Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Donald Trump Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 6

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on May 6, 2018

This is my 33rd installment to what has become an ongoing series of postings in which I seek to address politics in the United States as it has become, starting with the nominations process leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. See my series: Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following.

This can also be considered to represent my 60th installment to an ongoing series that I have been offering here concerning Xi Jinping and his still emerging and expanding leadership role in China. See China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following. I began writing about Xi in this series after his elevation to a position of supreme leadership in the Communist Party of China and of China’s government and military. And I include this posting in that progression of them, as the United States president currently in office: Donald Trump, creates both challenge and opportunity and with the second of those predominating, for Xi and his leadership.

I begin this posting by repeating the number of postings that I have offered here, focusing on Donald Trump and his narcissistic zero attention span cupidity and venality: 33. And I have written about him at least in passing on a variety of other occasions in this blog too. As such, that number only approximates the level of specific attention that I have directed towards this man and his activates, and that of his supporters. So I offer this supernumerary addition to what I have to think of as that less than august assemblage of writings, by saying enough is enough. As of now, I am not planning on adding a 34th installment to this progression, unless and until a real change event takes place such as the release of the Muller investigation findings, in his investigation of Russian involvement in compromising the 2016 US elections – and in a manner that would lead to Trump’s impeachment. OK, that is not the only possible trigger that would prompt my offering a number 34 to this series. But any viable alternative to it that would prompt me to return to specifically writing about Donald Trump and his presidency is going to have to be game changing too, as far as Trump and his political and office holding futures are concerned.

I am planning on continuing to write about China and their leadership in further postings. But any references to The Donald in that will simply be incidental and offered as contextual background material. This is it, and certainly for now, for focusing on Trump himself.

And with that stated, I begin this posting with the citation of an historical parallel as drawn from United States history. And I turn for that to the less than laudable presidency of Warren Gamaliel Harding, as a touchstone for better understanding our current, 45th United States president. Harding is widely known as having been one of the worst of the worst, of those who have taken on the responsibilities of the office of president of the United States, and for good reason. The Teapot Dome scandal with its rampant bribery and other corruptions that Harding is perhaps best known for, as carried out by highly placed officials in his presidential administration, is only one of the well known and documented of his administration’s failings. But even a cursory review of the Trump administration, shows him and his inner circle to be much more fully and widely corrupt than that, and for essentially all of the key members of his team and for essentially all who he has tried to bring into it. This side to the history of the Trump administration, beginning at the time of his inauguration into office and continuing on to now, has presented itself as a succession of revelations of senior members of Trump’s inner circle who have proven to be corruptible and corrupt and even overtly criminally so.

Donald Trump famously ran for office on a campaign promise of “draining the swamp” in Washington. And he has continued to proclaim that as one of his administration defining self-assumed success stories, and ever since his achieving office. But if anything, president Trump has taken what might or might not properly be called a swamp in the District of Columbia and its surrounding areas and converted it into what should qualify as a superfund cleanup site. And I cite as a news piece example of how others have arrived at this conclusion:

Trump’s ‘Best People’ Are the Worst

And yes, he has repeatedly proclaimed that he is bringing in the best people as a key part of his swamp draining effort. How could the actual results achieved from his hiring efforts have happened? I could cite several reasons for that, all of which begin in a cause and effect manner from the simple fact that Trump only looks for one quality or qualification when evaluating potential candidates and hires into his administration. Anyone he would consider bringing in must swear personal, absolute loyalty and fealty to him as an individual. And any who turn on him and betray that absolute oath of loyalty in any way, is soon going to be on their way out the door.

As a particularly toxic and I add particularly publically visible example of how that works, I cite an event that president Trump orchestrated and that he directly ordered all of his cabinet officers to participate in, and with whole hearted enthusiasm demonstrably required on all of their parts:

Trump’s Cabinet Showers Boss with Praise,
Trump Invites His Employees To Praise Him During Cabinet Meeting and
Donald Trump Cabinet Praise.

The second and third of these links are to YouTube videos of this event, so a reader can see what I write of here for themselves. A normal person would not want this type of overtly forced praise, and would certainly not demand that type of public obeisance and from anyone. But a willingness to submit to participating in an exercise in public adoration of this type is precisely how Trump picks those who end up at least briefly on his team. And only the truly corrupt and shamelessly so would buy into this type of behavior on their part, as a necessary and acceptable cost of bellying up to the trough to feed. Honest, competent people of genuine integrity would not willingly seek to serve in office under a Donald Trump and certainly as he has proven that fact based decision making and action do not meet with his approval or support: only obedience to his each and every tweet, verbal utterance or thought, and no matter how unconsidered or self-serving.

And that brings me to a verbal shorthand that I have started hearing from news professionals and pendants that I find, if anything, at least as disturbing as Donald Trump’s soft relationship with empirical reality itself. I refer here to how all of this has become so much a “new normal” in the eyes and minds of so many. Phrases line Post-Fact Reality as a new norm prompt essentially the same visceral response in me that I would feel if they began seriously, studiously intoning in their reporting of Trump’s exciting new doublespeak and double think. George Orwell would spin in his grave with joy if he could somehow know that Donald Trump has taken his dystopian dreamscape and made it his, and our reality. (Think of that last sentence as my one and only interview practice run for becoming an “alternative facts” based Trump spokesperson. And think of that phrase as The Donald’s way of doubling down on speech, thought and reality, doublethink style!)

I have written about Trump and his less than simply lose grasp of, or interest in reality. And I have done so many, many times in the course of assembling this series up to here, and while discussing the larger Trump-oriented narrative that I have fit that into, going back to when a pack of the hungry were vying for becoming the Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election. I have written of his swamp draining promises and his toxic waste dumping practices for almost as long. Corruption in highly placed officials and from proposed appointees to the Trump administration has become so common and so expected as to have numbed us all into somehow thinking of this as a form of new form of normal. And that might be his longest lasting legacy from his time in high office, for the callous damaging of American sensibilities and the withering of what should be our shared ideals and standards of public conduct that he has brought us to. And truth and fact have been just as victimized in all of this and to our collective detriment too, and regardless of our political similarities or differences.

I offered Part 32 of this series approximately four weeks ago, with it going live on April 8, 2018. And just in that short period of time, several scandal and corruption unveilings have erupted out of the Trump administration, all of which individually would have been seen as administration threatening news – if that is they did not simply fit into a recurring pattern of such mind numbing regularity.

• Corruption in highly placed officials and from proposed appointees to the Trump administration has become so commonplace and so expected by now and for all of us, as to have numbed us all into somehow thinking of this as a form of normal.

And few if any of us now expect anyone in a Trump administration to offer or even accept what would under more normal circumstances be considered factual truth. This all grievously harms all of us. And it leaves us grasping at straws to understand the how and why of all of this. And with that noted, I come full circle to cite my first installment to what has become this succession Trump-centric postings, along with a recent news piece that I make note of here, simply because it is literally a grasping at straws made overtly public:

Thinking Through the Words We Use in Our Political Monologs and
Why Trump Supporters Don’t Mind His Lies.

And meanwhile, Xi Jinping in China, Kim Jung Un in North Korea, Vladimir Putin in Russia and a host of others, think circles around our US president and act accordingly, and the United States becomes more and more a non sequitur on the world stage for his inept mismanagement and from his lack of vision and understanding.

