jerryking + information_overload   66

How 5 Data Dynamos Do Their Jobs
June 12, 2019 | The New York Times | By Lindsey Rogers Cook.
[Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.]
Reporters from across the newsroom describe the many ways in which they increasingly rely on datasets and spreadsheets to create groundbreaking work.

Data journalism is not new. It predates our biggest investigations of the last few decades. It predates computers. Indeed, reporters have used data to hold power to account for centuries, as a data-driven investigation that uncovered overspending by politicians, including then-congressman Abraham Lincoln, attests.

But the vast amount of data available now is new. The federal government’s data repository contains nearly 250,000 public datasets. New York City’s data portal contains more than 2,500. Millions more are collected by companies, tracked by think tanks and academics, and obtained by reporters through Freedom of Information Act requests (though not always without a battle). No matter where they come from, these datasets are largely more organized than ever before and more easily analyzed by our reporters.

(1) Karen Zraick, Express reporter.
NYC's Buildings Department said it was merely responding to a sudden spike in 311 complaints about store signs. But who complains about store signs?....it was hard to get a sense of the scale of the problem just by collecting anecdotes. So I turned to NYC Open Data, a vast trove of information that includes records about 311 complaints. By sorting and calculating the data, we learned that many of the calls were targeting stores in just a few Brooklyn neighborhoods.
(2) John Ismay, At War reporter
He has multiple spreadsheets for almost every article he works on......Spreadsheets helped him organize all the characters involved and the timeline of what happened as the situation went out of control 50 years ago......saves all the relevant location data he later used in Google Earth to analyze the terrain, which allowed him to ask more informed questions.
(3) Eliza Shapiro, education reporter for Metro
After she found out in March that only seven black students won seats at Stuyvesant, New York City’s most elite public high school, she kept coming back to one big question: How did this happen? I had a vague sense that the city’s so-called specialized schools once looked more like the rest of the city school system, which is mostly black and Hispanic.

With my colleague K.K. Rebecca Lai from The Times’s graphics department, I started to dig into a huge spreadsheet that listed the racial breakdown of each of the specialized schools dating to the mid-1970s.
analyzed changes in the city’s immigration patterns to better understand why some immigrant groups were overrepresented at the schools and others were underrepresented. We mapped out where the city’s accelerated academic programs are, and found that mostly black and Hispanic neighborhoods have lost them. And we tracked the rise of the local test preparation industry, which has exploded in part to meet the demand of parents eager to prepare their children for the specialized schools’ entrance exam.

To put a human face to the data points we gathered, I collected yearbooks from black and Hispanic alumni and spent hours on the phone with them, listening to their recollections of the schools in the 1970s through the 1990s. The final result was a data-driven article that combined Rebecca’s remarkable graphics, yearbook photos, and alumni reflections.

(4) Reed Abelson, Health and Science reporter
the most compelling stories take powerful anecdotes about patients and pair them with eye-opening data.....Being comfortable with data and spreadsheets allows me to ask better questions about researchers’ studies. Spreadsheets also provide a way of organizing sources, articles and research, as well as creating a timeline of events. By putting information in a spreadsheet, you can quickly access it, and share it with other reporters.

(5) Maggie Astor, Politics reporter
a political reporter dealing with more than 20 presidential candidates, she uses spreadsheets to track polling, fund-raising, policy positions and so much more. Without them, there’s just no way she could stay on top of such a huge field......The climate reporter Lisa Friedman and she used another spreadsheet to track the candidates’ positions on several climate policies.
311  5_W’s  behind-the-scenes  Communicating_&_Connecting  data  datasets  data_journalism  data_scientists  FOIA  groundbreaking  hidden  information_overload  information_sources  journalism  mapping  massive_data_sets  New_York_City  NYT  open_data  organizing_data  reporters  self-organization  systematic_approaches  spreadsheets  storytelling  timelines  tools 
june 2019 by jerryking
Six rules for managing our era’s oversupply of non-stop news, high-decibel outrage
May 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

Rule No. 1: You don’t need to have an opinion about everything. Shocking but true. ....It’s perfectly fair to say, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on that," or, “I will leave that to others to debate,” or even, “Both sides have some good points.” You might not please everyone, but see Rule No. 2.

* Rule No. 2: You can’t please everyone. Get over it.

* Rule No. 3: Embrace ambivalence....often misinterpreted as indifference, or derided as indecision. In fact, the ability to entertain contradictory but animating ideas goes to the heart of what it means to be a mature and civilized human being. It’s also central to preserving political freedom. The most dangerous person in a democracy is the blind partisan who outsources her opinions to politicians or an ideology, and who sees those who don’t agree as enemies to be righteously chased from town by a torch-wielding mob. The biggest threat to such black-and-white partisanship is the person who keeps her mind open, is not blindly loyal to any one team and sees people with different opinions not as monsters to be slain but as human beings to be understood, especially when you disagree with them, and they disagree with you.

* Rule No. 4: When you take a stand, be forceful. While the process of reaching a conclusion should involve a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other,” at some point you have to make a choice.

In a criminal trial, the decision to convict an accused person can only be taken if the evidence is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt – in other words, if the evidence is irrefutable and the conclusion is certain. But in politics, business and life, most decisions must be taken under conditions that cannot meet that exacting standard. Reasonable doubts are reasonable. Only the extreme partisan is without them.

* Rule No. 5: Set your bottom line. How far are you willing to let another person go before you feel obliged to offer a counter-opinion? Not every take you hear deserves the energy required to argue against it. Sometimes, you have to just let people say things you don’t agree with. You might learn something.

And remember, just as there is no obligation to have an opinion on every subject, there is also no rule that says you must express your opinion every time the chance presents itself. But when someone or something does cross a line, sometimes you can’t hold back. It may be as lofty as a matter of justice, or a simple as a question of common sense, but there comes a moment when your opinion will matter.

* Rule No. 6: Opinions are not the same thing as empathy. Empathy is what makes it possible for people who disagree to live together in peace and harmony – to agreeably disagree. And in a multicultural, multireligious, multiracial, multiparty democracy, people are going to disagree about all sorts of things, all the time.

The world has enough opinions. What it really needs is more empathy. Without it, life isn’t possible.
21st._century  agreeably_disagree  ambivalence  commoditization_of_information  disagreements  disinformation  dual-consciousness  empathy  hard_choices  incivility  incompatibilities  indecision  information_overload  news  opinions  open_mind  outrage  partial_truths  partisanship  partisan_loyalty  political_spin  propaganda  rules_of_the_game 
may 2019 by jerryking
Getting smarter, knowing less
March 16, 2018 | FT | by Robert Armstrong.

The point is that for me, and perhaps most people, the main barrier to being smart is not what we do not know. It is the masses of things we know and mistakenly believe to be relevant.

My wife and I have been thinking about the next stage of our kids’ education. Being central-casting middle-class professional types, we hired an educational consultant to talk us through a range of state schools. She provided briefings about each school, crammed with facts about test scores, teacher turnover, class sizes, and so on.

Feeling slightly dizzy, I asked which bits I should pay attention to. She responded — with glorious honesty for someone being paid by the hour — that there was only one piece of information that really mattered: how many students are late or absent on a regular basis. If a school is the kind of place where almost everybody shows up and shows up on time, then it is the kind of place where kids and teachers can achieve a lot together. The rest is noise.

