Monday, July 16, 2012

Steve Jobs' Biography

I have finally managed to read Steve Jobs' biography by Walter Isaacson and I highly recommend it to everyone. Here are some thoughts that came to my mind:

i) How geniuses often have nasty personalities. Maybe there is some reversion-to-mean going on here: we all have qualities and flaws, but those with extraordinary abilities often have extraordinary flaws. I think that being a perfectionist also made Jobs highly critical of everything (both people and objects) and is personal life seems to have suffered a lot because of it.

ii) Most of us can actually own a masterpiece made by a reputed genius (at least in terms of design and innovation at the time. I guess this is a first in the history of mankind.

iii) On a corporate strategy level, the book highlights how dividing firms by divisions can really hamper innovation and cooperation. One of the reasons that Apple is what it is arises because all products are developed and marketed by the company as a whole. Focusing on creating just a few excellent products also helps. I guess that if you are good enough to concentrate your bets on a few products can give you a big advantage over competitors.
Ah, and one more thing...

iv) How luck plays a huge part in anything we succeed in life. Humans are very good at rationalizing successes and failures but many things turn out the way they do by pure chance (or fate if you are religious). Given his peculiar personality Jobs could easily have put himself into a deep hole that he wouldn't be able to get out of.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why Brazil Won't Take Off

Today the FT has a story on Brazil's growth pains that starts with Corinthians, the second most popular Brazilian team, fielding a Chinese player to help it sales in China

The player in question, Chen Zhizhao, neatly summarizes why Brazil still has a long way to go if the country really wants to take off:

“In China, not much people [are] interested in football. The children are studying too much.”

Given the current state of Brazilian education, awful at all levels, there is no way the country can ever compete in human capital-intensive industries. All that is left is being good as a primary goods exporter. Even at that, we also need to get serious about infrastructure.

I wish I could be more optimistic about my own country...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Upcoming AFA meetings

Nice, the upcoming American Finance Association meetings will be held in nice cities for at least the next 5 years. Shame they never arrange something in Hawaii...

January 4-6, 2013 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday)....San Diego, CA
January, 3-5, 2014 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday).....Philadelphia, PA
January, 3-5, 2015 (Saturday, Sunday & Monday)....Boston, MA
January 3-5, 2016 (Sunday, Monday & Tuesday) San Francisco, CA
January 6-8, 2017 (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday) Chicago, IL  

Monday, July 2, 2012

If you can't be part of the solution...

The UK is trying hard to be part of the problem...

Often I wonder why UK politicians are so much against their current EU deal (not the Euro). As my mother used to say, if you can't be part of the solution, at least don't be part of the problem...