Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

Lessons from Game Of Thrones – Geeks don’t get no respect

September 2, 2014

In the world of Game of Thrones where the sword is mightier than the pen, it comes as no surprise that geeks, dweebs, intellectuals of any stripe, get almost no respect.

Tales of the two biggest (and smallest) GOT geeks….

Samwell Tarly,  though high-born and bookish was neither brave nor athletic so his farther abandoned him to the Night’s Watch which was generally a dumping ground for bastards, rapists and murderers.  Actually  Samwell  was given a (cough…) choice, he could die in an “accident” in a hunt or he could take a life oath to serve in the night’s watch.  Ok that’s not a choice, but you get the picture.

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The business of science…

August 14, 2014

This blog is going to begin with a premise that I know will raise some eyebrows.  It is quite simply this:

Science is not a business…

To a scientist, this is obvious, but to business people I would expect howls of protest.  On the surface the  statement is counter-intuitive.   After all, entire industries are based on what science has discovered.  We have massive numbers of industrial laboratories that would indicate otherwise.  According to the WHO, the pharmaceutical industry is a $300 billion/year industry and growing rapidly.  So what do I mean by such a provocative  statement?

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The Internet – the Interstate & Lemonade Stands…

August 4, 2014

Lemonade Stand in Westchester NYI’ve taken a brief break from Thomas Piketty and have picked up a book I started reading last year but never finished.  Jaron Lanier’s book “Who Owns the Future?”  is a very compelling read while it paints frightening indictment of “big data” and “siren servers”.   Indeed, the New York Times review of this book boasts the title  “Fighting Words Against Big Data”.

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Lessons From Game of Thrones: Invention & Innovation Requires Public Commitment

July 16, 2014

In the very first episode of a Game of Thrones,  10-year-old  Branden Stark had an unfortunate “accident”. He was pushed from a high window and nearly died. Although he survived, he was paralyzed from the waist down.  A few episodes later,  the decidedly book-smart and wealthy  Lord Tyrion Lannister offered Bran a gift.  He designed  a special saddle so Bran could ride horseback once again.

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Invention often happens that way.  Someone with the technological know-how and the money, sees a need and acts to fill that need.  This is but one of the more minor routes to discovery and invention.  It is simple, direct, but far from the most likely.  For the most part, big gains and earth changing discoveries are generally not sprints; they are marathons.

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Lessons From Game of Thrones – Players – Pawns & Market Chaos…

June 22, 2014

This is part 2 of 2 parts

In my previous post on “players vs. pawns”  I brought up a disturbing trend that I saw on a  YouTube comment thread.  The video was about the famous Little Finger monologue from season 3 of the series.  A disturbing number of people found this monologue “inspiring” and a metaphor for the acquisition of security and success in the United States today.  To say that this is deeply disturbing indicator of the state of our union is an understatement:   Once again – here is the monologue…

Chaos is a ladder.  Many who try to climb it fail, never get to try again.  The fall breaks them.  And some, given a chance to climb, they refuse.  They cling to the realm, or the Gods, or love.  Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.  – Littlefinger GOT – Season 3.

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STEM career viability in a winner-take-all society…

March 29, 2014

Working World Bell JarIn a previous post regarding STEM career viability I promised more installments on my own personal journey as a biomedical scientist.   But we are going to take a brief detour from academic biomedical research and biotech and make a brief stop in Silicon Valley.  The reason for this is to highlight some basic meat and potatoes compensation issues that are trending through many, if not most STEM career tracks.

Yves Smith of Naked Captialism just posted a blog on the justice department response to a massive wage suppression (price-fixing)  conspiracy that has ensnared the likes of Apple, Google, Dell, Dreamworks, Comcast – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Of shareholder profits, leveraged buyouts and “crapification”…

February 21, 2014

Two recent articles caught my eye and relating to what I call the STEM conundrum.  In a country that has been wringing their hands over a supposed STEM crisis, we find that Facebook – perhaps the ultimate employer of a geeks in the US is switching its focus from development to acquiring sales staff!

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Innovation with a little “i” is booming but we probably need bigger government for big problems…

June 8, 2013

“Yes! There’s an app for that!”  Too bad if its an app for trying to find  single men between the ages of 40 -50 in a 3 block radius when what you really need is an app for finding affordable health insurance after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.  The dichotomy between the apparent collapse of real deal innovation and the explosion of useless “fluff” apps was brought to vivid life by C.Z. Nnaemeka  in the “The Unexotic Underclass” in the MIT Entrepreneurship Review.  It is a great article worth the read and don’t forget the comment thread.

Truth be told, the author was preaching to the choir as far as I was concerned.  I mentioned this in previous blogs about little “i” innovation outpacing big “I” innovation at an alarming pace.  America has big yawning problems with a dearth of solutions, yet there is app after app, and product after product for the trivial and irrelevant.  We have iPhones, iPhone apps, iPads, and even iShares to help you make a killing in the market.  We have apps to find the perfect restaurant, apps for train schedules.  VC flows freely into these ventures while the purse strings remain tightly closed for the big issues such as climate change, income inequality, or our apparent inability to keep Americas roads and bridges from collapsing.

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American Innovation’s Black Swan….Our Dysfunctional and Corrupt Governement

February 25, 2013

There is a book on the shelves entitled “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  I confess to only reading the free sample portion on my iPad.  Essentially the book is about the unpredictable and the unforeseen.  The 9/11’s of our lives and of our time are the things that reach out and bite us that are totally out of left field.

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Thomas Friedman needs to STOP giving career advice to our youth…

July 16, 2011

Thomas Friedman has been offering career advice for far too long.  This week he was at it again  with “The Start-Up of You” in The New York Times. Thankfully, our youth do not seem to have been listening….and woe be to those that actually would because they would find themselves choosing between corrugated cardboard and a plastic bag for their digs.

For years Friedman was crowing about S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career paths.  He loudly bemoaned the loss of American students in these fields while he beat the drums for loosening H1-B visa rules for foreign nationals so they could further crowd out the few American Nationals that had clung to their jobs.   Friedman never connected the dots between the flood of foreign scientists and the massive glut of Ph.D.’s in America.  He never paid attention the gutting of salaries – the natural result of a glut because he didn’t dig a little deeper for the facts.  I doubt the man ever stepped foot inside an actual  lab.

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