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jerryking : engineering   73

How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
Da Vinci code: what the tech age can learn from Leonardo
April 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Ian Goldin.

While Leonardo is recognised principally for his artistic genius, barely a dozen paintings can be unequivocally attributed to him. In life, he defined himself not as an artist but as an engineer and architect......History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes. The Renaissance catapulted Italy from the Medieval age to become the most advanced place on Earth. Then, as now, change brought immense riches to some and growing anxiety and disillusionment to others. We too live in an age of accelerating change, one that has provoked its own fierce backlash. What lessons can we draw from Leonardo and his time to ensure that we not only benefit from a new flourishing, but that progress will be sustained? When we think of the Renaissance, we think of Florence. Leonardo arrived in the city in the mid 1460s, and as a teenager was apprenticed to the painter Verrocchio. The city was already an incubator for ideas. At the centre of the European wool trade, by the late 14th century Florence had become the home of wealthy merchants including the Medicis, who were bankers to the Papal Court. The city’s rapid advances were associated with the information and ideas revolution that defines the Renaissance. Johann Gutenberg had used moveable type to publish his Bible in the early 1450s, and between the time of Leonardo’s birth in 1452 and his 20th birthday, some 15m books were printed, more than all the European scribes had produced over the previous 1,500 years.

..as Leonardo knew, and the Silicon Valley techno-evangelists too often neglect, information revolutions don’t only allow good ideas to flourish. They also provide a platform for dangerous ideas. The Zuckerberg information revolution can pose a similar threat to that of Gutenberg.

In the battle of ideas, populists are able to mobilise the disaffected more effectively than cerebral scientists, decently disciplined innovators and the moderate and often silent majority. For progress to prevail, evidence-based, innovative and reasoned thinking must triumph.
.....Genius thrived in the Renaissance because of the supportive ecosystem that aided the creation and dissemination of knowledge — which then was crushed by the fearful inquisitions. Today, tolerance and evidence-based argument are again under threat.
accelerated_lifecycles  architecture  broad-based_scientific_enquiry  capitalization  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  curiosity  dangerous_ideas  digital_economy  diversity  engineering  Florence  genius  globalization  human_potential  ideas  immigrants  Italy  industry_expertise  Johan_Gutenberg  lessons_learned  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medicis  physical_place  polymaths  observations  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  Silicon_Valley  silo_mentality  tolerance  unevenly_distributed  visionaries 
april 2019 by jerryking
Dyson shifts HQ to Singapore to focus on cars
January 23, 2019 | Financial Times Michael Pooler and Peter Campbell in London and Stefania Palma in Hong Kong.

Move by billionaire’s business reflects strategy to be closer to customers and manufacturing centres....James Dyson’s decision to move his business headquarters to the other side of the world struck an odd note.

The switch to Singapore comes at a crucial juncture for his company, which is seeking to evolve from a household appliance brand to a manufacturer of electric vehicles. It is nothing short of his greatest gamble, which could secure his legacy or risk his fortune.....Dyson said it was simply for commercial reasons because most of its customers and all its manufacturing operations are in Asia, and to give management supervision over the construction of a car factory in Singapore that will be its largest investment to date......“This is to do with making sure we future-proof [the company],”......“What we’ve seen in the last few years is an acceleration of opportunities to grow from a revenue perspective in Asia.”......Dyson CEO, Jim Rowan insisted that the HQ move was not a bad omen for the UK, where Dyson ceased manufacturing in 2003, and pledged it would enlarge its 4,800-strong workforce there. “We’ll continue to invest in the UK,” said Mr Rowan, pointing out a proposed £350m expansion to one of two research and development centres in Wiltshire, south-west England, for autonomous vehicle testing.......far more likely that the move is linked to Dyson’s latest, and boldest, venture — its £2bn drive to break into the automotive arena. It has developed a UK site to test the vehicles, but also plans to expand its Singaporean research and development facilities, a sign that future vehicle work will take place closer to the manufacturing sites.....The company spreads its intellectual property around the globe, with about 1,500 of its 5,000 patents registered in the UK, according to data from patent research group Cipher. “Clearly if you have new business like cars that will generate significant IP,”.....A Dyson spokesman said the company had no intention of moving its current UK patents to Singapore.
Asia  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  Brexit  Dyson  electric_cars  engineering  future-proofing  head_offices  intellectual_property  James_Dyson  manufacturers  patents  relocation  Singapore 
january 2019 by jerryking
Why tech titans need an empathy handbook
April 4, 2018 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett
..........if engineers want to be better understood by consumers, they need to learn empathy for mindsets that were different from their own, or hire non-engineers. .....These days, Silicon Valley executives need to relearn these lessons — not only to make their gadgets more user-friendly, but also to create a better social contract to underpin technology in a wider sense. As criticism of the tech sector — in particular, concerns about the power of Silicon Valley — gathers momentum, the response of most of its executives has been very defensive......there is an epistemological angle too. Most of the people running the big tech companies today have come from engineering, computing or mathematical backgrounds. They are used to working by deduction and logical steps, not always prioritising emotion or empathy. They want to assemble the facts before jumping on to a public stage or making a strategic policy decision.

