Today is the Edge of Tomorrow…

Edge of Tomorrow

Recently I had the chance to see the new Tom Cruise movie which is out titled “Edge of Tomorrow” and it got me thinking in a quantum sense. Now in all fairness I am going to warn you up front of a spoiler alert. While it isn’t my intent to go deeply into the overall plot of the movie. To make the analogies to support my point I will have to share several key spoilers of the storyline so be forewarned if you read on.

The premiss which caught my attention was a plot sequence involving the lead character Major William Cage (played by Tom Cruise) where, while killing an alien he is covered in its blood and from that point on , upon his death the day is “reset”. While this might sound a bit like the classic movie Ground Hog Day, the difference is for Bill Murray was that the “day” itself restarted each day and was limited to one day. However for Cruise’s character it only “resets” at his death meaning so long as he lives the arrow of time moves forward be it minutes, hours or days.

With this there were two interesting parts from a thought experiment side. The first being that the Cruise character Cage got to see the “future” and quickly discovered this was the aliens advantage as if there was a negative outcome of a battle (for the aliens) they simply rewound time and did it over again until the outcome resulted in one which was favorable to them (the aliens). The second is that no one was aware of this “reset” so they simply existed within the loop unknowingly repeatedly both living and dying.

Yet, it was this first point which reminded me of Schrödinger’s Cat where the cat in the scenario is said to be both alive and dead until the point the box is opened and the result observed. The thought experiment which ran through my head as a result of the movie, was this was a loop which was playing though for the cat in the box repeatedly much like it was for Major Cage in the movie. As in my original view [of Schrödinger’s Cat] there was a [static] duality in the box where the cat was both alive and dead simultaneously.

However the movies plot concept changed this thinking as it made me realize there is more to it than just is the cat alive or dead (in fairness I thought of it more in the way of the double slit experiment in absolutes). As there are (and not to sound morbid) other factors to consider in the cat scenario. Such as how long did it take for the cat to die, which organs failed first and so on. In other words there is a sequence of events which happen to either which leads to the cat demise or survival.

This is what was happening to Cruise’s character in the movie as keep in mind when there was a “reset” (i.e. Cage would die), time went back to “zero” so in fact while all of these scenario’s happen in a “serial” fashion they were all in the same “space” of time which got me to thinking about Schrödinger’s box itself.

As what if you opened it 10 times, would the cat be alive 5 and dead 5 (as the poison has a 50/50 chance of releasing)? Or would it be asymmetrical as possibly you open the box before the cat expires changing the outcome? Also say the prior scenario where to happen [i.e. the cat live], would this not be luck? As think about it this way, all of these scenarios are happening in the same space of time, or simultaneously (at least in appearance) so the “realized” outcome would only occur at the moment it was observed. In other words, luck (good or bad) would be a result of the time the observance took place.

Moving to the second observation is the people other than Cage were unaware of the loop either existing or that there were various out comes. So in essence Schrödinger’s Box isn’t “limited”, it in fact is “unlimited” and the world we exist in today could be metaphorically viewed as in that “box”. Therefore is a the manifestation of “luck” simply that of the time of observation? If so, what determines the time of observation of that “time” over another?

In other words, lets say we are playing Black Jack and the dealer asks you if you want to be hit. Will the resulting card be different if you wait 3 second for the hit rather than 10 seconds? Now I know this sounds a bit outlandish, however if you think about it, it is really no different from the case of Schrödinger’s Cat as its state is only known at the point of observation and if you change the point of observation you again only know it from that point. In short, I can not think up a practical experiment in the physical world to test such a scenario.

Now I know you purists out there are rolling your eyes and mumbling about entropy, the arrow of time and the idea a “reset” would in fact violate the laws of thermodynamics. Yet before you jump to a quick judgement, keep in mind that are many strange things in the quantum world which are far from explainable. Therefore it would seem possible there some from of conservation which we are unaware of which might in fact allow a reset (actually numerous resets) to happen…

Is The World Fragile?

Is the World Fragile?

