Monday, August 8, 2022

Maximize your mindset with these tips

 

  1. How can you better adopt a “systems” mindset to maximize your creative output while minimizing your time and effort?
    Self-improvement and personal development are about improving your memory, mind, thinking, and decisions. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I want to produce better results over time. I want to achieve bigger goals while working less and putting in less effort; that’s leverage. When I think about the long-term vision of my life, I’m tired of trying to become this superhuman optimized machine-like entity.

    Instead, I want to create systems. And so your job is not to do the work; your job is to create the systems that do the work. It’s a decoupling of the value you’re creating from the hours you’re putting into your business and career. It’s such a subtle but huge shift; that’s what a second brain is. It’s a system; it’s a point of leverage for you to create, be more productive, and make more creative outputs, decisions, and experiences without having to just pour in more and more of your own time and effort.
     
  2. How can you create a second brain to better unlock your creative potential?
    A second brain is a system of personal knowledge management. It’s not as simple as downloading an app; you need three things to build a second brain: the tool, the behavior, and the mindset. 
     
    • The Tool: The best tool is the simple notes app you likely already have on your digital devices. The power of note-taking comes in its informality. How many great ideas come from a whiteboard session, all these scribbles and crazy diagrams, and suddenly something emerges. Creativity cannot be rigid and precise; it needs to be messy and somewhat chaotic. We can have that kind of messiness and chaos while also benefiting from the incredible capabilities of technology if we get those ideas and capture them digitally. 
       
    • The Behavior: The four-part framework is called code. C-O-D-E stands for capture, organize, distill, and express. Think of it as a production line you adopt as a part of your daily routine. Four things have to happen:
      • Capture: It has to be saved digitally somewhere that you can access
      • Organize: It has to be organized to know what's important, what's not, or what's important in a given situation. 
      • Distill: It has to be boiled down to the essence
      • Express: This is communication. It's to express yourself, your ideas, tell your story, share your message, and make an impact. 
         
    • The Mindset: People must put aside the note-taking they learned in school and consider note-taking as a companion to their ongoing learning. There’s a big return on investment here: the notes you take can become part of your lifelong learning of projects and goals. Your second brain is like the map of everything you’re undergoing on your journey that you might want to reference in the future, which is a much more long-term perspective.
       
  3. How can you better filter what you capture and what you leave behind to maximize saving only the most transformative insights?
    The best filter requires a simple adjustment toward what is surprising and what resonates with you. You can’t use too much energy or intellectual effort at the capture stage because not much value is created there. Instead, the value is created when you organize, distill, and express. You need capture to be so low effort and frictionless that it is much more effective over the long term to use emotions like surprise or resonance to decide what to keep.

    I see how people read and highlight. They’re highlighting every remotely good idea, stuff they already know and agree with. Instead, save very sparingly. Only keep the highlights that blow your mind—the ones that are so surprising they make you stop and sit back, almost like you’re in shock. 

    Your second brain is like a CliffsNotes, a portable collection you have of the key points to remind you that they exist and what they are. Once you’ve retrieved it, you can spend all the time you want going back and finding all the details, but the key is finding that genuinely moving piece of information and capturing it effortlessly.
     
  4. How can you implement the PARA framework to supercharge organizing your digital life?
    CODE is how to take action and move information from input to output. PARA is how you store things. It’s the organizational hierarchy, but the key is instead of a vast system, like a library with categories and subcategories, there are only four categories:

    P - Projects which are currently active
    A - Areas of ongoing responsibilities in your work and life 
    R - Resources that you’re collecting
    A - Archives are everything from the past that is no longer active

    It’s a simple hierarchy. There’s a project folder and then a folder for each project. There are two levels. You can’t go down more than two levels. You can start this in 60 seconds. Go into your notes app, or whatever program you’re using, and create one folder for each active project you’re working on. This exercise is really powerful. People are like, “What’s the big deal? I know what I’m working on.” I would suggest you don’t. You have projects in the back of your mind and projects on the back burner; you have projects that you’re working on actively that you haven’t even identified as a project. Making a project list is one of the most powerful exercises to organize your digital life.
     
  5. How can you leverage the “just in time” approach to maximize executing successful projects?
    A question a lot of people have is when do you do your organizing? You’ve captured all these notes. Do you sit down once a day, once a week, or once a month? 

    My approach to executing projects is called “just in time”. I have no regular cadence because the ideal time to sit down and organize your notes is not on any schedule. It’s the moment you decide to start a project. Think about it. If you’re coming out of a meeting with your boss, they’ve said, “okay, it’s time to redesign the website. This is a top priority project”. The minute that project comes into existence, suddenly, you know what you’re trying to do. Suddenly you have goals, constraints, and you know what the competing priorities are. Five minutes earlier, when that project was not started, what basis would you even organize your notes? According to what?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

4 actionable takeaways and advice for August 2022

 4 Actionable Takeaways

Take 60 seconds to answer one or more of the following questions -- we also highly encourage you to try this with colleagues and/or loved ones! 
​​​​​​
  1. How can you reframe your thinking about the future of geopolitics and strategic competition to maximize the good you can do?
    Whether citizens of different countries, business leaders, or policymakers, we often hear a lot of fatalism in discussions of where the world is going. We hear that competition that leads to conflict and strategic frictions between countries is inevitable. We see that our geopolitical environment is becoming more turbulent but it’s important, as individuals, that we remember our agency and that the world's fate is not just about these abstract structural forces. The structural forces we talk about are ultimately driven by people. The decisions we make determine the decisions that nations make and, therefore, the trajectory of the world.

    It’s important to push back against the sense of fatalism. As a community and as individuals, we need to know we can make a difference, we need to know we have the power to reclaim that sense of agency and say, how can we make this world better?
     
  2. How can you leverage the concepts of the great power competition and transatlantic challenges to make better decisions for your business, community, and life?
    You need to understand two big buckets if you want to learn more about the world and make better decisions for your business, community, and life.

    The first bucket is the notion of a great power competition which affects politics, business, and our day-to-day lives. It focuses on the United States, China, and Russia- three nuclear-armed powers possessing substantial economies. The United States and China alone account for over 40% of the world’s economy, and have different visions geopolitically and strategically for the world. Whatever your station in life, whatever your vocation, you must focus on what the United States and China are doing.

    At the end of the Cold War, the United States had a particular vision for how it wanted the world to evolve. There was triumphalism in US policymaking and an underestimation that other countries could become more powerful, have different ideologies, and the ability and willingness to push back. We’re seeing this with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And so, the competitive dynamics between these three great powers concern anyone because they affect geopolitics, which means they affect business.

