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jerryking : scaling   73

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 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
‘We Know Them. We Trust Them.’ Uber and Airbnb Alumni Fuel Tech’s Next Wave.
March 13, 2019 | The New York Times | By Erin Griffith.

......“There are just not that many places to find people who have seen that kind of scale,” said Ryan Graves, Uber’s former senior vice president of global operations and a member of the company’s board.

Each city that Uber, Airbnb, Lyft or Postmates expanded into created a new set of operational, regulatory and business challenges. Regulators balked. Rival business operators resisted. Neighbors protested. And people abused the platforms, over and over.

Uber managers ran each city like a mini-start-up. “If you were the general manager of San Francisco or of Atlanta, you were the C.E.O. of your region,” ..... “It led to a really entrepreneurial approach from everyone.”......
Airbnb  alumni  Andreessen_Horowitz  gig_economy  IPOs  networks  new_businesses  on-demand  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Uber  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
20 Minutes With: Bridge International Academies’ Shannon May
Feb. 25, 2019 | Barron's | By Mitch Moxley.

Bridge International Academies, a private company May co-founded that transforms failing government schools into high performing ones. The results have been astounding. May, an Arizona native in her early 40s, oversees the education of more than a quarter of a million children every school day in six countries. On average, these schools charge just US$7 per month per child, and some graduates have gone to elite secondary schools in the U.S.

Bridge is backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, among others, and has raised over US$140 million.

What was the original goal when you launched Bridge?

The original goal, seriously, was to serve a million kids in more than 1,000 schools…. It’s a lot harder than we thought, but 10 years on, now we’re working with close to 300,000 kids every day in six different countries.
billgates  China  education  high-achieving  PhDs  teachers  teaching  scaling  schools  transformational 
february 2019 by jerryking
Scaling the Unscalable Business: 5 Things You Can Learn from a Successful CEO in the Professional Services Industry | ALGA
Posted December 15th, 2015 by ALGA Business Insurance & filed under Atlanta Business Owner, Business Insurance.
unscalability  scaling 
november 2018 by jerryking
How To Scale the Unscalable ·
OCTOBER 13, 2018 | The Sales Blog | by ANTHONY IANNARINO
[Do things the DON'T scale] Caring is difficult to scale. Every interaction—both internally and externally—requires greater intention, attention, and energy. Because so much of this depends on the individuals, many believe it doesn’t scale. Organizational caring isn’t a thing.

Initiative is equally difficult to scale. The idea that a person would decide for themselves what needs done and take action before being asked isn’t something that is easily accomplished. Because it is difficult, few try to be proactive as an organization.

Resourcefulness, harnessing the creative powers and imagination, if put to work in an organization would likely allow that group of people to outperform their competitors by the widest of margins. Most would never even consider this a goal.

If you want to scale your business, the first thing you should scale is the things that most people don’t believe lend themselves to being scaled. When you scale the attributes and virtues and values that build a culture that is positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered, your business will scale on its own power.
caring  hard_work  howto  initiatives  organizational_culture  resourcefulness  scaling  unscalability 
november 2018 by jerryking
Vertical media mergers are just so 19th century | Financial Times
June 21, 2018 | Financial Times | Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Media companies are falling over themselves to merge with one another right now. AT&T took the US to court over the right to buy TimeWarner, and Comcast and Disney are engaged in a bidding war for some of 21st Century Fox. Big looks set to get bigger. Yet according to our best thinkers on the future of capitalism, the corporate titans driving these decisions are heading firmly backward.

AT&T and Comcast are communications companies that are attempting to go vertical and control every layer of a media empire from underground cables to the creation of content....Andrew Carnegie was determined to own coal mines and railroads as well as steel mills. The goal was control from top to bottom, closed access and economies of scale.

But that is old-fashioned thinking, according to the current crop of books on the dramatic economic changes being wreaked in the next phase of the information age. They argue that vertical integration amounts to building silos in an era that will be dominated by platforms — owning in an era of renting — and looking for mass markets when customers want individualized products.

Hemant Taneja makes a strong case for “customised microproduction and finely targeted marketing” in his book Unscaled. An investor for the Boston-based firm General Catalyst, he does not question the value of having many customers rather than few. But he argues that fast-growing companies in sectors ranging from energy to healthcare and education are succeeding because they customise their goods and services to a “market of one”.

The rise of artificial intelligence and cloud computing allows these companies to “rent scale”, he writes. Small, nimble companies can now out-compete big ones in specific markets, adding scale as they need to.....Netflix’s market value exceeded that of Comcast back in May and it is now bigger than Disney. Its global headcount is 5,500, nearly one-fifth of Time Warner’s and one-50th of AT&T’s. Netflix does not have the size to build as large in-house AI capabilities. But a quick search for “media data analytics” reveals a score of companies. Why pay for that capability when you can rent it
Andrew_Carnegie  Anne-Marie_Slaughter  artificial_intelligence  books  cloud_computing  end_of_ownership  entertainment_industry  Netflix  platforms  scaling  size  vertical_integration  AT&T  Comcast  customization  Disney  gazelles  nimbleness  mass_media  personalization  mergers_&_acquisitions  21st_Century_Fox  Time_Warner  19th_century  microproducers  target_marketing  unscalability  silo_mentality 
june 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.”
algorithms  analytics  artificial_intelligence  attrition_rates  CEOs  data_driven  data_scientists  drug_development  failure  Indian-Americans  multiple_targets  Novartis  pharmaceutical_industry  predictive_analytics  productivity  productivity_payoffs  product_development  real-time  scaling  spreadsheets 
november 2017 by jerryking
16 lessons on scaling from Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, Marissa Mayer, Brian Chesky, Diane Greene…
Chris McCannFollow
Community Lead @ Greylock Partners. Previously founded @StartupDigest. Photographer.
Dec 8, 2015
1. What “blitzscaling” means
2. Startup advice can’t be applied generally across stages
3. The top consideration of scaling is when to scale
4. Before product-market-fit hire slowly
5. Few things are critically important, most don’t matter (changes by stage)
6. One of the keys to get to scale, is to do things that don’t scale.
7. The reason to scale in the first place
8. The first level of scale is moving from one team to two teams (building and supporting)
9. Recruiting becomes the #1 priority when scaling
10. Have a framework for judging talent
11. Remember that even at scale, great products come from small teams
12. Hiring from the outside vs. promoting from within
13. Have a strong culture
14. Communication with 100's+ of employees is tough

15. Scaling is moving away from problem solving to coaching

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn
From Jeff Weiner: On the continuum of Problem Solving <=> Coaching
Coaching — Founders tend to be people who are good at getting things done, therefore they look to solve problems rather than coaching people to solve them. The problem with this is when you add people into the organization — when they have a problem, if the founder solves it for them — they will keep coming back to the founders to solve problems.
This won’t scale. You have to coach people to solve their own problems. Then you need to coach people to coach other people to solve problems. This is how you get to true scale.

