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Best content from the best source handpicked by Shyam. The source include The Harvard University, MIT, Mckinsey & Co, Wharton, Stanford,and other top educational institutions. domains include Cybersecurity, Machine learning, Deep Learning, Bigdata, Education, Information Technology, Management, others.

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    3 Ways to Excel at Work

    Imagine this. You're having a great day. You're checking things off the to do list.

    Then boom! You hit a wall worse than a marathoner bonking at mile 20.
    You want to crawl under your desk for the next hour. When you finally recover, you've lost an hour that you some how have to make up for. Most people either stay late or work from home at night.
    This is just one of many examples of how we survive at work instead of excel. Unfortunately, just surviving seems widespread since some 74 percent of people wouldn't mind a new job according to Forbes.
    So how do you excel at work?
    Most of us think we have to go the extra mile. Work harder. Take more on.
    Wrong.
    The real secret to excelling at work is learning to better fuel your body and soul. In this case, we're talking about learning how to thrive. The following three easy steps will help you excel at work with more productivity and engagement.
    Feed Your Brain
    With the decrease in manufacturing jobs, we have become an intellectual economy. Whether services or products, most employees are hired for their brain not their brawn. Even retail, customer care and sales people must use their brains if they want to excel, thrive and earn bigger commissions.
    Most people, however, are feeding their brains on survival mode. A 2004 study showed that ¾ of all restaurant meals were from fast food. Despite the success of the Food Network and cooking shows, we are eating most meals from the Standard American Diet playbook -- sodas, energy drinks, sugar, fried foods and refined and processed foods. The truth is, we can do all the Sudoku we want to improve our brain function, but it's of little benefit if we aren't providing our brain the nutrients it needs to create more neurons for better thinking.
    To excel, you must start eating brain foods. Specifically eat a diet rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like nuts, avocados, cold-water fish, deep green vegetables like spinach and kale and pumpkins seeds. Antioxidants are another great brain food and can be found in berries, high quality chocolate and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. kale, broccoli and cauliflower).
    Excel Tip: For managers looking to get more brain power out of their employees, work with your facilities and human resources managers to ditch the soda and snacks machines and stock the kitchen with brain healthy foods. Some examples are: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, fruit especially berries, fruit smoothies, guacamole, snack bars with nuts, dates and flaxseeds.
    Sleep Is Not For Slackers
    At a National Association of Women Business Owner panel I attended several months ago, I listened in horror as each CEO of a multi-million dollar company was proudly sharing how she was sleep deprived. They wore their sleep deprivation like a badge of honor.
    Sadly, these successful women were teaching that to create a growing, thriving business you must give up sleep. But sleep deprivation puts us in survival mode once we get to work, where we are constantly seeking out sugar and caffeine to make it through the day.
    I asked myself, what if they hadn't given up on sleep? What if they had drawn a line and insisted on eight hours sleep? Might their company be even more successful?
    The research certainly supports that notion. We see the amount of sleep college students get affecting grades by as much as a whole letter grade for each hour of additional sleep.
    Lack of sleep reduces productivity. The April edition of the Harvard Business Reviewreported on a study at Singapore Management University about sleep deprivation and productivity. The study showed that for every hour of sleep that was interrupted, the participants spent 20 percent more time "cyberloafing" (i.e., personal email and checking social networking sites instead of working. Not exactly excelling.
    Excel Tip: Make 8-hours sleep a daily non-negotiable. If you think that will be the kiss of death at work (like I did), take this data to your boss and suggest changing your work hours, or working from home so you can skip your commute.
    Practice Giving
    A giving work place culture translates into a high energy, thriving work culture. Specifically, giving yields higher-profitability, productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction, according to research by Nathan Podsakoff of the University of Arizona. Giving also translates to lower costs and turnover rates.
    As an employee looking to excel, giving can be your secret weapon.
    When you are in survival mode, you feel pressed for time, huddled at your computer, typing away, just trying to get it all done, not making waves and hoping the next round of budget cuts doesn't land you in the unemployment line. Giving is not something you're thinking of when you're just surviving and that can be holding you back.
    Giving makes us feels good and that is the key to excelling at work or any endeavor. Giving also releases endorphins that make us happy. I suspect this happiness leads to more creativity and engagement and thus the business results found by Podsakoff.
    Excel Tip: A couple of times a day, get up and visit a co-worker for a few minutes. Find out what they are working on and how you might be able to help. Even if you can only offer them a different perspective on the problem they are working on you will have served, you increase your value to the company and you feel good.
    Sometimes it's the small changes we make in our behavior that have the most profound results. Excelling at work doesn't have to be complicated. Sure continual learning and skills acquisition is important, but these simple steps can yield big results.


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    How and Why to Be a Leader (Not a Wannabe)

    We're in the midst of a Great Dereliction — a historic failure of leadership, precisely when we need it most. Hence it's difficult, looking around, to even remember what leadership is. We're surrounded by people who are expert at winning — elections, deals, titles, bonuses, bailouts, profit. And often, we're told: they're the ones we should look up to — because it's the spoils and loot that really matter.
    But you know and I know: mere winners are not true leaders — not just because gaming broken systems is nothing but an empty charade of living; but because life is not a game. It isn't about what you have, and how much — but what you do, and why — if you're to live a life that matters.
    Leadership — true leadership —is a lost art. Leaders lead us not to a place — but to a different kind of destination: to our better, truer selves. It is an act of love in the face of an uncertain world.
    Perhaps, then, that's why there's so little leadership around: because we're afraid to even say the word love — let alone to feel it, weigh it, measure it, allow it, admit it, believe it, and so be transformed by it.
    Wannabes — who I'll contrast leaders with in this essay — are literally just that: wannabes. They want to be who leaders are, but cannot: they want the benefits of leadership, without the price; they want the respect, dignity, and title of leadership, without leading people to lives that matter; they want the love leaders earn, act by painful act, without, in return, having the courage, humility, and wisdom to love.
    When you think about chiefs, presidents, and prime ministers that way, I'd suggest that most of our so-called leaders are wannabes: those who want to be seen as leaders, without leading us anywhere but into stagnation, decline, fracture, fear, apathy, and comfortable, cheap pleasures that numb us to it all. Leaders — true leaders, those worthy of the word — do the very opposite: they lead us to truth, worth, nobility, wonder, imagination, joy, heartbreak, challenge, rebellion, meaning. Through love, they lead us to lives that matter. Wannabes impoverish us. Leaders enrich us.
    So here are my six ways to start being a (real) leader — and stop being just another wannabe.
    Obey — or revolt? Are you responding to incentives — or reshaping them? Here's the simplest difference between leaders and wannabes. Wannabes respond dully, predictably, neatly, to "incentives," like good little rational robots. They do it for the money and end up stifled by the very lives they choose. Leaders play a very different role. They don't just dully, robotically "respond" to "incentives" — their job is a tiny bit of revolution. And so they must reshape incentives, instead of merely responding to them. They have principles they hold dearer than next year's bonus — and so they think bigger and truer than merely about what they're "incentivized" to do. If you're easily bought off from what you really hold dear with a slightly bigger bonus, here's the plain fact: you're not a true leader.
    Conform — or rebel? Are you breaking the rules or following them? The rules are there for a reason: to stifle deviation, preserve the status quo, and bring the outliers right back down to the average. That's a wonderful idea if you're running a factory churning out widgets — but it's a terrible notion if you're trying to do anything else. And so leaders must shatter the status quo by breaking the rules, leading by example,= so that followers know the rules not just can, but must be broken. If you're nail-bitingly following the rules, here's the score: you're not a true leader.
    Value — or values? Why do people follow true leaders? Because leaders promise to take them on worthwhile journeys. The wannabe creates "value" for shareholders, for clients, for "consumers". But the leader creates what's more true, more enduring, more resonant: lives of real human worth. And they must do so by evoking in people values that matter, not merely "value" which is worthless. Which would you choose? In a heartbeat, most people choose the latter, because value without values is what reality TV is to a great book: empty, vacant, narrow, arid. If you're creating value — without setting values — you're not a leader: you're just a wannabe.
    Vision — or truth? The wannabe sets a vision. With grandiloquent gesture and magnificent panorama, the vision glitters. The leader has a harder task: to tell the truth, as plain as day, as obvious as dawn, as sure as sunrise, as inescapable as midnight. Vision is nice, and many think that a Grand Vision is what inspires people. They're wrong. If you really want to inspire people, tell them the truth: there's nothing that sets people free like the truth. The leader tells the truth because his fundamental task is that of elevation: to bring forth in people their better selves. And while we can climb towards a Grand Vision, it's also true that the very act of perpetually climbing may be what imprisons us in lives we don't really want (hi, Madison Ave, Wall St, and Silicon Valley). Truth is what elevates us; what opens us up to possibility; what produces in us the sense that we must become who were meant to be if we are to live worthy lives — and one of the surest tests of whether you're a true leader is whether you're merely (yawn, shrug, eyeroll) slickly selling a Grand Vision, or, instead, helping bring people a little closer to the truth. And if you have to ask what "truth" is (newsflash: climate change is real, the global economy is still borked, greed isn't good, bankers shouldn't earn a billion times what teachers do, CEOs shouldn't get private jets for life for running companies into the ground, the sky really is blue) — guess what? You're definitely not a leader.
    Archery — or architecture? Wannabes are something like metric-maximizing robots. Given a set of numbers they must "hit," they beaver away trying to hit them. The leader knows their job is very different: not merely to maximize existing metrics, which are often part of the problem (hi, GDP, shareholder value), but to reimagine them. The leader's job is, fundamentally, not merely to "hit a target" — but to redesign the playing field. It's architecture, not mere archery. If you're hitting a target, you're not a leader. You're just another performer, in an increasingly meaningless game.
    love — or Love. Many of us, it's true, choose jobs we "love" over those we don't, readily sacrificing a few bucks here and there in the process. But this isn't love as much as it is enjoyment. Love — true love, the real thing, big-L Love — is every bit as much painful as it is pleasant. It transforms us. And that is the surest hallmark of a true leader. They have a thirst not merely for love — but to love; a thirst that cannot be slaked merely through accomplishments, prizes, or honors. It can only, only be slaked through transformation; and that is why true leaders must, despite the price, through the pain, into the heart of very heartbreak itself, lead.
    And yet.
    We're afraid, you and I, of this word: love. Afraid of love because love is the most dangerously explosive substance the world has ever known, will ever know, and can ever know. Love is what frees the enslaved and enslaves the free. Because love, finally, is all: all we have, when we face our final moments, and come to know that life, at last, must have been greater than us if we are to feel as if it has mattered.
    The old men say: children, you must never, ever believe in love. Love is heresy. Believe in our machines. Believe in operation and calculation. Place your faith in being their instruments. Our perfect machines will bring you perfection.
    I believe lives as cold as steel will only yield a world as cruel as ice. I believe cool rationality and perfect calculation can take us only a tiny distance towards the heart of what is good, true, and timelessly noble about life. Because there is no calculus of love. There is no equation for greatness. There is no algorithm for imagination, virtue, and purpose.
    Even a perfect machine is just a machine.
    If we are to lead one another, we will need the heresy of love. We must shout at yesterday in the language of love if we are to lead one another. Not just to tomorrow, but to a worthier destination: that which we find in one another.
    It's often said that leaders "inspire". But that's only half the story. Leaders inspire us because they bring out the best in us. They evoke in us our fuller, better, truer, nobler selves. And that is why we love them — not merely because they paint portraits of a better lives, but because they impel us to be the creators of our own.
    Reproduced from Harvard Business Review

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    4 Secrets of Great Critical Thinkers


    The best problem solvers see a complex problem through multiple lenses. Here's how to become a better strategic thinker and leader yourself.

