Imagine that we’re supposed to be taking the sum of 5 and 5, but we keyed in the second number as 6 by mistake. That will give us an answer of 11 instead of 10. We’ll be wrong, but not by much; addition, as a linear operation, is pretty forgiving. Exponential operations, however, extract a lot more punishment when there are inaccuracies in our data. If instead of taking 55 — which should be 3,125... — we instead take 56, we wind up with an answer of 15,625. This problem quickly compounds when the process is dynamic, because outputs at one stage of the process become our inputs in the next.
“Quality,” Simonton writes, is “a probabilistic function of quantity.”
In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as the shock doctrine. He observed that “only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”
Heartland Robotics provides cheap robots-in-a-box that make it possible for small business people to quickly set up their own highly automated factory, dramatically reducing the costs and increasing the flexibility of manufacturing.
I told someone earlier today that I don’t miss academia, but I do miss teaching. Upon reflection, though, that’s not quite true. The ache I feel when I think about my experiences as a prof is the same ache I feel when I listen to a song that has a great chorus but lousy verses, or watch Return of the Jedi. It’s the ache of fumbled opportunity, the feeling that this could have been great—really... great—if only it had been done right. And I wonder if that’s what really drives some of the people who are trying to reinvent education today. What they really want, deep down, is a clean slate; the web and everything else is just their cover story.
Even the most productive start-ups cannot help an economy held back by dilapidated roads, the world’s most expensive health system, underachieving union-dominated schools and a Byzantine immigration system that deprives companies of the world’s best talent. Focus on those things, Mr Obama and Mr Romney, and you will be surprised what America’s private sector can do for itself.
At its core, see something, say something isnt about a war on crime, its a war on surprises, whose core premise is to mistrust and fear things you cant understand.
Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.
Facebooks frictionless sharing doesnt enhance sharing; it makes sharing meaningless. Lets go back to music: It is meaningful if I tell you that I really like the avant-garde music by Olivier Messiaen. Its also meaningful to confess that I sometimes relax by listening to Pink Floyd. But if this kind of communication is replaced by a constant pipeline of whats queued up in Spotify, it all becomes meaningless. Theres no sharing at all. Frictionless sharing isnt better sharing; its the absence of sharing.
There is no way for Yelp to reverse the decision manually, as they’ve given their algorithm all the power.
“I pretty much bought this place for the stairway,” Henson told me. “Our last location had offices in one building and the shop in another. When I saw this budiling with a great oval staircase right in the middle, I said, ‘That’s just what I need, because I want to unify everybody.’ And that the way it’s working. Just running up the stairway to my office, I see six or seven people I normally wouldn’t see…”
Would we ever get to a point, say, where the Engineer Living in Fieldston was as much of a cliché as the Writer Living in Brooklyn, the Editor Eating at Michael’s, the Fund Manager in the Fifth Avenue Apartment?