16. The role of a CEO during blitzscaling

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, Executive Chairman at Alphabet
From Eric Schmidt: My role was to manage the chaos. There are different kinds of CEO’s and there is more than one answer.
venture_capital  lessons_learned  growth  scaling  howto  Reid_Hoffman  Silicon_Valley  blitzscaling  coaching  unscalability 
july 2017 by jerryking
How Nature Scales Up
June 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Charles C. Mann

Review of SCALE By Geoffrey West; Penguin Press, 479 pages, $30
books  book_reviews  physicists  scaling  growth  innovation  sustainability  cities  economics  business  linearity  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  sublinearity  massive_data_sets  natural_selection 
june 2017 by jerryking
Review: How Laws of Physics Govern Growth in Business and in Cities
MAY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By JONATHAN A. KNEE

Book review of “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin), by Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist.....Mr. West’s core argument is that the basic mathematical laws of physics governing growth in the physical world apply equally to biological, political and corporate organisms.....The central observation of “Scale” is that a wide variety of complex systems respond similarly to increases in size. Mr. West demonstrates that these similarities reflect the structural nature of the networks that undergird these systems. The book identifies three core common characteristics of the hierarchal networks that deliver energy to these organisms — whether the diverse circulatory systems that power all forms of animal life or the water and electrical networks that power cities. First, the networks are “space filling” — that is, they service the entire organism. Second, the terminal units are largely identical, whether they are the capillaries in our bodies or the faucets and electrical outlets in our homes. Third, a kind of natural selection process operates within these networks so that they are optimized......These shared network qualities explain why when an organism doubles in size, an astonishing range of characteristics, from food consumption to general metabolic rate, grow something less than twice as fast — they scale “sublinearly.” What’s more, “Scale” shows why the precise mathematical factor by which these efficiencies manifest themselves almost always relate to “the magic No. 4.”

Mr. West also provides an elegant explanation of why living organisms have a natural limit to growth and life span following a predictable curve, as an increasing proportion of energy consumed is required for maintenance and less is available to fuel further expansion.

....Despite his reliance on the analysis of huge troves of data to develop and support his theories, in the concluding chapters, Mr. West makes a compelling argument against the “arrogance and narcissism” reflected in the growing fetishization of “big data” in itself. “Data for data’s sake,” he argues, “or the mindless gathering of big data, without any conceptual framework for organizing and understanding it, may actually be bad or even dangerous.”
books  book_reviews  physicists  scaling  growth  Jonathan_Knee  innovation  sustainability  cities  economics  business  linearity  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  sublinearity  massive_data_sets  natural_selection  physical_world  selection_processes 
may 2017 by jerryking
Instagram Finds Focus Under ‘Efficiency Guru’
April 13, 2017 | WSJ | By Deepa Seetharaman

Ms. Levine’s biggest contribution, Mr. Systrom says, is helping Instagram avoid the fate analyst Ben Thompson described: “Companies break every time they double.” [See reference to sublinearity in new book of Geoffrey West, “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin). Specifically, "infrastructure growth scales in analogous sublinear fashion]

In 2014, Mr. Systrom said he realized he and his co-founder, Mike Krieger, needed help to grow Instagram. Facebook had bought the startup for $1 billion two years earlier, when it had just 13 employees. The pressure was on for Instagram to make money and roll out products at a more rapid clip, and the co-founders saw the need for an executive to manage the expansion.

Marne Levine is “an efficiency guru” who has helped the Instagram app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth. Ms. Levine has skills that are in high demand in Silicon Valley, where startups often struggle to get past their adolescence. Uber Technologies Inc., for instance, is seeking a second-in-command to help founder Travis Kalanick repair the ride-sharing company’s image after allegations of sexism and sexual harassment and the departure of several top executives. “We want to be the 10x company,” Ms. Levine, 46, says. “That means we need to think carefully about how we set up our operations, how we grow and how we scale.”.....A seasoned manager can instill discipline and order, helping new companies avoid wasting time and resources while adding a veneer of professionalism to attract potential customers.
Instagram  Facebook  focus  scaling  growth  Snap  Snapchat  blitzscaling  operational_tempo  expansions  COO  efficiencies  sublinearity  product_launches  speed  10x 
april 2017 by jerryking
Empty talk on innovation is killing Canada’s economic prosperity
Mar. 19, 2017 | Globe & Mail | by JIM BALSILLIE.

Immigration, traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges, tax policy, stable banking regulation and traditional trade agreements are all 19th- and 20th-century economic levers that advance Canada’s traditional industries, but they have little impact on 21st-century productivity.

The outdated economic orthodoxy behind our discourse on innovation is causing the steady erosion of our national prosperity.

Over the past 30 years, commercialization of intellectual property (IP) became the primary driver of new wealth. The structure of the 21st-century company shifted and IP became the most valuable corporate asset. IP is an intangible good that requires policy infrastructure that’s completely different than the infrastructure required to get traditional tangible goods to market. IP relies on a tightly designed ecosystem of highly technical interlocking policies focused on scaling companies, which are “agents” of innovation outputs.....Canada doesn’t have valuable IP to sell to the world so we continue exporting low-margin resource and agricultural goods while importing high-margin IP. If our leaders want to create sustainable economic growth, Canada’s growth strategy must focus on creating high-margin IP-based exports that the world wants and must pay for.........IP ownership is the competitive driver in the new global economy, not exchange rates that adjust production costs. That’s why despite the strong U.S. dollar, U.S. company valuations and exports are soaring – IP-intensive industries added $6.6-trillion (U.S.) to the U.S. economy in 2014. So what is Canada’s strategy to increase our ownership of valuable IP assets and commercialize them globally? Supply chains in the innovation economy are different than in traditional economies because IP operates on a winner-take-all economic principle with zero marginal production costs. IP is traded differently than tangible goods because IP moves across borders on the principle of restriction, not free trade. Trade liberalization increases competition and reduces prices, but increased IP protection does the exact opposite. The economy for intangible goods is fundamentally different than the one for tangible goods. Productivity in the global innovation economy is driven by new ideas that generate new revenue for new markets. What Canada needs is a strategy to turn its new ideas into new revenue.....The Growth Council missed our overriding priority for growth: a national strategy to generate IP that Canadian companies can commercialize to scale globally.

We urgently need sophisticated strategies to drive the commercialization of Canadian ideas through our most innovative companies.
innovation  Jim_Balsillie  happy_talk  intellectual_property  scaling  tax_codes  winner-take-all  productivity  intangibles  digital_economy  ideas  self-deception  patents  commercialization  national_strategies  global_economy  property_rights  protocols  borderless 
march 2017 by jerryking
a16z Podcast: Ben and Marc Explain (Practically) Everything – Part 1 – Andreessen Horowitz
Marc: Cheaper to start. More expensive to grow. So, it goes back to what we were talking about before. So the market sizes are much larger. So, the prize is bigger. The market is larger and it takes more money to be able to build a company in the market. And so, yeah, you can start a lot of these companies with three laptops and three lattes a day and you’re off to the races. Three kids living on ramen noodles. But at some point, you need to build the company. And you need to build the company that is then going to go take the market. And the market is big. And the market is global and you’re going to need a company around that.

You’re going to need a sales force. You’re going to need marketing. You’re going to need a big development organization. You’re going to need customer service, customer support. You’re going to have a big recruiting campaign. You’re going to need partnerships. You’re going to need expansion capital. All these things kick in. And so these companies almost never stay small. It’s extremely rare that you’d see any company that does anything big in tech that doesn’t end up raising…doesn’t end up, number one, raising money and then number two, if you’re going to raise money, raise money from venture capital.
Andreessen_Horowitz  scaling  start_ups  marketing  partnerships  expansions  growth 
december 2016 by jerryking
MBA Mondays: Turning Your Team
August 12, 2013 | – AVC | Fred Wilson.