    The second bucket is what I call transnational challenges—climate change, pandemic disease, macroeconomic stability, energy insecurity, and so on. One of the concerns is that if these three powers allow their competitive dynamics to dominate their relationships, they not only think about cooperation on those transnational challenges as a fool’s errand, but they think cooperation is a demonstration of strategic weakness.

    Suppose national-level governments are increasingly preoccupied with competitive dynamics and unwilling to cooperate, but these challenges are only growing in severity and complexity. Is there a role other actors and communities play in pushing the ball forward and thinking more creatively about diplomacy? There’s a real challenge, but I also believe there’s a real opportunity for communities to move the needle and think creatively about diplomacy going forward.
     
  3. How can you further overcome the challenges preventing you from becoming a deeply engaged citizen?
    There are three things to focus on to diminish the feelings of isolation and remain a deeply engaged citizen:
     
    • Remember that most trends are going in the right direction: The rate of extreme poverty and child malnutrition is much lower today than it was several decades ago, and life expectancy is much higher. In many ways, the world is safer, more prosperous, and healthier than it was a few decades ago. 
       
    • Restore the sense of community: People feel much more anonymous than they did two years ago. Individuals worldwide report dramatically higher rates of isolation, loneliness, and disconnection. When we have a community, we restore that sense of togetherness and that we’re not fighting the good fight alone.
       
    • Consume more positive news: Axios published an article about how news consumption has declined tremendously. People feel the news is grim. How do we push back on that narrative? The media plays an important role in amplifying good news, spotlighting good trends, and showcasing individuals making a difference. There’s a website called Good News Network, which shares the good news stories you don’t hear about. We need more of those websites. We need to raise those voices and profiles to have a more objective lens.
       
  4. How can you focus on what you do best, and doing it better, to project quiet confidence to your allies and partners?
    Complacency isn’t good for long-term competitiveness or business leaders, but alarmism and consternation aren’t good either. Instead, focus on doing what you do best and doing it better. You want to look inward and say, “How can we become a more dynamic version of our best selves?” Let’s focus on what the power of our example looks like in practice. How can you recommit to renewal at home and abroad and articulate a positive, affirmative forward-looking vision that speaks to your aspirations more than your anxieties? 

    When you can do that, you’ll be able to mobilize the public. People are more excited when you tell them, “Here’s what we are going to do,” as opposed to just what we’re going to oppose. At a time of intense and growing political polarization, we need a shared project that can galvanize the American people to help them transcend their divisions and project quiet confidence to our allies and partners. 
     

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

5 Actionable Takeaways from Mark Moses

 5 Actionable Takeaways

Take 60 seconds to answer one or more of the following questions -- we also highly encourage you to try this with colleagues and/or loved ones! 
  1. How can you better turn your most critical business goals into reality?
    There are two key questions to ensure you are turning your business goals into reality:
     
    • Where do you want to get to, and what are the measurable, repeatable, daily activities that will get you there? 
      First, you need to get clear on what success looks like for you. I’ve spoken to many executive-level groups, and when I ask what success looks like three years from now, most don’t know. Getting what you want is about having the discipline to follow a cadence. Imagine you determine what you want and develop your big, hairy, audacious goal. You’ve got your vision statement, mission, and core values. The next step is to determine what you need to do annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily to achieve your desired outcomes. Most importantly, you need to determine and track what are the most critical daily, repeatable, measurable activities that will enable you to get there. For revenue growth, it could be a certain number of new events, that get you a certain number of new prospects, which result in a certain growth level. It is critical to have your eye on the key leading indicators that you can influence daily to ensure you get to your lagging indicators. 
       
    • Who are the people you need to achieve what you want?
      Because most people don’t know what they want three years from now, they rely mostly on their current organizational structure; it’s a significant weakness for many firms. Look at your team—how would you answer the question, would you enthusiastically rehire them again today? In some cases, the answer is no, so the more challenging question is, would you enthusiastically rehire them today to help you achieve what you want three years from now? If the answer is still no, it comes back to you as a leader. Do you have the courage to search properly and find the people to drive the outcomes that you want?
       
  2. How can you fully leverage your leading indicators to better plan for times of adversity?
    Hopefully, your business won’t be affected by the coming recession, but there’s nothing wrong with future planning. It’s good to know the issues in your business that are leading indicators, the impact of those leading indicators, and what decisions you would make to change their outcome. 

    I like to look at 13 months because that gives you a year over year compared to that one month, but you can also do it quarterly. For example, imagine revenue is down, and you have slight gross margin erosion month over month. What if you can see over the last five months that the average time to close a sale has increased by a few days? Is that negative? Are your customers affected? Are your clients having problems? 

    At baseline, we do nothing. At a 5% increase in margin erosion, we take action. More than that, we take aggressive action, and we do something meaningful. At each stage, it’s worth asking why would I not do that anyway, even without the margin erosion? And if I would make those changes when the bad stuff happens, why would I not make them now? What would the impact be if I did?  All these questions lead you to be better prepared for when adversity does hit. 
     
  3. How can you ask better questions in your leadership meeting to maximize alignment in your organization?
    Alignment comes back to a disciplined process that starts with the annual leadership meeting. Each team member prepares the following: What went right this past year? What went wrong? What did we learn this past year? How did we do on our goals compared to how we said we would do? How did we do on the measurable activities we said would drive the outcome that we wanted?

    This is critical because often, things misfire on buy-in and alignment. People might have different visions, or our assumptions are wrong. Let’s say we achieved 80% of the activities but only 60% of the result. We might have chosen the wrong actions, or we didn’t pick enough of them. I like to ask, what will it take to guarantee we achieve the outcome? Once a year, it’s worth asking the question, if we were to start our business all over again, what are we doing today that we would not do in our new company? 
     
  4. How can you use the sensitivity analysis tool to identify the two most important levers in your business?
    When using the sensitivity analysis tool, you pick two essential levers in your business and create a simple two-dimensional graph, and the impact on EBITDA is in the center. That’s the number to focus on. You can see on one end EBITDA is high, and on the other end, it’s low. It’s a very disciplined way to look at your business. I suggest every company take their most essential levers and plot them against each other on the grid. This simple exercise shows you what moves the needle for your business and what you can do more of and less of, depending on your desired outcome.
     
  5. How can you better evaluate which executive coach is right for you to unlock your full potential?
    A good coach is three things. First, they’re part coach; a coach is somebody who can ask great questions and guide you to the answer. They also have a lot of industry experience, so they’ll wear the consultant hat. And at times, they are business therapists helping clients navigate between the courage and fear to act.

