Podcast Must Listen: Masters of Scale :: Charity Water

Reid Hoffman’s Master of Scale podcast episode that dropped today is AMAZING on so many levels! “TO SCALE, YOU MUST MASTER THE SKILL OF STORYTELLING”

Link to episode: https://mastersofscale.com/#/scott-harrison-to-scale-you-must-master-the-art-of-storytelling/

It’s the story of Scott Harrison of Charity: Water.

I found within it:

  • Life lessons
  • Marketing lessons
  • An amazing story, amazingly told

I dare you to watch this video “The Spring” and:

  • Not shed a tear
  • Not believe that clean water is one of the most impactful efforts that we can do for civilization
  • Not pull out your wallet to subscribe to this amazing charity (all charities should operate this way!)

How Much Time do you REALLY Have?

Would you change anything if you, literally, knew when your time is up? Seems we each have an explicit biological clock embedded in our DNA.

This article talks about how researchers found that your Epigenetic clock can calculate biological age and predict your lifespan.

“Some individuals who fill their lives with fitness and healthy habits die younger than peers who live a much less healthy life. New research into the epigenetics of aging sheds some fresh light on the perplexing phenomenon of premature aging.”

It’s based on this research paper.

I thought this was super interesting.

Loads of implications:

  • Would you retire earlier or later based on your biological age?
  • Surely, this is going to have a tremendous effect on the Insurance industry.
    • I wonder how long until the industry adopts this as common practice to set your premiums.
  • Now that we know the marker (or measure), can we work to improve or manipulate it. (this is all over my head, I don’t even know if that’s a valid question)

Smart People are Flip-Floppers

I’m insecure. I have a small fear of commitment. When I make a decision, I’m always wondering if it was the best decision. What’re the unknown unknowns?

Bezos believes that “the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved”

I’m not saying I’m amongst the smartest or smart at all. But this did give me solace, in that, at least I know I might be thinking along the same lines as smart folk.

I’m always curious: Is there a better way?

In the book “Thinking in Bets”, Poker pro Annie Duke says that when it comes to decision-making, decide as if you are betting all of your money on your choice. Don’t take shortcuts based on your biases; seek contrarian opinions and experienced counsel. Talk with folks who have had similar experiences and expertise who can critique your choices and illuminate your blindspots.

I’ll talk to anybody and everybody about anything.

You can always learn something from someone.

And you know what? You’ll probably disagree and hate me for saying this, but Recruiters and Sales folk are amongst the best to speak with because they speak to the most people. So, they often have a good perspective (as long as you understand their bias, you can really learn a lot).

Data Wrangling is Career Strangling

Data wrangling is a necessary process when working with big data; most data, in reality. This opinion piece is not to diminish its importance. Nor, is this to be confused with Data Engineering. But I will argue that data wrangling is career strangling, in that it is holding you back in your career progression. Let me explain…

Firstly, let’s agree that the whole basis of big data is to whittle it down to little data, that we call “Insights”. The point of any data analysis is to identify a trend or anomaly. The point of a machine learning model is to find a set of defined patterns or assign a probability.

Observe any Data Scientist or Analyst presentation and the only pieces that get talked about are the Insights and the model. Zero time is spent explaining how the data was wrangled, despite that being 60-80% of the effort.

I am making the argument that data wrangling is low-level, tedious work that is wasted when an expensive resource such as a Data Scientist or Data Engineer or Analyst decides to take this on.

The best consultants know that:

You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour

The more time you spend on lower value work, the more you diminish your value.

And if you’re an Analyst / Data Scientist spending a greater portion of your time wrangling data, that’s much less time that you’re spending to understand the data, that’s much less time you’re spending to analyze the data, that’s much less time to you’re spending on delivering business value from the data.

When it comes to big data, I believe that folks are starting to realize that robust software engineering practices need to be put in place to ensure quality of the data pipeline and #datagovernance. …Cue the Data Engineer.

