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jerryking : silo_mentality   8

Da Vinci code: what the tech age can learn from Leonardo
April 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Ian Goldin.

While Leonardo is recognised principally for his artistic genius, barely a dozen paintings can be unequivocally attributed to him. In life, he defined himself not as an artist but as an engineer and architect......History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. The Renaissance catapulted Italy from the Medieval age to become the most advanced place on Earth. Then, as now, change brought immense riches to some and growing anxiety and disillusionment to others. We too live in an age of accelerating change, one that has provoked its own fierce backlash. What lessons can we draw from Leonardo and his time to ensure that we not only benefit from a new flourishing, but that progress will be sustained? When we think of the Renaissance, we think of Florence. Leonardo arrived in the city in the mid 1460s, and as a teenager was apprenticed to the painter Verrocchio. The city was already an incubator for ideas. At the centre of the European wool trade, by the late 14th century Florence had become the home of wealthy merchants including the Medicis, who were bankers to the Papal Court. The city’s rapid advances were associated with the information and ideas revolution that defines the Renaissance. Johann Gutenberg had used moveable type to publish his Bible in the early 1450s, and between the time of Leonardo’s birth in 1452 and his 20th birthday, some 15m books were printed, more than all the European scribes had produced over the previous 1,500 years.

..as Leonardo knew, and the Silicon Valley techno-evangelists too often neglect, information revolutions don’t only allow good ideas to flourish. They also provide a platform for dangerous ideas. The Zuckerberg information revolution can pose a similar threat to that of Gutenberg.

In the battle of ideas, populists are able to mobilise the disaffected more effectively than cerebral scientists, decently disciplined innovators and the moderate and often silent majority. For progress to prevail, evidence-based, innovative and reasoned thinking must triumph.
.....Genius thrived in the Renaissance because of the supportive ecosystem that aided the creation and dissemination of knowledge — which then was crushed by the fearful inquisitions. Today, tolerance and evidence-based argument are again under threat.
accelerated_lifecycles  architecture  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  capitalization  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  curiosity  dangerous_ideas  digital_economy  diversity  engineering  evidence_based  Florence  genius  globalization  human_potential  ideas  immigrants  Italy  industry_expertise  Johan_Gutenberg  lessons_learned  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medicis  medieval  physical_place  polymaths  observations  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  Silicon_Valley  silo_mentality  tolerance  unevenly_distributed  visionaries 
april 2019 by jerryking
Every Company Is Now a Tech Company
Dec. 4, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

There was a time when the primary role of leaders at most companies was management. The technology required to do the work of a company could be bought or siloed in an “IT department,” treated more as a cost center than a source of competitive advantage.

But now we’ve entered a period of upheaval, driven by connectivity, artificial intelligence and automation. The changes affect the world of business so profoundly that every company is now a tech company. But now companies born before the first internet bubble also must realize they can no longer function as non-tech businesses......The question is, how does a non-tech company become a tech company quickly? Increasingly, the answer is bringing tech talent into the highest executive ranks, adding deeply knowledgeable and indispensable “technical co-founders” long after the company was founded......To put it another way: When faced with a competitor like Amazon, do you do as Walmart did, and invest heavily in tech firms and technical knowledge? Or do you go the way of Sears…into bankruptcy court?

In August 2016, Walmart announced it would acquire e-commerce startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion, the largest ever deal of an old-line bricks-and-mortar company buying an e-commerce company. The acquisition was about a transfusion of new minds as much as Jet’s technology, which was far ahead of Walmart’s online operation at the time....Mr. Lore is now chief of e-commerce at Walmart......Walmart’s e-commerce business revenue grew 43% in the last quarter alone....Wal-Mart is successfully pursuing a “second-mover strategy” against Amazon....Things don’t always go this smoothly. In fact, when well-established companies acquire tech-savvy startups in order to bring aboard engineers and executives--acqui-hires-- it’s usually a disaster.....Within the first three years after an acquisition, 60% of employees at a startup leave......That rate of turnover is twice that of employees hired the old-fashioned way. What’s worse, the employees who leave tend to be the most aggressive and entrepreneurial—and more likely to launch a competing startup.....For large companies stuck between the rock of disruption and the hard place of acquiring startups that can’t hold on to key employees, what’s to be done?[sounds like a cultural clash] John Chambers, who was chief executive at Cisco for more than 20 years, where he oversaw 180 acquisitions, has some answers. In his new book, “Connecting the Dots,” Mr. Chambers outlines some rules. For one, corporate cultures should align. Also, it helps if the company you’re buying already has significant traction in the market..... it’s essential to promote the leaders of acquired companies into your own ranks. Mr. Chamber’s rule at Cisco was that a third of the company’s leaders should be promoted from within, a third should be recruited from outside, and a third should come from acquisitions. .......As the competitive landscape continues to change and technology becomes ever more essential to how business is done, investments that might have seemed too risky a few years ago now may sometimes turn out to be the best path to survival.
acquihires  artificial_intelligence  automation  Amazon  books  Christopher_Mims  connecting_the_dots  CTOs  Cisco  cultural_clash  digital_savvy  e-commerce  Jet  John_Chambers  large_companies  post-deal_integration  reinvention  silo_mentality  technology  Wal-Mart 
december 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
Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 4, 2017

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration  silo_mentality 
december 2017 by jerryking
‘An Anthropologist on Wall Street’ — Cultural Anthropology
Tett, Gillian. "‘An Anthropologist on Wall Street’." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, May 16, 2012.

