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Tag: experience

Plenty of Work But Where Is The Knowledge?

Millions of people are looking for Jobs.  Meanwhile, employers complain of a chronic “skills mismatch” that prevents them from hiring people or initiating new innovations.

When an engineer is laid off from an airplane manufacturer, a company like Starbucks has no idea what that person knows even though aircraft and milk steamers have a great deal in common from the perspective of the Engineer (both are pressure vessels subject to extreme environmental conditions).

The same is true for a marine engineer, and HVAC engineer, or an electrostatic coating machinery engineer.  Each of these disciplines has far more in common than they have differences.  However, if you compare the descriptions for any of these jobs, they sound like they all happen on different planets.

God forbid you are not an expert on MS Excel, which only takes a few hours for almost anyone to learn – yet not tagging that radio button can negate 20 years of experience that only 1% of people have the desire, discipline, and intellect to achieve.

The same holds true for many talents and professions. There are serious problems with the way that we discern the supply and demand for knowledge assets.

What is needed is an intermediate knowledge inventory in the commons that everyone can index to.  So when an engineer tags “pressure vessels” the term registers into the resident ontology of all observers.

Why is this better?

Of course companies are trying to eliminate variance and risk by hiring a person who has been trained by someone else – preferable a direct competitor.  On the other hand, the mantra of modern business is to innovate.  Innovation does not happen by duplicating yesterday’s ideas. Mixing diverse combinations of knowledge assets, and not all common knowledge assets, accelerates the process of Innovation.  Think of all the music that is yet to be created for lack of musicians to play the different instruments.

An intermediate knowledge inventory solves both problems by allowing companies to introduce diverse knowledge assets without introducing irrelevant knowledge assets.  It also gives people far more mobility to pursue specialties that they are most talented and interested in.  As such, the allocation of knowledge assets would improve to match supply of knowledge with the demand for knowledge in an innovation economy.

There is not a shortage or work, only a shortage of knowledge about knowledge.  

Fattest Cat Bets Against Dollar (and what we can do about it)

In 2006 John Paulson (of no relation to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson ) bet that the sub-prime mortgage market would tank and housing prices would fall on a national scale, according to a new book The Greatest Trade Ever by Greg Zuckerman. He cleaned up with 4 billion dollars in personal gains, 20 Billion for his firm.

Wonder where your money went?

“John Paulson took it,” wrote Peter Cohen of BloggingStocks. Want to know what Paulson is buying this year? Gold. Betting against the dollar is his latest ploy and so far seems to be working. Ummmm…this means that the rest of us are basically screwed, again.

Paulson’s investing lessons:

1. Don’t Rely on Experts
2. Bubble Trouble
3. Focus on Debt Markets
4. Master New investments
5. Insurance Pays
6. Experience Counts
7. Don’t Fall In Love
8. Luck Helps

Hey Kids, let’s learn from the master:

1. Don’t rely on Experts: They are the crooks. The Mexican Peso crisis was not caused by foreigners; it was caused by Mexican elite running away from their own currency and sparking a wider run. See Johnny Run….

2. Bubble Trouble: Further evidence is seen in speculative bubbles appearing in mundane fixed assets like land, minerals, and alternate currencies around the world.

3. Focus on Debt: If you have cash, you’ll lose it to inflation. But if you have debt, you’ll lose that too. If you have too much debt and you’ll go bankrupt. If you have too much cash and you’ll become equally broke. The trick is to hold just as much cash as you hold debt and when it’s all over, you’ll be no better or no worse off.

4. Master new investments: In the old system, if I trade a dollar for an apple, I lose the dollar but gain an apple. In the next economic paradigm, I share an idea but I still retain the idea; and currency multiplies – master the new investment!

5. Insurance Pays if you know how to play; if you can identify the peril, you know the probability that it will get you, and you know the consequences of the loss – you can “play” insurance. People must reorganize around an “insurance system” enabled by social networks that can influence these factors.

6. Experience Counts; While corporations are laying off older people, social media is capturing them in a knowledge inventory. We must develop, produce, and access this knowledge inventory.

7. Don’t Fall in Love: This means diversify and don’t be afraid to try new things. Innovation is the art of putting many different ideas, concepts or objects together and yielding new wealth creation. What better mechanism than social media.

8. Luck helps: Social media is like a cloud. Nobody can control and the only way to engage with it is to talk to the cloud. After a while the cloud will deliver rain, and your garden will grow. John Paulson calls this luck, we call it inevitable.

