All posts by John Psarouthakis

drjohn11aDr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, publisher of www.GavdosPress.com and Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation

Robot revolution: rise of ‘thinking’ machines could exacerbate inequality

Heather Stewart, Joint Political Editor of the Guardian (British Newspaper)

Global economy will be transformed over next 20 years at risk of growing inequality, say analysts

A line of human-shaped robots on display at an industry fair.
Robots made by Shaanxi Jiuli Robot Manufacturing Co on display at an industry fair in Shanghai in November. Photograph: Imaginechina/Corbis

A “robot revolution” will transform the global economy over the next 20 years, cutting the costs of doing business but exacerbating social inequality, as machines take over everything from caring for the elderly to flipping burgers, according to a new study.

As well as robots performing manual jobs, such as hovering the living room or assembling machine parts, the development of artificial intelligence means computers are increasingly able to “think”, performing analytical tasks once seen as requiring human judgment.

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THE SOCIETY OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY (Re-posted)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor www.BusinessThinker.com;  Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2011-2013).
CV details: click on  http://bit.ly/2sXvygl

Unfortunately, we have entered a century in which many of the old cultures and societies that have been successful under the old technologies and cultural norms have fallen by the wayside.   We witness already  dramatic shifts in economic wealth, both within and across nation states.

There is still some debate about how the new changes in technology will affect some of the more prevalent twentieth century ideologies.   For example, will the new technologies and associated cultural changes support or retard the growth of the liberal democracies? Or, will the vision of George Orwell be realized, with a technology-induced return to a world-wide authoritarian state? Obviously, all the data are not in, and will not be in for another seventy-five years or so. The early returns, however, suggest that many of the new technologies seem to enforce democratic values and practices.   For example, one of the critical features of using information technologies and computerized systems is the rapid and transparent exchange of information across settings, cities, and nations.   This is highly compatible with democratic systems and values. However, we have also witnessed that China has been able to have an effective state control over these advanced technologies so that has been little if any democratization and is some cases it could be argued that we have seen a decrease in democratization! The Economist in a recent article has concluded that the democratization effects on China by technology could have been overestimated.

On the other hand, some of the new technologies will reinforce distinctions between individuals and classes of people, thus perhaps leading to a more hierarchical and elitist structure of society.   Moreover, the ability of the new technologies to successfully manage and facilitate diversity of tastes and markets, may lead to a fragmentation of societies such that it will be difficult to sustain larger goals and visions.   For example, it is unclear whether a television society can really sustain a long-term mission, or goal, or struggle.

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WARNING FROM AN ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR


Dr. John Psarouthakis
, Executive editor www.BusinessThinker.com and entrepreneur of the year awardee.

You probably relish the challenge of seeing how far and how fast you can grow. Growth can be an exhilarating experience and public recognition of growth accomplishments abound. Most honor rolls of business, such as the Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 base selection on sales or sales growth.

But beware. So much hoopla accompanies rapid sales growth that the question of profitability may go unexamined until major problems set in. My experience confirms the critical point that growth alone does not guarantee profitability or long-term survival–and can actually spell disaster if improperly managed.

The case of an auto parts supplier entrepreneur highlights this point. At one point in his firm’s meteoric growth, he received many local, state, and national awards honoring his accomplishments, including Entrepreneur of the Year.

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VALUING AND PRICING THE COMPANY (Re-posted)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Founder and former CEO, JPIndusries,Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation. Publisher of www.BusinessThinker.com

Before you can begin final negotiations on price, you need to determine the value of the company. You can use several techniques to value a company.  We recommend the discounted cash flow value approach as the most accurate method although other approaches are useful in preliminary stages of your search to give you a sense of the range of the estimated price.

Timing and Scope of the Valuation Process

An initial calculation of valuation can be done on a fairly mechanical basis, based on information provided to you by the seller using established formulae and guidelines.  However, determining the accuracy of the financial data that the seller provides you is an on-going part of the evaluation process that should take place throughout preliminary and formal due diligence up to the closing.  Thus valuation takes place along with negotiations throughout the deal-making process.  One of the key objectives of due diligence is to surface any information that might affect the accurate valuation of the company. If your team does not have a financial auditor you should hire one to verify the accuracy of the historical data.

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The Business Enterprise and Today’s Society (Reposted)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor, www.BusinessThinker.com

Founder and former CEO, JPIndustries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial group

 

We have been in the midst of a fundamental and historic shift of how the economies around the world develop. With the collapse of the centralized and state control model of the economy what we have now, however, imperfect it maybe, is the model of the “Free Market.”

This shift is occurring in parallel with two other sociopolitical expressions:

  1. Smaller government, though the last few years this seems not to have been happening.
  2. The need, indeed the demand by our society to provide assistance, protection, and distribution of economic benefits in a “fair” way

What we are witnessing is a major shift on “how we can fulfill our expectations of a humanistic society” while we keep the state’s interventions and control power at minimum.

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Business Strategy, Decisive Management, and Success, reposted

Business Strategy, Decisive Management, and Success

An Article Written for the Euro-Horizon Magazine

By Dr. John Psarouthakis

Founder and President, JPManagementCenter, llc

Adj. Professor of Business Administration (ret.), School of Business, University of Michigan, and   Sr. Lecturer (ret.), Mechanical Engineering, MIT. Founder and former CEO, JPIndustries,Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial Group.

