Archive for the ‘The Economist’ Category

The secret to a successful startup? A great idea being worked on by people with three characteristics you’ll not find on a resume

11 September 2010

Through the MassChallenge Mentoring Program, I’ve been spending three hours each week advising RelayRides, a company with a great idea – peer-to-peer car sharing – that’s smack in the middle of a strong new movement, Collaborative Consumption as written about in The Economist and by Leigh Buchanan in Inc, Clive Thompson in Wired, and Jenna Wortham in The New York Times.

Late on Tuesday, the founder, Shelby Clark said, “Instead of just advising me, why don’t you just join us to accelerate our growth?” After a handshake agreement, I started that day as part-time interim COO.  By 9 PM I was reminded that what it takes to turn a great idea into a successful company is (more…)

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Report: 8 Cases When VC’s / Boards Should Hire An Interim CEO

25 February 2010

The Economist recently reported that venture capitalists and boards of directors of European companies are far ahead of their US counterparts in understanding when it makes sense to hire an interim CEO.  Now, a new report out of the UK – which has perhaps the most sophisticated interim management services in the world – details eight cases when a board should consider putting in an interim CEO.

I’ve listed them below, but first three other key points from the report:

  1. Interim CEOs are not consultants; rather, they are hands-on workers.
  2. Interim CEOs are not potential employees; the good ones do interim work as a way of life (and not as a “filler” until a poor economy improves.)
  3. Interim CEOs can be taken into the confidence of a board (as an interim person has the advantage of impartiality.)

The report also talks about why younger and younger executives are turning to interim management as a way to achieve a more flexible and rewarding career.  While delivering significant benefits to the client, interim managers provide themselves with (more…)

The Economist: “Why Many USA Companies Now Hire Interim CEOs.”

30 December 2009

The Economist has a great article about the type of work I’ve been doing for ten years, Interim CEO. The piece addresses why many American companies are now adopting a practice that originated in Europe, and why so many top-notch execs are enjoying these temporary CEO jobs.

The Economist postulates that “interim executives may be the wave of the future in all rich countries, as these countries evolve from what Peter Drucker called a ‘society of organizations’ into a ‘society of networks.’”

Why Companies Do It

The article details three reasons why a company might choose to (more…)

Six Things Irish Schools Do Well; Should America Adopt Them?

31 May 2007

school-bus.jpegToday school children in Ireland start their three-month long summer vacation. They enjoy a longer break than their American counterparts due to a more efficient school calendar, one of six things Irish schools do well that American schools should consider adopting.

When we moved to Ireland in 2001 from the top-notch public schools of Lexington MA (Lexington’s schools had just been selected as the best in the northeast) we were pleased to learn that the Irish schools were equally as good. The quality of public education – a key focus of the Irish government for thirty years – is one of the three factors behind the Celtic Tiger boom; in less than a decade the Irish economy became the healthiest in the EU, with the Irish now enjoying the highest per capita income in Europe. (The other two drivers of the Irish economy – a dramatic increase in the number of women… (more…)

What I Miss About Ireland

12 March 2007

Taking the advice of Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara, I’m spending this day not joining my 15 year old son and his five friends on the slopes of Shawnee Peak in Maine. Rather, as Eileen suggests, I’m sitting by the fire in the lodge.

While my son, his friends, and I hang onto the last vestiges of winter at a cabin in Maine, my wife and my other sons are enjoying a springtime weekend in Dublin, where – as per a previous post – springtime arrives a full two months earlier than in Boston.

Though I’m thrilled to be back in the States after four+ years in Dublin, thinking of my wife Jules and the boys in Dublin reminds me of the many things I miss about Ireland, ranging from the significant to the trivial.

People: It was great to return to the States and our many friends. That said, we left so many friends behind in Dublin. I miss them dearly and I envy the reunions Jules is having this weekend. But I also miss the people in Ireland we did not get to know as friends, the proverbial ‘man in the street.’ Irish people really know how to enjoy life – maybe that’s because, according to The Economist, the Irish enjoy… (more…)

Monday Holidays: Ireland 6, USA 0

21 January 2007

I promised in my first post to write about areas where we Americans might consider doing things ‘the Irish way.’ Given The Economist has now reported that Ireland has the highest quality of life in the world – well ahead of our thirteenth place finish – I should get started!

One area where Ireland beats the USA hands down is on Monday holidays. Other than Memorial and Labor days, all other Monday American holidays (Martin Luther King, Presidents, Patriots, Columbus, Veterans, etc.) are not universally celebrated by government and business. Rather than making for a long weekend with family and friends, American Monday holidays have become juggling acts, where kids are out of school yet many parents are required to work. And for those Americans working in retail there never seems to be a holiday break.

In Ireland, Monday holiday weekends are true long weekends for virtually everyone in the country, including those working in retail. Six times a year Ireland has what is called a ‘Bank Holiday Weekend’ with Monday the holiday. These weekends are better than the ‘long holiday weekend’ in the States because… (more…)