افراد در عصر جدید چگونه ثروتمند می‌شوند

پاول گراهام (Paul Graham) کارآفرین و سرمایه‌گذار انگلیسی-امریکایی

 

پاول گراهام (Paul Graham) کارآفرین و سرمایه‌گذار انگلیسی-امریکایی که بیشتر شهرتش رو از هم‌بنیانگذاری موثرترین شتابدهنده و شرکت سرمایه گذاری استارتاپی به اسم Y combinator بدست آورده، اخیرا در یک مقاله مقایسه‌ای بین ثروتمندان آمریکایی لیست شده در مجله فوربز و نحوه دستیابی به ثروت‌شون در سال ۱۹۸۲ و ۲۰۲۱ انجام داده.

من سعی کردم این مقاله رو توی چند قسمت ترجمه کنم تا با هم از مطالب جالبی که داخل این مقاله گفته شده بهره‌مند بشیم.

از سال 1982 تاکنون، مجله فوربز به صورت سالانه لیستی از ثروتمندترین افراد امریکایی رو منتشر میکنه. اگر 100 ثروتمند سال 1982 رو با 100 ثروتمند سال 2020 مقایسه کنیم، متوجه تفاوت‌های بزرگی می‌شیم. با توجه به مطالعات انجام شده، در سال 1982 متداول‌ترین منبع ثروت افراد دریافت ارث بود. بطوری که از 100 نفر ثروتمندترین افراد امریکا، 60 نفر به دلیل پول هنگفتی که از اجدادشون به ارث برده بودن وارد این لیست شدن. اما به مرور زمان این لیست دچار تغییرات اساسی شد به شکلی که در سال 2020 تعداد افرادی که به خاطر دریافت ارث وارد لیست ثروتمند‌ها شده بودند نصف شده و تنها 27 مورد از 100 نفر وارثین بودند. این تغییر باعث شد تا محققان به پیدا کردن چرای پشت این کاهش، علیرغم کم شدن میزان مالیات دریافتی از ارث، علاقه‌مند بشن. نتیجه پژوهش‌ها این بود که افراد به جای به ارث بردن ثروت بزرگ، در حال ساختن چنین ثروت‌هایی هستن! خب سوالی که پیش میاد این هست که این افراد از چه راه‌هایی این ثروت‌های جدید رو می‌سازن؟

نتایج تحقیقات نشون میده که تقریباً 75 درصد از 100 ثروتمند برتر 2020 با راه‌اندازی شرکت و کسب و کار خودشون ثروت‌شون رو بدست آوردند و 25 درصد باقیمانده هم از طریق سرمایه‌گذاری به ثروت رسیدن. اگر سری به لیست منتشر شده در فوربز 2020 بزنیم می‌بینیم فقط 27 نفر از طریق وراثت پاشون به این لیست باز شده و از 73 فرد ثروتمند باقیمانده، 56 مورد رو صاحبان سهام یا کارمندان اولیه (52 موسس ، 2 کارمند اولیه و 2 همسر موسس) شرکت‌ها تشکیل میدن همچنین 17 مورد هم مدیران صندوق‌های سرمایه‌گذاری هستن. این درحالی هست که بین 100 ثروتمند آمریکایی در سال 1982 اثری از مدیران صندوق سرمایه‌گذاری نیست. با اینکه صندوق‌های تامین سرمایه و شرکت‌های سرمایه‌گذاری خصوصی در سال 1982 هم وجود داشتن، اما موسسین این صندوق‌ها هنوز به اندازه کافی ثروتمند نبودن و جایی براشون توی لیست 100 ثروتمند برتر نبود. اما دلیل اینکه الان توی لیست دیده میشن دو چیز بیشتر نیست: اول اینکه مدیران به مرور زمان یاد گرفتن از چه روش‌هایی برای بالا بردن بازده صندوق‌هاشون استفاده کنن و دوم اینکه در نتیجه بهبود عملکردشون سرمایه‌گذارهای بیشتری بهشون اعتماد کردن و مدیریت پول‌هاشون رو در اختیار این مدیران گذاشتن.

