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jerryking : leading_indicators   11

Scientific methods - Dung beetles prefer human faeces to those of wild animals
Jan 9th 2020 edition | The Economist |

A long-established experimental procedure turns out to be biased.

Science and technology

Ecosystems are complex things, and monitoring their health is hard. To track every species would be impossible, so ecologists commonly focus on those that, like canaries in coal mines, are thought to indicate when the system as a whole is beginning to suffer. Dung beetles are one such group, and have been relied on heavily for years to monitor the effects of things like logging, grazing and road-building.

When there are lots of species of dung beetles around, and faeces vanish quickly, an ecosystem is assumed to be in good shape. When their diversity drops and faeces hang about unconsumed, it suggests something is wrong. However, as Elizabeth Raine, a zoologist at Oxford University, has realised, the value of this assumption depends on how you go about sampling the beetles. That is done by attracting them with their preferred foodstuff, faeces. And she thinks it is being done badly.......Why Dr Raine’s dung beetles prefer human faeces is a mystery, though she suspects that the varied diets enjoyed by modern human beings may have something to so with it. But her experiment does illustrate a wider point. This is that scientific discoveries are only as good as the experiments used to make them. It therefore behoves people to check even well-established procedures from time to time, to make sure they are not falsely assuming that what is sanctioned by familiarity actually works.
assumptions  biases  ecologists  ecosystems  feces  indicators  insects   leading_indicators  scientific_method 
4 weeks ago by jerryking
7 Signs This Woman Might Be Right For You - YouTube
1. She activates your King 👑
2. She suits you (suitable helper).
3. She knows the language (how/when/what to say to you).
4. She respects you.
5. She complements the vision 🖼
6. She's washable (vulnerable & teachable).
7. She fights for self government (self-control).
emotional_mastery  leading_indicators  relationships  self-control 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
A Recession Is Coming (Eventually). Here’s Where You’ll See It First. - The New York Times
By Ben Casselman
July 28, 2019

Another recession will come eventually. Fortunately, economic expansions, unlike coin-flip streaks, usually provide some hints about when they are nearing their end — if you know where to look. Below is a guide to some of the indicators that have historically done the best job of sounding the alarm.

Indicator 1: The Unemployment Rate
What to watch for: Rapid increases, even from a low level.
What it’s saying: All clear.

Indicator 2: The Yield Curve
What to watch for: Interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds falling below those on three-month bonds. (It has already happened.)
What it’s saying: Storm warning.

Indicator 3: The ISM Manufacturing Index
What to watch for: The index falling below about 45 for an extended period.
What it's saying: Mostly cloudy.

Indicator 4: Consumer Sentiment
What to watch for: Declines of 15 percent or more over a year.
What it's saying: Partly cloudy.

Indicator 5: Choose Your Favorite

* Temporary staffing levels: Temp workers are, by definition, flexible — companies hire them when they need help quickly and get rid of them when demand dries up. That makes them a good measure of business sentiment.
* The quits rate: When workers are confident in the economy, they are more likely to quit voluntarily.
* Residential building permits: The housing market has frequently led the economy both into and out of recessions. That has made building permits — which are generally issued several weeks before construction begins — one of the best historical indicators of economic activity.
* Auto sales: After houses, cars are the most expensive thing most families buy.
consumer_confidence  economics  forecasting  indices  interim  lagging_indicators  leading_indicators  manufacturers  recessions  unemployment  warning_signs  yield_curve 
august 2019 by jerryking
Snap Out of It: Kids Aren't Reliable Tech Predictors - WSJ.com
Nov. 17, 2013 | WSJ | By Farhad Manjoo.

First, Snapchat's main selling point is ephemerality. Users who send a photo and caption using the app can select how long the image is viewable. Second, and relatedly, Snapchat is used primarily by teens and people in college. This explains much of Silicon Valley's obsession with the company....tech execs, youngsters are the canaries in the gold mine.

That logic follows a widely shared cultural belief: We all tend to assume that young people are on the technological vanguard, that they somehow have got an inside scoop on what's next. If today's kids are Snapchatting instead of Facebooking, the thinking goes, tomorrow we'll all be Snapchatting, too, because tech habits, like hairstyles, flow only one way: young to old.

There is only one problem with elevating young people's tastes this way: Kids are often wrong....Incidentally, though 20-something tech founders like Mr. Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates get a lot of ink, they are unusual.... "The twentysomething inexperienced founder is an outlier, not the norm," ...If you think about it for a second, the fact that young people aren't especially reliable predictors of tech trends shouldn't come as a surprise. Sure, youth is associated with cultural flexibility, a willingness to try new things that isn't necessarily present in older folk. But there are other, less salutary hallmarks of youth, including capriciousness, immaturity, and a deference to peer pressure even at the cost of common sense. This is why high school is such fertile ground for fads. And it's why, in other cultural areas, we don't put much stock in teens' choices. No one who's older than 18, for instance, believes One Direction is the future of music....Is the app just a youthful fad, just another boy band, or is it something more permanent; is it the Beatles?

