The author is Brad Stone, who previously wrote the best-seller, The Everything Store (Back Bay Books, 2014), about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com.
You can register to hear this presentation at the First Friday Book Synopsis for just $29 online by clicking on: www.15minutebusinessbooks.com. The site also has directions to the Park City Club. Breakfast opens at 7:00 a.m., and we end the session at 8:05 a.m.
“Both Travis Kalanick and Brian Chesky had made big promises: to eliminate traffic, improve the livability of our cities, and give people more time and more authentic experiences. If these promises are kept, the results might be well worth the mishaps and mistakes that occurred during their journeys; perhaps they’ll even be worth the enormous price paid by the disrupted.
“And if they can’t meet their own lofty goals? Or if the intensity of competition pushes them further toward a ruthless, win-at-all-costs mentality? Then Uber and Airbnb risk validating the worst claims of their critics – that they used technology and clever business plans merely to replace one set of dominant companies with another, amassing a staggering amount of wealth in the process.
“I’m more optimistic than that. I believe in the power and potential of the upstart s and have frequently admired their resourceful, adaptive CEO’s. But it’s up to us to hold them to their promises. They are the new architects of the twenty-first century, every bit as powerful as political leaders and now completely enmeshed in an establishment that they have, at times, bitterly fought” (pp. 331-332).
Kim Scott‘s new book, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017) entered the Wall Street Journal business best-seller list at # 7 in the list published today (April 1-2, p. C10).
The book is # 1 on two Amazon.com sub-categories, and has also appeared on the prestigious New York Times best-seller list. As you are aware, we rely heavily on that list as the source for our selections to present at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.
Here is how the book is described on Amazon.com:
“Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.
“This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.
“Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.”
You may not be familiar with Kim Scott. She was an executive at Google and then at Apple. Kim is also the co-founder and CEO of Candor, Inc., which builds tools to make it easier to follow the advice she offers in the book. She is also the author of three novels. Prior to founding Candor, Inc., Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other Silicon Valley companies. She was a member of the faculty at Apple University, developing the course “Managing at Apple,” and before that led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google. Previously, Kim was the co-founder and CEO of Juice Software, a collaboration start-up, and led business development at two other start-ups, Delta Three and Capital Thinking. Earlier in her career, she worked as a senior policy advisor at the FCC, managed a pediatric clinic in Kosovo, started a diamond cutting factory in Moscow, and was an analyst on the Soviet Companies Fund. Kim received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. Kim and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Adapted from her website: http://www.kimmalonescott.com/biography/).
We have determined that we will feature this book for the May, 2017 book synopsis in Dallas. Continue to monitor our website for information.
Stephen A. Cohen, who was the focus of one of the most intensive insider trader investigation in history, is the subject of a new best-selling business book that debuted at # 3 on the Wall Street Journal best-seller list (January 18-19, 2016, p. C10).
The book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street (Random House), was released on February 7, and as of today’s writing is in the top four best-selling books in three Amazon.com sub-categories.
The author is Sheelah Kolhatkar, is a current staff writer at The New Yorker. She is a former hedge fund analyst. Her features focus upon Wall Street, Silicon Valley and politics. Kolhatkar has appeared on numerous business television programs, and also been a guest columnist in several business magazines, as well as the New York Times.
Who is Stephen Cohen, and what exactly is this book about? Please read this summary taken from the publisher’s website at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/234210/black-edge-by-sheelah-kolhatkar/9780812995800/.
“The rise over the last two decades of a powerful new class of billionaire financiers marks a singular shift in the American economic and political landscape. Their vast reserves of concentrated wealth have allowed a small group of big winners to write their own rules of capitalism and public policy. How did we get here? Through meticulous reporting and powerful storytelling, New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar shows how Steve Cohen became one of the richest and most influential figures in finance—and what happened when the Justice Department put him in its crosshairs.
“Cohen and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn’t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong—and for this they have gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now manage nearly $3 trillion in assets, and competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge.
“Cohen was one of the industry’s greatest success stories. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and extreme excess, building a 35,000 square foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius.
“That image was shattered when SAC became the target of a sprawling, seven-year government investigation. Labeled by prosecutors as a “magnet for market cheaters” whose culture encouraged the relentless hunt for “edge”—and even “black edge,” or inside information—SAC was ultimately indicted in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged.
“Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions, and a window into the transformation of the U.S. economy. It’s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government’s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street.”
A less biased, although equally positive review appeared in the New York Times, written by Jennifer Senior on February 1, 2017. One of her points is: “But my hunch is that readers will most remember “Black Edge” for showing them just how alarmingly pervasive insider trading was in the years surrounding the 2008 collapse. It became commonplace, domesticated — dare I say it? — normalized.” You can read that review by clicking on this site: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/books/review-black-edge-an-account-of-a-hedge-fund-magnate-and-insider-trading.html?_r=0.
