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Photo by davisco on Unsplash

The March on Washington, in which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, is one of the most iconic events in American history. So it shouldn’t be surprising that when anybody wants to drive change in the United States, they often begin with trying to duplicate that success.

Yet that’s a gross misunderstanding of why the march was successful. As I explain in Cascades, the civil rights movement didn’t become powerful because of the March on Washington, the March on Washington took place because the civil rights movement became powerful. …


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In 2018, Steve Blank wrote a piece in Harvard Business Review questioning the viability of the “lean startup” model. Given that Steve had pioneered lean startup techniques, I was intrigued. Why would he, all of a sudden begin, to doubt an idea that had been so successful and, to me at least, still seemed so relevant, even for large enterprises.

As it turned out, what made Steve hesitate was a new venture called “New TV” that was headed up by the dream team of legendary Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and star Silicon Valley CEO Meg Whitman. Beyond talent and cache, it had raised almost $2 billion. …


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Photo by Anastasia Petrova on Unsplash

For decades, the dominant view of strategy was based on Michael Porter’s ideas about competitive advantage. In essence, he argued that the key to long-term success was to dominate the value chain by maximizing bargaining power among suppliers, customers, new market entrants and substitute goods.

Yet digital technology blew apart old assumptions. As technology cycles began to outpace planning cycles, traditional firms were often outfoxed by smaller competitors that were faster and more agile. Risk averse corporate cultures needed to learn how to “fail fast” or simply couldn’t compete.

Today, as the digital revolution is coming to an end, we will need to rethink strategy once again. Increasingly, we can no longer just move fast and break things, but will have to learn how to prepare for disruption, rather than just adapt, build deep collaborations and drive skills-based transformations. Make no mistake, those who fail to make the shift will struggle to survive. …


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image: Pixabay

There’s no doubt that capitalism in America is in bad shape. Higher market share concentration in industry is leading to higher profits for corporate giants, but also to higher prices and lower wages along with decreased innovation and productivity growth as well as a long-term decline in entrepreneurship.

You would think that the rise of progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be responsible for the decline in the power of capitalism and the demise of free markets. However, a new book by NYU finance professor Thomas Philippon, called The Great Reversal, argues exactly the opposite.

In fact, he shows through meticulous research how capitalists themselves are killing capitalism. Through the charade of “pro-business” policies, industry leaders have been increasing regulation and limiting competition over the past 20 years. We need to right the ship and return to an embrace of free markets, entrepreneurship and innovation. …


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Image: Pixabay

In 2011, IBM’s Watson system beat the best human players in the game show, Jeopardy! Since then, machines have shown that they can outperform skilled professionals in everything from basic legal work to diagnosing breast cancer. It seems that machines just get smarter and smarter all the time.

Yet that is largely an illusion. While even a very young human child understands the basic concept of cause and effect, computers rely on correlations. …


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Image: Wikimedia Commons

When Steve Jobs was trying to lure John Sculley from Pepsi to Apple in 1982, he asked him, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” The ploy worked and Sculley became the first major CEO of a conventional company to join a hot Silicon Valley startup.

It seems so quaint today, in the midst of a global pandemic, that a young entrepreneur selling what was essentially a glorified word processor thought he was changing the world. The truth is that the digital revolution, despite all the hype, has been something of a disappointment. …


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Image: PublicDomainPictures.net

It’s easy to look at someone like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk and imagine that their success was inevitable. Their accomplishments are so out of the ordinary that it just seems impossible that they could have ever been anything other than successful. You get the sense that whatever obstacles they encountered, they would overcome.

Yet it isn’t that hard to imagine a different path. If, for example, Jobs had remained in Homs, Syria, where he was conceived, it’s hard to see how he would have ever been able to become a technology entrepreneur at all, much less a global icon. …


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Image: Wikimedia Commons

On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy addressed the nation from Rice University. “We choose to go to the moon,” he said. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

The speech galvanized the country into one of the most vast collective efforts in history, involving politicians, scientists, engineers and the general public to achieve that goal. …


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Image: Unsplash

A 2019 study by the Brookings Institution found that over 61% of jobs will be affected by automation. That comes on the heels of a 2017 report from the McKinsey Global Institute that found that 51% of total working hours and $2.7 trillion dollars in wages are highly susceptible to automation and a 2013 Oxford study that found 47% of jobs will be replaced.

The future looks pretty grim indeed until you start looking at jobs that have already been automated. Fly-by-wire was introduced in 1968, but today we’re facing a massive pilot shortage. The number of bank tellers has doubled since ATMs were introduced. …


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Image: Flickr JD Lasica

In 2011, technology pioneer Marc Andreessen declared that software is eating the world. “With lower start-up costs and a vastly expanded market for online services,” he wrote, “the result is a global economy that for the first time will be fully digitally wired — the dream of every cyber-visionary of the early 1990s, finally delivered, a full generation later.

Yet as Derek Thompson recently pointed out in The Atlantic, the euphoria of Andreessen and his Silicon Valley brethren seems to have been misplaced. Former unicorns like Uber, Lyft, and Peloton have seen their value crash, while WeWork saw its IPO self-destruct. …

About

Greg Satell

Bestselling Author of Cascades and Mapping Innovation, @HBR Contributor, - Learn more at www.GregSatell.com — note: I use Amazon Affiliate links for books.

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