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?


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


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