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The importance of writing in Amazon’s success is a clue about why so many employers find that new college graduates aren’t well prepared to be contributors in their workplaces

Jeff Bezos’ PowerPoint prohibition

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill Posted on 9 Aug 2013, 1:47 AM 5,629 views PD Forum

You’ve been there too-—the really, truly awful PowerPoint presentation that makes you want to run screaming from the room. More than a decade ago, it was estimated that 30 million PowerPoint presentations were given each day—the number must be much higher today. Just think of how many millions of hours are spent every day sitting through truly terrible PowerPoint presentations. So it’s noteworthy that Amazon founder—and new Washington Post owner­­—Jeff Bezos’ proscribes PowerPoint presentations at Amazon. Bezos instead requires that employees compose 6-page narrative memos, and he starts meetings with quiet reading periods—“study halls”—in which everyone reads the memo from beginning to end. Read more of this post

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Here’s Some Wonderful Writing From Elon Musk That Everyone In Business Should Emulate

Here’s Some Wonderful Writing From Elon Musk That Everyone In Business Should Emulate

JOE WEISENTHAL AUG. 20, 2013, 9:10 AM 13,368 18

There’s no shortage of reasons to call Elon Musk a badass. He’s super-successful. He has a company that does private rocket launches that look like something approaching magic. He’s made the best car of all time, according to Consumer Reports. And the latest news is that he’s made the safest car of all time, as well. Here’s another thing about him that goes overlooked: He’s a tremendous communicator, on par or possibly better than Steve Jobs. Because while Steve Jobs was talking about the magic of gadgets, Musk is actually communicating about engineering concepts, which fly above most people’s heads. Read this from Tesla’s announcement today about its safety rating. It’s a wonderful paragraph:

The Model S has the advantage in the front of not having a large gasoline engine block, thus creating a much longer crumple zone to absorb a high speed impact. This is fundamentally a force over distance problem – the longer the crumple zone, the more time there is to slow down occupants at g loads that do not cause injuries. Just like jumping into a pool of water from a tall height, it is better to have the pool be deep and not contain rocks. The Model S motor is only about a foot in diameter and is mounted close to the rear axle, and the front section that would normally contain a gasoline engine is used for a second trunk.

After you read that, you instantly grasp how Tesla’s small engine block makes it safer. Read more of this post

New CEO Of Bloomberg Media Sent Employees A Memo Explaining His Philosophy On Journalism

New CEO Of Bloomberg Media Sent Employees A Memo Explaining His Philosophy On Journalism — Here It Is

LINETTE LOPEZ AUG. 19, 2013, 3:01 PM 3,106 3

There hasn’t been a peep from the new CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, Justin Smith, since his hire was announced. Friday, however, he sent Bloomberg’s media team a quick memo about his philosophy on journalism — we’ve copied it below. The most important thing to note here is that Smith makes it clear that he is a business man. “Helping create quality content and figuring out how to commercialize it has been my life’s passion,” he wrote. Though I came out of print media, I’ve specialized in transitioning media brands onto digital and live event platforms.” Reading that, you can’t help but think of Jeff Bezos, a business man, purchasing the Washington Post from the family of journalists that held it for decades. It serves as a reminder that good journalism is alive — the problem is that it’s time to rethink how it’s sold to the people that want to consume it. Smith is promising that he knows how to do that, writing that he wants Bloomberg to choose to “live on the new, exciting frontier of media.” Note the word “choice.” Smith divides the industry into two camps — publications that are letting the industry’s changes steam roll the out of existence, and publications that accept the changes and embrace them. Check out Smith’s full memo below (emphasis ours): Read more of this post

A Stunning Chart That Shows How Nepotism Really Works

A Stunning Chart That Shows How Nepotism Really Works

JOE WEISENTHAL AUG. 19, 2013, 2:33 PM 11,010 10

Here’s one way the rich hold onto their wealth: By hiring their spawn. This way, the wealth and the accumulated power stay in the family, rather than dissipate outwords. Toby Nangle tweeted out this great chart from economist Miles Corak, who has done a lot of work on wealth mobility. It shows the likelihood that a son at some point in their life works for the same firm that their father once worked for across various income levels. The conclusion couldn’t be more clear: The richer the father is, the more likely it is that their son will work at a firm they worked for at some point in their life. As you get to the very elite, the % of sons sharing an employer with their father just soars. The numbers in the survey are from Canada or Denmark, but the similarity across countries indicates that this is a pattern not confirmed to just those two.

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Taking the Xerox business model out of its box

Taking the Xerox business model out of its box

Dan Ovsey | 13/08/19 | Last Updated: 13/08/16 7:45 PM ET

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Darren Calabrese/National PostXerox CEO Ursula Burns says the inventor of the photocopier is divesting itself of traditional DocuTech processes and investing much more heavily in high-end printing and other services that cater to businesses in an era of customized, on-demand and just-in-time needs. When Ursula Burns began her career at Xerox in 1981 as part of the product development team, the company was known almost exclusively for its flagship photocopiers. Since then, she has seen the advent of the Internet, digital communication, on-demand service models and just-in-time business processes. Now the company’s CEO — and the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company — Ms. Burns has the unenviable task of transforming and re-branding Xerox into a services-based tech company that must partially distance itself from what has made its brand famous, in order to remain relevant in the future. During a recent trip to Toronto, she spoke with FP’s Dan Ovsey about the rationale and genesis behind Xerox’s service push, where it’s making strategic investments and how it will identify the people and processes to make the shift work. Following is an edited transcript of their conversation. Read more of this post

Is Economics More Like History Than Physics?

Is Economics More Like History Than Physics?

By Jag Bhalla | August 16, 2013 |  12

Is economics like physics, or more like history? Steven Pinker says, “No sane thinker would try to explain World War I in the language of physics.” Yet some economists aim close to such craziness.

Pinker says the ”mindset of science” eliminates errors by “open debate, peer review, and double-blind methods,” and especially, experimentation. But experiments require repetition and control over all relevant variables. We can experiment on individual behavior, but not with history or macroeconomics. Read more of this post

We’re not a start-up nation, Or even a nation at all, as the envy and spite aroused by the IBM-Trusteer deal reveal

We’re not a start-up nation

The Trusteer deal exposes Israel of 2013 as a collection of cultures, countries, world views, and tribes.

20 August 13 12:57, Yanki Margalit

Congratulations to Shlomo Kramer and Mickey Boodaei, the investors, and the hundreds of employees of Trusteer Ltd. An impressive business success. You established and built a real, global information security company with a reputation. Congratulations to IBM (NYSE: IBM) on its 14th acquisition in Israel and on the establishment of an information security center in the country. Read more of this post

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