue to fall behind at a [national] level.”

In an interview after his speech, Mr. Balsillie said Ottawa’s role should be to “sophisticatedly understand how the game is played, particularly in the U.S. and Europe, and make sure that companies are trained to thrive in the game.”

He said currently there are no professors in Canada teaching the global patent system in law, business or engineering schools, and there is no training in the subject in the civil service.

Intellectual property is so important, Mr. Balsillie said, that bilateral issues concerning IPR will eventually overtake traditional trade irritants between countries.
failure  Canada  start_ups  technology  Jim_Balsillie  intellectual_property  scaling  patents  property_rights  protocols  Canadian  industrial_policies  Ottawa  rules_of_the_game  civil_service  UpSpark  sophisticated  bilateral  competitive_strategy 
april 2014 by jerryking
Giving Good Praise to Girls: What Messages Stick
April 24, 2013 || MindShift |Katrina Schwartz |

This research suggests parents and educators should rethink what implicit and explicit messages are being sent to young girls about achievement.

If adults emphasize that all skills are learned through a process of engagement, value challenge and praise efforts to supersede frustration rather than only showing excitement over the right answer, girls will show resilience.... “Mother’s praise to their babies, one to three years of age, predicts that child’s mindset and desire for challenge five years later,” Dweck said. “It doesn’t mean it is set in stone, but it means that kind of value system — what you’re praising, what you say is important — it’s sinking in. And the kids who are getting this process praise, strategy and taking on hard things and sticking to them, those are the kids who want the challenge.” Dweck understands it isn’t easy to praise process and emphasize the fun in challenging situations. Kids like direct praise, but to Dweck lauding achievement is like feeding them junk food – it’s bad for them.

[RELATED READING: How Important is Grit in Student Achievement?]

An implicit argument here is that failure in small doses is good. Dweck’s not the first person to make that argument; advocates of game-based learning say one of its strongest attributes lies in a player’s ability to fail and start over without being stigmatized. Students learn as they go, getting better each time they attempt a task in the game. But the current education system leaves little room for failure, and consequently anxious parents often don’t tolerate small setbacks either.

“If you have little failures along the way and have them understand that’s part of learning, and that you can actually derive useful information about what to do next, that’s really useful,” Dweck said.

She believes families should sit around the dinner table discussing the day’s struggles and new strategies for attacking the problem. In life no one can be perfect, and learning to view little failures as learning experiences, or opportunities to grow could be the most valuable lesson of all.
parenting  grit  persistence  resilience  failure  praise  daughters  girls  feedback  values  value_systems  appreciation 
april 2014 by jerryking
How Jeffrey Sachs failed to save Africa - The Globe and Mail
Margaret Wente

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Sep. 21 2013

What he forgot was the human factor. It turns out that people are not always rational. They don’t always do what’s in their own best interests, even when the benefits are completely clear to a development economist.....At every turn, Mr. Sachs’s master plan was undermined by culture.
Jeffrey_Sachs  economics  Africa  economic_development  Margaret_Wente  economists  failure  human_factor 
november 2013 by jerryking
How Not to Stay on Top - NYTimes.com
By JOE NOCERA
Published: August 19, 2013

Was BlackBerry’s fall from grace inevitable? When you look at the history of dominant companies — starting with General Motors — it is easy enough to conclude yes. There are companies that occasionally manage to reinvent themselves. They are nimble and ruthless, willing to disrupt their own business model because they can sense a threat on the horizon. But they’re the exception.

Wang Laboratories is the rule. And so is BlackBerry.

Wang went from an 80% market share in word-processing among the top 2,000 corporations to bankruptcy in about a decade, and BlackBerry of course went from inventing the cellphone and wireless email category, and utterly dominating it, to a a shadow of its former self today, with a “for sale” sign on outside corporate headquarters and a 2.7% global smartphone market share. What happened?

To rudely condense history, IBM’s PC happened to Wang and the iPhone happened to BlackBerry. At a somewhat more nuanced level, however, what happened to both Wang and BlackBerry is that when the storm clouds appeared they did not take their competitors seriously, they failed to understood what their customers wanted on the new landscape, and finally and most unforgivably they thought they knew what was best for their customers better than the customers themselves. More specifically, both firms thought their core customers were mistaken—wrong—to express a preference for the new, inferior arrival.
competitive_landscape  Wang_Labs  BlackBerry  blindsided  RIM  disruption  reinvention  failure  GM  IBM  iPhone  market_share  disproportionality  nimbleness 
september 2013 by jerryking
Why do we celebrate failure?
Aug. 23 2013 | The Globe and Mail |LEAH EICHLER.

“In Canada, it seems we are ashamed of failure and feel it forever labels us in a negative light,” he said. In the United States, failure – especially among successful entrepreneurs – it is more like “a badge of honour.”