That comment made me smarter, not because it was a surprising revelation but because it allowed me to clear a lot of junk out of my head — and avoid putting a lot more junk into it. What we all need is the cognitive equivalent of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, who can help us to go into our own heads and throw out all the beliefs that have outlived their usefulness.
decluttering  problem_framing  signals  noise  information_overload  questions  smart_people  incisiveness  education  schools  pretense_of_knowledge  pay_attention  what_really_matters  work_smarter 
march 2018 by jerryking
GE’s flow of financial information has become fantastically muddled - Too little information
Jan 27th 2018

Jan 27th 2018

The curse of rotten information can strike companies, too. That seems to be the case with General Electric (GE), which has had a vertiginous fall. Its shares, cashflow and forecast profits have dropped by about 50% since 2015. .....GE’s boss, John Flannery, an insider who took office in August, must clear up the mess made by his predecessor, Jeff Immelt.....Is the conglomerate formerly known as the world’s best-run firm a victim of weak demand for gas turbines, a low oil price, lavish digital initiatives, timing lags in client payments, morbidity rates, bad deals, cost overruns or a 20-year squeeze in industrial-equipment margins because of Chinese competition? You can imagine GE’s 12-man board blinking at this list, like Pentagon generals huddled around maps of the Gulf of Tonkin which they are too embarrassed to admit they do not understand......Schumpeter’s theory is that GE’s flow of financial information has become fantastically muddled. There is lots of it about.....[does great granularity necessarily lead to greater insight].... it offers volume and ambiguity instead of brevity and clarity. It is impossible—certainly for outsiders, probably for the board, and possibly for Mr Flannery—to answer central questions. How much cashflow does GE sustainably make and where? How much capital does it employ and where? What liabilities must be serviced before shareholders get their profits?....GE's public accounting system reveals eight problems.
(1) No consistent measure of performance.....18 definitions of group profits and cashflow....there is a large gap between most measures of profits and free cashflow.
(2) GE’s seven operating divisions (power, for example, or aviation) are allowed to use a flattering definition of profit that excludes billions of dollars of supposedly one-off costs. Their total profits are almost twice as big as the firm’s.
(3) GE does not assess itself on a geographical basis. Does China yield solid returns on capital? Has Saudi Arabia been a good bet? No one seems to know.
(4) GE pays little attention to the total capital it employs, which has ballooned by about 50% over the past decade (excluding its financial arm). Its managers rarely talk about it and have set no targets. It is unclear which parts of the firm soak up disproportionate resources relative to profits, diluting returns.
(5), it is hard to know if GE’s leverage is sustainable. Its net debts are 2.6 times its gross operating profits, again excluding its financial arm. That is high relative to its peers—for Siemens and Honeywell the ratio is about one.
(6) the strength of GE’s financial arm is unclear. The new insurance loss will lower its tangible equity to 8% of assets. This is well below the comfort level.
(7) it is hard to calibrate the risk this poses to GE shareholders. GE likes to hint that its industrial and financial arms are run separately. But they are umbilically connected by a mesh of cross-guarantees, factoring arrangements and other transactions.
(8) is GE sure that its industrial balance-sheet accurately measures its capital employed and its liabilities? Some 46% of assets are intangible, which are hard to pin down financially: for example, goodwill and “contract” assets where GE has booked profits but not been paid yet.

Time for some command and control

GE’s situation is like that of the global bank conglomerates post-financial crisis. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and HSBC did not entirely trust their own numbers and lacked a framework for assessing which bits of their sprawl created value for shareholders. Today, after much toil, the people running these firms know whether, say, loans in California or trading in India make sense.

This does not happen naturally. If neglected, financial reporting becomes a hostage to internal politics, with different constituencies claiming they bring in sales, while arguing that costs and capital are someone else’s problem. Flannery is a numbers guy who seeks to slim GE to its profitable essence. But he is trapped in a financial construct that makes it hard to pursue that mission intelligently. Until he re-engineers how GE measures itself, he will be stumbling about in the murk.
measurements  metrics  GE  financial_metrics  financial_performance  level_of_comfort  John_Flannery  Jeffrey_Immelt  cash_flows  ROCE  information_overload  financial_reporting  calibration 
february 2018 by jerryking
VC Pioneer Vinod Khosla Says AI Is Key to Long-Term Business Competitiveness - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By STEVE ROSENBUSH
Nov 15, 2016

“Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important,” Mr. Khosla said. “So what do you do? You don’t plan for the highest likelihood scenario. You plan for agility. And that is a fundamental choice we make as a nation, in national defense, as the CEO of a company, as the CIO of an infrastructure, of an organization, and in the way we live.”....So change, and predictions for the future, that are important, almost never come from anybody who knows the area. Almost anyone you talk to about the future of the auto industry will be wrong on the auto industry. So, no large change in a space has come from an incumbent. Retail came from Amazon. SpaceX came from a startup. Genentech did biotechnology. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter did media … because there is too much conventional wisdom in industry. ....Extrapolating the past is the wrong way to predict the future, and improbables are not unimportant. People plan around high probability. Improbables, which people don’t pay attention to, are not unimportant, we just don’t know which improbable is important.
Vinod_Khosla  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  outsiders  gazelles  unknowns  automotive_industry  change  automation  diversity  agility  future  predictions  adaptability  probabilities  Uber  point-to-point  public_transit  data  infrastructure  information_overload  unthinkable  improbables  low_probability  extrapolations  pay_attention 
november 2016 by jerryking
The Economist launches on Snapchat Discover
Oct 7, 2016 | Medium | Lucy Rohr.

The Economist is a weekly, [and] we’d like to think that our weekend editions on Snapchat Discover will offer people an antidote to the information overload of today’s noisy news environment. I really want our readers to finish an edition feeling that they’ve learned something—and have been entertained at the same time.
Snapchat  information_overload  magazines  digital_media  platforms  visualization 
october 2016 by jerryking
A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age : Levitin, Daniel J., author. : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
Year/Format: 2016, Book , 304 pages

It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions and outright lies from reliable information? In A Field Guide to Lies, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin outlines the many pitfalls of the information age and provides the means to spot and avoid them. Levitin groups his field guide into two categories--statistical infomation and faulty arguments--ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. It is easy to lie with stats and graphs as few people "take the time to look under the hood and see how they work." And, just because there's a number on something, doesn't mean that the number was arrived at properly. Logic can help to evaluate whether or not a chain of reasoning is valid. And "infoliteracy" teaches us that not all sources of information are equal, and that biases can distort data. Faced with a world too eager to flood us with information, the best response is to be prepared. A Field Guide to Lies helps us avoid learning a lot of things that aren't true.
books  nonfiction  critical_thinking  infoliteracy  biases  lying  information_overload  TPL  Daniel_Levitin  engaged_citizenry  signals  noise  information_sources 
september 2016 by jerryking
How I learnt to love the economic blogosphere
July 27, 2016 | FT.com | Giles Wilkes.

