A Banker Bails on Bailouts


Photo of Neel Kashkari: ProPublica

Today’s Top Stories
 — This Banker Changes His Tune
 — Social Entrepreneurs and Government Need Each Other
 — Atlassian Sold $320 Million of Software Last Year Without a Sales Staff
 — Climate Watch: A Town That Won’t Sell and A Country That Runs On Renewables
 — The Best of NewCo Shift on Medium

This Banker Changes His Tune
 Another self-identified “free-market ideologue” has switched sides. Goldman Sachs vet and Bush Administration Treasury official (and current president of a Federal Reserve Bank) Neel Kashkari now considers himself “a humbled pragmatist” (New York Times). Chastened, he now believes that Dodd-Frank didn’t go far enough and he’s willing to consider breaking up the biggest banks. He’s still a banker, defending the sector’s essential role in the efficient “allocation of capital,” but he doesn’t sound anything like he did pre-crash. With each passing day, it feels like the loudest voices for lightly or unregulated markets are those who support the idea for ideological reasons, not because they believe it works.

Social Entrepreneurs and Government Need Each Other
 Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the New America think tank, writes in The Financial Times that a new ecosystem is emerging in which social entrepreneurs are helping governments solve big public problems (paywall). Championing social entrepreneurship isn’t new; what is unusual is that Slaughter points out how the public sector doesn’t only bring problems to be solved to the ecosystem. It also comes with scale and legitimacy. She acknowledges which side of the public/private equation holds more power, but, as she quotes Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, “Nongovernmental organizations can and should strengthen the faltering public sector.” Neither public nor private can make it on their own.

Atlassian Sold $320 Million of Software Last Year Without a Sales Staff
 Some companies treat their sales team as their greatest asset. Yet enterprise software maker (and NewCo) Atlassian is a $5 billion software company with no sales staff (Bloomberg Businessweek), thanks to web distribution. The company’s president Jay Simons says the lack of a sales team lets the company pour more money into development. “Salespeople are like your Adderall right before the exam. It’s that last-minute kick when you’re not going to do well otherwise.” The Businessweek article traces how luck and the idiosyncracies of being founded in Sydney, Australia, made Atlassian’s outlier success possible. It also gives examples of how legacy enterprise software companies with traditional sales systems are trying some Atlassian approaches. One of those businesses is Hewlett-Packard; you can guess which company’s former employees it hired to run its effort.

Climate Watch: A Town That Won’t Sell and A Country That Runs On Renewables
 Even in the developed world, the stories of how different regions are coping with climate change can be extreme. On one hand, starved for jobs and money, a small Oregon town came close to selling its water to Nestle (Los Angeles Times). Cascade Locks has virtually no industry. The food giant’s big offer to take the town’s biggest remaining asset, that finite resource water, and bottle 140 million gallons of it every year, was tempting but it was voted down. And on the other, the entire country of Portugal ran for four days straight on renewable energy alone (Guardian) — and the punch line is that it did so more or less by accident. Germany was able to do something similar recently, but only for one day. Climate change is complicated. The milestones in Portugal and Germany are heartening; the Cascade Locks quandary suggests how bad things can get even in a rich country.

The Best of NewCo Shift on Medium
 It was a busy week for us on Medium. Catch up with Douglas Rushkoff on How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity — and How To Fix It, Why Uber and Apple Won’t Save The Economy, Danny Hillis on How To Think Long Term (And Still Stay in Business), Find a Better Way, and Six Ways Uber and Lyft Lost Austin.

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