Thinks 197

McKinsey on intangibles: “Investment in intangible assets that underpin the knowledge or learning economy, such as intellectual property (IP), research, technology and software, and human capital, has risen inexorably over the past quarter century, and the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have accelerated this shift toward a dematerialized economy…New research uses sector-level data and the results of a new survey of more than 860 executives that reveal that “top growers”—companies in the top quartile for growth in gross value added, a measure of economic growth—invest 2.6 times more in intangibles than low growers, companies in the bottom two quartiles.”

FT: “In the two decades that James Anderson has managed Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, Baillie Gifford’s best-known vehicle with about £18bn of assets under management, it has recorded 1,500 per cent returns for shareholders, compared with 277 per cent for the FTSE All-World benchmark…Anderson’s bet on Amazon underlines the principles that have guided his decision-making — the idea that exponential improvements in technology will drive innovation; the contention that the vast majority of stock market returns come from a tiny percentage of businesses; and a relentless optimism about the future. The same philosophy informed his early and fierce backing for Elon Musk’s electric carmaker Tesla — in defiance of many sceptics.”

NYT on ranked-choice voting. “Ranked-choice voting is also known as instant-runoff voting. In conventional runoffs, the top two candidates from an initial round face off at a later date. Critics of this system note that turnout often drops between initial elections and runoffs; a ranked-choice system, by contrast, requires only one trip to the ballot box.” More from NPR.

Thinks 196

Santosh Desai on influencer marketing: “The traditional celebrity has to excel or at least feature in something that naturally attracts our attention- cinema, music, sports or at the very least glamour and spice. They usually are part of an activity that is larger-than-life and that scale rubs off on them. The influencer on the other hand, engages in the far more everyday pursuits. What clothes to wear, where to shop, how to choose between two brands of a gadget, how to wear make-up, how to add facets to your personality, how to study for that important exam, what makes for a good interviewee, these are the kind of questions that a lot of influencers provide home-grown answers to. The communication lacks the sophistication of traditional advertising, and that is what gives it a sense of authenticity and makes it relatable. For the follower of these influencers, what they receive is wisdom from one of their kind on things that they find useful in a lived context. In that sense, the influencers exert much more direct influence on how people behave for unlike the conventional celebrity; the reason for their popularity is their perceived proficiency at the same acts of consumption that they are pushing for others. The key insight that influencers operate on is that public attention does not necessarily need big spectacles.”

Kristian Niemietz: “If we judge market economies primarily by their shortcomings, while judging socialism primarily as an idea, and by the intentions of its proponents, then the market economy can never win.” [via CafeHayek]

Marie Curie: “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” [via Shane Parish]

Thinks 195

Technology Saves the World: by Marc Andreessen. “What we have learned — what we were forced to learn — during the COVID lockdowns has permanently shattered these assumptions. It turns out many of the best jobs really can be performed from anywhere, through screens and the internet. It turns out people really can live in a smaller city or a small town or in rural nowhere and still be just as productive as if they lived in a tiny one-room walk-up in a big city. It turns out companies really are capable of organizing and sustaining remote work even — perhaps especially — in the most sophisticated and complex fields. This is, I believe, a permanent civilizational shift. It is perhaps the most important thing that’s happened in my lifetime, a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet.”

on NDA’s Bermuda Triangle: “The government has to generate a huge amount of employment without giving an upward push to inflation, while keeping subsistence spending intact.”

on 30 years of the 1991 reforms: “India’s record has been good, relative to how other countries have done and compared also to its own previous three decades, but well short of what is required and what was possible…The most important task, economically and from the welfare angle, is to get people back to work, and to promote job-intensive activities. It has not been done for the last 30 years, or the previous 30. The fate of the next 30 years hinges on this issue.”

Thinks 194

Christopher Graves: “Behavioral science can change the way marketing is done – from taking a targeted approach to being empathic. Marketing as a function is known for being aggressive in nature. What behavioral science shows is that humans are ruled by forces beyond our own awareness. It helps at looking consumer minds at a deeper level, almost like making sense of DNAs. Brands have been targeting and personalising ads for consumers using data, but not necessarily the data that matters, and not always in their best interest. Behavioral science has the power of empathically decoding consumers’ mindset.”

O. Carter Snead: “I’m worried that our risk calculus has shifted in a dramatic way. You think about the flu, you think about other diseases that could be dangerous—or just driving your car—and it feels to me that our risk tolerance is basically zero at this point. And what does that mean? Is the point of human life simply to hide away in a bubble-wrap container so that you don’t ever encounter any risk?”