So I conclude this posting by noting the current tantalizing teases in the news of what might somehow, some time come to pass:

Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction,
Trump Adds Clinton Impeachment Lawyer, Bracing for a Fight on Multiple Fronts,
Mueller’s Questions Point to What Trouble Trump Is In,
Why Answering Mueller’s Questions Could Be a Minefield for Trump,
The Truth Is Coming for Trump and of course
Truth Has Stopped Mattering in the Russia Investigation.

I left out a number of news piece references here that more specifically discuss how terrified Trump’s inner circle supporters are that he might actually agree to meet with Muller and attempt to answer his questions under oath, and even when he has been given copies of all of them well in advance in order to give him time and opportunity to prepare for that.

I waited as long as I did between my April 8, 2018 posting and this one because so many new (should be) scandals have kept erupting on such an ongoing, steady and reliable basis and because so many Muller investigation hint-pieces have come out too. What comes next, besides just this toxic flow of ongoing same and routine out of the Trump White House, will happen … probably … eventually. When something more game changing does happen, I will add a Posting 34 to this.

Meanwhile, I am certain to continue adding new installments to both China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation (as postings 154 and loosely following.) And I expect, with time to add more to my series: Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2 (posting 244 and loosely following).

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Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 41: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 11

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on May 5, 2018

This is my 41st posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-40.)

I began a more detailed discussion of the bookkeeping and accounting, operational-details side of innovation in a business in Part 40, where I at least briefly touched on the questions of where funding would come from for a specific research project, through what lines on an overall budget. And as a part of that I at least briefly discussed the complications that can arise from resorting to multiple funding sources, and perhaps multiple budget lines for managing them. The types and levels of financial management complexity that I make note of there can add real opacity into any overall effort to track and coordinate overall research efforts, for their overall funding requirements and for tracking their overall cumulative costs accrued.

I add here that that type of complexity and opacity can even mask what presumably earmarked funds are being expended on, where what would be expected to be non-research directed funds might be diverted into supporting more explicitly research efforts, and where expected and earmarked research funds might be used for more routine funding purposes instead. And the boundaries there, and from both of these perspectives can be very blurry and uncertain at times, so none of this need involve intent and at any level to misdirect funds too.

• The types of information coordination and sharing needs that of necessity can and do arise in such complex budgeting systems, can create challenges when managing overall task and goals prioritization and when tracking and measuring overall levels of performance and cost-effectiveness achieved.

So I also raised the possibility of running all such expenses and their accounting for research endeavors, through single channel systems set up for that purpose. More specifically, and expanding on what I offered on this in Part 40, I note that:

• I have already raised the possibility of setting up a dedicated research center within a business in a variety of contexts in this blog, with its own leadership and management, and its own organizational structure and its own budget lines. See, for example: Keeping Innovation Fresh (as can be found at Business Strategy and Operations – 2 for its Parts 1-16.) I raise this business organization and management approach again here too, as offering a possible mechanism for managing research financing and for better addressing the above-cited, dispersed system challenges.
• Alternatively, businesses can and do also set up special needs and related funding streams in their overall fiscal planning and in their bookkeeping and accounting of that, and both for maintaining specific risk management reserve funds, and for enabling their capturing and developing research and development opportunity too.
• And I offer these possibilities as two of a larger possible set of them that can be pursued, to keep this line of discussion more practically oriented.

Up to here, this all addresses these issues from strictly within the business, and in terms of its more internal organizational issues. My goal here is to face outward and put that line of discussion into its proper, wider context and certainly where the innovation in question is market-facing and arising in a product or service development context. To be more specific in that, my goal here in this posting is to “add in consideration of market and marketplace stability and consistency, and uncertainty and volatility.” And I begin addressing that by offering a general point of conceptually organizing observation:

• One of the primary consequences of adding consumer interest and its evolution, and marketplace stability and consistency, and the uncertainty and volatility that they bring with them into this type of discussion, is that including those and similar factors into this type of narrative adds timing and timeline pressures into it, and as strategically and operationally defining considerations.
• These considerations become essential task and goal-prioritization factors for determining the When and How of this innovation, and for when setting its overall and step-by step scale of effort and commitment too.

Let’s consider the above and at least some of its consequences and collateral issues, starting from the fundamentals. And with that perspective in mind, I continue on from here in this narrative by acknowledging and laying out some specific assumptions that enter into this, and certainly as I analyze and discuss this set of issues. I presume in this line of discussion that:

• A business in question here, functions and competes in an industry and business sector that is highly competitive and with that competitive pressure coming in large part from a demanding marketplace that always expects and wants new and exciting: next and different.

Technology and product generation cycles, of necessity have to be very short for any business facing these types of pressure, and both for same-technology generation updates that would serve to keep more current offerings fresh, and for the development and marketable offering of the new and disruptively new – or at least the new that can be successfully marketed as such.

As products and product types mature, next generation new development steps can and generally do become smaller for their overall level of change created and for their market impact from that – unless and until one of the businesses in such a sector, or some disruptively new entrant outsider business moving into that arena, comes up with a game changing innovation that basically reinvents the product category as a whole for what is possible and for what its market would now come to demand, and resets the clock for this evolutionary process back to zero again.

And the pressures that I write of here, tend to lead to marketing hype and certainly when businesses face pressures to tout less significant innovative change as if it were more, in order to capture or retain market share. That only complicates and confounds the marketplace as far as valid reviews and product representations, and consumer awareness are concerned, adding market side friction to this entire system.

What I just did was to discuss at least briefly a basic dual perspective approach to both innovation and its realization, and to funding it and certainly from a more practical hands-on, operational perspective where accounting and bookkeeping are carried out. Then I stepped back to discuss a set of business and marketplace factors that would enter into any strategic, hence any operational approaches for understanding this business context and for attempting to operationally address it. My goal for the next installment to this series, is to tie the above line of discussion as offered up to here, back to the accounting and bookkeeping systems decision making processes that are in place, in order to tie together all of the perspectives to this complex of issues that I have been addressing here.

In anticipation of that line of discussion to come, this will of necessity mean my breaking open the essentially black box, monolithic representation of research and development per se that I have been citing here, to consider that as a dynamic and mutable process and system of them too, and with all of the strategic and operational trade-offs and compromises that that can entail: cash flow and money management ones included.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 5

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on April 8, 2018

This is my 32nd installment to what has become an ongoing series of postings in which I seek to address politics in the United States as it has become, starting with the nominations process leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. See my series: Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following.

This can also be considered to represent my 59th installment to an ongoing series that I have been offering here concerning Xi Jinping and his still emerging and expanding leadership role in China. See China and Its Transition Imperatives, as it can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following. I began writing about Xi in this series after his elevation to a position of supreme leadership in the Communist Party of China and of China’s government and military.

I primarily focused on Xi Jinping in the two most recent installments to this posting progression: Part 3 and Part 4, as I did in its Part 1. I turn here to focus more on Trump again, and his side of this comparative discussion, as I did in Part 2.

I wrote in Parts 3 and 4 of Xi Jinping’s all but apotheosis within his nation’s ruling Communist Party in China and over his government, military and essentially all else there. And my goal here is to at least briefly make note of and discuss an equally profound but very differently directioned change in status and stature that Donald Trump is heading into. And I begin by posing an at least seemingly simple question: what is an anti-apotheosis? What would most definitively and genuinely qualify as the true antithesis of an apotheosis?

Different people conceive of that in different ways with some, for example assuming that if an apotheosis is an elevation to godhood or its equivalent, then its anti-counterpart should be an elevation to satanic stature. I would argue that a better way to approach this would be to flip around and reverse essentially all of the defining terms and conditions that would be presumed to hold true for an apotheosis: elevation per se definitely included there.

