gnat + business   331

Evernote’s CTO on Your Biggest Security Worries From 3 to 300 Employees
"If you have 30 employees, at least three of them are using the same password for their corporate email as they used for something that's already been compromised in the past."
security  business 
january 2014 by gnat
Aaron Levie of Box on How to Scale 10x as a CEO and Build a Billion Dollar Business
Founder-CEOs tend to come from the experience of being totally involved in every significant decision at the company. Levie recounts how he wanted to own everything: to be consulted whenever a button moved, whenever text changed, or whenever a new color was picked. This methodology can work up to about 35 people before the Founder becomes a massive bottleneck for the organization. Levie notes, “It was very, very obvious that shit was about to cascade like a tidal wave into me because everything that could possibly happen in the organization had to flow through me. If somebody wanted a performance review or somebody wanted a raise or somebody had this HR thing that they were dealing with or somebody wanted to approve something, everything had to flow through.”
business  management 
january 2014 by gnat
The Management Framework that Propelled LinkedIn to a $20 Billion Company
In Grove’s famous manual “High Output Management,” he introduces OKRs by answering two simple questions: (1) Where do I want to go? (2) How will I know I’m getting there?
management  business 
january 2014 by gnat
The Anatomy of the Perfect Technical Interview from a Former Amazon VP
great interview questions focus on specific examples of the candidate’s unique contributions, actions, decisions and impact. Ideally, you want to:

Probe: give me an example…
Dig: who, what, where, when, why and how on every accomplishment or project
Differentiate: we vs. I, good vs. great, exposure vs. expertise, participant vs. owner/leader, 20 yard line vs. 80 yard line
business  hr 
january 2014 by gnat
There’s a .00006% Chance of Building a Billion Dollar Company: How This Man Did It
“Identify the unknown. Mitigate the unknown. Only then can you enable the outcomes you want, and that’s how you increase the value of your company.”
january 2014 by gnat
Fight Like You're Right, Listen Like You're Wrong and Other Keys to Great Management
the best leaders of teams in a sales environment were the people who wouldn’t let their subordinates get away with bad behavior, including disrespecting each other or customers.
january 2014 by gnat
The Right Way to Grant Equity to Your Employees
cliffs cause people to raise their heads to consider alternatives and should be avoided at all costs.
january 2014 by gnat
Intuit CEO on hiring, reference checks
Cook has found that it’s most effective to completely ignore this opening feedback and throw it out. Once they’re done rambling on, Cook asks, “Among all of the people you’ve seen in this position, on a zero to ten scale, where would this person rank?” They go, “Seven.” Cook says, “Why isn’t this person a nine or a ten?” And then you’ll finally start learning about what this person really thinks.
january 2014 by gnat
The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model - Decision-Making Skills Training from
Autocratic – you make the decision and inform others of it.
There are two separate processes for decision making in an autocratic style:
Autocratic 1(A1) – you use the information you already have and make the decision
Autocratic 2 (A2) – you ask team members for specific information and once you have it, you make the decision. Here you don't necessarily tell them what the information is needed for.
Consultative – you gather information from the team and other and then make the decision.
Consultative 1 (C1) – you inform team members of what you're doing and may individually ask opinions, however, the group is not brought together for discussion. You make the decision.
Consultative 2 (C2) – you are responsible for making the decision, however, you get together as a group to discuss the situation, hear other perspectives, and solicit suggestions.
Collaborative – you and your team work together to reach a consensus.
Group (G2) – The team makes a decision together. Your role is mostly facilitative and you help the team come to a final decision that everyone agrees on.
july 2013 by gnat
Incentive Pay Programs Do Not Affect Teacher Motivation or Reported Practices
RAND Corp and USC researchers. This study drew on teacher survey responses from randomized experiments exploring three different pay-for-performance programs to examine the extent to which these programs motivated teachers to improve student achievement and the impact of such programs on teachers' instruction, number of hours worked, job stress, and collegiality. Results showed that most teachers did not report their program as motivating. Moreover, the survey responses suggest that none of the three programs changed teachers' instruction, increased their number of hours worked or job stress, or damaged their collegiality. Future research needs to further examine the logic model of pay-for-performance programs and test alternative incentive models such as rewarding teachers based on their practices and job responsibilities rather than on student outcomes.
education  business 
march 2013 by gnat
Lessons learned as CEO of ZippyKid in 2012
Learn to differentiate yourself from your competition. There is nothing wrong with that, you don’t have to say anything bad about the competition, just know how you’re different. If your answer to “how are you different than x” is weak, you may as well shut your business. Relying on the “diversity and size of the market” is stupid.
january 2013 by gnat
Elad Blog: How To Fire A Co-Founder
straightforward process and considerations when intra-founder trouble means you think you have to remove one.
january 2013 by gnat
Generic Branding of NZ Wine: from Global Allocator to Global Marketing
In 2004, the industry for the first time exported a greater proportion of its output than it placed on domestic markets (NZWG 2007). In 2007 of its NZ$700 million of exports, 33% went to the UK, 26% to Australia and 25%, to the USA. Exports are dominated by Sauvignon Blanc which made up 74% of the volume in 2007 with the majority of this coming from Marlborough. The continued expansion of exports is heavily reliant on the iconic product – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It is this brand that has attracted international drinks giants into the New Zealand industry. However, Sauvignon Blanc is not the only success story, with New Zealand becoming increasingly recognised as a producer of both top-class and moderately-priced Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir from Central Otago and Martinborough regions are found in top restaurants around the world, whilst Pinot Noirs from Marlborough are prominent in the making of a new market for this wine at premium-super-premium price points.
business  wine  nz 
january 2013 by gnat
2012. Hard Lessons Learned. | Ben Milne
"Feedback with no context is a bullet into a dark room full people. I don’t see how it ends well."
"When in doubt, ship."
business  people  startup 
january 2013 by gnat
Technology trial ends, but no offers | Unlimited Magazine New Zealand
"Innovation and government don't go that well together. You can see it in their eyes, they want the right things but a businessman looks for opportunity and mitigates the risk; bureaucrats by nature look for the risks and then mitigate the opportunity."
business  government  innovation 
december 2012 by gnat
Supercell is Accel’s fastest growing company ever. (And it has a ball pit)
The company works in cells of about five people each, which makes each staffer feel like he or she is having a meaningful impact on the products. “Clash of Clans,” a village-building game featuring Viking-ish characters that are wont to go on empire-building pillages, was built by one such cell of just five people – at least until it came out of beta. Then more people joined to help the game scale and serve millions of players on a minute-by-minute basis.

