Extractive summaries of and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision making | Week 240|April 15-21, 2022
Can Silicon Valley still dominate global innovation?
The Economist | April 16, 2022
For decades Silicon Valley’s position as the birthplace of high-growth technology companies was unassailable. As recently as 1999 the valley attracted a third of global venture capitalists’ investment. In 2011, 20 of the world’s 27 unicorns had their headquarters in America. Only four other countries boasted even one. But such clustering is no longer confined to a strip of land in California. Unicorns can be found in 45 countries. Over 1,000 trot the globe; nearly half are outside America. The share of all VC flowing into American startups has declined from 84% two decades ago to less than half. Of the places that have burst onto the startup scene, some are mature, such as Beijing, London or Tel Aviv, and often global in their ambition. Others, including Bengaluru, Singapore or São Paulo, are in earlier stages of hub-dom.
The boom in tech clusters has been fuelled by several structural developments. The worldwide spread of high-speed internet and smartphones has allowed startups to serve customers just about everywhere from just about anywhere. Cloud computing and freely available developer tools have made starting a firm much easier. At the same time, as growth rates in mature markets have slowed and competition for investments has risen, venture capitalists are looking elsewhere for their next big bet. The pandemic appetite for all things digital has fuelled these trends.
The Economist has found that nearly 40% of these unicorns herded in the country’s top startup city. That suggests that clustering remains no less powerful a force. Once a city gains a foothold, additional activity is pulled in because of increasing returns to scale. A deep talent pool is the most obvious ingredient of a successful cluster that evolves naturally in such cities. The second critical factor is openness to people and ideas. Migrants are a disproportionately enterprising bunch. It is hard to determine to what extent connectedness spurs startup activity, as opposed to the other way around. But the two go hand in hand, and almost certainly feed off each other. A third ingredient is the presence of local risk capital. For an enterprise to thrive, it needs backers who understand the ecosystem and are willing to feed it. These can be founders and employees of earlier startups, who become angel investors for the next generation. A local capital base also encourages another important type of risk-taking. Employees must be able to leave existing firms and join or start competitors. In some cases, the state can provide early backing – in the form of capital or contracts.
3 key takeaways from the article
- For decades Silicon Valley’s position as the birthplace of high-growth technology companies was unassailable. But such clustering is no longer confined to a strip of land in California. Unicorns can be found in 45 countries. Over 1,000 trot the globe; nearly half are outside America.
- Of the places that have burst onto the startup scene, some are mature, such as Beijing, London or Tel Aviv, and often global in their ambition. Others, including Bengaluru, Singapore or São Paulo, are in earlier stages of hub-dom.
- All enjoy a broad pool of technical talent, deep links to other parts of the world, and local risk capital. Together, they are redrawing the map of global innovation—creating one that is more dispersed, diverse, and competitive.
Topics: Global Economy, Startups, Technology Clusters
How Chief Technology Officers Are Investing Big in the Future
By Alex Webb | Bloomberg Businessweek | April 8, 2022
One way to anticipate the next tech revolution is to ask those spending the money: technology leaders. Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed 3,038 executives across industries. Their responses show where chief technology officers at leading companies are focusing spending—and why they’re making those choices.
- Staying ahead on tech is a top priority: 61% of respondents say they expect to increase their tech spending. Of those, 72% will likely increase their budgets by 9% or more this year.
- Respondents are bullish on tech’s current crop of buzzwords, but they are even more focused on security and marketing.
- On average, companies expect to dedicate a larger amount of their tech budget to security in the coming year which emerged as the most in-demand area of expertise.
- Spending on cloud computing should keep ticking upward, too. Companies said they’ll increase investment in software from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft at a faster pace than in Google’s this year.
- More than 8 in 10 companies expect to increase tech spending in the next 12 months or keep it steady. Health-care, life sciences, and financial companies are planning the biggest increases; consumer packaged-goods (CPG) companies predict the smallest.
2 key takeaways from the article
- One way to anticipate the next tech revolution is to ask those spending the money: technology leaders. Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed 3,038 executives across industries.
