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Current Topic: Business

Are You a CEO of Something?
Topic: Business 7:54 am EST, Feb  1, 2010

Mark Pincus:

I'd rather be on a team that has no bad people than a team with stars.

It's not that they're a star player, but they have decent skills, and they will get you the ball and then be where you'd expect to put it back to them. It's like their head is really in the game.

If you give people really big jobs to the point that they're scared, they have way more fun and they improve their game much faster.

Scott Boms:

Ultimately, burnout results from a lack of equilibrium. When you lose your balance, physically, you fall over. Burnout is very similar, except that once you're down, it can be a real challenge to get back up.

Justin Kan:

You could be working on the most boring piece of software, and you talk to Paul and you think, Man, I'm excited to go back to work.

Are You a CEO of Something?

The Ruse of the Creative Class
Topic: Business 8:14 am EST, Jan 13, 2010

Alec MacGillis:

Cities that shelled out big bucks to learn Richard Florida's prescription for vibrant urbanism are now hearing they may be beyond help.

Previously (in 2008):

Atlanta is just as hosed as Munich, but Richard Florida has a new book.


In 2008 came Who's Your City, essentially a how-to book for choosing a place to live. Florida is candid about his business plan -- when he plugged his second book on The Charlie Rose Show, the host asked, "Don't you think we've milked this for about as much as we can, Richard?"

"I hope not, Charlie," Florida said. "I hope not."


The Voluntary Milking System (VMS) allows cows to decide when to be milked, and gives dairy farmers a more independent lifestyle, free from regular milkings.

A banker:

Revolutionize your heart out. We'll still have this country by the balls.

The Ruse of the Creative Class

What Matters Now
Topic: Business 7:57 am EST, Dec 17, 2009

John Wood:

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Randy Palumbo:

The greenest thing you can do in your kitchen is not tear it up and put in a new one.

Gina Trapani:

Getting things done is not the same as making things happen.

Don't worry too much about getting things done.

Make things happen.

William C. Taylor:

Are you the most of anything?

Hugh MacLeod:

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Howard Mann:

We walk the streets with our heads down staring into 3-inch screens while the world whisks by doing the same. And yet we're convinced we are more connected to each other than ever before.

Arianna Huffington:

America needs to get some sleep.

Clay Johnson:

Imagine if we organized around meaningful data instead of vapid rhetoric.

What Matters Now

The pleasure of pursuing
Topic: Business 8:25 am EST, Nov  4, 2009

Kevin Lewis:

It seems that the act of approaching someone else gives people more confidence and warmth than being approached.

Lauren Clark:

It's good to have a plan, but if something extraordinary comes your way, you should go for it.

Nicholas A. Christakis & James Fowler:

Each additional happy friend increases a person's probability of being happy by about 9%.

Roz Chast:

Wendy doesn't care what you're doing now or ever, so please keep it "under your hat."

The pleasure of pursuing

Mary Meeker on Economy and Internet Trends
Topic: Business 7:56 am EDT, Oct 22, 2009

Mary Meeker, on overall economic risks:

New Home Sales Off Historic Lows But Way Below 'Normal'
Consumer Credit Card Defaults Rising
Residential Mortgage Defaults at All-Time Highs & Rising
Unemployment High & Rising - USA at 10% in 9/09 vs. 6% Y/Y
Debt Levels at Historic Levels & Rising, USA Government Leading Charge

Mathew Honan, for Wired, in January:

Millions of people are now walking around with a gizmo in their pocket that not only knows where they are but also plugs into the Internet to share that info, merge it with online databases, and find out what - and who - is in the immediate vicinity ... Simply put, location changes everything.


At the heart of Macrosense are powerful machine learning algorithms that process time-stamped location data and metadata streams from heterogeneous sources – GPS, WiFi positioning, cell tower triangulation, RFID and other sensors – and empower companies and investors to better understand and predict human behavior on a macro scale.

Noah Shachtman, for Wired, in October:

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media.

Decius, in August 2008:

Don't worry about privacy ... privacy is dead ... there's no privacy ... just more databases ... No consequences, no whammies, money. Money for me ... Money for me, databases for you.


Facebook = Unified Communication + Multimedia Repository in Your Pocket

William T. Vollmann:

Across the border, the desert is the same but there are different secrets.

Mary Meeker on Economy and Internet Trends

Not What They Had in Mind
Topic: Business 8:12 am EDT, Sep 17, 2009

Arnold Kling:

This paper looks at the roots of the current crisis through an analytical framework of bad bets, excessive leverage, domino effects, and 21st-century bank runs. The paper shows that broad policy areas--including housing policy, capital regulations for banks, industry structure and competition, autonomous financial innovation, and monetary policy--affected elements of this framework to varying, but important, degrees. While considering alternative points of view concerning the causes of the financial crisis, the paper concludes that bank capital regulations were the most important causal factor in the crisis and that the policy "solutions" to previous financial and economic crises sowed the seeds for this current crisis.

