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Labels in finance have become meaningless     | Financial Times
OCTOBER 18, 2019 | Financial TImes | by Tom Braithwaite.

In the hunt for returns, investment banks now offer credit cards and hedge funds sell books

Some of Goldman’s investment bankers fear the company’s diffuse range of activities dilute its core role. Once, Goldman Sachs touted itself as “a leading global investment banking and securities firm” advising on mergers and trading debt and equities, Goldman is now: a venture capitalist investing in the likes of Uber and WeWork; a retail bank offering accounts and short-term loans to ordinary consumers; a credit card issuer in partnership with Apple; and a software developer with a suite of applications. ....The finance industry is now full of companies uncomfortable in their own skins and trying to adopt more fluid identities. Blackstone, notionally a private equity firm, today makes more money from property. BlackRock, famous as one of the world’s biggest owners of public equities, is now getting into private equity buyouts. Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund, has ended up owning a football club, AC Milan, and two bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. Barriers are breaking down and labels are fraying......It is this yield-starved world that sends financial companies roaming far and wide in a hunt for returns.....the IMF has pointed to renewed risks from pension funds’ headlong rush into alternative assets. The allocation to alternatives such as property and private equity has risen from just over 5 per cent in 2007 to more than 20 per cent today. The IMF warns of Woodford-like runs on a grand scale when investors rush to withdraw assets from such “open-ended funds”, yet another misnomer. “Such runs could force fund managers to engage in fire sales, further depressing asset prices, inflicting losses on other market participants, and, in the extreme case, increasing the risk for the financial system,” the economists warned. Always read the label, but never rely on it.
alternative_investments  Blackstone  BlackRock  Elliott_Management  finance  Goldman_Sachs  layer_mastery  selling_off  special_sauce 
october 2019 by jerryking
Momofuku’s Secret Sauce: A 30-Year-Old C.E.O.
Aug. 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Elizabeth G. Dunn.

Momofuku was founded in 2004, with an East Village ramen bar that, after some initial stumbles, wowed diners by combining pristine ingredients and impeccable technique in humble dishes that melded influences from Japan to Korea to the American south. Since then, it has become a private-equity backed company with restaurants from Sydney to Los Angeles; a growing chain of fast-casual chicken sandwich shops; a media production unit churning out television shows and podcasts; and designs on creating a line of sauces and seasonings that could capture supermarket aisles across America. While Mr. Chang is the brand’s lodestar, Ms. Mariscal, 30, is the executive who makes it all work.

Born and raised on the Upper West Side, to the family that founded the specialty foods emporium Zabar’s, Ms. Mariscal began her career at Momofuku in 2011, as a public relations and events intern. Over the years, she quietly became Mr. Chang’s closest collaborator and confidante, a largely unknown force shaping matters as varied as menu design, branding and business development. “She’s the only person I’ve ever felt comfortable giving complete carte blanche to, in terms of what Momofuku looks like and what it should be,” Mr. Chang said. He recalled suggesting to the company’s board that Ms. Mariscal be named C.E.O. almost four years ago, when she was 26. She finally assumed the role in April.

It’s not unusual for a chef like Mr. Chang to parlay cooking talent and charisma into restaurants, cookbooks and television shows — a formula pioneered by the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless in the 1990s. But chef-driven food brands of the scope and ambition that Mr. Chang and Ms. Mariscal envision for Momofuku, with dozens of locations and mainstream packaged food products, are harder to pull off.

Adding to the challenge is Momofuku’s particular identity, which revolves less around a distinct culinary tradition than an attitude of restless innovation, boundary pushing and spontaneity. A formulaic chain of steakhouses, Momofuku ain’t. Scaling that ethos requires a tightrope act: Create enough structure and continuity to stave off chaos, without destroying the brand’s animating spirit in the process.
Asian  brands  branding  business_development  CEOs  chefs  commercial_kitchens  David_Cheng  detail_oriented  differentiation  diversification  food  founders  fusion  growth  high-standards  interns  investors  kitchens  leadership  Momofuku  organizational_structure  restauranteurs  restaurants  scaling  special_sauce  women  workaholic 
august 2019 by jerryking
Impossible Burger’s ‘Secret Sauce’ Highlights Challenges of Food Tech
AUG. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By STEPHANIE STROM.

food is not an app. It is far more heavily regulated by governments and much more heavily freighted with cultural and emotional baggage.

“This rush to market is the Silicon Valley mind-set,” said Michael Hansen, a food safety expert who is the senior staff scientist at Consumers Union, an advocacy group. “They think because they’re doing something disruptive, the regulations that apply to other companies don’t apply to them.”

For now, few food start-ups are selling products to consumers. Only Beyond Meat, which uses a traditional pea protein to make its Beyond Burger; Hampton Creek, which makes plant-based sandwich spreads and salad dressings; and Impossible Foods have any notable presence in the market.
food_safety  vegetarian  FDA  Beyond_Meat  Impossible_Foods  plant-based  Hampton_Creek  special_sauce 
august 2017 by jerryking
How Successful People Network with Each Other
JANUARY 21, 2016 | ???| Dorie Clark. Ms. Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. You can receive her free Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.

As you advance in your career, you have more experience and more connections to draw on for networking. But chances are you’ve also become a lot busier — as have the really successful people you’re now trying to meet. How do you get the attention of people who get dozens of invitations per week and hundreds of emails per day? And how do you find time to network with potential new clients or to recruit new employees when your calendar is packed?

The typical advice that’s given to entry-level employees — Invite people to coffee! Connect with them on LinkedIn! — simply doesn’t work for people at the top of their careers. Instead, you need to leverage an entirely different strategy, something I call “inbound networking.”

