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Nir Zicherman

Nir Zicherman

1 year ago

The Great Organizational Conundrum

More on Leadership

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

1 year ago

Improving collaboration with the Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats was written by Dr. Edward de Bono. "Six Thinking Hats" and parallel thinking allow groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, improving collaboration.

Fundamental ideas

In order to develop strategies for thinking about specific issues, the method assumes that the human brain thinks in a variety of ways that can be intentionally challenged. De Bono identifies six brain-challenging directions. In each direction, the brain brings certain issues into conscious thought (e.g. gut instinct, pessimistic judgement, neutral facts). Some may find wearing hats unnatural, uncomfortable, or counterproductive.

The example of "mismatch" sensitivity is compelling. In the natural world, something out of the ordinary may be dangerous. This mode causes negative judgment and critical thinking.

Colored hats represent each direction. Putting on a colored hat symbolizes changing direction, either literally or metaphorically. De Bono first used this metaphor in his 1971 book "Lateral Thinking for Management" to describe a brainstorming framework. These metaphors allow more complete and elaborate thought separation. Six thinking hats indicate ideas' problems and solutions.

Similarly, his CoRT Thinking Programme introduced "The Five Stages of Thinking" method in 1973.

HATOVERVIEWTECHNIQUE
BLUE"The Big Picture" & ManagingCAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)
WHITE"Facts & Information"Information
RED"Feelings & Emotions"Emotions and Ego
BLACK"Negative"PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation
YELLOW"Positive"PMI
GREEN"New Ideas"Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po

Strategies and programs

After identifying the six thinking modes, programs can be created. These are groups of hats that encompass and structure the thinking process. Several of these are included in the materials for franchised six hats training, but they must often be adapted. Programs are often "emergent," meaning the group plans the first few hats and the facilitator decides what to do next.

The group agrees on how to think, then thinks, then evaluates the results and decides what to do next. Individuals or groups can use sequences (and indeed hats). Each hat is typically used for 2 minutes at a time, although an extended white hat session is common at the start of a process to get everyone on the same page. The red hat is recommended to be used for a very short period to get a visceral gut reaction – about 30 seconds, and in practice often takes the form of dot-voting.

ACTIVITYHAT SEQUENCE
Initial IdeasBlue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternativesBlue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying SolutionsBlue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick FeedbackBlue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic PlanningBlue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process ImprovementBlue, White, White (Other People's Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving ProblemsBlue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance ReviewBlue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue

Use

Speedo's swimsuit designers reportedly used the six thinking hats. "They used the "Six Thinking Hats" method to brainstorm, with a green hat for creative ideas and a black one for feasibility.

Typically, a project begins with extensive white hat research. Each hat is used for a few minutes at a time, except the red hat, which is limited to 30 seconds to ensure an instinctive gut reaction, not judgement. According to Malcolm Gladwell's "blink" theory, this pace improves thinking.

De Bono believed that the key to a successful Six Thinking Hats session was focusing the discussion on a particular approach. A meeting may be called to review and solve a problem. The Six Thinking Hats method can be used in sequence to explore the problem, develop a set of solutions, and choose a solution through critical examination.

Everyone may don the Blue hat to discuss the meeting's goals and objectives. The discussion may then shift to Red hat thinking to gather opinions and reactions. This phase may also be used to determine who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. The discussion may then shift to the (Yellow then) Green hat to generate solutions and ideas. The discussion may move from White hat thinking to Black hat thinking to develop solution set criticisms.

Because everyone is focused on one approach at a time, the group is more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat), another is trying to be objective (White hat), and another is critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat). The hats help people approach problems from different angles and highlight problem-solving flaws.

Al Anany

Al Anany

9 months ago

Because of this covert investment that Bezos made, Amazon became what it is today.

He kept it under wraps for years until he legally couldn’t.

Midjourney

His shirt is incomplete. I can’t stop thinking about this…

Actually, ignore the article. Look at it. JUST LOOK at it… It’s quite disturbing, isn’t it?

