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David McCullough’s History Lessons
April 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Alexandra Wolfe.

David McCullough thinks that the country isn’t in such bad shape. It’s all relative, says the 83-year-old historian and author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001). He points to the Civil War, for instance, when the country lost 2% of its population—that would be more than six million people today—or the flu pandemic of 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died. “Imagine that on the nightly news,” he says.

History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[McCullough] thought back to something that the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder had said while a fellow at Yale during Mr. McCullough’s undergraduate days. When Wilder heard a good story and wished to see it on the stage, he wrote the play himself. When he wanted to read a book about an interesting event, he wrote it himself.....Even today, Mr. McCullough doesn’t use a computer for research or writing. He still goes to libraries and archives to find primary sources and writes on a typewriter. ...History, he adds, is “often boiled down to statistics and dates and quotations that make it extremely boring.” The key to generating interest, he says, is for professors and teachers to frame history as stories about people.
archives  authors  biographies  Civil_War  contextual  David_McCullough  DIY  flu_outbreaks  Harry_Truman  historians  history  John_Adams  libraries  self-importance  self-pity  sense_of_proportion  storytelling  Pulitzer_Prize 
april 2017
Does Steve Bannon Have Something to Offer? - WSJ
By Peggy Noonan
April 13, 2017

Capitalists, he said, now must ask: “What is the purpose of whatever I’m doing with this wealth? What is the purpose of what I’m doing with the ability that God has given us . . . to actually be a creator of jobs and a creator of wealth?”

With both these strands, he says, the middle class loses ground. This has contributed to the “global revolt” of populism and nationalism. That revolt was fueled, too, by the financial crisis of 2008. None of those responsible on Wall Street were called to account: “No bonuses and none of their equity was taken.” The taxes of the middle class were used to bail them out.
Peggy_Noonan  Stephen_Bannon  capitalism 
april 2017
Naive entrepreneurs at risk of losing out to venture capitalists
Jan. 20, 2016 | The Financial Times News: p6. | Murad Ahmed

Tech start-up financing is often structured to protect venture capitalists, not founders, says Murad Ahmed

Nicolas Brusson and Philip...
entrepreneur  founders  vc  venture_capital  France  BlaBlaCar  trustworthiness  relationships  funding  asymmetrical  investors  naivete  connected_cars 
april 2017
Instagram Finds Focus Under ‘Efficiency Guru’
April 13, 2017 | WSJ | By Deepa Seetharaman

Ms. Levine’s biggest contribution, Mr. Systrom says, is helping Instagram avoid the fate analyst Ben Thompson described: “Companies break every time they double.” [See reference to sublinearity in new book of Geoffrey West, “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin). Specifically, "infrastructure growth scales in analogous sublinear fashion]

In 2014, Mr. Systrom said he realized he and his co-founder, Mike Krieger, needed help to grow Instagram. Facebook had bought the startup for $1 billion two years earlier, when it had just 13 employees. The pressure was on for Instagram to make money and roll out products at a more rapid clip, and the co-founders saw the need for an executive to manage the expansion.

Marne Levine is “an efficiency guru” who has helped the Instagram app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth. Ms. Levine has skills that are in high demand in Silicon Valley, where startups often struggle to get past their adolescence. Uber Technologies Inc., for instance, is seeking a second-in-command to help founder Travis Kalanick repair the ride-sharing company’s image after allegations of sexism and sexual harassment and the departure of several top executives. “We want to be the 10x company,” Ms. Levine, 46, says. “That means we need to think carefully about how we set up our operations, how we grow and how we scale.”.....A seasoned manager can instill discipline and order, helping new companies avoid wasting time and resources while adding a veneer of professionalism to attract potential customers.
Instagram  Facebook  focus  scaling  growth  Snap  Snapchat  expansions  COO  efficiencies  sublinearity  powerlaw  product_launches  speed  blitzscaling  operational_tempo  10x 
april 2017
‘Locking Up Our Own,’ What Led to Mass Incarceration of Black Men - The New York Times
By JENNIFER SENIOR APRIL 11, 2017

LOCKING UP OUR OWN
Crime and Punishment in Black America
By James Forman Jr.
Illustrated. 306 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $27

Part of the power of “Locking Up Our Own” is that it’s about Washington — not the swamp of deceit merchants and influence-peddlers that Donald J. Trump promised to drain, but a majority-black city that hundreds of thousands call home, regardless of whose bum is in the Oval Office. Washington only first got the chance to elect its own mayor and city council in 1975, and the city’s coming-of-age story — and the challenges it faced — in some ways mirrored that of other cities with large African-American populations, like Atlanta and Detroit.

“Locking Up Our Own” is also very poignantly a book of the Obama era, when black authors like Alexander and Bryan Stevenson and Ta-Nehisi Coates initiated difficult conversations about racial justice and inequality, believing that their arguments might, for once, gain more meaningful traction. (Often, in fact, they said things the president, burdened with the duty to represent everyone, might not have felt free to say himself.......Forman does not minimize the influence of racism on mass incarceration. And he takes great pains to emphasize that African-Americans almost inevitably agitated for more than just law-enforcement solutions to the problems facing their neighborhoods — they argued for job and housing programs, improvements in education. But their timing in stumping for social programs was terrible. “Such efforts had become an object of ridicule by 1975, a symbol of the hopeless naïveté of 1960s liberalism,” Forman writes.

