John Hunter
Photo of John Hunter at Olympic National Park

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Posts selected from Management Blog - Engineering Blog - Investing Blog and other blogs

  • Challenging Conventional Thinking

    RA Fisher was an outspoken person and not easy to get along with. Being difficult to get along with isn't uncommon for people that do great things - I suspect those that are willing to subsume their opinion to make those around them more comfortable are less likely to find incredible breakthroughs.

    Of course you can free your mind from the constraints of conventional thinking while being very friendly and sociable and likeable, it just seems to me not uncommon for people willing to challenge intellectual orthodoxy are also willing to challenge the thinking that social niceties are of utmost importance. They would be more able to win over more people more quickly with behavior based on "you catch more bees honey..." but that seems less common.

  • Computer Code for NASA’s Apollo Guidance System

    My aunt was one of those early software engineers. She wrote a chapter for a book, Programming the IBM 360, in the 1960s. My uncle was one of the first employees at NASA and rose to be one of the senior administrators there over his career.

    It is great when society is able to capture the value individuals are capable of providing. We need to make sure we allow everyone opportunities to contribute.

  • My Early Experience as a Digital Nomad: Part Two

    Choosing to start in Chiang Mai, Thailand was fortuitous. It really is very convenient for digital nomads. Monthly renting is easy in Chiang Mai. Lots of great food and co-work spaces options. Good internet all over. It is an easy and enjoyable place to live.

    I started my digital nomad ways a bit differently than most (though largely in similar ways). I lived in Malaysia a couple years first and then set off to be a nomad. I just sent two boxes a bit bigger than those for a ream of paper back home before I left. And I gave a bunch of stuff away I had picked up (books, printer, basketball, plants, cloths, etc.)

  • Your Choices Determine if Others Will Find You Credible

    If you are promoting the latest fad diet book and other high priced gimmicks the web site they have and deciding to appear on popular but scientifically inaccurate TV shows makes perfect sense. But those choices damage any credibility that could be had otherwise and make it difficult for others to take you seriously. You just put yourself into the bin with all the fad diets sales pitches in play at any time.

  • The History and Evolution of the PDSA Cycle

    The experiment in the PDSA cycle is carried out to learn about the system in question. I like to call it the Do-the-experiment step to emphasize that doing in the PDSA cycle refers to “doing the experiment”. Otherwise people often forget that what we are doing is running an experiment to learn from.

  • Businesses Need to Capture Potential Information and Use the Creativity of Employees

    My father wrote an article a long time ago on how to use ~"two resources, largely untapped in American organizations: potential information and employee creativity."

    I think it provides worthwhile ideas.

  • Profiting from Self Driving Cars

    I believe a huge amount of money will be made due to self driving cars. Figuring out who will make that money is not easy.

    The value of being able to use the time you are moving to your destination instead of concentrating on driving is huge. And the reduction in deaths, serious injuries, injuries, damages, frustration and waste of time caused by accidents will be a huge benefit to society.

    This innovation also dramatically shifts markets in ways that are predictable but also in ways that are not...

  • Transfer Money Between Currencies Using New Providers Not Banks And Save

    When you need to transfer money (for example if you are paid in US$ but have a bank account elsewhere or if you are making a big purchase in another location) and convert currencies you can find the financial institutions taking advantage of you. There are several currency exchange services that have stepped into this business opportunity created by the large margins financial institutions have been taking from their customers.

  • The Importance of Working with Suppliers Over the Long Term

    Working together in partnership is a much more complex matter than saying you will cooperate. Sadly many companies are willing to say they will cooperate with suppliers over the long term, many fewer companies are willing to follow through with the actions needed to make that a reality.

  • Chomphet Hike, Luang Prabang, Laos

    The Chomphet Hike is nice hike across the river from Luang Prabang, Laos. I used this wonderful map for the hike. My hike probably was about 8 km and I went in a circle around the whole hike on the map. The hike would be very difficult (next to impossible) to follow in several places if you didn’t have the map.

  • Ants and Traffic Jams

    There are tiny ants all over SE Asia that run amazingly fast. I can see why this is a big advantage. They cover lots of ground. When they find some yummy thing they get back home and tons of buddies follow them to the reward. It is amazing how fast they ram into each other.

    These ants are pretty amazing example of evolution. But you also can see how a pretty simple tweak of trying to lay out "lanes" for travel could help. The ones I watch don't seem to use lanes at all, so they are constantly bashing into ants going the other direction. Which they seem to cope with perfectly fine, but it has to slow them down and waste energy.

    Evolution is amazing but it does often also end up with designs that have bits you could intelligently tweak to seemingly great advantage.

  • What is a Lean Program, Deming Program?

    Lean has evolved away, IMO, from just being able to say anything Toyota does is by definition lean. Lean and Deming are more about a philosophy of managing - continual improvement, respect for people, etc. than prescriptions. So you can't really have a checklist and say that if your org can check off all these things they are lean or Deming.

    The fact that the management systems can't be reduced to a checklist is a necessary given the long lasting power they offer.

  • Circumhorizontal Arc (Fire Rainbow) in Hoi An, Vietnam

    I saw my first Circumhorizontal Arcs (Fire Rainbows) display in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. A couple days ago I experienced them again in Hoi An, Vietnam.

    A circumhorizontal arc (also known by the exciting name, fire rainbow) is an optical phenomenon – an ice-halo formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds. If the cloud is at the right angle to the sun, the crystals will refract the sunlight just as when rainbow is created.

  • Building a System to Reduce Interruptions for Software Developers

    I feel strongly about the damage done by interruption to maker's focus. My appreciation for this damage to system performance was greatly enhanced as I became a software developer.

    In my work prior to software development I could see that interruptions were not ideal but they were not so damaging to my work and they do also have value. But work that requires extra focus, and software development sure did for me, the damage increasing greatly.

  • Visual Management and Mistake-Proofing for Prescription Pills

    Mistake proofing is often really mistake-making-more-difficult (for some reason this term of mine hasn’t caught on).

    But the idea is pretty simple: when you have processes that are important and at risk of failure, design processes with elements to make mistakes hard (and ideas such as mistake-proofing and visual management can help you guide your mind to ways to create better processes).

    The entire process needs to be considered...


            

John Hunter has experience in management improvement (customer focused continuous improvement, process improvement, systems thinking) and related areas. Since 1995, I have used the internet and internet technology to improve the results of management improvement efforts.

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