Berkshire gets serious about Commercial Insurance -
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has poached four senior executives from American International Group Inc., grabbing people with experience insuring large and unusual risks.
Just as rates begin to harden, Berkshire indicates its intent to enter Commercial Insurance market. The shadow of additional capacity may temper some of the hardening while the market share of the current leaders diminishing somewhat.
In the E&S space, it is likely that Lloyd’s and AIG (through its Lexington subsidiary) will loose marketshare. In addition, market entry in the E&S space is a lot easier than the admitted market - from an operations and technology perspective. It will not be surprising to see products with a modicum of distribution to be in place as early as 2014.
Admitted market is going to be more challenging given the average premium size is much smaller and the regulatory oversight slowing launch of products. Nonetheless, it is clear that Insurance continues to be a focus of Berkshire and one where it seeks to replicate its reinsurance underwriting success.
Love the 2 by 2 for classifying those that provide feedback
In my ongoing quest for the perfect framework for understanding haters, I created The Disapproval Matrix**. (With a deep bow to its inspiration.) This is one way to separate haterade from productive feedback. Here’s how the quadrants break down:
Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.
Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too.
Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.
Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.
The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you. If you need to amp yourself up about it, may I suggest this #BYEHATER playlist on Spotify? You’re welcome.
** I presented The Disapproval Matrix to the fine folks at MoxieCon in Chicago yesterday, and they seemed to find it useful, so I figured I’d share with the class. It was originally inspired by a question my friend Channing Kennedy submitted to my #Realtalk column at the Columbia Journalism Review.
Light reading to start the week off
Time travel in movies
As Square comes to terms with the complexity inherent with rapid growth over the past two years, it is not surprising that it may be viewed by some of the regulatory bodies as beginning to resemble a MSB. Some regulators are beginning to view it in the same light as PayPal, potentially due to the funds that it probably keeps as part of the merchant payment processing.
At some point, it may have to either acquire a bank or apply to setup a subsidiary with a banking license, rather than attempt to convince the patchwork of state regulators that it is not a MSB and eventually at some level the federal regulators that it does not need to comply with various statutes such as BSA / AML.
If that is the case, it may as well look into acquiring complementary payment network like GreenDot. Not only would it get the underlying banking infrastructure, it would have the synergies arising from owning the end to end value chain for what can be an emerging portion of payments (via pre-paid GreenDot cards). GreenDot can get other potential distribution channels, though it may be a stretch for Square merchants to offer GreenDot cards. They seem to be the quintessential ‘ma and pa’ shops seeking a hassle free approach to taking credit cards at the point of sale. Nonetheless, given the currently depressed valuation of pre-paid card providers, it may be an opportune time for someone like Square to acquire one to round its portfolio while addressing regulatory needs.
When it comes to getting general news and information, consumers worldwide put as much trust in search engines as they do in traditional media — and more in both than they do in social media.
Not surprising that the search engines are more trusted than social media. After all, a search aggregates all the traditional sources to provide a composite of current affairs. Makes it obvious what are outliers in terms of opinion and reporting (if one cared enough).
Fast Company: Here are 10 tips for making the most of your days off:1. Do make a... -
Pretty good list - would have been even better before the holidays :/
Here are 10 tips for making the most of your days off:
1. Do make a plan. We’re all busy. When we hit the weekend, we think we want to do “nothing.” But it’s impossible to truly do nothing. Instead, you’ll do unconsciously chosen somethings, and you’ll hit Sunday wondering where the time…
How to choose the right tool for the job: awe.sm’s language journey | awe.sm: the blog -
Good article, with a funny visual on how different coders view each other.
Also, somewhat heartening to see that Java is making a comeback in the startup world. It is still quite the power language with innovation in terms of libraries continuing to happen. Case in point is the reference to Dropwizard that awe.sm is leveraging to enable their web services.
is.R(): Beautiful network diagrams with ggplot2 -
I don’t usually like describing my own work as “beautiful,” but with your permission I will make an exception today. There have been some requests for scripts illustrating the plotting of network diagrams with ggplot2, and today (for the winter solstice) we’re bringing you a really…
For those seeking to plot network graphs [in R], this post notes how more visually stunning plots can be achieved.
Is the next wave of IT spend driven by CMOs? -
Oracle’s recent acquisition indicative that it is starting to take Gartner’s prediction that in the near future CMOs will be the largest source of discretionary IT spend starting to react to the SF.com. Though hardly new, this acquisition also limits other enterprise players (e.g., IBM and SAP) from making similar forays.
There are not many firms that are mature - given that SF.com closed its acquisition of Radian6. It is going to be interesting how SF.com fares in terms of growth now that Oracle is going to be actively canvassing CMOs. One may not be surprised that Oracle will integrate the latest acquisition (though superficially) in the next 12 months with its complementary offerings (thinking Siebel CRM) and attempt to stem the competitive pressures in existing accounts.
It is no surprise the SF.com has been actively eliciting converts from Siebel’s customer base, and though the economics of cloud computing can be countered, its capabilities in what Forrester calls ‘Enterprise Listening Platforms’ has been harder to negate.
2013 will be an interesting year, as social media, mobile platform support and customer driven collaboration begin to be integrated in legacy platforms. Just as eCommerce was once treated as a stand-alone organizational entity by many brick and mortars, social media will become embedded in traditional marketing and communication channels.