One result: A wide range of African-American leaders championed tougher penalties for drug crimes and gun possession in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. It was the one option they consistently had, and it seemed a perfectly responsible, moral position. Wasn’t the safety of black law-abiding citizens a basic civil right?
mass_incarceration  African-Americans  men  books  book_reviews  penalties  prisons  unintended_consequences  criminal_justice_system  difficult_conversations 
april 2017
Book Pins Corporate Greed on a Lust Bred at Harvard - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin
DEALBOOK APRIL 10, 2017

the Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Mass... produces a disproportionate number of the nation’s business leaders.

“The Golden Passport,” by the veteran business journalist Duff McDonald, is a richly reported indictment of the school as a leading reason that corporate America is disdained by much of the country.

“The Harvard Business School became (and remains) so intoxicated with its own importance that it blithely assumed away one of the most important questions it could ask, which was whether the capitalist system it was uniquely positioned to help improve was designed properly for the long term,”
HBS  capitalism  greed  Andrew_Sorkin  books  mission-driven  leaders  leadership_development 
april 2017
Oak View Group – We are here to be a positive disruption to business as usual in the sports and live entertainment industry.
Messrs. Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke could use conferences to help Oak View Group, their venue-management company, which collects annual fees from about two dozen arenas in exchange for sponsorships, event booking and other services.
disruption  back-office  sports  live_performances  sponsorships  events  arenas  Tim_Leiweke  entertainment_industry 
april 2017
On the Vimy anniversary, it’s time we all learned the name Arthur Currie - The Globe and Mail
DONALD MACLEOD
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Apr. 09, 2017

we should celebrate Sir Arthur Currie and, perhaps, take a cue from our Australian cousins and consider promoting him to the rank of field marshal in the name of the soldiers of the Canadian Corp he led.
leadership  recognition  WWI  anniversaries  soldiers  Vimy  generalship  nation_building  history  Canadian  Canada  memorials  commemoration  militaries 
april 2017
Pearson airport hub a fitting project for Canada Infrastructure Bank: Metrolinx CEO - The Globe and Mail
BILL CURRY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Apr. 09, 2017

In recent months, Pearson airport officials have been promoting a plan to raise billions for regional transit connections, including the possibility of a high-speed rail link through southwestern Ontario. A report that has not yet been released to the public estimates that private capital could help fund more than $12-billion worth of new transit, including a $6-billion high-speed rail line connecting Toronto and Windsor. One option to fund the projects would be to partially privatize the airport.

“What Pearson airport is proposing is a really important way to start to think about how do we build out the connectivity between Pearson, the rest of the transit and transportation network and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area,”
airports  Toronto  infrastructure  hubs  high-speed_rail  transit  transportation  Mississauga  Metrolinx  Pearson_International  GTAA  YYZ  travel  terminals  accessibility  southwestern_Ontario  HSR 
april 2017
Dancing with Disruption - Mike Lipkin
Post navigation
PREVIOUS POST
By Mike Lipkin
#1. Become someone who knows.....a secret is a formula or knowledge that is only known to a few. If you own a secret, you have the power to share it so you can turn the few into the many. Secrets are everywhere – hiding in plain sight. The difference between someone who knows and someone who doesn’t is the willingness to do the work, find the information, talk to the people and formulate one’s strategy. Be a source of joy and not a source of stress!! Disruption begins long before.....Mastering other people's emotions....Add in a way that thrills and delights others!! Prospective of Personal Mastery....industry connection + internal influence.
# 2. Have an audacious ambition. If you want to be a disruptor, you can be humble, but you can’t be modest. You have to dream big....dream bigger than anything that gets in its way.
#3. Be simultaneously analytical and creative. There may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap? ...Disruption demands left and right brain firing together. Your intuition may alert you to the opportunity but it’s your intellect that builds your business case. That’s why you need wingmen or women to complement your capacity. Fly social not solo.
#4. Be prolific. The more you lose, the more you win. 1.0 is always imperfect. You will hear the word “no” hundreds of times more than the word “yes.” The best way to get ready is to do things before you’re ready. The best you can do is get it as right as you can the first time [i.e. "good enough"] and then get better, stronger, smarter. Disruptors try a lot more things than disruptees. They fail fast and they fail forward. [Practice: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.
#5. Communicate like magic. If you want to be a disruptor, you must be a great communicator. ... the right words generate oxytocin – the love hormone, whereas the wrong words generate cortisol, the stress hormone. .... tell your story in a way that opens people’s hearts, minds and wallets to you. Create a vocabulary.
#6. Be a talent magnet. Disruption demands the boldest and brightest partners....The best talent goes where it earns the highest return. Reputation is everything. [What would Mandela do?]
#7. Play like a champion today. Disruptors may not always play at their best but they play their best every day. They bring their A-Game no matter who they’re playing....you feel their intensity and passion. How hard are you hustling on any given day? Everything matters. There is no such thing as small. They’re all in, all the time.
disruption  personal_branding  uncertainty  hard_work  Pablo_Picasso  creativity  intuition  intensity  passions  talent  failure  partnerships  reputation  Communicating_&_Connecting  storytelling  thinking_big  expertise  inequality_of_information  knowledge_intensive  imperfections  audacity  special_sauce  prolificacy  affirmations  unshared_information  good_enough  pairs  Mike_Lipkin  CAIF 
april 2017
He Saves Fashion Models From Financial Chaos - The New York Times
By STEVEN KURUTZAPRIL 8, 2017
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personal_finance  financial_advisors  fashion 
april 2017
Pam Edstrom Burnished the Image of Bill Gates and Microsoft - WSJ
“What business problem are we trying to solve?” she often asked. She also preached brevity. “Be brief, be bright and be done,” she sometimes advised colleagues before meeting with clients.
problem_definition  problem_framing  problem_solving  public_relations  brevity  obituaries  women  Microsoft  billgates  Silicon_Valley 
april 2017
How Goldman Sachs Made More Than $1 Billion With Your Credit Score - WSJ
By LIZ HOFFMAN and ANNAMARIA ANDRIOTIS
April 9, 2017

