Morning Advantage: Heavy Metal Management

It was only a matter of time before someone would wonder: Can rock music be a metaphor for business? That time came in 2010, reports The Guardian, when two aging Swedish financiers attended Freak Guitar summer camp in bucolic Härsjösand outside Gothenburg. The result, Heavy Metal Management, was Sweden's best-selling book this past Christmas season, racking up 10,000 electronic downloads in the first two weeks of January alone.

As often happens with extended metaphors, many of the insights seem vaguely prosaic (like the main one, its "pentagram of six" — "Be epic. Be a master. Be instinctive. Be sensory. Be forever. Be total."). Still, its message — that intense passion and connecting to your audience (and backers) via storytelling will carry you further than a focus on shareholder value creation — has (dare we say it) struck a chord among the Swedish start-up community. But why take their word for it? The English translation will be out in March.


Four Ideas to Moderninze the Labor Movement (WBUR Cognoscenti)

Union membership fell in 2012 to its lowest level since 1916, even in the wake of 30 years of wage stagnation, growing income inequality, and cutbacks in pensions and insurance coverage. Thomas Kochan offers unions four suggestions for restoring their relevance: 1) Develop a national on-line survey that workers can use to rate workplaces, and publish the results widely on a smart phone app. 2) Offer lifetime union membership, so workers who move from job to job and industry to industry can get access to union-sponsored education and retraining. 3) Expose employers who exploit low-wage workers using social media. 4) Focus more on collaborative models of labor-management relations aimed at increasing employee engagement.


What Really Happens When You Miss that Earnings Mark (McKinsey Quarterly)

Leaders of public companies often cite the pressure to meet or beat consensus earnings estimates as justification for a focus on the short term. But McKinsey's analysis of hundreds of large U.S. companies over the last seven years shows those fears are unfounded. "In the near term, falling short of consensus-earnings estimates is seldom catastrophic," McKinsey says, pointing out that more than 40% of the companies did at some time generate earnings below consensus estimates. But missing by 1% led to an average share price decrease of only 0.2% in the ensuing five days. Nor is consistently beating estimates rewarded. In fact, 40% of companies saw their share price move the opposite way they missed their estimates. The only thing that did matter was when a company consistently missed estimates all year in at least four of the seven years.


It’s Not Too Late

Ten Valentine's Day Gifts for Awkward Love Stages (Your Tango)
Do Siri and Google Now Mean the End of the App? (Technology Review)
Why and How Silicon Valley Thrives — From One of its Founding Fathers (Stanford Business)

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