This cell structure also equips the company well to accommodate failure. Paananen is proud that Supercell has killed three games this year at various stages of development. When it decides to kill a product, the whole company gathers to do a post-mortem to determine what went wrong, and then the cell members involved with the failed game are each given a bottle of champagne.
november 2012 by gnat
Platforms and Networks: Launching Tech Ventures: Part IV, Readings
Below, I've compiled a list of readings — mostly blog posts, but also some books — that cover topics relevant to my course, i.e., lean startup management practices, product marketing/management, and business development. I don't list readings on funding a startup, motivations for founding, or co-founder relationships
business  readings 
november 2012 by gnat
How to land a big fish -
the sales approach that worked for a smaller customer doesn’t always work for a larger one. This post details a situation where I failed to recognize the difference in approaches and some tips to avoid similar missteps
business  enterprise  sales 
november 2012 by gnat
Designing Pricing Plans for Subscription-Based Web Apps
always test your pricing plans.
"Our idea was that the $69 plan would lead to more sign-ups for the $79 plan.

When we tested these two versions in Google Website Optimizer, this is what we found out:

With version B, we got about 9% more sign-ups for the $79 plan
Nobody bought the $69 plan"
november 2012 by gnat
What causes the slack at large corporations? - Quora
"Many big companies are bad at matching people with projects that they're good at or excited about working on"
november 2012 by gnat
Open Source Entrepreneurship « Steve Blank
One of the great things about being a retired entrepreneur is that I get to give back to the community that helped me. I assembled this collection of free and almost free tools, class syllabi, presentations, books, lectures, videos in the hope that it can make your path as an entrepreneur or educator easier.
startups  business 
november 2012 by gnat
OECD: Telcos Overcharging By Five Orders Of Magnitude - Falkvinge on Infopolicy
voip less expensive than traditional phone service by 5 orders of magnitude
mobile  internet  business 
november 2012 by gnat
How to Get Startup Ideas
When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they'll use it even when it's a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they've never heard of? If you can't answer that, the idea is probably bad.
business  startup 
november 2012 by gnat
The how and why of making ebooks out of conferences
interesting idea: using ebooks from session notes as a marketing tool
publishing  events  business 
november 2012 by gnat
The Millions : The History of Humans is the History of Technology: The Millions Interviews Robin Sloan
RS: I’ve been working in public for years now, sharing inchoate ideas and notes on process along with finished work, and when you do that, you tend to pick up people who stick with you. I’d argue, though, that the manner is not particularly “untraditional” these days. In fact, I think it’s becoming the go-to model for people building new careers and communities.
Twitter is a big part of it; there’s something about the way people find and follow each other over there that seems to support this kind of slow, organic, durable growth over time.
business  writing 
november 2012 by gnat
Partnerships for startups: key deal terms | Tom Tunguz
how deals are structured, go wrong, and are kept alive
november 2012 by gnat
Partnerships for startups: key deal terms
how deals are structured, go wrong, and are kept alive
november 2012 by gnat
Legalizing And Regulating Pot: A Growth Industry : NPR
Colorado is establishing a marijuana orthodoxy of regulation and control, whereas California is more open to corruption and crime.
november 2012 by gnat
Elite education for the masses - The Washington Post
MOOCs. No more white-collar vocational training under the guise of Research.
education  business 
november 2012 by gnat
The Nature of Code
love the humblebundlesque "decide how much you pay, and how much goes to the foundation" sliders.
book  processing  programming  simulation  business 
october 2012 by gnat
What’s a $4,000 Suit Worth? -
"The only way to make money in the perfectionist craftsperson industry, it seems, is to stop being a perfectionist craftsperson."

