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jerryking : revenge_effects   13

Steven Brill's "Tailspin": How My Generation Broke America
May 17, 2018 | | Time | By STEVEN BRILL.

From matters small – there are an average of 657 water-main breaks a day, for example – to large, it is clear that the country has gone into a tailspin over the last half-century, when John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier was about seizing the future, not trying to survive the present..............The Meritocracy’s ascent was about more than personal profit. As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment. They invented proxy fights, leveraged buyouts and stock buybacks that gave lawyers and bankers a bonanza of new fees and maximized short-term profits for increasingly unsentimental shareholders, but deadened incentives for the long-term growth of the rest of the economy.....[We need 'guardrails' against legal and financial excesses.]......Forty-eight years after Inky Clark gave me my ticket on the meritocracy express in 1967, a professor at Yale Law School jarred the school’s graduation celebration. Daniel Markovits, who specializes in the intersection of law and behavioral economics, told the class of 2015 that their success getting accepted into, and getting a degree from, the country’s most selective law school actually marked their entry into a newly entrenched aristocracy that had been snuffing out the American Dream for almost everyone else. Elites, he explained, can spend what they need to in order to send their children to the best schools, provide tutors for standardized testing and otherwise ensure that their kids can outcompete their peers to secure the same spots at the top that their parents achieved.

“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”.....
Daniel_Markovits  baby_boomers  entrepreneur  income_inequality  politics  revenge_effects  Steven_Brill  political_polarization  fractured_internally  books  meritocratic  America_in_Decline?  elitism  lawyers  self-perpetuation  upper-income  inequality  privilege  the_best_and_brightest  tailspins  guardrails  the_American_dream  cultural_transmission  wealth_transfers  partisan_politics 
may 2018 by jerryking
Why Starbucks Might Be Innovating Too Fast - Barron's
By Alex Eule Jan. 26, 2017

Big Picture: Starbucks is seeing rapid success with its mobile ordering system, but it might be coming at the expense of in-store service.......The company now has so many customers placing advance orders via smartphones that some of its stores are having trouble keeping up.... “mobile order and pay” made up 7% of U.S. transactions in the latest quarter, up from just 3% a year ago.

But, it turns out, the existing stores haven’t been set up to handle the changing consumer behavior.

(From personal experience, I’ve noticed that Manhattan Starbucks counters are often over-filled with advance orders and those customers walk in and out, while the wait for in-store service is now longer than before.)

Starbucks president and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, who’s set to become CEO in April, told investors that smartphone order volume has “created a new operational challenge...significant congestion at the handoff point. This congestion resulted in some number of customers who either entered the store or considered visiting a Starbucks store, and then did not complete a transaction.”
innovation  Starbucks  congestion  handoffs  in-store  order_management_system  mobile_applications  smartphones  consumer_behavior  operations  wait_times  brands  large_companies  shortcomings  revenge_effects  the_big_picture 
january 2017 by jerryking
Why Small Businesses Are Starting to Win Again - The New Yorker
JANUARY 24, 2015
Small Is Bountiful
BY TIM WU

Farmers who sell, say, organic or free-range foods, cannot hope to compete based on price. Instead, they try to create consumers who won’t eat chicken produced by big companies for moral, health, or aesthetic reasons...The true-differentiation strategy seems to work best when scale, despite its efficiencies, also introduces blind spots in areas such as customer service, flavor, curation, or other intangibles not entirely consistent with mass production and standardization. Where getting big begins to hurt the product, small can be bountiful.

=====================================
it is a two-part problem. No. 1, the consumer and competitive marketplace is definitely shifting. For example, quality has evolved beyond just good ingredients, preparation and packaging. Basic quality is a given now; many consumers are looking for something extra: less mass-produced, natural, local.

No. 2, iconic food companies and their mature brands are not responding effectively. Large, established food companies and their brands are being managed as portfolios of revenue and profit streams with a short-term financial orientation, and not as companies that produce food products. Small companies, on the other hand, are being created and managed by people with a food orientation and passion.
small_business  size  scaling  Tim_Wu  Peter_Drucker  portfolio_management  Gulliver_strategies  differentiation  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  revenge_effects  blind_spots  personal_values  market_segmentation  mass_production  decreasing_returns_to_scale  aesthetics  eco-friendly  creating_demand  food  foodies  gourmet  large_companies 
january 2015 by jerryking
Antifragile
by Taleb, Nassim Nicholas.
Year/Format: 2012

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.

In The Black Swan,Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better.

Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of theTitanicsave lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear.

Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world.
antifragility  Black_Swan  blueprints  bones  bone_density  books  brittle  city-states  disorder  improbables  libraries  Nassim_Taleb  revenge_effects  stressful  tension  turmoil  unpredictability  volatility 
november 2012 by jerryking
The Weakest Link
November 30, 2006 |Strategy + Business | by Nicholas G. Carr.

A product’s vulnerabilities can point the way to lucrative new business opportunities.

