She’s back … like a virgin (of course).

October 24, 2014

I have been looking for a reason to reprise Sister Cristina, and I got it.

You know, Sister Cristina, the singing nun who went viral on her way to winning the Italian version of The Voice.

Well, she’s released. her first single.

Appropriately (?), it’s a cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” … slower tempo with naughty parts cleaned up.

All profits go to the Vatican since Sister Cristina took the nun’s vow of poverty.  That’s a bummer.

.click to view


Need a pick-me-up? 

Here’s a stroll down memory lanes with #SisterAx’s path to victory and stardom.  Guaranteed to put a smile on your face … Read the rest of this entry »

Proposed Changes For The 2022 World Cup …

October 23, 2014

Man, was I excited when I spotted that headline.

Finally,  FIFA was going to do something to  juice the scoring and amp up excitement of the games.




Fasten your seatbelts, here’s what’s coming …

Read the rest of this entry »

Your tax dollars at work …

October 22, 2014

According to WashPost

Government records show that tens of thousands of federal workers are being kept on paid leave for at least a month — and often for longer stretches that can reach a year or more — while they wait to be punished for (or cleared of ) misbehavior or are disputing a demotion.

While disputing a demotion?



Here are some details that’ll make you cringe …

Read the rest of this entry »

If anybody asks, just say “I forget” …

October 21, 2014

Excerpted from USA Today

Studies also have shown that voters don’t always remember accurately just who it was they backed before.


“Voters who defect from their party … are more likely to ‘forget’ this over time and to report a vote more consistent with their current party identification”

“Reports of past vote also correlate with current preferences.”

That’s to say, if the candidate gets elected and disappoints, some voters revise history and claim that they never voted for the bum.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in a half-dozen states with key Senate races underscore the point.




Here’s what’s going on …

Read the rest of this entry »

MBA: Career-switching is back in fashion …

October 20, 2014

According to Business Week: “More MBA grads are switching careers as the job market improves.”


Here are the details …

Read the rest of this entry »

“Going to hell in a handbasket” … say, what?

October 17, 2014

This week, a poll finally asked a question that really cuts to the chase:

Which better describes how you feel about the way things are going in the world these days?

  • a) Things are going to hell in a handbasket
  • b) Everything will be alright
  • c) Don’t know





Started me wondering:

What’s up with a goofy idiom like “going to hell in a handbasket”?

Read the rest of this entry »

Even if you’re smart, you might not be logical …

October 16, 2014

Jacked from researchers at the Univ. of Toronto …

“Although intelligence as measured by IQ tests is important, so is the ability to think rationally about problems.

The surprise is that less intelligent people usually perform just as well as highly intelligent people on problems that test rationality.”

Below is a question to test if you’re a rational (i.e. logical) thinker … or just smart



The XYZ virus causes a disease in one in every 1,000 people.

A test always correctly indicates if a person is infected.

The test has a false-positive rate of five per cent.

In other words, the test wrongly indicates that the XYZ virus is present in five per cent of the cases in which the person does not have the virus.

What is the probability that an individual testing positive actually has the XYZ virus?


Most people say 95 % … but the answer is 2%.

If one in 1,000 people has the disease, 999 don’t.

But with a five per cent false-positive rate, the test will show that almost 50 of them are infected (5% X 999 = 49.95 = approx. 50).

Of 51 patients testing positive, only one will actually be infected.

And, 1 divided by 51 is about 2%

“The math here isn’t especially hard. But thinking the problem through is tricky.”


* * * * *

Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

Life: E + R = O

October 15, 2014

OK, I.m a control freak.

There, I said it.

Along the way, somebody passed along a memorable observations:

“You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can always control the the way you respond to it.”

Fast forward.

A couple of night’s ago, I was watching a replay of an Ohio State football game..

The announcers said that Urban Meyer – OSU’s head coach —   preaches the E+R=O principle to his players … even has them wear wristbands.


Say, what?

I ran and googled E+R=O

Answer: Event + Response = Outcome


Hmmmm … sounds familiar.

And, there’s more …

Read the rest of this entry »

What do colleges have in common with Kohl’s?

