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jerryking : originality   7

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

* Loonshots — by Safi Bahcall.
* Major innovations tend to result from investment that is high-risk, high-pay-off.
* Executives at the Cambridge, UK outpost of an admired Japanese company fret that success rate of their research and development, at 70%, was far too high. It signals that research teams had been risk-averse, pursuing easy wins at the expense of more radical and risky long-shots.
* Disney, the belief is that Disney if you weren't failing at half of your endeavours, you weren’t being brave or creative enough.
* The problem is a societal/systematic preference for marginal gains over long shots---It is much more pleasant to experience a steady trickle of small successes than a long drought while waiting for a flood that may never come.
* marginal gains do add up, but need to be bolstered by the occasional long-shot breakthrough.....Major innovations such as the electric motor, the photo­voltaic cell or the mobile phone open up new territories that the marginal-gains innovators & tinkerers can further exploit.[JCK: from Simon Johnson, "public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy."]
* the UK Conservative party’s promise to establish “a new agency for high-risk, high-pay-off research, at arm’s length from government” — a British version of the much-admired US Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.
* DARPA's failure rate is often said to be around 85%.
* a low failure rate may indeed signal a lack of originality and ambition.
* Arpa hires high-quality scientists for short stints — often two or three years — and giving them control over a programme budget to commission research from any source they wish.
* the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a foundation, deliberately looks for projects with an unusual or untried approach, but a large potential pay-off.....HHMI gets what it pays for — more failures, but larger successes, compared with other grant-makers funding researchers of a similar calibre.
* how long will UK politicians tolerate failure as a sign of boldness and originality? Eventually, they will simply call it failure.
* the trilemma: Be cautious, or fund lots of risky but tiny projects, or fund a few big, risky projects from a modest budget and accept that every single one may flop.
audacity  big_bets  boldness  books  breakthroughs  Cambridge  DARPA  failure  game_changers  high-reward  high-risk  incrementalism  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  marginal_improvements  moonshots  originality  politicians  public_investments  publicly_funded  quick_wins  R&D  risk-aversion  science  small_wins  spillover  success_rates  thinking_big  Tim_Harford  timidity  United_Kingdom 
8 days ago by jerryking
Opinion | The Secrets of Jewish Genius - The New York Times
By Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist

Dec. 27, 2019

** “Genius & Anxiety," by Norman Lebrecht.
An erudite and delightful study of the intellectual achievements and nerve-wracked lives of Jewish thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs between 1847 and 1947. Sarah Bernhardt and Franz Kafka; Albert Einstein and Rosalind Franklin; Benjamin Disraeli and (sigh) Karl Marx — how is it that a people who never amounted even to one-third of 1 percent of the world’s population contributed so seminally to so many of its most pathbreaking ideas and innovations?.....The common answer is that Jews are, or tend to be, smart. When it comes to Ashkenazi Jews, it’s true. “Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group for which there are reliable data,”.....the “Jews are smart” explanation obscures more than it illuminates. Aside from the perennial nature-or-nurture question of why so many Ashkenazi Jews have higher I.Q.s, there is the more difficult question of why that intelligence was so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose. One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.........But...Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different.
Where do these habits of mind come from?

There is a religious tradition that, unlike some others, asks the believer not only to observe and obey but also to discuss and disagree. There is the never-quite-comfortable status of Jews in places where they are the minority — intimately familiar with the customs of the country while maintaining a critical distance from them. There is a moral belief, “incarnate in the Jewish people” according to Einstein, that “the life of the individual only has value [insofar] as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”

And there is the understanding, born of repeated exile, that everything that seems solid and valuable is ultimately perishable, while everything that is intangible — knowledge most of all — is potentially everlasting.
These explanations for Jewish brilliance aren’t necessarily definitive. Nor are they exclusive to the Jews......At its best, the American university can still be a place of relentless intellectual challenge rather than ideological conformity and social groupthink. At its best, the United States can still be the country that respects, and sometimes rewards, all manner of heresies that outrage polite society and contradict established belief. At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t.

They are representational

The West, however, is not at its best. It’s no surprise that Jew hatred has made a comeback, albeit under new guises. Anti-Zionism has taken the place of anti-Semitism as a political program directed against Jews. Globalists have taken the place of rootless cosmopolitans as the shadowy agents of economic iniquity. Jews have been murdered by white nationalists and black “Hebrews.” Hate crimes against Orthodox Jews have become an almost daily fact of life in New York City. Jews of the late 19th century would have been familiar with the hatreds. Jews of the early 21st century should recognize where they could lead. What’s not secret about Jewish genius is that it’s a terribly fragile flower.
19th_century  20th_century  Albert_Einstein  anti-Semitism  books  Bret_Stephens  capitalization  genius  heresies  high-minded  human_capital  human_intelligence  IQ  Jewish  mental_dexterity  originality  outsiders  purpose  smart_people  talent  think_differently 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain. - The New York Times
By Martin Scorsese
Mr. Scorsese is an Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer.

