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Data should be the Common Language in an Organization

If I was to ask you what you do, I’m sure you could provide an answer. Most people lead with a title–“I’m an engineer working on software systems,” or, “I’m a senior marketing manager that drives marketing initiatives for our products.” Fair enough. That’s a reasonable answer. A much harder question is “Why?” Why do […]

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If I was to ask you what you do, I’m sure you could provide an answer. Most people lead with a title–“I’m an engineer working on software systems,” or, “I’m a senior marketing manager that drives marketing initiatives for our products.” Fair enough. That’s a reasonable answer.

A much harder question is “Why?” Why do you do what you do? More specifically, why does it matter to the company you work for?

I think there’s a gap (sometimes a significant one) between the work we do and why it matters. I know a lot of people who will be working on a task or project and wonder aloud, “Does this even matter? Why am I doing this work?” That’s a scary thing. Talented people working on stuff that doesn’t connect to a clear purpose or meaning won’t leave you with happy, fulfilled employees. It also won’t lead to a successful business.

Part of the challenge is that a lot of companies struggle to explain and sell their vision internally. Some might not even have a real vision. Without a vision or higher purpose, or one that’s well understood by everyone, people start to meander in their jobs or get lost in the minutiae that doesn’t add real value.

But even with a well-understood and transparent vision, it’s not always obvious how work being done “in the trenches” translates up. And this is where I believe data helps. Data is the common language that everyone in an organization can and should be able to speak. Data should cut through the noise, politics and tensions that exist in companies (including small and scaling startups) and provide a way for people to understand each other and make better decisions.

Data either validates or invalidates the work we’re doing as having meaning. If you can’t tie the work you’re doing through data to a metric that matters for the business, you have to really question the point of doing the work. You should be able to–as much and as often as possible–draw a fairly direct line from what you’re doing, and what you’re tracking metrics-wise, to the business on a whole. To do that you need to know what to track on a project-by-project basis, and you need some top level metrics as business health indicators.

Recently I’ve been using this simple diagram to explain this idea:

The Layer Cake of Metrics

The idea is that project-based metrics (the One Metric that Matters at a project/task level) bubbles up to a metric that matters for your department/group (the OMTM for the department/group), which further bubbles up to a business health indicator (the OMTM for everyone). If you can draw those lines, you’re in good shape, because you can measure the work you do against nitty gritty targets, but also against the higher purpose for the whole organization. As a result your work will have more value and meaning to you and to your company. Without that, you fall into the trap of “doing work for the sake of doing work.”

Everyone in your organization needs to be able to “speak data.” If the data is too complex, or inaccessible, then it becomes “dark magic that some people in the back corner work on”–no one wants to trust it, rely on it or leverage it properly for true value creation. If everyone in your organization speaks data, we suddenly have a common language that transcends departmental and organizational boundaries. Marketing can speak to sales. Sales can speak to customer support. Customer support can speak to product management. And so on.

Data not only helps us figure out what to do, but it helps us understand why we’re doing it. Data plays a key role in providing us with insight into where problems and potential solutions exist, but also in motivating teams, driving internal engagement, increasing communication and collaboration and keeping everyone focused on what really matters.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock

Source: http://www.instigatorblog.com/data-common-language/2016/09/22/

Private Equity

Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint

This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth […]

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This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth mode, and investors back into the check-writing arena.

Boston has been an exemplar of the trend, with early pandemic caution dissolving into rapid-fire dealmaking as summer rolled into fall.

We collated new data that underscores the trend, showing that Boston’s third quarter looks very solid compared to its peer groups, and leads greater New England’s share of American venture capital higher during the three-month period.

For our October look at Boston and its startup scene, let’s get into the data and then understand how a new cohort of founders is cropping up among the city’s educational network.

A strong Q3, a strong 2020

Boston’s third quarter was strong, effectively matching the capital raised in New York City during the three-month period. As we head into the fourth quarter, it appears that the silver medal in American startup ecosystems is up for grabs based on what happens in Q4.

Boston could start 2021 as the number-two place to raise venture capital in the country. Or New York City could pip it at the finish line. Let’s check the numbers.

According to PitchBook data shared with TechCrunch, the metro Boston area raised $4.34 billion in venture capital during the third quarter. New York City and its metro area managed $4.45 billion during the same time period, an effective tie. Los Angeles and its own metro area managed just $3.90 billion.

In 2020 the numbers tilt in Boston’s favor, with the city and surrounding area collecting $12.83 billion in venture capital. New York City came in second through Q3, with $12.30 billion in venture capital. Los Angeles was a distant third at $8.66 billion for the year through Q3.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/boston-startups-expand-regions-venture-capital-footprint/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election.

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Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

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Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman says the boom could last into next year.

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election. (CNBC)

Kelman: Too good to last forever

“This level of demand is absolutely insane. I would expect it to last into 2021, at least,” Kelman said.

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows up the strength in the housing market.

Existing home sales shot up 9.4% in September beating expectations. Even though the median purchase price of a home rose approximately 15% year over year, there is just a 2.7-month supply of for-sale homes, showing tight market inventory conditions.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.80% for the week ending Oct. 22, down from 2.81% in the previous week and 3.75% a year ago, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Therefore, mortgage rates crept even lower in the latest week.

However, “there’s no way it can last forever,” Kelman warned of the bullish conditions.

Canada: Off the charts

Meanwhile, at the northern neighbor, home sales activity in September is described as “off-the-charts.”

Housing data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) last week showed a nationwide year-over-year increase in sales of 45.6%.

This was a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September … as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, in a statement.

Real Estate ETFs in the U.S.

The year-to-date performance of some real estate ETFs is shown below:

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB)              +24.61%

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)                          +20.83%

Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF                      -13.91%

It may be noted that despite the boom conditions in housing, real estate ETFs and stocks have declined in recent days.

According to Barron’s, this may be due to yields on the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries moving higher in recent weeks.

Other reasons could be fears of inflation ticking up in the future amidst an improving economic situation.

Nevertheless, the view is that interest rates are likely to remain low for longer. So demand may remain strong.

“Part of what is fueling this boom is that the economy has just split into two and rich people are able to access capital almost for free, so, of course, they’re going to use that money to buy homes,” said Redfin’s Kelman.

Related Story:   Mortgage Rates Set Another Record Low; Real Estate ETFs Could Benefit

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-real-estate-housing-market-demand-is-insane/

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Private Equity

Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks new leadership ahead of IPO – report

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month

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UK grocer Asda Group’s new owner EG Group is looking for a new chairman and independent directors as it prepares for a £10bn initial public offering, The Timesreports.

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month.

The move comes after Deloitte resigned last week as the company’s auditor because of concerns over the group’s governance and lack of internal controls, according to the publication.

A decision on candidates will be taken before the end of this year, although roles haven’t been finalised yet as the company is in the process of deciding whether to float in the UK or the US, The Times reports.

Write to Barcelona editors at barcelonaeditors@dowjones.com

From Dow Jones Newswires

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/asdas-new-owner-eg-group-seeks-new-leadership-ahead-of-ipo-reports-20201023

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