“In most rags-to-riches entrepreneur success stories, you’ll inevitably find a section about past failures and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. [Americans] love that story arc,”... [One of the principles] that separate the super rich and successful from the average lot, including “nothing succeeds like failure.”

“Self-made millionaires are more apt to experience failure the way we might experience going to the dentist. It’s uncomfortable but inevitable. And it’s essential if you want to reach your goals,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview with LinkedIn.

But what if all failures can’t be turned into valuable life lessons? Barry Moltz, a Chicago-based author, speaker and small business consultant argues that, “Failure stinks when we are going through it and sometimes there is nothing to learn.” The business world loves to talk about great comebacks, he noted, cautioning that celebrating failure is a placebo to make us feel better.

“My advice when you fail: Learn what you can, grieve the loss but then let go and take an action that gives you another chance at success,” Mr. Moltz said.
failure  Leah_Eichler  lessons_learned  high_net_worth  self-made  discomforts  self-analysis  bouncing_back 
august 2013 by jerryking
Wake up, Canada: It’s okay to fail - The Globe and Mail
JAMES MARTIN

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Aug. 15 2013,

In 2011, the Harvard Business Review devoted an entire issue to failure – yet, in Canada's risk-averse business climate, the belly-flop is still something people believe should be avoided at all costs. So we put this question to four Canadians who have thrived in different fields: ‘How can we learn from our failures in order to ensure future success?'
ideaCity  failure  HBR  Canada  competitiveness_of_nations 
august 2013 by jerryking
Failure Is the Next Opportunity - NYTimes.com
August 3, 2012, 10:11 am 2 Comments
Failure Is the Next Opportunity
By QUENTIN HARDY
failure  data  massive_data_sets 
july 2013 by jerryking
How to Think Big,
April 11, 2013 | Businessweek | by 'Titanic' Replica Builder Clive Palmer.

There are no barriers to having great ideas and thinking big. Whether rich or poor, privileged or disadvantaged, everybody is capable of changing their lives and the lives of others by thinking big. It takes imagination, courage, and the will to work hard. Don’t listen to the knockers and the critics, the naysayers and the negativity. To my knowledge, nobody ever built a monument to a critic. They come and go, but big ideas last forever. The great John F. Kennedy said words to this effect: “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

I’ve had my share of failures along the way, but they’ve only made me stronger and smarter and the successes all the more sweet. The secret to thinking big is capturing the imagination of the people. That’s where the power lies. It’s like harnessing the tide. If you can cultivate the right idea that resonates on an individual level, it will surge through the population like a wave. The best ideas are highly contagious. They can cross borders and cultures.
ideas  thinking  howto  storytelling  persuasion  virality  idea_generation  chutzpah  failure  individual_initiative  ideaviruses  moonshots  negativity_bias  imagination  courage  hard_work  thinking_big  JFK 
july 2013 by jerryking
Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable? - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | IAN BROWN.

In what should be a golden age of photography, our preoccupation with technical brilliance, technique, and technological advances is overwhelming our ability to collectively use our cameras to tell the simplest of stories...As a result, Ian and his fellow judges at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival photography competition to tell a visual story--a photo essay--about wildlife or wilderness, declined to identify a winner--or even a runner-up--from 500 entries....none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories.

A story is a cohesive account of events in which something is at stake – a beginning, middle and end tied together with characters, scenes and details (long shots, mid-shots, closeups) that lead to a climax and resolution (or not). A story is content.

Even the entries that were remotely in the neighbourhood of telling a story – and most were hopelessly lost – were edited incomprehensibly. (Not experimentally. Incomprehensibly.) In other words, if photographic sequences evoke no perceptible story, they have no significance.

* Don't try to compensate for a lack of vision with a bag of technological tricks.
* Don't take photographs because you can. First, determine if you should (i.e. will there be story?). Think--pretend the resource you're consuming is finite.
* Don't sit down awaiting to be entertained, go out and seek a story.

We crave the instant gratification and collective approval that the Internet deals out to us and photograbs are the fastest way to get it, the visual equivalent of a hypodermic drip....The Online Photographer, the blog of Mike Johnston, a digital photographer who writes about his attempts – his successes, but more often his failures – to tell cogent and moving stories in pictures. It’s the struggle that makes visual work interesting....“Time changes the image.” allowing photos that didn't like to become favourites and vice versa....Good pictures that tell a story, he said, are always about other people. But when “everybody with a phone thinks they’re a photographer,” the result is “the autobiographical and the narcissistic.”