Goldman bought TransUnion , TRU -0.21% the smallest of the three main credit-reporting firms, in 2012. By the time it went public three years later, TransUnion had become a data-mining machine, gathering billions of seemingly insignificant tidbits about ordinary Americans that it analyzed and sold to lenders, insurers and others.....As Goldman and Advent dug into TransUnion’s business, they found the fastest-growing revenue was coming from the company’s dealings with online lending startups, people familiar with the investment said.

These companies, such as LendingClub Corp. and Prosper Marketplace Inc., were using information from credit bureaus to find and vet potential borrowers. They were increasingly hungry for data that could pinpoint borrowers who traditional lenders might overlook or overcharge.....TransUnion’s new owners doubled down on these clients. They recruited Jim Peck, a big-data enthusiast who had run LexisNexis Risk Solutions, as CEO. He spent his first day in the company’s data center.

TransUnion began appearing at fintech conferences. It rebranded itself with a techy, purposeful vibe, wrapping its initials, a lowercase “tu,” in an @ sign. “We’re not just a credit bureau; we’re a force for good,” chirped a 2015 video.

The company spent heavily on technology and acquisitions. It replaced its old mainframe, a relic from the 1970s, with nimbler systems that allow it to splice information in new ways. It built a new data center and started scooping up small companies with niche data sets.....One acquisition tracks public records to help with fraud enforcement related to online shopping, among other things. Another uses utility payments, cellphone billing records and other data points to identify creditworthy borrowers who lenders might have overlooked, either because they have little or no debt history or potential red flags on their traditional credit reports. ​ ​​ ​​....By the time of its IPO in 2015, TransUnion had 30 million gigabytes of data, growing at 25% a year and ranging from voter registration in India to drivers’ accident records in the U.S. The company’s IPO documents boasted that it had anticipated the arrival of online lenders and “created solutions that catered to these emerging providers.”

Goldman itself is a customer. In 2016, the Wall Street firm launched Marcus to make online personal loans of a few thousand dollars. Its main pitch to borrowers: refinance expensive credit-card debt at lower rates.

Goldman buys the names and credit information of potential borrowers from TransUnion and sends direct-mail and other advertising to them.
Goldman_Sachs  TransUnion  Advent  private_equity  credit_reporting  credit_scoring  Equifax  Experian  data  data_driven  Marcus  subprime  solution-finders 
april 2017
William Coleman Fought Civil-Rights Battles From the Inside - WSJ
William T. Coleman Jr. graduated at the top of his Harvard Law School class, served in President Gerald Ford’s cabinet as transportation secretary, argued 19 cases before the Supreme Court and was a director of companies including International Business Machines Corp. and PepsiCo Inc. He was one of the few blacks of his generation to become a top-level insider in business and government.

In his later years, he also was frustrated that American schools and neighborhoods remained largely segregated. “We underestimated the complexity of achieving sustained integration,” he wrote in his 2010 memoir, “Counsel for the Situation.”

He shunned extreme language. “You accomplish things by being in the room when the deal is made, and it’s just not in your interest to take positions where you’re not going to get in the room,” he said in an oral history.....He relished legal problem-solving, and it allowed him to live well. Blue-chip companies “pay me a hell of a lot of money to tell them what to do and what not to do,” he said in an interview with the National Visionary Leadership Project. He also remained active in civil rights.
African-Americans  lawyers  Harvard  '70s  NAACP  memoirs  books  obituaries  civil_rights  segregation  desegregation  problem_solving  cabinets  HLS  blue-chips 
april 2017
To Be a Genius, Think Like a 94-Year-Old - The New York Times
Pagan Kennedy APRIL 7, 2017

Pagan Kennedy is the author of “Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World”

it’s easy for us middle-aged folk to believe that the great imaginative leaps are behind us, and that innovation belongs to the kids.

On the contrary, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that late blooming is no anomaly. A 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers. Similarly, professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University in Japan, who studied data about patent holders, found that, in the United States, the average inventor sends in his or her application to the patent office at age 47, and that the highest-value patents often come from the oldest inventors — those over the age of 55.....The more I talked to Dr. Goodenough, the more I wondered if his brilliance was directly tied to his age. After all, he has been thinking about energy problems longer than just about anyone else on the planet.....“I’m old enough to know you can’t close your mind to new ideas. You have to test out every possibility if you want something new.”

