Hey there everyone,
I haven’t made posts for a while, so, here we go again:
1. “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.“ – Eddard Stark.
Don’t shy away from making tough calls. And just as importantly, do the unpleasant work to follow through. As Ned reminds us, “He who hides behind executioners soon forgets what death is.” Leaders who spend time in the trenches, doing the tough work, will take making tough decisions more seriously.
2. “A Lannister always pays his debts.” – Tyrion Lannister
In the workplace, the quickest way to lose respect, and power, is to promise things you can’t deliver. The surest way to get people to do things for you today, is for them to trust, that you will do what you say you will, in the future. Leaders follow through on their word. When they say they are going to do something, they do it.
3. “Any man who must say, I am the king, is no true king.” – Tywin Lannister
True power comes from where people believe it comes from. Not from where you say it comes from. The best leaders are followed based on the collective will, not because they say, “I am the boss.” Power and influence, often come from unexpected places.
4. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” – Littlefinger
Chaotic times reveal a leader’s strength. When times are good, it’s easy to be the leader. Only when chaos reigns, do many leaders rise. Effective leaders aren’t thwarted by challenges. They use challenges to foist them higher. As Littefinger, highlights: “Many who try to climb fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them.” Leaders are not broken. They continue to climb.
5. “Winter is coming.” – House Stark
Leaders remain vigilant. The world is uncertain. The best leaders always innovate, stay strong, and plan for the future. Being prepared for the unexpected is essential. Embrace winter, especially when everyone else is distracted and basking in the sun.
Best regards and…House Stark rules, always,
It’s true, Avant Garde Innovations, the Indian startup founded by siblings Arun and Anoop George from Kerala, has come up with a low-cost wind turbine that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house for a lifetime. The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kWh/kW per day — with just a one-time cost of US$750.
Their goal is to “eliminate energy poverty, reduce dependence on struggling state power grids and create energy self sufficiency for all the needy ones through distributed, localised and affordable renewable energy.
In doing so, we believe we can collectively usher in our world a cleaner environment, new economic prosperity and social change”, by “offering a highly affordable small wind turbine suitable for residential, commercial, agricultural, village electrification and other uses, which is aimed for a market launch during 2016.”
Avant Garde Innovations passionate aim is to “introduce innovative, affordable and sustainable solutions that take renewable energy self sufficiency and energy empowerment to the next level through a distributed and decentralised approach using pioneering strategies the world has not witnessed yet”.
This revolutionary product has also won them a spot in the Top 20 Cleantech Innovations in India, and the company has also made it to the list of 10 clean energy companies from India for the “UN Sustainable Energy For All” initiative under the one billion dollar clean energy investment opportunity directory.
Anyone familiar with Nikola Tesla’s dreams about wireless energy and communication understands that we are nowhere close to being where he envisioned we’d be in 2016, but humanity has to start somewhere….
A team of researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new technology called ambient Wi-Fi backscatter that fulfills Tesla’s dream of wireless energy signal transmittal on a small scale – even though Tesla’s ambitions were much larger and wider in scope than ambient backscatter.
Devices such as this use existing radio frequency signals (radio, television, digital telephony, wi-fi, bluetooth, etc.) to transmit data without a battery or power grid connection with an antenna that picks up an existing signal and converts it into tens to hundreds of microwatts of electricity. It then uses that power to modify and reflect the signal with encoded data.
This approach would let mobile and other devices communicate without being turned on. It would also allow unpowered sensors to communicate, allowing them to be placed in places where external power cannot be conveniently supplied.
It turns out liking science isn’t the same as liking science class.
New reports from sources that advocate for STEM education, found that while teenagers are interested in subjects like physics, biology, and engineering, they tend not to enjoy their in-school classes – based on an online survey of more than 1,500 teens from around the country.
This discrepancy means there’s room both in and out of school to dramatically improve STEM education offerings for teens, mostly by making them more hands-on and engaging.
Some 81 percent of teens said that they were interested in science. Seventy-three percent were interested in biology in particular. But only 37 percent of students said they enjoy their science class, and even fewer — 33 percent — liked biology class. That’s less than the 48 percent who said they enjoyed non-science classes.