    Critical Thinkers Lens Reframe

    In 2009, J D Wetherspoon, a chain of more than 800 pubs in the UK, was facing declining sales. Demand for beer had been down for five years. In addition, pricing pressure from super market chains was intense, and higher alcohol taxes further squeezed its already tight margins.

    What would you say is the company's real business problem?

    Most people see it as a sales problem and recommend better marketing and promotion. But this reflex may be wrong. In Wetherspoon’s case, the company examined the problem more deeply, looked at data, and framed the situation from multiple angles. In the end, they found the real problem: A subtle but profound shift in consumer preferences. 

     As a result, the chain responded with much bolder actions, transforming all its pubs into family friendly cafes during day hours. 

    The strategy worked. Wetherspoon saw its earnings per share jump by 7.1 percent in the first year. Two years after this frame shift (2011), it has maintained its earnings per share and, with the investment in this new strategy, its free cash flow is up 12.9 percent. Exploring multiple problem framings, by zooming out rather than in, gets you to the root of issues and more creative solutions. 
    If you fail to do this, you risk solving the wrong problem.

    Ironically, the more experience you have, the harder it will to break from conventional mindsets. Leading companies often get stuck in old business models. Kodak engineers developed an early version of the digital camera, while the rest of the company remained focused on chemical film processing. Microsoft executives doubted the value of online search as a revenue model. Barnes and Noble seemed convinced that people would always want a physical book in their hand.

    In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman attributes shallow framing to people substituting easy questions for hard ones. We often miss the crux of the issue by drawing imaginary connections between what we see and what we expect to see. As our own book Winning Decisions explains, the essence of critical thinking is to slow down this process, learn how to reframe problems, see beyond the familiar and focus on what is unique in any important decision situation. Here are four ways to hone these critical thinking skills:

    1. Slow down.  Insist on multiple problem definitions before moving towards a choice. This doesn't need to be a time consuming process – just ask yourself or the group, “How else might we define this problem – what’s the core issue here?” This should become a standard part of every project scoping conversation you have, especially when the issue is new or complex.

    2. Break from the pack. Actively work to buck conventional wisdom when facing new challenges or slowly deteriorating situations. Don’t settle for incremental thinking. Design ways to test deep held assumptions about your market. Of course, different is not always better so seek to understand the wisdom inherent in conventional wisdom as well as its blind spots.

    3. Encourage disagreement. Debate can foster insight, provided the conflict is among ideas and not among people.  Increasingly, we live in a world where people can choose to interact only with those who agree with them, through Facebook friends, favorite news sources, or our social cliques. To escape from these cocoons and echo chambers, approach alternative views with an open mind. Don’t become a prisoner of your own myopic mental model.

    4. Engage with mavericks. Find credible mavericks, those lonely voices in the wilderness who many dismiss, and then engage with them. It is not enough to simply be comfortable with disagreement when it happens to occur.  Critical thinkers seek out those who truly see the world differently and try hard to understand why. Often you will still disagree with these mavericks, but at times they will reframe your own thinking for the better.


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    Leadership And The Periodic Table Of The Elements


    English: periodic table of the elements França...

    Last May we added two new elements, Livermorium and Flerovium, to the periodic able after being first synthesized over a decade ago. Adding new elements to the periodic table is rare, not that we have discovered all there is to discover (certainly we will add more in time,) but because the table represents the constants, or all those known in the universe.
     So it is already quite comprehensive. And while there are alternative representations and grouping methods of the periodic table, for the most part it is laid out in the same way. I am not a physicist, but I would point out similarly, that we do the same thing with leadership competencies.
    The ongoing study of leadership occasionally yields a new discovery and there are experts in the field that contribute greatly to that effort. However, too many organizations, in trying to take on leadership improvement more resemble an exercise in renaming the elements of the periodic table, than making new discoveries. For instance,
     I worked with an organization a few years ago in an effort to design a competency model for the business, and prior to engaging with them, they had spent hours, no—days, going back and forth over whether or not the competency listed in their model was going to be Character, Integrity, or Honesty. They were talking about the very same things related to trustworthiness but were very hung up on the labels.
    My counsel: Stop getting caught up in the minutia of renaming or relabeling competencies and focus instead on capturing the essence of the most desired behaviors for leaders.
    Having worked with dozens of organizations to develop custom competency models, and reviewing the data on tens of thousands of assessments, the following are the constants that I see in what amounts to the core of the leadership periodic table—kind of like the eight elements that make up 98% of the earths mass. 
    •  Character. Like I said above, call it what you want, integrity, honesty, being an exemplar of behavior, but it is oxygen for leaders because its absence undermines any effort to lead.
    • Inspiring/Motivating. In the book I coauthored, The Inspiring Leader, in a study of 20,000 this was the one thing that subordinates wanted most from them. To be inspired.
    • Results Orientation. Leadership is a means to an end, in that, without an objective of some kind, it is not critical. Leaders need to be mindful of those objectives and stay focused on them.
    • Communication Skills. When I’ve conducted interviews or reviewed the written comments on thousands of 360 degree feedback evaluations the most common issue I see highlighted for improvement is communication. Who does it too well or too often?
    • Strategic Focus. Creating vision and strategy is the crux of leadership. and asJohn Kotter has written about on this site, is one of the key differences between leadership and management.
    • Professional and Functional Expertise. Leaders have to understand how to do the basics like solve problems, analyze issues, and demonstrate knowledge of the organization. This includes functional expertise in a discipline like finance, manufacturing, sales, and marketing.
    • Interpersonal Skills. No matter how strategic or how much of an expert a leader is, if you can’t relate to others it won’t matter. Leadership is largely a relational skill.
    • Leading Change. Not much leadership is required to maintain the status quo, but great leaders prepare their organizations to adapt to the future.
    You could certainly debate groupings and subsets with the above list (and I suspect you will,) but there is little doubt about the criticality of each of these.
    There are bound to be new discoveries of competencies that have a substantial impact and certainly there is more to learn. Additionally, there are some environments where competencies that are more specialized would be quite useful. For instance, Safety Leadership is likely unimportant in professional services firms or in a technology distribution company, but it was critical when I worked with an oil refinery.
    Yet these represent the core of great leadership, albeit not the entire universe of leadership traits. As an aside, we could spend days coming up with leadership competencies, and none of them would be wrong. In my last firm we did a study of hundreds of leadership competencies and all were positively correlated to success at some level. 
    No leadership competency is bad in and of itself. Further, most additional work on leadership behaviors either combines the components of these characteristics or to look at the minute particles that make them up. So take these leadership competencies and embed them in your models. Use them to develop great leaders. And where it is appropriate, feel free to add an element to your organizations periodic table.

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    Optimism’s Role in Employee Motivation


    Optimism
    Let me clear that workplace optimism isn’t about observing the proverbial glass as half-full. It’s also not about taking a Pollyannaish viewpoint that denies reality.

    What Workplace Optimism Is

    Optimism at work is a belief employees hold, including managers, that it’s possible to do good work while at work. Furthermore, employees are inspired by the possibility of doing good work. The inspiration comes from another belief that the work employees do matters to the customer and to the employees themselves. The work is valued, needed, and useful to those who benefit from it.
    Researcher Al Gini eloquently summed up the need for workplace optimism when linking our identity to the work we do. He said, “. . . we have forgotten or never really appreciated the fact that the business of work is not simply to produce goods, but also to help produce people.”

    Beyond the Factory Mentality

    If going to work is merely about exchanging time and labor for money, workplace optimism will not likely emerge. Before this new era of work, the transactional perspective of money for time and labor was viewed as enough in the employee-employer contract. The viewpoint also came with the belief that employees were replaceable cogs on the factory line. It’s not possible to believe one’s work matters when the manager’s breath is on your back as he looks to see if the work is done satisfactorily.
    Employees are inspired by the possibility of doing good work. The inspiration comes from another belief that the work employees do matters to the customer and to the employees themselves.
    Employees want to see something good, meaningful, and useful come from their hard work. Without these elements, motivating employees is impossible. The following four factors are causes of motivation triggered by workplace optimism:

    Workplace Optimism Motivating Factors

    Workplace optimism is a motivator. But optimism alone isn’t enough. It’s also what emerges from workplace optimism that motivates employees to contribute their best.
    Optimism Enables Connection, Which Enables Optimism
    When employees believe they have the opportunity to produce meaningful work pulled from their experiences and what they are learning, it’s a motivator to share it with others. This fosters connection with others, particularly with those who experience workplace optimism.
    Optimism Helps Create Friendships That Create Optimism
    Gallup has long advocated, not without controversy, that having a best friend at work helps with employee engagement. Connection helps to build friendships. Friendships create a sense of belonging. In Gallup’s, 12: The Elements of Great Managing, the research firm explains that the question predicts performance and that “affiliation . . . drives him to do positive things for the business he would not do.” Healthy, productive friendships will struggle to emerge if the vibe of the team or workplace is negative, combative, or too individualistic. We are human beings. And we crave connection. We need friendships, even at work.
    Optimism Emerges from Meaningful Work
    I’ve written quite a bit about workplace optimism. And this post positions the importance of meaningful work and its relationship to optimism.
    Employees want to see something good, meaningful, and useful come from their hard work. Without these elements, motivating employees is impossible.
    What I haven’t shared is that meaning is a search we all take on. In this global, 24/7 world, it’s natural to wonder how what you do matters. Work is a significant part of our lives. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to seek meaning in your work. And why not. You spend 1/3 of your adult life working.
    A conscious manager will tap into the human nature of meaningful work, and position her team to find it in their work.
    Optimism Helps Quality Work Happen
    If you combine the three previous inputs to motivation, quality work is a greater possibility. It also becomes a badge of honor plucked from the employee’s passion, focus and diligence.

    Workplace optimism is contagious. When a person or a team begins to experience the hope or belief in something good that is bigger than themselves, people want to be part of it. They want more. Optimism’s role in employee motivation positions the team and each employee with the opportunity to experience work that drives them to do better, to be better. And our workplaces could certainly use the boost that workplace optimism can provide.

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    Bhagwati versus Sen: What's going on?

    7 things you should know in the Bhagwati vs Sen slugfes
    Amartya Sen & Jagdish Bhagwati

    Yet, minor disagreements between them have amplified into a shouting match — well, a one-way shouting match, with Bhagwati repeatedly attacking Sen in public and in print, and Sen expounding on his point through interviews and op-eds, largely without mentioning Bhagwati or his views.

    In a way, this isn’t surprising: Bhagwati has long disapproved of Sen. Also, both have competing, co-authored books in the market. In his latest broadside against Sen, Bhagwati managed to mention his book frequently, insisting in it, he had proved how Sen was anti-growth, a point many reviewers surprisingly failed to mention.

    But that doesn’t entirely explain why the dispute has really taken off. One reason, of course, is Sen has spoken about food security, released a book on Bihar and expressed a preference that NarendraModi not become prime minister. This immediately meant the luminous intellectuals of the internet, and those in the respectable media that followed their lead, immediately assumed he somehow represented the Congress.

    Meanwhile, Bhagwati’s co-author, Arvind Panagariya, had praised Gujarat’s growth in several pieces. That immediately made Bhagwati Modi’s best friend and any further difference between the two could be conveniently slotted into the pre-prepared Modi-versus-Congress mould apparently compulsory for news stories today.

    If there’s anything worth taking away from what has become an increasingly unseemly and uninformative spectacle, it is the sobering realisation that academics continue to be divided over the simple mechanisms of how growth can be achieved — purely through deregulation, as Bhagwati would argue, or with a simultaneous push to education and health, as Sen wants.

    Here’s the basic checklist on who said what, whether it was true, and the real differences and similarities between Sen and Bhagwati:

    Do Bhagwati and Sen have similar stature as academics?

    Sen won a Nobel Prize for his work on social choice and welfare but Bhagwati is a path-breaking trade theorist. Sen’s PhD students have included Kaushik Basu; Bhagwati’s, Paul Krugman.

    In fact, Bhagwati is far more an economist’s economist than Sen, who at Harvard, for example, had an office at the philosophy department, not in the economics department. Sen is unique in that he is also one of the most respected living academic philosophers and a close associate and fellow teacher of both the left-of-centre John Rawls, the leading philosopher of the 20th century, and libertarian icon Robert Nozick.

    Is Sen close to the Congress and Bhagwati to the BJP?

    Actually, Sen was awarded the Bharat Ratna by an NDA government in 1999, though some sections of the Bharatiya Janata Party want it taken away now because he has said he doesn’t think Narendra Modi should be PM; a belief in Modi’s spotless virtue is not known to be a necessary qualification for the award.

    Bhagwati, meanwhile, has fellowships named for him at Columbia University, paid for by the Indian taxpayer — set up in 2010, at the direction of the UPA government (it is unusual for such to be named after a member of the university’s faculty). Both Bhagwati and associate Arvind Panagariya—who holds the, yes, Jagdish Bhagwati Chair in Indian Political Economy at Columbia—have frequently talked about their long interaction and friendship with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    So, in a word, no! The desire to impose a politically partisan lens on an academic disagreement shows how shallow and debased is the understanding of economics in the Indian public sphere, as well as how devoid of thought-provoking content is the actual political debate between the Congress and the BJP.

    Is it really Sen versus Bhagwati?

    No. It’s Bhagwati versus Sen. Sen has almost completely avoided commenting on Bhagwati’s views, although Bhagwati has become increasingly personal and petty in his attacks on Sen.

    Sen broke his Bhagwati-as-Voldemort rule in a recent letter to The Economist. The liberal British magazine had run a review of Sen and Jean Dreze’s new book; the reviewer happened to mention Bhagwati in passing, without specifying that he, Bhagwati, was right and Sen was wrong. This was a red rag to Bhagwati, who wrote Sen only paid “lip service” to growth. This was too much for Sen, who wrote, explaining he did his PhD on how to stimulate growth, and the first collection of his essays, published in 1970, was titled Economic Growth. In fact, Sen is perhaps the greatest living scholar of the original philosopher of the free market, Adam Smith.

    Sen must regret his moment of weakness, because Bhagwati then wrote an article for Mint that basically returned, even more harshly, to his complaints about Sen. Bhagwati’s books are littered with disparaging remarks about Sen; indeed, reading between the lines of his last book reveals even more such remarks, some of these from resentments that date back to the early 60s, when both were young professional economists in New Delhi.

    Is Sen anti-reform? Is Bhagwati anti-public funding of schools?

    No, and no. Sen has often and publicly argued in favour of greater liberalisation, ending red tape, labour law reform, and cutting fuel, power and fertiliser subsidies. It may be convenient for both his friends and enemies to paint him as some kind of socialist but he isn’t. Meanwhile, Bhagwati has also argued for a second track of reform in social sector areas, though he would prefer public money be spent on, say, school vouchers that let poor parents pay for private schools.

    Has either of them soured on the India growth story and blamed the UPA?

    No. Both are unfazed by the fall in India’s growth rate. Sen argues it has fallen as much as its competitors; Bhagwati has blamed tight monetary policy and the freeze-up in clearances following outrage over scams, adding many government proposals could reverse the slide. Both of these are, pretty much, what the government also claims.

    So, what’s the real difference between Sen and Bhagwati’s policy prescriptions?

    Merely a difference in emphasis! Sen would like more public funding (as distinct from public provision) of basic goods; Bhagwati argues this is secondary to focusing on growth.

    Why? Sen says growth depends on creating a dynamic workforce capable of learning on the job, which needs health and education. Bhagwati believes laissez-faire growth will raise incomes sufficiently for the workforce to be able to invest in their own health and education. Of course, both these mechanisms can be true. In fact, both probably are true, which means the differences are even smaller than is claimed — just a question of which can work faster and more effectively. One path can hardly be abandoned for the other; both mechanisms will need government attention. Nor is either major political party likely to act on only one mechanism, at the cost of the other.

    So, why all the fuss?

    As I said: duelling books; people who don’t bother to read the duelling books but instead read headlines written by journalists who haven’t bothered to read the duelling books, or only partially understood these, and the eternal quest in the Indian media to make absolutely everything relate to Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi.

    View at the original source


    Please read this also,


    The debate between two eminent Indian economists, Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen, has thrown up lively discussions as well as acerbic jibes. It has also taken political tones, with sharp reactions from various parties. Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics and law at Columbia University, tells Nayanima Basu he is not anti-redistribution, adding the crucial issue is where the money would come from. If this issue isn’t tackled, the poor would only be harmed, he says. Edited excerpts:

    Critics say your debate with Sen is polarising an issue that shouldn’t be polarised. The debate, they say, is based on outdated notions of growth. Growth could be investment in capital, as well as investment in human resources.

    Since when did investment mean it had to be in physical capital? Also, there are some instances in which we can eat our cake and have it, too. Thus, you can spend money on education as consumption, while it also serves as investment. But again, we must not overdo this.

    A member of Parliament (MP) had once said, “Are we going to eat GDP?” You emphasise growth. What about redistribution?

    The MP sounds so idiotic that maybe he should be fed on a GDP diet! If he cared to understand the arguments at hand, he would know there was no way significant redistribution could have been undertaken with results when there were too few rich and too many poor. We would just have been redistributing poverty, as it were. So, we had to grow first and then spend money on health, education, etc, for the poor. This is what policy economists call the ‘sequencing problem’. If Mr. Sen contends otherwise, he has no serious argumentation and evidence to support his assertions, even in his latest book with Dreze.
    So, the issue is not that I am for growth per se and Sen is for ‘redistribution’. That is just a self-serving canard by the likes of Mr. Sen. I am for redistribution (spending revenue for the poor), but unlike Mr. Sen, I do not pretend somehow money would materialise by our wishing for it, as in some of our mythological tales! There lies irresponsibility, not wisdom. And, since it will harm the poor, instead of helping them, as I have argued with and without professor Panagariya, this is an immoral position, rather than the “progressive” position Mr. Sen would have his uncritical readers believe it to be.

    Can’t both, GDP and redistribution, go hand in hand, instead of giving precedence to one?

    That is the sort of wishy-washy thinking that obfuscates the issue. Of course, a limited amount of redistribution can be financed even without growth; but how far could we have gone with it in the 60s and 70s? At the end, there is no alternative to growth, which will raise the revenues earned, at any given rates, to make it feasible to finance the social expenditures our planners and politicians such as Pandit Nehru always wanted.

    Sen also claimed countries such as Singapore educated people first; this led to growth later. That shows how ignorant he is. If you educate people and there are no economic policies that provide increased jobs, the education wouldn't suffice for growth and prosperity.

    Singapore had inherited high literacy, but that helped only because outward orientation in trade led to huge exports, which enabled equipment with embodied technology to be imported. This equipment’s productivity was exceptionally good because of the high literacy, though it would have been high enough even without literacy. Literacy alone could not have led to results unless it fed into outward orientation.

    China didn’t have the same level of literacy. But again, the phenomenal growth rate was due, not to literacy (which was good but not exceptional), but to privatisation of the collective farms and to the exceptional export performance of the Guangdong province.

    The whole debate between you and Sen has taken political tones, with many accusing you of batting for Narendra Modi. Sen is obviously bashing Modi.

    It is nonsense to say I am batting for Modi, when I have often said I wouldn’t vote for Modi or Rahul Gandhi, assuming they are the eventual candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the United Progressive Alliance (respectively) in the forthcoming elections, unless I see their platforms and unless they are forced by public opinion and the media to hold US-style debates. If Sen is bashing Modi purely on the basis of his prejudices, that is his privilege. But it also betrays lack of integrity and judgement. I have no doubt the UPA leaders, all of whom I know well, will be astonished by Sen’s declarations.

    You said Sen paid only lip service to growth. But his PhD was on stimulating growth.

    Who did not build or talk about growth models even then? But can Mr. Sen really maintain he was talking explicitly about growth as an instrument for reducing poverty? Or that he was on the right side with gusto in the discussions on growth-enhancing policies such as trade openness, DFI (direct foreign investment), reduction in the massive proliferation of public enterprises and elimination of innumerable senseless interventions. One model does not a policy make.

    The debate also saw personal remarks, which surprised many, as these came from eminent economists.

    It is silly to fuss about personal remarks. You cannot discuss policy differences without citing your opponent’s writings. That is not getting personal. It is your safeguard against people who would otherwise claim you are creating a straw man.

    If the exchange becomes animated, it is good; it will wake people up! If you want to see a debate descend into personal invective, I recommend you see how British intellectuals dish it out to each other, often hitting below the belt. Nothing we have had in the debate between me and Mr. Sen qualifies us as being in that tradition.

    What do you think of the coming World Trade Organization ministerial in Bali, which aims to push for a deal on trade facilitation, while India wants the deal on food security to go through first?

    What is wrong with letting trade facilitation go through? That is good for everyone, including India.


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    Biden for further opening of the Indian economy

    Indicates that strategic partnership between the US & India also to grow further
    Joe Biden
    Joe Biden

    US Vice-President Joe Biden on Wednesday made a strong case for India to further open its economy to attract more foreign investment and improve protection for intellectual property.

    In his address to industry and business leaders at the BSE, Biden said opening of the economy would lead to a fivefold rise in trade between the US and India. Currently, bilateral trade between the US and India is worth $100 billion a year.

    Biden said US companies were facing issues in India relating to the limit in foreign direct investment, local content conditions, barriers to market access and an inconsistent tax system.

    He, however, hastened to add these issues could be negotiated. “Hundreds of millions of Indian consumers deserve access to the most-affordable products, and a graduate wanting to start the nextTata Motors should be able to buy the best parts available wherever they are made. The experience of developed economies shows the best way to boost growth is to open to the world,” he said.

    Biden said India was a rising power, which had risen exponentially in the past two decades primarily because of the bold steps it took in 1991. “You took bold steps in 1991. Since then, phone users grew to 900 million from five million. Exports rose to $300 billion from $20 billion. There is no contradiction between strategic autonomy and partnership. We have to take it to a new scale,” the US vice president added.

    “You have an extraordinary opportunity to unleash the immense talents of the people of India in the global economy and power India’s growth for decades to come,” Biden opined.
     
    Stating American companies were interested in technology and infrastructure, he said, “We in the US welcome investments by India. The US has benefited due  to Indian human capital.” He said India's concern on food security needed to be addressed at the upcoming World Trade Organisation meeting in December.

    Emphasising the importance of Indo-US relationships, he said, “We already are co-operating in the nuclear sector. A power project of 6,000 MW can be set up in Gujarat with supply of nuclear reactors from US companies.”

