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jerryking : unexpected   23

Why You Should Try to Be a Little More Scarce
May 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Cindy Lamothe.

* Conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, but playing a little hard to get has its advantages.
* Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”
* John Lees, a Britain-based career strategist and the author of “How to Get a Job You Love.”
* Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace and the author of “Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve.”
* Shirli Kopelman, author of “Negotiating Genuinely: Being Yourself in Business,”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Studies show that opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.....the scarcity principle says that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,”. The underlying principle is “reactance”: Essentially, when we think something is limited to us, we tend to want it more....it’s possible to harness this concept and increase our appeal in things like negotiations and career advancement.....if you find yourself becoming overzealous over every little opportunity that comes your way, here are a few ways to keep things in balance:

(1) Be less eager - Appearing readily available can work against you....This comes down to economics — if you’re in low supply and high demand, you’re worth more. Making something harder to get, “tends to increase at least the perception of the value, if not its actual value.”....tell people that you're “..selective with who you work with, but you would consider working with or for them.”... “Well, I do have a couple of other projects that I’m working on. However, I could prioritize this for you if you want.”

(2) Don’t jump the gun - It’s easy to become excited when an unexpected opportunity presents itself, Ms. Ryan said, but remember that your power in any negotiation is related to your ability to walk away. Once you have interest, channel that into due diligence, Mr. Lees said. “Research the organization as if you were going to invest half your life savings in it,” he said. It’s also important to continually check in with your gut, Ms. Ryan added, and remember: Don’t accept an offer before fully considering the terms.

(3) Know your market value - continually assessing our market worth, “so that if an unexpected opportunity comes up, you don’t have to rush and do a slack job on this crucial factor.”...Keep an updated spreadsheet on hand with a list of your skills and achievements so you can quickly review it when you have an offer. You also have to know how much to charge for your services beforehand. The idea is to plan ahead so you’re not scrambling in the moment.

(4) Adopt an abundance mind-set - Recognizing that there are unlimited possibilities can give you the security and confidence you need to create successful outcomes. ....reframe how we use scarcity and abundance in our own head before we can apply it outwardly. When you worry about all the things you’re going to lose out on if you don’t take a particular opportunity, you’re using the scarcity mind-set on yourself rather than as a persuasion strategy, he said. “You’re at a real disadvantage mentally.”

(5) Trust the process - appearing less available isn’t about limiting our enthusiasm or being unnecessarily hard on ourselves. It’s about trusting in our own self-worth so we can be proactive, experts say. This means mindfully aligning our excitement into strategy....“Emphasize the uniqueness of your resources and your collaborative approach"
abundance  bank_shots  books  conventional_wisdom  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  mindsets  opportunities  overeagerness  overzealous  preparation  scarcity  selectivity  self-worth  think_differently  unexpected 
may 2019 by jerryking
Can Trump Handle a Foreign Crisis?
Feb. 7, 2019 | WSJ | By Peggy Noonan.

He’ll face one eventually, and there’s good reason to worry the administration will be unprepared.

