Merry Christmas!

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which,
if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge.
“But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”

Ebenezer Scrooge to the ‘Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’
From Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

December 25, 2017
Click Here for this week’s dose of  Holiday Cheer!

Seven Best Business Decisions of All Time

A few years back Vern Harnish (“Rockefeller Habits”, “Scaling Up , “Gazelles”) shared what he thought were the seven best business decisions of all time in a short video. At the end, he commented that 6 of the 7 decisions had one thing in common. See if you can identify it before he reveals it; then ask if the big decisions about your business share the same characteristic. 

Two Pizza Teams: How Amazon REALLY Does It

Amazon’s growth seems unstoppable. its size, momentum and access to capital are certainly key ingredients to its ability to scale, but there may be one other that is actually more important: how the company organizes itself.

One technology blogger, Benedict Evans, calls it “the machine making the machine.” In a recent blog entry on Recode, Evan explains that Amazon is able to create teams almost on demand whose talent is leveraged by two tools that every Amazon team has, resulting in their being called “Two Pizza Teams.”  Sometime these teams are not even Amazon employees! This short article “The Amazon Machine” is a provocative explanation of how the company’s operating structure works . There may be some lessons for every business in this article regarding how to organize your teams.

Econ Recon:

About that Inn Keeper: We all know the story of Joseph, Mary and the Inn Keeper who couldn’t find room for the family on Christmas Eve. Is the Inn Keeper getting a bad rap? Economist Brian Wesbury asks you to consider whether he was “Greedy Innkeeper or Generous Capitalist.” 

Net Neurtrality: Redux. Last week I published a Business Insider article on the FCC’s net neutrality decision that was perhaps biased towards “net neutrality good; no net neutrality bad.”  The flip side is that perhaps the repeal of net neutrality is good. This editorial from the National Review in 2015 and this recent article from Forbes provide the other side of this discussion.

One pundit I have read compared the Internet to the postal service (delivering stuff to your home.) Do the various providers (USPS, FedEx, UPS) charge different rates for heavier or faster delivery? Why can’t the ISPs? The point being, we might need more competiion in the internet provider space and less “regulation as a utility.”

The Lion in Winter and other Unsung Christmas Classics

Hopefully you’ll have some time to kick back this holiday season and take in some of Hollywood’s best Holiday offerings.  We’re all familiar with standards like  “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street” and more recent fare such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and even “Die Hard” (somehow) is now listed as a Christmas movie!

If you like well made films why not try some lesser known but well-made classic Christmas flicks that might be worth your viewing?  For something completely different, one of my favorites is a film that looks at a family during the holidays and deals with issues of a “family business” (in this case running 12th century England), quarreling siblings who each think they should be CEO, two strong willed ‘co-owners’ who happened to be married and are trying to direct the succession…. and all the drama these elements can create.  The film is “The Lion In Winter” starring Peter O’Toole as King Henry II and Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine. It also features a young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton (later to be cast as ‘James Bond’).

This film was a great commercial success in 1968 and earned three Academy Awards including Katherine Hepburn as Best Actress. Best described as historical fiction, sadly it’s slipped into relative obscurity vis-a-vis other holiday films. A great story and great acting may add this film to your list of holiday favorites.

Make it a GREAT Holiday Week !!

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