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jerryking : paranoia   18

Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

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paranoia  CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial  Quibi 
january 2019 by jerryking
The belle époque of the small nation is over
September 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by JANAN GANESH.

Globalisation has been the era of small countries but that time may now be passing. Ganesh raises an interesting point, what happens to small countries that, since the end of WW2, have enjoyed the protection of the rules-based system (UN, WTO, NATO, Pax Americana).

Singapore leaders were determined in their quest to that small nation be less small.....The paradox is that smallness has been an edge, not a curse, in the liberal age. For all the grandiloquence about a Washington Consensus and a Pax Americana, the US was never the principal profiteer from globalisation.....The real beneficiaries were the rapid enrichment of Ireland, the ethnic diversification of Sweden, the technological fecundity of Israel and the rise of Dubai from the sands as a shimmering entrepôt......1990-2010 was the golden age--the belle époque--of the small nation....Rules-based globalism was a precious equaliser for these places.... it also made advantages of their liabilities....Their shortage of domestic consumers was the ultimate incentive to cast around for other markets. Their lack of capital made them welcome foreign investors. Even the nicheness of their native languages (in some cases) obliged them to master English.

There is, without leaning too much on “national character”, a small-country hardiness ....an acceptance of the outside world as a non-negotiable fact: a blend of fatalism and resourcefulness that makes for formidable migrants....If small countries have mastered the global age, it is a feat that goes beyond the economic. They also have a cultural reach that was hard to picture not long ago, when nations needed the brawn of a BBC or a Canal Plus to foist their creative wares on distant audiences....all attest to what we are now obliged to call the “soft power” of small countries....The mistake is to see this moment as eternal. For those who live in or care about these places, the dread is that the coming decades will be as harsh as the last few have been kind. Almost all the conditions that allowed small nations to bloom look precarious....growing protectionism...big states throwing their weight around....Peter Thiel, in his bid for NZ citizenship, said he found “no other country that aligns more with my view of the future than New Zealand”. It was telling that such a prolific maker of sound bets backed a small, open, adaptable nation.
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I am more optimistic and believe many small states will adjust just fine. Why? Think of Taleb's flexibility idea - small states are less fragile than bigger ones, more nimble, more homogenous, faster to change I like also to add that there are more smaller successful counties than the ones mentioned (e.g., Switzerland, Costa Rica).
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The flip side is that small countries may have greater ability to act thoughtfully and coherently than larger peers. But I agree - it is likely to be tough ahead.

Here in Singapore, a senior politician summed it up very well: we are just a block of granite in the south china sea, and have no God-given right to exist as a country. The only way we can survive is by being paranoid and continuously reinventing ourselves.
city-states  globalization  Iceland  Janan_Ganesh  nimbleness  Peter_Thiel  post_globalization  rules-based  Singapore  small_states  soft_power  antifragility  Dubai  Ireland  punch-above-its-weight  paranoia  reinvention 
october 2018 by jerryking
G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up - The New York Times
By STEVE LOHRAUG. 27, 2016
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software  predictive_maintenance  paranoia  Jeffrey_Immelt  GE  analytics  Industrial_Internet 
august 2016 by jerryking
Drew Houston of Dropbox: Figure Out the Things You Don’t Know - The New York Times
By ADAM BRYANT JUNE 3, 2016

What were some early leadership lessons after starting Dropbox?

The first thing is having a healthy paranoia for trying to find out what you don’t know that you don’t know. The question I would ask myself — even in the beginning, and I still do today — is, six months from now, 12 months from now, five years from now, what will I wish I had been doing today or learning today?

Reading has been essential. I have always wondered why people put so much energy into trying to have coffee with some famous entrepreneur when reading a book is like getting many hours of their most crystallized thoughts.
Dropbox  CEOs  organizational_culture  unknowns  paranoia  reading  lessons_learned  information_gaps  humility  pretense_of_knowledge 
june 2016 by jerryking
Manage like a spymaster | The Economist
Aug 29th 2015 |

The first lesson from the spymasters is that sometimes the convenience of having everything easily accessible on an internal network has to be sacrificed. Intelligence agencies’ most important stuff may not be kept on computers at all—manual typewriters and carbon paper still have their uses. ...Another lesson from counter-intelligence is the use of deception. The best way to find out if you are being attacked is to offer a tempting target. “Honeypots” are bogus but convincing computers, networks and files which will attract an attacker’s attention, while revealing his presence to the silent watchers. ...If you find out who is attacking you, and what they want, you have some options. You can bring in law-enforcement: breaching someone else’s network is a crime in most jurisdictions. ...Managers could also do with practising a little of the constructive paranoia that spymasters adopt when dealing with technology.
security_&_intelligence  cyber_security  spymasters  counterintelligence  deception  paranoia  industrial_espionage  spycraft  hackers 
august 2015 by jerryking
What Drives Success? - NYTimes.com
JAN. 25, 2014 | NYT | By AMY CHUA and JED RUBENFELD.

the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.

Any individual, from any background, can have what we call this Triple Package of traits. But research shows that some groups are instilling them more frequently than others, and that they are enjoying greater success.

