I haven’t done a good listing of links lately, so here you go…
Fun: Gotta love this picture…
Video: Regular readers know that I love Seth Godin. If you have never heard him speak, take an opportunity to view this video of a speech he gave last year to a software developer’s conference.
Management: Netflix, a company that I admire for a lot of really great things, has posted a slide deck of how their corporate culture works. It is long (128 slides), but it reads quickly. It is a must read for any entrepreneur trying to establish a coherent and successful culture.
Time: I read this article a couple of weeks back and it keeps coming back to me with a simplicity of the content and yet the relevance. Paul Graham writes about Maker’s Schedule and Manager’s Schedule.
Behind the Scenes: Sometimes the government does it right. A couple of stories from the past several weeks have shown that our government does not necessarily have a tin ear when it comes to public opinion. First the story about President Obama writing a note to excuse a student, who was attending a Presidential speech, from class. Some of the people that I have talked to think that President Obama was being a smartass, but I believe that he took the time to talk one-on-one with a student in a very real and meaningful way. Another story was the US Navy allowing a group of top bloggers, including Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki to spend 24 hours on the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier. These bloggers were able to tell a story of the servicemen and servicewomen who work on our behalf and provide a very interesting group of reports including photos, podcasts and videos.
Entrepreneurship: Inc. Magazine wrote a nice piece on Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator. When I grow up, I want to be like Paul.
Thought for the Day:
My life is not adrift. There is no road map, but there is a horizon that I am moving towards. That horizon is broad, but it is informed by what I believe… The keel to your boat needs to be to your values, your principles, your beliefs and some sense of purpose, but that needs to be aimed at a horizon, not a point of latitude and longitude, because that point may turn out to be irrevelant.
– Randy Komisar
Economy: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable writes today on the Financial Times about 10 things that would help us to grow beyond our current economic crisis (and prevent another).
Entrepreneurship: Paul Graham writes about an interesting way to get entrepreneurship jump started in the US: change immigration law.
Government: Here are some factoids that I learned by looking at this chart:
The FBI costs half as much as the FAA.
We spent almost twice as much for Mine Resistant Vehicles as we did to fund the entire National Science Foundation.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense costs 11 times more than to run the Office of the President.
What did you find that was wacky?
Innovation: When entrepreneurs get together in Chicago, a common topic of conversation is how the city fares in terms of new business. A lot of entrepreneurs look longingly to either coast and the greener fields (in many respects 🙂 ) that beckon. McKinsey talks about innovation (not venture financing, alas), but Chicago fares pretty well in the diversity of companies that have been granted patents. We are third in the world, behind only Silicon Valley and Toyko in one measure of developing a diversified business base. I have always felt that this was a hidden gem in the Chicago economy, compared to the boom and bust cycles of mono-industry cities like Detroit, Houston, Denver or Hartford.
Leadership: A friend pointed me to this article on entrepreneurial leadership in this economy. (Hat Tip: BF)
Healthcare: Should America have universal healthcare? According to the experts, 50 million of us are not covered by health insurance. We pay significantly more for healthcare on a per capita basis, have less access to advanced technologies and actually have worse outcomes than most other countries. Joe Conason, writes about the issue in Salon today.
Entrepreneurship: Paul Graham‘s new rallying cry is “Be Relentlessly Resourceful“.
Economy: Wonder why the prices of groceries haven’t been going down, as raw materials prices have? So have the big grocery chains.
Entreprenurship: One of the things that entrepreneurs don’t talk a lot about is failure. But it happens. I know. Failure is the toughest thing in the world to go through, but probably the best learning experience. I know that I learned more from failures than from success, although success was much sweeter. Here is a story of failure in entrepreneurship.
Economy: Warren Buffett writes the best shareholder letter in the industry. He has just released the 2008 version. Besides his recollection of “We trust in God, all others pay cash”, he recounts the good and bad (unforced errors?) that made 2008 for Berkshire-Hathaway.
Writing: I pointed last week to Paul Graham‘s article on Startups in 13 Sentences. The folks at EtherPad, a developer of tools for collaborative editing, posted a demo of a future feature of their program that allows one to see the writing process in real time. The sample article that they used was the Paul Graham article. I was mesmerized.
Business: Alex Krupp writes in the SixMonthMBA blog about why entrepreneurs should get paid more than engineers. What do you think?
Social Action: Here is an intriguing idea. If a complete stranger offered to donate money to charity if they could have dinner with you, would you accept? I love the way that Franke James tells this story. Why wouldn’t it work elsewhere?
Entrepreneurship: Paul Graham has another winner – Startups in 13 Sentences. Another look at ways to win with a new venture.
Fun: I have talked before about the TED conference. Check out what David Merrill from MIT can do with Siftables, a computerized tile, that he and his team have built.
Marketing: Over at the Startup Blog, there were some good ideas and resources about improving your results from using PR, by focusing your copy on terms that are search engine optimized.
Big Ideas: Yesterday I wrote about Matt Miller’s book, The Tyranny of Dead Ideas. One of his other assertions in the book hit me pretty hard. He talks about the Lower Upper class in America. The Lower Uppers are those at the lower end of the Upper class. Those professionals, doctors, architects, lawyers, senior corporate executives and the like have been told all their life that the world is a meritocracy – you will earn in accordance with your merit. The financial meltdown has dealt these folks a different reality. When they see hedge fund managers making billions personally while losing their client’s funds, when they see corporate executives like Bob Nardelli take home hundreds of millions of dollars from Home Depot while not moving the stock price at all, when they see Stan O’Neal rewarded with a severance package worth over a hundred million while leaving Merrill Lynch in a position where it had to be sold — these Lower Uppers, to use a line from the movie Network, are” mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” Matt wrote a column in the Daily Beast where he talks about the positive things that might come out of this.
Big Picture: Paul Graham is a very strategic thinker. In his essay, “Keep Your Identity Small“, he compares religious and political arguments to most others. The key, he opines, is that you don’t have to be an expert to argue about either topic. In most other areas, one doesn’t usually participate in an discussion unless she has a minimum level of expertise. In religion and politics, anything goes. Paul advises us to keep our Identity small, so that we can be more tolerant of other’s positions.
Consulting: Ian Ayres talked about relational versus non-relational arrangements with large consulting companies. Pretty dull stuff, until Ian related these to Charlie Sheen‘s trial for using prostitutes and his quote “I don’t pay them for sex. I pay them to leave.”
Chicago: What if Oprah bought the Chicago Sun-Times?, Phil Rosenthal muses.
Business: Time Magazine discusses how this recession compares with others regarding job losses. It is scary out there folks.
Art: Something about the economy must be helping the Lego folks. There was a creative look at New York via Lego. And then this story about an artist who uses Lego bricks in his creations. And the inauguration in Lego.