    Biden went a step ahead and drew similarities between the US and Indian experiences of 9/11 and 26/11, respectively. He said the US had been sharing intelligence with India on terror in order to avoid a 9/11 and 26/11-like situation in both the countries.

    He said the US wanted India to be a permanent member in the United Nations Security Council.

    On the Afghan Taliban, Biden said the group should avoid violence and adhere to the constitution of Afghanistan.


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    Capgemini looks at life beyond outsourcing

      VINAY KAMATH T.E. RAJA SIMHAN
        

    Aruna Jayanthi, CEO, Capgemini India. — Bijoy GhoshParis-headquartered firm wants to be involved in end-to-end projects


    Aruna Jayanthi has a clear agenda on her hands. The Indian CEO of consulting and outsourcing multinational, the Paris-headquartered Capgemini, wants to transform the Indian affiliate to be more of an end-to-end business solutions provider from being a backroom player.
    “What I want to do is drive the change from being a delivery centre for the Capgemini group to something that is at the heart of the group,” she declares.
    So far the company has been working on projects outsourced to it from customers in the US or Europe. But, now the CEO, who has been at the helm for two-and-a-half years, wants the Indian operations to generate more value-added business by getting 


    involved in a project right from the conception and bidding stage to the implementation, delivery and maintenance.


    FOCUS AREAS


    Capgemini, she says, has set up 12 centres of excellence across cities that the organisation can tap into in the areas of CRM, supply chain management to retail and analytics.


    “We want to focus on a value-add model in terms of business, technology and innovation. And, we want more people from India taking up global roles,” she said in an interview to Business Line. Aruna Jayanthi was in Chennai to speak at the Nasscom HR Summit.


    “Today, you can’t really grow India and be only a back office; we have had to change the game. For businesses whom 90 per cent of the work is done out of India, it starts to become core,” she says.


    In the time she has been at the helm, Capgemini, which was the second largest recruiter from the premium B-schools last year, has grown in numbers – from 30,000 to over 40,000 now, constituting almost 36 per cent of the global work force of the French company. “We will grow to 70,000 by 2015; that could be an addition of 25,000 net. We are on track, but it also depends on market conditions,” she says.

    EUROPE SLOWDOWN


    The slowdown in Europe, she says, is causing conflicting trends. Corporates that outsource a lot of their work are forcing a consolidation of a fragmented staff sourcing market. “Rather than work with 100 guys, they are saying we will work with 5 to 6 strategic suppliers,” she explains.


    The second trend, which is diametrically opposite, is that people are saying they don’t want one supplier, but want more multi-sourcing. “These are opposing trends; one level there is consolidation, but there is also a multi-vendor environment. But, there is business to be had out there.”


    Capgemini forayed into the finance and accounting outsourcing area with the acquisition of Indigo in 2006, which was Unilever’s captive BPO for finance and accounting related processing across 45 countries.


     “We didn't have any F&A business then and had to acquire a platform to grow. It was 600 to 700 people then and now we have 4,500,” says Jayanthi.


    However, its Indian business is still under 10 per cent, defined as the number of people employed on Indian contracts. “India as a market is picking up, but still a little bit shy of what we expected it to be,” she adds. The difficult economic conditions in European markets will drive offshoring, she says, even though the volume or size of the deals will shrink. 






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    Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear

    Reproduced from MIT Sloan Management Review

    This is part 1 of 6 from the 2013 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project.

    In an interview for this year’s social business report, Gerald Kane, professor at the Carroll 

    School of Management at Boston College, succinctly characterized where social business stands today: “Any new technology experiences a faddish hype cycle where people adopt it because they feel they have to,” he says. “With social, we are passing the peak of faddishness. Companies are starting to crack social’s code and turning to it for business advantage, intelligence and insight.”

    In this second annual report from the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Social Business Study, we probed executives’ views of the social business opportunity and how companies are harnessing its value. The study included 2,545 respondents from 25 industries and 99 countries. It also incorporated interviews with nearly three dozen executives and social business thought leaders.

    Echoing Kane’s observation, a key finding of the research is the rapid growth in importance of social to business. In 2011’s survey, 18% of respondents said it was “important today.” One year later, the number doubled to 36%. The time horizon of its importance is also shrinking. In last year’s report, 40% of respondents agreed that social would be important one year from now. In 2012, the number jumped to 54% (see Figure 1).
    FIGURE 1

    More Industries Are Getting On Board

    The immediacy of   the social business opportunity is growing across industries, another indicator of its move from faddish hype to business value. Between last year’s study and this year’s, respondents from all industry sectors increased the value they place on social business. None remained at the same level. None reversed course (see Figure 2).

    FIGURE 2




    While Media (entertainment, media and publishing) and Tech (IT and technology) continue to lead all industry sectors in the importance they assign to social business, other sectors demonstrated a marked increase in the value of social business. Of particular note is the Energy and Utilities sector. The number of managers in this sector who feel social is important surged from 7.1% to 29% from last year. Of the multiple factors driving the growth, this sector’s increasing efforts to engage with customers is the most significant. Pike Research estimates 57 million customers worldwide used social media to engage with utilities in 2011. Pike projects that number will jump more than 10-fold to 624 million by the end of 2017.While utilities currently use social media to resolve billing issues and provide information on services, they are expanding social media use to include crisis/outage communication, customer education (for example, information on recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency), customer service, green energy promotion, branding and recruitment. Utilities are beginning to see the value of social listening to keep abreast of consumers’ interests. This is especially the case as new types of competitors enter the market, including solar power and energy management providers.

    Market Drivers


    Social business is capturing significant business attention. McKinsey, for example, reported that social can create as much as $1.3 trillion in value in the four business sectors it examined (consumer package goods, consumer financial services, professional services and advanced manufacturing).
     Suppliers are covering all bases from marketing to social enterprise networking. In the social marketing software market, which includes a wide range of vendors from established players like Adobe, Lithium and Salesforce.com to a multitude of startups, Forrester predicts that the landscape “will look dramatically different in two years.” 

    Leading vendors will partner and merge, and stragglers will be “swallowed or trampled by larger players from outside the social space.” In the enterprise collaboration software market, Gartner recently announced its revenue projection for team collaboration platforms and enterprise social software — $2 billion by 2016, with a notable five-year compound annual growth rate of 16.1%.Business leaders are keenly aware that social is becoming a primary tool that people use to share information and create knowledge.

     The consumerization of technology is making everything from tablets to smart phones as popular inside the enterprise as they are outside its walls. In addition, companies want their brands to be where their customers are — and where competitors already might be.
    But perhaps the strongest harbinger of social’s growth is the closing generation gap. “It’s not just young people or Millennials,” says Bill Ingram, vice president of analytics and social at Adobe. “It’s everyone, including grandparents who want to follow how their children and grandchildren are growing up.” Deloitte’s seventh annual State of the Media Democracy survey put hard numbers to the closing gap. 

    The survey found that both Generation X and Baby Boomers see increasing value in social media: 81% of Generation X respondents and 70% of Baby Boomers see it as a powerful tool to interact with friends. And both generations have jumped on the texting bandwagon: nearly 80% of Generation Xers and nearly 60% of Baby Boomers see social networking sites, instant messaging and texting as an effective means to stay in touch. As the generation gap closes, businesses will find all age groups prepared to embrace social technologies.

    Struggles With Social Business

    Although the recognition of social’s importance is mounting, progress towards becoming a social business isn’t. The majority of companies we surveyed appear to be stuck in first gear. Our study found three major culprits holding back progress: lack of an overall strategy (28% of respondents), too many competing priorities (26%), and lack of a proven business case or strong value proposition (21%). Left unaddressed, these barriers can lead to daunting odds. Gartner estimates that 80% of social business projects between now and 2015 will yield disappointing results because of a lack of leadership support and a narrow view of social as a technology rather than a business driver.

    Nonetheless, some companies are poised to beat the odds. But they aren’t likely to beat them with one-size-fits-all enterprise transformations. Instead, businesses that assess themselves as more socially mature are building momentum by applying social tools and technologies to specific business challenges and assessing the impact. “Social is not an app nor a layer,” says J.P. Rangaswami, chief scientist at Salesforce.com. “Social is a philosophy and way of life that empowers customers and users.”

    In this report, we delve into how some companies are bringing that philosophy to ground level — and what is holding others back.

    Page 2. Snapshot: The State of Play



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    3-Step Approach to Simplifying Your Life


    Feeling overwhelmed by tasks and clutter? Those who have been there generously offer three different approaches to getting back to simple.

    You've heard of the wisdom of crowds but, let's be honest, one traffic-clogged commute or toxic online comment thread can start to convince you that groups of humans are not always fonts of wisdom. And then sometimes something reverses your thinking and shows that, given the right platform, people are both full of ingenuity and generous with their good ideas.Relax - Floating in the sea

    Take this recent Quora thread for example. The conversation kicks off with someone confessing to a common problem among busy business owners: “Recently, I find myself overwhelmed with work, trivial tasks, clutter and filing. I'd like to simplify my life so that I can get back to more of the things that I enjoy. I'm not even sure where to find the time to begin.”

    Given how common an issue this is, you might suspect that most folks would be too busy with their own complicated lives to help one frazzled questioner simplify hers, but you’d be wrong. A mix of wisdom, compassion and practical suggestions poured in, with responses ranging from the uber-practical -- "Whenever I cook anything I make two (if applicable) and freeze one, there is always something tasty and healthy in my freezer" -- to the deeply philosophical.

    If simplicity is something you’re personally struggling with, peruse the answers to find ideas that work best for you, but here are a few of the best suggestions to get you started.

    The Three-Step Approach

    Lawyer turned writer Cristina Hartmann confirms what you probably already noticed, noting that "simplicity isn't easy," before offering her own home-baked three-step solution. Her method boils down to:
    • Develop a life philosophy. Before you make any major (or even minor) changes, you need to know why you're changing your life. You need a purpose. You need a prioritization system. You need a life philosophy, a distilled set of principles that reflect your values.

    • Divide up your tasks into must-dos and want-dos, and eliminate everything else. You have to do some things even if it doesn't fit into your life philosophy, like pay taxes, eat and sleep. These are necessary things that you can't avoid (without suffering horrible consequences, at least). On the other hand, you have your want-dos, the things that you love doing when you're not paying your taxes, calling your mom, and fixing the garbage disposal. This is the fun stuff that advance your life philosophy. Everything else? Junk them.

    • Reduce clutter, both physical and mental. Clutter is more than untidiness. It's superfluity. It's excess. With unnecessary things piling up in our homes, offices and minds, simplicity becomes impossible.
    Does this program seem like something that’s right up your alley, check out the thread for a much more detailed explanation of the steps.

    List and Destroy

    If you’re less of the life philosophy type and more likely to face nagging worry about day-to-day things, Will Newton has a suggestion. "When overwhelmed, quickly write a point form list entitled ‘Things Bothering Me’ and then process each item in the list,” he writes, adding, “this will reduce your feelings of being overwhelmed and give you a clearer sense of what you need to do."

    Include "things to do, things people said, things you don't like," he instructs, offering examples from nasty comments that rubbed you wrong to the stain on the rug or that thing you keep meaning to schedule. Once you’ve made this quick inventory of stressors, "go through the list and make decisions about what you have to do about each thing. Focus on just one of the items at a time and ask yourself, 'what is the very next thing I should do about this item?'" It’s a super effective five-minute way to bust that feeling of being overwhelmed, he claims.