That works well if you are designing code or running a fast-growing team of engineers. After all, one of the striking features of the employee base at places such as Google or Facebook is just how homogenous this tribe tends to be......The problem is that what might seem routine from a software-engineering standpoint is not necessarily normal or acceptable for the wider world, and tech companies are now having to confront angry politicians, journalists and consumer groups, all of whom operate within different frameworks.....Tech executives now need to go further, not just listening to outside voices but actively trying to empathize with and understand them. .......we are all creatures of our own cultural environment, saddled with endless biases and assumptions. But, somehow, those titans of tech need to get a lesson in empathy, and see the world through non-tech eyes.
empathy  Silicon_Valley  engineering  mindsets  Gillian_Tett  empathy_vacuum  homogeneity  Big_Tech 
april 2018 by jerryking
Banking and finance have vacuumed up the talent
March 25, 2018 | Financial Times | Andrew Hill YESTERDAY.
"Unlike most people I actually enjoy manufacturing,” James Dyson says, “[but] I genuinely believe that the British middle class despises it, largely thanks to Charles Dickens’ Hard Times and William Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills’.”

The UK designer of vacuum cleaners and hand-dryers enjoys railing against national “cultural disdain for factories”......A more plausible reason why innovative juices are channelled away from manufacturing could be the sucking sound from the City of London. The rewards of banking and finance still vacuum up talented graduates......Even when the bubble was at full stretch in 2007, the percentage of engineering graduates who moved into finance and insurance within three years of leaving higher education did not top 5 per cent. Lately, the figure has dropped to 3.4 per cent. A Dyson-pleasing 25.5 per cent now go into manufacturing — not enough to cover a projected annual shortfall of 20,000 engineers in the UK, but still respectable.

It was the sheer success and smug complacency of Victorian manufacturers that made them a target for Dickens. As Sir James goes from strength to strength, he should be careful what he wishes for. He has set up a Dyson Institute to train a generation of engineers.
financial_services  engineering  talent  entrepreneur  war_for_talent  finance  manufacturers  James_Dyson 
march 2018 by jerryking
Marty Chavez Muses on Rocky Times and the Road Ahead
NOV. 14, 2017 | - The New York Times | By WILLIAM D. COHAN.

Mr. Chavez is about as far from the stereotypical Wall Street senior executive as you can imagine, and that is one reason his musings about the future direction of Wall Street are listened to carefully.

He grew up in Albuquerque, one of five children, who all went to Harvard. He got a doctorate in medical information sciences from Stanford University. (At that time, he was known by his full name Ramon Martin Chavez.)

In 1990, Mr. Chavez came out, the day after he defended his doctoral dissertation. – “Architectures and Approximation Algorithms for Probabilistic Expert Systems.” He is one of the few openly gay executives on Wall Street. ......In his current role as Goldman's CFO, Marty views his job as a simple one that is hard to get right: “I’m not paid or evaluated on the accuracy of my crystal-ball predictions,” he said. “I’m paid to enumerate every possible outcome and do something about every possible outcome well in advance, when it’s still possible to do something, because once it’s happened it’s too late.”....Unlike many of his peers on Wall Street, Mr. Chavez does not complain about the extent of the regulation that hit the financial industry as a result of Dodd-Frank. Generally speaking, he says, the regulations have helped banks “confront their problems and capitalize and bolster their liquidity,” making them “stronger as a result,” and the financial system safer and more profitable.....Instead of complaining about the extra expense and manpower required to comply with the mountain of new regulations, Mr. Chavez chooses instead to think about it differently. “If you approach the regulations as ‘Oh, we’ve got to comply,’ you’ll get one result,” he said. He prefers thinking about the regulations as, “This makes us and the system and our clients safer and sounder, and yes it’s a lot of work, but what can we learn from this work and how can we use this work in other ways to make a better result for our shareholders and our clients? Everywhere we look we’re finding these opportunities and they’re very much in keeping with the spirit of the times.”

Like any good senior Goldman executive, he does worry. (Lloyd Blankfein, the Goldman chief executive, once told me he spent 98 percent of his time worrying about things with a 2 percent probability.)

