February 4th, 2016

Practice ill informed by theory: the it worked for me error

Aggregation, deconstruction and linear approaches to complexity

Certification and accreditation pyramid selling schemes

Use of manufacturing metaphors and techniques in a service culture

Waiting for requirements rather than articulating needs

Focus on qualities in people rather than on linkages

Idealised models: simplistic not simple

A slide by Dave Snowden (@snowded) at Scaling Agile for the Enterprise 2016 in Brussels (#Scabru16).

The Present

January 30th, 2016

The Present from Jacob Frey on Vimeo.

Sydney Hobart 2015

January 30th, 2016

Retour en images sur la 71e édition de Sydney Hobart, gagnée en temps réel par le maxi Comanche (plan VPLP Verdier) et en temps compensé par le TP 52 Balance devant le français Courrier du Léon.

Superbe résumé d’une course particulièrement éprouvante, débutée dans le gros temps et terminée dans la pétole.

Machine Learning Simplex

January 22nd, 2016

A diagram drawn by Jason Eisner in his paper The Three Cultures of Machine Learning

According to Eisner, there are currently three cultures of machine learning. Different people or projects will fall in different places on this "ML simplex" depending on what they care about most. They start with something in green and attempt to get blue as a way of achieving red.

Science vs. Everything Else

January 21st, 2016

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

Once again, Wiley Miller gets it perfectly right.

L’Hermione à la pointe du raz

January 18th, 2016

Photographie de Ronan Follic

Impress Your Kid

January 8th, 2016

The other side #baikal #siberia

January 4th, 2016

Picture by Pascal Dumont (@DumontPhoto)

Life with Purpose

January 4th, 2016

Blood pressure lowering & the meaning of life

January 4th, 2016

In a just published BMJ Blog’s journal review, Richard Lehman (@RichardLehman1) provides a really interesting take about recent controversies in BP lowering targets:

A meta-analysis of blood pressuring lowering for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and death appeared just before Christmas. It attracted a day’s worth of comment before we all went off to do seasonal things and then recover from them. I guess the debate will start to build up again now, and when the article appears in print. It is certainly worth a careful read: it’s a model for this type of systematic review and it is very clearly written, covering a vast range of trials using blood pressure lowering drugs both for high blood pressure and for other indications. It confirms that BP lowering, like the use of statins, should be governed by total risk and not by a specific level of systolic BP. Remember the Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt treat according to level of risk and not to level of risk factor. The study also identifies clear class differences for different drugs in relation to different outcomes, e.g. thiazide-like agents are better at reducing the incidence of heart failure, whereas the logic of using RAAS inhibiting drugs to prevent renal failure looks very shaky. The authors conclude: "Our results provide strong support for lowering blood pressure to systolic blood pressures less than 130 mm Hg and providing blood pressure lowering treatment to individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease."

I think this may mark a watershed moment in the use of BP lowering agents. But contrary to most commentators, I think it will lead to a large and welcome decline in their use. A clue comes in the sentence, “Rather than a decision based on an arbitrary threshold for a single risk factor, this approach needs individualised assessment of the balance of absolute risks and benefits when physicians decide on the blood pressure level at which to start blood pressure lowering and the target blood pressure.” So this is a decision for the physician, is it? Why isn’t it a decision for the person who is expected to take the drugs for the rest of their life? And it’s at this point that the whole stack of cards begins to fall apart. For a start, our cardiovascular risk prediction instruments fail to predict most of the absolute risk and have poor overlap with each other. There is no way that we can produce more than a vague ball-park guess about the likely contribution of various treatment possibilities—non-pharmacological as well as pharmacological—to the outcomes of particular individuals. And most of these outcomes are binary—you either have a stroke or you don’t. They cannot be expressed as days of life gained, but only in terms that are borrowed from gambling and so have no objective meaning for individuals. The trials lumped together here were on subsets of people for relatively short periods of time, so even if you make them into a smiley face chart, you will be giving out a false message about their predictive value. And when you do make them into such a chart, many sensible people will look at it and say, "You mean to say that I’d have to be one of 231 people to take these pills for ten years just so that one of us wouldn’t have a heart attack? Sod that." Public health physicians will hold up their hands in horror. Oxford professors will rage at GPs (and The BMJ) for not imposing the supposed good of the herd on individuals. But why? It is for each of us to play the odds of our lives as we choose. Many will choose to take the pills—myself included. Many will not. The only right choice is informed patient choice.

Mission Statement

December 31st, 2015

When you wake up in the morning and think about what you’re going to fight like hell for, it’s probably not going to sound like a typical corporate mission statement.

We’re humans. We need to feel inspired. Every. Frickin’. Day.

The companies who understand the humanity of business – those are the ones you’ll fight like hell for.

It’s pretty simple. If you want a team dedicated to making incredible things happen, give them a reason.

[Note to most CEO’s] If it’s only money, it’s probably not going to sustain the business… and you won’t meet targets for very long.

The solution here is often this misguided trend towards social entrepreneurism.

That businesses have to be about ‘doing good’ as the outcome. The truth is, businesses need to make money to survive. We all get that. Let’s not lie.

And we can be so much more. Read “He Who Cares Wins”, by our good friend David Jones (@davidjonesOYW).

The point is, usual corporate core values — “Integrity, passion, community, customers, etc.” are meaningless to most of your employees and customers. And if your mission statement is corporate speak as well, you’ve lost us. And you need us. Your employees, customers and prospects. Win us over for God’s sake.