A serial entrepreneur I know tells me "you will turn your team three times on the way from startup to a business of scale." What he means is that the initial team will depart, replaced by another team, which in turn will be replaced by yet another team....Companies scale and the team needs to scale with it. That often means turning the team.

The "turning your team" thing probably makes sense to most people. But executing it is where things get tricky and hard. How are you going to push out the person who built the first product almost all by themselves? How are you going to push out the person who brought in the first customer? How are you going to tell the person who managed your first user community so deftly that their services are no longer needed by your company?

And when do you need to do this and in what order? It's not like you tell your entire senior team to leave on the same day. So the execution of all of this is hard and getting the timing right is harder.
advice  business  scaling  teams  start_ups  Fred_Wilson  turning_your_team  turnarounds  execution  judgment  serial_entrepreneur  think_threes 
october 2016 by jerryking
The Similarities Between Building and Scaling a Product and a Company – AVC
August 15, 2013 | AVC | by Fred Wilson.

Once you have a successful product in the market, you need to turn your attention to scaling it. The system you and your team built will break if you don't keep tweaking it as demand grows. Greg Pass, who was VP Engineering at Twitter during the period where Twitter really scaled, talks about instrumenting your service so you can see when its reaching a breaking point, and then fixing the bottleneck before the system breaks. He taught me that you can't build something that will never break. You have to constantly be rebuilding parts of the system and you need to have the data and processes to know which parts to focus on at what time.

The team is the same way. Your awesome COO who helped you get from 30 people to 150 people without missing a beat might become a bottleneck at 200 people. ....
How you fix your system and how you fix your team depends on the facts and circumstances of the problem. There is no one right answer. The key is removing the bottleneck so the rest of the system can work again. ...It is harder to instrument your team the way you can instrument a software system. 360 reviews and other feedback systems are a good way to get some data. And walking around the company, doing lunches with managers who are one level down from your senior team, and generally being open to and available for feedback is the way you get the data. When you see that someone on your team has maxed out and the entire system is crashing as a result, you need to act.
Fred_Wilson  scaling  teams  professional_service_firms  bottlenecks  COO  instrumentation_monitoring  soft_skills  turning_your_team 
october 2016 by jerryking
At BlackRock, a Wall Street Rock Star’s $5 Trillion Comeback - The New York Times
SEPT. 15, 2016 | NYT | By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

(1) Laurence Fink: “If you think you know everything about our business, you are kidding yourself,” he said. “The biggest question we have to answer is: ‘Are we developing the right leaders?’” “Are you,” he asked, “prepared to be one of those leaders?”

(2) BlackRock was thriving because of its focus on low-risk, low-cost funds and the all-seeing wonders of Aladdin. BlackRock sees the future of finance as being rules-based, data-driven, systematic investment styles such as exchange-traded funds, which track a variety of stock and bond indexes or adhere to a set of financial rules. Fink believes that his algorithmic driven style will, over time, grow faster than the costlier “active investing” model in which individuals, not algorithms, make stock, bond and asset allocation decisions.

Most money management firms highlight their investment returns first, and risk controls second. BlackRock has taken a reverse approach: It believes that risk analysis, such as gauging how a security will trade if interest rates go up or down, improves investment results.

(3) BlackRock, along with central banks, sovereign wealth funds — have become the new arbiters of "flow.“ It is not about the flow of securities anymore, it is about the flow of information and indications of interest.”

(4) Asset Liability and Debt and Derivatives Investment Network (Aladdin), is BlackRock's big data-mining, risk-mitigation platform/framework. Aladdin is a network of code, trades, chat, algorithms and predictive models that on any given day can highlight vulnerabilities and opportunities connected to the trillions that BlackRock firm tracks — including the portion which belongs to outside firms that pay BlackRock a fee to have access to the platform. Aladdin stress-tests how securities will respond to certain situations (e.g. a sudden rise in interest rates or what happens in the event of a political surprise, like Donald J. Trump being elected president.)

In San Francisco, a team of equity analysts deploys data analysis to study the language that CEOs use during an earnings call. Unusually bearish this quarter, compared with last? If so, maybe the stock is a sell. “We have more information than anyone,” Mr. Fink said.
systematic_approaches  ETFs  Wall_Street  BlackRock  Laurence_Fink  asset_management  traders  complacency  future  finance  Aladdin  risk-management  financiers  financial_services  central_banks  money_management  information_flows  volatility  economic_downturn  liquidity  bonds  platforms  frameworks  stress-tests  monitoring  CEOs  succession  risk-analysis  leadership  order_management_system  sovereign_wealth_funds  market_intelligence  intentionality  data_mining  collective_intelligence  risk-mitigation  rules-based  risks  asset_values  scaling  scenario-planning  databases 
september 2016 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs Has Started Giving Away Its Most Valuable Software - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER
Sept. 7, 2016

Securities DataBase, or SecDB, the system remains Goldman’s prime tool for measuring risk and analyzing the prices of securities, and it calculates 23 billion prices across 2.8 million positions daily. It has played a crucial role in many of the seminal moments of the firm’s recent history, including its controversial trading just ahead of the financial crisis.....There is perhaps no better sign of the changes that have engulfed Wall Street than this: Goldman has recently started giving clients the tools that made it a trading powerhouse, for free.

The firm’s motives aren’t altruistic; rather, many of the edges that once made Goldman’s traders feared and admired have been blunted. New rules have limited banks’ trading risks, and made it costly to hold large inventories of stocks and bonds on their books. And electronic trading has squeezed margins, dimming the clamor of trading floors across Wall Street....Traders and executives tap into SecDB to inform how to price securities, and how the value of those assets may change with a twist on the dial on any one of thousands of potential variables. That information can be used to analyze potential trades—and then to monitor the risks posed by those positions.

What made it the envy of Wall Street, though, was its ability to scale up to include new classes of securities, new trading desks, even whole businesses. And the data it harnessed was all in one place.
Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  tools  traders  risk-management  informational_advantages  software  free  databases  platforms  CIOs  proprietary  slight_edge  Aladdin  Martin_Chavez  scaling  SecDB  seminal_moments  asset_values  scenario-planning  stress-tests 
september 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
Blitzscaling
ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Blitzscaling
Tim Sullivan

FROM THE APRIL 2016 ISSUE

Let’s start with the basics. What is blitzscaling?
Hoffman: Blitzscaling is what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale.

This is high-impact entrepreneurship. These kinds of companies always create a lot of the jobs and industries of the future. For example, Amazon essentially invented e-commerce. Today, it has over 150,000 employees and has created countless jobs at Amazon sellers and partners. Google revolutionized how we find information—it has over 60,000 employees and has created many more jobs at its AdWords and AdSense partners.

Why this focus on fast growth?
We’re in a networked age. And I don’t mean only the internet. Globalization is a form of network. It adds networks of transport, commerce, payment, and information flows around the world. In such an environment, you have to move faster, because competition from anywhere on the globe may beat you to scale.

