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Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:55:20 +0000

 



Making a Place “Great Again”

Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:55:20 +0000

As everyone now knows the UK voted to leave the European Union today. I happen to be in London this week and so have been paying close attention to the vote and having many conversations with family, friends, and colleagues about how it came to this and what it means for the future. I’m no economist […]



Climbing Rocks

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 05:48:23 +0000

Really enjoyed this New Yorker profile of 14-year-old climbing extraordinaire Ashima Shiraishi. On what makes great climbers (and specifically Ashima so amazing): In terms of pure talent—climbers speak of “strength”—she is near the top, but she is not too keen on taking risks. Anyway, her parents won’t allow it. She has small, powerful fingers, a […]



Normalization of Deviance & The Growing Organization

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 09:39:26 +0000

A really interesting concept from this blog post on the recent very-avoidable crash of a private jet: Social normalization of deviance means that people within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary […]



Transparency and The Executive Review

Fri, 08 Jan 2016 07:02:22 +0000

Aaron Dignan had a nice little 2016 post titled “New Years Resolutions for the Organization”. In it he outlines 5 resolutions organizations could/should take advantage of. I was particularly interested in number 3: Ditch Executive Reviews. Ditch executive reviews. We have noticed a disturbing trend lately — one where employees view a meeting with senior […]



Subway Uncertainty vs Coconut Uncertainty

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:40:55 +0000

From the MITSloan Management Review article on “Why Forecasts Fail” (2010) comes this nice little explanation of the different kinds of uncertainty you can face in forecasts (and elsewhere). There is subway uncertainty, which assumes a relatively narrow window of uncertainty. It’s called subway uncertainty because even on the worst day, your subway voyage almost definitely […]



Trolley Dodgers

Tue, 05 Jan 2016 05:23:18 +0000

I have to admit I never thought much about why the Los Angeles (previously Brooklyn) Dodgers were called that. It’s just not high on my list of things to look into. However, in listening to the excellent Bowery Boys episode on Park Slope, they explained the origins of the name which were just too good […]



Testing Something

Mon, 04 Jan 2016 11:19:18 +0000




Why It Seems Like Everyone is Doing that Thing

Sun, 03 Jan 2016 09:34:20 +0000

Networks are endlessly interesting. They shape the world around us like almost nothing else, yet we spend very little time thinking about them or recognizing the non-obvious ways effects they have on our world. Because we tend to think in bell curves, we get tricked by networks pretty often. For instance, we’ve all had the […]



The Economics of Basketball Fads

Sat, 02 Jan 2016 08:25:33 +0000

I’ve become somewhat obsessed with basketball over the last few years. I’m not entirely sure why, though it’s a combination of it being on at a convenient time (I’ve found Sundays harder to swallow over the last few years) and some really interesting work going on around new approaches and analytics (a few years ago […]



Some of my favorite reads of 2015

Fri, 01 Jan 2016 14:06:24 +0000

Did a quick dig through my Instapaper favorites (which also have their own Twitter account, by the way) and picked out a few of my favorite reads from last year. Many were written in 2015, but a few were just read by me for the first time last year. So, without any further ado and […]



Brand Management: Past, Present, and Future

Fri, 13 Feb 2015 01:32:15 +0000

Over at the Percolate blog I wrote up a two part series around a talk I gave at our client summit on the history of brand management and the need to create a new system of record for marketing. Part one opens: Late last week James wrote a post called Moving from Installation to Deployment, […]



Becoming an Engineering Manager

Tue, 27 Jan 2015 09:32:13 +0000

One of the most amazing parts of starting Percolate has been the time I’ve gotten to spend with engineers. During that I’ve noticed some interesting patterns as engineers move from individual contributors to managers. I wrote up a thing for TechCrunch on some of those observations and ideas. Here’s a bit on scale: Essentially the […]



The Complex Simplicity of Frisbee

Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:50:22 +0000

I really like this frisbee explanation for how we handle complexity: Catching a frisbee is difficult. Doing so successfully requires the catcher to weigh a complex array of physical and atmospheric factors, among them wind speed and frisbee rotation. Were a physicist to write down frisbee-catching as an optimal control problem, they would need to […]



Simple, Complicated, Complex

Thu, 08 Jan 2015 05:40:30 +0000

Really like this explanation of complexity from Flash Boys by Michael Lewis: “People think that complex is an advanced state of complicated,” said Zoran [Perkov, head of technology operations for IEX]. “It’s not. A car key is simple. A car is complicated. A car in traffic is complex.” Well put. Reminds me a bit of […]



Basketball versus Business

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 05:43:10 +0000

And I’m back … Thought this was a really interesting comment from ESPN’s Ryen Russillo during the Grantland Basketball Hour in December. He was talking about the moves by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé (also known for Gladwell’s writeup of his all press all the time approach to his daughter’s basketball team) and generally what it’s […]



Is it or isn’t it?

Tue, 23 Dec 2014 06:09:12 +0000

Differing opinions (sort of) from the New York Times over whether technology is or isn’t what the science-fiction writers imagined. From a November article titled “In Defense of Technology”: Physical loneliness can still exist, of course, but you’re never friendless online. Don’t tell me the spiritual life is over. In many ways it’s only just […]



Unanticipated Effects

Mon, 22 Dec 2014 04:33:13 +0000

I really like this story of the unanticipated effects of the printing press from Steven Johnson: Once people started to read, and once books were in circulation, very quickly the population of Europe realized that they were farsighted. This is interestingly a problem that hadn’t occurred to people before because they didn’t have any opportunity […]



First Mentions

Fri, 19 Dec 2014 05:06:15 +0000

Part two of my strategy presentation is coming soon. In the meantime, a few months ago I went down a rabbit hole of looking for the first mention of various marketing terms and ideas in the New York Times archives. I particularly liked this first mention of brand strategy from 1955: To eliminate confusion, an […]



Thinking About Strategy (Part 1): What is Strategy?

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 05:42:16 +0000

At the beginning of December I gave a talk at Google’s Firestarters event that built on some of the ideas I wrote up in my post about strategy as algorithm. Rather than posting the whole deck, which at some point I will do, I thought I would try to share the slides in groups of […]



Building Products

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:08:12 +0000

At Percolate we look for five things in product managers: Leadership, ability to get things done, communication skills, engineering knowledge, and product sense. The last is, in my ways, the toughest to interview for as part of what you’re looking for is whether or not someone has a product intuition: Do they have an innate […]