During a recent flight to Europe for business, I was provided with the time and opportunity to read Nassim Nicholas Talebs latest book Antifragial. If you aren’t familiar with Taleb’s work, he is best known for his writings titled The “Black Swan” and “Fooled by Randomness“. Having read both of these (as well as his other lesser known titles), I was not surprised when Antifragial fell into line with these prior works which all focus on the concept of randomness and the need to embrace the unknown rather than trying to explain it away. As Taleb attempts to make the point that all the systems we create are in fact “fragile” systems prone to failure yet we act surprised when they do fail as we have convinced ourselves (falsely in his view) that we understand the risk in these systems.

One of the primary examples he makes is Wall Street and the meltdown we saw in 2007/2008. Here he points out we thought we knew it all with our complex mathematical models and back rooms full of quants with their super computers. Yet even with all of this, how is it possible the event could have even occurred?

This is where Taleb points out to the reader that we will never know what we don’t know until we know it (i.e. until it actually happens). So his basic summation is why waste the efforts of attempting analytical reductions of the risks if we will be simply lying to ourselves, or so Taleb attempts to convince us through a constant stream of (implied) facts.

While there is a “truth” to this, it reminds me of the “chicken and the egg” debate as each side can be an equally valid argument logically. The same to me holds true for risk modeling, as yes there is always a “long tail” to risk meaning an extremely small calculated risk can lead to an amazingly large impact. However to not know the “short tail” risks seems irresponsible to me also.

For me the missing piece of the puzzle is the ability for “man” to lie to him/her self and believe the lie as reality. There is something buried in our primordial minds which allows us to believe in false economies provided by statistics as numbers don’t lie right? Well the one thing we forget when we say that is “man” does [lie] and especially to himself.

Yet concept aside, the writing of the book is near poetic in frame and far better than prior works which were cumbersome and jerky. Believe that this is due to a second writer cleaning up Taleb’s thoughts into cleaner pose than in his prior tomes. This makes for a much more enjoyable read as Taleb tosses (his perceived) facts at the reader in what seems to be at jeopardy lighting round speed.

While I don’t buy into all of Taleb’s arguments, the basics of randomness is an interesting study, Taleb places a lot of information in the users hands for consideration. From here the reader can make up their own mind as what to accept and not. In short, if the unknown is of interest and you don’t mind a bit of one sided ranting, than this book is for you…

Are We An Effective Team?

Are We An Effective Team?

During a recent international trip I had the chance to watch the Tom Cruise movie “Obviation“. Set in a dystopian future where the Earth as we know it was destroyed in a battle with Alien invaders wishing to steal our resources. Cruise (in the hero role of course) plays Jack Harper a drone repair man opposite of Andrea Riseborough as Victoria Olsen who is his communications officer.

To be honest, I didn’t find the writing of the movie very good, and won’t give away any spoilers in case you want to see it. As for this post, the key point to take way is just knowing they (both Jack and Victoria) are a “team”.

In the story Vicca (Victoria’s nickname) communicates with “Sally” on an orbiting space station where she receives daily instructions for herself and Jack. During these conversations everyday, Vicca is asked by Sally “are you and Jack an effective team“? The general response back from Vicca was “yes, we are an effective team“. This word interaction plays out over and over everyday with Sally repeatedly asking and Vicca responding in the affirmative. While the movie is based upon Joseph Kosinski’s Radical unpublished Comic works, it is unclear to me who packed these particular lines into the script.

As I found the lines extremely interesting, for example when Sally would make the query (are you and Jack an effective team), Vicca would light up like one of Pavlov’s dogs in her response with “yes we are an effective team“. Now I realize that Riseborough is an actress and this was a fictional movie yet it got me really thinking of the subtle conditioning this produced by the use of these trigger words along with the positive affirmation created by the required response from Vicca to Sally.

This got me looking at the magic of the words, as the key lead in is “we” which not only joined Jack and Vicca together, however also Sally and the “cause” together as one. This is a testament to the strength of the word “we” which is often over looked especially when intended as an affirmation. Next is the word “effective” as this makes clear the expectation of the “we“.

This is because when Sally asks “are we effective“, she is implying she [Sally] is, and seeking an affirmation they (Jack & Vicca) are also. Think about it, this would be very hard to say no to, therefore this incites agreement which pushes one to achieve compliance. The final key word in this mix is “team” which brings together the “effective we” into something with structure. As here it [team] is used as a verb meaning to “Come together to achieve a common goal“.

