How Do You Get rich these days?

Let’s assume for the moment that you are not like Donald Trump – you have not inherited capital and market position.  You are jmust a normal person. Let’s also assume that you do not have an incredible talent (like at  a sport or other specialized activity that people pay huge sums to support). Ca n you get rich?

In the old days, the answer was “not likely”. Sure, some folks did it. But competitive advantage was so powerful (like GM in the car business pre-1960’s), it was hard to break into big value added markets. One could, on the other hand, do very well by working hard to get into “niche” markets. By niche, I mean local — like being a contractor, or a store or other stuff that local people needed.

This is changing. It is changing because digital technology is having profound effects on markets everywhere. Competitive advantage is not what it used to be (So says Rita Gunther McGrath). And work itself is less valuable as more and more of it gets automated.

This brings to the fore two factors that play huge rule sin adding value in our highly connected societies. They are (1) network effects, and (2) matchmaking.

Google search gave us our first view of how powerful network effects can be. Google succeeds because of the size of its network. So too does Amazon and Facebook. They leverage amazing network effects. But they do not exhaust network effects. To the contrary, they leave open all sorts of high value potential network growth opportunities.

Matchmaking is still in its infancy. We think of it in terms of personal matchmaking. But skills matchmaking is starting to take hold. Check out this Forbes article to get a glimpse of this. Here is the thing — every organization on the planet has a problem in matching skills and problem solving needs. For that reason, matchmaking is likely to evolve into a business model as tech gets better at guaranteeing quality and timeliness.

So, if you want to get rich these days, figure out how to generate network effects and build matchmaking competences. If you can do these two things better than other market participants, you don’t need other skill sets.

New Leadership Standards?

Leadership is a word that you hear a lot,. But what is it exactly? That is a bit more complicated.

We tend to define it in terms of results. So, Lincoln was a great leader because he led the country through a grave crisis. Ditto for Roosevelt.

Using past examples to define a concept is a pretty sure indicator that we are not sure how they did it – just that they did. Somehow, it all worked out.

For several reason, we may need to do better in the 21st century. Those reasons are simple. First, the destructive effects of poor leadership are magnified by the power that technology gives to groups. This has been true for some time for national leaders who have “their finger on the button”. It is more and more true for leaders of many large institutions whose decisions have global impact. Second, leaders who do not know what they are doing will hollow put important institutions, as workers vote with their feet. That unnecessarily magnifies risk of institutional failure.

So are their some skill sets that we can demand from our leaders? Here are a few

  • The skill to empower not just control
  • The skill to develop and communicate long term vision (strategic institutional sharing)
  • The skill to acknowledge great performance
  • The skill to treat people as individuals  not just part of a given demographic or worse still “units”

We Gay argues that this is what works with millennials.

But “the skill to empower”? The skill to build strategic institutional sharing? the skill to acknowledge?

Yup. These do not appear in standard MBA courses.


Just What We Need, a New Source of Greenhouse Gas

We are in a race. Can we curb our greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to avert significant damage to our planetary ecology? Progress has been made, and we are likely to go further. But is it fast enough. That is the question.

That is why news of a new greenhouse gas source is not so great. It turns out that our man-made bodies of damned water – reservoirs, emit signif9icant amounts of methane.

Reservoirs are a classic instance of how major human alteration’s to the Earth’s landscape can have unexpected effects. Flooding large areas of Earth can set off new chemical processes as tiny microorganisms break down organic matter in the water, sometimes doing so in the absence of oxygen — a process that leads to methane as a byproduct. One reason this happens is that the flooded areas initially contain lots of organic life in the form of trees and grasses.


Getting More out of MeetUp

MeetUp was a cool idea back in 2002. It empowered folks who wanted to bring people together for whatever. !4 years later, the company is finally starting to realize that “meetings” means more than just sitting around a table or attending an event together. It encompasses anything we love to do in with someone else.

So MeetUp is reinventing its app and starting over. Fred Wilson writes about that, and I think this is a cool idea.

Paris Reclaims the Right Bank from Cars

From CityLab

It’s really happening. On Monday, the elected assembly of Paris voted to permanently ban cars from a 3.3 kilometer (2 mile) stretch of the Right Bank of the River Seine, with a view to turning it into a shaded, grassy promenade and cycle way. Renderings of this beautiful plan have been floating around for some time (and have already been covered by CityLab), but without official approval they always seemed somewhat utopian. Not anymore.

Great for visitors! Let’s see how it affects residents.

Searching for Mufelltta in New Orleans

First, you might wonder what a muifuletta is.

The muffuletta is both a type of round Sicilian sesame bread[1] and a popular sandwich originating among Italian immigrants in New Orleans, Louisiana using the same bread.

Something like this

Image result for muffuletta

So where do you go for the best mufuletta in New Orleans=? Justin Devillier says Napoleon House

Image result for Napoleon House New Orleans

And perhaps afterwards, a pop over at Cane and Table

Image result for Cane and Table New Orleans

He has some other suggestions – check itout!