Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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What I Learned From The Very Rich

What I Learned From The Very Rich | Competitive Edge |

In my travels I've met several billionaires; interestingly, two were not yet that successful but later became so; none would remember me, but I certainly remember them. In my first career, I was a geologist, and I met all three billionaires while I was in the oil and gas business. What is interesting to me is that two of them were not yet billionaires when I met them. The first encounter was with Australian businessman Robert Holmes a' Court, whose company Bell Resources had bought the East Coast (Westport, Connecticut) international E&P company called Weeks Petroleum back in 1983. But since Weeks Petroleum was in the middle of buying the public company I worked for, Energy Minerals Corporation (Denver, Colorado), I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Holmes a' Court. In fact, since I was the Chief Geologist at Energy Minerals, and a triple board meeting was scheduled, I was asked to lead a field trip along the edges of the Denver Basin to give the Aussies and the Weeks Petroleum people an introduction to some of the oil and gas plays Energy Minerals was involved with at the time. This turned into quite an affair, with all of us packed on a bus and driving up and down the Front Range, stopping to look at outcrops that told the story of oil in the Denver Basin. I briefly spoke with the big guy on that trip, but later I saw how things worked in his world.

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Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article filled with wisdom for situations when choosing investments, investing in companies, deciding on important business deals and going through essential #negotiations.

Roberto Voltolina's curator insight, March 22, 4:06 AM
Le persone/aziende di successo non lo raggiungono per caso. Storia interessante da leggere che contiene tre piccole "lezioni": 

1) Lessons I took away from this experience included the tremendous attention to detail brought to bear by Mr. Holmes a' Court and his team, their wisdom in only keeping people on staff who actually added to the bottom line, and their clear vision and decisiveness in determining whether a course of action moved the ball forward or merely kept everyone busy. 

2) Lessons I took away from this encounter that I use as an investor include looking for company leaders who are strong contributors to the life of their communities, who have a curiosity about how things work, who are innovative, and who are open to the concept of life-long learning for leaders within the firm.

3) Lessons I learned from this encounter that I use in evaluating stocks include tolerating big thinkers who are aggressive but remembering that aggressive risk takers can get into trouble once in a while. This tends to make me see companies that are big risk-takers as trades, not investments; or at least as investments that need to be watched carefully.
Cheyenne Hernandez's curator insight, March 23, 8:08 AM

Through all of these people, he was able to learn at least one thing from each person. Although none of these people specially remember him by name, he was able to take better skills from them to make him a better. He worked his way to be a better speaker, and which it allowed him to get more people to draw their attention to him. 


In my opinion, everyone has to start somewhere. You may not start right at the top, you have to work your way to the top. Your achievements depend on how hard you're willing to work. 

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Our Schools All Have a Tragic Flaw; Silicon Valley Thinks It Has the Answer - Pacific Standard

Last year, Jamie Herre and Kate Blumberg were confronted by a dilemma. Their young son, Benno, had reached kindergarten age, and it was time to pick a school for him. Yet like many other members of San Francisco’s affluent class of technologists and entrepreneurs, Jamie and Kate could not purchase for Benno the one thing they wanted more than anything else: a good public education.

In most parts of the country, this transaction takes place through the real estate market: You find a good school and buy a home nearby. The better the school, the more expensive the home. But the San Francisco public school system, which includes high-performing and struggling schools, uses a complicated lottery system for admissions that doesn’t guarantee spots in neighborhood schools. Chance, not your address, determines where your children go.

Jamie and Kate wanted to raise Benno in the city. Aware that the lottery might not go their way, they started to explore alternatives to public school. Like any city, San Francisco has a complement of traditional private schools that cater to the local elite. But they, too, can be hard to get into. So Jamie and Kate began exploring the host of education-related start-ups and experiments in the Bay Area that are based on the idea of transforming schools through the use of “disruptive” new technologies. Among them is a company called AltSchool, founded in 2013 by a former Google executive named Max Ventilla. Kate stumbled across a link to the company one day and sent it to Jamie, who was intrigued. Read more: click on title or image.

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Via Ian Harris
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Is Coding the New Literacy? - Mother Jones

Is Coding the New Literacy? - Mother Jones | Competitive Edge |
Is Coding the New Literacy?
Mother Jones
In the winter of 2011, a handful of software engineers landed in Boston just ahead of a crippling snowstorm.

In the winter of 2011, a handful of software engineers landed in Boston just ahead of a crippling snowstorm. They were there as part of Code for America, a program that places idealistic young coders and designers in city halls across the country for a year. They'd planned to spend it building a new website for Boston's public schools, but within days of their arrival, the city all but shut down and the coders were stuck fielding calls in the city's snow emergency center.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.

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Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton, Gebeyehu B. Amha
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The ways we think are changing. Computational thinking explained. Interesting article.

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The Most Important Thing, and It’s Almost a Secret - The New York Times

The Most Important Thing, and It’s Almost a Secret - The New York Times | Competitive Edge |
Everyone knows about the spread of war and the hopeless intractability of poverty. But everyone is wrong.

We journalists are a bit like vultures, feasting on war, scandal and disaster. Turn on the news, and you see Syrian refugees, Volkswagen corruption, dysfunctional government.

Yet that reflects a selection bias in how we report the news: We cover planes that crash, not planes that take off. Indeed, maybe the most important thing happening in the world today is something that we almost never cover: a stunning decline in poverty, illiteracy and disease.

Huh? You’re wondering what I’ve been smoking! Everybody knows about the spread of war, the rise of AIDS and other diseases, the hopeless intractability of poverty. Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

NIcholas #Kristof is my favorite journalist. He looks with different eyes and reports creatively. Let's try to do the same in our jobs. Explore different angles, look for solutions, create positive situations. Make a difference, don't be a follower.

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How to take criticism well

How to take criticism well | Competitive Edge |

No one likes getting criticism. But it can be a chance to show off a rare skill: taking negative feedback well.

It is a skill that requires practice, humility and a sizable dose of self-awareness. But the ability to learn from criticism fuels creativity at work, studies show, and helps the free flow of valuable communication.

Tempering an emotional response can be hard, especially "if you're genuinely surprised and you're getting that flood of adrenaline and panic," says Douglas Stone, a lecturer at Harvard Law School and co-author of "Thanks for the Feedback."

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Via Gust MEES
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Criticism is hard. Taking it well and turning it around in a positive will create respect. The article has some good examples and ideas.

David Hain's curator insight, June 29, 2014 2:28 AM

Feedback is the DNA of development. Learn how to ask for it and take it.  Oh...and the more you give, the more you get!

Eliane Fierro's curator insight, July 1, 2014 12:20 AM

Embrace criticism!

Philip Powel Smith's curator insight, July 29, 2014 8:04 AM

Criticism is always a difficult pro-active action that educators have to give. Criticism without ridicule and shame is what students need to hear and an explanation of how to make the changes to be better learners and communicators.