Watch Zuck, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, & Others In Short Film To Inspire Kids To Learn How To Code

Watch Zuck, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, & Others In Short Film To Inspire Kids To Learn How To Code


posted 2 hours ago, the new non-profit aimed at encouraging computer science education launched last month by entrepreneur and investor brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi, has assembled an all-star group of the world’s most well-known and successful folks with programming skills to talk about how learning to code has changed their lives — and isn’t quite as hard as people might think.

As you can see in the five minute clip embedded above, the short film (nine minutes in its full length version) which was directed by Lesley Chilcott, known as the producer of Waiting for Supermanand An Inconvenient Truth, is a who’s who featuring Mark ZuckerbergBill GatesJack Dorsey,Drew HoustonTony Hsieh, Miami Heat player Chris Bosh (he studied computer imaging at Georgia Tech before joining the NBA), and many more. It’s a very human look at what can certainly seem to many as a dry or intimidating subject, and it’s really a pleasure to watch. Read more of this post

Great Leaders Know When to Forgive

Great Leaders Know When to Forgive

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter  |   8:00 AM February 26, 2013

Leaders must be firm and foster accountability, but they also must know when to forgive past wrongs in the service of building a brighter future. One of the most courageous acts of leadership is to forgo the temptation to take revenge on those on the other side of an issue or those who opposed the leader’s rise to power.

Instead of settling scores, great leaders make gestures of reconciliation that heal wounds and get on with business. This is essential for turnarounds or to prevent mergers from turning into rebellions against acquirers who act like conquering armies.

Nelson Mandela famously forgave his oppressors. After the end of apartheid, which had fostered racial separation and kept blacks impoverished, Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected President. Some in his political party clamored for revenge against members of the previous regime or perhaps even all privileged white people. Instead, to avoid violence, stabilize and unite the nation, and attract investment in the economy, Mandela appointed a racially integrated cabinet, visited the widow of one of the top apartheid leaders, and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that would clear the air and permit moving forward. Read more of this post

A Nation of Gamblers: Real Estate Speculation and American History

A Nation of Gamblers: Real Estate Speculation and American History

Edward L. Glaeser 

Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
February 2013
NBER Working Paper No. w18825 

The great housing convulsion that buffeted America between 2000 and 2010 has historical precedents, from the frontier land boom of the 1790s to the skyscraper craze of the 1920s. But this time was different. There was far less far less real uncertainty about fundamental economic and geographic trends, making the convulsion even more puzzling. During historic and recent booms, sensible models could justify high prices on the basis of seemingly reasonable projections about stable or growing prices. The recurring error appears to be a failure to anticipate the impact that elastic supply will eventually have on prices, whether for cotton in Alabama in 1820 or land in Las Vegas in 2006. Buyers don’t appear to be irrational but rather cognitively limited investors who work with simple heuristic models, instead of a comprehensive general equilibrium framework. Low interest rates rarely seem to drive price growth; under-priced default options are a more common contributor to high prices. The primary cost of booms has not typically been overbuilding, but rather the financial chaos that accompanies housing downturns.

India: Government borrowing generates inflation, widens the external deficit and crowds out much-needed investment. Can India now overcome its debt addiction?

India’s public finances

A walk on the wild side

Government borrowing generates inflation, widens the external deficit and crowds out much-needed investment. Can India now overcome its debt addiction?

Feb 23rd 2013 | MUMBAI |From the print edition

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INDIA has grappled with its public finances for long enough. When presenting its first budget after independence in 1947, the finance minister of the day insisted that the country was not living beyond its means. Yet every budget since has failed to produce a surplus. India borrows more heavily than typical big emerging economies and faces more periodic crises. Palaniappan Chidambaram is the latest to try to tame the fiscal beast. He became finance minister, for the third time, last July. On February 28th he will present his budget, possibly the last one before the ruling Congress Party goes to the polls, which must take place by mid-2014.

