FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS SCHOOL

 

Tim Vorley of Sheffield University says: The intellectual capital of business and management schools around the world should not be underestimated. The interdisciplinary expertise of researchers and teachers represents a huge asset across a broad range of fields, from strategy to supply chains and from economics to entrepreneurship. However, the critical question facing business schools is whether they are truly unlocking and maximizing their potential, or whether much of the value they provide is being lost in translation—if it is translated at all.

 

 

The Magnificent Seven need no introduction. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management are the cream of the business school crop. M7 is the Holy Grail of the MBA Kingdom. Every year, thousands of applicants will apply to the M7 schools, and most will fail to crack the code, because these schools are the most selective in the B-school landscape. Two years at any of the M7 schools will set a student back about $250,000, but there are many scholarships from alumni and employers. M7 attracts the most talented students and faculty, and certainly the most corporate recruiters offering the most sought-after jobs. M7 also boasts highly achieving alumni and valuable networks in nearly every walk of life. But other business schools, such as IMD, Insead, IESE, Cambridge Judge, Oxford Said, LSE, London Business School, and Webster Athens, provide a similar education at a small fraction of the cost.

 

 

Patrick Cullen of AACSB says: Whether through undergraduate, graduate, or executive education, business schools aspire to excellence and innovation. Likewise, the emphasis on pursuing academic and applied research remains a defining feature of many business schools. If the potential of these core missions and values is to be realized, we must ensure that they continue to be developed.

A hidden factor in estimating the real MBA cost is the lost salary. Take Stanford for example. Most of the MBA Class of 2018, about 20%, came from the investment management/venture capital field, where the average salary is about $100,000 per annum. That’s $200,000 someone won’t be making while they’re getting their degree. Add that to the $250,000 official estimated cost of the MBA and you have a total cost of $450,000.

Webster University’s master of business administration program is designed for people on a fast track to success. It’s the perfect answer for professionals who want to shape their own destiny, upgrade their credentials, and be strategic players in the world of business. Trump’s rhetoric is channeling international MBA applicants to European branches of American colleges. Webster Athens has an excellent MBA program. Webster Athens is dedicated to fostering a campus culture that embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion, and promotes international understanding and appreciation. Preparing students for effective, responsible and dynamic involvement in the modern societies in which they live and serve, and for excellence and leadership in their personal and professional lives. The campus is located in Athens, Greece – in the historic district of Plaka. Your Global Learning Experience begins in Webster Athens.

For a number of years business schools have pursued, to different degrees, what is known as an impact, service, outreach, or engagement mission. It is imperative that business schools do more than pay lip service to this agenda because, beyond generating research-based insights and developing the skills of learners, this mission will define the relevance of business schools in the future. The central question facing business schools, then, is how will they evolve to become more innovative, more engaged, and more impactful?

Vorley notes that now more than ever there is a need for business schools to walk the talk with respect to engagement, impact, and innovation. This means building on existing strengths in teaching and research to develop new ways of engaging with public, private, and third-sector (nonprofit, voluntary, nongovernmental) organizations to foster impact and innovation through relationships. The challenge here is in establishing new ways of working, such as co-design and co-production, which are fast becoming the new imperatives to which business schools must adhere.

As the world is becoming multipolar and knowledge is set to disperse throughout the globe, embedding oneself in its changes and evolution remains essential. Academic rigor will stay competitive by integrating new teaching methods, program designs, research methods and learning processes. If a school can generate knowledge in multiple locations around the world and blend it to create new insights, it can be assured of fostering a globally-compatible and creative student body.

Whether your interest is management, marketing, or communication, you will be an active learner at Webster Athens.  The classrooms give many hands-on experiences in various cases, and the location in the capital of Greece provides plenty of internship opportunities. With a low student-to-faculty ratio and average class size, Webster Athens makes business education personal. Faculty get to know students on a first-name basis and are readily available to help students when needed. Webster Athens is dedicated to excellence in business teaching, incorporating a global business perspective throughout the curriculum. Every step of the way, students receive the attention and support they need to thrive in business.

Webster Athens offers a fantastic MBA program in a flexible structure which promotes academic depth and encourages business graduate students to explore diverse business interests. At Webster Athens, students have opportunities to build skills and competencies through study trips, conferences, and internships. On the campus, students study in a culturally diverse environment that will create a life-long international network.

Vasilis Botopoulos, Chancellor of Webster Athens, points out: As we look to the future one thing is certain – knowledge will be a key resource and will be highly sought-after around the world. Our challenge is to help to generate ideas that will benefit society, and to educate and train people to work in fields where they will be valued both for their specialized knowledge, and for their ability to communicate and solve problems. To meet these challenges we need to build on the alliances and collaborative partnerships the University has established with business, government, and other institutions. It is equally important that we keep close to our wider communities of interest. This will help to ensure the on-going relevance of our academic programs and the continued excellence of our teaching and learning.

