Showing posts from May, 2015

Antifragile, A Magical Introduction Part 1

This got so long I had to break it into parts...

Back to Taleb. As we touched on before, there are several ways that a system can respond to a negative risk or shock:
It can be detrimentally impacted (Fragile)It can be stable (Robust)It can improve (Antifragile) We are used to thinking about fragility and robustness. They are two sides to the same coin. A fragile system is one that's overly sensitive to change or shocks that a robust one can weather. Avoiding fragility in human systems is the first step to coping with change.

 Hallmarks of fragility include: Complexity (overly complex systems have more break points)Inertia (things which are difficult to adjust can't cope with change)Excess efficiency (lack of redundancy marked by 'just in time' thinking and hyper efficiency_Neomania (the older an idea, process, or substance it, the less fragile it is -- because these things have been tested over time, very new things tend to be untested yet are often preferred) On the ot…

PMPM Kickoff Planning -- Defining your Project Outcome

I didn't think it would take this long to get to our magical project kickoff. But I think that the risk management and root cause analysis and goal setting and agile stuff really lay the groundwork for what comes next.

Over the coming months, I'll be working through the high level PMPM process. Readers can pick a project goal and then work along through the posts. I'm targeting about six months or so, which equates to a good sized project.

However, full disclosure: There will be some magical details and tech that I won't be sharing on the blog. This is because I'm considering whether to actually publish some of my material in a more official way or to maybe to teach small groups or something along those lines. If anyone reading wants access to the additional details, email me at I'll send a "deeper content" email along with each blog post. Note, I'm not charging for the bonus material at this time. What I'm looking for is…

The Food Post

Everyone's got a different area of focus. I have a friend who is an obsessive recycler (you know how I feel about that). Another acquaintance is a huge environmentalist and supports animal causes. A third is committed to helping the homeless. Then there's Gordon, who is genius with economics trends.

My obsession is food. For me, food is the most critical political, cultural, physical, and spiritual issue we are currently facing -- globally. It intersects multiple major trends and is a bell-weather for the state of the planet and of humanity.

Spoiler alert: the canary is dead.

The rise of industrial agriculture started after WWII and ramped up quickly through the early to mid 70s. Known, ironically, as the green revolution, wartime technology was used instead for making more food for more people. Not that this is a bad goal. I'm not elitist or entitled enough to think that kids starving and dying or going blind from vitamin A deficiency is OK (let them eat organic cake!). B…

Solve for X

So, you've done your root cause analysis and know where your problem starts. That doesn't necessarily get you to a solution. Take our example of Bob, who can't afford his house but loves the school district for his kids (from the linked post, go read it if you haven't).

Knowing where his problem stems from doesn't get him immediately to a fix. In fact, there are a bunch of things he could potentially do to solve his problem, some more complex than others.

In order to choose the right solution to your problem, you want to make sure that you're considering the full list of possibilities. One common process is brainstorming. There are many techniques but only a few basic rules: Go for quantityWrite everything down, no matter how wildBuild on ideas you've already listedDon't judge, debate, or criticizeDon't be too neat Here's how: Figure out who needs to be involved. Maybe it's just you. But maybe you want to include other people who …

Mind War: Part One -- Mind Virus

I've been thinking a lot about viral transmission as an element of culture. I originally came across this idea in the highly recommended Snow Crash a number of years ago. It sparked both a strong interest in Sumerian mythology (which I've read on extensively and it is some amazing stuff) and a personal, if temporary, religious relationship with Inanna (who is very old and very interesting).

So when Gordon brought it up again in this post where he mentions that memes are "archonic retroviruses." I questioned this in the comments and my thoughts have been churning on the topic ever since. I honestly feel like Snow Crash might be required background reading for this post, as I was strongly influenced by it, but am not digging too deeply into the Sumerian stuff here. Besides it's a great book so go read it already.

I have borrowed liberally from the realms of biology, computer security, sociology, and mythology in the following. I have interest in all these fields, b…

The BIG Goal

One the of the reasons to use project management techniques in magical workings is to help you solve problems. Another is to reach big goals. And big goals are good things.

Note: some of the material in this post comes from the books Built to Last and Good to Great by James Collins and Jerry Porras. I can't recommend the books as a whole. The bulk of the books are business book, focused on corporations, which don't apply to what we're up to. But there's a little section in the middle of Good to Great that applies to personal goal setting. It has to do with the Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG -- worst acronym ever) and the three circles.

By the way, Dr. Horrible ended up being the theme of this post. Credit where credit is due.

The premise is that successful companies are often driven by a single big goal. This guides everything in the company, from personnel decisions to corporate values and gives a sense of unity and purpose. People can create the same types of goals b…