sexta-feira, abril 30, 2021

Focar no que não fazer

"If the hallmark of a great strategy is its telling you what not to do, what not to worry about, which developments to disregard, many of today’s efforts fall short."

Trecho retirado de "Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance

quinta-feira, abril 29, 2021

"We’re in a cultural war between the forces of dynamism and stasis"

"our tribal ancestors viewed entrepreneurs with suspicion. In their view, entrepreneurs were too willing to violate well-accepted social norms. They were too greedy, careless, and foolhardy, and too ready to reject their duty to their fellow men.
Over the last decade, McCloskey has explored the roots of the Industrial Revolution and the 16-fold increase in per capita wealth it produced—a magnificent result she calls the “Great Fact.” The magnitude of these gains, she notes, cannot be explained solely by the causes generally advanced—trade, capital accumulation, natural resources.

Rather, the Great Fact, she believes, was made possible by the greater social acceptance of the rising bourgeois commercial class, and how that acceptance was expressed in the changed language, rhetoric, and dialogue of the industrial era. Society shifted from a blanket condemnation of the entrepreneurial Scrooges of the world, as dramatic economic gains caused many to recognize the virtues of the entrepreneurs who produced those gains.
the slowly growing esteem accorded to entrepreneurs liberated mankind’s creative spirit, by raising the social esteem of the dynamic entrepreneurial virtues of hope, courage, love, and faith, to stand alongside the traditional, less dynamic virtues of prudence, temperance, and justice.
Entrepreneurs go beyond emulating competitors. They seek totally new ways of meeting some existing human need, and even visualizing “new” needs for which they then provide. 
Our challenge is to increase public recognition of the morality and virtuous nature of a dynamic economy and entrepreneurial culture. The entrepreneur flourishes when her culture comes to accept the mundane morality of the market as superior to the magnanimous morality of the tribe.

This acceptance need not be total. We need only to create the cultural legitimacy needed to liberate the entrepreneurial forces that drive innovation and growth. Over the last century, more and more people around the world have come to realize this, but the acceptance of entrepreneurial change remains slow and halting.

Entrenched vested interests are always reluctant to accept the pains of dislocation. They are skillful at emphasizing the destructive over the creative aspects of change, and are more powerful politically than tomorrow’s innovators.

These economic conservative forces are buttressed by intellectuals who favor change in principle but believe it is best achieved via centralized political planning, that magnanimous morality can be readily accommodated in a dynamic economy, and that society’s goal should be capitalism “with a human face.”

Intellectuals focus on the failures of markets to achieve utopian goals (prudence), the risks they introduce (temperance), and the pain caused to third parties (justice to the displaced workers). They emphasize fear rather than courage, resentment rather than love, timidity rather than faith, despair rather than hope. In other words, they are obsessed with clinging to a traditional world based on the older tribal values of justice, prudence, and temperance. These are values to be honored, for sure, but not to the exclusion of the values critical to the dynamism essential to create a better world tomorrow.

We’re in a cultural war between the forces of dynamism and stasis. Can it be won? Do today’s potential entrepreneurs have the courage to resist the forces of stagnation? Perhaps."

quarta-feira, abril 28, 2021

Sem resultados pelos quais responder não há skin-in-the-game (parte II)

Na parte I, quando me referia a Schumpeter, era acerca disto: 

"Although these models [Moi ici: Teoria neoclássica] have yielded some illuminating insights, they ignore essential aspects of Schumpeterian competition-the fact that there are winners and losers and that the process is one of continuing disequilibrium. An evolutionary analysis seems required if the model is to recognize those facts.

In an evolutionary theory of the sort that we develop, the nature of the “economic problem" is fundamentally different from that depicted in contemporary orthodox theory. The latter views choice sets as known and given. The economic problem is to pick the best possible production and distribution, given that set of alternatives. The function of competition is to get- or help to get- the signals and incentives right. In evolutionary theory, choice sets are not given and the consequences of any choice are unknown. Although some choices may be clearly worse than others, there is no choice that is clearly best ex-ante. Given this assumption, one would expect to see a diversity of firm behavior in real situations. Firms facing the same market signals respond differently, and more so if the signals are relatively novel. Indeed, one would hope for such a diversity of responses in order that a range of possible behaviors might be explored. One function of competition, in the structural sense of many firms, then would be to make possible that diversity. Another function of competition, in this more active sense, is to reward and enhance the choices that prove good in practice and to suppress the bad ones. Over the long run, one hopes, the competitive system would promote firms that choose well on the average and would eliminate, or force reform upon, firms that consistently make mistakes.

In this view, the market system is (in part) a device for conducting and evaluating experiments in economic behavior and organization. The meaning and merit of competition must be appraised accordingly. … We should understand as "development," he wrote," only such changes in economic life as are not forced upon it from without but arise by its own initiative, from within" (p . 63). The key development process he identified as the "carrying out of new combinations," and in the competitive economy "new combinations mean the competitive elimination of the old" (pp. 66-67). It is the entrepreneur who carries out new combinations, who " 'leads' the means of production into new channels". and may thereby reap an entrepreneurial profit. "He also leads in the sense that he draws other producers in his branch after him. But as they are his competitors, who first reduce and then annihilate his profit, this is, as it were, leadership against one's own will""

Quando a AT ou a classe política olha para as empresas esquece esta volatilidade, esquece esta volubilidade.

Trechos retirados de "An evolutionary theory of economic change" de Richard R. Nelson.

terça-feira, abril 27, 2021

Sem resultados pelos quais responder não há skin-in-the-game

Em 2016, "Mambo jambo de consultor ou faz algum sentido?".

Há dias, "Então, o negócio deixava de ser tubagens...".


Como não recordar tantos postais de há mais de 10 anos. Por exemplo, uma série de clássicos deste blogue são os planos de combate à SIDA, ou de combate à violência doméstica, carregados de actividades mas sem um único compromisso quanto a um resultado.