In the online world, “inbound marketing” is a term that was popularized about a decade ago by HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. It refers to the practice of creating valuable content, such as articles or podcasts, that draws customers to you directly (as opposed to spending a lot of time on cold calls or paying for advertising to lure them in).

Networking is facing a similar inflection point. Most professionals are constantly bombarded with Facebook and LinkedIn connection requests, not to mention endless requests to “pick their brain.” Trying to stand out in the midst of that noise is a losing battle, and you probably don’t have time to send a bunch of cold emails anyway.

Instead, you can successfully network with the most prominent people by doing something very different from everyone else: attracting them to you with inbound networking. In other words, make yourself interesting enough that they choose to seek you out. Here are three ways to do it.

(1) Identify what sets you apart. (What's your special sauce?). One of the fastest ways to build a connection with someone is to find a commonality you share with them (your alma mater, a love of dogs, a passion for clean tech). That’s table stakes. But the way to genuinely capture their interest is to share something that seems exotic to them. It will often vary by context: In a roomful of political operatives, the fact that I was a former presidential campaign spokesperson is nice but not very interesting. But at a political fundraiser populated by lawyers and financiers, that background would make me a very desirable conversation partner.

The more interesting you seem, the more that powerful people will want to seek you out. And yet it can be hard for us to identify what’s most interesting about ourselves; over time, even the coolest things can come to seem banal. Ask your friends to identify the most fascinating elements of your biography, your interests, or your experiences — then do the same for them. At one recent workshop I led, we discovered that one executive had been a ball boy for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in his youth, and one attorney is an avid and regular surfer in the waters of New York City. Both are intriguing enough to spark a great conversation.

(2) Become a connoisseur. Almost nothing elicits more interest than genuine expertise. If someone is drawn to a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, you’ll move to the top of their list. Since publishing my books, I’ve had innumerable colleagues seek me out to get advice about finding an agent or fine-tuning their manuscripts.

But sometimes it’s even better when your expertise is outside the fold of your profession. Richard, a financial journalist I profiled in my book Reinventing You, was able to build better and deeper relationships with his sources after he started to write part-time about food and wine. He discovered that his Wall Street contacts would proactively call him up to get information about hot new restaurants or the best places to entertain their clients.

You can also use nontraditional expertise to build multidimensional connections. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett could certainly have a decent conversation about business. But it’s their expert-level seriousness about the card game bridge that cemented their bond, eventually leading to Buffett’s decision to entrust billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

When you’re an expert in a given niche, you can often connect on a level playing field with people who, under other circumstances, might be out of reach. One friend of mine, a corporate executive who produces jazz records on the side, recently got invited to the home of an internationally famous rock star as Grammy campaign season heated up.

If you know a lot about wine, or nutrition, or salsa dancing, or email marketing, or any of a million other subjects, people who care about that topic are sure to be interested in what you have to say.

(3) Become the center of the network. It’s not easy to build a high-powered network if you’re not already powerful. But New York City resident Jon Levy took the position that the best way to get invited to the party is to host the party. Nearly six years ago, he started hosting twice-monthly “Influencers” dinner gatherings, featuring luminaries in different fields. Levy’s gatherings now attract a guest roster of Nobel laureates and Olympic athletes. But he certainly didn’t start there.

Begin by inviting the most interesting professionals you know and asking them to recommend the most interesting people they know, and over time you can build a substantial network. At a certain point you’ll gain enough momentum that professionals who have heard about the dinners will even reach out to ask for an invitation. As Levy joked to one publication, “One day, I hope to accomplish something worthy of an invite to my own dinner.” When you’re the host, pulling together a great event liberates you to invite successful people who you might not normally consider your peers but who embrace the chance to network with other high-quality professionals.

I’ve also hosted more than two dozen dinner parties to broaden my network and meet interesting people. But that’s certainly not the only way to connect. These days, any professional who makes the effort to start a Meetup or Facebook group that brings people together could accomplish something similar.

