Tag Archives: strategy

The Existential Necessity of Midlife Change

The Existential Necessity of Midlife Change

The Problem With Speed-Reading

Do you tend to scan or speed-read through material to figure out what it’s all about? Go straight to the Executive Summary, then stop? You might be saving time, but you may be missing out on some of the most interesting content.

In the 2001 DNA-sequencing race between the the government and Craig Venter’s Celera Genomics, victory was declared when only one half of the genome was sequenced (a haploid). In other words, they only sequenced what was inherited in one half, not the other.

Now the J. Craig Venter Institute has decoded the other half of Venter’s DNA and discovered that 44% of known genes displayed variations (between the versions inheritied from each parent). Additionally, after the sequencing of the first genome (actually a composite from 5 individuals) scientists had estimated that about 99.9% of all human genomes are identical. Looking at the other half, however, yielded a 46% increase in these locations from 2.8 to 4.1 million, lowering the 99% identical estimate down to the 98% to 99% range.

…the bulk of time, work, attention, and money first goes to “problems” rather than to opportunities, and, secondly, to areas where even extraordinarily successful performance will have minimal impact on results.

Peter Drucker in Managing for Business Effectiveness, 1963

The Topple Rate: How Fast Do Leading Companies Fall?

Patrick Viguerie, a McKinsey & Co. consultant, has developed what he calls the Topple Rate: a measure of how many market-leading companies lose that status during the next five years. In the early 1970s, he says, it was about 8%. By the 1997-2002 period, it had climbed to 16%. Rigorous data for the past few years aren’t yet in, but Mr. Viguerie believes the rate has held steady or perhaps even climbed.

– From the Wall St. Journal in a story about Countrywide’s fall from its #1 spot, and its still-possible collapse