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Current Topic: Business

Habit, Compulsion, Obsession, Vocation
Topic: Business 7:02 am EDT, Apr 23, 2013

Bono on Jony Ive:

You cannot get people this smart to work this hard just for money.

Kevin Ashton:

Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation.

Steven J. Harper:

The billable-hour system is the way most lawyers in big firms charge clients, but it serves no one. Well, almost no one. It brings most equity partners in those firms great wealth. Law firm leaders call it a leveraged pyramid. Most associates call it a living hell.

Marco Arment:

Always have one foot out the door. Be ready to go.

This isn't cynical or pessimistic: it's realistic, pragmatic, and responsible.

Ted Gup:

Challenge and hardship have become pathologized and monetized.

David Simon:

Only cash still has meaning to those who claim to represent us. And the cash will always be there, more with every election cycle. Unsatisfied with the profits that can be achieved within the context of actual representative government, capital has instead succeeded in buying the remnants of representative government at wholesale prices, so that profit can always be maximized and any other societal need or priority can be ignored.

Rolf Dobelli:

We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong.

Career Advice
Topic: Business 9:04 pm EST, Jan  8, 2013

Moxie Marlinspike:

Jobs at software companies are typically advertised in terms of the difficult problems that need solving, the impact the project will have, the benefits the company provides, the playful color of the bean bag chairs. Likewise, jobs in other fields have their own set of metrics that they use to position themselves within their domains.

As a young person, though, I think the best thing you can do is to ignore all of that and simply observe the older people working there.

They are the future you. Do not think that you will be substantially different. Look carefully at how they spend their time at work and outside of work, because this is also almost certainly how your life will look. It sounds obvious, but it's amazing how often young people imagine a different projection for themselves.

Look at the real people, and you'll see the honest future for yourself.

Attributed to Abraham Lincoln:

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Two from Colin Powell:

Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

From Rumsfeld's Rules:

It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.

Career Advice

they have rearranged the world to put themselves in front of you
Topic: Business 6:59 am EDT, Mar 12, 2012

Chuck Curran:

There is a vital distinction between limiting the use of online data for ad targeting, and banning data collection outright.

Rich Miller:

Google invested nearly a billion dollars in its Internet infrastructure in the last quarter of 2011.

Noam Cohen's friend:

Privacy is serious. It is serious the moment the data gets collected, not the moment it is released.

Jan Chipchase:

The cost of Facebook Ads varies considerably according to the demographic you are targeting -- it could be as little as a couple of Euro cents a click, as much as 5 Euro a click.


They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don't owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don't even start asking for theirs.

Mark Pagel:

We go up on Google, we go up on Facebook, see who's doing what to whom. We go up on Google and find out the answers to things. And what that's telling us is that knowledge and new ideas are cheap. And it's playing into a set of predispositions that we have been selected to have anyway, to be copiers and to be followers. But at no time in history has it been easier to do that than now. And Facebook is encouraging that.

And then, as corporations grow ... and we can see corporations as sort of microcosms of societies ... as corporations grow and acquire the ability to acquire other corporations, a similar thing is happening, is that, rather than corporations wanting to spend the time and the energy to create new ideas, they want to simply acquire other companies, so that they can have their new ideas. And that just tells us again how precious these ideas are, and the lengths to which people will go to acquire those ideas.

xkcd: Money
Topic: Business 8:58 pm EST, Nov 21, 2011

This is pretty amazing.

xkcd: Money

Alessio Rastani, 'Trader'
Topic: Business 6:54 am EDT, Sep 28, 2011

Alessio Rastani:

I'm an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC. Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking.

Emily Lambert:

Was his little talk a hoax? When I reached Rastani in London to ask, he spouted some vague wisdom, mentioned his "trader friends," and insisted that trading is his obsession.

Jonathan Russell:

A man who doesn't own the house he lives in, but can sum up the financial crisis in just three minutes - a knack that escapes many financial commentators.

John Bird and John Fortune:

They thought that if they had a bigger mortgage they could get a bigger house. They thought if they had a bigger house, they would be happy. It's pathetic. I've got four houses and I'm not happy.

Andy Bilchbaum:

We've never heard of Rastani. Despite widespread speculation, he isn't a Yes Man.

