Week of October 24, 2016

“Flatterers are the worst kind of traitors,

for they will strengthen thy imperfections,

encourage thee in all evils and correct thee in nothing.” 

Sir Walter Raleigh

Explorer, Soldier, Poet



An AI Primer

The word “sabotage” comes from the Dutch word “sabot” for wooden shoes, which displaced seventeenth century workers threw into the newly invented machines to damage the devices that thrown them out of work. 

Many workers today harbor the same fears as Artificial Intelligence (AI)  foreshadows, according to some, a similar impact on today’s workers.  No C-Level executive can afford to be uninformed about the disruption AI represents (it’s already underway).   These two resources will help you get up to speed.

First, check out this one page summary (with follow up links) from the Next: Economy conference.  Participants on the leading edge of AI think that it will, like other technological disruptions and despite the fears of many, create more jobs than are lost.   Next, set aside 26 minutes for this recent installment from “60 Minutes”.  It’s a great primer on AI and will get you up to speed on recent developments and what’s ahead for the economy in general and you in particular.

“Look for Work, Not a Job”

The advice I give my students is to look for plentiful work, not increasingly scarce jobs.”    You might think this is a high school teacher advising young people headed for their first job.  Not so; this statement was made to by a professor at the Harvard Business School who is advising MBA students to“stop looking for a job and join the gig economy. ”   You might consider passing this to the young adults in your life.

An Hour of Power

Distinguishing between the urgent and the important is not always easy, but the ability to do so is a key to productivity.  Here’s a very short video (94 seconds) that offers an important way to do just that.

Disruption or Innovation?

These two words characterize much of current thinking about strategies and business models.  However, there is a significant distinction between innovating and disrupting.  Do you know what it is?    This one page discussion offers some surprising examples and will help you understand the difference…before it happens to you.

Econ Recon

The End of Growth:  The years since the recession of 2008 have been ones of subnormal growth and sub-par productivity growth (despite all the computers).  Economy Brian Wesbury in a one page article looks at some new research about growth expectations that argues the postwar productivity surge is an anomaly.  Dr. Wesbury offers his own thoughts as well on the matter.  Explore his discussion of the question “Does Growth Kill, or Is There No Growth?

Guarded Optimism:  If you’re in the business of “making the stuff that makes the stuff” (i.e. capital goods) it was a rough summer.  Alan and Brian Beaulieu in a new blog posting share some new data that may justify some guarded optimism.