Recordar os monumentos à treta:
A Autoridade Nacional de Emergência e Protecção Civil nunca tem o pescoço no cepo. Não existe para produzir resultados, existe para agir (planear, coordenar e executar). Quando questiono os organismos públicos sobre isto, invariavelmente respondem:

- Mas nós não controlamos os resultados, os resultados dependem de tanta coisa que está para lá de nós!

Quanto tenho mais confiança respondo:

- E as empresas, controlam os clientes? Por que têm objectivos de vendas?

Sem resultados pelos quais responder não há skin-in-the-game. 

Isto põe-me a pensar em Schumpeter e em Deirdre McCloskey ...


Ontem dei uma vista de olhos a "“Futureproof: 9 rules for humans in the age of automation" de Kevin Roose. Às tantas dou comigo a germinar mais uma teoria da conspiração. O autor reporta que em 2018 foi encarregado pela sua entidade patronal para relatar o encontro de Davos de 2018 sobre o tema "Globalization 4.0".

"My bosses at the Times had invited me to cover that year’s forum, which was focused on “Globalization 4.0”—the essentially meaningless term Davos types had concocted for the emerging economic era defined by this new, transformative wave of AI and automation technology. Every day, I went to panels with titles like “Shaping a New Market Architecture” and “The Factory of the Future,” where powerful executives vowed to build “human-centered AI” that would be great for companies and workers alike.

But at night, after their public events were over, the Davos attendees took off their humanitarian masks and got down to business. At lavish, off-the-record dinners and cocktail parties, I watched them grill tech experts about how AI could help transform their companies into sleek, automated profit machines. They gossiped about which automation products their competitors were using. They struck deals with consultants for “digital transformation” projects, which they hoped would save them millions of dollars by shrinking their reliance on human workers."


"The pandemic gave companies the cover they needed to make huge, unprecedented strides in automation without risking a backlash. So they automated, and automated, and automated some more."


"In all, Covid-19 seemed to speed up the automation timeline by years, if not decades. McKinsey, the giant consulting firm, dubbed it “the great acceleration.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claimed that the company had experienced “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” In March 2020, a survey by the accounting firm EY found that 41 percent of corporate executives were investing more in automation to prepare for a post-coronavirus world. David Autor, an MIT economist and leading automation expert, called the pandemic an “automation-forcing event,” and predicted that it would usher in technological trends that would persist long after the virus was gone.

The pandemic has shown us some of the benefits of automation more clearly than any Davos panel could have. Robots and AI allowed companies to keep providing essential goods and services, even as more workers called in sick."

segunda-feira, abril 26, 2021

Até que ponto é possível?

"Innovators rarely have a competition problem. The challenge isn’t that your market is buying from an alternative provider–the challenge is that they’re buying from no one.

The work we do and the stories we tell when we seek to create activation are dramatically different from the mindset of competition, and yet the lessons from our culture (sports, mass merchants, politics) are all about competition.

“We’re better than them,” is a competition slogan.

That’s very different from, “things could be better,” or “you’re missing this new thing,” or, “people you admire are already using this.”

If you want to grow, you’ll need to get someone to not only decide that you’re worth their time and money, you’ll need to motivate them to act now instead of later." 

Agora é juntar este postal acerca do futuro do calçado, "Calçado - Fazer a transição", ou este outro, "Quantas empresas (parte XI)", e recordar as palavras de Wickham Skinner em Maio de 1974 acerca da "empresa focada". Até que ponto é possível aspirar a ter sucesso e comportar-se como um dinossauro vermelho?

Trecho retirado de "Competition vs. activation

domingo, abril 25, 2021

"trying to beat them at their own game is almost foolish"

"[um David] has only three partners. “We personally spend 98% of our time working with clients,” explains one of them, Yvonne Rumler. Florian Hechl chips in: “The projects we worked on were never shorter than nine months” This means that they work alongside senior executives, who become their sounding board.

The Big Three work quite differently. They deliver a solution rather than working it out together with the client. Mind you, these solutions are often excellent and delivered in record speed, but not all executives want this. Seeking out clients who want to be in charge of the whole process can be a winning strategy for small but highly experienced consulting teams. Partners at large firms are preoccupied with acquiring new projects and client engagement. They simply don’t have the time to be always on-site. “We spend as much time with our clients as more junior consultants in large consultancies” Hechl points out. This way transferring skills becomes part of the deal.

And remember, you are small

McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are great at what they do so trying to beat them at their own game is almost foolish. Success will come through positions that are deliberately distinct. Having said that, using them as a motivator in a David versus Goliath game does work! The adrenaline rush that comes with beating them at a pitch is pretty motivating I am told."

Trecho retirado de "How Boutique Consulting Firms Can Outflank McKinsey, BCG, And Bain

sábado, abril 24, 2021

Então, o negócio deixava de ser tubagens...

Esta semana, ao passar junto ao estádio da bola em Cesar, vi um atrelado de camião com a seguinte mensagem "[Marca] - SOLUÇÕES INOVADORAS EM TUBAGENS".

Fiquei logo a pensar na frase e em algo que não bate certo...

Foi então que me lembrei da G - "Privilegiar os inputs sobre os outputs (parte IX)". Aquele slogan concentrado em tubagens tem tudo para focar e fixar as pessoas da empresa ao output, ao século XX.

Soluções inovadoras em tubagens deve dar origem a uma gama medonha de tubagens, num negócio que compete pelo preço ... stuck-in-the-middle, com margens de meter medo de tão apertadas ... talvez um dinossauro vermelho...

Especulo. E se em vez de tubagens, (output), pensassem em input. Os clientes usam as tubagens para quê?

Movimentar fluidos! O que é preciso para movimentar fluidos? O que pode correr mal na movimentação de fluidos? Que oportunidades de criar valor para os clientes existem, podem ser desenvolvidas, em torno da movimentação de fluidos?

Então, o negócio deixava de ser tubagens, ou deixava de afunilar em tubagens e começava a abrir em complementos com muito mais potencial para a criação de valor. 

