The Economist recently had a cover story titled The 650bn Binge. It opens:
America has seen some spectacular investment booms: think of the railways in the 1860s, Detroit’s car industry in the 1940s or the fracking frenzy in this century. Today the latest bonanza is in full swing, but instead of steel and sand it involves scripts, sounds, screens and celebrities. This week Disney launched a streaming service which offers “Star Wars” and other hits from its vast catalogue for $6.99 a month, less than the cost of a dvd. As the business model pioneered by Netflix is copied by dozens of rivals, over 700m subscribers are now streaming video across the planet. Roughly as much cash—over $100bn this year—is being invested in content as it is in America’s oil industry. In total the entertainment business has spent at least $650bn on acquisitions and programming in the past five years.
For a while, Humanities educators around the world are facing existential questions. What is the point of an English LIterature degree?
Human beings love bargains. There is something hardwired into our brains that makes us seek a good deal. Some cultures, especially the Indian and Chinese, have an extraordinarily sharp elbow around this tendency. But most human beings have it to some degree.
I have been thinking about Conscious Capitalism for a while. As you know, my version is titled Distributed, Democratic, Inclusive Capitalism.
My last thank you note goes to my readers, especially those who are participating in the Colors series.
This year, I started publishing a new series on LinkedIn, Facebook, and my blog called Colors to explore a topic that I care deeply about: the Renaissance Mind. I am just as passionate about entrepreneurship, technology, and business, as I am about Art and Culture. In this series, I typically publish a piece of Art – a painting of mine – and I request you to spend a minute or two deeply meditating on it. I urge you to watch your feelings, thoughts, reactions to the piece, and write what comes to you, what thoughts it triggers, in the dialog area.
My second thank you note is for regaining something unexpected, something that I value tremendously: dance.
I studied Indian classical dance since I was four years old. I stopped studying when I came to college in the United States. In college, however, I choreographed and performed about five times a year.
When I went to grad school to MIT, I stopped performing on stage, but I picked up Ballroom and Latin dancing, and had a blast learning to Waltz, Foxtrot, Swing, Rhumba, and eventually, started studying the Argentine Tango. MIT had a terrific Ballroom Dance club and I made many friends with whom I danced five times a week. It was an excellent stress management mechanism that I kept up throughout my years of running companies.
In the last 15 years, I haven’t danced that much.
This has been a year full of curve balls.
On the afternoon of April 2, I was getting ready to head out of the house to a meeting at Facebook. My husband, Dominique, had already left for a meeting at Morgan Stanley.
I was upstairs.
The fire alarm went off.
I thought to myself, “Another false alarm. How do I turn it off?”
And then, I smelled burnt plastic.
Mack has built a successful business optimized for autonomy and profitability. Excellent navigation!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your journey. Tell us where you’re from. Where did you grow up? Where were you born and raised?
Mack Sundaram: I was born in South India in a village near Chennai. I spent some time of my childhood in Chennai and Pondicherry. I later went to school in New Delhi. Since then, I moved over to the United States where I had an opportunity to pursue a doctoral degree in Economics. That’s where the transition happened.
We’re a middle class family from India. There was a lot of support and pressure for doing well in education. I appreciate my parents for doing that, but there was always the push to find something that you really like to do. I still remember my parents telling me many times as a child that I’ve got to find something.
I’m publishing this series on LinkedIn called Colors to explore a topic that I care deeply about: the Renaissance Mind. I am just as passionate about entrepreneurship, technology, and business, as I am about Art and Culture. In this series, I will typically publish a piece of Art – a painting, a poem, a piece of music, so forth – and I request you to spend a minute or two deeply meditating on it. I urge you to watch your feelings, thoughts, reactions to the piece, and write what comes to you, what thoughts it triggers, in the dialog area. Let us see what stimulation this interaction yields. For today – Rough Sea, Aquamarine Night
Rough Sea, Aquamarine Night | Sramana Mitra, 2017 | Water color and Pastel | 18 x 24, On Paper
Related Reading:The Next European Renaissance
I would like to encourage bootstrapping entrepreneurs to start thinking about certain investors as bootstrapping partners. These investors, typically, LIKE capital efficient businesses.
They do not want to force feed capital into companies, unlike certain larger funds.
Their fund sizes are small, and they are set up to make money off smaller exits. [Re: Bootstrapping to Exit]
I am always thrilled to see great entrepreneurship in various parts of the world that are off-center. Well, Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain’s journey is a great one from Detroit.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?