7/26/16: superstar CEOs and politics

In the Argument from WIRED’s July 2016 issue, Bryan Gardiner notes that notable CEOs and superstar employees rarely transition well from company to company, as their successes in a field are often due to the unique environment that allowed them to flourish in the first place. Something that worked for Apple, he notes, won’t automatically be a good fit for the culture that’s in place at, say, JCPenney. The conclusion, then, is that instead of “treating talent like some static commodity to be worshipped and poached” we should direct “resources toward creating corporate culture where talent can be grown and supported.”

This is basic Moneyball theory here, but it’s especially relevant when we consider one CEO’s attempt to become president. (Not that Donald J. Trump’s three-bankruptcies speak toward success in his current position either.) I don’t think Trump is Hitler; rather, I think that Trump is like Silicon Valley‘s Gavin Belson, and is the sort of person who knows what he has to be doing to keep his job, but has no idea how to actually implement said ideas. (Hence this disastrous interview with Chris Matthews.) There’s a danger, then, in electing a name brand (and I don’t exempt Clinton from this criticism), instead of focusing on actually improving our government from the ground up (at the local level). The problem here, of course, is that politics appears to be a bit of a vacuum itself, a black hole where good ideas go to die. Where, then, should we look for people who might actually represent us?

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