Tudo é serviço, até os produtos são um avatar de serviço.

sexta-feira, abril 23, 2021

Todos os dias, anonimamente, a culpa morre solteira

"O Tribunal de Y absolveu a [empresa X], e cinco funcionários com cargos de chefia que respondiam por um crime de violação de regras de segurança, agravado pelo resultado, a morte de um trabalhador.

[Um de nós] morreu a 6 de abril de 2016, ao cair de uma altura de quatro metros, juntamente com um varandim móvel concebido para serem feitos trabalhos de soldadura e inspeção em vigas metálicas para a obra do TGV de Marrocos.

A vítima, que usava o varandim pela primeira vez, não recebeu formação e executou os trabalhos sem estar preso por um cinto de segurança ou um arnês. O varandim desprendeu-se e caiu, com o trabalhador, no pavimento da fábrica. O Ministério Público entendia que o varandim estava “indevidamente instalado e insuficientemente estabilizado“, através do uso de meros grampos que “não foram suficientes para manter o varandim fixado à viga metálica”.

O tribunal não deu como provada a razão pela qual o varandim caiu. O juiz presidente, João Pedro  Cardoso, apontou mesmo fragilidades no relatório da Autoridade para as Condições de Trabalho. Também não ficou provado que os arguidos soubessem em que condições o trabalhador executava a tarefa."

E a vida continua...

É das coisas que mais me arrepia nas notícias, ouvir que alguém saiu de casa para trabalhar e morreu a trabalhar por causa de um acidente de segurança. Ainda esta semana comentava em duas empresas diferentes que muita gente não gosta de usar os equipamentos de protecção individual, desde os pescadores que acham o colete salva-vidas como algo para maricas, até aos trabalhadores das obras que dizem que está muito calor para usar um colete reflector ou um capacete de segurança. Ainda esta semana comentei a reunião que tive numa empresa há cerca de 15 anos. Dono da empresa, economista, sem parte dos dedos de uma mão, por acidente de trabalho. Funcionário da empresa da parte da contabilidade sem metade de um braço, por acidente de trabalho. Fornecedor de máquinas, dono da empresa, também sem alguns dedos de uma mão. O único com os dedos todos era eu... isto é cultural.

No entanto, ainda mais grave são as situações sublinhadas a amarelo lá em cima... e o tribunal acha que não se passou nada.

Isto não faz parangonas de jornais, mas mostra tanto do que somos como comunidade falhada. A prioridade é sermos os primeiros a apresentar planos de pedinchice em Bruxelas.

Trecho retirado do JN de hoje. 

ADENDA (08h45) - A empresa em causa tinha um sistema de gestão na área da segurança certificado ... como é que a entidade certificadora terá tratado o assunto?


quinta-feira, abril 22, 2021

Acerca da coragem

Lembrei-me deste esquema...

Onde é que cada PME aposta os seus escassos recursos?

Quantas têm a coragem de dizer não! Quantas têm a coragem da disciplina?

Quantas alinham gastos com estratégia? Estratégia? Existe? É conhecida? Há consciência dela?

quarta-feira, abril 21, 2021

"The pandemic sharply accelerated market fragmentation"

Um texto que parece retirado deste blogue:

"Markets change, and business models have to change in parallel. Success depends on constant business model innovation. In order to succeed, you need to get two things right: You have to target a defensible market segment, and you have to create a business model that enables you to win against competitors who are going after your target segment. In developing a high-profit business model to engage your target customers, you have two basic choices: (1) increase your customer value, or (2) lower your cost to serve (or do both).


In order for your company to succeed in the post-pandemic era, you must do two things well: Select your strategy carefully to target a defensible market segment and tailor your business model to capture and dominate your target market.

The problem is, most companies aren’t ready to compete on these new terms. The pandemic sharply accelerated market fragmentation. This allowed the digital giants, fueled by their market micro-segmentation, to grow quickly, but most companies have not changed their business model to meet these new conditions. Many managers who rose through the ranks in the previous era simply assumed that their age-old, tried-and-true, broad-market business models were still effective. Financial analysts continued to evaluate companies based on sales growth and expense minimization, reinforcing the problem.

In developing a high-profit business model to engage your target customers, you have two basic choices: (1) increase your customer value, or (2) lower your cost to serve (or do both). This is complicated by the need to transition from the previous broad market targeting to the new segment-specific targeting."

Trechos retirados de "How to Create a Winning Post-Pandemic Business Model

terça-feira, abril 20, 2021

"raising their willingness to pay (WTP)"

"Creates value for customers by raising their willingness to pay (WTP)."
Isto é voltar a uma imagem de 2011 sobre o vocabulário do valor, desenhada junto ao Rio Rabaçal. O modelo de Kano diz-nos que a novidade de ontem é o aborrecido de amanhã.
Aumentar a WTP é aumentar o valor bruto originado.
Aumentar a WTP deve gerar um aumento do preço, mas não é um aumento do preço. O aumento do preço é uma consequência. Só assim os números de Marn e Rosiello fazem sentido, senão a concorrência agradece.
"If companies find ways to innovate or to improve existing products, people will be willing to pay more. ... In casual conversations, we often use WTP and price interchangeably. But it is helpful to distinguish between the two. WTP is the most a customer would ever be willing to pay. Think of it as the customer’s walk-away point: Charge one cent more than someone’s WTP, and that person is better off not buying.

Too often, managers focus on top-line growth rather than on increasing willingness to pay. A growth-focused manager asks, “What will help me sell more?” A person concerned with WTP wants to make her customers clap and cheer. A sales-centric manager analyzes purchase decisions and hopes to sway customers, whereas a value-focused manager searches for ways to increase WTP at every stage of the customer’s journey, earning the customer’s trust and loyalty. A value-focused company convinces its customers in every interaction that it has their best interests at heart."
Trechos retirados de "Eliminate Strategic Overload".

segunda-feira, abril 19, 2021

"Lost in translation"

"A strategic initiative is worthwhile only if it does one or more of the following: creates value for customers by raising their willingness to pay, creates value for employees by making work more attractive, or creates value for suppliers by reducing their operating cost.
I believe that strategic management faces an attractive, back-to-basics opportunity. By simplifying strategy—by selecting fewer initiatives with greater impact—we can make it more powerful. In this article, I describe an easy-to-use framework called value-based strategy, which gives executives a common language for evaluating strategic initiatives and developing a holistic view of the many activities taking place within their organizations."

