2020 hasn’t been easy. Figures from the US Census Household Pulse Survey can be used to tell a story of anxiety, hunger, depression, desperation and hopelessness. Millions are hurting. 2020 is hitting the poor, the young, and those who are low to mid-skilled the hardest. 2021 isn’t looking easy. Vaccines will take time to rollout. The recovery depends on collective health security. Health security causes confidence, confidence causes increased risk tolerance, increased risk tolerance leads to investment, and investment stimulates growth in private sector productivity, labour market demand, and opportunity. It will take time for each part of the chain to develop. It all lags. A return to the previous trend line doesn’t address the underlining cause of wage polarization.[…]

Canadians are a people shaped by physical and social geography. Both explain a portion of why we are who we are, and how we relate to each other. Covid-19, an executable snippet of code wrapped in protein with the sole goal of persistence, is shaping us. It has already affected our social demography. Will it change Canada’s social geography? What It Is Population density is a pretty good indicator of attitude. I can’t make the claim that it’s always causal for all people, After all, did living with 25,000 others in a square kilometre in downtown Toronto make you more conscious of mental health challenges facing the population, or were you always conscious and chose to live with others who[…]

The diagram below, something that John Cutler put together, made me think. I got a kick out of it. Maybe you will too. First, I’ll unpack the image. Second, I’ll contribute a few thoughts. What are you looking at? If you look down the centre, you’ll see nine instructions, called mandate levels, labelled from A to I. At level A you’ll find the instruction “Build exactly this [to a predetermined specification]”, at F, “Increase/decrease [metric] known to influence a specific business outcome”, and at I, “Generate [long-term business outcome]”. To the left, you’ll see a few boxes, labelled Eng, Design, PM, and GM. To the right, similar boxes labelled PROD DEV TEAM, PM, GM. The organization on the left is[…]

What if the rate of forgetting is interrelated with the rate of learning? What might that mean? The Knowledge Funnel The Knowledge Funnel is a model that describes how knowledge is made useful by an organization. At one side, you got mysteries. We live in an era where the number of mysteries vastly outnumbers the amount of knowledge. There is no shortage of mystery. Heuristics are rules of thumb that work most of the time, but not all of the time. There are lot of heuristics. They tend to form the core value driver for many organizations. There are comparatively fewer algorithms. Those organizations that have fit algorithms are often extraordinarily profitable and competitive. Some researchers focus on converting mysteries[…]

What is Airlocking? Airlocking is a process where a belief spreads and locks-in to the point that direct, disconfirming, evidence is disregarded, and people believe something to the point that they’ll kill themselves by throwing themselves out of an airlock. If there is another term for this phenomenon, could you please let me know? In the meantime, I’ll call it Airlocking. Etymology Consider the following scene from Avenue 5, Season 1, Episode 8. It aired just as those in the United States and Canada were understanding the full gravity of Covid-19 in March, 2020. TV is useful because it gives everybody the opportunity to experience the same phenomenon for themselves, independently. Everybody has a different reflection. The whole episode is[…]

This post is a continuation of The Technology of Productive Meetings from November 2019. Below, you’ll find a summary two frameworks: ORID and Stances, before extending it further. This post is intended for those on the human side of data science. Carbon is harder than silicon. Summary The ICA teaches a group facilitation method that features the ORID framework. The ORID (Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, Decision) framework offers a path for a group of individuals to ship a decision. While the facilitator helps the group through the steps, it is the group itself that ships the decision. The method acknowledges the way people feel their way through a decision. The facilitator crafts a sequence of questions which match each one of[…]

In this post, I’ll outline some of the best parts about product managing data science. Data science is the creation of product from data, requiring a blend of the skills of technology, statistics, and business. Product Management brings and keeps product in the world, requiring a blend of the skills of technology, user experience, and business. All of the challenges of product management appear in data science. And then some. The Knowledge Funnel The Knowledge Funnel is a concept introduced by Roger Martin in Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage (2009). At the top of the funnel, you got mysteries. It would seem that there are an uncountable number of mysteries. In the middle, you have heuristics,[…]

What do you think causes the demand curve? Mechanically, it’s pretty easy to describe the laws of demand. The way pretty lines shift to the right or the left from shocks. It’s possible to deduce the real, rough, shape of the demand curve for a product (It just takes a lot of courage!). We can import all the knowledge about demand, segmentation and price discrimination. We can describe a demand curve just fine. Why does it exist? What causes it to exist? If intelligence didn’t exist, demand wouldn’t exist. It’s fun to think of a machine generating it’s own preferences, independent any human input. Most of human trainers of such machines seem to keep them on a short leash. Monkeys,[…]

Previously, I asked what kind of leader you wanted to be. In it, I struggled with the question of the tradeoffs of misrepresenting ground truth. Suppose you work at the WWE and you need to make a business decision. Somebody literally believes that it’s all real. You need to make a business decision about a contract renewal. What kind of harm are you doing to them, and to yourself, in going along with their belief, something that you know yourself not to be true? Absurd? Yes. Beliefs are absurd things. Later that month, I was asked why I was so sure that WWE wasn’t real? Why was my version of ground truth any more legitimate than somebody else’s ground truth?[…]

What causes conversion? Demand. It’s a simple answer and worthy of unpacking.  You could thank Claude C. Hopkins for the simple answer. Hopkins wrote two books towards the end of his life – Scientific Advertising and My Life In Advertising. He seemed to regret his experiences as an agency president, and left some direct advice on how master marketers should think of their choices. In his last decade of life, Hopkins marketed his marketing expertise. Instead of continuing to take on all the risk of marketing product on behalf of somebody else (and maybe getting paid if the product sold), he set up a system where products would be pitched to him. If the product was good, he’d take a[…]