    Back to the Present

    Some people’s sense of clutter and confusion won’t be remedied by trip to The Container Store of calling the dentist to finally schedule that filling, web developer and entrepreneur Gabriel Harper suggests. According to him, the last thing simplicity seekers need is more programs or tips. Instead they need to learn satisfaction with the present.

    "Everyone simplifies by trying to change their past. Throw things away, organize your belongings, donate some clothes, ditch some friends, voilá. I'm not sure about that. I hold on to what I have, and don't allow myself to be controlled by that constant need for newness," he writes.

    "Chances are, your life is over-complicated by all the years spent trying to fill a non-existent hole in your life. We all seek out new things - they feel good. It's especially appealing when you're feeling down or overwhelmed by life. It's new and different, clean and untainted; eventually though, it's just part of the mess like everything else," he continues, concluding, "instead of seeking more lists and more plans, new clothes and new friends, perhaps look around and consider that you probably already have all the things that you really care about. Cherish the friends you have and wear your favorite shirt to tatters."




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    Got a New Strategy? Don't Forget the Execution Part


    When it comes to executing strategy, the old saying "the devil is in the details" holds true for many companies, according to Wharton emeritus management professor Lawrence G. Hrebiniak

    While executives may readily participate in the development of new strategies, execution tends to get short shrift, because it is often viewed as a lower-level task or concern, he notes. In the following interview, Hrebiniak -- who just published the second edition of his book, Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change -- explains why it's critical for firms to create a "culture of execution" in order to succeed.

    An edited version of the conversation appears below.

    Knowledge@Wharton: Why do firms tend to focus much more energy on strategy and less on execution?

    Lawrence G. Hrebiniak: Strategy execution takes longer, involves more people, demands the consideration and integration of many key variables or activities, and requires an effective feedback or control system to keep a needed focus on the process of execution over time. The strategic planning stage is usually more concentrated and of shorter duration than the execution stage. It often deals with interesting conceptual issues that appeal to many managers.

     The longer execution time horizon results in developments and changes that must be addressed over time -- for example, manager turnover, competitors’ reactions to a company’s strategy, changing economic and competitive conditions, a changing industry structure and forces, etc. -- suggesting the importance and difficulty of organizational adaptation during the execution process.

    Keeping managers and functional specialists involved in and committed to the execution requirements over a long time period can be difficult. Some managers simply give up or turn to other developing problems and opportunities, reducing the energy expended on implementation plans and activities. To some managers, execution-related issues aren’t as exciting or conceptual, resulting in less than enthusiastic attention or energy being focused on these activities. These factors, among others, increase the difficulty of strategy execution and cause managers to avoid critical implementation requirements. The key here is management support -- from the top down -- to create a culture of execution and maintain a focus on execution and its benefits.

    Knowledge@Wharton: What are some of the biggest mistakes that companies make when it comes to implementing strategy? What are the common pitfalls?

    Hrebiniak: There are a number of mistakes I’ve observed over the years. One is that strategy execution or implementation is viewed as a lower-level task or concern. Top managers with this view believe that making strategy work -- the decisions and activities associated with this task -- is somehow “below them,” literally and figuratively. This often creates a “caste” or class system in which upper management feels that it’s done the hard work -- strategic planning -- and that the lower-level people then can do the easier work of execution. 

    This is a huge mistake, one that can create cultural rifts and poor communication across organizational levels, leading to ineffective performance and other serious problems.

    Another mistake managers make is to assume that execution is a quick, one-shot decision or action, like “Ready-Aim-Execute” -- or even worse, “Ready-Execute-Aim.”

     Implementation or execution simply isn’t a one-shot deal. Strategy execution is a process, with important relationships among key variables, decisions and actions, not a quick fix marked by simple clichés, such as: “Give him the ball and let him run with it." Failure to see and appreciate the interdependence or interaction among key factors -- strategy, structure, incentives, controls, coordination, culture, change, etc. -- is a costly mistake that detracts from strategy execution success. The complexity of the implementation process also results in managers ignoring the execution process, an issue I mentioned earlier.

    A mistake I’ve observed occasionally is that a good strategy is seen as sufficient to motivate effective execution. The assumption is that solid execution will come naturally, as people see the benefits and logic of the strategic plan and act accordingly to foster execution success. This assumption rarely, if ever, is founded; execution takes hard work, communication of actions and benefits, and effective incentives to get managers to buy into the execution process. Managers need skin in the game and logical guidance about their roles in the execution scheme to make even a good strategy work.

    A related mistake is to assume that a really bad or unsound strategy can be made to work well if “we execute it well.” A bad strategy cannot be saved by working hard at execution. “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” as the saying warns. Good strategy comes first and is essential to sound execution. Skimping on the strategy formulation stage of strategic management can only lead to implementation headaches.

    There are additional pitfalls that threaten the strategy execution process in addition to those suggested above. An important one emanates from not having a solid plan of execution or implementation. Every strategic plan requires an implementation or execution component or plan. Every corporate and business plan must be supported by a plan of execution.

    The execution plan or component must lay out clearly the key decisions and actions required for making the strategy work. The interdependence or interactions among key factors must be spelled out, and well understood. Responsibility and accountability for decisions and actions must be clear and agreed upon, with areas of overlapping responsibility and need for cooperation laid out and committed to by key personnel. Failure to develop an implementation plan is a problem or pitfall that usually ends in disastrous performance. Again, the assumption seems to be that execution simply happens or unfolds seamlessly, and this is a mistake.

    A big pitfall or mistake emanates from a poor understanding of organizational structure. Not understanding the costs and benefits of different structures or designs can lead to severe problems. Treating structure as an afterthought or something that changes according to managers’ whims or fancies and not as a response to the demands of strategy represents a major problem or pitfall. Structure has a role to play. It affects many things, including efficiency, effectiveness, getting close to markets and customers, and so on. A lack of understanding of structure’s role in making strategy work usually leads to problems.

    Also, a major pitfall with all sorts of related problems is inadequate or inappropriate attention to the management of change. Implementation or execution plans often include the need for change, and handling it poorly can lead to resistance to new execution efforts.

    Knowledge@Wharton: What new kinds of problems have emerged since you published the first edition of your book -- that is, what kinds of new challenges are managers facing when it comes to executing strategy in today's business environment?

    Hrebiniak: A number of new challenges emerged after publication of the first edition of Making Strategy Work. One might think that the old or consistent, ongoing challenges I noted earlier would be sufficient to keep managers who are interested in execution busy for a long time. Yet, new challenges and ideas were presented to me, adding to the list of execution-related needs. One [new area of concern was] the service sector, including not-for-profit organizations. The question simply was: 

    Does the material in Making Strategy Work apply equally well to service organizations? Not-for-profits? Another request was for a deeper coverage of the execution of global strategies. The first edition of the book contained little insight here, and managers told me that they would like to see more about implementation in the global arena.

    Quite a few managers raised questions about project management. In fact, I was contacted by someone representing the Project Management Institute who asked [several] questions about the role of project management in the execution process. Additional questions regarding making M&A strategies work also were raised. The new edition [has sections] dealing with service organizations, global strategies and project management, as well as a revised chapter on making M&A strategies work.

    Knowledge@Wharton: What can a company do to become more focused on executing successfully?

    Hrebiniak: The basic step for a company to follow to become more focused on execution or implementation is to create a culture of execution. How does one create such a culture? Let’s look at some basic facts. First, it’s a fact that culture affects behavior. An organizational culture include values, prescriptions on how to act, how to treat others, how to react to performance shortfalls, how to compete, etc., and these have a profound impact on behavior. 

    A related fact, however, also must be kept in mind: Behavior, over time, affects organizational culture. Culture, [in other words], is both an independent, causal factor, and a dependent factor, affected by behavior. How, then, does one create a desired culture? By creating behaviors and performance programs that become an integral part of an organization’s way of doing things. By creating and reinforcing behaviors and performance programs that affect the very essence of how organizations act and compete, i.e. their culture.

    A company, then, can [create] a culture of execution by [developing and reinforcing] behaviors that affect culture. It can: lay out key decisions, actions, and capabilities needed for successful execution; support the model and execution plan with effective incentives and controls; create structures and processes that support desired strategic and operating objectives; and manage execution as a change process in which agreement and commitment are sought and rewarded. 

    Creating and reinforcing behaviors related to execution will impact culture; culture will reflect the critical execution-related behaviors. It is important to design, reward and otherwise support the right behaviors, those that are vital to making strategy work, in order to create and nurture a culture of execution.



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    The 2013 Forbes Fictional 15


    You’re not imagining it: The rich do keep getting richer. Even the fictionally rich.
    Each year Forbes calculates the net worth of the wealthiest characters from novels, movies, television and games, constructing portfolios based on those stories, and valuing them using real-world commodity and share prices. This time around, the aggregate net worth of the Fictional 15 climbed 3% to $215.8 billion. That’s more than the gross domestic product of Ireland.

    On the top of the list this year: Scrooge McDuck, the billionaire bird who keeps most of his $65.4 billion fortune in gold coins, piled high inside a Duckburg money bin. The world’s richest duck started out in business when he was “just a wee nipper,” polishing boots on the streets of his native Glasgow; today he owns some of the world’s largest mining concerns. Famously penny-pinching, Scrooge still has the first dime he ever earned.

    Other rich list perennials include the billionaire playboy Tony Stark. 
    An engineering genius who earned two master’s degrees by age 19, Stark’s remarkable inventions (including the “Iron Man” combat armor) are often outshined by his ability to create controversy. His latest foible: publicly threatening the terrorist known as The Mandarin, who responded by destroying Stark’s Malibu mansion. Still, the billionaire playboy’s net worth is actually up year over year to $12.4 billion, thanks in large part to the stewardship of Stark 
    Industries CEO (and subject of a recent Forbes cover story) Pepper Potts.Fiction’s second richest character, the reclusive red-gold dragon Smaug, spent eons holed up in his Lonely Mountain lair on top of a horde of valuables worth $54.1 billion. But “Smaug the Tremendous” has been pushed into the limelight of late, after agreeing to appear in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of Hobbit films; now he spends his days in Hollywood’s exclusive Chateau Marmont.
    Full Coverage: 2013 Forbes Fictional 15
    Several new faces appear on this year’s list, including Christian Grey, with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. The enfant terrible of the business world attributes his success to hard-work, lack of personal distractions and extensive use of binding employment contracts: “I like to tie down my best employees.” A demanding task-master, he’s known for buying under-performing companies and whipping them into shape.
    High tech hotshot Walden Schmidt also makes his first appearance, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. Schmidt flipped a startup into a billion-dollar check from Microsoft , nearly lost everything after a break-up with his high-school sweetheart turned wife, and then disappeared from the Silicon Valley scene. Now reportedly living in a Malibu mansion with persnickety best friend and his teenage son; attempting comeback with new business selling power-grid management software.
    And a few familiar faces return to the list after falling from its ranks in previous years. “Tomb Raider” Lara Croft, the Countess of Abbingdon, inherited her $1.3 billion fortune from staid British ancestors, but gentle birth didn’t make her mild mannered: After earning a degree in archaeology, Croft made a name for herself discovering the long lost kingdom of Yamatai on an island off the coast of Japan. Celebrated New York party host Jay Gatsby also makes a return appearance: Long Island’s most eligible bachelor is renowned for hosting wild, all-night “flapper” soirees fueled by caviar, champagne and the Charleston.
    To qualify for the Fictional 15, we require that candidates be an authored fictional creation, a rule which excludes mythological and folkloric characters. They must star in a specific narrative work or series of works. And they must be known, both within their fictional universe and by their audience, for being rich.
    Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character’s source material, and where possible, valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements. In the case of privately held fictional concerns, we seek to identify comparable fictional public companies. All figures are as of market close, April 1, 2012.
    Final valuations are calculated with a grain of salt, and a willingness to break our own rules.


