Collaboration: Lessons from Medieval Trading

As global markets become more complex, companies are increasingly pursuing collaboration to unlock value chain efficiency and agility. From joint demand planning to asset sharing, companies are seeking to unlock cross-firm economies of scale and scope. A key challenge preventing systematic collaboration is one of participating companies taking opportunistic, zero-sum actions during ambiguously defined scenarios… Continue reading Collaboration: Lessons from Medieval Trading

Capital and Wealth … Was Marx right?

The  prolonged US recession and recent increase in  income inequality has energized viewpoints challenging capitalism as a sustainable economic model. Some media and pundits have rallied around the Marx ideology that we are beginning to see capitalism starting to unravel itself. In his "Das Kapital", Marx argues that the capitalist's pursuit of profit accumulation over… Continue reading Capital and Wealth … Was Marx right?

Spain’s Colonial Wealth and Enterprise Building

During the 16th century, Spain transformed from a modest European kingdom to a global hegemony. Spain's success was driven by monetizing innovations in trans-ocean navigation and firearms to appropriate vast quantities of minerals (silver, copper, gold) from American conquest. However, like any mismanaged enterprise, Spain's disastrous deployment of its new found capital led to its inevitable… Continue reading Spain’s Colonial Wealth and Enterprise Building

The Prince and Insights in M&A Success

The Prince and Insights in M&A Success

Business is often seen as war and statecraft. Take for example how we describe numerous management terms such as competitive positioning, stick vs. carrot, or war-gamming. If business is war then merger and acquisition, would be analogous to the capture and annexation of new principalities. In both scenarios, the acquirer must manage institutional complexity, cultural… Continue reading The Prince and Insights in M&A Success

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same …

The mortgage CDO initiated market crash of 2008 has surprising similarities with the rail road induced market crash of 1873.  Both are driven by greed induced risk taking in a rapidly changing market, with banks issuing mis-priced securities and bonds on top of risky and faulty assets that resulted in defaults and deflation which in turn triggered a multi-year recession. In the following passage from Ron Chernow's House of Morgan,… Continue reading The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same …