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November 8 2013
by Todd Hixon

Budget, or Fudge-It?

Photo credit: 123RF stock photo.   Now is the season of the annual budget: it starts in November, and in the tough cases, the budget is not settled until January or February. There is always negotiation between management and the board: how high targets should be, how much it will cost. Why do we do […]

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November 8 2013
by Todd Hixon

How Your Health Insurance Will Be Turned On Its Head

In the next decade most health insurance will change from a defined-benefit — you know what services you will receive — to a defined-contribution — you know how much money your employer will pay towards the cost of your healthcare. This very profound change has already swept through retirement benefits, the other main category of […]

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November 8 2013
by Todd Hixon

Tough Truth About Defensive Exits

A few weeks ago I was talking with a co-investor in a company that is missing its numbers seriously, and he said, “Let’s just sell this thing!” I often have that urge too, when progress is slow and cash keeps burning. Sisyphus: Greek king condemned to perpetually push a rock up a hill. Image from […]

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October 30 2013
by Todd Hixon

Back to Basics: Why We Have A Budget Crisis

The budget crisis has dominated the news since the 2012 election: fiscal cliff and now sequester. But, the terms of the debate have drifted away from the fundamental forces that created the crisis and will govern a solution. Obama holds forth but Boehner is skeptical. Photo via WhiteHouse.gov.   Listening to the press, I hear […]

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October 30 2013
by Todd Hixon

An Entrepreneur’s Prayer For Better Government

My wife’s grandma used to say “the gods are bowling” when thunder and lightning filled the sky. For the last few weeks it seems that the gods have been playing chicken in the family minivan, with all of us aboard. Our politicians remind me of the gods of Greek mythology: quarrelling, narcissistic, irresponsible, and prone […]

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October 17 2013
by Todd Hixon

The Divine Right Of Telcos To Abuse Customers

Banks are most often accused of customer abuse, but Telcos are equally good at it. This is never more evident than when traveling internationally. Hertz now rents mobile bandwidth; photo via Todd Hixon.   Experienced travelers of my generation have stories about a $500 unexpected charge for a long call made from a hotel room […]

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October 17 2013
by Todd Hixon

Everyone Needs A Health Care Coach

In a comment on my post Healthcare Needs Transparency, which argues that U.S. healthcare customers need better information to be smart buyers, James Daghllian remarked: “if you are not a savvy senior or have a smart son, [I] guess you are just screwed in America!” He touches a recurrent theme: many people feel unable to navigate […]

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September 10 2013
by Todd Hixon

The All-Important Value Prop

This post first appeared at blogs.forbes.com/toddhixon on 7/20/2012. Some of our companies fail: in an early stage venture fund, we expect about 40% mortality. That’s a very painful experience, especially the entrepreneur but also the investors. It triggers serious reflection on what went wrong. While every company has a unique story, our experience teaches that […]

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September 4 2013
by Todd Hixon

What The Government’s Big-Data Dump Tells Us About The Hospital Market

[This post first appeared at blogs.forbes.com/toddhixon on May 22, 2013.] Mainly, it tells us that there’s not much of a market. On May 8 the Department of Health and Human Services released 17,500 pages of data on the prices U.S. hospitals charge for the 100 most common hospital services. This matters because hospitals receive the largest share […]

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August 28 2013
by Todd Hixon

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

This post first appeared at blogs.forbes.com/toddhixon on 08/05/2012. The Economist: In Praise Of Misfits The Economist article linked above is one of many discussing the apparent shift in economic and organizational power towards “Geeks” versus well-rounded, non-technical people. There is an edge to this discussion (which The Economist gently rebuffs). It’s often observed that Geeks are anti-social, quasi-autistic […]

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