what bee hives and ants can teach about democracy and common good

When spring comes, bee hives divide into two, one group staying in, the other looking for new home. It’s not the queen assigning “home-searching scouts” but older bees. Scouts fly off looking for places and announce their finds by special dance moves, describing routes to their finds – more dancing for better spots.

Similarly for ants. A leaderless, self-directing society that expands democratically and which communicates/transmits messages using pheromone.

Our politicians/businessmen  can learn from bees/ants/…:

  • Don’t be die-hard/fanatic about your choices/finds
  • Focus on your responsibilities
  • Forget politics
  • Listen to/consider your peers
  • Let bygones be bygones

dictators, tyrants, despots and autocrats

We often blur lines between an autocrat, despot, dictator and tyrant. For many, they are different names of an oppressive, cruel and powerful person. But are they?

Despot (“my lord”) was originally the title given to the Byzantine Emperor, while tyrant was the title of a leader in ancient Greece called upon to bring internal/external political/economic stability.

Tyrants in business might have moderate success. Shaw and others expressed admiration for modern dictators/tyrants such as Mussolini, Stalin, …

Among top ten worst dictators, many can be nicely described by the dictators’ poem.

Lastly, check your innate dictatorship level by passing this test.

Innovation apple and lessons from Sonia Gandhi

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative,” said David Ogilvy, the best ad-man there was. Innovation is commercialization of creativity, said Vijay Govindarajan. In practice, corporate innovation looks mostly as below.

This article spurred the below “what innovators can learn from Sonia Gandhi,” making innovation more impactful.

  1. Modest but perseverant (shuns publicity)
  2. Mindset/ears tuned towards customer/market demands (her econ-policies are extreme pro-poor)
  3. Surround yourself with smart/complementary-to-your-skills people (PM Singh takes care of administrative burdens of the office)
  4. Not interested in (corporate) politics
  5. Systematize (innovation) in order to capitalize (spearheaded successful systems/procedures)
  6. Earn trust from outside (customers/markets) and inside (leadership/employees)

Risk fin and why to embrace risk

Since 2009, SEC’s Division of Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation, “parachuted into complex legislative matters demanding immediate specialized expertise“. Searching “risk fin” on EconomyInCrisis and DollarCollapse was fruitless.

A beautiful poem “Risk (author unknown)” contains:

To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.

concluding “Only the person who risks can be free.

To succeed, organizational risk-management needs:

  1. rethink (danger->opportunity->necessity),
  2. contextualization
  3. consider (cross-disciplinary/organizational) success-stories
  4. tailoring to organizational structures

Noah, human irrationality and vision of Communist America

Noah got drunk drinking wine (yayin) – God told him to enjoy it. Bible says that God gave wine to make men glad.

Wine makes us irrational, or does it? Even without it, there is much evidence that we are irrational. Halo effect, cognitive dissonance, Chameleon effect (mimicking increases/decreases likability), and so on and forth.

How else to explain Yo-Yo world cups since 1932?

Talking of irrationality, Trotsky  conducted a thought-experiment about America becoming a Communist country. He predicted that, by 2037, America will produce a new breed of Man and in Communistic America, Americans will stop chewing gum in 3 years!

Absurd laws in England and disbelief in American Constitution

In England, there are some absurd laws:

  • It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
  • A pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants

In America, absurdity=(religion+politics)/law. Nixon was Quaker, hosting religious services in White House. Reagan’s NS sessions were held in presence of religious scholars and based on notions like Paradise. Bush admitted taking his instructions from God. According to one survey, 65% of Americans believe Founding Fathers intended America to be Christian, and 55% believe Constitution establishes a Christian nation. Hogwash.

Information from religious search engines will show what your startup can learn from religion. Good luck.

Innovation and white boards in Obama administration

Spurred by Obama’s “Sputnik moment” (referring to economic competition with China), gov-sponsored Smithsonian Institute launched a new blog “Department of Innovation.”

The three interlocking gears on logo can’t move in any direction – good analogy of American government’s current situation.

And in the last session of “White House White Board,” where Obama cronies/academics lecture America’s movers-n-shakers on how government can run along its brightest, Austan Goolsbee, a Chicago academic with 0 experience in business heading Obama’s ERAB, played his usual comedy by preaching about economic importance of startups/entrepreneurs.

While at Yale, Goolsbee was in improv comedy troupes.