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Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
25 days ago by jerryking
We need to be better at predicting bad outcomes
September 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

A question some of us ask all too often, and some of us not often enough: what if it all [jk: our plan] goes wrong?.....we don’t think about worst-case scenarios in the right way......
The first problem is that our sense of risk is pretty crude. The great psychologist Amos Tversky joked that most of us have three categories when thinking about probabilities: “gonna happen”, “not gonna happen” and “maybe”.....It would be helpful if our sense of risk was a little more refined; intuitively, it is hard to grasp the difference between a risk of one in a billion and that of one in a thousand. Yet, for a gambler — or someone in the closely related business of insurance — there is all the difference in the world.....research by Barbara Mellers, Philip Tetlock and Hal Arkes suggests that making a serious attempt to put probabilities on uncertain future events might help us in other ways: the process makes us more humble, more moderate and better able to discern shades of grey. Trying to forecast is about more than a successful prediction......we can become sidetracked by the question of whether the worst case is likely. Rather than asking “will this happen?”, we should ask “what would we do if it did?”

The phrase “worst-case scenario” probably leads us astray: anyone can dream up nightmare scenarios.....To help us think sensibly about these worst-case possibilities, Gary Klein, psychologist and author of Seeing What Others Don’t, has argued for conducting “pre-mortems” — or hypothetical postmortems. Before embarking on a project, imagine receiving a message from the future: the project failed, and spectacularly. Now ask yourself: why? Risks and snares will quickly suggest themselves — often risks that can be anticipated and prevented.......Contingency planning is not always easy......woes that would result both as the “base case” (the truth) and a “worst-case scenario” (the government sucking in its stomach while posing for a selfie).
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In our increasingly airbrushed world, it becomes ever more necessary to ask the unfashionable questions like ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ - and then plan for it...
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Humanity's survival may well rely on the ability of our imaginations to explore alternative futures in order to begin building the communities that can forestall or endure worst-case catastrophes.
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Amos_Tversky  anticipating  base_rates  beforemath  books  contingency_planning  discernment  failure  forecasting  foresight  frequency_and_severity  humility  nuanced  predictions  preparation  probabilities  risk-assessment  risks  Tim_Harford  uncertainty  worst-case 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
‘Farsighted’ Review: How to Make Up Your Mind - WSJ
14 COMMENTS
By David A. Shaywitz
Sept. 11, 2018

..mission planners first systematically widened their thinking to define their options as broadly as possible, seeking a “full-spectrum appraisal of the state of things and a comprehensive list of potential choices.” Then they coned down the alternatives by playing out multiple scenarios, exploring all the ways the mission could go wrong........When faced with complex choices we tend to frame problems in a narrow fashion. .......seek participation from as broad and diverse a group as possible.....a diversity of viewpoints isn’t enough. Citing the legal scholar Cass Sunstein, Mr. Johnson observes that, although “groups often possess a rich mix of information distributed among their members,” when they assemble “they tend to focus on shared information.” Thus it is important to design a process that exposes “unshared information”—by meeting individually with stakeholders, for instance, instead of merely convening a town hall. Similarly, he cites research revealing that two-thirds of organizational decisions never contemplate more than a single option. There is a “gravitational pull toward the initial framing of the decision.” To overcome it, he suggests considering what might be done if the presumptive path forward were suddenly blocked....“Uncertainty can’t simply be analyzed out of existence,” ...What scenarios and simulations can offer is a way to “prepare you for the many ways that the future might unexpectedly veer.”..... Linear value modeling, for example, weighs the relative importance of different goals, while a bad-outcomes approach examines worst-case possibilities........given the challenges of making high-stakes global decisions. How should we respond, as a planet, to the challenges of addressing climate change, communicating with alien life forms or managing computers with superintelligence? The answer seems to be: by convening diverse experts and hoping for the best. ....... Great novels matter because “they let us experience parallel lives, and see the complexity of those experiences in vivid detail.”........ fundamentally, choices concern competing narratives, and we’re likely to make better choices if we have richer stories, with more fleshed-out characters, a more nuanced understanding of motives, and a deeper appreciation of how decisions are likely to reverberate and resound.
books  book_reviews  Cass_Sunstein  choices  decision_making  far-sightedness  howto  narrow-framing  novels  presumptions  scenario-planning  shared_experiences  Steven_Johnson  systematic_approaches  thinking_tragically  uncertainty  unshared_information  wide-framing  worst-case 
november 2018 by jerryking
CIBC’s Victor Dodig warns about global debt levels; urges Canada to prepare
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | by JAMES BRADSHAW (BANKING REPORTER)

Who/Where/Occasion: CIBC's CEO Victor Dodig, in a speech to the Empire Club

Problem(s):
* alarm over rising global debt levels, warning that Canada needs to start preparing now for the next economic shock.
* some of the most acute threats to the global economy are beyond this country’s control, but cautioned Canadians not to get too comfortable while times are good.
* developing problems could ripple through interwoven financial markets around the world.
* “It sounds counterintuitive, but that same debt that helped the world recover is actually infusing risk into the global financial system today," ...“I think there’s a real serious global challenge of this low-interest-rate party developing a big hangover."

Remedies:
* clarify rules around foreign direct investment, which is falling in Canada. The main culprit is the uncertainty plaguing large business deals that require approval from Ottawa under opaque foreign-investment rules – and he cites the turmoil surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion as an example.
* more immigration to Canada, asking the government – which has already set higher immigration targets for the coming years – to open its arms even wider.
* governments and employers to work more closely with universities and colleges to match the skills graduates have to employers' needs, promoting what are known as the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – as well as skilled trades.
* remove interprovincial trade barriers.
* allow companies to expense capital investments within one year to be more competitive with U.S. rules.

My Takeaways:
CEOs  CIBC  debt  FDI  global_economy  interconnections  interest_rates  opacity  pipelines  resilience  speeches  uncertainty  Victor_Dodig  war_for_talent  threats  beyond_one's_control  complacency  preparation  financial_system  readiness 
september 2018 by jerryking
Canada in the crosshairs as Trump weaponizes uncertainty as part of bullying approach to trade - The Globe and Mail
BARRIE MCKENNA
OTTAWA

Tariffs are not the end game. Economist Meredith Crowley, she and Mr. Ciuriak make the case that the United States is knowingly and strategically “weaponizing uncertainty” by seeking out confrontation with other countries on trade.

“The Trump administration is deploying at scale a new weapon in trade protection – uncertainty,” they argue.

The objective is not just to reduce the massive U.S. trade deficit with the world − as Mr. Trump and his top officials repeatedly insist. Fomenting trade uncertainty is also being used to bully companies into moving jobs, production and investment back to the United States and to discourage U.S. companies from investing outside the country.

Threatened tariffs may be as effective as actual tariffs. That may explain why the Trump administration has been so insistent on putting a five-year sunset clause in the North American free-trade agreement. Canada considers that a deal breaker because it discourages companies from making long-term investments.

Uncertainty is being deliberately used as a non-tariff barrier and, unlike tariffs, it can’t be reined in by the rules of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA or other trade deals. “Unlike tariffs, uncertainty cannot easily be withdrawn – like a good reputation ruined, its pernicious effects on confidence can take years to unwind,” .

Canada is already suffering as companies delay investments, or divert them to the United States to escape the uncertainty of being on the wrong side of any protectionist barriers.
Donald_Trump  uncertainty  bullying  crossborder  tarrifs  NAFTA  tools  non-tariff_barriers  economies_of_scale 
june 2018 by jerryking
Bolts from the blue test our fragile systems
Andrew Hill YESTERDAY

Resilience, a spokesman told me, was “built into the design”, just not enough resilience to soak up that one-off lightning strike, the original metaphor for everything that seems vanishingly unlikely to happen. Until it does.......Resilience used to be a low priority but only after the 9/11 attacks violently woke all Manhattan businesses and residents to the potential shortcomings of their back-up plans. For a time, we had our own family resilience plan, complete with pre-determined emergency meeting points, and supplies of duct tape, bottled water and canned food. Likewise, it took the financial crisis to galvanise many banks, regulators and governments to think about how to respond to, and protect against, previously unimagined threats. All this prepping for uncertainty and change is, of course, positive. But it is also easier than resolving some of the wider pressures that make resilience training essential......our obsession with efficiency.....has made economies more productive, cut poverty and improved living standards. But.....it has also become “the god that we worship unthinkingly”. Efficiency has led to (over)consolidation. Such monocultures are fragile and vulnerable to calamities.....resilient workers are better able to respond to such changes.....but deep down organisations might be hoping that their newly flexible, gritty managers & staff serve in the vanguard of another push for efficiency, without due regard to the system’s safety......Roger Martin’s solutions to such global weaknesses involve adding more friction to the system, from the top down. They include rules to oblige investors to hold stocks for longer, more active antitrust policies, and targeted trade barriers. This would require a degree of intervention and co-ordination that may be beyond most governments.....organisations cannot afford unlimited insurance. ....But in too many places, too many people are running a single, consolidated system, with little or no resilience.
resilience  fragility  9/11  concentration_risk  efficiencies  disasters  disaster_preparedness  financial_crises  frictions  monocultures  Roger_Martin  rule-writing  top-down  uncertainty  unexpected 
june 2018 by jerryking
What Land Will Be Underwater in 20 Years? Figuring It Out Could Be Lucrative
Feb. 23, 2018 | The New York Times | By Brad Plumer

In Charleston, S.C., where the ports have been expanding to accommodate larger ships sailing through the newly widened Panama Canal, a real-estate developer named Xebec Realty recently went looking for land to build new warehouses and logistics centers.

But first, Xebec had a question: What were the odds that the sites it was considering might be underwater in 10 or 20 years?......Yet detailed information about the city’s climate risks proved surprisingly hard to find. Federal flood maps are based on historical data, and won’t tell you how sea-level rise could exacerbate flooding in the years ahead.....So Xebec turned to a Silicon Valley start-up called Jupiter, which offered to analyze local weather and hydrological data and combine it with climate model projections to assess the potential climate risks Xebec might face in Charleston over the next few decades from things like heavier rainfall, sea level rise or increased storm surge....the reliability of Jupiter's predictive analytics is uncertain....that said, “In economics, information has value if you would make a different decision based on that information,”...... Congress has generally underfunded initiatives such as those at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to incorporate climate change into its federal flood maps.......to get a full picture of flooding risk, you need expertise in weather, but also climate and hydrology and engineering and running complex models on the latest computer hardware,” ... “All of those specialized disciplines are usually heavily siloed within the public sector or the scientific community.”....Jupiter, which acknowledges the uncertainties in climate forecasting, will have to prove that a market exists....flooding and other disasters have led to record losses by insurers.....[Those] losses raised the stakes in terms of trying to get the best possible science on your side when you’re pricing risk,” said John Drzik, president of global risk at Marsh,
climate_change  weather  start_ups  data_driven  forecasting  hard_to_find  predictive_analytics  tools  Charleston  South_Carolina  uncertainty  sea-level_rise  floods  commercial_real_estate  adaptability  specificity  catastrophes  catastrophic_risk  unpredictability  coastal  extreme_weather_events  insurance  FEMA  cartography  floodplains  flood-risk  flood-risk_maps  mapping  historical_data 
february 2018 by jerryking
Piecing Together Narratives From the 0′s and 1′s: Storytelling in the Age of Big Data - CIO Journal. - WSJ
Feb 16, 2018 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Probabilities are inherently hard to grasp, especially for an individual event like a war or an election, ......Why is it so hard for people to deal with probabilities in everyday life? “I think part of the answer lies with Kahneman’s insight: Human beings need a story,”....Mr. Kahneman explained their research in his 2011 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow. Its central thesis is that our mind is composed of two very different systems of thinking. System 1 is the intuitive, fast and emotional part of our mind. Thoughts come automatically and very quickly to System 1, without us doing anything to make them happen. System 2, on the other hand, is the slower, logical, more deliberate part of the mind. It’s where we evaluate and choose between multiple options, because only System 2 can think of multiple things at once and shift its attention between them.