Ughh…

Me: “Hey, what up?” Friend: “All good, watching lord of the rings on amazon prime video.” Me: “Oh, do you know how Amazon grew and became famous?” Friend: “Geek alert…Can I just watch in peace?” Me: “But… Bezos?” Friend: “Let it go, just let it go…”

I can question you, the reader, and start answering instantly without his consent. This far.

Reader, how did Amazon succeed? You'll say, Of course, it was an internet bookstore, then it sold everything.

Mistaken. They moved from zero to one because of this. How did they get from one to thousand? AWS-some. Understand? It's geeky and lame. If not, I'll explain my geekiness.

Over an extended period of time, Amazon was not profitable.

Business basics. You want customers if you own a bakery, right?

Well, 100 clients per day order $5 cheesecakes (because cheesecakes are awesome.)

$5 x 100 consumers x 30 days Equals $15,000 monthly revenue. You proudly work here.

Now you have to pay the barista (unless ChatGPT is doing it haha? Nope..)

  • The barista is requesting $5000 a month.

  • Each cheesecake costs the cheesecake maker $2.5 ($2.5 × 100 x 30 = $7500).

  • The monthly cost of running your bakery, including power, is about $5000.

Assume no extra charges. Your operating costs are $17,500.

Just $15,000? You have income but no profit. You might make money selling coffee with your cheesecake next month.

Is losing money bad? You're broke. Losing money. It's bad for financial statements.

It's almost a business ultimatum. Most startups fail. Amazon took nine years.

I'm reading Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Creation of a Global Empire to comprehend how a company has a $1 trillion market cap.

Many things made Amazon big. The book claims that Bezos and Amazon kept a specific product secret for a long period.

Clouds above the bald head.

In 2006, Bezos started a cloud computing initiative. They believed many firms like Snapchat would pay for reliable servers.

In 2006, cloud computing was not what it is today. I'll simplify. 2006 had no iPhone.

Bezos invested in Amazon Web Services (AWS) without disclosing its revenue. That's permitted till a certain degree.

Google and Microsoft would realize Amazon is heavily investing in this market and worry.

Bezos anticipated high demand for this product. Microsoft built its cloud in 2010, and Google in 2008.

If you managed Google or Microsoft, you wouldn't know how much Amazon makes from their cloud computing service. It's enough. Yet, Amazon is an internet store, so they'll focus on that.

All but Bezos were wrong.

Time to come clean now.

They revealed AWS revenue in 2015. Two things were apparent:

  1. Bezos made the proper decision to bet on the cloud and keep it a secret.

  2. In this race, Amazon is in the lead.

Synergy Research Group

They continued. Let me list some AWS users today.

  • Netflix

  • Airbnb

  • Twitch

More. Amazon was unprofitable for nine years, remember? This article's main graph.

Visual Capitalist

AWS accounted for 74% of Amazon's profit in 2021. This 74% might not exist if they hadn't invested in AWS.

Bring this with you home.

Amazon predated AWS. Yet, it helped the giant reach $1 trillion. Bezos' secrecy? Perhaps, until a time machine is invented (they might host the time machine software on AWS, though.)

Without AWS, Amazon would have been profitable but unimpressive. They may have invested in anything else that would have returned more (like crypto? No? Ok.)

Bezos has business flaws. His success. His failures include:

  • introducing the Fire Phone and suffering a $170 million loss.

  • Amazon's failure in China In 2011, Amazon had a about 15% market share in China. 2019 saw a decrease of about 1%.

  • not offering a higher price to persuade the creator of Netflix to sell the company to him. He offered a rather reasonable $15 million in his proposal. But what if he had offered $30 million instead (Amazon had over $100 million in revenue at the time)? He might have owned Netflix, which has a $156 billion market valuation (and saved billions rather than invest in Amazon Prime Video).

Some he could control. Some were uncontrollable. Nonetheless, every action he made in the foregoing circumstances led him to invest in AWS.