As John Campbell pointed out in a 1996 article in the journal of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the landing gear of the early 1930s, before the O-ring was introduced, is an example of a “reverse salient.” That odd term has its origins in descriptions of warfare, where it refers to a section of an advancing military force that has fallen behind the rest of the front. This section is typically the point of weakness in an attack, the lagging element that prevents the rest of the force from accomplishing its mission. Until the reverse salient is corrected, an army’s progress comes to a halt.

Historian Thomas P. Hughes was the first to apply the term to the realm of technological innovation. As described in his book Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), a reverse salient often forms as a complex technological system advances: “As the system evolves toward a goal, some components fall behind or out of line. As a result of the reverse salient, growth of the entire enterprise is hampered, or thwarted, and thus remedial action is required.” In technological advance as in warfare, the reverse salient is the weak link that impedes progress.
Nicholas_Carr  problem_solving  unintended_consequences  shortcomings  limitations  vulnerabilities  revenge_effects  new_businesses  weak_links 
july 2012 by jerryking
Unforeseen consequences - FT.com
May 24, 2007 | Financial Times |By Robert Matthews.

The Germans have a word for it: Schlimmbesserung - literally, a "worse improvement". You may not recognise the word, but you'll know plenty of examples of what it means: efficiency drives that reduce efficiency, cost-cutting measures that prove punitively expensive, software upgrades that cause months of downtime.

All businesses can fall victim to such "revenge effects"....

Edward Tenner, a visiting scholar in the department of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Why Things Bite Back, the classic study of the phenomenon first published in 1996, believes there are several measures that businesses can take. Indeed, he has given lectures at Microsoft, Intel and AT&T on the subject.

Ensuring there is in-house expertise that can spot emerging revenge effects and deal with the consequences is crucial, Mr Tenner says. "Many companies fail to deal with revenge effects because they are 'outsourcing their brains'," he says. "Lean organisations are supposed to be more flexible, but they may also be giving up a lot of their capability to respond to change."

According to Mr Tenner, businesses can keep a constant watch for reports of potential revenge effects in news and research findings. This has never been easier, thanks to online tools such as Google news alerts and RSS (really simple syndication) feeds.

Even so, revenge effects have a nasty habit of affecting businesses in unexpected ways. "The precondition of vigilance is the selection and development of ability at all levels,"

thinking about the downside to new developments can save a lot of heartache. "Excessive optimism risks revenge effects," he says. "You have to be prepared to work in Murphy's Law mode - and to consider that every possible thing that can go wrong will go wrong."
unintended_consequences  books  limitations  in-house  specificity  outsourcing  unexpected  revenge_effects  Murphy's_Law  thinking_tragically  lean  adaptability  flexibility  responsiveness  change  downtime 
june 2012 by jerryking
Instant Communication Can Have Bad Consequences — Letters to the editor - WSJ.com
APRIL 9, 2011.
During the American Civil War, Charles Wilkes, a Union naval officer,
broke international law by capturing two Confederate diplomats en route
to Europe on a neutral British ship, the Trent. Adams observed: "When we
so pride ourselves on what we consider the self-evident value of modern
inventions, we may be given pause when we realize that, had there been a
submarine cable in 1861, it is almost certain that England and the
North would have been at war that December. As it was, the slowness of
communication gave both sides time to think, and allowed [Secretary of
State William H.] Seward in America and [Lords] Palmerston and Russell
in England . . . to guide the situation."

"The slowness of communication" is a phrase to savor. Today it is
assumed that speed of communication is an absolute virtue. Combining
speed with a lack of context, electronic media radically undermine
reflection and criticism. We live in a sea of thoughtlessness, informing
ourselves to death.
Communicating_&_Connecting  Peggy_Noonan  power_of_the_pause  letters_to_the_editor  Civil_War  reflections  immediacy  contextual  timeouts  real-time  latency  unintended_consequences  revenge_effects  thinking_deliberatively 
april 2011 by jerryking
FT.com / Comment / Op-Ed Columnists - And the magic word is ...
October 29 2010 | Financial Times | By Gillian Tett.
Innovation can be a powerful totem pole but it is not a magic wand. The
spirit of Google alone cannot “Reboot America!” overnight. That will
require a long, hard slog from politicians and voters alike; it won’t be
glamorous....in practical terms, many innovations have had a dark side.
Innovations in oil exploration have cut the price of oil; but they have
also polluted the Gulf. Meanwhile financial creativity has fuelled the
credit crisis
innovation  Tina_Brown  contradictions  financial_creativity  unintended_consequences  Gillian_Tett  revenge_effects  dark_side 
october 2010 by jerryking
The Ultimate Start-Up Challenge? Hyper Growth - WSJ.com
MARCH 10, 2010 | Wall street Journal | By TERI EVANS. Fast
growth is often an entrepreneur's dream, but it can come with
repercussions, including customer-service snafus and staffing chaos. If
not managed well, it can also wreck a company culture, which can put a
young company in "serious danger," according to Rob Wolcott, a professor
of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kellogg School of Management.