October 14, 2014

I oft say that anybody who pays sticker price at Kohl’s should look over their shoulder to make sure that Darwin isn’t chasing them.

Maybe the same should be said of parents who pay list price tuition to fund their kiddies through college.

Lots of talk re: how college costs are soaring.

According to the WSJ

Published tuition rates have soared in the last decade, but only a small percentage of families actually pays full freight.

Between grants to needy students and merit scholarships to entice other desirable candidates, schools these days are giving back nearly 50% of gross tuition revenue in the form of aid and awards.

In other words, list prices are going up, but more stuff is being sold at sale prices.




Increasingly, colleges are using pricing methods previously the domain of airlines and discount retailers …

Read the rest of this entry »

Georgetown ranked #1 in …

October 13, 2014

LinkedIn data mines its rolls, scores the career progress of members in several disciplines, and then ranks schools based on the members’ career progress scores.

In the current ranking, Georgetown’s undergraduate program was ranked #3 in Finance and #1 in Investment Banking.

Take that, Wharton.



click to see the Top 25



Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

I’ve seen the future of healthcare … and it’s not pretty.

October 10, 2014

Before I start grousing,  let me be clear about a couple of things.

First, the medical team at Georgetown Hospital is totally awesome.

Second, I like my doctor and I got to keep my doctor … mostly because I’m still working.

But, I’ve discovered that insurance and access aren’t synonymous …. and that appointment slots are getting scarcer and scarcer.




In the past couple of weeks I’ve had personal experiences that have me a bit worried …

Read the rest of this entry »

Blame FoxNews … say, what?

October 9, 2014

Last week President Obama another shout-diss to FoxNews as the reason that roughly half of the country’s 300 million population think that he’s not doing such a great job.


Let’s think about that.

Qualitatively speaking, , no disputing that Fox leans right and pounce’s on the Administration’s frequent miscues.

Quantitatively speaking, the President’s concern seems unfounded.

Fox boasts – with merit – that it outdraws left-leaning CNN and MSNBC combined.

That’s true.




And, top dog O’Reilly draws almost 3.5 million viewers … more than 4 times what best competitor Rachel Maddow draws.

But, that’s only part of the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

The state of the economy in 2 charts …

October 8, 2014

Earlier this week, we looked at one of the no-BS economic measures: household income.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped 8% during the recession … and has been flat after bottoming out a couple of years ago.

That means that the median real household income is still down 8% from the pre-recession peak.



The drop in median household income has come despite a steady increase in average hourly wages … they’re up about 10% since the official end of the recession.

See Let’s celebrate the economy … err, let’s wait. for details

Here’s another no-BS indicator sent along by a loyal reader …

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: Why are economists so bad at forecasting?

October 7, 2014

Wash Post had an interesting analysis titled “This graph shows how bad the Fed is at predicting the future

The crux of their argument: the Fed has a clear recent tendency to mis-forecast economic growth … not by a little, by a lot …  forecasting almost twice as rapid growth as is ultimately realized.

For example,  in 2009 the Fed was predicting 4.2 percent growth in 2011.  But then in 2010 it revised that down to 3.85 percent growth. And in 2011 they revised it further to 2.8 percent growth. And when all was said and done, the economy only grew about 2.4 percent that year. The Fed projected growth almost twice as fast as what actually happened.



What’s going on?


Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s celebrate the economy … err, let’s wait.

October 6, 2014

Lots of end-zone dancing last week re: the economy.

The President says that all indicators are good, and that folks who aren’t feelin’ it just “don’t get it” because they’re watching FoxNews too much.

Say, what?

Let’s look at the ultimate measure: household income.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped 8% during the recession … and has been flat after bottoming out a couple of years ago.

That means that the median real household income is still down 8% from the pre-recession peak.

Hard to get excited about that, right?




The drop in median household income has come despite a steady increase in average hourly wages … they’re up about 10% since the official end of the recession.

That’s before inflation, but the Feds keep telling us that inflation is negligible, that shouldn’t matter, right?




Let’s see, average wages are going up, but median household income is stalled at a depressed level.

What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Nums: A world of battling algorithms

October 3, 2014

Recently I gave a pitch that touched on whether quants (left-brainers) or poets (right-brainers) were on the rise.