As written in my blog ( before, the human mind is very suggestible and even in the brief time watching this movie, I the viewer was also drawn in by this phrase. I too wanted to be part of this “effective team“. This is what I found interesting as it was not my intent to be drawn in as I was, yet I found myself either unwilling or unable to resist the suggestions of these words. In this I found myself in the end being part of this “effective” team and when it broke (you will have to watch the movie to discover why), I too was broken.

All in all it fascinates me as to how simple words formed into repeated affirmations can have such an impact in what turns out to be very little time. As yes we ARE an EFFECTIVE team

Its Time To Think About Data Differently?

Time to think about data differently

Man being a creature of habit tends to incorporate “skeumorphic” elements into evolutionary designs to provide that level of “comfort” as we climb the ladder. Think about it, why does your computer need files, and folders? This paradigm was carried forward from the physical world yet lacks a relevance to the digital one which it is applied to.

Now some may argue this is a requirement for acceptability or better put “understand-ability” of the masses as the path of evolution to revolution is in fact sigmodial and we homosapiens tend to be a funny bunch about dragging our baggage with us. However, to make that final leap we do have to leave that “baggage” behind us as it is accumulative in nature and this brings me to the idea of data.

As the computer does two things, ether it is a reductionary device where it is provided massive amounts of data such as in “Big Data” and it is asked to “reduce” it, or “creationary” where its provided something (typically an Algorithm) and it creates something from that. In the later case, large random number sets for Monte Carlo simulations would be an example. Now since “man” (referred to in a phyla sense) created the computer, they also applied the skeumorphic concepts of “data” to the model so both operations creation & reduction depend upon, and these are now the bottle neck.

As we all know data is growing exponentially and I will save you the rehash of the details, yet the explanation above is important to understand as this is why data is growing. The First Law of Thermodynamics proves this out as we can only shift the information in a system, we can not create nor destroy it, so we are left with a bit of a conundrum.

Lets step back for moment and look at data as well as how it is used by a computer today to better understand how our applied skeumorphism is holding us back. As data exists on a hard disk as series of ones and zeros press very tightly together in a small sequential space on a round spinning disk. For moment we will forget about SSD’s as their relevance isn’t important to the concept, as the point is all of your data exists in “whole” for the most. Your Miley Cyrus songs and all exist in a whole state on your hard drive. Now say you want to share this song (legally) with a friend so you tell your computer to “copy” this data to their computer across the country and what happens?

Well first off your computer will waste a substantial amount of bytes (in reference to the data size you wish to move) just to find and establish a connection with your friends computer, next your computer will say “I have a One, please create a One on your side” and so on till the process is complete yet both computers will spend (waste) a significant about bytes exponentially more than the actual file itself. Note, this discussion isn’t about protocols and the like for communication as all forms of communications have a cost (confirmed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics) so we accept a measure of this as a given. However what if we didn’t have to do this hand shake for each and every byte of information?

How to get around this you ask, the answer is simple math. The computer is a “math” machine, in fact that is all it knows yet we spend large amounts of time and money forcing it to understand our perceived mental models of “data”. With this said, what if we reduced say a terabyte of data to just one algorithm and instead of sending those billions or trillions of bytes we sent one formula? Now you might say we have started down the sigmodial road of this using zip files and WAN compression, yet this is only circumstantial to the greater idea of everything actually being a formula.

In the past, slow processing abilities of the CPU’s created a limiting factor as most of the data taken in by a computer has analog origins and the reduction to a single “formula” if you will was not reasonably possible, yet today those same chains are quickly falling away and new abilities are being created every day.

Evidence of this can be seen in the growth of Regex (Regular Expressions) where linguistic patterns are distilled to mathematical equations which can be rapidly applied to look at vast amounts of data. This is how your spam filters work, as to attempt to a string for string match across the millions of mails passing though those servers would be impossible. Additionally, this is how the NSA also looks at all the data they do, as what people miss is there is to much to read, so the goal is to mathematically mine for items of interest and algorithms allow for this to happen.

Still not convinced this is possible? Well you have to look no further than yourself as you in fact are nothing more than an extremely large hard-drive. What do I mean, every cell in in your body was built by a single root data model named DNA, yes Deoxyribonucleic Acid. Comprised of only five elements being Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon and Phosphorus, they form only 4 (one half of a byte) building blocks being guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine. These four building blocks recombine to from our complete being including “conscience” from this one seemingly data model.