- The major findings are: respondents expect to increase their tech spending, more focused on spending on tech related to security and marketing, spending on cloud computing should keep ticking upward, increase tech spending in the next 12 months or keep it steady, clients look more towards Amazon Web Services and Microsoft than Google for their software needs, and health-care, life sciences, and financial companies are planning the biggest increases; consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) companies predict the smallest.
Topics: Technology, Investment, Business Strategy
In praise of the dollar bill
By Lana Swartz | MIT Technology Review | April 15, 2022
“We are cashless,” proclaims a sign on the gleaming glass door of the cafe the author visits frequently. The sign predates the glossy list of covid-19 measures taped beside it, but together they present a united declaration of touchless efficiency—the promise of experiencing public space, social interaction, and consumer exchange with utmost convenience and cleanliness. Yet for all the friction that the cashless coffee shop aims to eliminate, it reproduces far weightier social barriers and inequalities.
For individuals and communities, transactional technologies—digital wallets, mobile payments, and the like—can increase their autonomy in decision-making, their flexibility and resilience in times of crisis, and their ability to fight victimization, exploitation, and indignity. Trust in these technologies builds the capacity for long-term planning and building—of wealth, of infrastructure, of the foundations of prosperity for future generations—as well as for experimentation and risk. Of course, the corollary is also true: malign versions of these tools can rob communities and individuals of their agency.
Cash is the best transactional tool for increasing community and individual autonomy that we have invented so far. There are some lessons from history that are worth paying attention to. Cash—defined as a universal, public, printed monetary medium—is a relatively new technological and political achievement. Historically, money has been, more often than not, private and plural. This monetary cacophony meant that everyday spending required considerable street smarts. The chaotic situation also created highly stratified transactional communities. While the wealthy used notes issued by stable banks and redeemable for letters of credit and bullion, the poor were more likely to use low-value bronze or copper “petty coin” or deprecated bank notes.
The future of transactional media might look something like its past. In the future cash will be the ‘c word,’ not something nice people use. Indeed, the future is likely to be cash-light rather than fully cashless. Those relegated to cash-only status will transact on unequal terms. The stakes are high. We are empowered or disempowered by the transactional tools to which we have access. As we imagine money for the internet era, the big question is how to design payment media in the public interest. We need something that does all the things cash does well—as well as the things cash doesn’t.
3 key takeaways from the article
- We are cashless. The claim presents a united declaration of touchless efficiency—the promise of experiencing public space, social interaction, and consumer exchange with utmost convenience and cleanliness. Yet for all the friction that the cashless retail space aims to eliminate, it reproduces far weightier social barriers and inequalities.
- The future of transactional media might look something like its past – private and plural before the invention of cash. The chaotic situation could create highly stratified transactional communities.
- The stakes are high. As we imagine money for the internet era, the big question is how to design payment media in the public interest. We need something that does all the things cash does well—as well as the things cash doesn’t.
Topics: Technology, Digital Currency, Inequality
How distributors can self-disrupt to win in the new digital world
By Alex Abdelnour et al., | McKinsey & Company | March 31, 2022
Digital natives and online e-commerce platforms have raised standards in retail service and convenience, gaining ground across industries. The disruption will continue. Many of the biggest digital online players are eyeing expansions into B2B realms. Chief among them is Amazon Business.
To continue growing, Amazon Business and many other large digital players, such as eBay, Alibaba, and Mercato, are building best-in-class distribution networks and go-to-market sales forces and offering products they used to avoid due to technical or supply chain challenges. Many are also venturing beyond their core geographies, such as Europe, where most incumbent distributors are smaller and have been slow to innovate and invest in digital capabilities.
According to McKinsey’s 2021 survey of close to 3,500 B2B decision-makers in a dozen countries, around 25 percent fewer distributors in Europe expect to increase investments in e-commerce technologies compared with those in the United States —even though European B2B customers say they are excited about the faster, cheaper, and more seamless buying experiences that digital players can offer. In fact, 95 percent of B2B buyers said they were willing to make purchases without interacting with salespeople.
All is not lost, however. Distributors who have not yet been disrupted can learn from early adopters on the front line. Indeed, they should endeavor to learn new strategies quickly to keep pace with digital players that significantly invest in digital and customer experience, supply chain, and talent. The authors recommend that distributors around the world consider actions across four categories:
- Build a unique ecosystem to address customer pain points. This will help distributors provide technical expertise and value-added services that only they can offer, strengthening customer loyalty.
