John Hunter
Photo of John Hunter at Arches National Park

CEO's Given Lottery Sized Payouts - We have to recalibrate Deming's comments to say regular performance appraisal raffle winners. Every year several CEO's are now actually getting $40,000,000 - lottery sized - annual pay so using the term lottery is a bit misleading for everyone else.

  • Curious Cat Engineer Interview: Cat Camera Inventor - "I was surprised how famous one can get with 'boring' technical engineering stuff. I like this not only for me but for all other engineers out there who daily work hard on challenges which others don’t even understand. We as engineers make the world moving but usually we are not recognized."
  • Deming on being Destroyed by Best Efforts - Many managers have learned their job is to act, even if they don't have the knowledge needed to make a rational decision: they don't just stand there, they do something.
  • Majoring in Credit Card Debt - Since credit card companies claim that they are trying to teach good financial habit then the university to set up a contract to favor that. If bad practices occur (students not paying off the full balance say) they the credit card companies don’t get to make a profit on that - since it would be rewarding failure by the credit card company).
  • One Species' Genome Discovered Inside Another's - "The research also shows that lateral gene transfer 'the movement of genes between unrelated species' may happen much more frequently between bacteria and multicellular organisms than scientists previously believed, posing dramatic implications for evolution."
  • The Importance of Management Improvement - If organizations just adopt management improvement practices I firmly believe customer service, financial performance and employee satisfaction could be improved.
  • Misuse of Statistics: Mania in Financial Markets - Crazy as it seems, very smart people continually forget that the markets often experience panics, euphoria, behave in ways that models do not predict, seize up and fail to function... Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein provides a good picture of the chaotic nature of financial market risks.
  • Don't Empower - Manager's don't need to "empower" employees they need to fix the system to treat employees with respect and allow them to do their jobs well.
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow Profiles - Over at my regular job I was finally able to get us to put into place something that I have wanted to for several years: profiles of past NSF Graduate Research Fellows. We started with probably the most famous and certainly the richest: Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin.
  • Stop Demotivating Me! - Managers reacting to special causes as if they are common causes (or as though talk without action is worthwhile). It is as if Dr. Deming hadn't talked about this stuff 50 years ago and they shouldn't know any better.
  • Housing Inventory Glut - Across the country in the last year the median price has actually increased slightly. It looks like the data for the calendar year 2007 will show a decline for about 2%.
  • Best Research University Rankings - This ranking focuses on providing a way for China to get a feel for how they are progressing toward developing world class universities. The methodology values publications and faculty awards and is provides a better ranking of research (rather than teaching).
  • Marissa Mayer on Innovation at Google - 2) Share everything you can 3) You're Brilliant. We're Hiring 5) Innovation not instant perfection (iteration - experiment quickly and often 8) Users not money
  • Workplace Management by Taiichi Ohno - Workplace Management has earned a place among my favorite management books. I highly recommend it. John Miller’s blog includes a series of posts the he wrote while translating the chapters of the that give you a great sense for what the book offers.
  • Authors of Scientific Articles by Country - The USA leads with 64.6% in 1992 and 56.6% in 2003. European Union-15 (15 countries for this measure) 23.3% to 27.7%. Japan 4.2% to 5.3%. East Asia - 4 (China, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) from .1 to 1.1% and rising rapidly.
  • Google Exceeded Planned Spending on Personnel - so many organizations tie huge bonuses to meeting arbitrary numerical targets. In that case you will have a great deal of difficulty getting managers to hire 3 extra people this quarter, who will help the business, but will ruin their chance at a bonus.
  • Management by Walking Around - Lean thinking includes a great deal on the importance of going to the gemba to make decisions. Anyone interested in MBWA should look at some of that material (as often MBWA is too superficial to do much good).
  • Another Great Quarter for Amazon - It seems Amazon might be able to begin delivering strong current financial performance and continue to build and innovate for the future. That is when a company really sets itself apart from the crowd.
  • Managing the Organization as a System - If not the improvements tend to only take effect on the surface. Improvements in results are important but it is also critical to have management improvement concepts adopted as the natural way of doing business. And reaching that point most likely requires a focus on making that happen as well as improving processes.
  • Customer Hostility from Discover Card - If people didn't expect credit card companies to provide outrageously bad customer service wouldn't this be seen as shockingly bad? So much so that certainly no company would tolerate it if it was brought to their attention. Well, we have evidence that such a thought is not true when dealing with Discover Card.
  • Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership - One of the topics I keep coming back to is the future economic impact of science, engineering, technology and the supporting structures in countries for the same. I believe a significant part of the benefit we will enjoy in the future will be tied to how well those areas are integrated with economic factors (raising capital, open financial markets, infrastructure...)
  • Process Improvement and Innovation - I do not believe process improvement is bad for innovation. Bad process changes can be bad for innovation.
  • Microfinancing Entrepreneurs - Kiva is an organization that lets you loan directly to an entrepreneur of your choice. If fact, I have just placed $350 in loans to 5 business entrepreneurs (in Kenya, Mexico, Cameroon and Azerbaijan) - and a $50 donation to Kiva.

   

 

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