System 1 typically works by developing a coherent story based on the observations and facts at its disposal. Research has shown that the intuitive System 1 is actually more influential in our decisions, choices and judgements than we generally realize. But, while enabling us to act quickly, System 1 is prone to mistakes. It tends to be overconfident, creating the impression that we live in a world that’s more coherent and simpler than the actual real world. It suppresses complexity and information that might contradict its coherent story.

Making sense of probabilities, numbers and graphs requires us to engage System 2, which, for most everyone, takes quite a bit of focus, time and energy. Thus, most people will try to evaluate the information using a System 1 simple story: who will win the election? who will win the football game?.....Storytelling has played a central role in human communications since times immemorial. Over the centuries, the nature of storytelling has significantly evolved with the advent of writing and the emergence of new technologies that enabled stories to be embodied in a variety of media, including books, films, and TV. Everything else being equal, stories are our preferred way of absorbing information.

“It’s not enough to say an event has a 10 percent probability,” wrote Mr. Leonhardt. “People need a story that forces them to visualize the unlikely event – so they don’t round 10 to zero.”.....
in_the_real_world  storytelling  massive_data_sets  probabilities  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  Communicating_&_Connecting  Daniel_Kahneman  complexity  uncertainty  decision_making  metacognition  data_journalism  sense-making  thinking_deliberatively 
february 2018 by jerryking
What the Tax Bill Fails to Address: Technology’s Tsunami -
DEC. 20, 2017 | The New York Times | Farhad Manjoo.

Manjoo posits that the Republican tax bill is the wrong fix for the wrong problem, given how tech is altering society and the economy....The bill (the parachute) does little to address the tech-abetted wave of economic displacement (the tsunami) that may be looming just off the horizon. And it also seems to intensify some of the structural problems in the tech business, including its increasing domination by five giants — Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company — which own some of the world’s most important economic platforms.....some in Silicon Valley think the giants misplayed their hand in the legislation. In pursuing short-term tax advantages, they missed a chance to advocate policies that might have more broadly benefited many of their customers — and improved their images, too......This gets back to that looming tsunami. Though many of the economy’s structural problems predate the last decade’s rise of the tech behemoths, the innovations that Silicon Valley has been working on — things like e-commerce, cloud storage, artificial intelligence and the general digitization of everything and everyone around you — are some of the central protagonists in the economic story of our age.

Among other economic concerns, these innovations are implicated in the rise of inequality; the expanding premium on education and skills; the decimation and dislocation of retail jobs; the rising urban-rural divide, and spiking housing costs in cities; and the rise of the “gig” economy of contract workers who drive Ubers and rent out their spare bedrooms on Airbnb....technology is changing work in a few ways. First, it’s altering the type of work that people do — for instance, creating a boom in e-commerce warehouse jobs in large metro areas while reducing opportunities for retail workers in rural areas. Technology has also created more uncertainty around when people work and how much they’ll get paid.
Farhad_Manjoo  preparation  job_loss  job_displacement  Silicon_Valley  tax_codes  corporate_concentration  platforms  income_inequality  short-sightedness  e-commerce  cloud_computing  artificial_intelligence  gig_economy  precarious  automation  uncertainty  universal_basic_income  digitalization  Apple  Amazon  Netflix  Microsoft  Facebook  Alphabet  Google  inconsistent_incomes  Big_Tech  FAANG 
december 2017 by jerryking
We Survived Spreadsheets, and We’ll Survive AI - WSJ
By Greg Ip
Updated Aug. 2, 2017

History and economics show that when an input such as energy, communication or calculation becomes cheaper, we find many more uses for it. Some jobs become superfluous, but others more valuable, and brand new ones spring into existence. Why should AI be different?

Back in the 1860s, the British economist William Stanley Jevons noticed that when more-efficient steam engines reduced the coal needed to generate power, steam power became more widespread and coal consumption rose. More recently, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led study found that as semiconductor manufacturers squeezed more computing power out of each unit of silicon, the demand for computing power shot up, and silicon consumption rose.

The “Jevons paradox” is true of information-based inputs, not just materials like coal and silicon......Just as spreadsheets drove costs down and demand up for calculations, machine learning—the application of AI to large data sets—will do the same for predictions, argue Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, who teach at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “Prediction about uncertain states of the world is an input into decision making,” they wrote in a recent paper. .....Unlike spreadsheets, machine learning doesn’t yield exact answers. But it reduces the uncertainty around different risks. For example, AI makes mammograms more accurate, the authors note, so doctors can better judge when to conduct invasive biopsies. That makes the doctor’s judgment more valuable......Machine learning is statistics on steroids: It uses powerful algorithms and computers to analyze far more inputs, such as the millions of pixels in a digital picture, and not just numbers but images and sounds. It turns combinations of variables into yet more variables, until it maximizes its success on questions such as “is this a picture of a dog” or at tasks such as “persuade the viewer to click on this link.”.....Yet as AI gets cheaper, so its potential applications will grow. Just as better weather forecasting makes us more willing to go out without an umbrella, Mr. Manzi says, AI emboldens companies to test more products, strategies and hunches: “Theories become lightweight and disposable.” They need people who know how to use it, and how to act on the results.
artificial_intelligence  Greg_Ip  spreadsheets  machine_learning  predictions  paradoxes  Jim_Manzi  experimentation  testing  massive_data_sets  judgment  uncertainty  economists  algorithms  MIT  Gilder's_Law  speed  operational_tempo  Jevons_paradox  decision_making  steam_engine  William_Jevons 
august 2017 by jerryking
Travel Agents? No. Travel ‘Designers’ Create Strategies, Not Trips. - The New York Times
By JOANNE KAUFMAN JULY 5, 2017

Affluent travelers are turning to travel designers, whose services go beyond booking trips to managing travel portfolios.....a subset of travel planners — they prefer the term travel designers — who do far more than simply book trips. They manage the travel portfolios of their affluent clients, mapping out a schedule that might, over a year, include mother-daughter weekends in the Caribbean, father-son heli-skiing, a romantic husband-and-wife weekend getaway and an elaborate summer trip for the whole family.....A high level of planning and involvement “is part of an emerging market where there are people who have more money than time and want expertise,” ..... For example, he said, “a traditional travel agent wouldn’t know to ask questions like ‘what’s the smallest plane you’d be willing to fly on?’”

Such clients,...may not be price sensitive, but are highly sensitive to perceived slights. “Someone I know professionally,” he said, “went on a trip to a remote location and was served frozen orange juice, and told me he would never use his travel designer again because he expected fresh juice.”

Often, long-range planning is a practical necessity. Some of the most sought-after lodges and boutique hotels have limited space.....my own take, a caveat, is that it is unclear whether the degree of planning involved leaves room for serendipity (See Add Uncertainty to Your Financial Plans - NYTimes.com)
affluence  boutique_hotels  concierge_services  curation  detail_oriented  high_net_worth  high-touch  hospitality  hotels  itineraries  long-range  luxury  planning  portfolio_management  serendipity  travel  travel_agents  uncertainty 
july 2017 by jerryking
In House of Murdoch, Sons Set About an Elaborate Overhaul
APRIL 22, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and SYDNEY EMBER.

With James and his elder brother, Lachlan, 45, who is the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, firmly entrenched as their father’s successors, they are now forcibly exerting themselves. Their father remains very involved, but his sons seem determined to rid the company of its roguish, old-guard internal culture and tilt operations toward the digital future. They are working to make the family empire their own, not the one the elder Murdoch created to suit his sensibilities.....The conglomerate, like its competitors, is facing an extremely uncertain future. Consumers are canceling or forgoing cable hookups and instead subscribing to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which 21st Century Fox co-owns. The movie business continues to grapple with piracy, rising costs and flat domestic attendance. Fox also has special problems: With competitors getting bigger — AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner being Exhibit A — where does that leave the Murdochs?

“That’s a question I think they asked themselves and moved them to try to buy the rest of Sky,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, referring to a pending $14.3 billion deal for 21st Century Fox to take full control of the British satellite TV giant.

At the moment, 21st Century Fox’s portfolio is relatively healthy. Fox News has continued to dominate in the ratings. The FX cable channel has found a steady stream of hits, including “Atlanta” and “The People v. O. J. Simpson.” The Fox broadcast network has struggled to find new must-see shows, but the company’s overseas channels and sports networks are thriving. In its most recent quarter, 21st Century Fox reported income of $856 million, a 27 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.
succession  Rupert_Murdoch  CATV  conglomerates  uncertainty  Netflix  Hulu  James_Murdoch  Lachlan_Murdoch  family-owned_businesses  Bill_O'Reilly  organizational_culture  sexual_harassment  Roger_Ailes  generational_change  digital_media  National_Geographic  CEOs  21st_Century_Fox  mass_media 
april 2017 by jerryking
Dancing with Disruption - Mike Lipkin
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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 by jerryking
Why Warren Buffett Keeps Framed Reminders of Awful Moments in Economic History
Olivia B. Waxman
Jan 26, 2017

