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This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

The End of Restaurants?


I just returned from one of my regular trips to China. Air quality worse, even more traffic. BUT a Cambrian-like explosion of bikes and bike-sharing (see Ofo ) and now, lots more yummy takeout. Americans invented takeout right? How dare the upstart Chinese try to beat us at our own game? But they have: massively. China and the US are on different p...
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Amazon Eats Whole Foods – Are Authentic Leaders Too Predictable?


So we didn’t expect Amazon to do the Whole Foods thing right? Bezos is an unpredictable guy. Reminds me of Elon Musk, Richard Branson, even (especially) Donald Trump. Unpredictable to a fault. Never know what they’re gonna do next. The traditional leadership canon teaches that leaders should be predictable; authentic they call it. But what I see is...
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Quantum Biotech Completes the Cure for All Cancer!


Did you see the truly amazing news that there’s now a drug that can actually cure all cancers no matter their location ? And it’s been approved by the fusty old FDA so it really must work! Yep, it only works in about 4% of the population who have the right genetic makeup. But the writing is on the wall. Soon scientists are going to figure out all t...
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Uber-Leading - Are empathy and disruptiveness incompatible?


So Travis Kalanick of Uber has been given the boot. What’s that all about? He’s promoted a hostile and sexually harassing culture. He needs to be reformed. Is his departure going to kill the company? Probably. I can think of several leaders who totally lacked empathy; more; they were unsympathetic, bullies, sometimes narcissistic and unappealing hu...
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A Radical Fix for the North Korea Problem


I don’t have to tell you how serious the North Korea issue is. It’s clearly getting even worse. We are close to the level of severity of the Cuban missile crisis, even beyond. Is there anything to be done about it? So far all strategies have failed. Talks, sanctions, negotiations, threats, hacking. The only thing left is war. But if that happens we...
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What’s wrong with quant approaches?


You know the old story: when a celebrity gets to be Time Person of the Year, it’s time to short them. Obama received the honor twice, in 2008 and 2012 and look where that got him! Trump was Time Person of the Year 2016 so look out! In the same vein I notice that the Wall Street Journal now has a new and separate section on quants. Does that mean th...
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Terraforming the Cosmos


If you’re a sci-fi buff you know all about terraforming . That means changing a planet’s “atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the environment of Earth to make it habitable by Earth-like life.” In your dreams right now, but the reality is probably almost on us. It sounds kind of far-off, if not far out, in all sen...
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Can we calm the global mood with sound?


Recently I posted on the huge impact noise pollution is having on human moods globally, including making us all incredibly crabby. (“ Does noise cause global dysfunction in human mood? ”). Coincidentally (?) the Washington Post followed my article with its own about noise pollution, even in the national parks (“ Human noise pollution is everywhere,...
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Quantum is the new digital


If you’re a regular reader of this blog you might have noticed I have a disproportionate number of posts about quantum stuff. Case in point my recent post of “ Social Science is the study of entangled brains: Discuss ”. Not to mention “ High Frequency Trading Trashed by Quantum Computers? ” And so on. Yep, it’s very nerdy. But isn’t it a little bit...
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Are dynasties the future of democracy?


So I know I don’t have to remind you that we have a family running the US of A. Let’s say that it continues, with or without a gap between other family members also getting into the saddle. That’s what a dynasty is, in both cases. And this is hardly new. In modern times we’ve had the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons. The Roosevelts before that...
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Do trees have brains?


I’m sure you noticed (or maybe not) a little news item that deforestation in Brazil increased 30% in the last 12 months ? So what? Does anyone care? Why should we anyway? There’s inconsequential reasons like forests create rain (through the action of emitting terpenes , inter alia) and stabilize terra firma. I have a more selfish reason; when you’r...
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Shouldn’t leadership be about business outcome, not about traits?


Did you notice that Tesla is now worth as much as General Motors? Quite a milestone given the fact that Tesla sells 80,000 cars a year versus GM’s 2 million plus.  Does that tell us something about leadership? My go-to reference Wikipedia defines a leadership style as a way of “providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people ”. ...
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Social Science is the study of entangled brains: Discuss.


So here’s a turn-up for the books. It turns out that you don’t just get entanglement between individual photons. You can get entanglement between millions of photons simultaneously, all of them within a single object (although not necessarily so). Sounds like cods-wollop right? What am I, or the scientists who figured this out, smoking here? If you...
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Self-driving democracy?


We’ve seen some strange things lately in the political arena, what with Brexit, Trump, and the upcoming political upstarts in Europe and so on. So strange in fact that African leaders are now warning global leaders not to copy the West’s political systems, as did Rwanda’s Paul Kagame recently . So strange that Russia’s Putin is now seen as a rock s...
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Are birds aesthetes?


Yep, it’s true. Some species of birds can actually distinguish between Monet, Picasso and other painters. They can even distinguish between art styles painted by unknowns. Can your dog do that? Maybe that performance beats 90% or more of humans given the same task? So if you want to get the skinny, and confirm that I didn’t make it up check out “ T...
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Does Big Data Diminish Leadership Purpose?


Big data is really big. So is analytics. Our interns all want to get a job in those areas, so they can hit one out of the park. The big idea is that Big Data can help us uncover insights especially into how consumers act, so we can get them to buy more, and, to be fair, to better meet their needs. Big Data is transforming business, companies and ev...
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Humans can thrive on a totally polluted planet!


Did you see the news piece about pollution at the bottom of the Marianas Trench? It’s the deepest place on Earth. Turns out that the crustaceans at the very bottom are 50 times more contaminated by toxic pollution byproducts than fish in the most polluted Chinese rivers. So congratulation humans! We have succeeded magnificently in polluting absolut...
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Maybe Alzheimer’s isn’t a Brain Disease?


So I guess you saw that latest failure of an Alzheimer’s drug ( verubecestat from Merck )? Scratch yet another Phase III Alzheimer’s drug hopeful. Of 244 drugs tried out for Alzheimer’s between 2002 and 2012 , only one was approved and it is of tiny effectiveness anyway. It’s got a 99.6% failure rate in this area. As you probably know, the reigning...
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Quantum economics – can 2 (or more) minds be entangled?


I just read “ The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis . You remember him? The author of Moneyball , the best-selling book about a new way to win at baseball. “The Undoing Project: is about the emergence of behavioral economics and behavioral finance. It focuses on the two key figures in the drama, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and the incredibly f...
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Does noise cause global dysfunction in human mood?


Music streaming is hot. Everyone’s doing it. So why is it so popular? Well, the music is popular and varied, often relaxing. You can live in your own world. What’s not to like? Outside there’s a lot of hurly-burly and especially a lot of noise. Is music streaming a way to get away from the noise? We are all bathed in a constant tumult of noise, unc...
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