When a society accepts the practices, methods, and measures of the 20th century to conceive the 21st century, failure is inevitable. In order to consider new ideas, you have to be willing to let go of ones that no longer serve you.
The challenge, though, is not how to throw away the Old to embrace the New. That would be folly; the efficiency of the 20th century is what allows (most of) us have clean water and plenty of relatively inexpensive food to eat and so on. Plus, let’s not forget that “new” ideologies can be misleading. I’m reminded of Enron’s “new metrics” once touted by big-name thinkers as reflecting the future of management. Only later did we all collectively learn it reflected criminal accounting practices. So “new” is not the end-all. Unlike the medicine in your bathroom drawer, ideas don’t come with pre-printed expiration dates. There are no clear signs for which ones to toss and when. The challenge is in knowing how to evaluate and build new ideas into reality.
And when management thinkers are confined together in our own enclosures - not cages, but conferences - we seem to do little more than pull on each other’s tails. We find flaws in each other’s arguments (and surely there are many, for they are nascent ideas). We largely advocate for our own idea and ours alone, because we want so desperately for it to be seen. And we show why any New Idea doesn’t prove out, often without sharing our fundamental assumptions. And like the monkeys, we find ways of signaling: “That’s not the way we do things around here.”
Ebola is threatening much of the world’s chocolate supply.
Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.
The World Cocoa Foundation is working now to collect large donations from Nestlé, Mars and many of its 113 other members for its Coca Industry Response to Ebola Initiative. The initiative hasn’t been publicly unveiled, but the WCF plans to announce details Wednesday, during its annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on how the money will fuel Red Cross and Caritas Internationalis work to help the infected and staunch Ebola’s spread.
In the largest settlement of its kind, AT&T’s wireless unit will pay $105 million in fines and consumer refunds for billing customers for services they did not authorize.
The settlement, announced Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission, comes in a case in which customers of the unit, called AT&T Mobility, were wrongfully charged for ringtones, text-messaged “fun facts,” horoscopes and other services, a practice known as “mobile cramming.” While no total estimate of the number of people affected or the exact amount involved was given, the FTC said the charges were in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
According to the FTC, AT&T received more than 1 million complaints in 2011 from overbilled customers but continued the practice. At one point, AT&T even made it harder for customers to get refunds, regulators said. The company kept at least 35 percent of the money generated by the charges, which were tucked inconspicuously in bills under deceptive headings, the FTC said.
Meet your new cable provider, once all the checks clear in Washington.
OAKLAND, CA—Speaking over lunch last Friday, a Northern California man named Conal O’Rourke laid out what admittedly sounds like a crazy story: a year-long billing dispute over his home Comcast service that ultimately resulted in Comcast getting O’Rourke fired from his job at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in nearby San Jose earlier this year.
But O’Rourke arrived to last week’s lunch meeting with Ars with an astonishing amount of documentation: he has pages and pages of Comcast invoices. He has a spreadsheet, photos, notes, business cards, and complaint letters. He and his lawyer, Maureen Pettibone Ryan, happily provided digital copies of these materials to Ars, which we have re-published with his permission here.
As a result of his firing, O’Rourke has hired a local attorney and is now threatening to file a lawsuit against Comcast if the company does not agree to his demands, which include “a full retraction and apology, his re-employment with his former employer, and $100,312.50” by October 14.
The next step for computing giant Hewlett-Packard’s restructuring is a split into two companies.
HP announced Monday that it plans to put its PC and printer operations under one roof under the name HP Inc., and its business that provides software and services to corporate customers under the name HP Enterprise.
WASHINGTON —€’ Six years after the government rescued the American International Group from the brink of collapse, the bailout came under a new microscope on Monday, with the opening of an unusual trial that challenges the legality of the government’€™s actions.
Also see related story Wall St. Bankrolls Ex-Executive as He Sues Over A.I.G. Bailout
EBay said on Tuesday that it would spin off its PayPal payments unit into a separate publicly traded company, taking a step the activist hedge fund magnate Carl C. Icahn first demanded nine months ago.
The move will cleave eBay almost in half, separating it from the payments processor it acquired 12 years ago and built into a giant that generates almost half of the company’s revenue.
I like to tell my daughter there are only two kinds of people in life: winners and those who are afraid to fail. Rejection and failure are central to extraordinary success in any endeavor. Salespeople fail a lot — especially early on — and it’s okay, even expected. That doesn’t make it easy.
Salespeople have guts because they face rejection and failure continually, and they get up and do it again. Learn to be okay with failure as a constant in your life and you’ll know that you’re moving forward while others are stuck in park.
If you’re only looking at your career over the short term, don’t consider sales. It sucks. It’s difficult and it can be really hard to hear “no” many, many times in a row.
On the other hand, if you realize that your corporate career might last 20, 30 or 40 years, and want a leg up on all of the other weasels who are jostling up the same ladder as you, go into sales. Learn a skill with the potential to set you apart, give you a different viewpoint and that might just take you far over the long term.
One of the most powerful, and definitely the most eccentric, bond traders on the planet was moments away from being fired before announcing his resignation on Friday.
Bill Gross — a billionaire money manager and infamous author of at least one cat obituary and a rapturous ode to the orgasmic pleasures of sneezing — reportedly knew he was about to be fired from Pimco, the firm he co-founded and helped turn into the world’s biggest manager of bond mutual funds.
Instead of taking severance and quietly walking away, Gross, known to some fanboys as the “bond king,” resigned.
The New York Times reports that firm insiders were fed up with Gross’s increasingly odd behavior.
Something weird is going on with Bill Gross— Scott Patterson (@pattersonscott) June 19, 2014
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has made it clear he thinks there isn’t enough broadband competition in America, but Comcast is trying to convince the FCC that it faces enough competition right now. Already the largest pay-TV and broadband company in the US, Comcast is seeking permission to buy Time Warner Cable.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t compete for customers in any city or town, despite being the nation’s two largest cable companies, which helps explain why US residents have so few viable options for cable and high-speed Internet service. But in response to merger-related questions from the FCC, a Comcast filing points to a broad range of competitors and says it’s easy to switch to a different provider (though a horde of angry customers might disagree).
Comcast said it faces competition from municipal broadband networks, though the telecom industry has pushed state governments to pass laws that restrict municipal broadband growth. Wheeler has said he will try to preempt those state laws, saying they prevent competition.