His biggest concern at the moment is the risk of “single points of failure” in the vast world of cybersecurity. He worries about any individual “repository of information” that does not have a backup and that can “be hacked.”

He does not even trust Goldman’s own computer system; he treats it as a potential enemy.

.....What also makes Goldman different from its peers is the firm’s love affair with engineers. At the moment, he said, engineers comprise around 30 percent of Goldman’s work force of about 35,000. It’s what drew him to Goldman in the first place — to work on Goldman’s in-house software, “SecDB,” short for “Securities Database,” an internal, proprietary computer system that tracks all the trades that Goldman makes and their prices, and regularly monitors the risk that the firm faces as a result.

He said the system generates some million and a half points of data that were used to calculate, for the first time, the firm’s “liquidity coverage ratio” — now 128 percent — and that were shared with regulators every day. He’s been busy trying to figure out how the newly generated data can be used to help him understand what the firm’s liquidity will be a year from now.

That way, he said, in his principal role as Goldman’s chief financial officer, he can perceive a problem in plenty of time to do something about it. “We’re able to get much better actionable insights that make the firm a less risky business because we’re able to go much further out into the future,” he said......
Goldman_Sachs  Martin_Chavez  Wall_Street  SPOF  CFOs  actionable_information  engineering  financial_system  databases  information_sources  SecDB  proprietary  Dodd-Frank  regulation  cyber_security  improbables  think_differently  jujutsu  William_Cohan 
november 2017 by jerryking
Google vs. Uber: How One Engineer Sparked a War - WSJ
By Jack Nicas and Tim Higgins
Updated May 23, 2017

Anthony Levandowski started outside tech companies while working for Google, which alleges he took driverless-car secrets to a competitor.....Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Uber are embroiled in a legal fight over driverless-car technology, with Mr. Levandowski playing a starring role. The two firms, along with several other companies, are locked in a race to automate cars, a contest that could affect the future of transportation......Google’s approach [i.e. encouraging entrepreneurship amongst employees] helps it create new businesses, it also can spark disagreements between the company and its employees over who owns certain technology......Alphabet accuses Mr. Levandowski of stealing its trade secrets around driverless-car technology and bringing it to Uber, which he joined as its head of its driverless-car project last year after earning more than $120 million at Google. Alphabet has filed two arbitration claims against Mr. Levandowski and is suing Uber for allegedly conspiring with him.....
Google  Uber  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  litigation  conflicts_of_interest  side_hustles  employment_contracts  intellectual_property  noncompete_agreements  start_ups  talent  Alphabet  trade_secrets  entrepreneurship  engineering 
may 2017 by jerryking
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 by jerryking
Abe Ankumah of Nyansa: Are You a ‘First Principle’ Thinker? - The New York Times
Corner Office
By ADAM BRYANT DEC. 2, 2016

We tend to be very “first principle” thinkers. What I mean by that is when you’re trying to solve a problem, you start by trying to understand the essence of the problem, rather than starting with what the answer should be and then working your way to justifying it.

So it’s all about making sure that everyone understands the problem we’re trying to solve. And to do that, you have to maintain a broader perspective and listen very carefully to people.

I have one-on-ones with every single person on the team and then connect the dots. So I ask a lot of questions and build a mental model of the outline of what we need to do.
data  African-Americans  HBS  engineering  Caltech  Ghanian  connecting_the_dots  problem_solving  first_principle  mental_models 
december 2016 by jerryking
Engineer Extraordinaire, Charles Ceres, is a ‘Special Person’
Oct 30, 2016 | Kaieteur News | By Sharmain Grainger.

“I want people to remember Charles Ceres the person, not what profession I was in. Whatever I have acquired hasn’t changed me. The difference between me and a lot of people is that I know the difference between who I am and what I do…what I do is not who I am.”
Queen’s  alumni  engineering  humility  Afro-Guyanese  management_consulting  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship 
october 2016 by jerryking
‘Grown-up who steered the Fab Four to Stardom
12 March/13 March 2016 | FT | Ludovic Hunter-Tilney. Obit of George Martin, Beatles' producer.

"Martin was measured about his contribution. "I was purely an interpreter," he said, "The genius was theirs, no doubt about that"
Beatles  obituaries  '60s  trailblazers  music  engineering  producers  interpretation 
april 2016 by jerryking
Learning to Engineer a Better Brisket - The New York Times
JULY 18, 2015 | NYT | By CLAIRE MARTIN .

They began by analyzing smokers on the market, focusing on Big Green Egg, a popular one with a ceramic cooking chamber. They evaluated the extra-large version, which costs $1,200. “We went through the patent of the Big Green Egg and just completely dissected it,” Mr. Parker said. “Where’s the opportunity here? Where’s the weakness here?”