- Build a distinctive supply chain to keep pace with digital leaders. Traditional distributors aiming to offer a true omnichannel experience might need to forge innovative new partnerships and alliances.
- Focus on tomorrow’s essentials and sales interactions. Nearly every distributor will need up-to-date digital tools, including advanced analytics and the cloud, to personalize the customer experience and align with new “hybrid” ways of doing business.
- Bring privileged insights to decision-making by tapping treasure troves of data.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Digital natives and online e-commerce platforms have raised standards in retail service and convenience, gaining ground across industries. The disruption will continue. Many of the biggest digital online players are eyeing expansions into B2B realms.
- To continue growing, many large digital players, such as Amazon Business, eBay, Alibaba, and Mercato, are building best-in-class distribution networks and go-to-market sales forces and offering products they used to avoid due to technical or supply chain challenges.
- Distributors who have not yet been disrupted can learn from early adopters on the front line. Consider four actions: build a unique ecosystem to address customer pain points, build a distinctive supply chain to keep pace with digital leaders, focus on tomorrow’s essentials and sales interactions, and bring privileged insights to decision-making by tapping treasure troves of data.
Topics: Disruption, Distribution Channel, Technology, Business-to-business
Starting a New Job as a Mid-Career Professional
By Marlo Lyons | Harvard Business Review | April 15, 2022
Those first weeks in a new job are when you make your first impression, and it’s hard to change people’s perceptions once they’re developed. Here are five tips on how to transition into a new job, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve made a move.
- Build relationships. When building relationships, you’re building trust, and you can move faster when people trust in your decision-making. How do you build relationships quickly? First, be as curious about others and their work as they are of you as the “newbie.” Second, when having these conversations, respect history. Show respect for what’s currently in place by acknowledging the years of hard work it took to get there.
- Dig deep into the business. Spend time learning about the company and the culture. Web site and annual reports can help. Find out: How does the company make revenue? What products does it sell? How do the products work? What are the quarterly and yearly goals? What metrics are used to measure the company’s success and substantiate its growth? Where is the company headed in the next three to five years?
- Understand how others perceive your job. While building relationships and learning about the company, also ask questions about how others perceive your job to understand their expectations of you, your role, and your overall function.
- Learn dependencies. Understand dependencies and cross-functional workflows to determine who needs something from you and what you depend on to be able to provide it. Who are you providing work output to, and how do your cross-functional stakeholders use it? Ask your manager who are the top 10 cross-functional people your team interacts with. Then, spend time understanding how they view the workflows between the functions and what they need from your role to be successful. Understand the timing of workflows so you can meet deadlines and provide the most value with your work.
- Give yourself time. It’s hard to onboard in any new company. Give yourself grace to move through the Kübler-Ross change curve — at first you’ll be excited, then shocked at what may be different or harder in the new job, and then in denial that it’s that different, which can quickly turn into frustration. You may even hit the lowest mood, a depression-like state, before starting to experiment and engage in a way that allows you feel good about your new job. Eventually, you’ll integrate into the new company and feel comfortable.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Those first weeks in a new job are when you make your first impression, and it’s hard to change people’s perceptions once they’re developed.
- Five tips on how to transition into a new job, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve made a move are: build relationships by understanding others’ roles and the history of the organization, dig deep into the business by looking at annual reports e.g., understand how others perceive your job, understand dependencies and cross-functional workflows, and give yourself time.
- The best way to work through all of these tips is to listen more than you speak and phrase every thought in the form of a question.
Topics: Career Planning, Personal Development
To Have Joy in the Workplace, There Must Be Justice for All
By Alex Liu et al., | MIT Sloan Management Review | April 07, 2022
We all want to create spaces full of joy, fulfillment, and happiness. But how do we do that in a world that feels divided, uncertain, and at times far from joyful? Whether you’re leading an organization, a team, or your neighbors, joy and justice are two intertwined priorities we should all advance. When leaders don’t speak up and take a stand on urgent issues, they sow distrust and unease — and they certainly don’t lay the groundwork for joy.