Plato, many centuries ago, said, “Nothing endures but change itself”. What is different in our era is not the presence of change but its pace–the rapidity with which ideas arise, are developed and applied, and the immediacy and degree of their impact in our lives. Let me illustrate.

When I were a student at MIT in the ‘50’s, it used to take five to ten years for an idea, or research result from a University, to become reality in the market and in our lives. Today it is almost simultaneous! This drastic change   has fundamentally altered how we manage business and how the universities relate to the society at large and to the economic development demands more specifically. In the long past corporate strategists could rely on the likelihood that things would not change for a relatively long time. Long term periods were identified as ten year long, while a short tem was a three year time. Today these expectations are tossed out of the window. There is no “static” period to plan within. Things are ever changing. We live in a time phase when strategies must be dynamic, flexible and responsive to the ever changing conditions around us.

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VALUING AND PRICING THE COMPANY (Reposted)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Founder and former CEO, JPIndusries,Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation. Publisher of www.BusinessThinker.com

Before you can begin final negotiations on price, you need to determine the value of the company. You can use several techniques to value a company.  We recommend the discounted cash flow value approach as the most accurate method although other approaches are useful in preliminary stages of your search to give you a sense of the range of the estimated price.

Timing and Scope of the Valuation Process

An initial calculation of valuation can be done on a fairly mechanical basis, based on information provided to you by the seller using established formulae and guidelines.  However, determining the accuracy of the financial data that the seller provides you is an on-going part of the evaluation process that should take place throughout preliminary and formal due diligence up to the closing.  Thus valuation takes place along with negotiations throughout the deal-making process.  One of the key objectives of due diligence is to surface any information that might affect the accurate valuation of the company. If your team does not have a financial auditor you should hire one to verify the accuracy of the historical data.

Once you verify the completeness and accuracy of existing documents, historical valuation of a company is often relatively easy from a technical standpoint. But it may be a fairly inaccurate reflection of what you can expect from the firm’s financial performance in the future.   Thus, although a preliminary valuation of the company might be done initially when you first receive financial data from the company, refining the financial assumptions about the company’s future performance must take into consideration a wide array of non-financial considerations.  Accurate forecasting requires a thorough understanding of general trends as well, trends specific to your industry, the economy, and of course a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the particular company you plan to purchase.  Continue reading

Dumbed-Down Politics has Forced us on a Path that We Can Lose the Economic War!


Dr. John Psarouthakis
, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation, Adjunct Professor(ret.), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

With ideological shouters exhorting the citizenry toward one precipice on the left and another on the right, a polarized America seems poised for a rocky demise, probably in answer to a Last Days tweet. Worse, this critical mass appears sufficient to drag us all down. The debt bomb and the entitlement bomb, to say nothing of other bombs, wait for no man. Depending which true-believer cliff one leans toward, America is descending into either a communal hell of withering fortune and lost freedoms, or an eternal blue flame of capitalist greed. If you find the shouters outrageously out of touch (not in their Doomsday forecasts, but in their self-fulfilling gridlock), you obviously are not alone. So where can a reader turn to find a compelling centrist message for our generation, or even a little book of bull’s-eye polemic? Where is Frank Capra when you need him, someone who can make us believe in the American Dream even as the 21st Century limps on.

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The other elephant in the room (and every room in the whole world)

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation, Adjunct Professor(ret.), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Gather a roomful of people with vague ideas that our millions of displaced workers can return to jobs remotely resembling what they used to do—“Let’s get America moving forward again”—and technology will be an elephant in that room. I didn’t even mention globalization, which might be an even larger elephant. Domestic competition and new technology alone would drastically alter our future society even if Americans were the only residents of the planet began Earth. But globalization alone also is a sufficient force to set our old economy and workforce paradigm on its head. With Mumbai or Tokyo or Stuttgart or Singapore virtually as nearby as an industrial park here in the U.S., nothing will ever be the same again. Elephants are the world’s most powerful work animals, and we have a pair in tandem pulling us into the 21st Century. Unlike a tractor, they can’t back up. And the sum of these two elephants, technology and globalization, is greater than their parts. Globalization is the one most commonly thought to be reversible, at least in part. The only way to beat it is to join it, and be competitive.

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Why progress always ‘puts people out of work’

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation, Adjunct Professor(ret.), Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.


Let’s refine our definition of “the employment problem” by understanding that the biggest, most labor-intensive companies—the kind that absorbed all those farm laborers and created the 20th-Century middle-class—were inevitably destined to become not “centers of employment,” but centers of unemployment.

Here we begin by recounting my Grand Rapids speech and go on to explain the Vector One and Vector Two phenomenon, the entire phenomenon of ever-more-efficient companies and organizations (or entire sectors, like our friends the farmers) becoming smaller and smaller in terms of employment. Meanwhile, new technologies and new products and new market forces breed “job creation” elsewhere in the economy. A company or even an entire sector must do things better and more efficiently, or die. They eventually will die anyway unless they reinvent themselves as producers of new goods and services rather than inevitably obsolete goods and services.

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