They built computer models of Big Green Egg, of the brisket and, eventually, of their own smoker. They ran hundreds of computer simulations, and they learned that maintaining a precise, steady cooking temperature is crucial to evenly breaking down the meat’s collagen, tenderizing it. Several students spent their spring break taking a crash course in ceramics at the Harvard Ceramic Studio to build two prototypes of the smoker.

During the smoking sessions, the students attached sensors to the cooking surfaces and collected smoke particles and airflow data. They also inserted thermal imaging devices and probes into the brisket. “It was a heavily instrumented piece of meat,” Mr. Parker said. “It looked like it was in an intensive care unit.”

The final design was a 300-pound ceramic smoker with an hourglass shape that was inspired by power plant cooling towers. An internal computer controls fans that blow oxygen into the fire; it calculates whether the fire needs more or less oxygen and communicates the smoker’s temperature to a smartphone app. Refueling most other smokers requires opening the top and inserting more charcoal and wood chips, which destabilizes the temperature.

A chute on the side of the Harvard smoker lets the chef add more fuel without disrupting its internal temperature. Sensors gauge fuel levels, the temperature of the cooking surface and the weight of the food being smoked, and transmit that information to the app.
Harvard  students  Colleges_&_Universities  patents  competitive_intelligence  entrepreneurship  design  problem_solving  BBQ  engineering  Stanford  cured_and_smoked  beef  sensors 
july 2015 by jerryking
Engineering consultancy firm WSP Global soars to new heights - The Globe and Mail
NICOLAS VAN PRAET
MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jan. 20 201
engineering  management_consulting 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Best Advice I Ever Received: Work Harder | LinkedIn
March 04, 2014 | LinkedIn | Kevin Scott.

To me, "work harder" was a stark reminder every week to clearly understand what it was that I was trying to accomplish, and to make sure that I was objectively prioritizing the effort it was going to take to accomplish those goals.

What about work-life balance? There's a time and place for that. And there's a time and place where it isn't going to help you accomplish your objectives. My wife and I met in graduate school, and neither of us understood the notion until we were out of academia and through the first several years of our careers.

What about enjoying the journey? Not that I haven't enjoyed my journey, but I for one want my kids to recall what good their Dad managed to do in his finite time on Earth, not how much he enjoyed his journey. So, when it's either-or, and sometimes it is, I do what's necessary to accomplish my objectives even if I'm not walking around full of journey-induced joy.
work_life_balance  advice  engineering  objectives  hard_work  goals  joyless  parenting  personal_accomplishments 
march 2014 by jerryking
Hundreds of former BlackBerry staff hunt for Canadian tech jobs -
Nov. 14 2013 | The Canadian Press via The Globe and Mail |David Friend

Published Thursday,

Mobile payments firm Square Inc. has established a local office that will eventually house 30 to 40 Canadian employees, said Jack Dorsey, the company’s CEO who also founded Twitter.

“We’re really inspired by the engineers up here, so we want to invest in it,” he said in a recent interview, pointing to local schools as a key resource.

“There’s a skill level that was extremely impressive to us right away.”
BlackBerry  RIM  job_search  Square  alumni  Kitchener-Waterloo  engineering  talent 
november 2013 by jerryking
The need for an analytical approach to life
November 3, 2013 | FT.com | By Rebecca Knight.