Be driven by your core. And a real, deep connection to your people. That’s how mission and core values should be: the values, at our core, that drive our mission.

In many ways the role of business has changed, and it requires a re-think.

How’s your mission statement feeling right about now?

Image and text by @gapingvoid

Ça foil en Bretagne !

December 23rd, 2015

ça foil en Bretagne ! from BDI on Vimeo.

Googling Your Symptoms

December 15th, 2015

It’s All About Community

December 2nd, 2015

In his book, The Great Degeneration, Niall Ferguson writes about how membership to civil organizations has declined significantly in the last hundred years, both in the USA and the UK. By civil organizations, he means everything from charities, to museums, to Girl Scouts, to the Rotary Club.

From my end, it’s not hard to see why this decline has happened. We spend so much time at work now (including the commute), so we increasingly have to get our sense of civil participation at the office, not outside it.

Which means the community focus of our workplace, i.e. our company’s place in the community and or our place within that, is an increasingly large part of our self-identity.

So when they talk about how Millennials are suddenly needing to find so much "meaning" at work, a lot of that is about community context. They need to feel like what they do is relevant to the world they aspire to live in.

If you work at a large institution with deep roots in the community, like University of Miami (see blurb below), this is all pretty obvious.

It’s less obvious if your company is just driven by making money. Trust me, it’s not. There are other drivers also at work.

Just ask any Millennial…

Image and text by @gapingvoid

Christian Garcia, Associate Dean & Executive Director of the Toppel Career Center, created this video discussing his journey in creating an immersive, engaging environment for students, faculty and employers. Christian discusses his thoughts on how to imbue environment with meaning and creating spaces that connect people deeply.

Read more from the article in InsideUm Magazine.

Why Am I Talking?

November 30th, 2015



November 28th, 2015

Photo REUTERS – Jean-Paul Pelissier

Business Is Flow

November 20th, 2015

Business, for the most part, is about making money. Sure, the business might have a "higher purpose" attached to it, but hey, serving that higher purpose isn’t much use if you can’t make payroll.

And money, commerce, is this fluid thing that happens in between people and companies. It isn’t a solid, it’s a liquid.

The beginning of the end happens when the people in charge forget this, when they start thinking that their liquid is a solid. That things will never change.

And then some other liquid comes along and eats their lunch. Uber: liquid. Yellow Taxis: solid. You get the idea.

Stay in flow, people. Stay liquid.

Image and text by @gapingvoid

John Oliver’s “Moment Of Premium Cable Profanity”

November 16th, 2015

Sadly we must begin with a few words about France which on Friday suffered the deadliest attack on its soil since World War II.

Look, it’s hardly been 48 hours, and much is still unknown, but there are a few some things we can say for certain. And this is when it actually helps to be on HBO, where those things can be said without restraints. Because after the many necessary and appropriate moments of silence, I’d like to offer you a moment of premium cable profanity.

So here is where things stand:

First, as of now we know this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes. Unconscionable flaming assholes. Possibly working with other fucking assholes. Definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery.

Second, and this goes almost without saying: Fuck these assholes. Fuck them, if I may say, sideways.

And third, it is important to remember, nothing about what these assholes are trying to do is going to work. France is going to endure and I’ll tell you why. If you are in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good fucking luck. Because go ahead, bring your bankrupt ideology. They’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloise cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons, Marcel Proust, and the fucking croquembouche. You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friend. You are fucked, that is a French freedom tower.

So to the people of France, our thoughts are truly with you.


November 15th, 2015

A beautiful comment by Blackpoodles from Santa Barbara explains why Paris may be the favorite target for salafists:

France embodies everything religious zealots everywhere hate: enjoyment of life here on earth in a myriad little ways: a fragrant cup of coffee and buttery croissant in the morning, beautiful women in short dresses smiling freely on the street, the smell of warm bread, a bottle of wine shared with friends, a dab of perfume, children paying in the Luxembourg Gardens, the right not to believe in any god, not to worry about calories, to flirt and smoke and enjoy sex outside of marriage, to take vacations, to read any book you want, to go to school for free, to play, to laugh, to argue, to make fun of prelates and politicians alike, to leave worrying about the afterlife to the dead.
No country does life on earth better than the French.
Paris, we love you. We cry for you. You are mourning tonight, and we with you. We know you will laugh again, and sing again, and make love, and heal, because loving life is your essence. The forces of darkness will ebb. They will lose. They always do.

No need to say that the French won’t change because of a bunch of terrorists, as well illustrated by @SophieLambda.

Naturally, Paris is nervous these days, with most monuments closed and many fake alerts. But there is also this epic man, pulling his piano with his bike in order to go and play Imagine in front of the Bataclan.

Paris will mourn, despair of current "lost generation" of politicians… but also be very proud of the worldwide solidarity that was born from these awful events.

As the cartoonist @joannsfar nails it, please don’t #PrayForParis, open a bottle of French wine instead and enjoy it with your best friends (if you could find some French cheese and a genuine baguette, it would be perfect).

Are Unicorns Bubble Animals?

October 23rd, 2015

Love this comment by "retired@33" to an article that explains the skepticism about Theranos business model titled When startups go sour – what happens when unicorns run into trouble?

Don’t worry. All we have to do is keep saying "innovate", "future" and "agile" and the internet will magically disrupt us into a 21st century utopia where start-ups are mysteriously valued at billions without actually having ever turned a profit, and people will be able to spend on "services" even though they don’t have jobs any more.