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  • 08/03/13--06:47: Simplify your future 08-03
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    Why start-ups rarely change the world

    I’m sure nobody wants to hear this and I’ll be viciously attacked for suggesting it, but despite the constant refrain from entrepreneurs that they’re trying to change the world, startups rarely do anything significantly world-changing. It’s not really their fault, changing the world almost always requires massive amounts of money, groundbreaking technology, and a lot of time — three things most startups don’t have.
    Really big paradigm shifting developments are so costly and require such a long term outlook that they essentially have to be disconnected from the profit requirement. As such, the only people who can afford to do this kind of work are the research labs of big companies (think Bell Labs in the old days and Google today) and the government. Even startups that raise massive VC rounds don’t have resources anywhere close to what Google or the government can provide.
    For those of you sharpening your anti-government pitchforks, where do you think the Internet came from? The government funded this experiment for decades without any expectation of profit and gave it to private industry for the rest of us to make money with it. Without those years of government development, we wouldn’t even have the internet. Everything we’ve done since then, from Amazon to underwear delivery, stands on the shoulders of profitless government funded research. Creating the Internet was the fundamental development that changed the world, not mailing crap in a box.
    Some of you are probably thinking, “but Google was a startup once and they’re changing the world.” Yes, but when Google was a startup, all they did was make a better search algorithm. I’m not dismissing that as inconsequential, but it’s not a foundational world-changing technology on the same scale as the creation of the Internet itself.
    Furthermore, I would argue that some of the projects Google is working on today, as a large company with near limitless resources, are far more important than the work they did during their startup phase. Google’s self-driving car has the potential to eliminate traffic, reshape our cities, and bring mobility to the blind and elderly. No startup has the resources to fund the development of a self-driving car over the course of 10 or 20 years, but Google can, because they can afford to be disconnected from profits for a long period of time. When the self-driving car ultimately becomes a reality, it will have a much greater impact on our lives than anything Google did in their startup days.
    What about Elon Musk? Isn’t he changing the world? Yes, but I think everyone can agree Elon is a rare exception, and even still, SpaceX and Tesla both received massive government financing. Additionally, in the case of SpaceX, the foundational work was done by NASA in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. NASA did the research that changed the world, Elon is only making it cheaper and more efficient. I don’t mean to belittle Elon’s work, I’m a big fan, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Elon didn’t invent space travel. The world-changing research was done by the government decades ago in an environment disconnected from the profit requirement. Unless every VC on Sand Hill Road pooled their money into one giant Hail Mary investment, no startup could ever afford to engage in an undertaking as massive as the Space Race.
    As a group, startups can contribute small incremental changes that together add up to a big difference in the way we live our everyday lives, but their work is rarely foundational. Even with generous venture funding, their relatively limited access to resources, along with their near term profitability requirements, just don’t allow them to pursue truly grand ambitions. Only people who can afford to think and spend on the timescale of decades with little or no concern for ROI have the resources to create world changing, paradigm shifting new technology. And the only people who have those kinds of resources are Larry, Sergey, and the government.

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    Planning to launch a startup? Launch your kindergarten startup first

    world_map
    Somebody out of the blue contacts me, and at breakneck speed explains “the next Facebook idea.” Okay, so they don’t exactly say that, but that’s what they want me to think. I can almost picture their desktop wallpaper — some oversized image of Jack Dorsey in his black Prada suit, looking unnecessarily astute. Normally, I’d wish them well. But because on one occasion, it was somebody really close to me, I stopped everything. I felt that I had to snap them out of their trance. I wanted to tell them that I was also delusional once. Here, in essence, is what I told him.
    I’ve learned a lot from interviewing those in tech that I admire, from Jason Fried to Steve Blank, David Karp, Chris Wanstrath, Jim Mckelvey, and Mike Maples. I would say it comes down to this: be suspicious of popular successes. I’ve come to appreciate that a lot goes on behind the scenes that is not recorded in the history books, and which never makes it on to Wikipedia.
    The past offers few examples of the heroic founder with the insight to decipher — or even design — the future first time around. That person does not exist and never will. Instead, the most successful entrepreneurs started early, launching small, insignificant ventures while they were still young. This is an important point, but it’s often overlooked. It’s a young man’s and woman’s game.
    Everybody wants to be the next Tony Hsieh and build an amazing company culture like Zappos, but nobody wants to sell cold slices of pizza like he did in college. Most never find out that he did.
    For the rest of us, if we get the entrepreneurial bug later in life, we think it’s fine to skip what I call the the Kindergarten Startup. That’s something you pursue because it interests you. It’s not even a startup. It’s a hack, an evening project, driven by an inquisitiveness and curiosity similar to that of a kindergartener. It gives you an opportunity to play – and play is good.
    What happens is that we sometimes correlate our age with the type of venture we should pursue. A guy reaching his 30s, believing that Venture Capitalists may no longer be seduced by his sweet tender age, might attempt to build the next Facebook. A new mom might start a business selling products like nursing covers, changing pads, and plastic-free baby bottles to new moms. To our detriment, however, these old/new entrepreneurs forget that the founders we are trying to emulate all went through a Kindergarten Startup. In many cases, they went through several. Facebook was Mark Zuckerberg’s seventh or eighth project.
    Business depends on acquired methodologies, which is why incremental learning is so important. In the “get rich quick” startup milieu, we often disregard the idea of natural progression, instead blindly following hubris and ambition. We attempt huge leaps before we’ve learned to walk.
    Failure is not only an option in an entrepreneur’s first few businesses. It may be a necessity. Because out of failure rises success.
    Entrepreneurship is the only occupation that applauds this type of preposterous thinking.
    Paul Graham promotes the view that it’s a bad idea to begin with big ambitions, because the bigger they are, the longer they are going to take to realize, and the longer you are projecting into the future, then the more likely you are going to be wrong. “The way to do really big things,” he says, “is to do really small things, and grow them bigger.” 
    What would we say to the pilot in training who seeks to fly passengers across the Atlantic in a Boeing 777 or the junior medical doctor insisting he’s ready to perform heart surgery? Yet many first-time entrepreneurs think nothing of starting out with the idea of building a billion-dollar company. The ease of raising money in Silicon Valley and the amount of cash, both public and private that is sloshing around entrepreneurs at the moment, doesn’t help.
    Turning a profit is a skill that must be earned. Expecting to generate $1 million before your first $10 is crazy talk. Make that first $10 then work from there. Do it right, over and over, and eventually you’ll make it to $1 million.
    Image: Library of Congress

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    The 25 Most Innovative Consumer And Retail Brands


