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A Comment on Technology

Sacks had asked me whether I’d read Forster’s “The Machine Stops.” I hadn’t, but his letter prompted me to, and I see why he was so drawn to it. It’s about a world in which individuals live isolated in cells, fearful of self-reliance and direct experience, dependent on plate screens, instant messages, and the ministrations of an all-competent Machine. Yet there is also a boy who, like Sacks, saw what was missing. The boy tells his mother, “The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind.”

Gawande, A. (2015, September 14). Postscript: Oliver Sacks. The New Yorker, 38–39.


Posted on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 04:53PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

An Example of Big Data

First of all, read "The 7 things you need to know about how Donald Trump has hogged the presidential campaign conversation" from The Monkey Cage.

Second, think about how the capability discussed in this article could be of benefit in business.

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 06:54AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

"The Times They Are A-Changin'" Bob Dylan

"But first, I’m going to reach out and ask for a little help. I have just signed an agreement with my publisher, Wiley, to do a new book called Investing in an Age of Transformation. I’ve been thinking about this book for many years, and it is finally time to write it. As my longtime readers know, I believe we are entering a period of increasingly profound change, much more transformative than we’ve seen in the past 50 years. And not just technologically but on numerous fronts. There are going to be substantial social implications as well. Imagine the entire 20th century fast-forwarded and packed into 20 years, and you will get some idea of the immensity of what we face.

Now think about investing in this unfolding era of change. Companies will spring up and disappear faster than ever. Corporations will move into and out of indexes at an increasingly rapid rate, making the whole experience of index investing – which constitutes the bulk of investing, not just for individuals but for pensions and large institutions – obsolete.

Just as we wouldn’t think of relying on the medical technology of the early 20th century, I’m convinced that we need a significantly new process for investing that doesn’t depend on the concept of indexing created deep in the last century. In an age of exponential change, being wrong in your investment style will no longer mean you simply underperform: you will not merely be wrong; you will be exponentially wrong.

Of course, the flipside is that if you get it right, you will be exponentially right. We will be exploring some new investing concepts in Thoughts from the Frontline as I write the book, since this letter is actually part of my thinking process. I’ve been spending a great deal of time lately exploring new ways of thinking about the markets, different ways to manage risk, and strategies to take advantage of overwhelming change.

This project will be significantly more complex than any book I’ve attempted so far. I’m looking for a few research interns or assistants to help me on various topics. Some topics are technological in nature, and some are investment-oriented. You can be young or old, retired or working in any number of fields; you just have to be passionate about thinking about the future and be able to spend time exploring a topic and going back and forth with me through shared notes and conversations. It’s a plus if you write well. If you are interested in exploring a topic or two, drop me a note at transformation@2000wave.com, along with a resume or a note about your background, plus your area of interest. Now let’s jump to the letter."  Mauldin, J. (2015, July 25). Europe: Running on Borrowed Time.

Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 01:01PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Author Malcolm Gladwell: More data doesn’t mean you know everything

This item, from GeekWire, points out the power of the counterfactual.

Those of you who have taken Logistics in the Supply Chain with me will recall (I hope) the assigned text, Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Creating Value-added Networks, by Martin Christopher.  I assigned this text partially for what it didn't say about the topic.  You were challenged to discover what was not there.

There is great value in determining what's missing.

"If stated reasons don't sit well with your conscience or stand the test of logic, look for deeper motivations." Docent Glax Othn in Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, 1st Edition ed. (Tor Books, 2002) 0-765-30157-1.


Posted on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 06:47AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

“The most profound technologies are those...

...that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”

Mark Weiser in Rus, D. (2015). The Robots are Coming. Foreign Affairs, 94(4), 2–6.

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 07:10AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The Essential Hayek

Your attention is called to this small book (85 pages) summarizing the thinking of Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel laurette in Economic Science (1974), and arguably one of the great thinkers of the last century (Boudreaux, D. J. (2014). The Essential Hayek. The Fraser Institute).

I particularly call your attention to Chapter 9: The Challenge of Living Successfully in Modern Society.

You can find a free pdf on the web. 

My LEAD 101 students need to be alert to this as an assignment.

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 06:09PM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

What are the characteristics of a good question?

I have long believed that good questions yield good answers that lead to good decisions.

Some time ago I came across Quora and posted thereon "What are the characteristics of a good question?"  I usally check on Quora every day and this morning I saw the following notification:

Elynn Lee merged What are the characteristics of a good question? into this question. 7 answers were moved.

What has emerged is a set of interesting answers to which I specifically direct my students.

Posted on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Where does talent go?

From Wladawsky-Berger, I. (2015, May 12). Imagination as a Journey of Survival and Discovery

The study concluded that while digital, virtual interactions are important, they are not sufficient.  “As computing, digital storage, and bandwidth performance improve exponentially, virtual [knowledge] flows are likely to grow more rapidly… However, physical flows will not be fully replaced by virtual flows.  As people become more and more connected virtually, the importance of tacit knowledge exchange through physical, face-to-face interactions will only increase, leading to more physical flow… Talent migrates to the most vibrant geographies and  institutions because that is where it can improve its performance more rapidly by learning faster [emphasis added]…  Increasing migration suggests virtual connection is not enough - people increasingly seek rich and serendipitous face-to-face encounters as well.”

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 07:27AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

Renewables Are Disruptive to Coal and Gas

This is from a blog post by Tyler Cowen.

This article suggests significant changes in the structure of geopolitical power due to disruption in state economies.  There would also seem to be the possibility of major disruption in the global distribution of bulk commodities.

Posted on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 06:42AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment

The test of time for a society, institution, and individual is...

...their capacity for change to remain relevant.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 06:26AM by Registered CommenterJames Drogan | CommentsPost a Comment