Here goes our weekly magazine of curated stories from around the world. In this edition: Commentary on the $8.8 billion accounting scandal. Entrepreneurshit. What women want from smartphones. Should you follow the Steve Jobs act? and more.
HP and UBS Are Hiding Behind Their Scapegoats: The rogue is a perfect villain. This week we had two: Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS trader who got seven years in jail for rogue trades, and Mike Lynch, the rogue leader who allegedly tricked Hewlett-Packard into buying Autonomy with dodgy accounting. Both are being blamed for causing massive damage—a $2.3 billion loss for UBS (UBS) and an $8.8 billion writedown for HP (HPQ). Both are colorful characters who’d made their homes in London. Adoboli is a Ghanian-born son of privilege who was nurtured as a high-potential player at the bank; Lynch is the Irish-born mathematical genius and entrepreneur who’d built one of the U.K.’s greatest tech companies. Read this brilliant commentary by Diane Brady here.
How HP Could Have Saved Itself $10 Billion: Why has HP been so aggressive in its criticism of Autonomy and what should it have done differently, going back to the days before the purchase? The fact is that Autonomy always looked like a waste of money. And HP is a serial offender. Read more here.
New new world
Digital Strategy Does Not Equal IT Strategy, Mark P McDonald a Gartner Fellow Writes. Everyone thinks they have a digital strategy these days. But while your company may have a business or IT strategy that incorporates digital technology, an IT strategy does not equal a digital strategy. Why? Because most IT strategies treat technology in isolation. Read more here.
How to Manage Conflict in Virtual Teams: Employee conflicts can be poisonous. We have all experienced the damage to productivity, crushed creativity, and squashed morale. As Kevin M. Campbell, Accenture’s Group Chief Executive, Technology, notes, “All too often, I’ve seen that personal conflicts derail costly projects and important initiatives.” Unresolved employee conflicts are bad enough in a traditional, physical workplace. They are all the more dangerous in a virtual environment, where people don’t have the luxury of proximity to work their differences out face-to-face. Read more here.
Entrepreneurshit. The Blog Post on What It’s Really Like: Mark Suster writes about the phenomenon every entrepreneur goes through: Shit. As a startup founder, you rarely have money in your bank account and you still have to do a lot of things like hiring employees, finding press, signing up customers and raising money. Entrepreneurship is stressful, he writes and details out how its like to be one: So Facebook just announced that they’re going to compete with you. Apple announced that they’re shutting down your category. Salesforce.com just bought your main competitor. Your main competitor just raised $75 million and took all of the oxygen out of the room. Read more here.
The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale? Soon after Steve Jobs returned to Apple as CEO in 1997, he decided that a shipping company wasn’t delivering spare parts fast enough. The shipper said it couldn’t do better, and it didn’t have to: Apple had signed a contract granting it the business at the current pace. As Walter Isaacson describes in his best-selling biography, Steve Jobs, the recently recrowned chief executive had a simple response: Break the contract. When an Apple manager warned him that this decision would probably mean a lawsuit, Jobs responded, “Just tell them if they fuck with us, they’ll never get another fucking dime from this company, ever.” The gospel of Steve Jobs has spread far from Silicon Valley, inspiring people in every field of business. But is it good? Or Bad? Read more here.
The Measurement That Would Reveal The Universe As A Computer Simulation: If the cosmos is a numerical simulation, there ought to be clues in the spectrum of high energy cosmic rays, say theorists. Read more here.
First Teleportation from One Macroscopic Object to Another: Physicists have teleported quantum information from one ensemble of atoms to another 150 meters away, a demonstration that paves the way towards quantum routers and a quantum Internet. Read more here.
What women want from smartphone design isn’t what lazy marketers think: Pink phones for Mother’s Day, purple phones for spring, bedazzled phones to accessorize our bling. If you listen to most marketers, one would assume that smartphone shopping for women comes down to a preference for pretty pastels and shiny objects. But it cannot be that simple, right? Read on to find out what Nikki Barton, VP of UX for Smart Devices at Nokia thinks what women want with their phones.
A Cloud Economy Innovation: Apple’s iPhone Gets Its Own Robot: Josh Guyot knew he had a hit on his hands. He’d created an elegant, inexpensive device that turned iPhones into remote-controlled robotic video machines–and used Kickstarter, the ubiquitous online crowdfunding platform, to raise startup capital. Within three and a half days he and partner JoeBen Bevirt had hit their $100,000 goal; by the time their campaign ended a month later their company, Motrr, had raised a staggering $702,427. Read more here.
Indian Finance Minister Sees Economy in “Difficult Situation”: The Indian economy is likely to have grown at 5.5 % in the July-September quarter, posing a “difficult situation,” the country’s federal finance minister, P. Chidambaram, said Saturday. The gross domestic product data for the July-September quarter is due out on Nov. 30. Read more here.
It’s Not Just Indians and Taiwanese Anymore, a new group may be on the way up in the immigrant-dominated tech world writes Alexandra Starr. While Silicon Valley is an immigrant-friendly place—witness Russian-born Sergey Brin’s triumph at Google or Hungarian-born Andy Grove’s success at Intel—there are signs that immigrants’ influence in the tech mecca may be plateauing. A study released last month by AnnaLee Saxenian of Berkeley and Vivek Wadhwa of Duke found that 43.9 percent of Silicon Valley startups launched in the past seven years had at least one key founder who was an immigrant. That’s a big number, but it’s a drop from 2005, when 52.4 percent of startups were immigrant-founded.Read more here.
SYT interview with Philippe Starck about 78 metre superyacht Venus: This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most influential designers in the world, Philippe Starck. The latest superyacht by his hand, the 78 metre Feadship Venus, built for the late Steve Jobs, left the traditional superyacht industry gasping for air. I talked with the French designer about his radically different approach to a superyacht. Read more by Maarten Janssen on how Starck built the Yatch for Jobs.
The most successful e-mail I ever wrote: Derek Sivers created an online independent music distribution business and sold it for $22 million. The money, he said, will go to charity after his death and while he was alive, 5 % of its value goes to him. He’d automated most of the operations of his business and CD Baby ran with only 4 hours of his time every six months! To let his customers know that a CD has been shipped, he’d written an automatic e-mail which became extremely popular. Read more from Derek’s blog post here.
Don’t Blindly Model Your SaaS Pricing on 37signals: One of the topics that comes up invariably when discussing sales strategy is pricing, says Ray Grieselhuber, the CEO and Co-founder of Ginzametrics who talks to a lot of startups which are B2B / SaaS businesses. Almost all of the time, the SaaS startups I speak with have very low price points (sub-$100/month for the majority of their plans with, perhaps, an “enterprise” plan that costs between $200-500 / month. When I ask the reason for such low pricing, I mostly get blank looks in return. I’ve realized that many startups are arbitrarily pricing their services based on what they think is “just the way you do things.” My theory is that 37signals (and maybe a few similar companies) is a big factor in this. Read more here.