India’s economy is a concern. Growth is running at about 5%, nearly half what it once was. The external deficit is at a record, while inflation remains stubbornly high. Last year India faced the threat of a downgrade of its credit rating to “junk” status. Thankfully, Mr Chidambaram has shaken Congress from its stupor. The party is to blame for the present budget mess, having launched a pre-election spending spree in 2008 that continued. Subsidies, mainly of fuel, almost doubled, to 2.4% of GDP. The central government’s deficit has been 5-6.5% of GDP. Add in spending by the states, and India’s overall budget deficit has been running at a wild 8-10% of GDP. Read more of this post

Indonesia: Gloomy politics, so how long can the bright economics last?

Indonesia’s economy

Gloomy politics, so how long can the bright economics last?

Feb 23rd 2013 | JAKARTA |From the print edition


ITS public life is dismal, but Indonesia’s economy is, for now, among the brighter performers in Asia. The corruption scandals engulfing the ruling Democratic Party underscore the disappointment of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second and final term. The president exercises only a weak grip on the helm, and conservatives in government have manoeuvred economic modernisers to the sidelines. Yet the economy zips along. It grew by 6.2% last year, and the government now aims for growth of 6.8% in 2013.

After a decade of painful restructuring for banks and companies, Indonesian businesses are ramping up spending on new factories and infrastructure. Investment now accounts for nearly a third of GDP. Annual imports of things like machinery and mechanical equipment are growing at double-digit rates.

Yet Indonesia’s investment-led boom is now posing problems. Exports are weak, because of depressed global demand and lower prices for many of the natural resources that the country sells to the world. Merchandise imports are growing strongly. The result is a collapse in the trade balance. After a surplus of almost $26 billion in 2011, Indonesia posted a trade deficit last year—its first annual deficit since the late 1960s. The current account, too, swung into deficit in 2012, ending a 14-year run of surpluses (see chart). It has all put pressure on the rupiah, recently one of Asia’s worst-performing currencies. Read more of this post

Fast Retailing to Asahi Named to Women-Empowering Firms List; The exchange labeled the women-empowering companies selection the “Nadeshiko” list

Fast Retailing to Asahi Named to Women-Empowering Firms List

Fast Retailing Co. (9983), Asia’s largest apparel seller, and Nissan Motor Co. are among the Japanese companies that do the most to empower female employees, according to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The world’s largest bourse outside the U.S. selected those companies and 15 others for its list of firms that provide child care services and career advancement opportunities for female employees, the bourse said in a statement today.

“Expectations are increasing that women will help revive the Japanese economy,” said Hiroki Kawai, an official at Japan Exchange Group Inc. (8697), which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The list was compiled with the help of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and is the exchange’s third specialty selection. The exchange has said it expects the lists to encourage trading, which plunged 58 percent on the first section to 307 trillion yen ($3.34 trillion) in the six years ended Dec. 31.

“We started by picking a theme that would make investors want to cheer companies on by investing,” Kawai told reporters today in Tokyo. He said it can be difficult for individual investors to carefully select from the more than 2,000 companies on the Tokyo bourse.

The exchange initially chose as many as two top companies from each of 33 industry sub-sectors, then narrowed the selection based on two criteria: Promoting women to management positions and offering support allowing a balance of work and family needs. Read more of this post

Bernanke’s efforts to rescue the economy could result in more than a half trillion dollars of paper losses on the central bank’s books if interest rates rise abruptly from recent levels

Fed Faces Explaining Billion-Dollar Losses in Stress of QE3 Exit

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to rescue the economy could result in more than a half trillion dollars of paper losses on the central bank’s books if interest rates rise abruptly from recent levels.

That sum is the difference between the value of securities in the Fed’s portfolio on Dec. 31 and what they may fetch in three years, according to data compiled by MSCI Inc. of New York for Bloomberg News. MSCI applied scenarios devised by the Fed itself for stress-testing the nation’s 19 largest banks.

MSCI sees the market value of Fed holdings shrinking by $547 billion over three years under an adverse scenario that includes an economic contraction and rising inflation. MSCI puts the Fed’s mark-to-market loss at less than half that, or $216 billion, if the economy performs in line with consensus forecasts of gradually rising growth, inflation and interest rates.