Estratégia ...

Valor (clientes-alvo)

Iniciativas (projectos de transformação) ...

Tudo coisas que escasseiam nas PMEs... e são tão preciosas e necessárias. 

Sexta-feira passada dei uma formação via internet (um estónio, uma alemã, um irlandês, e um senegalês). Por duas ou três vezes ... usávamos as mesmas palavras, mas queríamos dizer coisas diferentes. 

Como falar em estratégia, valor e iniciativas com PMEs e elas perceberem: cancro, preço e concorrentes, e lista de tarefas.

Trechos retirados de "Eliminate Strategic Overload". Um artigo com muito que se lhe diga, mas para já apenas esta preocupação.

domingo, abril 18, 2021

Going deep?

Uma sugestão para quem tem de apostar no digital 

"Sellers can employ several strategies to take advantage of platforms while minimizing the risk of commoditization. They can develop and invest in direct channels while using platforms as showrooms to bring in new customers. They can either go deep on a platform, with highly specialized offerings, or go broad, with many different offerings that leverage expertise in specific platform features. And they can wage public relations and lobbying campaigns to take advantage of increased regulatory scrutiny of platforms.
Go Deep or Go Broad

Doing business on MSPs forces sellers to choose one of two means of building competitive advantage and withstanding the threat of commoditization: They can go deep, by offering a highly specific product or service and leveraging MSPs’ economies of scale, or they can go broad, by offering many different products or services and leveraging economies of scope.

Going deep.
Specializing in a product or service is generally a good strategy for achieving competitive advantage—and it’s even more important for sellers operating on MSPs. Digital platforms usually make it easy for consumers to compare many offerings and find their ideal product. And by breaking down geographic barriers and accumulating very large user bases, they greatly increase a seller’s reach. Taken together, those qualities mean that becoming the highest-quality or lowest-cost provider in a narrowly defined product or service category is significantly more valuable for sellers who conduct business on MSPs.

Deep specialization on an MSP can create a self-reinforcing cycle. The more a product aligns with what consumers are searching for, the higher its ratings will be, increasing the chances that the platform’s algorithms will drive target customers to it. That means more people will buy and rate the product, further heightening its advantage. Thus, highly specialized sellers can build a sustainable competitive advantage over time.
Deep specialization is the best strategy for small “native” sellers—ones that started out on an MSP. In fact, one of the most important ways in which the platforms create value is by generating unprecedented opportunities for niche products or services to succeed.

Going deep is also likely to be the best option for sellers (small or large) with established businesses outside the MSP in question. Because they already have a successful offering, they can more easily adapt it to the MSP than build expertise around specific MSP features that they could leverage horizontally—an area where “non-native” sellers have no comparative advantage. Still, they should recognize that succeeding on an MSP may require much more specialization than they needed on their own."

sábado, abril 17, 2021

"Always Day 1"

"Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who has upped the frequency and speed of change for so many other companies, understands that success is never permanent. His famous “Day 1” mantra (also the name of the building that houses his office) reflects a daily fight against complacency. As he wrote in his first annual report in 1997, “Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1."

Tantas empresas a precisarem desta mentalidade, deste desassossego, desta sede... de rever o que se faz, de mudar o que se faz, de não cristalizar.

Trecho retirado de “Rethinking Competitive Advantage” de Ram Charan. 

quinta-feira, abril 15, 2021

Outra epifania!

Ontem a meio da minha habitual caminhada de 6 km antes das 8h da manhã a certa altura tive uma epifania. 

Nos primeiros anos deste século dei comigo a trabalhar com PMEs e a aprendermos como fazer face à concorrência chinesa. Agora, voltamos ao mesmo desafio, só que já não tem nada a ver com chineses... tem a ver com a internet e os seus gigantes digitais.

Se dantes era: como fazer o by-pass à China?

Agora será: como fazer o by-pass aos gigantes digitais?

Há 20 anos o desafio passou por encolher, subir na escala de valor e trabalhar para certo tipo de clientes-alvo. O novo desafio passará por voltar a apostar nesses três vectores.

Esta manhã li no JN a notícia da falência da Coelima. Fez-me recuar a isto em 2011 "A política misturada com os negócios". Em dez anos, aquela que chegou a ser a maior empresa têxtil do mundo (quando nós eramos a china, antes de haver China), encolheu para 250 trabalhadores.

quarta-feira, abril 14, 2021

"think carefully when choosing measures and link them to the strategy"

"In summary, our main conclusions are threefold. First, when external environments become more uncertain, managers have a tendency to add non-financial performance measures. However, as more variety does not add value per se, managers should think carefully when choosing measures and link them to the strategy that the firm wants to pursue. Second, more uncertain environments make managers add customer-related measures, customers being a critical stakeholder group. This can only be expected to increase given the rising economic turbulence in the wake of the current COVID-19 crisis. In doing so, it is important that managers draw on current research and practice within customer relationship management and customer profitability management and link these measures to strategy and tactics. Third, there seems to be a lesser focus on risk and CSR measures in service-sector firms than in non-service-sector firms in Iceland."

Trecho retirado de "Is more really better? Performance measure variety and environmental uncertainty

Um exemplo para o futuro?

Um exemplo para o futuro? "Olha o peixe fresquinho! DPD entra nas entregas dos frescos em Portugal"


terça-feira, abril 13, 2021

Parece que o futuro já anda por cá, mal distribuído...

"MIT and Google could jointly craft two-year degrees in STEM. The myth/magic of campuses and geography is no longer a constraining factor—most programs will be hybrid soon, dramatically increasing enrollments among the best brands. MIT/Google could enroll a hundred thousand students at $25,000 per year in tuition (a bargain), yielding $5 billion for a two-year program that would have margins rivaling . . . MIT and Google. Bocconi/Apple, Carnegie Mellon/Amazon, UCLA/Netflix, University of Washington/Microsoft . . . you get the idea."

