Minimum Viable Volume

The history of industrialization is a history of finding scale. Automation of processes so that capital investment in machinery could lead to increased productivity that would, in turn, deliver a return on the capital investment through cheaper to produce, better quality, higher volume goods. The "build it for the exit" model of digital business has … Continue reading Minimum Viable Volume

When the past can’t predict the future

I had a fascinating conversation with one of our non-Exec directors this morning about life in general, and for a point about AI in particular. He by day is the CFO of a travel business, a world that has become consumed by sophisticated pricing algorithms in the last 20 years. As he pointed out, though, … Continue reading When the past can’t predict the future

Goodhart, Campbell and Elections

I'm the sort of person who has favourite Laws of Social Science. Don't judge me. The two "Laws" (let's be honest, they're rules of thumb) are Goodhart's Law and Campbell's Law. The first, Goodhart's Law, is best described in paraphrase from Marilyn Strathem:When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. … Continue reading Goodhart, Campbell and Elections

Data and ethics

The BBC recently ran a news item describing how an airliner got into difficulties because of a software flaw. On closer examination, it's probably more precise to say that an airline pilot got into difficulties because some people interpret the meaning of the title "Miss" differently to others, but that's not as snappy, and doesn't … Continue reading Data and ethics

Zoomed out?

The world is suffering from Zoom exhaustion, apparently. We find ourselves in a state of permameeting, where hours become but interchangeable units of attention mediated through Zoom, Teams, Meet or, for the really unfortunate, WebEx. Because back in the (prepandemic) day, meetings were great, right? It's not like HBR were publishing articles like this but … Continue reading Zoomed out?

Maslow’s hierarchy of User Needs

One of the most often cited bits of psychology that haunts the corridors of organisations and management training is Abraham Maslow's 1940s theory of human motivation, The Hierarchy of Needs. As with any well established model, there is critique, but nonetheless it forms a useful and popular way of visualising what it is that motivates … Continue reading Maslow’s hierarchy of User Needs

Lists, maps and strategy

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a distinction between two types ofthinking - map thinking and list thinking. In a chance' conversation this week with a former colleague Mark, we started to explore how these two mindsets might apply to the thorny world of strategy. To start off, there are many interpretations of … Continue reading Lists, maps and strategy

Evolution, not intelligent design

Eight or so years ago, I found myself at a software developer event organised by the US company Twilio. If you are not familiar, Twilio provide software that allows other people building apps to connect their products and services to the telephone system. They enable you to integrate with voice and text messages without the … Continue reading Evolution, not intelligent design