Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

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.

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on:

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?

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on:

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.

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

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 ...

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

I rarely send out articles for people to read. There are two reasons:

  1. I don't want to give people 'assignments'
  2. So when I do, I hope they’ll warrant their attention.

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.

The Coming Disruption Scott Galloway predicts a handful of elite cyborg universities will soon monopolize higher education.

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?

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

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?

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

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...

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on:

I have been watching a lot of webinars over the past several weeks because of the coronavirus. And it amazes me how many people are really not very good at using this medium, despite its rise to prominence.

It isn’t like this medium hasn’t existed for years and that people haven’t figured out the enormous leverage that this medium affords us in the hyper-connected digital age. Maybe this is what Powerpoint was like in the early days. However, I would venture to say that people are even worse at using this particular medium than they are in live presentations (despite the fact that it is so clearly derivative of live presentations). And maybe that why I’m so concerned. When I see how the average user of Powerpoint presents information, even today, I’m led to believe that webinars may never get much better.

For the sake of your audience. Please

  1. Practice your presentation several times and record it
  2. Watch the presentations from the viewers’ perspective
  3. Make corrections (how can you SHORTEN the presentation?).

In almost every presentation that I see, the introductions are too long and self- serving and the interactions (live surveys, reading comments, questions, etc) offer no real value. As a viewer (and learner), it takes too much effort to get to the real “value” for which I’m exchanging my limited time and attention. Thank God...

  1. Most people offer the recordings to view afterwards
  2. I have a program like Downie that allows me to download the recordings and then skip through the boring introductions and watch the real content in variable speed.

Until next time - enjoy the digital revolution, warts and all.

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on:

Many are noting the recent passing of Harvard professor and prolific author, Clayton Christensen. His seminal work was the Innovator's Dilemma, his well- researched and insightful treatise on disruption. However, I believe his most important work was Disrupting Class, a look at how the educational system as a whole is going to be substantially disrupted (rather than just 'reformed') in the early 21st century.

It is one of the few books I've read or listened to multiple times. Rest in peace, professor. The footprints you leave behind are deep and wide.

Written by: Matthew Turco | Posted on: | Category:

Last time, the "fans" were wrong, for reasons too numerous to recount here. This time, the critics...the same ones who delighted in the surprises and twists of The Last Jedi...are completely missing the point of The Rise of Skywalker.

Not that anything I say will stop the YouTube Clickbaiters from piling on the vapid hate...but if you are (or were) a fan, go see it and enjoy yourself. And if you go to the movies for any other reason than to enjoy yourself, then I strongly recommend deep introspection.

Thank you JJ — well done!!