درسته که افراد به مرور زمان یادگرفتن تا از طریق سرمایه‌گذاری پول در بیارن، اما به نظر میرسه که در حال حاضر منبع اصلی ثروت‌های جدید، راه اندازی کسب و کار هست! وقتی به داده‌ها نگاه می‌کنیم، میشه دید مردمی که در دهه‌های اخیر شرکت راه‌اندازی کردن به مراتب موفق‌ و ثروتمندتر از افرادی هستن که در سال 1982 شرکت داشتن! چرا؟ چون شرکت های جدید زمینه فعالیت و ساز و کارهای متفاوتی دارن. در واقع در سال 1982، دو منبع غالب ثروت اندوزی وجود داشت: نفت و املاک. بطوریکه از 40 ثروتمندی که از راهی غیر از ارث به ثروت رسیده بودند، حداقل 24 تاشون این ثروت رو از طریق فعالیت در حوزه نفت یا املاک و مستغلات به جیب زده بودند. اما در لیست سال 2020 تعداد این افراد به 6 نفر کاهش یافته!

در سال 2020 بزرگترین منبع کسب ثروت، شرکت‌هایی هستن که در حوزه “فناوری” فعالیت می‌کنن. بطوریکه 8 نفر از 10 نفر اول لیست ثروتمند‌ترین‌ها رو همین افراد پر کردن!

مسلماً برخورد با فناوری به عنوان یک دسته‌بندی واحد تا حدودی گمراه کننده‌ هست. مگه آمازون یک فروشگاه آنلاین و تسلا یک خودروساز نیست؟ جواب این سوال میتونه هم بله و هم خیر باشه، اما شاید در 50 سال آینده وقتی چیزی که ما امروزه به عنوان فناوری می‌شناسیم، به یک امر بدیهی تبدیل بشه، قرار دادن این دو کسب و کار در یک دسته واحد درست به نظر نرسه. ولی حداقل در حال حاضر، قطعاً موضوع مشترکی وجود داره که این دو شرکت رو از صنعت خرده‌فروشی و خودروسازی متمایز می‌کنه. کدوم خرده‌فروشی رو میشناسین که سرویس AWS (یا Amazon Web Service یک ابزار بسیار مناسب برای استقرار اپلیکیشن‌های مختلف در فضای ابری است.) رو راه اندازی کرده باشه؟ یا اینکه کدوم شرکت خودروسازی توسط شخصی اداره میشه که یک شرکت موشکی هم داره؟ شاید پرسیدن این سوالات یکم این تمایز رو شفاف‌تر بکنه!

افرادی که تنها ضریب جینی (شاخص اقتصادی محاسبهٔ توزیع ثروت در میان مردم) رو مد نظر قرار میدن، از سال 1982 به عنوان روزهای خوب گذشته یاد می‌کنن! چون کسایی که در اون زمان تنها از طریق دریافت ارث، استخراج منابع طبیعی و معامله املاک ثروتمند شدند، این روزها نمی‌تونن به اندازه گذشته موفق باشن. اما با بررسی نحوه ثروتمند شدن پولدارهای اون دوره، روزگار گذشته چندان هم خوب به نظر نمی‌رسه. در سال 1982، 84 درصد از 100 فرد ثروتمند از طریق ارث، استخراج منابع طبیعی یا معاملات املاک و مستغلات ثروتمند شده بودند. آیا دوره‌ای که 84% از ثروتمندان برتر تنها از طریق ارث بردن و یا نهایتا معامله نفت و املاک به پول می‌رسیدن واقعاً بهتر از جهانی هست که در اون ثروتمندترین افراد با راه‌اندازی شرکت‌های فناوری به این جایگاه می‌رسن؟

با بررسی اسناد تاریخی به یک موضوع جالب برمی‌خوریم. در سال 1892، روزنامه نیویورکی هرالد تریبیون (نیویورک تایمز امروز)، لیستی از تمام میلیونرهای آمریکایی که 4047 نفر بودن رو تهیه کرد. فکر می‌کنید چه تعداد از اونا ثروت خودشون رو به ارث برده بودند؟ تنها 20% ! حتی خیلی کمتر از آمار منتشر شده در سال 2020.. و نکته جالب اینجاست که با انجام تحقیق متوجه می‌شیم که اکثر ثروتمندان سال 1892 مشابه ثروتمندان سال 2020 از طریق تاسیس شرکت و استفاده از تکنولوژی‌های نوظهور اون زمان به جایگاهشون رسیدن! بنابراین سال 2020 نیست که متفاوته! بلکه سال 1982 یک ناهنجاری محسوب می‌شه.با این تفاسیر سوالی که بوجود میاد اینه که چه اتفاقی در سال 1982 افتاده بود؟ با دنبال کردن اتفاقات اون زمان متوجه می‌شیم که در اون سالها اقتصاد امریکا درگیر موج ادغام بوده!