When I asked him about his late-life success, he said: “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. .... The tapestry reminds him of the divine power that fuels his mind. “I’m grateful for the doors that have been opened to me in different periods of my life,” he said. He believes the glass battery was just another example of the happy accidents that have come his way: “At just the right moment, when I was looking for something, it walked in the door.”
physics  batteries  energy  creativity  biases  patents  midlife  genius  aging  late_bloomers 
april 2017
Building an Empire on Event Data – The Event Log
Michelle WetzlerFollow
Chief Data Scientist @keen_io
Mar 31

Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix have built their businesses on event data. They’ve invested hundreds of millions behind data scientists and engineers, all to help them get to a deep understanding and analysis of the actions their users or customers take, to inform decisions all across their businesses.
Other companies hoping to compete in a space where event data is crucial to their success must find a way to mirror the capabilities of the market leaders with far fewer resources. They’re starting to do that with event data platforms like Keen IO.
What does “Event Data” mean?
Event data isn’t like its older counterpart, entity data, which describes objects and is stored in tables. Event data describes actions, and its structure allows many rich attributes to be recorded about the state of something at a particular point in time.
Every time someone loads a webpage, clicks an ad, pauses a song, updates a profile, or even takes a step into a retail location, their actions can be tracked and analyzed. These events span so many channels and so many types of interactions that they paint an extremely detailed picture of what captivates customers.
data  data_driven  massive_data_sets  data_scientists  event-driven  events  strategy  engineering  Facebook  Google  Amazon  Netflix 
april 2017
Is it harder to lose weight when you’re older? - The Globe and Mail
KAREN WEINTRAUB
The New York Times News Service
Published Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2017
aging  weight_loss 
april 2017
With 125 Ph.D.s in 15 Countries, a Quant ‘Alpha Factory’ Hunts for Investing Edge - WSJ
By BRADLEY HOPE
Updated April 6, 2017

The firm is part of the forefront of a new quantitative renaissance in investing, where the ability to make sense of billions of bits of data in real time is more sought after than old-school financial analysis.

“Brilliance is very equally distributed across the world, but opportunity is not,” said Mr. Tulchinsky, a 50-year-old Belarusian. “We provide the opportunity.”

To do this, WorldQuant developed a model where it employs hundreds of scientists, including 125 Ph.D.s, around the world and hundreds more part-time workers to scour the noise of the economy and markets for hidden patterns. This is the heart of the firm. Mr. Tulchinsky calls it the “Alpha Factory.”....Quantitative hedge funds have been around for decades but they are becoming dominant players in the markets for their ability to parse massive data sets and trade rapidly. Amid huge outflows, traditional hedge funds are bringing aboard chief data scientists and trying to mimic quant techniques to keep up, fund executives say.

Some critics of quants believe their strategies are overhyped and are highly susceptible to finding false patterns in the noise of data. David Leinweber, a data scientist, famously found that the data set with the highest correlation with the S&P 500 over a 10-year period in the 1990s was butter production in Bangladesh.
quantitative  Wall_Street  PhDs  alpha  investors  slight_edge  massive_data_sets  signals  noise  data_scientists  real-time  algorithms  patterns  sense-making  quants  unevenly_distributed  WorldQuant 
april 2017
'That was then': Mulroney on his role helping Trudeau, despite rivalry with dad - The Globe and Mail
ALEXANDER PANETTA
WASHINGTON — The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, Apr. 05, 2017

“The name that kept coming up again and again was Prime Minister Mulroney’s,” said one person involved in the Nov. 9 talks.

“Almost everybody we called with even a tangential relationship with Trump said Mulroney was the guy to talk to.”

Mulroney has since had several phone chats with the prime minister, that source said. He’s also volunteered in three ways: establishing connections, offering advice, and conveying one country’s perspective to the other.

For example, the source said, if the Americans were upset about trade deficits, Mulroney might point out to Ross how the deficit with Canada was a non-issue — largely attributable to swings in oil prices beyond any government’s control.

Mulroney wasn’t the only bridge-builder: Chrystia Freeland set up the initial meetings in New York between the Trudeau and Trump teams.

He credits everyone for making the most of these new connections.

“I can tell you I’ve heard from two leaders of the American administration... telling me the Canadians... were the best and the nicest people the Americans were able to deal with anyone around the world,” he said....
Mulroney is equally laudatory of the opposition’s behaviour: he says Rona Ambrose and the Conservatives have lowered the partisan temperature on a critical issue of national interest, and sent a letter offering help wherever possible.

“This is a national challenge,” Mulroney said.

“If we were ever to lose NAFTA you’d see grave challenges in Canadian society. So in something like this there’s not a Conservative, or a Liberal way to look at this. There’s only a Canadian way.”

He said that example of Canadians sticking together got noticed in Washington. In comparison, U.S. politics has been riven by partisanship even on touchy international matters, like the handling of Russian meddling in the last U.S. election.

