This week's links: 12/01/19

The problem with Cisco’s “spin-ins”

Cisco Systems tried to pioneer a new form of corporate innovation roughly 20 years ago with the “spin-in” methodology. The process: make venture capital-style investments in a variety of semi-independent startups, spreading risk, and buying out the successful ventures that hit pre-agreed upon revenue goals within 24 months. Benefits: Cisco could presumably have greater risk tolerance, the “spin-ins”-to-be had access to Cisco’s sales channel, manufacturing base and support functions, and Cisco had the ability to retain entrepreneurial talent that would have otherwise left to start/join ventures. Some drawbacks: two-year revenue targets are not long-term thinking, and was described by some Cisco executives as a “time bomb.” In addition, you still have the cultural challenges of entrepreneurs who return into the Cisco organization with a multi-million dollar payout, causing tension with their peers who decided against the risky propositions. There’s promise in the model, but has yet to be scaled up and adopted by other large corporations.

When writers review writers – on Robert Caro’s Lyndon B Johnson biographies

For Caro, ambition carries the stench of power, and no word in the lexicon disturbs him more. He is both fascinated by power and repelled by those who exercise it. He is like a religious fundamentalist in the grip of a sexual passion he cannot control and cannot extirpate.

The writer doesn’t stop there: “Such a view of power in a sophisticated author and former reporter, who has presumably descended into the kitchen of politics, is odd. It is like being repelled by the realization that surgeons actually enjoy their bloody work. Few in the political arena are morally pure or devoid of ambition, and those few do not last long. To denigrate ambition and the quest for power does not put one on the side of the angels but, rather, establishes one as living in the clouds.

Nothing gets his Oedipal adrenaline going like a successful, powerful man of great accomplishment and impure heart…

Also: (data here)

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