Perthblog

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 Difference between Agile and Supple Leadership


So where did I get “supple leadership” from? I made it up of course! Actually I was reflecting on the now widespread use of the term “agile leadership”. It’s in use by many companies and there are even assessments for it now such as one from Korn/Ferry. Even I have been guilty of using the term (see my post “Can Behavioral Agility Be Learned?”) &nb...

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A Turing Test for Leadership?


Did you notice that the next Apple developer’s conference will focus on Siri? Meanwhile the digital assistants’ wars have heated up with Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. These all aim to create a human-like assistant that can interact through voice. Nor are these the only entries. We also have Watson from IBM, NELL from Car...

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Would Trump be a Billionaire without his Inheritance?


Is this the elephant in the room? Trump's frequent allusions to his vast wealth and to how smart he is sounds awfully like the rich son who inherited it all but wants to convince everyone else – and himself – that really he did it all himself. So I thought I would do an analysis of this question. I think I’m well qualified to do that. For the past ...

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An Inconvenient Truth - Alpha Financial Styles Beget Ginormous Returns


Apologies to Al Gore for another inconvenient truth. There’s been a lot of talk about alpha these days, but not just about investments. Trump, Putin - alpha is definitely in vogue. As in alpha male. Like Tarzan. Does that tell us something about the investing world? Yep it does. Check out my book The Three Financial Styles of Very Successful Leader...

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We need the Interplanetary Monetary Fund now!


So finally SpaceX made it and soft-landed its booster rocket. An epochal achievement. And Bezos’ Blue Origin did much the same although on a lower orbit. So now the race is on. Next it will be the Russians, Chinese, Japanese, maybe even the North Koreans, God forbid. It’s now obvious that we have pretty much everything we need up there to keep body...

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Behavioral M&A – Yahoo Needed It But Too Late Now


So what’s behavioral M&A anyhows? See here for the skinny, will tell you more below. When Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO I predicted she would fail. Right on the money (“Yahoo – Product Bling 1, Business Acumen 0”). Was the problem Ms. Mayer or something else? How about the 70 or so acquisitions she made? They cost around $4 billion; it’s now ...

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“The Big Short” – The Real Problem with Ratings


Did you see “The Big Short”? I’m sure Bernie Sanders is having a field day, his ticket to the big job he thinks. It’s worth seeing if only to reveal the zeitgeist in 2007, a fin de siècle moment. Naturally it paints the banks and the ratings companies in the darkest of colors. So what went wrong with the mortgage bonds and such-like? The film sugge...

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Can we create irrational AI?


Did you notice that an AI program from Google just beat a top human player at Go? It’s a big deal; the chess problem was solved years ago but Go was still a challenge. So now that problem has fallen, AI has got to go to the next step. What will that be I wonder? The problem is getting more difficult as we come to understand that humans aren’t the o...

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Mother Knows Best – Leadership is Innate in Women, Learned In Men


Did you see that Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, just got Time’s Person of the Year? She’s the only Western leader who can deal with Putin. She’s really the leader of “united” Europe which has the combined heft of the US. So she certainly deserves it. Definitely in the same class as Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Outshines any of the other Eur...

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Blockchain – A Revolutionary New Way to Stop Corruption in its Tracks, Everywhere!


You’ve probably heard of bitcoins, which are now, once again a hot topic. A US company (Coinbase) has just started up the first bitcoin credit card in the US, so I guess if it has a piece of plastic behind it, it must be good. But bitcoin is getting to be old hat these days. The really hot ticket is the blockchain which is the technology model unde...

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Tinderizing Leadership


I guess you’ve heard of Tinder? New Age dating app: see photo, swipe left for reject, right to accept. You’re on. Major sensation amongst singles. Tinder recently announced big news. In future it will have a special space to list your job and education. Yep, never had it before. I guess that’s why it has had the reputation of being a hookup site… B...

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Are Narcissistic, Uncaring People the Most Successful Leaders?


I just saw the Alex Gibney’s documentary about Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”. It’s more true to the man than Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs”, also showing now. I’ve already showed my hand in my blog post on the 2013 film “Jobs”: “Can a Narcissistic Bully be a Good Leader? So what’s the message? Jobs was a visionary, bullying, aestheti...

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Can a Master Algorithm become the Next US President?

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I just read “The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World” by Pedro Domingos. Fair warning: it’s not for the faint-hearted. Domingos is a leading researcher in the area of machine learning and he’s a zealot for his subject. It’s pretty technical so the book is kind of heavy going. On the other hand it’...

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Insiders, Outsiders and Trump Mania – Can a Successful Leader in One Career Always be Successful in Others?

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I guess like everyone else I have been following the GOP candidates show closely. Because of my interest in leadership, I am less focused on the ideological issues than of which of the candidates are most likely to be successful in the top leadership position of the US Presidency. The age-old issue is this; if you have been successful in one leader...

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What have Octopuses got to do with Leadership?

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Well, you gotta think outside the box occasionally right? I got the idea from the Economist that recently published an article on how octopuses think. Apparently they don’t really have a central brain like we humans. Instead their neurons are dispersed around their body, especially in their tentacles. So actually they think with their tentacles not...

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Do employee engagement surveys filter out potential great leaders?

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Did you see the recent article “Working at Amazon Is a Soul-Crushing Experience"? It was written by an ex-employee so he should know, or should he? It’s raised much controversy ranging from the defenders of Bezos to those who say I told you so. We have other poster-boys for alleged employee abuse including Elon Musk (seeAshlee Vance’s “Tesla, Space...

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Invisible Leaders Are the Best?

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Much of the talk about leadership is about how the leader looks and how he should act to be seen as being most effective by her followers. But I think there’s another perspective; that the best leaders, to paraphrase the old saying about children in Victorian times, are best not seen, and not heard. That might seem a bit heretical. Isn’t the job of...

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The Leader-Choreographer – Aim for Emotional Impact

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Was doing some coaching last week and met a young lady who had impressive skills in arranging events. She’s a leader but doesn’t know it yet. And her lesson is a good one for all of us. She arranges conferences for her company. But although young she has already migrated to making these conferences into experiences. People at her conferences don’t ...

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Could brain phishing hijack a leader’s strategies?

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Did you see that Microsoft has developed software and a website that can guess your age just by looking at a photo? No more lying about our age I guess. And I suppose you have seen the numerous reports about how researchers can now identify your emotions based on brainwaves seen from MRI scans? So now we’re cutting off yet another avenue for creati...

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Low EQ = High Business Acumen?

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Well I’m sure that this post will get me flamed but here’s going anyhow. Emotional intelligence is hot. It’s supposed to make you a better leader. How so? By making you more sensitive to your fellow man, it’s supposed to make your followers more engaged, more loyal to you and so on. The same with customers. In this model high engagement and high lo...

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