Someday this White House will face a sudden, immediate and severe foreign-policy crisis..... past and present officials of this administration are concerned on how the White House would handle a crisis......History resides in both the unexpected and the long-predicted. Russia moves against a U.S. ally, testing Washington’s commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty; a coordinated cyber action by our adversaries takes down the American grid; China, experiencing political unrest within a background of a slowing economy, decides this is a good time to move on Taiwan; someone bombs Iran’s missile sites; Venezuela explodes in violence during a military crackdown; there’s an accidental launch somewhere..... historian Margaret MacMillan said ....“I think we should never underestimate the sheer role of accident.”....Everything depends on personnel, process and planning. The president and his top advisers have to work closely, with trust and confidence, quickly comprehending the shape of the challenge and its implications. There must be people around him with wisdom, judgment, experience. They must know their jobs and be able to execute them under pressure. Clear lines of communication are key between both individuals and agencies.....keep their eyes on the million moving pieces, military and diplomatic, that comprise a strategy.......During the Berlin airlift, thought at the time to be the height of the Cold War, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who’d been Army chief of staff during World War II, was asked how worried he was. “I’ve seen worse,” he replied. He had. ......“No administration is ready for its first crisis,” says Richard Haass, who was a member of George H.W. Bush’s NSC and is author of “A World in Disarray.” “What you learn is that the machinery isn’t adequate, or people aren’t ready.” First crises trigger reforms of procedures so that second ones are better handled. ......There is no way, really, to simulate a crisis, because you don’t know what’s coming, and key people are busy doing their regular jobs. And all administrations, up until the point they’re tested, tend to be overconfident. What can they do to be readier? Think, study, talk and plan.....For a modern example of good process, personnel and management, there is the Cuban missile crisis. .....the stakes couldn’t have been higher.......It might be good to have regular situation-room meetings on what-ifs, and how to handle what-ifs, and to have deep contingency planning with intelligence, military and civilian leaders discussing scenarios. “Put yourself in a position,” says Mr. Haass, “where you’re less unread when a crisis does occur.”.......Margaret MacMillan again: People not only get used to peace and think it’s “the normal state of affairs,” they get used to the idea that any crisis can be weathered, because they have been in the past. But that’s no guarantee of anything, is it?
adversaries  chance  contingency_planning  crisis  Donald_Trump  U.S.foreign_policy  JFK  Margaret_MacMillan  overconfidence  Richard_Haass  security_&_intelligence  unexpected  White_House  unprepared  accidents  Cuban_Missile_Crisis  luck  Peggy_Noonan  preparation  readiness  George_Marshall  normality  unforeseen 
february 2019 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
We can only tackle epidemics by preparing for the unexpected
MAY 28, 2018 | FT| Anjana Ahuja.

"[Chance] Fortune favors the prepared [mind]"

Other pathogens on the WHO’s hit list for priority research include Ebola and the related Marburg virus; Lassa fever; Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever; Mers coronavirus; Sars; Rift Valley fever; Zika; and Disease X.

Many of these are being targeted by the billion-dollar Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, with a mission to develop “new vaccines for a safer world”. Cepi is backed by several national governments — including those of Japan and Norway — the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The coalition has just announced that, following events in Kerala, it will prioritise a Nipah vaccine.

Disease X, incidentally, is the holding name for a “black swan” — an unknown pathogen that could glide in from nowhere to trigger panic. Preparedness is not all about facing down familiar foes. It is also about being ready for adversaries that have not yet shown their hand. [expand our imaginations. The next catastrophe may take an unprecedented form----Simon Kuper]
black_swan  catastrophes  chance  disasters  disaster_preparedness  epidemics  flu_outbreaks  panics  pathogens  preparation  readiness  unexpected  unknowns  viruses 
may 2018 by jerryking
Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
SEPT. 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN.

New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.

But we may be preparing in the wrong way.

Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

* Education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. E.g., computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive work force. But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship. Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change WHEN we teach...... our current practice of learning early [and hopefully] benefitting for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant. Human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. Not merely need programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.
* Social Insurance. Economic upheaval at the macro level means turmoil and instability at the personal level. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities. Each move has financial and personal costs: It might involve going without a paycheck, looking for new housing, finding a new school district or adjusting to a new vocation. We cannot expect to create a vibrant and flexible overall economy unless we make these shifts as painless as possible. We need a fresh round of policy innovation focused on creating a safety net that gives workers the peace of mind — and the money — to move deftly when circumstances change.....current policies do nothing to protect the most vulnerable from the costs of all this destruction. We resist letting factories close because we worry about what will become of the people who work there. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle.

