Daily Archives: January 28, 2009

links for 2009-01-28

  • Money is scarce. Markets are volatile. Morale is harder to boost in an atmosphere of anxiety. Acknowledge to yourself and your team that the world has changed…
    Many of the best managers in 2008 were gearing up for battle during good times…
    A key issue for many companies right now is getting the funds needed to help a business grow. Only those with strong balance sheets stand a chance. Everyone used to have easy access to capital. No more…
    It's tempting to cut compensation across the board. Now is the time to differentiate more than ever and focus on rewarding your best. If you have to cut costs, start at the top.
  • # Ask stupid questions.Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
    # Collaborate.The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
    # ____________________.Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
    # Stay up late.Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.
  • Solitude isn't easy, and isn't for everyone. It has undoubtedly never been the province of more than a few. "I believe," Thoreau said, "that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark." Teresa and Tiresias will always be the exceptions, or to speak in more relevant terms, the young people — and they still exist — who prefer to loaf and invite their soul, who step to the beat of a different drummer. But if solitude disappears as a social value and social idea, will even the exceptions remain possible? Still, one is powerless to reverse the drift of the culture. One can only save oneself — and whatever else happens, one can still always do that. But it takes a willingness to be unpopular.
  • Law is essential to, but can stifle, freedom. Today, Howard writes, "Americans increasingly go through the day looking over their shoulders instead of where they want to go." The land of the free and the home of the brave has become "a legal minefield" through which we timidly tiptoe lest we trigger a legal claim. What should be routine daily choices and interactions are fraught with legal risk.
    Time was, rights were defensive. They were to prevent government from doing things to you. Today, rights increasingly are offensive weapons wielded to inflict demands on other people, using state power for private aggrandizement. The multiplication of rights, each lacking limiting principles, multiplies nonnegotiable conflicts conducted with the inherent extremism of rights rhetoric, on the assumption, Howard says, "that society will somehow achieve equilibrium if it placates whomever is complaining."
  • # Don't talk like a press release. Talk like a person. A person is reading this, so why are you talking like that?
    # Be short. The purpose of an email is not to sell the person on anything other than writing back. If you don't have a personal, interesting way to start a conversation, don't write.
    # Don't send an email only when you really need something. That's not personal, that's selfish.
    # Do you have a sig with a phone number in it? Your phone number? If you don't trust me enough to give me your real phone number, I don't trust you enough to read your mail.
  • 1. Sarah Palin
    Charges: If you want to know why the rest of the world is scared of Americans, consider the fact that after two terms of disastrous rule by a small-minded ignoramus, 46% of us apparently thought the problem was that he wasn’t quite stupid enough. Palin’s unending emissions of baffling, evasive incoherence should have disqualified her for any position that involved a desk, let alone placing her one erratic heartbeat from the presidency. The press strained mightily to feign respect for her, praising a debate performance that involved no debate, calling her a “great speaker” when her only speech was primarily a litany of insults to city-dwellers, echoing bogus sexism charges when a male Palin would have been boiled alive for the Couric interview alone, and lionizing her as she used her baby as a Pro-life stage prop before crowds who cooed when they should have been hurling polonium-tipped javelins.
  • …I suspect that the future of the New York Times and other great newspapers might well lie in the nonprofit realm. The Sulzberger family really does consider the NYT itself to be a sacred trust — and the New York Times Company owns enough other properties that they might be willing to turn the Gray Lady into some kind of nonprofit, if that will save them from avaricious media barons and hedge funds.
    The NYT's subscribers might be able to help out here, by buying voting shares in the company which automatically become non-voting shares the minute they're sold to anybody else; a relatively low cap would be placed on the number of such shares that any one subscriber could buy. That could give the New York Times Company some much-needed liquidity; it would also dilute for-profit shareholders with ones whose main desire is not for profit but rather for great news.
  • A friend of mine wrote to Palepu. “Evidently,” he wrote, “you are guiding US-based global corporations in such matters. However, in your ‘home’ country, you are helping organisations like Satyam steal shareholders money. My question is simple—does this make you a traitorous hypocrite, or merely a greedy criminal? I’m inclined to the latter, but as an eminent Harvard professor, perhaps you can guide me on the correct terminology? Look forward to your response.”
    Guess what? Palepu has not replied. “Greedy criminal”, I would think.
  • The reason these guys are being pilloried is that they did not oppose the Maytas investments- and there is a presumption that if they could be so supine in that instance, they could not have been effective generally. Had any of the independent directors opposed that move, it is possible that they would have been given the benefit of the doubt in respect of the accounting fraud.
    I notice also that most of the fire is focused on the two b-school academics, Rammohan Rao of ISB and Krishna Palepu of HBS…I guess there is a feeling that b-school academics, who preach good management and governance to the rest of the world, must be held to higher standards. B-school profs on other boards had better watch out!
    Incidentally, on the Net, what we are seeing is not just criticism of the independent directors, but abuse, plain galis. Liar, cheat, rascal- these are among the kinder expressions being used. I will refrain from reproducing the harsher ones.
  • setting up a domain is the first thing that any tech startup needs to tackle. Hence I decided to write a post on this, giving my answers. This post will help you with the following:
    * Registering a domain.
    * Understanding different types of web hosting.
    * Setting up email
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Posted by on January 28, 2009 in Links

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