Business is not politics


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John Kay brings amazing insights in his writings. This article explains why a businessman might not be suited for politics. Simple and lucid.

The most important function of a chief executive is to build a strong and supportive management team.  The ability of a political leader to do this is seriously circumscribed, because many others also enjoy democratic legitimacy. They are also elected, and they hold positions of power conferred by their party positions.  This leads to dysfunctionality in leadership, as individuals who would not have chosen each other and more or less openly covet each other’s roles must work together: neither Donald Trump nor Paul Ryan would have selected the other for the role each occupies.

The complete article

John Kay

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The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup


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Have you heard of Magic Leap, one of the most secretive startup. Currently, they are looking at a valuation of $8bn. This is from Wiki – Magic Leap is a US startup company that is working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display which superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects, by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye,[1][2] involving technologies potentially suited to applications in augmented reality and computer vision. It is attempting to construct a light-field chip using silicon photonics.[3]

Magic Leap may fail. It may fail spectacularly, in the kind of blowup that makes for a great business tale. Or it may fail only in its ambition to be the Apple of augmented reality — and instead become yet another technology company powering devices and services that help Alibaba to better compete with Microsoft and Facebook. It’s also possible that it may succeed spectacularly.

The complete article – Backchannel

Detailed story in Wired

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How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All


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Prices of products are changing by the minute. The pricing algorithms are getting more and more complicated. The price of a soda can in a vending machine can change depending on the temperature outside. Welcome to the world driven by software where you don’t understand what is happening in the background.

The complexity of retail pricing today has driven at least one of Boomerang’s clients into game theory—a branch of mathematics that, it’s safe to say, has seldom found practical use in shopping aisles. Hariharan says, with a smile: “It lets you say, ‘What is the dominant competitor’s reaction to me? And if I know the reaction to me, what is my first, best move?’ Which is the Nash equilibrium.” Yes, that’s John Nash, the eponymous Beautiful Mind, whose brilliant contributions to mathematics now extend to the setting of mop prices.

Where does all this end?

The complete article

Jerry Useem — The Atlantic

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The House Always Wins


After a spate of failed investments, I have come to realize the indubitable truth, that even seasoned investors like Warren Buffet admit to, that no one can consistently and predictably beat any sufficiently large market over an extended period of time.

It just doesn’t work this way.

What you can do is to work on gaining from spillovers, manipulate certain specifics for your benefit and be wary of what analysts at CNBC or Bloomberg say. On that ironical note, today’s Needull is a Bloomberg article on why it is impossible to ‘beat the market’.

Most of us have a vague sense that we’re being ripped off by investment firms that charge hefty fees while producing results that are no better than you’d get throwing darts at a page of stock listings. It’s troubling nonetheless to find out we’re correct. And it’s important to understand the mechanics of what has gone wrong.

Full Article Here

Bloomberg – Peter Coy

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Rankings and Ratings in Our Lives


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I am guilty of this and so are most people these days. Our reliance on ratings and stars to make a decision or a judgment is progressively increasing. Today’s needull looks a little deeper into how the ratings are generated and should we blindly trust them.

On Zomato, a 29-year-old who is a ’13 connoisseur’ (having hit 20,000 points) says, “I am not a food critic. I am a food influencer.” He adds, “When we bloggers and microbloggers go to a restaurant, we are treated like gods. We get 15 dishes on the table, in the hope that we will like one. I am equivalent to five reviewers, so my rating matters more.” In the last year-and-a-half, he has been to more than 600 restaurants in NCR and says that he has two meals out nearly every day.”

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

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The United Airlines Debacle and the Morality of Capitalism


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We have all seen or read about how a passenger was forcefully removed from a United Airlines flight because the flight was overbooked. This needull talks about the morality of capitalism in this context.

Once the common good and the dignity of each person are introduced into the equation, then such things as compassion, kindness, and care for the poor and the environment will come to be understood as values that are every bit as important as efficiency, aggressiveness and hard work. In other words, once you introduce another goal into the equation, then the priorities of the corporation and its employees shift a bit. And, incidentally, it makes for happier employees and a happier organization, because who wants to work for a hard-hearted company?

The complete article

Knowledge@Wharton

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The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews


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Free form interviews – Are they useful? This needull does not think favorably.

A friend of mine once had a curious experience with a job interview. Excited about the possible position, she arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into the interview by the receptionist. Following an amicable discussion with a panel of interviewers, she was offered the job.

Afterward, one of the interviewers remarked how impressed she was that my friend could be so composed after showing up 25 minutes late to the interview. As it turned out, my friend had been told the wrong start time by half an hour; she had remained composed because she did not know she was late.

The complete article

Jason Dana — The New York Times

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