The sample was balanced by region and ethnicity. Differences in outcomes by race, ethnicity, and income were tested for significance at the 95 percent confidence interval. All differences noted in the brief and infographic are statistically significant.
Explore the survey outcomes more fully (PowerPoint).
While many teens find more hands-on experiences like field trips and experiments to be most compelling, most instruction in science class involves either textbooks or in-class discussion. A chart compares preferred learning styles compared to teaching methods:
The survey also examined the relationship between students’ family income and access to and interest in STEM fields. Lower-income students were less likely to know an adult involved in biology and less likely to participate in a science club.
Overall, more than 80 percent of teens reported that they thought knowing adults in their desired field of work might help them advance, but just about a third actually knew adults in that field.
The authors of the AmGen and Change the Equation report argue that schools should adopt more inquiry-based STEM curricula and that teachers should receive training in how to teach it. They also argue for stronger ties between businesses and community members and schools.
STEM often makes news when students create or achieve remarkable things—consider thestudents at the White House Science Fair, who shared projects related to everything from pollution to artificial intelligence. The subjects are a priority for federal, state, and local policymakers, who often raise concerns about the dearth of of young people pursuing degrees and career in STEM. The Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to No Child Left Behind, includes more flexibility for districts and states looking to create or support STEM programs. But this survey hints at the fact that in many schools, science education is still less-than-inspiring.
A few other findings from the report:
The European Union recently decided that enough was enough and will be granting open access to all European scientific papers to the public by 2020.
From a legal perspective, this mandate can only be enforced on publically funded research, but they are hoping that privately held research firms will soon follow suit. Scientific journals are ultimately not very happy about this decision, as the previous subscription-based models would effectively be eliminated. In the current state, scientific journals can also selectively release the content that they want to the media, given them control over the knowledge that gets spread publically.
This decision was the result of a meeting between the Competitiveness Council, which included leaders in the scientific and technological communities. All parties were in agreement with the goal to make scientific papers open access, according to Futurism, and the goal is to have it completed by 2020.
Making all of this knowledge open access would mean that the entire world would have access to millions of papers and scientific research that usually only paid subscribers and other higher up members of the scientific community would have.
The deadline is actually a fairly close one, and the council has provided no information on how the progress will be overseen. Making sure that every paper is open to the public will require a lot of work and oversight, but plans are beginning to be formulated on how to accomplish this task. Hopefully, having open access to all of this research will allow generations to become more science literate and increase the overall state of knowledge and education.
Christian Bonilla says he has been amused for a while by the tone of articles he’s read that marvel at the rise of the data scientist role, while not every article went so far as to declare that data scientists would have the “sexiest job of the 21st Century” as Harvard Business Review did, most of the posts seen lately echoed the we-have-seen-the-future tone.
Christian doesn’t think they’re necessarily wrong (although this short Fortune article is a good reminder that the laws of supply and demand apply to data scientists too) but he doesn’t see what is surprising or a new about this trend. If The Onion were covering this story, he’d expect a headline like: “New study reveals that people who are good at math and programming are employed, affluent.”
Where’s the news here? People with math and programming chops have been getting rich on Wall Street since the seventies. As more companies generate big data, the need for these skills has expanded to new industries, to say nothing of the demand for these skills in the tech sector, but it’s all part of a long-term upward trend of the value of quantitative skills.
At many companies, the mandate of the “customer insights” team is to serve as a shared resource for other departments when they need someone who can understand the damn data and answer their questions. And why is this?
The systems companies have in place are partly to blame. Many enterprises, particularly ones that grew by acquisition and inherited multiple IT departments as a result, store their data in systems that are difficult for non-technical employees to use. That alone discourages the vast majority of people from ever touching their company’s raw data. But the larger obstacle is simply that even if decent tools are available, it takes know-how and patience most people don’t have to analyze data that’s in a relational database as opposed to in a dashboard or an Excel file. It’s not just learning SQL, either. Understanding a company’s data model and how it stores data well enough that you can query it accurately takes patience and a lot of trial and error. There’s a big difference between the data you work with in business school and what you often see in the real world in terms of data reliability and quality. This is why the vast majority of people rely on aggregated reports and cleansed data they get from their IT departments; they can trust the data without thinking twice about it.