To extent this back to the digital world for moment, what if we could store that terabyte of information we spoke of earlier in just one formula? The imputed abilities and saving of such a capability would be enormous. Simply look at the energy (typically electrical) to store all this data by spinning hard-disk or refreshing SSD’s for each read cycle.

Keep in mind that while we like to think data is “unique” to us in the pictures we take and music we record, this is really not the case as while the possibly for data to be infinite exists, the probability for it to be finite is statically overwhelming…

When Is A Movie Worth More Than Personal Liberties?

Is a movie worth your personal liberties?

This week I must say it was not with surprise, yet disappointment which I read the story of a Columbus, Ohio man who was pulled out of a movie for wearing Google Glasses.  On top of it, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents “yanked” the glasses from the man’s face.  In my mind this raised the question, where is the line between the value of a “movie” and one’s personal liberties?  Will we have ICE agents now stationed at every movie theater door paid for by our tax dollars?

Also before going further, after lengthy discussions and providing he was not using the glasses for nefarious actions such as copying the movie he was released.   So again, no wrong deed was occurring other than him wearing the glasses and becoming persecuted for such and this is what concerns well in fact scares me the most.  As we are now enter entering age of “Techno-Persecution” as be it Google Glasses, cell phone cameras, etc.  The establishment is taking a hard line on these devices and our liberties to our freedoms with it.

While there can be long arguments on this topic, there appears to be several fundamental flaws.  The first being our tax dollars paying for “movie storm troopers” as really?  The motion picture industry makes billions, yet our tax dollars must fund their “commercial protection”?     I am simply at a loss for words, as ok piracy is stealing no question, however if you steal a DVD from a store it’s a misdemeanor, yet torrent it and its $250,000 fine?  Also did the ICE agents stop the movie from being copied no, as the man was not copying it in the first place and two will bet you dollars to donuts that if you check there are copies of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit “ all over the cyber-sphere so we as tax payers had our money wasted for nothing and too a man’s liberties were compromised because of only his eyewear.

There is no question change breeds fear and the cusp of technological advancements which we sit upon today, we must fear the “Victorian” systems of beliefs which run the risk of placing us all under house arrest as Galileo Galilei was for committing heresy against the Catholic church

Absolute Zero

Absolute Zero is it all in your mind?

Many years ago in high school chemistry, the idea of absolute zero entered my world of understanding. As the teacher (Mr Robinet) shared the fact that while an interesting concept, the reality was not achievable. He explained should you truly achieve this to a level of say even one molecule, than a chain reaction would occur as other matter would attempt to fill the void as the molecule which reached absolute zero would have collapsed on itself (as at 0 Degrees Kelvin all motion stops and the electrons would fall into the nuclei and the nuclei’s would all fall together) .

The first thing in my mind which was conjured up was a new James Bond theme if you would as the villain would hold the world hostage with an absolute zero bomb. Yet in more realistic terms I did wonder where all this energy did come from (to prevent absolute zero at all costs), and while dating myself this was before the popularity of string theory. Which on the other hand (IMHO) this lends credence to string theory, yet that’s for another post.

As what has me waxing today is an article in Scientific America discussing the idea that the paradoxes of quantum mechanics are in fact only in our heads. In other words, we as humans conjure the concept that a paradox exists in our consciousness and not in fact reality. Yet this is where I become troubled with the whole thing.
As with our telescopes we peer back in time, as for those unaware. When peering through a telescope, you are actually looking backwards in time as the light you see is from what has been and not what is today. The plethora of galaxies seen in the Hubble deep sky survey no longer exist, as we only see the light of what was and not what is as the photons which created that image left not much after the big bang took place.

As in Hubble`s new challenge they are attempting to look even further back to the big bang, now this is to my point. We will never get to see the big bang no matter how hard we look as it is much like attaining absolute zero, this is an impossibility, yet why? To me the answer is simple as one cannot observe the origins of a system which they are part of. Thus as we peer into the depth of the atom, or the darkness of space, we face imposed limits of being part of the system we are trying to understand.