Cullen points out that the biggest challenge is changing mindsets. There is view among external organizations that business school are detached centers of teaching and research; business school leaders must invalidate this view by encouraging faculty to not only recognize the value of their expertise but articulate it to different audiences and engage with them. Through a growing portfolio of activity, by whatever name, business schools need to ensure that more than just our academic peers, our learners, and our partners recognize the value we have to offer. Business schools have the potential to be anchor institutions regionally, nationally, and internationally. However, if business schools fail to innovate, there is a danger of not realizing our potential, or worse, being left behind.

Botopoulos notes: The greater vision of Webster Athens is to build an excellent educational experience embodying mind, body and spirit through a variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. We offer a solid intellectual foundation as well as an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth and thorough understanding of the subject matter. This is learning with ethos, authenticity, cultural understanding, ecological conscience, and service to others.

Botopoulos says: At Webster Athens we cultivate and build the leaders of tomorrow.  It is our hope that our students and alumni, with ethos and philotimo, will inspire others to live their lives with dignity, integrity and compassion. I invite you to come visit our campus. If you seek learning in a way that is challenging, personal, and meaningful, we would love to have you as part of our community. For more information, please refer to www.webster.edu.gr

There are, of course, a number business schools already engaged in aspects of this agenda, and who are breaking new ground. it is clear that any effort to increase the value of business school research and, we would argue, teaching, should address the challenge of knowledge production and knowledge transfer.
Vorley points out that every business school has its own strengths, and these should provide both the basis and catalyst for change. In seizing these and other opportunities, the business school of the future needs to evolve and adapt. Business school leaders now need to embrace this agenda and see it as a way to empower the teaching and research activities of colleagues. While most business schools have already stepped outside the ivory tower of the university, in order to address the big questions facing society, there is a need to truly work with different stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as with colleagues from departments across the institution.

The ultimate benefit of internationalization for Webster University is to learn from the world, not just teach the world what Webster already knows in order to widen its global reach. Instilling a global learning mindset to their students will enable Webster to provide the globally competent talent that companies need. Since the turn of the century, many institutions have added international modules or programs to their curricula, importing faculty and students from elsewhere and exporting their students by offering them study abroad opportunities. Others have formed joint ventures or alliances whereby they export their curriculum to teach local students in distant geographies.

Some institutions have gone a step further than importers and exporters and extended their reach with a physical campus abroad. Business schools were early adopters of this model with the establishment of campuses in Asia and the Gulf countries, such as Carnegie Mellon University establishing a business school in Qatar, INSEAD in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, ESSEC in Singapore, and Webster University in Athens. The benefits of foreign campuses are numerous. First, an extra campus allows the school to attract high quality students who might not have applied to the home campus, and enrich diversity at the same time. Second, it enhances the school’s ability to hire high quality foreign faculty members who might wish to live in the region where the extra campus is located thus increasing the diversity and background of its faculty. Third, it increases the breadth of alumni and broadens the school’s network. Fourth, it improves the school’s visibility and gives it higher credibility as a global institution.

But these initiatives cannot be designed as independent add-ons to an institution’s home campus and core activities. Multi-location institutions must also internationalize their home campus by harmonizing diversity, admissions standards and student culture across their multiple sites. They should aim to create a seamless environment for students and faculty to interact and travel between campuses to maximize their global experience and learning.

The success of the multi-campus Webster University rests, among other things, on having an internationally recognized brand; seamless transfer of knowledge between campuses; local and foreign students meeting the same admissions standards; frequent travel of faculty and administrative staff across the campuses; and graduates who are able to find local and regional jobs that allow them to put into practice what they have learned.

There are different types of institutions with presences abroad. The multicampus institution is in essence an exporter of its home-grown programs. The multinational institution is a more structured student-exchange-led school. The transnational institution is an integrated collection of international campuses located around the world. In this configuration, students follow the same curriculum wherever they are, but are encouraged to spend time on the school’s different campuses, along with faculty and staff.

A truly global institution should go beyond these structures, free from a home campus bias and driven by a desire to learn from the world to create new knowledge. This is the metanational education institution. It should have at least three main campuses of roughly equal size, each in a major region of the world, that is, Europe, Asia and the Americas. To avoid assimilation traps, these campuses should be located in cosmopolitan cities and could have satellites in neighboring countries. In such a network, no campus should be perceived as inferior to the others. The network’s leadership must therefore foster a culture of cooperation among the sites and stimulate formal communication. The raison d’être of a metanational higher education institution is to generate knowledge in multiple locations with the objective of blending that knowledge to create new insights, and to instill a global learning mindset in its graduates. Webster University is a metanational higher education institution.

Cullen notes that to address this new reality, business schools need to find new ways of working. This involves a change of emphasis from working independently to becoming a facilitator and enabler in translating research insights to leverage socioeconomic impact. More than ever, engagement, impact, and innovation is about co-creation, and business schools are ideally placed to span disciplinary and organizational boundaries to lead activities in these areas. By doing things differently, business schools are redefining their relationships with organizations in the public, private, and third sectors, where the emphasis is on applying and translating academic expertise with partners to (co-)create new insights and value. Only in this way can the business schools of today realize their full potential tomorrow.