The world is competing for the attention of the most successful people. If you want to meet them — and break through and build a lasting connection — the best strategy is to make them come to you. Identifying what’s uniquely interesting about you and becoming a connoisseur and a hub are techniques that will ensure you’re sought after by the people you’d most like to know.
networking  via:enochko  Communicating_&_Connecting  connoisseurship  hubs  creating_valuable_content  idea_generation  content_creators  personal_branding  attention_spans  inbound_marketing  high-quality  expertise  think_threes  special_sauce  personal_accomplishments  inflection_points  insights 
april 2017 by jerryking
Dancing with Disruption - Mike Lipkin
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By Mike Lipkin
#1. Become someone who knows.....a secret is a formula or knowledge that is only known to a few. If you own a secret, you have the power to share it so you can turn the few into the many. Secrets are everywhere – hiding in plain sight. The difference between someone who knows and someone who doesn’t is the willingness to do the work, find the information, talk to the people and formulate one’s strategy. Be a source of joy and not a source of stress!! Disruption begins long before.....Mastering other people's emotions....Add in a way that thrills and delights others!! Prospective of Personal Mastery....industry connection + internal influence.
# 2. Have an audacious ambition. If you want to be a disruptor, you can be humble, but you can’t be modest. You have to dream big....dream bigger than anything that gets in its way.
#3. Be simultaneously analytical and creative. There may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap? ...Disruption demands left and right brain firing together. Your intuition may alert you to the opportunity but it’s your intellect that builds your business case. That’s why you need wingmen or women to complement your capacity. Fly social not solo.
#4. Be prolific. The more you lose, the more you win. 1.0 is always imperfect. You will hear the word “no” hundreds of times more than the word “yes.” The best way to get ready is to do things before you’re ready. The best you can do is get it as right as you can the first time [i.e. "good enough"] and then get better, stronger, smarter. Disruptors try a lot more things than disruptees. They fail fast and they fail forward. [Practice: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.
#5. Communicate like magic. If you want to be a disruptor, you must be a great communicator. ... the right words generate oxytocin – the love hormone, whereas the wrong words generate cortisol, the stress hormone. .... tell your story in a way that opens people’s hearts, minds and wallets to you. Create a vocabulary.
#6. Be a talent magnet. Disruption demands the boldest and brightest partners....The best talent goes where it earns the highest return. Reputation is everything. [What would Mandela do?]
#7. Play like a champion today. Disruptors may not always play at their best but they play their best every day. They bring their A-Game no matter who they’re playing....you feel their intensity and passion. How hard are you hustling on any given day? Everything matters. There is no such thing as small. They’re all in, all the time.
disruption  personal_branding  uncertainty  hard_work  Pablo_Picasso  creativity  intuition  intensity  passions  talent  failure  partnerships  reputation  Communicating_&_Connecting  storytelling  thinking_big  expertise  inequality_of_information  knowledge_intensive  imperfections  audacity  special_sauce  prolificacy  affirmations  unshared_information  good_enough  pairs  Mike_Lipkin  CAIF 
april 2017 by jerryking
Twitter’s Troubles and Snap’s Appeal: It’s All About the Mojo
OCT. 11, 2016 | - The New York Times| By STEVEN DAVIDOFF SOLOMON.

User growth is the secret sauce of internet valuations. Revenue and earnings are forgiven if you can show growth in users. Whether that makes sense, of course, is another matter.....Sharp leadership — whether that is from its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, or new blood — could certainly help Twitter exploit its huge user base.

But the problem is that in the eyes of the Valley, Twitter has lost its mojo.

Even as Twitter was deflating, another social media darling, Snapchat, now renamed Snap, was riding high as reports emerged that the start-up, known for its disappearing messages, was preparing for a public offering that could value it for as much as $25 billion.
Twitter  Snapchat  momentum  valuations  Silicon_Valley  social_media  youth  mojo  special_sauce  customer_growth  user_growth  user_bases 
october 2016 by jerryking
How to approach your own career like an entrepreneur - Fortune
1. Choose growth over profitability. Rather than focus on short-term gains, think long-term goals and what you need to get there.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not on where. Job seekers should invest in people, not ideas. That means pick the place you’re going to work for the people you’re going to work with. They’re the ones who will train you and lead you to other opportunities when the time comes.
3. Find your special sauce. Fetishize your product-market fit. This may be one of the hardest challenges in the new economy.
4. Celebrate uncertainty. Iterate. Seek feedback and adapt. Pivot where necessary.
5. Be public. Be on Linkedin. Give away hard-won information and knowledge, you’ll get something back. Be more transparent.

Nitin Julka was 31 and working like a dog in Cleveland when he got the itch. For six years he’d been a VP of his family’s business, a $20 million company that sold IT to schools. He had moved home after getting an MBA, excited to grow the company and make a difference in educational technology. It had been a “wild ride,” but he was ready for change. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

The jobs that interested him most were in tech. He started calling friends, friends of friends, business school classmates, and even distant contacts to talk about Bay Area companies and about what professional roles he might actually qualify for. After 30 or so conversations, he made up his mind: He wanted to be a product manager at a fast-growing Silicon Valley–based startup.

This struck few as a logical or even feasible next step for Julka: “I was changing job functions, industries, and geographies. People told me you can do one of those things—not all three at once.”

But Julka is more self-aware than most. On a quarterly basis, he conducts a life assessment and reviews what he considers to be his professional competitive advantage. Among his “most unique” attributes he lists his receptiveness to feedback. Indeed, in his quest for continual improvement, he has recorded personal and professional feedback in a single, running Google doc since 2010. He reads it once a week, when prompted by a recurring calendar invite.

And so began what Julka considers the “abnormal part” of his job search: He drew up a spreadsheet of 60 target companies, a few of which he researched for 60 to 80 hours (he admits he “overinvested”). He read 10-Ks and 10-Qs and a hundred CrunchBase articles; he mined his personal and virtual connections; he enlisted a friend, a former Google programmer, to tutor him in code; and he found free online videos from which he learned UX/UI design. With his wife’s support, he gave himself five weeks in Silicon Valley—no mean feat given that he had an 18-month-old baby at home. He met with three or more people a day, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and rode the highs and lows of pitching himself for a job that many thought he was an odd fit for.

It ended on a high. In September 2013 he got several job offers—including one, through a contact of his business school professor, at Bizo, a startup that has since been acquired by LinkedIn LNKD .

Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days.

The truth is, wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote in their zeitgeist-tapping book from 2012, The Start-Up of You, “All humans are entrepreneurs.” To accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula—“adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself”—no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.

Imagine you’re a founder. You’ve been working for days—years, really. (You can’t remember the last time you took a day off.) You’ve networked like crazy. And now, at last, you’ve landed one of those much-coveted meetings with a high-profile venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road.

the start up of you bookIt feels as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for this: You’ve prepared your slide deck, rehearsed your pitch, and honed your talking points. You’re ready to be grilled about even the finest details of your marketing and monetization strategies. You’ve gone so far as to research your VC’s hobbies. But the product you’re selling isn’t some whiz-bang app or the latest and greatest cloud-computing platform; the product is you.

