The Pyramid of Reality

Fast, Good and Cheap represent three aspects of a project – the time-line, the quality and the budget. Depending on the situation they are sometimes fall into requirements or even constraints. The fact is that usually these three are combined by the “Tyranny of OR”. One can choose either

* fast and good
– OR –
* good and cheap
– OR –
* fast and cheap

The option of all three is not considered to be practical.

Fast, Good, Cheap. I have been able to represent this the best by setting them at three different points of a triangle. You can choose any one side of the triangle. These three points can also be considered to be different costs of the project. You can ignore the one that you can afford to. In reality, no one can afford any cost, it is either a compromise or an investment, depending on how you look at it. But this triangle is an important one to consider if you are trying to set priorities for the project. The priorities can help you choose the side.

Nine principles of Miyamoto

Book of Five Rings” written by the great Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musash, who in this book sets down the secrets of his legendary success – timeless principles of craft, skill, timing and spirit and that result in victory. His emphasis on strategic thinking, concentration, appropriate caution, choice of weapon and work ethic.

The Book talks about the Japanese approach to life and Zen forms the central part of most of the Japanese philosophies. This book is widely read by American business community as a text on Japanese management techniques. Finally as the book says that practicing Heiho (Musashi’s way of living and doing things)

“You can attain an understanding with which to win against ten thousand.”

Benjamin Zander: Conductor

Zander on Leadership and Management. A few brief foot notes from his inspiring TED talk and acclaimed book, The Art of Possibility. A deservedly renowned contributor to leadership studies:

* A leader cannot doubt, even for a single moment, the capacity of his followers to realize his vision. That is the only way to achieve success as a team.
* As a leader, it is important to keep awakening possibilities in his followers. Zander likened a leader’s role to that of a conductor, who cannot make music on his own, but is able to bring out the best in his musicians to create wonderful music.
* A successful leader always inspires his followers to be passionate and motivated, and these feelings are reflected in their shining eyes. To Zander, a leader’s success is not measured by his wealth, fame or power, but rather, the number of shining eyes he has around him.
* The same principle applies to children: If the eyes of one’s child are not shining, it is time to evaluate one’s effectiveness as a parent.
* It is important to always have the correct and positive perspective.

Bach Brain

Oliver Sacks answers questions about why music affects the brain, how it can treat some neurological disorders, and more. It’s all on tonight PBS’s Nova show. [Savvy propagating of video to seed viewership via twitter/blogs].

Powerpoint Rule

10-20-30 rule for powerpoint

Couldn’t resist Ernest Hemingway sat calmly contemplating his next sentence. We all should know by now Guy Kawasaki’s memorable 10/20/30 rule for decks. That’s 10 slides, 20 mins, 30 point font?

I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:

1. Problem
2. Your solution
3. Business model
4. Underlying magic/technology
5. Marketing and sales
6. Competition
7. Team
8. Projections and milestones
9. Status and timeline
10. Summary and call to action

Read more: How to Change the World: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.

Value and scarcity thoughts

1. The connection between value and scarcity is something we all know. Gold is precious because there is not much of it to go around, not because you can use it to build skyscrapers. The psychologists reasoned that this link has become deep-wired into our neurons, so that we unconsciously call on it—and its inverse—for life decisions.

2. Is it human tendency to make negative conclusions solely because we are unable to fulfill our desires? Maybe we should try to a little harder as it is never too late. In the case of a friend, the belief that good men are vanishing has resulted in refusal to see any other guy who is actually standing right next to her. More often than not, the solutions to our problems are so obvious that we overlook them.

3. Most people think of prejudice as simple animosity. But psychologists are coming to see this common human trait as far more complex than that. Indeed, it appears from a growing body of research that our emotional reactions to “others” are quite nuanced. We may pity people who are powerless but benign—the elderly, for example—yet we don’t despise them. And we may respect but dislike people who are powerful but not particularly warm–the very rich, for instance. It appears that we save our most extreme emotional assessment—pure contempt—for the doubly cursed: those who we perceive as not only cold but incompetent. At the extreme, we view these extreme rejects—addicts, bums, modern-day lepers—as barely human.

4. I think most folks don’t quite get that courtship/mating problems are actually marketing problems. If you look at marketing you will see that ‘cold mailing’ results in about a 0.5%-1% return while a warm campaign can give more like 2%. A person selling themselves to others is not at all different. What she doesn’t understand is that she may have to converse with 100 guys before she hits a real prospect. Perhaps her problem is the same as most start-up business owners who think that 10% of folks who see their product will buy it! You have to figure out your target. You have to look in the right places to increase your chances and then accept that it’s going to take longer than you think, maybe 10x longer. Accept that.

Is satisficing rational?

The word satisficing was coined by Herbert Simon. Simon pointed out that human beings lack the cognitive resources to maximize: we usually do not know the relevant probabilities of outcomes, we can rarely evaluate all outcomes with sufficient precision, and our memories are weak and unreliable. A more realistic approach to rationality takes into account these limitations: This is called bounded rationality.

Donald MacKinnon


Creativity, according to Donald MacKinnon, long-time researcher in the field, it is

“a process that is extended in time and characterized by originality, adaptiveness and realization.”

For me, the essence of creativity is “connection” the ability to relate or combine, through flexible persistence and insight, seemingly remote, contradictory or irrational ideas and elements with an elegant, unified and complex simplicity. The creative concept, product or outcome is not only novel but has value and use” (Gorkin).