This spurt of bipartisanship also contrasts with another important national moment, which Mulroney recalls with sadness: the effort to reach permanent constitutional peace with Quebec.
relationships  crossborder  politicians  Brian_Mulroney  political_capital  nonpartisan  Justin_Trudeau  NAFTA  advice  bridge-builders  Communicating_&_Connecting  national_unity  Conservative_Party 
april 2017
Does innovation have to mean jobs? - Western Alumni
 Fall 2011
Does innovation have to mean jobs?

by Paul Wells, BA'89
innovation  Apple  Colleges_&_Universities  design  Paul_Wells 
april 2017
Time to push the Western vehicle - Western Alumni
 Summer 2010
Time to push the Western vehicle

by Paul Wells, BA '89
UWO  Paul_Wells  ambitions  CEOs 
april 2017
Measuring value of university contingency - Western Alumni
Spring 2013
Measuring value of university contingency

by Paul Wells, BA'89

Tutoring my favourite nine-year-old, I was surprised at how much trouble he was having with fractions. This is a smart kid with a good number sense, but he was flummoxed as he tried to grasp the applications of halves, quarters and eighths. I went through the stages of tutor grief — denial, anger, bargaining — before I began to realize what the problem was. Fractions represent a huge advance over everything a child has learned up to then, because they represent a relation, not an absolute. No wonder it’s a big moment

[JCK: Dec. 21 2010 | Forbes | Rich Karlgaard. Success is often a
matter of getting the ratios right. Business and investing success is
hardly possible without understanding ratios. Knowing the numbers is
important. But knowing the numbers in relation to other numbers will
make you a millionaire. You will see anomalies that others miss.]

...... the notion of fraction's adaptability is what makes it so powerful. Fractions lead you by a short road to algebra and to a Pandora’s box of tools for finding the value of unknown quantities....A few years ago I spent a month at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, trying to understand the work of the physicists there. Most of it went right over my head, but once in a while I’d see some genius write symbols above and below a division line, cross it with symbols in a neighbouring fraction, simplify and solve, and I would realize that I was watching another application of tools that became available to that genius,.....At some point in almost every field you move, not without struggle, from the absolute to the contingent. In the first books you read — I’m talking little kids here — a bird is just a bird. Eventually you graduate to metaphor, and now a bird can be a stand-in for hope or freedom or death. In law you move past different readings of a statute to competing notions of the good or just. In music, harmonies become richer, relations among notes more open to interpretation, until the very notion of harmony becomes something a composer can retain or reject according to taste and need. And then you listen to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and you wonder whether any of this change can be said to represent progress.

If there’s a place in modern society where the notions of relation, proportion and contingency are most frequently encountered and applied, it’s the university.....

Few places are easier to mock for their pretentiousness. (Why are campus politics so vicious? Because, Henry Kissinger said, the stakes are so low.) But at universities people are at least a little likelier, on average, to question their assumptions, to be prepared to defend or discard them, than in the rest of the world. That’s the hope, anyway.

So it’s disappointing, while unsurprising, that these bastions of relativism..have spent so much time marketing themselves as purveyors of sure value.
campus_politics  Colleges_&_Universities  contingency  mathematics  messiness  Paul_Wells  Perimeter_Institute  proportionality  ratios  relationships  tools 
april 2017
Gazette shifts gears with format change - Western Alumni
 Spring 2015
Gazette shifts gears with format change

by Paul Wells, BA'8
UWO  newspapers  Colleges_&_Universities 
april 2017
Dynamic, fashionable Peruvian cuisine makes long-awaited invasion of Toronto - The Globe and Mail
CHRIS JOHNS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, MAR. 31, 2017

Toronto, for all of its traditional, family-run Peruvian restaurants, such as the venerable Boulevard Cafe on Harbord, St. Clair West’s El Fogon, Paracas and La Cocina de Dona Luz, has been a little slower to embrace the trend.......The Chinese rail workers who immigrated in the 19th century blended their food with Peruvian ingredients to create Chifa. Peru’s Japanese population created Nikkei, one of the world’s most intriguing cuisines......Toronto’s Ritz Carlton...... Peruvian chef Martin Ore’s Mochica, the new Toronto outpost of his popular 12-year-old Montreal restaurant of the same name....chef Steve Gonzales’s sleek new Latin-inspired Baro Restaurant on King West there’s a posh fried rice dish called chaufa, a classic example of the Chinese/Peruvian Chifa hybrid....
restaurants  Toronto  Peru  cuisine  Peruvian  19th_century 
april 2017
Obit doc examines the art of the obituary at The New York Times - The Globe and Mail
JULIA COOPER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Mar. 30, 2017
NYT  obituaries  documentaries 
april 2017
Well-Done Steak Without Shame - WSJ
By HILARY POTKEWITZ
April 1, 2017

Here is how I cook my steaks without pink on the inside but still tender.
Salt it at least an hour before and bring it to room temperature before cooking. Optional: I marinate my steaks some times for 4 hours in soy sauce, wine, some sugar, touch of oyster sauce and garlic.
Cook as you would cook medium rare in a hot cast iron pan 3-5 minutes each side.
While you are cooking in hot pan, heat the oven to 350.
Take the steak out of the pan and slice it across appx 3/4 inch to one inch thick.
Return to cast iron pan and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes or more so that you do not see pink. If marinated, you can put the sliced steak in the oven with marinade leftover on top of steak and leave in the oven till the marinade is boiling hot.
meat  steaks  cancers  BBQ  grilling  mens'_health  rubs_sauces_marinades 
april 2017
Trump offering a timely cautionary tale on trying to run government as a business
Mar. 31, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ADAM RADWANSKI.