.....other ways of preparing for upheaval? We should broaden the current conversation — centered on drones, the end of work or the prospect of super-intelligent algorithms governing the world — to include innovative proposals for handling the unexpected......One problem is that social policy may seem boring compared with the wonderfully evocative story arcs telling us where current technologies might be heading......The safest prediction is that reality will outstrip our imaginations. So let us craft our policies not just for what we expect but for what will surely surprise us.
tumult  unimaginable  expectations  turbulence  Joseph_Schumpeter  innovation_policies  human_capital  education  safety_nets  job_search  creative_destruction  lifelong  life_long_learning  surprises  economists  improbables  personal_economy  preparation  unexpected  readiness 
september 2017 by jerryking
Beware of linearity: The shortest distance to your future may not be a straight line - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 09, 2016

linearity – dominates our thinking as we tackle problems. “Western thinkers are so habituated to thinking in terms of linear models that we allow them to inform not just what we think, but the fundamentals of how we think....Linearity is a critical and – apparently – inherent part of our cultural DNA....It’s not easy to forsake linearity...it’s essential to guard against slavishly following its tantalizing direction. Start by reading trade journals from another industry or studying a topic you have no interest in. Look for the less obvious interconnections around you. Think like a songwriter: Choruses and bridges signal a break with the preceding verse or the patterns that come before. But a true bridge, unlike a chorus, never repeats. They urge you to look for bridge moments rather than assume past is prologue.
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Leaders are supposed to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. But fact checkers found Mr. Trump consistently at odds with the truth. And his supporters didn’t seem to care, assuming leaders lie anyway. TV host Stephen Colbert used the term “truthiness” to cover believing something that feels true even if it isn’t supported by fact. Says Fowler: “I wonder if truth-telling matters when people are interested in bigger issues?”
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One of the highly touted productivity approaches is to tackle your most important thing (MIT) at the start of the day. Get it done before the chaos of the day overwhelms you.

But productivity writer Cal Newport, a Georgetown University computer science professor, feels the approach is insufficient – calling it “amateur ball” while the professionals play a more textured game.

The problem is that it implicitly concedes that most of your day is out of your control. But someone who plans every minute of their day and every day of their week will inevitably accomplish far more high-value work than someone who identifies only a single daily objective. The key, he feels, is to put enough buffers in your day to handle the unplanned stuff that hits you. With those slices of times and a spirit of adaptability you will find your work life not as unpredictable as you assume.
early_risers  linearity  Harvey_Schachter  thinking  humility  Donald_Trump  unplanned  unforeseen  buffering  GTD  productivity  discontinuities  nonlinear_systems  randomness  interconnections  Jim_Collins  truthiness  truth-telling  slack_time  adaptability  overwhelmed  time-management  unexpected  Cal_Newport  straight-lines  bridging  non-obvious 
december 2016 by jerryking
The Unexpected Ways Sleep Deprivation Makes Life Tougher
Scientists are gaining new insights into just how lack of sleep can upset our emotional equilibrium. Researchers have found that people who are sleep-deprived have difficulty reading the facial
sleep  unexpected  deprivations  insomnia 
september 2016 by jerryking
Where to Look for Insight
Mohanbir Sawhney Sanjay Khosla
FROM THE NOVEMBER 2014
Innovation isn’t a department. It’s a mindset that should permeate your entire enterprise.

No matter the venue, the feedstock for innovation is insight—an imaginative understanding of an internal or external opportunity that can be tapped to improve efficiency, generate revenue, or boost engagement. Insights can be about stakeholder needs, market dynamics, or even how your company works.

Here are Seven Insight Channels
Anomalies

Examine deviations from the norm
Do you see unexpectedly high or low revenue or share in a market or segment? Surprise performance from a business process or a company unit?

Confluence

Find macro trend intersections

What key economic, behavioral, technological, or demographic trends do you see? How are they combining to create opportunities?

Frustrations

Pinpoint deficiencies in the system

Where are customer pain points for your products, services, or solutions? Which organizational processes or practices annoy you and your colleagues?

Orthodoxies

Question conventional beliefs
Are there assumptions or beliefs in your industry that go unexamined? Toxic behaviors or procedures at your company that go unchallenged?

Extremities

Exploit deviance
What can you learn from the behaviors and needs of your leading-edge or laggard customers, employees, or suppliers?

Voyages

Learn from immersion elsewhere
How are your stakeholders’ needs influenced by their sociocultural context?