• Xi has worked very hard and very systematically to achieve his current shift in status and stature in his country’s power structures. And he has achieved this as the cumulative result of careful planning and ruthlessly systematic execution.
• Trump never realistically (or even unrealistically) believed that he would actually be elected president of the United States until he was. And he has floundered in office since his election, drowning in his flighty attention deficit disorder and in his blindered narcissism. He never actually plans out anything before acting, and when he does say or do something: however spur of the moment or unconsidered, he is owned by it and stuck with it and regardless of the consequences that emerge from it. The absolutely unacceptable alternative to that would be that he, Donald Trump, might have to admit that he might have been wrong on something – that he might have made a mistake, however small.
• Xi would arguably and I add correctly claim that he has achieved an elevation in power and position, and while facing forward towards his particular transitional change.
• Trump, as I will at least briefly discuss by way of selective example here, is descending from where he was and in what is an essentially entirely out of control manner. He continues along a path of progressively more and more diminished stature and authority, that his election as president of the United States should have conferred upon him. And he has been backing into essentially everything that he does and into everything that arises as consequence to that. He continues along that blind path every single day and without any realistic likelihood of change to that in the offering.
• Xi’s has been and remains a calculated elevation upward; Trump’s has been a slow but seemingly inexorable drift downward.
• And as a possible point of similarity that I would raise in the midst of all of this difference, I would leave both godhood and satan-hood out of all of this discussion and for both of these men and for both of their countries. Ultimately they are both just power hungry mortals whose egos will always proclaim that they deserve more and better than they could possibly achieve or merit. And will just continue along, each on their on their particular path and regardless of the consequences that might result from that. They will both continue on in their efforts to achieve their mirage-like, quicksilver goals. And that is in fact what I write of in this series conjoining progression of shared postings.

But to bring this installment in that into focus, it is mostly a posting about Donald Trump and his United States presidency. So I turn here to address that phenomenon, and to briefly update his particular status and stature transition as it is currently unfolding as of the time of this writing, as promised above. And I begin that with some thoughts concerning his inner circle and his most powerfully placed staff and administrative team. Leaders lead, and one of the truest measures of that can be found in in who they bring into their inner circles to help them carry out their overall plans and designs. One of the truest measures of their leadership ability is in who agrees to, and even seeks out opportunity to be led by them in fulfilling their guiding vision and mission. Who is in Trump’s inner circle, and how and why? And what has been happening and both within and around that team, as its members seek to fulfill their duties as members of it?

Let’s begin at the beginning, in addressing those questions and their answers. Donald Trump ran for office, and from his initial run for the Republican nomination on, as a self-proclaimed expert at and in fact genius at business and at leadership. And one of his ongoing refrains once nominated to be the Republican candidate for president, was that he would bring in the very best people – “tremendous people” into his administration. He would bring in the greatest experts and leaders in all of the key areas of expertise that a presidential administration would need. He would bring in genius doers – just like him. And he continues to proclaim that, and to boast that that is what he has been doing.

Arguably Donald Trump has in fact brought people into his administration and its inner circle who are a lot like himself. But his only litmus test as to their capability or qualifications has been that they show absolute personal fealty and loyalty to him and that they never, ever question or in any way contradict or challenge anything that he says, and even just as an off the cuff, spontaneous late night tweet.

It might be argued, at least outside of his immediate circle, that this could limit his actually securing the support of, or the participation of the very best at anything in his White House staff or as senior appointees in office. But however one would view that presumption, it is hard to deny that the Trump administration has been roiled by turnover and from among the highest ranks of the Trump team, and from cabinet officers and similarly powerfully placed appointees on down.

The Trump administration has always been chaotic, and his chief spokespersons have even admitted that, generally in the context of proclaiming that president Trump thrives on chaos. Setting aside the fact that effective leadership generally involves setting a clear path forward and in a way that would bring others to follow in its fulfillment, Donald Trump thrives on chaos. And that is fortunate indeed, and especially considering how many significantly important government positions that a president and his office would be expected appoint people to, have yet to see even just a single possible candidate for those important jobs. But let’s focus on the positions that he has filled and that he has sought to fill, and on what has happened there.

As a telling in the news reference that highlights this side to the Trump administration, I would cite:

No Chaos in White House, Trump Says, ‘Only Great Energy’.

President Trump’s administration and at less than a year and a half now, has already set a new standard for the scale of the flood of turnovers that have taken place among his senior White House staff and from among his senior appointed officials. And that scale of uniqueness continues when considering how many of those key people have left under a cloud of accusations of malfeasance and impropriety, and how many have been forced out simply because they might have disagreed with the president and challenged him to reconsider on at least some issues.

Sadly enough, the above cited news analysis piece was not based on sarcasm as coming from the politically motivated; it was based on a self-supporting and self-justifying statement coming from president Trump himself in support of and defense of his approach to office. And he offered this self-evaluation as a defense of his self-presumed effectiveness in office!

There is a biblical admonition about not building your house upon sand (Matthew 7:24-27.) Judging from his inability to attract even just as good as the simply mediocre into his inner circle staff and leadership team, I would argue that president Trump has forsaken building on nice firm beach sand, down by the surf, for building upon quicksand. And that is the foundation that he has built his presidency upon, and that he would approach any attempted transition to greatness from.

I am going to continue this line of discussion in a next series installment, where I will consider how and why so many of the key figures in the Trump administration have left. And I will also discuss the Mueller investigations in that context, and the question of how the Republican and Democratic parties have fared in recent special elections in this country too, where they have in fact been de facto referendums on the Trump administration and at least as much as they have been state and local elections.

Meanwhile, I am certain to continue adding new installments to both China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation (as postings 154 and loosely following), and to Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2 (posting 244 and loosely following). And some of that, like this posting and others of the set discussed here, will belong to both of those series.

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 4

Posted in book recommendations, macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on March 29, 2018

This is my 58th installment to an ongoing series that I have been offering here concerning Xi Jinping and his still emerging and expanding leadership role in China. See China and Its Transition Imperatives, as it can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following.

This can also be considered to represent my 31st installment to what has become an ongoing series of postings in which I seek to address politics in the United States as it has become, starting with the nominations process leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. See my series: Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following as a significant component of that.

I recently offered a Part 3 of this subseries on Trump and Xi, and on leadership as they pursue it and define it for themselves in practice, with that installment going live on March 25, 2018. And my goal in that was to begin an at least brief discussion of how both Xi Jinping and the China that he rules over, have just entered into profoundly fundamental change. I began a line of discussion there, that I will build from here, both to more fully explore what has just happened and to lay a foundation for discussing emerging consequences that will arise from this.

Then, after completing that half of this update, I will turn to consider Donald Trump and an equally profound transition that he is approaching, and that he has in effect made inevitable from decisions made, or backed into, and actions taken. But I begin this with Xi and with what I referred to in my March 25th posting as his apotheosis to unchallengeable and even lifelong leadership over his country, and its Communist Party, military and government.

Let’s consider the context that this is taking place in. On the one hand, China’s economy and organizational infrastructures are in chaotic, graft and corruption driven disarray and in ways and for reasons that are in fact structurally embedded in their system of one Party rule, and in the unquestionable command economy approach that the Party and its officials pursue. I have been writing about this complex of issues in this blog for years now, beginning in December 2010 (see posting 69 of my directory: Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time.) And in the course of that, I have offered an ongoing stream of multiply sourced supportive references for the data that I have cited and built my analyses of all of this upon.