Reminded me of a cool 15 minute TED Talk.

Tech entrepreneur Kevin Slavin tells how algorithms have reached across industries and into every day life.

A couple of lines caught my attention:

  • There are more than 2,000 physicists working on Wall Street developing operational algorithms
  • Massive scale speed trading is dependent on millisecond read & respond rates …
  • So, firms are physically literally locating right next to internet routing hubs to cut transmission times
  • And, of course, there isn’t time for human intervention and control
  • “We may be building whole worlds we don’t really understand, and can’t control.”

Obviously, Slavin comes down on the side of the quants.

Worth listening to this pitch … a very engaging geek who may be onto something big.

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma >> Latest Posts

Antibiotics, anti-antibiotics, and anti-anti-antibiotics …

October 2, 2014

First, the disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I don’t dispense medical advice … I just report things that I think might be of interest.

This one has two tracks: urgent care clinics and antibiotics.

Loyal readers know that I’m a proponent of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Urgent Care Clinics.




Here’s the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

What grade would YOU expect if you missed more than half of your classes?

October 1, 2014

Let’s put a couple of pieces together.

On 60 minutes, the President blamed the Intelligence Agencies – specifically, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — for failing to detect the rise of ISIS (or, ISIL, if you prefer).

Squealing sources in the intelligence agencies have leaked that the President’s Daily (Security) Briefs PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.




So, what’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Carpal tunnel is so yesterday … thumb tendonitis and AHS are maladies du jour …

September 30, 2014

From the “had to see this one coming department” …

In the old days, folks who who banged computer keyboards day in and day out suffered nerve damage in their hands & wrists called carpal tunnel syndrome.

More time on tablets and phones may have abated that problem a bit … but, of course, new problems have cropped up.


Here are the son and daughter of carpal tunnel …

Read the rest of this entry »

How much do Congressmen get paid?

September 29, 2014

With the run-up to the midterm elections, I started to wonder (again): why do these guys work so hard to get elected?  Is it worth it?

Since Congress is gridlocked  … and, since the President is end-running  Congress on most matters … th fulfillment can’t be “having an impact”.

So, it must be something else.

Money, maybe?

Raises the question: how much dough gets thrown into the pot?



 Here’s the scoop…

Read the rest of this entry »

Want a job? Then learn to crunch nums …

September 26, 2014

McKinsey recently published a report “Big Data – The Next Frontier” that concludes:

The United States faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts to  make decisions based on their findings.


Crunch those nums …

>> Latest Posts

The rise of the (very) young CEO …

September 25, 2014

Even before Burger King splashed its inversion scheme, its  CEO, Daniel Schwartz, created quite the buzz in his first year.

Thanks to a successful restructuring of the company, BK has nearly doubled its net income and increased same store sales by 2%.




While the company’s performance warrants the positive PR, the majority of articles focus on a non-financial number …


Read the rest of this entry »

“Hands up, Floyd” … say,what?

September 24, 2014

This one is from the “great moments in law enforcement” file …

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County police have been cracking down on major crime.

SWAT teams – in full riot gear – have been raiding local barbershops.




What’s the criminal activity that the police are trying to tamp down?

Read the rest of this entry »

Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

September 23, 2014

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.


But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do better looking students get better grades?

September 22, 2014

You bet they do …



Prof Robert Kaplan of San Diego State University conducted an experiment:

Faculty subjects were asked to grade an essay written by a student.

A photograph of the student was attached to the essay.

The grade given for the essay correlated strongly with a subjective attractiveness scale evaluated by other judges.

What is interesting is that all the subjects received the exact same essay, and the photograph attached to it was randomly assigned.

Bottom line: physical attractiveness causes graders to give essay writers better scores on their essays.

Here’s what’s going on …

Read the rest of this entry »

NLRB Orders CNN to Rehire 100 Employees Fired in 2003 …. say,what?

September 19, 2014

According to Variety – the entertainment industry paper of record …

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers as part of a labor dispute that originated in 2003.




This initially caught my eye because of the defendant … CNN.

