Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Link Roundup

It has been nutty busy lately. You know you're in trouble when you feel tired after updating the "to do"'s for the week. I've also really caught on to the fact that I've been allowing certain projects to slip after delegating tasks. Tasks of course that seemingly drift into the abyss and are ignored until they are harassed over them makes the list and the things I have to track significantly longer.

Anyway, I need to close my browser and reboot so here they are:

  • [Economics/Politics] Arguing that the firm should not be beholden to the profit motive/shareholders (Creative Capitalism via the Economist blog). Frankly it's just plain silly. This idea that corporations are beholden to society in some way over and above the impact they have in creating jobs, technology and driving real progress strikes me as ungrateful. Further, the firms who take a "stakeholder" approach to doing business are generally less creative and more susceptible to market forces. Nevertheless, these are ideas that are useful to consider from time to time if only to dismiss out of hand particularly since those who generally make this argument don't generally differentiate between short term and sustained profitability.

  • [Economics/Politics] Does Obama treat success as a form of failure? (Roger Kimball via Instapundit). It goes back to this idea that those who make more money and are more successful in society "owe" more to society despite the immense contributions they make. It bears reminding that wealth is created and is generally destroyed with government does the distributing.

  • [Managing/Marketing] "8 Pricing Strategies you can implement now" (Small Biz Trends). Practical advice.

  • [Technology] Science you can use: apparently "warp drive a possibility, scientists say" (Telegraph).

  • [Marketing] Something you should know already - using monetary incentives / slashing your price to promote your product, devalues your product (Incentive Intelligence).

  • [Politics/Economics] Highlighting the fact these folks "went to J-School, not B-School" (Just One Minute). Of course the gaffes this past week were even more extensive, if not hilarious prompting this comment from Scrivener: "Maybe they should teach a few business courses in journalism school? At least for students who plan to write in the business section of the paper?" Remedial math might also be a useful skill for some of these people.

  • [Economics/Politics] Repeating the mistakes that made the Depression Great (Washington Post).

  • [Managing/Startup] "Trust Customers over VCs" (37Signals). A bit of an extreme position since I figure that it all depends on what you need/want to do. There are quite a number of people who build businesses to sell out or to hit some ridiculous valuation, but I would tend to agree with David Heinemeier Hansson on this one in that it's probably far easier to build a business focusing on serving a solid market/need over chasing some ethereal/elusive valuation.

  • [Managing/HR] "8 Essential (Life) Skills they didn't teach you in School" (Life Hacker). Quite useful and some good references with the 'networking' and 'time management' bits that I need to work on.

  • [Managing/Startup] "9 Deadly Startup Diseases" (Sitepoint). Quite useful and I can a bit frighteningly relate to a few of these.

  • [Managing/Startup] Winners know when to quit (NYT). I find the publishing source of this somewhat ironic but nevertheless, it's a useful article to consider. I think it may make it far too easy for some people to decide to quite early but just as importantly maybe it will convince some people who persist in quixotic goals to save time and money putting their efforts elsewhere.

  • [Africa/Development/Economics] Failing Zimbabwe (Vanity Fair). An intense, personal look at what has happened in Zimbabwe. As the joke goes, "what if your purpose in life is to serve as an example to others of what not to do". Except in this case, it's not so funny. I think the West, as a result of liberal guilt truly failed Zimbabwe and could have made significantly more of a difference saving at least hundreds of thousands of lives and reducing human misery.

  • [China/Economics] What went up, in hindsight far too quickly, is now coming down. Documenting the fall in the Chinese stock markets (20 month low) and real estate prices. With the US slow down and the draconian policies in preparation for the Olympics, the question that more people are starting to ask is 'whither the Chinese economy?'

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