An Aerospace Engineer’s Guide to Winning Tennis

Simon “Si” Ramo is a remarkable person. Ramo is a world-renowned scientist and engineer. He was the chief architect of the US intercontinental ballistic missile system. He was the ‘R’ in TRW, the multibillion-dollar aerospace company now part of Northrop Grumman. And last year, at the age of 100, he became the oldest person to be…

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Vision vs. Mission

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it.” It’s been nearly 25 years but I still vividly remember those words from the television show Mission Impossible. At the time, I didn’t realize it was a remake of the original show which aired 25 years before that. I also didn’t realize the two series might have…

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It’s Hard To Ask Good Questions

It’s amazingly hard to ask good questions. I’ve been in investigative mode over the last month; trying to understand the root cause of a performance issue and also designing a potential new business model. Both projects mean I’ve had to ask a lot of questions. And they also mean I have had to remind myself…

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Three Ways that Simplicity Pays

Remember ‘keep it simple, stupid’? Even though it has been a popular mantra since 1960, simplicity is a hot topic these days. In my previous blog, Is Complex Better than Complicated?, I wrote about two Zen of Python’s 20 design principles: Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. Ultimately, simple is what we are…

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Is Complex Better Than Complicated?

Unless you have a software background, you’ve probably never heard of longtime Pythoncoder Tim Peters. In Zen of Python, he suggests 20 design principles including: Simple is better than complex. Complex is better than complicated. How is “complex” better than “complicated”? After all, their dictionary definitions are similar and they are listed synonyms in the thesaurus: Complex – adj. not…

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Four Oxen and the Lion

During my career I’ve often used animal stories to help illustrate specific points, reinforce behaviors, or to provide colorful rallying cries. Whether it’s elephants, monkeys, or camels, stories about animals are easy to remember and therefore more likely to be repeated. The heart of good communication is repetition. When I originally introduced the story of the…

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For Networks, Bigger Is Not Always Better

Practically everyone has a machine-to-machine Internet of Things story they like to tell. It might be refrigerators automatically reordering milk, cows that send texts to farmers when they’re in heat, or understanding the demand for ice cream in real-time. We are living in a networked economy. The traditional understanding of networks is based on the…

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