Marginal Revolution
Econlog
Cafe Hayek
Stumbling and Mumbling
Brad Delong
Nick Rowe - Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
Steve Randy Waldman - Interfluidity
Slack Wire - JW Mason

"Sympathetic opinions coalesce in clusters of mutual congratulation (“must read: fellow blogger agreeing with my point of view!”). Dispute is often foully bad-tempered. Opposing positions are usually subject to a three-phased assault of selective quotation, exaggeration and abuse.'..."Lacking an editor to roll their eyes and ask what’s new, many writers soon become stale... Editors exist not only to find interesting pieces to publish but also to hold at bay the unstructured abundance of bilge that we do not need to read."....."...nothing as reliably good as the (eonomics) blogosphere. Some of its advantages are simply practical: free data, synopses of academic papers that the casual dilettante is unlikely to ever come across, a constant sense of what clever people are thinking about. But what is better is how its ungated to-and-fro lets a reader eavesdrop on schools of academic thought in furious argument, rather than just be subject to whatever lecture a professor wishes to deliver. No one learns merely by reading conclusions. It is in the space between rival positions that insight sprouts up, from the synthesis of clashing thoughts. Traditional newspaper columns are delivered as if to an audience of a million, none of whom might reply. The best blogs are the opening salvo in a seminar rather than the last word on the matter. They dumb down less "....."Ancient thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Iriving Fisher were deployed not as some sort of academic comfort blanket but because their insights are still fresh, and beautifully written."..."Reading the economic blogosphere in 2008 felt to me like the modern equivalent of watching Friedrich Hayek, Keynes and Friedman quarrelling in front of a graduate class about how FDR should react to the depression. "...."Interfluidity is where to find such brilliancies as “the moral case for NGDP [Nominal Gross Domestic Product] targeting”, a political look at a seemingly technical subject, and “Greece”, a furious examination of how the term “moral hazard” is being traduced in the euro crisis. "..."Waldman’s thoughts go far beyond such a crude duality. After a long discussion of measurement problems, the institutional constraints on innovation and much more, he zeroes in on how governments build institutions to handle the disruption wrought by technological change. In a few hundred words he flips around Cowen’s stance and, instead of looking at the growth of government as the problem, makes a case for its opposite. Technological change creates concentrations of power, which “demands countervailing state action if any semblance of broad-based affluence and democratic government is to be sustained”. We have always needed institutions to divert spending power to those left behind, otherwise social disaster beckons. "....When reading, look for sources with something new to say!
economics  economists  blogosphere  Tyler_Cowen  Paul_Krugman  Adam_Smith  information_overload  social_media  Brad_Delong  blogs  Friedrich_Hayek  Milton_Friedman  political  economy  editors  tough-mindedness  FDR  Great_Depression  insights  John_Maynard_Keynes  sophisticated  disagreements  argumentation  technological_change  innovation_policies  moral_hazards 
july 2016 by jerryking
Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
When President Bill Clinton chose to intervene in the Somali civil war in 1993, the Battle of Mogadishu resulted in thousands of Somali citizens killed, two American Black Hawk helicopters shot down,…

WHAT ABOUT THE DATA?
Increasing amounts of data can be unmanageable, and the problem of sorting through data overloads may only worsen in this digital era. Rather than looking at each bit of information as a discrete data point, we want to look at our drivers and sort the data according to which driver it supports--on other words, sort the data into each of the half-dozen or so driver categories, so analysts have few piles to deal with rather than a thousand discrete data points.
decision_making  howto  problem_solving  problem_framing  security_&_intelligence  CIA  books  information_overload  analysis  interviews  critical_thinking  book_reviews  Philip_Mudd  frameworks  insights  sorting  analysts  thinking_backwards  problem_definition  intelligence_analysts 
may 2015 by jerryking
In the age of disruptive innovation, adaptability is what matters most - The Globe and Mail
May. 13 2015 | The Globe and Mail |by EAMONN PERCY.

William Gibson, who coined the term Cyberspace, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

It is not the innovation itself that matters, but its implications during this transition. For the individual, the key will be how to take advantage of these changes, while protecting one’s family, business, career, investments and way of life.....In 2013, a study authored by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McFee at the MIT Sloan School of Management argued that advances in technology are largely behind the sluggish job growth and flattening median incomes over the last 10 to 15 years. They believe that the recent rapid advances in technology are destroying jobs more quickly than they are being created, contributing to the recent stagnation in income and the growth of inequality in the U.S. ... However, around the year 2000, this correlation diverged, with productivity continuing to rise but employment levels stagnating. They call the gap between increasing productivity and employment ‘the Great Decoupling,’ and the authors believe technology is behind it....the best way to both survive and then thrive in this coming transition is simple; embrace it as an Age of Adaptability. There is nothing an individual can do to stop these massive global trends in technology, economics, and demographics, other than adapt. Even reacting to the trends is insufficient, since their scale and velocity are will leave you scrambling to catch up, not mind getting ahead. The only solution is to adapt by becoming a lifelong learner, failing fast if necessary, and learning to get ahead of the changes.

This ability to adapt starts with a mindset that the status quo is not a safe haven, but the place of greatest risk. It means accepting complete responsibility for your destiny, rather than subordinating your well-being to other groups or people. It requires you to take 100 per cent control of your circumstances, particularly if you are responsible for a family, or other people in the form of a business. It entails moving to a state of absolute clarity and awareness of the coming onslaught of change, and then taking a personal leadership role in making incremental, but permanent, changes to your life now.
mindsets  information_overload  disruption  the_Great_Decoupling  Erik_Brynjolfsson  MIT  Andrew_McFee  economic_stagnation  adaptability  innovation  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
How Not to Drown in Numbers - NYTimes.com
MAY 2, 2015| NYT |By ALEX PEYSAKHOVICH and SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ.

If you’re trying to build a self-driving car or detect whether a picture has a cat in it, big data is amazing. But here’s a secret: If you’re trying to make important decisions about your health, wealth or happiness, big data is not enough.

The problem is this: The things we can measure are never exactly what we care about. Just trying to get a single, easy-to-measure number higher and higher (or lower and lower) doesn’t actually help us make the right choice. For this reason, the key question isn’t “What did I measure?” but “What did I miss?”...So what can big data do to help us make big decisions? One of us, Alex, is a data scientist at Facebook. The other, Seth, is a former data scientist at Google. There is a special sauce necessary to making big data work: surveys and the judgment of humans — two seemingly old-fashioned approaches that we will call small data....For one thing, many teams ended up going overboard on data. It was easy to measure offense and pitching, so some organizations ended up underestimating the importance of defense, which is harder to measure. In fact, in his book “The Signal and the Noise,” Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com estimates that the Oakland A’s were giving up 8 to 10 wins per year in the mid-1990s because of their lousy defense.

And data-driven teams found out the hard way that scouts were actually important...We are optimists about the potential of data to improve human lives. But the world is incredibly complicated. No one data set, no matter how big, is going to tell us exactly what we need. The new mountains of blunt data sets make human creativity, judgment, intuition and expertise more valuable, not less.

==============================================
From Market Research: Safety Not Always in Numbers | Qualtrics ☑
Author: Qualtrics|July 28, 2010

Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” [Warning of the danger of overquantification) Although many market research experts would say that quantitative research is the safest bet when one has limited resources, it can be dangerous to assume that it is always the best option.
human_ingenuity  data  analytics  small_data  massive_data_sets  data_driven  information_overload  dark_data  measurements  creativity  judgment  intuition  Nate_Silver  expertise  datasets  information_gaps  unknowns  underestimation  infoliteracy  overlooked_opportunities  sense-making  easy-to-measure  Albert_Einstein  special_sauce  metrics  overlooked  defensive_tactics  emotional_intelligence  EQ  soft_skills  overquantification  false_confidence 
may 2015 by jerryking
C.I.A. Officers and F.B.I. Agents, Meet Your New Partner: The Analyst - NYTimes.com
MARCH 26, 2015 | NYT |By SCOTT SHANE.

