29 November 2013

The Google 8-Point Plan for Management Improvement

Google’s 8-Point Plan to Help Managers Improve - NYTimes.com: "Mr. Bock’s group found that technical expertise — the ability, say, to write computer code in your sleep — ranked dead last among Google’s big eight. What employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers. “In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” Mr. Bock says. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”" (read more at link above)

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27 November 2013

Ted Schlein, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins: Can Ted Schlein lead venture capital firm back to glory? - SiliconValley.com: " . . . . In a valley where top venture capitalists are treated as rock stars, Schlein -- small, balding and bespectacled -- is far from a household name. But for the past seven years, he has quietly helped Doerr run Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. . . . Schlein -- who seldom grants interviews -- told this newspaper he's well aware of the whispers that Kleiner Perkins has lost its mojo . . . "People in the industry will say what they're going to say," he continued. "Until we prove them otherwise.". . . Kleiner Perkins missed out on Facebook and LinkedIn, two of the biggest deals in recent venture history. And the firm's $1 billion cleantech fund has seen few hits and several notable meltdowns, including carmaker Fisker Automotive. Schlein and Doerr won't discuss the February investor meeting, at which the two men reportedly promised better returns for the pension funds and university endowments that trust Kleiner with their money. What Schlein does acknowledge is that the criticisms are painful. "I take it very personally," he said. "Venture capital is about your commitment to your partners, to your investors. You want to deliver for them." . . . . " (read more at link above)

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25 November 2013

Jobs, stock market, inefficiency

To create jobs, the stock market needs a little inefficiency - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blogTerm Sheet: " . . . As part of the JOBS Act (passed last year), the SEC was asked to study the effects of decimalization on liquidity in the small cap market. To date, the SEC has held a series of public hearings on the topic but has not implemented any formal changes to the capital markets.
As co-chair of the Equity Capital Formation Task Force, I am calling on the SEC to implement a multi-year pilot program designed to demonstrate that increasing the trading increments for small cap stocks from $0.01 to $0.05 will, in fact, increase trading liquidity in these markets -- thus driving higher volumes of small cap IPOs, growing jobs and creating attractive investment opportunities for 58 million households. No doubt market efficiency is a laudable goal, but not at the expense of simplicity, and not if it means the collapse of a market that holds the key to sustained U.S. job growth, economic development and technology breakthroughs."
--Scott Kupor (managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz)

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22 November 2013

Top States for Private Equity

Private Equity At Work | PEGCC Unveils Third Annual “Private Equity: Top States and Districts”: "Private equity firms invested $347 billion in more than 2,000 U.S.-based companies last year, according to the third annual “Private Equity: Top States and Districts” analysis released today by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The analysis ranks the top 20 states and congressional districts by investment value and the number of investments. You can find the “Private Equity: Top States and Districts” data on the Private Equity at Work state-by-state map. Texas received the most investment from private equity (measured in dollars invested) totaling $46.6 billion in 222 companies, followed by California, Colorado, Illinois and Florida. Colorado’s 6thCongressional District, represented by Rep. Mike Coffman, received $17.2 billion and ranks as the top district for private equity investment. Congressional districts represented by Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) and Kenny Marchant (TX-24) rounded out the top five. . . ." (read more at link above)

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20 November 2013

Total Open Miind, Hertz CEO Mark Frissora

Leading in the 21st century: An interview with Hertz CEO Mark Frissora | McKinsey & Company: "Mark Frissora: Most people, including CEOs, have too much pride. Pride gets in the way of what we call TOM—Total Open Mind—which is our shorthand for an entrepreneurial, innovation orientation. We say “No pride allowed. If you’re not in TOM mode, we can’t have this conversation.” I try to surround myself with a team that embraces these same principles, and then I try to drive it deeper and deeper into the organization using our stated values in our management objectives. We are methodical about making sure our team is aligned on the idea of Total Open Mind."