Here’s where your potential backer steps in: What’s your competitive advantage, she asks? The questions come rapid-fire: What’s your addressable market? The opportunities for growth? Your five-year plan? Your 10-year plan?

You may not be used to thinking about your career in such calculating terms, but old standards like “follow your passion” get you only so far. You won’t get Series A funding, but the analogy is apt: If you are the startup, you’d better start answering to your inner VC.

“You’ve got to have a sense of purpose, authenticity, self-awareness, intellectual honesty, and the ability to navigate ambiguity,” says Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm. That’s what he looks for in companies—and people—he invests in. Alan Braverman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who co-heads the Giant Pixel, a tech startup studio, speaks more bluntly: “What most people consider a safe career path, I consider falling behind.”

You don’t have to be a TaskRabbit (or a VC) to know that the world of work has changed. Technology, globalization, and one long recession—in which nearly one in six Americans reported losing a job, according to Princeton economist Henry Farber—have all disrupted old-fashioned employment. Corporations have downsized, outsourced, and rightsized. They slashed training budgets during the recession, and though that spending is coming back—up 15% in 2013, according to a Deloitte survey—corporate talent development is thought to be a dying art. “As companies see it, the incentives are just so perverse,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton Business School. “Typically you train someone, and once they become useful, they’re hired away from you.” Meanwhile, the slow march of automation continues: Robots now fly planes, perform surgeries, and in some cases write news. That leaves you, dear worker, in a tight spot—whether or not you’ve got your dream job now, you’ve got to stay relevant and evolve.

That’s not as easy as it once was. The half-life of desirable skills has shortened with the hastening pace of technological change. (A Python programmer now eats the once-hot Java programmer for lunch.) Fabio Rosati, CEO of the online freelancing platform Elance-oDesk, says these dynamics are moving us from the era of employment to one of newfangled “employability.” Professionals, like the 9.3 million who find work on his site, are now being viewed as mobile, independent bundles of skills. In this universe the most adaptable talent rules the day. Increasingly, learning agility is an attribute sought in corporate leadership, says Vicki Swisher, a senior director at Korn Ferry, an executive search firm. What’s more, she says, it’s what employers are looking for in all new hires.

That agility is also mission critical for your personal enterprise (formerly known as your career path). Rather than climb a single corporate ladder like the company man of yore, you’re more likely to spend your career scaling a professional jungle gym, maneuvering between projects, jobs, companies, industries, and locales. By the reckoning of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest job-tenure survey, you’ll pivot every 4.6 years (make that three if you’re a millennial, a demographic that will dominate the workforce in 2015). To do this well requires imagination, initiative, and some guts. Much like a startup, you’re forging your way ahead in a dynamic world where there is no conventional path.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” advises Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who knows as an entrepreneur and as someone whose career zigged to Microsoft, Palm, and Twitter before it zagged to venture capital. In his case, he sought discomfort. “That’s how you learn the most.”

While the ideas of a free-agent nation and personal brand building have been with us for a couple of decades, DIY-career building has gotten a big push from the digital (and old-fashioned sharing) infrastructure that fosters this independence. There’s the rise in communal workspaces like WeWork and educational alternatives like Coursera, which offers college courses online, and General Assembly, which trains workers in the most in-demand tech skills. (As Julka’s case shows, YouTube and Google can also be empowering resources.)

A slew of online platforms has made it simpler to drum up employment, from one-off gigs to full-time jobs. Professionals can peddle their services, whether it be supply-chain management or legal advice, more easily and independently too, through sites like Elance-oDesk and TrustedPeer, which sometimes cater to big companies.

The data are messy on the size and shape of this new, more independent workforce. The BLS, whose classification system dates back to 1948, counted 14.4 million self-employed Americans in April 2014. That’s a far cry from the results of a study commissioned this year by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, which put the number of freelancers—a broader category that includes temps, part-timers, and moonlighters—at 53 million, or one in three American workers. (A report on freelancers … [more]
Ben_Casnocha  customer_growth  discomforts  Elance-oDesk  free-agents  gig_economy  invest_in_yourself  it's_up_to_me  job_search  large_companies  learning_agility  Managing_Your_Career  non-routine  personal_branding  pitches  preparation  product-market_fit  readiness  Reid_Hoffman  self-assessment  self-awareness  self-employment  Silicon_Valley  skills  slight_edge  special_sauce  start_ups  torchbearers  transparency  TrustedPeer  uncertainty  value_propositions  via:enochko  WeWork 
july 2016 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
Goldman Sachs to Give Out ‘Secret Sauce’ on Trading - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER
Aug. 12, 2015

Goldman will soon offer clients access to more of its in-house tools, such as high-powered databases that analyze markets and manage risk, according to the firm’s executives. Those proprietary systems have long been key elements enabling Goldman to sidestep market turmoil and ring up outsized profits in better conditions.

Given direct access to these tools, Goldman clients could use the technology to build their own trading systems and potentially make purchases independent of the firm.

But the firm’s executives believe the upside outweighs those concerns. Goldman is betting that its clients, such as hedge funds and other money managers, will use the individual applications, or apps, to develop strategies and then execute their trades with the firm.
Goldman_Sachs  tools  risk-management  CIOs  proprietary  traders  trading_platforms  upside  special_sauce 
august 2015 by jerryking
How Not to Drown in Numbers - NYTimes.com
MAY 2, 2015| NYT |By ALEX PEYSAKHOVICH and SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ.

