companies have a serious addiction to brainstorming. Whenever a problem
arises, the team is called to gather and shout out possible solutions,
with at least one notetaker scrambling to get everything down. It’s as
if this were the only known way out of a pickle, or into a new
project—and it can feel like a supreme waste of time, especially when
the same few dominating personalities ruin the mood.
Yet the value of brainstorming is rarely questioned. (A notable exception is a 2012 New Yorker story arguing that research cannot scientifically validate the effectiveness of the process, but even that did little to get in the way of the ubiquity of brainstorming.) Perhaps that’s because the idea of brainstorming seemingly has always existed; it’s as much a part of workplace culture as pizza parties or sales reports.
I have to stay home sick from work, I’m always uncertain about how much
detail to give. Do I let my boss know that I have the stomach flu,
specifically? Or would she prefer the simple elegance of “feeling under
I mentioned this conundrum at a recent dinner with three friends, all of whom are managers. For the most part, they agreed they would not want to know the particulars of an employee’s reasons for missing work. They trust the people they manage and are troubled by the idea that workers would feel pressured to disclose the minutiae of their bodily ailments. The exception, they said, is when an employee has a chronic illness or condition, in which case it’s helpful to have a bit of context for regular absences.
The Buddha would have made an excellent product manager 🤩️. He was obsessed with solving people’s problems, he summarized his ideas into handy lists, and he developed simple frameworks for achieving his vision. He was also one of the earliest practitioners of working from first principles, famously sitting under a Bodhi tree for forty nine days straight in order to “see things as they truly were.” 🧘♂️
The ability to match demand and supply (allowing for mutual
discoverability) thanks to their ownership of demand is only one of the
two advantages of aggregators, the other being the ability to allow
counterparts who do not know each other to transact with each other.
In the markets where the supply of aggregators operate,
centralization was caused by the demand using popularity of suppliers as
a proxy for their trustworthiness.
As a consequence of the fact that aggregators can provide
the otherwise missing trust element between a customer and a product or
service provider who do not know each other, and thus popularity becomes a negligible factor in the users’ choice of a provider, the
distribution of profits in markets in which the supply of aggregators
operate flattens over time, whereas the market at the above layer (the
The importance of the trust element opens up the possibility of a new threat to aggregators:
whereas their self-reinforcing dominant position on the match-making
side is hard to be disrupted, this isn’t true for their position on the
trust-enablers one. In particular, the share of their profits
that come from replacing costs to act in trust-less environments is open
for disruption from any new entrant with an innovative
trust-minimization technology, such as dry technologies.
Britain’s decision to
leave the EU risks damaging the UK economy, especially its vital
financial sector. But surprisingly, one of the best-performing European
financial stocks since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 is a pillar of
the UK’s financial sector: the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).