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August 2, 2008 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Fortunes are rarely won by playing it safe. On the contrary, the biggest fortunes have been won by those willing to step outside the box and change the way the game is played. Following are twenty-five business innovators of the past, present, and future whose stories are different in many respects, but all point to the same truth: Ingenuity, improvisation, and daring are more important than following the rules (even though you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law once in a while). Via Fortune.

Despite its enormous popularity, Craigslist has not received a great deal of respect as a business. Part of the reason is that the world’s premiere classifieds service seems to go out of its way to avoid making a profit. Most of the service is free. (It generates revenue solely through small fees for apartment and job listings in select cities.) There is no advertising. No branding. No attractive user interface. In sum, Craigslist does not actively compete for business. Craigslist’s CEO since 2000, Jim Buckmaster says the key to their success is an anti-commercial value system based on three “ironies”: “the ironies of unbranding, demonetizing, and noncompeting.” Instead of going for the quick profit like other startups, Craigslist survived the dot-com boom and bust by providing a service as simply and straightforwardly as possible. Buckmaster says, “We’re definitely oddballs in the Internet industry, and we always have been. Lots of people made fun of us, especially at the height of the dot-com boom. Most of those people are out of business now.”

Those values and that vision is Craig's. If anyone has a clue I'd be curious to know why CL has been represented by Jim instead of Craig?
posted by infini (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't this an AskMe post?

And that list is depressing. The inclusion of Paris Hilton is patronisingly token - and for exactly what kind of business nous? What about Oprah Winfrey? Anita Roddick? Dolly Parton?
posted by freya_lamb at 2:02 AM on August 2, 2008


Oh ok, would a moderator please remove my subjective question in order to reconfigure the FPP according to the guidelines please. I coloured outside my box.
posted by infini at 2:19 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


infini [INF] withdraws IPO in prospectus rebid.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:59 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Like Henry Ford before him, Kroc’s ingenuity was in finding a way to bring high quality goods to a mass market.

Like Henry Ford before him, Kroc’s ingenuity was in finding a way sell large volumes of crap in a highly profitable manner.
posted by three blind mice at 3:19 AM on August 2, 2008


Also:

On the contrary, the biggest fortunes have been won by those willing to step outside the box and change the way the game is played.

The outstanding feature is that the psychopath has a natural talent for using and exploiting others and does so with such skill that true motives remain concealed by ingratiating ways and apparent normality
posted by three blind mice at 3:25 AM on August 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


The list does indeed have a bunch of strange choices and, as feya_lamb points out, some puzzling omissions. FWIW, when I took my MBA one of our case studies was on Anita Roddick and The Body Shop - an incredibly solid business. Roddick's did enough in her life to warrant a dozen biographies, and not just for her very impressive corporate activities. Keep in mind before she stepped up to the plate very few folks in The West knew - let alone cared - for fair trade with developing nations. Mainstreaming such concerns would be more than most of us could achieve in any single lifetime and considering all her other charitable activities (which were legion) dropping her from the list is at first glance inexcusable.

But hey, it's Fortune. Financial news for the masses - we're not talking about Harvard Business Review - so we've got to take this in context. And it isn't a totally useless article.

In any case, I'd argue that Bill Gross, head of PIMCO, a bond management fund with about $800 billion in assets be included.

Gross is a very interesting guy who turned the world of bond investing upside down with his unique viewpoint.

Before Gross, folks purchased bonds and held them to maturity. The term fixed income really described your return. Unlike today, bond investing was a very staid, very conservative, relatively unexciting business. You purchased your bonds at issuance, typically taking physical possession, then over the term (one year, five years, thirty years, etc) you clipped coupons, sending them in - physically again - for redemption. At maturity, you'd receive your principal back and that was that. As I said, boring and predicable.

Gross turned this upside down, noting that the market value of a bond will change during it's lifetime as market yields fluctuate. Gross almost single handedly created the science of trading bonds not just for coupon income, but for total return. You can make a lot of money trading bonds, they are in some ways far more profitable than trading stocks and exhibit very interesting characteristics (mean reversion being but one) that can be profitably exploited.

Gross is now responsible for about $250 billion in assets at PIMCO and sits on that firm's board.

This guy's thinking is integral to my overall market view. I haven't had a chance to read his biography yet but it's on my post-MBA-dissertation list.