ROLES OF CORPORATE DIRECTORS

By Belén Villalonga

What role(s) do boards of directors play? Existing research generally assumes the model of a corporation described by Berle and Means (1932)—one with a widely dispersed base of shareholders in which control is exercised by management. Yet a growing volume of research shows that most companies around the world have a controlling shareholder or group thereof, for the most part individuals or families. This is true in even in countries where corporate ownership is relatively more widely held, and increasingly so: the number of public corporations in the United States has almost halved over the last 20 years, and a similar phenomenon has taken place in the United Kingdom.

The fact that most of what we know about boards is based on widely held US corporations is of concern because the governance problems these companies face are fundamentally different from those faced by closely held or controlled companies. Thus, the board’s role in these companies is also likely to be different, in accordance with the problems that it is—or should be—designed to solve. Moreover, because corporations are legally required to have a board, prior research offers little insight into why companies may or may not want to have one; they simply have no choice.

We use a large sample of closely held firms for which establishing a board is voluntary to investigate the role of the board and the drivers of the decision to have one. Our sample includes 55,313 firm-year observations from 21,417 closely held Colombian firms during the period 2007-2012, of which only 56% have a board. Using detailed data from a survey about these companies’ governance practices, we examine why firms have boards as well as the role played by the board in the balance of power between controlling and minority shareholders, by examining the impact that each of these three groups have on performance, leverage, and payout policy.

We find that the number and identity of shareholders are more important determinants of firms’ propensity to have a board of directors than the size of their equity stakes. As can be expected, the larger the number of shareholders, the greater the probability of their having a board of directors to represent them. Being a family firm also increases the probability of having a board, especially when the firm is its second and later-generation relative to the founder’s. These findings suggest that the larger the number of shareholders, the greater the collective action problem and/or the potential for conflicts, and thus also the perceived need for a board of directors as a way to mitigate those problems. This perception seems particularly pronounced among family shareholders, perhaps driven by their concern for maintaining unity and harmony in the family. Indeed, after controlling for the endogeneity of the decision to establish a board, we find that all shareholders benefit from having a board in the form of higher profitability.

Yet we also find that when the preferences of controlling and minority shareholders diverge, boards align with controlling shareholders, as may be expected from the fact that it is this group of shareholders who effectively delegates to the board some of the valuable decision rights that come with their controlling position. Specifically, boards and controlling shareholders favor greater leverage and lower dividends, which help these shareholders preserve their controlling equity stake, whereas minority shareholders favor lower leverage and higher dividends, which provide them with a safer return on their investment. The implication is that boards sharpen both edges of the double-edged sword that large shareholders represent for minority shareholders in the same firm: while they help controlling shareholders monitor managers for the collective benefit of all shareholders, they also facilitate the appropriation of private benefits of control by large shareholders.

BOARDS PREPARING FOR NEXT YEAR

By Krystal Gaboury Berrini

With the peak of proxy season in the rear-view mirror, companies and investors are analyzing takeaways from the thousands of meetings that have occurred over the past three months. Although most US companies received strong support from shareholders at their annual meeting, others faced low levels of support for executive compensation or directors or high levels of support for a shareholder proposal.

Whether this year’s proxy season was placid or turbulent for your company, June and July is the best time to start planning for off-season investor outreach that will provide a path to success in 2018. Here are four steps that will yield dividends before your next annual meeting.

Analyze your vote, but also investor sentiment

The first few weeks after your annual meeting are prime time to take stock of annual meeting votes and outcomes while everything is fresh in the minds of the board and management team. One common mistake made during this period is to focus only on vote totals. Well-prepared companies look beyond raw numbers to understand the factors that drove the level of shareholder support and examine any misalignment between what investors said during engagement efforts leading up to the annual meeting and their vote.

If your company received very high votes against management on any items, it may be helpful to reach out to major investors to reassure them that the board has heard investors’ perspectives and will have more to share in the coming months. But if this year’s meeting went well, forgo any additional calls to governance teams while they continue to vote on hundreds more meetings before the end of June. Instead, use this time to reflect on feedback received before the meeting and any nuances that may be embedded in the vote results.

Make sure your board and management team know what shareholders are saying

The immediate postmortem of an annual meeting should include a detailed report for your board and management team on shareholder feedback as well as any meaningful investor trends that emerged during proxy season. Even high-level feedback from your largest shareholders can help identify themes that may indicate challenges or pressure points which could be on the horizon.

If you didn’t have a chance to speak with all of your large holders, look for recent public statements on issues that may be relevant. Board members often appreciate updates that can help put a company’s practices and outcomes in the context of the broader marketplace and peers.

Plan ahead for the fall

Companies that have the most productive shareholder engagement programs are disciplined about linking earlier feedback and votes to agenda items for subsequent engagements. As you start planning, keep your board’s meeting calendar in mind to ensure you’ve built in sufficient time to first gather and then integrate shareholder feedback into discussion of any potential governance or compensation changes. Another date to keep in mind is August 31, when mutual fund and exchange-traded fund votes are made public in Form N-PX reports.

