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jerryking : tough-mindedness   17

Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
october 2019 by jerryking
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
March 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nellie Bowles.

a new entrepreneurship-focused lobbying firm, the Cicero Institute.
Daily Stoic, a popular blog for the tech-Stoic community.
“Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine
Ryan Holiday’s life-hacking books on Stoicism.
Search for books by Ada Palmer.

The wealthy of Silicon Valley ought to be living their very best lives right now. John Doerr, an early Amazon and Google investor, calls their moment “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” And yet, the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days — on purpose. Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor. So the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism. An ancient Greek school of thought, Stoicism argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage. The Stoics offered tactics to endure pain and pleasure without complaint.

* Is this really a thing? - Some executives in SV believe that our pleasing, on-demand life will make them soft. So they attempt to induce pain..... incorporate practices in our lives that “mimic” our ancestors’ environments and their daily challenges....Tim Ferriss wrote on his blog that Stoicism is “an ideal ‘operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.”.....there are the founders who may not call themselves Stoics, but who practice some of its tenets (e.g. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's C.E.O., who likes to walk five miles to work each day and meditates in silence 10 days each year.
* Why are they attracted to Stoicism? - Stoicism “a wonderful therapy against grief and the blinders of the rat race.” “So much of Stoicism is about achieving interior tranquillity,”
* Why does it matter? - The Cicero Institute comes at a time of tension in Silicon Valley.
books  courage  discomforts  emotional_mastery  endurance  founders  Greek  high-stress  inner-directed  inner_peace  John_Doerr  joyless  philosophy  Roman  Ryan_Holiday  self-deprivation  self-mastery  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  Tim_Ferris  tough-mindedness  virtues 
march 2019 by jerryking
John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
Good Schools Aren’t the Secret to Israel’s High-Tech Boom - WSJ
March 20, 2017

Israel’s shadow education system has three components. The first is our heritage of debate—it’s in the Jewish DNA. For generations Jews have studied the Talmud, our legal codex, in a way vastly different from what goes on in a standard classroom. Instead of listening to a lecture, the meaning of complex texts is debated by students in hevruta—pairs—with a teacher offering occasional guidance.

Unlike quiet Western libraries, the Jewish beit midrash—house of study—is a buzzing beehive of learning. Since the Talmud is one of the most complex legal codes ever gathered, the idea of a verdict is almost irrelevant to those studying. Students engage in debate for the sake of debate. They analyze issues from all directions, finding different solutions. Multiple answers to a single question are common. Like the Talmud itself—which isn’t the written law but a gathering of protocols—the learning process, not the result, is valued.

The second component of our shadow education system is the peer-teaches-peer model of Jewish youth organizations, membership-based groups that we call “movements.” Teenagers work closely with younger children; they lead groups on excursions and hikes, develop informal curricula, and are responsible for those in their care. As an 11th-grade student, I took fifth-graders on an overnight hike in the mountains. Being given responsibilities at a young age helped shape me into who I am today.

The third component is the army.
Israel  ksfs  education  high_schools  schools  Jewish  Talmud  protocols  Judaism  books  religion  coming-of-age  technology  science_&_technology  venture_capital  innovation  human_capital  capitalization  struggles  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  cultural_values  arduous 
march 2017 by jerryking
Stoics in Silicon Valley learn to manage disappointment
17 Dec. 2016 |Financial Times | Byline: Philip Delves Broughton.
* Stoicism is the new Zen, a rediscovered set of ideas that seem tailor-made for a period of rapid change.
* The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
* Keep moving forward

History will one day tell us more about the meeting this week between Donald Trump and the biggest names in Silicon Valley. We will find out why these usually swagge...
books  disappointment  endurance  Jim_Collins  joyless  MLK  next_play  Philip_Delves_Broughton  rapid_change  Romans  Ryan_Holiday  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  tough-mindedness  Vietnam_War 
february 2017 by jerryking
How I learnt to love the economic blogosphere
July 27, 2016 | FT.com | Giles Wilkes.

Marginal Revolution
Econlog
Cafe Hayek
Stumbling and Mumbling
Brad Delong
Nick Rowe - Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
Steve Randy Waldman - Interfluidity
Slack Wire - JW Mason