.The enduring appeal of this hoariest of political clichés – some variation of making government run more like a business – is such that it surely seemed to Mr. Trump’s admirers like confirmation of the real-world expertise he seduced them with on the campaign trail....Mr. Trump is already providing cautionary tales. A management style that encourages factions in his employ to compete against each other for his attention is a proven recipe for chaos in government. His blustery approach to negotiations has yet to show many signs of working with foreign leaders. Most consequentially, so far, a lack of attention to detail, which could be overcome when delegating to underlings at his companies, proved devastating in the first legislative test of his administration – the President unable to sell fellow Republicans on his health-care plan, in part because he did not know details about the bill.......The more time one spends in or around governments, the more obvious it is why attempts to bring a Wall Street or Bay Street mentality to them can end badly.

Ethical scrutiny, for all that entrepreneurs-turned-politicians paint capital cities as swamps, is greater than in the corporate world. And because governments get more attention for failures than quiet successes, tolerance for risk is often lower.

Healthy tension with career civil servants can turn unhealthy if politicians and their staffs do not make honest efforts to understand and engage bureaucrats. And the overarching reality is that, in government, goals and outcomes are more complex, abstract and intuitive than when they can be measured by profit margins.

Business titans can triumph in politics – a Michael Bloomberg in New York, a Danny Williams in Newfoundland. And public-sector culture is often stagnant, and benefits from outside eyes. But the disruptors’ success usually involves a willingness to admit (privately) what they do not know about government, and trust people who understand it better.
bureaucrats  business  business_interests  businessman_fallacy  cautionary_tales  clichés  delusions  Donald_Trump  government  humility  national_interests  political_clichés  pro-business  public_sector 
april 2017
A Quick Guide to Backing Up Your Critical Data - The New York Times
By J. D. BIERSDORFER and KELLY COUTURIERMARCH 31, 2017

Backing Up Your Phone

If you have an iPhone, you have the choice of backing up your data in iCloud or in iTunes.

If you choose the iCloud option, you will get up to two terabytes of storage, with the first five gigabytes free. Your backup files are always encrypted, and you can create and use backups from anywhere with Wi-Fi.

If you choose the iTunes option, your backup files are stored on your Mac or PC, and the amount of storage you get depends on your Mac’s or PC’s available space. You have the option of encrypted backups. You can only create and use backups from your Mac or PC.

You can also skip iTunes and iCloud and have more control over backing up an iPhone to a PC or Mac with a third-party backup program, like iMazing or iExplorer.
digital_storage  music  photography 
april 2017
When the President Is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance - The New York Times
Thomas B. Edsall MARCH 30, 2017

How prepared is our president for the next great foreign, economic or terrorist crisis?

After a little more than two months in office, President Trump has raised doubts about his ability to deal with what the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously described as the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns.”

“President Trump seems to have no awareness whatsoever of what he does and does not know,” Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote me. “He is ignorant of his own ignorance.”

During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 “false or misleading claims,” according to The Washington Post.
Donald_Trump  ignorance  U.S.foreign_policy  crisis  lying  Donald_Rumsfeld  unknowns  immaturity  self-discipline  self-awareness  SecDef  ethno­nationalism 
march 2017
How America Fails Black Girls - The New York Times
By MORGAN JERKINSMARCH 29, 2017
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girls  African-Americans  Washington_D.C.  double_standards 
march 2017
China set up crime web in Canada, report says - The Globe and Mail
ANDREW MITROVICA AND JEFF SALLOT
Toronto and Ottawa — ANDREW MITROVICA and JEFF SALLOT The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Apr. 29, 2000 12:00AM EDT
Last updated Saturday, Mar. 21, 2009
security_&_intelligence  China  organized_crime  threats  espionage  collaboration  CSIS  RCMP 
march 2017
BlackRock Bets on Robots to Improve Its Stock Picking - WSJ
By SARAH KROUSE
Updated March 28, 2017

The firm is offering its Main Street customers lower-cost quantitative stock funds that rely on data and computer systems to make predictions, an investment option previously available only to large institutional investors. Some existing funds will merge, get new investment mandates or close. The changes are the most significant attempt yet to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged behind rivals in performance......The author of the company’s new strategy is former Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Chief Executive Mark Wiseman, who was hired last year to turn around the stock-picking business. The effort is the first test for Mr. Wiseman, viewed by some company observers as a potential successor to Chief Executive Laurence Fink......Many other firms that specialize in handpicking stocks are also struggling with low returns and shifting investor tastes. Since the 2008 financial crisis, clients across the money-management industry have moved hundreds of billions of dollars to lower-cost funds that track indexes, known as passive investment funds, instead of aiming to beat the market.
BlackRock  stock_picking  automation  layoffs  asset_management  institutional_investors  ETFs  Mark_Wiseman  Laurence_Fink  CPPIB  robotics  quantitative  active_investing  passive_investing  shifting_tastes  money_management  beat_the_market 
march 2017
There Is Coconut Everywhere - WSJ
By ANNE MARIE CHAKER
March 27, 2017 1

Coconut is in everything. Packaged soups, baby foods and snack foods are made with coconut oil, flour and shavings. Gyms are stocking coconut water. For some, coconut oil is a substitute for butter on popcorn, and coffee shops are spooning it liberally in blended lattés.

