May 5, 2010
News & Opinion: ChangeThis: Issue 70
Living in a Bubble: How Speculative Mania in Home Mortgages
Underwrote the Great Recession by Roger Lowenstein “The bubble began at the dawn of the 21st century, and fed off the elixir of ultra-low interest rates. Low rates had been orchestrated by the Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, with the steadfast support of his then-fellow Fed governor, Ben Bernanke. With credit cheap, Americans flocked to refinance their homes and to bid up the prices of new ones. This much was predictable. But the mortgage boom of the early 2000s was unlike others. A wave of unorthodox lenders sought to lure customers whose credit was judged to be less than prime—that is, subprime. These eager lenders were hailed as suburban Johnny Appleseeds, planting a mortgage in every backyard. Instead of a mere boom, they incited a social upheaval, much as did the dot.com promoters a decade earlier.”
Renting the Dream: Housing in America After the Great Reset
by Richard Florida
“We’ve reached the limits of what George W. Bush used to call the 'ownership society.' Owning your own home made sense when people could hope to hold a job for most or all of their lives. But in an economy that revolves around mobility and flexibility, a house that can’t be sold becomes an economic trap, preventing people from moving freely to economic opportunity.
Not only has that piece of the American Dream grown dark, but it’s also clear that financial excess in the housing sector was one of the central causes of the economic crisis. Housing sucked up far too much of the nation’s and the world’s capital, and too many people—already overextended by the purchase of outsized houses—used those homes like virtual ATMs to finance carefree consumption. Every Great Reset has seen our system of housing change, and this one is no different. The rate of home ownership has been on the decline for some time now. Many of those who still choose to buy homes will choose smaller ones, while many more will opt for rental housing.”
HOW TO FAME: STAND OUT/GET AHEAD/THAT SIMPLE by Richard Laermer
“We are all known. And the way we’re perceived by those who know us—even those who encounter us briefly—affects our lives in tangible ways. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how fantastic you are if others’ perception of you is … off. For this reason, understanding How to Fame—how to use the tools of this speedy millennium to advance your objectives—is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a must-have, and whether your goal is to shape or promote your personal brand, get a job or a promotion, be smarter, or find a mate … today, fame matters.
The point here is not to be famous. Being famous is a job best left to those who care about little else. This is about being an authority and using your fame to achieve greatness. It’s about getting what you want and what you deserve. And getting it right now.”
Interested in the Quickest Route to New Profits and Growth?
Focus on Your Pricing by Rafi Mohammed
“There is a fundamental 'profit disconnect' in business today. Companies work to bring a product to market by investing significant effort and money in research and development, distribution, and marketing strategies. But when it comes to setting a price - how businesses get compensated for their hard work and financial risk - most companies drop the ball. Critical pricing decisions are often made using arbitrary 'this is the way we’ve always done it' methods. Companies are shortchanging themselves every day.”
Being Open Without Giving Away the Store: The Secret
Is a Sandbox Covenant by Charlene Li
“What’s often missing when leaders try to decide how open they should be is a coherent open strategy, something I call ‘open-driven objectives.’ With an open strategy, decision shifts from if you should be open—because social technology demands a certain amount of openness—to how open you need to be to accomplish your overall strategic goals. In today’s world, organizations and their leaders must be open or suffer the consequences—distrust, leaks, resentment, and institutional sclerosis.”
The Power of Passionate Creatives
by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison
“We all have passions.
Some of us have been fortunate enough to pursue our passions as our professions. Most of us have not.
But all too often those who are passionate about their work are frustrated with their employers and bosses. They are not satisfied. Far from it. They want to do more, but they feel held back.
This manifesto is for them—the “passionate creatives” of the world. Together passionate creatives have more power than they realize.
But that power comes from a surprising place.”
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.