Damn the cynics and embrace the positive

August 13, 2013 3:52 pm

Damn the cynics and embrace the positive

By Luke Johnson

Optimism is a crucial characteristic for entrepreneurs and confidence is easy to justify

Acouple of weeks ago three young entrepreneurs visited me and asked: “What was your biggest challenge?” In replying, I realised that after 30 years in business the greatest risk was not that I would fail. Instead, my most frequent worry has always been that I would become mired in complacency, boredom and cynicism. So how does one ward off these creeping evils? One of the best solutions was epitomised by my meeting: engaging with younger people, who have a natural enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and optimism. They are a wonderful antidote to the constant threat of ending up a jaded old man who’s seen it all before, thinks everything is getting worse and spends his time breeding pessimism – I know a few of that type. So, I speak at lots of events for enterprising students and start-ups partly because I find their energy and zest both infectious and exhilarating. Read more of this post

Money-Hungry Religious Celebrities Spark Anger

Money-Hungry Religious Celebrities Spark Anger

By Dessy Aswim on 8:37 am August 13, 2013.
A backlash is building against Muslim TV clerics who aren’t afraid to use their religion to garner business investors or demand hefty speaking fees. An example cited by critics is Yusuf Mansur, a popular ustadz (Islamic teacher) who frequently appears in religious TV broadcasts. Yusuf has recently attracted unfavorable attention because of claims he has been soliciting investors in a luxury hotel, without holding the required licences. The ustadz’s joint business venture aims to establish a condo-hotel in Jakarta focused on serving hajj and umrah pilgrims. The celebrity cleric claims to have more than 2,000 investors in the business, and says he has managed to accumulate funds worth Rp 24 billion ($2.3 million) from his followers in less than a year, since a call for investments began in July 2012. Read more of this post

Penny-Stock Fraud Operators Mastered The Art Of Cross-Selling

13 Aug 2013 at 1:37 PM

Penny-Stock Fraud Operators Mastered The Art Of Cross-Selling

By Matt Levine

Today the Justice Department indicted nine people for operating “one of the largest international penny stock frauds and advance fee schemes in history” and as you’d expect from that description it was a very professional multinational operation.1 I mean, y’know, it was a penny-stock pump-and-dump scheme, one involving “distributing false press releases, announcing non-existent business ventures and fake mergers, posting false information on social media sites and bribing stock promoters and brokers,” but it was a penny stock pump-and-dump scheme that made $120 million, so that’s impressive.2

So, fine. Here you are having successfully executed a pump-and-dump scheme. You pumped, then you dumped. You have $120 million, other people have worthless stock. You could stop there and call yourself a pretty successful criminal. But then you get to thinking: the people you defrauded have something else, in addition to their worthless stock. They have something that is actually extremely valuable. They have: an abnormal willingness to piss away money on terrible ideas! They have a complete lack of common sense! And you know who they are! Read more of this post

True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business

True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business Hardcover

by Ty Montague  (Author)


Is your company a storyteller—or a storydoer?
The old way to market a business was storytelling. But in today’s world, simply communicating your brand’s story in the hope that customers will listen is no longer enough. Instead, your authentic brand must be evident in every action the organization undertakes.
Today’s most successful businesses are storydoers.
These companies create products and services that, from the very beginning, are manifestations of an authentic and meaningful story—one told primarily through action, not advertising. In True Story, creative executive Ty Montague argues that any business, regardless of size or industry, can embrace the principles of storydoing. Indeed, our best-run companies—from small start-ups to global conglomerates—organize around a coherent narrative that is then broadcast through every action they take (from product design to customer service to marketing). Montague shows why storydoing firms are nimble, more adaptive to change, and more efficiently run businesses.
Montague is a founder of the growth consultancy co:collective and the former president and CCO of J. Walter Thompson, the largest advertising agency in North America. He brings his depth of creative business experience to the book and provides a clear framework and proven process for bringing you and your customers together in the creation of your brand story.
Montague introduces five critical elements—what he calls the “the four truths and the action map”—that are the foundation of storydoing:
• the participants (your customers, partners, and employees)
• the protagonist (your company today)
• the stage (the world around your business)
• the quest (your driving ambition and contribution to the world)
• your action map (the actions that will make your story real for participants)
The book is filled with examples of how forward-thinking organizations—including Red Bull, Shaklee, Grind, TOMS Shoes, and News Corporation—are effectively using storydoing to transform their organizations and drive extraordinary results. Read more of this post

Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence Paperback

by Daniel Goleman (Author) , Richard Boyatzis (Author) , Annie McKee (Author)


This is the book that established “emotional intelligence” in the business lexicon—and made it a necessary skill for leaders.
Managers and professionals across the globe have embraced Primal Leadership, affirming the importance of emotionally intelligent leadership. Its influence has also reached well beyond the business world: the book and its ideas are now used routinely in universities, business and medical schools, and professional training programs, and by a growing legion of professional coaches.
This refreshed edition, with a new preface by the authors, vividly illustrates the power—and the necessity—of leadership that is self-aware, empathic, motivating, and collaborative in a world that is ever more economically volatile and technologically complex. It is even timelier now than when it was originally published.
From bestselling authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, this groundbreaking book remains a must-read for anyone who leads or aspires to lead. Read more of this post

The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business

The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business Hardcover

by Rita Gunther McGrath  (Author) , Alex Gourlay (Foreword)


Are you at risk of being trapped in an uncompetitive business?
Chances are the strategies that worked well for you even a few years ago no longer deliver the results you need. Dramatic changes in business have unearthed a major gap between traditional approaches to strategy and the way the real world works now.
In short, strategy is stuck. Most leaders are using frameworks that were designed for a different era of business and based on a single dominant idea—that the purpose of strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. Once the premise on which all strategies were built, this idea is increasingly irrelevant.
Now, Columbia Business School professor and globally recognized strategy expert Rita Gunther McGrath argues that it’s time to go beyond the very concept of sustainable competitive advantage. Instead, organizations need to forge a new path to winning: capturing opportunities fast, exploiting them decisively, and moving on even before they are exhausted. She shows how to do this with a new set of practices based on the notion of transient competitive advantage.
This book serves as a new playbook for strategy, one based on updated assumptions about how the world works, and shows how some of the world’s most successful companies use this method to compete and win today.
Filled with compelling examples from “growth outlier” firms such as Fujifilm, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Infosys, Yahoo! Japan, and Atmos Energy, The End of Competitive Advantage is your guide to renewed success and profitable growth in an economy increasingly defined by transient advantage Read more of this post

SPAC: A Thriving Financial Product, Despite a Record of Failure; Promoters of SPAC often make bad choices, earning almost no returns for investors

AUGUST 13, 2013, 4:38 PM

A Thriving Financial Product, Despite a Record of Failure


On Wall Street, strange financial products sometimes exist not because they are good for investors or companies, but because they offer their promoters a way to profit. One of those products may be the Silver Eagle Acquisition Company, which just completed a $325 million initial public offering. Silver Eagle is a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, which raises money through an I.P.O. and then casts a wide net in search of a private company to buy. Silver Eagle’s I.P.O. is the largest in the past seven years for a SPAC and sure to earn its promoters millions, but the outcome is not so clear for its investors or even the company itself. Read more of this post

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