January 2017

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The Patriots, the 49ers, and one way sports is different than business

You want a proven path to innovation? Find good ideas in one context, and try to apply them in a different context. The Wharton School gives us some examples: At Reebok, the cushioning in a best-selling basketball shoe reflects technology borrowed from intravenous fluid bags. Semiconductor firm Qualcomm’s revolutionary color display technology is rooted in
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Big corporations and Robinson Crusoe have opposite problems

I’m reading The Dao of Capital by Mark Spitznagel. The main idea of the book is that in order to win in the long term, you have to lose in the short term. You have to follow a “roundabout” path to success. Spitznagel’s telling of the story of Robinson Crusoe To demonstrate his point, Spitznagel uses
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How does NVIDIA make money?

About a year ago, NVIDIA’s stock was trading a little under $30 per share. Today, it trades for over $100 per share. That’s a 250% jump, compared to a 19% increase for the S&P 500. What’s going on? In short, NVIDIA is using its top notch graphics processors to do a whole lot more than
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Here's one reason executives can struggle to make good decisions

Executives can struggle to make good decisions for lots of reasons. They’re people, after all. They might let emotions interfere with reason. They might be tired or ill. They might misread the demands of customers, or the strategies of competitors. But there’s another, particularly mundane reason executives can struggle to make good decisions: they grew
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JPMorgan Chase's impressive quarter wasn't that impressive after all

Last Friday, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) reported its 2016 fourth quarter results. The company smashed the expectations of stock analysts. Let’s take a quick look at what actually happened. You should look at these two charts, then tell me what the story line is Before I diagnose anything, I want you to look at two charts. One
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Henry Ford perfectly describes the corporate addiction to debt

In his 1922 autobiography My Life and Work, Henry Ford warned about businesses becoming addicted to debt: I would not say that a man in business needs to know nothing at all about finance, but he is better off knowing too little than too much, for if he becomes too expert he will get into
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Sears is dying for completely understandable reasons

Sears is dying. And it’s happening for completely understandable reasons. It’s managers are managing by the book. They’re doing exactly what you’d expect high-profile executives to do in this situation. Unfortunately, Sears is up against two forces that it almost certainly won’t be able to overcome: investor expectations and its self-identity. Sears’ financial performance is on
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Seth Godin and my mission at STEM to Business

Seth Godin is an author, a marketer…a thinker, a doer…I don’t know exactly how to describe him.  He makes things and shares them with people. He encourages other people to make things. He offers wisdom, guidance, perspective. His blog is one of my daily morning reads. His post on Wednesday pretty much nailed my mission
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Even smart people struggle to talk about "Wall Street"

People talk about “Wall Street” like they talk about politics. Facts don’t matter so much. It’s all about what side you’re on. Frankly, it gets old in a hurry. Even smart people aren’t immune. That’s a big problem. It’s not like you can just filter out the obvious dummies and rely on the professionals. The
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