Nov. 4, 2019

Martin Scorsese is an Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer. His new film is “The Irishman.”
Cinema is an art form that brings you the unexpected. In superhero movies, nothing is at risk, a director says.
Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament. ......For me, for the filmmakers I came to love and respect, for my friends who started making movies around the same time that I did, cinema was about revelation — aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation. It was about characters — the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.

It was about confronting the unexpected on the screen and in the life it dramatized and interpret.....cinema is an.art form. There was some debate about that at the time, so we stood up for cinema as an equal to literature or music or dance.......Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes...When I watch a movie by any of those filmmakers (e.g. Paul Thomas Anderson or Claire Denis or Spike Lee or Ari Aster or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson ), I know I’m going to see something absolutely new and be taken to unexpected and maybe even unnameable areas of experience. My sense of what is possible in telling stories with moving images and sounds is going to be expanded.......So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be?......In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever.......the fact is that the screens in most multiplexes are crowded with franchise pictures.....It’s a chicken-and-egg issue. If people are given only one kind of thing and endlessly sold only one kind of thing, of course they’re going to want more of that one kind of thing.....In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all...... certainly not implying that movies should be a subsidized art form, or that they ever were. When the Hollywood studio system was still alive and well, the tension between the artists and the people who ran the business was constant and intense, but it was a productive tension that gave us some of the greatest films ever made....Today, that tension is gone, and there are some in the business with absolute indifference to the very question of art and an attitude toward the history of cinema that is both dismissive and proprietary — a lethal combination. The situation, sadly, is that we now have two separate fields: There’s worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there’s cinema. They still overlap from time to time, but that’s becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is being used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other....For anyone who dreams of making movies or who is just starting out, the situation at this moment is brutal and inhospitable to art
=================================================
Yun Kim
VirginiaNov. 5
Times Pick
Product that sells to all ages and backgrounds is difficult to make therefore not risk free. But society only exposed to repeat formula product is indeed at risk.
art  artists  blockbusters  cinema  comic_books  creativity  cri_de_coeur  entertainment_industry  films  filmmakers  hits  Hollywood  independent_viewpoints  Martin_Scorsese  Marvel  movies  originality  original_content  risk-taking  sequels  soulless  studios  super-hero  unexpected 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Happy birthday, Champ - The Globe and Mail
STEPHEN BRUNT
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007

Muhammad Ali was a simple kid, a beautiful athlete, an original talent. Funny, quick, cruel and brave. A silent saint,
Muhammad_Ali  Stephen_Brunt  boxing  originality 
june 2016 by jerryking
Life’s Work
May 2915 | HBR | Alison Beard

"In the business of storytelling, you're looking for originality in the subject and point of view....which ideas feel authentic and new?"

Can curiosity be taught? Some people have more than others, but to use it as a tool takes work. You have to assault a topic kind of like a scientist and ask endless questions.

"But I still had to do what Lew Wasserman told me: Start manufacturing ideas"

"When people look at you, you have a chance to be a leader"
HBR  Brian_Grazer  curiosity  storytelling  films  movies  ideas  idea_generation  Hollywood  books  Communicating_&_Connecting  self-actualization  creativity  creative_renewal  studios  producers  questions  originality  perspectives  authenticity  pitches  independent_viewpoints  personal_accomplishments  creating_valuable_content  Lew_Wasserman 
april 2016 by jerryking
Life lessons from original thinkers
Jan. 9, 2016 | The Financial Times. (): Business News: p5. |
Simon Kuper

'Our era undervalues original thinkers, because we tend to rank people by their fame and money'

One nice thing about m...
Simon_Kuper  life_skills  lessons_learned  iconoclasts  originality  life_lessons 
february 2016 by jerryking
Journalism’s problem is a failure of originality - The Globe and Mail
KELLY McBRIDE

The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Sep. 28 2012

Professional journalism isn’t facing a plagiarism problem. It’s facing an originality failure....We have no way of knowing whether, proportionally, there’s more plagiarism in journalism today than there was 20 years ago. But we do know that commentators now work in very different circumstances. It used to be that local columnists used the phone and their feet. They spent time out of the office, just like their reporter colleagues. They went to the bar, the barbershop, the local college, the courtroom.

Why? Because, that’s where ideas took shape. Talking and thinking, thinking and talking, then trying it out on the keyboard. That’s how writers write. Sometimes, the work was good; more often, it was mediocre. Sometimes, editors sent it back. Whatever the quality, the ideas belonged to the columnist, informed by her reporting and research but grown in the writer’s head....In our panic to keep up with a changing world, we’ve failed to identify new methods for originality. We need to look to the writer-editor relationship, to the community of writers and thinkers and to the very process that writers use to go from nothing to something.

We’re mystified by the prospect of building a culture that breeds original thinking and writing in today’s digital world. Yet, we can look to writers who are successfully hitting the mark of originality and imitate their methods.

Today’s most original successful writers often combine the new and the old to foster their thinking. Writers such as Anne Lamott or columnist Connie Schultz test out their ideas in social media settings such as Twitter or Facebook. And they stay grounded in the real world, allowing for the influence of other people and experiences.
in_the_real_world  journalism  originality  scuttlebutt  thinking  plagiarism  editors  writers  writing  social_media  testing  original_thinking  ideas 
october 2012 by jerryking

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