Software has a natural affinity with blitzscaling, because the marginal costs of serving any size market are virtually zero. The more that software becomes integral to all industries, the faster things will move. Throw in AI machine learning, and the loops get even faster. So we’re going to see more blitzscaling. Not just a little more, but a lot more.
blitzscaling  scaling  HBR  Silicon_Valley  LinkedIn  Reid_Hoffman  networks  first_movers  large_markets  market_sizing  accelerated_lifecycles 
may 2016 by jerryking
How to Scale Yourself and Get More Done Than You Thought Possible
Understand Effectiveness Versus Efficiency

"Effectiveness is goal orientation. This is picking something to do. This is doing right things—picking a goal and doing that goal," Hanselman says. "Efficiency is doing things in an economical way, process-oriented.

"So phrased differently: Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right. That means effectiveness is picking a direction and efficiency is running really fast in that direction," he says.

"Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right."- Scott Hanselman

"When you realize those two things are different, it becomes an extremely powerful tool that you can use."
advice  productivity  effectiveness  GTD  efficiencies  goal-orientation  howto  process-orientation  scaling 
march 2016 by jerryking
The Rise of the Platform Economy - The CIO Report - WSJ
Feb 12, 2016 | WSJ | By IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER.

A platform or complement strategy differs from a product strategy in that it requires an external ecosystem to generate complementary product or service innovations and build positive feedback between the complements and the platform. The effect is much greater potential for innovation and growth than a single product-oriented firm can generate alone.”

The importance of platforms is closely linked to the concept of network effects: The more products or services it offers, the more users it will attract. Scale increases the platform’s value, helping it attract more complementary offerings which in turn brings in more users, which then makes the platform even more valuable… and on and on and on.
Alibaba  Apple  Facebook  Google  IBM  Microsoft  scaling  economies_of_scale  Uber  Salesforce  platforms  ecosystems  network_effects  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger 
february 2016 by jerryking
Jump to the front of the line with this app - The Globe and Mail
JOSH O'KANE
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

“The idea at a really high level is, can we make local commerce better if it were way, way faster, and we removed all the friction of waiting and in-store payment?” asks Mr. Reddy, who co-founded Ritual with Robert Kim.

Ritual was designed as a hyper-local service.

....ask yourself whether you’re in the productivity business or convenience business. Or even better, ask your users. This could change the way you think about your business and its future.
neighbourhoods  restaurants  scaling  Ritual  mobile_applications  wait_times  lineups  hyperlocal  frictions  in-store 
december 2015 by jerryking
Expertise in scaling up is the visible secret of Silicon Valley - FT.com
September 15, 2015 |FT| Reid Hoffman.

Most observers instinctively conclude that Silicon Valley is great because it has a unique ability to create start-ups. Most observers are wrong....Why does Silicon Valley continue to produce a disproportionate share of industry-transforming companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn? Or the next generation of companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Uber? The answer, which has been hiding in plain sight, is Silicon Valley’s ability to support scale-ups....Most of the impact and value creation in Silicon Valley actually occurs after the start-up phase ends and the scale-up phase begins.
Building great, world-changing companies requires more than just building a cool app and raising money. Entrepreneurs need to build massive organisations, user bases and businesses, at a dizzyingly rapid pace.....So what makes Silicon Valley so good at scale-ups? The obvious answers are talent and capital. Both offer a scale-up positive feedback loops. The competitor that gets to scale first nearly always wins. First-scaler advantage beats first-mover advantage. Once a scale-up occupies the high ground in its ecosystem, the networks around it recognise its leadership, and talent and capital flood in....talent and capital are necessary but not sufficient. The key success factor is actually a comprehensive and adaptable approach to scale. A scale-up grows so fast that conventional management approaches are doomed to fail. ...Change, not stability, is the default state at every stage and in every facet of the company. Continually reinventing yourself, your product and your organisation won’t be easy, but it will allow you to use rapid scaling as a strategic weapon to attain and retain market leadership.
blitzscaling  capital  change  constant_change  disproportionality  entrepreneur  expertise  first_movers  ksfs  networks  Reid_Hoffman  reinvention  scaling  Silicon_Valley  special_sauce  start_ups  talent  user_bases 
september 2015 by jerryking
Canadians can innovate, but we’re not equipped to win - The Globe and Mail
JIM BALSILLIE
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 08 2015

[For Corey Reid and UpSark]

...We can make commercialization of ideas a source of our prosperity if we apply strategic approaches....The commercialization of ideas is a chain of systematic and deliberate events. This is how wealth is generated in an innovation economy. Growing and scaling up a critical mass of ideas-based companies in the global marketplace is difficult, but not impossible. Yet for us to expect that the results of our current innovation policies and investments will miraculously spur new companies and significant economic growth is, as many people like to say, the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result....Canada’s innovation performance will not improve unless the country’s business, university and political leadership comes together to consider radically different policies, programs and tools.
angels  commercialization  digital_economy  ecosystems  ideas  innovation  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  intellectual_property  Jim_Balsillie  patents  policy_tools  property_rights  protocols  scaling  systematic_approaches  wishful_thinking 
may 2015 by jerryking
Infrastructure spending is no miracle cure - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 23 2015

In some circles, infrastructure spending is seen as a miracle cure to lift the economy, if not political fortunes. With rock bottom interest rates, proponents say now is the perfect time to ramp up spending on trains and subways in order to stimulate growth, relieve congestion and boost long-term productivity.

As with most economic strategies, however, the devil is in the execution....You can always find studies to buttress your claims that new infrastructure pays for itself by stimulating the economy and generating jobs during the construction phase while boosting productivity thereafter. But this is hardly true across the board. Does anyone believe the Sheppard subway line has made Toronto’s economy more productive? It’s a sinkhole whose operating costs are a drain on the rest of the transit system.

And what about Pearson Airport’s Terminal 1? It’s a cavernous monster that adds to passenger stress levels while subtracting from their productivity. Speaking of poorly conceived projects, the soon-to-open rail link between Pearson and downtown Toronto appears to rely on overly optimistic ridership projections.

In our infrastructure envy, we decry our subways, roads and commuter trains as second-rate. But proper scale and functionality are far more important than fancy architecture or expensive materials.
Konrad_Yakabuski  infrastructure  politics  debt  second-rate  Keynesian  scaling  functionality  UPX  interest_rates  sinkholes  low-interest  overoptimism 
april 2015 by jerryking
Patterns of Deconstruction: Layer Mastery
JANUARY 01, 1999 | bcg.perspectives |by David Edelman.

In order to exist as a layer, a product or activity supplied by a single company must be a key input to one or many value chains, while also being modular enough to stand on its own as an independent business.
So, the first step in achieving layer mastery is to identify whether any assets or capabilities that have traditionally been part of your proprietary product definition or process expertise may represent the kernel of a new layer business. Often, the asset or capability you have been protecting most carefully is precisely the thing you should be selling to as many players as possible—competitors included—in an effort to create a branded industry standard.

Is the Layer Worth Mastering?

Not all are. Deconstruction de-averages the economics of a business. Some layers are naturally fragmented, leading to stalemate. Other layers, however, can be highly scale sensitive, leading to winner-takes-all competitive dynamics.
For instance, as deconstruction separates physical activities from informational ones, a new information-based scale is emerging. In layers governed by this information scale, network effects create ever increasing value for customers as more of them use the layer—a powerful economic logic for the existence of a dominant competitor.
BCG  layer_mastery  deconstruction  core_competencies  winner-take-all  physical_activities  value_chains  scaling  assets  capabilities  network_effects  kernels  informational_activities 
april 2015 by jerryking
This Is How We Do It: Ben Horowitz on How Software Testing Has Changed - The CIO Report - WSJ
March 12, 2015 | WSJ |By STEVE ROSENBUSH.