Interestingly, Gross recently turned bullish on The US Dollar. Not really a surprise as many of us thought a lot of the negative sentiment in the mainstream media wasn't reflected in the nations fundamentals, especially so when looking back at relative performance - how other countries have performed when the US economy slows.

He recently gave a commencement address he shared his view that another stimulus package is already being prepared for delivery just before the elections. If true, its gonna be interesting to see what comments folks make when receiving their gift from benevolent Unca George.

Lives on The West Coast, but trades New York. Meaning he gets up at 1AM PST, starts the day with a run on the beach and some yoga, then checks in with London to see how things have gone overnight before Wall Street opens for business.
posted by Mutant at 3:55 AM on August 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Mutant, not only that but I liked the fact taht Roddick took steps to sell the organization to someone who [hopefully] might retain the corporate DNA that Body Shop embodied and I believe her children did not inherit that wealth. It was, so I heard, a family decision.
posted by infini at 4:13 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm,

Seasoned Democrats in Olathe (population about 115,000), located about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City, Kan., advised Tevis to drop his online efforts and stick with asking local residents and state political action groups for financial help. The average state representative race rarely pulls in donations from more than a couple hundred people or PACs, according to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission.
posted by infini at 4:21 AM on August 2, 2008


oops, LA Times
posted by infini at 4:21 AM on August 2, 2008


infini -- "...and I believe her children did not inherit that wealth..."

Yeh, I started out as a dirt poor country boy and because I work in banking have come to know many wealthy people - even one billionaire - and I've got maximum respect for those who decide not to leave the bulk of their wealth to their children.

Back in New York I got to know a couple of trust fund kids that ran with our downtown art crowd and that money didn't do them or many of the folks in our circles any good at all. One trust fund kid was getting $30K a month (this in the late 80's so the equivalent of perhaps $65K per month in 2008 dollars) and had difficulty with basic tasks such as hailing a taxi or any social interaction that wasn't predicated along the master/servant view. A large entourage, therefore, was not an affectation on her part but almost necessary for survival. A couple of the others either did time or are still in jail, the same with some of the hangers on (Disco Bloodbath is a name that came up recently when talking to someone from The Old Days), and more than one died and not of natural causes.

Giving someone a wad of cash, inherited or otherwise, generally doesn't do them or the folks around them much good. Look at this guy; won £9.7 million, then went on an eighteen month spending spree that ended up with him being close to insolvency and in jail on drugs charges no less. He seems to have gone quiet since this 2005 article, so if he's gotten his shit together (genuinely wish him the best don't you know), I note it only came once his windfall was spent.

Warren Buffet said it so eloquently when describing how he decided his children's inheritance "... enough money so that they feel they can do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."

Whatever that amount is (I believe one million, but can't cite source) Warren gave $37 billion to charity.

Yeh, so Roddick leaving no money to her kids? Excellent.

Incidentally - money doesn't make someone an jerk. But money allows one to become a much more visible and therefore annoying jerk.
posted by Mutant at 5:10 AM on August 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'd be curious to know why CL has been represented by Jim instead of Craig?

Um, because he's kinda shy and prefers to have Jim do much of the public speaking?
posted by twsf at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2008


Mutant, you bring up some interesting points here. Before I start a long blather on the issues you highlight in your comment, just a datapoint of background for contextual relevance. I'm a member of a small indian business family, from the traditional caste of businessmen, merchants, traders, moneylenders etc. Caste is not the same as class in india, plus castes extend across all the regions of the country [india is closer in concept to the EU with myriad languages, customs, cuisines etc] Some common surnames from the business caste you may have heard - Hinduja, Birla, Gandhi, Patel, Shah, Gupta, Agarwal etc A well known community are the Marwari's.

Now, I was reflecting on the challenges you have articulated so well in your comment and thinking about how did the business families - those from this caste who have established multigenerational wealth, extensive holdings and built small, medium and large empires managed to deal with the issue? After all, wealth management would be an essential part of the family's training since the majority of the businesses are passed down through the family.

I believe, from observation, experience and being dandled on grandpa's knee, that there are some fundamental tenets that are instilled in the members of the family, regardless of wehter they maybe in the direct line of inheritance [through the sons] or through the indirect line [the daughters, more crucial because they become one of the critical means by which mergers and acquisitions as well as strategic alliances are made through marriage].