Demonstrating non-partisanship, the NLRB isn’t targeting Fox … it’s going after administration-friendly CNN.

And, the story gets better …

Read the rest of this entry »

FTC worried that “Dollar Stores” will raise prices … huh?

September 18, 2014

A few years ago, the FTC was hassling Sirius and XM Satellite Radio when they wanted to merge…. they fretted that a Sirius and XM would jack up subscription rates.

Apparently the FTC hadn’t heard of satellite radio’s main competitor – free, over-the-air broadcast radio,

The FTC pondered the case for so long, that the companies lost millions of dollars The companies finally merged, just in time to get one-upped by other media.

Now the FTC is turning its watchful eyes on the dollar stores.




Here’s the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

Little Sisters score one … but fight on for total victory.

September 17, 2014

Flashback: Remember when the Administration declared war on the Little Sisters of the Poor?

Not ISIS (or ISIL or whatever), the Little Sisters.

You see, the nuns weren’t interested in ObamaCare’s contraception provisions … they were already controlling births very well, by abstaining from you-know-what … and the nuns didn’t want to provide birth control for their lay employees since it violated their fundamental religious beliefs.

So, the DOJ filed a lawsuit to force the nuns off their right-to-life platform and compel them to provide birth control in their insurance packages.

· See Let’s have a little fun with the nuns … for details



= = = = =

While the story has gotten buried in the news, things have gotten very interesting …

Read the rest of this entry »

Memo to $15 /hour burger flippers: Meet Alpha, your competition.

September 16, 2014

Fast food workers around the country have been protesting for a $15 minimum wage.

A couple of days ago we warned about the possibility of McDonald’s replacing $1 menu with a buck-and –a-half menu … ouch!. The core story line: economists modeled the impact of raising the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 and concluded that, all else equal, fast food prices would have to go up by about 40% to cover the increased labor costs.

Ooch.  Continues a historic trend … As time rolls on, a buck buys you less and less at Mickey D’s

McD for a buck - 1955 today

Since that post, a couple things happened.

First, McDonalds reported a 3.7% decline in global same-store sales.

That ranks as the company’s worst global same-store sales results in more than a decade.

Profit margins are shrinking and the company is trying to upmix customers to higher margin menu items.

Not exactly the time to be asking for a 66% raise, right?


Adding to the discourse, a couple of loyal readers fed me some red meat: the realistic possibility that, very soon, low skilled burger flippers will be eased out by burger-making robots.

Here’s the scoop …

Read the rest of this entry »

Why we make mistakes: We’re all above average (or at least think we are)

September 15, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Im above average

Today, we add reason #10 to the list. we all think we’re above average

Read the rest of this entry »

Is 150 a big number or a little number?

September 12, 2014

In his speech this week, President Obama said:

Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq.

He made it sound like a big deal … and built on the point, saying that the air strikes would continue across a wider target area.  Possibly extending into Syria.

Picture from NATO web site

Of course, the comment got me thinking … are 150 airstrikes a lot or a little?

Works out to about 5 missions per day … which doesn’t strike me as up there with shock & awe.

But, I wanted to put 5-a-day in context and got some counsel  from a friend…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why does he keep calling them “ISIL”?

September 11, 2014

A couple of day-after–the-speech thoughts…

First, some props for the President.

On the style front, I’ was glad that he was eyes forward last night.  As loyal readers know, for prior talks to we0the-people, I asked Why didn’t he look us in the eyes?  Apparently he reads HomaFiles and changed course.


But, the speech left me scratching my head ….

Read the rest of this entry »

Why we make mistakes: Winging it, too few constraints, greener grass

September 10, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Grass look s greener

Today, we finish the list … ending with an old standby: The Grass Looks Greener …

Read the rest of this entry »

McDonald’s replacing $1 menu with a buck-and –a-half menu … ouch!

September 9, 2014

Relax, we’re just speculating … it’ll only happen if the fast-food workers get the $15 per hour that they were clamoring for last week

Economists at the Heritage Foundation have observed that fast-food joints operate on very slim profit margins (about 3% on average) so they’d have no choice but to bump up prices. to stay even.