Two trends led to the creation of SignalFx...“It used to be that every server was sacred and if one went down, it was a catastrophe,” Mr. Horowitz said. In the era of the cloud and so-called webscale companies, that no longer should be the case, he contends. “Facebook has over one million servers. If one goes down, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how the app that is being served is performing. Is there a bottleneck or is it doing okay?”...The other big trend behind the creation of SignalFx lay in software development process. In an era of continuous deployment and updates, there’s no time to have IT identify a problem and kick it back to the engineers....“What you really need is software developers looking at how applications are doing. But you have to give developers tools to instrument their own code,” he said.

Such monitoring tools will vary from case to case. “Memory usage, response time .. any number of things may characterize an application tier, or Web tier. You have to be able to express things like that.... “In the old days, from the engineering standpoint, functionality was a huge thing. Now it is a small thing when it comes to testing. Scale and reliability are the big things, and testing has to be in real time.”
Ben_Horowitz  Andreessen_Horowitz  software_development  tools  CIOs  monitoring  SignalFx  scaling  reliability  real-time  testing  control_systems  dashboards  instrumentation_monitoring 
march 2015 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  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 
january 2015 by jerryking
What kind of jobs do the software engineers who earn $500k per year do? - Quora
If you're a worker in a village who supplies said village with water, you are valuable to its people. There are two types of workers:

Type 1 worker: Grabs an empty bucket or two, goes to the sweet water lake, fills them up, comes back and makes twenty people happy. He gets to drink some of that water along the way, and once he gets back, takes some of the water home.

Type 2 worker: Disregards how much of a "fair share" of water he's getting. Instead of grabbing a bucket, grabs a shovel and a little cup, and disappears for a while. He's digging a stream from the lake towards the village. Often he disappoints people for having returned from weeks of work with an empty cup. But the elders in the village for some reason believe in him and want to keep him (and throw him a bone so that he doesn't starve for a little while). Some day, suddenly he shows up with a constantly flowing stream of water behind his back. He puts the Type 1 workers out of water delivery business. They'll have to go find a different activity and "team" to work with. Type 2 worker, depending on how much control they retained on that stream, get to own a good chunk of it. Because the village wants to acquire and integrate that stream, they compensate the ownership of Type 2 worker in that stream with on par ownership in the village itself, typically land or such.

News media observes the Type 2 worker and his unwillingness to part with his accumulated wealth in return for his added value for the village (often vesting on a schedule, also known as golden handcuffs); and spins it such that it looks as if another village tried to woo that worker but was met with unexpected resistance.

The resulting media impression, in the mind of Type 1 workers, feels like pay inequity (see the video at the bottom). This is because Type 1 workers expect equal rewards for equal time spent being loyal to the same village.
productivity  software  Quora  mindsets  value_creation  entrepreneurship  creating_valuable_content  uncharted_problems  unconventional_thinking  solutions  wealth_creation  variations  productivity_payoffs  scaling  thinking_big 
may 2014 by jerryking
Why some see big potential in tiny farms - The Globe and Mail
Doug Saunders

Oxford, England — The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Apr. 12 2014,

TechnoServe, a long-established Washington-based non-profit whose 1,400 employees provide technical assistance to small developing-world farmers....Those small farmers don’t produce much food in part because they can’t afford to buy decent seeds and fertilizer. They can’t afford seeds or fertilizer because they can’t borrow money based on their future crop sales. And, Mr. Masha notes, that’s because lending them money can be so expensive: Interest rates on tiny loans are already, by definition, very high; add to that the cost of servicing loans across regions, and the considerable cost of hedging those loans against volatile developing-world currencies, and, he says, “you’ve priced them right out of the credit market.”

Banks and micro-credit agencies are also reluctant to lend because small farmers often have no collateral: Property ownership is ambiguous and few countries have small-claims courts to deal with defaults. (Brazil, an exception, owes a lot of its development success to the creation of such institutions.)

While the potential in these farms is huge, few want to take the risk of building agricultural supply and value chains in the developing world. Such investments take many years to generate returns, which tend to be very modest – rendering them uninteresting to corporations and venture capitalists, but increasingly appealing to Chinese state enterprises and a few people with local knowledge.
farming  agriculture  size  scaling  institutions  Doug_Saunders  TechnoServe  poverty  tacit_data  supply_chains  value_chains  fertilizers  seeds  SOEs  China  interest_rates  microfinance  microlending  property_ownership  developing_countries 
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
If I was...setting out to be an entrepreneur - FT.com
January 15, 2014 | FT | By Daniel Isenberg.

“Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value”.

...If I were setting out as an entrepreneur today, I would buy an existing company to scale up rather than build a start-up from scratch. I would make incremental tweaks of improvement rather than innovate, exercise cool judgment rather than hot passion and build my departure plan from day one...a lot of great businesses, such as PayPal [the online payments system] and Kaspersky [the internet security company] are carved out of, or combined from, existing assets, or are family businesses taken sky-high by the second or third generation...Rather than start a new company, I would buy a rusty old business to fix up and grow as fast as I could. I want a discarded company that is undervalued but can be dusted off, refurbished with vision and talent, and scaled up. I would be talking to venture capitalists....I know that proprietary technology is not a market maker by itself. Great marketing and management almost always trump big innovation.

Minnovation – small tweaks on existing products – is what moves the ball of economic growth forward. Neither Facebook nor Google, for example, were technology pioneers.

Big innovations are few and far between and are often the stuff of large companies with long patience and deep pockets....Next, I would drain my venture of passion and replace it with commitment, hard work and realistic and relentless self-assessment....start with a stark test of harsh neon lights, exposing every flaw and crack long before the market does so that I can fix them before the customers vote with their feet....plan one's passionless departure from the start, creating a platform to allow the talented people and partners I hire to outperform me very soon.
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  rules_of_the_game  unglamorous  books  Daniel_Isenberg  advice  howto  passions  exits  lessons_learned  turnarounds  contrarians  scaling  minnovation  undervalued  under-performing  carveouts  family_business  proprietary  incrementalism  self-assessment  customer_risk  breakthroughs  large_companies  vision  refurbished  spin-offs  hard_work  dispassion  marketing  management  commitments  marginal_improvements  unsentimental  outperformance 
january 2014 by jerryking
With Safeway deal complete, Sobeys demands price cuts from suppliers - The Globe and Mail
MARINA STRAUSS - RETAILING REPORTER

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Jan. 08 2014,

In its letter, Sobeys says its acquisition of Safeway Canada will provide it with a new growth platform in Western Canada, the country’s fastest-growing region, while also significantly increasing the retailer’s economies of scale. To help it gain scale, Sobeys will require the retroactive 1-per-cent “synergy savings rate” from suppliers, it says.

“This 1 per cent synergy savings rate will be deducted from payments starting the end of January 2014,” the letter says. “Retroactive savings will also be deducted. The rate applies to all branded and private label grocery products.

“In addition, and as you are aware, current market retail pricing conditions leave no room for absorption of cost of good increases. As such, Sobeys Inc. will not accept any cost of goods increases through 2014.”

