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…

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…

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…

Bread and butter: unbundling complex products

There is a place (a big place!) for custom work – people pay more to get difficult jobs done well, and the craft required gives you an opportunity to do work that people will notice and “cross the street for.” But if everything you do is complex and nuanced, such that every quote is a custom quote, and every sale…

Stimulus and response

MIND THE GAP… … is good advice: If you’re prone to saying things you regret. If you’re feeling snappy. When you’re under pressure. Most of the time. As we learn to mind the gap – first to see it as it whistles by; then to squeeze in a tiny breath and moderate our response; and then (in time) to pause…

Tom Peters on the “services added” narrative

“It helps to be as helpful as you can be” Rolls-Royce now earns MORE from tasks such as managing clients’ overall procurement strategies and maintaining aerospace engines it sells than it does from making them. Thus the quintessential lumpy object producer, akin to yesteryear’s IBM, principally becomes a services-added company that also happens to make lumpy objects. … Twenty years…

Three questions from economics

What are the tradeoffs in this situation? What gains can be made from trade and cooperation? How can we reframe this question to find new answers, or change the way we feel about the answers we already have? Largely drawn from Tyler Cowen’s interview with Tim Harford.

Ahead of the day

It’s a wonderful feeling to be ahead of the day. Up early, time to spare, space to think, an open road ahead where you’ll get stuff done with clear-headed poise. And yet… There’s a danger here: In how quickly twenty minutes early becomes ten minutes late; In how the couple of things you can just fit in spill over and…

A good day

Disclaimer: It’s possible that this is lifted directly from a book I’ve read recently or something I’ve listened to. If so, please point it out! If not – it’s certainly a variation on a theme, but I hope it’s helpful. I started work this morning by sitting with a notebook for five minutes, writing (and then answering) the question: “What…

On mopping the floor

Sweep up. Mop the floor. Spend five minutes – five minutes! – a day putting things back in their places or working out where their places should be or throwing things out. It isn’t just that the reduction in friction will pay off many times over – it’s that the act of tidying will change you – slowly – into…