Risk analysis is not about predicting events; it’s about understanding the probability of possible scenarios, according to Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, professor at the Stanford School of Engineering.
In her latest research, she argues that expressions such as “black swan” and “perfect storm”, which have become journalistic shorthand when describing catastrophes, are just excuses for poor planning. Managers, should “think like engineers” and take a systematic approach to risk analysis. They should figure out how a system works and then identify the probable ways in which it could fail.
So does a black swan event exist?
The only one that I can think of is the Aids epidemic. In the case of a true black swan, you cannot anticipate it.
And what about ‘perfect storms’?
A combination of rare events is often referred to as a perfect storm. I think people underestimate the probability of them because they wrongly assume that the elements of a perfect storm are independent. If something happened in the past – even though it may not have happened at the same time as something else – it is likely to happen again in the future.
Why should managers take an engineering approach to analysing the probability of perfect storms?
Engineering risk analysts think in terms of systems – their functional components and their dependencies. If you’re in charge of risk management for your business, you need to see the interdependencies of any of the risks you’re managing: how the markets that you operate in are interrelated, for example.
You also need imagination. Several bad things can happen at once. Some of these are human errors and once you make a mistake, others are more likely to happen. This is because of the sequence of human error. When something bad happens or you make a mistake, you get distracted which means you’re more likely to make another mistake, which could lead to another bad event. When you make an error, stop and think. Anticipate and protect yourself.
How can you compute the likelihood of human error?
There are lots of ways to use systems analysis to calculate the probability of human error. Human errors are often rooted in the way an organisation is managed: either people are not skilled enough to do their jobs well; they do not have enough information; or they have the wrong incentives. If you’re paid for maximum production you’re going to take risks.
So in the case of a financial company I’d say monitor your traders, and maybe especially those that make a lot of money. There are a lot of ways you can make a lot of money: skill, luck, or through imprudent choices that sooner or later are going to catch up with you.
So you can do risk analysis even without reliable statistics?
We generally do a system-based risk analysis because we do not have reliable statistics. The goal is to look ahead and use the information we have to assess the chances that things might go wrong.
The upshot is that business schools ought to do a better job of teaching MBAs about probability.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“Numbers make intangibles tangible,” said Jonah Lehrer, a journalist and
author of “How We Decide,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). “They
give the illusion of control. [Add "sense of control" to tags]
engineering  sense_of_control  black_swan  warning_signs  9/11  HIV  Aids  business_schools  MBAs  attitudes  interconnections  interdependence  mindsets  Stanford  imagination  systems_thinking  anticipating  probabilities  pretense_of_knowledge  risk-management  thinking_tragically  complexity  catastrophes  shorthand  incentives  quantified_self  multiple_stressors  compounded  human_errors  risks  risk-analysis  synchronicity  cumulative  self-protection  systematic_approaches 
november 2013 by jerryking
Academic marriage that works - Western Alumni
Fall 2013 | Alumni Gazette |by Paul Wells, BA'89.
"Many were engineering students. Their schedules were loaded up with lecture and lab hours, they seemed to live at the library, and yet somehow they were often also the most reckless and entertaining at The Spoke. Even more exotic to me were the business students. It had never occurred to me that making money was something you could study at school.

What had also never occurred to me,until recently, was that you could combine these two odd breeds of student. Engineers spend their lives solving technical problems. Business students spend their lives finding opportunities for profit. What if somebody knew how to do both? What if there was a school designed to hone both kinds of skill?"...So lately, people in the field have started to ask whether the problem is at the other end. Maybe researchers are coming up with plenty of good ideas, but businesses are not in the habit of looking around for new ideas and integrating them into the corporate culture. “Quite frankly, if there is an innovation problem in Canada, that’s the responsibility of the management and boards of directors here in Canada,” John Manley, the former Industry Minister, who is CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, has said....Western announced it had received $3 million from alumni John M. and Melinda Thompson to set up a Centre for Engineering Leadership and Innovation at Ivey Business School. The gift will substantially increase the number of Western engineering students who receive business education while at Western.
engineering  Ivey  UWO  Paul_Wells  alumni  John_Manley  philanthropy  cross-disciplinary  innovation  boards_&_directors_&_governance  management 
october 2013 by jerryking
Lessons I learned from SNC-Lavalin’s woes
Jul. 26 2013 | - The Globe and Mail | by GWYN MORGAN.

Information is key

Because directors get most of their information from people within the company, they need to do everything they can to build and diversify their sources. There should be a robust whistle-blower system, independent of management, so employees can pass on information to directors without fear of reprisal.

Financial reporting structures matter. Internal auditors should report directly – and only – to the chair of the audit committee, not to management. The chief financial officer should have a direct reporting relationship to the audit committee chair. Operating division comptrollers should report to the CFO, not to the division leader or the business-unit head.

Focus on leadership

It’s important to have strong financial controls and ethical codes, but they will fail unless all people in leadership roles, from the CEO on down, follow them diligently and consistently.

Culture, culture, culture

It is said that corporate culture is defined by how people act when no one is looking. But it is also defined by how employees react when they see behaviour that is inconsistent with the values of the organization. When their reaction is, “We’re not going to let this happen in our company,” the organization is built upon a solid ethical foundation.
Gwyn_Morgan  boards_&_directors_&_governance  lessons_learned  SNC-Lavalin  scandals  engineering  information  information_flows  financial_reporting  financial_controls  auditors  CFOs  leadership  organizational_culture  whistleblowing  ethics  information_sources  reprisals 
july 2013 by jerryking
Traffic accidents: predict, then prevent
March 19, 2013 | G&M | NICK ROCKEL.
Edmonton cut crash deaths and injuries by nearly 40 per cent by crunching data ranging from road design to license plates....Beyond looking for existing patterns to improve traffic safety, OTS has started peering into the future, with the use of predictive analytics.

