Business Casual is one of those podcasts where I pick and choose the episodes. Last week featured two great ones.
My favorite was an outstanding podcast interview with the CEO of Chegg. Sure, parts are a little self-serving (as they all are), but I haven't come across a better summary of the challenges and inevitable changes coming to universities over the next three months to three years.
Nintendo had its best quarter in over a decade. As did many other gaming companies. Okay, maybe this isn't surprising given the pandemic. But it is a little disappointing that millions of unemployed people are going to have nothing to show for the year 2020 other than minor improvement in games that may not even exist five or ten years from now.
So Congress is looking to extend the unemployment benefits for those people whose employment have been adversely affected by COVID-19 through no fault of their own. And I applaud that to a certain degree. The lingering question that I have is this. How many of these people are taking an extended vacation — whether outdoors or on Netflix — while much of the rest of the population that is employed has been re-skilling just to figure out how to work from home or whatever hybrid model that their companies are employing?
In other words, it still comes back to this question – how many unemployed people are taking advantage of this downtime to re-skill (or up-skill)? And should we be monitoring this and perhaps making this a condition for continued unemployment benefits? This seems to be a reasonable middleground that was never fully explored with all of the welfare reform arguments over the past several decades.
With digital distribution, there’s almost no excuse. It is cheap, ubiquitous, and completely necessary to improve the capabilities of our society.
Let's help our fellow citizens financially now AND the future.
For those of you who are conducting webinars, please stop taking stupid polls. For some reason, most people think that this increases the engagement, but if you aren’t actually going to tailor/change the content of your presentation as a result of the poll, then all you’re doing is wasting five minutes of everyone’s time.
If you are giving a webinar on COVID-19, don’t ask on a scale of 1 to 5 your level of concern.
If you’re giving a webinar on anxiety, don’t ask how often you find yourself worrying about things.
If someone is participating in a webinar on COVID-19, then obviously they have some heightened concern about the topic. If somebody is participating in a webinar on anxiety, and obviously the experience some level of anxiety or somebody close to them experiences some level of anxiety beyond just “occasionally”. Otherwise, why would we be participating in the webinar at all?
I’m sorry if it appears that my website was beaten by the ugly stick, I assure you that it is temporary. I’m currently taking a deep dive in Rapidweaver, Stacks, and Foundry. I’ll have this blog backup very soon along with some additional commentary about web design and tools.
I just read this inspiring article from Forbes about how Pfizer is fast tracking the development and manufacturing of a vaccine for COVID- 19. Of course, they aren’t the only ones working furiously for a treatment or vaccine. And while it is hard not to applaud the leadership and the uncharacteristic cooperation among biotech companies, I see two problems—the mythical man month and the unfortunate polarization of science.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “Mythical Man Month”, let me oversimplify it this way...
You can’t cut development time in half simply by investing double the resources.
For example, if it takes 10 programmers, 12 months to complete a project, then can you add an additional 10 programmers to complete the project in six months? The argument made many decades ago was that the answer is a resounding “no”. Granted, if you are starting with a clear lack of adequate resources, then adding resources can certainly hasten the completion of any project. That’s just common sense. But at some point, adding more resources not only fails to improve productivity, but it actually hinders progress due to the increased overhead of additional communication and other common issues of scale.
And while there have been advances in project management since the concept of the Mythical Man Month was first published (for example, there’s much better software as well as great promise in Agile and Critical Chain thinking), it hasn’t eliminated cold hard reality—at some point, adding more resources halts, and then reverses progress.
So while an “all hands on deck” approach to finding a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 is a sensible and appropriate approach to this pandemic, we may have to curtail our most optimistic expectations that this approach will yield a proportionate decrease in the development time.
The other part of the Coronavirus development that concerns me is that world is rapidly bifurcating on the issue of vaccines ...
I rarely send out articles for people to read. There are two reasons:
I've been following Scott Galloway for years after discovering his weekly YouTube series on branding (some of the best business education available - condensed into four minute segments).
Here is his latest — and an excellent summary of his recent thoughts on education and more.
If even half of what this guy is predicting comes true, education in the 2030s will look NOTHING like it did in the 2010s. Our current system is simply unsustainable. The challenge is...what about our kids (or grandkids) who have to navigate this sh*tstorm over the next decade?
Last week, I read this excellent article on The Atlantic website covering all the intricacies and difficulties surrounding the coronavirus. And then when you look at the politics of it, I’m again reminded that logic itself is hard enough, but rigorous logic is even harder — numerators, denominators, probabilities, the effects of false positives and negatives, the law of large numbers, common biases, etc.
If you read any good article about how crazy it has been over the past couple of months trying to get through this coronavirus situation and start to understand what the true risks are of longer or shorter lockdowns, various treatments, fast- tracked vaccines, ventilators, etc., you really begin to appreciate how easy it has been to be misled by not looking at the entire picture and how harmful it can be when thousands of people are making public (digitally distributed) comments based on incorrect information or assumptions.
This all makes an excellent case why statistics should be taught in every high school. It is far more useful than trigonometry and calculus (although I’m certainly in favor of those as well). Should we even be allowed to vote until we can demonstrate understanding both in how probabilities & statistics work and how people can lie using statistics? Isn’t that what high school is supposed to ensure — an educated populace?
The latest unemployment numbers just came in for the United States and we have now surpassed 30 million new claims over the past six weeks. And yet the one question that I don't hear anyone asking in all these reports is "Who is using this time to up-skill or re-skill?". Sure, I hear about how much people are using Netflix and YouTube—so much so that they have had to downgrade the quality of the video because it was putting strain on the Internet infrastructure.
But what about using some of this time to become more valuable to your current employer (assuming that you will be returning to the same one) or a future employer (assuming that you're going to be entering into a much more competitive market for employment than we have seen in the past 5 to 10 years)? This is such an obvious question...and yet, nothing. Just look at what is out there, from...
...or host of other online resources that are ridiculously inexpensive compared to the more formal education options—the vast majority of which are currently closed or going online anyway,
I'll have a lot more thoughts on this later...
Most of my writings are about lifelong learning (how it must evolve in the 21st century and how to do it well enough so that we may reap the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards for doing so).
This blog is a place where I will publish my thoughts on how current events relate to lifelong learning as well as some other topics of interest. Also, I may share various incomplete or half-baked thoughts here as I rummage through my two million words of unpublished content to get them prepared for publishing over on Genius By Design (my primary website).
Basically, Anakin.com is what falls on the cutting room floor. Enjoy.