The Heritage economists estimate that a $15 minimum wage for hamburger flippers would force restaurants to raise average menu prices about 40% in order to hold the current level of profitability.

Here’s the essence of their analysis …

Read the rest of this entry »

Why we make mistakes: Men shoot first, then …

September 8, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man shooting gun

Today, we add reason #9 to the list. Men shoot first, then …

Read the rest of this entry »

Why we make mistakes: frame of mind, skimming, tidiness

September 5, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m  excerpting  the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Man making mistake

Today, we add reasons 6, 7 and 8 to the list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why We Make Mistakes: The myth of multi-tasking

September 4, 2014

In this and a couple of preceding and subsequent posts, I’m excerpting the 13 reasons from:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Mukti-tasking woman

Today, we add reason #5 to the list: the myth of multi-tasking…

Read the rest of this entry »

Why we make mistakes …

September 3, 2014

In this and a couple of subsequent posts, i’ll be excerpting  the 13 reasons from a summer read:

Why We Make Mistakes, Joseph T. Hallinanm, Broadway Books

Confused man

Today, the first 4 reasons on the list …

Read the rest of this entry »

Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

September 2, 2014

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.


Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • a Blackberry donated by a member of the audience

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point of the story …

Read the rest of this entry »

Does playing basketball make you taller?

August 29, 2014

Of course not … that’s silly.

OK let’s try a variant of the question: Does education make you smarter?




I bet a lot of you would bet the over on that one.

Here’s what the researchers say …

Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback: Buffett says”increase taxes on estates” (since mine is sheltered).

August 28, 2014

OK, he really didn’t say the last part., I made that up.

Since Buffett shed his hypocritical “please tax us more” sham and hopped on the BK inversion deal, I thought it was fair to flashback to some of Buffett’s pro-tax rants and our proposed “Buffett Rule”



According to CNBC, Warren Buffett is one of several dozen wealthy people who have signed a statement calling for a “strong tax on large estates.”

Buffett & friends say:

  1. “Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward a plutocracy.”
  2. We (the wealthy) have “benefited significantly” by government investments in schools, infrastructure. and public safety, among other things, so it is “right morally and economically” to have a “significant” tax on large estates because it “promotes democracy by slowing the concentration of wealth and power.”
  3. “It is right to have a significant tax on large estates when they are passed on to the next generation …  it is right morally and economically, since an estate tax promotes democracy by slowing the concentration of wealth and power.”

OK, so what constitutes a sizable estate and how much of it should the government take?

Read the rest of this entry »

Is that Warren Buffett driving BK’s getaway car?

August 27, 2014


This one is too good to be true.

Burger King is planning to buy Tim Hortons – a Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain.

Forget for a second that this is 2014 and doughnuts are, shall we say, a bit out of fashion,

Conventional wisdom is that BK isn’t strategically driving thru the doughnut hole left by Krispy Kreme’s woes.


Though the company denies it, BK seems aimed at turning things upside down tax=wise.

You know, “invert” itself into a Canadian company so that it doesn’t have to pay U.S. taxes on money it earns outside the boundaries of the U.S.

Here’s where things start to get interesting ….

Read the rest of this entry »

Remember when e-commerce was going to take over the planet?

August 26, 2014

From the HBR blog site: “The Myth of E-Commerce Domination” …

Forrester’s data on the top 30 product categories (which account for 97% of total e-commerce sales) indicates that e-commerce growth is clearly slowing overall:



If historical trends continue, e-commerce’s share of retail will rise from 11% today to about 18% in 2030, way below projections from a few years ago.

Of course, 18% isn’t shabby, but it’s not exactly world domination.

What’s going on?

Read the rest of this entry »

Cubs lose … blame Obama.

August 25, 2014

Since Obama is still blaming Bush for everything, it’s good to see the tide turning and see him get tagged for some losses.

Here’s the scoop according to several sources:

The Cubs were leading the SF Giants 2-0  last week when the game had to stopped due to heavy rain.

The ground crew struggled to get the tarp across the field.




After a 4-hour rain delay, the field was declared unplayable.

Since the teams had played more than 5 complete innings, the Cubs were declared the winners.