به طوری که در اواخر قرن 19 و اوایل قرن 20، سرمایه دارانی مانند J. P. Morgan هزاران شرکت کوچک را در صدها شرکت غول پیکر پیشرو ترکیب کردند. در پایان جنگ جهانی دوم، یه جایی مایکل لیند می‌نویسه: “بخش‌های عمده اقتصاد یا شامل کارتل‌های سازمان‌یافته توسط دولت بود یا تحت سلطه چند شرکت بزرگ الیگوپولیستی.” این حرکت باعث شد تا راه‌اندازی یک کسب و کار نوپا در اون سالها به عنوان یک گزینه مناسب دست‌یابی به ثروت به حساب نیاد. به این ترتیب اغلب افراد به زندگی کارمندی روی آوردن. اگرچه این کار نابرابری اقتصادی (و هر نوع نابرابری دیگری) رو کاهش می‌ده، اما مدلی نیست که در بلند مدت افراد رو به جایگاه بالایی از نظر اقتصادی برسونه. مخصوصا وقتی که می‌بینیم فرمانروایی اقتصادی جی پی. مورگان فقط در همون فاز گذرا بود و از دهه 1970 شروع به فروپاشی کرد.

به نظرتون چه چیزی باعث فروپاشی این غول بزرگ شد؟ جواب قدمته! عجیب نیست؟ در واقع این شرکت‌های بزرگ که در سال 1930 مدل عملکردیشون مقیاس‌پذیر و کارا به نظر می‌رسید، به مرور زمان ابهتشون رو از دست دادن طوریکه در سال 1970 از درون کاملا سست و از بیرون پف کرده بودند. تنها دلیل اصلی دوامشون هم ساختار محکم اقتصادی اون زمان بود . اما با روی کار اومدن کارتر، دولت فدرال در روندی که به عنوان “مقررات زدایی” شناخته می‌شه، شروع به وضع سیاست‌های ضدحمایتی از الیگوپولی‌ها کرد. اما این فقط بخاطر پوسیدگی داخلی نبود که اقتصاد جی پی مورگان از هم پاشید. علاوه بر مشکلات داخلی، پیشرفت و ظهور تکنولوژی‌های جدید به ویژه میکروالکترونیک‌ها هم، در حال وارد کردن فشار به ساختار مجموعه بودن. برای داشتن تصویری شفاف از اتفاقی که افتاد، بهترین مثال تصور یک برکه است که بالای اون یک پوسته نازک یخ تشکیل شده و با تداوم فشار ابتدا از گوشه و سپس از وسط متلاشی می‌شه.

اون سال‌ها شرکت‌هایی که خودشون رو به عنوان توسعه دهنده تجارت الکترونیک یا شرکت‌های نرم افزاری معرفی می‌کردن، اولین ایجاد کننده‌های ترک‌ها اما از گوشه برکه بودن. در صورتی که الان استارتاپ‌ها خیلی بی‌رحمانه از وسط، پوسته یخ رو متلاشی می‌کنن و تعریف تازه‌ای از نحوه فعالیت رو به صنعت خرده فروشی و شبکه‌های تلویزیونی و شرکت‌های خودروسازی ارائه می‌دن.

درسته که فروپاشی اقتصادی J.P. Morgan از لحاظ فناوری آغاز یک دنیای جدید بود، اما از نظر اجتماعی این پدیده یک بازگشت به وضعیت عادی محسوب می‌شد. اگه فقط اواسط قرن 20 رو در نظر بگیریم، به نظر می رسه که ثروتمند شدن افراد، از طریق راه اندازی کسب و کار خودشون یک پدیده جدیده. در صورتی که با نگاه به گذشته‌های دورتر، متوجه می‌شیم که از اول هم همین بوده و اتفاق تازه‌ای محسوب نمی‌شه. تنها چیزی که نسبت به اون زمان متفاوته اینه که تو دهه‌های اخیر راه‌اندازی کسب و کار و استارتاپ به مراتب ساده‌تر شده. یکی از دلایل آسون شدن راه اندازی استارتاپ تو دنیای امروز، جامعه است. انگار در حال شبیه سازی مجدد یه مفهومه. به دلیل در دسترس بودن طیف گسترده‌ای از منابع، اطلاعات افراد در این خصوص بالاتر رفته به طوری که اگر همین الان تصمیم بگیرین که کار تمام وقتتون رو رها کنین و یه استارتاپ رو راه اندازی کنین ، خانوادتون دیگه مثل قبل از این تصمیم شگفت زده نمی‌شن. اما دلیل اصلی آسون‌تر شدن شروع کار در حال حاضر ارزون‌تر بودنشه. باید قبول کنیم که راه اندازی یک شرکت در گذشته به سرمایه اولیه بیشتری نیاز داشت اما با ظهور فناوری هزینه ساخت محصولات و جذب مشتری کاهش چشم گیری داشته.

