A very interesting post by Arnold Kling at the EconLog. He very concisely defines the economic differences between entrepreneurs and workers:
A very interesting post by Arnold Kling at the EconLog. He very concisely defines the economic differences between entrepreneurs and workers:
Gupta, 38, moved to this gated enclave after 15 years spent studying and later working as a Goldman Sachs banker in New York and London. 'Ten years ago, if I had considered moving back, people would have questioned my sanity, and assumed I couldn't hack it in the US,' he said. 'Now everyone recognises that India is a very exciting place. There are tens of thousands of people like me making the decision to return.'
A trend that has been gaining momentum for at least the last 5 years is highlighted in a recent Guardian article. I remember that even when I was completing grad school back in 2003, many of my classmates that had come to the US for education and work purposes were planning to go back to either China or India to start their own ventures.
Fred Wilson recently gave some thoughts on entrepreneurs on his blog. I found the following thoughts to be most interesting:
Can entrepreneurship be taught/learned? I don't think so. It's like a personality disorder. You are born with it.
When I was younger, I would have argued that entrepreneurship can be taught. Now that I am managing more people and interacting with both entrepreneurs and employees, I have to completely agree that it is innate.
I often get asked, "How did you start this or acquire that?" I used to try and answer the question, but I learned that it was an unanswerable question. The best answer is, "I just do." Just like I just had the cojones to leave larger companies, take risks, and execute on a constantly changing vision. There is no formula. It's a yearning for risk and understanding that being an entrepreneur, like much else in life, is a effectively managing constantly changing risk. If you have to think about how to become an entrepreneur, you aren't meant to be one.
Are entrepreneurs "control freaks"? Yes.
What he said. Yes and yes.
What do you look for in entrepreneurs? First and foremost, they need to be magnets. For talent. For money. For attention. And for much more.
This comment was interesting in that "magnets" to me implies messianic, larger than life characters that garner a following because of whom they are. I wanted to argue that, although, there are many entrepreneurs that are magnets, there are just as many reserved, underwhelming figures. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized a "following" is a critical entrepreneurial trait. The most successful entrepreneurs have to be contrarians that must have a magnetic personality to convey what isn't natural to most people.
Romeo Miller is a 5-foot-10 point guard with a bad knee. He has never played a full season of high-school basketball. This season, he averaged 8.6 points a game for Beverly Hills High School, which finished last in its league.
But next fall, the 18-year-old will suit up for the University of Southern California, a program in the tough Pac-10 conference. And he will receive a full basketball scholarship valued at $44,400 a year.
Romeo Miller is Lil' Romeo, the son of music mogul Percy Miller better known as Master P. The controversy behind the scholarship offer is that there are a limited number of scholarships a school can offer. Given Romeo's (lack of) talent, some are concerned whether it is taking away from a more deserving (and underprivileged) athlete.
The reality is that there should be no controversy given the scholarship market. It's such a limited supply with such a high demand that a kid that gets overlooked at USC will easily get a scholarship elsewhere. That is, it's not really taking away from a deserving kid, but rather the argument can be made that USC is "wasting" a scholarship on a player that won't provide much "utility".
Ah, but Tim Floyd, USC's coach, ever a savvy businessman, has already thought that through and will extract a different utility from Lil' Romeo:
Yet the school broke no rules, and Tim Floyd, USC's basketball coach, makes no apologies about Mr. Miller's potential to sell tickets. "We may have more 11- to 17-year-old girls in the stands than we've had in the past," he says.
It has been a while since Marc Andreessen has posted. So, this morning when my feeds indicated that my Andreessen folder had a new post, I clicked right away.
Marc was kind enough to recap a meeting he had with Barack Obama prior to the start of the campaign season in early 2007. He recaps the meeting and his perceptions of Senator Obama. Again, anyone who knows me well, knows how I feel about each of these gentlemen- as inspirations, as leaders, and most importantly as men that break molds. So, I was excited as I have been in a while to read Marc's perception of Senator Obama. The salient points:
First, this is a normal guy.
I've spent time with a lot of politicians in the last 15 years. Most of them talk at you. Listening is not their strong suit -- in fact, many of them aren't even very good at faking it.
