An aside about Adam Smith

An aside about Adam Smith. I had an odd conversation today with the CEO of a technology services company. On discovering that I am Scottish, he asked if I knew the work of Adam Smith – the enlightenment philosopher and writer on economics. No sooner had I expressed my admiration for Smith’s insight than our…

The Goodness of Good Design

The Goodness of Good Design. If, like me, you have raised an endlessly curious child, you know how often the simplest questions have profound answers. On the other hand, in childhood and in adult life, seemingly complex questions often turn out to have simple, significant answers. Questions such as What is good design? We know…

Data preparation is not a chore

Data preparation is not a chore. I often find that users and vendors think of data preparation and analytics as separate processes. You’ll read that Data preparation accounts for about 80% of the work of data scientists. Perhaps through association with the phrase data cleansing, users certainly seem to see it as a dirty job. Vendors…

Five steps for making and keeping IT resolutions

Five steps for making and keeping IT resolutions. It’s a trade secret among yoga teachers and fitness instructors: January brings a surge of eager customers signing up for classes, and paying their memberships in advance. By February, the studios recover their quiet, as so many people drop out early. But those memberships have still been…

Data literacy is an organizational practice

Data literacy is an organizational practice. We don’t acquire the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic by ourselves or for ourselves alone. We read what others have written and write for others to read. In this way, literacy and numeracy develop as social practices, reshaping families and societies as much as the lives of individuals.…

Get comfortable with ambiguity, it’s the future of knowledge work

Get comfortable with ambiguity, it’s the future of knowledge work. On Saturday October 15th 2016, a looming weather system in the Pacific braced the northwest` for a major windstorm. The Seattle Times warned that The ‘murderous’ Columbus Day storm of 1962 was spawned by a similar typhoon. Schools cancelled dances. Stores ran short of batteries,…

BUBL-up

BUBL-up. With my background in ETL and data warehouse technologies, I often find myself helping middle-tier and integration vendors with their B2B positions and messages. Most often, as a first step, we clarify who they are messaging to: a task which can puzzle even experienced sales and marketing teams. In these cases I introduce my…

Farmer’s Law

Farmer’s Law. Your presentation slides are due on … These discouraging words appear frequently in my inbox: indeed, only slightly more frequently than, Your slides were due. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy public speaking but, except where I need to share specific technical examples, I prefer to work without visual support. Some event organizers…