James’s Musings

thoughts, photography, and geeky stuff
from an unrelentingly curious Silicon Valley entrepreneur

Tracking Bad Customer Service—LIVE!

August 10, 2010
In my busi­ness life, I of­ten re­mind my team of how easy it is for a com­pa­ny to dam­age a long cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship due to a sin­gle in­stance of poor cus­tomer ser­vice. Now I have my own sto­ry to add to the list: On Thursday of last week, I flew back to San Francisco from New York. As a reg­u­lar…
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Government that “Gets It”: The CEO Mentality Comes to Local Government

July 31, 2010
One of the rea­sons I val­ue my reg­u­lar in­volve­ment with the Aspen Institute is the op­por­tu­ni­ty to watch what I oc­ca­sion­al­ly refer to as “lead­er­ship cross-fer­til­iza­tion” in ac­tion. Earlier this mon­th, I had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to watch busi­ness prag­ma­tism cross fer­til­ize with pub­lic lead­er­ship, and it was in­spir­ing. At a re­cent Socrates Society event, we…
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A Cyber Take on the Iran/Syria RADAR Deal

June 30, 2010
Second in a se­ries of posts from Aspen Institute Security Forum, the inaugural—and so far excellent—security and coun­ter-ter­ror­ism con­fer­ence at the Aspen Institute, di­rect­ed by my friend and col­league Clark Ervin, the for­mer Inspector General of DHS. The head­line on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal read “Iran
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Terrorist Synergies: Terrorist Groups Are Joining Forces

June 29, 2010
Greetings from the Aspen Institute Security Forum, the inaugural—and so far excellent—security and coun­ter-ter­ror­ism con­fer­ence at the Aspen Institute, di­rect­ed by my friend and col­league Clark Ervin, the for­mer Inspector General of DHS. The con­fer­ence is abuzz with the words of Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of
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Now That It’s Over (??), Why Didn’t Monetary Policy Help?

June 13, 2010
18 months ago, the Treasury and the Fed em­barked on un­prece­dent­ed mea­sures to save the US econ­o­my from col­lapse. On Friday, Treasury re­port­ed that re­pay­ments of TARP ex­ceed­ed loans for the first time. So I got to think­ing: did the much-vaunt­ed mon­e­tary pol­i­cy strat­e­gy have much to do with the sta­bi­liza­tion? First,…
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Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes in Pakistan

December 30, 2009
Sadly, today’s news that Karachi suf­fered a sui­cide bomb at­tack on­ly serves to add a new di­men­sion to con­cerns I orig­i­nal­ly raised in a post ear­lier this year (which I wrote from my Karachi hotel room on the evening of President Obama’s in­au­gu­ra­tion but, for se­cu­ri­ty rea­sons, was un­able to post un­til I left Pakistan). Now, in ad­di­tion…
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The Inauguration: Karachi Perspective

February 4, 2009
[ed note: for se­cu­ri­ty rea­sons, I was un­able to post this un­til I re­turned from Pakistan. Yesterday’s kid­nap­ping of an American UN Officialnear the same re­gion I vis­it­ed (the Sind province) pro­vides a vivid ex­pla­na­tion of why.] There was some­thing sur­re­al about watch­ing President Obama take the oath of of­fice from a hotel room in…
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Vehicular Hats in Hands

November 19, 2008
I just spent an un­com­fort­able hour watch­ing the CEOs of Ford, GM and Chrysler tes­ti­fy in front of the Senate Banking com­mit­tee on C-SPAN. (I’m not nor­mal­ly a C-SPAN view­er, but ex­tra­or­di­nary times call for ex­tra­or­di­nary view­ing.) As a CEO, I have spent my re­cent days in part en­gaged in bat­tling the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of…
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Monetary Policy Is Working—A Little

November 16, 2008
Earlier this week I post­ed some back­ground ma­te­ri­al re­call­ing how re­al in­ter­est rates were neg­a­tive in the mid ’00s, thus in­duc­ing wild/out-of-control bor­row­ing (all of which was look­ing for places to invest—think CDOs). I was plan­ning to use the­se data to back up my sense that the Fed’s re­cent rate cut was…
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