Ian fears for organizations such as the Chicago Sun-Times, which last month laid off all of its camera pros in favour of cheaper, crowd-sourced iPhonography. They will get what they pay for.
storytelling  photography  contests  digital_media  information_overload  curation  narcissism  Banff  failure  visual_culture  finite_resources  instant_gratification  constraints  problem_framing  golden_age 
june 2013 by jerryking
Failed at business? Throw a party -
May 28, 2013 | The Globe and Mail |TAVIA GRANT.
Tavia_Grant  failure 
june 2013 by jerryking
Memo to Staff: Take More Risks - WSJ.com
March 20, 2013| WSJ| By LESLIE KWOH
Memo to Staff: Take More Risks
CEOs Urge Employees to Embrace Failure and Keep Trying

Growth and innovation come from daring ideas and calculated gambles, but boldness is getting harder to come by at some companies. After years of high unemployment and scarred from rounds of company cost-cutting and layoffs, managers say their workers seem to have become allergic to risk.

Companies large and small are trying to coax staff into taking more chances in hopes that they'll generate ideas and breakthroughs that lead to new business. Some, like Extended Stay, are giving workers permission to make mistakes while others are playing down talk of profits or proclaiming the virtues of failure.
risks  risk-taking  daring  growth  innovation  new_businesses  failure  individual_initiative  idea_generation  large_companies  start_ups  boldness 
march 2013 by jerryking
A Turnaround Job Can Make Your Career If You Choose Wisely
Sep. 19, 1995 | WSJ | HAL LANCASTER.

It's an age-old dilemma: Saving a sinking ship can make a career; but some ships can't be salvaged, and a high-profile failure can scuttle a promising career. (Yes, I know failures aren't supposed to be fatal any more because companies realize what valuable learning experiences they are. If you want fairy tales, you'll have to look elsewhere.)

So when is it prudent to take on a tough turnaround assignment? ... And how would she advise others weighing the risks of a turnaround assignment? Research, research and research, she says, and then go with your gut instinct. ``There's a point at which you have enough information to act,'' she says. ``If you wait to get everything, you're too late.''

If that philosophy doesn't work for you, try this one, from Gen. Colin Powell's list of rules to live by, which Ms. Lewis keeps on her office wall: ``Don't let adverse facts get in the way of a good decision.''
career-defining_moments  career_ending_moves  Colin_Powell  collectibles  decline  due_diligence  failure  gut_feelings  Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  risks  turnarounds  women 
february 2013 by jerryking
AFTER THE TERM SHEET: How Venture Boards Influence the Success or Failure of technology Companies
November 2003 | |A White Paper by by DENNIS T. JAFFE, PH.D., Saybrook Graduate School & PASCAL N. LEVENSOHN, Levensohn Venture Partners
venture_capital  boards_&_directors_&_governance  start_ups  failure  vc 
february 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
To Avoid a Job Failure Learn the Culture of a Company First
July 14, 1998| WSJ |By Hal Lancaster.

The team suggested questions to ask during interviews. How does the company communicate with employees? Does the company encourage employees to learn more about the business? How do people get feed back? How do executives expect to be addressed? What's the company's dress code? What are typical work schedules? How are decisions made? How are raises and promotions decided? Who are the stars, and how did they reach that exalted state?

The consultants also advised employees to take their research beyond the interview. Michael McGinn, President of Executive Transition Group, an executive coaching and outplacement firm, suggested talking to current and former employees and members of professional trade associations to which the company's employees belong.

There are also clues in the stories told in annual reports and other company literature. Look for tales about company heroes to determine what is valued in an employee. Also, read open letters from the leadership and other self-descriptions.
Hal_Lancaster  organizational_culture  failure  first90days  sleuthing  primary_field_research 
december 2012 by jerryking
Dorman Can Draw On Slew of Lessons - WSJ.com
May 11, 1999 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

Lesson No. 1: Associate yourself with engines of growth.

Lesson No. 2: Failure is a great teacher.

Lesson No. 3: Keep your eyes on the horizon; what's out there could trample you.

Lesson No. 4: You don't have to rule to have a good career.
lessons_learned  CEOs  Hal_Lancaster  failure  growth  Managing_Your_Career 
december 2012 by jerryking
Hit the Ground Running--Or Else the perils of a new job
March 6, 2000 | Fortune Magazine | By Dan Ciampa.

What's the main reason people from the outside fail?

They don't read the culture of the place that they're joining.

Is that why you say a new person needs to be a cultural anthropologist?

Yes. In general, I think the most effective way to read the culture is to look at the artifacts--that's what an anthropologist does. What does it say that people greet you the way they do? What does it say that meetings are run the way they are? There are some organizations that eschew meetings. Well, that says something about what works and what doesn't in that culture, and it says something about the skills of the people who survive there.

What if you've been brought in to make change?

