Nested problems, nested solutions (2): trivial problems

If you missed it, start with yesterday’s post. A problem is anything we want to change – however trivial or enormous. Our very simplest problems have immediate symptoms and immediate solutions: a (non-recurring) itchy nose can be scratched and the problem is solved. Many trivial problems can be “solved” by the decision that they are not important and can be…

Nested problems, nested solutions (1): what’s your problem?

I’ve posted about nested problems before as The Wrapper, and The Onion (1), (2), (3), (4). It helps to begin by defining “problem”. A problem isn’t necessarily big or important and doesn’t necessarily require action: it’s simply anything that you want to change. We face hundreds of problems every day: My morning alarm is disturbing me – how can I…

Clare Leaver and Lant Pritchett on Pay for Performance for teachers (and how to think about interventions in general)

Even if you’re not interested in pay for performance, this article is is fantastic in the way that it sets a clear foundation for discussion of an emotive topic by pointing out the often-overlooked but obvious common ground shared by readers on all sides of the debate: Here is the essence of our argument. High-performing education systems already use some…

Kevin Kelly on second order risk

This is a great post from KK on second order risk (“known unknowns”) and third order risk (“unknown unknowns”) that might effect, with reference to the Corona Virus (Covid-19). In the face of unknown risks, he advises caution. I’m writing this on 4th March 2020, so it will be interesting to see how the risk profile looks when this goes…

Resource: Seth Godin on Business Models

I think of the business model as the enabling “wrapper” around the “technical” solution you make happen. If you’re a plumber, it’s all the business stuff. If you’re a teacher, it might be the whole infrastructure of a school. In a non-profit, it’s the rest of the “onion” around the thing you want to do that actually makes a difference…

Statistical dojo

This seems apt – and the book it comes from is available free (or “pay what you want”) at readthesequences.com. Recommended. Imagine reaching into an urn that contains seventy white balls and thirty red ones, and plucking out ten mystery balls. Perhaps three of the ten balls will be red, and you’ll correctly guess how many red balls total were…

A project

The thing that I’m recommending for a lot of people now is to find a sphere of activity, no matter how small or how local, that you feel you can control and you can do at home and you can contribute to. This feeling of powerlessness may set in that will cause people to panic more or become too depressed…

Choosing to stop or choosing to continue

I’ve been spending more time on Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp and even normal phone calls (imagine!) than normal over the past week. A few times my meetings have bumped up against Zoom’s 40 minute limit for free accounts, where meetings of more than two people need to stop and reconnect when the time runs out. This has been a frustrating niggle…

Buses. Waves. Bicycles.

Getting the right bus can save a lot of time: you might be able to go direct or make an earlier connection, you might have a shorter layover or better traffic. So running to catch the bus can be worth it. You’ll work harder, run at a pace that you can’t sustain – but if you catch the bus, it’s…

Bear hunt

We can rarely go around – or over, or under – the big, difficult things. If we could they wouldn’t be big or difficult. The only way is through.* *Hopefully with a minumum of “Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip! Stumble Trip!”