The Devil Made Me Do It

good_vs_evil_warfare_400_clr_6236Let’s assume for a moment that there is a Supreme Being. Let’s call this entity IT – not to be confused with Stephen King’s novel about a sewer dwelling evil clown named Pennywise.

According to the story,  IT decided to confer the Truth on one person. Put aside for a moment your curiosity as to why IT as Supreme Being didn’t simply tell everyone. (The rumor is that most people couldn’t handle the Truth.) In any event, IT decided to share the secret with the chosen one – henceforth referred to as CO. (Feel free to substitute your favourite variation about the CO.) Continue reading “The Devil Made Me Do It”

How Will They Learn? (Team Work)

push_the_bullseye_400_clr_18524If the school system seems inadequate to the task of instilling problem solving skills surely they will do better at team building. All those young people in the same place with the same goals. It screams team work!

 Would it be fair to assume that in order to teach team skills the instructors must be team players? Since teachers and professors are products of the school system they will only succeed to the extent that the school system succeeded – well you can see the problem.

Continue reading “How Will They Learn? (Team Work)”

How Will They Learn? (Problem Solving)

question_mark_400_clrEmployers are frustrated because new employees are deficient in soft skills like problem solving, communication and team work.

Post-secondary promises to deliver these skills but is overwhelmed with both the technical aspects of the programs and the demand for breadth courses.

High schools are evaluated on how well students do on standardized testing. Accordingly, teachers have become increasingly focused on test scores. Continue reading “How Will They Learn? (Problem Solving)”

Ten in computer years

woman_computer_work_station_1600_clr_7855I wrote this way back in 2004. When you are talking about computers – that is really a long time ago. But I think it holds up. You will have to forgive the reference to the dial-up modem internet connection but if you’ve lived with that you will appreciate the problem. On the other hand – if you don’t remember when the computer used the telephone to talk to other computers I can only say that you missed an interesting bit of history.


I have made an important discovery. I have discovered how computers age. Not the process by which they age, but rather the speed at which they do so.

Computers age slightly faster than dogs and with apologies to dog lovers, computers are much smarter. The rate is 6 computer years to one human year. I offer the following as evidence.

When your computer is new, you have to provide it with all types of learning experiences in the way of programs. You have to set parameters, user preferences, and other guidelines. The computer may display some crankiness and that is to be expected. This is caused by both of your inexperience. When the computer is frustrated or tired it will express itself by freezing – the electronic version of holding its breath. Still, during the first year you will experience many hours of joy discovering your computer’s capabilities. Continue reading “Ten in computer years”

Simple Minds

I have been thinking about complex ideas and simple minds.

Take economic theory. I don’t pretend to have anything approaching a clear understanding (there – I admitted it). And I suspect that there are only a handful of people in the world that really “get it”. So I am amused when a newscaster comments on economic conditions and with a straight face and apparent wisdom sums it all up by mentioning the law of supply and demand.

This would only be mildly amusing except that most people are familiar with this concept and as a result you can almost feel the collective nodding of heads. We are all satisfied that this terribly complex (and therefore frightening) economy thing can be explained so succinctly.

It is magical. The media need only to comment on a drought in South America and the price of instant coffee sky rockets. Sagely, the TV commentator combines the words “war”, “uprising”, “middle” and “east” in an incantation that adds ten more cents at that pump. Just the thought that there may not be enough of something – that we didn’t know we wanted – can create a buying frenzy. Remember Tickle Me Elmo?

When I was very young I was introduced to the idea of gold as a mystical talisman. The lesson came from a friend of my father, a man of questionable reputation. He was, as they say, a player. My parents alternated between dismay at his behaviour and envy of his sophistication. He carried a solid gold bar in his pocket. He displayed it as proof of his wealth and importance. Even to a child it was evident, from its colour and warmth, that it had qualities not found in paper money. Surely if you could carry such a thing, carelessly on your person, no harm could come to you.

Much later I would hear people say, with great sincerity, buy gold as protection from the randomness of the economy. People say that gold is a safe haven. People say that gold never loses its value. Stories are told of those who prospered during the depression because they had gold. So – does gold have intrinsic value? It seems from my five-minute research on the Internet that the answer is no. The price of gold reflects in part a somewhat mystical belief that gold provides protection from economic downturns.

Magical, mystical – when our ancestors feared thunder they invented gods and rituals to deal with the chaos of nature. We fear economic conditions and invent godlike prophets, truisms and yes, rituals to protect us. Me – I keep doing the same thing hoping for a new result (which some say is the very definition of insanity). I keep throwing my coins into the wishing well of mutual funds and looking for good fortune, not by finding a four-leaf clover but by finding the winning lottery ticket.

For those with an interest in how economic theory may not be all it is cracked up to be I invite you to read the blog Economyths by Sam Snyder.

Monkey Brain

I have a friend who says I have monkey brain. I wasn’t familiar with the phrase but it is not as rude as it sounds. It is a Buddhist concept that references that incessant chattering of an overactive brain. I can relate to that. And in case you think I should still have been insulted – my friend assured me that she recognized my monkey brain since she is similarly afflicted.

It is my monkey brain that allows me to juggle three dissimilar thoughts simultaneously and occasionally get those thoughts to converge in interesting ways. Of course it also causes my mind to wander off in mid discussion as some bright and shiny concept catches my attention.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am told the road to success is focus and concentration. “Become an expert”, say the experts and I guess they should know. Still, too much focus seems more like the road to boredom.

Today I launched a new facebook page called biz-e-mind to celebrate the joy of pursuing ideas. I do that the same way a child chases bubbles. I’ll stop when one pops – or a bigger, prettier idea floats into view. But with a nod to the experts I will focus on ideas that improve personal success in business – whatever that means.