The potential losses are unprecedented in the Fed’s 100- year history, and Bernanke has never used congressional testimony to give a detailed explanation of the consequences of shifting hundreds of billions in interest-rate risk from private portfolios onto the Fed’s balance sheet. Today, Bernanke appears before senators who oversee the Fed and may face questions on how the $3.1 trillion balance sheet will affect an exit from the stimulus program, remittances to taxpayers, and its ability to stabilize inflation expectations. Read more of this post

Abenomics Risks Deepening Global Financial Turmoil, HSBC Says

Abenomics Risks Deepening Global Financial Turmoil, HSBC Says

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies aimed at ending deflation could distort trade, drive up asset prices in other nations and lead to global financial instability, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

“The world seemingly has yet to find a way of coping with periods during which the Japanese have attempted to kick-start their economy,” Stephen King, the London-based chief economist at HSBC, wrote in a research report today. “The big risk for the years ahead lies in a mix of rapidly widening current account deficits, hot money inflows and a proliferation of capital controls.”

Moves by Japan to revive growth have raised concern over a so-called currency war as central bankers from New Zealand to Norway signal they’re ready to stem exchange rate swings. Group of 20 finance chiefs this month signaled Abe has scope to keep stimulating the economy as long as officials stop endorsing the yen’s more than 10 percent slide in the past three months.

“If Mr. Abe’s policies work primarily through a weaker yen, Japan’s main export competitors will find themselves in the firing line,” King wrote. “The most vulnerable include Germany, South Korea and China.” Read more of this post

Singapore Trading Hub May Reduce World’s Costliest LNG, IEA Says

Singapore Trading Hub May Reduce World’s Costliest LNG, IEA Says

Singapore is the most likely hub for trading liquefied natural gas and reducing the government interference that keeps Asia’s prices higher than anywhere else in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.

A new LNG terminal in Singapore, set to receive its initial cargo from Qatar in the first quarter, will serve a wide array of tankers and boost import capacity “far beyond” domestic consumption, the IEA said today in a report. The city-state, Asia’s oil-trading center, is also creating an example for Asia by unbundling transmission from other gas and power infrastructure and taking a “hands off” approach, according the IEA, an adviser to 28 nations.

“Singapore is establishing itself as an LNG trading hub even before the physical infrastructure to import LNG is in place,” the IEA said. “Natural gas companies have begun to set up trading desks in Singapore. The presence of various international oil companies secures the availability of financial services to cater to natural gas trading.”

Gas buyers in Asia now pay about five times as much as U.S. consumers. They will be stuck with higher costs and insufficient facilities for receiving, processing and transporting LNG as long as governments promote state-owned companies and try to restrict imports, the IEA said. Lower prices in the U.S. and Europe reflect competitive and deregulated markets as much as better access to low-cost supplies, the group said. Read more of this post

S Korea grappling with smartphone addiction; smartphone penetration rate in South Korea was 64 per cent in 2012, a 60-fold-leap compared with 2009, when smartphone users accounted for less than one per cent of all mobile phone users

S Korea grappling with smartphone addiction
By Lim Yun Suk | Posted: 26 February 2013 1613 hrs

SEOUL: South Korea has more than 30 million mobile phone users. The devices have become a vital part of everyday life in the country.

But owning mobile phones also come with disadvantages. Children and adults cannot seem to get their hands off these devices.

Korean doctors are calling it an addiction.

“After church sometimes I want to play with my friends outside but all they want to do is play games on their mobiles. It’s no fun anymore,” said Han Ji Min, an elementary school student.