A major topic of discussion this fall will be the changing shareholder and regulatory landscape. This past proxy season will be remembered for the unprecedented level of shareholder support for climate-related proposals; that trend is unlikely to go away as investors increasingly view sustainability as part of a company’s governance mandate.

In addition, anticipating what’s on the horizon for new leadership at the SEC, as well as potential legislation that could impact the relationship between investors and companies, will help your board stay nimble. The political process is often unpredictable, which makes it imperative to prepare for the range of outcomes and to share your company’s voice in the policy development process where appropriate.

Recognize that the off-season is becoming the new busy season

As more and more companies see the benefits of engaging with their largest investors throughout the year, securing meetings during the off-season has become nearly as competitive as it is in-season. Major institutional investors have increased the size of their governance teams, but demand for engagement is still outstripping capacity.

Companies need to be thoughtful and focused not just about engagement meeting topics, but also how they approach getting those meetings in the first place. Advance planning is essential to ensure that conversations are productive and valuable for both companies and investors. An effective off-season engagement cycle can set a positive tone for 2018 and decrease the chances you’ll be surprised at your next annual meeting.

For companies that experienced low levels of support or opposition to management at this year’s annual meeting, the period immediately thereafter can feel like starting at the bottom of a mountain. While this may be your company’s first time facing an investor challenge, your advisers have likely seen this situation before and can help you formulate a response. Now is the time to huddle with your internal teams to start discussing next steps and engage with your advisers to help find the most effective path forward.

DRAMATIC COSTS OF UNMITIGATED CLIMATE CHANGE

The poorest third of U.S. counties will likely lose up to 20 percent of their incomes, and regions such as the Pacific Northwest and New England will gain economically over the Gulf and Southern states, if climate change continues unmitigated through the end of the century.

The researchers, who examined the economic consequences of climate change for the country, conclude that for every 1-degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures, the U.S. economy stands to lose about 0.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, with each degree of warming costing more than the last.

Widening U.S. economic inequality

The study’s co-authors describe the country’s future as being on par with the Great Recession or, in the Midwest, akin to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, possibly resulting in the nation’s largest-ever transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

“Climate change is going to be like a huge transfer of wealth from some people to others,” said Hsiang. “This is kind of analogous to a tech boom in one region of the country and industry collapsing in another region. It’s going to make the current economic cleavages in this country even bigger.”

Solomon Hsiang sums up the major, and uneven, impacts of unmitigated climate change in the U.S.

 

Together, they combined 116 climate change forecasts and numerous economic analyses developed by scientists around the world to assess costs and benefits of unmitigated climate change on crime, agriculture, energy, labor, coastal communities and mortality.

Their key findings include:

  • Rising mean sea levels linked to stronger, more frequent tropical cyclones will amplify storm tide heights and extend floodplains, worsening problems for low-lying coastal cities. The severe weather will inflict direct annual economic damages of 0.6 to 1.3 percent of GDP for South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida in the median scenario.
  • Agricultural yields in the Midwest will decline dramatically with rising global mean surface temperatures.
  • Annual national mortality rates will rise by roughly five deaths per 100,000 people for each degree Celsius increase in temperature.
  • Electricity demands will increase for all regions except the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, as rising demand due to hot days will more than offset falling demand from cool days.
  • The number of hours worked will decline about 0.11 percent for each additional degree in rising global mean surface temperature for workers who are not generally exposed to outdoor temperatures, and by 0.53 percent for high-risk, outside workers. The high-risk employees account for about 23 percent of workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing and mining.
  • Property crimes will increase in the Northeast as the number of cold days decreases. Meanwhile, violent crime rates will increase across the country at about 0.9 percent per each additional degree Celsius in global mean surface temperature.

Focusing on high-value targets

The study results can help everyone from policy-makers and public utilities officials to farmers and law enforcement officials, as well as those in the tourist industry and disaster relief organizations.

“This helps us focus on high-value targets,” said Rising. “And while agricultural impacts are quite big, human health turns out to be most important.”

In their study, the researchers note that populations may relocate or businesses may opt to move their operations, but the adjustments are unlikely to substantially change the study’s projections.

Another major finding, Hsiang said, is a forecast for extremely uneven distribution of the costs of climate change across the country.

For example, higher and higher temperatures in the South, which is already very hot, will cause climate change to take an even bigger toll in human lives in that region than in others. And much of the farming in the Midwest, long considered the nation’s breadbasket, will literally dry up under increasing heat.

Building a global model

The researchers used a flexible, high-resolution, county-by-county model – the first of its kind – that is based on the scale and structure of the country’s population and economy in 2012. They were able to calculate the impacts of a business-as-usual approach to climate change in the U.S. through the end of the century, primarily reporting results for the benchmark period 2080 to 2099. They estimate their results’ reliability at 90 percent.

Rising, a former software engineer, said that the pioneering study would not have been possible without advances in computing and big data.

