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.

Buffet: It’s the Personable Leaders You Have to Watch Out For!

  Can You Trust Shoeless CEOs? So, the truth is out, from no less than the oracle of Omaha. What’s the skinny? The biggest problem we face in investing in companies are the CEOs themselves. You knew that didn’t you? According to the Oracle, “You get a guy or a woman in charge of it—they’re personable, the directors like ’em—they don’t know what the...

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Do most leaders lack business acumen?

  Uh oh, GE just warned of another year of falling profits. It recently sold off its BioPharma unit making investors feel a bit better, until they realized things were still getting worse. GE needed to do something after cutting its dividend and reporting a huge loss. Jack Welch would be turning in his grave except for the fact that he’s alive. Do ...

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The leaderati are out of touch with the masses!

I guess there’s no need to engage in any further exegesis concerning the latest Black Swans on the political front, domestically and globally. But I’ve been surprised that the leadership literati (let’s call them the leaderati) haven’t been talking about what this all means for leadership thinking. Seems to me it means a whole lot. So what does lea...

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Can the cognitive biases of the intelligence agencies be exploited by our enemies?

National intelligence has been a hot topic lately. That’s a bit weird given that I have been posting on artificial intelligence. Does national intelligence come even close to AI? Can we trust its analyses? OK so I have a tiny bit of first-hand experience in this. In my callow youth I was actually a junior diplomat for a small power allied to the US...

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Is organizational culture over-hyped?

If you’re in HR, or you’re the CEO of an organization, chances are that you talk a lot about your “unique” organizational culture. It’s also a favorite of academics. Definitely politically correct. But even the promoters of organizational culture don’t exactly know what it means – see for example this article, direct from the PC headquarters of aca...

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A Turing Test for Leadership?

Did you notice that the next Apple developer’s conference will focus on Siri? Meanwhile the digital assistants’ wars have heated up with Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. These all aim to create a human-like assistant that can interact through voice. Nor are these the only entries. We also have Watson from IBM, NELL from Car...

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Less Algebra More Fudge Brownie - What Will Managed Investing 2.0 Look Like?

Did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal lately about how investors are pulling cash from hedge funds?  Seems like their returns are lagging the stock market. Of course that’s hardly new. The era of managed investing seems to be coming to a close as index funds take over. Far better to do as badly as everyone else than to once in a w...

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Are recessions contagious?

We're in one of the longest economic expansions in history right now. So of course the forecasters are jumping off the bandwagon to predict the next recession. The only thing though: economists are tragically unsuccessful at predicting recessions. According to the IMF, in the 1990s private economists only predicted correctly 2 of 60 recessions one ...

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Behavioral M&A – Yahoo Needed It But Too Late Now

So what’s behavioral M&A anyhows? See here for the skinny, will tell you more below. When Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO I predicted she would fail. Right on the money (“Yahoo – Product Bling 1, Business Acumen 0”). Was the problem Ms. Mayer or something else? How about the 70 or so acquisitions she made? They cost around $4 billion; it’s now ...

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Index Investing an Even Worse Fate than Stock Picking?

By now everyone knows that stock picking doesn’t work – on average. That’s why hedge funds and the like are doing so poorly. Active investing is just about finished. In response the so-called smart money has headed into index funds and ETFs. That way you are supposed to be able to keep pace with the S&P or whatever index you care to choose. Let...

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“The Big Short” – The Real Problem with Ratings

Did you see “The Big Short”? I’m sure Bernie Sanders is having a field day, his ticket to the big job he thinks. It’s worth seeing if only to reveal the zeitgeist in 2007, a fin de siècle moment. Naturally it paints the banks and the ratings companies in the darkest of colors. So what went wrong with the mortgage bonds and such-like? The film sugge...

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Are women smarter than men – but only after babies?

So while Trump disses women, the women are nonetheless showing their mettle a la Hilary and Fox's Megyn Kelley. That brings me (well, kind of) to an article I read recently in New Scientist “Busting the baby brain myth: Why motherhood makes minds sharper”. The author (a woman btw) is out to debunk what she sees as being the myth of the “baby brain”...

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Mother Knows Best – Leadership is Innate in Women, Learned In Men

Did you see that Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, just got Time’s Person of the Year? She’s the only Western leader who can deal with Putin. She’s really the leader of “united” Europe which has the combined heft of the US. So she certainly deserves it. Definitely in the same class as Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Outshines any of the other Eur...

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Tinderizing Leadership

I guess you’ve heard of Tinder? New Age dating app: see photo, swipe left for reject, right to accept. You’re on. Major sensation amongst singles. Tinder recently announced big news. In future it will have a special space to list your job and education. Yep, never had it before. I guess that’s why it has had the reputation of being a hookup site… B...

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The Heartbleed Bug: Does Malware Provide a New Backdoor to Measuring Leadership Effectiveness?

I’ve got a personal interest in this post. My son will start at university in August and will study cybersecurity (Stevens Institute of Technology, glad you asked). So that’s getting a lot of my attention right now. Heartbleed just added yet more. Seems like you can’t read the news these days without reading about yet another cyber-attack. It’s eit...

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Did You Inherit Your Management Style From Your Parents? The Epigenetics of Leadership

Ok so is this a trick question? How you inherit things was fully worked out by Darwin right? It’s all about natural selection and that takes many generations. And we all know that Lamarck, who said that you could inherit characteristics acquired by your parents only in their own lifetimes (see

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