"I wanted to put on the walls days of extreme panic in Wall Street just as a reminder than anything can happen in this world," he says in this clip provided exclusively to TIME, from the upcoming HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett. "It's instructive art."
Warren_Buffett  Berkshire_Hathaway  web_video  panics  economic_history  art  unpredictability  unthinkable  imagination  uncertainty  HBO  documentaries  artifacts  reminders 
february 2017 by jerryking
Emerging markets offer clue for investors in 2017
December 31/January 1 2017 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Now (people = politicians = capriciousness/alternatively, unpredictable waves of populism) are shaping events, not established party platforms or policy programmes....the pricing of political uncertainty has moved from being an emerging market phenomenon to an emerged market issue....Is there any way for investors to adapt to this new world? ....(1) Start by abandoning the idea that asset values can be predicted by using neat economic models alone. ...investors urgently need to think about the difference between "risk" (i.e. events that can be predicted with a certain probability) and "uncertainty" (i.e. unknown future shocks). Until now, investors in developed markets have tended to focus primarily on risks and assume that these can be priced (and hedged against). But 2017 is likely to produce uncertainty. That cannot be easily priced or hedge--and investors should recognize this. (2) Investor should also embrace "optionality": the only way to prepare for a world of uncertainty is to stay as flexible and diversified as possible. Now is not the time for investors to put all their eggs in one basket, or bet on just one asset class. Nor is it time for businesses to be locked into rigid business plans: political and geopolitical upheaval could strike almost anywhere. (3) If 2017 does deliver more risk and uncertainty, expect financial markets to be "skittish" about "news" of all types, and not just economic....Bad news for those who despise market volatility (expectation: we're in for volatility like we've never seen before)....Uncertainty can deliver huge opportunity alongside risks..."good" surprises....Surviving 2017 in the developed economies requires that investors use tools beyond those found in the realm of economics: psychology, sociology and political science. Also, talk to successful emerging market investors to find out how they practice their craft.
concentration_risk  Gillian_Tett  emerging_markets  political_risk  unpredictability  Brexit  investors  Donald_Trump  uncertainty  risks  optionality  geopolitics  financial_markets  politicians  volatility  tools  economics  psychology  sociology  political_science  FT  institutions  rule_of_law  Gary_Cohn  populism  indicators  human_factor  assets  asset_values  asset_classes  diversification  dislocations  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
For Britain’s ‘Brexit’ Bunch, the Party Just Ended - The New York Times
By PETER S. GOODMANOCT. 7, 2016For those blithely inclined toward the view that Britain would somehow find a way to sever its relationship with the European Union free of drama or financial consequences — like canceling a car rental reservation, with a tad more paperwork — Friday was a sobering day of reckoning.

As the British pound plunged some 6 percent against the American dollar in the span of two minutes in early trading in Asia, the markets offered a reminder that divorce tends to be messy, expensive and laced with uncertainties. It rarely ends happily.
Theresa_May  United_Kingdom  Brexit  EU  financial_markets  breakups  messiness  uncertainty 
october 2016 by jerryking
How to approach your own career like an entrepreneur - Fortune
1. Choose growth over profitability. Rather than focus on short-term gains, think long-term goals and what you need to get there.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not on where. Job seekers should invest in people, not ideas. That means pick the place you’re going to work for the people you’re going to work with. They’re the ones who will train you and lead you to other opportunities when the time comes.
3. Find your special sauce. Fetishize your product-market fit. This may be one of the hardest challenges in the new economy.
4. Celebrate uncertainty. Iterate. Seek feedback and adapt. Pivot where necessary.
5. Be public. Be on Linkedin. Give away hard-won information and knowledge, you’ll get something back. Be more transparent.

Nitin Julka was 31 and working like a dog in Cleveland when he got the itch. For six years he’d been a VP of his family’s business, a $20 million company that sold IT to schools. He had moved home after getting an MBA, excited to grow the company and make a difference in educational technology. It had been a “wild ride,” but he was ready for change. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to do something different.”

The jobs that interested him most were in tech. He started calling friends, friends of friends, business school classmates, and even distant contacts to talk about Bay Area companies and about what professional roles he might actually qualify for. After 30 or so conversations, he made up his mind: He wanted to be a product manager at a fast-growing Silicon Valley–based startup.

This struck few as a logical or even feasible next step for Julka: “I was changing job functions, industries, and geographies. People told me you can do one of those things—not all three at once.”

But Julka is more self-aware than most. On a quarterly basis, he conducts a life assessment and reviews what he considers to be his professional competitive advantage. Among his “most unique” attributes he lists his receptiveness to feedback. Indeed, in his quest for continual improvement, he has recorded personal and professional feedback in a single, running Google doc since 2010. He reads it once a week, when prompted by a recurring calendar invite.

And so began what Julka considers the “abnormal part” of his job search: He drew up a spreadsheet of 60 target companies, a few of which he researched for 60 to 80 hours (he admits he “overinvested”). He read 10-Ks and 10-Qs and a hundred CrunchBase articles; he mined his personal and virtual connections; he enlisted a friend, a former Google programmer, to tutor him in code; and he found free online videos from which he learned UX/UI design. With his wife’s support, he gave himself five weeks in Silicon Valley—no mean feat given that he had an 18-month-old baby at home. He met with three or more people a day, prepared a 48-page set of interview notes, and rode the highs and lows of pitching himself for a job that many thought he was an odd fit for.

It ended on a high. In September 2013 he got several job offers—including one, through a contact of his business school professor, at Bizo, a startup that has since been acquired by LinkedIn LNKD .

Julka may sound like a case study in craziness, a modern-day Ben Franklin whose entrepreneurial energy and efforts cannot be easily matched. But while he exists at one extreme, he’s the prototype for what it takes to navigate one’s career these days.

The truth is, wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up.

As LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote in their zeitgeist-tapping book from 2012, The Start-Up of You, “All humans are entrepreneurs.” To accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula—“adapt to the future” and “invest in yourself”—no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.

Imagine you’re a founder. You’ve been working for days—years, really. (You can’t remember the last time you took a day off.) You’ve networked like crazy. And now, at last, you’ve landed one of those much-coveted meetings with a high-profile venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road.

the start up of you bookIt feels as though you’ve been waiting your whole life for this: You’ve prepared your slide deck, rehearsed your pitch, and honed your talking points. You’re ready to be grilled about even the finest details of your marketing and monetization strategies. You’ve gone so far as to research your VC’s hobbies. But the product you’re selling isn’t some whiz-bang app or the latest and greatest cloud-computing platform; the product is you.

Here’s where your potential backer steps in: What’s your competitive advantage, she asks? The questions come rapid-fire: What’s your addressable market? The opportunities for growth? Your five-year plan? Your 10-year plan?

You may not be used to thinking about your career in such calculating terms, but old standards like “follow your passion” get you only so far. You won’t get Series A funding, but the analogy is apt: If you are the startup, you’d better start answering to your inner VC.

“You’ve got to have a sense of purpose, authenticity, self-awareness, intellectual honesty, and the ability to navigate ambiguity,” says Hemant Taneja, managing director at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm. That’s what he looks for in companies—and people—he invests in. Alan Braverman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who co-heads the Giant Pixel, a tech startup studio, speaks more bluntly: “What most people consider a safe career path, I consider falling behind.”

You don’t have to be a TaskRabbit (or a VC) to know that the world of work has changed. Technology, globalization, and one long recession—in which nearly one in six Americans reported losing a job, according to Princeton economist Henry Farber—have all disrupted old-fashioned employment. Corporations have downsized, outsourced, and rightsized. They slashed training budgets during the recession, and though that spending is coming back—up 15% in 2013, according to a Deloitte survey—corporate talent development is thought to be a dying art. “As companies see it, the incentives are just so perverse,” says Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton Business School. “Typically you train someone, and once they become useful, they’re hired away from you.” Meanwhile, the slow march of automation continues: Robots now fly planes, perform surgeries, and in some cases write news. That leaves you, dear worker, in a tight spot—whether or not you’ve got your dream job now, you’ve got to stay relevant and evolve.

That’s not as easy as it once was. The half-life of desirable skills has shortened with the hastening pace of technological change. (A Python programmer now eats the once-hot Java programmer for lunch.) Fabio Rosati, CEO of the online freelancing platform Elance-oDesk, says these dynamics are moving us from the era of employment to one of newfangled “employability.” Professionals, like the 9.3 million who find work on his site, are now being viewed as mobile, independent bundles of skills. In this universe the most adaptable talent rules the day. Increasingly, learning agility is an attribute sought in corporate leadership, says Vicki Swisher, a senior director at Korn Ferry, an executive search firm. What’s more, she says, it’s what employers are looking for in all new hires.

That agility is also mission critical for your personal enterprise (formerly known as your career path). Rather than climb a single corporate ladder like the company man of yore, you’re more likely to spend your career scaling a professional jungle gym, maneuvering between projects, jobs, companies, industries, and locales. By the reckoning of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest job-tenure survey, you’ll pivot every 4.6 years (make that three if you’re a millennial, a demographic that will dominate the workforce in 2015). To do this well requires imagination, initiative, and some guts. Much like a startup, you’re forging your way ahead in a dynamic world where there is no conventional path.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” advises Mike Abbott, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who knows as an entrepreneur and as someone whose career zigged to Microsoft, Palm, and Twitter before it zagged to venture capital. In his case, he sought discomfort. “That’s how you learn the most.”

While the ideas of a free-agent nation and personal brand building have been with us for a couple of decades, DIY-career building has gotten a big push from the digital (and old-fashioned sharing) infrastructure that fosters this independence. There’s the rise in communal workspaces like WeWork and educational alternatives like Coursera, which offers college courses online, and General Assembly, which trains workers in the most in-demand tech skills. (As Julka’s case shows, YouTube and Google can also be empowering resources.)

A slew of online platforms has made it simpler to drum up employment, from one-off gigs to full-time jobs. Professionals can peddle their services, whether it be supply-chain management or legal advice, more easily and independently too, through sites like Elance-oDesk and TrustedPeer, which sometimes cater to big companies.

The data are messy on the size and shape of this new, more independent workforce. The BLS, whose classification system dates back to 1948, counted 14.4 million self-employed Americans in April 2014. That’s a far cry from the results of a study commissioned this year by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk, which put the number of freelancers—a broader category that includes temps, part-timers, and moonlighters—at 53 million, or one in three American workers. (A report on freelancers … [more]
value_propositions  personal_branding  via:enochko  it's_up_to_me  pitches  self-assessment  self-awareness  Silicon_Valley  gig_economy  start_ups  Managing_Your_Career  Reid_Hoffman  Ben_Casnocha  slight_edge  job_search  discomforts  uncertainty  learning_agility  transparency  customer_growth  self-employment  Elance-oDesk  TrustedPeer  large_companies  non-routine  skills  special_sauce  free-agents  WeWork  product-market_fit  preparation  readiness  torchbearers 
july 2016 by jerryking
The Power of ‘Why?’ and ‘What If?’ - The New York Times
JULY 2, 2016 | New York Times | By WARREN BERGER.

business leaders want the people working around them to be more curious, more cognizant of what they don’t know, and more inquisitive — about everything, including “Why am I doing my job the way I do it?” and “How might our company find new opportunities?”....Companies in many industries today must contend with rapid change and rising uncertainty. In such conditions, even a well-established company cannot rest on its expertise; there is pressure to keep learning what’s new and anticipating what’s next. It’s hard to do any of that without asking questions.

