Friday, February 28, 2014

Breath for the Week (3)

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I take a break from blogging this week, in order to catch my breath and focus more on other work: Theory of Algorithms and The Core Algorithm.

How often do you step back from your work, and what do you do to catch your breath?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Breath for the Week (2)

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I take a break from blogging this week, in order to catch my breath and focus more on other work: Theory of Algorithms and The Core Algorithm.

How often do you step back from your work, and what do you do to catch your breath?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Breath for the Week (1)

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I take a break from blogging this week, in order to catch my breath and focus more on other work: Theory of Algorithms and The Core Algorithm.

How often do you step back from your work, and what do you do to catch your breath?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mary Landrieu Leads Senate Energy Committee

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Congratulations to Senator Landrieu!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Global Water Sustainability Center is Crucial

A key research area for the center is desalination, a process that transforms salt water into consumable water. A current field pilot project with Qatar University’s chemical engineering department measures the effectiveness of augmenting thermal desalination with membrane distillation to produce fresh water. Thermal desalination uses a heat source to boil water. As the water evaporates salt and minerals are left in the base water while the pure water becomes steam. As the steam cools it forms condensed purified water. Membrane desalination, often referred to as reverse osmosis, incorporates two different approaches. Water is forced through a membrane to filter out salt and minerals, and an electrical current is used to separate salt and other minerals from the water.

There is water throughout the Persian (aka Arabian) Gulf, but relatively little that is fit for drinking.  The first king of Saudi Arabia was fully aware that what the new country needed, above all, was drinkable water.  The great discovery of oil in the 1930s was a boon, but they still needed that precious resource.  In the United Arab Emirates, officials know that the main shortages over the long haul are electricity and water.

So what the Global Water Sustainability Center is doing is crucial indeed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Unconventional Oil and Gas Lift Jobs and Income

The economic and employment contributions from US unconventional oil and gas production are now being felt throughout the US economy, increasing household incomes, boosting trade and contributing to a new increase in US competitiveness in the world economy.

The US trade position will continue to improve, owing to the significant reduction in energy imports and the increased global competitiveness of US-based energy-intensive industries. Driven by a rise in domestic production and manufacturing that will displace imports, as well as a favorable export position for these industries, the trade deficit will be reduced by more than $164 billion in 2020—equivalent to one-third of the current US trade deficit. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Believing in an Expandable Intelligence

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[Stanford professor of psychology Carol Dweck] says people who hold a “fixed” theory [of IQ] are mainly concerned with how smart they are (or are perceived to be). They prefer tasks they can already do well and they tend to avoid tasks on which they may make mistakes and jeopardize their “smart” image. 
By contrast, Dr. Dweck says, people who believe in an “expandable” or “growth” theory of intelligence thrive on challenging themselves to increase their abilities, even if they fail at first.
Reference: Mindset: It's Really a Lot More Than a Head Game.

I think words like expandable and growth are truly good ones to characterize our intelligence and capabilities in general.  We seem to under-utilize the talent we have, so anything that encourages us to tap more of it to serve some well-meaning purpose is good.  But as Forbes contributor Rodger Dean Duncan himself points out, such an outside-the-box view of IQ does not necessarily mean we can do anything, and be anything, we want, just because we believe we can.  Rather, the fact that we believe we can undoubtedly moves us to do more and be more than otherwise.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Katherine Choynowski's Cool and Bold Startup

Katherine Choynowski is neither your average 21-year old nor your average entrepreneur.  She's a privileged young lady who has had an aristocratic, jet-set childhood and has also modeled before starting up Le Crib.  I think this move is cool and bold, and I said so in a connect invite to her on LinkedIn.  

But I'm curious to know how plugged in she truly is with Generation Y, that is, Millennials like herself.  I'm even more curious, though, about her background and her reasoning behind this startup.  How is she navigating a privileged life and roughshod entrepreneurship?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jay Leno Out, Jimmy Fallon In

Last week, NBC decided to move Jay Leno out of the `Tonight show, and sidle in Jimmy Fallon.  After all, Leno still commands late-night viewership.  Bloomberg's Stephanie Ruhle asks a good question, Will Fallon's viewers follow him into late-night?  But I think her colleague Jon Erhlichman's early point was a good one as well: Fallon is socially-plugged in, perhaps in ways that Leno is not.  

This shift reminds me of what the Chicago Bulls did in the late 1980s.  Coach Doug Collins had done a fabulous job of raising team performance and making a good showing in the playoffs.  But unexpectedly the front office decided to fire him, and bring in Phil Jackson who had no  head coaching experience in the NBA.  Word was, Collins took them as far as he could, and Jackson could then bring in the championship.  Man, did he ever!  

Leno has probably taken `Tonight as far as he could, and NBC brass surmised that Fallon could elevate the highly competitive game of late-night to some championship equivalent.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sometimes Boss and Leader are the Same

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Dennis Pitocco asks What's The Difference Between a "Boss" and a Leader? in a LinkedIn group.  

People still try to get mileage out of an old query (e.g., The Difference Between a Boss and a Leader?).  To be honest, though, it made for a stimulating discussion, when I delivered leadership training programs (rf. Are leaders born or made?).  

To which I replied simply:

Sometimes there isn't any difference.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Competitive Wisdom of Michael Steinhardt

“I thought there must be something more virtuous, more ennobling to do with one’s life than make rich people richer.”
“I cared about one thing, and that one thing was having a better performance than anybody in America.”
“For me, running hedge funds was an art. It was something that I thought I did exceptionally well, and most of the world did not."
Reference: Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street's Greatest Trader, Is Back -- And He's Reinventing Investing Again.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Caring Leadership is about Team and Truth

I found the best leaders have love for their teams; who actually care deeply about the well being of those they lead.
I always hold out hope that even these sorts of ‘tough’ people [e.g., Steve Jobs] will respond to a caring call, rather than an angry glare.
There’s a proverb that says, “Better are the wounds of a friend, than many kisses of an enemy.” The truth hurts but lies can caress us into injury.
Reference: Results and Relationships: Leadership for Life.

I wrote the following, in response to Zachary Jeans' post on Google+:

We may not know exactly how Steve Jobs led and pushed his people, but it took two decades (at least) for him to hit his stride. Perhaps he found that right balance of driving hard and taking care and perhaps he knew how to adjust that balance for particular people who worked for him. Regardless, Apple produced a remarkable string of innovation and legions of fans across the world, in the final decade of his life. I imagine he got that proverb right, that you wrote about, Zachary!