    Coaches often get fired because the client’s perception of the value they’re providing isn’t there. You don’t need a friend or therapist. You’re looking for somebody who can help you achieve what you really want a year and three years from now. Think through if you believe they can help you do that and how they are going to help you do it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Great stories from July 6, 2022

Newsletters have become the hottest new thing over the last 3 years. Here are some of the top stories that are intriguing for today July 6, 2022 with the biggest in my opinion is the Pokemon making more cards in 2021 than they did in the last 20 years more or less. Well read why below: 

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES
The Eiffel Tower is getting rusty. According to a leaked report, the 133-year-old monument needs a fix-up, but only cosmetic repairs have been planned so far.
Cinemas are banning teens from viewing Minions: The Rise of Gru. The #gentleminions trend, which requires wearing a suit to watch the film, has caused some dapper disturbances.
Sewage water is being used to make beer. Singapore’s “NEWbrew” is a blonde ale made from toilet water that aims to send a message about recycling.
Pok√©mon made 9 billion new cards last year. Hype to catch ‘em all was so high that the company printed more than a quarter of all the cards it’s ever created from 2020 to 2022.
Sand batteries can store green power for months. Finnish researchers believe they could be a simple and low-cost alternative to other energy sources.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Tyler Cowen Interview and 5 Takeaways

 

  1. How can you better identify the key traits of talented people?
    These are the top 5 traits I look for when conversing with any potential candidate for a new role:
     
    • Energy Level & Desire: A person’s energy level is critical. Are you able to feel a surging desire from them to do something, to work, cooperate, to achieve something? 
       
    • Social Intelligence: This is about how well people work with others. If they see a group, how quickly are they able to figure out, here's how the group works, and here's the role I should play in that group. 
       
    • Maximizing the Correct Things: Some smart people work hard but maximize the wrong things, so look for people who can figure out the proper hierarchies of what is truly important.
       
    • Persistence & Durability: How likely is the person to stick through highs and lows and continue performing consistently? 
       
    • Happiness Level: On average, happy people seem to be more productive.
       
  2. How can you better leverage the talent that’s already in your orbit?
    Someone with a single excellent idea can be worth so much more than a perfectly good worker who doesn’t have a comparably valuable idea. Because of increasing globalization, remote work, and AI, a good idea is now multiplied many times more than it used to be. By our best estimates, 20% to 40% of American economic growth has come from better allocating talent since the 1960s. 

    To unlock this value, we need to start by looking for creative input from a greater number of people, as well as from different types of people. More people are energizers, creatives, and winners than we think. Talent includes renowned CEOs, people running startups, world-famous athletes, and cultural figures like Paul McCartney. But you can also find them on a micro level. I run a podcast, and the sound engineers contribute extremely useful ideas. They are creatives and energizers. In part, they energize me; and they also see things that I do not see. Train yourself at ‘talent appreciation’, the way you might train yourself at art appreciation or music appreciation. It starts with the wake-up call to be fully aware that the creative acts of your individual talent and their judgment are truly central to the future of your institution, more so than ever before. 
     
  3. How can you better position existing talent inside your organization to maximize their impact?
    The research shows people don’t change that much over time, so if you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, it probably won’t work. At times, I succeeded in having people switch divisions; so it’s important to have an open mind about what part of your institution the person could work in. People are capable of learning, that’s a positive fact, but most people stay who they are at their core. If someone is introverted or disagreeable by nature, they will stay that way. Either figure out how they can fit in, or you need to move in some other direction.
     
  4. How can you ask the right questions to identify creatives, energizers, and winners?
    Get prospective hires into a conversational mode on topics they care about but are not prepared for. Find out what they’re interested in and get them talking–baseball, The Beatles, Star Wars, whatever it may be–it will help you see how they think, and how they interpret social structures. Everyone will come prepared with an account of their own strengths and weaknesses, what they learned from the last time they made an error in their previous job; It’s fine to ask those things. You will learn something but you won’t learn what makes that person tick.

    Here’s an example of the ideal question I like to ask people: “What are the open tabs in your web browsers right now?” What are they interested in? What do they care about? The key is not so much to judge the content of the tabs. It’s the level of enthusiasm, detail, and involvement that you’re looking for.

    When it comes to assessing durability and persistence, what I tend to look for is simply people who started endeavors when they were fairly young and were truly interested in them. It’s not proof of persistence, but if they’re 19 and started something at 14, you’re going to see five years of persistence. It’s a sign they might be on that campus of people who just keep on going forever. I look at the earliness of the start. Even if someone is 45, maybe they’ve been out of the workforce. What projects did you start when you were 16? It’s something I would want to know. Highly imperfect on my wishlist. If I could judge the persistence of young people much better, that would be the number one thing on my wishlist.

    All good interview questions spoil within five or ten years, so it’s not about memorizing the best questions. Instead, it’s about thinking through how you bond with people during a conversation—to have a meeting of the minds.  If you’re good at that, the questions will come to you because you are conversing. You don’t go out with a list of questions in your everyday life. Most of all, as the interviewer, be trustworthy; it’s important people trust you. If they perceive you as responsible, your conversations will be much better. That’s more important than a list of best questions.
     
  5. How could you better assess talent in political leaders?
    I find it striking how hard it is to predict good political leadership. For example, if you read the Charles Moore biography of Margaret Thatcher, it was not obvious earlier in her career that she would be a significant political leader. I’m not talking about whether you like what she did or not. Clearly, she became Prime Minister, she was very influential, including internationally. She was a chemist, which is great, but I don’t think the best interviewer in the world would’ve seen that in her. 

    I would say when it comes to political leaders, indeed, almost everything else, the importance of keeping a truly open mind, the human capacity for self-improvement is one of the best things you can do, and it will make you happier, more optimistic, and more productive. I find political leadership the hardest thing to forecast. Still, I think at the end of the day, a political leader can only do so many things, and you need to focus on how they communicate with the public. What two or three ideas are they trying to bring to the discourse, even if they don’t succeed with them now, those ideas might happen in 10 years. 

    You need to throw out so many of the other signals you are getting. It’s hard to do because you’re used to looking for more signals, more information to put together a more complete picture. Still, often for political leaders, you can be a bit more accurate by throwing out a lot of the information you’re getting because how good they are, just doesn’t matter. They’re constrained. They have little time, and many tasks, it’s not really a job that makes any sense. The presidency is a job for 17 different people. So I’m not saying we can actually run it that way. It’s really going to mess with your normal intuitions. And I would just say, “Please keep an open mind, all the more.”

Monday, May 30, 2022

IMDB Pro for Richart Ruddie

 IMDB Pro is a way to showcase any film work that you've done and the internet movie database has been around for decades and is owned by Amazon. A profile was made recently for me here for IMDB Pro.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

How can you leverage relentlessly focusing on your specific customer to successfully navigate turbulence?