Steve Quatrano, a member of the Right Question Institute, a nonprofit research group, explains that the act of formulating questions enables us “to organize our thinking around what we don’t know.” This makes questioning a good skill to hone in dynamic times.....So how can companies encourage people to ask more questions? There are simple ways to train people to become more comfortable and proficient at it. For example, question formulation exercises can be used as a substitute for conventional brainstorming sessions. The idea is to put a problem or challenge in front of a group of people and instead of asking for ideas, instruct participants to generate as many relevant questions as they can.......Getting employees to ask more questions is the easy part; getting management to respond well to those questions can be harder.......think of “what if” and “how might we” questions about the company’s goals and plans........Leaders can also encourage companywide questioning by being more curious and inquisitive themselves.
asking_the_right_questions  questions  curiosity  humility  pretense_of_knowledge  unknowns  leadership  innovation  idea_generation  ideas  information_gaps  cost_of_inaction  expertise  anticipating  brainstorming  dynamic  change  uncertainty  rapid_change  inquisitiveness  Dr.Alexander's_Question  incisiveness  leaders  companywide 
july 2016 by jerryking
Ideas worth floating: architects adapt to rising sea levels - FT.com
March 4, 2016 |FT| Nicola Davison.

.....As authorities around the world scramble to build so-called “resiliency” to the rising sea, Dutch architects are providing guidance. “In the Netherlands we are living in a completely artificial world,” says Koen Olthuis, founder of Waterstudio.nl, a practice that specialises in “amphibious” architecture. “If you just drive round Holland, you don’t see it, but if you know where to look, it’s all levees. It’s like a machine and if you stopped pumping 24/7, the water would rise within weeks.”....Since 1900, however, the oceans have risen; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that the average global sea level could rise more than a metre by 2100.

Higher seas mean Hurricane Sandy-like storm “surges” will hit coastal cities more frequently, while oceans will inundate low-lying areas from the Maldives to Miami. The OECD estimates that by 2070 $35tn worth of property in some of the world’s largest port cities will be at risk of flooding — though insurers will stop selling policies and banks will stop writing mortgages for seafront homes long before then.
The Netherlands began investing in water-resistant infrastructure...Dutch cities have also waterproofed. ...Rather than “fighting” the water with barriers and pumps, planners and architects are beginning to think cities should embrace the water....Climate scientists have different ideas about how quickly the sea around New York will rise, but rocks can be added to the breakwater to raise its height. Scape tries to build “flexible systems that can adapt”, says Elachi. “A lot of this is because we are designing for uncertainty.”
architecture  floods  sustainability  climate_change  Netherlands  resilience  adaptability  uncertainty  sea-level_rise 
april 2016 by jerryking
Where Value Lives in a Networked World
Mohanbir SawhneyDeval Parikh
FROM THE JANUARY 2001 ISSUE

In recent years, it seems as though the only constant in business has been upheaval...Business has become so complex that trying to predict what lies ahead is futile. Plotting strategy is a fool’s game. The best you can do is become as flexible and hope you’ll be able to ride out the disruption.
There’s some truth in that view…..We have studied the upheavals and concluded that many of them have a common root--the nature of intelligence in networks. The digitization of information, combined with advances in computing and communications, has fundamentally changed how all networks operate, human as well as technological, and that change is having profound consequences for the way work is done and value is created throughout the economy. Network intelligence is the Rosetta Stone. Being able to decipher it will shape the future of business.
value_creation  networks  HBR  turbulence  uncertainty  flexibility  resilience  digitalization  disruption  turmoil  collective_intelligence 
november 2015 by jerryking
Speaking the Language of Risk - NYTimes.com
By CARL RICHARDS MAY 11, 2015.

humans outside the financial world define risk differently. In everyday life, we tend to think of risk as uncertainty, or what is left over after we have thought of everything else.

With uncertainty comes variability within a set of unknown limits. It’s the stuff that comes out of left field, like Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s black swan events. Because we can’t measure uncertainty with any sort of accuracy, we think of risk as something outside our control. We often connect it to things like running out of money in retirement or ending up in a car crash.

But how did we end up with two such completely different definitions of the same thing? My research points to an economist named Frank Knight and his book “Risk, Uncertainty and Profit.” (Toronto Reference Library, Stack Request, 330.1 K54.11)

In 1921, Mr. Knight wrote: “There is a fundamental distinction between the reward for taking a known risk and that for assuming a risk whose value itself is not known.” When a risk is known, it is “easily converted into an effective certainty,” while “true uncertainty,” as Knight called it, is “not susceptible to measurement.”...I’m also betting that if you heard a term like “risk management model,” you really thought, “uncertainty management model.” Unfortunately, no financial firm offers uncertainty management.

Solving this problem doesn’t require a new definition. We just need to shift our thinking when we hear someone in finance mention risk. We need to remember, that person isn’t talking about the odds we’ll lose everything, but about something that fits in a box.

I suspect that is why financial professionals sound so confident when they talk about managing our risk. In their minds, managing risk comes down to a formula they can fine-tune on their Dial-A-Risk meter. In our minds, we have to learn to separate the formula from the unknown unknowns that cannot be accounted for in any model or equation.

Once we learn to recognize that we are not talking about the same thing, we can avoid terrible disappointment and bad behavior when financial risk shows up again. And it will.
risks  uncertainty  unknowns  books  interpretation  financial_risk  beyond_one's_control  Nassim_Taleb  black_swan  misinterpretations  miscommunications  disappointment  languages 
may 2015 by jerryking
Feeling uncertain, CEO? Better go on the attack - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 05 2015

Taking control of uncertainty is the fundamental leadership challenge of our time … ” he writes in The Attacker’s Advantage. “The advantage now goes to those who create change, not just learn to live with it. Instead of waiting and reacting, such leaders immerse themselves in the ambiguities of the external environment, sort through them before things are settled and known, set a path, and steer the organization decisively onto it.”
Harvey_Schachter  Ram_Charan  uncertainty  algorithms  mathematics  data  management_consulting  anomalies  change  Jack_Welch  books  gurus  offense  data_driven  leadership  ambiguities  offensive_tactics 
may 2015 by jerryking
A billionaire’s guide to productivity - The Globe and Mail
FRED MOUAWAD
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 11 2015

1. Prioritize. Rank the level of importance of family, me time, and work. Think about the areas of life that need nurturing in order to feel more fulfilled. It is essential to strike a balance to lead both a happy and productive life.

2. Allocate time (JCK: lead time) to maximize an impact (JCK: leverage or return on effort). Forewarned is forearmed. Plan ahead how you will use your time – after all, knowing your schedule is half the battle.

3. Know your natural penchants. If you find that the time spent on these activities does not give you a high level of return, consider allocating your time more thoughtfully.

4. Reduce uncertainty, increase accountability. A lack of clarity is productivity’s greatest enemy.

5. Know when to be a lone wolf. It is important to know your strengths. What tasks are you better off performing on your own? What tasks can you delegate?

6. Establish a nurturing culture. Productivity is easier to achieve in the right environment.

7. Measurement gets results-- measure performance to make continuous improvements. But make sure that you measuring the right things.
time-management  productivity  GTD  JCK  lead_time  priorities  strengths  self-discipline  business_planning  reflections  work_life_balance  uncertainty  clarity  affirmations  self-awareness  ksfs  preparation  penchants  predilections  measurements  proclivities  willpower  high-impact  time-allocation  return_on_effort 
february 2015 by jerryking
Red-Hot Skill: Managing in Gray Areas - WSJ - WSJ
By JOANN S. LUBLIN
Nov. 4, 2014

At a turbulent time in business, more U.S. companies pick and promote executives who thrive amid ambiguity, coaches and recruiters say. These leaders don’t flinch at uncertainty, surprises, conflicting directions, multiple demands—or knotty problems with no clear answers.
Managing_Your_Career  Joann_S._Lublin  uncertainty  red-hot  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  ambiguities  turbulence 
november 2014 by jerryking
31 Fantastic Pieces Of Advice For Surviving Your First Year On Wall Street
Knowing what you don't know is more useful than being brilliant.

"Confucius said that real knowledge is knowing the extent of one’s ignorance. Aristotle and Socrates said the same thing. ... Thin...
advice  humility  information_gaps  uncertainty  pretense_of_knowledge  Socrates  Wall_Street 
september 2014 by jerryking
China will keep spying. Canada must respond with skill, not rhetoric - The Globe and Mail
DAVID MULRONEY
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jul. 31 2014

China uses its long reach for objectives other than espionage. It feels free to confront any Canadian who shows undue interest in “sensitive” topics. Members of Parliaments, mayors, academics and community leaders have been bullied for displaying interest in the Dalai Lama, conditions in China’s restive Xinjiang region, or the plight of Falun Gong practitioners.

This is unacceptable, but here’s the hard part: we can expect more of the same. A rising but insecure China will not shrink from clandestine and downright unfriendly tactics to advance its interests.

We need to be clear-eyed in facing up to this. But we also need to recognize that our future prosperity, security and well-being depend on maintaining our own intelligently self-interested relationship with China.

So let’s start by banishing the rhetoric. China is not our best friend, any more than it is the sum of all fears. We do need to acknowledge and address the real threat China poses to our security.

Government needs to lead the way, but Canadian companies also need to step up their game. Enhanced security consciousness starts at the top. There are all too many anecdotes about security minded employees being over-ruled by senior executives who are worried about offending inquisitive Chinese visitors. That exquisite sensitivity is never reciprocated when it is the turn of the Chinese to host foreign guests....The one thing that we should avoid doing is closing doors to co-operation. Unfortunately, that’s already happening, and companies on both sides of the Pacific are paying a price. The Chinese media are portraying the U.S. technology sector as a major security threat. This makes it fair game for overly zealous regulators, and plays into the longstanding Chinese inclination to make life tougher for foreign firms. This week, investigators descended on Microsoft offices in China. Meanwhile the China operations of U.S.-based chip maker Qualcomm are also under review. Firms like Apple and Google have felt a similar chill.

Here in North America, China’s telecom giant Huawei is our bête noir, accused of being a proxy for the Chinese security apparatus. These allegations find a ready audience among a Canadian public that, as recent polling has shown, is increasingly wary of China.

It’s hard to argue against caution when it comes to China. But we’re jumping from naive acceptance to complete risk avoidance. There is an intermediate step – risk mitigation. Although its approach is not without controversy, the U.K. has opted for a partnership with Huawei that sees the Chinese company funding an inspection process in Britain designed to reduce security risks.

Complete risk avoidance, or shutting our door to China, comes at a cost that falls on consumers, on smaller companies seeking access to global markets, and on communities seeking investment....China is at the heart of changes that expose us to new levels of threat and uncertainty. We need to respond with skill, purpose and confidence. The only thing more dangerous than engaging China is not engaging it.
espionage  China  security_&_intelligence  Canada  risk-management  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  purpose  self-confidence  frenemies  Huawei  threats  risk-aversion  uncertainty  risk-mitigation  security_consciousness  inquisitiveness  risk-avoidance  Canada-China_relations  cyberespionage  anecdotal 
july 2014 by jerryking
How I learned to love uncertainty - The Globe and Mail
LEAH EICHLER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 11 2014,

In times of uncertainty do all that’s expected of you, since that’s where you have control, and making a positive contribution to your workplace spurs confidence. At the same time, take the opportunity to create new goals that can guide you out of these dark times and give you a fresh perspective.
uncertainty  Leah_Eichler  Silicon_Valley  fresh_eyes 
july 2014 by jerryking
The Biology of Risk - NYTimes.com
By JOHN COATES JUNE 7, 2014

What is it about risk taking that so eludes our understanding, and our control?

