Importance of Social Networks and Idea Execution

The first reason is that Darwin’s network was much, much better than Wallace’s. Darwin was friends with Hooker, Lyell and Huxley. It was Hooker and Huxley that arranged the joint presentation of Darwin’s and Wallace’s papers to the Linnean Society after Wallace submitted his before Darwin was ready to publish The Origin of Species. One of the reasons that Darwin became synonymous with natural selection is that he had pre-existing strong relationships with the people that needed to use and write about the theory. The modern lesson is that your network connections are critically important. When you try to get your ideas to spread, it helps tremendously if you are well-connected within the network of people that can use your idea (and this is true whether your idea is a product, a service, a way of doing things, or a theory).


by Tim Kastelle

Importance of Social Networks and Idea ExecutionI’ve always been a fan of Charles Darwin. I think that he was a great scientist – a careful observer and deep thinker. But I still agree with many of Richard Lewontin’s points from his article about Darwin in the New York Review of Books. The main point that Lewontin makes in the first half of the article is that much of the Darwin fetishism these days is out of proportion to the quality of Darwin’s work. In particular, he tries to move away from the great man theory of science. In doing so, Lewontin cites Alfred Russel Wallace’s simultaneous publication of a theory of natural selection, and the dependence of both theories on a hereditary mechanism as developed by Mendel. So instead of talking about Darwinian evolution, Lewontin maintains that we should be discussing Darwinian-Wallacian-Mendelian evolution.

Fair enough – we probably should be doing exactly that. Or we should be calling it the modern synthesis to recognise the great genetics-based development of evolutionary theory in the 20th century. So why do we still often talk about Darwinism? Darwin and Wallace first published their pieces on natural selection at the same time – they essentially had the same idea. Why did Darwin’s version have the greater impact? I have two reasons for this, and both are important for modern innovators to understand. Leer más “Importance of Social Networks and Idea Execution”

Can the Brazilians Rescue Burger King?

“I’ve been to this movie a few times.” Such was the response of one prominent Burger King franchisee, when asked his reaction to the $4 billion leveraged buyout that will take the country’s no. 2 hamburger chain private for the second time in the past decade. In 2002, investment firms TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners bought Burger King from Diageo, the U.K.-based spirits maker, for $1.5 billion. The company tapped the public markets in 2006, but now 3G Capital Management, a New York investment firm backed by prominent Brazilian businessmen, has agreed to acquire the chain for $24 a share, a 46% premium on Burger King’s August 31 closing price.

To this skeptical franchisee, these ownership shuffles threaten to mask the more crucial issues facing the company: lousy sales — down 1.4% for the fiscal year ending on June 30, lousy profits down 6.6% during the period and lousy relations between the company and its franchisees last November, the local owners sued Burger King over its insistence that franchises sell Double Cheeseburgers for just $1.


A meal at a Burger King restaurant.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

“I’ve been to this movie a few times.” Such was the response of one prominent Burger King franchisee, when asked his reaction to the $4 billion leveraged buyout that will take the country’s no. 2 hamburger chain private for the second time in the past decade. In 2002, investment firms TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners bought Burger King from Diageo, the U.K.-based spirits maker, for $1.5 billion. The company tapped the public markets in 2006, but now 3G Capital Management, a New York investment firm backed by prominent Brazilian businessmen, has agreed to acquire the chain for $24 a share, a 46% premium on Burger King’s August 31 closing price.

To this skeptical franchisee, these ownership shuffles threaten to mask the more crucial issues facing the company: lousy sales — down 1.4% for the fiscal year ending on June 30, lousy profits down 6.6% during the period and lousy relations between the company and its franchisees last November, the local owners sued Burger King over its insistence that franchises sell Double Cheeseburgers for just $1. Leer más “Can the Brazilians Rescue Burger King?”

Breve historia del pensamiento económico I: del Mercantilismo al Marxismo

Aunque fueron frecuentes las divergencias entre los economistas desde la publicación de La Riqueza de las Naciones (1776) de Smith hasta la de Principios de Economía Política (1848) de Mill, los economistas pertenecientes a esta escuela coincidían en los conceptos principales. Todos defendían la propiedad privada, los mercados y creían, como decía Mill, que “sólo a través del principio de la competencia tiene la economía política una pretensión de ser ciencia”.

