Book Report: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

hard-thing-about-hard-things“Nobody cares. And they are right not to care. A great reason for failing won’t preserve one dollar for your investors, won’t save one employee’s job, or get you one new customer. It especially won’t make you feel one bit better when you shut down your company and declare bankruptcy. All the mental energy you use to elaborate your misery would be far better used trying to find the one seemingly impossible way out of your current mess.” (The Hard Thing About Hard Things)

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Posted in Books, Everything, Leadership, Management

Book Report: The Lean Startup

lean-startup-and-process“All these activities in a well-run traditional organization offer incremental benefit for incremental effort. As long as we are executing the plan well, hard work yields results. However, these tools for product improvement do not work the same way for startups. If you are building the wrong thing, optimizing the product or its marketing will not yield significant results. A startup has to measure progress against a high bar: evidence that a sustainable business can be built around its products or services. That’s a standard that can be assessed only if a startup has made clear, tangible predictions ahead of time.” (The Lean Startup)

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Posted in Books, Everything, Management

Freelance, ho!

As luck would have it, I’d scored my first freelance gig by doing nothing and then having a five minute conversation. But here’s the twist: this industry was completely new to me, and the nature of the project and subject matter only had a passing resemblance to anything I’d addressed before.

A couple of weeks ago I did my first freelance gig; it was a neat experience, so I figured why not write a bit about it?

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Posted in Careers, Everything

Book Report: Weapons of Math Destruction

weaponsmath-r4-6-06“Predictive models are, increasingly, the tools we will be relying on to run our institutions, deploy our resources, and manage our lives. But … these models are constructed not just from data but from the choices we make about which data to pay attention to – and which to leave out. These choices are not just about logistics, profits, and efficiency. They are fundamentally moral. If we back away from them and treat mathematical models as a neutral and inevitable force, like the weather or the tide, we abdicate our responsibility.” (Weapons of Math Destruction)

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Posted in Books, Everything, Math and Science

A Morning with Deloitte: TMT Predictions 2018


On the recommendation of my former colleague Dan Deeth, I spent this morning down at the Tannery listening to Deloitte’s Duncan Stewart (@dunstewart) prognosticate on Technology, Media, and Telecommunications.

Dan was unable to attend, as he was in Barcelona this week at Mobile World Congress, and he tells me that Duncan’s been a long-time reader of the Global Internet Phenomena reports that Dan and I wrote. So hey, why not make the fifteen-minute drive to Kitchener?

Coincidentally, the timing comes on the heels of several posts on this blog about the challenges of and best practices for prognostication, so I was in the right frame of mind – skeptical, but interested – for this event.

Of course, I took notes.

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Posted in Everything, Math and Science

Podcast Thoughts: Masters of Scale

Screenshot 2018-02-22 11.13.10

For those who don’t know, Masters of Scale is, “an original podcast hosted by LinkedIn Co-Founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman showing how companies grow from zero to a gazillion. The series unfolds like a music-infused detective story as Hoffman tests his theories with famous founders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests.”

[That last part isn’t expecially relevant to this post, but I felt that it was important to include, and kudos to the team for committing to that balance.]

I started listening to Masters of Scale at the strong recommendation of Dave Caputo; I’ve listened to a few episodes so far, and I have mixed feelings…which I explain below.

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Posted in Everything, Management

Book Report: Superforecasting

book-superforecasting“In so many other high-stakes endeavors, forecasters are groping in the dark. They have no idea how good their forecasts could become. At best, they have vague hunches. More often than not, forecasts are made and then . . . nothing. Accuracy is seldom determined after the fact and is almost never done with sufficient regularity and rigor that conclusions can be drawn. The reason? Mostly it’s a demand-side problem: The consumers of forecasting – governments, business, and the public – don’t demand evidence of accuracy. So there is no measurement.” (Superforecasting)

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Posted in Books, Everything, Leadership, Math and Science

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