As the FBI & CIA confront an evolving terrorist threat, cyberattacks and other challenges, both are reorganizing in ways intended to empower analysts. That involves the delicate job of meshing the very different cultures of the streetwise agent and the brainy analyst, who reads secret dispatches, pores over intercepted communications, absorbs news media accounts and digests it all.
CIA  FBI  organizational_culture  security_&_intelligence  information_overload  intelligence_analysts  data  analysts  cyberattacks 
april 2015 by jerryking
In the Age of Information, Specializing to Survive - NYTimes.com
By J. PEDER ZANEMARCH 19, 2015

Artists from Picasso to Bob Dylan and entrepreneurs including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs changed the world by finding “radically new ways of looking at old problems,” Mr. Galenson said. “They cut through all the accumulated stuff — forget what’s been done — to see something special, something new.”

It is why, Mr. Galenson added, the historian and physicist Stanley Goldberg said of Einstein, “It was almost as if he were wearing special glasses to make all that was irrelevant invisible."
polymaths  Renaissance  information_overload  fresh_eyes  specialization  sense-making  reconceptualization  Pablo_Picasso  Bob_Dylan  billgates  Steve_Jobs 
march 2015 by jerryking
How to De-Clutter Your Magazine Pile - WSJ
By SUE SHELLENBARGER
Updated March 10, 2015.

Consciously filter your reading load, limiting your Facebook visits for industry news to once a week. When I travels, practice ignoring the Wi-Fi on planes and immerses myself in reading. I can also consumes more news and books in audio form, listening in subways or cabs or while walking....Other timesavers include reading synopses of books, rather than the whole thing. Executive book summaries can be found at Summary.com. Another site, NextIssue.com, offers access to 140 magazines via a single subscription.
filtering  howto  reading  GTD  productivity  Sue_Shellenbarger  mobile_applications  information_overload  decluttering  Evernote  scanning  digital_life  digitalization 
march 2015 by jerryking
Why strategy is dead in the water - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Nov. 16 2014

Old line discussions of "strategy" assumed that one's competitors today will be one's competitors forever. It also assumed that companies can control distribution and send out targeted marketing messages to prospects and customers. These days, competition can come at you from all directions – witness, for example, the many companies with which Amazon.com, once just a book seller, competes. Distribution is wild and woolly, and in an era of social media, companies no longer control the messages about their offerings.

“Control and predictability have been greatly diminished,”
Here are seven factors that prevent you from being classically strategic:

1. Incrementalism has been disrupted
2. Outcomes are unpredictable.
3. The past is no longer a predictor.
4. Competitive lines have been dissolved.
5. Information is abundant (i.e. the commoditization_of_information)
6. It hard to forecast value.
7. Fast trumps long-term.
fast-paced  commoditization_of_information  strategy  Michael_Porter  Harvey_Schachter  long-term  unpredictability  GE  IBM  data  information_overload  incrementalism  Amazon  kaleidoscopic 
november 2014 by jerryking
To Keep Your Customers, Keep It Simple -
May 2012 | Harvard Business Review |by Patrick Spenner and Karen Freeman
marketing  information_overload  decision_making  brands  branding  simplicity  HBR 
september 2014 by jerryking
Why saying less achieves more - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 29 2014,

heed the advice of our high school English teacher on the importance of outlines. Professionals believe that’s beneath them, he notes, particularly before a big pitch or meeting. “It’s a huge mistake to make, especially when you consider the vast amount of information you have to handle, distill, and disseminate in these situations,” he writes.

He suggests trying “mind mapping” to get your ideas organized before writing a report or making a presentation. Usually that involves unleashing the ideas in haphazard fashion on paper to find links and structure.
brevity  Communicating_&_Connecting  concision  Harvey_Schachter  information_overload  pitches  meetings  mind-mapping  presentations 
september 2014 by jerryking
Your brain has limited capacity: Here's how to maximize it
Aug. 24 2014 | - The Globe and Mail | WENCY LEUNG.

Daniel Levitin explains in his new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, the evolution of the human brain hasn’t caught up with the demands of today’s world....The brain has a limited capacity to process information and juggle multiple tasks. But Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at McGill University, says we can help the brain do its job more efficiently by organizing our lives around how it functions. By using so-called brain extenders, methods that offload some of the brain’s functions, we can help declutter our thoughts and sharpen memories....Lessons learned:
(1) Evaluate the probabilities. To better systematize your approach to decision-making, use Bayesian inferencing which involves updating one’s estimates of probabilities, based on increasingly refining the information available.
(2) Take the time to write it down. Writing stuff down, improves the chances of it getting imprinted on your brain. Writing things down also conserves mental energy that you would otherwise expend fretting about forgetting them. Don’t settle for organizing your thoughts with notebooks and to-do lists. Levitin suggests writing them on index cards--which can be re-sorted.
(3) Your friendships could use a reminder. Actively organizing data about your social world to allow you to have more meaningful interactions. This means taking notes when you meet new people that help you contextualize your link to them, such as who made the introduction and whether you share any hobbies, and using memory “ticklers,” such as setting a reminder on your electronic calendar every few months to check in with friends if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
(4) When in doubt, toss it in a junk drawer. There is an important purpose for the junk drawer. It allows you to cut down on time and mental energy spent making trivial decisions.
cognitive_skills  thinking  information_overload  decision_making  books  friendships  decluttering  contextual  probabilities  journaling  Daniel_Levitin  sorting  pruning  note_taking  Bayesian  memorization  systematic_approaches  organizing_data 
august 2014 by jerryking
Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value
MAY 31, 2014 | NYTimes.com |By QUENTIN HARDY.

Founded in 2004, in part with $2 million from the CIA’s venture capital arm, Palantir makes software that has illuminated terror networks and figured out safe driving routes through a war-torn Baghdad. It has also tracked car thieves, helped in disaster recovery and traced salmonella outbreaks. United States attorneys deployed its technology against the hedge fund SAC Capital, which was also an early investor in the company....Palantir’s software has been used at JPMorgan Chase to spot cyberfraud and to sell foreclosed homes; at Bridgewater Associates to help figure out investments for its $157 billion under management, and at Hershey to increase chocolate profits. The technology is complex, but the premise is simple: The software consumes huge amounts of data — from local rainfall totals to bank transactions — mashes it together and makes conclusions based on those unlikely combinations. Where is a terrorist attack likely to occur? What is a bad financial bet?...As Palantir expands into offering services to the private sector — now perhaps 70 percent of its business — Mr. Karp’s worry is losing control of what happens with its software....“The thing Alex worries about the most is they have a culture that’s hard to sustain as it grows,” said Mr. Carville, the Democratic consultant. “I take walks around Stanford with him, and he talks about it: ‘If we become something besides Palantir, what are we?’ ”...Palantir’s founders started with an idea from PayPal. At one point, PayPal was losing the equivalent of 150 percent of its revenue to stolen credit card numbers. It figured out how computers could spot activity — like a flurry of payments to a brand new account — at a global scale. ...“The idea was to pick one bank, and the rest would follow,” Mr. Ovitz said. JPMorgan was the first. Much as Palantir figured out navigating Baghdad by analyzing recent roadside attacks, satellite images and moon phases, it derived home-sale prices by looking at school enrollments, employment trends and retail sales. Data that JPMorgan thought would take two years to integrate was put into action in eight days.