While the researchers are excited about the help that their findings can offer for the United States, they are just as enthusiastic about the scalability of their model and are working to go global with it, applying updates from new econometric results and climate model projections still in the making. Their model also could be expanded to cover additional sectors such as social conflict and human migration.

“There are thousands of people around the world working on this problem,” said Hsiang.  “What we are trying to do is to build a system, stitching together all the different models and building ‘the machine in the middle’ to bring it all together. This is how we should be doing policy, as a society.”

UNDERSTANDING SHARING

 

By Sona Pai

The story of the sharing economy used to go something like this: You buy a power drill. Now you own it. But most of the time, you don’t use it. So why not rent it out?

The concept is as old as having neighbors, but it began to take off in new ways about the time the Great Recession hit. In those early years of the 21st century, a perfect storm of economic hardship and techno-logical advancement cleared a path for a different way of doing business.

The internet, smartphones, and social networks made it easy to match supply with demand and, in the process, unlock excess capacity from things people already owned. People could share their cars, rooms in their homes, their designer handbags — you name it — and make some extra money. Consumers could get access without paying the price of ownership. Companies started cropping up to be the matchmakers, creating marketplaces that made it easier and easier to participate in the sharing phenomenon.

Today, the sharing economy has grown from novelty to normal — and it isn’t slowing down. A 2015 PwC report projected key sectors in the sharing economy have the potential to increase global revenues from around $15 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025 — an increase of more than 2,000 percent.

Sharing economy titans such as Airbnb and Uber have pried open lucrative new markets in entrenched industries, created alternative income streams for a changing workforce, and redefined the customer experience.

And they have done it by recognizing that success in the sharing economy goes beyond the drill. It comes from learning from the problem-solving process and then using those lessons to solve the next problem.

“These companies tend to attract and hire imaginative, creative people,” says Betsy Sigman, distinguished teaching professor of operations and information management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “And imaginative, creative people tend to keep asking, ‘What else can we do?’”

Among those imaginative, creative people are Georgetown McDonough graduates who are pushing the sharing economy forward.

TURNING PROBLEMS INTO POSSIBILITIES
Like superheroes, companies in the sharing economy often are defined by their origin stories — the lore of the startup. Uber began as a black car service. Airbnb was born from a couple of air mattresses on a loft apartment floor.

“I remember when I first heard about Airbnb,” says Laurence Tosi (C’90, MBA’94, L’94), Airbnb’s chief financial officer and a member of Georgetown University’s Board of Directors. “The buzz was a bunch of people in the hospitality business saying it would never work. It’s just kids couch surfing.”

Those little startups grew up fast.

Airbnb enables individual entrepreneurs to make money with what is most likely the most valuable asset they’ll ever own: their home.”
—Laurence Tosi (C’90, MBA’94, L’94), CFO, Airbnb

According to the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource, Uber currently is valued at $68 billion, making it the most valuable private company in America. It operates in more than 560 cities worldwide, and its CEO recently told reporters it serves 40 million monthly active riders. Airbnb comes in second, with a re-ported valuation of $31 billion. The company operates in 65,000 cities in more than 191 countries and has served more than 160 million guests.

Tosi joined Airbnb in 2015, after making a name for himself as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy finance and operations leader at NBC, Merrill Lynch, and The Blackstone Group. When Airbnb’s founders approached him, he immediately saw the potential in what they were building.

“I’d always been focused on the nexus of technology and automating things and expanding markets,” he says. “What was different to me about the sharing economy was the size and scale of what these companies have been able to accomplish. It’s totally unprecedented in any market.”

Tom Maguire (MBA’14), general manager for Uber’s New England region, joined the company in 2015 after first getting to know the company as a satisfied customer. His employee experience sealed the deal.

“The people here create an electric culture — no two days are the same,” he says. “They’re the kind of people who won’t get up from their seat until they’ve solved the puzzle. They’re not afraid of ambiguity. They thrive on it.”

Both Tosi and Maguire talk about their companies in big-picture terms, going beyond the ride across town or the vacation rental.

“It’s really about technology, not necessarily about transportation,” Maguire says. “It’s a technology platform that started with taking someone from point A to point B, but the opportunities from there are wide open.”

Likewise, Tosi sees Airbnb’s potential on a grand scale, as an opportunity to do good for the economy, the environment, and the social fabric. “Airbnb enables individual entrepreneurs to make money with what is most likely the most valuable asset they’ll ever own: their home,” he says. “We offer the most efficient reuse of assets you could possibly imagine. You don’t need to build more hotels or take over more land. And, in a world where there’s so much division, we actually connect people.”

It’s a technology platform that started with taking someone from point A to point B, but the opportunities from there are wide open.”
—Tom Maguire (MBA’14), General Manager, New England Region, Uber

That 30,000-foot view sounds aspirational, but it is built on real-world experience and observation. Once Uber had teams, processes, technology, and infrastructure in place to connect riders with drivers, new possibilities opened up for how to put those building blocks to use. For example, carpooling for multiple riders on the same route, delivering food from local restaurants, and even delivering Christmas trees. The system is in place; now employees imagine what else can be done with it.

