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Wall Street: Inside the Collapse – 60 Minutes

March 15th, 2010 Comments off

60 Minutes ran an interesting piece last night featuring Michael Lewis, the author of a book called The Big Short set to be released this week.  One of his contentions touches on something we discuss to varying degrees throughout the course: the behavioral aspects of business and incentives.  His feeling (which seems to be strongly supported) is that Wall Street companies and individuals within those companies are given such incentive to produce short-term results (which result in big bonuses to the employees) that they do not consider the long-term implications of their actions.  And the fact that the government bails out people that make poor decisions increases the moral hazard that this behavior will continue.

Asked what happened, Lewis said, “The incentives for people on Wall Street got so screwed up, that the people who worked there became blinded to their own long term interests. And because the short term interests were so overpowering. And so they behaved in ways that were antithetical to their own long term interests.”

“Wall Street is able to delude itself because it’s paid to delude itself. I mean one of the lessons of this story is that people see what they’re incentivized to see. If you pay someone not to see the truth, they will not see the truth. And, Wall Street organized itself so people were paid to see something other than the truth. And that’s one of the central messages of this story. You have to be very careful how you incentivize people, ’cause they will respond to the incentives,” Lewis explained.

You can read more at CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/12/60minutes/main6292458.shtml

Or watch the two-part video I’ve embedded below.


Watch CBS News Videos Online


Watch CBS News Videos Online

More on Microsoft’s collaboration efforts in developing Windows 7

October 22nd, 2009 Comments off

CBS News echoes many of the same things mentioned in my previous post regarding the design/deployment of Windows 7 and the unprecedented cooperation between Microsoft and PC manufacturers.

Windows 7 Born from Vista’s Frustrations. Vista’s Headaches Prompted Microsoft to Change How They Do Business. October 22, 2009.

Pricing of $0 and the Internet

October 11th, 2009 Comments off

CBS Sunday morning had an interesting feature this morning about the expectation by consumers that things should be free online and the opportunities and challenges that presents for companies marketing products on and offline.  Consider newspapers — now that they have given away news for so long can they ever effectively charge for it?  Something has to happen because they are bleeding money right now and can’t sustain the reporting staffs they have for much longer.

Here is a link to the written article…I couldn’t find a video to embed but will update this post if I do.

Supplier Pollutes — Bad Publicity Impacts Their Customers

August 2nd, 2009 Comments off

An interesting piece on tonight’s CBS Evening News was a story about a denim manufacturer in South Africa that is allegedly polluting the environment.  Even though the plant is run by a local, South African company, Gap and Levi Strauss are being damaged by this news because this plant supplies denim to both.  An interesting conundrum that not only must companies be conscious of their own environmental costs but it is important (and will probably become even more important in the future) for companies to know/understand/monitor the environmental policies of their suppliers and customers.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Minneapolis Superfund site gets more cleanup money

April 15th, 2009 Comments off

A local environmental issue receiving Superfund money is the topic of several news articles today.  You can choose from a few different links to get a few different angles on this story:

An arsenic-tainted neighborhood in south Minneapolis will get an injection of as much as $25 million in federal stimulus money to continue cleaning up the site.

http://www.startribune.com/local/43041332.html
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/04/15/hazardous_stimulus/
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/15/politics/100days/domesticissues/main4946809.shtml
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/STIMULUS_HAZARDOUS