To bring that up to date here, I cite a new, and I have to add very well researched and very troubling book on China’s current bubble economy, as it offers a backdrop for understanding Xi’s elevation in power, and the changes made to China’s system of governance that would allow that:

• McMahon, D. (2018) China’s Great Wall of Debt: shadow banks, ghost cities, massive loans, and the end of the Chinese miracle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

To be blunt and specific here, Xi and his Communist Party in China were heading towards the edge of a cliff: for them the edge of an abyss and certainly for when – and I stress when, not if, their bubble bursts. Then Donald Trump came along and created a global power vacuum through his ineptitude, and from his pulling back from foreign commitments and obligations, that have given Xi and his Party and its system of governance a new lease on life.

This seeming collapse of an internationally facing presence from the West that was spearheaded by American influence and power until Trump became president, has significantly served to enable Xi’s claims to the South China Sea and the East China Sea among other consequences. China’s neighbors in this large overall region have never seen themselves as being able to stand up to China and its territorial ambitions on their own, so American involvement and support there have always been needed, and even when those countries were not themselves directly collaborating with the United States. An American presence in the region served to keep China in check there. And I cite Vietnam and its troubled history of relations with China as a perhaps poster child example of the history and dynamics of that (see my series: Vietnam, Đổi Mới and the Search for Business and Economic Strength and Global Relevance, as can be found at United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) as postings 34 and following.)

This is all vitally important here because the pull-backs that I write of have reduced any possibility of larger and more organized challenge to Xi’s and his nation’s claims to hegemony over this region, which they have so actively pursued and with a goal of offsetting their economic failures at home through the development of new wealth streams. There is more to this story that I make note of here, and there are other reasons and other objectives in this de facto territorial expansion that fall outside of the scope of this discussion. But the economic reasons that I do make note of here are very important to China, and ultimately to the West too for their consequences.

But focusing on the economics of this complex of issues, even this face to what China is doing under Xi is only one part of a larger economics-driven puzzle that I would make note of here. The United States’ pull-back from leadership and influence and on a global scale as is taking place under president Trump, has also helped facilitate Xi’s goals of developing business and economic reach, and globally, that does not depend upon or even necessarily significantly include an American presence and on a number of other fronts too.

Consider for example, Xi’s ambitious goals of recreating a this-time China dominated 21st century remake of the old Silk Road trading system, as once directly connected China and their markets with Europe and theirs: Xi’s One Belt one Road Initiative. This is actually a much more ambitious plan than just indicated, as the original Silk Road trade route was in fact built around a single complexly interconnected trade route between Europe and the East. But Xi’s plans also include very prominent maritime components too, bringing in and including nations spread across the Western Pacific that include and go beyond Australia and include African nations as well. In fact this new Silk Road initiative would, if fully implemented include six and possibly more separate and distinct land and maritime route components, directly connecting Chinese markets to a vast foreign population and their national markets as spread across Europe, North Africa, the rest of Asia and well out into the Pacific – and all without US participation.

For a more detailed discussion of this, I recommend:

• Kaplan, R.D. (2018) The Return of Marco Polo’s World: war, strategy and American interests in the 21st century. Random House. And see in particular,
Chapter 13: On Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Is No Realist (as first appeared
in the Washington Post, November 13, 2016) and
Chapter 17: Traveling China’s New Silk Road (as first appeared in The
National Interest, September/October 2015.)

And this is only one of several concurrently developing initiatives, coming out of Xi’s China, that are intended to propel China into a position of global leadership, while shoring up their internally failing economy in the process.

This narrative up to here, suggests and briefly touches upon some of the relevant context that Xi faces and that he has in fact significantly and directly created leading up to his assuming Mao-like status, as China’s unquestionable and unchallengeable leader as discussed in Part 3 of this posting progression. I did not offer any specific in-the-news references to this event itself in Part 3, so to round out this posting I do so here with a select few:

President Xi Jinping’s Rise in China, as Covered by The Times,
China Moves to Let Xi Stay in Power by Abolishing Term Limit,
With Xi’s Power Grab, China Joins New Era of Strongmen and
China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ Elevating Leader to Mao-Like Status

I have, of course, made note of Donald Trump and his decisions and actions in Part 3 and in this Part 4 to this posting subseries, at least as they relate to Xi Jinping and his China. But I have not discussed president Trump’s emerging, more negative counterpart to Xi’s apotheosis-like rise in power here yet. I will offer a briefly and selectively framed background explanation for proposing that type of change to come in Donald Trump’s fortunes, in a soon to come Part 5 to this.

Meanwhile, I am certain to continue adding new installments to both China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation (as postings 154 and loosely following), and to Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2 (posting 244 and loosely following). And some of that, like this posting and others of the set discussed here, will belong to both of those series.

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 3

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on March 25, 2018

This is my 57th installment to an ongoing series that I have been offering here concerning Xi Jinping and his still emerging and expanding leadership role in China. See China and Its Transition Imperatives, as it can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following.

This can also be considered to represent my 30th installment to what has become an ongoing series of postings in which I seek to address politics in the United States as it has become, starting with the nominations process leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. See in particular, my subseries: Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following, of that.

And for reasons that I hope to make clear in this and succeeding postings to this here-combined effort, I offer this posting and its immediately planned successors as if making a new start in this overall narrative. Events have developed and both for Donald Trump and the American system of governance and for the US economy too, and for Xi Jinping and his Communist Party and government, that have led us all to a turning point, and for these people as individuals and for their countries and globally.

My goal in this posting is to focus on the new and emerging in all of this but I begin by at least putting what is to follow in the larger context of what I have been writing and offering here, and for years now. I began writing about Trump in this blog around the time that he first began his run to secure the Republican party nomination as their 2016 candidate for president, as would be decided in that year’s November elections. And I began writing about Xi in this blog, in the above cited China series after his initial elevation to a position of supreme leadership in the Communist Party of China and of China’s government and military. Though I was very aware of both of these people, from well before I began to make explicit note of them in my writing.

I followed Trump’s profligately ill considered and ineffectual business career with his string of what can only be considered high profile failures, such as the collapse of his foray into Atlantic City gambling with his failed casino there. And I followed Xi for his single minded, strategically calculated rise in power and authority, as he swept aside all possible opposition and build a power base that has grown to take him to where he is now.

American capitalism has spawned a large number of failures, just as it has brought forth a great many successes. Donald Trump has stood out among the former, and both for his family wealth and for his family name support in his repeated business endeavors, and for the pompous flashiness of his failings. China’s communism has brought forth a great many ambitious party apparatchiks and at all levels in their party’s hierarchical ranks, and many who have sought to systematically carve out bases of personal power and authority for themselves in that system. Xi has stood out from the others in that crowd, and from early on in his career path, for his calculatingly effective and even brutal-as-necessary approach there, and looking back at least as far as 2003 for the impact and reach that he has been developing from this.

I have always developed and offered the two above-cited series of postings as separate endeavors and as separate self-contained narratives. And I have developed each of them around the personality and career of their particular one of those two personalities: Trump for the US oriented series and Xi for its China counterpart. But over the past almost two years now, I have at least occasionally written in each of them of how the other’s central character has created what might be called cross-over impact that would connect those series together. And that cross-over impact has certainly held significance since Trump won the 2016 presidential election in the United States and since he began to take actions that as the 45th US president, have had direct international impact.