Em "Post Corona" Scott Galloway escreve sobre a revolução que ele vê no futuro das universidades. Entretanto, ontem ao ler o FT do passado Sábado encontro:

"Jack Ma’s elite business academy has been forced to suspend classes following pressure from Beijing as authorities tighten their chokehold on the Chinese tech billionaire’s empire.

Hupan University, an executive training programme reputedly as hard to get into as Harvard, halted classes for new students set to begin at the end of March, according to people close to the institution. It was unclear when they would resume.


Ma led a group of industrial and tech figures to set up Hupan in his home town of Hangzhou in 2015 with the aim of teaching entrepreneurship, business management and corporate culture to a select group of high achievers."

Parece que o futuro já anda por cá, mal distribuído... 

segunda-feira, abril 12, 2021


"Failure, and its consequences, is a necessary part of the system. Economic dislocation and crises have real costs, but they are also opportunities for renewal. Old relationships are severed, assets are freed up, and innovation demanded. A forest fire brings life as it destroys—so too, economic upheavals create light and air for innovation to flourish.
Once the government gets into the business of propping up the losers, you can predict who will be first in line for the handouts: the people with the most political power—corporations and rich people. It’s not just a matter of their lobbyists and their lawyers and their press flacks, though that’s a big leg up. There’s also something more insidious: cronyism.
Why “cronyism”? I write about tech executives, but I mostly refuse to meet with them. In part because I’m an introvert and don’t enjoy meeting new people. But also because intimacy is a function of contact. Often when I meet someone, I like them as a person, feel empathy for them, and find it harder to be objective about their actions. Most senior people at successful companies are very smart, involved in interesting work, privy to inside baseball, and got where they are in part because they are good with people. I’m sure if I met more of them, I’d like them. That’s why I don’t meet with them. As Malcom Gladwell points out, the people who did not meet Hitler got him right. Easy to be charmed, even by someone so macabre, when meeting in person."
Isto fez-me lembrar as portas giratórias entre a polítuca e as celuloses "Francisco Gomes da Silva é o novo diretor geral da CELPA"

Scott Galloway evita almoços e jantares com CEO’s para não se sentir influenciado nas suas decisões de investimento. Por cá, os CEO’s convidam os políticos seus funcionários.

Trechos retirados de "Post Corona" de Scott Galloway.

domingo, abril 11, 2021

"a rare “outlier” phenomenon"

"At its core, the strategic management field asks two intertwined “big picture” questions about business: Why (or perhaps how) do some companies persistently earn substantial profit, while others do not? And what, if anything, can managers actually do about it? Basic economics teaches that, under price competition, profit is expected to trend toward zero, so in a competitive capitalist economy, any large sustained profit should be rare. In the big picture, this is certainly true: In the United States, over half of all new businesses fail within their first four years, [Moi ici: Recordar os números aqui] and even among businesses that do not fail outright, most operate at only a basic subsistence level—barely eking out enough profit to survive. Indeed, out of the 23 million U.S. businesses in 2002, only about 25% had achieved enough success to expand beyond the proprietors themselves and hire one or more employees (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). And among the many millions of U.S. businesses that have existed over the past century, only a tiny fraction of a percent—just a few thousand—have ever succeeded enough to become publicly traded companies. Out of those, far fewer sustain large profits over an extended period of time. So, when we ask the question of why or how profit persists in a competitive capitalist economy, we are focused on a rare “outlier” phenomenon—a small number of companies that beat some rather long odds."

Imaginem o pensamento de um extorsor fiscal perante estas odds

Trecho retirado de "Invited Editorial: The Four Theories of Profit and Their Joint Effects"

sábado, abril 10, 2021

O que hoje é verdade amanhã é mentira! E vice versa.

 Um eterno retorno

O que hoje é verdade amanhã é mentira! E vice versa. E os economistas que têm inveja da física... come on. Imagine the possibilities!!!

"If you want something done right, do it yourself. Johnson & Johnson put that adage into practice over the weekend, as it took over: supplier's factory that makes a key ingredient for its coronavirus vaccine. 

The American drugmaker said it was "assuming full responsibility" for the Baltimore plant and would be adding specialists in 'manufacturing, quality and technical operations". J&J had good reason to elbow aside Emergent BioSolutions. Workers had spoiled 15m doses of J&J's vaccine by accidentally mixing its ingredients with those for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

The action comes at a time when other companies are also moving towards "vertical integration" to give them control over everything from raw materials to interaction with retail customers. Once dismissed as outdated, the strategy is getting a fresh look amid shortages of key parts and materials, and pressure on companies to act as good corporate citizens.


But doing everything in-house is capital intensive and requires wide-ranging expertise. More recently, global companies have sought cheaper raw materials and labour abroad, and relied on local partners. Cost-conscious executives saw advantages to outsourcing parts of the production process. Specialist suppliers developed efficiencies, orders could increase or shrunk on demand and, unlike employees, suppliers did not have to be paid immediately, effectively providing a form of short-term financing.


Pioneering companies often opt for vertical integration to give them a sustainable edge.


Now a squeeze on computer microchips, which has hobbled the car industry, and shortages of medical equipment and vaccine ingredients, have led other groups to rethink. Many are reconsidering supply chains that relied heavily on one country or region to reduce their vulnerability to shipping bottlenecks, geopolitics and disease.

Further pressure comes from activists and a new law in Germany that seeks to hold companies responsible for human rights and sustainability in their supply chains. Nike and H&M, among others, have been caught between western demands that they criticise forced labour in Xinjiang and Chinese boycotts over those statements.

Meanwhile, many companies are insisting on virtual integration, often relying on technology to share information about suppliers' work processes and inventories. This has led some companies to cut ties with suppliers who fail to provide the necessary transparency.


To make vertical integration work, companies should focus on areas with significant intellectual property where suppliers are hard to find. "The places where you have the most risk are capacity constrained for the whole market and not substitutable.