It will make some exceptions in cases of pharmaceutical supplies and “single commodity items,” which are currently priced daily or weekly, such as sugar, or possibly “where extraordinary unforeseen circumstances apply,” the letter says.
Marina_Strauss  grocery  supermarkets  retailers  Sobeys  Safeway  scaling  consolidation  supply_chains  economies_of_scale  synergies 
january 2014 by jerryking
Do Things that Don't Scale
July 2013 | Paul Graham

The question to ask about an early stage startup is not "is this company taking over the world?" but "how big could this company get if the founders did the right things?" And the right things often seem both laborious and inconsequential at the time.
advice  start_ups  Y_Combinator  Paul_Graham  scaling  recruiting  experience  management_consulting  barriers_to_entry  product_launches  partnerships  customer_acquisition  user_growth  Steve_Jobs  unscalability  founders  questions 
november 2013 by jerryking
Venture Capitalists Are Making Bigger Bets on Food Start-Ups - NYTimes.com
By JENNA WORTHAM and CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Published: April 28, 2013

Yet some investors say the projects have a better chance of success if they steer clear of selling actual food. “The food category has been a hard nut to crack because it’s a perishable item,” said Mark Suster, an investor at GRP Partners. “The No. 1 thing V.C.’s are looking for are scalable and repeatable, high-margin businesses. You can create those in food, it’s just harder.”
Claire_Cain_Miller  venture_capital  vc  food  perishables  scaling  big_bets  repeatability  high-margin 
april 2013 by jerryking
How to Scale Up Your Service Business
Mar 18, 2011 | | Inc.com | John Warrillow.

It can be tough to grow a service business. Clients generally are buying your expertise, and if all you have to sell is time, the size of your business will always be limited by the number of hours in the day. One way to scale up your service business is to launch a training division to teach others what you know...we all know, as business owners, we should document our systems for others to follow, but somehow writing our owner's manual always takes a backseat to serving the next customer or fighting the next fire.
howto  scaling  services  training  John_Warrillow  product_launches  growth  ideas  owners  documentation 
april 2013 by jerryking
If You Were the Next Steve Jobs...
September 3, 2012 | Harvard Business Review | by Umair Haque.

Imagine, for a moment, that you (yes, you) were the next Steve Jobs: what would your (real) challenges be? I'd bet they wouldn't be scale (just call FoxConn), efficiency (call FoxConn's consultants), short-term profitability (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers), or even "growth" (call FoxConn's consultants' bankers' lobbyists). Those are the problems of yesterday — and today, here's the thing: we largely know how to solve them.

Whether you're an assiduous manager, a chin-stroking economist, a superstar footballer, or a rumpled artist, here's the unshakeable fact: you don't get to tomorrow by solving yesterday's problems.

To solve today's set of burning problems, you just might have to build new institutions, capable of handling stuff a little something like this...
Singularity. Scale is a solved problem. We know how to do stuff at very, very large scale — if by stuff you mean "churning out the same widget, a billion times over". What we don't know how to do is the opposite of scaling up: scaling down an institution, to make a difference to a human life.
Sociality - something resembling the advanced dating stage of the courtship ritual.
Spontaneity - the act of human potential unfurling in the moment — and if it's human potential you wish to ignite, then it's spontaneity you need to spark.
what distinguishes organizations that achieve enduring greatness is teamwork and collaboration — and those are words so overused, they make my teeth ache just saying them. Here's my bet: it's time to drop the fourth wall of the "team" — and go beyond collaboration, to something like what Jung called synchronicity: a kind of uncanny intersection of seemingly unrelated lives.
Solubility. But the biggest lesson — and the one hidden in plain sight — is this: creating institutions capable of not just solving the same old problems, forever.... the greatest challenge for tomorrow's would-be problem-solver renegades is this: building institutions that don't keep solving the same old solved problems, like profitability, scale, efficiency, productivity, and the like. Over and over again, like algorithms of human organization run amok. Institutions that are capable of taking a hard look at unsolved problems around the globe — as big as climate change, sending humans to Mars, and redesigning the global financial system, and as small as Umair's perfect coffee — and then accepting the difficult, often painful, always fulfilling, work of attempting to solve them.
creativity  Steve_Jobs  HBR  problems  problem_solving  financial_system  umairhaque  political_infrastructure  ideas  value_creation  wealth_creation  threats  scaling  institutions  spontaneity  human_potential  superstars 
february 2013 by jerryking
Going small the best route for cash-rich Metro
January 30, 2013 | G & M pg. B2 |by Sophie Cousineau.

Metro is a great operator with an outstanding track record. Its first-quarter results, which on Tuesday reported first-quarter profit of $121.4­ mil1ion compared with $103.7 ­million in the year earlier period, prove it yet again. Yet the Quebec grocery chain has had it relatively easy in recent years. Its main competitor, Loblaw, was its own worst enemy, struggling with its merchandising and its computer systems. Metro dominates the Quebec market with an estimated market share among conventional food distributors.

But the market is changing. WalMart Canada is expanding unreand Target is emerging as a formidable foe from the ruins of Zellers. To say that the competition is heating up is an understatement. These American retailers are shaking a Tabasco bottle over the Quebec and Ontario markets, dotting these provinces with super-sized stores and bountiful grocery aisles.

Target is not considered as serious as a menace as Wal­Mart. Many of Target's stores are located in shopping malls where Metro has exclusivity rights on the sale of food. Wal-­Mart, which started sending out food flyers to Quebec homes, is another story.
But even with an acquisition as important and as as Safeway’s, Metro could never “outscale” or even come close to it. And while Metro has two discount banners. its namesake stores don"t venture into price wars nor would they want to
go on the American retailers' turi war. By putting the accent on the freshest fruits and vegetables and the best shopping experience, Metro is taking a different tack from its American competitors.
Getting scale in the pharmacy business would make a lot more sense for Metro. As a pharmaceutical distributor and a drugstore operator under the Brunet banner, Metro is a regional Quebec player. Yet for there to be an acquisition, Metro needs a seller. While Jean Coutu Group Inc. is aging, the Coutu family has nevel expressed the slightest interest ir selling the business they control through multiple voting shares. Moreover, they are focusing their energy on Canada after retreating from the American market.
supermarkets  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  retailers  price_wars  pharmacies  grocery  ethnic_communities  scaling  Jean_Coutu  Wal-Mart  Target  Metro  competitive_landscape  Sophie_Cousineau  merchandising  shopping_malls 
january 2013 by jerryking
M.I.T. Lab Hatches Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens - NYTimes.com
November 24, 2012 | NYT | By HANNAH SELIGSON.

Dr. Robert Langer, 64, knows how. Since the 1980s, his Langer Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has spun out companies whose products treat cancer, diabetes, heart disease and schizophrenia, among other diseases, and even thicken hair.

The Langer Lab is on the front lines of turning discoveries made in the lab into a range of drugs and drug delivery systems. Without this kind of technology transfer, the thinking goes, scientific discoveries might well sit on the shelf, stifling innovation.

A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Langer has helped start 25 companies and has 811 patents, issued or pending, to his name.
MIT  Colleges_&_Universities  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  start_ups  technology_transfers  scaling  mentoring  biotech  pharmaceutical_industry  innovation  academia  commercialization  accelerators  incubators 
november 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Changing the game
Posted by Seth Godin on November 01, 2007

Google announced an open interchange that allows users to take their social graph with them from one site to another. MySpace just joined in. This changes the rules for FaceBook, because now users have a choice of picking from dozens, soon to be hundreds of open sites... or just one closed one.