Senator Obama, in contrast, comes across as a normal human being, with a normal interaction style, and a normal level of interest in the people he's with and the world around him.
Normal and Smart:
Second, this is a smart guy.
I bring this up for two reasons. One, Senator Obama's political opponents tend to try to paint him as some kind of lightweight, which he most definitely is not. Two, I think he's at or near the top of the scale of intelligence of anyone in political life today.
You can see how smart he is in his background -- for example, lecturer in constitutional law at University of Chicago; before that, president of the Harvard Law Review.
But it's also apparent when you interact with him that you're dealing with one of the intellectually smartest national politicians in recent times, at least since Bill Clinton. He's crisp, lucid, analytical, and clearly assimilates and synthesizes a very large amount of information -- smart.
Anyone who knows me well, knows my great affection for Netscape, Mark Andreessen, Jim Clark, and Netscape Time. I can go on and on about how Andreeson and the gang, the book, the browser, and their journey changed my perception of entrepreneurship and technology. So, of course, I was severely pained to read that AOL is retiring Netscape Navigator:
Netscape was created by Marc Andreessen who as a student had co-authored Mosaic, the first popular web browser.
His company Netscape Communications Corporation released the first version in 1994.
According to Shawn Hardin, President and CEO of Flock, Netscape played an important role in making the internet "a relevant mass market phenomenon".
"Netscape had a critical role in taking all of these zeros and ones - this very academic and technical environment - and giving it a graphical user interface where an average person could come online and consume information," he told BBC News.
"During its halcyon days it really felt like the internet and Netscape were really the same thing," he said.
Vintage Rupert Murdoch in this Portfolio profile. He didn't seem to have a second thought about naming an aspiring opera singer to his board of directors at News Corp after the Dow Jones acquisition:
The appointment [of Natalie Bancroft to the News Corp. board] looked like a classic last-minute end run by Murdoch around the Bancrofts. The family had owned Dow Jones since 1928, when Hugh Bancroft, Natalie's great-grandfather, inherited the Journal from his father-in-law, Clarence Walker Barron. (The former Boston-based correspondent had bought the company from its founders in 1902.) Although Murdoch's bid represented a 65 percent premium over Dow Jones stock, the family spent months bickering and soul-searching before it agreed to sell. One factor that gave the Bancrofts comfort was Murdoch's offer to create a News Corp. board position for a family representative. The Bancrofts thought it would be a way to help them keep a hand in the business, and they believed that they would have a say in the board-selection process. Instead, Murdoch didn't even interview their nominees; he simply handed the job to Natalie. Not only did she lack support from her relatives, she had little history of involvement with Dow Jones and no business or professional journalism experience.
This wouldn't be the first time that Murdoch has been ruthless in his business decisions. It just strikes me as ironic that the Bancroft family (assuming that they really wanted to keep a hand in the business) wouldn't include a clause about whom from the family could be named. It's also quite amusing that Murdoch seems to have gone out of his way to name the least qualified Bancroft to the position:
"I know that me as a choice was kind of scandalous—this 27-year-old opera singer that no one knows anything about," Bancroft says. While bloggers and newspaper journalists were debating her qualifications, Bancroft, who lives in London, declined all interview requests. Now she wants to set the record straight. "There's been people saying, 'She's going to be a potted plant and a pushover.' The last thing I am is a pushover," she says. "I'm not just some idiotic girl in piggytails yodeling."
The irony of the follow-up quote can't be overlooked:
She also says she is multilingual and routinely reads foreign-language newspapers. Instead of being intimidated by the accomplished men who will be her colleagues, she says the prospect thrills her: "I have a much easier time understanding men. I was a tomboy. I love camping. I love sailing. I love doing boy stuff."
Is she planning to get an M.B.A. to help prepare for the position? "In journalism?" she asks.
An entrepreneur by the name of Jeremy Abelson is putting together an event that seeks to unite rich, older women and younger, attractive males:
That's the basis of a speed-dating event organized by a New York entrepreneur bringing together 20 "sugar mamas" and 20 "boy toys" vetted by an elitematchmaker.