The problem with relying on dashboards and pre-built reports to do your analysis is that it’s hard to do work that sets you apart when you’re looking at the same small sliver of the facts as everyone else.
Data quality is important, and companies emphasize having a single version of the truth for good reason, but it can seriously constrain your creativity. That’s the kind of analysis that makes your boss lean in and listen to what you’re saying. Being able to do it on your own is ten times better than having to ask someone else to do it for you.
Best of all, you don’t need more than junior-high math to answer that question. All you need is an inquisitive mind and the right data.
Christian Borilla: It’s said that smart people ask hard questions while really smart people ask simple ones. Indeed, many of the most important questions you can ask about your company are the simplest. Why do people choose our products over our competitors’? Why do customers leave us when they do? Should we offer discounts to boost sales? When you’re up to your neck in being a good do-er it’s easy to lose sight of these fundamental questions because people don’t ask you to answer them when you’re still green. But oh, the liberation when you can! This is how you can begin to understand and contribute to solving some of themost important challenges facing your business today.
Learning SQL and how to interrogate a company’s raw operations data to answer fundamental questions about its business was probably the most useful business skill I acquired in the early years of my career. As it turned out, I was a natural at asking good questions and just needed the tools to be able to answer them. But more than that, a marvelous thing happens inside the business person’s mind as a result of analyzing a business through its internal databases: the discipline of querying databases teaches you to ask better questions. More specifically, it teaches you how to structure big questions in such a way that they can actually be answered with precision. It forces you to clean up lazy thinking, because computers don’t allow vague questions. It teaches you to think in sets, an incredibly valuable mindset, without even realizing it. In short, it makes you a better business person by allowing you to more fully capitalize on your domain expertise. I know it changed my career tremendously for the better.
“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.” – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa pointed that the standardized educational system often limits people’s imagination and will for learning. If you want to break the boundaries and surpass mediocrity, you may just have to get out of that system, and self-education is the way to do it. Here are the most important reasons to start investigating your own interests without any postponements:
1. There Are No Grades
You will be the judge for your own accomplishments. There will be no standardized tests and subjective grades on papers that don’t awaken your interest. You will learn for the purpose of learning. When the pressure of a grade goes away, you will be amazed by your genuine motivation for self-development.
2. Self-Education Fulfills You
When you realize that you’re making real efforts to fulfill your own dreams, you’ll feel like a complete person. Have you noticed the enthusiasm in the eyes of people who are doing what they love? That’s what self-education does – it gives you inner satisfaction and certainty in all decisions you make.
3. No One Can Take Your Knowledge Away
Sometimes college and university professors are the greatest demotivators. They give you low grades on projects, even though you tried your best to meet their requirements and made sure to conduct an in-depth research. It’s like they are underestimating your efforts. When you are learning what you want to learn, you will be the only person in charge of the projects and lectures relevant to your interests.
4. You Will Discover New Opportunities
College does prepare you for a professional career. However, you can’t expect to get the job of your dreams just because you have a degree. Do you know what makes certain graduates more successful than others? Their practical skills and the knowledge they have gained outside the classroom. When you consider learning to be a lifetime activity, you’ll keep discovering new opportunities as you expand beyond the boundaries of traditional education.
5. There Are No Limits You Can’t Push
When you start investing time and effort in self-education, you’ll realize that there is no end to that journey. As soon as you discover the things you want to know, you’ll start wondering about something else, and that will raise other questions. That’s the whole beauty of learning without being limited by textbooks and a standardized system – you never stop wondering. Your perspective of impossible will shift and you’ll understand that the capacity of your mind is much greater than you ever imagined.
6. You’ll Adapt To The Ever-changing World
In other words, you’ll always stay relevant. Your current skills and knowledge can easily become obsolete when the next generations graduate. Thus, success in any profession is intertwined with self-development. Make sure to learn new techniques and skills if you want to make progress in your career.
