jerryking + german   10

How Britons forgot that history can hurt
September 19, 2019 | | Financial Times| by Simon Kuper.

Centuries of stability have created a country careless about risk... the British mainland has meandered along nicely since Newton’s death in 1727: no conquest, dictatorship, revolution, famine or civil war. The sea prevented invasions; coal made Britain the first industrialised power. Few Britons developed strong ideologies that they were motivated to kill for.

How to square this historical stability with the UK’s newfound instability?......What explains Britain’s transformation? I suspect it’s precisely the country’s historical stability that has made many of today’s Britons insouciant about risk. They have forgotten that history can hurt. Other countries remember....their citizens remember how countries can go horribly wrong (see Uganda, the French in Algeria, etc.)......Britain has no comparable traumas. Terrible things do happen there but chiefly to poor people — which is how the country is supposed to work. Even the losses suffered during two world wars have been reconfigured into proud national moments. The widespread American guilt about slavery is almost absent here.

And so, Britain has a uniquely untroubled relationship with its past, and a suspicion of anything new. No wonder the natural ruling party calls itself “Conservative”.

Britain’s ruling classes are especially nostalgic, because they live amid the glorious past: the family’s country home, then ancient public school, Oxbridge and Westminster. They felt Britain was so secure from constitutional outrages that they never bothered to write a constitution.

But it’s wrong to blame British insouciance (embodied by Johnson) on the elite. It extends across all classes. Most Britons have learnt to be politically unserious. Hence their tolerance for toy newspapers they know to be mendacious — Britons’ ironic relationship with their tabloids puzzles many foreigners.

Postwar Britons — the most shielded generation in this shielded country’s history — voted Brexit not out of fanaticism but in a spirit of “Why not?” Many Leave voters argued additionally that “Things can’t get worse”, which any Ugandan could have told them was mistaken. Some Leavers even seemed to crave a bit of history.
'30s  Argentina  Brexit  carelessness  complacency  constitutions  decay  false_sense_of_security  German  history  historical_amnesia  insouciance  ruling_classes  Simon_Kuper  social_classes  United_Kingdom  worrying 
28 days ago by jerryking
Digital endurance runner picks up pace with Penguin deal
July 15/16, 2017 | Financial Times | Guy Chazan

Bertelsmann's latest big investment, in Penguin Randon House (PRH), a traditional ink-on-paper publisher. .The German group, which already owns 53% of PRH, will pay $780m to buy an additional 22% from its partner, Pearson......The deal seems at odds with Bertelsmann's digital-first strategy. Rabe sees no contradiction....Bertelsmann must maintain a balance between high-growth investments and stable, cash-generative businesses like PRH....It margins are high,[and it] contributes to the cash flows Bertelsmann needs to invest in new businesses with higher growth potential than book publishing.....Mr. Rabe has responded by diversifying Bertelsmann out of Europe, investing in digital start-ups in China, India and Brazil and branching into online education in the US. The bright digital-first future is still far off. But Rabe , an endurance runner, relishes a long and winding road.
CEOs  digital_media  Bertelsmann  online_education  high-growth  Pearson  publishing  digital_first  cash-generative  cash_flows  privately_held_companies  Germany  German  cash_cows 
july 2017 by jerryking
An Old-Media Empire, Axel Springer Reboots for the Digital Age - The New York Times
DEC. 20, 2015 | NYT | By NICOLA CLARK.

When Axel Springer CEO, Mathias Döpfner, and a handful of his top managers first set their sights on the US three years ago, it was with notebooks in hand, rather than checkbooks.

A decade after taking the helm in 2002, Mr. Döpfner had already made significant strides in revamping Germany’s largest print publishing group for the digital age. ...Still, Mr. Döpfner, 52, worried that the company’s management culture was too hierarchical and risk-averse, leaving it vulnerable to challenges from nimbler American technology companies like Google and Facebook, as well as rising digital media brands like BuzzFeed and Vice....“It was very clear to me that we needed to accelerate our cultural transformation"...instead of enlisting an army of high-priced consultants, Mr. Döpfner opted for the corporate equivalent of electroshock therapy. In the summer of 2012, he sent three of Axel Springer’s most senior managers to California (Silicon Valley) for nine months. ...Digital activities now generate more than 60% of Axel Springer’s revenues and just over 70% of its operating profit. Mr. Döpfner’s boldest pursuit in the last year was one that ultimately failed. Over the summer, Axel Springer lost out in a bid to acquire The Financial Times, beaten in the final stages by a $1.3 billion offer from the Japanese publisher Nikkei.... the recent scramble among the world’s big media groups for new — and in many cases, unproven — digital companies has driven up valuations, and some analysts warn that Axel Springer’s investment-led strategy represents a potentially high-cost gamble....“Digital companies today are selling for huge multiples, but they also have a high failure rate. Many are literally fireflies.”...
digital_media  Axel_Springer  Silicon_Valley  publishing  newspapers  failure  sclerotic  Airbnb  experimentation  organizational_culture  Germany  German  digital_disruption 
december 2015 by jerryking
Axel Springer CEO Döpfner Keeps Digital Dreams in Check - WSJ
By WILLIAM BOSTON
Updated Feb. 10, 2014