We, the people, need to introduce a new economic paradigm – nobody will do it for us. We may lose the dollar as a currency but we must not lose our personal ability to produce and trade our ideas, plans, and actions for the things that our families need to grow. Wealth is created by sharing. The Next Economic Paradigm shows us how we, as a society, can reorganize ourselves around an economy built upon social media. Sounds far out but it can be done today if we move quickly to understand the power – near absolute – that people can have in social media. If John Paulson were really smart, he would bet on us not against us.

The Invisible People

InvisibleManThere is no knowledge inventory.  There is no knowledge inventory.  There is no knowledge inventory.

This is a stunning omission for a society that intends – no, a society whose future is irrevocably dependent on it’s ability to innovate it’s way out of inevitable monetary collapse.

America does not know what Americans knows.  Entrepreneurs do not know what knowledge is available to them.  Markets do not know the supply and demand of knowledge assets.  The self-correcting magic of market capitalism is utterly unavailable if people and their knowledge assets are invisible.

  • There is a story out of the past mayor (someone who performed their civic duty to run for elected office) of Bennett Colorado who is one eviction letter away from living in a Ford Explorer with her 4 dogs.
  • Thousands of older Engineers are unemployed when Congress is crying for more Engineers.  This is the reason why there are none – the career has been reduced to a lousy bet.
  • Experience is knowledge, yet older workers also have a tougher time finding new jobs once they become unemployed. The average duration of unemployment for those age 55 and older is almost 30 weeks.
  • About 38 percent of the older workers and 26 percent of the younger workers had been out of work for 27 or more weeks in June.

Our economy needs to be able to efficiently match knowledge surplus with knowledge deficit in order to produce things and educate each other.  Diverse knowledge assets need to be combined in new and strategic ways.  Knowledge assets need to be matched by proximity as well as innovation potential.  Investors need to know the probability that a collection of knowledge assets can execute a business objective in order to decrease innovation risk.

Nothing can be accomplished without a knowledge inventory.  We have empowered corporations to be the stewards of the US knowledge inventory and the associated innovation economy. Information, knowledge, and innovation act as a system.  Without one of the pieces, you cannot have the other two.  If we outsource the knowledge economy, we lose the innovation economy.

The great promise of Social Media is that the knowledge inventory becomes a public reference. People need to know what other people know so that they can build things.

Once you are outsourced – you become invisible.  Who will be the next invisible person in your neighborhood?

Treating the consequences, not the symptoms?

Problems and opportunities are moving very fast. Problems are often so complex and so integrated across the globe that no single person can accumulate in a lifetime the experience needed to manage effectively.  The “top-down” management structure no longer has a statistically relevant sample of prior experiences from which to make essential decisions. Actions without wisdom have unintended consequences for yet unknown victims.

The Wisdom of Management

Managers manage through experience.  After many years in an industry, they can observe a situation and compare it to prior situations that they have encountered either through experience or formal education.

An effective manager can identify an issue, determine the probability that it will become a problem, and discuss the consequences of action or inaction.  Then they make similarly calculated decisions that either solves or manages the consequences of the problem.  The depth and breadth of a manager’s experience is called wisdom.

Duplicating Wisdom

In order to duplicate wisdom in a laboratory, scientists generate statistical events.  By duplicating a scenario 20-30 times, a range of outcomes becomes statistically relevant for predicting future outcomes and identifying the way things can influence the outcomes.  The idea behind the peer reviewed journals is to display the experiment to everyone for vetting.  If it survives vetting, it becomes part of the human body of knowledge until otherwise challenged.

Managing consequences

The rate of change has become extremely high and problems too complex to manage. Vetting mechanism are breaking down like levies against the dam in industries such as Banking, Insurance, automotive, medicine, education, environment, etc.  We are in a crisis of consequences where we can no longer manage the symptoms, only the consequences – forget about curing the disease.

Social Media: The Operating System of an Innovation Economy

The business plan of the new millennium will be the art and science of making information “less imperfect”.  In a condition of perfect information, everyone associated with an issue has the same information as everyone else.  Perfect information is what makes markets efficient and decisions rational.  Agreement is perfectly mutual, supply and demand are perfectly aligned, all risks are perfectly predictable and cause and effect are perfectly transparent.