 5 Actionable Takeaways

Take 60 seconds to answer one or more of the following questions -- we also highly encourage you to try this with colleagues and/or loved ones! 
  1. How can you leverage relentlessly focusing on your specific customer to successfully navigate turbulence?
    The biggest decision every organization makes is deciding who its specific customer is. I’m a big believer in owning a niche, not only to survive, but to be relevant and credible with your customers. When market trends shift, the economy throws you surprises, and you feel pressure to react, it will challenge the essence of what you’re all about and what you believe. During these times, your north star should always be your specific customer, and how you can serve them better.
     
  2. How can you swim with the current while staying committed to your key principles?
    One of the quotes I came to love as we as a business were navigating the disruption over the last few years was from Thomas Jefferson. When it comes to matters of style, swim with the current. When it comes to matters of principle, stand like a rock. As leaders, we have to discern between trends and principles on behalf of our company. Those are hard decisions, because you need to move with the market, but if you only do that you’re just going to blend into the background with all your competitors. To be distinctive, you have to own your own principles and your point of view. 
     
  3. How can you utilize a one-page strategy to kickstart a business after a slump?
    In the beginning of our turnaround at Brooks, it was so important for us to gain trust from everybody: employees, leadership, investors, and banks. To do this, we created a one-page strategy that clearly represented the business model and customer we thought would take us into a profitable future. When designing a strategy, you must ask yourself first, what blank space are you filling, and then, how do you make money at that? If you think about it as a grid, you’ve got competitive strategy from a customer marketplace standpoint, then profitability and asset intensity, then people and execution, and finally, culture across the top. Those elements make up your one-page strategy.
     
  4. How can you design a better medium and long-term strategy to guide your organization? 
    As a leader and a steward of an enterprise, I think about the business and design our strategy around three horizons. Horizon one is from now through the next three years. Horizon two is five years out. Horizon three is a ten-year vision. Great businesses do all three of these horizons well. We must challenge ourselves to try to see around the corner near, medium, and long-term corners. 

    Each spring at Brooks Running, we update our three-year strategy to chart the future of the company. This looks like a 15-page summary of our priorities for the next three years. Our teams use this as a basis to drive their activities–everything is linked, aligned, and integrated with the 3-year plan. To design it, we begin with our exec team of five, then expand to a larger senior team, and finally to our even larger team of directors. In the process, each layer of the organization builds their three-year plans and budgets. It has been a transformative tool for alignment for us. 
     
  5. How can you better supplement your financial metrics with customer success metrics?
    At Brooks Running, we review financial metrics equally and simultaneously with customer success metrics when we rate our performance. We report our full financial results, quarterly and monthly, but we additionally gather everything we can on customer metrics–from Net Promoter Score, to market share, to unit growth. I believe the financial results come from customer success. If you’re trying to win short-term, medium-term, and long-term, customer metric focus and financial focus go hand in hand.

Monday, May 23, 2022

The Ultimate Freedom

 Do what others are doing but just a little bit different. There's always a gripe that somebody has with a business or idea so make a twist on that to differentiate yourself and earn their business and eventually many others. 

Learn from this quote of the day about the ultimate freedom:

"Quality of life is having the freedom to make choices that are not fear based. Whether it’s the ability to choose the kinds of projects I want to take on and can learn from, or the ability to take a month off to travel. Freedom to choose is the ultimate luxury."

Friday, May 13, 2022

Matt Damon is Just like Leonardo DiCaprio Saving Lives With Clean Water Interview

 Beri Maric the CEO of the Ivy taught me today that Matt Damon is very similar to Leonardo DiCaprio not because they're both fantastic actors but because they care deeply about the environment, social causes, and improving the world on a global scale. Matt is involved in clean water to save lives. The most crazy fact is the one of over a million children dying a year from preventable causes as you will read about below in the diarrhea section. 

The talking points from the interview are below: 


  1. What is the Scale of the Global Water Crisis?
    Water insecurity is defined as the lack of easy access to sufficiently clean and safe water for basic human needs. We’ve known how to make water safe in the United States for more than a hundred years, and still, 771 million people across the world don’t have this access. Imagine if we cured cancer and in a hundred years, people were still dying of cancer in certain parts of the world. That’s where we are with water. 

    A million children under the age of five die every year for completely preventable reasons, like diarrhea. In the United States that would maybe keep a child out of school for one day. Additionally, dehydration can literally be a death sentence in some parts of the world. These are not things that should be killing children, but they are. There are very real numbers, but what can not be measured is the potential that’s lost in somebody’s life.

    There is a further, crucial inequity embedded in the problem of water insecurity. Lack of access to clean water disproportionately affects women. Many girls aren’t in school because they spend their whole day trying to find water for their families. This precludes countless women from living up to their full potential. Our mission is to ensure that everyone on earth has access to clean water and sanitation, and we envision that happening in our lifetime
     
  2. How Business and Finance Can Resolve the Global Water Crisis
    If we really zoom out, it would cost $1 trillion to solve this problem, and not solving it costs an estimated $300bn per year. The solution requires investments in infrastructure, sanitation, and pipes that carry water to people’s homes and carry the waste away. Some of the poorest people on earth pay 10 to 15 times more for water than the middle class. They’re either paying a vendor for water, or they’re paying with their time by standing in a line at a public water place or walking around trying to find it. The time people waste every day walking to collect water when they could be working in a paying job, the needless deaths, needless illnesses, girls being out of school, and the lost economic potential–all of these are what we call coping costs, and these costs add up to about 300 billion a year. 

    By providing microloans for water solutions, you can buy somebody’s time back and make the system more efficient. Initially, microfinance institutions were really reluctant to do that because they didn’t see that as an income-generating loan. However, when you buy somebody’s time back, you are making so many other things much more efficient. When they get a loan, and they get a water connection, put in a pump or water filter, that really allows them to be liberated and move on to that next rung of the economic ladder, using the time that they save at a paying job and having more sustainable food for themselves. Girls get an education. So far, we’ve done almost 10 million loans that have reached 43 million people this way. 99% of these loans pay back. 

    With the amount of money it would take to solve the water crisis ($1 trillion), there’s no way we’re going to solve it with just charity. We’ve got to bring the capital markets to bear. We’ve got to do it in a fair and equitable way for everybody in the system, particularly poor women who live in need of water and sanitation. When we create that financial plumbing that connects someone who wants an attractive financial return in the capital markets with someone making a few dollars a day, everybody has value created, and you take out the friction that you might see in traditional philanthropy. Viewing this crisis as a business problem instead of a philanthropic one opens the door to so many possibilities and creates a much more reliable solution, one that doesn’t rely upon the kindness of strangers. 
     