Part of the problem is that we tend to view financial risk taking as a purely intellectual activity. But this view is incomplete. Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it is a profoundly physical experience, and it involves your body...Risk by its very nature threatens to hurt you, so when confronted by it your body and brain, under the influence of the stress response, unite as a single functioning unit....The state of your body predicts your appetite for financial risk just as it predicts an athlete’s performance.

If we understand how a person’s body influences risk taking, we can learn how to better manage risk takers. We can also recognize that mistakes governments have made have contributed to excessive risk taking.

Consider the most important risk manager of them all — the Federal Reserve. ...Uncertainty over the timing of something unpleasant often causes a greater challenge response than the unpleasant thing itself. Sometimes it is more stressful not knowing when or if you are going to be fired than actually being fired. Why? Because the challenge response, like any good defense mechanism, anticipates; it is a metabolic preparation for the unknown....Most models in economics and finance assume that risk preferences are a stable trait, much like your height. But this assumption, as our studies suggest, is misleading. Humans are designed with shifting risk preferences. They are an integral part of our response to stress, or challenge....One such opportunity is a brief spike in market volatility, for this presents a chance to make money. But if volatility rises for a long period, the prolonged uncertainty leads us to subconsciously conclude that we no longer understand what is happening and then cortisol scales back our risk taking. In this way our risk taking calibrates to the amount of uncertainty and threat in the environment.

Continue reading the main story
Under conditions of extreme volatility, such as a crisis, traders, investors and indeed whole companies can freeze up in risk aversion, and this helps push a bear market into a crash. Unfortunately, this risk aversion occurs at just the wrong time, for these crises are precisely when markets offer the most attractive opportunities, and when the economy most needs people to take risks. The real challenge for Wall Street, I now believe, is not so much fear and greed as it is these silent and large shifts in risk appetite....As uncertainty in fed funds declined, one of the most powerful brakes on excessive risk taking in stocks was released....There are times when the Fed does need to calm the markets. After the credit crisis, it did just that. But when the economy and market are strong, as they were during the dot-com and housing bubbles, what, pray tell, is the point of calming the markets? Of raising rates in a predictable fashion? If you think the markets are complacent, then unnerve them. Over the past 20 years the Fed may have perfected the art of reassuring the markets, but it has lost the power to scare. And that means stock markets more easily overshoot, and then collapse.

CONTINUE READING THE MAIN STORY
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COMMENTS
The Fed could dampen this cycle. It has, in interest rate policy, not one tool but two: the level of rates and the uncertainty of rates. Given the sensitivity of risk preferences to uncertainty, the Fed could use policy uncertainty and a higher volatility of funds to selectively target risk taking in the financial community....IT may seem counterintuitive to use uncertainty to quell volatility. But a small amount of uncertainty surrounding short-term interest rates may act much like a vaccine immunizing the stock market against bubbles. More generally, if we view humans as embodied brains instead of disembodied minds, we can see that the risk-taking pathologies found in traders also lead chief executives, trial lawyers, oil executives and others to swing from excessive and ill-conceived risks to petrified risk aversion. It will also teach us to manage these risk takers, much as sport physiologists manage athletes, to stabilize their risk taking and to lower stress.
Wall_Street  risks  risk-management  risk-taking  uncertainty  U.S._Federal_Reserve  bubbles  volatility  behavioural_economics  risk-preferences  risk-aversion  biology  psychology  interest_rates  emotions  human_experience  human_behavior  human_frailties  human_psyche  financial_risk  signaling  stress_response  market_crash  immobilize  paralyze  bear_markets  policy_tools  physiological_response  risk-appetite  unpredictability  physical_experiences  calibration 
june 2014 by jerryking
The Art of Focus
June 2, 2014 | - NYTimes.com | David Brooks.

The way to discover a terrifying longing is to liberate yourself from the self-censoring labels you began to tell yourself over the course of your mis-education. These formulas are stultifying, Phillips argues: “You can only recover your appetite, and appetites, if you can allow yourself to be unknown to yourself. Because the point of knowing oneself is to contain one’s anxieties about appetite.”

Thus: Focus on the external objects of fascination, not on who you think you are. Find people with overlapping obsessions. Don’t structure your encounters with them the way people do today, through brainstorming sessions (those don’t work) or through conferences with projection screens.

Instead look at the way children learn in groups. They make discoveries alone, but bring their treasures to the group. Then the group crowds around and hashes it out. In conversation, conflict, confusion and uncertainty can be metabolized and digested through somebody else. If the group sets a specific problem for itself, and then sets a tight deadline to come up with answers, the free digression of conversation will provide occasions in which people are surprised by their own minds.
David_Brooks  howto  focus  children  uncertainty  unknowns  self-discovery  curiosity  fascination  constraints 
june 2014 by jerryking
William Galston: Government Is a Good Venture Capitalist - WSJ.com
August 27, 2013, 7:02 p.m. ET

Government Is a Good Venture Capitalist
Early-stage tech firms get more funding from Washington than from private VC investors.

By
WILLIAM A. GALSTON
venture_capital  risks  uncertainty  early-stage 
september 2013 by jerryking
Boeing Shows How Innovation Can Be Messy - WSJ.com
January 24, 2013 |WSJ | By DANIEL MICHAELS

Innovation Is Messy Business
Boeing's Dreamliner Shows How Problems Often Mar Technological Advances
Boeing  innovation  uncertainty  messiness 
january 2013 by jerryking
The Messy Business of Management
By Ian I. Mitroff, Can M. Alpaslan and Richard O. Mason

September 18, 2012| |

“Managers don’t solve simple, isolated problems; they manage messes.” Ackoff was also instrumental in defining the nature of such messes. According to him, a mess is a system of constantly changing, highly interconnected problems, none of which is independent of the other problems that constitute the entire mess. As a result, no problem that is part of a mess can be defined and solved independently of the other problems. Accordingly, the ability to manage messes requires the ability to think and to manage systemically; this in turn requires that one understand systems thinking. addressing complex, messy problems also requires constructive conflict and structured debate with others to help test one’s assumptions — and help ensure that one is not solving the wrong problem. Many business schools excel at teaching young managers well-structured models, theories and frameworks. But we believe that business schools should spend more time helping their students surface, debate and test the assumptions underlying each model, theory or framework they are learning about. In this way, by developing students’ critical thinking skills, universities would prepare young business leaders to succeed in a messy, uncertain world.
critical_thinking  crisis  business_schools  constant_change  uncertainty  management  systems_thinking  complexity  networks  interconnections  problem_solving  messiness  assumptions 
january 2013 by jerryking
Note From the Edge: Sometimes You Can't Control Your Success - WSJ.com
September 2, 1997 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

An Ex-Manager Says You Can't Always Control Your Success

Mr. Curnutt says. He speaks for a large populace of middle managers who aren't golden boys being groomed for senior management, who will likely rise only so far and then stay there.

But there is more these managers can do to bust out of their confining boxes. Mr. Curnutt always wanted to be a manager and he says now he would have been better off majoring in business or accounting from the start. I think he also could have been more aggressive in promoting himself, particularly after getting his M.B.A. Perhaps he could have created a new position, using some of the skills he learned in his M.B.A. program, instead of waiting for the company to identify an opportunity for him.

Even then, of course, things might not work out. Not everyone is meant to ride the gravy train. But you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Remember, those who stand in place the longest are the most vulnerable. Ask Mr. Curnutt.
action-oriented  beyond_one's_control  contingency_planning  crisis  crisis_management  first_movers  Hal_Lancaster  immobilize  middle_management  paralyze  self-promotion  stress_response  Sue_Shellenbarger  uncertainty 
december 2012 by jerryking
When Uncertainty Is A Constant, You Can Still Plan for Surprises
April 7, 1998 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

one of the few certainties in today's tumultuous business world: About all anyone can expect is the unexpected.

Hal Lancaster answers readers' questions on career issues in Career Corner. Send your questions or comments by e-mail to hlancast@wsj.com .

Between mergers and restructurings, new technology and intensified global competition, "change is accelerating," says Dallas management consultant Price Pritchett, who specializes in change management. "The more change and the faster it comes at us, the easier it is for us to get blindsided."

But isn't the ability to cope with the unexpected genetically coded? "Some people have a high need for structure and don't like to wing it." Still, anyone can get better at dealing with surprises.

Here are some other effective strategies:

* Figure out what you can control.

* Plan tight and play loose. "deep planning," or considering all conceivable scenarios and what-ifs. But won't the unexpected foil the best-laid plans? "The better job we do planning, the better we'll do improvising, because we'll understand the situation better,"

* Develop solutions. In a soon-to-be-released booklet on innovation that he is publishing for clients, Dr. Pritchett draws lessons from the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory talked about "crafting solutions that were tolerant to the uncertainties" of such a project,

* Separate fact from assumptions.

To make good decisions, you need good information. In turbulent times, Mr. Postons observes, "people get suspicious, they get paranoid and that's when they get frozen."

* Do something.In an environment of high-velocity change, Dr. Pritchett says, remember the perils of passivity. "You have to keep moving forward, knowing that in this blurry, fast-moving world, you're going to have to drive on fog lights much of the time."

Concentrating on a plan of action and lining up others to help can turn despair into accomplishment, Dr. Stoltz says. The strategy, he adds, is "whiner-proof and solution-oriented."
Hal_Lancaster  Managing_Your_Career  uncertainty  adversity  surprises  critical_thinking  managing_change  unexpected  cost_of_inaction  assumptions  change  resilience  tumultuous  constant_change  solutions  solution-finders  accelerated_lifecycles  action_plans  span_of_control  momentum  blindsided  blind_spots  beyond_one's_control  JPL  next_play 
december 2012 by jerryking
Whatever the weather
Nov. 24, 2012 | The Financial Times News: p10.|Gillian Tett who interviews Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Until now, Taleb says, modern society has generally assumed that people, systems or institutions fell into two camps: either they were fragile (and likely to break when shocks occur) or robust (and thus able to resist shocks without being impacted at all). Taleb insists there is a third category of people, institutions and systems that are resilient in a way we have been unable to articulate: they survive shocks not because they are immovable but precisely because they do change, bending in the face of stress; adapting and learning. This is the quality that he describes as "antifragile". (In the US the book is being published with the rather more explicit subtitle "Things that Gain from Disorder".)