Mr. Döpfner said content once again will be king. "That's why it is interesting now to invest in content businesses that are still undervalued." He described last year's purchase of the Washington Post by Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos as a watershed event that drew the battle lines between the traditional publishing industry and technology companies such as Amazon, Google Inc. and Apple Inc.

"The question is whether traditional content companies will win the game because they have learned how to use technology or whether the technology companies win because they learn how to create content," Mr. Döpfner said. "That is the great game today." [the great game]
Forbes  mergers_&_acquisitions  Germany  German  publishing  digital_media  Axel_Springer  CEOs  content  undervalued  WaPo  Jeff_Bezos  digital_disruption  seminal_moments  big_bets  content_creators  the_great_game  turning_points 
february 2015 by jerryking
How Jurgen Klinsmann Plans to Make U.S. Soccer Better (and Less American) - NYTimes.com
By SAM BORDENJUNE 4, 2014

Most coaches would have understood the players’ sluggishness; most people would have excused it.

Klinsmann did not. He wants to win every practice. He wants to win every game. He wants accountability at every moment. He wants the sort of committed, hungry, unentitled attitude that is the very opposite of what so many American pro athletes regard as their birthright.

Klinsmann believes firmly in two things: first, that a national soccer team is always racing the clock. Casual fans may not realize it, but the men responsible for coaching players in the biggest soccer games of their lives every four years actually see their players about as often as they see their barbers. (In the 500 or so days from the beginning of last year until training camp began last month, Klinsmann got to work with his top players for two days before a game here, three days before a qualifier there, for a total of no more than 40 or 50 days — roughly the length of spring training in baseball, if spring training were played in different countries and stretched out over 16 months.)

The second thing Klinsmann believes is that if the United States is ever going to really succeed at a World Cup, a specific and significant change must occur within the team. That change does not necessarily have to do with how the Americans play; rather, it has to do with the American players being too American. Put simply, Klinsmann would like to see his players carry themselves like their European counterparts — the way he used to.
soccer  German  coaching  organizational_culture  team  hustle  attitudes  grit 
june 2014 by jerryking
Jurgen Klinsmann Has U.S. Soccer Team Speaking German - WSJ.com
June 19, 2013 | WSJ | By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN.

When head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the former German star, took over this band of oddly self-satisfied athletes two years ago, he promised to change the culture of U.S. soccer at the highest level. He aimed to build a side that played with both discipline and fury—one that could compete consistently with the best soccer nations. In other words, to turn them into... perhaps not Germany exactly, but something like it....Players talk constantly now about wearing out opponents rather than surviving them, of wanting to enforce their will on games and not simply being satisfied with that staple of American soccer from toddlerhood on—the trophy for participation. "Jurgen has instilled that mentality to fight for every ball, to play your role, to not take plays off," midfielder Graham Zusi said after Tuesday's win. "If we do that we can eventually grind a team down." In other words, what Germans do......"It is what is required to play well internationally. You got to play fast. You got to play at a high tempo, you got to play both ways, get behind the ball and be going forward. If you're going to be with the best in the world, this is what you got to do."

He has conveyed his message with the subtlety of a Wagnerian symphony. He belittled the accomplishments of his top players, booted team captain Carlos Bocanegra, even temporarily dropped Jozy Altidore, the team's top striker, all in an effort to teach these big fish in the smallish pond of U.S. soccer they need to burn to get better. His message, that international soccer is no joke, seems to be sinking in.
soccer  German  coaching  organizational_culture  team  hustle  operational_tempo  attitudes  grit  mindsets  fingerspitzengefühl  tempo  momentum 
june 2013 by jerryking

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