Courtesy of SAI, top 10 resume blunders.
Note the link w/ LinkedIn’s list of over-used buzz-words, broken down by geography.
Excellent article on ‘collaborative governance’.
Discusses the idea that there are many models of commercial/government/non-profit collaboration that can tackle large challenges affecting the public good.
Think about how you can align the trajectory of your career with these collaborative endeavours. Saving the planet, saving our schools, saving health care, preventing terrorism—big, enduring challenges that require creative solutions.
A brilliant blog entry discussing the differences between having a ‘Gaussian’, or ‘bell curve’ view of the world vs. a ‘Paretian’ (Pareto principle or ’80/20′ ) view of the world.
My friends who are quant jocks or who got better grades in ‘Decision Analysis’ than me could probably explain—but in a nutshell, businesses, social science, and society tends to favor looking at a large data set and coming up with an average, that is representative of the larger whole. This is the Gaussian view. The Pareto view, rather, shows a big hump on the front of the curve, tapering off to a long tail—showing that the world is characterized by a few, big events, followed by a long trail of similar events. This Paretian view shows that the world is far less predictable, yet shows that data is interactive. This Paretian view, is one where complexity, interdependence, networks of data sets are the norm, rather than a scattering of independent data sets. If you can find the underlying causes, you can predict/repeat.
The book ‘Black Swan’ by Nicholas Taleb explores this idea in more depth, but still in layman’s terms.
So what? If your job is to analyze data—stock portfolios, bio or tech start-up portfolios, terrorist activity, voters, customers, international events, earthquakes, etc., etc.—you should be taking a serious look at what this article is suggesting, and the shift in mindset that it entails.
If I might add, this reminds me of the work of one of my professors, Ming-Jer Chen, who examines the competitive dynamics of inter-firm rivalry. By using empirical methods to examine the behavior of firms competing in multiple firms in multiple markets (a kind of game theory), Prof. Chen shows that you can predict your opponent’s moves to an extent.
Taken all together, I think this shows that understanding certain fundamental quantitative principles, will be a tremendous asset to any true strategist–corporate, military, or otherwise.
An older NYT article that I was recently reminded of, now as I wade through my own .PPT madness.
When speaking about PPT, Brig. Gen. McMaster, one of the US Army’s leading counterinsurgency strategists, states:
“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”
USMC General Mattis: “PowerPoint makes us stupid”.
This idea originates from the work of Professor Edward Tufte, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Statistics, and Computer Science, who specializes in data and information visualization. He essentially argues, that the rigid, sequential nature of PowerPoint is a poor way to convey complex, multi-layered, and technical information—the human mind is able to absorb data and ideas at a greater rate than what can fit on a slide. Thus, a slide can actually inhibit critical thinking. Instead, a short written paper is probably far more effective.
Something to think about for consultants (like me), whose ‘bread and butter’ is all about the supposedly elegant simplicity of a pretty slide. There are some powerful and effective data visualization tools out there–just look at the infographs in Good magazine. Unfortunately, nothing can beat PowerPoint yet, in terms of ease of use.