Adam Lashinsky is a senior editor at large for FORTUNE Magazine, where he covers Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Some of his cover-story subjects have included Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Google. He has written in-depth articles on Wells Fargo, Intel, Oracle, eBay, Twitter, and the venture-capital industry, as well as on topics ranging from San Francisco politics and oil-exploration technology to the post-Katrina economic recovery of New Orleans. In addition, Lashinsky is a Fox News Channel (FNC) contributor appearing on the following business shows: ”Bulls and Bears,” ”Cashin’ In,” “Cavuto on Business,” and “Your World with Neil Cavuto.” He is also the author of Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works, published by Business Plus (2012).
Prior to joining FORTUNE, Lashinsky was a columnist for The San Jose Mercury News and TheStreet. Before moving to California, he was a reporter and editor for Crain’s Chicago Business. As a Henry Luce Scholar, he worked for a year in Tokyo as a reporter for the Nikkei Weekly, the English-language version of Japan’s main economic daily. He began his career in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Crain Communications. A native of Chicago, Lashinsky earned a degree in history and political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.
Here is an excerpt from my interview of him. To read the complete interview, please click here.
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Morris: Before discussing Inside Apple, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth? Please explain.
Lashinsky: It may sound corny, but my mother and father had the greatest influence. They got me started on a good path of loving to learn and instilling confidence in me. They both had a passion for words and ideas, and they also came from the school of parenting that supports their children in whatever it was they wanted to do. I don’t think they would have been pleased if I had chosen to be a beach bum. But they likely would have supported my decision to do it.
Morris: The greatest impact of your professional development?
Lashinsky: I’ve been blessed with great mentors and bosses for my entire career, which began in the summer of 1988 when I started writing opinion pieces for The Daily Illini at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill. My current boss, Andy Serwer, managing editor of Fortune Magazine, has been nothing but supportive and encouraging of me and my career at every turn. He is personally responsible for my turning my attention to Apple, beginning in 2008, which has changed the course of my career.
Morris: Years ago, was there a turning-point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow?
Lashinsky: Yes. In the summer between my junior and senior years at Illinois, where I was studying history and political science, I started contributing political columns to The Daily Illini, at the encouragement of my girlfriend at the time, who worked at the paper, and also became a professional journalist. I got a regular column in the fall term and fell in love with journalism. By the spring term of my senior year I was accepting any assignment I could in order to build up clips that I could show to prospective employers. I had been bitten by the journalism bug, and I have been enjoying the consequences ever since.
Morris: To what extent has your formal education in history and political science proven invaluable to what you have achieved thus far?
Lashinsky: History in particular gave me a good grounding in analytical thinking and gave me an ability to put important events in perspective. Whether or not the courses I took have benefited me directly, I can draw a straight line from my love of history to my interest in journalism as a career.
Morris: What are the most common misconceptions about the Silicon Valley culture? What, in fact, is true?
Lashinsky: It’s a misperception that everyone is stinking rich. Plenty of entrepreneurs fail. It’s true that failure is celebrated—or at least not stigmatized—in Silicon Valley. People truly take risks here, and that is exciting.
Morris: Of all that has changed in the business world during (let’s say) the last decade, which single development – in your opinion – has had the greatest impact? Please explain?
Lashinsky: Undoubtedly the Internet has constituted the biggest change. When I started in journalism we didn’t have email. We didn’t check Web sites. We didn’t have smartphones. Our entire mode of communicating has changed. And I’m not exactly ancient.
Morris: In your opinion, is launching a new company today more difficult, less difficult, or about the same as it was ten years ago? Please explain.
Lashinsky: Easier. But the precise dates you choose are relevant. It was extremely easy to start a company before 2001 because there was so much capital, and then difficult from 2001 to 2005 or so. But things are generally easier today because some of the building blocks of starting a company—computing power, storage capacity, software—have gotten anywhere from cheap to free.
Morris: Of all the U.S. presidents, which do you think was best qualified to be CEO of a “Fortune 50” company in the 21st century? Why?
Lashinsky: This question defies rational analysis, so instead I’ll go with a gut instinct and say Abraham Lincoln. Here’s why: Nothing in his background suggested he would be a great president, yet he was. He had a certain something, a magic, an instinct for what needed to be done. The great CEOs have this, and all the rest are less than great.
