Gustavo Ballvé on April 30th, 2011

The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is still under way and so far the best source for live-blogging coverage is the Wall Street Journal. Enjoy!

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 27th, 2011

The Audit Committee of Berkshire Hathaway has just concluded its report regarding Dave Sokol’s trading in Lubrizol shares. They found that “Mr. Sokol’s conversations with Mr. Buffett and others at Berkshire Hathaway were ‘intended to deceive’ and ‘its effect was to mislead.’ ” Now that the “hype” is unprecedented in terms of a Berkshire “conflict”, and that the noise levels are bound to get even higher, it’s important to try and separate what’s relevant.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 25th, 2011

Two updates to our posts: ONE – Carl Icahn really didn’t like at least one sentence in the NYT story we posted a few days ago – and wrote an “instant classic” of a letter to the editor. TWO – Stanford CG professors organize the Dave Sokol resignation issues and ask relevant questions in an 11-page PDF.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 24th, 2011

The web is making it easier to fund/ develop companies that aren’t web-based at all, and actually make tangible products. In the words of an MIT professor, “The situation resembles the way that anyone with a laptop and an Internet connection can now start a Web-based company” – and we all know what innovation and wealth creation can come out of that “mold”.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 20th, 2011

There’s a wealth of good articles trying to predict the future of reading. We’ll focus on Kevin Kelly’s latest post on publishing – What Books Will Become – which tries to take the logical steps beyond the Kindle and social reading revolutions to imagine where the “book” is going (social reading here enveloping social highlighting, bookmarking, commenting, additions/corrections). We also link to “trusty Kevin Kelly reverberator” Seth Godin and to other posts.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 18th, 2011

Two quick notes: One on the irony of Brazil’s iBovespa index dropping along with the US’s indexes after the negative S&P outlook, despite two more bullish stories about Brazil. Another on Carl Icahn’s profile in the NYT highlighting succession issues at his firm (“key-man risk”).

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 15th, 2011

It’s rare to see such candid evaluations of a company’s problems, even in internal communications. In a memo sent in early February 2011, Stephen Elop doesn’t really hold anything back and tells Nokia employees the harsh truth: the company has fallen behind in innovation, accountability, product line and most other factors. In fact, he puts it in much harsher fashion… We’d like to thank the reader who sent us this letter. Keep the suggestions coming!

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 14th, 2011 has a review of Jamie Dimon’s Letter to Investors in the 2010 J.P. Morgan annual report. It’s a gem, a great piece to understand financial services/ banking in general, now and in the long term. Always nice to hear candid remarks clearly written by the company’s leader to its ultimate owners. It’s a benchmark for companies in all sectors and countries.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 12th, 2011

Books we want to read but haven’t yet: “Bismarck: A Life”, by Jonathan Steinberg, reviewed by Henry Kissinger in the New York Times. “The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution”, by Francis Fukuyama, reviewed in The Economist. Finally, this review about “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule The World” by Willian Cohan actually made us want to revisit “The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs” by Charles Ellis.

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Gustavo Ballvé on April 11th, 2011

Don Taspcott, author of Wikinomics, was interviewed by Brazilian magazine Veja. We liked Wikinomics in “broad” terms: we’re firm believers in the power of crowdsourcing done right, mass collaboration made easier via social media etc.. The problem is summarized in the old saying: “To the man who only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Mr. Taspcott falls into that trap, which is avoidable.

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