Compartían la desconfianza de Smith hacia los gobiernos, y su fe ciega en el poder del egoísmo y su famosa “mano invisible”, que hacía posible que el bienestar social se alcanzara mediante la búsqueda individual del interés personal.

Los clásicos tomaron de Ricardo el concepto de rendimientos decrecientes, que afirma que a medida que se aumenta la fuerza de trabajo y el capital que se utiliza para labrar la tierra, disminuyen los rendimientos o, como decía Ricardo, ”superada cierta etapa, no muy avanzada, el progreso de la agricultura disminuye de una forma paulatina”.

El alcance de la ciencia económica se amplió de manera considerable cuando Smith subrayó el papel del consumo sobre el de la producción. Smith confiaba en que era posible aumentar el nivel general de vida del conjunto de la comunidad.


adam-smith-historia-del-pensamiento-economicoHace una semana leí un muy interesante artículo sobre  historia de la economía escrito por Sebastián Laza hace al menos 5 años. Trata de manera muy breve y completa sobre las 8 principales corrientes de pensamiento económico desde Grecia hasta nuestros días. Está escrito en un lenguaje muy sencillo para los profanos en la materia, por lo que cualquiera que tenga curiosidad y 15 minutos podrá aprender mucho con ambos artículos. Para hacer más amena su lectura, he dividido el artículo original de Sebastián en dos posts.

Imagen: Adam Smith, padre del capitalismo. Fuente: Google Sites. Leer más “Breve historia del pensamiento económico I: del Mercantilismo al Marxismo”

Japan Has More Than Just a Yen Crisis

Disappointment over token efforts resulted in exactly what Japan didn’t want: an even stronger yen, which has gone from 85.2 to the greenback on Aug. 23 to 84.4 on Sept. 1. Suzuki Motor Chairman Osamu Suzuki, who has built a big export business for his company’s sturdy little cars, speaks for many when he says of the currency: “I spend every day feeling anxious about this.”

So do politicians in Tokyo. That they are at a loss to do anything about it has Japan suffering the same fate as Aesop’s boy who warned of crisis so often that no one took him seriously anymore.

As the dollar and euro slide, the yen rises by default. Rarely before has it been so difficult for Japan to control its currency. The yen’s jump to a 15-year high says much about where Japan finds itself in 2010. Here are three specific things to consider about Japan’s plight.


The currency crisis is merely one symptom of the country’s general aversion to change after the boom-and-bust 1980s

By William Pesek

It’s the economy that cried wolf.

With growth slowing, deflation deepening, and the yen inexplicably surging in late August, Japanese policymakers pledged bold action. Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa rushed home from Jackson Hole, Wyo., to deal with the emergency. Investors braced for aggressive intervention. The media mobilized on Aug. 30 to cover Prime Minister Naoto Kan unveiling a fat stimulus package to counter the export-crimping effects of a strong yen. Then—nothing. Leer más “Japan Has More Than Just a Yen Crisis”

Launch your dream career in ‘retirement’

So while it might not be possible to completely stop work at 55 (an age when many women would like to retire, Fitzhardinge says), at least she might be able to reduce her hours at work and transition into a role that excites her. Fitzhardinge says often these roles aren’t as lucrative as the salaries women have enjoyed earlier in their career, but they provide a top-up to income into retirement, and can be merged with lifestyle as much as possible.

As part of this strategy, Fitzhardinge works with women to add skills development into their financial plan so they can begin to build the skills they will need in their new ‘passion’ career.


An assortment of United States coins, includin...

For many of us dreams of retirement include visions of finally having the time to do all those things we’ve never had the time to do. But did you ever imagine your ‘retirement’ planning might include a way to finally embark on a business idea you are passionate about?

Linda Fitzhardinge is an empowerment coach at the organisation Women Building Wealth. She gives women financial advice and encourages them to take an holistic approach to their health, wealth and spirit – and says all three elements are closely inter-related.

Fitzhardinge says there are times when she has met with a client to discuss her retirement plans and the session has ended in tears because dreams do not align with financial reality.

