We visited Cusco January 28 to February 2, 2019, and visited Machu Picchu on January 31. These notes are intended for Canadians thinking about visiting during low season. Getting There: The Flight Air Canada Rouge has a direct flight from Toronto to Lima. Avianca, of the Star Alliance, operates the route from Lima to Cusco. You could check out Miraflores for the food before heading to Lima. Cusco airport is hot, high, and relies on visual approach. If you’re visiting during the low season, there can be delays and cancellations if the pilot can’t see the runway because of fog. The flight to Cusco is short – at less than 80 minutes. The landing is beautiful and you’ll experience a[…]

We visited Miraflores, a neighbourhood of Lima, over the January 26 to 29 weekend. These are notes intended for a Canadian considering visiting Miraflores. Getting There: The Flight We flew Interjet from Mexico City. Their A320’s have very generous legroom. I could cross my legs and work on a laptop. It was great. Thinking back, given that Interjet competes with Air Canada Rouge on the Toronto-Mexico city route, each seat is better than Air Canada Rouge Premium, on a more reliable aircraft type. Something to consider. (Though, I would not transfer through Mexico City given that one has to go through general customs and re-enter the building, it isn’t a fantastic transfer point). Getting There: Customs We cleared in under five minutes[…]

We visited Mexico City from January 12 to January 25, 2019. These are notes intended for Canadians thinking about visiting Mexico City. Getting There: The Flight For direct flights from Toronto, you have three options: Air Canada Rouge, Interjet, and Aeromexico (code share with WestJet). I booked with Air Canada Rouge. Your experience will be, in part, a function of the aircraft you fly in. The morning flight from Toronto this quarter was in a 767, with a 2-3-2 configuration, featuring power outlets in steerage. The evening flight are in an Airbus 319 with no power in steerage. (Air Canada proves once again that the masses are powerless.) These are old A319’s and they tend to suffer from very poor[…]

Roger Martin observed in The Opposable Mind that our stances inform our tools, and our tools inform our experiences. For those who take a stance of continuous improvement and risk management, choosing simulation as a tool is a good course of action. This post unpacks that statement. Stance What are you? You decide your stance. Are you a scientist? Are you an artist? Are you a software engineer? An entrepreneur? You get to decide. Tools Your stance has a powerful impact on which tools you pick up. A scientist picks up the scientific method. An artist may pick up a paint brush. A software engineer pick up python. An entrepreneur may choose the lean canvas and the pitch deck. Experiences[…]

The whole thing, all of it, depends on optimism. Optimistic expectation is a natural force generated by humans and amplified by the networks that humans create. At the core of the entire traditional liberal paradigm, since the enlightenment, is the expectation that things will be better in the future. If things get better at a rate of just 2% per year, compounded annually, things get twice as good in just 35 years. If things get better at just a little bit more than that, 3.6%, things get twice as good in just 20 years. We’ve come to expect things to become better, dependably, and predictably. The enlightenment is an important event to call out. It’s way easier to shrug ones[…]

You build three machines when you build a startup. Your ability to build these three machines is the Great Filter to your life in the business universe. This post is an effort to describe why some startups fail, why some are small, and why others grow big. The Great Filter The Great Filter refers to a concept that Robin Hanson came up with to explain why we don’t see any evidence of intelligent life in the Universe. One can get a better sense of different scenarios when one considers how many things need to be true for intelligence to emerge, and assigns probability to them. If it’s the case that the coincidences required for life to occur are exceptionally rare, then[…]

Geoffrey Hinton, the father of deep learning, said a few things at the ReWork Deep Learning Summit in Toronto last week. Hinton often looks to biology as a source for inspiration. I’ll share and expand in this post. Hinton started off with an analogy. A caterpillar is rally a leaf eating machine. It’s optimized to eat leaves. Then it turns itself into goo and becomes something else, a butterfly, to serve a different purpose. Similarly, the planet has minerals. Humans build an infrastructure to transform earth into paydirt. And then a different set of chemical reactions are applied to paydirt to yield gold, which has some purpose. This is much the same way that training data is converted into a set[…]

My contemporaneous notes from a particular INFORMS Marketing Science Conference six years ago feature the letters W, T, and F scrawled in the margins a few times. I learned of a deeper problem lurking in the way we were using the crosstab to identify segmentation. In this post, I’ll unpack a heap of jargon and lay the concern bare. To the twenty or so marketing scientists in the room at the time, I read concern on the faces of about a dozen. It was a atypical because typically that community doesn’t get concerned about too much. One leader remarked that most in industry were not even executing basic segmentation on their users, so it wasn’t a huge industrial concern, but[…]

Here are some notes from a Canadian on visiting Lisbon. We visited Lisbon Sept 20 to Sept 28, 2018. The flight I booked an Air Transat flight. I weighed the option against TAP and Air Canada, and I still chose Air Transat. A few things to report about the Thursday flight. It departs from a remote gate at Pearson’s Terminal 3, in a concourse for discount airlines. Plan extra time for the walk out as it’s around 90 meters to the tunnel, 230 meters through the tunnel, and another 90 meters to Gate 2. I was amused by it because I had planned plenty of time to grab water. We flew in an Airbus 332, with a 3-3-3 configuration. The[…]

Teams, in software engineering, form because of success. Without success, the firm wouldn’t be cursed with the problem of having so much talent to have to organize in some way. A founder can easily reduce the complexity in their human organization, and their lives, by simply not hiring any more than seven technologists to work with them on their mission. For some, this is viable. For others, this is not. Teams emerge in response to scale. They are either formed as by product of centralized hierarchical command structure, or they emerge as a product of network cohesion/polarization. To the extent that either formation is aligned with the vision, goal, mission, or purpose of the organizational chrome is a function of[…]