College student Chung Seung Yeon said: “I have many friends who use their handphones even while eating. And they do it like there’s nothing wrong with it. Because it has become so common, nobody thinks it’s serious to be using their handphones while eating.” Read more of this post

Institutional Ownership and Return Predictability across Economically Unrelated Stocks

Institutional Ownership and Return Predictability across Economically Unrelated Stocks

George Gao 

Cornell University – Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Pamela C. Moulton 

Cornell University

David Ng 

Cornell University
February 12, 2013

We document strong weekly return predictability across the stocks of firms that are from industries with no customer-supplier linkages (economically unrelated stocks). This predictability arises from common institutional ownership rather than from the slow information diffusion underlying previously documented lead-lag effects. The return predictability occurs only among stocks with common institutional investors, and the profitability of a long-short portfolio strategy based on the predicted returns varies positively with the level of common institutional ownership. Our results are not explained by weekly reversals, momentum, or nonsynchronous trading. Our findings suggest that institutional portfolio reallocations can induce return predictability among otherwise unrelated stocks.

Disclosure Checklists and Bias in Audit Judgments

Disclosure Checklists and Bias in Audit Judgments

Marcel Van Rinsum 

RSM Erasmus University

Victor S. Maas 

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR); Erasmus School of Economics; Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

David Stolker 

January 30, 2013

We investigate whether using a disclosure checklist affects auditors’ judgments of the acceptability of aggressive reporting methods. The use of decision aids such as checklists in audit settings is increasing and existing research generally suggests that checklist use can improve decision-making quality. We argue that the use of a disclosure checklist can also have detrimental effects as it increases auditors’ acceptance of aggressive reporting methods by inducing cognitive biases. Our data, collected using an experiment with experienced auditors of a Big Four company as participants, supports this prediction. Specifically, in line with theory that checklist use can induce automation bias, we find that auditors using a disclosure checklist are more lenient in their evaluation of aggressive reporting. Furthermore, we find that this effect is stronger for auditors who have been hired by a company’s management board than for auditors who have been hired by an independent audit committee, which is consistent with theory that checklist use can also induce pro-client acceptability bias. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and practice.

Culture as Risk Mitigant: Cockpit, Country and Company

Culture as Risk Mitigant: Cockpit, Country and Company

Posted: 02/21/2013 11:27 am

How did the national airline of Korea transform itself from one of the most accident-prone to one of the safest carriers in the world in less than a decade? As Malcolm Gladwell forcefully argues in Outliers, the driver was “cockpit culture.”

Most plane crashes are the result of an accumulation of minor malfunctions rendered disasterous by human interaction. As is hauntingly evident from flight recorder transcripts, preventable errors have prevailed due to a breakdown of teamwork and communication.

Cultures can be distinguished by the scale of their power index — the rigidity with which hierarchical distance is maintained — and the extent to which individuals are reliant on rules as opposed to resourcefulness in the face of ambiguities.

The assertiveness and choice of words with which a deputy communicates with his captain or his controller is a direct function of his cultural context. Consequently, linguists and psychologists proved to be as relevant to airline safety as technical engineers. Read more of this post

The trust crisis in the workplace

The trust crisis in the workplace

Ray Williams | Feb 25, 2013 5:16 PM ET
Recent polls would seem to indicate that people are becoming increasingly cynical about organizations and leaders.

A DDI International study of 57 organizations on the issue of trust in the workplace indicated respondents trusted their co-workers, but a majority mistrusted their leaders, and particularly senior leaders.  The 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer reported that the majority of people distrusted government, financial institutions and business leaders — particularly CEOs. Read more of this post

Lee Kuan Yew’s China

Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, Ali Wyne

Lee Kuan Yew’s China

25 February 2013

CAMBRIDGE – On the question of how the evolving relationship between the United States and China will influence the international order, there are few individuals whose observations receive equal attention on both sides of the Pacific. Henry Kissinger is one; Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, is another. In profiling Lee for Time magazine’s 2010 list of the world’s 100 most influential people,Kissinger observed: “There is no better strategic thinker.” Read more of this post

China’s ‘House sister’ case exposes flaws in underground financial market

‘House sister’ case exposes flaws in underground financial market

Staff Reporter


On the eve of Chinese New Year, Gong Aiai, the vice president of an agricultural and commercial bank in Shenmu county in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province, was taken into custody for forging public documents and government seals following the disclosure on the internet that she illegally owns dozens of properties worth a total of 1 billion yuan (US$160 million) in Beijing and making her known nationally as the infamous “house sister.” Read more of this post