It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.

Ironically, each element of the Triple Package violates a core tenet of contemporary American thinking....The same factors that cause poverty — discrimination, prejudice, shrinking opportunity — can sap from a group the cultural forces that propel success. Once that happens, poverty becomes more entrenched. In these circumstances, it takes much more grit, more drive and perhaps a more exceptional individual to break out.
brainpower  willpower  poverty  movingonup  Amy_Chua  Mormons  ethnic_communities  immigrants  ksfs  self-discipline  perseverance  achievement_gaps  paranoia  Sonia_Sotomayor  overachievers  sacrifice  delayed_gratification  impulse_control  insecurity  exceptionality  superiority_complex  dual-consciousness  cultural_values  hardships 
january 2014 by jerryking
Beware the Tech Bubble—But Stay Calm - WSJ.com
By Farhad Manjoo

Dec. 29, 2013

two-step guide for reaping the best from tech while staving off the next bout of irrational exuberance. Think of it as my year-end gift to you, a clip-and-save guide for preventing a new tech bubble.

Step 1: Worry. If you're an investor, employee, founder, tech journalist or in some other way connected to the tech business, worrying about the bubble is your best defense against the bubble. Worrying keeps you sharp. Worrying keeps magical thinking at bay. As in the 1990s, the tech industry is pushing grand, society-transforming novelties on the rest of the world. If you're not worried that some of these claims are crazy, you're not paying attention.

Step 2: Don't panic. Don't let your anxiety become all-consuming. If you study the last dot-com boom, you'll see profound differences between what happened then and what's happening now. Unlike in the 1990s, today's public markets have yet to fully buy in to the boom; it's difficult to take a tech company public, and a newly public company can expect to be judged harshly by the press and investors if it shows any sign of weakness. This factor—the stock market's demand for results—is an enormous difference from the last boom. And it is reason enough to hold off on any panic.

Now, I know that my plan—worry, but don't panic—sounds like a glib, easy way to deal with tech's rise. As a columnist, I strive for firmer, less squishy opinions. I want to say, "Hey, keep partying, there's no bubble!" or "Everyone hide, doom awaits, the end is nigh!"

But unfortunately, the truth is more nuanced and complicated. People with an interest in tech should be on guard against the bubble at the same time they are open to the transformative powers of tech.
Silicon_Valley  technology  bubbles  IPOs  skepticism  paranoia  happy_talk  Farhad_Manjoo  keep_calm  wishful_thinking  worrying  panics  tech-utopianism  pay_attention 
december 2013 by jerryking
Amazon's Greatest Weapon: Jeff Bezos's Paranoia - WSJ.com
Nov. 13, 2013 | WSJ | By Farhad Manjoo.

What could Mr. Bezos possibly have to fear? Impermanence. Mr. Bezos is in an industry, retail sales, in which every innovation is instantly pored over and copied, in which (thanks partly to him) margins are constantly driven to zero, and in which customers are governed by passing fancy and whim. Being online confers fantastic advantages to Amazon, but it also comes at a deep cost: Very little about its business is burned into customers' minds.

Hence, frenzy: Amazon is in a race to embed itself into the fabric of world-wide commerce in a way that would make it indispensable to everyone's shopping habits—and to do so before its rivals wise up to its plans
Amazon  contra-Amazon  e-commerce  Fedex  habits  impermanence  Jeff_Bezos  network_effects  paranoia  retailers  shopping_experience  speed  staying_hungry  tradeoffs  transient  UPS  USPS  whims  shopping_habits 
november 2013 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
Netflix vs. Naysayers - WSJ.com
March 27, 2007 | WSJ | By NICK WINGFIELD

CEO Hastings Keeps Growth Strong; Plans for Future After Death of DVDs. In the decade since Netflix Inc. NFLX +3.07% began renting DVDs online, CEO Reed Hastings has faced down a murderers' row of rivals.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., WMT -0.59% Amazon.com Inc. AMZN +0.72% and Blockbuster Inc. have all piled into the market with services that mail DVDs to consumers who've ordered them over the Web.

...WSJ: You've started letting some of your subscribers watch movies from your Web site. How seriously are you pushing into Internet-delivery of movies?

Hastings: We're taking it pretty aggressively. We're investing about $40 million into it this year. We feel that that's the appropriate size investment, given the size of the market. If you overinvest in a market, of course, a lot of the money is wasted.

If you underinvest, then someone else can get ahead of you. We'll be up to 5,000 films by the end of the year, open to all of our subscribers....

WSJ: Blockbuster was once dismissive of Netflix, but now they're taking you very seriously. Did their initial attitude affect the way you view potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: Absolutely. We have to recognize that now there are tens and maybe hundreds of start-ups who think that they're going to eat Netflix's lunch. The challenge for a management team is to figure out which are real threats and which aren't.... It's conventional to say, "only the paranoid survive" but that's not true. The paranoid die because the paranoid take all threats as serious and get very distracted.(jk....which threats are worthy of my attention?==> distinguish between illusory and legitimate threats and fears.)

...WSJ: What are some examples of how you were choosy in reacting to potential threats to Netflix?

