What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.  Has the Fed gone too far on bank stress tests?: While reports in some quarters suggest Wall Street is up to its bad old habit of underestimating risk, Stephen Gandel of Fortune argues the Federal Reserve has gone overboard in its so-called stress tests of banks for solvency. Financial institutions can be ready for a lot, but not for everything. Gandel writes, “Am I prepared for what would happen if a hurricane blew away my house or flooded it? Not really. I have insurance. But I don’t know where I would sleep or have copies of whatever is in that catch-all folder in my home office labeled ‘important documents.’ ”

2.  Is the New Gmail Killing E-mail Marketing?: If you’re one of the over 400 millions users of Gmail, you have probably noticed that your inbox now gets sorted into three categories: Primary, Social and Promotions. Perhaps you like it. Meanwhile, reports Bloomberg Businessweek, “The companies sending those promotional e-mails…are less than thrilled with the change.” They worry that the promotions tab will be a black hole and lead to severe losses of revenue. As for Google’s view of the matter, the article suggests, “happy users are good for Google. Here’s what else is good for Google: more advertising.”

3.  Dane Atkinson of SumAll, on Making Pay an Open Book: Dane Atkinson, chief executive officer of SumAll, a data analytics company, has started a lot of businesses. He tells the New York Times that entrepreneurship “matures you as a person faster.” Along the way, he’s arrived at a set of useful practices. One is to disclose what everybody at the company is paid, which increases a sense of trust and security. Another is to have frank talks regularly giving unvarnished feedback on performance. “Those conversations are amazing because they de-stress the frustration that people can feel,” Atkinson says. “So you’re unhappy with the way somebody managed the project. You sit down and you talk with them. Maybe you didn’t understand the full picture. We’re all human beings.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we asked whether the proposal by entrepreneur Elon Musk to construct a Hyperloop transit system between Los Angeles and San Francisco makes any sense, reader Danny Weihs had this to say:

Its a great and technically feasible idea which has been raised several times since the ’70s, but several problems need to be considered before boarding this bullet train:

  1. There will be strong magnetic fields acting on the train cars. How healthy is that?
  2. Moving at supersonic speeds so close to walls, any rocking motion, including those by movement of passengers could be disastrous. So buckle up and stay buckled.
  3. California is tectonically active. How much of a shift could the pipeline and cars stand?