Thursday, October 26, 2017

Little Bets - Peter Sims

Little bets:

  • Small decisions/goals/tasks
  • Large companies fail because they look for large billion dollar markets rather than experimenting with smaller markets that might grow: E.g: HP
  • Affordable loss principle: Make decisions based on  what you can afford to lose, rather than on expected gain

Growth mind set:

  • Large number of small attempts with multiple failures, rather than one large bet
  • Fixed mind set: Abilities/intelligence is fixed. Growth mind set: Results are determined by effort, not intelligence. 

Fail fast to learn fast:;

  • Healthy perfectionism: Driven by desire for excellence. Unhealthy perfectionism: Driven by fear of failure
  • Fail fast through little bets around prototypes

Genius of play:

  • Environments that lead to improvisation result in creativity
  • Plussing (Pixar): Idea evolution in a team is through a series of "ands" rather than "buts"

Problems are the new solutions:

  • Break large problem into smaller problems. E.g. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Agile development, McMaster's Iraq strategy

Questions are the new answers

  • Need to go out into the world and ask questions to find the problems. E.g. Grameen Bank, McMaster's Iraq strategies
  • Encourage voracious questioning

Learning a little from a lot

  • Learn from everyone, to get different persepctive
  • Build an open network of diverse people, and maintain it to constantly receive different perspectives

Learning a lot from a little

  • Seek out active users (early adopters). They provide 75% of improvements you will need

Small wins

  • Little bets can lead to small wins. Small wins can lead to successes.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Confucius in 90 minutes - Paul Strathern

Confucius (Kungfutzu)

  • Circa 600BC in North central coastal China. 
  • Started a successful school for bureaucrats
    • Taught his philosophies of conduct and ethics. 
    • Students were often sons of rulers. 
  • Later in his life traveled through China,  meeting and advising rulers of various states.


  • A philosophy that evolved out of his teachings. 
  • Teachings were practical rather than religious or metaphysical. 
  • Dealt with the conduct and morality of rulers, bureaucrats, and citizens . 
  • Central premise: Ordinary activities of individuals are sacred and must be conducted in an ethical manner. 
  • Central concept: "jen" - a quality of magnanimity, virtue and honesty which every individual should strive for. 
  • The goal was to produce a society of individuals who live a life of harmony and virtue.
  • Contrast with the other major philosophy of the time, Taoism ("the way"), which dealt with metaphysics.
  • Encapsulated in pithy sayings documented in his books of sayings - the Analects. 
  • Confucianism has other sacred texts (some predated Confucius, others were edited by his followers):
    • Four books (one of which is the Analects)
    • Five Classics (among which are IChing: Book of Changes, dealing with metaphysics and the cosmos as an interaction of yin and yang, the Book of Poetry, the Book of History).