Jack Welch: “Anyone Can Squeeze a Company”

The debate between long-term and short-term concerns never stops in a company, specially in growth industries. Google is already having “The Debate”, in its “we are a technology company rant”.

It takes place between the operations and the strategy teams. Between the Chief Operations officer and the Visionary founders. For a successful company, they are the two faces of the same coin. Long term can’t survive without short term. The daily grind can’t succeed without the long term investment. It is a bad sign when the debate stops.

Corporate managers, with the rational black-hat, excel sheet approach rarely push the creative, disruptive agenda. So it is refreshing to get Jack Welch weighing in on the creative class side: he states that “anyone can squeeze a company”.

“Look, anyone can manage for the short term just keep squeezing the lemon. And anyone can manage for the long just keep dreaming. You were made leader because someone believed you could squeeze and dream at the same time. They saw in you a person with enough insight, experience, and rigor to balance the conflicting demands of short- and long-term results. Performing balancing acts every day is leadership

from Jack Welch on leadership, in his new book “Winning”.

Corporate class warriors are no longer solely central to corporations. A healthy company needs creative and disruptive skills, not just an admin and management team. The mix is not easy though; corporate culture has difficulty with uncertainty, risk, irrational decisions, volatility, disruption, and continuous change. Takes strong corporate management to be continuously challenged in this way.

Watch a video Jack speaking at an MIT lecture

Do the best entrepreneurs wear jeans?

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Funny post from David Beisel’s Genuine VC

In the limited subset of entrepreneurs pitching an early-stage venture firm in the Boston area, it seems that there is an inverse relationship between how formally an entrepreneur is dressed during the pitch and how potentially exciting their endeavor. Of course, the correlation isn’t perfect, and correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it is notable, especially given the “stuffy” reputation the area has vs. the rest of the start-up regions. Perhaps it is a symptom of the expression of confidence wearing something comfortable.

Dress is a definite sign of which side of the Creative Chasm the entrepreneur comes from. A wide cultural difference exists between the corporate mainstream manager and the contrarian creative artist. When the entrepreneur wears jeans at a corporate stronghold like a VC office, either he feels confident of his worth, i.e. “I may come from the creative mob, but look what I did”, or he is a creative class native with reason to be invited to a corporate office. Either way the cultural mismatch is a good sign of potential. Could be the birth of something.
I love the creative side of the divide. The early startup up period, which is all passion, exhilaration, and lateral thinking. It is the most fertile stage of a company. Unfortunately, the weight of accumulated customers, staff count, and the responsiblity of the paying monthly wages opens the way to structure process and rationality. Then you put your suit and tie on so as not to scare the shareholders, the corporate clients, and the corporate managers you have recruited.
There is definately something to jeans, the creative classes and crossing the chasm.

Government’s Are Poor at Funding Growth Companies

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Paul Graham is right about governments being poor at funding innovation growth. In his How American are Startups? speech, a candid analysis of how to create an innovation center like Silicon Valley, Paul damns government’s abilities to fund companies.

Government is not a good replacement for rich people / angel investors as they’re slow, invest inappropriately and don’t have the contacts or experience to support the right activity

I have never seen a Government backed program funding growth well. Myself and my partners spent two years in a institionally funded technology park that remained resolutely empty of companies during the 2000 boom. My company, which was funded through private and public equity investors, was the only company to contribute to the staff count in the park for almost two years.
I think VCs, business angels and self interested investors have no equal when creating long term regional growth.
[Paul’s speech is transcribed by Suw Charman and Tom Coates.]

A Drop of Sanity on the DRM Stranglehold

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The opinion on the ruling is that it will reduce placeholder patents substantially. Patent plaintives will have a weaker position from which to negotiate an early settlement. The court ruled that the infringing party must only pay the amount of actual damage. This racket has cost tech companies and consumers billions in legal settlement fees. The legal contingency funds held by innovation based companies will not need to be so high in the future.
Boing Boing: Supreme Court makes it harder to be patent predator

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that injunctions shouldn’t be rubberstamped for patent cases. They specifically singled out business-method patents that are litigated by those who have no stake in producing the product or offering the service; i.e., patent trolls.
What this means is that patent trolls will be less likely to hold their victims for ransom through injunction unless the patentholder can demonstrate that they meet a four-part test, already in use for other injunctions involving equity, which is hard for a non-producer to meet. Even if a patentholder wins at trial, the defendent could file an appeal and still have injunctions in abeyence.
In essence, a plaintiff has to show irreparable harm, that mere money or other remedies when at trial aren’t enough, that there is an imbalance in hardships against the plaintiff, and that a permanent injunction wouldn’t harm the public interest. (IANAL.)