7. Self-Education Makes You A More Interesting Person
There are two types of people in a conversation: those who have nothing to say and those who can always think of fun facts that amuse everyone around. Which one are you going to be? The more information you know and the more areas you explore – the more interesting you become. Don’t stop seeking out new challenges; they will add more depth and appeal to your character.
As the world of data is experiencing a seismic shift in 2016, spearheaded by a generation of passionate and tech savvy individuals, many of whom are part of the Millennial generation, having grown up with the web, millennials are used to having access to all the information they want with just a simple finger tap on a screen.
As millennials enter the workforce, they are bringing these expectations into the office, behaving less as data consumers and much more as information activists. These workers expect to be able to use data actively to express their views and individuality.
As data visualization tools are often free to download and user-friendly, more and more people are able to create self-service visualizations, allowing them to express their interests and discoveries through graphs and charts. This generation of data activists is creating visual representations to tell its stories with widely available data from a variety of sources, from sports scores to music charts at home to big and small data at work. Data, increasingly, is becoming a form of self-expression, both personally and within the enterprise.
The information activism trend draws parallels to the printed word. From the invention of the Gutenberg printing press until the advent of the Internet, the ability to write and publish information was a highly technical skill, in the hands of a select few individuals. The arrival of blogging made the written word a mass activity, open to all. Similarly, people are now eager to express themselves using data visualization to tell engaging and visually stimulating stories without the need for a graphic artist or cartographer. They can just do it for themselves.
By taking hold of and analyzing the “data of me,” information activists are altering how they view and understand their own heath, and often taking action to change unhealthy habits. The widespread adoption of this behavior has the potential to change every facet of healthcare, from individual well-being to insurance practices. This marriage of data visualization and information activism is being fueled by data from wearable sensor technology. As we have seen the widespread adoption of FitBits, Apple Watches, and other devices, the average data consumer is increasingly acting on personal health data from these devices. Information activists are even banding together in virtual communities of likeminded people to share, learn from and, ultimately, act on the insights from their joint data to achieve citizen-driven data insights and implement change.
See more at the original source:
Data Visualization Drives the Era of Information Activism (Data Informed)
Some studies found that about five percent of those enrolled in massive open online courses (known as MOOCs) completed the course. And those who took the courses tended to be more educated already – 70 percent of survey respondents had bachelors degrees and 39 percent identified as teachers or former teachers. Online courses can be a helpful tool for self-sufficient, highly motivated learners with reliable computers and internet at home, but others may need a little more support. For those who haven’t found success using free online courses, Learning Circles might be an answer.
Learning Circles add a social element to what is otherwise a solitary learning experience by bringing people together in person to take an online course together over six to eight weeks, with the help of a facilitator. Librarians at Chicago Public Library (CPL) partnered with the nonprofit Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to make online education more accessible through this program.
Libraries are a perfect setting for Learning Circles for several reasons: they already serve the local community; they are equipped with meeting spaces; many have computer stations, and most importantly, librarians know how to help people find answers.
“Most people take online classes in solitude and that’s when you put on the headphones,” said James Teng, a CPL librarian at who facilitated a course on public speaking. “Sometimes you feel alone. Learning Circles bring people together to work together and develop teamwork.”
Learning Circles aren’t for everyone; some people prefer a more traditional lecture or feel more comfortable having a content expert who has all the answers. But Learning Circles give participants a community, which does a lot to help with motivation. Librarians said it was important to set expectations at the outset, so they developed a Learning Circles contract.
“You come up with this contract: no cell phones, you’ll pay attention, be respectful of your fellow learners,” said Edson “so it gives them a sense of accountability in that first week. How serious they take it, it depends, but I feel like setting some ground rules in the first week is helpful.”
“Public libraries are often referred to as the people’s university,” said Mark Anderson, director of Learning and Economic Advancement of CPL, at the SXSWEDU conference. Library patrons traditionally come in, find resources, and are left on their own to learn the material. But with the P2PU partnership, funded by a Knight Foundation News Challenge on Libraries grant, Anderson said librarians were able to take a more active role in facilitating learning.
“The idea of working and creating these Learning Circles really helped us move closer to that ideal of being the people’s university to help people progress, with some facilitation on our part,” Anderson said.