To figure this out, we would need to know why kids are using it. Are they reaching for Snapchat for reasons that would resonate with older people—because, like the rest of us, they've grown wary of the public-sharing culture promoted by Facebook and Twitter? Or are they using it for less universal reasons, because they want to evade parental snooping, send risqué photos, or avoid feeling left out of a fad everyone else has adopted?

At this point no one knows, probably not even the people who make Snapchat. For now,That's reason enough to be wary of Snapchat's youthful vigor.
capriciousness  customer_risk  developmental_change  ephemerality  fads  Farhad_Manjoo  generational_change  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  immaturity  impermanence  invisibility  leading_indicators  motivations  peer_pressure  predictors  Silicon_Valley  Snapchat  snooping  transient  trends  young_people  youth 
november 2013 by jerryking
A tech-powered end to the middle class
Feb. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | CHRYSTIA FREELAND.
One way to divide people is into those who think this time is different and those who believe there is never anything new under the sun. That split can be a matter of temperament, of politics or even of religion. But today it is relevant for another, more urgent reason: It describes how people think about the most critical economic problem in the industrialized world – the dearth of well-paying middle-class jobs....
"thanks to the tech revolution, the traditional link between rising productivity and a rising standard of living (i.e. wages) for the middle class has been broken. Gore worries that severed link may be causing the economic slowdown in the developed economies: A weakened middle class lacks the spending power to drive growth.

One of the smartest academics studying this phenomenon is Erik Brynjolfsson, a management professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The co-author of a new book, Race Against the Machine, believes the tech revolution is having a powerful and unprecedented impact. “Most of the debate … is missing the tectonic changes in the way the economy works, which are driven by technology,” he said recently. “This is the big story of our time, and it is going to accelerate over the next 10 years.”

Like Mr. Gore, Mr. Brynjolfsson thinks the canary in the coal mine is the decoupling of gains in productivity and in wages. “Productivity since 2000 has grown faster than in the 1970s, ’80s or ’90s,” he said. “But starting in the late 1990s, we’ve had this decoupling of wages from productivity.” He sees this as a historic watershed, noting that there is “no economic law” that productivity and jobs go together.

That change has tremendous implications. Productivity and innovation, the focus of policy makers and business leaders, no longer guarantee widely shared prosperity. “Digital technologies are different in that they allow people with skills to replicate their talents to serve billions,” Mr. Brynjolfsson noted. “There is really a drastic winner-take-all effect because every industry is becoming like the software industry.”

The danger isn’t structural unemployment (as many feared during the depths of the financial crisis). The problem is what kind of jobs, at what kind of salaries, the tech-powered economy of the future will generate.
'90s  Albert_Gore  books  Chrystia_Freeland  downward_mobility  economic_stagnation  Erik_Brynjolfsson  hollowing_out  innovation  Kleiner_Perkins  leading_indicators  Luddites  middle_class  MIT  productivity  seismic_shifts  the_Great_Decoupling  This_Time_is_Different  wage_stagnation  winner-take-all 
february 2013 by jerryking
Filmmaker takes up the trail of The Fruit Hunters
Nov. 15 2012 | The Globe and Mail | MICHAEL POSNER.

David Fairchild is the American agronomist, and acted as a veritable Noah’s ark for tropical fruit. Between the late 19th and early 20th century, he introduced thousands of food crops and plants into North America, including mangoes, nectarines, dates and cherries....Based on his Montreal friend Adam Gollner’s 2008 book of the same name, Chang’s film tracks a disparate fructus personae. These include actor Bill Pullman, whose Hollywood Hills backyard boasts a fecund orchard with more than 100 fruiting plants; Juan Fernando Aguilar, a Honduran breeder trying to find a replacement for the Cavendish banana, a disease-susceptible monoculture on which the $4-billion a year export industry depends; and fruit detective Isabella Dalla Ragione, whose Umbrian Orchard of Forgotten Fruit harbours varieties discovered by analyzing Renaissance-era paintings....For Chang, the fruit hunters are not merely members of an idiosyncratic, juice-stained fringe cult. In an age that has largely severed its connection to nature, they are, he says, “canaries in the coal mine,” reminding us of what could be lost.

From the iconic apple of Eden to the modern day, the story of humankind, he notes, is deeply interwoven with the story of fruit. In some measure, then, his film is an attempt not only to celebrate the joy and fecundity of fruit, but to underscore its importance. “Fruit isn’t just an object that sustains us,” he maintains. “Around it lie culture and history and memory.”
bananas  books  documentaries  films  filmmakers  fruits  leading_indicators  monocultures 
december 2012 by jerryking
Martin Sorrell of WPP Group thinks companies need to get spending - WSJ.com
June 29, 2012|Wall Street Journal | Interview of Martin Sorrell by Alan Murray.

