VCs aren’t the only ones with delusions

original article

The four delusions that cost VCs money
Pando Daily August 29, 2014

Rick Lewis a partner at USVP explains how preconceived notions can get in the way and make it easy to dismiss an entrepreneur who could turn out be the next big thing.

This is short and worth the quick read. Some of the discussions about  technologies and innovations in the higher education sphere get subjected to very similar preconceived notions. Confronted with Massive Open Online Courses the professor says “I wouldn’t take one of those.” (Michalko)

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How wise is the crowd with its money?

original article

Crowdfunding is doomed – there are too many fingers in too many apple pies
The New Statesman August 26, 2014

Will Self looks at crowdfunding through the lens of the principles first enshrined in the James Surowiecki book Wisdom of Crowds. Among other things he concludes  “My suspicion is that the efficacy of crowdfunding will in fact decline in inverse correlation to its success. Put differently: the more money that’s raised, the less wise will be the crowd that raises it. I call this theory…“The Idiocy of the $49,000 Apple Pie”.

Will Self is always interesting to me. There are, of course, contrary opinions including this from Mike Merrill The Wonderful Madness of Crowds I haven’t ever put up funds in this fashion. The only time I was tempted was to fund a new recording by Dr. Lonnie Smith - and he raised the money even before I could hit the button. (Michalko)

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Did you think it was this low?

A Brief History of American Labor – The American Prospect

The Rise and Fall of America’s Labor Unions | The Lowdown
blog.kqed.org

BASEBALL DIAMOND BARELY VISIBLE THROUGH SMOKE FROM REPUBLIC STEEL MILL
Baseball diamond barely visible through smoke from Republic Steel Mill

Today is a national holiday in the US – Labor Day.  Organized labor is in serious decline in the US. Private-sector unionization has  fallen to 6.9 percent -  the lowest since the depths of the Depression. The share of GDP and corporate revenues going to wages and benefits is the lowest it’s been since World War II.

I am the grateful product of a union family – railroad and steel workers – and was once a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. (Michalko)

 

Photo from National Archives and Records Administration

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Trolls, Taylor, and the Tawse

The Troll Slayer: Mary Beard Takes On Her Sexist Detractors – The New Yorker

“Problem,” “Royals,” and Other Pop Songs Transformed into Flowery Sonnets – Flavorwire

10 Strange Episodes In The History Of Schools - Listverse

A long one – because she is admirably sensible, smart, and amusing. An anti-troll.

A short clever one – “…But now that we are once again apart, I swear you shan’t again reclaim my heart.” (Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together)

A list, naturally – with genuinely strange facts including The Lochgelly

(Michalko)

 

 

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Which pill makes you smarter?

original article

Thoughts That Can’t Be Thought and Ideas That Can’t Be Formed: The Promise of Smart Drugs
psmag.com by Marek Kohn

Modafinil from Wikimedia Commons
Modafinil from Wikimedia Commons

Are we asking the right questions about smart drugs? Marek Kohn looks at what they can do for us—and what they can’t. In the process he makes the interesting distinction between cognitive enhancement as either about mitigating disorders or about reaching levels of performance that were previously unattainable.

Slightly long but I wanted to know more about these drugs and the prognosis. There’s the pill favored by college students and the one chosen by always-on Wall Street types both of which have traversed through medication to recreation to application. Both Adderall and modafinil seem to be taken for a purpose but there’s precious little evidence of their efficacy in that purpose or their long-term effect.  They may just be causing a variation on The Drunker I Am, The Hotter I Get Syndrome. (Michalko)

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These aren’t excuses. They are explanations.

original article

Inside Why Good Employees Make Bad Decisions
Fast Company August 25, 2014

This piece extracts a few major observations from the book Workplace Morality: Behavioral Ethics in Organizations by Muel Kaptein.  It’s a summation of the scientific literature that evaluates how different surroundings can affect decision making.

It’s good to be reminded of these. Once again it’s hard to overstate the impact of shared values and team interaction on enterprise success. I was amused by his example of cleaning up after yourself in the gym. I’ve seen that work both ways.(Michalko)

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Is this greatly exaggerated? I think not.

original article

Community Source Is Dead
mfeldstein.com  August 26, 2014

from https://www.flickr.com/photos/drift-words/
from
https://www.flickr.com/photos/drift-words/

The Kuali project which had aimed to develop via community source mechanisms a full-suite of higher education support software e.g. finances, human resources,

library management, etc. announced recently that it would reform the effort as a for-profit corporate entity. That announcement and associated details have been getting lots of attention and commentary. This particular blog post focuses on the extent to which the change is an indicator that the community source dynamic is fatally flawed and essentially dead.

Absolutely worth your time even if you ultimately disagree with Feldstein. I found his observations about the Community Source model compelling. He fingers it as a direct and significant cause of the troubles that Kuali has had (understanding that to date quite a bit has been delivered). Here’s my two favorite remarks:

  1. “Community Source is essentially project management approach focused on maximizing the control and influence of the IT managers whose budgets are paying for the projects.”
  2.  “In my opinion, Community Source is dead primarily because the Gantt Chart is dead.” (Michalko)
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Libraries don’t have sales groups, do they?

original article

You Can’t Do Strategy Without Input from Sales
HBR.org August 25, 2014

image from www.xerox.com
image from www.xerox.com

Frank Cespedes jumps off from a well-known book about a year in a Xerox sales group to make some observations about the danger of having strategy disconnected from sales. He observes that “selling is, by far, the most expensive part of implementation for most firms. Yet, relatively few strategies carry through to successful execution and, on average, companies deliver only 50-60% of the financial performance that their strategies and sales forecasts promise.

This is a short read which makes the point that no matter how good the strategy is it can get undone by the behaviors of those closest to the customer. And further that it’s not possible to have a good strategy that is not informed by the insights of those closest to the customer. Who’s closest to the customer in today’s libraries?

The book that he references The Force by David Dorsey is a non-fiction account which I’m told by former sales people is one of the most ethnographically accurate pieces about sales that you can read. Here’s the original NY Times review. (Michalko)

 

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Original sin, wayfinding, a card trick

 

The Internet’s Original Sin The Atlantic

Why You Never Get Lost In An Airport  Co-Design

Willie Nelson Does a Card Trick Mental Floss

One long article -  You may have already come across Ethan Zuckerman’s apology for inventing pop-up ads. It’s a terrific analysis of how the internet’s business model became surveillance.

One short article – Because you should never get lost in a library either.

One rambling video of a patter-based card trick – Which I remember my Uncle George performing almost word for word. (Michalko)

 

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How to save the company? Kill it.

original article

Kill the Company to Save the Company
Big Think
August 14, 2014

killcompany In this post and brief video Lisa Bodell reflects on how companies tend to shy away from change or have systems in place that serve as anchors, holding them back. She explains the ideas behind her book Kill the Company and how this helps staff to embrace change starting with those habits that are obstacles.

 This is a short video that might persuade you that the best way to plan your future is to think about the ways your competition could put you out of business. You might consider the technique to enrich one of those ‘strategy planning’ sessions when the thinking isn’t being bold enough. (Michalko)

 

 

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