Six Economic Ideas that Changed the World

Over the summer, The Economist magazine published independent pieces on six big economic ideas that changed the world (or at least modern finance). These have now been collected into a a single brief. Economic students will recognize many, but these should be read by anyone interested in why markets work (or don't work) in unexpected ways. Among the best are the…

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Strong Signs in Weak Signals

The ceaseless flow of information and data running through most businesses now has made it easier to spot big trends, but also threatens to wash over smaller pieces of critical information. But increasingly, it is these small snippets of data that carry important insights - key pieces of information floating along in the fast-paced stream of social data. McKinsey recently…

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A Cold Shower for Startup Communities?

Like many people, we are big fans of startup communities. We'd like to think that the benefits of these groups, and their economic and social impact, is self-evident. But we're even bigger fans of contrarian reasoning, and having one's beliefs challenged is thought-provoking, so this post naturally caught our eye. for it turns out that there might be a little more…

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Income and Culture

The considerable growth in wealth of top earners over the last generation -- with one study estimating that after-tax income for the top 1% of earners increased 275% between 1979 and 2007, compared to just an 18% bump for the bottom quintile -- and the media surrounding the Occupy protests mean that there is increased focus on income inequality. However,…

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Venture Capital: Behind to the Future

Venture deals in 1Q of 2011 were big money… but they were also small volume: PwC’s MoneyTree report shows 736 deals (a decrease of 6.5% from 1Q 2010) with a value of almost $5.9 billion (a jump of 14% over the same timeframe). What is most impressive is the sheer scale: fourteen different companies secured venture rounds of $50M or…

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In The Gutter, the Stars Shine Bright

There were two companion pieces recently published by venture capitalists: why VC returns are going up (WSJ) and investing at the bottom of the VC cycle (NYT).  Both of these pieces look at the amount of money committed to venture firms in 2010 and, somewhat akin to the view of the stars from the gutter, conclude that there is no…

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Internet Executive Insomnia

Called "Queen of the Net" back when Queen was still performing, Morgan Stanley's Mary Meeker has both ridden the internet wave and been crashed on the shoals. But she has a lot to say, and she usually says it quickly and well. Here is a video of her presentation (and the slides) at the Web 2.0 summit, where she concisely…

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When Being a Man Hurts…

One of the keen observations of Mad Men is that the show's women - even constrained as they are by 1960's social roles and the lack of professional opportunities - are generally more capable than then men.  A recent study by the mutual fund company Vanguard suggests that investing in an economic slump may be another area where the male…

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Women at Work…

That the venture capital industry is dominated by men is hardly new news, and a new VCJ story (gated - so here is a recent article and a historical study) notes that just 5% of partners at the 50 most active venture firms are women. However this theme has been extended with a recent Business Week article title bemoaning the…

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The End of the Affair?

The proximity of Valentine's day provides suitable context for the rash of industry love letters proclaiming the resurgence of the venture capital industry. Venture professionals, media reports tell us, are starting to ramp up their investments, see a bright 2010, and increasingly believe that venture is back, baby. Not so fast. As the venture industry reforms, it will take some time…

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