The flavorful ingredient went from a garnish on a cake to a base in foods in part because consumers no longer worry about its fat content. It is also increasingly promoted as healthful: Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than ordinary sugar, nutritionists say, meaning it can cause blood sugar to spike less, which may help stave hunger. Consumers seek such plant-based foods because they can help them stick to popular diets, such as dairy-free or gluten-free.
coconuts  plant-based 
march 2017
Why Andreessen Horowitz Models Itself After A Hollywood Talent Agency - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
By DEBORAH GAGE
Jan 21, 2011

Andreessen Horowitz’s investors, including university endowments, foundations and funds of funds, are also betting big money on the firm’s story, Horowitz says. The firm aims to flip the venture industry on its head by acting more like a talent agency – specifically Creative Artists Agency, which became so prominent in Hollywood that it was hard to do deals without them being involved.

CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, who served on Opsware’s board from 2000 until H-P’s acquisition in 2007, shared his secrets with the two partners, Horowitz said — even talking to Andreessen Horowitz’s employees when the firm started so that everybody could be on the same page.

Horowitz says he and Andreessen looked hard at everything Ovitz did, “and a lot of little things, we copied,” including even how Ovitz ran staff meetings.

Like CAA – and unlike more traditional venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz employs over 20 well-paid partners whose job is to help clients, i.e. the entrepreneurs, much in the same way CAA agents serve the talent.

Instead of book and movie and TV deals, the partners, each specialists in their fields, find engineers, designers, and product managers; the best marketing and public relations; and relationships with key customers – not just top management, but the guys who run the network and the database. They check references, and research companies and markets.

“When we were at Netscape, John Doerr introduced us to the CEO of AT&T,” Horowitz said. “That’s great, but he’s not buying a Web server. If you have no relationship at that level, it’s not as powerful, so we invest a lot in that.”...Like his firm, Horowitz believes every company should have a great story, too, because it motivates employees and helps explain the company to the outside world. “In a company, hundreds of decisions get made, but objectives and goals are thin,” he says. “I emphasize to CEOs, you have to have a story in the minds of the employees. It’s hard to memorize objectives, but it’s easy to remember a story.”
Andreessen_Horowitz  Marc_Andreessen  Ben_Horowitz  creating_valuable_content  Michael_Ovitz  CAA  partnerships  insights  professional_service_firms  talent_representation  storytelling  reference-checking 
march 2017
The High-Speed Trading Behind Your Amazon Purchase - WSJ
By CHRISTOPHER MIMS
Updated March 27, 2017

Beneath the placid surface of product pages lies an unseen world of bots, algorithms, flash crashes and fierce competition......Just beneath the placid surface of a typical product page on Amazon lies an unseen world, a system where third-party vendors can sell products alongside Amazon’s own goods. It’s like a stock market, complete with day traders, code-slinging quants, artificial-intelligence algorithms and, yes, flash crashes.

Amazon gave people and companies the ability to sell on Amazon.com in 2000, and it has since grown into a juggernaut, representing 49% of the goods Amazon ships. Amazon doesn’t break out numbers for the portion of its business driven by independent sellers, but that translates to tens of billions in revenue a year. Out of more than 2 million registered sellers, 100,000 each sold more than $100,000 in goods in the past year....It’s clear, after talking to sellers and the software companies that empower them, that the biggest of these vendors are growing into sophisticated retailers in their own right. The top few hundred use pricing algorithms to battle with one another for the coveted “Buy Box,” which designates the default seller of an item. It’s the Amazon equivalent of a No. 1 ranking on Google search, and a tremendous driver of sales.
fulfillment  Amazon  pricing  back-office  third-party  bots  algorithms  flash_crashes  competition  retailers  e-commerce  product_category  private_labels  stockmarkets  eBay  Wal-Mart  Jet  Christopher_Mims 
march 2017
Retail Instincts Propel Investor to Venture Capitalism’s Top Tier - The New York Times
By KATIE BENNER and MICHAEL J. de la MERCEDMARCH 26, 2017

Ms. Green is an unorthodox venture capitalist for several reasons. Apart from having never worked at a venture capital firm before starting her own in 2012, she is also a woman in a male-dominated field. (Of the top 20 venture investors this year, only two were women.) And unlike many generalist venture investors, who work in a range of areas, Ms. Green focuses specifically on commerce and other retail-related start-ups.....Ms. Green’s roots in retail run deep. She began her career as an accountant auditing retailers. In the late 1990s, she covered those companies as a stock analyst for Montgomery Securities, studying wonky measurements like customer traffic in retail locations and a store’s profitability per square foot. She also observed the rise of brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach and Ugg.

She soon concluded that online commerce would underpin the next generation of important retail brands, but that consumers would not rely on just one way to shop. With the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, Ms. Green saw more bankruptcy filings from traditional retailers, as well as news of store closings and reports of market share shifts. But she also saw stores do well when companies could make an emotional connection with shoppers and better analyze their behavior.

