Braced themselves against you

September 28, 2015

“Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?” – Walt Whitman


Conjectures into actuals

September 28, 2015

By The Heretic via   Article

The Three Most Disruptive Forces Changing Entrepreneurship

1 – Scale

Today you can seamlessly reach a good chunk of the world’s population. 1.5 billion people onFacebook, hundreds of millions on WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp… Nearly everyone (who is online) on Google and Co.

And it’s not only reach – you can find your suppliers on Alibaba, outsource your distribution infrastructure and hire specialists on UpWork.

2 – Cost

You rent your servers on Amazon’s Web Service for a penny an hour; you build your application on top of millions of lines of Open Source code and you reach a global audience for a handful of dollars spent on Google or Facebook.

Your tools of production are free or cheap, pay-as-you-go solutions. A $xx monthly fee at TechShop gives you access to laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines and all the power tools you can dream of.

3 – Speed

Lean startup and rapid prototyping redefined the way we build products and companies. What was a year-long, error-prone process of build, release and pray is now a day-long iterative exercise in rapid customer validation.

We are turning conjectures into actuals at an ever increasing pace with less and less resources.”

Trust a Seal

September 28, 2015

By Rob Roy via   Article

Lesson in Trust From a Navy Seal

“So how do SEALs develop trust with one another and with other organizations? Here are just a few of the ways:

  • We live a culture of honesty and integrity. Those things actually matter to us.
  • We keep promises and don’t make them lightly.
  • We value relationships and honor them.
  • We involve the entire team in the decision-making process.
  • We are loyal—to one another and to our team.
  • It’s never about us, but always about the mission.
  • We share common goals and passionately pursue them.
  • We are transparent. If we think you’re full of it, we’ll tell you so. It’s rarely personal; it’s just business.
  • If we need three helicopters to do a job, we need three helicopters. We don’t inflate the statistics, or exaggerate the risks.
  • We have a solid track record of proven past performance.
  • We are committed to excellence in everything we do. And we can prove it. We walk the walk.

In 2012, the magazine Fast Company reported that companies with high levels of trust enjoy higher stock prices, improved profits, and better retention of key employees. Sounds like a SEAL team to me.”

Benefiting from China’s woes

September 28, 2015

By Jeremy Quittner via   Article

3 Ways You’ll Benefit from China’s Woes

“True, a great deal of China’s economic fate is entwined with our own. It owns close to $4 trillion of our debt, and as the second-largest economy in the world, it’s also responsible for roughly 15 percent of global exports. And U.S. entrepreneurs have flocked to China for its cheap labor and manufacturing wherewithal for decades.

… By manipulating its currency, reducing its value by 3 percent in the past few weeks, it hopes to make its own products cheaper and hence more appealing to prospective buyers around the globe.

While that’s likely to be bad for U.S. small business owners in the short run, events in China are not likely to push our own recovery into recession. Some economists predict that China’s turmoil will shave half a percentage point from U.S. growth that is expected to be between 2 and 3 percent for 2015. While that’s not great, the longer-term benefits could outweigh the downsides.

Here’s a look at the positives:

  • An end to currency pegging: China has pegged the value of its currency to the U.S. dollar since 1994. In doing so, it has been able to manipulate its value in a manner that effectively taxes U.S. imports, and subsidizes its own overseas sales. But China wants to be one of the global currencies in the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights basket, which is how that organization lends out money to developing nations. So it will probably have to undo its peg, and let the renminbi float against the values of other currencies, just as the dollar, euro and yen do. Without the peg, the Renminbi might increase in value. And ultimately, the U.S. could improve its trade imbalance with China with more competitively priced products.
  • More reasonable company valuations: It’s been a six-year bull market in the U.S., with a lot of froth, primarily in technology stocks. And the forth has spilled over into private company valuations too. Look no further than the ever-growing number of unicorns, private companies with values over $1 billion. There are about 130 of those now, more than double the number from two years ago. …
  • Continued low interest rates at home: Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen had hinted earlier in the summer that the central bank’s core interest rate, which has remained near zero for about eight years, could increase as early as September. Now, with stock markets across the globe falling, the Fed is likely to hit the pause button on that plan. That means cheap money is here to stay for a while longer. So if you need to borrow to fund operations or to acquire another company, you’ll be in luck.”