Anthropology can be extremely useful for understanding the contemporary financial world because of all the micro-level communities—or ‘tribes’ to use the cliché term—that are cropping up around the financial system....The event pulled together bankers from all over. They staged formalized rituals with PowerPoint presentations, but also engaged in informal rituals like chitchat in the wings.

As they came together and talked, these bankers were creating a network of ties. But they were also inventing a new language they felt made them distinctive from everyone else. The way they talked about credit was to emphasize the numbers and to quite deliberately exclude any mention of social interaction from the debate and discussion. In the first couple of days I sat there, they almost never mentioned the human borrower who was at the end of that securitization chain. They were also very exclusive. There was a sense that ‘we alone have mastery over this knowledge’....Part two of the CDO gospel was that bankers had had this sudden inspiration that they should stop concentrating credit risk and find ways to scatter it across the system....Looking back there were many elements of securitization that were evidently flawed. The tools bankers were using to disburse risk across the system were themselves very opaque and complex. The very way by which they disbursed risk was actually introducing new risk into the system.......fundamental contradiction at the very heart of the system that almost nobody spotted. Why not? To put it crudely, because there were too few anthropologists, using basic anthropological techniques, trying to understand what was going on. Having an anthropological perspective is very useful. The very nature of anthropology is to try to connect up the dots. That’s something that most modern bureaucrats, most bankers, and most company executives are not able to do, precisely because they’re so darn busy running around in their silos.
Wall_Street  Gillian_Tett  anthropologists  financial_system  securitization  finance  ethnographic  insights  CDOs  connecting_the_dots  cultural_anthropology  anthropology  tribes  silo_mentality 
march 2017 by jerryking
Why law and accounting firms struggle to innovate - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 06, 2015 | The Globe and Mail | RYAN CALIGIURI.

Why is it that professional service firms, especially accounting and law firms, find it so difficult to embrace innovation in order to build a stronger future?...The biggest factor is that professional service firms are driven primarily by billable hours and any time someone is not billable they are seen as not adding value. This means that in order to innovate someone has to “stop adding value” by not being billable. There is far too much focus on “today” in professional service firms and not enough on the future – this mentality will continue to hold back firms and do more damage in the long run....Most professional service firms also don’t have a system for driving innovation in an efficient manner so they often waste a great deal of time getting caught up in details that don’t matter. ...Many of the law and accounting firms I worked with were doing very well so they didn’t see a need to innovate. ....Firms are often not good at implementing new services or products, they don’t have a culture that supports, fosters, or encourages innovation, and they are often too smart for their own good and get overly complex with their innovation initiatives......First, a firm’s overall corporate strategy needs to incorporate an element of innovation as one of its top long-term goals. Without a strategic focus and investment in innovation, any efforts will often fall flat as they will be approached loosely or in a silo that eventually gets overtaken by billable work.....Next, get a quick win by surveying or researching your client’s business, their industry, and even their own clients. Looking deeper into your client’s business and understanding their problems and opportunities will help you find ways to add value through a new product or service and will enable your firm to get off on the right foot.....Insights from clients can drive new products, services and systems that will fill a need.
However, professional service firms that are looking for a leap in innovation need to go beyond customer insights and explore future trends, industry experts, and, yes, even patent databases for further stimulus to drive new ideas.
This is the difference between firms that innovate and those that die. If you’re in a professional service firm and believe that there is no threat, quite frankly, you are crazy to think so.
innovation  professional_service_firms  law_firms  quick_wins  accounting  challenges  billable_hours  complacency  disruption  Ryan_Caligiuri  silo_mentality 
october 2015 by jerryking
Bosses, Get Better at Big Data - At Work - WSJ
October 19, 2012 |WSJ | by Javier Espinoza. (share with Birju Patel for CBC).

Firms need to do more to exploit it....CEOs need to better identify ways data can help businesses gain more insight into their customers or operations.

“The struggle has always been how companies can harness information,” he says. “Senior managers are moving the discussion from managing data to one around how can we actually exploit data. That’s quite a significant shift.”
* Share responsibility for what IT departments can deliver.
* Set up a data lab.
* Break down the silo mentality.
executive_management  massive_data_sets  organizing_data  silo_mentality 
january 2013 by jerryking

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