Last year, its analytics team collaborated with the University of Alberta's departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, to build a computer model that shows, based on snow conditions, when to expect a higher number of collisions.

This weather model predicts collision trends seven days in advance with about 90-per-cent accuracy, Mr. Shimko says. As conditions turn hazardous, the city's Traffic Management Centre can use this information as part of its digital sign messaging.

As well, OTS works with the Edmonton Police Service on several initiatives to reduce speeding and other traffic violations.

Last year it began collecting and analyzing data on every licence plate detected via intersection safety devices, photo speed enforcement and other automated means, and giving high-risk drivers' plates to the police. "Then the police can target their resources based on those high-risk drivers," who typically have more injury collisions, Mr. Shimko says. "Some of the initial results are quite promising."

Special to The
Edmonton  predictive_analytics  analytics  data  prevention  engineering  data_driven  massive_data_sets  weather  traffic_congestion  OTS  collisions 
march 2013 by jerryking
Canada’s African adventure takes a colonial turn - The Globe and Mail
Feb. 02 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by DOUG SAUNDERS.

Even though Ottawa had shifted its foreign-aid focus away from Africa a few years ago, the government has come back in force, with a new large-scale aid strategy in which its agencies work with resource companies, alongside charities and private aid groups, in a way that, in the words of International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, “addresses social and environmental issues of extractive sector development” and helps countries “use resource rents and investment to spur economic diversification in local communities, often focused on agricultural and agribusiness development.” It makes some sense: Canada ought to be providing this sort of aid to the people it’s contacting – sometimes beneficially, sometimes otherwise – with its resource-taking activities.

But the end effect is that Canada has landed in Africa in a big way: tearing up the land, building new towns, creating roads and pipelines and airports, and bringing in new forms of government and administration to create new economies and enforce human rights and democratic standards.

This bears a strong resemblance to what the military calls counterinsurgency: To make the local population tolerate your forceful acts and embrace your cause, you win over their hearts and minds by building roads, schools, water supplies and better farms. In the process, though, you become something like a colonial government.

Canada, not yet fully free from its own years as a colony, is far from comfortable with this role. We ought to find some other name, and some other shape, for our African project.
Africa  counterinsurgency  CSR  economic_development  economic_diversification  natural_resources  mining  Canada  Doug_Saunders  foreign_aid  corruption  oil_industry  engineering  colonialism  large-scale  resource_extraction 
february 2013 by jerryking
Canada urged to defend lead in mining business
January 30, 2013 | Globe & Mail pg. B2 | by Pav Jordan.

A new report on the mining sector is urging Canada to streamline worker immigration procedures and boost tax incentives to encourage exploration in remote areas.
The report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce warns that the country must not sit on its laurels if it wants to hold its lead in global mining, pointing at areas from the equipment supplies sector to bank financing and legal services and infrastructure as places where government and companies can work together to sharpen the nation’s edge.
The Canadian mining industry is among the world’s biggest, contributing $35.6­ billion to gross domestic product in 2011. That same year mining exports were valued at $102 ­billion, more than 20% of the national total. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the global capital for mining equity and British Columbia has the largest concentration of mining exploration firms anywhere.
mining  competitiveness_of_nations  Canada  Canadian  tax_codes  TMX  capital_markets  geology  engineering  legal  epicenters  hyper-concentrations 
january 2013 by jerryking
Risk? Bring it on, Canadian miners say - The Globe and Mail
DOUGLAS MASON

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 22 2012

There are few business sectors where Canada can claim global dominance, but as a centre for mining development, it is an industry leader....No other place has the same concentration and depth of services and financial market sophistication to support mining finance and development.

How does Canada do this? According to Kevan Cowan, president of TSX Markets, Canadians have a long history of participating in early-stage mining investments and a “whole ecosystem” has developed to support the industry.

“We have a tremendous network of industry players. Our legal services are the best expertise in this sector worldwide, together with a huge pool of geologists, engineers and mining entrepreneurs, as well as sophisticated capital markets for mining finance. We are a world ahead of our competitors.”
Canada  Canadian  mining  risk-taking  TSX  entrepreneurship  DRC  Banro  early-stage  ecosystems  capital_markets  geology  engineering  legal  TMX  epicenters  hyper-concentrations 
december 2012 by jerryking
An Engineer's Blueprints For Writing.
April 13, 2012 | WSJ | By NICK ARVIN.

At root, both engineering and writing are disciplines of combining small things (pieces of steel, or words) to assemble a larger, more pleasing and useful thing (a cruise ship, or "Moby-Dick"). And many of the skills that one learns for engineering a machine carry over into engineering a tale. Here are three.