JPMorgan still uses Palantir for cybersecurity, fraud detection and other work, loading half a terabyte of data onto a Palantir system each day, according to a Palantir video. ...Government clients also struggle with a data explosion. “Everything becomes more difficult, the more crime becomes global, the more state actors are involved, the more trades there are around the globe,” said Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. “It’s malpractice to have records and not search them.” He has used Palantir for several cases, including the SAC investigation....Palantir is now Palo Alto’s biggest tenant after Stanford, occupying about 250,000 square feet in downtown buildings, which hold many of Palantir’s 1,500 employees. Contracts around the world have surged as everyone’s data increases in size and diversity.
Palantir  Silicon_Valley  CIA  security_&_intelligence  software  Michael_Ovitz  organizational_culture  massive_data_sets  Peter_Thiel  data  information_overload  cyber_security  fraud_detection  platforms  actionable_information  JPMorgan_Chase 
june 2014 by jerryking
Small Data: Why Tinder-like apps are the way of the future — Medium
+++++++++++++++++++++++
The card-based UI updates the classic way in which we’ve always interacted with physical cards. When you think about it, cards are nothing more than bite-size presentations of concrete information. They’re the natural evolution of the newsfeed, which is useful for reading stories but not for making decisions.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Cards are kind of natural choice for mobile screens because of their size and shape. But lay your cards on the table or put them on a board and they will also help you in revealing connections, understanding the topic and making decisions.
++++++++++++++++++++++++

every single interaction with card-swiping apps can affect the outcome.

We can call it small data. Imagine if every time you made a yes or no decision on Tinder, the app learned what kind of profiles you tended to like, and it showed you profiles based on this information in the future.

“With swipes on Tinder, the act of navigating through content is merged with inputting an action on that content,” says Rad. That means that every time a user browses profiles, it generates personal behavioral data.
bite-sized  Tinder  small_data  ux  design  decision_making  information_overload  behavioural_data  metadata  gestures  Snapchat  personal_data 
march 2014 by jerryking
In Praise of Depth - NYTimes.com
January 17, 2014 | NYT | By TONY SCHWARTZ.
We don’t need more bits and bytes of information, or more frequent updates about each other’s modest daily accomplishments. What we need instead is more wisdom, insight, understanding and discernment — less quantity, higher quality; less breadth and more depth....The reality is that we each have limited working memories, meaning we can only retain a certain amount of new information in our minds at any given time. If we’re forever flooding the brain with new facts, other information necessarily gets crowded out before it’s been retained in our long-term memory. If you selectively reduce what you’re taking in, then you can hold on to more of what you really want to remember...Going deeper does mean forgoing immediate gratification more often, taking time to reflect and making more conscious choices. It also requires the capacity to focus in a more absorbed and sustained way, which takes practice and commitment in a world of infinite distractions.
deep_learning  discernment  distractions  focus  immediacy  information_overload  insights  instant_gratification  monotasking  reading  reflections  relevance  thinking_deliberatively  Tony_Schwartz  wisdom  work_life_balance 
january 2014 by jerryking
Being There
Oct 24 2012| The Atlantic | by Robert D. Kaplan.

The real adventure of travel is mental. It is about total immersion in a place, because nobody from any other place can contact you. Thus your life is narrowed to what is immediately before your eyes, making the experience of it that much more vivid.

It isn’t just the landscapes that are overpowering, but the conversations, too. Real conversations require concentration, not texting on the side. The art of travel demands the end of multitasking. It demands the absence of bars on your smartphone when you are in a café with someone. That’s because travel is linear—it is about only one place or a singular perception at a time.
travel  information_overload  technology  Robert_Kaplan  creative_renewal  linearity  strangers 
november 2013 by jerryking
Busy and Busier
Oct 24 2012 | The Atlantic | James Fallows.

a lot of people are feeling overwhelmed is because people are not in true survival or crisis mode as often as they have been in much of our history. The interesting thing about crisis is that it actually produces a type of serenity. Why? Because in a crisis, people have to integrate all kinds of information that’s potentially relevant, they have to make decisions quickly, they have to then trust their intuitive judgment calls in the moment. They have to act. They’re constantly course-correcting based on data that’s coming up, and they’re very focused on some outcome, usually live—you know, survive. Don’t burn up. Don’t die.

But as soon as you’re not in a crisis, all the rest of the world floods into your psyche. Now you’re worried about taxes and tires and “I’m getting a cold” and “My printer just crapped out.” Now that flood is coming across in electronic form, and it is 24/7.....The thing about nature is, it’s information rich, but the meaningful things in nature are relatively few—berries, bears and snakes, thunderstorms, maybe poison oak. There are only a few things in nature that force me to change behavior or make a decision. The problem with e-mail is that it’s not just information; it’s the need for potential action. It’s the berries and snakes and bears, but they’re embedded, and you don’t know what’s in each one....Things on your mind need to be externalized—captured in some system that you trust. You capture things that are potentially meaningful; you clarify what those things mean to you; and you need maps of all that, so you can see it from a larger perspective. With better technology, I’d like a set of maps—maps of my maps. Then I could say, “Okay, which map do I want to work on right now? Do I want to work on my family map, because I’ve got family members coming over for dinner?” Then you can drill down into “Oh, my niece is coming. She likes this food, her favorite color is pink, her dog is named …” Then you can back off and say, “That’s enough of that map. What’s the next map I want to see?” Or: “I’d just like to read some poetry right now.”
busy_work  course_correction  crisis  David_Allen  GTD  human_psyche  information_overload  James_Fallows  living_in_the_moment  mapping  metacognition  metadata  metaphysical  monotasking  productivity  nature  noise  overwhelmed  sense-making  signals  stress_response 
november 2013 by jerryking
Humanity takes millions of photos every day. Why are most so forgettable? - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail | IAN BROWN.

In what should be a golden age of photography, our preoccupation with technical brilliance, technique, and technological advances is overwhelming our ability to collectively use our cameras to tell the simplest of stories...As a result, Ian and his fellow judges at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival photography competition to tell a visual story--a photo essay--about wildlife or wilderness, declined to identify a winner--or even a runner-up--from 500 entries....none of them managed to tell the simplest of stories.

A story is a cohesive account of events in which something is at stake – a beginning, middle and end tied together with characters, scenes and details (long shots, mid-shots, closeups) that lead to a climax and resolution (or not). A story is content.

Even the entries that were remotely in the neighbourhood of telling a story – and most were hopelessly lost – were edited incomprehensibly. (Not experimentally. Incomprehensibly.) In other words, if photographic sequences evoke no perceptible story, they have no significance.

* Don't try to compensate for a lack of vision with a bag of technological tricks.
* Don't take photographs because you can. First, determine if you should (i.e. will there be story?). Think--pretend the resource you're consuming is finite.
* Don't sit down awaiting to be entertained, go out and seek a story.

We crave the instant gratification and collective approval that the Internet deals out to us and photograbs are the fastest way to get it, the visual equivalent of a hypodermic drip....The Online Photographer, the blog of Mike Johnston, a digital photographer who writes about his attempts – his successes, but more often his failures – to tell cogent and moving stories in pictures. It’s the struggle that makes visual work interesting....“Time changes the image.” allowing photos that didn't like to become favourites and vice versa....Good pictures that tell a story, he said, are always about other people. But when “everybody with a phone thinks they’re a photographer,” the result is “the autobiographical and the narcissistic.”

Ian fears for organizations such as the Chicago Sun-Times, which last month laid off all of its camera pros in favour of cheaper, crowd-sourced iPhonography. They will get what they pay for.
storytelling  photography  contests  digital_media  information_overload  curation  narcissism  Banff  failure  visual_culture  finite_resources  instant_gratification  constraints  problem_framing  golden_age 
june 2013 by jerryking
U.S. Relies on Spies for Hire to Sift Deluge of Intelligence - WSJ.com
June 10, 2013 | WSJ | By SIOBHAN GORMAN and DION NISSENBAUM.