Across the board, with the exception of the bad apples who always end up druggies, drunks or wastrels ;p [yes you have them everywhere ;p] the key lessons seemed to be humility, understanding that there were millions just outside the walls without anything at all [india's poverty helps to humble her billionaires every single day] and of course, elements of hinduism as pertaining to business strategy and mindset.

Just for example, my mother, whose degree is not in english and has never worked outside the home nor posseses a driver's licence, taught me how to do real time currency conversions in my head and tracks the dollar, the euro, the pound and the rupee against the singapore dollar everyday. hmm. It took me to adulthood and reaching the point in my career where I can now sit back and receive consulting enquiries to realize that the bania community [the caste is known as vysya or bania] trained their womenfolk to be good "housewives" i.e. the CFO's of the family's wealth, be that they be the humble traditional grocer/moneylender in every village or owners of a gazillion tobacconists in Leeds.

The unpredictable and irregular income stream that is the fact of life of any industrialist or businessman must be managed, husbanded and reinvested. So were we suddenly to gain a windfall like the example you mention above, it is now too late in my conditioned teaching for me to be able to run around spending it like someone who perhaps may have never learnt the art of managing money. It strikes me because I have often observed that those who don't have money do not have the experience to manage it when they do get it but otoh, those who haven't been taught and are 'spoilt' like the rich kids you mention, also do not have the experience.

It is the balance that is key - as you point out, Warren Buffett's words embody this principle.
posted by infini at 5:31 AM on August 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


Noblesse oblige is one of the most important things the West lost. Old money and royalty taught it to their children well; new money never even knew what it was. Sometimes I think our purpoted "classless" society really does mean "no class."
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:19 AM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once again, a less than interesting article saved by commenters.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:24 AM on August 2, 2008


"Not playing it safe" and "breaking the rules" are not the same thing. The "rules" of business are not things like go to college, be nice, and don't take risks, which seem to be the only things that these "mavericks" are accused of transgressing. Rather, the rules of business are more like:

1) Find a product people want.
2) Find a way of selling it to them at a price they will pay.
3) Find a way of minimizing your own costs.

Most of the profiles in the article didn't break any of these rules. Quite the contrary, most if not all of them are geniuses at one or more of these.

For example, Jack Welch seems to have mastered all three of these, but especially the third, evidenced by his willingness to cut dead weight from his organization, whether that weight be products, businesses, or people. Jobs has a preternatural instinct for what a particular segment of the computing market wants and is a master at convincing them to pay exorbitant prices for said coolness. Walton is perhaps the best of all of them at minimizing costs, and his revolution in logistics has forced companies in almost every industry to streamline their own processes. Ford's genius came from recognizing that there was more money to be made in selling a million cars at a small profit than a thousand cars at a large profit. Even Paris Hilton is very conventional in this sense, as she's capitalizing on the American public's taste for cheap, trashy, sex-infused media nonsense.

These people didn't succeed because they "broke rules"--which is an amazingly prevalent business buzzphrase these days, as is "changing everything"--but on the contrary, because they were the first and best to follow them. If you want to do more than maintain current income, following the rules requires doing things that haven't been tried before. Sometimes that works, and you wind up like Michael Dell. Sometimes it doesn't, e.g. the South Sea Company. For every massively successful entrepreneur there are dozens of failures. The ones that succeed have some degree of luck, but most of them are simply excellent at following the rules.
posted by valkyryn at 7:34 AM on August 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


valkyryn: and I'll raise you one.

Taking your thoughts a step further, imho, lets break the rules you've set, for argument's sake and start from your sentence - The ones that succeed have some degree of luck, but most of them are simply excellent at following the rules.. These rules are meant only as guidelines, that is the function of rules, else they'd be laws. Just like the metrics of success in the blogosphere when it first began were "number of links = success" or "number of readers = quality" whereas now there seems to be more of a discussion on value and information provided. If we'd followed those rules then taking your three we'd have:

1. Give the people what they want - blog on sex, politics or celebrity gossip - how many blogs are out there on this, oh I forgot cats
2. Price they're willing to pay - free, witness the challenge of magazines etc hidden behind subscriber only walls, even Mefi turned this model on its head, you read for free but you pay to play.
3. Minimizing costs - Blogspot is free, I mean Blogger, er whatever ;p Net result? Splogs

So, what are we left with as we try to identify the some common threads here, lets throw out the red herrings in the 25 mentioned above - Paris Hilton is simply a brand with enough money to buy media attention, nothing stands out of merit in terms of inherent value created - otoh, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Craig and Jim (thanks for the answer, twsf) have all created value, added value, in that, before they came along and did what they did, that value being shared with their customers of their creations did not exist, either as an industry, in the case of m$, a brand with a particular flavour and style of business - Virgin, or a community based service based on core values and principles - craigslist.