Analogies

Borrow from other industries or organizations
What successful innovations do you see applied in other disciplines? Can you adapt them for your own?
customer_insights  HBR  analogies  anomalies  toxic_behaviors  trends  pain_points  assumptions  innovation  insights  conventional_wisdom  travel  laggards  copycats  dilemmas  extremes  orthodoxy  immersive  deviance  learning_journeys  leading-edge  unexpected  mindsets  frictions  opportunities  opportunistic  consumer_behavior  feedstock 
november 2014 by jerryking
What Cars Did for Today's World, Data May Do for Tomorrow's - NYTimes.com
August 10, 2014 | NYT | Quentin Hardy.

General Electric plans to announce Monday that it has created a “data lake” method of analyzing sensor information from industrial machinery in places like railroads, airlines, hospitals and utilities. G.E. has been putting sensors on everything it can for a couple of years, and now it is out to read all that information quickly.

The company, working with an outfit called Pivotal, said that in the last three months it has looked at information from 3.4 million miles of flights by 24 airlines using G.E. jet engines. G.E. said it figured out things like possible defects 2,000 times as fast as it could before.....Databricks, that uses new kinds of software for fast data analysis on a rental basis. Databricks plugs into the one million-plus computer servers inside the global system of Amazon Web Services, and will soon work inside similar-size megacomputing systems from Google and Microsoft....If this growing ecosystem of digital collection, shipment and processing is the new version of cars and highways, what are the unexpected things, the suburbs and fast-food joints that grew from cars and roads?

In these early days, businesses like Uber and Airbnb look like challengers to taxi fleets and hotels. They do it without assets like cars and rooms, instead coordinating data streams about the location of people, cars, and bedrooms. G.E. makes engines, but increasingly it coordinates data about the performance of engines and the location of ground crews. Facebook uses sensor data like location information from smartphones
Quentin_Hardy  data  data_driven  AWS  asset-light  massive_data_sets  resource_allocation  match-making  platforms  resource_management  orchestration  ecosystems  GE  sensors  unexpected  unforeseen  Databricks  Uber  Airbnb  data_coordination  instrumentation_monitoring  efficiencies 
august 2014 by jerryking
Sometimes luggage gets lost. Here's how to be prepared - The Globe and Mail
SAFA JINJE

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Apr. 04 2014

The last time I did check a bag it was left overnight in Toronto; I was left inconsolable and without a Williamsburg-worthy change of clothes in New York. Making matters worse, it happened under the care of my colleagues, who only laughed at my pain. In retrospect, I should have purchased traveller’s insurance, which would have turned my fate into a joyous shopping montage.

However trite the saying, it truly is better to be safe than sorry. A good traveller does not just expect the worst, she anticipates it, because “bad luck” usually happens when you let yourself fall prey to the unexpected.

PACKING ADVICE

Keep all bare necessities such as medication, keys and wallets in your carry-on.
Beware of packing dangerous goods such as loose batteries, which can short-circuit and cause a fire in your luggage.
If you can’t lift your carry-on over your head into the overhead bin, chances are it is too heavy and must be checked.
Make sure all your bags have identification tags that include the best method to reach you in an emergency, be it by phone or e-mail.
Make sure that all liquids in your carry on are 100 millilitres or less.
travel  preparation  packing  anticipating  unexpected 
april 2014 by jerryking
Hotels Add Libraries as Amenity to Keep Guests Inside - NYTimes.com
July 29, 2013 | NYT | By AMY ZIPKIN.

For hotels, the challenge is to persuade guests to spend more time, and money, in restaurants and bars, rather than venturing outside.

The Indigo Atlanta-Midtown hotel, for example, has a separate space in the lobby it calls the Library, with books, newspapers and coffee. The Indigo Nashville Hotel also has a library-style seating area.

Country Inns and Suites, with 447 hotels, now has an exclusive arrangement with Penguin Random, called Read It and Return Lending Library, that allows guests to borrow a book and return it to another location during a subsequent stay.

