John Hunter
Photo of John Hunter at Olympic National Park


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

  • Curious Cat Tax Proposals

    My plan would have 3 parts. I like a flat tax, I doubt it will ever happen, but if we could get one I would be happy. Cruz proposes that (at 10%). I am fine with his proposal to eliminate all deductions but mortgage interest and charity. I would definitely tweak that some – no more than $50,000 in mortgage interest deduction a year and the same for charity. Basically subsidizing it a bit for the non-rich is fine. Subsidizing these for the rich seems silly so I would cap the deductions in some way.

    Increasing the giveaways to trust-fund baby as Cruz and Trump propose is the single worst tax policy change that can be made. I have explained previously how bad an idea this is: The estate tax is the most capitalist tax that exists.

    Social Security taxes are nearly equal to other income taxes. They are highly regressive. I would eliminate the current elimination of the tax on high income earners. I would just have the tax due on all earned income (no cap). If that let me reduce the rate, great, if not fine it would just make the fund solvent for longer. I would not increase the benefits due for high earners beyond what it is now.

  • Software Testing and the Impact on Quality

    The aim for software testing is not just to fix the bugs software testers catch but to function as part of a system to figure out the reasons those bugs were created and improve processes so fewer bugs are created in the future.

  • Systems Thinking: Feedback Loops

    A reinforcing loop encourages the system to continue in that direction (e.g. a damn starting to leak, as water flows over the damn wall will further erode the wall which leads to more water flowing over causing more erosion).

    When the reinforcing loop is undesirable it can be referred to as a viscous cycle...

    An example of a positive reinforcing loop is building trust in an organization.  As people gain trust (and fear reduces) people are more willing to be trusting and cooperate, that behavior then encourages more of that behavior and so on.  A positive reinforcing loop can be called a virtuous cycle.

  • Leaving on a Jet Plane

    If your preference is to increase your odds of having a successful digital nomad experience then I suggest taking longer. Do 3 things:

    1) Get experience earning money in a location independent way (you can do that where you live more easily than anywhere else).

    2) Save up some money...

  • Stock Buybacks, Giveaways to Executives and Non-GAAP Earnings

    One of the things executives like about non-GAAP earnings is they pretend the stock they give away to themselves doesn’t have a cost to shareholders. When you call attention to spending over $2 billion in the quarter to buy back 3.2 million shares it seems silly to then claim that the stock you gave away shouldn’t be considered as an expense.

  • Bitbeam: Open Source Hardware Prototyping Platform

    Bitbeam is an open source construction toy/hardware prototyping platform.

    The Bitbeam project aims to define a set of parts which the users themselves can produce using increasingly available technologies for local fabrication like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills.

  • Bill Scherkenbach Interview with Dr. Deming

    This video also provides a view of W. Edwards Deming's personality. He repeatedly expresses the importance of changing the management of our organizations to let those doing the work use their brains, which far too often American management represses due to heirarchacal management systems.

  • Health Insurance Considerations for Digital Nomads

    Health insurance is something that many young healthy people don’t think about. And many digital nomads are young healthy people, though not all of them are. And if you are from most rich countries you may not think about health insurance as your country makes it pretty easy to just be treated if you have health care needs, without a need to have bought health insurance.

    But when you are traveling outside your country health insurance is important...

  • Inquiring Minds: Improving Elementary Science by Linda Lippe

    This presentation also makes it obvious how well Leander ISD intergrates the use of quality tools into their efforts. Quality tools alone are not sufficient but the effective use of quality tools is extremely important to long term success of efforts to improve the system. And most organizations use quality tools far too infrequently.

  • “Our Problems Are Different” – Not Really

    It is very common for people to see their situation as special and so different that they can only learn about management from some situation identical to the one they face. But this is a misunderstanding of what learning about better management practices is about. It isn’t an effort to find practices to copy. It is an effort to learn about managing organizations made up of people so that you can apply those ideas to your specific situation.

  • Decades Later The USA Health Care System is Still a Deadly Disease for Our Economy

    Health care is extremely expensive everywhere. But in the USA the health care system is twice as costly as other rich countries. This is an enormous burden on the USA economy. Nothing else comes close to being as costly in terms of direct spending. And there a a great deal of other damage done that can’t be seen in just the 100% more the USA spends on health care than other rich countries spend. And the health outcomes are no better for the extra hundres of billions of dollars spent every year for health care in the USA.

    The costs of decades of failure are extrodinary.

  • Kuang Si Waterfalls, Laos

    The water has an amazing blue color that seems almost fake in photos but is really that color. The blue is due to dissolved copper.

    I think the falls are a wonderful side trip from Luang Prabang. The blue of the water is really amazing and it is a wonderful hike also.

  • 6 Questions to Ask Your Software Testers

    Making sure your software testing process is staying current with the best ideas in software testing is an important factor in creating great software solutions that your customers love. Often companies understand the need to stay current on software coding practices that are successful but fewer organizations pay attention to good practices in software testing. This often means there is a good deal to be gained by spending some time to examine and improve your software testing practices.

  • The Edge-case Excuse

    I have found “edge cases” to actually mean we don’t want to fix it. Often the issue isn’t needing some special code to deal with an “edge case” it is the coding was done poorly and breaks in many different “edge cases.” It isn’t that those edge cases need to be coded for. It is that the code should have been written in a robust way that didn’t break for lots of “edge cases” but the excuse given for not fixing the fundamental coding fragility is the bugs found are just “edge cases.”

  • Giving Executives 40% of Revenue is Insane

    I have previous written on my belief that excessive executive compensation had reached the level of a deadly disease of western management (building on the W. Edwards Deming’s list of 7 deadly diseases). I named excessive executive pay and a broken “intellectual property” system as new deadly diseases in 2007.

    Twitter has given executives $2,000,000,000 in just stock based compensation from 2011 through 2015. Twitter’s revenue for those 4 years was only $4,709,000,000. So Twitter gave executives 42.5% of revenue. This is of revenue, not earnings, Twitter isn’t even profitable.


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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