Friday, 24 July 2009

Newsletter Issue 168, July 2009

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 168, July 2009

Hi guys,

Check out Bill Taylor's exploration of what is the right leadership for the times in Entrepreneurs vs Commerce Degrees below.

We take a quick look at a tip in Reducing Debt & Expenses

Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Entrepreneurs vs Commerce Degrees

As if people with Commerce Degrees (MBAs is US parlance) didn’t have enough problems already; initially they were being likened to monsters, and the cause of the economic meltdown. Now scuttlebut is that they don’t have what it takes to turn things around. Bill Taylor on his recent Harvard Business blog post “MBAs vs. Entrepreneurs: Who Has the Right Stuff for Tough Times?” says “As the economy experiences the most deep-seated changes in decades, maybe it’s time to change our minds about what kinds of people are best-equipped to become business leaders.” He's got his money on the entrepreneurs to drive economic recovery.

There is much speculation in the US about where elite degree holder talent will flow to now, and Bill reports the New York Times as having said "fewer shiny young minds are embarking on careers in finance and business consulting", chronicling the difficult career choices for business students, with US business graduates going into government, science and teaching.

Bill is not so sure that elite US business school graduates equates to real talent in the business world. He questions whether these people are "best-equipped to become business leaders".

Bill goes on to say "Is our fascination with the comings and goings of MBAs as obsolete as our lionization of investment bankers and hedge-fund managers? Is it time to look elsewhere for the "best and the brightest" of what business has to offer?" He continues:

'One place to look for answers is the fascinating research of Professor Saras Sarasvathy, who teaches entrepreneurship at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.
'It's been a long time since I've encountered academic research as original, relevant, and fascinating as what Professor Sarasvathy has done, in a series of essays, white papers, and a book. Her work revolves around one big question: What makes entrepreneurs "entrepreneurial?" Specifically, is there such as thing as "entrepreneurial thinking" — and does it differ in important ways from, say, how MBAs think about problems and seize opportunities?
'The answer, Sarasvathy concludes, is an emphatic yes — and the differences boil down to the "causal" reasoning used by MBAs versus the "effectual" reasoning used by entrepreneurs. Causal reasoning, she explains, "begins with a pre-determined goal and a given set of means, and seeks to identify the optimal — fastest, cheapest, most efficient, etc. — alternative to achieve that goal." This is the world of exhaustive business plans, microscopic ROI calculations, and portfolio diversification.
'Effectual reasoning, on the other hand, "does not begin with a specific goal. Instead, it begins with a given set of means and allows goals to emerge contingently over time from the varied imagination and diverse aspirations of the founders and the people they interact with." This is the world of bootstrapping, rapid prototyping, and guerilla marketing.
'The more Sarasvathy explains the differences in the two styles of thinking, the more obvious it becomes which style matches the times. Causal reasoning is about how much you expect to gain; effectual reasoning is about how much you can afford to lose. Causal reasoning revolves around competitive analysis and zero-sum logic; effectual reasoning embraces networks and partnerships. Causal reasoning "urges the exploitation of pre-existing knowledge"; effectual reasoning stresses the inevitability of surprises and the leveraging of options.
'The difference in mindset, Sarasvathy concludes, boils down to a different take on the future. "Causal reasoning is based on the logic, To the extent that we can predict the future, we can control it," she writes. That's why MBAs and big companies spend so much time on focus groups, market research, and statistical models. "Effectual reasoning, however, is based on the logic, To the extent that we can control the future, we do not need to predict it."
'How do you control the future? By inventing it yourself — marshalling scarce resources, understanding that surprises are to be expected rather than avoided, reacting to them fast. Ultimately, she says, entrepreneurs begin with three simple sets of resources: "Who they are" — their values, skills, and tastes; "What they know" — their education, expertise, and experience; and "Whom they know" — their friends, allies, and networks.
' "Using these means, the entrepreneurs begin to imagine and implement possible effects that can be created with them...Plans are made and unmade and revised and recast through action and interactions with others on a daily basis."
'Sounds like a plan to me! So the next time you read an article about what MBAs are doing, don't forget to think about what entrepreneurs are doing as well. They're the ones with the right stuff for tough times.'