The advantages of tighter integration need to be weighed against the capital cost, the challenge of operating a different kind of company and the potential for legal trouble. This is particularly true when the supplier involved has other customers - and most do."

Trechos retirados de "J&J turns to DIY to solve vaccine woes" publicado no FT de quinta-feira passada.

sexta-feira, abril 09, 2021

Promotor da concorrência imperfeita, dos monopólios informais e das rendas pornográficas - sempre

Há anos que escrevo aqui sobre o truque alemão e a doença anglo-saxónica. Interessante apanhar isto em "The Visionary Realism of German Economics: From the Thirty Years' War to the Cold War". 

"The point of divergence between neoclassical economics and evolutionary economics can be traced back to pre- 19th Century philosophy. The Plato- Cusanus- Bruno- Leibniz- Wolff tradition has a dynamic world view emphasizing new knowledge and production— cast in the mode of ‘werden’, or becoming. The modern Anglo- American tradition is cast around the concept of ‘sein’— being. It emphasises a mechanical division of labour, and at its core we find the process of barter and exchange rather than production.[Moi ici: Interessante esta hipótese para a génese da diferença]

In the Plato- to- Wolff tradition, Man is different from animals because of his ability to think rationally according to principles, e.g. abstraction. Economics in this tradition becomes an optimistic science, because of Man’s seemingly unlimited capacity to invent. Economics in the English barter- centered tradition becomes a dismal science because, following up in Adam Smith’s metaphor, it is not clear why and how more dog bones, not to speak of canned dog food, would suddenly appear among a society of bartering dogs. The failure of neo-classical economics to incorporate technical change is deeply rooted in this tradition of seeing Man essentially as a bartering animal, and not as a creative and inventing one. Smith’s crucial insight on the ‘division of labour’, which in the end could not be attributable to barter alone, has not been incorporated into present mainstream economics. Mainstream economics focuses on ‘Man the Consumer’, whereas in the Wolff tradition focus is on ‘Man the Producer’.[Moi ici: Percebo agora o ponto de vista de Vera Gouveia Barros]


Another sign of Smith’s failure to see the importance of new ideas is his view that the rate of profit will have to fall. It is not well known that this idea, which was later to gain much prominence with Marx, actually originates with Adam Smith. In the absence of new ideas and inventions, the rate of profit will fall for three reasons, and it is not clear which of the three, or all, Smith refers to52. First, the rate of profit will fall because of a tendency towards a more perfect competition. Secondly, the rate of return on capital will fall because there will be more capital around, and more capital chasing the same number of investment opportunities will lead to a falling rate of profit. Thirdly, continuing progress would depend on a further division of labour. This Smith saw as tied to geographically expanding markets, which eventually will be saturated. Both Smith and Ricardo fail to understand that all these tendencies will be counteracted by a flow of new ideas and inventions which will both a) Increase the demand for capital in a growing economy, and b) Add new products which initially will be traded under conditions of temporary monopolies. This mechanism, whereby capitalists continuously have to seek new ideas and innovations in order to keep up the profit rate, is at the core of the Schumpeterian system. In this system, the fall of nations is accompanied by capital flight which starts when the national system fails to produce innovations.

In the English- based mainstream economics, under the assumption of perfect information, new learning is absent— or must be seen as ‘manna from heaven’. It is not clear that human will— in the form of inventions, business strategies, or economic policies— in any way can affect the size of the flow of manna. The connection between learning and welfare is here, at best, indirect through mechanical forces which are not consciously created. In neoclassical economics, all economic activities, for all practical purposes, tend to become ‘alike’. The world is populated by cloned ‘representative firms’, and government policy is supposed not to differentiate between firms or industries. In the Leibniz- Wolff cameralist tradition, as well as today’s evolutionary economics, the variety and uniqueness of human economic activities are central to the system. Canadian economist John Rae (1834) was the first to point out the connection between a society’s propensity to save and its propensity to invent: Savings were to Rae basically not a result of thrift, but of retained earnings from imperfect competition created by inventions and technical change."


quinta-feira, abril 08, 2021

Para reflexão

"We are likely entering into the mother of overdue global slowdowns. Every executive team needs to explore the limits of their comfort zone and imagine a business with 20% less revenue, that commands twice the value. There is only one path to a dramatic increase in stakeholder value in the face of flat/declining revenues: The rundle—my term for “a recurring revenue bundle.”

This was a strategic move before the pandemic—now it’s gangster. That revenue is substantially immune to short-term pandemic disruptions and can cover for softness in the core hardware businesses."

Trecho retirado de "Post Corona" de Scott Galloway.

quarta-feira, abril 07, 2021

Mais pureza estratégica, mais rentabilidade (parte II)

Parte I.

Not if you Want to be Great over Time
The Playing to Win strategy question that I probably get most often is: why can’t we be both a cost leader and a differentiator? 
I think I get the question as often as I do for two reasons. First is that in advising on strategy, I emphasize the need to choose and in general people don’t like to choose. People like more to keep options open rather than cut them off, which is one reason why most strategy isn’t strategy, it is planning. So, when I say one of the important strategy choices is to be either a cost leader or a differentiator, people tend react by challenging why they must choose.
 To be a cost leader, you have to configure yourself uniquely in order to achieve a cost position that is meaningfully lower than for any competitor. That is what leading means. You can’t be a ‘leader’ if you are in the middle of the pack. ... The value of a cost advantage is that you can use it to gain share. The cost advantage enables you to lower price below the level competitors can in order to gain share from them, which illustrates the problem with being stuck in the middle. You can’t protect yourself from the cost leader (or differentiator for that matter).
In the face of competition, it is unrealistic to be both because cost leadership and differentiation take very different disciplines. A cost leader will choose standardization and will sacrifice non-conforming customers in order to maintain its meaningfully lower costs. 
Differentiators will pursue deep, holistic understanding of customers so that they can build the next increment of value into their product or service. They are always innovating and building the unique value and strength of their brand. 
Don’t waste your time thinking about being both a cost leader and a differentiator. Think instead about to which of these different paths you will commit and how to achieve cost leadership or differentiation in the space you have chosen to compete."

terça-feira, abril 06, 2021

"an accelerant of trends already well underway"

Dedicado ao meu parceiro das conversas oxigenadoras... já há muito que não temos nenhuma... 

