Wall Street rewards New Product Lines
“There’s tremendous pressure on companies, particularly publicly traded companies, to grow and grow. You see, for the most part shareholders don’t profit from steadily profitable business, but unexpected growth. Microsoft grew profit by 30% year over year, and the stock market said meh. For a company as successful as Microsoft’s been, even that kind of growth is priced in. The best way to grow is to open up new markets or create and deliver popular new products. Here, Apple’s success in the last few years is the model; not only do Americans love iPhones and iPads, but the company’s devices are exploding globally, especially in Asia, in a way that they never have before. The latter is a much bigger deal in sheer numbers than, say, iPhones running on Verizon or Sprint. But even that kind of modest domestic expansion is a route to growth. So Apple sits on its giant cash hoard, refraining from making high-profile acquisitions, because it doesn’t need to grow that way.”
Leadership = Leading, not Klout Scores
“Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about.”
In a post by Caterine Fake, the Internet Entrepreneur behind Flickr and Etsy, on ‘make things’. It made the rounds, and could very well be a rallying cry to all entrepreneurs to focus on creating things that matter, rather than valuations and terms sheets and exit strategies. Let us hope.
Government & Innovation (don’t mix)
“The reason we don’t have beautiful new airports and efficient bullet trains is not that we have inadvertently stumbled upon stumbling blocks; it’s that there are considerable numbers of Americans for whom these things are simply a symbol of a feared central government, and who would, when they travel, rather sweat in squalor, than surrender the money to build a better terminal. They hate fast trains and efficient airports for the same reason that seventeenth-century Protestants hated the beautiful Baroque churches of Rome when they saw them: they were luxurious symbols of an earthly power they despised.”
— In Decline, Fall, Rinse, Repeat, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik takes a look at a new crop of books tackling the topic of America’s potential decline, including That Used To Be Us, by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. That book’s title comes from a remark made by President Obama in regard to the decline of innovation in the United States, and Gopnik does a great job of illuminating the complexity of the challenges facing any government-sponsored innovation programs.
(h/t to Helen Walters, who uses Tumbler to curate/edit amazing content)
And, if you haven’t already …Please join me in buying this book (and perhaps saving a life or two or 20 in a simple act.) If that isn’t enough reason, it has contributions from 61 authors other than myself, who did a rather splendid job. Micro-actions, as Cindy Gallop would say, will change the world.