If you’re trying to build a self-driving car or detect whether a picture has a cat in it, big data is amazing. But here’s a secret: If you’re trying to make important decisions about your health, wealth or happiness, big data is not enough.

The problem is this: The things we can measure are never exactly what we care about. Just trying to get a single, easy-to-measure number higher and higher (or lower and lower) doesn’t actually help us make the right choice. For this reason, the key question isn’t “What did I measure?” but “What did I miss?”...So what can big data do to help us make big decisions? One of us, Alex, is a data scientist at Facebook. The other, Seth, is a former data scientist at Google. There is a special sauce necessary to making big data work: surveys and the judgment of humans — two seemingly old-fashioned approaches that we will call small data....For one thing, many teams ended up going overboard on data. It was easy to measure offense and pitching, so some organizations ended up underestimating the importance of defense, which is harder to measure. In fact, in his book “The Signal and the Noise,” Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com estimates that the Oakland A’s were giving up 8 to 10 wins per year in the mid-1990s because of their lousy defense.

And data-driven teams found out the hard way that scouts were actually important...We are optimists about the potential of data to improve human lives. But the world is incredibly complicated. No one data set, no matter how big, is going to tell us exactly what we need. The new mountains of blunt data sets make human creativity, judgment, intuition and expertise more valuable, not less.

==============================================
From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
human_ingenuity  data  analytics  small_data  massive_data_sets  data_driven  information_overload  dark_data  measurements  creativity  judgment  intuition  Nate_Silver  expertise  datasets  information_gaps  unknowns  underestimation  infoliteracy  overlooked_opportunities  sense-making  easy-to-measure  Albert_Einstein  special_sauce  metrics  overlooked  defensive_tactics  emotional_intelligence  EQ  soft_skills  overquantification  false_confidence 
may 2015 by jerryking
To be successful, do only what you do best - The Globe and Mail
STEVE TOBAK
Entrepreneur.com
Published Friday, Mar. 27 2015

make no mistake, if you want to be successful in business, you have to find that one thing you do best.
strengths  focus  ksfs  affirmations  howto  special_sauce 
march 2015 by jerryking
6 Things I'd Do If I Got Laid-off By IBM
Jan 26, 2015 | LinkedIn | J.T. O'Donnell

4) Become 100% clear on your specialty. Employers hire the aspirin to their pain. While you might be a diversely skilled, jack-of-all-trades, you can't market yourself that way. Saying you can do everything sounds unfocused and desperate. You need to know what your special problem-solving, pain-relieving expertise is (i.e. your special sauce). Then, you need to market it accordingly.

5) Optimize your sales tools for your business-of-one. Your resume and LinkedIn profile must be set up to showcase your specialty quickly - and with as much impact as possible. Keyword optimization is vital. Knowing what recruiters are looking for when it comes to your skill set and showcasing it in the proper format will dramatically increase the amount of activity you get on your candidacy. [Here's an article to help you understand how little time your resume has to get a recruiter's attention.]

6) Create an interview bucket list. The fastest way to find job opportunities is to build a bucket list of companies you want to work for and network your way into the process. The majority of jobs gotten today are done so via referral. Creating a target list of employers and working a strategy to build relationships with them is the smartest way to land a job with a company you admire and respect. Especially, when you may be competing against lots of other ex-IBM employees for positions. [Here's a step-by-step plan on how to create your own bucket list of employers.]
IBM  layoffs  tips  LinkedIn  bouncing_back  Managing_Your_Career  job_search  painkillers  pain_points  JCK  specialists  special_sauce  résumés  personal_branding  referrals  unfocused 
january 2015 by jerryking
Meet Bloomberg's data-driven Daniel Doctoroff
Aug. 09 2013 | The Globe and Mail |JOANNA SLATER.

Mr. Doctoroff’s job, as deputy mayor for economic development, would include rebuilding the site and pushing ahead with projects envisaged in the Olympic bid....Founded by Mr. Bloomberg in 1982, the firm grew into a global juggernaut that disrupted every field it touched, from market data to financial journalism....Mr. Doctoroff had a yen for precision and a belief in the power of data. To eliminate clutter on his desk, he never touches a piece of paper twice. “I either delegate something, I dump it, or I deal with it,”...Mr. Doctoroff’s mission at Bloomberg is twofold. The first is to sell more terminals – a subscription service that costs more than $20,000 (U.S.) a year per person and offers access to an expanding universe of data, analytical tools and news. Last year was a tough one for terminal sales; Wall Street firms continued to shed staff in what Mr. Doctoroff describes as “the fourth year of post-financial crisis adjustment.”

The second task is to lead the company into other areas and make those investments pay off. Bloomberg has launched what it hopes will become indispensable data products for fields like law and government and also for back-office personnel within finance. Then there’s the media business, which includes a news service, television, radio and magazines, among them Bloomberg Businessweek, which was purchased in 2009. Businessweek still isn’t profitable, but it’s losing much less money than it used to. The magazine, like the rest of the news operation, serves another objective in the Bloomberg ecosystem, Mr. Doctoroff said: heightening the firm’s profile so it can attract more market-moving scoops, which in turn helps to sell more terminals....On his career path: I believe we’re all endowed with a very small set of narrow skills that make us unique. You’ve got to find what that is. Most often what you truly understand makes you unique is something that you’re also going to build passion around. For me – and I didn’t really discover this until I was in my 40s, the line that connected the dots … [is] seeing patterns in numbers that enable me to tell a compelling story which helps to solve a problem. So whether it is helping a candidate get elected or doing a road show for a company, getting a project done in New York or hopefully setting a vision for a company, it’s that narrow skill.
New_York_City  Bloomberg  data_driven  precision  CEOs  organizational_culture  Wall_Street  private_equity  digital_media  disruption  privately_held_companies  Michael_Bloomberg  fin-tech  journalism  pattern_recognition  career_paths  gtd  mayoral  Daniel_Doctoroff  storytelling  product_launches  sense-making  leadership  insights  leaders  statistics  persuasion  ratios  analogies  back-office  connecting_the_dots  scoops  financial_journalism  financial_data  special_sauce  non-routine  skills 
august 2013 by jerryking
The Problem With Too Many Millionaires - NYTimes.com
June 20, 2013 | REUTERS | By CHRYSTIA FREELAND.