It was the same story with Airbnb. Once a platform existed, new innovations emerged from paying attention to how people used it.

For example, some of Airbnb’s most popular hosts took time to show their guests around or take them out for day trips and pub crawls. Spotting the value in this trend, the company started packaging experiences led by resident guides.

“We thought the experiences would be for travelers, but we learned many of them are consumed by locals,” Tosi says, “which means a San Franciscan going on a kayak tour near the Golden Gate Bridge is doing something they’ve never done before even though they live there.”

In both cases, the path to growth has followed the traditional best practice of staying true to core competencies and building on them. The superpower behind sharing economy success is realizing that those core competencies go beyond specific products, services, or even technologies into the realms of connection, community, and creativity.

“The unique thing about these companies is they’re always pushing to try new things to serve the customer,” Sigman says. “They’re flexible. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, they just learn from it and move on.”

THE IDEA IS THE EASY PART
New startups in the sharing economy tend to fall into two camps: slight variations on existing ideas (think Grubhub and other food delivery services) and new ideas that take the fundamentals of successful sharing economy companies in new directions (“the Uber of …”).  

In 2016, Mark Switaj (MBA’12) founded a company squarely in the second camp. “As we like to say, we are the Lyft or Uber for medical transportation,” he says.

Switaj’s company, RoundTrip, provides nonemergency medical transportation via a technology platform that has a user experience similar to that of Uber and Lyft. RoundTrip partners with existing medical transportation companies to equip their vehicle fleets with smartphones, and offers hospitals and patients an app they can use to coordinate rides to medical appointments on demand.

“The medical transportation industry might not seem incredibly exciting, but it is to me,” Switaj says. Why? “It’s just so broken.”

Switaj worked as an EMT and eventually director of business development with American Medical Response, the nation’s largest ambulance company, and subsequently chief operating officer of its sister company, EmCare. He saw firsthand how inefficiency and lack of coordination created serious problems for patients in need of care.

“3.6 million patients per year miss or delay medical appointments because of transportation problems,” he says.

That data point, from a study conducted by the Transportation Research Board, set the stage for RoundTrip, along with this one from RoundTrip’s own surveys: The nonemergency ambulance industry operates at about 35 percent efficiency. That means in a 10-hour shift on the road, a vehicle is involved in moving a patient for only 3.5 of those hours.

Switaj envisioned a platform that could solve multiple problems: Connecting frustrated patients and their hospital social workers, who coordinate patient transportation, with underused vehicles already on the road. He knew he had a solid idea, but he and his team did their research before getting it off the ground. The question he needed to answer: Can I get people to switch from using the telephone to using our system?

“We spent hours and hours with our software developers, sitting with social workers, nurses, care navigators,” Switaj says. “We met with ambulance companies, EMTs, paramedics, and wheelchair vehicle drivers. I had software developers riding along in vehicles to understand what it is we’re building.”

Switaj and his team tested their software with users, iterated, and tested again until they found the combination of aesthetics and ease of use that worked.

The medical transportation industry might not seem incredibly exciting, but it is to me. It’s just so broken.”
—Mark Switaj (MBA’12), Founder, RoundTrip

The result, RoundTrip, launched in September 2016 and currently serves the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware areas. Switaj says that besides the efficiency and convenience he set out to create, new benefits are emerging in the way his customers foresee using the service. In the near future, social workers will have the new opportunity to intervene on the spot when patients decline a trip because the app can provide an instant connection between social workers who are ordering rides and drivers who are providing them.

“They could immediately call the patient to say ‘Why aren’t you coming in today? What can we do to make this happen?’” Switaj says. “It’s powerful stuff.”

POWERED BY THE PEOPLE
By its nature, the sharing economy is about connecting people: riders and drivers. Vacationers and home-owners. People who need a thing with people who have the thing.

Although each of those individual connections is a one-off experience, as a whole, they form the core of a company’s brand. They are the threads that weave a community out of users and providers, and that com-munity can, in turn, become a company’s most valuable asset.

“The vast majority of our company’s growth comes from the community itself,” says Tosi, referring to the way Airbnb hosts become guests, guests become hosts, and word-of-mouth travels faster than any ad.

One way sharing companies — including Airbnb, Uber, and RoundTrip — build those communities is through ratings, which have become table stakes in the online consumer experience.

“Consumers have learned to make decisions based on the number of stars they see,” Sigman says. “They’re more likely to buy something with ratings than something without them.”

In many cases, ratings are a two-way street. After all, sharing economy companies are built on providing optimal experiences for both providers and consumers.

“The community kind of self-regulates,” Tosi says. “People try to be friendly and accommodating because you don’t want a bad review that will hurt your business if you’re a host or your ability to stay somewhere if you’re a guest. There’s a trust built in the community that helps us proliferate the brand.”