New site to check: Future.com (from a16z)

Thinks 193

Amy Silver on regret: “Simply put, regret is the feeling that we may have had something more positive now if we had made a different decision in the past, feeling sorry for misfortunes, or the disappointment over something we’ve failed to do. Largely we feel regret in terms of things we haven’t done (missed opportunities) more intensely than regret of things we did do (or decisions we made). Taking the past year as an example, as you process what you haven’t done, or what you have missed, you’re regretting…The exploration of what’s going on inside your head and heart is a good way to start moving into a position of control of over your emotions. When you catch yourself fruitlessly ruminating or getting caught in a negative mood, grab a pen and paper, and write down what you are thinking. This is known as emotional labeling.” [via HBR]

Shane Parish: “One of the biggest keys to success at anything hard is believing that you can figure it out as you go along. A lot of people won’t start until they figure it out. And because most hard things can’t be figured out in advance, they never start.”

Watched: The Tomorrow War

Thinks 192

WSJ: “The tech ecosystem that powers ecommerce has simplified the way aspiring merchants set up shop, from web design and inventory management to email marketing and sales-tax collection. Shopify Inc., a provider of such services, said 1.75 million merchants used its platform last year, more than double the number two years earlier. But the lower entry barriers and rising cost of online advertising are making it harder for existing and new sellers to cut through the crowd and find more customers. Sellers and consultants say that in addition to marketing tactics like search-optimizing web pages and targeting users on social media, brands must also take the more elaborate steps of developing community among customers or an identity that consumers deem authentic. Other online sellers are testing out distinctly analog ways of reaching new customers, like printed catalogs or bricks-and-mortar shops.”

Jonathan Rauch: “It’s important for that reason, but it’s also important because every society, whether a small tribe or a mighty nation, needs a way to come to some kind of agreement about what’s real and what’s not, at least on big public questions. And if you can’t do it, societies become unmoored from reality. They break into sects with conspiratorial leaders. They become vulnerable to demagogues. Very frequently, they get involved in complete breakdowns and civil wars. Symptoms of what’s been called an “epistemic crisis” include things like extreme polarization, conspiracy theories, ”chilling”—where a lot of people are just afraid to speak out…The core notion here is “disinformation information warfare.” I define that as organizing and manipulating the social and media environments for political advantage specifically to dominate, divide, disorient, and demoralize a political opponent.”

Watched: Luca

Thinks 191

Jerry Nadler: “No one should ever be taxed twice on the same income. It’s not fair and it’s not just.” In India, we tax people 3 or even 4 times on the same income.

Can you learn to breathe better?: “Breathing is an involuntary action that keeps us alive—but how many of us actually pay attention to the process?”

Andrew Wilkinson: “There are three key ways to get rich: 1. Start a Business 2. Be Born Into a Wealthy Family 3. Extreme Patience. Everyone likes the stories about #1 and #2. Nobody likes to hear about #3. Too bad.”

Thinks 190

AEI: “Only 52 US companies have been on the Fortune 500 since 1955, thanks to the ‘creative destruction’ that fuels economic prosperity.”

Shane Parish: “What’s boring doesn’t get attention and what’s exciting doesn’t drive results. Most people are so focused on optics they forget that it’s the repetition of the boring basics that makes a difference.”

“Never take a major decision when your mind is troubled. ” – Mary Beard quoting Marcus Aurelius

Thinks 189

Jeff Bezos: “If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.”

Rita McGrath: “Employees Drive Competitive Advantage…Investing in a full employee experience “pipeline” similar to the way organizations treat their customer pipelines…Build trust with employees at multiple touchpoints because a lack of trust spills directly over to customer experience and brand..Use employees as valuable advocates in communications and presence.”

Read: The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

Thinks 188

The Insider Story of Waze: “Underlying Waze’s journey is a little-known approach to product thinking, super-powerful data network effects, and a guiding north star metric.”

Shane Parish: “Waiting for the right time is seductive. Our mind tricks us into thinking that waiting is actually doing something. It’s easy to land in a state where you’re always waiting … for the right moment, for things to be perfect, for everything to feel just right. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not ready and if you wait just a little longer than things will be easier. Waiting rarely makes things easier. Most of the time, waiting makes things harder. The right time is now.”

Arnold Kling: “When your views are challenged by a discordant observation or a person with a different opinion, should you treat this as an opportunity to reconsider or as a threat to fight off? Julia Galef argues for the former.Galef favors what she terms the scout mindset, which means adjusting your outlook to take new information into account. She contrasts this with what she calls the soldier mindset, which means ignoring or dismissing new information in order to keep your current outlook intact. According to Galef, the intellectual scout uses reasoning to try to map reality. The scout welcomes contrary information as helping to correct this map. The soldier uses reasoning to defend one’s map of reality. The solider fights contrary information as if to stave off defeat.”