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18 November 2013

Bono, Foreign Aid, Capitalism

U2's Bono Courageously Embraces Capitalism - Forbes: " . . . Question: Which countries gave foreign aid to the U.S. during the 19th century as it became the wealthiest country in the world? Answer: None, but considerable foreign capital was invested along with a lot of international trade. Similarly, Zhou Xiaochuan, the head of China’s central bank, has stated that China’s policies for further economic growth must be based on continuing to “promote trade and investment.” Foreign aid, in contrast to trade and investment, has a dismal record. Countries that have received large aid packages have largely remained poor. Two World Bank studies attribute this to the fact that foreign aid often props up regimes that govern poorly. Statistics have shown that the most aid-dependent countries have averaged slightly negative economic growth, leaving them mired in poverty. Aid isn’t the answer. How encouraging, then, for me to learn that Bono now understands that, too. One of my students sent me a video clip, showing Bono addressing an audience of students at Georgetown University, in which he states, “Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce—entrepreneurial capitalism—takes more people out of poverty than aid.” Bono also says, “In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is the cure. . . .” (read more at link above)

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15 November 2013

VC investment in software hit 12-year highs

As Steve Ballmer would say, "software, software, software" --

Venture capital investments in software hit 12-year highs - SiliconValley.com: " . . . John Taylor, head of research at the venture capital association, pointed out that more than half of the quarter's deals were in early and seed-stage startups. Dollars invested in early-stage companies -- those past the garage phase but still small -- rose to their highest level in 12 years, the report found. "There's credible reason to be optimistic about the future of innovation and the vibrancy of the startup ecosystem," Taylor said. He added, however, that even with the hot IPO market, there are still plenty of venture firms awaiting liquidity for prior investments. What's more, the number of companies at any stage of maturity that received venture funding for the first time rose 8 percent compared with the previous quarter. There again, the software industry ruled the roost: Nearly half the companies landing first-time investments in the third quarter were in software. For investors, it comes down to simple math, McCaffrey said: "There's such energy in the software sector now, it's hard to ignore.". . ." (read more at link above)

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13 November 2013

Large, Global, Weird, Silicon Valley

Lots of places claim they want to be the Next Silicon Valley. Really. Yet, do ANY of the wannabes truly want what makes Silicon Valley unique? For example -- lots of foreign workers holding 2 out of 3 jobs, and weirdness?

Why the “Next Silicon Valley” Doesn’t Really Exist | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Silicon Valley has 400,000 workers broadly in the tech sector. If you count the supporting infrastructure of service providers, it might be twice that size. That workforce is global. Almost two-thirds of people working in Silicon Valley are “foreign workers.” People migrate to the Valley from all over the world. They bring a very diverse set of experiences on how industries in different countries work. And it’s weird. Some argue that Silicon Valley perhaps has higher rates of people with Asperger’s, people on the Autism spectrum disorder, and people with dyslexia, and that this in fact contributes to its enduring success. . . ." (read more the link above)

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11 November 2013

Surviving the Unemployment Economy

Surviving the post-employment economy - Opinion - Al Jazeera English: " . . . In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM - science, technology, engineering and medicine - are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester. . . ." read more at the link above

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08 November 2013

Why Sweden Has More Billionaires than the US per capita

Sweden’s billionaires: They have more per capita than the United States.: " . . . The Swedish tax code was substantially reformed in 1990 to be friendlier toward capital accumulation, with a flat rate on investment income. Sweden has no taxes on inheritance or residential property, and its 22 percent corporate income tax rate is far lower than America’s 35 percent. Even after spending cuts by the current center-right government, the Swedish public sector is still about half the total economy (much higher than here), but the taxes that finance it fall more heavily on consumption and less on business investment than in the U.S. Sweden also has a relatively lightly regulated economy. There are rules about public health and environmental protection, of course. But Sweden is arguably further down the neoliberal path of dismantling purely economic regulations than the U.S. In Stockholm, for example, taxi fares are completely unregulated and for-profit charter schools are common. All things considered, international surveys rank Sweden as a place where it’s easy to do business. Within the U.S., surveys show that licensing rules rather than tax rates are the main driver of local business-friendliness. . . ." (read more at links above)

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04 November 2013

Perceived High Quality A Key to Success

The secrets of shopping | The University of Chicago Booth School of Business: "For example, Coke and RC Cola are similar products, but Coke is more successful because people prefer it. Why they prefer it, whether they’re influenced by advertising or other factors, is a secondary matter for the researchers. All they consider, besides price, is the perceived quality . . . The early results are upending a long-held belief that the most successful companies are the ones that focus on reining in expenses or establishing economies of scale. “The key determinant of firm success is quality, much more than cost,” Weinstein says. “The most successful firms produce goods that consumers think are high quality. It’s not just about lower prices.”" (read more at link above)

Think Apple.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre Entrepreneurs | TechCrunch: " . . . . persistence is not the self-help cliche “Keep going until you hit the finish line!”. The key slogan is, “Keep failing until you accidentally no longer fail.” That’s persistence." - James Altucher

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