That number is about 34 percent

September 21, 2015

By  via   Article

On-demand workforce to include 7.6million people by 2020, new study says

“Neither regulatory battles facing Uber and Airbnb nor mounting pressure on tech startups to convert their independent contractors to employees will slow the rapid-fire growth of the on-demand workforce, according to a new study released Thursday.

The U.S. on-demand labor force is expected to include an estimated 7.6million by 2020, according to a study sponsored by Intuit. That represents more than double the 3.2 million people today who work for companies such as TaskRabbit and Uber, make money renting their homes and living rooms on Airbnb and Couchsurfing, and find freelance work through websites Elance and Upwork.

The boom of the on-demand economy, a sector of the tech industry built onapps and websites that connect a customer with a service, whether it’s lunch delivery or home repairs, follows the steady growth of self-employment overthe last three decades, said Alex Chriss, vice president and general manager of the self-employed business unit at Intuit. In 1986, just 6 percent of American workers were freelancers, contractors or self-employed; today that number is about 34 percent, and Chriss expects it to hit at least 40 percent, or about 66 million people, by 2020.

The on-demand economy, hitting 7.6 million, would represent 11 percent of thetotal self-employed workforce in just five years. ‘Wow, this could really explode,’ Chriss said. ‘This could be the way that people match up’ to do business. …

Ironically, recent trends in Silicon Valley suggest the longevity of independent contractor workforce may be threatened — facing lawsuits from workers over their alleged misclassificaiton as independent contractors, tech companies have been converting their workforces to full- and part-time employees. Grocery delivery app Instacart and courier service Shyp made the switch, and home tech repair startup Eden and food-delivery service Sprig, while they have not been hit with lawsuits, got ahead of the matter by reclassifying workers.

Some workers and tech industry experts argue that these startups would not survive without their delivery drivers and service providers, many of who rely on the job for their sole income and deserve to have benefits such as health care, sick days and workers’ compensation.

Chriss, however, said this sentiment is largely a misconception of what workers want in a freelance job. What’s more, nearly 80 percent of the Intuit survey respondents said their on-demand work is part-time. ‘There isn’t this feeling out there that ‘I want to be an employee for an employer,” he said.”

A prison

September 21, 2015

By Jason Cohen via   Article

Why it’s nice to compete against a large, profitable company

“A big, profitable company seems like the hardest thing for a small company to compete against. They have everything: money, brand, momentum, existing customers, press, product teams, distribution channels, expertise, market insight, analysts, sales offices, product features, and, by definition, a working business model.

All a little startup has is a decent idea and extremely greasy elbows.

But David has a clear path to slaying Goliath. The insight is: The profitable revenue stream is a prison. It’s the Achilles heel that allows the little guy to win.

A company with a large, profitable, growing revenue stream betrays facts useful to a startup: There’s a huge market to be had (else it wouldn’t be large and growing). This market is willing to pay far more than cost for this product (else profits wouldn’t be generated). This abundance will last for a while (large, profitable businesses typically die a slow, sagging death rather than disappearing in a flash).

This means the market is ripe for an Innovator’s Dilemma-style disruption. A startup with new cost structures, new technology, and new ideas can compete with a good-enough product at 1/2, 1/4, or possibly even 1/10th the price, and start cleaning up.

But wait! The big profitable company can just lower prices, thereby removing the main competitive advantage from the upstart, right? Wrong. The big profitable revenue stream is the goose that’s laying the golden eggs. The goal of a large company is to protect the profit stream at all costs, even if that means giving up on innovation. The current valuation of the company is based on continued growth in revenue and earnings, not erosion due to ankle-biters. Watch how fast your stock plummets when Wall Street thinks your future earnings are in jeopardy.

Don’t forget: Small changes in top-line revenue create massive changes in profitability. A business with a 20% profit margin is very healthy. If you lower top-line prices by 20%, your costs don’t magically decrease 20%, so now your profits are 0%.”

Cockroach theory

September 21, 2015

By Sundar Pichai via   Article

“At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue. In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of those people to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach, that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story:

I understood, I should not react in life.
I should always respond.

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of.”