Sunday, April 09, 2006

Miscellaneous

  • Selling the Promise of Youth -- BusinessWeek's March 20th cover story provides a great summary for baby boomers heading into their second life -- and the message is, you better have money if you want the quality of that second life to be the same as the first. Money, and the willingness to take some risks on unproven anti-aging treatments being sold. If you've got money, there's lotions, potions and promises galore awaiting you. The problem is, most are not recognized by mainstream medicine, and are not necessarily approved by government regulators. As one of the new age salesmen puts it however -- they promise a better quality life, followed by a rapid decline in health leading to death -- rather than the slow aches and pains to the grave. Thus far, there is no fountain of youth -- and trying some unproven drugs just might hasten your trek to the afterworld. Me, I'm waiting for the day my brain can be digitized!
  • Is the MBA Overrated? -- Does an MBA really give an advantage? It has become a requirement for those looking to climb the corporate ladder, but I'm not so sure about it myself. I don't have an MBA, although it is one of those things I hoping to accomplish eventually -- but I'm in no hurry. I've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few MBA grads, and not one has left a lasting, overwhelmingly positive impression. Their MBA didn't seem to make a difference. Especially in those that went straight from an undergrad to their MBA. As BusinessWeek points out in this article, their research is anything but conclusive when looking at the top ranks. Those who reach the pinnacle most often do not have MBAs. Goes to show you that there's only so much that book-learning can give -- the rest needs experience.
  • A New Spark Plug for Cadillac -- Cadillac is looking to fix its brand image, so they've brought on board Liz Vanzura -- the ad executive that gave new life to VW and the Hummer.
  • Making It Work By Not Doing It All -- BusinessWeek profiles Xerox R&D chief, Sophie Vandebroek, a woman who seems to have achieved the perfect balance in work and life. Read her story ... it's inspiring.
  • It's Hard Out Here For a Lobbyist -- Governments don't respond to people, they respond to lobbyists. Check out this profile of the people who pull the strings and are the masters of spin.
  • Here Comes Lunar Power -- Forget wind and solar power, both of which depend strongly on the weather. Check out instead, lunar power. Predictable, stable, and always there, the tides and turning turbines to create electricity.
  • Spreading the Gospel -- BusinessWeek has an excellent article on the power players of outsourcing. There is an inner circle, and most are former employees of GE and McKinsey.
  • Renovating Home Depot -- BusinessWeek's March 6th cover article profiles Home Depot's chief, Bob Nardelli -- a CEO who is going against the grain of management trends, and embracing a hardnosed military style. Out are small teams and collaboration, and in is a military organization. Hierarchical, with decision making coming from the top. It's an organization ruled by fear, with a focus on the details of operations. In the short term, Home Depot has achieved great financial results, but how long will they be able to keep up the pressure on staff? Especially with a strong competitor like Lowes, who's also building out.

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