July 12, 2015: A term that I learned in my various banking ventures over the years is that someone in the bank always becomes the Designated Blame Officer. A big loan may go bad because of completely unpredictable circumstances, but one can be sure than an officer will take the fall for that. Just this week on a global scale we saw Antony Jenkins at Barclays go from CEO to DBO as a result of nefarious behavior on his watch and what was described as too slow a pace of change.
July 5, 2015: The Dyer gene pool provided me very little in the way of natural rhythm. I once took ballroom dance lessons where the instructor likened me to a windshield wiper completely off beat with the car radio. When I make a mistake with my golf swing, it’s also nearly always attributable to losing the rhythm that results in a good shot. The old saying is “swing slowly and enjoy the extra distance” – and that is indeed true. A smooth, rhythmic, unhurried swing will result in better contact and a longer ball flight.
June 28, 2015: The headline above is a term commonly used in the tech industry. It came to mind this week via an article about “connected devices” or “Internet of Things” stating effectively that, even though Apple, Google, Samsung, and other titans are doubling down in this space without much yet to show for their efforts, future adoption of these technologies is inevitable.
June 21, 2015: We worked very hard this past week to complete our business model for the biotech startup I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. A question that has come to the fore is the makeup of the management team going forward and the compensation norms in both stock and cash for this type of business.
June 14, 2015: As part of my customary summer Georgia Tech board meeting tour, I had the chance to visit three of the corporate innovation centers that have been established in and around the campus, many of them in the Advanced Technology Development Center. Consider this list of the occupants: ThyssenKrupp, AT&T Mobility, Home Depot, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Southern Company, Worldpay, NCR, Panasonic, Sage, Stanley Black & Decker, plus three more major names on the verge of being announced.
June 7, 2015: This dispatch is filed from the road but deals with an act of the Texas State Legislature during its last weekend of this year’s session. This New York Times article explains how Texas is set to become the eighth state in the US to allow the carrying of concealed guns on public college campuses. This privilege commences with the fall semester of 2016.
May 31, 2015: I currently have the privilege of working on a project in the cancer treatment branch of the biotech arena. I’ve learned enough terminology to sound like I know what I’m talking about, but, fortunately for patients, the founder of this business is a practicing surgical oncologist who is indeed an expert. He is one of those rare individuals from the inside of a profession who can envision a nontraditional pathway toward achieving a higher standard of care.
May 24, 2015: It’s commencement season for those graduating into the ever more sharing economy, and a few thoughts on that are timely. I must have read a dozen articles on that subject this week, the most striking being a prediction that the auto industry would be displaced by a smartphone-dependent transport system. We’d keep most vehicles in use most of the time and reduce the fleet requirement by an order of magnitude. In one such article the analogy was made to IBM’s transition from its PC glory days to what is now primarily a services business.
May 17, 2015: Tech entrepreneurs employing knowledge workers today have the luxury of thinking of office space as a service that can be dialed up or down to match the stage of the venture. Evolutions in the way we work along with new business models in commercial real estate like co-working spaces have relieved startups from the traditional risky bets on 5-year leases for fixed numbers of square feet and parking spaces.
May 10, 2015: As mentioned last week, Bob Metcalfe and I are focusing our energies on the Innovation Center at UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering and no longer have responsibilities as instructors in the Longhorn Startup program. Now comes the task of identifying the next wellsprings of great ideas that deserve our attention and nurturing.