Jonathan Langton


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Tricky Business Decisions for Folding UK Plug

The standard UK electrical plug and socket is considered the safest in the world, however size and configuration of the plug itself make it the target of much criticism.  Min-Kyu Choi and his company, Made in Mind, might have found the solution to that problem.  It is great to see this product finally make it to the market, however it is not necessarily the product that one might have expected, nor the product it should be, nor even the product we really want.  It can be reasoned as to why that might be by considering the nature of the product, however some of the company’s decisions, both technical and commercial, seem not to be in their own best interests. Continue reading


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New Business Models Required

The digital revolution has impacted heavily on the consumption, availability and distribution of music, film, television, news and literature.  These have all been the preserve of what may now be known as “old media”.  Technological advances, particularly the shrinking (physical) size and cost of digital storage, the increased connectivity afforded by the internet and the proliferation of portable personal devices mean that that “old media” content need no longer be bound to the infrastructure that served to produce it and deliver it to the public.  Naturally, the public’s attitude towards that content is being recalibrated.  New business models for creative content are essential, if the stakeholders in its creation are going to play a role in reforming of the consumer’s consciousness. Continue reading


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Taking the Issue of Money off the Table

There is a reasonable probability that the reader has seen this video (6.7 million views on YouTube at the time of writing).  It hints at the widely accepted theory that job satisfaction, and hence performance and motivation presumably, is not simply a continuum.  While it is good to know something of how to motivate employees, that good work may be undone by failing to do what is necessary to avoid employee disenchantment.  The presentation only touches on the role that pay has to play in that equilibrium, but more could be said.

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Web 2.0 FAIL – Wikipedia rejects educational Creative Commons content

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Jonathan Langton is currently employed full-time as Project Manager, Multimedia Content Development in the Learning Innovation department of IE Business School.

The Learning Innovation department of IE Business School maintains a rich catalogue of interactive, multimedia content, including cases, technical notes and simulations.  These materials, developed by IE professors, form an important of IE’s online and on-campus courses, however the majority of this content is also freely available on the internet under a Creative Commons licence.

In researching material related to the content they produce, Learning Innovation’s project managers often encounter Wikipedia articles among the first search results returned from the internet.  From time to time these Wikipedia articles refer to other academic articles or website that prove to be highly useful and more in depth than the summary treatment that Wikipedia usually, and quite rightly, provides.  Recently one such project manager realised that some of IE Business School’s multimedia teaching materials is highly relevant to certain specific Wikipedia entries and could provide a valuable resource to those accessing those articles. Continue reading


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Patent vs Copyright – A Question of Reinforcing Behaviour

A  common dilemma for managers is the risk of creating a company culture that reinforces negative behaviours, or fails to reward behaviours that they would like to encourage.  The classic example is the company that pays great lip-service to the importance of teamwork, yet apportions employee bonuses on the basis of individual performance.  This type of comparative reward scheme, that pits team members against each other, actually creates a disincentive for employees to collaborate and reduces teamwork.  Copyright and patents are two of the systems in place to reward, or protect, the more creative members of society and in that sense  they are similar, however they are not applied in the same context and operate quite differently.  Those differences then raise an interesting question – to whom does society offer more protection and which forms of creativity are better rewarded or valued? Continue reading


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Is a Smoking Ban a Sign of Modern Spain?

On the 21st December 2010 the “Nueva Ley Anti-tabaco”, or New Anti-tobacco Law, Ley 42/2010, finally passed through both houses of parliament in Spain to become a law which would come into force just 12 days later on the 2nd January, 2011.  And not before time.  It may surprise many to discover that there is already anti-smoking legislation in place in Spain, Ley 28/2005, which the new legislation modifies.  The modification is necessary since the original law is so riddled with exemptions, exceptions and loopholes that the law has had little or no impact. Continue reading


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The False Reinvestment Assumption and the Propagation of Incorrect Ideas – Part 3

In the first post on this subject it was seen that the origin of the Reinvestment Assumption is based in confusion and misinterpretation, and that it has been shown to be unnecessary by academics in the peer-reviewed literature.  The second post looked a little more closely at clarifying the confusion that spawned the fallacious concept and a common error employed in its justification.  However the question remains, of how this demonstrably flawed idea maintains its credibility, which clearly it does, among so many academics and professionals in the field.  Hence the most startling discovery of Keef and Roush“On average, over seven-tenths of all texts in [the] sample, independent of their academic discipline, offered the fallacy”, that is, the Reinvestment Assumption.  This finding shows that there is fairly high probability that anyone who has studied the concepts of NPV and IRR will have heard of the Reinvestment Assumption, thus it endures and it is interesting to consider just how this situation is propagated. Continue reading


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The False Reinvestment Assumption and the Propagation of Incorrect Ideas – Part 2

In the previous post the potential origins of the Reinvestment Assumption were examined, as well as its discrediting by academics in the peer-reviewed literature.  Offered here is an explanation of why the discrepancy between NPV and IRR for ranking investments, which leads some to invoke of the Reinvestment Assumption, should be quite evident.  In addition a clear logical flaw in one of the commonly offered mathematical justifications for the fallacy is exposed. Continue reading


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The False Reinvestment Assumption and the Propagation of Incorrect Ideas – Part 1

The Net Present Value and the Internal Rate of Return are two of the most fundamental tools for evaluating investments in Financial Accounting.  When discussing these concepts, one often hears reference to the Reinvestment Assumption, that is, broadly, the assumption that cash-flows generated by an investment are reinvested at the relevant discount rate.   This misconceived assumption is false and unnecessary, yet it continues to be taught extensively and is defended by many finance professionals.  One study suggests that it is contained in over 70% of available texts on the subject.  Where does it come from, and just how does a demonstrably incorrect concept become so entrenched? Continue reading