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    Wednesday
    Dec012010

    Almost In Time

    Lots of people talk about JIT ("just in time") models. It's sort of the procrastinators mantra. You'll have the most possible information just before you need to make the final decision, therefore decisions you make at the last minute will be the most well-informed.

    But there's an "almost in time" variant. This model assumes that there's flexibility in almost everything. So if you're taking a new job, you have confidence that you'll learn a bunch on the job, so you learn what you need to know "almost in time" for starting the job. Similarly when you are hiring employees, hire them "almost in time" for when they are needed. Your current team will pick up the slack in the meantime, and you'll get the benefit of no wasted resources.

    Tuesday
    Nov302010

    Tripping Toddlers

    Toddlers do strange things all the time that don't surprise anyone, in the same way that they wouldn't surprise anyone if they were done by a totally tripping-on-drugs-out-of-their-mind adult.

    Monday
    Nov292010

    Judging People

    It seems when judging people, all your relationships fall into one of three categories:

    1. You don't notice their deficiencies -- people you've just met, a cashier who seems perfectly reasonable and pleasant, a stranger you meet at a party
    2. You do notice but can afford to not care -- many co-workers, your parents, or a clearly incompetent worker whom you might encounter
    3. You do notice and their deficiencies are necessarily your problem -- bosses, spouses, and children

    That third group is the tricky one, a minefield to navigate carefully in partnership with the person on the other end of the relationship and with others who may share this person as a category three relationship.

    Sunday
    Nov282010

    Medicine Axiom

    With ingested medicines, the worse it tastes, the better it works. This is also true for multivitamins and four loco "Four (energy drink) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia").

    Saturday
    Nov272010

    A Little Thought

    There is an extraordinary difference between no thought and a tiny bit of thought.

    The smallest bit of thought applied to anything, especially things that have previously been left solely to chance, will yield noticeable results.

    By corollary, don't be afraid to put in a little effort, even when you feel like you should put in a lot. Those first few minutes of consideration on a problem or idea are still just as valuable even without hours of follow-on thought.

    Friday
    Nov262010

    World-o-meter

    Imagine if everyone in the world had two buttons on them at all times: thumbs-up and thumbs-down. Anytime anyone on the planet has a positive feeling or experience, they press the thumbs-up button. Every time they have a negative feeling or experience, the thumbs-down.

    Now imagine all these billions of button presses get sent back to a central repository in real-time, over the internet, cell-networks, whatever means of communication necessary. Attached to each button press would be a timestamp and a geo-location tag.

    First, you'd get an instant global zeitgeist. Interesting, but maybe by itself not very insightful. I'd guess it's probably pretty static, maybe cyclical with the time of day, day of week, or season.

    But more importantly, you could surface instant anomalies. The mood in a village in Africa drops precipitously overnight, perhaps an indication that violence has broken out; a flurry of negative activity in a big European city as news of a local hero killed in an accident spreads through the public consciousness. A country experiences a collective moment of elation as a new leader is elected.

    Governments, activists, and human rights groups around the world would have incredible power to find hotspots, watch for trends, and measure effectiveness of political messaging and aid campaigns on a global scale.

    Twitter would like to be such a world-o-meter, but it suffers from being too obscure, too complex, and too qualitative. Arm the world with thumbs-up/thumbs-down and see what happens.

    Thursday
    Nov252010

    Shipped Blood

    I went for lab work this week. I had blood drawn. They shipped it to a lab for testing in a padded FedEx box.

    It's kind of creepy to think about how many gallons of blood FedEx ships every day.

    Wednesday
    Nov242010

    Accept Your Badness

    Knowing you are "bad" at something can be exactly what makes you good at it.

    What makes you cautious? What makes you search for prior solutions to a problem from those who may have been smarter, worked harder, or thought longer about it than you? What makes you double check your work? What makes you measure twice to cut once? What makes you look before you leap? What makes you solicit feedback instead of banging your head against the wall, or failing with naive arrogance?

    What makes you those things is not thinking your the best, not thinking your infallible, and it's what makes you great.

    Tuesday
    Nov232010

    Every Change Has a Story

    The most interesting thing about this map is that every single line change has a whole complicated story behind it. A great or terrible leader, a booming or busting economy, a religious war, a family feud, a power trip, a misunderstanding, blinding love, blinding jealousy, blinding fear or anxiety, suffering death, and flourishing birth. All of that humanity, rendered in the least personal way possible in one cold, epic, animated map.

    Monday
    Nov222010

    Conventional Wisdom Du Jour

    It seems like whenever an influencer makes a definitive statement (usually one based in not much more than common sense), the internet spreads it so efficiently, and everyone is so afraid of not being "intellectually trendy", that it immediately becomes a biblical truth. The "conventional wisdom du jour", if you will.

    Seth Godin and Fred Wilson have this affect, NYTimes and WSJ political commentators have this effect. In every niche circle, there are so-called experts who propagate this behavior.

    Before you go around quoting a model for the world you just learned from an Amazon review of a book published last month, decide if you really think this nouveau certainty is really so certain.