So what can we tease out of these success stories?

1. A gap was identified, I've taken to calling it a value gap, between the value proposition of what [offers, services, products etc] was existing in that space [software, whatever virgin does, classifieds] and what value was qualified as by their intended target audience.

2. These businesses filled that gap, based on offering a fair exchange of value for their customers in return for their money, time, attention etc. Some where deliberate decisions - craigslist, some evolved into it - the Virgin Brand [their customers would be those who resonate with the brand's 'value system' or 'image' ] and some offered a tangible value - software for your hardware that was standardised on a systemic scale.

Jobs does it well, Jonathan Ive, the designer of hte iPod has said that he designs for himself. Apple is the darling of the designa crowd and the cool factor of the creative profession plus the intuitive ease of use etc has diffused the charisma of the Apple brand into the mainstream. That and yes, I agree, clever marketing and positioning and playing the crowd. But the crowd cannot be consistently played if every Apple product didn't consistently match the promise of the ones before and have to outdone by the ones' after. They have a consistent strategy, you get your money's worth - both tangibly and intangibly (the cool factor) but as an aside, Apple's set themselves up with a high bar for their next breakthrough product. The iPhone has truly been groundbreaking in its context, environment and for its audience.

Back to rules, I've been reading the Cluetrain Manifesto again as research for a former professor of mine bent on writing a book on post industrial design, and here's something that caught my eye;

Instead, it is to suggest a particular set of values that began to emerge in what linguists might call a well-bounded speech community. On the Net, you said what you meant and had better be ready to explain your position and how you'd arrived at it. Mouthing platitudes guaranteed that you would be challenged. Nothing was accepted at face value, or taken for granted. Everything was subject to question, revision, re-implementation, parody — whether it was an algorithm, a political philosophy or, God help you, an advertisement.

It seems to me that the rules around what you have to offer in your business {taking your points 1, 2 and 3 into consideration} are:

1. proof of performance, that's what they want, not bullshit
2. Maximize your customer's ROI - Make sure they get everything they can for their dollar, don't screw 'em over with junk, extra's, hidden costs etc That is, create and offer value.
3. Commitment to the triple bottomline - might be stronger case for a business's sustainability in the long run than simply lowering your cost of business to the max, while you point to Dell and Walmart's ability to have done this, have you noted their recent challenges due to over enthusiastic cost cutting and sending stuff to china and india?
posted by infini at 8:31 AM on August 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


Oh and Mutant, on your observation, since I'm on a flow here it seems ;p

Interestingly, Gross recently turned bullish on The US Dollar. Not really a surprise as many of us thought a lot of the negative sentiment in the mainstream media wasn't reflected in the nations fundamentals, especially so when looking back at relative performance - how other countries have performed when the US economy slows.

He recently gave a commencement address he shared his view that another stimulus package is already being prepared for delivery just before the elections. If true, its gonna be interesting to see what comments folks make when receiving their gift from benevolent Unca George.



What about the impact of the highest recorded trade deficit ever, China's serious concerns about the trillion or so invested in Freddie and Fannie and minor details like Merrill Lynch taking more money from Singapore?
posted by infini at 8:36 AM on August 2, 2008


Noblesse oblige is one of the most important things the West lost.

Statistics do not bear you out here. The average charitable giving among wealthiest people/families in the United States is among the highest in the world.