علاوه بر این، کاهش هزینه‌های راه اندازی یک شرکت نوپا، توازن قدرت بین بنیان گذاران و سرمایه گذاران رو هم تغییر داده. در گذشته راه اندازی یک شرکت نوپا به معنای ایجاد یک کارخانه بود و بدون اخذ مجوز از طرف سرمایه‌گذار اصلا امکان پذیر نبود. اما الان این سرمایه‌گذاران هستن که به وجود بنیانگذاران نیاز دارند و همین مسئله باعث شده تا در دنیای امروز تعداد سرمایه‌گذاران خطرپذیر و میزان ارزشگذاری‌هایی که انجام می‌دن افزایش پیدا کنه. اما یک عامل سوم هم وجود داره: شرکت‌های امروزی با توجه به رشد سریعی که دارن، ذاتا از ارزش بیشتری برخوردارن. فناوری نه تنها ساخت و توزیع وسایل رو ارزون‌تر کرده بلکه سرعتش رو هم بیشتر کرده. این روند خیلی وقته شروع شده و همچنان هم ادامه داره. شرکت IBM در سال 1896 تاسیس شد و 45 سال طول کشید تا در سال 2020 به درامد یک میلیارد دلاری برسه. برای شرکت HP رسیدن به این میزان درآمد 25 سال و برای مایکروسافت درست 13 سال طول کشید. در صورتی که استارتاپ‌های امروزی در کمتر از 7 یا 8 سال بهش می‌رسن.

از اون طرف این رشدهای سریع، تأثیر مضاعفی بر ارزش سهام بنیانگذاران داره. با توجه به اینکه ارزش یک شرکت تابعی از درآمد و نرخ رشدشه، بنابراین اگر شرکتی سریعتر رشد کنه، نه تنها زودتر به درآمد یک میلیارد دلاری می‌رسه، بلکه با رسیدن به اون نقطه نسبت به بقیه شرکت‌ها از ارزش بیشتری هم برخورداره. یکی از دلایلی که افراد ثروتمند امروزی نسبت به افراد ثروتمند گذشته جوان تر هستن هم همین رشد سریع کسب و کارشونه که اونها رو در مدت زمان کمتر به پول‎‌های بزرگ‌تر می‌رسونه! با این تفاسیر درسته تاسیس و رشد یک شرکت به نسبت گدشته آسونتر شده و افراد بیشتری نسبت به گذشته کسب و کار شخصی خودشون رو راه‌انداختن اما، فقط اونایی که بتونن قراردادهای بهتری با سرمایه گذاران ببندن به ارزش بالاتری می‌رسن.

منبع:

https://vrgl.ir/pUTcw

https://vrgl.ir/EUKdk

https://vrgl.ir/HFxrY

Why the Biggest U.S. ESG Fund Has No Direct Renewable Holdings

By Bloomberg

America’s biggest ESG fund has no direct investments in renewable energy companies. Yes, you read that right.

Instead, the $25 billion Parnassus Core Equity Fund holds stocks like Linde Plc, an industrial gas company, Deere & Co., the largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery, and Xylem Inc., which makes water and wastewater pumps for municipal customers. It also owns big stakes in technology behemoths Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc.

Managers of many environmental, social and governance funds were slammed in 2020 for running what amounted to index-trackers that relied on tech stocks to beat their market benchmarks—albeit with shiny green labels.

While Ben Allen, co-manager of the Parnassus fund, doesn’t dispute this critique of the ESG industry, he said his fund is different. Its assets are concentrated in 40 large-cap stocks that are measured against ESG metrics. He said publicly traded renewable energy companies aren’t big enough or mature enough to meet Parnassus’s investment criteria.