""In crisis, there is opportunity." Galloway argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has not been a change agent so much as an accelerant of trends already well underway.[Moi ici: Recordar isto]


One of the industries that will struggle in the new normal will be higher education, an industry that may not be able to maintain a value proposition that makes sense in a decentralized and digital economy, where scale, speed, and personalization are the new relevant currencies. 


 "E-commerce began taking root in 2000. Since then, e-commerce's share of retail has grown approximately 1% every year. At the beginning of 2020, approximately 18% of retail was transacted via digital channels. Eight weeks after the pandemic reached the US (March to mid-April), that number leaped to 28%. We saw a decade of e-commerce growth in eight weeks,"


He also referenced home delivery of groceries accelerating by six years. Working from home accelerated by 10 years in 2020. He shared some negative trends due to the pandemic, including one out of two young adults between the ages of 18 to 30 now living with their parents. Another negative trend in the pandemic is that one in five households with children in the US is now food insecure


In Post Corona, Galloway writes that few industries sit closer to the ground zero of COVID-19 acceleration than higher education. Even before the pandemic, the $700 billion business was ripe for disruption. 


"The pandemic's most enduring feature will be as an accelerant of existing trends. The trend that encapsulates the greatest reshuffling of stakeholder value in recent history is … the Great Dispersion. Similar to prior macro trends like globalization and digitization, it offers enormous opportunity, but also real threats. Amazon dispersed retail to desktop, to mobile, to voice. Netflix dispersed DVDs to our mailbox, then to every screen. The pandemic is causing dispersion in even larger industries — the greatest opportunity for wealth creation in decades. Work from home, telemedicine, and remote learning represent an impending disruption of over 25% of the U.S. economy. The largest sectors are about to leapfrog HQ, doctor's offices, hospitals, and campuses."

Trechos retirados de "Professor Scott Galloway: The great dispersion and future of higher education

segunda-feira, abril 05, 2021

Sair da cepa torta

Este texto publicado no Correio da Manhã de ontem, "Portugal tem das empresas mais frágeis da Europa", suscita dois apontamentos.

Primeiro, a taxa de encerramento das empresas em Portugal ao fim de 5 anos:

"Esta fragilidade do mercado português, constituído sobretudo por micro e pequenas empresas, poderá ser avaliada ainda por um outro indicador: a taxa de sobrevivência das companhias.

Em Portugal, apenas 34% das empresas criadas em 2013 tinham conseguido aguentar-se de portas abertas ao fim de cinco anos.

A média comunitária estava fixada nos 45%. Pior do que Portugal só memo a Lituânia"

Mercados diferentes devem ter desempenhos diferentes e isso é normal.

BTW, um número que publiquei aqui no blogue em Maio de 2008

Nos Estados Unidos, 80% das empresas que arrancam a funcionar num ano, ao fim de 5 anos estão falidas! Ao fim de 10 anos 96% estão fechadas. 

Julgo preferível um sistema com baixas barreiras à entrada. Talvez por isso:

"Em 2018, Portugal tinha a segunda maior taxa de criação de empresas entre os 27 Estados-membros, de 16%."

Depois, quem tiver unhas que toque guitarra.

O segundo apontamento é, para mim, muito preocupante:
"88,1% do investimento realizado em 2017 em investigação e desenvalvimento, na indústria e construção nacionais, foi protagonizado por empresas com capital nacional. O resultado coloca Portugal na primeira posição quanto à origem interna do investimento."
Isto para mim é medonho...

Nestas últimas semanas tenho escrito sobre o exemplo irlandês e a importância do investimento directo estrangeiro para ultrapassar a impossibilidade dos "macacos voarem":

Produtividade à moda antiga

Volto ao postal "A ratoeira" por causa desta figura:

As melhorias de produtividade são canalizadas para a competição pelo preço.

Volto a um postal escrito em Outubro de 2006 e já com todos os elementos que interessam para o truque alemão ou a doença anglo-saxónica.

Ontem tive a oportunidade de ler "U.S.’s Long Drought in Worker Productivity Could Be Ending" e não pude deixar de o associar à doença anglo-saxónica... a produtividade sobe porque se produz mais do mesmo com menos recursos. Bem longe do Evangelho do Valor. Parece que não fazem ideia de que o truque é subir na escala de valor:
"After a decadelong drought, worker productivity might be about to accelerate thanks to pandemic-induced technological adoption, which could lift economic growth and wages in coming years while staving off inflation pressure.
This is enabling companies to raise productivity, which is defined as output per hour worked. Stronger productivity growth is key to the economy’s long-term success. Economic growth depends on the number of workers and how much they produce. Without productivity growth, economic growth must rely on more workers, which might be hard to achieve since the workforce is aging and the pandemic pushed millions of Americans out of the labor force.
Higher productivity growth should also put more money into people’s pockets because wages are tied to how much workers produce. [Moi ici: Mais dinheiro para quem fica, é preciso não esquecer os que vão para o desemprego. Ver parágrafo seguinte e recordar porque é que o salário médio cresceu em Portugal no ano passado] That would enable companies to raise wages without raising prices, damping inflation pressure.
Last year it accelerated to 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020 from the same period a year earlier, although that was because the coronavirus triggered steep job losses in lower-wage sectors that tend to be less productive.
A shift toward e-commerce should push up productivity by eliminating workers needed in bricks-and-mortar stores,"

domingo, abril 04, 2021

Jesus ressuscitou!


"making the diversification process path-dependent."