cost-based pricing is the fail here. If you want to make mad money, you need mad production or mad pricing. I thought of market segmentation (offer VERY expensive suits to the VERY rich) and brand-building (how to make one of your suits look like one of your suits?).
business  manufacturing 
september 2012 by gnat
Doc Searls Weblog · After Facebook fails
great summary of how facebook's advertising is fuxxored, but fails at the last hurdle with vision of world where consumers specify their own ToCs etc.
business  advertising  facebook 
june 2012 by gnat
blog « amanda palmer
if we keep our expenses down, and keep the tour pretty practical and the video budget way down, i could probably put $100k of this in the bank personally. which would be great.
business  music  kickstarter 
june 2012 by gnat
How a Mexican Drug Cartel Makes Its Billions -
In 2007, Mexican authorities raided the home of Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman who is believed to have supplied meth-precursor chemicals to the cartel, and discovered $206 million, the largest cash seizure in history. And that was the money Zhenli held onto — he was an inveterate gambler, who once blew so much cash in Las Vegas that one of the casinos presented him, in consolation, with a Rolls-Royce. “How much money do you have to lose in the casino for them to give you a Rolls-Royce?” Tony Placido, the D.E.A. intelligence official, asked. (The astonishing answer, in Zhenli’s case, is $72 million at a single casino in a single year.) Placido also pointed out that, as a precursor guy, Zhenli was on the low end of the value chain for meth. It makes you wonder about the net worth of the guy who runs the whole show.
business  drugs 
june 2012 by gnat
50,000 new visitors to cartoonist's site results in an extra 23 books sold - Boing Boing
But alas, the 48,342 people that visited my site resulted in an additional 23 e-comics sales compared to the previous day. So about 0.048% of the extra visitors made a purchase.
may 2012 by gnat
How Tim Cook is changing Apple - Fortune Tech
cf horowitz's "mbas are underpriced"
Indeed, the vibe, in the words of a former employee, is of an Apple that is becoming "far more traditional," meaning more MBAs, more process, and more structure. (In point of fact, 2,153 Apple employees reference the term "MBA" in their LinkedIn profiles out of a nonretail workforce of nearly 28,000. More than half the employees who reference "MBA" have been at Apple less than two years.)
apple  business 
may 2012 by gnat
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup - Class 10 Notes Essay
Peter Thiel: An online pet food company is the paradigm example.

Marc Andreessen: And that’s not such a bad idea anymore! was bought by Amazon for $450m. turns out to be a pretty good business. Even Webvan is coming back! The grocery delivery company failed miserably back in the ‘90s. But now, city by city, it’s back, trying to figure out crowdsourced delivery. The market is so much bigger now. There were about 50 million people online in the ‘90s. Today it’s more like 2.5 billion. People have gotten acclimated to e-commerce. The default assumption is that everything is available online now.


Marc Andreessen: I interned at IBM in 1991. It was extremely screwed up. Those of you who follow IBM history will know it as the John Akers era. I was pretty much given the codex of how to screw up a company. You learn everything at a dysfunctional company. It was fascinating. Once I got to to see the org chart. There were 400,000 employees. I was 14 levels below the CEO. Which meant that my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss was still 7 levels below the CEO.

The skill that you learn at IBM is how to exist at IBM. It’s completely self-referential. It’s the terminal state. People don’t leave.
business  entrepreneurship 
may 2012 by gnat
In E-Reader Age of Writer’s Cramp, a Book a Year Is Slacking -
Publishers say that a carefully released short story, timed six to eight weeks before a big hardcover comes out, can entice new readers who might be willing to pay 99 cents for a story but reluctant to spend $14 for a new e-book or $26 for a hardcover.

