Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Purpose Driven

Obama tapped Rick Warren to give the inagural prayer. I think it's a pretty good choice, Warren definitely has his Evangelical bona fides and was one of the first big name evangelicals to speak out about "liberal" issues like the Environment and AIDS in Africa.
Aside: The fact that it wasn't until a few years ago that Evangelicals started calling the earth and dead Africans "moral issues" makes me want to throw a chair, but for now I'll go with "better late than never."
Lots of people will talk about what this means. They will be shrill and super annoying. I hope it simply means that part of an inclusive policy is including people you disagree with.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slate ran an article on William Kauffman. I'd read a thing he wrote back in college but it didn't really stick. Basically he was a leader in developing America's cold war nuclear strategy, left that gig, and when he was out of the Pentagon-RAND loop changed his opinion dramatically. His life tells us a lot about the problems with decision making in pressurized, homogenous environments.

Every subculture, especially every bureaucratized subculture, has a set of unquestioned assumptions—bits of "conventional wisdom...The key to preserving one's sanity and wisdom is not to fall prey to their assumptions, not to fear sounding stupid by questioning them—to stay an inside player without losing a common-sense outsider's perspective.

Good stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Literally Died...

Shannon and I were driving yesterday and being unbelievable nerds the conversation turned to stuff people say that drive us nuts. I'll start the list, if you read this and want to add on please do.
1. The use of literally when you mean figuratively. Some idiot on ESPN Radio said "He's literally carried the team on his shoulders. He didn't. That's wrong."
2. Varying degrees of unique. My senior english teacher (Tom Graler) brought this to our attention and it's bugged me since.
3. This is specialized but super annoying. In the weight room you get some guy spotting another and saying "it's all you" while helping. That's stupid. Of course it's not all him.
4. The term optics for anything other than the science of the behavior and perception of light. "Obama has an optics problem because of his association with the Illinois Governor." What the hell? No, he has a perception problem, or an appearance problem. I don't know what a pretentious word for douche bag is but that's what I think of when someone uses optics to mean appearance.
5. Wa(r)sh (i.e. George Warshington) Why? Where does Scotch-Irish + Appalachia=Warsh.
6. Dropping infinitives (i.e. The car needs washed). No. It needs to be washed. Maybe it needs washing. Come on.

Which ones bug you?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My first ever environmental and energy policy post

Obama taps Chu. Hooray!
Science is good.

Follow Up

Sort of a follow up on last nights post on Good to Great to Bad...
Most business books suck and betray the weak "magic solution" approach too prevalent in our culture at large.
Organizations that perform well exercise sound judgment most of the time.
That's all.
The problem is that it's hard. We do dumb stuff because of panic or group think or selection bias or faulty assumptions of causality or failure to be rigorous in analysis or tunnel vision or a lack of sound counsel or failure to measure results or selection of poor metrics or...
My point is that there are no seven bullet points.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good To Great to Bad

I sat down with our banker today and after a walk through of our processes I was picking his brain on practical improvements he'd seen in other clients.
One thing he mentioned was that he was a big fan of the book "Good to Great."
The book was written about ten years ago, and because of that it suffers from the "In Search of Excellence" curse--someone has a theory, projects that onto your business, the macro-economy changes or your management leaves or you start to suck or something and now you're in trouble.
The thing is that I'm not so sure it's fair to judge the book based on the future success of the companies profiled. Theoretically if whatever principles make a company excellent or great or whatever nice word is in the title REALLY worked the companies would still be doing well. I'd be interested in a continuation of the longitudinal study after the book was published.
On another thing I'm not drinking coffee tomorrow.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Wizdum of Crowds

Me and google have been tight for a while.
It was there for me early in college when I used it to try and outpace other students on lycos and dogpile (suckers!)
It was there for me late in college when I began using it as a verb.
It was even with me as I was building my company and learning from their growth and management struggles.
It's with me with adwords, blogger, google apps.
Our deal is this know everything about me...cool; don't be evil.
But part of my implicit contract with google is in jeopardy.
Now there's wiki search within google and I hate it.
Google was supposed to be based on some brilliant algorithms indistinguishable from sheer magic by the likes of unwashed me .
The idea that my input (even aggregated across a massive network) could factors into google search (it doesn't yet, but I think it will) is simply not the deal me and google have.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Upside Down

We did a sermon at our church a few months back looking at how jacked up the american suburban church can be. We stole a note from the onion and did some fake headlines about our goofy suburban life.
I think the church at large can do better.