"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The amount of blind faith people put in computer models (and in “experts”) never ceases to amaze me. Personally, I’m from Missouri. Show me. Prove it to me.

I was reading an article in a recent issue of “The Economist” that explained how the recent financial meltdown in CDO (collateralized mortgage obligations) occurred because the “complex computer models” proved inadequate, i.e. extrapolations of the past did not equal the future. Computer programers and other supposed experts proved no better at forecasting the future than your local palm reader.

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Economic Democracy

Somewhere out there is the concept that profit is a bad thing, that profit involves ripping people off, which certainly can happen.

I’m proud of being what I call a “Populist Capitalist.” I’ve got a whole riff on

  • Why I detest “Cronyism Capitalism” (it gives the rest of us working capitalists a bad name)
  • Why many boards of directors are a sad mockery of stewardship (effectively most corporations are owned by management and run for their benefit)
  • Why “corporate welfare” is the worst kind (reach into the taxpayer’s pocket and give money to the rich? Robin Hood is spinning in his grave).

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A prophet is not without honor…

“A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.” This bible verse (Matthew 13:57, King James version) reminds us that many truths about human nature are as old as time itself.

In management speak, this verse is recast as “The farther the distance traveled, the greater the expert.”

Both phrases deal with the human tendency to project excessive expertise on those we do not know simply because we have not yet had time to know them as fully human, with a normal human’s range of strength and weakness. Another way to put it is, “If the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, maybe it is because it has more bulls**t on it!”

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