Category Archives: Thoughts

Women in the Workforce: Who’s Dropping Out and Why

Max Schireson, CEO of Mongo DB caused quite a stir this summer. But not for the reasons one might expect of a Silicon Valley executive. He didn’t leave for another high-profile position to advance his career; nor did he leave for a struggling non-profit needing his skills; nor did he leave for reasons of health, […]
Linked 2 Leadership

No one to say no

In a world that lacks so many traditional gatekeepers, there are fewer people than ever to say no to your project, your idea, your song. If you want to put it out there, go ahead.

On the other hand, that also means that there are fewer people who can say yes. That’s now your job too.

If you work in an organization, the underlying rule is simple: People are not afraid of failure, they’re afraid of blame.

Avoid looking in the mirror and saying no. More challenging: practice looking in the mirror and saying yes.

Strategy Lessons From Jean Tirole

Why did Jean Tirole win this year’s economics Nobel?

Here’s one key reason: “Jean has a bit of magical quality of being able to take very complex situations where there are a lot of different moving parts and a lot of institutional details and structuring the essence of it in a relatively simple model,” says Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner, who has co-authored several recent papers with Tirole. “Obviously models have to simplify reality, but one of the real skills is essentially being able — it’s an art, not a science — to say, ‘What are the key levers here? What are the aspects that distill the situation down to its very essence?’”

In other words, Tirole does what modern academic economists do, only better than almost anyone else. He is the eighth most-influential economist on the planet among his peers, according to the weighted RePEc citations ranking, and three of those above him on the list already have Nobels. Unlike Paul Krugman, another MIT PhD of Tirole’s generation with similar renown as a model builder who has gone on to a second career as a highly visible and controversial public intellectual, Tirole has mainly just kept on building those models — and at a seemingly youthful 61 will presumably just keep building them unless the prize curse gets to him.

The models Tirole builds are mathematical in nature, and start with individuals or firms that are assumed to be rational creatures out to maximize their utility, their profits, or something else along those lines. He then usually brings in the tools of game theory, in which his protagonists have to contend with other rational actors and the moves they might make.

You Are Doing More Good Than You Think – Though You May Never Know…

You are doing better than you know leader.

I think every leader struggles on occasion with the question; what good am I really doing?

I believe you are doing better than you realize.

Pregnant Pause: We Should Applaud Facebook and Apple For Paying Women To Freeze Their Eggs

Instead of punishing women, which corporate America has done for decades and to a large extent continues to, why not empower us with options? Egg-freezing is not 100% successful, but it is an additional choice.
Forbes – Leadership

6 Simple Leadership Don’ts and Dos

Sometimes we tend to “complexify” things. Things like leadership.

That’s why I love Bill Treasurer’s guest post over at Leadership and Management:

6 Simple Leadership Don’ts and Dos.


Great Leadership

Avoiding magical thinking

There’s a relationship that’s easy to imagine but actually incorrect: We often come to the conclusion that in order to make something magical, we’ll need magical events to occur to get there.

Building a startup is hard. Publishing a great book successfully is quite difficult. Launching a non-profit that matters is a Herculean task. I hope you will do all three, and more, often.

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one.