Cutting ahead of myself in this here-and-now conjoined narrative for the moment, and focusing on a single thread of detail in a much more complex and nuanced reality, president Trump has sought to vilify and limit China and Xi, going so far recently as to publically call Xi’s China an “economic enemy” of the United States: a level of opprobrium that he would not even consider allowing from his government if directed to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whose led an effort to suborn and undermine the 2016 presidential and state officeholder elections in the United States. But while these challenges offered have raised at least some negatives for Xi Jinping and his government, they have on the whole strengthened Xi’s hand and even tremendously so on some key fronts, and have helped to stabilize and reduce risk faced by his Communist Party back home, from the accumulating impact of their economic and other failings. Trump has in fact given Xi a new and strengthened lease on political and leadership life. (I have in fact already written about these issues and have offered both references and analyses of their findings and data to support them in earlier installments to these two series, though I will at least briefly delve into them again here too and certainly in what is to follow over the next few installments to this narrative progression.)

And with that offered in background to this posting and to what is to follow, I add that I am specifically building this narrative from two earlier series conjoining postings:

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the Contrasts of Leadership in the 21st century – 1 and
its Part 2 continuation.

And I offer this and the Part 4 and Part 5 continuation pieces that will follow, starting in a few more days, with all of this background in mind.

My goal for the rest of this installment is to at least start a next-step discussion of Xi Jinping, which I will continue and flesh out in Part 4, much as I did in Part 1 when focusing on him and his story. Then I will focus on Donald Trump in Part 5, much as I did in Part 2 and with an at least possible Part 6 continuation of that to come too.

But let’s begin all of this with Xi Jinping and with consideration of what might be thought of as his emerging all-but apotheosis (or ἀποθέωσις, as derived from ἀποθεοῦν to cite the wonderful old classical Greek source word) in China’s sociopolitical and power-base firmament. An apotheosis was literally a becoming divine and godlike. Mao Zedong was raised to what literally amounted to the status of god in Communist China’s firmament and he ruled with the heavy and demanding, and stress and challenge creating hand of a god as would be found in classical myths, and of most any classical culture.

China’s Party and government leadership came together in the aftermath of Mao’s reign to cobble together a system of checks and balances with term limits and age limits for supreme leadership and a firm expectation that any leader assuming a second (and final) term of office as such, would name their successor when being sworn in again. The goal of all of this and more that was done, was to prevent any recurrence of anything like Mao’s cult of personality, or anything like his Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution, and to retain a measure of overall Party and government control and oversight that would render leadership deification an impossibility.

Xi, unlike his post-Mao predecessors as supreme leader of Party and government, has successfully demolished all of that, opening the door for his continued and ongoing control over essentially all in China and for life if he so chooses.

Mao was god in China and all trembled before him as they held their copies of his Little Red Book over their heads in acknowledged, and I add obligatory adoration. I have been writing of Xi up to now in terms of what he has been striving for; now he has reached the doorway towards fulfilling all of that, and he has taken his first definitive step through that door too. Welcome to the apotheosis. (And yes, his counterpart to Mao’s Little Red Book has now been formally and officially entered into China’s constitution too, and even as he further consolidates his power there.)

Xi Jinping is well on his way to realizing many of his longest held, and I add most dearly held goals and aspirations. And my goal for this posting is to at least briefly discuss what that is coming to mean, and in practice rather than just anticipation, as I have discussed concerning him up to now. And I begin addressing that with a detail drawn from classical Roman history in mind.

When a Roman general returned home to his empire’s capital in triumph from a successful military campaign, it was common for them to be celebrated for their victories on behalf of the Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome), with a triumphal procession: a parade, and with a feast and with the citizens of Rome given a day off from their labors so they could celebrate too. And the triumphant general would ride in a large and ornate chariot at the front of their procession: their parade and they would wave and the adoring crowds would cheer. But behind them to their left, would stand a dignitary of age and wisdom who would keep whispering to them, and as loudly as needed for them to be heard, that fame and glory are fleeting, that lives are short, that we are all mortal, this hero included, and that no one is of lasting fame or merit and so on and so on.

I would not qualify myself as a “dignitary of age and wisdom”, even if I am getting a day older every twenty four hours and with a growing amount of practice at doing so. But I will begin addressing the overall narrative goal of this posting and of the next ones’ to follow, by noting the challenges: internal and external in nature, that provide the context that Xi’s elevation is taking place in. Then I will at least briefly consider how he has responded to those challenges and in ways that serve to enhance his own position and promote his advancement towards his reaching his personal goals. And of necessity, I will at least briefly touch upon how American policy and Donald Trump’s decisions and actions in particular there, have on the whole fit into Xi’s plans and their execution and enabled them. I will discuss all of these issues, and largely at least in that order, in my next installment in this narrative to come and with that at least roughly scheduled to appear live in this blog in a few days. Then I will turn to consider and explore an equally profound but differently-directioned turning point that Donald Trump has now brought into being for himself and how that fits into both the American narrative and a more global one too.

Meanwhile, I am certain to continue adding new installments to both Donald Trump and the Stress Testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following, and to China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following. And some of that, like this posting and others of the set discussed here, will belong to both of those series.

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 40: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 10

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on March 24, 2018

This is my 40th posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-39.)

I have been discussing the issues of innovation and of realizing its potential in marketable products and services, and as actualized business systems improvements, in the course of developing this series. And I have focused in that, and certainly in recent series installments, on the crucial role that effective communications plays in making all of that possible.

I turn here to consider the funding and financing side of innovation. And I begin that by noting that I said at the end of Part 39 that I will approach this from a more accounting and bookkeeping perspective. I will in fact do that, but I will also approach this from a more strictly strategic perspective too where decisions made at that level, and assumptions that would shape that level, determine where and how more-accounting and bookkeeping level decisions and actions would be made. And I begin this line of discussion with the fundamentals, and with a more general line of discussion that I will then bring into focus around innovation and innovation funding.

Bookkeeping and accounting-level funds management decisions and actions are operational in nature. And they arise from and are grounded in what at least should be at least somewhat rigorously shaped strategic planning and the purchasing and payment prioritization that would come from it. This is, of course an idealized representation of an overall process and system of processes that can be a great deal messier and a lot less considered than I suggest here, and a lot more reactive than the top of this paragraph might suggest.

To take that last assertion out of the abstract, I cite an event process that I had to work my way through in my own direct professional experience, that holds relevance here. “Routine” ongoing expenses are often simply taken for granted and their bookkeeping and accounting level handling can come to take place essentially automatically and without any higher level strategic consideration or review. I took on an interim “in-house” position as the Chief Information Officer at a relatively large business, to find after I had started work there, that this business was paying individually expensive monthly licensing fees – automatically and without consideration, for a very large number of specialty software packages and their provider-based support, that they did not and could not use. Some of these software packages did not actually fit into their overall workflow system from failure to effective connect with the rest of what they had in place. And a lot of this was simply redundant, and for any sources of potential real value that it might offer that it could in principle have been used for. Collectively this routine ongoing expense source added up to a tremendous amount of money, every single month and on an open-ended basis.

This is in fact an extreme example, though it is a lot farther from being novel or unique than any leadership of any large organization can afford to presume, and certainly for its ongoing scale. My point here is that ALL ongoing expenses should at least periodically be reviewed, and not just through accounting and bookkeeping audits: for their current strategic relevance and for the actual value received. So I assume here, a good and actively maintained line of connection between strategic planning and prioritization, and spending and its bookkeeping and accounting level actualization.

With that in mind, I turn here to explicitly consider research and development and the innovation that drives that – and its funding.