At Uber, driver and rider ratings give the company a real-time check on quality. “It’s how we understand what the rider is looking for, as well as the driver,” Maguire says. And the company recently took the ­ratings concept a step further with Compliments — a new feature that lets riders give more nuanced feedback for particularly good experiences and shows drivers that their efforts to create those experiences matter.

By innovating new experiences and new avenues for connection, the most successful companies in the sharing economy have seemingly created something out of nothing. They still provide goods and services, but in doing so, they tap into intangibles like employee creativity, trust between strangers, and a powerful sense of being part of something bigger than a transaction.

“It’s that collision of the millennial generation, the technology of apps, the internet, the desire for community, that connectivity,” Tosi says. “Once those things connected, it created a quantum change. It was just inevitable. And now, we’re seeing the evolution of those companies.”

LINUX FOUNDATION

 

 

The Linux Foundation (LF) is a non-profit technology trade association chartered to promote, protect and advance Linux and collaborative development and support the “greatest shared technology resources in history.” It began in 2000 under the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) and became the organization it is today when OSDL merged with the Free Standards Group (FSG.) The Linux Foundation sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and lead maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and is supported by leading Linux and open source companies, including prominent technology corporations such as Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, Oracle, Qualcomm and Samsung and developers from around the world. In recent years, the Linux Foundation has expanded its services through events, training and certification and Collaborative Projects. Examples of Collaborative Projects at Linux Foundation include Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), Hyperledger, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Cloud Foundry Foundation, Node.js Foundation, and many others.

While The Linux Foundation’s original message is to promote, protect, and standardize Linux by providing a comprehensive set of services to compete effectively with closed platforms, the organization has extended the scope of its work to include many areas of the professional open source software industry as a whole. Such areas include blockchain technology, high performance computing (HPC) and container technology.

 

 

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system and the Git source code management system, told us: I’m actually not a people person. I don’t really love other people, but I do love other people who get involved in my project.

Torvalds went on to discuss his belief that code either works or it doesn’t. Torvalds admitted that he is sometimes myopic, when it comes to other people’s feelings. However, he told us: What I love about open source is that it really allows different people to work together.

Torvalds was listed as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME magazine. Lawrence Lessig told us: There is no doubt that the open, collaborative model that produced GNU/Linux has changed the business of software development forever.

Nonetheless, the typically self-deprecating Torvalds doesn’t see himself as a visionary. Instead, he told us: I’m an engineer. I’m happy with the people who are wandering around looking at the stars but I am looking at the ground and I want to fix the pothole before I fall in.

The Linux Foundation announced that 18 new organizations have joined the Foundation as Silver members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the greatest shared technology resources in history, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation.

With the support of its members, The Linux Foundation hosts open source projects across technologies including networking, security, cloud, blockchain and more. This collaborative development model is helping technology advance at a rapid pace in a way that benefits individuals and organizations around the world.

 

“The Linux Foundation is proud to welcome the support of such a great group of new Silver members,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, The Linux Foundation. “These organizations are taking this step which demonstrates their immense dedication to the open source community and principles.”

In addition to joining the Foundation, many of these new members have joined Linux Foundation projects such as Automotive Grade Linux, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, EdgeX Foundry, Hyperledger and Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). 

New members include:

  • Absolute Software creates self-healing endpoint security to make security stacks stronger to recover instantly from user errors or attacks.
  • ACEDEMAND IT Services has the experience with software architecture and software development support to help with enterprise software projects.
  • AlphaPoint is a financial technology company that powers digital asset networks and provides institutions a Distributed Ledger Platform to digitize, trade, and manage any asset.
  • Beijing RZXT Technology is committed to becoming one of the industry’s leading blockchain technology export service providers.
  • ChangeHealthcare is one of the largest, independent healthcare technology companies in the United States.
  • China Standard Software (Beijing) provides Linux OS information security services and customized operating system development services.
  • CITIC Group Corp is a large Chinese state-owned multinational conglomerate with a wide range of businesses covering finance, energy and resources, manufacturing, engineering contracting, real estate and others.
  • Datto protects essential business data for tens of thousands of the world’s fastest growing companies.
  • Emind Software Company Ltd is a high-tech enterprise engaged in development of infrastructure software, cloud computing and cloud service of intelligent translation of ASEAN languages.
  • Ernst & Young (EY) is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services.
  • Karamba Security offers ECU endpoint security to protect the connected car.
  • Mavenir Systems accelerates and redefines network transformation for service providers by offering a comprehensive product portfolio across every layer of the network infrastructure stack.
  • Parallel Machines is creating an “Intelligence Overlay Network” (ION), that couples distributed data, computational assets, interconnected ML and DL applications, with overarching management capabilities and business interfaces.
  • PCCW Global is a leading telecommunications provider, offering the latest voice and data solutions to multinational enterprises and communication service providers.
  • Schroders is an independent, dedicated asset manager with a strong heritage and culture based on over 200 years’ experience of investment markets.
  • TDT GmbH is Germany’s leading router manufacturer.
  • Veon is a global provider of connectivity, with the ambition to lead the personal internet revolution for the 235 million+ customers it currently serves, and many more in the years to come.
  • Windstream Communications offers customizable network solutions for specialized verticals.