Kindness + The Accounting of Words and Value Investing

I was just discussing this afternoon about how can one “measure/quantify” the criteria of “kindness”. This is in relation to Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer scrapping the “work-from-home” policy which would affect several working mothers and the policy does not seem aligned with a culture of kindness and trust to foster productivity and innovations. And there are reports that Marissa Mayer paid to have a nursery built in her office; “not all Yahoos have that kind of money and clout” was the feedback gathered by journalist Nicholas Carson from some Yahoo staff. In the R.E.S.-ilience framework of Bamboo Innovators, R stands for Rootedness in a Kindness culture. Perhaps the lack of Kindness can be “quantified” by the disproportionate size of the office and size of perks to the top executives and managers. In a positive way, Kindness can be “measured” by the “number of jokes/humor” in annual reports and company publications, just like Warren Buffett’s folky humor in his widely-followed Berkshire Hathaway’s Letter to Shareholders. Words can reveal kindness and there is growing awareness of how linguistic/textual analysis can be used to highlight the intentions of managers and leaders. Talk about using unorthodox “data”. Below is a brief article “The Accounting of Words and Value Investing” that I wrote in September 2010 which also has relevance to investigating Bamboo Innovators.

Koon Boon

26 Feb 2013


27 September 2010 (Updated 22 March 2013)

The Accounting of Words and Value Investing for Bamboo Innovators

By KEE Koon Boon

Have taken down this article as i am submitting this for a posting at a media outlet for a 1-month exclusivity period. Will update accordingly. Thank you.

Deviant Leaders: Falling Hard; Can top bosses be rude, abusive, egocentric and fiscally irresponsible, as long as the bottom line looks good?

Deviant Leaders: Falling Hard

by Jane Williams | Feb 25, 2013

Can top bosses be rude, abusive, egocentric and fiscally irresponsible, as long as the bottom line looks good?

When it comes to infringements around the office, business leaders seem to get away with a lot: A blind eye may be turned when a manager swipes his company credit card to cover a US$200 private lunch, but a worker caught stuffing a coffee tin from the tea room into his backpack could expect to face great condemnation and possibly the loss of his job.

But there’s a limit, even at the very top, as former CEOs Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom), Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco International), and Kenneth Lay (Enron) discovered. When leaders fall, they fall hard.

New INSEAD research has found leaders in general receive greater leniency for their perceived anti-social or “deviant” behaviour, but when a line is crossed – when their deviant actions are perceived to be “most severe” – they face harsher punishment than would an underling.

“Research shows that because of their power and status leaders are perceived as deserving of certain privileges,” Natalia Karelaia, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Decision Sciences and co-author of the paper When Deviant Leaders are Punished more than Non-leaders: The Role of Deviance Severity told INSEAD Knowledge. “But prototypical leaders are also expected to act in a responsible and just manner, so when severe deviances – those that inflict significant harm on others – are committed by leaders, they are likely to be seen as significant acts of betrayal of leadership expectations.” Read more of this post

Seeing Through the Fog of Innovation

Seeing Through the Fog of Innovation

by Scott Anthony  |   1:00 PM February 25, 2013

The Fog of Innovation — that moment when you realize that the data you need to make a critical decision about an innovative idea just aren’t clear. Unfortunately, the data rarely are.

For most large companies that find themselves lost in the fog, the default answer is to keep studying. After all, a risk that doesn’t pan out tends to have more negative repercussions than risks not taken. But remember: data only become crystal clear when it is too late to take action on that data. And time spent waiting for perfect clarity creates room for disruptive upstarts and hungry competitors.

Notably, there is a group that don’t get stuck in the fog: Venture capital-backed startups. (The do, however, have other issues.) How does a startup do it without all of the analytical horsepower of a large company? It works best when three components come together: Read more of this post

Korea’s New President Can’t Be Daddy’s Girl; The education system must be less about exams, cram schools and striving for a job at one of the chaebol and more about critical thinking, questioning authority and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit

Korea’s New President Can’t Be Daddy’s Girl

The life of Park Geun Hye, South Korea’s just-inaugurated first female president, has so far been bookended by two larger-than-life men of debatable success.