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

1 year ago

Provide a product roadmap that can withstand startup velocities

This is how to build a car while driving.

Building a high-growth startup is compared to building a car while it's speeding down the highway.

How to plan without going crazy? Or, without losing team, board, and investor buy-in?

I just delivered our company's product roadmap for the rest of the year. Complete. Thorough. Page-long. I'm optimistic about its chances of surviving as everything around us changes, from internal priorities to the global economy.

It's tricky. This isn't the first time I've created a startup roadmap. I didn't invent a document. It took time to deliver a document that will be relevant for months.

Goals matter.

Although they never change, goals are rarely understood.

This is the third in a series about a startup's unique roadmapping needs. Velocity is the intensity at which a startup must produce to survive.

A high-growth startup moves at breakneck speed, which I alluded to when I said priorities and economic factors can change daily or weekly.

At that speed, a startup's roadmap must be flexible, bend but not break, and be brief and to the point. I can't tell you how many startups and large companies develop a product roadmap every quarter and then tuck it away.

Big, wealthy companies can do this. It's suicide for a startup.

The drawer thing happens because startup product roadmaps are often valid for a short time. The roadmap is a random list of features prioritized by different company factions and unrelated to company goals.

It's not because the goals changed that a roadmap is shelved or ignored. Because the company's goals were never communicated or documented in the context of its product.

In the previous post, I discussed how to turn company goals into a product roadmap. In this post, I'll show you how to make a one-page startup roadmap.

In a future post, I'll show you how to follow this roadmap. This roadmap helps you track company goals, something a roadmap must do.

Be vague for growth, but direct for execution.

Here's my plan. The real one has more entries and more content in each.

You can open this as an image at 1920 pixels

Let's discuss smaller boxes.

Product developers and engineers know that the further out they predict, the more wrong they'll be. When developing the product roadmap, this rule is ignored. Then it bites us three, six, or nine months later when we haven't even started.

Why do we put everything in a product roadmap like a project plan?

Yes, I know. We use it when the product roadmap isn't goal-based.

A goal-based roadmap begins with a document that outlines each goal's idea, execution, growth, and refinement.

You can open this as an image at 960 pixels

Once the goals are broken down into epics, initiatives, projects, and programs, only the idea and execution phases should be modeled. Any goal growth or refinement items should be vague and loosely mapped.

Why? First, any idea or execution-phase goal will result in growth initiatives that are unimaginable today. Second, internal priorities and external factors will change, but the goals won't. Locking items into calendar slots reduces flexibility and forces deviation from the single source of truth.

No soothsayers. Predicting the future is pointless; just prepare.

A map is useless if you don't know where you're going.

As we speed down the road, the car and the road will change. Goals define the destination.

This quarter and next quarter's roadmap should be set. After that, you should track destination milestones, not how to get there.

When you do that, even the most critical investors will understand the roadmap and buy in. When you track progress at the end of the quarter and revise your roadmap, the destination won't change.

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Katharine Valentino

Katharine Valentino

1 year ago

A Gun-toting Teacher Is Like a Cook With Rat Poison

Pink or blue AR-15s?

A teacher teaches; a gun kills. Killing isn't teaching. Killing is opposite of teaching.

Without 27 school shootings this year, we wouldn't be talking about arming teachers. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA cause most school shootings. Gun makers, distributors, and the NRA wouldn't be huge business if weapons weren't profitable.

Guns, ammo, body armor, holsters, concealed carriers, bore sights, cleaner kits, spare magazines and speed loaders, gun safes, and ear protection are sold. And more guns.

And lots more profit.

Guns aren't bread. You eat a loaf of bread in a week or so and then must buy more. Bread makers will make money. Winchester 94.30–30 1899 Lever Action Rifle from 1894 still kills. (For safety, I won't link to the ad.) Gun makers don't object if you collect antique weapons, but they need you to buy the latest, in-style killing machine. The youngster who killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, used an AR-15. Better yet, two.

