Rss logo

Posts selected fromManagement Blog - Engineering Blog - Investing Blog and other blogs

  • Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur

    The Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park is located in the Lake Gardens area which includes the KL Bird Park, National Mosque of Malaysia, Islamic Arts Museum, etc..

  • My Office in Laos

    View from the porch of my cabin in Luang Prabang, Laos with my laptop in the foreground. This was a wonderful place to work.

  • Unintended Consequences - distorting the system or distorting the data

    Using data to understand your processes and improve them is very useful.

    But using data often results in unintended consequences. If you don’t have a good understanding on the pressures collecting data will bring to bear on the system you can create pressure for results that damage the delivery of value to customers...

    Distorting the system or distorting the data are often the result, instead of the process improvement that is desired and expected.

  • Backyard Wildlife: Great Tailed Grackle

    Great tailed grackles are bueatiful birds with black base coloring that includes feathers with iridescent colors on closer inspection.

  • Minimize Total Cost

    Another common way of explaining this point is to discuss the problems created when organizations have created management systems that encourage decisions based on what is best for parts of the organizations. So when each department is appraised on whether they cut their costs each will seek to do so, no matter how much that increases the costs for other departments. The problems of this are fairly obvious and it isn’t that those choosing to create systems that focus on improving the parts want to accept these consequences.

  • Support Theatre

    Support theatre provides the appearance of supporting customers when in fact it is just treating customers poorly based on a management system that disrespects customers. It is a similar idea to security theatre that has become so popular for government in the USA for the last 10 years.

    Companies that practices support theatre are usually very focused on cutting the company's cost and not "wasting" the companies time fixing the problems they create for customers or even helping customers put on "band-aids" to cope with the injuries the company has inflicted on the customer.  Those companies also don't learn from their failures to improve and stop future customers from suffering the consequences of their poor processes.

    It is painful to interact with such companies.

  • Chart of Global Wind Energy Capacity by Country from 2005 to 2015

    In 2013 global wind energy capacity increased only 13% while in both 2014 and 2015 it increased 17%. Still 17% is less than any year in the last 10, except 2013.

    At the end of 2013 China had 29% of global capacity (after being responsible for adding 62% of all the capacity added in 2013). In 2005 China had 2% of global wind energy capacity.  At the end of 2015 China accounted for 34% of global capacity, the only country in the top 8 increasing their share of global capacity. The USA now has 17% of capacity.

  • Google Check of Whether a Website is Mobile Friendly

    The tool is useful in pointing out potential issues to improve for mobile users. I do wish however that Google wasn’t so autocratic about its opinions, acting as though failing their tests is equal to failure mobile users. It isn’t, it is a decent indication there may be a problem, but it is not proof there is a problem.

  • Product and Service Innovation is Driven by Customer Focused Organizations

    At the core of W. Edwards Deming’s philosophy is a focus on delighting customers, allowing everyone to contribute what they have to offer and continually improving.


    An organization must have a deep focus on customers in order to continually improve the value delivered to those customers and to innovate and create new products and services that delight those customers and future customers that the business can win over.

  • How to Use Data and Avoid Being Mislead by Data

    One of the four areas of Deming’s management system is “understanding variation.” The core principle underlying that concept is using data to improve while understanding what data is and is not telling you.

    The mistakes in interpreting data are very often related to mistaking natural variation in data as meaningful. Combining this with our brains ability to find patterns (even from random data) and confirmation bias this creates problems.

    Data can’t lie, but people can be mislead and they can even mislead themselves by misinterpreting data.

  • Photos of Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

    The Kuching riverwalk and a bit of surrounding area are nice for tourists (and locals) to walk around and enjoy.

  • Healthy Living Greatly Reduces Likelihood of Dying from Cancer

    Lifestyle choices can greatly reduce the incidence and death rates from cancer. 4 factors can reduce the incidence of cancer by up to 40% and death rate by 50%: don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol in excess, maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, and exercising at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes or at a vigorous intensity for at least 75 minutes every week.

  • Acting Without Theory Often Results in Wasted Effort

    If you don’t understand why you take action you will find yourself wasting effort. You must have a theory that you can test in order to test what is working, what changes actually lead to improvement and to learn. If this bird wants to find food it will discover this method isn’t effective.

    I wrote about a similar example before: Experience Teaches Nothing Without Theory.

  • Thoughts on Security Risks while Traveling (especially risks of violence)

    How to travel safely?

    Not getting drunk at bars proactively addresses a significant portion of issues.

    Second, if you are coming from the USA or many other fairly high personal crime countries there are many places you are much safer while traveling than average risks at home are.

  • Foreign Ownership of USA Stocks Reached 26% in 2015

    In 1965 foreign ownership of USA stocks totaled about 2%, in 1990 it had risen to 10% and by 2015 to 26%. That the foreign ownership is so high surprised me. Holdings in retirement accounts (defined benefit accounts, IRAs etc.) was under 10% in 1965, rose to over 30% in 1990 and to about 40% in 2015. The holdings in retirement accounts doesn’t really surprise me.