Wisdom of Crowds

No single human can accumulate enough experience in a lifetime to manage the totality of human problems.  Perhaps the wisdom of crowds could be used to simulate one person that does.   This cannot, however, be a random collection of people acting in haphazard process.  The challenge is in finding the correct group of people who collectively replicate a condition of “perfect information”.  Then we must transform the perfect information into knowledge.  Finally, we need to transform that knowledge into innovation through entrepreneurial activity.

The Social Imperative

Social Networks need to form complete and detailed inventories of resident knowledge cataloged on a ‘bell curve’.  Social Networks must codify social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital so that scientific methods can be used to predict and assemble unique collection of knowledge assets that capture statistically relevant collections of experiences. That unique set of knowledge assets must then be deployed precisely in a market.

By all indications, this is the direction that the integration of social media is trying to go.  It is now our social imperative that it gets there.

Social Enterprise; The Vetting Mechanism; #1

I read many articles with rants like “all this social network stuff is cool – but show us the money”.  Innovation Economics offers a way to see new markets and new businesses that are currently hidden by “the old way” of doing things.   This article is part of a series called ‘Business Plans of the Innovation Economy” which will identify ways that Social Networks can command huge markets and drive vast revenues – if, and only if, they align themselves in a specific way….

Managers manage through experience. They observe a situation and compare it to prior situations they have encountered. Through a process of intuitive (statistical) analysis, they calculate the probability of success based on the success or failure of prior experience. This is the reason why managers are often older and also why youth correlates with inability to manage.  The depth and breadth of one’s experience is often called wisdom.

Today’s problems, business opportunities, technological change, and competitive strategies are so complex and so integrated across the globe that no single person can accumulate in a lifetime the experience needed to manage at what is called a Pareto Efficiency. A Pareto Efficiency, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, is an economic condition where a one’s actions benefits at least one person while leaving no other person less better off.

The problem with the “top-down” management structure is that the “top” no longer has a statistically relevant sample of prior experiences from which to fully understand the probable future outcome of their actions – the consequence is that someone always gets screwed (Pareto Inefficient).

The concept of Pareto Efficiency may be what people are today inadvertently calling “sustainability”.  I recently saw the movie Syriana with George Clooney about the petroleum industry in the Middle East.  It was a convoluted mix of 5 different stories.  Each story had its hero doing what they thought was in the best interest of those they represent – “the common people”.   Yet the combination of actions carried out by these heroes was absolutely disastrous for all of them.  So no matter how benevolent one’s intentions are – and I believe that most corporate managers are acting in the highest integrity that they know – this systemic failure of knowledge will always hurt someone, continually adding to those already at the fringes.

The world of imperfect information is therefore the enemy of sustainability.   Perfect information is when everyone associated with a business transaction has the exact same information as everyone else.  Perfect information is what makes markets efficient and decisions rational.  Agreement is perfectly mutual, supply and demand are perfectly aligned, all risks are perfectly predictable and cause and effect are perfectly transparent.

It follows that any business plan that simply improves information in a market can command revenues proportional to the degree at which market efficient is improved.  For example; Ebay owes its 50 Billion dollar market capitalization to the feedback system which supplies improved information in a market.  Carfax, The FAA, Craigslist, Democratic Government – all have vetting mechanisms that make their prospective markets more efficient.

Likewise, when the vetting mechanisms fail, the market fails.  I attended a lecture once with Charlie Munger, CFO of Berkshire Hathaway.  Regarding Enron, he said (paraphrase) “It’s tragic enough when the accounting profession goes bad, but God help us if we lose the engineers”.

This brings us back to management.  The business plan of the millennium will be the art and science of perfect information.  We know that no single human can accumulate enough experience, however, we also know that perfect information can reside in many people – it is simply a matter of finding the perfect group of people who collectively possess perfect information.

This relatively simple task is entirely and irrevocably the domain of Social Networks. Social Networks are sufficiently enabled by current technology to perform this essential and highly lucrative task – if and only if they align themselves accordingly.  Social Networks need to hold a complete and detailed inventory of resident knowledge.  Social Networks must cooperate to codify social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital so that computational methods can be used to assemble unique collection of persons holding unique collections of experiences. That unique set of knowledge assets must then be deployed precisely in the market, ideally targeting specific transactions.

If Real Estate Agents can command 6% of a gazillion dollar housing market and bankers can take another huge chunk – and not even do a very good job at providing perfect information – only to get bailed those at the fringes.  Social Networking have a moral, ethical, and entrepreneurial obligation to compete in the sustainability game.

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