Curating the Internet: Business, leadership, and management micro-summaries for September 26, 2019

1 year ago
6 Min Read
1110 Words

A Harvard working paper on corporate purpose and firm ownership structure; Advice towards starting a non-profit in retirement; Another school providing free clothes to kids in need; Unisys seeks to reduce pension costs by spreading this year's remaining payments across five years; and an argument that singular options don't constitute monopoly threats in language,
networks, and cryptocurrencies

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  1. Corporate Purpose and Firm Ownership - In this working paper, Harvard's George Serafeim and Penn's Claudine Gartenberg analyzed data from 1.5 million employees of public and private companies to examine the strength of employee beliefs about their firm's purpose. The analysis revealed that employees have stronger belief about their firm's purpose in private companies than in public, where the effect that is more pronounced among mid-level managers and hourly workers than it is among executive level managers. The results can be partly explained by differences in compensation and CEOs. In summary, the authors say that: "shareholders appear to influence the strength of corporate purpose deep within organizations via the leadership and corporate practices they enable at the top."

  2. How to start a nonprofit after you retire — from someone who did it - After retiring from nursing, Carol Nash launched Bernadette's House in Laurel, MD, in 2012. The organization aims to stop the cycle of teen pregnancy and illiteracy among young girls in the area. She's not alone. According to, interest in starting a non-profit has doubled in recent years among those aged 50-70. To get it started, Nash invested 25,000 of her own money and got help from donors and volunteers to help with things like painting and fixing a leaky roof. Now, girls come to the facility after school and stay until 6:30 pm "learning etiquette, reading, dance classes, and more." The girls are also paired up with mentors who take them to activities like ballet, theater, and movies. In a few sentences, here's Nash's advice for people with similar ambitions: "“Don’t be afraid to follow your dream, and never give up. Take your time. You need to do your research, seek mentors, and make sure there’s a genuine need for what it is you want to do. If you think you’ve found a niche and are fulfilling a need to make this a better place, then just do it." And the article also adds the following tips: (i) Get financially fit; (ii) Take time to reflect; (iii) Reach out to your network and ask for help; and (iv) Do something daily to inch towards your goal.

  3. Virginia School District Opens Free Clothing Closet for Students in Need - From the article: "Every Tuesday from 2:30 to 4 p.m., a room in William Fleming High School in Roanoke County transforms into a closet stocked with shirts, jackets, accessories, and other pieces of clothing kids can use to supplement their wardrobes. Students are invited to stop in after school and browse items to take home for free. And they don't need to worry about catching the school bus: After picking out the clothes they like, kids are given city bus passes to get home safely." The clothing comes from charitable donors in the community.

  4. Unisys seeks to defer $115M in pension payments - In it's latest step to soften the impact of its $1.7 billion pension obligation, Blue Bell, PA based Unisys has asked the IRS for approval to defer $115 million in pension payments that are due this year by spreading them across a five year period. Unisys saw a decade of revenue declines, but has recently turned the corner, based mostly on an increase in government contracts. This effort to cut pension costs continues a series of steps that have been going on since 2016, or earlier. Worldwide, the company employs 21,700 people.

  5. STEEM Monopolies in networks (Internet, cryptocurrencies and languages) - In this short Steem essay, @zuerich argues that single-use cases for things like the Internet, human languages, and cryptocurrency represent a strong from of the network effect, but are not a threat as monopolies because increased size actually leads to increased stability. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @zuerich)

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