MR. MURRAY: Are you a concurrent indicator? A lagging indicator?

MR. SORRELL: We lead the downturn, and we lag the upturn. So, we get the worst of both worlds. If people are worried, they cut marketing spending. If things are going to turn up, they wait until they're confirmed.

Open Your Wallets
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Why do you think companies are sitting on too much cash?

MR. SORRELL: I started WPP with one other person 27 years ago. I decided to do something entrepreneurial. I borrowed £250,000 and bought into a shell company called Wire & Plastic Products, which is what WPP stands for, and wanted to build a very significant advertising and marketing-services company.

The system doesn't encourage people to take those sort of risks. Big corporations are natural bureaucracies, in the nicest sense of the word. Inherently, the system encourages conservatism.

To get out of where we are, you have to be expansive. Our strategy is simple: new markets, new media, consumer insight and then the ugly word, horizontality, getting people to work together. The first two involve taking risk. Myanmar opens up, 66 million people in that country. Major opportunity. You have to grasp it. We've gone in there in the first two weeks, repurchased an agency we had to sell because of sanctions, and we've gone in with our research operations.

When markets open up like that, you have to embrace the opportunities. I think the system doesn't encourage you to take those risks.
cash  economic_downturn  interviews  lagging_indicators  leading_indicators  Martin_Sorrell  origin_story  risk-taking  WPP 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Buttonwood Gathering — Leading indicator
October 26th-27th 2011 in New York City. Ray Dalio, founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates, spoke with Matthew Bishop, US business editor and New York bureau chief for The Economist, during the ‘Leading indicator’ session at The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering.
Ray_Dalio  Bridgewater  hedge_funds  web_video  leading_indicators 
march 2012 by jerryking
Power Points - The Globe and Mail
June 1, 2009 The Globe & Mail | by Harvey Schachter. Five before 11; GPS, point me to lunch

GPS, point me to lunch

GPS devices are increasingly common for salespeople and other mobile workers. Technology writer Marc Saltzman notes that they can be loaded with "points of interest" data, which can help find a restaurant with Thai food or vegetarian cuisine when the client you are taking for lunch indicates a preference, or a gas station when the tank is running low. Inc.com

Leading indicators of distress

These days, the most entrenched companies can plunge into financial distress with dizzying speed. Your strategic planning, therefore, should now include monitoring the performance of suppliers, customers and competitors. Leading indicators of distress include delinquent accounts payable, downgraded debt ratings, large share price declines, late inventory deliveries and lower quality goods. The McKinsey Quarterly
dashboards  distress  financial_distress  GPS  Harvey_Schachter  indicators  leading_indicators  McKinsey  POI  ratios  warning_signs 
june 2009 by jerryking
Can you spot a bad manager?
02-11-2008 column by Harvey Schachter relaying 10 ways that
serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan says she spots the incompetents.
If a manager displays any one of these behaviours, it should ring a
warning bell and more than two means you should sound the alarm.

(1) Bias against actions. There are always many reasons not to take a decision. Real leaders display a constant bias for action while the incompetents wait for more information, more options and more opinions.
(2) Secrecy.
(3) Oversensitivity.
(4) Love of procedure.
(5) Preference for weak candidates.
(6) Focus on small tasks.
(7) Allergy to deadlines.
(8) Inability to hire former employees/colleagues.
(9) Addiction to consultants.
(10) Long hours. Bad managers work long hours.
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LEADERSHIP: WESTERN WORKPLACE CULTURE REWARDS COWBOYS

Rebels and gamblers prosper in Western society - if they're male. In the TalentSmart newsletter, Nick Tasler notes the firm's emotional intelligence studies measure impulsivity: People who tend to make quick decisions and pay less attention to the consequences of their actions - in Wild West parlance, they "shoot first and apologize later."
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MARKETING: HOW TO COUNTER THE RECESSION MINDSET

By the time a recession is declared, we're already deep into it, so now is the time to counter the recession mindset that may be gripping your customers. ...in downturns customers want answers not information; the familiar, not something new; universal truths; direction; substance, not style; a limited set of choices; and time until it passes. Focus on the features and benefits of your product that promote saving, are necessary, and offer value. Prepare to make deals, but in a way that retains the value of your product and service. Remember that overwhelmed people are not interested in more information but want structure and clear direction on where to put their limited resources. Provide reassurance and context by talking about your firm's longevity.
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Reconfirm appointments one business day in advance. If you can avoid a last-minute cancellation, you gain back time that would be wasted travelling and waiting.
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The ten most powerful two-letter words in the English vocabulary are: If it is to be, it is up to me.
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bias_for_action  economic_downturn  Harvey_Schachter  howto  incompetence  It's_up_to_me  leadership  leading_indicators  longevity  managing_people  mindsets  overwhelmed  recessions  warning_signs 
january 2009 by jerryking

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