Scott Mayer, a senior vice president at Country Inns, says the goal is to provide guests, 40 percent of whom are business travelers, with “something they didn’t expect.”
hotels  libraries  reading  amenities  unexpected  perks  serendipity  hospitality 
july 2013 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
Learning to Love Volatility: Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Antifragile
November 16, 2012 | WSJ | Nassim Nicholas Taleb

In a world that constantly throws big, unexpected events our way, we must learn to benefit from disorder, writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Some made the mistake of thinking that I hoped to see us develop better methods for predicting black swans. Others asked if we should just give up and throw our hands in the air: If we could not measure the risks of potential blowups, what were we to do? The answer is simple: We should try to create institutions that won't fall apart when we encounter black swans—or that might even gain from these unexpected events....To deal with black swans, we instead need things that gain from volatility, variability, stress and disorder. My (admittedly inelegant) term for this crucial quality is "antifragile." The only existing expression remotely close to the concept of antifragility is what we derivatives traders call "long gamma," to describe financial packages that benefit from market volatility. Crucially, both fragility and antifragility are measurable.

As a practical matter, emphasizing antifragility means that our private and public sectors should be able to thrive and improve in the face of disorder. By grasping the mechanisms of antifragility, we can make better decisions without the illusion of being able to predict the next big thing. We can navigate situations in which the unknown predominates and our understanding is limited.

Herewith are five policy rules that can help us to establish antifragility as a principle of our socioeconomic life.

Rule 1:Think of the economy as being more like a cat than a washing machine.

We are victims of the post-Enlightenment view that the world functions like a sophisticated machine, to be understood like a textbook engineering problem and run by wonks. In other words, like a home appliance, not like the human body. If this were so, our institutions would have no self-healing properties and would need someone to run and micromanage them, to protect their safety, because they cannot survive on their own.

By contrast, natural or organic systems are antifragile: They need some dose of disorder in order to develop. Deprive your bones of stress and they become brittle. This denial of the antifragility of living or complex systems is the costliest mistake that we have made in modern times.

Rule 2:Favor businesses that benefit from their own mistakes,not those whose mistakes percolate into the system.

Some businesses and political systems respond to stress better than others. The airline industry is set up in such a way as to make travel safer after every plane crash.

Rule 3:Small is beautiful, but it is also efficient.

Experts in business and government are always talking about economies of scale. They say that increasing the size of projects and institutions brings costs savings. But the "efficient," when too large, isn't so efficient. Size produces visible benefits but also hidden risks; it increases exposure to the probability of large losses.
Rule 4:Trial and error beats academic knowledge.
Rule 5:Decision makers must have skin in the game.

In the business world, the solution is simple: Bonuses that go to managers whose firms subsequently fail should be clawed back, and there should be additional financial penalties for those who hide risks under the rug. This has an excellent precedent in the practices of the ancients. The Romans forced engineers to sleep under a bridge once it was completed (jk: personal risk and skin in the game).
Nassim_Taleb  resilience  black_swan  volatility  turmoil  brittle  antifragility  personal_risk  trial_&_error  unknowns  size  unexpected  economies_of_scale  risks  hidden  compounded  disorder  latent  financial_penalties  Romans  skin_in_the_game  deprivations  penalties  stressful  variability 
november 2012 by jerryking
Unforeseen consequences - FT.com
May 24, 2007 | Financial Times |By Robert Matthews.

The Germans have a word for it: Schlimmbesserung - literally, a "worse improvement". You may not recognise the word, but you'll know plenty of examples of what it means: efficiency drives that reduce efficiency, cost-cutting measures that prove punitively expensive, software upgrades that cause months of downtime.

All businesses can fall victim to such "revenge effects"....

Edward Tenner, a visiting scholar in the department of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Why Things Bite Back, the classic study of the phenomenon first published in 1996, believes there are several measures that businesses can take. Indeed, he has given lectures at Microsoft, Intel and AT&T on the subject.

Ensuring there is in-house expertise that can spot emerging revenge effects and deal with the consequences is crucial, Mr Tenner says. "Many companies fail to deal with revenge effects because they are 'outsourcing their brains'," he says. "Lean organisations are supposed to be more flexible, but they may also be giving up a lot of their capability to respond to change."