Reducing Debt & Expenses

In having a trawl around the internet, I came across a little site called "" which, although focused at savings you could make in the home, does have sensible spin offs for business savings too.

The creator of Simple Savings, Fiona Lippey, has set up this great little site full of savings tips, and has an annual debt reduction planner that you can download (free) at As part of that download, she has some tips on how to remain focused on making savings, called "Transform your life in just 10 minutes a day":

  1. Rule No. 1: Set your alarm clock and timer! Your alarm clock is your daily reminder to make 10 minutes of Simple Savings time every day. When your alarm clock goes off, set the timer for 10 minutes. Then get to work! Make sure you stay focused until the timer goes off. [Diarise in Outlook - and make it important - and stick to it]
  2. Rule No. 2: Make the new habit easy to do. Choose the best time of day for your own personal Simple Savings time. Make sure it fits into your lifestyle, so it is easy for you to maintain and succeed... whenever is easiest for you. [Ditto as per 1]
  3. Rule No. 3: Decide out loud. Decide out loud and write down what it is you are going to do each day in your Simple Savings time. This will help you stay committed and focused. [To better fit the work environment - publish this in a weekly e-update to staff]
  4. Rule No. 4: Reward yourself. When you succeed, remember to pat yourself on the back. Every little step you make towards your goals is going to have a massive impact on your life. [Ditto as per 3 - let staff know the results in your e-update]
  5. Rule No. 5: Write down what you have gained. Keep a record of your achievements so you can look back and see how far you have come. The change is so gradual that sometimes you will think you haven’t made any headway at all, but keeping records will refresh your memory and chances are you will be surprised. [Ditto as per 3 - annual recap of results in your e-update]

Elsewhere in the download there is the idea of having a savings theme each month - which I particularly like as it makes it easier to focus on different aspects and categories of expenses and debt.

By being aware of your habits - and weaknesses, then taking control of them, you will find you have reduced debt and expenses significantly.

Changing the 'My Documents' Default Location

Sometimes the default location of your My Documents folder doesn't suit: particularly those who like to have all their software on one sector or partition of their hard drive and all their files in another (usually for back-up purposes). It used to be hard to do, but from Windows XP onwards, it is actually very easy; but finding the information can be quite difficult. Thanks to Fred Langa - of LangaList fame - I have the instructions.

To change the location of your Vista My Documents folder:

  • right-click the folder in Windows Explorer
  • Select Properties
  • Click the Location tab and click Move. If you see only a text box under "Target folder location," enter the new location for the folder there and click OK.
  • Navigate to and select your preferred location for your My Documents folder
  • Windows will ask if you want to move everything in the current folder to the new one; you probably want to say yes.

To change the location of your XP My Documents folder:

  • right-click the folder in Windows Explorer
  • Select Properties
  • Click the Target tab. In most cases, you'll find the same Restore Default, Move, and Find Target buttons as in Vista's dialog box. If you see only a text box under "Target folder location," enter the new location for the folder there and click OK.
  • Windows will then make the move for you, placing your My Documents folder and all its contents in the spot you chose.

Easy peasy.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • FYEO, For Your Eyes Only. An indication that privacy applies on an email. However, not entirely effective, as emails should be treated as public information.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

Over the next few newsletters, we are looking at all the things you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl in Windows Media Player. This is our first section in this series:

  • Windows Media Player "Repeat the playlist/stop repeating the playlist (toggle)" Ctrl & T
  • Windows Media Player "Stop playing the current item" Ctrl & S
  • Windows Media Player "Restore the Player from mini Player mode" Alt & Shift & P
  • Windows Media Player "Shut down Windows Media Player" Alt & F4

Hot Linx

Anyone needing a flu pandemic checklist, go to and download the pdf. A great shortcut for business from Effectus!

Think twice about making people redundant; read and think about some restructuring alternatives first

Anyone interested in entering the 2009 Westpac Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business Awards can download the entry forms & information from the NTCC website at

A great formula example for trimming Excel trailing or leading spaces and various other cleverosities can be found at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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