The rich are getting richer....the very, very rich are doing best of all. The ranks of the ultrarich, whom the report defines as people with investable assets of at least $30 million, surged 11 percent, an even greater rate than the mere millionaires....“We are increasingly becoming a ‘winner-take-all’ economy, a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced,”...The lucky and the talented — and it is often hard to tell the difference — have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.”... the problem is that the rise of the ultrarich isn’t occurring in isolation--it takes place in lock step with a darker phenomenon — the hollowing out of the global middle class. What is worrying is that: (a) labor productivity — which used to be the secret sauce for making everyone better off — has a diminished impact on wages.
(b) declining social mobility. The 1 percent is very good at passing on its privilege, and those born at the bottom are finding it harder to climb up.

That is the great paradox of today’s winner-take-all economy. At its best, it is driven by adopted dropouts like Steve Jobs or struggling single mothers like J.K. Rowling, who come up with something amazing and manage to prosper — and to enrich us all. But the winner-take-all economy will make such breakthroughs for anyone who didn’t make the wise choice of being born into the 1 percent harder and harder in the future, which is why we urgently need to come up with ways to soften its impact.
breakthroughs  Chrystia_Freeland  compounded  elitism  high_net_worth  hollowing_out  income_inequality  Matthew_effect  middle_class  paradoxes  productivity  self-perpetuation  social_mobility  special_sauce  The_One_Percent  virtuous_cycles  winner-take-all 
june 2013 by jerryking
The Internship - Not the Movie - NYTimes.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 8, 2013

Internships are increasingly important today, they explained, because skills are increasingly important in the new economy and because colleges increasingly don’t teach the ones employers are looking for. Experience, rather than a degree, has become an important proxy for skill, they note, and internships give you that experience. So grab one wherever you can, they add, because, even if you’re just serving coffee, it is a way to see how businesses actually work and which skills are prized by employers.... Since so many internships are unpaid these days, added Sedlet, there is a real danger that only “rich kids” can afford them, which will only widen our income gaps. The key, if you get one, he added, is to remember “that companies don’t want generalists to help them think big; they want people who can help them execute” and “add value.”

But what, they were often asked, does “add value” mean? It means, they said, show that you have some creative flair — particularly in design, innovation, entrepreneurship, sales or marketing, skills that can’t be easily replaced by a piece of software, a machine or a cheaper worker in India.
job_search  tips  internships  HireArt  Managing_Your_Career  value_creation  new_graduates  experience  thinking_big  value_added  creativity  imagination  execution  Tom_Friedman  non-routine  in-person  special_sauce 
june 2013 by jerryking
In Mobile World, Tech Giants Scramble to Get Up to Speed - NYTimes.com
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: October 22, 2012

Intel made its fortune on the chips that power personal computers, and Microsoft on the software that goes inside. Google’s secret sauce is that it finds what you are looking for on the Internet. But the ground is shifting beneath these tech titans because of a major force: the rise of mobile devices.
Enlarge This Image
Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

These and other tech companies are scrambling to reinvent their business models now that the old model — a stationary customer sitting at a stationary desk — no longer applies. These companies once disrupted traditional businesses, from selling books and music to booking hotels. Now they are being upended by the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets.

“Companies are having to retool their thinking, saying, ‘What is it that our customers are doing through the mobile channel that is quite distinct from what we are delivering them through our traditional Web channel?’...Yet the world’s shift to computing on mobile devices is taking a toll, including disappointing earnings reports last week from Google, Microsoft and Intel, in large measure related to revenue from mobile devices....Making money will now depend on how deftly tech companies can track their users from their desktop computers to the phones in their palms and ultimately to the stores, cinemas and pizzerias where they spend their money....Still, mobile provides huge opportunities for these businesses, industry analysts say. That is largely because people reveal much more about themselves on phones than they do on computers, from where they go and when they sleep to whom they talk to and what they want to buy....one of Google’s biggest challenges is tracking whether people make a purchase after they see a mobile ad. Unlike online, where Google knows if someone buys a camera after searching for it, the company does not know if someone searches for a Thai restaurant nearby and then eats there. That is why it is trying to follow people into the physical world, ...For investors and others trying to solve the riddle of making money on mobile users, Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist, extolled the virtues of the mobile era this way: “We’re going to know a tremendous amount about people.”
mobile  mobile_phones  location_based_services  cyberphysical  disruption  competitive_landscape  large_companies  Intel  Microsoft  Google  Marc_Andreessen  mobile_first  reinvention  physical_world  information_gaps  special_sauce 
october 2012 by jerryking
Build Your Personal Value Proposition
Executives set value propositions for their products — the target market segments, the benefits they provide, and their prices. It's why a target customer should buy the product.

But value propositions go beyond just products. Your personal value proposition (PVP) is at the heart of your career strategy. It's the foundation for everything in a job search and career progression — targeting potential employers, attracting the help of others, and explaining why you're the one to pick. It's why to hire you, not someone else.

