New book shares insights from Steve Jobs’ 1st boss, Atari’s Steve Bushnell; Bushnell turned down an offer from his former employee to invest $50,000 in Apple during its formative stages, a one-third stake now worth $120 billion

New book shares insights from Steve Jobs’ 1st boss

(philstar.com) | Updated March 28, 2013 – 4:11pm

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In this photo taken Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari poses for a photo at “Two-Bits-Circus,” a Los Angeles idea factory focused on software, hardware and machines. Bushnell was the first guy to give Steve Jobs his first full-time job in Silicon Valley at Atari. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — When Steve Jobs adopted “think different” as Apple’s mantra in the late 1990s, the company’s ads featured Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Amelia Earhart and a constellation of other starry-eyed oddballs who reshaped society.

Nolan Bushnell never appeared in those tributes, even though Apple was riffing on an iconoclastic philosophy he embraced while running video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s. Atari’s refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. Bushnell says Jobs offended some Atari employees so much that Bushnell eventually told Jobs to work nights when one else was around.

Bushnell, though, says he always saw something special in Jobs, who evidently came to appreciate his eccentric boss, too. The two remained in touch until shortly before Jobs died in October 2011 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

That bond inspired Bushnell to write a book about the unorthodox thinking that fosters the kinds of breakthroughs that became Jobs’ hallmark as the co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. Apple built its first personal computers with some of the parts from Atari’s early video game machines. After Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in 1976, Apple also adopted parts of an Atari culture that strived to make work seem like play. That included pizza-and-beer parties and company retreats to the beach.

“I have always been pretty proud about that connection,” Bushnell said in an interview. “I know Steve was always trying to take ideas and turn them upside down, just like I did.”

Bushnell, now 70, could have reaped even more from his relationship with Jobs if he hadn’t turned down an offer from his former employee to invest $50,000 in Apple during its formative stages. Had he seized that opportunity, Bushnell would have owned one-third of Apple, which is now worth about $425 billion — more than any other company in the world.

Bushnell’s newly released book, “Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent,” is the latest chapter in a diverse career that spans more than 20 different startups that he either launched on his own or groomed at Catalyst Technologies, a business incubator that he once ran. Read more of this post

Innovation by Asian business leaders no longer a luxury; Amid the changing rules driven by the acceleration of globalisation, Asian leaders must be game-changing innovators to succeed in the new normal

Innovation by Asian business leaders no longer a luxury

The Nation March 30, 2013 1:00 am

Amid the changing rules driven by the acceleration of globalisation, Asian leaders must be game-changing innovators to succeed in the new normal, according to a study by global management consulting firm Hay Group.

Increasing globalisation is a given, with international competition likely to grow fiercer and markets even more diversified. The rise of India and China, coupled with the global economic power shift towards Asia, is reshaping the world before our very eyes. In the West, the number of jobs is falling; in the East, leaders have to learn how to manage in new markets as they expand westwards.  Read more of this post

Korean food and restaurants going global

2013-03-29 16:33

Korean food and restaurants going global

By Park Si-soo
This is Korea’s next export item: food. A growing number of local food companies are carving out business footprints overseas, seeking to conquer dining tables around the world. The trend is facilitated by homegrown restaurant chains that are increasingly flexing their muscle to conquer what gourmets call “hubs of international cuisine” such as New York, London and Paris. Several companies have already set up sales networks in more than 60 countries and are trying to cement their presence by establishing manufacturing bases there. While their overseas sales have so far generated income from China, Japan, America and Southeast Asian countries that have many Korean immigrants, they are now trying to diversify revenue sources by taking advantage of the boom in Korean pop culture that is sweeping Russia, Europe and Latin American countries. The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp. (aT) said the country exported kimchi worth $3.87 million to the U.S. last year, up 38.6 percent from the previous year. Shipments of red pepper paste to the U.S. surged by 24.9 percent during the same period, aT said. Exports of Korean ice cream to Brazil jumped a whopping 102.2 percent last year, it noted, saying its popularity is quickly spreading to surrounding countries. “We have a good start,” a spokesman for the company said. “I believe food products will emerge as a new growth engine for the country along with semiconductors, smartphones and automobiles.”