Also, the "giving kids wealth spoils them" meme, as infini indirectly notes, is more confirmation bias than anything else. For example: Barron Hilton has 23 grandchildren. How many do you know by name?
posted by tkolar at 9:17 AM on August 2, 2008


"Five years later, Branson signed the Sex Pistols, a leading pillar of the British punk rock scene who had been rejected by every other record label in England."
Every other record label apart from EMI and A&M.
"If nothing else, Branson has proved that a man can be one of the richest, most successful people in the world and still be cool."
...snigger.
posted by Dr.Pill at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2008



The outstanding feature is that the psychopath has a natural talent for using and exploiting others and does so with such skill that true motives remain concealed by ingratiating ways and apparent normality


The article talks about corporate psychopathy. There are plenty of examples of such villainy. But what about government psychopathy? Doesn't psychopathy in rigid, powerful bureaucracies have even more potential for evil?
posted by storybored at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2008


tkolar: I'm not using N.O. here to mean donations. The traditional meaning is for those that have, to do for those that have not -- not financially, specifically, but to show a better way of life and to help those less fortunate along. To maintain a higher standard of personal behaviour than strictly necessary. To be worthy of their station. To be regal, if you will, not just royal.

It's interesting that some of these concepts have unpleasant overloads here in 2008.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:14 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: your definition got me thinking about noblesse oblige and its equivalent in terms of what i'd seen my grandfather talk about and espouse. his concept had less to do with worthiness and station and more to do with karma and dharma. meaning it was seen more as a duty to your own 'good luck' in having been born into a situation where you had more than enough and perhaps some extra to share vs. being born into a poor farmer's family. at least that's how it seemed to me. my disadvantage is lack of education in the beliefs of my own heritage, something i'm working on now
posted by infini at 8:08 PM on August 2, 2008


just wanted to thank you all for the opportunity here to trigger thoughts and brainstorming around the topic.

and to summarize ;p since i've been ruminating most of the night on this, I'd say the biggest thing involved here seemed to be an indefinable attitude that all these mavericks have - "I don't care what conventional wisdom says, my perception of the world of business shows me this opportunity, my gut tells me its a calculated risk that has a good chance to pay off, I"m going for it."

that inner orientation took care of establishing what rules to break what to follow etc from there on in as they progressed in implementing their visions.
posted by infini at 8:11 PM on August 2, 2008


Seems pretty weighted towards internet guys. Why not limit the list to living people? If not, why not all the way back to Mayer Rothschild?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:56 AM on August 3, 2008


carnegie is ranked fourteen? the author clearly hasn't done a lot of research on just how much further that man has come that trump, murdoch, et all.

also: how come mrs. hilton is on the list when she's a rather meager earner compared to the rest (and her income isn't even estimated here). shouldn't it be conrad, if anyone from that clan, who could be included?
posted by krautland at 2:01 AM on August 3, 2008


neatorama on the ten richest people and how they made their fortunes might be interesting further reading.

John D. Rockefeller's peak wealth based on 2007 US dollar: $318.3 billion.
Andrew Carnegie? $298.3 billion.

I still can't believe J.P. Morgan isn't mentioned in either article.
posted by krautland at 2:04 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


infini -- "What about the impact of the highest recorded trade deficit ever, China's serious concerns about the trillion or so invested in Freddie and Fannie and minor details like Merrill Lynch taking more money from Singapore?"

Well, its all about relative performance. You know that old expression - "when America catches a cold, [INSERT COUNTRY NAME HERE] catches pneumonia" - look at the history of finance for clues to what may happen in other countries when the US economy slows. While there are exceptions to this rule, overall from the history of finance, from what's happened before, we know the US economy will in general (not always, by the way) outperform other economies, all other factors being held equal. I think Gross explained his view well enough in the attached link. He and the guys at PIMCO are hardly alone in taking this position, in fact the article quoted folks global banks sharing this opinion. I still get dead tree research from my last employer (the big Dutch bank that has been sold off to RBS) and these guys are bullish US over Europe as well. I'm also seeing lots of negativity about Asia, so it seem that decoupling just ain't gonna happen this time around.

As I said, relative performance. If most of the G7 is gonna slow and the developing nations are gonna slow, who more than likely will perform better in the post housing bubble, post credit crunch, slow speed global economy? Lots of folks are betting The United States.

The pessimism in the mainstream media, the doom and gloom one incessantly hears from bloogers, just isn't reflected in the financial data I've seen, the financial press I read. Sure, there are some problems. And some problems are larger than others, perhaps more intractable. But we're working through the problems.