  3. What are the Most Critical Obstacles, and How Can we Help?
    Almost 10 years ago, all of our microfinance partners were reporting back that their biggest bottleneck was access to affordable capital. Subsequently, that capital was not getting to the infrastructure providers. The demand for providing this kind of capital was absolutely there. We were convinced that there were many people out there who done very well in life, and wanted some kind of return in the market, but also wanted their money to do good in the world. 

    That’s the purpose behind WaterEquity. We enable our corporate partners to invest using their treasury function, where they can earn returns while also playing a key part is solving the global water crisis. That flywheel of impact allows us to create an even more sustainable model, where the management fees that we get as an asset manager get pumped back into the work of our charity to scale up to maximize the good we do. With our next fund, we will be managing about $200 million in assets. We’re focused on securing more capital from investors and investing it in infrastructure, so when people come with their microloans to connect to the utility, there are pipes in the ground.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Unlocking Strategic Innovation by Reimagining Design By Kevin Bethune

 

  1. How can you better balance short-term and long-term thinking?
    Change is the only thing that’s guaranteed. Business leaders need to reflect on how much they think about the future versus the present. The best organizations have mindsets with a 50/50 split: 50% of decisions are focused on the short-term, 50% are focused on the future. The short term is the here and now, the imperative to deliver, to be mindful. The long-term is always looking to the future, always collecting inspirations, always filling your corporation’s walls with observations of what’s happening with your stakeholders, and industry. Consider reflecting on your current ratio of short term vs. long-term thinking, decide what that ratio should actually be, and then make the necessary adjustments to ensure you have the right balance. 

  2. How can you clarify your growth goals to help crystallize your strategy?
    Businesses care deeply about growth, but they have to also understand and contextualize what type of growth they desire. Any time your organization is looking at an avenue for growth, you need to reflect on the type of growth that you’re after, and how to help the organization navigate the associated ambiguity and uncertainties. Do we need to be hyper respectful of the core business that we’ve already created and ensure that we’re fixing broken things by re-engineering the existing structure? Do we need to extend the benefits of the existing structure through re-imagining how certain customer journeys and outcomes manifest? Or, do we need to start to think about disrupting ourselves before the marketplace does, by thinking about ways to create new growth avenues that could maybe replace the core business at some point down the road. Most importantly, are we being proactive enough to discuss and formulate those new constructs?

  3. How can you encourage more multidisciplinary thinking in your teams? 
    Multidisciplinary collaboration is the currency that will inform the future innovation, especially as we’re faced with more complicated challenges, such as the acceleration of computation, artificial intelligence, and technology. Multidisciplinary teams allow us to see the future through a multitude of different vantage points. We can dissect stakeholder value criteria. We can challenge “industry first” principles, and question foundational beliefs that may be holding us back. Multidisciplinary teams also enable us to bring in all kinds of inspirational fodder to the conversation, and curate diverse trends that can inform our most important decisions. Organizations must prioritize collaboration in a way that allows teams to develop their own natural, creative sparks and connections.

  4. How can you unlock the power of play more within your business?
    Play, creativity, and willingness to fail is imperative for today’s business owners. Have the creative courage to take a step forward, experiment, workshop, and rewire your organization to create a little bit more capacity for strategic innovation conversations. Invite more voices around the table, not just design. Look at the team makeup and ensure that you’re championing diversity, equity, inclusion. Consider taking creative, optimistic actions that you might have avoided in previous circumstances, and see what comes about.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

3 Actionable Takeaways from this weeks transforming into creative ways

 3 Actionable Takeaways from this weeks transforming into creative ways:
 

  1. How can you transform pain and suffering into creativity, connection, and transcendence in your daily life?
    A large part of the creative process is transforming imperfection and pain. The act of turning pain into something beautiful is where creative magic happens. There are three ways we can achieve this powerful transformation in our daily lives:
     
    • Appreciate the Journey
      Embrace the fact that you are here for the journey, not the outcome. Life is about the act of trying to create a pearl and not the pearl itself. What is the great act for which you live? Even when we experience the joy of achieving our goals, we very quickly return to our baseline state. But if the joy is instead the act of trying to create something amazing, beautiful, or powerful, that will positively impact us the most. Always remember that the journey itself is the end result.
       
    • Engage with Art and Beauty, Intentionally and Regularly
      Research has shown that interacting with art stimulates creativity and well-being, which can be catalysts for more positive change in our lives. This can be as simple as looking at an image that inspires you every morning. We can also apply this in our business lives. Ask people to bring something beautiful, something that moves them, and have them share it with their colleagues. This activity will put everyone into an imaginative frame of mind, connect them with beauty, and encourage them to seek out sources of inspiration. Communal acts of engaging with beauty are very transforming. 
       
    • Write Down and Rip Up Negative Thoughts and Feelings 
      Writing down any negative thoughts on your mind, whether it’s fear, anxiety, or just a difficult decision you have to make, is a powerful experience. First, write it down, and then rip it up. This simple act improves our health and productivity to an astonishing degree. This can be done in two minutes every morning, either by ourselves, with our family, or with our teams.
       
  2. How can you create a workplace culture that both transforms and embraces personal and collective pain?
    Leaders need to set the tone that it's okay to bring more of your full emotional range into the workplace. The best way to operationalize that message is for leaders to share what they themselves are going through or feeling. We know from Google's Project Aristotle experiment that the best performing teams are the ones in which people felt psychologically safe to share. In this experiment, one team leader even shared that he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This act of opening up in such a personal way not only made people see this leader as human but also signaled to everyone else that they too can show up as humans. There's a negative cognitive and psychological cost to showing up day in and day out without sharing your truth.
     
  3. How can you embrace the practice of memento mori, remembering death, in order to fully experience life?
    This practice is as simple as remembering you may not be here tomorrow. Thousands of years ago, Stoic philosophers talked about memento mori, which is the idea that we should always remember death, and that death might come anytime. Before bed, Buddhist monks turn over their water glasses on their bedside table to remind themselves that they might not be there in the morning to need the water. The main idea is not to wallow in morbidity, but to help us remember exactly how precious life is and to take every moment as a gift. There are documented psychological benefits to this practice, and it’s a good one to get in the habit of daily.

    Research shows that older people tend to be more attuned to gratitude and the meaning of life because they have acquired awareness of life’s fragility. It’s precisely the opposite of what our culture tells us is accurate. Our culture tells us that we'll be happy if we pretend death will never happen. That’s precisely upside down. Once you embrace the idea of impermanence, you can completely reorient your mindset towards appreciating the preciousness of every instance, and become better at living in that truth.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hubris on Predicting the future

 If you've read my random thoughts you will see that statistics and predictions about the future are incredibly difficult. Even the prognisticators who claim to be predicting whats in store for the future tend to have no idea. That's even when they have all the stats and data in front of them. If they did then why would Tom Brady have been picked 199 in the NFL draft instead of number 1?

