“the alchemists” neil irwin <2013> / about the history & inside workings of the central banks of the u.s., u.k. and e.u.
built to last: successful habits of visionary companies <1994> james c. collins & jerry j. porras / clock building instead of time telling, preserving core values while stimulating progress, organizational alignment & embracing the genius of AND are the basic tenets of 18 visionary companies as defined by the authors \ 3m, hewlett-packard, ibm, merck, boeing, walmart, ford, motorola, procter & gamble, nordstrom, general electric, american express, marriott, citicorp, johnson & johnson, philip morris, sony, walt disney / criticisms about the thesis of the book are that 10 years later, these companies do not have the same sterling reputation & performance and that it overstates the importance of good practices over “luck” / i think that’s cynical & unfair criticism \ for the analysis period <visionary companies’ founding period 1812-1945 to the early 1990s when this research was conducted>, the companies were at the top of their game, had endured for decades, and built their clocks / i see two characteristics in the companies i admire today: amazon, google & apple are clock builders, not time tellers and you can see that they HAVE core values & they continually innovate and move forward \ will be interesting to see how long this generation of visionary companies will last
the innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail (1997) by clayton m. christensen contains case studies about how companies successfully or unsuccessfully dealt with disruptive technologies \ primarily about the disruption in the disk drive industry, it also illustrated disruptions in diverse areas such as mechanical excavators <hydraulic technology>, retailing <discount stores>, steel industry <electric arc furnace which utilized steel scrap>, motorcycles <honda’s offroad bike>, and pharma <novo’s insulin pen> \ an excellent must read for marketers, business leaders & innovators / it’s like the what-to-expect series – “what to expect when you are faced with potentially disruptive technology (& how to recognize one)”
the long tail: why the future of business is selling less of more (2008) by chris anderson is about the democratization of production & distribution in the “recommendation age” \ this is not just about the impact of the internet and innovative companies such as google, amazon, itunes, netflix on our economy but also on our culture / the niche need satisfied! \ excellent read!
this post appears in this blog every year on december 1 to kick off the season of gift giving \ this year it appears before thanksgiving day – in keeping with the trend by retailers’ kicking off the shopping season earlier and earlier every year \ popular stores will be open on thanksgiving day at 6pm / after this, there’s black friday and then cyber monday – to non-u.s. folks, those days are our $brick-and-mortar$ and $digital$ shopping holidays, respectively <we typically take the day off from work or extend our lunch hour, respectively>
don’t you sometimes <not always> wish that you simply got cash as a christmas present? / if you felt that way, you’re feeling the gift’s “deadweight loss” which happens when there is a mismatch between what you want and what you receive as a present <that’s inefficient & disappointing> \ for example, if i were gifted with gardening tools instead of a banjo
count on economists to explain gift giving, stripped of sentimentality \ “the deadweight loss of christmas” is considered to be seminal work and was published in the american economic review 20 years ago / in the paper, joel waldfogel estimated deadweight loss to “destroy” the value of a gift by 10% to as much as a third \ but of course even if stripped of sentimentality, it doesn’t always end this way / for example, receiving a present that you like but would not buy for yourself increases the value of the gift <like the keurig machine i got last christmas> and i say there’s no deadweight loss in the gift of jewelry or experience <such as a trip to paris! or rowing camp!>
in this season of gift giving & sentimental remembrances, all this is academic <economists also apply the concept of deadweight loss to government grants and taxation> / economic analysis is often limited by its unrealistic assumption that people always behave in a rational manner \ and so gift giving is judged solely on utility & efficiency | the thoughtfulness & sentiment of the act <the gift’s latent value> are ignored / however, this calculated view can provide insights on how we can improve our gift giving \ you wouldn’t want your gift, especially to someone you are trying to impress, to be in the deadweight zone but rather it be perceived as more valuable than the dollars & cents it cost <failing that, it can be repurposed as a white elephant gift – no dwl there>
tip: if you think your well-thought gift will be perceived as dwl, present it in an enticing context / a couple of christmases ago, i gifted my two favorite young people then 11 and 8 with luggage \ one red, one blue kipling carry-on luggage <aussie luggage brand that comes with a monkey keychain> / if they could express it, they would have yelled “deadweight loss” at me but i told them that this is not just luggage <it is a lifetime promise of travel & adventure> \ now teenagers who enjoy foreign trips, they are expert packers and easygoing travellers, with great looking luggage