It's important to understand what you're going to change before you change it. I'd say that even if the board or the chairman has brought you in because of what you've done in the past, there's a lot that you don't know. And the degree to which you find those things out is a function of people's trusting you. The only way you can do that is by not coming in as though you're Attila the Hun--not coming in as though you have the answer--but rather coming in and asking more questions than making declarative statements, especially in the first several weeks. ....on day one you have a plan to make sure that the first 30 days are really successful.
first90days  outsiders  Michael_Watkins  failure  questions  pilot_programs  alliances  hiring  anthropologists  anthropology  unknowns  organizational_culture  change  change_agents  artifacts  cultural_anthropology 
december 2012 by jerryking
Growing at a Smart Pace
Growing at a Smart Pace

What Every CEO Should Know About Creating New Businesses
1 Ultimately, growth means starting new businesses.
Most firms have no alternative. Sectors decline, as they did for Pullman’s railroad cars and Singer’s sewing machines. Technology renders products and services obsolete—the fate Polaroid suffered, as digital cameras decimated its instant photography franchise. Markets saturate, as Home Depot is now finding, after establishing more than a thousand stores nationwide.
2 Most new businesses fail.
3 Corporate culture is the biggest deterrent to business creation.
New ventures flourish best in open, exploratory environments, but most large corporations are geared toward mature businesses and efficient, predictable operations.
4 Separate organizations don’t work—or at least not for long.
5 Starting a new business is essentially an experiment.
6. New businesses proceed through distinct stages, each requiring a different
7. New business creation takes time--a lot of time.
8. New businesses need help fitting in--"bridging"--with established systems and structures.
9. The best predictors of success are market knowledge and demand-driven products and services.
10. An open mind is hard to find.
growth  Thomas_Stewart  HBR  CEOs  Junior_Achievement  hard_to_find  start_ups  failure  organizational_culture  experimentation  trial_&_error  life_cycle  tacit_data  entrepreneurship  dedication  obsolescence  demand-driven  infrastructure  new_businesses  bridging  large_companies  customer-driven  market_saturation  Home_Depot  Fortune_500  mindsets  open_mind  decline  Michael_McDerment  Polaroid  digital_cameras 
december 2012 by jerryking
H.P.’s Misstep Shows Risk in the Push for Big Ideas - NYTimes.com
November 21, 2012 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

The ill-fated marriage of the companies is a lesson for H.P. and other older technology giants as they throw billions at supposedly game-changing acquisitions, trying to gain a foothold in the future.

In that future, smartphones and tablets, connected to cloud-computing data centers, are the essential tools of work and play. Companies rent software over the air, rather than buying it with expensive maintenance contracts.

And vast streams of data are continually analyzed to find new patterns and make predictions about consumer behavior and product design. Autonomy, for instance, makes software that can analyze marketing patterns and advise a company on matters like where it should increase marketing resources.

These forces threaten older businesses, like H.P.’s traditional personal computer and data storage products. Other companies, like Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco, also face pressure. They are all trying to buy the future — and have the cash to do it..... But identifying the next big thing can be difficult, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of management at Yale University. Likely as not, he said, deals like the one for Autonomy have “maybe a 40 percent success, 60 percent failure rate.”

He added, “The odds are against you succeeding, but the odds are also worth taking.”

The real hazard, he said, is in the way companies describe these acquisitions as “natural, inevitable victories.” They should be seen, he said, as “an investment, like in research and development.”
Autonomy  big_bets  breakthroughs  cloud_computing  cultural_clash  failure  game_changers  HP  ideas  M&A  Meg_Whitman  mergers_&_acquisitions  mistakes  missteps  moonshots  Quentin_Hardy  risks  SaaS  subscriptions  success_rates 
november 2012 by jerryking
Why Men Fail - NYTimes.com
By DAVID BROOKS
September 10, 2012

To succeed today, you have to be able to sit still and focus attention in school at an early age. You have to be emotionally sensitive and aware of context. You have to communicate smoothly. For genetic and cultural reasons, many men stink at these tasks.

But, in her fascinating new book, “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin posits a different theory. It has to do with adaptability. Women, Rosin argues, are like immigrants who have moved to a new country. They see a new social context, and they flexibly adapt to new circumstances. Men are like immigrants who have physically moved to a new country but who have kept their minds in the old one. They speak the old language. They follow the old mores. Men are more likely to be rigid; women are more fluid.

This theory has less to do with innate traits and more to do with social position. When there’s big social change, the people who were on the top of the old order are bound to cling to the old ways. The people who were on the bottom are bound to experience a burst of energy. They’re going to explore their new surroundings more enthusiastically.
failure  David_Brooks  women  gender_gap  men  adaptability  books 
september 2012 by jerryking
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