Archive | culture

Keep an Open Mind

Keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out. As part of a recent talk around creating a culture of innovation, I included this quote which is commonly attributed to physicist Richard Feynman. After the talk, a reporter asked me for the source of the quote to use in an article….

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Blue Juice, Tarmac, and Other Air Travel Slang

We’re still sitting on the tarmac… Given how much I travel, I’ve used that phrase countless times over the last several years but never thought much about the word tarmac. It turns out it’s short for tarmacadam, or tar-penetration macadam. Macadam is named for John Loudon McAdam who invented an effective and economical road construction method…

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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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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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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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Fail

Fantastic Failures from Famous Folk

As a way of encouraging my team to take more risks, I’ve been espousing the philosophy “Failure is the new black” and have been cataloging quotes on failure from famous people. But increased risk-taking doesn’t just come from pithy quotes, it helps to provide examples of people who failed… and thrived.  Here are four such stories:…

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The Five Cognitive Distortions of People Who Get Stuff Done

Ever notice that some people get more things done than others? For years, the most popular explanation came from Steve Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey argued that personal character, purpose and self-discipline were the primary characteristics of successful people. The book has been wildly successful, selling more than 20M copies. My only…

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