Hastings: There are markets that aren't going to get very big, and then there are markets that are going to get big, but they're not directly in our path. In the first camp we have small companies like Movielink -- a well-run company but not an attractive model for consumers, sort of a $4-download to watch a movie. We correctly guessed when it launched four years ago that this was not a threat and didn't react to it.

The other case I brought up is markets that are going to be very large markets, but we're just not the natural leader. Advertising supported online video, whether that's at CBS.com or YouTube -- great market, kind of next door to us. But we don't do advertising-supported video, we do subscription, so it would be a huge competence expansion for us. And it's not a threat to movies.
Netflix  Reed_Hastings  CEOs  DVDs  downloads  streaming  subscriptions  threats  large_markets  discernment  paranoia  distractions  overextended 
june 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
Claire Berlinski on Turkey as a Nation of Conspiracies
MARCH 13, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | by CLAIRE BERLINSKI. A Nation of Conspiracies
Coup plots and growing extremism. Why the West can't ignore Turkey's paranoia
Turkey  conspiracies  paranoia 
march 2010 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs Rakes In Profit in Credit Crisis - NYTimes.com
November 19, 2007 | New York Times | By JENNY ANDERSON and
LANDON THOMAS Jr.
At that point, the holdings of Goldman’s mortgage desk were down
somewhat, but the notoriously nervous Mr. Viniar was worried about
bigger problems. After reviewing the full portfolio with other
executives, his message was clear: the bank should reduce its stockpile
of mortgages and mortgage-related securities and buy expensive insurance
as protection against further losses, a person briefed on the meeting
said.
Rarely on Wall Street, where money travels in herds, has one firm gotten
it so right when nearly everyone else was getting it so wrong.
With its mix of swagger and contrary thinking, it was just the kind of
bet that has long defined Goldman’s hard-nosed, go-it-alone style.
Goldman’s secret sauce, say executives, analysts and historians, is
high-octane business acumen, tempered with paranoia and institutionally
encouraged — though not always observed — humility.
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Strategic nous - "practical intelligence/good judgement/shrewdness" = "high-octane business acumen"
business_acumen  contrarians  crisis  economic_downturn  Goldman_Sachs  hard_times  herd_behaviour  herd_instincts  humility  Lloyd_Blankfein  paranoia  profits  proprietary  recessions  special_sauce  stockpiles  Wall_Street 
february 2010 by jerryking
VC Confidential: Wisdoms of Sequoia's Don Valentine
November 15, 2007 | VC Confidential | by Matt McCall.
"The trouble with the first time entrepreneur is that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. After a failure he does know what he doesn’t know and can beat the hell out of people who still have to learn."

"That's easy. I just follow Moore's Law and make a few guesses about its consequences." (on his success investing in semiconductor plays)

"I got to Silicon Valley in 1959. Nothing is revolutionary; it's evolutionary. Look the sequence of Intel microprocessors. It's all predictable. The nature of silicon and software and storage go hand in hand. In the case of software, you just have to be more clever about the nature of the application. So all these things kind of tick along, feeding off each other"

“All companies that go out of business do so for the same reason - they run out of money.”

"Why did you send me this renegade from the human race?" (comment after meeting Steve Jobs)

"Great markets make great companies."

"I like opportunities that are addressing markets so big that even the management team can't get in its way."

"One of my jobs as a board member has been to counsel management to avoid distraction and to execute with constructive paranoia."
quotes  venture_capital  Sequoia  pretense_of_knowledge  Don_Valentine  paranoia  Moore's_Law  failure  large_markets  distractions 
january 2010 by jerryking
How to Be a Billionaire: Worry!
Monday, Feb. 05, 2001| TIME | By JOSHUA COOPER RAMO. For
George Soros, the problem is not how to make money. That's easy, he
believes. You do that by spotting mistakes. The problem is the mistakes
themselves. Soros thinks that our history, especially economic history,
is sculpted by blunders. It's a radical proposition, as if you suggested
that Botticelli's best art was the result of paint splatters. But Soros
is insistent: mistakes make history. They also make--and
destroy--fortunes. Soros, who made a fortune looking for and finding
mistakes, worries we are making one now. He picks up on these errors by
listening to his money. These days he doesn't like what he
hears..."George is signal," says a Fed adviser, referring to the high
noise-signal ratio among advice givers to Alan Greenspan.

===================================================
From Farhad Manjoo
Step 1: Worry. If you're an investor, employee, founder, tech journalist or in some other way connected to the tech business, worrying about the bubble is your best defense against the bubble. Worrying keeps you sharp. Worrying keeps magical thinking (i.e. happy talk) at bay. As in the 1990s, the tech industry is pushing grand, society-transforming novelties on the rest of the world. If you're not worried that some of these claims are crazy, you're not paying attention.
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George_Soros  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  financial_history  wishful_thinking  Kissinger_Associates  pattern_recognition  patterns  moguls  lessons_learned  mistakes  Bank_of_England  financiers  negative_space  investors  signals  worrying  paranoia  human_errors  economic_history  happy_talk  pay_attention 
october 2009 by jerryking

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