Upon reflecting on 2019 and the decade that was, I’ll ask, perhaps more competition is needed? There is no Call To Action, nor a verdict. It’s an open ended question. On one hand, competition is amazing for the consumer in the short and long runs, and fantastic for innovation in the medium to long run. When companies compete, you win. And they invest in R&D. On the other hand, competition inhibits the ability of a small set of firms to corner and extract the maximum amount of rent. A lack of competition is fantastic for the shareholders in the short run, and absolutely terrible for consumers and society in the medium and long run. On balance, I believe that competition[…]

Can meetings be more productive? The BBC’s Sean Coughlan wrote a piece entitled “Pointless work meetings really a form of therapy” and it struck a chord. I shared that out on Friday, November 15, 2019. It’s a short press summary of what Patrik Hall co-authored in a book. The press doesn’t say what that book is. So I wrote Patrik. The book is called Mötesboken : tolkningar av arbetslivets sammanträden och rosévinsmingel. His co-author, Malin Akerstrom, wrote a related paper – The Merry Go Round of Meetings: Embracing Meetings in a Swedish Youth Care Project. It is worth a read. I have a few thoughts. There are (at least) two forms of technology: physical technology and social technology. Physical technology[…]

Torben Iversen and Anne Wren wrote (1998) “Equality, Employment, and Budgetary Restraint: The Trilemma of the Service Economy” and published it in World Politics, (50), 4, pp. 507-546. And it’s a good read. And you could read it for yourself right here. Here’s a summary in one image: What It Means What causes the Trilemma itself? It’s the idea that productivity doesn’t really grow in a pure local services economy. A restaurant can only serve so many meals, barber cut so many heads, a teacher so many students, a surgeon so many people, a police officer so many arrests. It’s far harder to get compounded year on year growth in productivity in services. As I’ll argue below, it isn’t impossible.[…]

What if code is an artifact of the culture that creates it? What would your interpretation of the code suggest to you about the culture? What would different layers of code tell you about how people lived in the past? Culture Code is instructions to be run by machines and interpreted by the humans that take care of it. So much code is managed by people. And groups of people get to together and create language, standards, rituals, traditions, meanings, arguments, rhetoric, procedures, regulations, obligations, agreements, memoranda of understanding, specifications, memes, stories, and values. Cultures evolve. For instance, as a startup goes from 2 people to 5, then 5 to 11, (11 to 23, 23 to 47, and so on)[…]

The inspiration for this post is John Cutler‘s excellent twitter thread on prioritization. It’s well worth the read. This post builds on that inspiration using Roger Martin’s concept of the The Knowledge Funnel. One big takeaway of John Cutler’s thread is when deciding the sequence of what to do in product management, consider the big picture and think of the impact of what you will do next on what you will know next. What I like about Roger Martin’s concept on knowledge funnels: consider the big picture and think of what you know about value. Product management and data science is all about managing the knowledge funnel. Your ability to manage this funnel is predictive your ability, and those you[…]

The Knowledge Funnel is a concept introduced by Roger Martin in Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage (2009). The book is excellent and worth a read. There are mysteries at the top of the funnel. Mysteries are the unknown. They’re the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. It’s knowledge that the organization doesn’t have. In the centre of the funnel, you have heuristics. These are rules of thumb. They aren’t quite always precise, and aren’t always quite reliable. Heuristics are just predictive enough to be useful. It’s knowledge that is known to the firm. At the bottom of the funnel you have algorithms. This is knowledge that is standardized and optimized enough to be run[…]

On the walk in, I thought of Livy, of networks, and of hierarchies. I thought of Samuel Doe, the Liberian that brought an end to the brutal True Whig Party and brought in his own brutal regime, and of Emperor Bokassa, who once spent a third of his nations budget on his coronation. They each grew up physically, yet never had a chance to develop fully as whole people. And because they were leaders, the societies they led never got the chance to develop either. Are systems really that sensitive to leadership? Can it really be that institutions are that sensitive to the development of their leaders? The thought rocked me for a few minutes, and then subsided into an[…]

Suppose the following scenario: Series A or B; A data science firm (narrow machine intelligence, applied machine intelligence, general machine intelligence, predictive or prescriptive analytics, software or hardware); Technical CEO / Co-Founder; Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) just hired; What might the CEO-CMO relationship look like? The relationship could be great. If there’s one stereotype about data science CEO’s, it’s that they like incentives to be aligned. The CMO would likely be brought on to focus on growth. If revenue grows, valuation grows, and collective comp would grow. There might be points of friction. From the CMO’s Perspective: Why is the CEO constantly at me about metrics all the time? Why is the CEO always on about non-working dollars? (Why don’t[…]

This is post is the fifth in a five part series on Capital, and You. Previously, I defined capital as potential power, and argued that the primary optimization objective of the venture capitalist is to acquire more capital. Further, the board is the embodiment of the Corporation, it is made up of people who represent the Venture Capitalist, the Founder(s), other shareholders, and by proxy, Capital, and it is obligated to behave in a manner that increases capital accumulation. If the Board and the Founder are aligned in the pursuit of increasing capital, great capital may be accumulated. If they are not, doom. This fifth and final post expands on the relationship between Capital and the Citizen. Should citizens of[…]

This is post is the fourth in a five part series on Capital, and You. Previously, I defined capital as potential power, and argued that the primary optimization objective of the venture capitalist is to acquire more capital. Further, the board is the embodiment of the Corporation, it is made up of people who represent the Venture Capitalist, the Founder(s), other shareholders, and by proxy, Capital, and it is obligated to behave in a manner that increases capital accumulation. This fourth post expands on the relationship between the Board and the Founder. Noam Wasserman, in his book, The Founder’s Dilemmas, makes the case that a Founder has one of two optimization objectives: to be a king or to be rich.[…]