Joe Nocera:

They just want theirs. That is the culture they have created.

Eric Schmidt:

You get a billion people doing something, there's lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We'll get lots of money for it.

Alessio Rastani, 'Trader'

Reed Hastings: An Explanation and Some Reflections | The Netflix Blog
Topic: Business 6:48 am EDT, Sep 19, 2011

Reed Hastings:

So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It's hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to "Qwikster".

We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name "Netflix" for streaming.

A negative of the renaming and separation is that the and websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.

It would seem the primary reason to impose this non-integration annoyance on customers is that they plan to sell off the DVD service in the very near future. Also, the decline of this business won't be associated with the Netflix brand.

From the archive, Daniel Sorid:

The death of the DVD looms over Netflix like an elderly uncle who pays the rent.

Hastings this week asked investors to bear with him for a few years as he primes the pump for a new business model.

Reed Hastings: An Explanation and Some Reflections | The Netflix Blog

The Money Bus
Topic: Business 6:54 am EDT, Jul 26, 2011

Laura Sydell and Alex Blumberg:

Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.

The largest patent auction in history: $4.5 billion on patents that these companies almost certainly don't want for their technical secrets. $4.5 billion that won't build anything new, won't bring new products to the shelves, won't open up new factories that can hire people who need jobs. $4.5 billion dollars that adds to the price of every product these companies sell you. $4.5 billion dollars buying arms for an ongoing patent war.

The big companies -- Google, Apple, Microsoft -- will probably survive. The likely casualties are the companies out there now that no one's ever heard of that could one day take their place.

Vanessa Grigoriadis:

The meritocracy wasn't supposed to work this way.


Money for me, databases for you.

Dave Winer:

That's really what it's about, money ... Because they want the money.

Jules Dupuit:

Having refused the poor what is necessary, they give the rich what is superfluous.

Charles Moore:

As we have surveyed the Murdoch scandal of the past fortnight, few could deny that it has revealed how an international company has bullied and bought its way to control of party leaderships, police forces and regulatory processes. David Cameron, escaping skilfully from the tight corner into which he had got himself, admitted as much.


If you think "Russia" when you hear "oligarchy", think again.

Joe Nocera:

They just want theirs. That is the culture they have created.


The American middle class has been thrown under the bus.

Sarah Palin:

The view is so much better from inside the bus than under it.

It's Lonely At The Center of the Sheep Trade
Topic: Business 7:50 am EST, Nov 29, 2010

Michael Shnayerson:

The tiger team was a social gang. To stay in the gang, you had to play the game.

Mary Meeker:

Do humans want everything to be like a game?

Peter Aldhous:

If someone is momentarily flashed the word "ugly", it will take them longer to decide that a picture of a kitten is pleasant than if "beautiful" had been flashed.

Jeremy Peters:

A spokesman for Mr. Biden, Jay Carney, said the vice president was unavailable to be interviewed about his portrayal in The Onion.

Adam Thierer:

The high-tech policy scene within the Beltway has become a cesspool of backstabbing politics, hypocritical policy positions, shameful PR tactics, and bloated lobbying budgets.

Perhaps we shouldn't find it surprising that so many players in the tech policy arena now look to throw each other under the Big Government bus to gain marketplace advantages.

Sarah Palin:

The view is so much better from inside the bus than under it.

Michael Osinski:

Oyster farmers eat lots of oysters, don't they?

T.J. Rodgers:

Washington's money is never free.

Pi Yijun:

Things that you used to not be able to sell, you could sell again.

Jessica Vascellaro:

Last September, Google launched its new ad exchange, which lets advertisers target individual people -- consumers in the market for shoes, for instance -- and buy access to them in real time as they surf the Web .... The further step ... would be for Google to become a clearinghouse for everyone's data, too. That idea ... is still being considered, people familiar with the talks say. That would put Google -- already one of the biggest repositories of consumer data anywhere -- at the center of the trade in other people's data.

Jules Winnfield:

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd.

Jim Cortada:

Think about data like a whole bunch of sheep on a hillside -- you gotta get them in. Herders use dogs. Businesses are increasingly using software to get the data herd in.