This is why it’s hard to buy into the concept that quantum paradoxes are all in our heads as our heads are in fact part of what creates the paradox, as its only in our heads were this paradox becomes a paradox. Much as which came first the chicken or the egg, as the existence of both are mutually and paradoxically joined together, yet today we have both.

As be it the dark recess of the atom, or the coldness of space there comes a point where sciences and spirituality cross paths.

The End Is Near! Maybe…

Free Stuff

While Fact tends to be stranger than Fiction, as a young lad my parents introduced me to the  “concept” of voting.  Yet even then something struck me being a bit “off” as the masses could vote themselves entitlements!    So those who didn’t want contribute simply needed to be the majority and if the “majority” aligned, they could in turn vote themselves wealth!   Well the other day, this happen to come across my e-mail and I have never seen it put better so it has earned a home here as not only is it a reality.  It is in fact become a vial reality because of the combined anthropological & technical age we now live in:

The folks who are getting the free stuff don’t like the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff. And, the folks who are paying for the free stuff want the free stuff to stop. And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting! Now… the people who are forcing the people who pay for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist. So… the people who are GETTING the free stuff have been convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place. We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the free stuff. [Note: the majority of American households today pay no Federal Income tax] Now understand this. All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason? The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 236 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff.  If you don’t believe this can happen look at Greece and the election that just took place in France .  Now France is a Socialist Country with a 75% tax rate on those that PAY for free stuff .  So the question is why work when all you have to do is vote?  See told yea fact is stranger than fiction…

Long Island Medium Debunked..


As being one of my “by” weeks of working from home rather than a plane, I happen to catch one of the newer reality shows titled “Long Island Medium“.  The base concept of the show is “Theresa” is a medium meaning she speaks with those that have passed and shares messages from the other side with people she meets.  Now, before we go too far I have no clue if Theresa in fact does or doesn’t speak with the other side as I’ve never met her.  However after watching two shows I’ve noticed an interesting pattern form which is worth talking about from an anthropological slash social probability point of view.

The reason for this is we are simply social animals by writing this I mean we do things in “like” (i.e. similar) social patterns, so by understanding this we can game the system.  So let’s look at Theresa’s first “social vector” as she approaches a person and asks “have you recently lost somebody”?  So let’s look at this statistically, is if she approaches someone from 20 something or over the answer will be yes as people unfortunately die every day and what is “recently” anyway?  So the point is the cards are stacked in her favor and even if its a miss, still no loss as her query is not absolute.

Next, it becomes “who” and I noticed there is a strange look is if I watched long enough, I could even pick it out as the look for a mother is different than a father as it is for a non parent.  Yet to load the cards even more, it’s starts as a 50/50 chance anyway which makes more of an 80/20 proposition as the younger the subject the greater likely hood is it’s the father and the older means it’s more likely the mother (as the recent deceased).  Why say this, simple mortality statistics say this as women out live men therefore statistically you will lose a father before a mother.

The next thing she shares is the fact that they weren’t beside the love one when they passed, ok again statistics are on Theresa’s side as I’ve had 6 people close to me pass and I wasn’t beside any one of them when it happened.  While I avoid the implied morbidity of the hospice statistics, as the simple fact is most people who die a natural death do so alone at night.  So again the odds are stacked for this to be the case.  However people again seem to forget odds much as when they buy the lottery ticket and dream whereas they are more likely to be struck by lightning three times over.  Yet here Theresa plays on yet an even stronger weakness and double downs as everyone wants to believe there is another side that the lights just don’t go out.  On top of that we all want that connection with our lost love ones, along with the affirmation we did them right, so this is a built in weakness.

The point of this is we are in fact human animals and as such operate in structured patterns and even within group patterns with great frequency.  While we wish to believe chaos is the norm, meaning we poses (perceived) freedom. Yet in really we are in fact held captive by probability and our animalistic tendencies…

Free Is No Longer What You Get…

In the past "Free Wasn't for Me" yet today is a diffident world as free is in fact becoming the norm.

My father taught me an old adage when I was a kid, it went something like “you get what you pay for” alluding to the idea of if it’s a cheap price, then it’s a cheap product and the bottom of this barrel were those things which were free.  As growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s the idea of free was “trash” as that’s all which you got at that time for free as we sat at a time of clear business models where “a dollar spent was a dollar earned” and the idea giving something for nothing was limited to the “free sample” in the Dixie cup at the grocery store deli counter.