The size and scale of private contracting for intelligence goes "well beyond the scope of anything the public is aware of or even imagines," said Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution.

About 1.2 million Americans hold top-secret clearances, the Director of National Intelligence reported this year. More than a third of those, 38%, are private contractors.

Nearly all of the private-sector growth followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Although some of the information on intelligence contractors is secret, NSA officials have said the number of its vendors grew to 6,000 in 2006 from 140 in 2001.

"It's hard to think of a single thing the intelligence community can do on its own anymore without a contractor being involved in some way," Mr. Singer said, "from the most mundane of data crunching to the pointy end of the black ops side."

Reliance on private contractors sprang from the need to quickly ramp up data collection and analysis after the 9/11 attacks, experts said.
security_&_intelligence  contractors  outsourcing  Washington_D.C.  information_overload  Brookings 
june 2013 by jerryking
Faced With Overload, a Need to Find Focus
May 17, 2013,|NYT |By TONY SCHWARTZ

Here’s a radical proposal: Don’t check your e-mail at all tomorrow morning. Turn it off entirely. Instead, devote a designated period of uninterrupted time to a task that really matters.

For more than a decade, the most significant ritual in my work life has been to take on the most important task of the day as my first activity, for 90 minutes, without interruption, followed by a renewal break. I do so because mornings are when I have the highest energy and the fewest distractions.

I’m doing it right now, but in all honesty, it’s gotten tougher in the last several years. My attention feels under siege, like yours probably does.
focus  work_habits  information_overload  self-discipline  discipline  personal_energy  willpower  what_really_matters  self-regulation 
june 2013 by jerryking
LeadSift | Social Media Lead Generation and Identification Platform
LeadSift specializes in automobile, consumer electronics, higher education, insurance, telecom, travel & tourism.
start_ups  Mesh  Twitter  lead_generation  information_overload  algorithms 
may 2013 by jerryking
Think markets raise capital? Think again.
March 25, 2013 | G&M | John Kay as told to Brian Milner

On the glut of information available to investors:

“We need to dispose of the idea that more information is better and eliminate informa...
economists  information_overload  investment_custodians  relevance  middlemen  dysfunction  money_management  asset_management  capital_markets  noise  incentives  conflicts_of_interest  from notes
march 2013 by jerryking
Comments on the philosophy of data
data was a fact, information was the basis of a decision. Data is not information until we put it in context. A red light is a fact, a red light over a street intersection is the basis for a decision and thus, information. We seem to believe that all data are equally valuable but data without context is useless.
data  information_overload  letters_to_the_editor  contextual  from notes
february 2013 by jerryking
Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing - NYTimes.com
By SETH S. HOROWITZ
Published: November 9, 2012

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.

Hearing is a vastly underrated sense.... hearing is a quantitatively fast sense. While it might take you a full second to notice something out of the corner of your eye, turn your head toward it, recognize it and respond to it, the same reaction to a new or sudden sound happens at least 10 times as fast.

This is because hearing has evolved as our alarm system — it operates out of line of sight and works even while you are asleep. And because there is no place in the universe that is totally silent, your auditory system has evolved a complex and automatic “volume control,” fine-tuned by development and experience, to keep most sounds off your cognitive radar unless they might be of use as a signal that something dangerous or wonderful is somewhere within the kilometer or so that your ears can detect.

This is where attention kicks in.

Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention, and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate.

More complex attention kicks in when you hear your name called from across a room or hear an unexpected birdcall from inside a subway station. This stimulus-directed attention is controlled by pathways through the temporoparietal and inferior frontal cortex regions, mostly in the right hemisphere — areas that process the raw, sensory input, but don’t concern themselves with what you should make of that sound. (Neuroscientists call this a “bottom-up” response.)

But when you actually pay attention to something you’re listening to, whether it is your favorite song or the cat meowing at dinnertime, a separate “top-down” pathway comes into play. Here, the signals are conveyed through a dorsal pathway in your cortex, part of the brain that does more computation, which lets you actively focus on what you’re hearing and tune out sights and sounds that aren’t as immediately important.

In this case, your brain works like a set of noise-suppressing headphones, with the bottom-up pathways acting as a switch to interrupt if something more urgent — say, an airplane engine dropping through your bathroom ceiling — grabs your attention.

Hearing, in short, is easy. You and every other vertebrate that hasn’t suffered some genetic, developmental or environmental accident have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second — and pathways in your brain are just waiting to interrupt your focus to warn you of any potential dangers.

Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.

And yet we dare not lose it. Because listening tunes our brain to the patterns of our environment faster than any other sense, and paying attention to the nonvisual parts of our world feeds into everything from our intellectual sharpness to our dance skills.

Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill.
10x  listening  attention  hearing  senses  information_overload  distractions  perception  empathy  signals  physiological_response  bottom-up  top-down  pay_attention 
november 2012 by jerryking
What's Next for Newsmagazines? - WSJ.com
April 4, 2008 | WSJ | By REBECCA DANA.
Fading Publications Try to Reinvent Themselves Yet Again

"Like any managers anywhere, we looked at a revenue picture that could be more thrilling and said, 'How can we accomplish two or three things?,' " Mr. Meacham said in an interview. " 'How can we control costs? How can we have money to rebuild and hire new voices and new reporting talent? And how can we do that in the service of what we've been trying to do with the magazine of the last year-and-a-half, which is make it more serious and try to make ourselves indispensable to the conversation?' "....."My whole view was there's more information out there than any time in human history. What people don't need more of is information," Mr. Stengel said. "They need a guide through the chaos."..."What's happened in the business as a whole is talk is cheap and reporting is expensive," said Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter, a 25-year veteran at the magazine who qualified for the buyout but declined it. But he adds, some of the change in culture is welcome. "In general, the office politics are at a much lower volume than in the past because the old fight of space is different than it was. If there's not room in the magazine for something, you can just do it online," he said.....At a recent speech at Columbia University, Mr. Meacham delivered a blistering response after he asked who reads Newsweek and none of the 100-odd students in attendance raised their hands.

"It's an incredible frustration that I've got some of the most decent, hard-working, honest, passionate, straight-shooting, non-ideological people who just want to tell the damn truth, and how to get this past this image that we're just middlebrow, you know, a magazine that your grandparents get, or something, that's the challenge," Mr. Meacham said. "And I just don't know how to do it, so if you've got any ideas, tell me."
chaos  commoditization_of_information  cost-controls  cost-cutting  curation  indispensable  information_overload  Jon_Meacham  journalists  journalism  magazines  multiple_targets  newsstand_circulation  office_politics  print_journalism  questions  reinvention  talent_acquisition  think_threes 
june 2012 by jerryking
Battling Data Overload - ProQuest
Battling Data Overload
Schrimpf, PaulView Profile. Croplife174. 10 (Oct 2011): 54
information_overload  data  agriculture  farming 
june 2012 by jerryking
Teaching High School Students Applied Logical Reasoning
2009 | Journal of Information Technology Education Volume 8,
Innovations in Practice | Dan Bouhnik and Yahel Giat