The first is her father, Park Chung Hee, the dictator who ruled the nation for 18 years until his assassination in 1979. The second is Lee Myung Bak, her predecessor who spent the last five years in the Blue House, Korea’s presidential residence, and a fellow member of her New Frontier Party.

Park must deal with their shortcomings in reverse. The immediate challenge is to be truer to her party’s name than Lee ever was. Lee left office this week with an approval rating in the 20s, an economy burdened by record household debt, a widening income gap, a strong currency that is hurting export competitiveness, relations with Japan frayed and North Korea raising hell around the globe.

Park also must eventually reckon with the legacy of her father’s era. The rapid growth of his time was fueled by cheap exports, easy credit, protection from foreign markets and the family-led conglomerates that still dominate. Today’s voters are clamoring for a more balanced and egalitarian economy and an exit strategy from the past. They literally want a new frontier. Read more of this post

Singapore’s Darwinian Budget Sparks Employer Ire: Southeast Asia; Singapore to Raise Property Tax Rates for Luxury Homeowners

Singapore’s Darwinian Budget Sparks Employer Ire: Southeast Asia

Singapore tightened curbs on foreign labor for a fourth straight year and unveiled measures that will raise wage costs for companies through 2015, as the government steps up efforts to increase productivity among businesses.

Companies must pay higher levies for lower-skilled foreign employees over the next two years and cut the proportion of overseas workers in some industries, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in his budget speech yesterday.

“This is really killing a lot of businesses, many companies are dying,” said Max Lee, managing director of Plasma Precision Technology Pte., which makes and repairs equipment used by offshore marine companies. His wage costs have risen 15 percent in the past year. “We are losing competitiveness and productivity.”

After years of letting firms bring in thousands to work at hotels, shipyards and restaurants, the push by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government to reduce dependence on imported labor has forced some companies to delay expansion plans. The clampdown, in part because of voter unhappiness over the influx of foreigners, has led the government to warn that such curbs will hurt growth in Southeast Asia’s only advanced economy.

“This is a Darwinian budget for businesses in Singapore,” said Adrian Ball, head of tax services at Ernst & Young Solutions LLP. “Survival of the fittest!” Read more of this post

Just a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes, which may help scientists explain how wakeful nights can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease

Sleep Loss Alters Genes While Raising Risk of Disease

Just a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes, which may help scientists explain how wakeful nights can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Blood samples taken from patients revealed genetic changes that, with further research, may help answer why sleepless nights are so harmful to health, according to the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While not all of the altered genes have known functions, some are involved in metabolism and stress response.

More than one-third of Americans sleep fewer than seven hours a night, affecting their ability to concentrate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When people don’t get enough sleep, have poor-quality rest, or sleep at the wrong times of day, they are at a higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and depression, according to the National Institutes of Health. Read more of this post

Shocking Aerial Views Of Hong Kong’s Tiny ‘Cage’ Apartments

Shocking Aerial Views Of Hong Kong’s Tiny ‘Cage’ Apartments

Adam Taylor | Feb. 25, 2013, 3:00 PM | 94,004 | 27

Over the past few decades, Hong Kong has become one of the world’s most important cities and a global financial hub.

However, increased prosperity hasn’t trickled down to everyone. According to the Gini co-efficiency, which measures inequality, Hong Kong is the least equal city in the developed world.

Local advocacy group Society for Community Organization says that hundreds of thousands of people are still living in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles. What’s worse, the number of people living this way appears to be increasing, as economic migrants arrive in the city from mainland China.

To highlight the struggle, SoCO took shots of the homes to show just how tight these living quarters are.