The New York Times newsletter discusses the NFL Draft and our hubris for predicting the future. The piece from the https://nytimes.com is below: 


Five-dimensional chess

What is the broader lesson here? The world is frequently messier and harder to understand than people acknowledge. We tell ourselves artificially tidy stories about why something happened and what will happen next.

The stock market rises or falls, and analysts proclaim a cause; in truth, they are often just guessing, as Paul Krugman, the economist and Times columnist, likes to point out.

On the subject of Covid, both experts and journalists have imagined it to be more predictable than it is. When schools reopened or certain states lifted mask mandates, you heard confident predictions that cases would rise. Often, they didn’t. The invisible, mysterious ebbs and flows of virus transmission overwhelmed every other factor.

In her latest column, The Times’s Zeynep Tufekci argues that public health officials have given flawed Covid guidance based on a paternalistic belief that they could see into the future. Zeynep’s main example is the F.D.A.’s refusal to allow young children to be vaccinated, based on what she calls a “five-dimensional chess” prediction that allowing childhood vaccinations will undermine vaccine confidence.

The most direct analogy to the N.F.L. draft is the hiring process elsewhere. Most employers still put a lot of weight on job interviews, believing that managers can accurately predict a candidate’s performance from a brief conversation. Research suggests otherwise.

Interviews can help people figure out whether they will like another person — which has some value — but not how effective that person will be at a job. If you think you’re a clairvoyant exception, you are probably making the same mistake the Jets did.

To be clear, the implication is not that nobody knows anything. Structured job interviews, which mimic the tasks that a job involves, can be helpful. And at the draft tonight, N.F.L. teams won’t be totally clueless: Higher draft picks have historically performed better than lower picks, but only somewhat.

The trouble is that human beings tend to overstate their ability to predict events. People who can resist that hubris — who can mix knowledge with humility — are often at a competitive advantage.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Invisible Extinction is a movie im excited about

 As a semi-health nut who's optimizing his health from taking drugs recommended by Dr. David Sinclair's Harvard research to Wheatgrass & Probiotics on the daily it was funny to get an email about a movie called The Great Extinction. It's a movie about bacteria and not a pandemic related one but our gut bacteria and probiotics.

Here's the synopsis from their official website:

Two globetrotting microbiologists, Gloria Dominguez-Bello and Marty Blaser, race to save our vanishing microbes before it's too late.The Invisible Extinction joins them on this urgent quest from the USA to Venezuela, China, Israel, and Switzerland, showing us how the overuse of antibiotics, elective C-sections, and processed foods are driving the destruction of our inner ecology, which is happening even faster than climate change.

At the same time, the film tells the stories of three patients, in the USA and China, who suffer from life-threatening diseases triggered by microbial loss and are trying experimental treatments that hold hope. As theCovid-19 pandemic hits, Marty pivots to focus on how our microbes may help protect us from the virus and future pandemics, while Gloria spearheads the creation of an international microbe vault to safeguard precious specimens.

So the lesson for now is stay healthy and a good gut bacteria can help stave off diseases.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Key Learnings from This Weeks Talks

 Here are the lessons on strong leadership who are motivated for the right reasons from this weeks talk. The notes from the email are below:

 

  1. Strong Leaders are Motivated for the Right Reasons
    Zelensky is in it for the right reasons. He’s been incredibly effective in rallying the Ukrainian people. What we see in the US a lot these days is the opposite. We see people who are good at the politics of subtraction, doubling down on extreme bases within polar-opposite wings of various political parties. I hope that the Ukrainian people help us cherish and appreciate the freedoms we take for granted in the US. We get better as a nation by criticizing ourselves, but we should take a moment to cherish the freedoms we enjoy and appreciate the gift that we have living in free and open societies.
     
  2. National Defense Recommendations for the Coming Decade
    What’s really important when you’re advising a US President on foreign affairs and national security issues is to have in mind a framework to frame complex challenges, apply design thinking, and then agree on overarching goals and objectives. When you do that, you can make specific decisions. Should we provide big fighters to Ukraine? Should we provide medium-range air defense? What more should we do diplomatically? In Washington, you have discussions about specific, discrete actions, and the tendency then is to confuse activity for progress. There should be four objectives for a framework for Ukraine: 
     
    • Ensure Russia Fails
      If Russia doesn’t fail in Ukraine, it will not be over. Russia has to fail in Ukraine. 
       
    • Mitigate the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Ukraine
      Do everything you can to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people. There’s a military dimension of that in terms of what capabilities to give them so that Russia no longer can commit mass murder by the indiscriminate bombardment of cities.
       
    • Prevent Escalation to Nuclear War
      Aim for this as an explicit objective because when you look at each action, you can evaluate, “Are these contributing to or detracting from this key objective?” 
       
    • Shift the Balance
      Bend the situation to shift the balance in favor of our free and open societies against closed authoritarian systems
       
  3. Our Holiday From History is Over
    Major war has returned to the European continent after almost 80 years. What is clear from the horror being experienced by Ukrainian people is that our assumptions about the post-Cold War world are now demonstrably false. Among these false perceptions is the idea that an arc of history had guaranteed the primacy of our free and open societies over closed authoritarian systems.
     
  4. Hard Power Matters
    When people ask if Putin has gone crazy, my answer is this is consistent for Putin. The renewed assault on Ukraine was not a Black Swan event; it was a Pink Flamingo. What we should have learned is that hard power matters. In retrospect, there’s a lot more we could have done to provide Ukraine with more defensive capabilities that could have convinced Putin that he couldn’t accomplish these objectives in Ukraine at an acceptable cost. It was Putin’s perception of his chances of success that led to the invasion. 
     
  5. Putin’s Four False Assumptions
    We remember Putin as the great strategist who plays his weak hand better than anybody. That’s all nonsense. Putin has set himself and the people around him up for failure in Ukraine based on these four false assumptions:
     
    • Ukraine Is a Powerless Nation
      Putin thought Ukraine would collapse, that It was weak. He thought Zelensky was a joke. He counted him and the Ukrainians out. 
       
    • The Ukrainian Military Would Fold
      Putin thought Ukraine didn’t have the national will to resist enemy forces.
       
    • Russia's Military Would Get the Job Done Efficiently Because of Their Prowess
      They turned out to be pretty inept because of the rampant corruption across all the institutions within Russia.
       