In September 2018, Parnassus decided to sell its one remaining holding in fossil-fuel companies. The firm also said it avoids direct investments in any energy-focused company unless management has a comprehensive plan to address their carbon-intensive businesses.

“It’s true that we don’t own any pure-play solar manufacturers, but the portfolio is full of companies that are committed to the transition away from carbon,” said Allen, who’s also chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Parnassus Investments, which oversees about $41 billion for clients.

The Parnassus fund has risen at an annual rate of 17.2% during the past three years as of Feb. 26, outperforming the 13.2% advance of the S&P 500 Index, including reinvested dividends.

Linde is a company in which the Parnassus fund held a $704 million stake as recently as Jan. 31. Its products are designed for “industrial applications to be as clean as possible,” Allen said. Linde is a leader in the hydrogen market and looking to triple its clean-hydrogen production, and has earmarked more than one-third of its annual research and development budget over the next decade to decarbonization, Allen said.

Microsoft, another large Parnassus holding, has pledged to remove all of its historical carbon emissions by 2050, Allen said. “In effect, Microsoft is winding back the clock to the 1970s,” Allen said. “It’s as if the company never existed.”

Until recently, Amazon was considered a pariah of the ESG industry, Allen said, having waited until 2019 to publish its first sustainability report. Amazon subsequently pledged that it will zero out its carbon footprint by 2040, or eliminate the greenhouse-gas emissions caused by its activities.

Last March, Parnassus decided to invest in the giant shipper (when its shares were a bargain). The Core Equity fund held a position in Amazon worth about $1 billion at the end of January 2021.

“We were waiting for the company to make a serious commitment,” Allen said, though he added that its path to net zero won’t be easy.

Deere & Co. tractors for sale at a dealership in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in November.
Deere & Co. tractors for sale at a dealership in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in November.

Parnassus also had a $956 million stake in Deere, best known for its distinctive green-colored tractors (which tend to run on fossil fuels). The company is investing in so-called precision agriculture, an approach to farm management that uses information technology to ensure crops and soil get exactly what they need. It involves much less water and fewer pesticides so it’s better for the environment and Deere’s bottom line, Allen said.

Parnassus also owns shares of Xylem, which works with municipalities and governments on the distribution of clean water and the treatment of wastewater. It has 15- to 20-year servicing contracts, so half of the company’s revenue is recurring.

While there’s an argument to be made that rewarding any company focused on sustainability is a reasonable focus for an ESG fund, there’s little chance Amazon and Microsoft would otherwise have a hard time finding investors. Purists would say ESG funds should invest in startups on the cutting edge of renewable technologies—companies that really need the money.

“We hesitate to overplay the ESG hand,” Allen said. “We have a responsible large-cap investment approach. We use the ‘E’ to help us discover what we want to avoid, and also to help us find stocks that we want to own.”

Sustainable finance in brief

Jane Fraser, chief executive officer  of Citigroup Inc.
Jane Fraser, chief executive officer  of Citigroup Inc. 
  • Citigroup’s new CEO makes a net-zero emissions vow .
  • The world’s biggest wealth fund is comparing the ESG craze with the .
  • Meanwhile, some think the explosion of ESG is on a collision course with the increasingly .
  • Barclays will face a climate resolution by investors .
  • Aviva said it plans to hit net-zero carbon emissions across all of its .

 

Biggest ESG Fund Has No Direct Renewable Holdings: Green Insight – Bloomberg

How Jeff Bezos picked Andy Jassy: Amazon executives detail how the company’s intense succession planning process works

By Business Insider

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is stepping down later this year.
  • Amazon has an internal succession planning process that helps prepare for leadership changes.
  • The process includes annual board reviews of internal charts that list top senior executives.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s decision to officially step down last month came on short notice.

Even those working closest to the CEO’s office learned about it just two days before the announcement, according to people familiar with the matter.

That’s when Bezos signed the paperwork and formalized his move to executive chairman, as the US Securities and Exchange Commission requires any material change at the company to be filed within four business days. Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy will replace Bezos as Amazon’s CEO in the third quarter of this year.

Behind the scenes, however, Bezos’s plan to ultimately relinquish the CEO title had been in the works for years, through the company’s succession planning process, these people said.

The succession planning involves an annual review of the top executive team’s future plans and backup candidates, as well as a chart that maps out the company’s rising stars, Insider has learned. Executives are also encouraged to have succession talks with two or three direct reports, in case an unexpected change occurs.

