Monday, February 28, 2011

A Linchpin Hierarchy

  1. Do exactly what the boss says.
  2. Ask the boss hard questions.
  3. Tell the boss what your best choice among the available options is. Insist.
  4. Have co-workers and bosses ask you hard questions.
  5. Invent a whole new way to do things, something that wasn't on the list.
  6. Push and encourage and lead your co-workers to do ever better work.
  7. Insist that they push and encourage you.
I might quibble with the ranking for #6 - I think it's difficult to rank compared with #5. Perhaps Seth is thinking of #5 as only benefiting yourself, whereas #6 benefits the group? Still, pushing for incremental improvement in many  people versus a revolutionary improvement that can be spread...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Observe > Predict

Blog post by Scott Berkun

There’s an old concept among architects and urban planners called desire paths. If you walk around a college campus, or urban park,  it’s easy to spot the well tread paths between buildings people have made for themselves. These are desire paths, or desire lines. The natural behavior among people shows you where the optimal path should be.

Rather than invent everything out of their own mind, wise creators know a little observation can be an easier way to find the right ideas.

From Flickr

Why fund science that doesn't benefit society?

Blog post at Page F30
links to a Science Channel interview of Neil deGrasse Tyson

Do you think I'm being driven when I look at the early universe or study the rotation of galaxies or the consumption of matter by black holes, do you think I'm being driven by the lessening of the suffering of the people on Earth? Most research on the frontier of science is not driven by that goal. Period.

Now, that being said, most of the greatest applications of science that do improve the human condition comes from just that kind of research. Therein is the intellectual link that needs to be established in an elective democracy where tax-based monies pay for the research on the frontier.

So I take issue with the assumption that science is simply to make life better. Science is to understand the world. And use that -- now you've got a utility belt of understanding. Now you access your tools out of use that power in the greater good of our species.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How Great Entrepreneurs Think

Article at

Sarasvathy likes to compare expert entrepreneurs to Iron Chefs: at their best when presented with an assortment of motley ingredients and challenged to whip up whatever dish expediency and imagination suggest. Corporate leaders, by contrast, decide they are going to make Swedish meatballs. They then proceed to shop, measure, mix, and cook Swedish meatballs in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible.