June 17, 2018 § Leave a comment
In many ways, Western Christianity is now a solution in search of a problem. We are a victim of our own success, having effectively worked ourselves out of a job by eliminating the “pain points” of Judaism, paganism and animism while diffusing most of our benefits into the culture. Like a technology-centric startup, we now find ourselves in the awkward situation of trying to define (or worse, create) problems that need our solution.
The alternative is to go back to the customer discovery phase. Who is our customer? What are their most important jobs to be done? What is the “impossible” thing that, if it could be done, would change everything for them?
What is it that the world most needs? Especially from us?
March 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
[The following is the final installment of a science-fiction serial I started writing at Matterport, where I worked from May to December of 2015. Someday I will get the rights to publish the entire story, but for now, enjoy this little vignette.]
Stark Realty #20: Redemption
“He didn’t kill your mother, Tanya.” panted the newly-arrived Jane Hathaway. “I did.”
Tanya Bain stared at the petite, matronly woman in shocked disbelief. Tony Stark, his hands nailed to the concrete wall with Q-carbon spikes, screamed “Jane, no!”
The demolecularizing grenade Tanya had placed over her father’s arc reactor-powered heart dropped from suddenly nerveless fingers. With a supreme effort, Tony levered himself against the spikes and drop-kicked the grenade against the far wall, where it harmlessly vaporized a quarter-inch of foamed concrete.
“Tanya,” he gasped. “Please. Don’t believe her. It was all my fault.”
His estranged daughter stared at him blankly, sinking slowly to the ground. She, with help from the anonymous cyber-dwarf Rumplestilskin, had put herself through hell to destroy Iron Man for killing her mother. Had her whole life been based on a lie?
July 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
June 15, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last October, along with many other tributes to the late Apple co-founder, James Allworth claimed that Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma. His explanation is that Apple avoids the traditional pitfalls that stifle innovation because:
Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority.
To support his thesis, James cites Apple’s unusual attitude towards:
- Profit: “there’s only one person Apple with responsibility for a profit and loss. The CFO.”
- People: “It didn’t matter how great you were, if you couldn’t deliver to that mission — you were out.”
- Products: “Tim Cook, on the iPad disrupting the Mac business: ‘Yes, I think there is some cannibalization… the iPad team works on making their product the best. Same with the Mac team.’ It’s almost unheard of to be able to manage disruption like this.”
While these are clearly key contributors to Apple’s disruptive success, the only show that Apple has so far avoided the Innovator’s Dilemma. Clay Christensen himself, author of the Innovator’s Dilemma and self-appointed “Jewish Mother” to the business world, still publicly worries whether Apple has truly found a sustainable solution to that problem.
So has Apple solved the Innovator’s Dilemma, or not? How could we know?
January 18, 2009 § 4 Comments
July 9, 2008 § 1 Comment
Harvard University raised a minor ruckus last year when they revamped their core liberal arts curriculum. Regardless of the merits of their specific plan, they deserve credit for being willing to reexamine, redefine, and reinvent their scholarship to better fulfill their unique mission: training the next generation of “cultural elites” who will guide academia, industry, and government.
In this era of declining computer science enrollments — and ongoing concern over the math and science competency of American students — I believe it is time for technical institutions to undertake similar soul-searching. In particular, we need to rethink the historic divorce of science and engineering from the so-called liberal arts — those nominally intended for “free men.”