It’s a fairly rigorous procedure that’s based on intensive bureaucracy, years of research, and a constant dialogue that all leads to a continuity of governance within Amazon that’s as detail-oriented as the company itself.

People familiar with the process said it’s more of an informal system than an established program, with enough flexibility that allowed Bezos to keep Jassy’s appointment and the exact timing of his resignation close to his chest.

Still, people say it’s an effective yet little-discussed strategic tactic in Amazon’s playbook that can help the company smoothly transition to the post-Bezos era amid the biggest leadership upheaval in its 27-year history.

Insider spoke with six current and former Amazon executives to learn more about the company’s succession planning process. All of them spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the company.

“It’s really for the company to systemize a process,” one person said. “Jeff [Bezos] tries not to do things too suddenly.”

Amazon’s spokesperson declined to provide an on-the-record comment for this story.

Top 25 executives

Bezos previously told Insider in a 2014 interview that Amazon had a succession plan for himself and “all of our senior executives.” He didn’t reveal the name of his successor at the time, but he signaled that the company had already been making plans for his eventual resignation even back then.

Part of those discussions take place at the board level. Every year, typically in late January, Amazon’s board holds a meeting to review potential successors for key positions, two of the people said. The meeting, which lasts about two hours, goes through a matrix chart of 20 to 25 top executives and their potential replacements, in case any of them decides to leave the company.

The chart lists each executive’s two or three most-preferred successor candidates. When the choice is not so clear, it would have a note saying an interim person is in place or that an external candidate is being considered. Not every executive position is reviewed, and the board could spend more time on just a handful of names.

The chart is put together by the S-team, Amazon’s group of two dozen or so most senior executives who make important decisions, with direct input from the human resources department.

The S-team meetings could get intense when choosing who to include on the list. Those meetings would often last four to five hours, and the longer tenured people (or those who spent almost 20 years at the company) would get more vocal than the newer members of the team.

Bezos could get particularly upfront with his feedback, as he liked to keep an extremely high bar on adding new names to the list. The S-team, for example, has seen very little turnover and rarely added new members until last year, when it saw nine new members.

Overall, people who have been in those meetings say it’s a good exercise to help the S-team and the board to familiarize themselves with other parts of the company and new leaders who are on the fast track at Amazon.

“It provides a real good opportunity for discussion of strengths and weaknesses,” one of the people said.

In recent years, as Amazon became a popular poaching ground for other companies, Bezos also started holding one-on-one sessions with many of the executives on the list so he could better understand their future intentions. The goal is to prevent getting “blindsided,” one person said, as Bezos likes to have “a lot of notice” before his top lieutenants leave.

Amazon’s approach to succession planning is a “nice orderly process” that can be found in any “well-functioning” company, according to Jason Schloetzer, a professor of business at Georgetown University, whose research includes CEO succession practices. The only risk, he said, is that Bezos will remain part of the company’s board, making it potentially tricky for Jassy to push for decisions that his predecessor may not always agree with. Given there’s been past cases of former CEOs at other companies ending up a distraction to new leadership, it’s a dynamic Jassy will have to navigate once he’s promoted.

“It’s a little unusual,” Schloetzer said of Bezos’s new role. “But this is the founder of the company, who’s been tremendously successful.”

Bezos’s empty box

While the chart reviewed by the board typically showed successor candidates for the two dozen or so senior positions at Amazon, there was always one notably empty box — next to Bezos’s name.

The CEO’s potential successors were not mentioned in the chart reviewed by the board, in part because Bezos didn’t want to be too explicit about whom he favored as his replacement, one person familiar with the process said.

Instead, Bezos would have private discussions with the board, sharing several names he thought would be most ideal as the next Amazon CEO.

Those candidates were almost always internal, as Bezos felt strongly about finding someone from within, two of the people said. Bezos feared an external candidate would be less of a “risk-taker,” or someone unwilling to try new experiments, an important leadership trait at Amazon. One person said Bezos had also become more cautious about hiring from outside after the failed Joe Galli experiment — a high-profile hire in 1999 who left just 13 months after joining the company as its president and chief operating officer.

During those board meetings, Bezos would most often bring up three names: Jassy, the AWS CEO who’s set to replace Bezos later this year; Jeff Wilke, the former retail CEO; and Jeff Blackburn, the longtime former video and corporate development executive.