The rapid changes in information technology in recent years have rendered current high school
curricula unable to cope with student needs. In consequence, students do not possess the proper
skills required in today’s information era. Specifically, many students lack the skills to search
efficiently for information. Moreover, even when abundant information is available to them, students
are unable to critically read, analyze, and evaluate it.
To address these problems we developed a high school course designed to provide students with
applied logical tools. The course was developed for two different student groups: social sciencesoriented
students and exact sciences-oriented students. It is composed of several parts whose contents
depend on the students’ orientation. This course is part of a broader program whose purpose
is a comprehensive study and understanding of logical and concept-based systems....Thus, instead of utilizing this abundant information to produce better informed students, we often find that students are unable to distinguish true from false, separate fact from fiction, identify the underlying motives, and reach sound and reasoned opinions
high_schools  students  logic_&_reasoning  life_skills  rhetoric  education  critical_thinking  decision_making  Junior_Achievement  information_overload  rapid_change 
november 2011 by jerryking
Mark Hurd Is Still Intense - NYTimes.com
October 4, 2011, 7:57 pm
Mark Hurd Is Still Intense
By QUENTIN HARDY
Holding up an Apple iPhone, Mr. Hurd states, “This is a Cray supercomputer.” It has the same processing power as that machine did in 1986 or 1987. “Over the next five years, three billion people will be mobile. There will be 65 zettabytes of data,” he says. (A zettabyte is about one million terabytes, or one sextillion — 10 followed by 20 zeros — bytes.) “The changes are real. Are people going to be doing more e-commerce? Yes. Are people going to be doing more social networking? Yes. Are people going to be more mobile? Yes. Do I think the corporate world is prepared? No.”
Mark_Hurd  Oracle  information_overload 
october 2011 by jerryking
Must Reads: how to make your e-mails more appealing
Jul. 05, 2011 | The Globe and Mail | BARB SAWYERS
Most people in the business world receive 100 or more e-mails a day. To
stand out amid this flood of missives, you need to grab and hold the
attention of your recipients and persuade them to respond. Here are five
key tips to make your e-mails more effective:

(1) Focus the subject line; (2) Hook them from the start; (3) Keep it
focused – with an F; (4) Tell them what to do and why; (5)
Polish, shorten, then send
e-mail  Communicating_&_Connecting  effectiveness  information_overload 
september 2011 by jerryking
040504WSJRedesigningthePDB.doc - Powered by Google Docs
By JESSICA MINTZStaff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNALMay 4, 2004; Page B1
PDB  design  information_overload 
august 2011 by jerryking
Microdrones, Some as Small as Bugs, Are Poised to Alter War - NYTimes.com
By ELISABETH BUMILLER and THOM SHANKER
June 19, 2011

From blimps to bugs, an explosion in aerial drones is transforming the
way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones, the
Cessna-sized workhorses that have dominated unmanned flight since the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are by now a brand name, known and feared
around the world....Large or small, drones raise questions about the
growing disconnect between the American public and its wars. Military
ethicists concede that drones can turn war into a video game, inflict
civilian casualties and, with no Americans directly at risk, more easily
draw the United States into conflicts. Drones have also created a
crisis of information for analysts on the end of a daily video
deluge.
warfare  drones  DARPA  information_overload  war 
june 2011 by jerryking
When There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information
April 24, 2011 | HeraldTribune| STEVE LOHR. “The biggest
change facing corporations is the explosion of data,” says David
Grossman, a tech analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.“The best business is in
helping customers analyze & manage all that data.”..The productivity
payoff from a new technology comes only when people adopt new
management skills & new ways of working [i.e. marginal improvements]. “It’s never pure technology
that makes the difference,”It’s reorganizing things — how work is done.
And technology does allow new forms of organization.”...Is there real
evidence of a “data payoff” across the corporate world? New research led
by Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at MIT, suggests that the beginnings
are now visible...Brynjolfsson and colleagues, Lorin Hitt, (Wharton),
& Heekyung Kim, a grad student at M.I.T., studied 179 large
companies. Those that adopted “data-driven decision making” achieved
productivity 5 to 6 % higher than could be explained by other factors,
including how much the companies invested in tech.
Steve_Lohr  information_overload  analytics  data_driven  Erik_Brynjolfsson  Thomas_Davenport  MIT  Northwestern  books  data  massive_data_sets  organizational_design  productivity_payoffs  marginal_improvements 
april 2011 by jerryking
Slipstream: When the Data Struts Its Stuff | Forex Mentor
April 2, 2011

They are computer scientists, statisticians, graphic designers,
producers and cartographers who map entire oceans of data and turn them
into innovative visual displays, like rich graphs and charts, that help
both companies and consumers cut through the clutter. These gurus of
visual analytics are making interactive data synonymous with attractive
data.