Taleb goes on to explain how this works: while nation-states tend to be fragile (because they are highly dependent on one vision of the nation), city-states tend to be antifragile (because they can adapt and learn from history). Careers that are based on one large employer can be fragile but careers that are flexible and entrepreneurial are antifragile, because they can move with changing times. Similarly, the banking system is fragile, while Silicon Valley is antifragile; governments that are highly indebted are fragile, while those (such as Sweden) which have learnt from past mistakes and refuse to assume too much debt are antifragile. And Switzerland is presented as one of the most antifragile places of all, partly because its decentralised structure allows for plenty of experimentation...Taleb has plenty of advice to offer us on how to become more antifragile. We should embrace unpredictable change, rather than chase after an illusion of stability; refuse to believe anyone who offers advice without taking personal risk; keep institutions and systems small and self-contained to ensure that they can fail without bringing the entire system down; build slack into our lives and systems to accommodate surprises; and, above all, recognise the impossibility of predicting anything with too much precision. Instead of building systems that are excessively "safe", Taleb argues, we should roll with the punches, learn to love the random chances of life and, above all, embrace small pieces of adversity as opportunities for improvement. "Wind extinguishes a candle and energises a fire," he writes. "Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos, you want to use them, not hide from them."
adaptability  adversity  antifragility  books  chaos  city-states  Gillian_Tett  illusions  Nassim_Taleb  overcompensation  personal_risk  randomness  resilience  scheduling  self-contained  skin_in_the_game  slack_time  surprises  trauma  uncertainty  unpredictability 
november 2012 by jerryking
Build a Practice Niche by Assisting Clients with Business Planning
Dec 1991 | The Practical Accountant | by Mark Scally and Mark C. Smitt.
Smaller companies tend not to have any formal business plans, and those that do often fail to implement them properly. Accountants ran assist their clients wlth the business planning process. The process must be tallored for each company's unique characteristics, and every consultant uses a slightly different process. The following process has been adapted from the traditional model to fit the typical closely held business: 1. Analyze internal and external factors. 2. Develop a mlssion statement. 3. Set goals. 4. Develop a marketing and sales strategy. 5. Perform financial projections. 6. Draft action plans. 7. lmplement the plan. 8. Put the proper organizational structure and management team in place. 9. Implement the necessary information systems. The planning process gives closely held companies a comprehensive approach for responding to uncertain economic times.
business_planning  management_consulting  niches  small_business  privately_held_companies  JCK  uncertainty  action_plans  mission_statements  goal-setting  implementation  organizational_structure  formalization  professionalization 
august 2012 by jerryking
Unique aspects of private equity
February 13,2006 | Pensions Week |

Investing in private assets such as private equity often involves a number of unique considerations that investors do not face with traditional investments like stocks, bonds and cash. These include: 1. inability to trade easily in and out of the investments,2. uncertain capital calls. 3 uncertain distributions, and 4. uncertain valuations. How do these unique aspects of investing in private assets affect an investment portfolio? Each of the issues outlined above represents a unique source of uncertainty for investors: uncertainty about cash inflows and outflows, valuations. and about the portfolio weightings they might hold at any time in these and other asset classes. These sources of uncertainty, therefore, are similar in character to one of the standard buildmg blocks of portfolio construction: risk
private_equity  uncertainty  valuations  illiquidity  risks  asset_classes  uniqueness 
august 2012 by jerryking
Making Sense of Ambiguous Evidence
September 2008 | HBR | A Conversation with Documentary Filmmaker Errol Morris.

The information that top managers receive is rarely unfiltered. Unpopular opinions are censored. Partisan views are veiled as objective arguments. Honest mistakes are made. The manager is then left to sort it all out and come to a wise conclusion.

Few people know how to get an accurate read on a situation like documentarian Errol Morris. He is the award-winning director of such films as The Thin Blue Line and this year’s Standard Operating Procedure, an exploration of the elusive truth behind the infamous photographs taken at Abu Ghraib prison. The Guardian has ranked him among the world’s top 10 directors, crediting him with “a forensic mind” and “a painter’s eye.”

In this article, Morris talks with HBR’s Lisa Burrell about how he sorts through ambiguous evidence and contradictory views to arrive at the real story. “I don’t believe in the postmodern notion that there are different kinds of truth,” he says. “There is one objective reality, period.” Getting to it requires keeping your mind open to all kinds of evidence—not just the parts that fit with your first impressions or developing opinions—and, often, far more investigation than one would think.

If finding the truth is a matter of perseverance, convincing people of it is something of an art, one with which Morris has had much experience not only as a documentarian but also as a highly sought-after director of TV ads for companies like Apple, Citibank, Adidas, and Toyota. He holds up John Kerry’s 2004 bid for the U.S. presidency as a cautionary tale: Kerry struck voters as inauthentic when he emphasized only his military service and failed to account for his subsequent war protest. Morris would have liked to interview him speaking in his own words—natural, unscripted material—so that his humanity, which seemed to get lost in the campaign, could emerge.
anecdotal  HBR  executive_management  CEOs  contradictions  information  information_flows  evidence_based  information_gaps  authenticity  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  persuasion  forensics  postmodern  filmmakers  documentaries  judgment  cautionary_tales 
august 2012 by jerryking
New Rules for Bringing Innovations to Market
March 2004 | HBR | Bhaskar Chakravorti.

The more networked a market is, the harder it is for an innovation to take hold, writes Bhaskar Chakravorti, who leads Monitor Group's practice on strategies for growth and managing uncertainty through the application of game theory. Chakravorti argues that executives need to rethink the way they bring innovations to market, specifically by orchestrating behavior change across the market, so that a large number of players adopt their offerings and believe they are better off for having done so. He outlines a four-part framework for doing just that: The innovator must reason back from a target endgame, implementing only those strategies that maximize its chances of getting to its goal. It must complement power players, positioning its innovation as an enhancement to their products or services. The innovator must offer coordinated switching incentives to three core groups: the players that add to the innovation's benefits, the players that act as channels to adopters and the adopters themselves. And it must preserve flexibility in case its initial strategy fails.

Chakravorti uses Adobe's introduction of its Acrobat software as an example of an innovator that took into account other players in the network--and succeeded because of it. As more content became available in Acrobat format, more readers were motivated to download the program," he observes. "The flexibility in Acrobat's product structure and the segmentation in the market allowed the pricing elasticity that resulted in the software's widespread adoption."
HBR  innovation  networks  network_effects  rules_of_the_game  commercialization  monetization  product_launches  howto  growth  managing_uncertainty  cloud_computing  endgame  Adobe  uncertainty  switching_costs  jump-start  platforms  orchestration  ecosystems  big_bang  behaviours  behavioral_change  frameworks  sharing_economy  customer_adoption  thinking_backwards  new_categories  early_adopters  distribution_channels  work-back_schedules 
july 2012 by jerryking
Managing Risk In the 21st Century
February 7, 2000 | Fortune | By Thomas A. Stewart.

Take risk management, a responsibility of the treasury function. Most risk managers haven't begun to cope with the real threats 21st-century companies face. Like the drunk in the old joke who looks for his lost keys under the streetlamp because the light is better there, risk management is dealing with visible classes of risk while greater, unmanaged dangers accumulate in the dark.

Risk--let's get this straight upfront--is good. The point of risk management isn't to eliminate it; that would eliminate reward. The point is to manage it--that is, to choose where to place bets, where to hedge bets, and where to avoid betting altogether. Though most risk-management tools--insurance, hedging, diversification, etc.--have to do with reducing loss, the goal is to maximize the gains from the risks you take (alpha? McDerment?)

So where should we look for these new risks?

--Your reputation or brand. When a bad batch of carbon dioxide in Coca-Cola sickened some Belgian children last summer, Coke's European operating income fell about $205 million, and Coca-Cola Enterprises, the bottler, incurred $103 million in costs. What about the cost to brand equity? One highly imperfect proxy: Coke's market capitalization fell $34 billion between June 30 and Sept. 30, 1999.

--Your business model. Asset-free, knowledge-intensive competition is to entrenched business models what the Panzer was to the Maginot Line. MP3s changed the music business more fundamentally than anything since radio. E*Trade, 18 years old, forced Merrill Lynch, 180, to change its way of doing business. Yet the new guys' very nimbleness creates its own risks, which traditional risk management can't help. You can protect the hard assets of a brick-and-mortar mall. Click-and-order stores are much more exposed: Cash flow is just about all they've got.

--Your human capital. The obvious human-capital risk is flight--especially in a tight labor market--but it's only part of a larger, subtler problem. When the CEO intones, "People are our most important asset," he's wrong, even if he's sincere. People are your most important investors. Your stock of human capital matters less than your flow of it. Any turbulence--and is there anything but turbulence these days?--can disrupt the flow, damaging your ability to attract human capital or people's desire to collaborate. Says Thomas Davenport, a partner at Towers Perrin: "Uncertainty is a real enemy of human capital. People rebalance their ROI by cutting back the investment."

--Your intellectual property. Many risks to intellectual property--theft, for example--can be dealt with in obvious, if sometimes onerous, ways. Here's the cutting-edge question: How do you manage risk in the process by which new intellectual property is created? How do you cope with the fact that the safer a given R&D project is, the less likely it is to be a big-money breakthrough? How do you balance the virtues of specialization against those of diversification?

--Your network. No company is an island, entire of itself; odds are your business is embedded in a network you do not control. It's not just that AOL might crash and cost you a few days' sales; your whole business may depend on tangible and intangible assets that belong to outsourcing partners, franchisees, sugar daddies, or standard-setters.
There are a couple of patterns here. First, an ever-greater part of business risk comes from sources your company can't own--people, partners, environments. Second, volatility isn't just a currency or stock market risk anymore. Labor markets, technologies, even business models oscillate at higher frequencies--their behavior more and more resembling that of financial markets.

In those patterns are hints of how to manage intellectual risks--which we'll examine next time.
risk-management  21st._century  risks  Thomas_Stewart  reputation  branding  business_models  financial_markets  talent_management  intellectual_property  networks  human_capital  turbulence  uncertainty  volatility  instability  nimbleness  labour_markets  accelerated_lifecycles  intellectual_assets  e-commerce  external_interaction  talent_flows  cash_flows  network_risk  proxies  specialization  diversification  unknowns  brand_equity  asset-light  insurance  hedging  alpha  Michael_McDerment 
june 2012 by jerryking
UNPRECEDENTED VOLATILITY A HALLMARK OF AGRICULTURE’S NEW AGE
* Have a plan for the future – perhaps a surprise to some, but many farmers don’t have a plan in place that paints a vision for where they want to take their operation over the next 2, 5 and 10 years.
• Have credit in place before it is actually required – it is human nature to leave things to the last minute.
• Implement a sound hedging strategy – in addition to the system of crop insurance in place in this country, there are many ways that Canadian farmers can take actions to manage their risk. Diversifying into new businesses is one example.
• Well-managed risk can pay off – at the same time, taking on some risk that is prudent and ts the risk pro le of the farming operation can pay off handsomely for farmers. In such a volatile and fast paced environment, there are bound to be some buying and selling opportunities that open up. Knowing when to take advantage of them can separate successful farms with those that muddle along.
• Know your costs – many producers have a good sense of how their top line is performing. But it is just as impor-tant to have a good understanding of the cost side of the equation.
• Maintain adequate liquidity and reasonable leverage – in order to mitigate the risks associated with increasing asset prices, it would be prudent for farmers to ensure that they have sufficient liquidity and manageable leverage if they are expanding.
• Use reasonable interest rate assumptions in assessing investment opportunities – even though borrowing costs are unusually low, farmers must be mindful of the fact that this low-rate environment won’t last forever.
agriculture  uncertainty  volatility  farming  liquidity  leverage  hedging  futures_contracts  diversification  new_businesses  risks  risk-management  risk-taking  OPMA  WaudWare  interest_rates  vision  long-term  never_forever  business_planning  credit  costs  anticipating  risk-mitigation  low-interest  cost-consciousness 
may 2012 by jerryking
Leadership Lessons From the Shackleton Expedition - NYTimes.com
By NANCY F. KOEHN
Published: December 24, 2011

Consider just a handful of recent events: the financial crisis of 2008; the gulf oil spill of 2010; and the Japanese nuclear disaster, the debt-ceiling debacle and euro crisis this year. Constant turbulence seems to be the new normal, and effective leadership is crucial in containing it.