One person said it’s hard to say Jassy was the “first of equals,” given all three had their own strengths and weaknesses. But the final call to name Jassy the next CEO most likely came down to Bezos’s own decision, even if the board reviewed all three candidates, this person added.

It doesn’t necessarily mean Bezos liked Jassy over Wilke or Blackburn. Wilke announced his retirement last year, ahead of the new CEO announcement, while Blackburn took a one-year leave of absence in 2020 before deciding to resign last month. Amazon’s spokesperson previously said these changes had nothing to do with Jassy’s appointment, although there’s internal speculation that they are indeed related.

Bezos also “signaled” to the board last summer that he was ready to move into a new role, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

The ‘hit by a bus’ plan

In addition to the list of top 25 executives and their potential successors, Amazon’s board reviews a separate chart that includes roughly 50 of the company’s rising stars. People on this chart are different from the ones on the other list, as it’s aimed at identifying the company’s future leaders.

The chart is divided into four quadrants: the highest quadrant being “lots of potential” and the lowest being “disappointing” or “not living up to potential.” The chart is primarily intended to mentor new leaders to take on bigger roles at the company, one person said. Some of them would get moved around at the company to gain a broader experience, while others would be picked to take specific positions, like Bezos’s “shadow” advisor, who joins the CEO’s every meeting.

Outside the board and S-team meetings, Amazon encourages its VPs and directors to informally plan for their own successors, three people said. Internally, some call it a “hit by a bus” plan because it lets the executive prepare for the worst ahead of time. The name is in reference to a commonly used phrase by Bezos, who liked to ask whether the company had plans “if I got hit by a bus,” these people said.

Amazon executives would typically have two or three people in mind who are qualified to immediately replace them. For example, when former Prime VP Greg Greeley left for Airbnb in 2018, the company had two VPs, Jamil Ghani and Cem Sibay, to fill in for him. And when former physical stores boss Steve Kessel abruptly left last year, Amazon was able to give another VP, Dilip Kumar, an expanded role within the team.

Still, those plannings that take place outside of the board room are less formalized, and often get limited attention, people said. That’s in part because Amazon likes to move fast and constantly reorganize teams when needed, leaving executives with little time to come up with a detailed succession plan.

“Ideally, we should have succession planning for all director and above positions,” one of the people said. “But we just move too quickly.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-amazon-picks-executive-successors-ceo-jeff-bezos-andy-jassy-2021-3

A new top Intel exec explains how he’s preparing the firm for its challenging next chapter

By Business Insider

  • Intel’s new data platforms group CTO Guido Appenzeller joined the chip giant in January.
  • He joined during a time of transition as the firm builds more efficient, specialized chips.
  • Intel also has a new CEO, as former VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger stepped into the role in February.

When Guido Appenzeller first got a call last year to possibly work for Intel, his initial reaction was, “You have the wrong number. I’m not a chip guy.”

At the time, Appenzeller had worked as chief product officer at the security key startup Yubico for almost two years. He had previously worked at VMware for over four years as CTO of cloud and networking, but beyond that, he’d spent his career working at startups.

Still, after months of conversations with a recruiter and also former Intel CEO Bob Swan, where the company made it clear that it was serious about a deeper commitment to software, he decided that the “scale and ubiquity” of Intel excited him. He joined its data platforms group as chief technical officer in January.

It’s a crucial time of transition for Intel. Former VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger took the helm as Intel’s new CEO in February, returning to the chip giant after over 11 years. And right now, Intel is transitioning from building CPU (Central Processing Units) to XPU, which is more efficient for graphics, media, AI, memory, security, and networking.

“It’s well publicized that Intel has challenges at the moment,” Appenzeller told Insider. “If you really want to change how computers are built in this space, there’s a lot you can do at Intel. That’s a very exciting opportunity for me.”

He plans to help forge “deeper” customer partnerships

Intel has more than a 92% market share in data centers, according to Mercury Research, which makes Appenzeller’s data platforms group a vital unit for the company. Right now, Intel is building new data centers that use computing resources more efficiently.

The data platforms group, which is the group Appenzeller oversees, also includes the network platforms group — both of which performed well last year. Last year, Intel’s data center group saw its revenue grow 11% year-over-year to $26.1 billion. The network platforms group, which is part of the data platforms group, also grew 20% year-over-year and generated $6 billion in revenue last year. Now, the market that Intel sells to is changing as more people move to the cloud, Appenzeller said.