Salvador Ramos, the Robb Elementary shooter, is a "killing influencer" He pushes consumers to buy items, which benefits manufacturers and distributors. Like every previous AR-15 influencer, he profits Colt, the rifle's manufacturer, and 52,779 gun dealers in the U.S. Ramos and other AR-15 influences make us fear for our safety and our children's. Fearing for our safety, we acquire 20 million firearms a year and live in a gun culture.

So now at school, we want to arm teachers.

Consider. Which of your teachers would you have preferred in body armor with a gun drawn?

Miss Summers? Remember her bringing daisies from her yard to second grade? She handed each student a beautiful flower. Miss Summers loved everyone, even those with AR-15s. She can't shoot.

Frasier? Mr. Frasier turned a youngster over down to explain "invert." Mr. Frasier's hands shook when he wasn't flipping fifth-graders and fractions. He may have shot wrong.

Mrs. Barkley barked in high school English class when anyone started an essay with "But." Mrs. Barkley dubbed Abie a "Jewboy" and gave him terrible grades. Arming Miss Barkley is like poisoning the chef.

Think back. Do you remember a teacher with a gun? No. Arming teachers so the gun industry can make more money is the craziest idea ever.

Or maybe you agree with Ted Cruz, the gun lobby-bought senator, that more guns reduce gun violence. After the next school shooting, you'll undoubtedly talk about arming teachers and pupils. Colt will likely develop a backpack-sized, lighter version of its popular killing machine in pink and blue for kids and boys. The MAR-15? (M for mini).


This post is a summary. Read the full one here.

Nick

Nick

1 year ago

This Is How Much Quora Paid Me For 23 Million Content Views

You’ll be surprised; I sure was

Photo by Burst from Pexels

Blogging and writing online as a side income has now been around for a significant amount of time. Nowadays, it is a continuously rising moneymaker for prospective writers, with several writing platforms existing online. At the top of the list are Medium, Vocal Media, Newsbreak, and the biggest one of them, Quora, with 300 million active users.

Quora, unlike Medium, is a question-and-answer format platform. On Medium you are permitted to write what you want, while on Quora, you answer questions on topics that you have expertise about. Quora, like Medium, now compensates its authors for the answers they provide in comparison to the previous, in which you had to be admitted to the partner program and were paid to ask questions.

Quora just recently went live with this new partner program, Quora Plus, and the way it works is that it is a subscription for $5 a month which provides you access to metered/monetized stories, in turn compensating the writers for part of that subscription for their answers.

I too on Quora have found a lot of success on the platform, gaining 23 Million Content Views, and 300,000 followers for my space, which is kind of the Quora equivalent of a Medium article. The way in which I was able to do this was entirely thanks to a hack that I uncovered to the Quora algorithm.

In this article, I plan on discussing how much money I received from 23 million content views on Quora, and I bet you’ll be shocked; I know I was.

A Brief Explanation of How I Got 23 Million Views and How You Can Do It Too

On Quora, everything in terms of obtaining views is about finding the proper question, which I only understood quite late into the game. I published my first response in 2019 but never actually wrote on Quora until the summer of 2020, and about a month into posting consistently I found out how to find the perfect question. Here’s how:

The Process

Go to your Home Page and start scrolling… While browsing, check for the following things…

  1. Answers from people you follow or your followers.

  2. Advertisements

These two things are the two things you want to ignore, you don’t want to answer those questions or look at the ads. You should now be left with a couple of recommended answers. To discover which recommended answer is the best to answer as well, look at these three important aspects.

  1. Date of the answer: Was it in the past few days, preferably 2–3 days, even better, past 24 hours?

  2. Views: Are they in the ten thousands or hundred thousands?

  3. Upvotes: Are they in the hundreds or thousands?

Now, choose an answer to a question which you think you could answer as well that satisfies the requirements above. Once you click on it, as all answers on Quora works, it will redirect you to the page for that question, in which you will have to select once again if you should answer the question.

  1. Amount of answers: How many responses are there to the given question? This tells you how much competition you have. My rule is beyond 25 answers, you shouldn’t answer, but you can change it anyway you’d like.