• Research and development and the process of bringing innovative change from initial conception through to completed practical application, represents a succession of continue or not spending decision points.
• From a strategic perspective this is all about whether. From an accounting and bookkeeping perspective – as backed presumably by the strategic planners involved there, this is all about how, assuming a “whether” decision to proceed is approved.
• That of necessity includes decisions as to terms of payment, which would shape the pace that this work would proceed at. And this of necessity also includes decision making as to what budget lines this work and its associated expenses would be paid from, with any significant such effort probably being funded from several or even many such funding channels simultaneously. So personnel involved, would be paid from one line in the overall budget, or more depending on where everyone involved in this comes from in the organization, and how overall personnel expenses are structured and managed there. Business-wide shared resource use, such as time used on some specialized equipment needed for prototype building and testing might be paid for out of different budget lines. And third party, outside source-provided resources that might be called for might be paid for from still other sources. Or alternatively, all relevant expenses and their accounting and bookkeeping might be channeled together to make it easier to track the overall effort involved here, in ways that can make it easier to see how much is being spend, overall for the whole effort – an understanding easily lost when overall expenses involved are diffused out to, for example, limit the direct impact on the finances of any one area of the business with its overall budget limits.

The more routine and predictably evolutionary an innovative change project is, the more predicable its budget needs are likely to be, and the simpler it can be to plan out a green light, yes-decision path for it in advance, financially. And this make it easier to in effect routinize this type of work flow in the accounting and bookkeeping exercises carried out there. Consider routine, and routinely expected cosmetic change of established products, carried out in order to help keep them fresh in their markets, as a perhaps quintessential example there.

The more novel and different a proposed innovative change would be in a business and for it, and even disruptively so for what has be done step-by-step to realize it:

• The more significant the necessary funding support is likely to be for it,
• The greater the overall risk that attempting it will likely entail,
• And the more important it might be that the right budget line decisions be made there
• And with more of that decision making step likely to be coming from the strategic decision makers involved,
• And from more senior accounting services managers there, as they are the professionals who will most fully know exactly how and where this business’ assets and expenses: current and predictably arising, are going to have to go in their overall system.
• And particularly for this type of scenario, it is important to note that different budget lines, each associated for the most part with specific functional areas and work teams in a business, bring with them their own at least potentially gatekeeper-influencing stakeholders too, who would see any funds paid here from their budget lines, as coming from their crucial support resource bases. So this also brings up the issue of developing and tapping into senior manager and executive controlled special, discretionary budget lines too, and with all of the implications that that creates as they have to be accounted for in the business’ overall strategy and planning and in its overall budget.

I am going to continue this line of discussion in a next series installment where I will add in consideration of market and marketplace stability and consistency, and uncertainty and volatility. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 39: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 9

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on February 14, 2018

This is my 39th posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-38.)

I have been addressing a set of five interconnected topics points in this series since its Part 32 that I repeat here in full in order to put this posting in perspective (with the postings where I delved into the first four of them, parenthetically noted):

1. Innovation and its realization are information and knowledge driven (Part 32).
2. And the availability and effective use of raw information and of more processed knowledge developed from it, coupled with an ability to look beyond the usual blinders of how that information and knowledge would be more routinely viewed and understood, to see wider possibilities inherent in it (Part 33),
3. Make innovation and its practical realization possible and actively drive them (Part 34, Part 35 and Part 36).
4. Information availability serves as an innovation driver, and business systems friction and the resistance to enabling and using available business intelligence that that creates, significantly set the boundaries that would distinguish between innovation per se and disruptively novel innovation as it would be perceived and understood (37 and 38),
5. And in both the likelihood and opportunity for achieving the later, and for determining the likelihood of a true disruptive innovation being developed and refined to value creating fruition if one is attempted.

And this brings me to the final to-address point on that list, which I will address in terms of my responses to the issues raised in the first four of them as offered up to here, and particularly with Point 4 of that set. I developed a foundational explanation of the first half of that in Part 37. So I focused entirely on the second half it that in Part 38, which I rephrase in simplified form here as: resistance to enabling and using available business intelligence significantly sets the boundaries that would distinguish between innovation per se and disruptively novel innovation as it would be perceived and understood – and acted upon.

I began in fact, to address the last three words, and Point 5 of this list in the process, in Part 38 towards its end. I pick up on that narrative thread here, beginning with a briefly restated set of fundamental points that I have already discussed and developed in this blog, and in this series itself there, but that would serve as an orienting reference point for what follows here:

• When a business, or an individual for that matter confronts new and different or an opportunity to create that, they do not necessarily know up-front where this will lead and either for how disruptively new and novel it could become, or for how consequential it could become and for either cost required or for value creation that might be enabled from it. Perception of change or for opportunity for creating or enabling it, often begins with a single visible possible step of action or of reaction, depending on where motivation for this change is coming from. But it rarely begins with a clearly illuminated path forward beyond that starting point, that could be developed and followed unchanged and as initially perceived from it.

I have been writing extensively about friction as a function of communications challenges and of information limitations in this blog, doing so in terms of overall economic friction as that term is more generally used, and in terms of business systems friction as its basic concepts are reframed into the individual business context and into that of more localized business-to-business interactions (such as supply chain systems for contexts that would facilitate more win-win strategies for all concerned. Think of this as friction in a more mesoeconomic context and see Reexamining Business School Fundamentals – macroeconomics, microeconomics and the gap between for an at least brief orienting note on what that entails.)

Disruptive innovation carries with it the greatest uncertainty of all, and certainly when considered in comparison to other change possibilities that arise along a continuum ranging from simple cosmetic adjustments to established products, towards change into more fully new and unexplored product development territory. And disruptive innovation and the effort to identify and develop it into realized value creating products, is also the most vulnerable of all possible directed change, to the negative impact of friction. Both a free flow of reliable and timely information per se, and a flow of such quality information across novel channels become essential there, and in ways not generally required for simpler and more predictable change, and certainly when simple cosmetic change is considered by way of comparison.

All of this up to here has been well established and discussed and argued for its validity in this blog and in this series itself. And that flow of discussion, analysis and argument also directly addressed Point 5 of my above list, and answers the questions implicit in it.

• The more faulty and limited the flow of crucially relevant information, and the more limited the capacity to bring together the necessary knowledge and perspective, and from whatever diversity of sources that would be required for that, the less likely it is that the right starting innovator even realize an initial insight that a disruptive innovation might be created out of.
• And the more faulty and limited this information sharing, and in fact the more faulty and limited this collaborative information and knowledge creation is: the more friction there is in these business systems and operations, the less likely it is that an initial innovative spark might thrive and develop to any realized fruition.

I find myself thinking back to an analogous point of observation and understanding that I offered as metaphor in another series to this blog in Don’t Invest in Ideas, Invest in People with Ideas 35, regarding sound and noise. If a noise that is never perceived can never be considered to have become a sound as explained there, a glimmer of an idea with potential to become a true innovation that never goes beyond the level of a thought in the mind of an individual, can never become an innovation from that, and of either more standard or more disruptive form or significance.

Think of this posting to this series as representing a point of intersection between this series as a whole and my just-cited and concurrently appearing, Don’t Invest in Ideas, Invest in People series. People innovate, and realizing anything positive from that is communications driven and collaborative information dependent.

And with this noted, I turn to the next set of issues that I would address in this series: issues of research financing, as will be approached in large part from a more accounting and bookkeeping perspective. I will at least begin addressing that in my next series installment.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 38: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 8

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on January 5, 2018

This is my 38th posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-37.)