"Sympathetic opinions coalesce in clusters of mutual congratulation (“must read: fellow blogger agreeing with my point of view!”). Dispute is often foully bad-tempered. Opposing positions are usually subject to a three-phased assault of selective quotation, exaggeration and abuse.'..."Lacking an editor to roll their eyes and ask what’s new, many writers soon become stale... Editors exist not only to find interesting pieces to publish but also to hold at bay the unstructured abundance of bilge that we do not need to read."....."...nothing as reliably good as the (eonomics) blogosphere. Some of its advantages are simply practical: free data, synopses of academic papers that the casual dilettante is unlikely to ever come across, a constant sense of what clever people are thinking about. But what is better is how its ungated to-and-fro lets a reader eavesdrop on schools of academic thought in furious argument, rather than just be subject to whatever lecture a professor wishes to deliver. No one learns merely by reading conclusions. It is in the space between rival positions that insight sprouts up, from the synthesis of clashing thoughts. Traditional newspaper columns are delivered as if to an audience of a million, none of whom might reply. The best blogs are the opening salvo in a seminar rather than the last word on the matter. They dumb down less "....."Ancient thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Iriving Fisher were deployed not as some sort of academic comfort blanket but because their insights are still fresh, and beautifully written."..."Reading the economic blogosphere in 2008 felt to me like the modern equivalent of watching Friedrich Hayek, Keynes and Friedman quarrelling in front of a graduate class about how FDR should react to the depression. "...."Interfluidity is where to find such brilliancies as “the moral case for NGDP [Nominal Gross Domestic Product] targeting”, a political look at a seemingly technical subject, and “Greece”, a furious examination of how the term “moral hazard” is being traduced in the euro crisis. "..."Waldman’s thoughts go far beyond such a crude duality. After a long discussion of measurement problems, the institutional constraints on innovation and much more, he zeroes in on how governments build institutions to handle the disruption wrought by technological change. In a few hundred words he flips around Cowen’s stance and, instead of looking at the growth of government as the problem, makes a case for its opposite. Technological change creates concentrations of power, which “demands countervailing state action if any semblance of broad-based affluence and democratic government is to be sustained”. We have always needed institutions to divert spending power to those left behind, otherwise social disaster beckons. "....When reading, look for sources with something new to say!
economics  economists  blogosphere  Tyler_Cowen  Paul_Krugman  Adam_Smith  information_overload  social_media  Brad_Delong  blogs  Friedrich_Hayek  Milton_Friedman  political  economy  editors  tough-mindedness  FDR  Great_Depression  insights  John_Maynard_Keynes  sophisticated  disagreements  argumentation  technological_change  innovation_policies  moral_hazards 
july 2016 by jerryking
Stephen Harper: After so many words, he exits in silence - The Globe and Mail
May 25, 2016

Mr. Harper’s solitary political goal was to make unalloyed conservatism a valid ballot option in a country ruled for decades by Liberals and red Tories. He succeeded to a degree, but then let an authoritarian nature overwhelm his own principles. He constantly redefined conservatism as whatever he thought it should be in the moment, no questions asked. It was never a conversation among Canadians, or even his own party.

He ended up burdening the Conservative Party with the perception that it contains an ugly strain of political partisanship that seeks to win at all costs, brooks no dissent, and feel no obligation to explain itself to the outside world. Undoing that legacy will be the biggest challenge faced by his successor.
editorials  Stephen_Harper  exits  silence  tough-mindedness  red_Tories  Conservative_Party  House_of_Commons  authoritarianism  political_partisanship 
may 2016 by jerryking
Africa must get real about its romance with China
Mar. 12, 2013| The Financial Times| Lamido Sanusi.

[Africans must] "see China for what it is: a competitor."
====================================
It is time for Africans to wake up to the realit...
Africa  Nigeria  China  China_rising  colonialism  exploitation  infrastructure  productivity  underdevelopment  neocolonialism  deindustrialization  imperialism  delusions  predatory_practices  Carpe_diem  tough-mindedness  disingenuous 
march 2013 by jerryking
An intellectual with the gloves off
24 May 2003 | The Globe and Mail pg. F.3| by John Allemang.

Tellingly, the former World Bank economist didn't just parade these hard facts as essential truths, but contrasted them with the soft-centred nostalgia felt by academics with a more sentimental education. "There's a tendency on the part of Western intellectuals to idealize rural life, and poor rural life, in developing countries."....His model of a university, which sounds a lot like a roundtable gathering at the White House, is of "a tough-minded place where there's a tough-minded clash of ideas, from which better ideas emerge." It's not an institution for the faint-hearted, and you can see that much of his impatience with the people and ideas he's confronted at Harvard have as much to do with a perceived lack of intellectual rigour as with their positioning on the spectrum of truth.
Larry_Summers  Harvard  intellectually_rigorous  deanships  Colleges_&_Universities  grade_inflation  growth  economic_development  truth-telling  tough-mindedness  developing_countries 
may 2012 by jerryking
The Education of Andy Grove
By RICHARD S. TEDLOW
December 12, 2005