“Our customers are changing,” Appenzeller said. “Working within Azure, Amazon, Google — these sophisticated software companies are built on software stacks that require us to do things differently.”

The firm plans to”forge deeper partnerships,” including by expanding its cloud services. Intel also plans to build more chips and data centers for specific industries or specialties, like tailoring them to run powerful AI applications.

“Designing a CPU for a general market, that’s a different challenge compared to building something for somebody the size of an Amazon who has very specific requirements,” Appenzeller said.

In his role, Appenzeller hopes to spend plenty of time with customers, many of which he has known in his past life at VMware. He will use those conversations to help plan a long-term strategy for the technology his group builds.

“There’s a lot we can do to work better with them to listen more to understand how we can help them with customization for particular data center use cases, for particular workloads to help them differentiate from competitors,” Appenzeller said.

Appenzeller joined Intel about a month before Gelsinger became CEO. He had previously worked under Gelsinger’s leadership at VMware, and he says at Intel, there’s now a “renewed focus on technology and innovation.”

“Pat is a fantastic manager,” Appenzeller said. “I’m a huge fan. I was super happy. It’s almost a little bit of an Intel renaissance at the moment. Some of the best products are coming back. There’s a feeling inside of renewed energy in the organizations.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/intel-data-platforms-group-cto-guido-appenzeller-chips-2021-3

Baidu turns to personal transport for growth

By: The Economist

ROBIN LI SMILED when asked at a corporate shindig in 2014 to reflect on his path to becoming, at the time, China’s richest man. “I’m just lucky,” he insisted. Mr Li, co-founder and boss of Baidu, a Beijing-based search engine, may have been trying to project modesty. But his words could also have been taken literally. Thanks to government censorship, Google is inaccessible in mainland China. That leaves Baidu as the unrivalled leader in Chinese search. Slowing advertising revenues, however, are now taking it down a different road.

Baidu’s search dominance is indisputable. Its average of 538m monthly active users last year was nearly six times the combined total of the next three domestic rivals. Baidu’s share price has tripled in a year, taking its market capitalisation to $93bn. Riding this wave of investor enthusiasm, it has filed for a secondary listing in Hong Kong, with trading set to begin on March 23rd. The firm is expected to raise around $4bn. But the steep rise in Baidu’s valuation might seem unwarranted. Advertising, the main source of revenue, has suffered as the pandemic forced Chinese businesses to cut marketing budgets. Adverts on Baidu’s main search service brought in 66.3bn yuan ($9.6bn) in 2020, 5% less than the year before.

Even as China’s economy recovers advertising is unlikely to propel Baidu’s growth as powerfully as before. In recent years the supply of digital ad space in China has multiplied, depressing prices. Businesses can now choose from an array of platforms on which to hawk their wares — from addictive video apps like Kuaishou to e-commerce upstarts like Pinduoduo.

Baidu’s bosses appear to recognise as much. The firm is rapidly diversifying. Last November it agreed to buy YY Live, a video-sharing and live-streaming app, for $3.6bn, in a bid to boost its presence in online entertainment and compete with the likes of Kuaishou. Baidu is also investing heavily in cloud services to keep up with Alibaba and Tencent, two bigger Chinese tech rivals. But arguably the boldest push is what the company calls “intelligent driving”.

This business contributes hardly any revenues today but holds “huge long-term monetisation potential”, according to Baidu’s new prospectus. The business has three prongs. The first is the establishment of a nationwide fleet of robotaxis powered by Apollo, Baidu’s in-house self-driving technology. The firm is already operating self-driving taxis in three Chinese cities, including part of Beijing. Rides are currently free but Baidu hints that it may soon start charging. It has international ambitions, too. In January it received permission to test self-driving cars in California.

Baidu also plans to mass-produce electric vehicles (EVs). In January it formed a new venture with Geely, a Chinese carmaker, to bring to market “intelligent” (if not fully autonomous) EVs within three years. By 2035 China’s government wants every other new car sold to be an EV. The third prong allows Baidu to earn immediate revenues by selling services to Chinese carmakers, such as high-definition maps and automated-parking technology, which it has already sold to ten firms. Baidu is already a late entrant to China’s crowded personal-mobility industry. For now, at least, investors are on for the ride.

https://www.economist.com/business/2021/03/20/baidu-turns-to-personal-transport-for-growth