    Our objective in creating the CircleUp25 was to honor 25 companies that are starting to change the way we live our lives—companies that influence what we eat, what we wear, and what we use every day of our lives. They are companies that lead us to decide where and how we shop. They are the most innovative consumer and retail brands that exist.  In short, they are innovative businesses that go far beyond our local farmers’ markets—they are re-inventing industries. In an effort to avoid any appearance of partiality, as mentioned in our prior post announcing the CircleUp25, we have excluded from consideration any company that has worked with our equity crowd funding site in an official capacity.
    So what did we do to select the top 25 most innovative consumer and retail companies?  We first spoke to experts in the field, including some of the best private equity firms in the world who focus on consumer and retail.  Then we talked with major strategics, polling internal innovation teams at the most successful public consumer and retail companies. We also talked with entrepreneurs, third-party data providers and industry participants. From our panel of experts we received over 200 nominations. Then we also wanted to hear from consumers.  We received almost two thousand nominations from consumers and fans through Facebook and Twitter (#CircleUp25).
    DisclosureThrough Encore Consumer Capital, I am an investor in Zuke’s. Despite that, it is on this list because industry experts and fans nominated it independently.
    Here are the honorees, in no particular order. Each company is innovative in its own way.
    David’s Tea Inc., Montreal, Quebec
    • Why? For reminding us why tea is the most popular prepared beverage in the world. And for making tradition even more popular, today.
    • Who Did It? David Segal, a tea-loving entrepreneur, and his cousin Herschel Segal, a Canadian retail pioneer.
    • What They Have Built:  The first David’s Tea retail store opened in 2008. David’s Tea opened its 100th store in 2012 and now sells more than 150 different teas.
    • Big Backers: David’s Tea investors include The Highland Consumer Fund and Chip Wilson, the founder and former CEO of Lululemon Athletica.
    The Experts Agree: David’s Tea won the 2012 Tea Blogger’s Choice Awards in the Herb Blend and Single Herb categories.
    Tieks by Gavrieli, Los Angeles, CA
    • Why? For reinventing the ballet flat with their high-quality portable and fashionable shoes.
    • Who Did It? Kfir Gavrieli, Dikla Gavrieli, Elram Gavrieli and Dean Unatin.
    • What They Have Built: Ballet flats that land as beautifully as they fly.
    • Reinvented: Making a better ballet flat required reinventing the shoe-making process. Each pair of Tieks is handmade from carefully selected leather. In total, the process takes 3 days and over 150 steps.
    Who Has Noticed? Tieks’ shoes have been featured on Oprah’s O! List. Travel & Leisure touts them as the leading travel shoe.
    Warby Parker, New York, NY
    • Why? For transforming the designer eyewear market.
    • Who Did It? Wharton MBA classmates Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider
    • What They Have Built: In addition to a booming online business, Warby Parker opened six new showrooms in 2012.
    • Online Optics: Before Warby Parker launched, it was estimated that less than 1% of eyeglasses were being sold online. Warby Parker, by allowing customers to try on glasses before purchasing them, brought the benefits of the in-store shopping experience onto the internet and into customers’ homes.
    Phone a Friend: 50% of people who visit the company’s website heard about Warby Parker from a friend.  In consumer there are few better measures of success than referrals.
    Back to the Roots, Berkeley, CA
    • Why? For their revolutionary approach to sustainable, grow-at-home products.
    • Who Did It? Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora during their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009.
    • What They Have Built: Back to the Roots mushroom kits are sold in 1,200+ retailers nationwide. In 2012 the company started offering The Aqua Farm, a self-cleaning fish tank that also grows plants.
    • By The Numbers: In 2011, Back to the Roots helped consumers grow 250,000 lbs. of fresh mushrooms.
    Who Has Noticed?  In 2010, the founders were named among BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Social Entrepreneurs. In 2012 the company received the industry’s most coveted honor as a sofiTM Gold Winner. It was also voted a Top 10 Green Company by GreenDeals.
    Beyond Meat, Inc., Manhattan Beach, CA
    • Why? For developing the first plant protein that looks, feels, tastes and acts like meat.
    • Who Did It? Founder Ethan Brown, inspired by his dad’s dairy farm, has focused on clean energy while collaborating extensively with food scientists to develop his products.
    • What They Have Built: Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat’s first product, Chicken-Free Strips, was rolled out in Whole Foods Market in 2012. The company now offers a wide variety of products distributed nationally. They also recently entered into a partnership with the Tropical Smoothie Café.
    • Thinking Big: With a high-quality product, Beyond Meat is positioned to expand beyond the vegetarian and health food markets in which fake meat products have traditionally appeared. The founders are pushing to have the products sold in butcher cases worldwide.
    Making a Splash: Beyond Meat has been named one of CNN Tech’s 10 Startups to Watch, was a 2012 Finalist for the INDEX Design to Improve Life Award and was VegNews Magazine’s 2012 Rookie of the Year
    Boa Technology Inc., Denver, CO
    • Why? For creating the Boa Closure System.
    • Who Did It? Founder Gary Hammerslag, after a Colorado winter exposed him to the shortcomings of traditional laces on snowboard boots and hockey skates.
    • What They Have Built: There are an estimated 25 million Boa-powered products worldwide, spanning the sport, medical and work categories.
    • Feet First: Boa expanded its applications beyond footwear in the late 2000s and is now featured in products like medical braces and high-performance gloves.
    • The Athlete’s Foot: 70+ Tour de France riders have worn Boa products. Renowned endurance athlete Dean Karnazes completed 50 marathons in 50 days wearing only Boa. The Boa Snowboard Team features some of the sport’s youngest stars rocking the Boa Closure System.
    Chobani, Inc., New Berlin, NY
    • Why? For making great tasting, high-quality, natural yogurt.
    • Who Did It? Cheesemaker Hamdi Ulukaya, following his instincts after stumbling upon an ad for a recently-closed yogurt plant.
    • What They Have Built: In five years, Ulukaya turned a $1 million Small Business Association loan into a company with $1 billion in annual revenue.
    • At the Top: Chobani is America’s #1 Greek Yogurt and controls 47% of the US Greek Yogurt market with more than twice the market share of the Number 2 brand.
    Awards Abound: Chobani won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Entrepreneurial Success of the Year Award for 2012 and Rabobank’s, 2012 North America Innovation in Leadership award. Ulukaya was a 2009 Forbes 40 Under 40 Honoree and was recently named Ernst & Young’s 2013 World Entrepreneur of the Year.
    Dollar Shave Club Inc.,Santa Monica, CA
    • Why? For saving time and money with their subscription-based razors and bathroom products.
    • Who Did It? Mark Levine and Michael Dubin, frustrated with the existing options.
    • What They Have Built: A base of 200,000+ paying customers that should produce more than $10 million in sales, a year after launching.
    • What is Next? Expansion into additional men’s grooming products. Aside from razors, Dollar Shave Club currently offers shave butter and moist wipes.
    Audacious Advertisers: 12,000 people reportedly signed up for the service within 48 hours of the company’s release of “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” on YouTube. The video has been viewed over 10 million times and won Best Out-of-Nowhere Video Campaign at the 2012 AdAge Viral Video Awards.
    KeVita® Inc., Ventura, CA
    • Why? For providing health-seeking consumers with a delicious, vitalizing, probiotic drink.
    • Who Did It? Bill Moses and Chakra Earthsong Levy
    • What They Have Built: KeVita’s organic, non-GMO, gluten free, vegan sparkling probiotic drinks are available in more than 3,500 stores nationwide.
    • Probiotic Punch: Each of the company’s ten flavors has more probiotics than kombucha or yogurt.
    • Just The Beginning: At the end of 2012, KeVita’s was on track to grow its revenue 100% on a year over year basis including 35% year over year same store sales growth.
    KIND LLC, New York, NY
    • Why? For their all-natural, whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can seeand pronounce.
    • Who Did It? Social entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, who was one of TIME Magazine’s 2009 25 Responsibility Pioneers and has been named one of BusinessWeek’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs.
    • What They Have Built: Kind’s retail distribution has grown from 1,000 doors in 2004 to 80,000 doors in 2013.
    • Perfecting Packaging: Kind’s clear packaging, exposing whole, natural ingredients helped it disrupt the industry when it first appeared on shelves in 2004.
    Awarded: KIND has won numerous prestigious awards from experts in health, food and social responsibility.
    Krave Pure Foods, Inc., Sonoma, CA
    • Why? For making beef jerky good. Finally.  Really good.
    • Who Did it? Jonathan Sebastiani, one of a long line of wine makers, while training for a marathon.
    • What They Have Built: Krave started as a business plan for one of Sebastiani’s MBA classes. Today, Krave is sold in more than 6,000 retail outlets nationwide.
    What is Next? In 2012, Sebastiani predicted that 2013 sales would top $10 million. He also reported that the company is experimenting with other products.
    Philz Coffee Inc., San Francisco, CA
    • Why? For being the original one-cup-at-a-time brewer. 
    • Who Did It? Phil Jaber experimented with coffee blends for 25 years before offering single-serving coffee in his  corner grocery store.
    • What They Have Built: Following the success of its original location (Phil stopped selling groceries to focus on coffee), Philz’s quickly expanded and now operates 13 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    •  What Is next? Philz’s recently secured an eight-figure investment from Summit Partners to fuel expansion outside of the Bay Area.
    • On Not Seeking Space: Phil’s son Jacob, the company’s CEO, reports never having approached landlords when seeking space for retail outlets. They all come to him.
    • Friended By Facebook: In 2011, Philz was invited to open an outlet on Facebook’s corporate campus. Philz’s beans are featured in Whole Foods and distributed to Google’s cafeterias.
    Quinn Foods, LLC, Woburn, MA
    • Why? For cleaning up microwavable popcorn, inside and out. 
    • Who Did It? Coulter and Kristy Lewis, looking for a better alternative for their son, Quinn.
    • What They Have Built: Quinn’s started from the outside by creating a bag that was grease-proof, compostable and free of chemical coatings. Then they filled them with better-for-you, better-tasting microwavable popcorn.
    • Who Has Noticed? Prevention Magazine just listed Quinn in their 100 Cleanest Packaged Foods Awards, and the popcorn was one of Natural Food Merchandiser’s 2012 Favorite Food and Beverage Products.
    Popping Up Everywhere: Quinn popcorn offers 7 flavors and is sold in hundreds of stores nationwide.


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    Chinese troops stop Army from patrolling in Indian territory


    Chinese troops stop Army from patrolling in Indian territory
    Chinese troops stop Army from patrolling in Indian territoryviolated Indian airspace on July 11
    LEH/NEW DELHI: Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, its troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border which was well within India's territory. 

    In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics have come to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched its patrol "Tiranga" from Trade Junction area in north of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the line of actual control (LAC). 

    The Indian Army personnel were stopped by Chinese troops who came mounted on heavy and light vehicles, official sources said on Sunday. 

    The patrol party was shown a banner that it was Chinese territory and that they cannot proceed to the posts, they said. 

    The sources said the Chinese troops were aggressive in their approach while stopping the Indian patrol who were at their posts. 

    These posts are well inside Indian territory, the sources said, adding that from April this year, the patrol for these forward bases were launched 21 times and only twice it could complete its mission. 

    Chinese have erected an observation post which kept a vigil on movement of Indian troops and as soon as an Indian patrol party is ready to leave, they are intercepted midway and sent back, the sources said, adding the matter would be taken up during the next Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) at Chushul. 

    In the same sector in Ladakh, there were instances when Chinese military vehicles were spotted in Depsang Bulge and Daulat Beg Oldi(DBO) sector where the two armies had seen a 21-day stand-off from April 15 this year. 

    Indian troops comprising mainly Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) immediately swung into action and prevented the "free-run" of Chinese military vehicles in the Indian territory. 

    In the last BPM meeting held on July 27, India also raised objections to a tower being constructed in the Chinese side on the LAC in Demchok-Fukhche sector. 

    During the meeting with the Chinese side which was led by Colonel Wang Jun Xian, the Indian side said the construction was in violation of peace and tranquality agreement signed between the two countries in 1993. 

    According to the agreement, no construction work has to be undertaken at the LAC by either country. 

    The Chinese side claimed that the tower was actually a weather station for the benefit of the people of the area and instead informed the Indian delegation that its Army was engaged in military activities in Fukhche. 

    The Indian side led by Brigadier Sanjeev Rai told the Chinese team that PLA troops were regularly entering into the Indian area, sources said. 

    It gave instances like on July 16 and 19 when the Chinese troops entered 1.2km deep into Indian territory, on July 17 (2.5km), on July 20 (aggressive patrol entered 200 metres) and intervening night of July 25-26 (3.5km). 

    These incursions mainly happened in Chumar and Demchok areas, located 300km from Leh. 

    The sources said that the "assertive posturing" by the Chinese troops was a worrying trend which had been seen lately after the April 15 faceoff at the DBO sector. 

    Chumar is the last town after which Himachal Pradesh starts. This area also has the distinction of having a defined international border with China. This area is not accessible from the Chinese side whereas the Indian side has a road almost to the last point on which the army can carry a load upto nine tonnes. 

    All Indian units located along the LAC have been asked to maintain a tight vigil in their area of responsibilities (AOR) and launch frequent patrols to the higher reaches, the sources said. 


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    Is Your Business Prepared For A Weather-Related Disaster?


    1. Make sure you’re insured. This sounds simple enough, but it’s always good to know what kind of coverage you have. You may have cut back a little when economic times were tough, but now that the economy has picked up, it’s time to get the necessary level of protection and verify you have the coverage you think you’re paying for.
    Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...
    We know the storms are coming. Are you prepared? Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near its peak Category 5 intensity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
    We’re in the middle of the Atlantic hurricane season, and with a single storm cycle our world can get turned upside down. A new map released by Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists and journalists, shows that over 3,000 coastal cities and towns are threatened by rising sea levels. Climate change deniers can say what they will, but the facts are that sea levels have already risen 6.7 inches in the last century, according to NASA.
    So knowing that a weather-related catastrophe is possible (if not likely) here are few business preparations to make:

    2. Have a contingency plan.
     If you’re a brick and mortar store and a natural disaster prevented you from opening your doors, what are you prepared to do? First, are you financially stable enough to weather such a storm? Do you have a plan for your employees? Have you created a call list (employees, insurance company, suppliers, etc.)? If you are a company doing business online, can you stay online? Where are your servers located?1. Make sure you’re insured. 
    This sounds simple enough, but it’s always good to know what kind of coverage you have. You may have cut back a little when economic times were tough, but now that the economy has picked up, it’s time to get the necessary level of protection and verify you have the coverage you think you’re paying for.
    3. Protect your assets. If you have physical inventory, make sure you have a plan to keep it protected. Sometimes, however, that’s not possible. Perhaps it would be prudent to carrying less inventory when you know a storm is brewing. If your business lives online, make sure you have backups of your backups and then make sure those backups are housed in various physical locations. In fact…
    4. Move MOVE +2.16% your data to higher, dryer ground. You can find data centers all over the country. If you have a third-party company host your website, find out where they keep their servers and what their plan is in case of emergency. Many hosts will post information about their data centers online.
    5. Diversify. This is a long-term solution that you need to think about. If one storm can wipe out a decade’s worth of work and stability, it’s time to think about ways you can diversify your security. Perhaps that means new revenue sources, new store locations, or new product lines. This could mean generating more revenue online where physical location doesn’t play as big a role.
    Don’t ignore today’s realities. We know the sea levels are rising. We know that storms are getting stronger, and we know that our country’s infrastructure is in serious need of repair. The Environmental Business International , a strategic market intelligence company, recently released a report estimating that the climate change adaptation industry will reach $1 billion by 2015 and $2 billion by 2020. Remember, industries don’t double in size for no reason.
    On the bright side, you don’t need to spend billions to be prepared, however doing nothing and having your dreams washed away would be incalculable.

