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Entrepreneurs v Managers

31 December 2009

Few organisations achieve a satisfactory balance between entrepreneurial spirit and management discipline, the elusive quality I call disciplined entrepreneurialism. There’s an almost inevitable tension between the often anarchic forces of creativity and originality and those of order, efficiency and professionalism. Creative people and organisations are often hopeless at practical tasks, while the […]

What inspires entrepreneurs?

24 December 2009

The suggestion that there is an entrepreneurial gene – that entrepreneurs are born not made, raises interesting questions about what we mean by entrepreneurialism. There are many facets to it and entrepreneurs come in many different forms. Some of the most successful ones do not correspond with the stereotypes of a relish […]

Must M&A always be dangerous?

17 December 2009

My last post dwelt on two particularly disastrous mergers. These are not of course typical, but the short answer must surely be yes: mergers and acquisitions are nearly always dangerous, since the outcome is always uncertain and the risks enormous. Most result in much poorer performance than was promised at the time, […]

M&A: the triumph of hope over experience

11 December 2009

There’s an intriguing symmetry between two announcements this month. Comcast, the cable company, has acquired 51% of NBC Universal, and Time Warner has finally managed to sell off AOL, with which it so disastrously merged nine years ago. The latest deal may not challenge the earlier one for the title of most […]

In defence of heretics

4 December 2009

Cormac McCarthy announced this week that he is auctioning the Olivetti he has been using since 1963. Why do some people cling stubbornly to a technology that everyone else thinks is completely passé? Are they Luddites, or just wildly eccentric?

The questions reveal more about the unthinking conformism and intolerance of those […]