Here’s where things get interesting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Sir or Madam: I’m the perfect candidate for the job … oh no, you’re not.

August 22, 2014

US News & World Report says to keep these 10 catch phrases off your cover letter:

1. “I meet the requirements for the position.”Explain why you’re an excellent candidate, not just an adequate one.

2. “I’m hard-working and a great communicator.” These are cliches that cause hiring managers’ eyes to glaze over …and don’t convey anything of substance.


3. “I’m a visionary leader.”  Proclaiming this about yourself comes across as, well, weird. Show accomplishments.

4. “You won’t find a candidate better qualified than me.”  This comes off as needlessly cocky hyperbole — and it’s generally inaccurate..

5. “Dear sir or madam.” In most industries, this will come across as an antiquated, stuffy salutation. If you know the hiring manager’s name, use it … if not, simply writing “dear hiring manager” is fine.

Read the rest of this entry »

Math Trix: The case of the gifted stock-picker…

August 21, 2014

I’ve been reading a book called How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg

The author recounts a classic stock advisor scam that goes like this …



One day, you receive an unsolicited newsletter from an investment advisor, containing a tip that a certain stock is due for a big rise.

A week passes, and just as the Investment advisor predicted, the stock goes up.

The next week, you get a new edition of the newsletter, and this time, the tip is about a stock whose price the adviser thinks is going to fall.

And indeed, the stock craters.

That’s good, but it gets even better …

Read the rest of this entry »

Surviving a post-med school residency …

August 20, 2014

We’ve been spending a lot of time at Georgetown Hospital recently.

In the process, we’ve developed a deep respect for some of the key cogs in the system: nurses, nurse practitioners and doctor-residents.

In casual conversation, our surgeon mentioned how she had managed to “survive her surgical residency”.

That got me wondering, about the life of a resident.



Here’s what I found …

Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap Tricks … err, make that cheaper tricks.

August 19, 2014

Warning: Adult Content.

The Economist – a reputable publication — recently reported the results of a groundbreaking economic analysis.

Specifically, staffers “analysed 190,000 profiles of sex workers on an international review site … with data going back to 1999 … with prices corrected for inflation.”

What did they find?

“The most striking trend our analysis reveals is a drop in the average hourly rate of a prostitute in recent years”


What explains the 30% drop in prices?

Well, pardon the pun, it’s pure economics …

Read the rest of this entry »

27 Questions to ask about an innovation …

August 18, 2014

Been The First Mile Mile  by Scott Anthony … a practical book re: how to ID practical innovations and launch them.

Anthony characterizes an innovation as having a combination of a deep customer need, a compelling solution, and a powerful economic model.

He argues that the first 2 items – a deep need and a compelling solution – are often overstated … and that the 3rd – the economic model – is often completely ignored.

So, as everybody know, most innovations fail in the marketplace.

To increase the odds of a innovation’s success (think new product or start-up company) he proposes a a process that borrows from the classical scientific method, discovery driven planning and the trendy “lean start-ups”.

Anthony acronyms his process DEFT: document, evaluate, focus, (test & adjust)





The first step in the DEFT process is to document the essence of an initiative … not voluminously, but insightfully … with an eye to separating facts from assumptions … and then concentrating on the assumptions that are least certain and most impactful.

Specifically, Anthony offers up 27 specific questions to answer when documenting an innovation …

Read the rest of this entry »

“The single biggest problem in business …”

August 15, 2014

Dan Lovallo, a professor and decision-making researcher says, “Confirmation bias is probably the single biggest problem in business, because even the most sophisticated people get it wrong. People go out and they’re collecting the data, and they don’t realize they’re cooking the books.”

What’s this “confirmation bias” that Lovello is talking about?

No surprise, people tend to seek out information that supports their existing beliefs.

You know, liberals watch MSNBC, read the NY Times listen to BBC podcasts; conservatives watch FOX, read the WSJ and listen to Rush.

Behavioral psychologists call the he dynamic “confirmation bias”.




In socio-politics, the confirmation bias tends to harden polarized positions. People just gather debate fodder rather than probing both sides of issues.

In the realm of decision making, confirmation bias has a dysfunctional effect: it leads to bad decisions.

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