Archive for July, 2013

Is Samsung Playing in the Same Ballpark as Apple?

July 20, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, July 20-21, 2013



Electronics Giants Hold Private Negotiations on Patent Disputes; Reasons to Settle, by Ian Sherr

“Apple Inc. and Samsung electronics Co. have held a series of private negotiations about their patent disputes since Apple notched a victory in one case last summer, according to legal documents and people familiar with the matter.

In the negotiations, described sparingly in heavily redacted documents from the U.S. International Trade commission (ITC) made public earlier this month and by people familiar with them, Samsung has pushed for a broad patent cross-licensing deal that could settle all outstanding litigation between the companies. It is unclear whether Apple was interested in such a deal…”

From the ITC as quoted in this article: “The fact that representatives for both parties were able to reach a memorandum of understanding…indicates that Samsung is negotiating in good faith and, to be colloquial, is playing in the same ballpark as Apple.”

At least one of the teams is not out of the ballpark, but is in there with the other team.  These idioms are used a lot of negotiations, for example:  Give me a ballpark figure or that figure is out of the ballpark.

High Bar/Low Bar in the Treyvan Martin Case

July 20, 2013

Although it was a “low bar” for the George Zimmerman’s defense in the Treyvan Martin Case, it was a high bar  for the prosecution because they had to prove his guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  In a civil case, it may be easier, but still difficult because the preponderance of evidence will decide the case.

Does Washington Need a Take Down?

July 19, 2013

PBS: Charlie Rose Shoe, July 18, 2013

Charlie Rose interviewed Mark Leibovich, New York Times Magazine Editor, about his new book, This Town: Two Parties, A Funeral– plus plenty of valet parking.  In the conversation about the book about Washington D.C., it was mentioned that the book is a take down.

Take down is a wrestling term to take your opponent down to the mat.  As an idiom it often means to bring some one down a bit when they have become too arrogant or controlling.  As a noun, as above, it has the same meaning.

A Low Bar in the Trayvon Martin Case

July 15, 2013

The New York Times Monday, July 15, 2013


The Legacy of Trayvon Martin’s Death

“The Zimmerman acquittal should be a call to reform laws that make it easier to kill:

The jury reached its verdict after having been asked to consider Mr. Zimmerman’s actions in light of Florida’s now-notorious Stand Your Ground statute.  Under that law, versions of which are on the books in two dozen states, a person may use deadly force if he or she ‘reasonably believes’ it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm–a low bar that the prosecutors in this case fought in vain to overcome.”

A low bar is a metaphor from track and field which makes it easier for the participant to win.

Surfing the Wave: Globalization

July 14, 2013

The Economist June 2st 2013

Ship of Knaves

The Billionaire’s Apprentice:  The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund, by Anita Raghavan

“Anita Raghavan’s new book, The Billionaire’s Apprentice, purports to chronicle ‘the rise of the Indian-American elite.’  It does not.  Rather, it describes the rise and fall of two members of that elite:  Raj Rajaratnam, a hedge-fund boss, ane Rajat Gupta, a former head of McKinsey, the world’s most prestigious consultancy.’

Mr. Rajaratnam…is the money man; Mr. Gupta, his apprentice…

He (Mr Rajaratnam) cultivated a broad network of tipsters inside large companies who, for generous fees, slipped him nuggets that had not yet been made public…Mr. Rajaratnam ended up in prison.

He (Mr. Gupta) joined McKinsey and rose up the ranks through hard work, intelligence and a reputation for integrity…He became the consultancy’s first foreign boss, at a time when the business was globalising.  He saw how cheaper communications would make it possible to outsource various types of work to India, and made sure that McKinsey surfed that wave.  He became one of the most respected Indian businessmen in the world.”

Mr. Gupta fed Mr. Rajaratnam “inside information about Goldman Sachs, a bank on whose board Mr. Gupta sat.  He was convicted last year and sentenced to two years behind bars.  He remains free while he appeals against the verdict…

Some day, someone will write a great book about the rise of Indian-Americans.  In the meantime, this is a rollicking story of hubris and the suffering it brings.”

Surfed that wave,” surfing the wave” are surfing idioms.  If one caught the globalisation wave and rode it correctly, it would have been a really good ride on a fantastic wave.  I use it for friends who surfed the wave and the California wave;  they saw the potential in Silicon Valley business and the California ethos.  It was a good wave, also.  Of course, surfers can crash, too.

A Full-Court Press to Block Snowden

July 13, 2013

The New York Times, Friday, July 12, 2013


A Test Over Snowden

Diplomatic Efforts in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela

 By William Neuman and Randal C. Archibold

Caracas, Venezuela–“The United States is conducting a diplomatic full-court press to try to block Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor, from finding refuge in Latin America, where three left-leaning governments that make defying Washington a hallmark of their foreign policies have publicly vowed to take him in.”

full-court press is a basketball term to convey an aggressive move towards the opponent’s basket using most of the basketball court, challenging all the way.

“Leadership Is a Team Sport”

July 13, 2013

New York Times, Friday, July 12, 2013

Hillary Clinton Taps Speechmaking Gold Mine, by Amy Chozik

“Just a few months after leaving the State Department, Hillary Rodham Clinton has plunged into the lucrative world of paid speechmaking, joining a branch of the family business that has brought the Clintons more than $100 million since her husband left the White House in 2001.

For about $200,000, Mrs. Clinton will offer pithy reflections and Mitch Albom-style lessons from her time as the nation’s top diplomat. (‘Leadership is a team sport.’ ‘You can’t win if you don;t show up.’ …”

High Hurdles

July 11, 2013


High Bar or No Bar

July 7, 2013

The Economist, May 25th 2013

Free Exchange:  Making Pay Work

Why bosses should be careful when using performance-related pay:

“Of all a firm’s inputs, its workers’ effort is perhaps the oddest.  It is as vital as land, factories or machines, but much harder to control.  It is often impossible even to measure.  A manager can gauge the firm’s output, but not the effort people put in, beyond crude gauges such as the time they spend on the job. Employees have the informational edge, knowing their own effort, output and skill level.  This asymmetry makes it hard for managers to distinguish, for instance, between the low-skilled but diligent and the skilled but lazy. Monitoring schemes to reward hard-working employees and punish slackers can boost effort, but they can backfire badly, too…

High bar or no bar:

…In economics opting for the middle ground is usually best.  But in this case the extremes seem to be a better choice:  monitor hard, or do not monitor at all.  A little bit of monitoring only annoys the good workers, causing them to slacken off.  And sometimes the wisest thing is just to let people get on with the job.”

Please look at previous posts or http://www.sports idioms for the idiom, high bar.