The question is this: How do you develop a powerful PVP?

Take a look at Steve (name has been changed). Steve is a tall, 54-year-old manufacturing executive. Steve's interest and skill at manufacturing operations is the cornerstone of his PVP.

It's hard to know what you're really good at. You need more than the ordinary, convenient categories. I seek the kinds of things where I fit naturally, what I enjoy. That's not consumer products, not hard science, not financial institutions, and not an enterprise that's pursuing something other than long-term financial objectives. I look for operations-intensive companies who can benefit from significant performance improvement. I take floundering institutions and go build things. It's not quite turnaround, not slash and burn; but it's a far way from peaceful stewardship of assets. I'm a go-build guy.

Steve targets companies from $150 million sales up to $1 billion. He doesn't want start-ups, where everything would need to be set up, or a company so large that he couldn't know people down the line. He prefers private companies. With no experience with the special duties of a public corporation's CEO, he feels it doesn't make sense to have to learn all that on the job at this point in his work life.

Steve also emphasizes his view of the right atmosphere: "I'm not at all into sleazy places, nor into industries like tobacco, alcohol, or casinos. Ethically-challenged places are no fun." We could debate whether those industries pose ethical issues, but that's not the point. They aren't right for him.

Steve's leaving out the great majority of corporations, but that doesn't limit him. He gets three or four calls a year asking him to consider a corporate CEO position. Those calls come both because he's a strong candidate for jobs where he fits and because the people who call know that. They don't call about everything. They call about positions that connect to Steve's PVP. It's easy to understand where he's strong and what he wants to do. His PVP is distinctive, unlike what similarly qualified executives might say about themselves.

Here are four steps to develop a strong PVP:
Set a clear target. The PVP begins with a target, one that needs what you have to offer. You'll prefer some directions, not others. Targeting will make you most effective.
Identify your strengths. It may sound obvious, but what you know and what you can do are the foundation of your PVP. Hone in on what those are.
Tie your strengths to your target position. Don't leave it up to the employer to figure out how your strengths relate to what she needs. Let your PVP tightly connect you to the position. Connect the dots for her. Consider her perspective and know why she should hire you or promote you.
Provide evidence and success stories. Your strengths may be what an employer is "buying," but your achievements are the evidence you have those strengths. They make your case convincing. Some people prepare a non-confidential portfolio to showcase that evidence in a vivid way. They collect reports they wrote that had impact. They pull together facts on measurable achievements such as sales growth or cost reduction.

Steve's target — mid-sized, privately-held industrial companies that need significant operations improvement to enable growth — is an excellent example of the first of these steps. He's setting himself up in his distinct target area, where his network knows him well. His past success demonstrates that he has the capability and emphasizes his strengths. In all of this, Steve's intrinsic quality is critical to his success, but it's not the whole story. It's through his PVP that Steve's making the most of his talents.

As you think about your own career strategy, think about Steve and his narrowly defined and distinctive PVP. What's your value proposition?
entrepreneurship  JCK  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  personal_accomplishments  personal_branding  via:jb19012  value_propositions  special_sauce 
april 2012 by jerryking
What Knowledge Is of Most Worth in the Global and Digital Economy?
Catching Up or Leading the Way

by Yong Zhao

We must cultivate skills and knowledge that are not available at a
cheaper price in other countries or that cannot be rendered useless by
machines. This is mainly Pink's argument but is shared by others such as
the New Commission on Skills of the American Workforce and Harvard
economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz, both professors of
economics at Harvard University. In The Race Between Education and
Technology, they write:

Today, skills, no matter how complex, that can be exported through
outsourcing or offshoring are vulnerable. Even some highly skilled jobs
that can be outsourced, such as reading radiographs, may be in danger of
having stable or declining demand. Skills for which a computer program
can substitute are also in danger. But skills for non-routine
employments and jobs with in-person skills are less susceptible. (Goldin
& Katz, 2008, p. 352)
21st._century  automation  China  core_competencies  Daniel_Pink  digital_economy  eBay  education  face2face  future-proofing  highly_skilled  imagination  in-person  knowledge  Lawrence_Katz  Managing_Your_Career  mental_maps  non-routine  personal_growth  outsourcing  self-analysis  self-worth  skills  skills_training  special_sauce 
june 2011 by jerryking
To Get Paid What You're Worth, Know Your Disruptive Skills - Whitney Johnson -
September 14, 2010 | Harvard Business Review | Whitney Johnson.
To close the gap between what we're paid and what we're worth, there
is a lesson to be learned from the stock market. The stocks that trade
at fair value or even a premium to their peers are those that know what
kind of stock they are, and then deliver, whether "disruptive innovation
— emerging growth," "sustaining innovation — best-of-breed," or
"being-disrupted — but dividend-paying." Not surprisingly, the stocks
that lead with their unique or disruptive capabilities command the
highest absolute multiples...Translating this to our careers, when we
proffer to the marketplace a disruptive skill set, focusing on our
distinctive innate talents rather than 'me-too' skills, we are more
likely to achieve success and increase what we earn. Any hard-won,
'me-too' skills can follow as a kicker.
Clayton_Christensen  compensation  disruption  hbr  indispensable  JCK  Managing_Your_Career  non-routine  personal_growth  salaries  self-worth  skills  special_sauce  uncharted_problems 
september 2010 by jerryking
How Canadian 'science fiction' drives subway trains abroad
Aug. 19, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | Jeff Gray. ",Fighting for
business around the world from a base in Canada has several advantages,
Mr. Kahn says. For one thing, governments support technology and
innovation: Thales received a $12.8-million grant from Ontario last year
to integrate green energy-saving technology into its systems.