But instead of focussing on the negatives of such a realisation, Fitzhardinge has been working with older women to draw out their ideas for earning income from ideas they are passionate about. Leer más “Launch your dream career in ‘retirement’”

What President Obama Can Learn From Steve Jobs

I have long held that the most qualified people to be in government are business folk. Not just Billionaires like Mayor Bloomberg, but anyone who has successfully run anything, been responsible for making payrolls, paying back loans, paying bills on time, navigating through good times and bad. Most important: balancing a budget. But the reality is most people who have these credentials are too smart to get sucked into the dysfunction of the public sector. Nor will they submit themselves to the relentless intrusion and scrutiny of the press. So what’s the next best thing for the “beleaguered” President? Take some lessons from the guys who know how to really get things done. And who better than the best CEO in the Universe: Steve Jobs.


obama jobs

The sunlight of summer has begun it’s annual transition to equinox, and we are all reviving the pulse of the work-year.The President has returned from Martha’s Vineyard to face what will surely be a challenging fall.  It’s mid-term election season and the mood of the voting public is downright ornery.

ODS (Obama Disappointment Syndrome) a growing wave of depression, has created a huge anti-incumbent wave.  “Throw ‘em all out!” seems to be the mantra of the season.

In the last couple of weeks the number of negative op-eds on the President from both sides of the aisle have grown considerably.  The mildest theme seems to be “he is too smart to be in touch with the people,” or “we just don’t know who you are or what you really are about Mr. President.”  The really challenging ones drift into the inevitable issues of racism.
Leer más “What President Obama Can Learn From Steve Jobs”

Fidel Castro reapareció en un acto masivo en La Habana


INTERNACIONALES

El ex presidente cubano Fidel Castro volvió a advertir sobre el riesgo de una guerra nuclear en el planeta, en su primera alocución pública luego de que en 2006 se alejara del poder por problemas de salud.

El líder revolucionario se presentó este viernes ante una multitud en las escalinatas de la universidad de La Habana con su uniforme verde oliva y gorra, y leyó un discurso de unos 50 minutos a la población, reseñó Ansa. Leer más “Fidel Castro reapareció en un acto masivo en La Habana”

5 Signs Your Brand is in Trouble

Telling employee to not think but just act

A disdain for thinking certainly runs through the other items on the list. When senior executives are telling people to not over-think and just get on with stuff, it’s a clear warning sign. Maybe it is a slow-moving organization stalling innovation efforts which are ready to be implemented. But a “don’t think, do” motto is used frequently as an excuse to not consider an appropriate variety of fact-based strategic options or to avoid exposing flawed strategies when they should be modified or shot down. This warning sign is a harbinger of hearing the age old cop-out, “I was just following orders.”

Using policy in place of good decision making

Making decisions in a challenging business situation is hard, especially for a big corporation. It means having to think through the ripple effects of decisions or adapting decision making principles to many situations based on specific issues at hand. An alternative, which can be overused, is to take the easy way out and enforce strict policy to displace strategic decision making. For example, telling every department to cut its budget 25% when the smarter strategic approach is really understanding critical business areas and making strategic decisions to fit each situation. Leading with policy over decision making is fast, but it’s sloppy and potentially crippling when used too frequently.


by Mike Brown

5 Signs Your Brand is in TroubleSeveral years ago I started doing a presentation on lessons in turnaround brand building. The presentation features strategic lessons in raising a brand from the brink of collapse to tremendous success. The lessons are applicable to not only brands, but also to departments in companies, projects, and even personal life.

With the subsequent dramatic economic meltdown, many once-stellar brands have disappeared for various reasons and a new niche has developed in predicting which brands will vanish in the near-term.

In these cases, any type of attempted strategic brand turnaround has obviously failed. In my own corporate experience, I witnessed a significant unraveling of the incredible turnaround and brand building work that had been done. As an early step in refreshing and re-orienting the turnaround branding content, here are five observations about what happens to strategic thinking when a brand is in distress. Consider these early warning signs for a potential brand collapse:

Detaching from the brand’s strategic foundation

When the economy is in crisis, it seems almost fashionable to abandon strategic efforts. That’s a dangerous strategy (or absence of one). I met with a CEO last year who said outright his business wouldn’t be doing ANYTHING strategic for at least six months. What a complete misunderstanding of the concept! The company was engaged in all kinds of financial maneuvers (which were strategic, albeit near-term) to survive while ignoring the very strategic upside opportunities it couldn’t afford to put off if it were going to turn around its fortunes. Leer más “5 Signs Your Brand is in Trouble”

Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings

What is the one thing we must get right to make this website/application worth undertaking?
Unless you are working with an organization that has already developed a detailed project plan, this question should generate a lot of different answers. Especially if you talk to different departments with different vested interests. Knowing where the specific tensions exist will inform specific activities you can do to define priorities and explore feasibility during the kickoff meeting.
How does your organization define success? What is the role of the website/application in achieving that success?
Nothing happens without a larger context. In tough economic times it can be an uphill battle just to secure the budget for a project, and it can be easy to lose sight of why the project was needed in the first place. Knowing the difference between project goals and organizational goals will help you define priorities and scope. If a specific functionality isn’t critical to organizational success, it’s a “nice-to-have” and a good candidate to leave out of your kickoff meeting discussion, and possibly the project altogether.
What aspects of the internal culture or external environment could put this redesign/application at risk to fail?
There’s something that everyone thinks is going to derail this project: They just haven’t told you what it is yet. The sooner you know, the better. Have they tried this before, only to fail? If so, why? During the kickoff meeting, you must establish how this project is going to be different than other previous, possibly unsuccessful, attempts. Knowing insider history and the team’s unique understanding of the market in which this website will thrive are the building blocks of differentiation.
(Follow up question) Assuming we mitigate that risk, what would exceed your wildest dreams?
The flip side of the previous question is that everyone has a fantasy version of the project in their heads. You never know what great ideas might be lurking in those fantasies; ideas that haven’t been shared yet because they were considered too unrealistic or outrageous might be the most exciting ideas.


by Kevin M. Hoffman

Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings

During project-based work, every freelancer, agency, or internal department has “the kickoff meeting.” In theory, this meeting should have all the energy, excitement, and potential of the opening salvo of the Superbowl. Project team members should be inspired coming out of that meeting, full of ideas, and a desire to begin exploring solutons. Agencies and freelancers should begin to see their clients as friends and collaborators with unique insights that can only come from frank, open discussion of the design challenge at hand. But this rarely happens.

Every meeting is an opportunity. Why waste your first one?

In reality, kickoff meetings range from somewhat boring to straight-up awkward, and can be an expensive reiteration of project details we already know, assembling the most expensive, busiest people and generating little measurable project benefit. We have to start the project somewhere, but something is often missing in the kickoff meeting; something that is an obvious part of the football analogy—analysis and strategy. Before that kicker sends the ball across the field, coaches spend a lot of time reviewing tapes, applicable statistics, and more—what we in the web business call “research.”

WhatWhen is a kickoff meeting?… Leer más “Kick Ass Kickoff Meetings”

La economía brasileña crece más que EEUU y la UE

El ministro de Hacienda, Guido Mantega, había adelantado este lunes que el crecimiento rondaría entre el 0,5% y el 1% entre abril y junio. Ya pronosticaba, por tanto, un enfriamiento después del 2,7% registrado entre enero y marzo respecto al último trimestre de 2009.

Las cifras definitivas, anunciadas este viernes por el Instituto Brasileño de Geografía y Estadística (IBGE), muestran una expansión del 1,2% en comparación con el trimestre anterior y del 8,8% en relación al mismo periodo del año anterior.

En lo que va de año, comparado con los seis primeros meses de 2009, el PIB se expandió un 8,9% hasta alcanzar los 900.665 millones de reales (unos 517.000 millones de dólares). Nunca antes la economía brasileña había exhibido un desempeño semejante desde que comenzó la serie histórica del IBGE en 1996.


Beautiful Brazil, from beautiful friends, than...

EL PIB ALCANZÓ POR PRIMERA VEZ LOS US$ 517.000 MILLONES

Brasil creció un 1,2% durante el segundo trimestre del año, por encima de las previsiones del Gobierno, ratificando que el gigante sudamericano avanza a un ritmo superior que Estados Unidos (0,4%) y la Unión Europea (1%).

La economía brasileña creció un 1,2% durante el segundo trimestre del año, confirmando cierta desaceleración esperada tras el récord alcanzado en el primero. La tasa de expansión del PIB, por encima de las previsiones del Gobierno, ratifica que el gigante sudamericano aún avanza a un ritmo superior que Estados Unidos (0,4%) y la Unión Europea (1%).
Leer más “La economía brasileña crece más que EEUU y la UE”

[ARG] Cristina abrió su cuenta en Twitter y tiene a un misterioso personaje

Aunque tiene pocas horas de vida, la cuenta de la presidenta ya sufrió un cambio de look. Pasó de un fondo de color violeta oscuro y tonos lilas con estrellitas blancas, a un sobrio violeta más claro. Desde aquí, se asegura que pertenece a Cristina Fernández y que es la “única cuenta TW autorizada y oficial”. En ella la mandataria se define en su mini biografía online como “Peronista, Abogada, Presidenta de la Nación Argentina”.