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    TALKING HUMANOID ROBOT LAUNCHES ON JAPAN ROCKET

    You are here


    • Japan Rocket Launch
       
      In this photo taken from video Japan's H-2B rocket lifts off from a launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center in Tanegashima, southern Japan, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. Japan successfully launched the un-manned cargo transporter Sunday carrying close to five and a half tons of supplies and equipment, along with a small robot which will serve as a companion to Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata who is onboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/JAXA via AP video) MANDATORY CREDIT
    TOKYO (AP) — The first talking humanoid robot "astronaut" has taken off in a rocket.
    Kirobo — derived from the Japanese words for "hope" and "robot" — was among five tons of supplies and machinery on a rocket launched Sunday for the International Space Station from Tanegashima, southwestern Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said.
    The childlike robot was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata, and will communicate with another robot on Earth, according to developers. Wakata is expected to arrive at the space station in November.
    Robot designer Tomotaka Takahashi, of the University of Tokyo, advertiser Dentsu and automaker Toyota Motor Corp. worked on the robot.
    The challenge was making sure it could move and talk where there was no gravity.
    Ahead of the launch, the 34-centimeter (13-inch) tall Kirobo told reporters, "one small step for me, a giant leap for robots."
    Japan boasts the most sophisticated robotics in the world, but because of its "manga" culture, it tends to favor cute robots with human-like characteristics with emotional appeal, a use of technology that has at times drawn criticism for being not productive.
    But Takahashi, the designer, said sending a robot into space could help write a new chapter in the history of communication.
    "I wish for this robot to function as a mediator between person and machine, or person and Internet and sometimes even between people," he said.
    JAXA, Japan's equivalent of NASA, said the rocket launch was successful, and the separation of a cargo vehicle, carrying the robot to the space station, was confirmed about 15 minutes after liftoff
    .

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    The sharing economy: a whole new way of living

    taskrabbit
    TaskRabbit is a peer-to-peer marketplace for neighbourhood errands, such as shopping for groceries.
    In 2006, serial entrepreneur and investor Martín Varsavsky – inspired by a conviction that he could cloak the world in free Wi-Fi by encouraging people to share their home connections – founded Fon in Madrid. The company is now the largest Wi-Fi network in the world, with almost 12m hot spots in more than 100 countries.
    "My general thinking at the time was that we live in a world in which benefits are only accrued through economic growth and the endless consumption of resources, and that there have to be other ways that are of more benefit to people," he says. "Why should everyone have their own car when most of the time they are not using them? Think of a marina full of boats. How frequently do those boats go out?"
    Today, it has been argued that the sharing economy – which is perhaps best defined as a way of sweating underutilised assets, by building communities around them and turning consumers into providers – has the potential to reboot businesses across most economic categories. Indeed, Forbes magazine recently estimated that total revenues for the sector could top $3.5bn this year, with growth exceeding 25%. However, when setting up Fon, Varsavsky became convinced that people needed a nudge or financial incentive before they'd happily share their assets.
    "In the case of Wi-Fi we came up with the concept that if you share a little Wi-Fi at home, you can roam the world for free," he says. "That's a small loss and a huge gain. And now [years later] we see that in all those situations where you have a small loss and a big gain, the sharing economy makes sense."
    Yet while it makes sense, at least intellectually, it's when you start to examine the legalities around the ownership of assets that the sharing economy starts to run into trouble, argues the 53-year-old, who was born in Buenos Aires. It turns out ownership is not as clear cut as many of us might expect. "You think something is yours to share until somebody says, 'Hey! It's not really yours at all,'" says Varsavsky, citing the terms and conditions around "owning" Wi-Fi and the copyright of books and music as examples.
    The fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P) holiday lodgings market is another case in point. There are claims that its success is gnawing away at the incumbent hotel sector's profit margins and even starting to have an impact on property prices. The hotel industry has begun to fight back, primarily, it seems, through behind the scenes lobbying of regulators and politicians.
    On 20 May, New York officials ruled that a man who rented out part of his NYC apartment for three days on Airbnb – the sharing economy's most high-profile success story to date – should pay $2,400 for violating the city's illegal hotel law. Airbnb says it is committed to fighting the ruling. The P2P holiday rentals marketplace is hitting roadblocks in Europe, too: the authorities in Amsterdam and Berlin, for example, are reportedly considering laws that will make it tougher for companies such as Airbnb and its European rivals HouseTrip, Wimdu and 9flats to operate.
    Martín VarsavskyMartín Varsavsky, CEO and founder of FON. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
    "The sharing economy can create winners and losers, and property owners are winners and hotel owners are losers [in this case]," says Varsavsky. "Sometimes those who gain are atomised and gain little individually, while those who hurt, hurt a lot, and then organise very well. Those are the forces against sharing." The response of sharing economy companies encountering obstacles of this sort should be to rally the forces that stand to gain while making the case, wherever possible, that the forces of disruption can be good for "traditional" businesses too, he says.
    "In the case of hotel stays versus apartment stays, there have been studies done that have shown there's a market that hotels don't address very well. And that is the market of families with children, for whom hotel stays can be very expensive. So Airbnb fills a niche of families who travel and their presence is actually accretive to the city. For example, the city of Paris studied this and concluded that Airbnb was a good thing, because it's bringing even more people to Paris overall, and the economy was doing better, while hotels were not really getting hurt."
    Similarly, when Varsavsky launched Fon, it ran into determined opposition from telecoms businesses, which said that the company's vision of shared Wi-Fi was against their terms of service. "What we showed with Fon was that you would only share with those who share back," he says. "We actually created a new incentive for people to sign up for DSL or broadband connections, which was to sign up at home, to roam the world. This became so true that T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and BT all became shareholders in Fon."
    Sharing economy companies who fail to convince the established players that they add value are likely to become unstuck, adds Varavsky. "With [P2P file-sharing services] Napster and Kazaa, when people started sharing songs in a way where there was no value for the record labels or copyright holders, they fought them like crazy and closed them down. The sharing of music had to come up with a concept more like Spotify, which makes use of the same P2P technology that Kazaa used to use, but it left money aside to pay the record labels – so the model became legal and now it's a success."
    When asked where he thinks the sharing economy will go next, Varsavsky picks an unexpected area: fertility. "For a long time fertility has been helped by people who have been sharing their sperm or eggs, in order to make reproduction possible for others. But it's been done in a very restrictive way so far. I think, as the average age of people having children goes up, fertility is an area which will see a great deal of change, because of the ability to obtain embryos, eggs, sperm, surrogacy – all of those are examples of people doing something for someone else. People don't think of fertility as part of the sharing economy, but I do. Life must come from life."
    Another area set to boom, he predicts, is the sharing of expensive equipment for gardening, DIY and even farming. "These are all things that are bought, used extremely little and are likely to be shared. Social platforms will play a big role in this and open up all these categories, because people can just say, 'I need this' and there's an instant audience. All these [sharing economy] sites have log-ins with Facebook, Twitter and Google+, which removes the friction, enabling us to make more rational use of our assets [like these]. That's one of the reasons why the sharing economy is here to stay."

    Work

    leah busqueLeah Busque and Kobe, the dog that inspired her to found TaskRabbit. Photograph: TaskRabbit
    Leah Busque is the founder and CEO of TaskRabbit.com, an online and mobile peer-to-peer marketplace for neighbourhood errands and small jobs
    One blustery Boston night in February 2008, Leah Busque and her husband were about to go out for dinner when they realised they'd run out of dog food and didn't have time to get any. Later that night the conversation turned to a business idea: an online marketplace where people could outsource little jobs (such as running to the corner shop) by connecting with others nearby.
    Fast-forward four months and Busque had quit her job as a software engineer at IBM to launch TaskRabbit. Although leaving a well-paid job amid mounting economic turbulence worried her, the very nature of her plan – to create a marketplace for freelancers (known as TaskRabbits) – just as people were being laid off in droves, simultaneously vindicated it. "I had doctors, lawyers and pharmacists coming to me to be TaskRabbits so they could float themselves between jobs," she recalls.
    Later this year ("early in Q4" is as precise as Busque will get), TaskRabbit opens in London – the first outpost beyond the US in a planned global rollout. With headquarters in San Francisco, the company has received funding totalling $37.7m to date, and now has over 13,000 background-checked TaskRabbits in 14 US cities. But progress hasn't been plain sailing. Last month Busque, 33, confirmed the company had laid off an unspecified number of staff. "We needed to reorganise the team to support further investment in some key areas around mobile, geographic expansion and the business customer," she says.
    The last area – TaskRabbit for Business – has proven to be a sweet spot; small businesses seeking vetted, temporary staff, particularly in events, office administration and customer service now account for 30% of monthly revenues. It's an innovation Busque claims could eventually displace big recruitment agencies. "[We] are a much lighter-weight model that's easier for a small business to utilise and much cheaper. We only take a 20% cut of every transaction, whereas a lot of the staffing industry can take far more." For tax purposes Task Rabbits are considered independent contractors responsible for their own tax returns, but how a fee, say for assembling Ikea furniture (one of the site's popular tasks), relates to minimum wage legislation is so far untested.
    Busque's vision is to revolutionise the way we work. "By providing people with the tools and resources to set their own schedules, be their own bosses and say how much they want to get paid is incredibly empowering. It has huge implications for the global labour force."

    Transportation

    nicolas brussonNicolas Brusson, co-founder of BlaBlaCar.com Photograph: Blablacar.com
    Nicolas Brusson is co-founder of BlaBlaCar.com
    If Airbnb is the American-born poster child of the new trust economy then BlaBlaCar is fast becoming Europe's riposte. Founded in 2004 and now in 10 countries (including the UK, where it launched 2011), the Paris-based ride-sharing service, which handles 600,000 passengers a month, is on track to pip Eurostar's 900,000 by the end of the year. With 3 million Europeans registered as members, the company is that rarest of breeds – a tech startup that solves a genuine problem.
    "What we do is connect cities by creating a new transport network based on empty seats in cars," says co-founder Nicolas Brusson. Drivers post on the website that they have, for example, three empty seats for their journey from London to Manchester on Friday evening. They set a fee of £15-£20. Passengers get in touch, and pay in the car or via the BlaBlaCar site. "The reason it's taking off right now is the macroeconomic factors around us. Petrol prices going up, the cost of owning a car has gone up dramatically all over Europe – especially in the UK, when you include petrol, insurance, depreciation, MOT, tax and so on – at a time when disposable income hasn't.
    "On the driver side, we have an equation where the problem isn't buying a car any more, it's owning one – and that's helping us to convince drivers to share their ride. On the other side, you see the same dynamic. Train prices, especially, have gone up dramatically in past five to 10 years. If you want to book a train from London to Manchester for Friday evening, you're going to pay £50-£70 one way, when BlaBlaCar is going to cost you £15. So we offer a last-minute, flexible, super-low-cost transport network."
    BlaBlaCar, which received $10m in a venture round led by Accel Partners in January 2012, is free at first, allowing users to discover the service, be introduced to one another online and pay in person, thereby building up a level of familiarity and trust, says Brusson. "Then, as soon as we have enough people in the service, we introduce an online booking service, where essentially the passenger will pay online and we manage not only the interaction but also the transaction. The company holds on to the money, until the driver and passenger ride together and rate each other. Once we have the feedback that it worked, we transfer the money to the driver and take a commission fee." For tax and insurance reasons, drivers aren't allowed to make a profit on the journey, merely to cover costs.
    Through feedback (BlaBlaCar has, for example, accumulated 2.3m ratings between members), social media and online data trails, including member profiles, mobile numbers, credit card and bank details, a layer of transparency is created. "We have a complete track of who travelled where with whom and when," says Brusson. "In terms of trust and safety, which is always a debate in sharing economy, that's very powerful."


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