The apartments were so small that they had to be photographed from the ceiling to capture them.

this-is-the-smallest-apartment-shown-it-is-28-square-feet-with-proportions-of-around-4-x-7 8090hkd-103115usd-per-square-foot-per-month-is-common

Richard Branson Says That Marissa Mayer Got It Wrong About Remote Employees; Ex-Yahoos Confess: Marissa Mayer Is Right To Ban Working From Home; Marissa Mayer, Who Just Banned Working From Home, Paid To Have A Nursery Built At Her Office; Not all Yahoo have that kind of money or clout

Richard Branson Says That Marissa Mayer Got It Wrong About Remote Employees

Aimee Groth | Feb. 25, 2013, 5:24 PM | 5,563 | 21

Last week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer sent out a controversial memo telling remote employees that they either had to start working from a Yahoo office or quit.

Since then, everyone has been weighing in, including Virgin Founder Richard Branson. In a post this morning titled, Give People The Freedom Of Where To Work, he wrote:

To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision. It is the art of delegation, which has served Virgin and many other companies well over the years.

We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.

So it was perplexing to see Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer tell employees who work remotely to relocate to company facilities. This seems a backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever.

If you provide the right technology to keep in touch, maintain regular communication and get the right balance between remote and office working, people will be motivated to work responsibly, quickly and with high quality.

Working life isn’t 9-5 any more. The world is connected. Companies that do not embrace this are missing a trick.

Ex-Yahoos Confess: Marissa Mayer Is Right To Ban Working From Home

Nicholas Carlson | Feb. 25, 2013, 3:16 PM | 85,571 | 63

Last Friday, Yahoo HR boss Jackie Reses sent out a memo telling all remote employees that they needed to find a way to be working in an office by June.

This upset lots of Yahoo employees – including some working mothers, who say they wish they could afford to build a nursery at the office the way CEO Marissa Mayer has.

But we’ve just heard from a former Yahoo engineer who tells us Mayer is making the exact right call.

“For what it’s worth, I support the no working form home rule. There’s a ton of abuse of that at Yahoo. Something specific to the company.”

This source said Yahoo’s large remote workforce led to “people slacking off like crazy, not being available, spending a lot of time on non-Yahoo! projects.” Read more of this post

INTUIT FOUNDER: ‘Success Makes Companies Stupid’

INTUIT FOUNDER: ‘Success Makes Companies Stupid’

Max Nisen | Feb. 25, 2013, 6:35 PM | 854 | 3

Intuit is one of the unsung success stories of Silicon Valley. The maker of software like Quicken, TurboTax, and QuickBooks has been around for 30 years and made $4.15 billion in revenue last year.

Intuit’s founder, Scott Cook, believes that success can actually be dangerous to the company. At a seminar with Harvard Business School faculty, he said that “Success is a powerful thing, it tends to make companies stupid, and they become less and less innovative.”

According to Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, Cook argues that companies need to adopt the lean startup model pioneered by Eric Ries. That means “launching as quickly as possible with a “minimum viable product,” a bare-bones creation that includes just enough features to allow for useful feedback from early adopters. The company then releases a quick succession of product upgrades, forming hypotheses and conducting experiments with each new version along the way.”

Getting feedback early and often means the product improves quickly, picking up new users along the way.

That’s the polar opposite of the way many successful companies come up with new products. They spend years developing things, many of which are only minor improvements on what already exists. Once something’s set into motion, it has a great deal of inertia and can take a long time to stop, even if it’s not working.

That’s an easy way for a company to stagnate. However, adopting something like the lean startup model takes a significant cultural shift. It’s not easy to take product teams used to taking years and get them to take ideas from birth to execution in months. It also takes creating a culture that’s OK with failure and starting again, which is the opposite of what you see in many large companies.

Some companies choose to have a small part of their company, like a skunk works, to constantly try to innovate. But when it’s a small part of the company, you see small benefits. Far more effective is forcing a whole company to constantly experiment and innovate.

JCPenney COO: ‘I Hated The JCPenney Culture, It Was Pathetic’

JCPenney COO: ‘I Hated The JCPenney Culture, It Was Pathetic’

Kim Bhasin | Feb. 25, 2013, 11:51 AM | 16,278 | 13


JCPenney experienced a seismic shift on corporate culture when CEO Ron Johnson took the helm of the company more than a year ago.