We've had bubbles before. We'll have bubbles again.
posted by Mutant at 3:48 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mutant: The pessimism in the mainstream media, the doom and gloom one incessantly hears from bloogers, just isn't reflected in the financial data I've seen, the financial press I read. Sure, there are some problems. And some problems are larger than others, perhaps more intractable. But we're working through the problems.

We've had bubbles before. We'll have bubbles again.


Okay, granted your observations are based on valid reasoning and therefore I want to take it a step further with you. I'm speaking from my perspective of reading and observing the same situation halfway across the world from you, here in Singapore. The financial press, news from Hong Kong, China, other ASEAN capitals, India etc seems to have an entirely different feel to this and the mood feels like, although I could be wrong, its just me, upbeat on Asia and a sense of shift. Mood as we both know has its own intangible influence on markets and corporate behaviour. After all, both markets and institutions are ultimately composed of human beings.

What do you think? I'm also taking into consideration that I also recently finished reading Zakaria's Post American World, I must mention as a disclaimer.
posted by infini at 4:05 AM on August 3, 2008


Mutant, further to your comments after reading the link, yes, I agree that the dollar will strengthen in the short run against the euro and the euro will probably stabilize a few cents lower than it is right now. However, the US economic situation may not be as easily repairable and I do wonder what the effect of having a eurodollar oil bourse, something i've seen at times recently in google news, would be on the overall situation, globally?
posted by infini at 4:25 AM on August 3, 2008


Gross and the others are talking short term, tactical asset allocations to maximise returns over the horizon. Gross himself was bearish, very, very negative on the US for maybe two years and just flipped his view about one month ago. This view could shift very rapidly should another August debacle arise, perhaps in a different market than $LIBOR.

I've haven't read Zakaria's book myself, but looking at the synopsis on Amazon (not the most rigorous way to assimilate a books message I admit so please correct me if necessary) it seems he's discussing long term shifts in global economic power. So that's a big difference, but a veiw that's supported by many financial industry heavyweights. And we have seen take place previously; after all, once upon a time Pound Sterling was the world's reserve currency, the Dutch Guilder before that, etc. A Eurodollar oil bourse would only strengthen the role of the Euro as a major reserve currency.

And although the Euro has been gaining on the Dollar pretty much since launch, I've always thought a pan Asian currency would make the most sense as a dollar replacement.

Don't get me wrong - I like the Euro - for all intents and purposes the Deutsche Mark rebranded and spread continent wide. Its a very solid, very stable currency, with strong and highly disciplined central bankers behind it.

Re: upbeat moods in Asia - it still doesn't look like we're gonna see decoupling as both India and China are now seeing what goes up much come down. Meanwhile, Brazil and Russia are enjoying robust economic growth, but much of this comes from higher oil prices. Oil does seem to be trending down, so looking at all of these factors, I'm not sure a case for the BRIC economies decoupling from the G7/G20 can be made at this time.

So we're back to relative performance.

In any case, this month will be especially interesting as we're at the one year anniversary of the credit crunch and its not clear if we're seeing bottom yet.
posted by Mutant at 4:54 AM on August 3, 2008


Mutant:

*sweeps off big floppy hat with dangly feather and bows*

You have no idea how much I've been needing to have this conversation with someone as informed and rational as you, thank you.

Now, taking what you've just said here, let me throw out my first impuse, a wild card say, what if the potential for a new currency isn't quite a pan Asian currency as we conventionally imagine but something based along the lines of what the GSMA is contemplating with the largest global fiscal transmitters such as Western Union et al - that is, digital currency aka airtime as currency?

Moving along back to your thoughtful comments, however:

Yes, that's essentially the message in Zakaria's book. And your points show me something I'd not realized before, that the weak signals I'm picking up over here versus what you're telling me are based on two entirely different perspectives of 'time'.

What do I mean by that?

Well, Asian businesses have traditionally tended to take the 'long view' as have governments, did you ever do the Matsushita case study in school? They had a 100 year corporate vision, mission and evolving strategic plan.

So I wonder now in context of your comments, whether the sense of ebullience I'm picking up has more to do with organizations planning their medium term strategies - say even 18 to 24 months, the rational amount of time for any new product or service launch etc - than any concerns about the next quarterly report for Wall Street?
posted by infini at 5:17 AM on August 3, 2008


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