How can you change your game?

Consider the plight of Mike Huckabee and John Edwards. Both are making strong runs for the nominations of their parties, but both suffer because they're not seen as front runners. So why not change the game? Instead of waiting for a TV network to invite them to a debate, why not make your own TV show? Debate each other, in public, in Iowa. Broadcast the whole thing on YouTube. When you're done, challenge others in the opposite party to debate you, one on one. On your channel. What are they, chicken?

Consider the sandwich/burger shop/deli on a street crowded with choices. What to do? Why not get rid of all the meat and become a vegetarian/kosher sandwich/burger shop/deli? Now, it's five competitors and you. Anyone with a friend who eats carefully will bring her to your shop, the one and only one of its kind.

Usually, when you destroy the barriers in an existing industry, everyone loses... except you.
game_changers  entrepreneurship  risk-taking  barriers_to_entry  Seth_Godin  change_agents  thinking_big  scaling  constraints  vegetarian 
september 2012 by jerryking
Investment house on the Prairies - Business -
September 23, 2010 | Macleans.ca | by Chris Sorensen.

Launched in 2009 with an initial $27.5-million investment, One Earth now boasts some 93,000 acres under administration, already making it the second-largest farm operation in the country. The farms raise livestock and grow canola, wheat, field peas, oats and barley. There are plans to add flax, lentils and chickpeas....The goal is to eventually create a giant, one-million-acre operation, scattered over the three provinces, that would rank among the biggest farms in the world.
agriculture  farming  joint_ventures  One_Earth_Farms  brokerage_houses  Sprott_Inc.  scaling  aboriginals 
august 2012 by jerryking
Former McDonald's Honchos Take On Sustainable Cuisine
07.31.12 | Wired Business | Wired.com | By Frederick Kaufman.

At Lyfe Kitchen (the name is an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday), all the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows. At Lyfe Kitchen there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives, and no need for alarm: There will still be plenty of burgers, not to mention manifold kegs of organic beer and carafes of biodynamic wine. None of this would seem surprising if we were talking about one or 10 or even 20 outposts nationwide. But Lyfe’s ambition is to open hundreds of restaurants around the country, in the span of just five years....On the journey that Roberts wants to take, organic food producers and Lyfe Kitchen will travel toward a realm of financial and foodie triumph. Success will be based on the strict market discipline that made fast food possible in the first place, a drill that can now extend beyond commodity beef, commodity wheat, commodity soybean oil, commodity sugar, and commodity potatoes. Market research Roberts did at McDonald’s convinced him that mothers, the dominant decisionmakers about mealtimes, are more focused than ever on healthy food. So this time around, brussels sprouts and quinoa will enter the picture. This time around, the end result—the food—will look and smell and taste more like an entré from some bistro in Brooklyn than a 30-second stop along Fast-Food Alley. But the process will be roughly the same, in that the problems of enormous scale can be solved through similar uses of technology, efficiency, and experience. “I would say that the pattern of this mosaic is very familiar,” Roberts says. “The strategy of the rollout, the people and their skill sets, the systems of training and hiring and finance and accounting and supply chain, the development of the property and real estate system—they are all very similar.”
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  food  McDonald's  rollouts  organic  Lyfe_Kitchen  fast-food  scaling  seasonality  fresh_produce 
august 2012 by jerryking
Peter Thiel Opens a New Venture Capital Firm - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2012, 12:01 am2 Comments
Peter Thiel Opens a New Venture Capital Firm
By EVELYN M. RUSLI
Mithril Capital Management,
Mithril, led by Mr. Thiel and a former Clarium managing director, Ajay Royan, will seek “growth” opportunities — start-ups that have already raised some venture capital and are looking to ramp up significantly.
Ajay_Royan  Mithril  Peter_Thiel  scaling  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Microinsurance Revolution - NYTimes.com
June 6, 2012 | NYT | By TINA ROSENBERG.

Insurance is a peculiar product, unavailable to those who need it most. One group is people likely to make claims — if you want health insurance, for example, best not to be sick. The other underserved group is the poor.

Poor people need insurance more than wealthier people do, because they have no other cushion. Few people are always in a state of poverty. Most are cyclically poor. They work and save, but then something happens and they fall into poverty : a crop failure, a loss of a job, the death of a breadwinner. Often, the trigger for poverty is illness....Insurance offers a safety net, of course, but it is more than that. If you know you are covered, you’ll be more likely to invest in the future. “Your whole capacity to take risks changes,” says Andrew Kuper, president and founder of LeapFrog Investments, which helps to scale up companies worldwide that provide insurance to the underserved. “A daughter can go to school rather than work, the farmer can plant crops that can triple his income. We’re used to thinking of insurance as a safety net, but it’s also a springboard.”
insurance  microfinance  underserved  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  poverty  safety_nets  risk-taking  scaling  risk-preferences  risk-tolerance 
june 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: Solving the problem isn't the problem
Seth Godin on May 08, 2012

The problem is finding a vector that pays for itself as you scale.

We see a problem and we think we've "solved" it, but if there isn't a scalable go-to-market business approach behind the solution, it's not going to work.

This is where engineers and other problem solvers so often get stuck. Industries and organizations and systems aren't broken because no one knows how to solve their problem. They're broken because the difficult part is finding a scalable, profitable way to market and sell the solution.
Seth_Godin  problem_solving  scaling  problems  OPMA  Michael_McDerment 
may 2012 by jerryking
Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn Has Become the Go-To Guy of Tech - NYTimes.com
November 5, 2011 | NYT | By EVELYN M. RUSLI.

Hearing Mr. Hoffman wax philosophical about technology, it’s easy to understand why so many here seem to view him as something of a yoda. When he talks about “scale” — Internet-speak for having enough people use a network to make the network actually useful — he often invokes Archimedes, the great mathematician and inventor in ancient Greece.

According to lore, Archimedes created a device with a revolving screw-shaped blade to pump water against gravity: the Archimedes screw. Mr. Hoffman urges his followers to find their own levers and devices to encourage people to adopt their technologies. Entrepreneurs, he says, often spend too much time creating products and too little figuring out how to get people to use them....“When you write a scholarly work, it tends to be understood by very few people, and has one publication point over time,” he said. “But when you build a service, you can touch millions, to hundreds of millions of people directly.”...Today, LinkedIn, the professional social network, is a rising giant, a monument to the emergence of the social Web. Founded in 2002, the company has ballooned to more than 1,700 employees. It has more than 135 million registered members across 200 countries. It has turned a profit in six of the last seven quarters. ...In the same way that social media redefined the Internet, he sees another tectonic shift on the horizon.