    • Global Disunity Would be Created
      Putin got unity instead. We’ve seen a sea change in Europe. It’s a fundamental shift and attitude toward Russia far beyond what people imagined. 

 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Key Learnings & Advice

 From the leading educational series the Ivy's newsletter here are some of the top take aways from March 2022 - April 2022 video education series:

  1. A Radical New Way to Negotiate with Barry Nalebuff
    I think a lot of people think of negotiation like Listerine. I hate it, but I use it. And it doesn't have to be that way. There's two activities in negotiation. You want to create value and you want to capture value, war and peace. In Tolstoy it's seven years of war, seven years of peace. Here, it's simultaneous war and peace. How do you figure out how to cooperate with somebody while at the same time being careful that you don't get taken advantage of? So that's the trick and ultimately that's the new way of negotiating, which is to agree up front to split the pie fairly by splitting the surplus value generated by the deal equally. Now we can focus our attention on how to make the pie bigger.
     
  2. Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers' Hearts with Neil Hoyne
    The biggest limitation companies set on themselves is that they don’t allow their employees to learn more about their customers. What you really want to focus on is not only what questions you want answered, but how you empower people in your organization to ask more of those questions. If you have a hypothesis, how many steps do you have to go through to ask questions about it to your customers? How can you reduce the number of steps required to ask such questions, so that your colleagues can ask your customers more questions, and get more insights to elevate your business?
     
  3. How to Master Conflict Resolution in High-Stakes Relationships with Jayson Gaddis
    Becoming a better listener is one of the biggest factors in cultivating successful relationships, both business and personal. My acronym for that is LUFU: listen until they feel understood. With LUFU, people feel seen, heard, understood, supported and they feel like you know them. In the most stressful moments, all of our tools and resources go out the window. If you can triple down on listening until people feel understood, it’s going to go a long way to not only avoid conflict but to prepare you better for the future when it does happen.
     
  4. How to Create a Transformative Culture of Belonging at work with Ruchika Tulshyan
    Research shows purpose, belonging, values, and aligning with an organization's mission could even be enough to have millennials take a pay cut, just to find an organization where they belong, feel like they're valued, and their values align with the organization's mission. What's at stake is that when we do not have that, we see a great resignation taking place, the great realignment. We're seeing people leave the workforce in droves and create a different future for themselves.
     
  5. How to Break Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward with Britt Frank
    Your sense of smell goes offline when your brain perceives danger. For a simple cue to let your brain know you’re okay, smell something. I carry with me these little essential oil bottles everywhere I go. Logically I know that I'm safe, but we often discount that even when we know we are safe, parts of our brains are going, ah, danger, danger, with every stressor and change of scenery. So smell something, touch something, fidget with something. I would make sure that there are things to fidget with at every desk of every employee at your company. You will maximize productivity when you can kind of calm down the survival brain with physical sensations. 
     
  6. How Women of Color Can Redefine Corporate Power with Deepa Purushothaman
    Women of color are in a moment when we are questioning if we want to stay in these corporate structures and workplaces in general. Many of us are leaving to create businesses that have cultures that see and recognize us. We need to stay in these structures and make them better, because the data shows as the workplace becomes more diverse, it becomes stronger. What’s at stake for leaders is that if you don’t find ways to keep us, you’re going to lose our insights and innovation.
     
  7. How to Do Hard Things the Human Way with Jacqueline Carter
    Hard conversations require time. Giving people feedback and then having to leave immediately afterwards without giving them a chance to respond will not get you positive results. Make sure that your schedule isn’t booked back to back, and create space for that person to respond.
     
  8. Full Out: Leadership Lessons with Global Netflix Sensation Monica Aldama
    When people feel noticed, heard, and appreciated, you can get a lot more out of them than people even realize. We all want to feel appreciated and feel seen. The way that you treat people will ultimately lead to what you're able to get out of them. Respect cannot be demanded, no matter how much you yell or criticize, and if you think those power words are making you more powerful, they're not. They're just disconnecting you from the people that you're trying to lead.
     
  9. How to Unlock Strategic Innovation by Reimagining Design with Kevin G. Bethune
    Play, creativity, and willingness to fail is imperative for today’s business owners. Have the creative courage to take a step forward, experiment, workshop, and rewire your organization to create a little bit more capacity for strategic innovation conversations. Invite more voices around the table. Look at the team makeup and ensure that you’re championing diversity, equity, inclusion. Take creative, optimistic actions that you might not have considered doing in previous circumstances, and see what comes about.
     
  10. How Big Ethical Questions Can Supercharge Your Relationships with Susan Liautaud
    No CEO can know everything that's going on in a workplace, but they can be responsible for the ethics infrastructure and culture that is put in place. Choose one particular ethics objective for every team and manager's performance evaluation. This will allow the CEO to be responsible for oversight, making sure there's proper auditing in place, and doing everything possible to create a culture where people feel free to speak up if they have concerns. Organizational ethics work is about trying to deter and trying to detect early.
     
  11. How to Master Superior Management with Roger L. Martin
    The population in general is asking more of corporations today. The era of having winners and losers is over. For example, Walmart is now doing a much better job than it was 10 or 15 years ago in this. It used to be, if we can win, even though many of our employees are living below the poverty line doing precarious work, that’s fine. That’s gone. You can’t get away with that as a corporation anymore. Over the next five to ten years there will be more regulations to stop them from behaving that way, and corporations need to prepare for that.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

So Media, Meta, and PR Firms Are Crooked according to Washington Post Article?

 Not linking for obvious reasons when Washington Post showcases how crooked even they are and Elon Musk blasts them for "Democracy Dies Behind a Paywall": https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/03/30/facebook-tiktok-targeted-victory/

This recent story showcases the length that companies will go to squash out competition and kill competitors through the media. I won't comment on the Hilary Clinton Lawsuit claiming the DNC paid a law firm to dig up dirt on her competitor but will just say of course they would pay a law firm for this.

A crooked and con man Evan Nierman who runs Red Banyan that was sued for Assault, Battery, and Defamation as you can see here: https://unicourt.com/case/fl-mda3-amit-raizada-vs-red-banyan-group-llc-474658

So back to my note taking. Meta paid a PR firm thats owned by The Stagwell Group which also owns Reputation Defender (an online reputation management company) and they were tasked with getting the media to portray TikTok as a dangerous and bad app showcasing it's dangers and even getting senators to call hearings regarding the use of TikTok.

