Blog Archives

Economics rap

The debate between economists John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek set to rap. Related post: The one thing to remember in economics

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Tragedy of the anti-commons

The tragedy of the commons is the name economists use to describe the abuse of common property. For example, overfishing in international waters. Someone who owns a lake will not over fish his own lake because he knows he will

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Transaction costs

“If you make $30 per hour, you should outsource everything you do that you could hire someone else to do for less than $30.”  Rubbish. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this advice. It sounds good, for about

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Being busy

From A Bias for Action: The simple fact is that being busy is easier than not.  Most managers cannot admit that a fragmented day is actually the laziest day, the day that requires the least mental discipline and the most

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Feasibility studies

Jeff Atwood gives a summary of Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering by Robert Glass on his blog. I was struck by point #14: The answer to a feasibility study is almost always “yes”. I hadn’t thought about that before,

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Innovation I

Innovation is not the same as invention. According to Peter Denning, An innovation is a transformation of practice in a community. It is not the same as the invention of a new idea or object. The real work of innovation is

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What's better about small companies?

Popular business writers often say flat organizations are better than hierarchical organizations, and small businesses are better than big businesses. By “better” they usually mean more creative, nimble, fun, and ultimately profitable. But they don’t often try to explain why small

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CEO compensation

In a recent interview author and economist Tim Harford argued that CEO compensation is not based on the economic value of the CEO’s leadership. Instead, companies compensate their CEO’s generously in order to provide an incentive to aspiring CEOs. In this

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Good, fast, or cheap: Can you really pick two?

There’s a saying that clients can have good, fast, or cheap. Pick two, but then the third will be whatever it has to be based on the other two choices. You can have good and fast if you’re willing to

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Why programmers cannot be managed

Interaction design guru Alan Cooper gave a presentation recently entitled An Insurgency of Quality. As part of his talk, he explains why programmers cannot be managed. Traditional management has an industrial age mindset, while software development is a post-industrial craft.

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Enterprising software

Cyndi Mitchell in a talk from Rails Conf points out how “enterprise” in the phrase “enterprise software” has taken on the opposite of its customary meaning. If you call a person enterprising, you have in mind someone who takes risks and accomplishes

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How to avoid being outsourced or open sourced

Kevin Kelly has a post entitled Better than Free that lists eight things people will pay a premium for, even while closely related things are free or cheap: Immediacy Personalization Interpretation Authenticity Accessibility Embodiment Patronage Findability Daniel Pink has a

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Faith, hope, love, and marketing

Seth Godin has a post this morning about what he calls the three key marketing levers: fear, hope, and love. He concludes The easiest way to build a brand is to sell fear. The best way, though, may be to deliver

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Interesting is better than perfect

Seth Godin has an interesting blog post today called The problem with perfect. Companies with a reputation for perfect service are only remarkable when they disappoint. Being interesting is a more viable business strategy than being perfect.

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Coping with exponential growth

Everything is supposedly growing exponentially these days. But when most people say “exponential,” they don’t mean what they say. They mean “fast.” Exponential growth can indeed be fast. Or it can be slow. Excruciatingly slow. If you earn a million

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Posted in Business, Math