It’s hard to find a silver lining, but one positive and far-reaching impact of the pandemic is the widespread adoption of remote work. Individual managers will embrace or resist remote work on their own timetables. But as a society, the pandemic accelerated us into a future that would have otherwise taken years if not decades to arrive. Remote work is here to stay and it constitutes the most disruptive change in a generation.
Entrepreneurs and investors love disruptive change. But we don’t always treat it as such in the moment.
There are good reasons why entrepreneurs pursue incremental opportunities. It’s…
The Hall-of-Famer Ted Williams said, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” I guess he wasn’t well acquainted with entrepreneurship. In this game, if you succeed one time out of ten, you’re far outperforming the field.
This the first post in a series that explores the pandemic and its impact on problem-solving and knowledge creation.
Do you think Trump has a superpower? Depending on your leanings, he’s either a political genius or an idiot savant. “He is completely unencumbered by the truth,” wrote Charles Blow, “the need to tell it or accept it.”
Trump attributes his success to his gut and his style is certainly fast and intuitive. But the ability is altogether human, used and abused by all of us. Trump marshals industrious little rationalizations called ad hocs to fatigue his foes. …
It returns as predictably as the seasons. Call it Bacon’s Comet: The idea that the age of creative AI is now upon us. Machines are not only accelerating discoveries (so the argument goes), they’re now making their own independent discoveries. And just in time, since the world is demonstrably more complex than feeble human minds could hope to comprehend.
All of this is quite wrong. It’s been wrong for hundreds of years. In the 17th century, Francis Bacon claimed our only hope for liberation was an autonomous scientific method where knowledge emerges inductively from raw observations. He was wrong, but…
“The world suffers a lot. Not because the violence of bad people. But because of the silence of the good people.” From Napoleon of all people, a stunning testament to the destructive power of silence. In our revolutionary times, “silence is violence” is once again a rallying cry for change.
But silence isn’t mere complicity, it’s often compelled. Silence through obfuscation and conformity. Moments of silence. Codes of silence. Silent majorities. Silent screams. Silence inhabits all our inexplicit drives and motivations. It possesses our emotions, our institutions, and our culture. We’ll need more placards.
Yet silence, in all its forms…
This the sixth post in a series on the pandemic and its impact on progress and problem solving. In the last post, we looked at uncertainty in science.
The gruesome toll should make the pandemic undeniably salient, undeniably factual. But the denials mount as fast as the casualties. In his latest of many statements downplaying the pandemic, Trump declared that 99% of COVID-19 cases are harmless.
You may think this a lamentable reflection on human nature (and you’d be right). But it’s also a comment on the nature of facts. I don’t want to dwell on misguided people behaving badly…
This the fifth post in a series on the pandemic and its impact on progress and problem solving. In the last post, we looked at the crisis of expertise.
The pandemic challenges even the strongest enclaves of expertise. Our most respected universities and professions are under siege. Most disruptively, we’re learning that our most vaunted institution, The Science, doesn’t exist at all.
The Science is a figment of our collective imagination. It’s called whenever one needs an all-purpose statement of authority: We need decisions based on the science, the data, the facts. Similarly, when broad objections to sciences are levelled…
This the fourth post in a series on the pandemic and its impact on progress and problem solving. In the last post, we looked at the impact on our values.
Experts once went about their business in relative tranquility. They were authoritative, credentialed and respected. Most tended to the same activities their entire careers. Academic institutions and communities of practice were well defined and largely stable.
Today, there’s a crisis of expertise. Many consider experts parasitic, a conceit of the elite. Technology has made information abundant and accessible, creating armchair experts of every fabric and style. Old stock experts have…
This the third post in a series on the pandemic and its impact on progress and problem solving. In the last post, we looked at conspiracy theories and why their misconceptions envelope all of us.
The toll of the pandemic on our values may be the most momentous impact of all. In the world of explanations, values are top predators. But they are seriously misunderstood creatures.
Largely unexamined, they seem impervious to reality, the immutable standards by which we live our lives. But like it or not, our values are explanations. They may be stubborn. They may voraciously consume our…
This the second post in a series on the pandemic and its impact on progress and problem solving. In the last post, we looked at ad hoc rationalizations and their most famous enthusiast, Donald Trump.
Conspiracy theories are easily refuted, and so they’re often underestimated as weak. Treating them this way invariably backfires.
Consider the most popular conspiracy theory of this pandemic. It claims that Bill Gates created the coronavirus and aims to profit from it. As reported by the New York Times, Gates warned us in 2015 that an infectious virus could threaten the lives of millions of people…