Yet that was then and this is now, where a lot of things are free especially in the digital world as once you create it there almost isn’t a cost to replicate it.  This has been a game changer for the business community in that the younger generation has grown up with this model and takes a different viewpoint than their parents and grandparents.  As free to them is more of a norm then a novelty as they are expecting free more and more often and in fact this “entitlement” feeling even bleeds over to the physical product world [from the digital].

Yet when writing the word entitlement in the last paragraph, the quotes were used to call this out as this is how the boomers see it (which includes yours truly).  Yet the realization which I’ve come to that is exactly what it is, a perception and not necessarily a reality as in the adage my father taught me regarding “you get what you pay for“.  The epiphany here is if it were not for recognizing this, I would have been stuck in a flawed paradigm (as many people are).  As what makes for great is seeing the world for what it really is, as many people make up their worlds with their own belief systems much as the early Europeans did by claiming the world was flat!

Yet back to the “free movement“, what the driver happens to be in “free isn’t me” is the fact it is instead all of us together and this is what free does as it brings us together.  Well maybe not everyone, yet the many rather than the few in fact are coming together because of “free”. Now, one man’s free is another man’s opportunity as even the icons of capital, the venture capitalist are supporting the praises of “if it’s free, it’s for me mentality” as the reward is later culled in the popularity.  As just download the latest version of Angry birds on your iPhone and you will see the little banner at the bottom telling you how to cover up the grey with a new hair color.

While I won’t even say we are in the advertising 1.0 marketplace, we are however headed there as we will buy things which we value and/or make life easier and more fulfilling.  As in the figure of speech, many things will be free, however it will be “good stuff” which makes it all the better.  Today we see pioneering efforts in the game space here, where you can play the game and achieve the higher levels in due time maybe, or you can pay to jump ahead.  Empty achievement I can hear you ole timers saying out there, as in the day you sat in front of that Atari 2600 for months to get to the supreme level of Frogger right?.

Well let me ask you a question, what was the goal?  Was it to sit glued to the tube for months “or” get to supreme level of Frogger?  Again the later and our young friends buying upwards is nothing more than them buying the skills of others as you have education right, and you may even have a student loan to prove it so what is the difference?    In fact personally I find this interesting as well as creating a reinforcing loop in the “free is for me” mix.  As in the Atari days we weren’t collaborative, we were in fact islands where today’s kids are social animals as there assuredly is a Facebook page for shy introverts to prove it.

As by “buying up“, today kids are in fact shorting the cycle time and allowing for greater achievement by acknowledging the knowledge and abilities of others.  This is allowing them to play forwarded at a far faster rate than was possible in the past.  Therefore allowing them to reach new levels of understanding at a quicker pace than possible in the past when they were islands.  Now if business just understood this…

Problem Solving – Is the Last Straw The Sum of the Whole…

Problem Solving - Many people believe its the last straw which broke the camels back when in fact it is was the sum of the straws.

We’ve all heard of the age old adage of the “Straw Which Broke The Camel’s Back“, however what does this mean other than forming some grotesque mental image of a poor suffering animal.  As the one thing in practical terms is it seems that from a practical view, is the last straw is really no different than the first.

What am I getting at you might be asking, well the answer is pretty simple in that when things go wrong people tend to look to the “last thing” which went wrong as being the problem.  However this is typically not the case as “problem events” are in fact the culmination of many sub events which add up to the whole.

As we’ve waxed in these pages before, a problem is typically comprised of 7 correlating events which lead to the main event (failure).  So in fact each of the 7 (straws) are of equal importance to the whole rather than just the last (straw or event).  As the importance in this scenario is to understand the pattern of events rather than just the “last” event.

As many of you I spend my professional day solving problems, typically complex, high impacting ones for multinational companies.  In the past week saw one of these where the last event clearly could not have caused the greater event which left people standing around guessing while money was lost.  As the group of people working the issue had a difficult time getting their minds around the fact “one thing didn’t break it” as there wasn’t nor would there be a smoking gun.