I have been working my way through a set of five to-address points, and their issues in this series since its Part 32, that all deal with aspects of how innovation is information and understanding-driven, and communication driven as a mutually creative sharing of that. And my goal for this posting is to finish addressing the fourth of those points and at least begin to address Point 5 from that list too, as repeated here for better continuity of narrative:

4. Information availability serves as an innovation driver, and business systems friction and the resistance to enabling and using available business intelligence that that creates, significantly set the boundaries that would distinguish between innovation per se and disruptively novel innovation as it would be perceived and understood,
5. And in both the likelihood and opportunity for achieving the later, and for determining the likelihood of a true disruptive innovation being developed and refined to value creating fruition if one is attempted.

Then after completing that phase of this overall narrative, at least for purposes of this series, I will reconsider the issues of research financing: in large part from a more accounting and bookkeeping perspective, as promised in Part 37.

Let’s begin addressing Point 4 with the fundamentals:

• Businesses are information and communications driven, and both for defining and shaping their strategies and their operations systems as are put in place to carry out those strategic plans, and for when addressing less routine and more one-off or exception circumstances too.
• Uncertainty and lack of necessary information when and where it is needed in order to make more optimal decisions, and in order to execute upon them effectively: the presence of functionally significant levels of business systems friction, both reduces a business’ efficiency and reduces its overall agility and resiliency.
• Friction, in this, creates due diligence and risk management concerns that limit the range of options that an organization can pursue. And this is exacerbated as the level of uncertainty increases.
• Steady pursuit of a same as usual, unchanging linear path forward, in strategy and in its operational implementation as a routine default, generally presents itself as the path forward that would minimize this uncertainty. And barring change forced upon an organization that this approach cannot prepare it for, that perhaps self-justifying understanding might even be valid.
• Steady pursuit of a same as usual, predictably changing linear evolutionary path forward would, according to the conceptual model that I am offering here, represent at best a second most uncertainty-free possibility here, for how a business would proceed over time. My caveat regarding the imposition of unexpected and unplanned for change of the above bullet point applies here too, where that could arise from outside of the business, from inside of it or from some combination of both possible sources.
• That bullet point addresses simple, step by predictable step forward change and simple innovative change, and particularly where it is more cosmetic and less overall consequential as a result. The more of a break from standard and routine that an innovation would be, and the more ripple effect change it would call for to implement it, accommodate it, or cover for it, the greater the potential uncertainty this engenders. And this is where friction-creating inefficiencies really significantly enter this narrative progression and as a source of influence that cannot be ignored. That is where involved parties cannot predict the types or details of information that they would need to know, that others might or might not have to share with them.
• Truly disruptive, breakaway innovation maximizes the levels of uncertainty faced and exacerbates both the likelihood of realized friction and its consequences as it actually arises.

With that noted, let’s consider the second half of Point 4, where information availability and friction that would limit it: “set the boundaries that would distinguish between innovation per se and disruptively novel innovation as it would be perceived and understood.” And I begin addressing that, by adding in one more possibility that a proposed innovative change might also represent: a dead end that cannot ultimately be turned into a source of increased positive value and either within the business for its more internal value or for its marketplace.

One of the perhaps most important aspects of uncertainty that I write of here, is an at least partial lack of necessary information as to both the degree of change that is being faced, and the significance of that change for the possible levels of cost and value creation that it might lead to. Yes, an innovation or potential innovation might start out looking small and more minor – and then turn out to be more complex and comprehensive if it is actually going to be developed and implemented when all of the details that would have to go into that begin to emerge. And what starts out looking like a more fundamental and disruptive innovation, might in fact turn out upon more detailed analysis be achievable from creative use of more off-the-shelf current resources and capabilities too, and in practice be less disruptive than initially thought and both in-house and to any potential outside marketplace.

• Business systems friction here, can and often does mean at least a notable level of upfront uncertainty as to how disruptive and novel for implementation a proposed innovation would actually be,
• With that source of unknowns presenting itself as uncertainty as to cost of development combined with uncertainty as to possible realized value that an innovative change might bring.

This narrative, I add here, has both addressed Point 4 as stated above and laid a foundation for addressing Point 5 of the above partly repeated to-address list. I am going to more fully address the issues raised in Point 5 in my next series installment. And then as promised above, I will reconsider the issues of research financing: in large part from a more accounting and bookkeeping perspective. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Innovation, disruptive innovation and market volatility 37: innovative business development and the tools that drive it 7

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on November 24, 2017

This is my 37th posting to a series on the economics of innovation, and on how change and innovation can be defined and analyzed in economic and related risk management terms (see Macroeconomics and Business, posting 173 and loosely following for Parts 1-5 and Macroeconomics and Business 2, posting 203 and loosely following for Parts 6-36.)

I have been systematically working my way through a to-address list of topics points in recent installments to this series, that I repeat here for purposes of continuity. (Note that I append reference links to the ends of the points on this list that I have already addressed, indicating where I did so):

1. Innovation and its realization are information and knowledge driven (Part 32).
2. And the availability and effective use of raw information and of more processed knowledge developed from it, coupled with an ability to look beyond the usual blinders of how that information and knowledge would be more routinely viewed and understood, to see wider possibilities inherent in it (Part 33),
3. Make innovation and its practical realization possible and actively drive them (Part 34, Part 35 and Part 36).
4. Information availability serves as an innovation driver, and business systems friction and the resistance to enabling and using available business intelligence that that creates, significantly set the boundaries that would distinguish between innovation per se and disruptively novel innovation as it would be perceived and understood
5. And in both the likelihood and opportunity for achieving the later, and for determining the likelihood of a true disruptive innovation being developed and refined to value creating fruition if one is attempted.

And I turn here to consider Point 4 of that list. But before I do so, I want to at least briefly address a point that I have left hanging from the end of Part 36 as I finished up its discussion of Point 3: my promise to provide references regarding research financing here. I would at least begin that by offering two series that I have included in this blog, both appearing in my Macroeconomics and Business directory with its Page 2 continuation:

• Considering a Cost and Benefits Analysis of Innovation (that directory, postings 137 and loosely following for its Parts 1-9) and
• Building for an Effective Portfolio of Marketable Offerings (that directory, postings 196 and loosely following for its Parts 1-6.)

The first of these references takes a perhaps-more macroeconomics view of that topic than would be called for here and the second addresses it as one facet of a more widely inclusive discussion, though it does directly address the core issues that I simply allude to here in this series for developing and building a more balanced research portfolio per se. I am going to turn back to the issues of research financing in this series after addressing Point 5 of the above list, to at least begin to fill in what I now see as real gaps in my coverage of research financing and related matters per se.

With that stated, I turn here to more specifically address Point 4 from above. And I begin that by stating a point that should be completely obvious in the abstract, but that can become obscured in the specific context:

• Innovation offers perceivable value because it addresses what have been unmet, or at least inadequately met needs, and more effectively and/or cost effectively than anything already routinely available could. And knowing what to innovatively develop and how, on the developing and producing side to that, and knowing when a proffered new development would meet such needs on the marketplace and consumer side, are all about information development and availability, and communications (e.g. marketing, and ultimately on the within-business development and production side to this, as much as on the market and consumer facing side to it.)

If this bullet point and its issues hold for more routine incremental innovation per se, where in most cases all involved parties have a preparatory background for what is to come next from its already being at least somewhat familiar, it becomes much more pressing and more difficult to achieve when the innovation involved is disruptively new and novel and no one starts out with any basis of familiarity to help them think about it and address it.