“Statistics,” says Dr. Hans Rosling, “is now the sexiest subject
around.” ...the goal of information visualization is not simply to
represent millions of bits of data as illustrations. It is to prompt
visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to
learn more....“The purpose of visualization,” says Ben Shneiderman,
founding director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the
University of Maryland, “is insight, not pictures.”
Hans_Rosling  visualization  infographics  data  information_overload  statistics  Freshbooks  data_scientists  insights 
april 2011 by jerryking
Crovitz: Tsunamis of Information - WSJ.com
MAR. 21, 2011 |WSJ| L. GORDON CROVITZ. Hayek spoke of the
'pretense of knowledge,' and why disasters are worse than expected. In
this information-saturated era, we expect no surprises. Yet we are
constantly surprised. We have huge amounts of data, so we assume that
risks can be calculated & avoided. But we also have exceedingly
complex systems. Just as weather is too hard to predict more than a few
days out because of how many variables interact, it's hard to predict
other complex systems. Consider credit instruments during the financial
crisis, the global warming debate, or global epidemics. Thus an
earthquake & tsunami, even in technologically advanced Japan, can
kill tens of thousands, wipe out entire villages, & re-open
questions about nuclear power....some physical systems turn out to be so
complex that they resemble unpredictable social sciences more than the
certainties of simpler physical science....We need to learn how to live
with both new technologies & new uncertainties.
disasters  complexity  Friedrich_Hayek  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  natural_calamities  information_overload  data  uncertainty  surprises  overconfidence  pretense_of_knowledge  earthquakes  tsunamis  social_sciences  certainty  psychology  unpredictability  compounded  risk-assessment  physical_systems  CDOs 
march 2011 by jerryking
A sea of sensors
Nov 6, 2010 | The Economist. Vol. 397, Iss. 8707; pg. 6 |
Anonymous. The main goal of smart systems is "to close the loop", in
the words of a report on the internet of things published in March by
the McKinsey Global Institute. This means using the knowledge gleaned
from data to optimise and automate all kinds of processes....Such
devices and smartphones are gradually turning people into the sensory
organs of the internet, say John Battelle, boss of Federated Media, an
online advertising agency, and Tim O'Reilly, who heads O'Reilly Media, a
publishing house. "Our cameras, our microphones, are becoming the eyes
and ears of the web," they write in a paper entitled "Web Squared".
ProQuest  sensors  massive_data_sets  crowdsensing  information_overload  Industrial_Internet 
november 2010 by jerryking
For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word - Statistics - NYTimes.com
Aug. 5, 2009 | NYT | By STEVE LOHR. “We’re entering a world
where everything can be monitored and measured,” said Erik Brynjolfsson,
an economist and director of MIT’s Center for Digital Business. “But
the big problem is the ability of man to use, analyze and make sense of
the data.”" The rich lode of Web data has its perils. Its sheer vol. can
easily overwhelm statistical models. Statisticians caution that strong
correlations of data do not necessarily prove a cause-and-effect link.
E.g., in the late 1940s, before there was a polio vaccine, public health
experts noted that polio cases increased in step with the consumption
of ice cream and soft drinks, says David A. Grier, a historian and
statistician at GWU. Eliminating such treats was recommended as part of
an anti-polio diet. It turned out that polio outbreaks were most common
in the hot mths of summer, when people ate more ice cream, showing only
an association. The data explosion magnifies longstanding issues in
statistics.
Steve_Lohr  Hal_Varian  statistics  career_paths  haystacks  analytics  Google  data  Freshbooks  information_overload  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  measurements  sense-making  massive_data_sets  correlations  causality 
june 2010 by jerryking
Does the Internet Make You Dumber? - WSJ.com
JUNE 5, 2010 | WSJ | NICHOLAS CARR. The cognitive effects are
measurable: We're turning into shallow thinkers, says Nicholas Carr.
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  cognitive_skills  internet 
june 2010 by jerryking
Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains
May 24, 2010 | Wired magazine | By Nicholas Carr. Adapted
from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. "There’s
nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits and pieces.
We’ve always skimmed newspapers more than we’ve read them, and we
routinely run our eyes over books and magazines to get the gist of a
piece of writing and decide whether it warrants more thorough reading.
The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read
deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming
our dominant mode of thought. Once a means to an end, a way to identify
information for further study, it’s becoming an end in itself—our
preferred method of both learning and analysis. Dazzled by the Net’s
treasures, we are blind to the damage we may be doing to our
intellectual lives and even our culture."
Nicholas_Carr  information_overload  brain_imaging  cognitive_skills  focus  thinking_deliberatively  skimming  squirrel-like_behaviour 
may 2010 by jerryking
Rethinking Information Overload
February 23, 2010 | Sources And Methods: | by Kristan J. Wheaton
information_overload  security_&_intelligence  journalism 
march 2010 by jerryking
Handling the cornucopia
Feb 27, 2010 | The Economist Vol. 394, Iss. 8671; pg. 17 | Anonymous.
ProQuest  information_overload  data  data_driven 
march 2010 by jerryking
Data, data everywhere
Feb 27, 2010 | The Economist. London: Vol. 394, Iss. 8671; pg. 3 | Anonymous
ProQuest  data_driven  data  massive_data_sets  information_overload  quantitative 
march 2010 by jerryking
For Entrepreneurs, It’s All About Time
April 1, 2008 | NYTimes.com| By PAUL B. BROWN. Be more
productive within the existing 24 hrs. ¶Plan tomorrow today. Prioritize
and tackle the items on your list in order of their importance. ¶Do not
try to keep it in your head. Your mind is best used for the big picture
rather than all the details. ¶Sleep. ¶Take a speed reading class.¶Break
for lunch. Q: Where are the bulk of your revenues coming from? Are you
sure? When asked to explain their inability to manage their time, a
common reason people cite is “information overload.” Too much data to
keep up with. Dave Allen says," Too much information is not the problem.
If it were, we’d walk into a library and faint. Information overload
indicates we’re not managing our commitments effectively.” Implications
for JCK's clients & mission statement? “There are many ways to
avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be
procrastination,”
small_business  entrepreneur  time-management  lunchtime  productivity  Pareto_Principle  information_overload  procrastination  JCK  GTD  inspiration  affirmations  sleep  priorities  commitments  David_Allen  the_big_picture 
february 2010 by jerryking
When you're drowning in knowledge, it's experience that counts
Aug. 20, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by Dan Richards. The key
to success today is no longer knowledge and information alone; more than
ever it's the discipline, experience, perspective and insight to know
what to do with that information, something that only comes from the
battle scars earned working through multiple market cycles....The bottom line is simple: If knowledge alone drives success, then years of experience may be less critical than intellect and analytical prowess. But in a time of market uncertainty such as we see today, intellect and knowledge alone aren't enough. Financial advisers and money managers also need the acumen that only years of hard-won experience can bring.
business_acumen  commoditization_of_information  Dan_Richards  discernment  experience  financial_advisors  information_overload  insights  investment_advice  money_management  pattern_recognition  uncertainty  wisdom  self-discipline  judgment  perspectives 
august 2009 by jerryking
Hal Varian on how the Web challenges managers
January 2009 | The McKinsey Quarterly | interview with Hal
Varian . We have to look at today’s economy and say, “What is it that’s
really scarce in the Internet economy?” And the answer is attention.
[Psychologist] Herb Simon recognized this many years ago. He said, “A
wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” So being able to
capture someone’s attention at the right time is a very valuable asset.
And Google really has built an entire business around this, because
we’re capturing your attention when you’re doing a search for something
you’re interested in. That’s the ideal time to show you an advertisement
for a product that may be related or complimentary to what your search
is all about.
management  strategy  innovation  McKinsey  psychologists  attention_spans  Information_Rules  Google  Hal_Varian  digital_economy  scarcity  attention  intentionality  information_overload 
july 2009 by jerryking
Information Overload? Relax
JULY 6, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by L. GORDON CROVITZ
information_overload  abundance  L._Gordon_Crovtiz 
july 2009 by jerryking
Groups: Turn Information Overload Into an Asset
May 25, 2009 2:46 PM | ReadWriteWeb| Written by Marshall Kirkpatrick.
information_flows  information_overload  conversions  grouping 
june 2009 by jerryking
FT.com / Companies / Technology - Make sense of the in-house data mountain
November 22, 2006 | Financial Times | By Tom Braithwaite. With
swaths of unstructured data lying in corporate servers, whether in the
form of e-mails, PowerPoint presentations or TV images, companies are
increasingly seeking the means to sift through the in-house information
mountain.
search  in-house  databases  information_overload  haystacks  massive_data_sets  data_mining  unstructured_data  sense-making 
june 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: The power of managing complexity
May 11, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by PIERRE M. LAVALLÉE.

Reducing process complexity should be a company's last step. It involves looking for process improvements that add the most value and by eliminating unnecessary data collection. One of the world's largest natural resources companies found that it had no fewer than 483 process improvement projects in the works – and that only 25 would deliver a significant impact. In combination with product and organizational simplifications, the company boosted operating income by more than 20 per cent. Meantime, the same company found it could reduce its volume of reports by 40 per cent in one major business unit.
complexity  economic_downturn  Bain  data  simplicity  information_overload  process_improvements  data_collection 
may 2009 by jerryking
Mining for Gold - WSJ.com
Interview with Deutsche Bank Asset Management CIO, Sean Kelly.
Details how the firm sorts through the clutter of information to gain an
edge.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: How is information technology strategically important for Deutsche Asset Management?

MR. KELLEY: In finance there is a concept called "alpha," which means that you make returns beyond the market as a whole. It's really what asset managers get paid for. For us technology is a sizable factor for creating alpha.

"There's a lot of information but also a lot of noise. You have to figure out algorithms to crawl through [all] this automatically, taking out 95% of the noise and finding signals that indicate the emotions of the market. That's the thing: The information doesn't have to be correct -- it just has to be dominant. A person doesn't have to be right. It just has to be that everyone thinks that way. So if you can figure out ways to get to that information and act on it before the market has a chance to correct itself, it gives you an added edge."
alpha  Deutsche_Bank  data_mining  slight_edge  information_overload  competingonanalytics  CIOs  sorting  noise  signals  informational_advantages 
january 2009 by jerryking
The Napkin Sketch
Terrific article reinforcing the notion that the right picture
or image can convey concepts in a heartbeat whilst conveying emotion and
replace text.
sketches  visualization  information_overload  graphics  infographics  Communicating_&_Connecting 
march 2008 by jerryking

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