“Retail is now totally propelled by consumers and their needs,” she said. “People can buy what they want in any way that they want it. That trend started a long time ago, and it has really changed everything.”.....In 2003, Ms. Green decided to jump from analyzing this shift to investing in it. For a time, she worked as a consultant to a private equity firm before turning to venture capital because of her interest in young companies. In 2010, she raised an angel investment fund to make one-off investments in companies like Birchbox, a cosmetics subscription service, and Warby Parker, an eyeglasses retailer, while she studied how to raise a venture fund. In 2012, Ms. Green raised a $40 million venture fund. The investment firm Cendana Capital contributed $10 million, despite the fact that she had never worked as a traditional investor or tech entrepreneur.
venture_capital  vc  women  retailers  angels  exits  e-commerce  emotional_commitment  brands  emotional_connections  Kirsten_Green  Birchbox  Warby_Parker  top-tier  investors 
march 2017
Nick Bostrom: ‘We are like small children playing with a bomb’
Sunday 12 June 2016 | Technology | The Guardian | by Tim Adams.

Sentient machines are a greater threat to human existence than climate change, according to the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom.

Bostrom, a 43-year-old Swedish-born philosopher, has lately acquired something of the status of prophet of doom among those currently doing most to shape our civilisation: the tech billionaires of Silicon Valley. His reputation rests primarily on his book Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, which was a surprise New York Times bestseller last year and now arrives in paperback, trailing must-read recommendations from Bill Gates and Tesla’s Elon Musk. (In the best kind of literary review, Musk also gave Bostrom’s institute £1m to continue to pursue its inquiries.)
artificial_intelligence  books  catastrophic_risk  climate_change  dangers  deep_learning  existential  machine_learning  Oxford  prophets  risks 
march 2017
Artificial intelligence is too important to leave unmanaged
September 26, 2016 | FT | John Thornhill.

Investors are scrambling to understand how technology will enable wealth to be created and destroyed

In the 60-year history of AI, the technology has experienced periodic “winters” when heightened expectations of rapid progress were dashed and research funding was cut. “It’s not impossible that we’re setting ourselves up for another AI winter,” says the co-founder of one San Francisco AI-enabled start-up. “There is a lot of over-promising and a real risk of under-delivering.”
One of the more balanced assessments of the state of AI has come from Stanford University as part of a 100-year study of the technology. The report, which brought together many of AI’s leading researchers, attempted to forecast the technology’s impact on a typical US city by 2030......Apart from the social impact, investors are scrambling to understand how such applications of AI will enable wealth to be created — and destroyed.
Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton Capital, a London-based venture capital firm, says “AI is the big question of the now” for many investors. The clue, he suggests, is to identify those companies capable of amassing vast pools of domain specific data to run through their AI systems that can disrupt traditional business models. [Large data sets with known correct answers serve as a training bed and then new data serves as a test bed]
artificial_intelligence  boom-to-bust  investors  disruption  data  training_beds  test_beds  massive_data_sets  wealth_creation  wealth_destruction  social_impact  venture_capital 
march 2017
Marginal gains matter but gamechangers transform
25 March/26 March 2017 | FT | by Tim Harford.

In the hunt for productivity, the revolutionary long shot is worth the cost and risk.

.............................As Olympic athletes have shown, marginal improvements accumulated over time can deliver world-beating performance,” said Andrew Haldane in a speech on Monday, which is quite true. Mr Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist
........The marginal gains philosophy tries to turn innovation into a predictable process: tweak your activities, gather data, embrace what works and repeat.......As Mr Haldane says, marginal improvements can add up.

But can they add up to productivity gains for the economy as a whole? The question matters. There is no economic topic more important than productivity, which in the long run determines whether living standards surge or stagnate.
........
The idea that developed economies can A/B test their way back to brisk productivity growth is a seductive one.

An alternative view is that what’s really lacking is a different kind of innovation: the long shot. Unlike marginal gains, long shots usually fail, but can pay off spectacularly enough to overlook 100 failures.
.....
These two types of innovation complement each other. Long shot innovations open up new territories; marginal improvements colonise them. The 1870s saw revolutionary breakthroughs in electricity generation and distribution but the dynamo didn’t make much impact on productivity until the 1920s. To take advantage of electric motors, manufacturers needed to rework production lines, redesign factories and retrain workers. Without these marginal improvements the technological breakthrough was of little use.
....Yet two questions remain. One is why so many businesses lag far behind the frontier. .......The culprit may be a lack of competition: vigorous competition tends to raise management quality by spurring improvements and by punishing incompetents with bankruptcy. ....
But the second question is why productivity growth has been so disappointing. A/B testing has never been easier or more fashionable, after all. The obvious answer is that the long shots matter, too.
.....In a data-driven world, it’s easy to fall back on a strategy of looking for marginal gains alone, avoiding the risky, unquantifiable research (jk: leaps of faith). Over time, the marginal gains will surely materialise. I’m not so sure that the long shots will take care of themselves.
adaptability  breakthroughs  compounded  economics  game_changers  incrementalism  innovation  leaps_of_faith  marginal_improvements  moonshots  nudge  organizational_change  organizational_improvements  organizational_structure  power_generation  production_lines  productivity  productivity_payoffs  slight_edge  taxonomy  thinking_big  Tim_Harford 
march 2017
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