But the talent pool in Toronto is also a major advantage, adds Mr. Kahn,
who came from Thales’s aviation division, based in Italy. Not only is
Toronto awash in technical expertise, he says, its diversity is a secret
weapon. "
beyondtheU.S.  diversity  railways  special_sauce  state-as-facilitator  Thales  Toronto  transit  transportation  TTC 
august 2010 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs Rakes In Profit in Credit Crisis - NYTimes.com
November 19, 2007 | New York Times | By JENNY ANDERSON and
LANDON THOMAS Jr.
At that point, the holdings of Goldman’s mortgage desk were down
somewhat, but the notoriously nervous Mr. Viniar was worried about
bigger problems. After reviewing the full portfolio with other
executives, his message was clear: the bank should reduce its stockpile
of mortgages and mortgage-related securities and buy expensive insurance
as protection against further losses, a person briefed on the meeting
said.
Rarely on Wall Street, where money travels in herds, has one firm gotten
it so right when nearly everyone else was getting it so wrong.
With its mix of swagger and contrary thinking, it was just the kind of
bet that has long defined Goldman’s hard-nosed, go-it-alone style.
Goldman’s secret sauce, say executives, analysts and historians, is
high-octane business acumen, tempered with paranoia and institutionally
encouraged — though not always observed — humility.
====================================

Strategic nous - "practical intelligence/good judgement/shrewdness" = "high-octane business acumen"
business_acumen  contrarians  crisis  economic_downturn  Goldman_Sachs  hard_times  herd_behaviour  herd_instincts  humility  Lloyd_Blankfein  paranoia  profits  proprietary  recessions  special_sauce  stockpiles  Wall_Street 
february 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Columnist - The New Untouchables - NYTimes.com
October 20, 2009 | New York Times | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN. The
economic downturn has coincided with an education breakdown on Main
Street — precisely as a 'Flat World' enables so many more people to
compete with Americans for middle-class jobs. "“... education failure is
the largest contributing factor to the decline of the American worker’s
global competitiveness, particularly at the middle and bottom ranges,”
"...those [professionals] who have the ability to imagine new services,
new opportunities and new ways to recruit work [will be] retained. They
are the new untouchables." .......A Washington lawyer friend recently told me about layoffs at his firm. I asked him who was getting axed. He said it was interesting: lawyers who were used to just showing up and having work handed to them were the first to go because with the bursting of the credit bubble, that flow of work just isn’t there. But those who have the ability to imagine new services, new opportunities and new ways to recruit work were being retained. They are the new untouchables...........Survival means actively engaged in
developing new ideas or recombining existing technologies or thinking
about what new customers want......those who have some interpersonal skills — the salesperson who can deal with customers face to face or the home contractor who can help you redesign your kitchen without going to an architect — have done well.”.....Just being an average accountant, lawyer, contractor or assembly-line worker is not the ticket it used to be. As Daniel Pink, the author of “A Whole New Mind,” puts it: In a world in which more and more average work can be done by a computer, robot or talented foreigner faster, cheaper “and just as well,” vanilla doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s all about what chocolate sauce, whipped cream and cherry you can put on top. So our schools have a doubly hard task now — not just improving reading, writing and arithmetic but entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity.
Tom_Friedman  Daniel_Pink  schools  education  individual_initiative  decline  future-proofing  non-routine  Managing_Your_Career  imagination  skills  special_sauce  idea_generation  Flat_World  unarticulated_desires  middle_class  new_thinking  intrinsically_motivated  winner-take-all  entrepreneurship  innovation  creativity  Lawrence_Katz  mental_dexterity  interpersonal_skills 
october 2009 by jerryking
A whole new mind: why right-brainers ... - Google Books
Excerpt from 'A whole new mind: why right-brainers will rule
the future' By Daniel H. Pink. "Indeed, one of design's most potent
economic effects is this very capacity to create new markets... The
forces of Abundance, Asia, and Automation turn goods and services into
commodities so quickly that the only way to survive is by constantly
developing new innovations, inventing new categories, and (in Paola
Antonelli's lovely phrase) giving the world something it didn't know it
was missing.
============================================

See also Tom Friedman's piece ("We Need a Second Party" - NYTimes.com ) below:

The first is responding to the challenges and opportunities of an era in which globalization and the information technology revolution have dramatically intensified, creating a hyperconnected world. This is a world in which education, innovation and talent will be rewarded more than ever. This is a world in which there will be no more “developed” and “developing countries,” but only HIEs (high-imagination-enabling countries) and LIEs (low-imagination-enabling countries). Adding "imagination"
design  Daniel_Pink  innovation  storytelling  symphony  empathy  play  meaning  sense-making  new_businesses  new_categories  automation  abundance  Asia  developing_countries  imagination  Tom_Friedman  high-touch  special_sauce  skills  developed_countries 
october 2009 by jerryking
America’s Secret Innovation Weapon - Immigration - NYTimes.com
July 4, 2009 | New York Times | By MIKE SPEISER. Argues that
it is time for a more strategic and aggressive U.S. immigration policy,
one that targets the best and brightest around the globe and makes it
easy for them to become permanent residents. The U.S. should be
recruiting the world’s best talent the same way top companies recruit
the best talent.
innovation  strategic  immigrants  special_sauce  the_best_and_brightest  immigration_policies  talent_acquisition 
july 2009 by jerryking

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