Day: March 17, 2023

SVB, a week later

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

It is hard to imagine that it has already been a week since the start of the tumultuous events that led to the FDIC taking over Silicon Valley Bank, and coming to the rescue of the depositors. The rancor that has followed the takeover has been sobering and should be a wake-up call for Silicon Valley — but it won’t be because SV has become a loose collection of competing self-interested factions.

SVB’s failure also exposed Silicon Valley to the harsh reality: the larger world hates the tech industry and what it has come to represent. The outsized nature of the success, matched by the outsized bravado and machismo of its fake prophets, has eroded all goodwill for one of the most critical sectors of the US economy. As I pointed out earlier,

“Whether politicians and media like it or not, the technology sector is one of the few engines of growth that we have in the US. The long-term war with our new geopolitical rivals will continue to be fought on the technology front. I can understand that the general population, populist politicians, and media have faint regard for Uber-rich tech giants, blowhard billionaires, and the lack of empathy and morality in emergent technologies — but that’s missing the forest for the trees.”

A big reason for this growing apathy is that the industry is starting to be represented by voices that lack the empathy to understand the real world and the emotional impact of the intersection of technology and (Read more...)

Permanent Elegance of NY’s Flatiron Building

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

Flatiron Building in New York is coming up for auction soon. I learned about that when I posted a photo of the Flatiron Building being constructed on a social network. It triggered a chain of thoughts about permanence in what we build as a society. 

The building was started in 1901 and was finished in May 1902. The architect, Daniel Burnham, not only created a beautiful design to utilize what was not an attractive plot of land but also turned it into an urban icon. Since then, it has become as much a part of New York cityscape as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. 

Seeing how beautiful it still looks and inspires even today, is a testament to its good bones. One hundred and twenty years later, it is still standing tall & good. There is a lesson: good bones sound good quality is timeless! Flatiron Building is one of the most Instagrammed locations in North America, if not in the world. 

“The Flatiron Building and the picture postcard seemed made for each other,” Miriam Berman, an urban archivist and designer, once said. “The shapes were just right.” Of course, not everything in the building was perfect. There were issues galore, but the building has survived. How many of today’s buildings can stand the test of time? 

People argue that the speed with which our buildings are put together today is why we don’t have many iconic buildings. Speed to market isn’t new — Flatiron Building also (Read more...)

Charging for a feature, then charging more to remove that feature… Where have I heard that before?

For those who think the Tesla CEO gets all of his ideas from an old Thunderbirds Are Go! DVD, this clearly comes from a more sophisticated source.

Is it possible to care at scale?

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

After 25 years, I stopped using a certain credit card for business. It was easily millions of dollars worth of transactions over that period. Did anyone at the company notice? Did anyone care?

I still remember losing a client in 1987. Small organizations pay attention and care very much about each and every customer. Verizon and AT&T, on the other hand, don’t even know that you and I exist.

Small family farms have significantly higher yields than neighboring farms that are much bigger. That’s because the individual farmer cares about every single stalk and frond, and the person with a lot of land is more focused on what they think of as the big picture.

But it’s pretty clear that if you add up enough small things, you get to the big one.

Caring at scale can’t be done by the CEO or a VP. But what these folks can do is create a culture that cares. They can hire people who are predisposed to care. They can pay attention to the people who care and measure things that matter instead of chasing the short term.

Large organizations have significant structural advantages. But the real impacts happen when they act like small ones.