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This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

The Calpers' Hedge Fund Fiasco: The Solution They Missed

I guess you noticed that Calpers has just ditched investing in hedge funds . The official line was that it was too complicated. The truth of the matter was that it didn’t work. .   That tells us a lot about hedge funds and investing generally and you know I am going to draw my own conclusions from that. First it’s been clear for a long ti...
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Peter Thiel “Zero to One”: Monopoly-ness is Closest to Godliness!

I just read Peter Thiel’s new book “One to Zero”. You know Peter Thiel right? Co-founded Paypal, founded Palantir, well-known for his scholarships that give chosen entrepreneurs $100,000 if they quit college and start a company. Quite a guy. The book is really a series of reflections on innovation and entrepreneurship whose quality varies more than...
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Will Putin Nuke? The Psychomarkers of Leaders for War and Peace

So Russia just conducted a nuclear test, how could that be interpreted other than a warlike act? If you are into leadership one good distinction to make is between the leaders you need for war and those you need for peace. The Mafia knew (knows?) all about it and I get my information on impeccable authority from the epic novel “The Godfather”. That...
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What the Dreadnoughtus Dinosaur Teaches us About Leadership 2.0

Did you hear about the recent discovery of the so-called Dreadnoughtus schrani dinosaur (found in Argentina)? When it lived on Earth it weighed some 85 tons. That’s 12 African elephants or 7 Tyrannosaurus Rexes. Or to translate into a modern equivalent, that’s over 40 Cadillac Escalades. That’s really, really big. So as usual that got me to thinkin...
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Yo! - Is Exercise the Secret to Silicon Valley’s Success?

I’ve just been reading about the Yo app. You know the one whose only job is to text you the word “Yo”. It doesn’t get much briefer than that. But who knows. Maybe it will get a billion dollar valuation too and make me at least look like a total fool. There are lots of theories about Silicon Valley’s success. Crazy entrepreneurs, risk-taking VCs, im...
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The Ice-Bucket Challenge – Leadership for Sissies?

I’ve been watching all the celebrities getting involved in the ice-bucket challenge . It’s quite a sight. And you can’t gainsay the fact that so far it’s raised over $40 million for the fight against  Lou Gehrig’s disease. That’s genuinely impressive. But isn’t the thinking behind it less so? The idea is that someone pours ice cold water over ...
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Reflection on Robin Williams - Health IS Wealth

Of course we have all seen the tragic news about Robin Williams, So I get to thinking yet again about health. The most immediate impacts of ill-health are on psychic and emotional well-being. That impacts both the ill person and their friends, colleagues and family. So of course, these social and personal impacts are what have the most immediate im...
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The Rosetta Probe and the New Era of Spacefarer Leadership

I guess you’ve been seeing all the news about the Rosetta probe that has now just rendezvoused with the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. To do that it had to travel 4 billion miles over a period of 10 years, and make several gravity-assisted flybys of several planets in an incredibly convoluted series of space maneuvers . What’s the odds that you c...
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Planet of the Apes and Quantum Empathy - Do Animals have a Higher EQ than Humans?

This is not a plug for the Planet of the Apes prequel. It’s hackneyed and full of terrible clichés. But it does raise an interesting question about how animals think, and therefore about how we humans think too. I think we can safely say that people have higher cognitive capacity for abstract problem-solving than animals. That’s despite more recent...
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Serena Williams and the End of Leadership

Did you see Serena Williams flame out at the French Open? So what was that all about? Leadership is a phase in one’s life. You start it, do it and then finish it. How do you prepare for its end? There’s a gazillion books and articles on leadership ( including my own ). They all tell you how to do it better. But they don’t tell you about that one. H...
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“Lean In” The Sequel: Are Women More Profitable than Men?

Many wise words have been penned about women in leadership. Most of them focus on the work-life balance, the glass ceiling and the leadership characteristics of women as distinct from men. But what about women’s profitability performance versus men? Why wouldn’t we be interested in that? Ever heard of a women investment manager? Yeah, I know, there...
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Are the Financial Guys in Private Equity Failing Due To Over-Reliance On Financials?

I guess you’ve noticed all the comment and analysis about private equity doing worse than the S&P or at least not doing better ? Seems that while PE has done much better than the S&P over a 10 year period, over the past 5 years they have been way behind. But alternative investments are supposed to beat the pants off the old ways of doing th...
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Eat Wheat To Become A Better Leader!

Did you see the recent study in Science that compared Chinese who eat wheat versus those who eat rice ? It turns out that there’s a big difference. The wheat-eaters (from the North) are more individualistic and the rice-eaters (from the South) are more communalistic. The authors believe that it’s due to the fact that rice takes a lot more effort to...
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Dr. Dre Does Leadership, Kind Of

I guess you read about Apple buying Dr. Dre and Beats? Something to add to the fading Apple cool factor? I think I am swimming against the tide on this one, but streaming music doesn’t sound to me like the next frontier. It’s already here, there are lots of players and it’s becoming commoditized. Amazon, of course, just got involved . Did you notic...
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Online Dating and M&A 2.0: Towards a New Kind of (Corporate) Loving?

I was just reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about people on dating sites using tiger photos to attract attention from potenotial squeezes. Some of these sites have some great techniques. It seems for example, that one site (Tinder), which is optimized for smartphone use, allows you to swipe right if you like someone’s post/photos and l...
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Can Behavioral Agility Be Learned?

It’s now fashionable to talk about leadership agility. The idea is that it doesn’t matter so much what your strengths and weaknesses are; the trick is whether you can learn to act the strengths you need if you don’t possess them naturally. And it doesn’t matter what your weaknesses are either as long as you can address them in a productive way, eve...
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Is Irrationality a Key Leadership Trait? Donald Sterling and Vladimir Putin

I can’t get used to all the reporting on Donald Sterling. The media have gone to town on it. He’s a bad guy no doubt; but there's even worse. How about the unspeakable and truly despicable Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Bok Haram, if you want the lowest villain of them all? Nonetheless this got me to thinking (again) about the nature of leadership....
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Alibaba And The Recombinant IPO – Can a Copycat Ever be an Innovator?

I have been following all the hoopla about Alibaba’s upcoming IPO. Yep, I know it’s a big deal. It’s the biggest internet company in the world by a long shot. It has a lock on the Chinese market (for now at least). On paper it should be able to rise to even more commanding heights. So what’s not to like? Well here’s my question. Can it keep it up? ...
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The Leadership Secrets of Rob Ford and Justin Bieber: Addiction is the New Normal

So Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, just got outed again in a new crack video. You’ve got to hand it to him; he’s a newshound and a highly successful one at that. Ironically he also seems to be a good mayor, if you exclude his many exploits, both drug-related and otherwise. Actually I think we have to view him not as a politician but as an entertain...
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Genetic Testing to Behavioral Predestination: Can Neuroscience Predict Lifetime Outcomes?

So now genetic testing has become de rigueur amongst the jet set, the biological equivalent of Google Glass. As well it might be since Google has invested in this area also (is there anything that Google hasn’t invested in?). What does this mean for everyone else? Well there was a time there when it looked like once you could read the human genome,...
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