Sheila Bair:

We need to return to the culture of thrift that my mother and her generation learned the hard way through years of hardship and deprivation.

Chuck Klosterman:

Nobody cared, then they did. Why?

Niall Ferguson:

This hunt for scapegoats is futile.

Patricia Princehouse's friend:

It takes half a second for a baby to throw up all over your sweater. It takes hours to get it clean.

Not What They Had in Mind

Banks 'Too Big to Fail' Have Grown Even Bigger
Topic: Business 8:28 am EDT, Sep  2, 2009

David Cho:

A year after the near-collapse of the financial system last September, the federal response has redefined how Americans get mortgages, student loans and other kinds of credit and has made a national spectacle of executive pay. But no consequence of the crisis alarms top regulators more than having banks that were already too big to fail grow even larger and more interconnected.

Sheila Bair, today:

"It is at the top of the list of things that need to be fixed."

Sheila Bair, last December:

We need to return to the culture of thrift that my mother and her generation learned the hard way through years of hardship and deprivation.

Ginia Bellafante:

There used to be a time if you didn't have money to buy something, you just didn't buy it.

Vanessa Grigoriadis:

The meritocracy wasn't supposed to work this way.

A final thought from the bankers:

Revolutionize your heart out. We'll still have this country by the balls.

Banks 'Too Big to Fail' Have Grown Even Bigger

Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?
Topic: Business 8:28 am EDT, Sep  2, 2009

Adrian Slywotzky:

Name an industry that can produce 1 million new, high-paying jobs over the next three years. You can't, because there isn't one. And that's the problem.

From last year's best-of:

Any technology that is going to have significant impact over the next 10 years is already at least 10 years old.

Richard Hamming:

If you do not work on an important problem, it's unlikely you'll do important work.

Doug McIlroy:

In 1997, on his retirement from Bell Labs, Doug McIlroy gave a fascinating talk about the "History of Computing at Bell Labs."

Michael Griffin:

It is clear that an understanding of the broad issues, the big picture, is so much more influential in determining the ultimate success or failure of an enterprise than is the mastery of any given technical detail.

The Economist:

Under [Vannevar] Bush's plan [of the 1940's], universities researched basic science and then industry developed these findings to the point where they could get to market. The idea of R&D as two distinct activities was born. Firms soon organized themselves along similar lines, keeping white-coated scientists safely apart from scruffy engineers.

This approach was a stunning success. AT&T's Bell Labs earned six Nobel prizes for inventions such as the laser and the transistor.

Robert M. Siegmann:

When we net it all out, competition in the telecommunications industry has come at a tremendous cost -- our country has lost its crown jewel.

Where Have You Gone, Bell Labs?

S&P500 vs CDs (1994-2008)
Topic: Business 8:04 am EDT, Jul 10, 2009

Barry Ritholtz:

Imagine two people who added $10,000 to their investment accounts on January 1st, every year for the past 15 years.

One of them is risk averse. They put the money into Certificates of Deposits, getting a few percentage points each year, but the principal is insured.

The other is less risk averse; they put money into an S&P500 Index each year.

Who comes out ahead? The answer might surprise you.

Niall Ferguson:

A man who decided to put his savings into gold in 1970 could have bought just over 27.8 ounces of the precious metal for $1,000. At the time of writing, with gold trading at $900 an ounce, he could have sold it for around $25,000.

From Tarantino:

If my answers frighten you, then you should cease asking scary questions.

S&P500 vs CDs (1994-2008)

Turning a Corner?
Topic: Business 7:01 am EDT, Jul  8, 2009

Amanda Cox:

A chart of industrial production -- the output of manufacturers, miners and utility companies -- suggests that the economy is poised to turn around, but that the climb out of the current downturn will be a long one.

Matt Taibbi:

If America is now circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain.

Eric Janszen:

The bubble cycle has replaced the business cycle.

Ray Dalio:

Everybody should, at this point, try to understand ... that we are in a D-process. The D-process is a disease of sorts that is going to run its course.

Peter Schiff:

I think the slowdown in the global economy will be short-lived. But I think the US depression is going to be with us for a long time.

Hold on to your hat:

House prices in the U.S. from 1890 until 2005, plotted as a roller coaster that you ride from a first person perspective.

From last December, Nouriel Roubini:

Things are going to be awful for everyday people.

From a year ago:

Fortune offers a Flash animation showing the S&P 500 on a time line, alongside the US President and the Federal Reserve Chairman. Bear markets and recessions are highlighted for easy comparison.

Turning a Corner?

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