Think Big but Start Small

Google executive Susan Wojcicki, currently CEO of YouTube, presents The Eight Pillars of Innovation,

Think big but start small. No matter how ambitious the plan, you have to roll up your sleeves and start somewhere. Google Books, which has brought the content of millions of books online, was an idea that our founder, Larry Page, had for a long time. People thought it was too crazy even to try, but he went ahead and bought a scanner and hooked it up in his office. He began scanning pages, timed how long it took with a metronome, ran the numbers and realized it would be possible to bring the world’s books online. Today, our Book Search index contains over 10 million books.

The Best Venture Capital Decisions Usually Challenge the Status Quo

INSEAD Professor Henning Piezunka interviews Kleiner Perkins partner Randy Komisar:

Our best investments usually come in very close calls or significant conflicts amongst the partners. If all the partners agree “yes” or “no,” it’s usually not a good decision.

The best ventures usually challenge the status quo and make us think in ways that create natural skepticism. So we’ve got a lot of smart people around the table. If we’re not creating natural skepticism, usually, the idea isn’t disruptive enough.

A disruptive idea is going to create some natural skepticism amongst a number of people.

The 20 Best Places To Visit In 2020

Working with the Ovation Travel Group, Forbes’s Christopher Elliott compiles this list of the top leisure destinations to visit in 2020:

  1. Amangiri (Lake Powell,) Utah and Antelope Canyon, Arizona
  2. Palermo and Sicily, Italy
  3. Cape Town, South Africa
  4. Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina
  5. Kigali, Rwanda
  6. Marrakech, Morocco
  7. Porto and Douro Valley, Portugal
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel
  9. Atacama Desert, Chile
  10. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  11. Tokyo, Japan
  12. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  13. Kotor, Montenegro
  14. Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos, Mexico
  15. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  16. Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru
  17. Melbourne, Australia
  18. Mendoza, Argentina
  19. Vira Vira, Chile
  20. San Miguel del Allende, Mexico

Eight Skills to Survive the Job Market in the Post-COVID World

COVID-19 is throwing up new job opportunities, but new graduates will have to be patient, notes Ven Sreenivasan of the Straits Times:

Human resources consultant Bernard Marr highlights eight skills to survive the job market in the post-Covid world. These are tech savviness; adaptability and flexibility; creativity and innovation; data literacy; critical thinking; digital and coding skills; leadership; and lifelong learning.

Being young and with no major financial commitments, many fresh graduates should be versatile enough to meet the challenges of the new normal in the workplace. The key driving philosophy must be “adopt, adapt and acquire new skills.”

Speed Up and Delegate Decision-making

McKinsey on how companies can adopt new ways of working at speed:

  1. Make decisions faster without breaking the business. What this means in practice is fewer meetings and fewer decision makers in each meeting. Some organizations are taking to heart the “nine on a videoconference” principle. Others are keeping larger 30- to 40-person meetings (so the people that need to implement the decisions are present) but cutting the number of people with a vote. There is also less detailed preparation for each meeting, with one- to two-page documents or spreadsheets replacing lengthy PowerPoint decks.
  2. Organizations are also increasing the cadence of decisions, taking on the mantra that “quarterly is the new annual.” Holding just-in-time, fit-for-purpose planning and resource allocation on a quarterly instead of annual basis is not only faster but also makes the organization more flexible.
  3. Finally, non-mission-critical decisions can be delegated, so that top leaders focus on fewer, more important decisions: think “assign to the line” rather than “go to the top.” That means tolerating mistakes that don’t put the business at risk; a slow decision can often be worse than an imperfect one.

John Oliver: The Smug Brit on TV

Joe Carter of the Acton Institute on how John Oliver has become a darling to so many liberal anti-Trumpies:

Have you ever watched HBO’s Last Week Tonight? It’s a show where British comedian John Oliver reads a teleprompter explaining to Americans what is wrong with our country. It’s also a show where smug, self-satisfied progressives who miss John Stewart can be entertained while thinking they are watching “smart” content.

In reality, Last Week Tonight is frequently one of the dumbest shows on cable (in the sense that watching it makes you less informed about the world.) And yet it is almost inescapable if you have an internet connection. Even if you don’t subscribe to HBO you’ll find clips every Monday morning on left-leaning media sites, or someone who wants to feel self-righteous and pseudo-intelligent will slip it into your social media channels.

Singapore Offers Citizens “Tourism Credits” to Drive Local Spending

Singapore wants to dish out $320 million in “tourism credits” to spend domestically and support local businesses. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (he’s also finance minister) said,

Many Singaporeans love to travel but are unable to do so now. Local consumption will not fully make up for tourist spending, but I hope Singaporeans will take the opportunity to explore our local culture and heritage, nature, art, and architecture,” he said, adding that more details on the vouchers will be released next month.

You may be surprised by what you discover.

Big-tech’s Deeper Encroachment into American Lives

Peter Eavis and Steve Lohr of the New York Times examine how COVID-19 has been the ultimate catalyst for big-tech’s surge in wealth and influence in ways unseen in decades:

The Coronavirus pandemic has lifted bit-tech to new heights, putting the industry in a position to dominate American business in a way unseen since the days of railroads.

The tech companies’ dominance of the stock market is propelled by their unprecedented reach into our lives, shaping how we work, communicate, shop and relax. That has only deepened during the pandemic, and as people shop more frequently on Amazon, click on a Google or Facebook ad or pay up for an iPhone, the companies receive a greater share of spending in the economy and earn ever larger profits. This is why investors have flocked to those stocks this year at the expense of the scores of companies struggling in the health crisis, and are betting that their position will be unassailable for years.

Reverse Migration to Indian Villages

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked off reverse migration from India cities to villages, describes Anjana Pasricha of Voice of America (VOA):

After cities were shuttered in late March and millions lost jobs, many faced the prospect of hunger as they were confined to small rooms during a stringent lockdown, while others made arduous journeys of hundreds of kilometers home, sometimes on foot, as all transport halted.

Their ordeal in the city and the fear of the pandemic has prompted migrants to try to rebuild their lives in their villages, where the virus is still not a threat.

Creating ways to earn a living for migrants who have lost jobs remains India’s biggest challenge as it grapples with the pandemic and a faltering economy. Last month the federal government launched a nationwide $6 billion program to expand a rural works program providing daily wage work in villages, but that may not be enough to alleviate the widespread distress of returning migrants.

That is why some states with huge numbers of migrants are hoping to persuade them to start farm ventures to revive rural economies that suffered when young people left to work in cities.

Hillary Clinton: Good Message, Terrible Messenger

Damon Linker wonders if Hillary Clinton’s speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention’s will prove to be helpful:

But if Clinton’s audience was swing voters, independents, and Republicans disenchanted with Donald Trump—and this has clearly been the intended audience of this DNC through the first two nights—then it’s hard to see how Clinton’s remarks could do anything but hurt the party. Clinton is an incredibly polarizing figure who inspires intense dislike. In fact, she may have done more than any other single figure four years ago to fuel populist insurgencies of both the left (Bernie Sanders) and the right (Trump.)