Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - June 7, 2015

Brian Gongol

Podcast: Updated weekly in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or iHeartRadio

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

This week

Privatization isn't dead
The UK government plans to sell off its remaining shares in the Royal Mail. 70% has already been privatized; the remaining 30% is about to go on sale.

Neverland Ranch is up for a $100 million sale
That gets the lucky buyer a 12,000-square-foot home, 21 other buildings, and 2,700 acres. Or you could buy 12,590 acres of Iowa farmland at last year's average per-acre price of $7,943 (that's about 20 square miles of productive land).

A look at Google's future

What's Google's future, anyway? Eric Schmidt thinks the company's moon shots might be the key to its future success. I think there's nothing wrong with some small bets on low-probability but high-impact opportunities. But I also think incremental improvement and continuous learning are what keep a company around for the long term. And diversification matters, too: A company like Google is good at organizing people and computing power around solving problems. To endure, they're going to need to find big opportunities to solve big, valuable problems that go beyond answering my search queries.

Why I'm a grouchy old man about parking

I was badly blocked into a parking space this afternoon and ended up leaving a note on the windshield of the offending car. I complained not because it really made a huge difference in my life -- I was traveling alone, and I'm still thin enough I can squeeze into a narrow opening in a car door. But I left a note anyway because I could have been traveling with my daughter in a baby carrier. I could have been on crutches. I could have been elderly or physically disabled. I could have had any number of reasons why someone else's inconsiderate parking job could have been a serious problem for me. And it was hot this afternoon. What if I had been in one of those conditions with limited mobility and needed to get myself (or a passenger) into a cool spot quickly? I left a note to call out the inconsiderate bozo next to me because I have the capacity to do so, and because I want to practice demonstrating the kind of fortitude to say something when I see someone doing wrong that I want my daughter to learn as she grows up. We all have a civic rent to pay if we want a peaceful and healthy society -- which I think we all do. Part of that civic rent means calling out incivility and misbehavior when we see it -- not because we're out to nag, but because sometimes people do stupid and inconsiderate things without thinking of the consequences, and sometimes we need to remind them of those consequences. I am fortunate to come from a position of enormous social privilege: My race, my gender, my socioeconomic status, even things as trivial as my height and my booming voice all add up to give me a whole lot of free passes in life. From time to time, it's part of paying my civic rent to say something when I see other people -- especially people who also come from positions of social privilege -- in defense of those who don't have as much. Was I being a grouchy old man about parking? In a sense. But I'd like to think I was saying something because I saw something done deliberately and consciously wrong. And because the next victim of the selfish and inconsiderate behavior of my neighbor in that parking lot might not have had the physical capacity to stand up for him- or herself. So I said it. And I want my daughter to learn the lesson of doing the same.

Tin Foil Hat Award

$537 million fundraising round at Snapchat concludes. Based upon the proportional ownership involved, that means someone thinks the company is worth $16 billion. That's not investment: That's speculation.

Yay Capitalism Prize

Business and Finance On real professionalism
People abuse the word "professional" -- applying it to suggest a higher level of quality. In reality, professionalism is about following a certain code of ethics. In return for being compensated well, you agree to put the client's needs first. The story of a 99-year-old financial adviser is a good example.

Quote of the Week

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