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When Simplicity Is the Solution; From tax forms to medicine bottles to store shelves, we are facing a crisis of complexity. But there’s a way out.

March 29, 2013, 8:22 p.m. ET

When Simplicity Is the Solution

From tax forms to medicine bottles to store shelves, we are facing a crisis of complexity. But there’s a way out.

Alan Siegel, author of “Simple” explains that America and the world are suffering from a crisis of complexity. WSJ’s Ryan Sager asks what this crisis is costing us and how we can achieve more simplicity.

By ALAN SIEGEL and IRENE ETZKORN

At the beginning of “Walden,” Henry David Thoreau makes a concise case against the complexity of modern life. “Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” he writes. “[L]et your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail….Simplify, simplify.”

Every facet of our lives is complicated by an ever-widening array of choices, including dozens of options for jam or mustard or frozen foods.

That was the 19th century, though, and we live in the 21st. In a typical day, we encounter dozens—if not dozens upon dozens—of moments when we are delayed, frustrated or confused by complexity. Our lives are filled with gadgets we can’t use (automatic sprinklers, GPS devices, fancy blenders), instructions we can’t follow (labels on medicine bottles, directions for assembling toys or furniture) and forms we can’t decipher (tax returns, gym membership contracts, wireless phone bills).

Every facet of our lives, even entertainment and recreation, is complicated by an ever-widening array of choices delivered at a frantic pace. Read more of this post

Have We Evolved to Be Nasty or Nice?

March 29, 2013, 9:15 p.m. ET

Have We Evolved to Be Nasty or Nice?

It is futile to ask whether people are naturally cooperative or selfish. They can be either, in different circumstances.

By MATT RIDLEY

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A new study by Dirk Helbing at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and colleagues has modeled the emergence of “nice” behavior in idealized human beings. It’s done by computer, using the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” game, in which a prisoner has to decide between cooperating with a comrade to get a mutual reward or avoiding a punishment by being the first of the two to defect to the other side. The Zurich team found that so long as players in the game stay near their (modeled) parents, the birth of a nice guy predisposed to cooperate can trigger “a cascade” of generous acts.

In other words, more togetherness and physical proximity across the generations allows the development of more prosocial behavior. “The clustering of friendly agents, which promotes other-regarding preferences, is not supported when offspring move away.” They also argue that networking via social media can promote niceness, which might surprise regular users of Twitter. Read more of this post

Does Blame Predict Performance of Investment Managers?

Does Blame Predict Performance?

March 2013 | Jason Hsu

As an econometrician and a fund-of-funds portfolio manager, I spend much time researching quantifiable metrics to help me identify managers who can outperform consistently. There is, in fact, a rich body of literature exploring different manager selection criteria. Academic papers have considered portfolio manager attributes, such as tenure, the CFA designation, advanced degrees, and even SAT scores; they have also examined fund characteristics, such as portfolio turnover, expense ratios, and assets under management. Practitioners, especially investment consultants, have additionally focused on more nuanced and qualitative elements such as investment philosophy, compensation scheme, turnover of key professionals, ownership structure, and succession planning.

Ironically, perhaps, most people have given up on the hope that past positive alpha can predict future outperformance with any reliability.1 Some might even go as far as asserting that manager outperformance is mean-reverting due to cyclicality in styles and “luck.”

Some of the above-mentioned attributes may provide very incremental information on the true quality of the manager. However, most econometricians, asset owners, and investment consultants confess (although not all publicly) that effective methods for picking top quartile performers remain elusive. As one of my friends at a large Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund famously proclaimed, “We are convinced that managers who can consistently deliver alpha exist. We are, however, also convinced that we do not know how to find them.” Perhaps, then, the science of manager selection really is about winning what Charley Ellis calls “the loser’s game.” Read more of this post

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