This one, he believes, will be driven by data. Mr. Hoffman has been investing in companies that are data-driven or starting to work with data in interesting ways. For instance, even though two Greylock investments, Shopkick and Groupon, focus on retailing, both aggregate a huge volume of information on user spending habits. LinkedIn, too, has been trying to leverage the data on its site by, for example, making it more searchable.
Reid_Hoffman  LinkedIn  profile  entrepreneur  Silicon_Valley  data_driven  analytics  data  massive_data_sets  Greylock  scaling  searchable  network_effects  habits  spending  customer_adoption  seismic_shifts  Archimedes  Greek 
november 2011 by jerryking
The secret to controlled chaos - FT.com
June 20, 2011 By Tim Bradshaw . Stratospheric growth can
prove problematic... Your site may go down all the time.”... As
broadband access spreads and smartphones become mainstream in developed
markets, new technology companies are being built in months, not years,
acquiring millions of users with apparent ease...For small companies
thrust un­expectedly into the limelight, coping with such growth rates,
while maintaining the innovation and culture that brought them their
success, can be a significant challenge..Although internal culture is
important, companies must not become too inward-looking as they try to
manage growth and should be vigilant of the impact that the changes to
their business is having on customers. “The key element is to eliminate
surprises,” , “Growth is great but it must be measured. In fast times,
it’s metrics, metrics, metrics. You must measure where traffic comes
from, what the customers are doing...with that you can then focus on
serving your best customers.”
growth  start_ups  chaos  hiring  recruiting  growth_hacking  metrics  inward-looking  mojo  measurements  organizational_culture  scaling  accelerated_lifecycles  surprises  small_business  gazelles  high-growth 
june 2011 by jerryking
Unboxed - Governments Embracing a Role in Innovation - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2009 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR. Innovation policy, to
be sure, is an emerging discipline, lacking crisp definitions or
metrics. What is the appropriate government role in creating industries
and jobs in today’s high-technology, global economy?...John Kao, a
former professor at HBS and founder of the Institute for Large Scale
Innovation....innovation policy is an attempt to bring some coordination
to often disparate government initiatives in scientific research,
education, business incentives, immigration and even intellectual
property....governments are increasingly wading into the innovation
game, declaring innovation agendas and appointing senior innovation
officials. The impetus comes from two fronts: daunting challenges in
fields like energy, the environment and health care that require
collaboration between the public and private sectors; and shortcomings
of traditional economic development and industrial policies.
innovation  large_companies  Finland  government  John_Kao  industrial_policies  shortcomings  scaling  policy  state-as-facilitator  global_economy  policymaking  innovation_policies 
december 2010 by jerryking
Barbarians will always storm the gates of complexity
Oct 6, 2010 | Financial Times pg. 13 | John Kay. Why do
societies and seemingly indestructible empires collapse? Because as the
empires grow, the costs of central organization rise (complexity?) and
the benefits of further expansion became ever more marginal. The
phenomenon of multiplying complexity is not confined to ancient
civilisations. The nature of bureaucracy is to generate work for other
bureaucrats to do. C. Northcote Parkinson describes how the # of people
in the British Admiralty increased faster than the number of ships, and
continued to increase even after the # of ships declined. See Edward
Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, The Collapse of
Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter, and Jared Diamond's book Collapse.
complexity  collapse-anxiety  ProQuest  Edmund_Gibbon  Jared_Diamond  Romans  books  bureaucracies  scaling  sublinearity 
october 2010 by jerryking
Crovitz: Antitrust Laws Don’t Make Sense with 21st Century Technology - WSJ.com
AUGUST 3, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | By L. GORDON
CROVITZ. The Antitrust Anachronism: When will technology’s ever faster
cycles of creative destruction spell the end of antitrust law? The
Sherman Act and later antitrust laws were supposed to protect consumer
interests. That’s not so easy when regulators have to deal with
industries as different as oil, with its cartels and long product
cycles, and technology, where fast change is a constant necessity for
survival....the traditional approach to antitrust makes no sense in an
industry like technology, in which new entrants routinely topple
seemingly invincible market leaders....Scale matters...The size of the
audience is important...The bottom line is that by the time regulators
can assess a technology market, the market has often moved on.

*
antitrust  competition  21st._century  product_cycles  creative_destruction  regulation  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  constant_change  scaling  new_entrants  accelerated_lifecycles  regulators  market_leadership  cartels  consumer_protection  consumer_interests  market_sizing 
august 2010 by jerryking
Scaling startups
August 5, 2010 | Posted by Chad Dickerson
growth  start_ups  scaling  Etsy 
august 2010 by jerryking
Geoff Vuleta Has New Ideas for Consultancy Firms
June 1, 2010 | Fast Company | By: David Lidsky. The New
Zealander and former ad man develops large-scale growth initiatives for
major firms seeking $100 million-plus in new revenue. He makes money
only if the idea works: "
entrepreneurship  ideas  innovation  inspiration  large-scale  management_consulting  growth  jck  size  scaling  large_markets  new_businesses 
may 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
Small-scale artisans embrace the virtual dollhouse - The Globe and Mail
Nov. 21, 2009 | Saturday's Globe and Mail | by Shaun Pett.
Like mass-market industrial goods, artisanal wares produced on a small
scale are benefiting from globalization and the reach of the Internet,
attracting new clients in far-flung markets. Call it the rise of
micro-manufacturing.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  manufacturers  size  scaling  design  Etsy  inventors  micro-factories 
november 2009 by jerryking
Thinking bigger
Posted by Seth Godin on September 19, 2008

The bigger point is that none of us are doing enough to challenge the assignment. Every day, I spend at least an hour of my time looking at my work and what I've chosen to do next and wonder, "is this big enough?.... What are you doing to go beyond the expectations...Thinking bigger isn't about being bigger. It's about changing the game. Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always gotten....Yesterday, I was sitting with a friend who runs a small training company. He asked, "I need better promotion. How do I get more people to take the professional type design course I offer at my office?" My answer was a question, as it usually is. "Why is the course at your office?" and then, "Why is it a course and not accreditation, or why not turn it into a guild for job seekers, where you could train people and use part of the tuition to hire someone to organize a private job board? You could guarantee clients well-trained students (no bozos) and you could guarantee students better jobs... everyone wins."

I have no idea if my idea for the training company is a good one, but I know it's a bigger one.
Seth_Godin  inspiration  overdeliver  chutzpah  individual_initiative  expectations  upselling  thinking_big  scaling  ideas  creating_valuable_content  overambitious  new_categories  game_changers  Play_Bigger 
july 2009 by jerryking
The Era of Sustainability
Oct 15, 2008. | Restaurants & Institutions Vol. 118, Iss.
16; pg. 38, 1 pgs. | Kate Leahy. Harvard University Dining Services
(HUDS) learned that students wanted to have a more direct relationship
with the farms that supplied their dining halls. However, for a large
foodservice operation, forging relationships with local farms isn't as
straightforward as making trips to the market. HUDS serves 25,000 meals a
day in 13 dining halls and 14 on-campus restaurants. All produce is
purchased through local vendors who monitor food safety and handle
deliveries-services needed for a business of HUDS' scale. Taking local
sourcing to the next level-forming a direct relationship with a
farm-required a little more ingenuity.
locavore  scaling  Harvard  ingenuity  Colleges_&_Universities  fresh_produce  farming  agriculture  sustainability 
june 2009 by jerryking
FT.com / In depth - Seeds of change: Africa seeks to engineer an agricultural revolution
June 3, 2008 FT article, by Alan Beattie on the choice the
continent faces between an agribusiness model or focusing on improving
the lot of millions of poor smallholders.
Africa  agriculture  farm_productivity  scaling  farming  farmland  agribusiness 
january 2009 by jerryking

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