"Economic growth is associated with the diversification of economic activities, which can be observed via the evolution of product export baskets. Exporting a new product is dependent on having, and acquiring, a specific set of capabilities, making the diversification process path-dependent


There is strong evidence that as countries experience economic growth, they change what they do and undergo structural transformation via diversification of their economic activities by increasing the number of industries that they have comparative advantage in. Emergence of a particular industry in a country depends on the availability of different combinations of capabilities, including various factors like capital, labour, and productive knowledge. From this viewpoint, countries grow as they acquire productive knowledge and/or capabilities, and learn to combine these complementary capabilities in order to move into new economic activities. Hence, industrialisation is mostly a pathdependent process, whereby the appearance of new industries and economic activities is conditional on having or acquiring the relevant capabilities and know-how.[Moi ici: Por isso é que os macacos não voam]

Drawing up an exhaustive list of capabilities and/or the productive knowledge required for industry is challenging. For instance, for a country to develop the fresh-cut flower industry, it requires capabilities, such as cold storage facilities, airports, irrigation systems, suitable climate, efficient customs, a good business environment as well as knowledge embedded in its farmers, botanic experts, engineers, logistic specialists, marketing professionals, bureaucrats and business executives to name but a few.


The arrow of development. Countries diversify into new products that are similar (in terms of required capabilities) to what they currently produce. 


If capability accumulation underlies the development process, we expect countries to move from less complex products towards sophisticated products over time. Hence, we expect diversification from low complexity to high complexity products as countries upgrade their complexity level."

Trechos retirados de "Productive Ecosystems and the arrow of development

sábado, abril 03, 2021

A ratoeira

Imaginem um país em que a política tem como prioridade a distribuição em vez da criação de riqueza e, ao mesmo tempo, preso nesta ratoeira.

Aquele segundo passo: "Perfect International Competition, Reversible Wages, Productivity Increases Taken Out As Lowered Prices" é letal. A paranóia da concorrência perfeita e o jogo do gato e do rato. E não é porque um governo decide aumentar o salário mínimo que o ciclo vicioso se quebra, apenas serve para mandar mais gente para o desemprego porque as empresas fecham. Só a aposta na concorrência imperfeita serve de activador de uma nova realidade.

Recordar o Evangelho do Valor, o gráfico de Marn e Rosiello. Estar atento ao texto de Ricardo Reis na Caderno de Economia do Expresso desta semana, "O sucesso das empresas"... parece que finalmente viu a luz... quem terá sido o seu Ananias?

Sim, há a via do valor, a via da concorrência imperfeita, o truque alemão.

Imagens retiradas de "The Visionary Realism of German Economics: From the Thirty Years' War to the Cold War". 

sexta-feira, abril 02, 2021

Mais pureza estratégica, mais rentabilidade

Algo que divulgamos aqui quase desde o primeiro dia deste blogue e sumarizado num texto de 2008 com esta figura:

Mais pureza estratégica, mais rentabilidade.

"Firms have effectively used low-cost or focus strategies to improve their performance. Our study demonstrates that although firms pursuing either strategy individually can benefit, pursuing these two generic strategies of low-cost and focus simultaneously actually hurts firms’ profitability. In essence, we show that when firms pursuing a low-cost strategy already possess a cost efficiency advantage over their rivals for the full customer base, firms have nothing to gain by simultaneously limiting rivalry—through focusing on a smaller customer segment—and thus giving away revenue to rivals. Our insights regarding the combination of different generic strategies caution managers to not be misled by the performance gains of either low-cost and focus strategies individually, but to realize that these two in tandem actually may harm profitability.


In his seminal work that examined the nuances of the understudied combination of these two generic strategies—low-cost and focus—Makadok (2010) showed analytically how these mechanisms work to reduce firm profit. Consistent with prior work, we find that having either a high cost efficiency advantage (i.e. an effective low-cost strategy) or reducing rivalry through a high level of horizontal differentiation (i.e., an effective focus strategy) is more likely to increase a firm’s profit. In addition, our empirical analysis shows that combining these two strategies has a negative relationship with firm profit, supporting Makadok’s (2010) analytic models.  These findings emphasize the importance of looking beyond the most often discussed combination of firms pursuing simultaneously a low-cost (Generic Strategy 1) and a differentiation strategy (Generic Strategy 2), and that it is also ill-advised to simultaneously pursue a low-cost (Generic Strategy 1) and a focus strategy (Generic Strategy 3).


In conclusion, our empirical study strengthens the Strategy outlook that firms do best when pursuing one generic strategy. Indeed, our study complements the existing insight regarding the negative outcomes of pursuing both a low-cost strategy (Generic Strategy 1) and a differentiation strategy (Generic Strategy 2) by explicating the logical arguments and providing empirical support for the negative outcome of pursuing both a low-cost strategy (Generic Strategy 1) and a focus strategy (Generic Strategy 3)."

Trechos retirados de "Competing Both Ways: How Combining Porter’s Low-Cost and Focus Strategies Hurts Firm Performance

quinta-feira, abril 01, 2021

"the search for new knowledge which creates imperfect competition"

 Outro trecho sobre a concorrência imperfeita:

"In both Adam Smith and in neo - classical theory there is in some fundamental way a contradiction between the notion of perfect markets and the way the economy adds knowledge. This problem spills over to how economic theory today explains profits. There is no incentive to produce new knowledge in perfect markets – the possibility of appropriating the fruits of new knowledge is absent. By letting new knowledge enter the system like ‘‘manna from heaven’’, the very engine of growth – the search for new knowledge which creates imperfect competition – is excluded from mainstream theory. For this reason, an understanding of how different degrees of imperfect competition is caused by conditions of production is at the very core of any understanding of economic growth. Economic theory, however, does not have a relevant theory of production, and of the role of human knowledge in this process."

Trecho retirado de "The Visionary Realism of German Economics: From the Thirty Years' War to the Cold War". 

Para reflexão

Recomendo este texto de Seth Godin "No fooling":

"The first of April was a day when we were supposed to be aware that not everything was as it seemed, that we should be on our guard. And now, exhausting as it is, every day is like that.

I’m hopeful that our culture is resilient enough to get back to the truth.

Show your work. Earn attention and build trust. Every day.

Too much spin simply makes us dizzy."