"Symbiosis has allowed ugly rich men to attract young, gorgeous, money-hungry women for centuries; it's now the women's turn," proclaims pocketchangenyc.com, the Web site that Jeremy Abelson is using to promote the event.
I would suspect that the odds of landing a sugar daddy might be greater than landing a sugar momma:
More than 5,000 men applied for a place in this year's event. Twenty finalists were selected.
Via the always awesome Marginal Revolution:
Randy Newsom, relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, is selling 4% of his future major league salary. There are 2,500 shares in the IPO so each share gets you a claim to 0.0016% of his future salary including bonuses. Shares sell for $20 each.
Makes perfect sense. I'd imagine that if MLB actually allows this, the market would be huge. Look at the sheer size of fantasy sports and think of this as fantasy sports on steroids (or rather HGH).
I have made a couple of previous posts about wine taste perception and price. A loyal reader was kind enough to forward an interesting profile about wine entrepreneur, Tim Hanni, who is a recovering alcoholic that never even tastes the wine he
rates helps people discover:
Tim Hanni is one of the wine industry's top-tier experts. He is also a recovering alcoholic who hasn't had a drink in 14 years, rarely even "sipping and spitting" wine to taste it. He says that's part of the secret of his success.
A wine adviser to hotels and restaurants from Ruth's Chris to P.F. Chang's, Mr. Hanni, 55, is on a mission to combat snobbery in the wine industry -- and get more Americans to drink wine. Unlike many wine experts, he doesn't rely on the sophistication and sensitivity of his own palate, although he was one of the first two Americans to hold the highest credential in the field, Master of Wine.
I would highly suggest reading the entire article. There are some interesting stats about alcoholism within the wine industry. Also, it's a warm profile on how one entrepreneur triumphed over his vices.
Update: Tim was kind enough to leave a comment indicating that he does not "rate" wine. His job is to actually help people discover the wines they will like. He's working on a fun project called Budometer that is designed to help people discover the wines they love.
Interesting New York Times profile on Sheldon Adelson, the third richest man in America. What struck me was just how fast he became so wealthy:
The Las Vegas Sands went public in December 2004, and over the next two years his net worth soared by $17.5 billion. That works out to almost $1 million an hour, weekends, holidays and nights included. “He got richer faster than anyone else in history,” said Peter W. Bernstein, co-author of “All the Money in the World,” a book about the people on the Forbes 400 list.
Also, it's interesting to note, like many entrepreneurs, Adelson tried his hand at multiple businesses before finding one that paved the way to his current wealth:
Mr. Adelson started a business selling toiletry kits to motels, tried his hand at the mortgage broker business, and in the 1960s he joined Mr. Chafetz and another friend from the old neighborhood, Ted Cutler, in a charter tours start-up.
But it was not until he founded Comdex, the premier computer trade show through much of the 1980s and 1990s, that he hit on an idea that propelled him into the upper reaches of the wealthy.
Their growing trade show business led him into the casino business:
“The Sands had enough land to build a convention center,” Mr. Chafetz said. “That’s why we got into the casino business.” When it was completed, at the start of the 1990s, the Sands Expo and Convention Center stood as the largest privately owned exhibition center in the country.
In 1995, Mr. Adelson sold Comdex to Softbank of Japan for $862 million – giving him a personal payoff of just over $500 million. He and his partners were all in their 60s, but where the three other ‘‘boys” chose to semi-retire, Mr. Adelson made even bigger bets.
He demolished the Sands in a spectacular implosion (replete with an anticipatory fireworks show), borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars and in its place built the Venetian, which cost $1.5 billion and opened in 1999.
Via Bloomberg, it seems that some innovative entrepreneurs have melded the world's oldest profession with the recent reality TV craze:
If you want to watch Nick having sex with a prostitute, he's happy to let you.
The 36-year-old bank-security technician drove eight hours from his home in Metz, France, to Big Sister, a Prague brothel where customers peruse a touch-screen menu of blondes, brunettes and redheads available for free. The catch is clients have to let their exploits be filmed and posted on the Internet.
Good for Big Sister, I suppose. It's always enlightening to see an innovative business model, no matter the industry. FYI - in case you're into that sort of thing, the company web site is www.bigsister.net.