A disruptively new and novel innovation might if really successful, become a new essential and a source of products that will become taken for granted as such. And to follow up on that, the tools and resources that we most fully take for granted, mostly all began as disruptively novel offerings and ones that only sufficiently wealthy early and pioneer adaptors would buy into – even as people in general come with time to take them for granted. Consider the electric light, the refrigerator, the automobile and telephone, or the cell phone for its more modern disruptive innovation if you will. I could, of course added to this list and in an essentially open-ended manner, but will only cite two more examples here that are particularly relevant to this series and its discussion here: personal computers and their smaller and more portable versions: laptops computers, tablets and the like, and the internet and the wirelessly connected, anywhere to anywhere internet in particular.

In their beginnings these initial disruptive innovations and the progression of step by step follow-up innovations that arose from them, all started out as unknowns to the general public. And it took time for them to become embraced as so basic to all of our lives that most all of us cannot readily imagine what our lives would be like without them. But their early and initial acceptance and use depended essentially entirely on effective information availability and sharing: first in the beachhead acceptance of pioneer and early adaptors, and then with waves of differently focused and framed messages, to progressively later and later adaptors – until even the late and last of them had adopted these changes too.

• And this information and its communication, shaped by and towards whatever adaption curve audience would be brought in next, had to both convincingly offer a case for buying into a given change, and convincingly explain what that change even is, as a source of potential value to a potential innovation adaptor.

With that noted for background purposes, I am going to more directly address Point 4 and then continue on to discuss Point 5 of the above list in my next series installment. And then as promised above, I will reconsider the issues of research financing: there, in large part from a more accounting and bookkeeping perspective. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 continuation.

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 2

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on November 19, 2017

This is my 27th installment to what has become an ongoing series of postings in which I seek to address politics in the United States as it has become, starting with the nominations process leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. See my series: Donald Trump and the Stress testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following.

This can also be considered to represent my 56th installment to an ongoing series that I have been offering here concerning Xi Jinping and his still emerging and expanding leadership role in China. See China and Its Transition Imperatives, as it can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following.

I began a comparative discussion of Xi Jinping and Donald Trump and their respective understandings of leadership in Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and the contrasts of leadership in the 21st century – 1, with a brief and in-effect summarizing statement addressing this for Xi. I have been offering supporting background to what I offered there throughout the China series that I connect this posting to.

If I were to further and more tersely summarize even Part 1’s paucity of detail in this leadership diptych, it would be to say that Xi Jinping displays a seemingly endless ambition, coupled with an acute ability to both create and capitalize upon opportunity to achieve his goals. And he has the shrewd intelligence and the drive and determination needed to do that, unburdened by anything like excessive conscience to hold him back.

That said, and with my Trump series as a source of carefully considered supportive evidence, I begin this posting with a corresponding summary statement regarding Donald Trump, and certainly as he seeks to lead and govern as the 45th president of the United States. And I begin offering this summary by citing a basic point of observation that I have made in both job search and career development contexts, and in personnel and Human Resources contexts too. Self-evaluations rarely offer any real value in employee performance evaluations. The best employees with real skills and expertly meaningful professional experience rarely if ever rate themselves at the top of their performance evaluations; they know enough to see and remember where they could have done better – and where they have learned from that. And they know that there is always room for improvement. And the worst employees at any given business rarely know enough of what they are doing and of what they should be doing to be able to offer any meaningful response there. So they frequently assume that since they were hired and since they are still working at a business, they must be doing a great job there. They are in fact more likely to give themselves more top marks on the performance evaluation form questions that they answer, than the best and most skilled of their colleagues would. And this brings me to Donald Trump and his ongoing flow of self-evaluation praise. Donald Trump is tremendous as president – the very best ever. If you don’t believe me, just ask him, or rather just listen to a few of his self-evaluations for yourself, about how tremendously well he is doing (and even when he has proven unable to convince a US Congress that is led by members of his own political party to pass and enact even just one significant piece of legislation and in what is now over 300 days of his having held office, and when he has alienated essentially all of the traditional allies of the United States, and hopelessly divided our nation and over seemingly every single issue that he has spoken or tweeted about!)

To keep my supporting evidence for that as found in my Trump-related series up to date here, the House of Representatives did very recently pass a “tax reform” bill and pass it on to the Senate. But the House bill was filled with what are sometimes called poison pills, as far as the Senate is concerned and with objection from that coming from more than enough Republican senators to essentially guarantee that this fail to pass and be enacted into law too. I have to add that at Trump’s request, senators who are still supportive of him have added a significant amount of poison of their own to their touted version of this piece of legislature. And Trump lacks the vision or understanding to realize how this will impact on any possible success in his getting tax reform passed that is to his liking. And he lacks the leadership skills or ability to do anything about that, even if he were to come to realize where this legislative effort is headed.

And with that in-the-news background material update in place, I turn to the set of issues that I would really focus upon here: how easily and fully Donald Trump can be manipulated and particularly by national leaders whose interests gravely diverge from what would be best for, or even just good for the United States. And in keeping with my above summary statement regarding Xi, I note here that he has been particularly adept at manipulating Donald Trump for that.

I back up those assertions with some recent news stories of note. And my first is:

Trump, Aiming to Coax Xi Jinping, Bets on Flattery.

Donald Trump assumes that if he flatters others, they will simply go along with anything that he says. But if we have seen one irrefutable fact coming out of his recent visit to Asian nations, and repeatedly, it is that if their leaders flatter him and give him a good time, appearing to really appreciate him, then Trump will do precisely what they want him to do. And with that I offer:

Trump’s ‘Tremendous Success’ Abroad Is Overstated.

This is a fact check news piece that speaks for itself from the succinct cogency of its title. And with that news piece noted I offer:

Trump Declares ‘America First’ Policy a Success After Asia Trip.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s “America First” policy has in large part made the United States more irrelevant where he has pursued that goal, than anything else. And with that stated, I offer:

Vietnam, in a Bind, Tries to Chart a Path Between U.S. and China,
Seeing U.S. in Retreat Under Trump, Japan and China Move to Mend Ties and
Trans-Pacific Trade Partners Are Moving On, Without the U.S.

I simply add here that president Trump’s “America First” policy has had this type of negative impact for the United States, globally. It is not just the Trans-Pacific Trade Partners and their treaty-based open trade system that have continued on without the United States – and with Xi Jinping and his China taking the leadership role that the US would have been expected to assume for that. The Paris Climate Accord has also continued on, as a globally reaching effort to more effectively limit adverse climate change from human pollution. And yes, even with their environmental disaster of a track record and their still-over reliance on coal fired electrical power, Xi and China are taking a leading role there too – and with the United States left out and on the sidelines of any decisions reached or actions taken.

And with that, I turn back to reconsider my comments as offered above, regarding workplace performance self-evaluations. The only people who can legitimately proclaim Trump’s successes to date as president to be tremendous and the best ever, are Vladimir Putin and his colleagues, who arguably put in a great deal of effort to suborn the 2016 US presidential elections to put Trump in the White House in the first place.

Should I prefer to have Xi or someone like him to be president of the United States? Should I prefer to see China having to deal with a Donald Trump as their supreme leader? Personally, I see both as offering genuine cause for concern that either is in high office and anywhere, and effectively uncontrolled and uncontrollable in that. So I end this two posting, series joining sequence at a point where I do in fact view these two men in the same way. Meanwhile, we have to deal with both in office and at the same time and with each helping to bring out the worst in the other.

And meanwhile, I am certain to continue adding new installments to both Donald Trump and the Stress testing of the American System of Government, as can be found at Social Networking and Business 2, posting 244 and loosely following, and to China and Its Transition Imperatives, as can be found at Macroeconomics and Business and its Page 2 continuation, as postings 154 and loosely following.

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