According to Mr Tenner, businesses can keep a constant watch for reports of potential revenge effects in news and research findings. This has never been easier, thanks to online tools such as Google news alerts and RSS (really simple syndication) feeds.

Even so, revenge effects have a nasty habit of affecting businesses in unexpected ways. "The precondition of vigilance is the selection and development of ability at all levels,"

thinking about the downside to new developments can save a lot of heartache. "Excessive optimism risks revenge effects," he says. "You have to be prepared to work in Murphy's Law mode - and to consider that every possible thing that can go wrong will go wrong."
unintended_consequences  books  limitations  in-house  specificity  outsourcing  unexpected  revenge_effects  Murphy's_Law  thinking_tragically  lean  adaptability  flexibility  responsiveness  change  downtime 
june 2012 by jerryking
Bizarre Insights From Big Data - NYTimes.com
March 28, 2012 | NYT | By QUENTIN HARDY.

Sometimes unexpected data sources offer big insights....The idea is to have a lot of data of all kinds on hand, because sometimes unexpected combinations of information can lead to valuable insights.
...We will probably see more strange corollaries start to pop up, as more behavior is stored in online databases.
massive_data_sets  data_mining  flu_outbreaks  mobile_phones  unexpected  corollaries  insights 
march 2012 by jerryking
Essays on the unexpected consequences of 9/11 - The Globe and Mail
Sep. 10, 2011 | Globe and Mail | graydon carter, margaret macmillan, stephen clarkson, janice gross stein AND bill graham
9/11  commemoration  Janice_Gross_Stein  Margaret_MacMILLAN  unexpected  unintended_consequences 
september 2011 by jerryking
Stanford's Entrepreneurship Corner: Jack Dorsey, Square - The Power of Curiosity and Inspiration
Lecture by Jack Dorsey, creator of twitter and square, as part
of Stanford U.'s Entrepreneurship corner.
"Instrument" your company from Day 1. The 1st thing he did in square
(and not in twitter) is write an admin control panel for their servers.
Be a story teller. Inspire your team & your customers with a
story, your idea.
In the company, act as the editor, composing the stories.
The team you build is not permanent, different players will need to
enter & exit according to their profiles, the current story &
the "required edition".
Internal comms.: Everyone in the company will have the same
priorities.
External comms: You communicate with the product, your product is
"your story for your customers".
$ in the bank: The company needs it, firstly from investors and
secondly, and more critical, from revenue.
Limit the # of details. Those that stay need to be perfect.
Finally,"expect the unexpected and, whenever possible, be the
unexpected".
Stanford  entrepreneurship  Jack_Dorsey  start_ups  turning_your_team  Twitter  lessons_learned  entrepreneur  Square  control_systems  storytelling  dashboards  unexpected  instrumentation_monitoring  curiosity  inquisitiveness 
february 2011 by jerryking
The Curse of the Unexpected
12.01.97 | Forbes Magazine |

I GREW UP IN WALES. Its difficult to imagine a place more removed from Silicon Valley and information technology than South Wales. Access to technology there seemed as remote as access to the back side of Mars. My first step was to come to America. After that it was like a homing instinct. I was attracted to the West Coast and gravitated there. I came upon Silicon Valley almost by accident.

I was working for Time at its San Francisco bureau in the early 1980s. That was right near the time when the first personal computer was introduced, so there were lots of stories being done on Silicon Valley companies. Before then I didn't really know what a venture capitalist was. I hadn't heard the term. But I began to run into venture capitalists and started to understand what they did.

Of course, I had no idea how big this would all become. I remember talking to Steve Jobs in the early days of Apple. Apple was probably a $300 million to $400 million company, and Jobs said he didn't see any reason why Apple couldn't be a $10 billion company. I thought he was smoking some strange form of weed.

We don't even use technology very much in our business. We rarely use anything more complicated than the back of an envelope to make a calculation. The computer has become more of a communication tool than a computing tool. Losing it would be like losing the phone. Business is judging and thinking, and reacting to people. It was the same before computers came along.