This in turn lead to a form of “paralysis” on the part of many and slowed the recovery process as no one could identify that last straw as it was really no different than the first.  It’s here when we are trying to solve a problem it’s critical to step back and look at the big picture to take it all in first.  From here we can then catalog the straws (events) which might have made up the greater problem and look at the “sum of the straws” rather than seek them out individually.

By taking this course of action, we can figure out quickly if the answer is really a “solution” rather than a “resolution“.  As in trouble shooting we look for the last thing which changed which broke it to be the basis for our “resolution“.  Where if wasn’t the last thing, yet the culmination of the last (say) seven things then this “answer” will become a “solution” instead…

The Age of Government is Past…

Goverment has been out paced by business.

Up until a decade ago the power of the federal state was the ultimate power of recogning as they controlled the strings, therefore all including business had to follow along like it or not.  Yet the world has changed and government hasn’t here is why we have many of the social problems of the day.  As think about it this way, back in the say the 70’s and even to the 80’s if a company did business globally it was a minority share and typically conducted only as a franchise of the parent.  Meaning it had to bend to local (country) laws and implied social norms.

However fast forward throughout the 90’s and past the turn of the millennium where we find a different world and while buck Rogers is missing the fact companies have out paced government isn’t.  What you say, commercialization has won out over taxation you say?  Well, yes as look at it this way, Apple Computer now has more cash and reach than the US government!  So who needs nukes when you have these things as this is about the only thing which (let’s hope) they don’t have.

Ok, did what I just write sink in?  Yes the multinational companies of today have more reach and money then the Governments they once operated under do as for obvious reasons Governments have remained “regional“, yet multinational companies have out paced (grown) them by going global.  So if a Government does something which one of these behemoths don’t like, they are no longer landlocked subject to the domain of that authority. (note to governments: put away the stick and get the carrots out as you need business more than business needs you)

Need a case in point, SOXs, yes the Sarbanes Oxley Act, one of the worse pieces of legislation to pass through congress and the killer of the US economy as did it have good intentions?  Of course, yet when business saw the negative effect it was going to bring, they packed up and left American shores.  Note, they didn’t go out of business and they still sell their products and services here.  It’s just they have moved their crown jewels to what they believe are friendlier shores.

So who loses out on the this, yes the societies which are left behind, people in the for the first time in the history of the country [America] are seeing a jobless recovery, as how could that be as if people are not working, then where is the money coming from?  Yes Virginia, while Santa Clause maybe imaginary so it seems is our current system(s) of Government is to as there is no longer that a hard link remaining between commercialization and taxation to fund all those soft social programs of the bygone years…

Steve Jobs the Book…

Steve Jobs The Book

So it goes to saying that I have to agree with John Siracusa (Ars Technica & HyperCrtical fame) that the choice of Walter Isaacson to write the Steve Jobs biography was a bad pick.  In writing this, I struggled with the idea of being a “Monday Morning Quarterback” as the thoughts came to mind.  As it’s always easier to make  a call after the fact than before.  Yet the struggle won on the side of calling this as I saw it, as what has been lost to the betterment of man because of this needs to be shared.

As one of the key points here is while Steve like all other guys put his pants on one leg at a time.  He clearly had the ability to view the world in a different light in his ability to make the normal, extraordinary.  Yet one of the best aspects Walter offers is the wisdom of Steve’s father that “the back side of the fence needs to look as good as the front“.  Well folks it seems like 40 some years back this was a common comment as I can remember my farther saying the same to me, yet Steven Jobs I am not.

As don’t get me wrong, as Walter is a good writer as books about Einstein as in Albert and Franklin as in Ben are very good books.  Yet do you see something in these two subjects?  Yes, both are dead and therefore are not very good conversationalist so how do you get information?  Yes, the simple answer is “research” as this is what Walter happens to be good at, in fact very good.  Yet here the metaphor which strikes me is that in the movie “Contact” where the heroine played by Jodie Foster upon realizing her travel says “they should have sent a poet”.

As for the Jobs book, they needed to send an interviewer, a David Frost, or (don’t laugh) Oprah Winfrey as the key miss was in asking the right question.  Walter sat and listened to Jobs, he lacked the ability to ask Steve what Steve didn’t know to say.  As how do you know what makes you great if you don’t know (realize) that your great?  Well unfortunately the opportunity to get into an amazing mind has been lost by that very mind as remember Steve picked Walter…