In today’s episode (Aug 14) of the Digital Analytics Power Hour (a wonderful podcast, btw), there was a great discussion about raw data and data virtualization. I didn’t feel that there was any consensus, so I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

A company must adopt a tool or process to virtualize the raw data for the Data Scientists and Analysts. Drawing from software principles, the solution — built in-house or purchased — must be robust, scalable, extendable, and re-usable.

This will save an immense amount of time (and headache).

For example, when working with raw clickstream data, you have billions of atomic events. In most cases, identity resolution is required over a specified period of time. If every Data Scientist or Analyst is starting with the raw data, I guarantee that each will resolve the identity in a different manner (different “code”). This leads to multiple, inconsistent “truths”. The Analysts / Data Scientists should only work from a consistent, consolidated schema for the vast majority of cases.

So, when I say “Data wrangling is career strangling”, it’s because you’re devoting too much time to work with a lower-assigned value.

[Tangential annecdote: I use Salesforce a lot in my work. If I’m to be diligent, the data entry could be up to 4 hrs a week. I hired a VA  on my own dime  to handle this. This allows me to spend more time on higher value (and quite frankly, more fun) tasks. I value my time]

In the end, businesses are results-oriented. If you can produce more positive business results in a shorter time frame, then your career trajectory will move up-and-to-the-right at an accelerated pace.

And it’s a compounding factor. Those that produce results are provided more opportunities. The sooner you produce results, the sooner those opportunities present themselves.

Focus on value delivered.

The faster you iterate, the faster you grow.

WSJ: In this Economy, Quitters are Winning

[LinkedIn Post]

Commentary on this article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-this-economy-quitters-are-winning-1530702001

Don’t read this if you’re happy in you’re current role! The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Be thankful you’re happy. BUT…

If you aren’t happy, do something about it! Life is short; don’t waste time that you can’t get back. This is as good an economy as it gets. I love working, but I know I’m not normal.

If working is miserable to you, in general, at least be miserable with 30% more dollars in your pocket! 🙂

I know loads of folks hiring in digital analytics and data science. Demand is larger than Supply.

I also know individuals that are looking (secretly) and I’m happy to match where I can. I’m here to help. Society is better when ppl are happy.

 

Wim Hof Method – I’m a Believer!!

#WimHof … MIND BLOWN … I’m a believer!

I just did 30 chin-ups almost effortlessly (I usually struggle to 20).

Almost every day, I try to do 20 chin-ups. I usually struggle to get to that 20. But today, I tried Wim Hof’s breathing method first, then went to do my chin-ups while holding my breathe. 30 … easily!!!

I only stopped because I ran out of breathe. HOLY COW!

(Wim usually has people do pushups, but I had no recent personal benchmark)

Over the break, I heard about Wim Hof. I was fascinated. I’m really interested in anything that uses the human mind to accomplish great feats.

I’m always weary of these method’s pushed by “gurus”. Then I heard about Scott Carney’s book about Wim Hof. Scott is an investigative journalist and he was a skeptic turned believer. That convinced me that I had to look into this myself.

Between Wim Hof and Scott Carney, there is a lot of videos and podcasts with them and I consumed many. Fascinating stuff!

So this morning’s experience was amazing! I was so excited, I then went to take a cold shower. 2 minutes. It was easy as well. In fact, towards the end and getting out — usually when the cold winter air hits your skin — my body actually felt WARM!

The mind is a beautiful thing. YouTube it. Try it!!!

Parable of The Mexican Fisherman and the Investment Banker

By Unknown Author

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

[Quora] What are some signs that a person will be successful?

https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-signs-that-a-person-will-be-successful/answer/Kerry-Hew

Success is totally subjective.

I think that the vast majority would classify Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet as “successful”.

Is Bernie Madoff, who lived the vast majority of his life as a 0.1%-er until he got caught, successful?

Is the single mother, who works two jobs and raises her kids to learn respect and hard-work, leading them towards productive middle-class lives, successful?