The thing is the article makes it look like journalists and opinion pieces were persuaded by a paid media company to cover an article in order to influence the public's view of TikTok. We deal with this every day with influential articles trying to sway opinion and when can we ever know now whether it's a legitimate article or it was just planted there because of some extortion racket? Sadly we won't ever know for sure so remember that next time you read a negative article or see a lawsuit listed online. Know that it's probably planted there for somebody else's financial gain and motives. That is the sad truth.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Vox Media & Rich Ruddie

Rich Ruddie profile and small biography is up on Vox Media now. We were seeing if Vox media and their properties would open up comments and tie them into profiles as a way to test for future contributors on a user generated content portion of their site.

Possible this is an old profile setup as there are no current comments on Vox properties available. Maybe a liability issue on their side?


https://www.voxmedia.com/users/richruddie

Sunday, February 27, 2022

GDPR Violation for Using Google Fonts

 Things continue to heat up with the GDPR issues that Google is running into. First with the Austrian board over Google Analytics and now there's issues over embedding fonts. Read more here: https://thehackernews.com/2022/01/german-court-rules-websites-embedding.html

Friday, February 25, 2022

The Missing Tinder Swindler Story

 

Israeli 'King of Diamonds' Leviev's Son and Relative Among Those Arrested in Smuggling Case 

Leviev's companies are allegedly at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years

  The names of the six suspects arrested Monday as part of a probe into suspected diamond smuggling in which Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev is implicated were made public on Tuesday. One of the suspects is Leviev's... 

 

This is the story that was featured in the Netflix Special The Tinder Swindler where Simon Leviev sent to his victims. Shimon Yehuda Hayut then leads to the Finnish article about some of his crimes.  The Haaretz.com article by Gur Megiddo has since been deleted and is behind a paywall using a backdoor research site I use.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Future of Outsoucring

 If you are looking for the future of outsourcing and a potential global competitor to Linkedin check out the website Wantedly that I reference below. Along with some other random sites I've recently found old profiles of mine on.

 

https://www.wantedly.com/id/richart_ruddie

https://unsplash.com/@richartruddie

https://www.deviantart.com/richartruddie

https://issuu.com/richruddie/docs/richart_ruddie_art_collection https://issuu.com/home/published/richart_ruddie_art_collection

https://issuu.com/richruddie/docs/richart_ruddie_art_collection

Sunday, January 16, 2022

New York Times Covers Accountability

 The New York Times one of the most reliable newspapers and the namesake for New York City's Time's Sqaure covered Accountability and admitting when you're wrong in their morning newsletter. This is the take from top experts:

Taking stock

Jennifer Nuzzo is a health expert who has become nationally prominent during the pandemic. She is the leading epidemiologist for Johns Hopkins University’s much-cited data collection on Covid-19 testing. She is active on Twitter and quoted frequently in the media. She can explain complex ideas in clear terms, and she has often been prophetic about Covid.

Nonetheless, she took to Twitter last May to criticize herself. She had expected Texas’ ending of its mask mandate to lead to a surge in cases, and it had not:

Nuzzo’s small exercise in self accountability highlighted the inherent unpredictability of this virus. (Masks do reduce its spread, but the effect can be too modest to be visible across an entire community or state.) Her tweet made a larger point, too: People with a public platform should be willing to admit when they’re wrong.

There is no shame in being wrong at times. Everybody is, including knowledgeable experts. The world is a messy, uncertain place. The only way to be right all the time is to be silent or say nothing interesting.

The problem isn’t that people make mistakes; it’s that so few are willing to admit it.

Many experts instead post aggrandizing praise of themselves on social media. They claim that each new development — be it on Covid, the economy, politics or foreign affairs — justifies what they’ve been saying all along. They don’t grapple with the weak points in their arguments and hope nobody notices their past incorrect predictions.

We journalists commit the same sins. More than a decade ago, in an effort to do better, David Weigel of Slate (and now of The Washington Post) introduced a concept he called “pundit accountability.” It describes articles in which journalists highlight their own mistakes — and not small factual errors, which often get corrected, but errors of analysis, which don’t.

Today’s newsletter is my annual attempt at pundit accountability. Below, I’ll link to other writers who have written similar articles in recent weeks.

Looking back on the past year of Morning newsletters made me feel proud of our coverage, especially on Covid, and I’m grateful to the many readers who have come to rely on the newsletter. But that’s enough self-aggrandizement. As Nuzzo would say, accountability time.

1. Breakthroughs

I, too, underestimated the unpredictability of the virus.

Before the Delta variant emerged, infections among vaccinated people — known as breakthrough infections — were rare. I assumed that the pattern would probably continue throughout 2021. If it had, huge new waves of infection, like the current one, would have been impossible.

Instead, Delta led to an increase in breakthrough infections, and Omicron has led to a larger increase. Symptoms are usually mild, but they can lead to bad outcomes for a small share of vaccinated people whose health is already vulnerable, like the elderly. The surge of breakthrough infections means Covid often still dominates everyday life.

I have since tried to absorb the lesson of Covid’s uncertainty and have emphasized it in more recent newsletters. As Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota — who has long emphasized Covid’s unavoidable unknowns — has said, “We still are really in the cave ages in terms of understanding how viruses emerge, how they spread, how they start and stop, why they do what they do.”

2. Waning immunity

I was too skeptical of the early signs of waning vaccine immunity and the importance of boosters.

Toward the end of the summer, some researchers began pointing to data suggesting that the power of vaccines waned after about six months. Other researchers doubted that case, saying that the data was unclear — and that pharmaceutical companies had an obvious incentive to promote waning immunity and boosters. But the case for boosters now seems clear.

Amid uncertain evidence, I try to avoid automatically assuming the worst. Often, that’s the right approach. (A lot of early Covid alarmism — about the virus’s effect on children, the contagiousness of Delta and the severity of Omicron, for instance — has proved to be misplaced.) Sometimes, though, the ominous signs are the ones worth heeding.

Another lesson: The quality of Covid data in the U.S. is poor, often clouding early judgments. It can make sense to look to Israel, where the data is better. Experts there quickly recognized that waning immunity was real.

Other accountability

“I think it’s really important for the media and for other institutions like the C.D.C. to build trust by being honest about when they got things wrong,” Derek Thompson of The Atlantic said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. Thompson’s own mea culpa: underestimating breakthrough infections.

My colleague Shira Ovide asked tech experts to describe their misplaced forecasts, including over-optimism about self-driving cars.

Matthew Yglesias of Substack listed all the 2021 predictions he got wrong, including whether a Supreme Court justice would retire.

Damon Linker of The Week underestimated the seriousness of Jan. 6 and said he didn’t praise Liz Cheney enough.

Derek Robertson of Politico wrongly thought that President Biden could help end the culture wars, and Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times was too optimistic about Biden’s first year.

Karl Rove, who writes a Wall Street Journal column, said that he went 17.5 for 25 in his 2021 predictions, while three Vox writers said they went 13 for 22.

 

 
Official website