Airport bookstores these days can feature not just one stack of James Patterson books, but an entire rack of them, sometimes more than six titles at a time. Mr. Patterson produced 12 books last year, aided on some titles by co-writers. He will publish 13 this year.

Authors don’t seem to be writing digital-only short stories for the money. Advances are typically not part of the bargain, and the works are priced so low (usually $0.99 or $1.99) that they don’t produce much revenue, even if they take several weeks or months to write.

But some authors said that even though they are beginning to accept them as one of the necessary requirements of book marketing, they still find them taxing to produce.

“I have been known to be a little grumpy on the subject sometimes,” said Steve Berry, a popular thriller writer who writes short stories that are released between books. “It does sap away some of your energy. You don’t ever want to get into a situation where your worth is being judged by the amount of your productivity.”
publishing  books  business 
may 2012 by gnat
April 2012 TEF Commentary
Yangzijiang = Chinese shipbuilder. $3.7bn Singapore listed. They sell new ships for prices not much beyond distressed resale value of 2nd hand vessels. $1.7bn on their balance sheet is loans to various SMEs unable to access funds from banks, who pay interest rates 10-20% in size. "Of course, Yangzijiang's executives exude business elan and I am sure their intentoins are honourable. They certainly say all the right things. For instance, they insist on borrowers having at least three times the value of the loans in collateral, and will accept only land and Chinese A-shares. In reality, of course, they represent a team of shipyard managers building new ships at a price barely above that of second hand ships and lending hand-over-fist during an unprecedented credit boom using a plethora of financial techniques from rural micro finance to venture capital. This $1.7bn loan book is about 80% of the group's NAV. That is not something you want to be invested in."
finance  business  china 
may 2012 by gnat
Kodak’s HQ secretly housed a nuclear reactor for over 30 years | VentureBeat
For thirty years, Kodak housed under its Rochester headquarters a research reactor equipped with over three pounds of enriched uranium. Kept secret, the uranium was removed in 2007, Democrat and Chronicle reports.

Though the reactor and its surrounding lab’s existence are perplexing and still a bit disconcerting, the idea behind the operation was fairly solid: Kodak used the uranium and reactor to test chemicals for impurities, as well as run neutron radiography tests. How that research was applied to its actual core operations isn’t clear, however.
business  history  science 
may 2012 by gnat
The Real E-Publishing Story: It’s Not the Millionaires, It’s the Midlist « SteamWords
And that’s the real indie e-publishing story. It might not make the headlines that the big deals will, but it’s the number of working writers making a living from their writing, not the number of millionaires, that is the genuine revolution in e-publishing.
publishing  business 
may 2012 by gnat
Sourcemap: where things come from
crowdsourced directory of product supply chains and carbon footprints
business  data  maps  visualization 
may 2012 by gnat
How to Get Honest Feedback: Alan Mulally - Businessweek
You have to make honest feedback a positive experience. It was almost like that red was a gem. We had found an issue that needed special attention. I had to demonstrate with my behavior that I welcomed it: “That’s great visibility. Thank you for sharing. What can we do to help you out?” I’ve been in environments where it’s not as safe to share. You can’t improve if you don’t know what the real situation is. Finally, you’ve got to act on it. If you get honest feedback and do nothing about it, then the feedback will stop.
feedback  business  management 
may 2012 by gnat
A VC: The Board Of Directors: Board Meetings
Possibly the most important technique I've observed over the years is the executive session at the end of the meeting. This is when the Board meets without the CEO and team in the room and has a discussion of the meeting and what the key takeaways are. The executive session can be five minutes or it can be a half hour. Sometimes there is very little to discuss in executive session. Sometimes there is a lot. After the executive session ends, the CEO should either be invited back to have a debrief on the executive session or the Chairman of the Board should meet with the CEO to debrief on the executive session. This is an opportunity for the Board to provide feedback to the CEO on the business, the team, and performance, and the strategy. Boards should not miss this opportunity to provide feedback and CEOs should demand it of them
business  management 
may 2012 by gnat
How to Set Your Employees Free: Reed Hastings - Businessweek
My first company, Pure Software, was exciting and innovative in the first few years and bureaucratic and painful in the last few before it got acquired. The problem was we tried to systemize everything and set up perfect procedures. We thought that was a good thing, but it killed freedom and responsibility. After the company was acquired, I reflected on what went wrong.
business  culture 
may 2012 by gnat
Beheaded for just pieces of silver - World - NZ Herald News
One correspondent in the Sydney Gazette told how he had seen a man carrying a cloth-wrapped bundle under his arm up George St, and asked to see it.

