Despite confusion of the Occupy Wall Street protests, they have a point. For those who would like some facts, here they are:
According to the CIA World Fact Book rank of income inequality, the U.S. is slightly better than in Bulgaria, but we’re worse than Iran, China, and Russia. As a democracy, that should be embarrassing.
Here’s how income is actually distributed nowadays:
If you’re one of the peons in light blue, don’t feel bad, because you’re STILL at the tops from a global perspective. According to the Global Rich List, a salary of just $35,000 will place you squarely in the Top 5%. Starting to feel like a greedy ne’er-do-well? You can give a donation to help someone truly in need.
$35,000 Income Puts you in the TOP 4.62%
Congratulations! Your startup is in the final negotiations with a large corporation for a joint venture. Except now they’re asking you to foot the (marketing) bill. It’s becoming less and less clear what they’re bringing to the table. But you’ve been pinning your hopes on this partnership, so it must be a good thing, right?
Here are some considerations.
- Have company leverage existing resources/capacity (e.g., marketing people, graphic design) to reduce outside vendor costs
- Design the ramp-up period (i.e., pilot) with testing/analytics to improve campaign efficiency.
- The danger of working with a Goliath is that they often have the ability to squash you. Make sure your service maintains a competitive advantage so they won’t want to drop you in favor of another partner (or in-house solution)
- There are plenty of examples of large corporations considering partnerships, getting lots of inside information, and then deciding to do it themselves without the partner. Prevent this by focusing on the benefits / final outcome, rather than on the details of execution
I’ve been reading a lot of pitches lately, and many are obviously ill-fated. Here are some themes that would benefit most of them:
1) Cut the budget in half. Costs will be higher than expected, and returns will be lower than expected. Inflated numbers won’t fool anyone.
2) Plan the project in multiple phases. Then focus on phase 1 – it should make sense on its own.If it’s only value comes from the success of future phases, then that’s a problem.
3) If you can’t even explain it clearly, then what chance does it have of actually working? Simplify.
4) Money does not equal marketing does not equal success. There is often low correlation between each.
5) Time is not money. Spend the time, don’t spend the money. If your team doesn’t have the in-house capabilities, then it’s not the right team for the project.
6) Experience matters – but experience doesn’t matter. Past successes are great, but what’s even better is experience that will help with the current idea.
7) Think small – but be ready for success. How will the idea scale if it turns out to work?
8) How will it fail? How long will it take? How much will it cost? Will there be any salvageable value?
Mr. Hurd will bring his expertise running the largest computer hardware business on the planet to Oracle, where he may be able to revive the fortunes of Sun’s products at H.P.’s expense.
Who do you think wrote that statement? It sure sounds like a press release from Oracle. But it comes from the pen of Ashlee Vance at the New York Times. Does Ashlee even read what he copies and pastes?
The New York Times, and essentially all the other media, have assumed the 11 middle-class people arrested are spies. This, even though there is insufficient evidence to even charge them for espionage.
Experts, on the other hand, wonder why such an elaborate spy ring would be so unfocused, ineffective, and unprofessional. Unfocused, because these 11 people lived middle-class lives, working in regular jobs, with no efforts made to obtain government positions or decision-making ability, or any type of access to anything. Ineffective because the most accurate source of news for a real estate agent in suburban New England was probably the New York Times (haha!). And unprofessional because some of the 11 admitted to having Russian ties, whereas true sleeper spies would have blended in completely.
So if these people are doing none of the stuff that we think of as actually espionage, why has the media labeled them as spies? It’s time for their friends, classmates, coworkers, employers, and universities to stand up for them and at least ensure they’re not tarred and feathered by the unthinking media.
They might, indeed, be spies after all. But let’s not assume so just because the government arrests them on trumped up money laundering charges.
With so much going wrong these days, at least all U.S. citizens and companies can breathe a sigh of relief at the following:
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California rejected the Bush administration’s argument that no warrant was necessary to look through the electronic files of an American citizen who was returning home from a trip to South Korea.
Oh wait… that wasn’t the Bush administration that was claiming the right to seize a traveler’s laptop, keep in locked up for months, and examine it for contraband files without a warrant half a year later. That was the Obama administration. Fortunately the courts were there to prevent obscene abuse of executive power.
Read more here.
The value of a college degree is already in question. Economists and educators are just beginning to realize that education (as distinct from job training) will not raise income or create new opportunities for the majority of the population. There just aren’t enough good jobs available. Furthermore, the good jobs that are available often require specific job skills and training that aren’t learned at college.
Walmart’s program to allow cashiers, clerks, and other low-level employees to spend $24,000 for an online bachelor’s degree seems rather absurd. Are there really better jobs available for the 1 million+ employees if only they had the degree? I think not – there aren’t enough jobs as it is.