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Why moonshots elude the timid of heart
February 14, 2020 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

* Loonshots — by Safi Bahcall.
* Major innovations tend to result from investment that is high-risk, high-pay-off.
* Executives at the Cambridge, UK outpost of an admired Japanese company fret that success rate of their research and development, at 70%, was far too high. It signals that research teams had been risk-averse, pursuing easy wins at the expense of more radical and risky long-shots.
* Disney, the belief is that Disney if you weren't failing at half of your endeavours, you weren’t being brave or creative enough.
* The problem is a societal/systematic preference for marginal gains over long shots---It is much more pleasant to experience a steady trickle of small successes than a long drought while waiting for a flood that may never come.
* marginal gains do add up, but need to be bolstered by the occasional long-shot breakthrough.....Major innovations such as the electric motor, the photo­voltaic cell or the mobile phone open up new territories that the marginal-gains innovators & tinkerers can further exploit.[JCK: from Simon Johnson, "public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy."]
* the UK Conservative party’s promise to establish “a new agency for high-risk, high-pay-off research, at arm’s length from government” — a British version of the much-admired US Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.
* DARPA's failure rate is often said to be around 85%.
* a low failure rate may indeed signal a lack of originality and ambition.
* Arpa hires high-quality scientists for short stints — often two or three years — and giving them control over a programme budget to commission research from any source they wish.
* the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a foundation, deliberately looks for projects with an unusual or untried approach, but a large potential pay-off.....HHMI gets what it pays for — more failures, but larger successes, compared with other grant-makers funding researchers of a similar calibre.
* how long will UK politicians tolerate failure as a sign of boldness and originality? Eventually, they will simply call it failure.
* the trilemma: Be cautious, or fund lots of risky but tiny projects, or fund a few big, risky projects from a modest budget and accept that every single one may flop.
audacity  big_bets  boldness  books  breakthroughs  Cambridge  DARPA  failure  game_changers  high-reward  high-risk  incrementalism  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  marginal_improvements  moonshots  originality  politicians  public_investments  publicly_funded  quick_wins  R&D  risk-aversion  science  small_wins  spillover  success_rates  thinking_big  Tim_Harford  timidity  United_Kingdom 
yesterday by jerryking
Facilitating Failure Swap Shops —
So — what is a Failure Swap Shop?
It's two rules and four steps.
The Two Rules permalink
We're all friends.
Only share the lessons learned.
learning  failure  methodology 
2 days ago by euler
Lambda School: the high cost of a free coding bootcamp - The Verge
Students at Lambda School, a coding bootcamp that famously allows its enrollees to defer tuition for an income-sharing agreement (ISA), say the program hasn’t delivered on its promise. Now, those students are trying to get out of those contracts — and out of class.
programming  learning  education  failure  skills  training 
5 days ago by basemaly
Israeli Voters: Data of All 6.5 Million Voters Leaked - The New York Times
The website for an election app used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party made it possible to view full names, addresses, identity card numbers and more.
cyberwar  privacy  data  failure 
5 days ago by basemaly
Motorola Razr 'breaks' after just 27,000 folds in CNet's testing video (Update: adds Motorola's statement) • Android Police
Ryne Hager:
<p>It looks like the Moto Razr wasn't able to last anywhere near as long in CNet's test as the old Galaxy Fold did. <a href="">The phone "broke" after just 27,000 folds</a>. After developing a clicking noise when folding, it developed a "hitch," with the hinge appearing to fall out of alignment, and the automated folding machine was unable to close the device correctly. However, the screen on the device is still working. Failure, in this case, is a relative metric — it's not like the phone exploded.

CNet's video hosts admit they used the phone somewhat before recording to test that everything was working correctly with the automated machine, so that may have had an effect. Even so, Moto's folding phone could have fared better, and these results don't speak well for the phone's potential durability.</p>

Motorola's response was, roughly, "you're test-folding it wrong."
foldable  motorola  failure 
7 days ago by charlesarthur
Helix Get User Missing Total Followers - API - Twitch Developer Forums
We recently noticed that the Get Users endpoint ( ) does not have the total follower count. This endpoint is more or less the equivalent of the Channels endpoint in&hellip;  api  failure 
9 days ago by po
It's Official: Open-Plan Offices Are Now the Dumbest Management Fad of All Time |
A new study from Harvard reveals that open-plan offices decrease rather than increase face-to-face collaboration.
office  work  failure  collaboration  communication 
9 days ago by basemaly

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