Structure Follows Context

by Venkat 07.23.2014

I like mirroring principles in business a lot. My two favorite ones in business are Conway’s Law (product structure follows organizational structure) and Chandler’s Law (structure follows strategy). In conversations about business in recent years, I’ve been adding two more principles to complete a loop of sorts: market structure follows product structure and strategy follows […]

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Close Encounters of the Missing Kind

by Venkat 07.16.2014

My daily routine is a strange attractor.  Every morning, I decide whether to hit one of the cafes on my regular circuit or work at the desk I rent from a local business. After lunch, and sometimes a nap, I pick a different location for my second work session. My most frequent cafe choices are as follows: […]

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A Koan is not a Riddle

by Jordan Peacock 07.09.2014

Jordan is a 2014 blogging resident visiting us from his home turf on Google+ and hewhocutsdown.net. The following is a break from my Marginally Acceptable series. Venkatesh asked for a review of Gilles Deleuze’s Difference & Repetition. This is what he got instead. Philosophy has long had two distinct approaches, embodied in the approaches of […]

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Roundup: January – June 2014

by Venkat 07.02.2014

Here’s the mid-year roundup. Not counting procedural posts, we’ve had 23 essays in the first six months. The Now Reading page also been updated for the year, check it out for the current state of the ribbonfarm reading radar. Free, as in Agent Consent of the Surveilled The Poor Usability Tell (Jordan) Technical Debt of the […]

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Portals and Flags

by Venkat 06.25.2014

The point of complex debates is not to prove your side right and the other wrong. Smart people make this mistake most often, and end up losing before they ever get started. The point of complex debate is always seduction: winning-over rather than winning. You do this not through logic or even novel insight, but […]

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The Physics of Stamp Collecting

by Venkat 06.18.2014

Ernest Rutherford’s famous line, “all science is either physics or stamp collecting,” has bothered me ever since I first heard it. I’ve used it to make fun of biologists, and I’ve used it as a critical perspective on physics. Rutherford almost certainly meant it as an insult to non-physicists, but there is a deeper and non-prejudiced […]

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The Deliberate Practice of Disruption

by Venkat 06.11.2014

Recently, I concluded that our understanding of expertise, especially in the sense of the 10,000 hour meme, is seriously flawed. Even though there is something real there. And I don’t just mean the understanding conveyed by Malcolm Gladwell, who popularized the idea. I include the primary researchers such as K. Anders Ericsson on whose work the popular […]

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Saints and Traders: The John Henry Fable Reconsidered

by Venkat 06.04.2014

I only recently learned (from Sarah Constantin, whose new blog is worth checking out) of the American folk legend of John Henry, a steel driver who raced against a steam drill and won, only to drop dead right after. Wikipedia tells the story thusly: He worked as a “steel-driver”—a man tasked with hammering a steel drill […]

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Artistic Forestry: 2014 Annual Letter

by Venkat 05.29.2014

For the past three years I’ve been doing a sort of annual letter to shareholders/call for sponsorships a la Warren Buffet’s Sage of Omaha act, roughly around March-April. I am about two months late this year. I am just going to start calling this my annual letter from now on. I plan to make it approximately […]

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The Logic of Uberreaction

by Venkat 05.20.2014

I recently made up a word: uberreact. To uberreact is to  insist that regulations which exist for the benefit of  incumbent producers in a market (and their political patrons) are there to protect the interests of consumers. The inspiration for the term, of course, is the very predictable pattern of response by taxicab companies when Uber enters a […]

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