Every now and then, were reminded that some technology just isn't needed. On a few occasions we've invested in companies because they made some sort of technological gadgets or gizmos that we thought we would like to own and buy, either at the office or at home -- and they've been failures. For example, years ago we invested in a company that was at the dawn of the PC business. It was a bridge between word processors and PCs. We ended up with nothing more to show for our investment than half a dozen typewriters around the office that cost us $300,000 apiece.

There's a perverse thrill to being a hamster on the technology treadmill. It's very exciting trying to fight all the battles that a startup has to win to succeed. But information technology isn't a substitute for any of the real pleasures of life. I don't lose sight of the fact that you can still derive a lot of pleasure from taking a walk in the country, riding a bicycle, reading a book in your backyard, having dinner with family and friends. I don't think computers are a substitute for teaching children how to paint, or play the piano, or think for themselves. This technology wont necessarily make my kids lives better. It might just mean they'll get carpal tunnel syndrome a little sooner.

This technology also is having a major impact on the distribution of wealth. Clearly, many people will have access to information more readily than they have in the past. But the notion that you're going to have a computer or a television in a shantytown outside Buenos Aires doesn't make the shantytown any closer to a penthouse apartment. At the end of the day, I think we're building a world economy where wealth is created within a few chosen companies, and most of the wealth is either owned or shared by the people associated with those companies.

Yes, a whole bunch of people will be enabled by what those companies do. But the real wealth will go to the people intimately associated with those entities. And if your kid doesn't go to MIT or Harvard or CalTech, or half a dozen other prestigious places, forget it. They'll be among the permanently dispossessed
Michael_Moritz  Sequoia  Silicon_Valley  Steve_Jobs  vc  venture_capital  unexpected 
february 2010 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
Hezbollah as 'a hot cell for innovation'Why our intentions 'don't just fail, they backfire'
Apr 19, 2009 | Toronto Star | Lynda Hurst.

we're still using anachronistic ideas to hold together a global order that no longer exists. A revolution is in progress where the unthinkable all too readily becomes the inevitable.

The result? More – and more dangerous – reversals of intent and outcome.

"What's happening today is that our intentions don't just fail, they backfire on us," says the Beijing-based geo-strategy analyst. "We deliver the opposite of what we intend because we so misunderstand the way the system now works."

The "war on terrorism" creates even more terrorists. The attempt to build a risk-proof financial system produces more risks than anyone is able to foresee. The bid to spread capitalism across the globe widens the chasm between rich and poor. The effort to contain nuclear proliferation leads to rogue states such as North Korea and Iran playing gimme-gimme games (or maybe not) with the final option.

Think Mikhail Gorbachev setting out only to reform the Soviet Union, but instead triggering its downfall, which in turn leads the U.S. to conclude its values have won the Cold War. Not so, Ramo says. Or George W. Bush reckoning he can inject democracy into Iraq and, presto, out comes peace: "Absurd in the extreme."

The new rules are
still being formed. They will be based on one central premise: countless
variations in the scheme of things will continue to occur at warp
speed, and adapting to them equally as quickly will be crucial. The
unpredictable demands of constant newness can immobilize institutions,
however, not just individuals. It can blind them to unsprung traps,
freeze once-honed navigation skills. The structure of the U.S. State
Department has barely changed since the end of World War II.

Governments can't prepare for everything in the future, but they can
build resilience into their systems. Real power will be the ability to
come back strong after an unexpected shock. That will mean persistently
assessing the big picture, not just its component pieces.
new_normal  uncertainty  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  geopolitics  unpredictability  resilience  21st._century  adaptability  managing_uncertainty  Hezbollah  unintended_consequences  unexpected  political_power  accelerated_lifecycles  U.S._State_Department  immobilize  paralyze  constant_change  revenge_effects  rogue_actors  unthinkable  misunderstandings  Cambrian_explosion  iterations  Octothorpe_Software  Mikhail_Gorbachev  the_big_picture  warp_speed  financial_system 
may 2009 by jerryking

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