And, in case you feel sorry for Cohen, the last line in Senior’s review says, “[Kolhatkar] notes that in 2014, Cohen made $2.5 billion by trading his personal fortune alone. ‘He is making plans to reopen his hedge fund,” she writes, “as soon as possible.’”
Please continue to monitor our website at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com, to see if this book rates one of our monthly selections at the First Friday Book Synopsis for presentation. Randy and I will discuss this very soon!
Depending upon how it fares on the best-seller lists that we monitor, one book you may see us present at an upcoming First Friday Book Synopsis was just released today (1/31/17). I only write about it here because of the great potential that it has. In fact, within just hours, it has already climbed to # 1 in three categories on Amazon.com, and is sitting at # 302 in total book sales. And, it was just released today!
Authored by Brad Stone, the book is entitled The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World (Little, Brown & Company).
Here is how Adrian Liang, of the Amazon Book Review, summarized the book: “Brad Stone has a gift for unwrapping the mythology around a company’s origins and making its actual origins—and growth and flubs and pivot points—far more fascinating than the mythology ever could be. In The Upstarts, Stone tackles the genesis of Airbnb and Uber, two companies that have woven themselves into the daily lives of people around the globe in less than ten years. Too many books spotlight a company’s wise decisions and business victories, making success seem almost inevitable. In contrast, Stone gives Uber’s and Airbnb’s mistakes as much room on the page as its scrappy triumphs, allowing a far more complex story to build. Interwoven among the highlights and lowlights are innovation incubators, dirty tricks, desperation among VC investors to not miss the Next Big Thing, competitors’ bright ideas, and the strikingly different personalities of the two companies’ young leaders. But this is a book without an ending, because Airbnb and Uber are still evolving, making their long-term effect on their industries hard to predict. Timely, clear-eyed, and crisply written, The Upstarts is a must for readers seeking insight into how ideas and eventually businesses can succeed or fail in a technology-rich landscape.”
The Upstarts was also reviewed in the Wall Street Journal (1/31/17, p. A13) by Alex Tabarrok. He calls the book “a fun, briskly told narrative….[that] is not the end of the story, but an excellent history of the beginning.”
Do you know who Brad Stone is? His own website (brad-stone.com) says this, of which I have edited liberally: In 2013, he published The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. He is a senior executive editor at Bloomberg News, and hosts a weekly podcast entitled ‘Decripted.’ He also wrote a non-fiction book, Gearheads: The Turbulent Rise of Robotic Sports. He graduated from Columbia University in 1993.
Please continue to watch our website as we make our monthly selections for the First Friday Book Synopsis. If my prediction is true, and as the book grows stronger, the chances of our presenting it will dramatically increase.
Only one new book debuted on the Wall Street Journal business best-selling list, published on July 16-17, p. C10.
The book is entitled Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez (New York: Harper, 2016). The book was distributed on June 28, 2016, and debuted at # 5 in the list, which is incredibly high. It has also been on the New York Times best-seller list, thus qualifying the book as a potential selection at our First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.
One description of the book is “Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble.”
Here is a summary of the book, from Amazon.com:
“After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.
“Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?”
I haven’t read this book yet, and I don’t know if we will present it at the First Friday Book Synopsis. But, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that people love to buy books that are exposes. Also, books about scandals sell very well. Perhaps that is how this book vaulted all the way to # 5 in its debut on the best-selling list.
We are surrounded by swirling stories of breakthrough ideas, creative moments of genius of one kind or another. And I think it is true that without that right, great idea, there is little chance for that next new, new thing.
But how do you turn that idea into an actual, working, effective, profitable business? That takes old-fashioned management work.
That was the underlying truth behind this Morning Report segment, U. Penn Wharton School excels in Silicon Valley. Note this excerpt:
Michael Sinkula: I have a company here in Silicon Valley. Since I started the company, I wasn’t willing to leave and go to MBA school.
There are lots of Sinkulas out here — with years of experience working in startups, but little idea how to take businesses to the next level, especially going public.
“Wharton operates as a business, not just a business school… If you have an opportunity to tap into a demand for MBAs, you look to the region hat has that greatest demand, and at the moment, that region is Silicone Valley.” (Tim Bajarin, a high-tech analyst in Silicon Valley).
The valley is full of sad stories about start-ups that failed because they didn’t have the right management, so this time around venture capitalists are looking for companies whose execs have MBAs.
(from The Marketplace Morning Report, March 26, 2012)
In an earlier blog post, I raised this question: Which is It? Overmanaged and Underled — OR, Undermanaged and Overled? How about Undermanaged and Underled? The answer is increasingly obvious. A company needs it all: good ideas, breakthrough concepts, good leadership, and some good, up-to-date, old-fashioned management.
There is almost no end to the multi-faceted-expertise needed on the road to success.