Multi-tasking: how to survive in the 21st century

4. September 2015

Date: 04-09-2015
Source: FT: Tim Harford

Modern life now forces us to do a multitude of things at once — but can we? Should we?

Forget invisibility or flight: the superpower we all want is the ability to do several things at once. Unlike other superpowers, however, being able to multitask is now widely regarded as a basic requirement for employability. Some of us sport computers with multiple screens, to allow tweeting while trading pork bellies and frozen orange juice. Others make do with reading a Kindle while poking at a smartphone and glancing at a television in the corner with its two rows of scrolling subtitles. We think nothing of sending an email to a colleague to suggest a quick coffee break, because we can feel confident that the email will be read within minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Connected cars: Tyred and wired

5. April 2015
April 3, 2015 6:57 pm

Andy Sharman

As the automobile becomes smarter, makers face a future where profits lie in technology more than metal
©FT graphic: Ian Bott

When Louise Chandler, a 31-year-old nurse from Surrey, hit a kerb in her Renault Clio in July 2013, it broke the rear axle, sending her spinning across the road and setting off the airbag. Moments later, she received a phone call. It was her insurer.“It was surreal,” she says. “I was all shaken up, had just been hit in the face and could not understand how on earth my insurer knew what was going on.” Read the rest of this entry »


FT interview with Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page

1. November 2014

Date: 01-11-2014
Source: The Financial Times

Even the search engine’s original mission is not big enough for what he now has in mind

PageGoogle co-founder Larry Page

Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if 90 per cent of the people with jobs put their feet up instead and left the robots to do the work? Why didn’t the last house you bought cost only 5 per cent of what you paid for it? And is there any reason why you or your children shouldn’t one day enjoy limitless cheap power from nuclear fusion and a greatly extended lifespan?

These are the sort of questions that occupy Larry Page. At 41, the co-founder and chief executive of Google is freeing himself up to think big. A reorganisation in recent days has shifted responsibility for much of his company’s current business to a lieutenant and left him with room to indulge his more ambitious urges. The message: the world’s most powerful internet company is ready to trade the cash from its search engine monopoly for a slice of the next century’s technological bonanza.

Silicon Valley Special

Looking forward 100 years from now at the possibilities that are opening up, he says: “We could probably solve a lot of the issues we have as humans.”
It is a decade on from the first flush of idealism that accompanied its stock market listing, and all Google’s talk of “don’t be evil” and “making the world a better place” has come to sound somewhat quaint. Its power and wealth have stirred resentment and brought a backlash, in Europe in particular, where it is under investigation for how it wields its monopoly power in internet search.

Page, however, is not shrinking an inch from the altruistic principles or the outsized ambitions that he and co-founder Sergey Brin laid down in seemingly more innocent times. “The societal goal is our primary goal,” he says. “We’ve always tried to say that with Google. I think we’ve not succeeded as much as we’d like.” Read the rest of this entry »


MBAs: Schools answer call for big data experts

17. July 2013

Date: 17-07-2013
Source: The Financial Times

Clive Holtham: ‘Value of big data less than being claimed’

Consumer industries are amassing huge data sets, highlighting the importance of choosing the right analytical models to help make commercial decisions.
Analysing data is a straightforward matter for statisticians or engineers, but not for many executives. As a result there is demand for more commercially savvy IT professionals, known as data scientists, and business schools are responding to this call.

Imperial College London recently announced a research partnership with Chinese telecoms company Huawei in July. Backed by the UK government, academic and business experts will work together to develop technologies that utilise “big data” – the term used to describe masses of information harvested from commercial activities, social media and other sources.

Another sign of the times can be seen at University of Oxford Saïd Business School, which has added a big data module to its MBA programme. This is taught through an online platform called “Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford”, and aims to help students learn how to ask questions of the data that will help an organisation to prosper. Read the rest of this entry »


Executive heads hunted by new tribes

5. March 2013

Date: 05-03-2013
Source: The Financial Times

The obvious threats are the crowd and the cloud

In Jo Nesbo’s thriller Headhunters, “king of the heap” search consultant Roger Brown has to fund his extravagant lifestyle by stealing art from the walls of candidates’ homes while his colleagues are interviewing them.

Real-life headhunters are also diversifying. Heidrick & Struggles, seeking to offset falling revenue and volumes in its search business, recently bought Senn Delaney, a “culture-shaping” consultancy. Heidrick’s US rival Spencer Stuart offers “board counsel” and executive assessment alongside search. Egon Zehnder, which in the 1960s pioneered the business in Europe, also sells advice to family businesses and newly hired CEOs. I also detect a surge in self-justifying comments from search consultants, the sort that begin: “There will always be a role for face-to-face advice?.?.?.”

Sound the disintermediation klaxon! Technological tools, new rivals and structural change have swallowed travel agents, insurance brokers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Executive search is next. Read the rest of this entry »


Stefan Stern: In search of the entrepreneur within

13. July 2009

from the “Financial Times”

Where some see only gloom right now, entrepreneurs see opportunity. As the risk averse withdraw, braver business leaders will step forward. An enthusiastic special report in The Economist in March 2009 anticipates a new golden age for entrepreneurship, declaring it an idea whose time has come. Its “triumph” is already assured. But when chief executives and other senior managers look within their organisations, do they see a lot of (frustrated) entrepreneurs waiting eagerly to put ideas forward? Somehow I doubt it. Even if they do, how comfortable are business leaders with the idea of encouraging, still less investing in, new ventures at a time like this? Read the rest of this entry »