The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company.

MIGRANTS RETURNING TO CALAIS

 

Pseudorefugees are back at Calais! Niggers, ragheads, and naive do-gooders of Calais jungle raise hell. People-smugglers are going to extreme lengths to get migrants in Calais across the Channel to Kent. Placing debris on motorways to stop vehicles and then ambush them is a familiar tactic used in Calais. Truck drivers are threatened with chainsaws and lorries are smashed and set on fire. Migrants wielding bats and knives smash up vehicles on roads near the town as their owners sat in traffic.

The naive do-gooders of Jungle are not so naive after all.  They are there for free sex and orgies!  Volunteers in the Calais Jungle have been sexually exploiting refugees and even child migrants. The Calais Jungle is now a free brothel, a magnet of pedophiles!  Any man or woman can come in and rape a child!  Sex tourism galore!  Sex-deprived Brits come to Jungle for orgies, pretending they are volunteers!

Migrants have become increasing audacious and violent in their attempts to enter the UK illegally. Some roads are now a no-go zone between midnight and 6am. The situation at the Jungle has become uncontrollable as police numbers drop and migrant numbers rise.

We know from the drama in Calais that mobs of fighting age men are staking their claim to economic betterment while the liberal left continue to grant them refugee or asylum status before the fact. They are braying jackals, thieves, and muggers – those willing to flout the law in their search for freebies in Britain. And even then, they’ll probably complain about their complimentary meals, provided courtesy of the British tax payer.

Look back to recent pronouncements, admissions even, made by charities in Calais. Clothes and food are being dumped and burnt by the migrants in Calais. They have enough food, they have enough clothes and we have seen clothes everywhere thrown.

The fact is the British people are being played for mugs again, and the pro-migrant, disaster tourism brigades who stoke up tensions in Calais drip feed news stories into the media. Mass migration and open borders is a bumper industry. The British government is spending tax payer money funding these groups who attack the tax payer and indeed the British government.

At Calais, you will meet niggers and ragheads who destroyed their papers and refuse to be fingerprinted. Most of them are middle class and economic migrants and admit they are not refugees. They just want Brits to provide housing, welfare, and free access to the British NHS. But if you are honest about your status then you would have claimed asylum in the first country you arrived in.

Human feces were found in Coke cans in bottling plants. The night shift at a Coca-Cola plant was disrupted when a container of cans clogged up the machines, only for workers to discover a number were filled with human waste! It was absolutely horrible, and the machines had to be turned off for about 15 hours to be cleaned. 

Some migrants have made that long journey in the lorry and in their desperation were forced to use the cans instead of a toilet.  Cans arrive at factories without tops on, to be filled with the fizzy drink before they are sealed and sold.

In October of last year, France finally demolished the refugee camp known as “The Jungle.” It was populated by about 7,000 migrants, who came there hoping to reach Britain, where they could apply for asylum. When the camp was demolished, they were given the choice of either being deported back to their home countries, or of staying in some 300 temporary refugee centers across France, where they can apply for asylum.

However, many of them left Calais on their own, and went to the Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk, which became known as “the New Jungle.” The camp had been built by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and included hundreds of wooden huts. The camp opened in March 2016 as the first camp in France to meet international humanitarian standards, where migrant families could live in relatively dignified conditions in heated wooden cabins.

The Dunkirk camp had a capacity of 700, and was severely overcrowded, eventually housing 1,600. Furthermore, many of the new arrivals from The Jungle, who were mostly Afghans, didn’t get along with the original migrants, who were mostly Iraqi and Kurdish. There were multiple fights between groups of migrants of different nationalities, with some 600 migrants taking part in the fighting. In March of this year, the Grande-Synthe refugee camp, including all the wooden huts, burnt to the ground, leaving nothing but ashes. According to French officials, multiple fires must have been set on purpose.

So now, three months later, it’s June, the weather is great, and hundreds of migrants are flooding back into Calais. Officials are refusing to build a proposed reception center for asylum-seekers to Calais, saying that it would only encourage more people to come.

According to France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, part of the government of the new president Emmanuel Macron:

“We’ve seen this before, it starts with a few hundred people and ends with several thousand people who we can’t manage. That’s why we don’t want a center here.”

Humanitarian non-government organizations (NGOs) are trying to feed the 400-600 migrants currently “living rough” in Calais, but complain that they are being harassed by Calais police. So 11 NGOs sued the local authorities, saying that they have “prevented” the distribution of food to hundreds of migrants.

The court rejected the request to set up a new emergency center to shelter migrants in Calais, but also ruled that the migrants should be allowed to receive humanitarian add. Furthermore, judges ordered officials, within 10 days, to establish several drinking fountains, toilets and showers for migrants who are “exposed to inhuman and degrading conditions” in the area. The judge said, “It is not possible to leave these people, who are in a state of complete destitution without any aid.