"In many ways, culture is the one thing that gives you long-term
competitive advantage because it's something that is very difficult to
copy," .[perhaps see Paul Graham on doing things that don't scale] Mr. Wolcott says. "When growth becomes too hot to handle, so to speak, then everyone starts focusing on the urgent and sometimes misses the important."
growth  start_ups  challenges  size  scaling  organizational_culture  revenge_effects  competitive_advantage  uniqueness  customer_service  repercussions  staffing  chaos  high-growth  unscalability 
march 2010 by jerryking
WSJ.com - The Problem With Patents
When the patent sys. works, it rewards entrepreneurs &
inventors, encourages innovation & serves as a bulwark of property
rights. The Founding Fathers considered patents important enough to
provide for them in the Constitution, granting Congress (via the U.S.
Patent & Trademark Office & the courts ) the power to protect
the rights of patent & copyright holders "for limited times" &
to "promote the progress of science & useful arts." Patent rights
are good insofar as they are useful...A patent sys. is only as good as
the quality of patents that issue from it. If bad or dubious patents
proliferate, they can have the opposite of their intended effect, which
is to promote & reward innovation...the USPO is vulnerable to the
usual failings and perverse incentives of any other govt.
bureaucracy...What's broken with the patent sys. is that "it’s the
patent office, not the rejection office." The USPO gets paid when it
grants a patent, creating pressure on the staff to keep the $ coming in.
patents  USPTO  Founding_Fathers  incentives  constitutions  property_rights  innovation  innovation_policies  revenge_effects  perverse_incentives  Gresham's_law 
december 2009 by jerryking
Hezbollah as 'a hot cell for innovation'Why our intentions 'don't just fail, they backfire'
Apr 19, 2009 | Toronto Star | Lynda Hurst.

we're still using anachronistic ideas to hold together a global order that no longer exists. A revolution is in progress where the unthinkable all too readily becomes the inevitable.

The result? More – and more dangerous – reversals of intent and outcome.

"What's happening today is that our intentions don't just fail, they backfire on us," says the Beijing-based geo-strategy analyst. "We deliver the opposite of what we intend because we so misunderstand the way the system now works."

The "war on terrorism" creates even more terrorists. The attempt to build a risk-proof financial system produces more risks than anyone is able to foresee. The bid to spread capitalism across the globe widens the chasm between rich and poor. The effort to contain nuclear proliferation leads to rogue states such as North Korea and Iran playing gimme-gimme games (or maybe not) with the final option.

Think Mikhail Gorbachev setting out only to reform the Soviet Union, but instead triggering its downfall, which in turn leads the U.S. to conclude its values have won the Cold War. Not so, Ramo says. Or George W. Bush reckoning he can inject democracy into Iraq and, presto, out comes peace: "Absurd in the extreme."

The new rules are
still being formed. They will be based on one central premise: countless
variations in the scheme of things will continue to occur at warp
speed, and adapting to them equally as quickly will be crucial. The
unpredictable demands of constant newness can immobilize institutions,
however, not just individuals. It can blind them to unsprung traps,
freeze once-honed navigation skills. The structure of the U.S. State
Department has barely changed since the end of World War II.

Governments can't prepare for everything in the future, but they can
build resilience into their systems. Real power will be the ability to
come back strong after an unexpected shock. That will mean persistently
assessing the big picture, not just its component pieces.
new_normal  uncertainty  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  geopolitics  unpredictability  resilience  21st._century  adaptability  managing_uncertainty  Hezbollah  unintended_consequences  unexpected  political_power  accelerated_lifecycles  U.S._State_Department  immobilize  paralyze  constant_change  revenge_effects  rogue_actors  unthinkable  misunderstandings  Cambrian_explosion  iterations  Octothorpe_Software  Mikhail_Gorbachev  the_big_picture  warp_speed  financial_system 
may 2009 by jerryking
Without Restraint Tides of confusion have washed up Mark Foley, Wonder Land - WSJ.com
Friday, October 6, 2006 WSJ columnist by DANIEL HENNINGER.
Clipped because there is an interesting paragraph on clarity of thought.

As a result, we live now in an era awash in cultural confusions. The tides bring in weird phenomena, like the Mark Foley story, leave them on the beach overnight, then drag them back out to sea before there's time to make much sense of what we saw. As often as not, we don't even try. The Web and digital technology have ramped up the cultural velocity to warp speed. MySpace, YouTube -- the once-bright line between the private and public spheres has evaporated.

This has had an effect on the way we think, or don't. Clarity -- thinking clearly -- is harder than ever to achieve, because clarity assumes a degree of general social agreement about things. For instance, time was that most people would agree that putting a crucifix in urine and calling it art doesn't qualify as anything but bad thinking. But no, we had to have a big argument over that. At the end of her current stage act, Madonna makes herself the central figure in a crucifixion scene. No problem. Most reviewers simply describe it, and move on.

Challenge over the past 40 years became a more powerful social value than clarity. One of the byproducts of challenge is that you don't have to think very much -- about the point or the consequences. Just do it. The act of challenge is its own justification. And one of the byproducts of constant challenge is aggressive confusion.
op_ed  Daniel_Henninger  WONDER_LAND  social_media  Madonna  clarity  cultural_change  revenge_effects  controversies  warp_speed  social_challenge 
february 2009 by jerryking

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