Real leaders, wrote the novelist David Foster Wallace, are people who “help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own.”

Shackleton exemplified this kind of leadership for almost two years on the ice. What can we learn from his actions?...Shackleton begun the voyage with a mission of exploration, but it quickly became a mission of survival.

This capacity is vital in our own time, when leaders must often change course midstream — jettisoning earlier standards of success and redefining their purposes and plans.
uncertainty  unpredictability  leadership  expeditions  explorers  historians  lessons_learned  pivots  turbulence  constant_change  leaders  human_frailties  course_correction  arduous  Antartica  South_Pole  Ernest_Shackleton  new_normal 
december 2011 by jerryking
New urban design plays a heady game of risk
Mar 12, 2005 | The Globe and Mail pg. F.3|
Doug Saunders.

The slogan of the new movement that is overtaking Europe's cities: "To make it safe, you need to make it dangerous." Iain Borden, director of the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and a leader of this new movement. Its members recently published an intriguing report titled "What Are We Scared of: The Value of Risk in Designing Public Space."

In recent months, a school of architects and urban planners has picked up disparate cues from the urban experiments taking place in northern Europe and given them a name -- risk. Our cities, they believe, are now designed predominantly to minimize risk, and this has made them dull, homogeneous, repetitious and, paradoxically, often quite dangerous.

(Risk is more than an intellectual puzzle — it invokes a profoundly physical experience. A small amount of danger surrounding the use of public spaces might act much like a vaccine immunizing the population against complacency).
Doug_Saunders  urban  design  risks  safety  public_spaces  counterintuitive  urban_planning  uncertainty  complacency  biology  psychology  dangers  life_skills  coming-of-age  risk-assessment  high-risk  low-risk  soul-enriching  physical_experiences 
october 2011 by jerryking
Think Globally, Deal Locally - NYTimes.com
September 28, 2011,
Think Globally, Deal Locally
By BEN PROTESS

forging deals in developing regions comes with a unique set of uncertainties, including political, economic and regulatory risks. Wal-Mart Stores pulled out of Moscow late last year, citing an inhospitable climate for acquisitions. Ikea, fed up with corruption in Russia, suspended further investments there in 2009.

In Brazil, rising inflation has spooked investors, contributing to a 26 percent decline this year in the MSCI Brazil index.
private_equity  emerging_markets  decline  deal-making  globalization  Indonesia  investment_banking  risks  frontier_markets  uncertainty  political_risk  regulatory_risk  economic_risk 
september 2011 by jerryking
Rumsfeld: Know the Unknowns - WSJ.com
APRIL 4, 2011| WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ. Before 9/11,
Rumsfeld distributed to colleagues a comment about Pearl Harbor by
economist Thomas Schelling: "There is a tendency in our planning to
confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable." Rumsfeld focuses on
unknown unknowns in order to encourage more "intellectual humility" ."It
is difficult to accept—to know—that there may be important unknowns."
"In the run-up to the war in Iraq, we heard a great deal about what our
intel community knew or thought they knew," he writes, "but not enough
about what they knew they didn't know." Policy makers can't afford to
be paralyzed by a lack of info., inaction by the world's superpower has
its own risks. Instead, Rumsfeld says the known known of info. gaps
should force a more robust give-and-take between policy makers &
intelligence analysts, allowing analysts to understand what policymakers
need to know & policymakers to understand what info. they can and
cannot get from intelligence.
Donald_Rumsfeld  superpowers  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  memoirs  decision_making  security_&_intelligence  information_gaps  humility  uncertainty  cost_of_inaction  unknowns  Thomas_Schelling  improbables  quotes  unfamiliarity  SecDef  policymakers  policymaking  intelligence_analysts 
april 2011 by jerryking
Crovitz: Tsunamis of Information - WSJ.com
MAR. 21, 2011 |WSJ| L. GORDON CROVITZ. Hayek spoke of the
'pretense of knowledge,' and why disasters are worse than expected. In
this information-saturated era, we expect no surprises. Yet we are
constantly surprised. We have huge amounts of data, so we assume that
risks can be calculated & avoided. But we also have exceedingly
complex systems. Just as weather is too hard to predict more than a few
days out because of how many variables interact, it's hard to predict
other complex systems. Consider credit instruments during the financial
crisis, the global warming debate, or global epidemics. Thus an
earthquake & tsunami, even in technologically advanced Japan, can
kill tens of thousands, wipe out entire villages, & re-open
questions about nuclear power....some physical systems turn out to be so
complex that they resemble unpredictable social sciences more than the
certainties of simpler physical science....We need to learn how to live
with both new technologies & new uncertainties.
disasters  complexity  Friedrich_Hayek  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  natural_calamities  information_overload  data  uncertainty  surprises  overconfidence  pretense_of_knowledge  earthquakes  tsunamis  social_sciences  certainty  psychology  unpredictability  compounded  risk-assessment  physical_systems  CDOs 
march 2011 by jerryking
Assumption hunters, a new consulting business?
March 5, 2008 | CultureBy | Grant McCracken.

What is the most vexing problem in management today?

Next to setting our objectives, running a tight ship and meeting our numbers, I would argue that it’s watching out for the blind side hit.

By blind side hit, I mean the kind of thing that Google did to Microsoft, that Barak did to Hillary, that hip hop did to Levi-Strauss, that Snapple did to Coca-Cola.

Watching for blind side hits is difficult because it means knowing our assumptions. And this is hard because assumptions are not for knowing, they are for making.
........The trouble with assumptions is that they are by definition invisible from view. (That’s why we call them "unknown unknowns.") We hold ideas about the world without full awareness of what these ideas are or how they make us vulnerable. .......So what to do. How about, for starters, this three step "assumption hunting" process?

1) ferret out the assumptions. Hire someone to go through the operation of daily business and capture every assumption. Philosophers are quite good at this. Anthropologists are very good at it. This is after all the way they study culture, which is, by and large, a set of assumptions that helps us think and act fluidly precisely because we don’t know we are making them.

2) identify the parts of the world that could present challenges. Figure out just what the challenge is and when and how it will "come ashore."

3) Keep watch with a big board. In effect, what we are doing is "sunsetting" our assumptions with a view to discovery when they reach they end of their useful lives.
assumptions  management_consulting  information_gaps  the_big_picture  uncertainty  unknowns  anthropology  blindsided  blind_spots  challenges  anthropologists  philosophers 
december 2010 by jerryking
More Wealthy Investors Investing Abroad - NYTimes.com
November 19, 2010 | New York Times| By PAUL SULLIVAN.
Well-heeled American investors have been doing something lately that
they resisted for decades — becoming more like their European, Asian and
Latin American counterparts and substantially diversifying their
portfolios outside their home country. DOWNSIDE The biggest risk is
uncertainty, followed by a lack of knowledge. No one knows exactly what
is going to happen, and there are always investors who rush in too
quickly without fully understanding the risks. Those risks run the gamut
from income inequality that could create unrest, to legal systems that
have not been tested by foreign investors, to managers abroad without
established track records. There is also the unforeseen. “I witnessed
firsthand the collapse of the Soviet Union,” said Mr. Lucken, a former
foreign service officer. “That speaks to the unique political risks in
smaller developing countries.”
high_net_worth  investing  investments  investors  uncertainty  diversification  emerging_markets  wealth_management  risks  LDCs  political_risk  developing_countries 
november 2010 by jerryking
Why Less Brilliant Presidents Do Better - The Informed Reader - WSJ
Jun 18, 2007 | WSJ | Robin Moroney. Extreme intelligence might
undermine a person’s managerial capacity, he speculates. “What is
required at the top levels of govt. is not brilliance, but managerial
skill,” says Posner. That includes knowing “when to defer to the
superior knowledge of a more experienced but less mentally agile
subordinate.” Especially intelligent people also have difficulty
trusting the intuitions of less-articulate people who have more
experience than they do. That might be why many smart senior officials
in govt. have tried to reason their way through problems on their own,
assuming their civil servants’ inadequate explanations rendered their
judgments invalid. Furthermore, many of the situations that presidents
face are defined by uncertainty, rather than complexity. In cases e.g.
Vietnam, where presidents and their inner circle were dealing with an
ambiguous situation, “having great information-processing skills is not
worth a lot if you have no reliable info..”
ambiguities  civil_servants  complexity  execution  experience  Gary_Becker  gut_feelings  intuition  IQ  mental_dexterity  Richard_A._Posner  smart_people  uncertainty  White_House 
october 2010 by jerryking
The European Union rescues Greece and Portugal
May 24, 2010 | The New Yorker | by James Surowiecki. "...The
fact is, this kind of volatility isn’t going away, because we now live
in an environment dominated by what economists call “political risk”—the
uncertainty that businesses face as a result of government actions. Of
course, government actions always affect the economy, but usually in an
undramatic way: an interest-rate cut here, a new regulation there. The
economic downturn and the debt crisis have given us instead a world
where governments are among the most important players in
markets—injecting money into economies on a colossal scale and routinely
propping up, or even nationalizing, troubled companies."
Angela_Merkel  bailouts  central_banks  debt_crisis  economic_downturn  EU  Germany  geopolitical-risk  Greece  IMF  instability  James_Surowiecki  political_risk  Portugal  sovereign-risk  uncertainty  volatility 
may 2010 by jerryking
Gary Hamel Sees “More Options… Fewer Grand Visions”
October 6, 2009 | World Business Forum — Presented by Shell.
"...A second critical principle is variety. As the world becomes more
uncertain, it’s harder to see farther ahead. You can’t make 10- or
20-year strategies. What becomes more important is trying lots of new
things — experimenting in low-cost ways continuously — and seeing what
works and what doesn’t. So more options, more experimentation, fewer
grand visions, fewer strategies would be the second principle."
Gary_Hamel  uncertainty  experimentation  options  variations  optionality 
may 2010 by jerryking
How to Kill Innovation: Keep Asking Questions - Scott Anthony - Harvard Business Review
February 25, 2010 | HBR | by Scott Anthony . Resource-rich
companies have the "luxury" of researching and researching problems.
That can be a huge benefit in known markets where precision matters. But
it can be a huge limitation in unknown markets where precision is
impossible and attempts to create it through analysis are quixotic.
Entrepreneurs don't have the luxury of asking "What about..." questions,
and in disruptive circumstances that works in their favor.
questions  Scott_Anthony  innovation  HBR  Innosight  due_diligence  information_gaps  market_sizing  uncertainty  unknowns  cost_of_inaction 
march 2010 by jerryking
Seth Godin on What it Takes to be a Linchpin [INTERVIEW]
Feb. 14, 2010 | Mashable | Interview of Seth Godin by Steve
Cunningham is the CEO of Polar Unlimited, a digital marketing agency.
In his book — Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? — Seth Godin poses a
challenge: Take your gift, whatever it is, and use it to change the
world. As Godin says, “a linchpin is the essential element, the person
who holds part of the operation together. Without the linchpin, the
thing falls apart.” "If I told you, step-by-step, what to do to become
indispensable, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could do it, it
wouldn’t be worth very much. Scarcity creates value. And, this is going
to frustrate people, but the emotional labor of work, today — the thing
that makes you worth $50,000 or $100,000 or $150,000 a year — is that
you can navigate the world without a map. People who need a map, are
going to get paid less and less and work harder and harder every day,
because there’s plenty of those people, and I can find them with a click
of the mouse."
Seth_Godin  indispensable  howto  entrepreneur  inspiration  scarcity  interviews  proprietary  sense-making  ambiguities  uncertainty  navigation  non-routine  uncharted_problems 
february 2010 by jerryking
No Risk, No Reward
December 19, 2007 | Fast Company | by Keith H. Hammonds.
"Wealth is created during periods of uncertainty," Wind says. "You can
go back to Frank Knight,* who said in 1921 that the only risk that leads
to profit is unique uncertainty. Making money depends on identifying
opportunities in a turbulent marketplace."Frank H. Knight was cochair of
the department of economics at the University of Chicago from the 1920s
to the late 1940s. In his classic book published in 1921, Risk,
Uncertainty and Profit, he distinguished between risk and uncertainty.
Risk, he argued, was a randomness -- as in a game of roulette -- whose
probability could be determined. Uncertainty implied unknown and perhaps
unknowable probabilities. Will human cloning be commonplace in a
generation? That's an uncertainty. TRL Stacks 330.1 K54.11 Stacks
Retrieval Stacks Request Reference S-MR In Library
risks  weather  innovation  creativity  uncertainty  probabilities  books  wealth_creation  turbulence  opportunistic  unknowns  instability  disequilibriums 
december 2009 by jerryking
"The Hidden River of Knowledge"
May 21, 2007 | New York Times | Commencement address by David Brooks.