Steal.
Simplify.
Attend to ambiguity....In engineering, ambiguity is our adversary, because the consequences of uncertainty can be, literally, devastating.

The writer has this attitude too. Language is inherently ambiguous, subject to variables of interpretation...It takes only one confusing sentence to lose a reader's trust forever, so the writer labors through revision after revision, pinning the words ever more precisely.

And yet, at heart, engineers and writers diverge in their attitudes toward ambiguity. A writer works to reduce ambiguity at the sentence level, but he also knows that moral ambiguities lie at the heart of compelling drama and conflict. So the writer will seek out and enlarge these in ways that an engineer never would.
engineering  writing  drama  ambiguities  think_threes  simplicity  blueprints  clarity  words  wordsmiths  brevity  concision 
april 2012 by jerryking
Leadership Advice
Feb. 15, 2012 | The Globe and Mail |WALLACE IMMEN
movingonup  engineering  Wallace_Immen  career_paths  CEOs  leadership 
march 2012 by jerryking
Fly Me to the Moon
December 5, 2004 | NYT | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN...."give me an America that is energy-independent and I will give you sharply reduced oil revenues for the worst governments in the world. I will give you political reform from Moscow to Riyadh to Tehran. Yes, deprive these regimes of the huge oil windfalls on which they depend and you will force them to reform by having to tap their people instead of oil wells. These regimes won't change when we tell them they should. They will change only when they tell themselves they must....If President Bush made energy independence his moon shot, he would dry up revenue for terrorism; force Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to take the path of reform - which they will never do with $45-a-barrel oil - strengthen the dollar; and improve his own standing in Europe, by doing something huge to reduce global warming. He would also create a magnet to inspire young people to contribute to the war on terrorism and America's future by becoming scientists, engineers and mathematicians. "This is not just a win-win," said the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum. "This is a win-win-win-win-win."
career_paths  deprivations  energy  energy_independence  energy_security  engineering  mathematics  moonshots  NSF  oil_industry  petro-politics  SAIS  STEM  Tom_Friedman  win-win  youth  young_people 
january 2012 by jerryking
Mining entrepreneur's university donation digging for ‘renaissance engineers’ - The Globe and Mail
james bradshaw
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2011

“renaissance engineers.” ---It’s a term he credits to his late wife, who saw the engineer of the future not just as a problem solver or functionary builder, but a sort of modern Michelangelo – expert and agile in more than one discipline, but also eager to consider and communicate how engineering relates to matters of sustainability, health, safety and civil society.

“You are an engineer, but at the same time you are an artist and you have to be able to tell the world how what you’re doing is going to benefit the world,”
York_University  interdisciplinary  mining  entrepreneur  Pierre_Lassonde  philanthropy  engineering  renaissance  Colleges_&_Universities  moguls  Seymour_Schulich 
november 2011 by jerryking
Rolls-Royce Powers Ahead in High-Wage Countries - WSJ.com
OCTOBER 20, 2011| WSJ | By DANIEL MICHAELS. While many American and European manufacturers transplanted production to low-wage countries in Asia and Latin America in recent years, British industrial giant Rolls-Royce PLC has taken a contrarian course. It gravitates to high-wage hot spots.

The turbine producer has factories in England, the U.S. and Germany, where it recently bought into an engine maker for more than $2 billion.

...Preserving even a limited amount of high-end manufacturing in advanced economies can help stem a vicious cycle of industrial exodus that plagues parts of the U.S. and U.K. Each specialized marine or aerospace manufacturing job creates around three more jobs nearby at suppliers, maintenance operations and in services such as design or finance, according to studies.

Until the recent economic crisis, many advanced economies had looked to service industries, such as finance and information technology, as substitutes for vanishing manufacturing employment. But the spillover job creation from such services is "effectively trivial,"
exodus  manufacturers  United_Kingdom  China  intellectual_property  Singapore  shipbuilding  value_creation  engineering  high-wage  hotspots  spillover  Rolls-Royce  downward_spirals  developed_countries  contrarians 
october 2011 by jerryking
Precious Cargo
October 6, 2011 | Report on Small Business | Siri Agrell
With high-definition TVs revealing the tiniest flaws in an actor's makeup, celebrities have retaliated by putting their faith in Cargo president Hana Zalzal's cosmetic solutions. And they're not the only ones snapping up the company's products.

Cargo Cosmetics, a multimillion-dollar international makeup brand headquartered in a modest building on an unassuming strip of Toronto's Don Mills Road, and guided by president Hana Zalzal, a 47-year-old entrepreneur who knows her physics, having earned a civil engineering degree at the University of Toronto followed by an MBA. She then worked for two years designing cable systems for Bell Canada before founding Cargo in 1995 with the idea of modernizing makeup.

