Big Data 3Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a series called Journal Report entitled CIO Network. They met with and surveyed many Chief Information Officers (CIOs) over multiple business sectors. I found the entire section quite enlightening around the issues of big data and its uses by the compliance function and a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO).

In one panel the WSJ’s Rebecca Blumenstein spoke with Hilary Mason, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Fast Forward Labs. I found her remarks quite useful for a CCO to consider. When asked what were some of the biggest misunderstandings about data, Mason replied that when people only look at individual data because it is more useful to “know what a population of people are doing.” Read More

May the 4th Be Wtih YouMay 4th is universally recognized (at least in the universe I inhabit) as Star Wars Day. According to Wikipedia, “May 4 is called Star Wars Day because of the popularity of a common pun spoken on this day. Since the phrase “May the Force be with you” is a famous quote often spoken in the Star Wars films, fans commonly say “May the fourth be with you” on this day.” Given the rejuvenation of the franchise, in the form of Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens all Star Wars fans have reason to celebrate this May 4th in a manner we have not seen for some time.

The most recent entry into the Star Wars oeuvre revolves around a young girl, Rey, a scavenger who was abandoned as a child on the desert planet Jakku. She is patiently waiting for her family to return. She is completely self-sufficient and does everything for herself, until she is drawn into the intergalactic battle. It turns out The Force is strong in Rey and at the end of the movie she returns Luke Skywalker’s light sabre to him, strong implying that he is her father. Not so has intoned director J.J. Abrams, who has said publicly that Rey’s father did not appear in Episode VII. Rey is also, as my teenaged daughter informed me, “kick-ass”. Read More

Blackie SherrodBlackie Sherrod died last week. To any reader of sports pages across the nation and most particularly in Texas, Sherrod was about as good as it got. For me, he was right up there with Red Smith, Frank DeFord and Shirley Povich as one of the greatest sports writers of the second half of the 20th Century. His columns on the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s and 1970s were truly pieces of art to be marveled at when savoring. He also had the good sense to hire Dan Jenkins and Bud Shrake as young sportswriters.

I thought about Sherrod when I read a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), entitled “Making Exit Interviews Count, authors Everett Spain and Boris Groysberg assert that exit interviews, when conducted with care, can be a very useful tool in two important areas: to increase employee engagement, to reveal what may not be working in the organization. Read More

People-ProcessIt is rare you are able to write about someone who directly changed the quality of your life. Rarer yet that you did not know about him, only what he created, until you read his obituary. That happened to me recently when I read about the death of Dr. Peter J. Jannetta in the New York Times (NYT). Dr. Jannetta discovered a rare medical condition that affects hundreds of thousands Americans. That disease is trigeminal neuralgia, which affects cranial and facial nerves. It can cause such intense pain that its nickname was the suicide disease because that was the only way for many of those afflicted to make the pain stop. Yes it is that bad.

What Dr. Jannetta discovered was that in those afflicted, the fifth cranial nerve becomes entangled with hyper small veins, arteries and capillaries would impinge on the nerve, setting off intense pain. Yet Dr. Jannetta did not stop there, as he hypothesized that if such impingement was the cause of the pain, by removing the impingement, it might end the pain. It turns out he was correct and he developed the surgery called arterial decompression. Read More

Lear's FoolI conclude my week honoring the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare by using my favorite character in all his work to introduce today’s post. He is The Fool from King Lear. Of Shakespeare’s many theatrical innovations, his transformation of The Fool from the Renaissance Court Jester of songs, music, storytelling, medieval satire and physical comedy to commentator is right up there for me. The Fool became closer to the Greek Chorus. Shakespeare brought the Chorus commentary function back. As noted in Wikipedia, “Where the jester often regaled his audience with various skills aimed to amuse, Shakespeare’s fool, consistent with Shakespeare’s revolutionary ideas about theater, became a complex character who could highlight more important issues. Like Shakespeare’s other characters, the fool began to speak outside of the narrow confines of exemplary morality. Shakespeare’s fools address themes of love, psychic turmoil, personal identity, and many other innumerable themes that arise in Shakespeare”. Read More