  2. Answerers: Who did the answering for the question? If the question includes a bunch of renowned, extremely well-known people on Quora, there’s a good possibility your essay is going to get drowned out.

  3. Views: Check for a constant quantity of high views on each answer for the question; this is what will guarantee that your answer gets a lot of views!

The Income Reveal! How Much I Made From 23 Million Content Views

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!

8.97 USD. Yes, not even ten dollars, not even nine. Just eight dollars and ninety-seven cents.

Possible Reasons for My Low Earnings

  • Quora Plus and the answering partner program are newer than my Quora views.

  • Few people use Quora+, therefore revenues are low.

  • I haven't been writing much on Quora, so I'm only making money from old answers and a handful since Quora Plus launched.

  • Quora + pays poorly...

Should You Try Quora and Quora For Money?

My answer depends on your needs. I never got invited to Quora's question partner program due to my late start, but other writers have made hundreds. Due to Quora's new and competitive answering partner program, you may not make much money.

If you want a fun writing community, try Quora. Quora was fun when I only made money from my space. Quora +'s paywalls and new contributors eager to make money have made the platform less fun for me.


This article is a summary to save you time. You can read my full, more detailed article, here.

Frederick M. Hess

Frederick M. Hess

10 months ago

The Lessons of the Last Two Decades for Education Reform

My colleague Ilana Ovental and I examined pandemic media coverage of education at the end of last year. That analysis examined coverage changes. We tracked K-12 topic attention over the previous two decades using Lexis Nexis. See the results here.

I was struck by how cleanly the past two decades can be divided up into three (or three and a half) eras of school reform—a framing that can help us comprehend where we are and how we got here. In a time when epidemic, political unrest, frenetic news cycles, and culture war can make six months seem like a lifetime, it's worth pausing for context.

If you look at the peaks in the above graph, the 21st century looks to be divided into periods. The decade-long rise and fall of No Child Left Behind began during the Bush administration. In a few years, NCLB became the dominant K-12 framework. Advocates and financiers discussed achievement gaps and measured success with AYP.

NCLB collapsed under the weight of rigorous testing, high-stakes accountability, and a race to the bottom by the Obama years. Obama's Race to the Top garnered attention, but its most controversial component, the Common Core State Standards, rose quickly.

Academic standards replaced assessment and accountability. New math, fiction, and standards were hotly debated. Reformers and funders chanted worldwide benchmarking and systems interoperability.

We went from federally driven testing and accountability to government encouraged/subsidized/mandated (pick your verb) reading and math standardization. Last year, Checker Finn and I wrote The End of School Reform? The 2010s populist wave thwarted these objectives. The Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and Trump/MAGA all attacked established institutions.

Consequently, once the Common Core fell, no alternative program emerged. Instead, school choice—the policy most aligned with populist suspicion of institutional power—reached a half-peak. This was less a case of choice erupting to prominence than of continuous growth in a vacuum. Even with Betsy DeVos' determined, controversial efforts, school choice received only half the media attention that NCLB and Common Core did at their heights.

Recently, culture clash-fueled attention to race-based curriculum and pedagogy has exploded (all playing out under the banner of critical race theory). This third, culture war-driven wave may not last as long as the other waves.

Even though I don't understand it, the move from slow-building policy debate to fast cultural confrontation over two decades is notable. I don't know if it's cyclical or permanent, or if it's about schooling, media, public discourse, or all three.

One final thought: After doing this work for decades, I've noticed how smoothly advocacy groups, associations, and other activists adapt to the zeitgeist. In 2007, mission statements focused on accomplishment disparities. Five years later, they promoted standardization. Language has changed again.

Part of this is unavoidable and healthy. Chasing currents can also make companies look unprincipled, promote scepticism, and keep them spinning the wheel. Bearing in mind that these tides ebb and flow may give educators, leaders, and activists more confidence to hold onto their values and pause when they feel compelled to follow the crowd.