The company has since become a global brand and a favourite of celebs and regular chicks alike, due in large part to the way she has applied her engineer's eye to the design and packaging of cosmetic staples.
Siri_Agrell  cosmetics  celebrities  makeup  women  entrepreneur  uToronto  engineering  Rotman 
october 2011 by jerryking
Book Chat on 'The Big Thirst': The Future of Water
May 3, 2011 | NYTimes.com. | By DAVID LEONHARDT. Who reviews,
‘The Big Thirst’: The Future of Water by Charles Fishman, who a longtime
writer for Fast Company magazine. Fishman previously wrote “The
Wal-Mart Effect,” which was an Economist “book of the year” in 2006 and a
finalist in The Financial Times’s awards for best business
book.....Free water — water so cheap you never think about cost when
making water use decisions — is a silent disaster. When something is
free, the message is: It’s unlimited. Free water leads to constant waste
and misallocation.
“We will not, going forward, have water that has all three of those
qualities at the same time: unlimited, unthinkingly inexpensive and
safe.” ....Reminds me of an adage often cited in engineering circles:
"Good, fast, cheap - - pick any two."
water  books  water_footprints  future  free  optimization  fast  cheap  pricing  resource_allocation  misallocations  waste  inexpensive  engineering  fast-paced 
may 2011 by jerryking
The Country Can Learn From These Students - NYTimes.com
December 6, 2010 | New York Times | By BRENT STAPLES. Send article to Frances Jeffers, Visions of Science.
education  African-Americans  science_&_technology  engineering  Colleges_&_Universities  STEM 
december 2010 by jerryking
Grove Backs an Engineer’s Approach to Medicine
May 17, 2010 | Bits Blog - NYTimes.com | by ANDREW POLLACK.
Mr. Grove has pledged $1.5 million so that the University of California
campuses in San Francisco and Berkeley can start a joint master’s degree
program aimed at so-called translational medicine — the process of
turning biological discoveries into drugs and medical devices that can
help patients.

The idea is to expose students to both the engineering prowess of
Berkeley and the medical research of San Francisco to train a new breed
of medical innovator. “What we have learned from decades of rapid
development of information technology is that the key is relentless
focus on ‘better, faster, cheaper’ — in everything,’’ Mr. Grove said in a
statement. “The best results are achieved through the cooperative
efforts of different disciplines, all aimed at the same objective.”
Andy_Grove  medical  innovation  cheap_revolution  interdisciplinary  medicine  engineering  medical_devices 
may 2010 by jerryking
Slumdog engineers knocking on multinational doors
Aug. 20, 2009 | The Globe & Mail | by Geoffrey York.
Canadian non-profit group, Engineers Without Borders, launches an
industrial development organization to solicit business from major U.S.
companies, (including Newmont Mining Corp., Coca-Cola, and the cocoa
division of Archer Daniels Midland Co.) for artisan craftsmen. George
Roter, the Toronto-based co-founder of Engineers Without Borders.
nonprofit  engineering  Engineers_Without_Borders  business_development  Africa  Ghana  Geoffrey_York 
august 2009 by jerryking
A chance for bankers to refocus their talents
April 6 2009 19:52 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett.

if finance no longer keeps monopolising the brightest and best workers, some of that talent could be diverted into other, more productive, arenas - for the good of the economy.

Some of those financiers now being "demobbed" - or sacked - have strong science or engineering backgrounds, and are sitting on spare capital. In an ideal world, they would be perfect candidates to support manufacturing, information technology or other high-tech start-ups of the kind that Europe in particular so desperately needs.

America, for its part, is also short of engineers. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers, for example, calculates that while the country needs 100,000 engineering graduates a year, it is only producing some 70,000. The SME itself points out in a new advertising campaign aimed at students: "Engineers create real wealth by solving problems rather than creating 'paper' wealth by playing with the markets."

The public sector in both America and Europe could also benefit from an influx of highly skilled, financially astute managers. Expanding the talent base of the regulators, in particular, would seem one obvious place to start. The non-profit and educational sectors also need more smart, highly skilled workers, particularly (but not exclusively) in places such as the UK.
layoffs  Second_Acts  Gillian_Tett  transferable_skills  the_best_and_brightest  financial_services  engineering  talent  entrepreneur  war_for_talent  finance  manufacturers  banking  redeployments 
april 2009 by jerryking
globeandmail.com: The still-gaping gender gap
May 5, 2008 G&M article by Marlene Habib on the declining enrollment of female engineering students.
recruiting  engineering  Colleges_&_Universities  decline  gender_gap  female  women  enrollment  retention 
january 2009 by jerryking

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