We are almost at a point now where trying to do an inventory on all this data is almost a superfluous exercise. It's like trying to count all the stars in the sky.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

At The Foot Of An Unfathomable Mountain
Topic: Business 7:38 am EST, Nov 27, 2010

Eric Schmidt:

You get a billion people doing something, there's lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We'll get lots of money for it.

William Gibson:

Google is not ours. Which feels confusing, because ... Google is made of us ...

Andrew Dermont:

Consumers today are knowingly and unknowingly providing businesses with more data than they've ever been capable of collecting before. Internet entrepreneurs, privacy analysts, and business consultants alike believe that for the next fifty years, capitalism around the world will (for better or worse) be focused on sussing out what all this data actually means.

Our growing use of digital technology is creating so much "data exhaust," as industry insiders call it, that entire economies are and will continue to form purely around the collection, preservation, protection, implementation, and -- most importantly -- understanding of our data.

No one knows how long it will take before businesses begin implementing the kinds of complex feedback systems that biologists see in nature, but for now one thing is for certain: the world is sitting at the foot of what will continue to be an unfathomable mountain of data with the potential to profoundly revolutionize much more than just the way that businesses target us with pesky advertisements. There is already so much data, in fact, that the very thought of beginning to mold it into useful information is enough to make one throw their hands up in the air and give up.


Money for me, databases for you.

IBM's Jim Cortada:

Think about data like a whole bunch of sheep on a hillside -- you gotta get them in. Herders use dogs. Businesses are increasingly using software to get the data herd in.

We are almost at a point now where trying to do an inventory on all this data is almost a superfluous exercise. It's like trying to count all the stars in the sky.

Jules Dupuit:

Having refused the poor what is necessary, they give the rich what is superfluous.

The Thin Line Between Tactics And Strategy
Topic: Business 7:38 am EST, Nov 27, 2010

John Kay:

The market economy is the only game in town. But there are many different kinds of market economy. The key to understanding why market economies have outperformed planned societies is not recognition of the ubiquity of greed, but understanding of the power of disciplined pluralism.

Peter Baker:

It is possible to win the inside game and lose the outside game. In their darkest moments, White House aides wonder aloud whether it is even possible for a modern president to succeed, no matter how many bills he signs. It may be that every modern president is going to be, at best, average.

Tim Wu:

I'm interested in the quest for dominance, in industrial warfare. I believe that capitalism, by its nature, is about conflict, and ultimately the life and death of firms.

Mikhail Fridman:

I think that of all the types of human activity, entrepreneurship is in some sense the closest to war.

I think that to become a major, very successful entrepreneur, you really need to be in the right place at the right time -- a lot of things have to coincide. But the most important thing is not how to become a major entrepreneur or head of enormous business projects, but how to become an entrepreneur in general.

The dissemination of the Protestant ethic led to a change in the attitude towards entrepreneurship: people began to think for the first time that an entrepreneurial talent was a gift from God, just like any other. A person who was born with this talent should use it and should accumulate material wealth, to be used not for his own needs, but to the benefit of society.

Flexibility is sometimes perceived as lack of principle. Very often in the public mind, businessmen are amoral, because they are prepared to make friends with yesterday's enemies and unite against the people they were friends with yesterday etc. Such behavior does indeed seem unprincipled. Nevertheless, I think that an ability to determine the thin line between tactics and strategy, tactical and current aims and strategic objectives is a very important quality.

Suzy Hansen:

In a 2008 online poll devised by the British magazine Prospect and the American magazine Foreign Policy, Fethullah Gülen was voted the most significant intellectual in the world.

The Gülen movement reminds people of everything from Opus Dei to Scientology to the Masons, Mormons, and Moonies. He instilled in his followers an almost Calvinist work ethic. To this day, even detractors of the movement will talk about how hard Gülenists work. Their achievements have been remarkable.

Every Afghan I spoke to in Kabul, from politicians to cooks, told me that "the Turkish school" was the best in the city.

"Who's paying for all this?" I asked. "A Turkish businessman," they replied.

The story of the Gülen movement is thus very much the story of Turkey's evolution: religious Muslims using capitalist enterprise to establish a foothold in a country where they'd previously been left behind.

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