Is the rich and famous person that commits suicide (take your pick) successful?

I would define success as someone who is generally happy and leading a fulfilling lifestyle for them. And my formula for happiness is the difference between one’s Reality and their Expectations (E.g., low reality Vs. high expectations = negative happiness; high reality Vs. low expectation = very happy).

You can accumulate all the financial wealth in the world, but if you are not happy at the end of the day, you are NOT successful.

All that said, here are the 3 personality attributes common to these “successful” people:

Gratefulness

I think it takes gratitude to best appreciate what you have. Happy people are thankful for all the people/things that helped them achieve what they’ve achieved.

Curious

Successful people are consistently asking: “How can <this> be better?”; “How can I make <x> better?”; “How can I be better?”. They ask. They tinker. They explore. They embrace a growth mentality. They embrace change (but not just for the sake of change).

Dedication

I believe persistence and follow-through, sub-attributes of dedication, are a critical towards the predictor of success. They show a sense of mission and show a passion to complete it.

 

It is absolutely possible to only have 2 of the 3 and find success, as long as the two are intense so that they make up for the lack of the third.

Parents Should Look at KidPass

As a parent, I’m always looking for new things to do with my kids.

Sure, they’d be perfectly content with going to Chuck’E’Cheese (or equiv) every time, but I need the variety and they need exposure to different activities so they learn to love exploring and trying new things and eventually find their passion.

 

Kidpass is only in New York right now, but they just raised $5.1 million to help expand their business and replicate the model in other major cities, starting with Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

Here in Orange County, I’m always searching for activities for us to do. But I feel that I’ve exhausted searches on my usual sources. I’m sure there are a lot that I don’t know about. In fact, just this week, we found one called SenderCity. It’s a rock climbing facility. This place was GREAT and it was located almost right next to Rock’n’Jump (trampoline park) that we have been to quite a number of times.

I like how Kidpass has layed out the UI so that I can browse the activities by different criteria. I especially like the ability to browse by day.

The only deterrent could be the cost, but take that with a grain of salt because I really haven’t looked at it in-depth at all. I simply make that comment upon glancing at the plans and seeing the credits needed to do a couple of the activities. That said, if it exposes to new things for 1-time (where you’d normally pay more or have to do a longer commitment), then that could be worth the premium.

Understand Your Edge

I’ve been reading a lot about copywriting, persuasion, and sales strategies recently (I need to be writing about that more). It is a fascinating topic. And when I say copy, this incorporates (verbal) sales messaging. It makes me wish I had taken more philosophy and psychology classes in school.

In business and in any realm where there is competition you need to beat, it’s crucial to understand your edge. Why should the buyer select your product or your service? We live in the information age and it is almost certain that the buyer can/will research the competition (although, in simplistic transactional sales, this can be countered by techniques like limited time offers).

The copy needs to reflect this edge. Does your edge solve a pain point and/or deliver a pleasure? Your copy needs to amplify the pain and pleasure points and it needs to specifically do so around your edge.

One edge that a small company can have over a big corporation is speed. I really like John Boyd’s OODA loop. John Boyd was a F-86 Pilot and Commander in the US Airforce.

Boyd believed that when at a disadvantage, a competent pilot could still overcome that disadvantage by “Attacking the Mind” of his opponent. The OODA loop is a process that defines how we react to stimulus.

“In order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries—or, better yet, get inside [the] adversary’s Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action time cycle or loop … Such activity will make us appear ambiguous (unpredictable) thereby generate confusion and disorder among our adversaries—since our adversaries will be unable to generate mental images or pictures that agree with the menacing, as well as faster transient rhythm or patterns, they are competing against.”

Colonel Boyd trained his pilots based upon his observations of Human reaction time and as a result his pilots had a 10 to 1 kill ratio over the superior Mig-15’s.

“The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.”

The OODA loop has become an important concept in many areas outside of air-to-air combat (dog fighting).