The new guard didn’t like JCPenney’s old way of doing things at headquarters.

Not one bit.

Dana Mattioli at The Wall Street Journal spoke with JCPenney COO Michael Kramer about the company’s culture and the mass layoffs at the company’s headquarters. He’s one of the execs brought in by Johnson, who he’d previously worked with at Apple.

“I hated the JCPenney culture,” Kramer told the WSJ. “It was pathetic.” Read more of this post

Lee Kuan Yew, A Wise Man for the World: Singapore’s philosopher-king on an ascendant China, the threat of Islamism and America’s entitlements crisis

February 25, 2013, 4:19 p.m. ET

A Wise Man for the World

Singapore’s philosopher-king on an ascendant China, the threat of Islamism and America’s entitlements crisis.


China already dominates Asia and intends to become the world’s leading power. The United States is not yet a “second rate power,” but the inability of its political leaders to make unpopular decisions bodes poorly. Russia, Japan, Western Europe and India are, for the most part, tired bureaucracies. If Iran gets the bomb, a nuclear war in the Middle East is almost inevitable.

These are among the many frank forecasts laid out in a slim volume based on the experiences and insights of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, its prime minister from 1959 to 1990, and Asia’s ranking philosopher-king for much of the past half-century. Tiny Singapore has always been too small a stage for a leader of Mr. Lee’s intellect and ego. His interests have extended across the globe, as has his influence. For decades, world leaders, corporate CEOs, scholars and journalists have made the pilgrimage to Singapore to seek his views.

“Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World” forms a kind of last testament of the ailing, 89-year-old Mr. Lee. It is based on interviews with Mr. Lee by the authors—Graham Allison, a professor of government at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. diplomat—to which the authors add a distillation of Mr. Lee’s speeches, writings and interviews with others over many years. Read more of this post

Olive Oil Diet Curbs Strokes

Updated February 25, 2013, 7:07 p.m. ET

Olive Oil Diet Curbs Strokes


Until now, evidence was weak that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease. But a New England Journal of Medicine study reveals startling new findings that will silence skeptics for good. WSJ’s Andrea Petersen has the details on Lunch Break. Photo: AP.

A diet common in coastal areas of Southern Europe, particularly one with lots of olive oil and nuts, cuts the risk of stroke and other major cardiovascular problems by 30% among high-risk people, according to a new study.

There’s a large body of research linking a Mediterranean diet—one heavy on fruits, vegetables, fish and beans—to heart health. But this study, published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is significant both for its size—it followed 7,447 people in Spain over almost 5 years—and its scientific rigor. Few previous studies have succeeded in proving a direct link between a diet and a reduction in life-threatening events like strokes, instead assessing the diet’s impact only on weight loss or certain cardiovascular risk factors, like blood pressure or cholesterol. Read more of this post

East Meets West in Class

Updated February 25, 2013, 5:02 p.m. ET

East Meets West in Class

Pericles Lewis is founding president and professor of humanities at Yale-NUS College, a joint venture between Yale University and National University of Singapore, to open in August.

IV-AA332A_LEWIS_G_20130225140903 Read more of this post

Stress-Busting Smiles: A Genuine Grin Can Help the Heart; Is Polite Faking Enough to See Benefits?

Updated February 25, 2013, 9:29 p.m. ET

Stress-Busting Smiles

A Genuine Grin Can Help the Heart; Is Polite Faking Enough to See Benefits?


Smiling could be good for your health.

Researchers are finding that wearing a smile brings certain benefits, like slowing down the heart and reducing stress. This may even happen when people aren’t aware they are forming a smile, according to a recent study. The work follows research that established that the act of smiling can make you feel happier.

Some research suggests only a full and genuine smile affects the body in positive ways. Other studies, though, indicate even a polite smile may be beneficial. Frowning also may have a health effect: Preventing people from frowning, such as with the use of Botox, can help alleviate depression, a recent study found.

“You can influence mental health by what you do with your face, whether you smile more or frown less,” says Eric Finzi, a dermatologic surgeon and co-author of the study on frowning. Read more of this post

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