It just takes one good idea to make it big, but sometimes that good idea takes longer to come along. Just ask Mark Cuban. Sure, today we all know him as a billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and a shark on Shark Tank,
but a bit over three decades ago, he was over 30 and coming off a
string of failures in business. On a recent interview with Barstool
Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast, he put this in perspective, saying:
“It doesn’t matter how many times we f— up. You only gotta be right
once. Then everyone tells you how lucky you are.”
He’s right. In
his case, people only focus on his successes: selling his start-up
software business MicroSolutions in 1990 to CompuServe for $6 million,
selling Broadcast.com in 1999 to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion in stock
(officially making him a billionaire for the first time), and predicting
the dot-com bust and selling off his Yahoo! stock before the value of
it tanked. But Cuban failed at a number of ventures before his string of
successes made him a wealthy man.
Once again, markets are crashing and taxpayers are bailing out wealthy insiders. It’s time we reform this perverse social contract.
At a time of coronavirus-induced panic in the financial markets,
there are two wrong ideas about supporting the economy in a downturn
that still haunt us. One possible upside of the current crisis is that
these two ideas may finally be buried for good. And when they are, we
might use this rare moment of clarity to fundamentally rethink who these
markets, and their perennial bailouts, benefit in the first place.
The first of these ideas is that investors, when they decide to buy
or sell their assets, are responding rationally to information. That is,
markets are “efficient,”
and therefore the best way to organize how a society chooses to invest.
This idea is challenged by what we have seen in the financial markets
over the past two weeks. Panicking investors are responding to uncertainty, not information. Central banks around the world have rightly intervened to try to stabilize markets that have been anything but efficient.
Recently 37signals published an article titled Some advice from Jeff Bezos.
This wasn’t your usual advice, and I found it interesting to read and
how familiar it felt as I read each next line. The post was all about
“changing your mind”. The way I would describe the overall theme, is
“inconsistency”. Here’s the key part of the post, paraphrased:
People who are right a lot of the time, are people who often change
their mind. Consistency of thought is not a particularly positive trait.
I find this fascinating, because one of the biggest challenges I’ve found as a founder for the last few years is the times when I change my mind, when have a realisation and I become inconsistent on a thought I previously had. This is amplified as your startup grows, because you have users, co-workers and stakeholders who you are in touch with who are there to witness and be affected by your inconsistency.
who have lost their jobs lose not only an income but also a sense of
place, of purpose and of solidarity. Community dislocation, absence of
social belonging, loss of identity, lack of political control and
self-determination—these things are extremely hard to measure in dollars
and cents or pounds and pence.
to this is urgent. Unless people get a more substantial voice and sense
of agency over their lives, it is hard to see how the backlash against
global trade can be quelled, and that threatens the global economy and
how might confidence and agency be restored to those facing the sharp
end of globalisation? Our work at the Open Society Foundations (OSF)
sheds light on how giving people a “path to participation” can help tamp
the anxiety that drives people to embrace protectionism and populism.
We have looked specifically at three contentious areas: refugee
settlement, worker participation and trade policy.
From Peter Kropotkin to Leo Tolstoy to Noam Chomsky, some of the most revered anarchist thinkers have exhausted page after page explaining why power over others is unjustified, no matter how it justifies itself. To those who say the wealthy and powerful benefit society with charitable works and occasionally humane policy, Tolstoy might reply with the following illustration, which opens Time editor Anand Giridharadas’ talk above, “Winner Take All,” as animated by the RSA:
By the age of 46, the man has built three multi-billion dollar companies, and this is his secret.
It’s easy to link Elon Musk’s rapid success, ability to solve
unsolvable problems, and genius-level creativity to his incredible work
But during a one-on-one interview with TED curator Chris Anderson,
Musk attributed to his genius-level creativity and success to a method
of reasoning called first principles.
First-principles thinking works like this: First, you identify and
define your assumptions; then, you break down the problem into its
fundamental principles; and, lastly, you create new solutions from
Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says “DQ” is as important as IQ or EQ.
A few years ago, Ajay Banga, president and CEO of Mastercard, was searching for a concise way to describe his approach to community outreach and other social impact initiatives. Employees, he says, were constantly asking him what criteria he applied when, say, deciding to send supplies and volunteers in the wake of the hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico. At one town hall he blurted out the term “DQ,” short for “decency quotient.” The term stuck.
Ask any leader whether his or her organization values collaboration, and you’ll get a resounding yes. Ask whether the firm’s strategies to increase collaboration have been successful, and you’ll probably receive a different answer.
“No change seems to stick or to produce what we expected,” an
executive at a large pharmaceutical company recently told me. Most of
the dozens of leaders I’ve interviewed on the subject report similar
feelings of frustration: So much hope and effort, so little to show for
One problem is that leaders think about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach. Businesses have tried increasing it through various methods, from open offices to naming it an official corporate goal. While many of these approaches yield progress—mainly by creating opportunities for collaboration or demonstrating institutional support for it—they all try to influence employees through superficial or heavy-handed means, and research has shown that none of them reliably delivers truly robust collaboration.