Morris: From your perspective as a journalist, what do you think will happen to (a) daily newspapers and (b) bound volumes?
Lashinsky: Newspapers eventually will go away. Which isn’t to say news will go away. We’ll have a painful and sad transition to whatever the digital product will look like—and then we’ll forget that we lamented their demise. If by bound volumes you mean books, I think essentially the same thing will happen, though books will survive longer because certain subjects—art, coffee table, kids—will lend themselves longer to the physical product.
Morris: What do you think will be the single greatest challenge that CEOs will face in (let’s say) the next 3-5 years? Any advice?
Lashinsky: Globalization means the importance of geographies changes more quickly than before. Just because a massive investment in China makes sense today doesn’t mean it will in five years. Advice: Subscribe to Fortune Magazine. We’ll do our best to keep you ahead of the curve.
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To read the complete interview, please click here.
Adam invites you to check out the resources at these websites:
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Frank Kalman for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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Unless you’ve been trapped underneath a rock for the these last two weeks, are on day 20 of a month-long TV, newspaper and Internet boycott or have just been too busy with work to notice, then you’ve probably heard a lot about Jeremy Lin.
Lin, who plays professional basketball for the New York Knicks, has a remarkable story, one that even relates to corporate on-boarding or talent acquisition in general.
If you are a sports fan, you immediately know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, but watch the news or read the newspaper, then you’ve probably gotten bits and pieces of Lin’s remarkable rise to the spotlight.
Here’s a primer:
Lin is an Asian-American basketball player who just a little less than two weeks ago was about as famous as you or I and living on his brother’s couch in New York.
A Harvard graduate and economics major, Lin played four years of basketball as an Ivy Leaguer — and a good one at that. Even though he was one of the top scorers on his California high school basketball team, Lin wasn’t really recruited or offered a scholarship to play basketball at a major school. He was also a great player at Harvard. In 2010, he went undrafted for the NBA, and managed to scrap his way onto the benches of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before getting cut by both teams.
On Dec. 26, Lin was unemployed. On the Dec. 27, the Knicks claimed him off waivers, mainly because a slew of injuries left the team desperate at the position Lin plays, point guard.
Lin’s first month or so on the Knicks was much like the rest of his NBA career up to that point — he stayed on the bench, playing some minutes here or there, but never really breaking in and getting a chance to play. Then, on Feb. 4, in a game against the New Jersey Nets, everything changed.
With the team desperate for a starter at point guard, Lin came off the bench for the Knicks. He scored 25 points and tabulated 7 assists in a 99-92 victory for the Knicks. The following Monday, again given a chance to start against the Utah Jazz, Lin scored 28 points and added 8 assists. The Knicks’ next game, on Feb. 8 was a similar story for Lin — 23 points, 10 assists. Then, last Friday, the novelty and “Linsanity” really came on strong, when the unlikely hero scored a career-high 38 points and 7 assists against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before those first four starts, Lin had averaged just 2.8 points and 1.6 assists per game in his NBA career. After those four starts for the Knicks, Lin was averaging 28.5 points and 8 assists per game.
But wait. There’s more.
Perhaps the apex of all the “Linsanity,” as was coined via social media amid his unlikely run, came Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors. With the game tied, 87-87, and the game clock nearing zero — 5 … 4 … 3 … [click here to see the video] — Lin took the ball at the top of the three-point line, waited for the right moment, took the last shot and drained it. “Knicks Lin.” “All he does is Lin.” “He just keeps Linning.” The puns were aplenty, and it appeared as if everyone was totally abuzz with Lin fever.
The novelty of it all is its status as the most obvious of underdog stories in sports. Because Lin doesn’t fit the typical profile of a professional basketball star, went to Harvard as an economics major and was all but dismissed as not worthy of the NBA, no one gave Lin a chance. Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, no one has scored more points in his first five starts in the league than Lin. Not even Michael Jordan. No one.
So what does it all mean for talent management?
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Frank Kalman is an associate editor of Talent Management magazine. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he earned his master’s of science degree in Dec. 2010. He is also a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, earning a degree in American history in May 2009. Prior to joining MediaTec, Frank served as an editorial intern for Crain’s Chicago Business, covering commercial and residential real estate for Crain’s real estate spinoff, ChicagoRealEstateDaily. He also covered public finance and commercial banking while a reporter at Medill. Frank can be reached at fkalman@TalentMGT.com.