(FORTUNE Magazine)
'If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?' Gordon answered without hesitation, 'He would get us out of memories.' I stared at him, numb, then said, 'Why shouldn't you and I walk out the door, come back, and do it ourselves?'"
Andy_Grove  profile  data_driven  cancers  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness 
may 2012 by jerryking
Why Should Anyone be Led by You
September-October 2000| HBR | by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones
leadership  HBR  myths  tough_love  tough-mindedness  empathy  mindsets 
november 2011 by jerryking
Tough-mindedness - Gabor's Positive Thoughts
William James, a great teacher of psychology & philosophy
at Harvard during the early yrs. of the 20th century, made the useful
distinction between being tough-minded vs. tender-minded. The terms have
nothing to do with levels of ethical conduct; the toughness referred to
is toughness of the intellectual apparatus, toughness of the spirit,
not toughness of the heart. It is the attitude & the qualities &
the training that enable one to seize on facts & make these facts a
basis for intelligent, courageous action. The tough-minded have a zest
for tackling hard problems. They dare to grapple with the unfamiliar
& wrest useful truth from stubborn new facts. They are not dismayed
by change. Above all, the tough-minded do not wall themselves in
comfortable illusions. They do not rely on the easy precepts of
tradition or on mere conformity to regulations. They know that the
answers are not in the book.
tough_love  tough-mindedness  attitudes  conformity  mindsets  decision_making  ambiguities  change  illusions  arduous 
april 2011 by jerryking
The Arduous Community - NYTimes.com
December 20, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.
Erica Brown leads Torah study groups and teaches adult education classes
in Jewish thought....Brown has what many people are looking for these
days. In the first place, she has conviction. For her, Judaism isn’t a
punch line or a source of neuroticism; it’s a path to self-confident and
superior living....In her classes and groups, she tries to create
arduous countercultural communities. “We live in a relativistic
culture,” she told me. Many people have no firm categories to organize
their thinking. They find it hard to give a straight yes or no answer to
tough moral questions. When they go in search of answers, they
generally find people who offer them comfort and ways to ease their
anxiety.

Brown tries to do the opposite. Jewish learning, she says, isn’t about
achieving tranquility. It’s about the struggle. “I try to make people
uncomfortable.”
Judaism  education  tough_love  David_Brooks  community_builders  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  self-confidence  candour  arduous  counterculture 
december 2010 by jerryking
Writing a Credible Investment Thesis
11/15/2004 | HBS Working Knowledge | by David Harding and
Sam Rovit
Many companies are "terrifyingly unclear" to themselves and investors about why they are making an acquisition, according to the authors of a new book, Mastering the Merger. Support comes when you spell it out.

Tough truths, on the other hand, are things like when and where you invest and under what circumstances.
HBS  HBR  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  private_equity  investment_research  writing  themes  thesis  value_creation  value_propositions  investment_thesis  Bain  tough-mindedness 
december 2010 by jerryking
No time like bankruptcy for squeezing competitors
July 13, 2009 |The Globe & Mail | George Stalk Jr.

In bankruptcy, your competitor's major issue is a shortage of cash - which is what led it into bankruptcy in the first place. Take advantage of it.

You can put pressure on that shortage by further straining your rival's ability to generate cash, or boost the cash it needs to run its business, forcing your competitor to yield market share, customers, product and service offerings. It is fight versus flight for the bankrupt competitor.

How to raise the cash ante? Consider some of the following tactics:

Introduce extended terms. Offer your competitors' customers longer payment terms. Your rival will either lose the business of customers that bite, or be forced to do the same, thus reducing its ability to generate much-needed cash.

Consignment pricing, where the customer pays only after the product is sold, is the ultimate extended term and will be difficult for a competitor in bankruptcy to match.

Boost marketing expenditures. Raising your advertising and point-of-sale spending will have a similar effect: Either your competitor will also have to spend more, or risk losing customers that you attract.

Lengthen the "tail" of the revenue stream. Add more after-sale services and spiffs - if your competitor has to do the same, it will raise the cash costs of getting and keeping customers.

Launch more products. New product development and introduction eats up a lot of cash - and a cash-short competitor is unlikely to be able to do the same. If you go all out, introducing many more new products than a bankrupt competitor possibly can, you could make your rival's offering obsolete in the minds of customers, forcing it into fire sales in a panic to raise cash.[JCK: panicked selling off of assets]

Pursue your competitor's most profitable customers (perhaps identified via geofencing). Good management teams know where their company makes and doesn't make money. Great management teams know this about their competitors.

This insight can be used to target customers, geography, products and services of the bankrupt competitor to gain market share.

The competitor will be hesitant to counter your move against its most profitable customers because it needs the cash these customers generate. It will be more likely to maintain the status quo with these customers in the hopes the cash will keep coming.

Lawsuits. Now is the time to file the lawsuit you've always wanted to. Your bankrupt competitor will not have the discretionary resources to fight and will likely come to terms quickly.

There are also broader strategies to consider. Among them:

Sell against the competitor. When companies are in trouble, customers may worry that they won't be around to service products or provide future upgrades.

This fear can be a powerful weapon: These customers may be persuaded to take their business to companies on a sounder footing.

Go after the best talent (poaching). Anxiety about the plight of the competitor will be just as rampant among your rival's employees and suppliers as it is among customers. You can leverage that angst by going after top talent and strong suppliers - and offer terms and conditions that your competitor will have a tough time matching.

Force the sale of attractive assets held by your bankrupt competitor. A competitor in protection is not its own boss. The creditor committee is likely to care more for the cash it can get from an asset sale than who buys the assets.
bankruptcies  BCG  competition  competitive_advantage  consignment_pricing  geofencing  George_Stalk_Jr.  hardball  lawsuits  marketing  new_products  offensive_tactics  poaching  product_development  selling_off  supply_chain_squeeze  tough-mindedness 
july 2009 by jerryking

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