In short, things are about to change big time. And one of my messages today is that you know that uncertainty you feel today? It never goes away. The question is, do you know how to make uncertainty your friend?....here's one other thing I've noticed that separates the really great people from the merely famous ones. They talk to dead people.

Merely famous people have pictures of themselves on the wall. Really great people have pictures of dead people on the wall, and on their desks. It's one of the first things I look for when I go into somebody's office...And they talk about these dead people....
The dead were alive to them, and looking over their shoulder....The Greeks used to say we suffer our way to wisdom...Success is not something that we do or that happens to us. Success is something that happens through us....We inherit, starting even before we are born, a great river of knowledge, a great flow from many ages and many sources. The information that comes from millions of years ago, we call brain chemistry. The information that comes from hundreds of thousands of years ago from our hunter and gatherer ancestors we call genes. The information that was handed down thousands of years ago we call religion. The information passed along hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family. The information you absorbed over the past few years at Wake Forest we call education....We exist as creatures within this hidden river of knowledge the way a trout exists in a stream or a river. We are formed by the river. It is the medium in which we live and the guide about how to live.

The great people I've seen talking to the dead do so because they want to connect with the highest and most inspiring parts of the river. When people make mistakes, often it is not because they are evil. It's because they don't have an ideal to live up to.

These great people also talk to the dead because they want a voice from outside their selves....the best people I've met don't feel that smart or that special. They have powerful jobs, but they don't feel powerful. They don't feel like architects building these great projects from scratch. They feel instead like river boat captains negotiating the currents around them.

They want to step outside their egotism and understand the river of events. They want to feel how people in the past have negotiated its channels. They want other voices in their heads so they can possess the ultimate power, which is the power of facing unpleasant truths.

Finally, I think they talk to the dead because they want to widen their time horizons....Think hard about who you marry. It's the most important decision you will ever make. Devote yourself to your kids. Nothing else is guaranteed to make you happy. The only thing I'd add is, create a posse of dead people. Create an entourage of heroes. Put their pictures on your wall, and keep them in your mind.

They will remind you of your place in the hidden river of wisdom. They'll serve as models. They'll give you an honest perspective on how you're doing. They'll remind you that your blessings don't come from you but from those who came before you.
advice  affirmations  ancestry  blog  brain_chemistry  career  cognitive_skills  commencement  culture  cultural_transmission  David_Brooks  education  family  genes  Greek  hidden  happiness  heroes  humility  hunter-gatherers  ideas  inspiration  Managing_Your_Career  marriage  perspectives  role_models  sense_of_proportion  speeches  success  suffering  the_counsel_of_the_dead  transcendental  uncertainty  Wake_Forest  wide-framing  wisdom 
november 2009 by jerryking
How to survive the great unknowns
Sept. 15, 2004 | Globe & Mail p. C.3 reprinted in Women's Post | by Barbara Moses, PhD,
managing_uncertainty  Barbara_Moses  Managing_Your_Career  howto  uncertainty  unknowns 
november 2009 by jerryking
Surviving the Pressure With a Ready Plan Or, Literally, a Script
MARCH 2, 2004 | Wall Street Journal | By JOANN S. LUBLIN. The


The most important first step: Always expect the unexpected......Prepare by practicing positive self-talk. "Monitor that internal voice that says you're really an idiot and you can't do this job,"...You also can handle a surprise spotlight well by crafting a game plan to conquer your panic-stricken mental chaos......Unanticipated hot spots often flare up during important meetings. Show patience, career experts say. Take deep breaths, compose your thoughts, restate the question -- and use humor to defuse tension. If you avoid blurting out the first thing that comes to mind, "people will see your demeanor as cool and professional,"...most important first step: Always expect the unexpected! Most people
don't do well with the unexpected because they lack a script==> .consider improv acting classes
deep_breathing  Managing_Your_Career  Joann_S._Lublin  managing_uncertainty  resilience  uncertainty  unexpected  patience  hotspots  improvisation  impromptu  self-talk  negativity_bias  sophisticated 
november 2009 by jerryking
Active inertia is the enemy of survival
Oct 8, 2009 | Financial Times pg. 16 | Book review by Richard
Donkin of Donald Sull's The Upside of Turbulence ; Seizing Opportunity
in an Uncertain World ; Harper Business, $27.99/pound(s)18.99. "the
risk, says Sull, is that complacency sets in as companies and their
bosses begin to believe their own press during the good times. The CEO
on the cover of a business magazine, a boss who looks like all the rest,
a grand headquarters - all are examples of companies resting on their
laurels.
Sull concentrates on building agility in business, allowing companies to
shift resources quickly from less promising to faster-growing areas.
Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, P & G and Samsung,
have cultivated portfolio agility at the heart of their businesses, he
says. Sull argues that the best companies are able to absorb the shocks
of market turbulence, using cash and profits from their strongest
business streams to cushion the effects of unforeseen events."
book_reviews  Donald_Sull  resilience  upside  turbulence  adversity  complacency  cost_of_inaction  inertia  Samsung  P&G  books  Johnson_&_Johnson  agility  uncertainty  unexpected  unforeseen  antifragility 
october 2009 by jerryking
Talking to...Joshua C. Ramo
POSTED ON: APRIL 14, 2009 | TORO MAGAZINE | POSTED BY:
SALVATORE DIFALCO. "...Get over this idea that we can deter or regulate
threats out of existence. Most of the big threats we can’t deter. Our
efforts to deter terrorism haven’t been all that effective. Some of
those guys are all too happy to die. The challenge is for us to build a
society that accepts these shocks as part of the system."
Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  uncertainty  instability  threats  interviews  unpredictability  deterrence  complexity  Kissinger_Associates  resilience 
september 2009 by jerryking
When you're drowning in knowledge, it's experience that counts
Aug. 20, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by Dan Richards. The key
to success today is no longer knowledge and information alone; more than
ever it's the discipline, experience, perspective and insight to know
what to do with that information, something that only comes from the
battle scars earned working through multiple market cycles....The bottom line is simple: If knowledge alone drives success, then years of experience may be less critical than intellect and analytical prowess. But in a time of market uncertainty such as we see today, intellect and knowledge alone aren't enough. Financial advisers and money managers also need the acumen that only years of hard-won experience can bring.
business_acumen  commoditization_of_information  Dan_Richards  discernment  experience  financial_advisors  information_overload  insights  investment_advice  money_management  pattern_recognition  uncertainty  wisdom  self-discipline  judgment  perspectives 
august 2009 by jerryking
Schools Prepare for Next Downturn - WSJ.com
AUGUST 20, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by DIANA MIDDLETON and
JANE PORTER. Key lessons throughout: how to make smart decisions with
limited information/uncertainty, examine problems from more than one
angle and anticipate what might happen in the next economic blowup.
curriculum  economic_downturn  MBAs  business_schools  uncertainty  anticipating 
august 2009 by jerryking
The Long, Long Road From Idea to Success - NYTimes.com
July 4, 2009 | New York Times | By VINDU GOEL. Scott Anthony,
is the author of “The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for
Uncertain Times.”

Corporations, the gold mine for software like this, have been reluctant to buy it until GreenPrint worked out a host of technical issues.

“It’s more difficult than you’d think it would be,” said Mr. Hamilton, chief executive of the start-up, which is based in Portland, Ore. “We had zero insight into what challenges would be in place for an organization of 50,000 users.”

GreenPrint’s travails are all too common for small technology companies. “The gulf between invention and innovation is often a huge one that many entrepreneurs can’t cross,” said Scott D. Anthony, president of Innosight, a consulting firm.

In other words, it’s not easy to turn a bright idea into a genuine business....“You see again and again the companies that succeed are not the ones that have the brilliant strategy,” he said, “but the ones that course-correct along the way.”
innovation  start_ups  Innosight  Scott_Anthony  messiness  book_reviews  silver_linings  uncertainty  books  course_correction  playbooks 
july 2009 by jerryking
Risk, Uncertainty, and Greatness - Lane Wallace
Lane Wallace

The Uncommon Navigator

Jun 12 2009, 9:44AM

Business
Risk, Uncertainty, and Greatness
risks  uncertainty 
june 2009 by jerryking
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