Drops from the Fire Hose – September 11, 2012

Today’s first drop may be about an event that you’ve never heard of, but I urge you to read about it. During my time in the Bay Area was when I first heard about Burning Man and when I heard about the kinds of people who frequented this event in its early days (Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Chip Conley, etc.). There’s a lot that could be learned from how the event itself operates (on the meta-level), but I’ve included it as a drop today because it’s most certainly something a burgeoning MBA should be made aware of — should this topic arise in casual conversation.

Burning Man: More Relevant Than Ever — GOOD

Burning Man is more mainstream than ever. In the last three years over 150,000 people have made the pilgrimage to Black Rock Desert, and they’re a far cry from dirty hippies: retired high school teachers, marketing executives, Silicon Valley heavyweights, vinitors, CFOs, baristas and booksellers. Why, then, do these people dedicate a week of vacation and often thousands of dollars to attend Burning Man? There is no line-up, no headliner, no Centre Court. What could draw these masses?

How alternative investments are going mainstream — McKinsey Quarterly

The financial crisis seemed to mark a turning point in the spectacular growth of alternative investments, such as managed investments in hedge funds, private equity, real estate, commodities, and infrastructure. Poor performance and liquidity problems led to massive redemptions in several categories. By now, however, those problems have subsided, and alternatives are back on track. Globally, alternative assets under management more than doubled between year-end 2005 and year-end 2011, to $6.5 trillion. This pace represents a compounded annual growth rate of 14 percent over the period, far outstripping traditional asset classes.

The Problem with Problem Statements — Stanford Social Innovation Review

When crafting persuasive messages, we’re often instructed to clearly state the problem we are addressing. But there are problems with the communication of problem statements. Problems are often multi-layered, and what concerns your audience about the problem may lie outside of your message about the problem.

Working From Home Makes You More Productive — Co.Exist

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to work from home: it saves gasoline (if you drive or take the bus), eliminates commuting time, and on the company side, it means that less office space is needed to accomodate employees. Now there’s another reason, backed by a study (PDF) from Stanford: People who work from home are more productive than those that don’t.

How Finding “Exceptions” Can Jump Start Your Social Initiative — MIT Sloan Management Review

Many senior executives still think of social media as something you do after hours for fun, says John Hagel, co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge — they haven’t bought into the idea that social can drive the core performance of the business. He’s committed to showing them why they’re wrong.

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