A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100

In its 400+ year history, the corporation has achieved extraordinary things, cutting around-the-world travel time from years to less than a day, putting a computer on every desk, a toilet in every home (nearly) and a cellphone within reach of every human. It even put a man on the Moon and kinda-sorta cured AIDS.

So it is a sort of grim privilege for the generations … [ Read more ]

The Inquisition of the Entrepreneur

Venkatesh Rao tries to turn the lean startup conversation, anchored by Steve Blank’s book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, into a self-administered inquisition. He offers a test, a round-up of the lean startup conversation, and a micro-riff on applying this to your life

Cloudworker Economics

Venkat Rao has started an exploration of the changing nature of careers with a micro-level view of its archetypal figure, the cloudworker. In this second part in the series, let’s take a look at how the cloudworker fits within the economy. The main argument of this article is that the dominant distinction in labor economics, unemployed vs. employed, is slowly getting displaced by a more … [ Read more ]

Bay’s Conjecture

Bay’s conjecture is simply this: Autonomous machines are more demanding of their operator than non-autonomous machines. Venkat Rao expands on the significance of this conjecture.

Maslow for Market Segmentation

Venkat Rao offers a visualization of a very obvious way to understand markets at the broadest level: segment all products and services based on what customer need they serve on the Maslow hierarchy.

The Varieties of Innovation Experience

If you have accepted “innovator” as some part of your identity, what sort of innovator are you? Venkat Rao offers a dictionary of personality types he’s encountered and offers some of his favorite examples from history.

Theory W, Theory X and Theory Y

Venkat Rao talks about why existing models of talent management have been undermined to the point that they are completely unworkable today. Besides X and Y, there are no less than nine schools of thought that he’s been able to find. These theories drive actions in all aspects of talent management – acquisition, retention, turnover-management and development, and apply to managing people down, up or … [ Read more ]

Venkatesh Rao

For somebody with a valuable skill, it is possible to completely ignore the idea people strewn like beggars around the landscape, and have a good life just working on validated, low-risk mature ideas. The demand for good, big ideas isn’t as high as people think, because of the simple constraint of execution bandwidth. One Einstein (a classic idea person) can occupy a couple of generations … [ Read more ]

Venkatesh Rao

Opportunists are humble enough to realize that the random forces of nature are more powerful than themselves. That these random forces often conspire to make things ridiculously easy just as often as they conspire to create hurricanes and earthquakes. Most people realize that a lot depends on being in the right place at the right time. Very few realize that this situation is not the … [ Read more ]