Two current stories show that two of the most important personal attributes according to folk wisdom and management theories — a record of achievement and an air of confidence — don’t guarantee meaningful results. In Italy, the billionaire-investor running the country is prepared to throw up his hands in defeat and step down from his post. At Adobe, 750 layoffs are on the way as the company abandons plans to be the go-to source for cross-platform user interface development. Adobe had huge successes with software in the past but, despite a massive effort, couldn’t deliver a competent development environment. Berlusconi’s history proves he knows how to handle money, but he couldn’t find a solution to his country’s financial woes.