"With perfect indifference as to my feelings and consternation, the man replied it was the head of a New Zealander, which he had purchased from a person lately arrived from that country and that he was going to dispose of it for two guineas to a gentleman who was about to embark for England."

It was a cruel example of supply and demand in a free market.

As Maori discovered they could sell the sacrosanct heads of their enemies for muskets, some - especially among Ngati Toa, Ngapuhi and the tribes of the Far North - put aside their scruples and began producing more heads.

As first they boosted supply by manufacturing excuses to go to war and capture more enemy chiefs; then they began roughly tattooing their slaves, waiting for the scars to heal, beheading them and selling them.

But they created a market glut and prices plummeted.
business  history  nz 
may 2012 by gnat
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup - Class 9 Notes Essay
PR is the art of getting trusted, objective third parties to give you press.
may 2012 by gnat
YKK zippers: Why so many designers use them. - Slate Magazine
And in the end, the secret to YKK’s success is equally uncomplicated but equally impressive: YKK makes incredibly dependable zippers, ships them on time without fail, offers a wide range of colors, materials, and styles, and never gets badly undercut on price. The feeling in the apparel industry is that you can’t go wrong with YKK.

32c for a typical 14-inch "invisible" zipper as you'd find in a sweater. Manufacturers figure it's not worth trying to save pennies when a defective zip ruins the user experience.
business  clothing 
may 2012 by gnat
Latest Impact Research: Inching Towards Generalization
research shows microfinance helps entrepreneurship, but doesn't effectively reduce poverty on any large scale
economics  microfinance  business 
april 2012 by gnat
How sheep-like behavior breeds innovation in Silicon Valley | Andrew Chen (@andrewchen)
Investors are trying to find the exceptional outcomes, so they are looking for something exceptional about the company. Instead of trying to do everything well (traction, team, product, social proof, pitch, etc), do one thing exceptional. As a startup you have to be exceptional in at least one regard.” -Naval Ravikant @naval
startup  business 
march 2012 by gnat / FT Magazine - The forger’s story
“Forgers tend to be embittered souls,” says Edward Dolnick, author of a book about Van Meegeren. “Typically, they start out as artists and nobody likes their stuff but they get appreciated when they put someone else’s name on it. That feels like proof that the art world is phony
art  business 
november 2011 by gnat
Gore-Tex Gets Made Without Managers- Unusual Leading
In Gore’s self-regulating system, all the normal management rules are reversed. In this back-to-front world, leaders aren’t appointed: they emerge when they accumulate enough followers to qualify as such. So when the previous group CEO retired three years ago, there was no shortlist of preferred candidates. Alongside board discussions, a wide range of associates were invited to nominate to the post someone they would be willing to follow. ‘We weren’t given a list of names – we were free to choose anyone in the company,’ Kelly says. ‘To my surprise, it was me.’

Similarly, Gore doesn’t have budgets in the sense that most companies do. ‘When I joined we didn’t have a planning process – budgeting wasn’t in the vocabulary,’ she says. Gore now does a better job of planning investment and forecasting, she maintains, but it still tries to avoid the games-playing and inflexibility of the traditional budget. ‘Budgets hinder associates from reacting in real time to changing circumstances,’ she says. Most of Gore’s investment will only have an impact years ahead: ‘We don’t want folks making short-term decisions that are not in the best interest of the long term. The planning and investment horizons have to match.’

Gore also seems to reverse the usual notions of economies of scale. When Gore units grow to around 200 people, they are usually split up. These small plants are organized in clusters or campuses, ideally with a dozen or so sites in close enough proximity to permit knowledge synergies, but still intimate and separate enough to encourage ownership and identity. An accountant might complain that creates duplication of costs; Gore believes those are more than offset by the benefits smallness brings.
business  management 
november 2011 by gnat
Are We In A Series A “Crunch”? What CrunchBase Says … | TechCrunch
data and inconclusive analysis about whether companies are finding it harder to get A rounds these days
startups  business 
november 2011 by gnat
The BLN | Context & core. Geoffrey Moore at Business of Software. Video & transcript.
"anything that is not core is context. "

dodgy transcription of a talk by Geoffrey Moore about getting the important shit done first
october 2011 by gnat
Do good reviews help restaurants? « Modeled Behavior
a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue
ai  collective  intelligence  business 
october 2011 by gnat
The Great Tech War Of 2012 | Fast Company
really good detailed article about the new robber barons of industry: tech giants and their heated battle for whatever
tech  business 
october 2011 by gnat
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