Al margen del estreno, uno de los datos curiosos de su cuenta es el listado de twitteros a los que la presidenta está siguiendo. Son 18. Políticos, legisladores, funcionarios. Entre ellos, su jefe de Gabinete, su cuñada, la cuenta oficial de la TV Pública y Santiago Pappolla.


Se hace llamar @SantiagoBlue79 en esa red y es el único desconocido de la lista de personas a las que “sigue” la Presidenta. ¿Un joven K?

Google devuelve su cuenta en Twitter y no mucho más cuando se busca información sobre Santiago Pappolla, el misterioso personaje que la presidenta Cristina Kirchner sigue desde su flamante cuenta en Twitter.

La mandataria se volvió twittera el 26 de agosto pasado cuando abrió su cuenta @CFKArgentina en la red social y dejó un escueto mensaje. “Pronto tendremos novedades en esta direccion (sic)”. No salió a gritarlo a los cuatro vientos ni volvió a escribir en ella hasta el 31 de agosto. Ese día prometió –en vano- a las 7.17 am: “Esperamos tener activa esta cuenta esta semana”. No se supo más de ella en Twitter hasta que el canciller Héctor Timerman la saludó hoy en la red. “Bienvenida Compañera Cristina a Twitter. Aquí también la apoyamos a construir un país más justo con Memoria, Verdad y Justicia”, escribió el canciller. Leer más “[ARG] Cristina abrió su cuenta en Twitter y tiene a un misterioso personaje”

Ni es mezquita ni está en la zona cero

Nueva York” para que un consumidor de noticias entienda a qué me refiero. Lo grave es que no se trata de una mezquita y tampoco está en la zona cero de Manhattan.

Aún más preocupante es que muchos medios de comunicación, incluido BBC Mundo, caímos en el error y sólo me di cuenta de ello cuando leí un link de un artículo del Guardian que puso en su perfil de Facebook mi colega Inma Gil.

El tono del texto del articulista del diario británico no me gustó, pero me dio una gran lección y me abrió los ojos.

Y es que el simple hecho de que la gran mayoría de los medios de comunicación describamos como “Mezquita en la zona cero” a un proyecto de construcción de un centro cultural islámico en Bajo Manhattan, ayuda a desinformar, por decir lo menos.

La polémica de la construcción se convirtió en un tema político que puede atraer miles de votos en las elecciones legislativas de noviembre en Estados Unidos y ya varios candidatos lo aprovechan.


Protesta frente al lugar de contrucción del centro islámicoBasta con escribir “mezquita en la zona cero de Nueva York” para que un consumidor de noticias entienda a qué me refiero. Lo grave es que no se trata de una mezquita y tampoco está en la zona cero de Manhattan.

Aún más preocupante es que muchos medios de comunicación, incluido BBC Mundo, caímos en el error y sólo me di cuenta de ello cuando leí un link de un artículo del Guardian que puso en su perfil de Facebook mi colega Inma Gil.

El tono del texto del articulista del diario británico no me gustó, pero me dio una gran lección y me abrió los ojos.

Y es que el simple hecho de que la gran mayoría de los medios de comunicación describamos como “Mezquita en la zona cero” a un proyecto de construcción de un centro cultural islámico en Bajo Manhattan, ayuda a desinformar, por decir lo menos.

La polémica de la construcción se convirtió en un tema político que puede atraer miles de votos en las elecciones legislativas de noviembre en Estados Unidos y ya varios candidatos lo aprovechan. Leer más “Ni es mezquita ni está en la zona cero”

España salió del grupo de los PIGS


El FMI sacó al país del grupo que formaba con Portugal, Italia y Grecia en un reciente informe sobre deuda pública. Ahora se codea con Reino Unido y Estados Unidos, “países con serios problemas fiscales pero menos acuciantes”.

El grupo de los PIGS en el mapa de Europa

El grupo de los PIGS en el mapa de Europa Leer más “España salió del grupo de los PIGS”