According to the authors’ research the gap between the levels of joy people expected to feel and the joy they actually experienced has increased over the years. Because most people spend a majority of their waking hours working, this joy gap has a pernicious effect on our overall joy, happiness, outlook, and well-being. What can leaders do to improve outcomes while creating a baseline of justice, and to build the foundations for joy?
Before leaders can start talking about positive change, they must address the toxic, joy-killing norms we should all leave behind. And then companies are increasingly being called on to take a societal role in their employees’ lives. Work is no longer a transaction of time and effort exchanged for money. Leaders have the opportunity to provide human care and make sure people feel safe, seen, supported, and inspired.
To feel safe (physically & emotionally), start with listening, people need to believe that they can show up as themselves and receive unmerited grace — a basic respect for their raw humanity. And when you extend that grace and create a safe, supportive space for people, their outlook, potential, and joy start to truly blossom in a deeper and longer-lasting way.
Beyond creating a safe physical and emotional atmosphere within your organization, there’s a real need for leaders to acknowledge and engage in the broader conversations about justice that are multiplying around us. To move the needle on joy, we need to have hard conversations about justice. That involves acknowledging our own and our organizational blind spots. By recognizing injustices and standing up as allies for one another, we can create reckoning, reconciliation, hope, and positive change.
Three focus areas for leaders who want to infuse more joy in their organizations are: purpose, people, and praise. Actions required to pursue these are: link every person’s work to the organization’s purpose, foster a sense of social connection and fun on teams, and offer frequent, focused praise to recognize people for their efforts.
3 key takeaways from the article
- We all want to create spaces full of joy, fulfillment, and happiness. But how do we do that in a world that feels divided, uncertain, and at times far from joyful?
- Before leaders can start talking about positive change, they must address the toxic, joy-killing norms we should all leave behind.
- Leaders have the opportunity to provide human care and make sure people feel safe, seen, supported, and inspired. When we listen to one another, take care of one another, find joy even in times of hardship, and look for the moments of meaning, together we can close the joy gap and build a more just and joyful world.
Topics: Justice, Organizational Behavior, Joy
The Five Languages Of Appreciation At Work
By Karl Moore | Forbes Magazine | April 18, 2022
One of the most down-to-earth and helpful approaches to feedback to consider adding to your repertoire is one that the author has taught to hundreds of managers in new manager courses: The Five Languages of Appreciation. Originally developed for use with families, Gary Chapman and Paul White applied the five languages of love in their book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, to work. They argue that there are five key ways to express appreciation for your people, or others in the workplace.
- Words of Affirmation entails saying words that let the person know they have done something valuable. However, just throwing out the occasional “Good work!” won’t suffice. If you want to be effective with words of affirmation, be specific. Just saying “Great job!” every time someone performs well will lose its effect over time, being a vague statement so easily used. Picking out a specific part of someone’s performance makes praise meaningful.
- Quality Time entails listening to the person, rather than talking, and letting them express their ideas at length. Simply having coffee with the person and just giving them your undivided attention, something all too rare in this world, is a great way to reach those that desire Quality Time.
- Acts of Service appeal to those who think, “Talk is cheap – why don’t you actually do something?” Physically taking on a task, and perhaps alleviating that work from someone else, shows you recognize the amount of work they do and that you value them — By actually doing something!
- Giving Tangible Gifts is not about the cost of the gift, but is more of a display that you thought of the person and bought something you knew they would appreciate. Those that respond to Tangible Gifts are by no means necessarily materialistic — It could be as simple as bringing your office mate the new muffin.
- Appropriate Physical Touch. In a family context, this makes perfect sense. At work, one must be careful. A high five, a fist bump, a two-handed handshake is generally acceptable in the Western world.
3 key takeaways from the article
- One of the most down-to-earth and helpful approaches to feedback to consider adding to your repertoire is one that the author has taught to hundreds of managers in new manager courses: The Five Languages of Appreciation. Originally developed for use with families
- These five languages of appreciation are: saying words that let the person know they have done something valuable, listening to the person, alleviating the work from someone, giving tangible gifts, and use appropriate physical touch
- As a good manager (and a good parent and spouse), you must learn to speak all five languages of appreciation. It’s a simple but a powerful idea.
