What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

30. October 2011

Date: 30-10-2011
Source: The New York Times

BETTER to be lucky than good, the adage goes.

And maybe that’s true — if you just want to be merely good, not much better than average. But what if you want to build or do something great? And what if you want to do so in today’s unstable and unpredictable world?

Recently, we completed a nine-year research study of some of the most extreme business successes of modern times. We examined entrepreneurs who built small enterprises into companies that outperformed their industries by a factor of 10 in highly turbulent environments. We call them 10Xers, for “10 times success.”

The very nature of this study — how some people thrive in uncertainty, lead in chaos, deal with a world full of big, disruptive forces that we cannot predict or control — led us to smack into the question, “Just what is the role of luck?”

Could it be that leaders’ skills account for the difference between just meeting their industry’s average performance (1X success) and doubling it (2X)? But that luck accounts for all the difference between 2X and 10X? Read the rest of this entry »

One country, two revolutions

24. October 2011

Tom Friedman, NYT. 23-10.

The latest phase in the I.T. revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga — with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and “the cloud” — those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from a cloud) by users on their smartphones, making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks.

Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, a cloud-based software provider, describes this phase of the I.T. revolution with the acronym SOCIAL. S, he says, is for speed — everything is now happening faster. O, he says, stands for open. If you don’t have an open environment inside your company or country, these new tools will blow you wide open. C is for collaboration because this revolution enables people to organize themselves within companies and societies into loosely coupled teams to take on any kind of challenges — from designing a new product to taking down a government. I is for individuals, who are able to reach around the globe to start something or collaborate on something farther, faster, deeper, cheaper than ever before — as individuals. A is for alignment. “There has never been a more important time to have all your ships sailing in the same direction,” said Benioff. “The power of social media is that it is easier than ever to both articulate, and reinforce, the vision and values that create and inspire alignment.” And L is for the leadership that does that. Leadership in a SOCIAL world has to be a mix of bottom-up and top-down. Leaders need to inspire, enable and empower everything coming up from below in a company or a social movement and then edit and sculpt it with a vision from above into a final product.

Read the whole article: http://fbkfinanzwirtschaft.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/one-country-two-revolutions/

Something is Happening Here

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011


When you see spontaneous social protests erupting from Tunisia to Tel Aviv to Wall Street, it’s clear that something is happening globally that needs defining. There are two unified theories out there that intrigue me. One says this is the start of “The Great Disruption.” The other says that this is all part of “The Big Shift.” You decide. 

Read further: http://fbkfinanzwirtschaft.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/something%e2%80%99s-happening-here/

Steve Jobs: ‘I Loved What I Did’

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011
Source: Technology Review By Jason Pontin
Subject: ‘I Loved What I Did’

What we can learn from the legacy and life of Steve Jobs.

Visionary: Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is silhouetted in the Apple logo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in June 2004.

It’s tolerably well known that newspapers and magazines bank the obituaries of the ailing famous. When Steve Jobs died last Wednesday, the encomia appeared with unsurprising haste. But I had nothing prepared. Ever since Jobs announced in 2004 that he had had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas, editors had urged me to get something down. (Only last week, an editor at Technology Review proposed that I might review Jobs’s life as if it were a book or a tablet computer.) But I always demurred. It seemed ghoulish. Besides, I wanted Steve to live forever, because I loved him.

I had grown to love him even though our relationship (such as it was) had always been chilly. On at least two occasions, I know I pissed him off. Read the rest of this entry »

Why No Apple in Europe?

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Why doesn’t Europe have its own Apple? 

European leaders are relying on up-and-coming entrepreneurs to stimulate job creation and economic growth they desperately need to solve the debt crisis and cool social tensions, but industry watchers say rules, red tape and financial conditions are stifling the emergence of top-notch, high-growth businesses. 

The European Union’s leaders have launched programs and tax breaks to tackle these problems, but some industry experts say they fall short:

too often they focus broadly across traditional Mom-and-Pop shops and fail to hone in on young, high-growth businesses that hold the key to job creation. 

“If you’re looking for breaking new innovation and fast employment growth, which is high on the agenda now, it’s these young firms that are particularly promising,” said Andrew Wyckoff , director of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s industry directorate. There should be “a difference in policy between young firms and small firms.”  Read the rest of this entry »