Category Archives: News, business & politics

Good career advice

Interesting NY Times interview of Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and co-founder of  Alltop.com. Previously, he was an Apple Fellow at Apple Computer, Inc.

Q. And what would you say to business school graduates?

A. It’s a more general lesson, but in the end, success in business comes from the willingness to grind it out. It’s not because of the brilliant idea. It’s because you are willing to work hard. That’s the key to my success.

Q. Tell me about the best bosses you worked for.

A. My boss in the jewelry business was great because he taught me how to sell and how a business reputation was built on trust.

My boss at Apple was a guy named Mike Murray, who was the director of marketing of the Macintosh division. He gave me so much rope that I could hang myself and sometimes I did. After a while, your neck gets stronger and you also learn not to hang yourself.

A few levels above me, I learned from Steve Jobs that people can change the world. Maybe we didn’t get 95 percent market share, but we did make the world a better place. I learned from Steve that some things need to be believed to be seen. These are powerful lessons — very different from saying we just want to eke out an existence and keep our heads down.

Read the entire interview here.

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Sharpest recession rally

S&P500

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offers his opinion of  the rally here.

From The Big Picture blog.

Everyone gets paid on commission

Just read this post on Seth Godin’s blog and thought it was worth putting here in its entirety:

The Washington Post recently laid off a columnist because his blog posts didn’t get enough web traffic.

Of course, in the old days, the newspaper had no real way to tell which columns got read and which ones didn’t. So journalists were lulled into the sense that it didn’t really matter. The Times quotes Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU,  “It’s an unusual public rationale for serious newspaper people, that’s for sure.”

Wrong tense. It’s not going to be unusual for long.

In fact, in a digital world where everything can be measured, we all work on commission. And why not? If you do great work and it works, you should get rewarded. And if you don’t, it’s hard to see why a rational organization would keep you on.

You don’t have to like the coming era of hyper-measurement, but that doesn’t mean it’s not here.

Obama in Yellowstone

From today’s New York Times Editorial:

President Obama and his family plan to visit Yellowstone National Park on Saturday and the Grand Canyon on Sunday. We hope this visit will inaugurate a new commitment to conserving the national park system and to the science on which sound conservation is based. We also hope that the visit will impress on the president the serious fiscal issues threatening the parks.

Since the first national park — Yellowstone — was created in 1872, the idea has spread around the world, including to Afghanistan, which opened its first national park in June. But this is not an idea that sustains itself easily anywhere. It requires conviction and leadership and, overseas, the continued, inspiring example of America’s national park system.

Read the entire editorial here.

Obama’s stand in the auto crisis

Interesting article on President Obama managing the many people and organizations with a stake in GM and Chrysler. Excerpt below:

For a new president, the automobile industry crisis has tested the boundaries of his activist approach and the acuity of his political instincts. As with so many issues in his action-packed 100 days in office, Mr. Obama confronted choices few of his predecessors encountered. His ongoing intervention in an iconic sector of the economy offers a case study in the education, management and decision-making of a fledgling president.

Tutored by veterans of past administrations, Mr. Obama, often after dinner with his wife and daughters, devoured briefing papers until midnight to master the intricacies of the auto industry. But he had advisers deal directly with the car companies and never spoke with the G.M. chief executive he effectively fired.

Methodical and dispassionate, Mr. Obama aggravated powerful players in Congress and the unions that helped elect him, then moved to assuage them. He encouraged internal debate but was forced to head off tensions as his treasury secretary and White House economic adviser maneuvered for position. In the end, he struggled with the proper balance between government power and market forces, a theme that has defined his first months in office.

From The New York Times.

Quote of the week

“I don’t think that Tim Geithner was motivated by anything other than concern to get the financial system working again. But I think that mindsets can be shaped by people you associate with, and you come to think that what’s good for Wall Street is good for America . . . [This] led to a bailout that was designed to try to get a lot of money to Wall Street, to share the largesse with other market participants, but that had deeply obvious flaws in that it put at risk the American taxpayer unnecessarily.”

Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel-winning economist at Columbia University and bailout critic, from today’s New York Times

Obama’s new Blackberry

President Obama will soon get his new, high-security Blackberry, according to the Washington Times:

The top-secret BlackBerry 8830 is in the final stages of development by the National Security Agency, which will soon begin checking to make sure its encryption software meets federal standards. The device could be ready for use in the next few months.

Once in hand, the president will be able to send text and e-mail and make phone calls to others with the secure software loaded on their devices. Others expected to get secure BlackBerrys include top aides as well as first lady Michelle Obama.

The software being used is called SecureVoice, developed by The Genesis Key Inc. of Washington. It can turn any BlackBerry 8830 or Curve into a device that is designed to defeat hackers, eavesdroppers and spies.

“With the recent foreign cybersecurity threats, it is important that the president has a BlackBerry that is completely secure at the top-secret level,” said Gary S. Elliott, Genesis’ chief information assurance officer, who is a specialist in cyberwarfare threats.