Topics: Persuasion, Leadership, Communication
Moderna’s CEO Says There Is Power in Resilience
By Melissa Angell | Inc Magazine | April 12, 2022
Moderna became a household name thanks to its work with messenger RNA that led to one of the most effective vaccines against Covid-19. But success didn’t come easily for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company.
Speaking at a recent Harvard Business Review leadership conference, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel revealed that one of the biggest challenges for Moderna was manufacturing, given that prior to the pandemic, the company had never distributed a product. Modena’s faced its fair share of roadblocks, ranging from safety problems in past years to criticism over the company’s focus on vaccines. Despite these struggles, Moderna is now one of the heroes of the pandemic. During the HBR conference, Bancel explained how the company persevered despite being the underdog in the race to create a Covid-19 vaccine.
His advice? First, know who you are. He also recommends bringing on a strong leadership team that feels confident enough to challenge the boss to make sure the company is on the right track. That hedges against a company embracing any type of echo chamber. “We have blind spots and we’re all biased, so you want to make sure you have a true team,” he explains, adding that a company doesn’t prosper when there’s a CEO charging ahead by themselves.
Most importantly, Bancel emphasized that if a company understands its purpose and believes in the work that it does, then all that’s left is “to put your head down and do the work,” he says. “We knew what we were doing and we knew [Moderna] was going to be either a gigantic company or bankruptcy,” he says. “We never stopped because the mission was to help as many people as we could with science.”
3 key takeaways from the article
- Moderna became a household name thanks to its work with messenger RNA that led to one of the most effective vaccines against Covid-19. But success didn’t come easily for the biotech company.
- Recently Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel revealed that one of the biggest challenges for Moderna was manufacturing, given that prior to the pandemic, the company had never distributed a product.
- His three pieces of advice are: know who you are, bring a strong leadership team that feels confident enough to challenge the boss to make sure the company is on the right track, and if a company understands its purpose and believes in the work that it does, then all that’s left is “to put your head down and do the work”.
Topics: Leadership, Resilience, Purpose
3 Strategies That Could Helped to Develop 13 Streams of Income
By Maurice Pennington | Entrepreneur | March 3, 2022
The question we’ve actively asked is: How do you make more without adding more work, more hours and more effort into what’s already taking your full attention? Nevertheless, it is much easier to start a business than to remain in business. So then, how do we secure our piece of this economic opportunity without burning ourselves out? One phrase: multiple streams of income.
The three strategies the author has developed and relied upon to allow his family to create a whopping 13 streams of income are:
Identify passive income offers without having to start from scratch. The key to this approach is being able to see opportunity within the gaps of your current service offerings. For example, if you have an entry-level offer and a high-level offer, is there something you can build in between? Perhaps there’s a hybrid option that can be developed to meet the needs of those in between your two offers.
Market your offers without feeling sleazy or sales-y. It takes a ton of time and energy to consistently cold message, call and source sales for a newly developed offer. It is essential to look within your current audience, identify their pain points, develop a solution that directly addresses the pain points and deliver it right back to them. Not only will you have the components to effectively communicate it, but you’ll also have a built-in customer base.
Develop business offerings without committing copious amounts of time. We’re all extremely busy already, so we don’t want to add any more to our plate. The easiest way to identify where you can find opportunities to add revenue to your business is to conduct a brain dump, categorize your responses, compile a SWOT Analysis and create actionable steps in your business. You’ll be shocked at just how much reveals itself when you take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses while bringing focus and attention to maximizing opportunities and minimizing threats. This isn’t the same as just “adding more to your plate” — it’s actually finding a way to streamline current operations, automating pieces that don’t need physical effort, and introducing options to meet your clients where they’re at.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Research found that regardless of background or history, one of the most common traits among self-made millionaires was their ability to create multiple streams of income.
- Multiple streams of income help us diversify revenue, withstand economic downturns and expand visibility and marketability.
- The key to doing it effectively is listening to feedback and paying attention to the needs of your prospective and existing clients. Your ability to adapt and create alternative approaches to deliver your services will be the impetus behind increasing your income without increasing your workload.
Topics: Entrepreneurship, Business Model