Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 16th, 2019

Clever (and revenue-neutral) idea: Want Better Teachers? Don’t Tax Them.

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Leo Hindery, Jr. and Bob Kerrey have an intriguing proposal in the Washington Monthly:

America has a long and successful record of using the tax code to reward desirable social actions. Congress did this for VISTA and Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s and it does so today for active-duty military personnel.

We urge Congress to now do the same for America’s 3.7 million K-12 teachers who are instructing the country’s 56.6 million school age children. A refundable tax credit program would help school boards employ and retain teachers. In particular, it would help recruit and retain the science, technology, and math teachers who today are such a high priority.

All informed citizens want high teaching standards and accountability. But they also understand that the economic plight of our K-12 teachers is a major obstacle when it comes to engaging with and developing top talent. This obstacle is especially difficult to overcome given the strain on municipal budgets and the low priority that aging communities place on school funding.

We believe that providing federal income tax relief to teachers would be a powerful response to this demand. It would also be an important step toward fully restoring the health of our national economy and sustaining our global competitiveness.

The best way to pay for this initiative is to ask our wealthiest citizens – whose children are often enrolled in private schools – to shoulder a relatively modest burden. As a first step, we propose closing the carried interest loophole and its related tax avoidance schemes once and for all. They are unacceptably unfair to lower and middle-class Americans. Even President Trump supported closing these exemptions when he was a candidate.

We estimate that the annual loss to the Treasury from just the carried interest deduction and its associated tax deferral schemes is about $15 billion a year. When all loopholes for the extremely wealthy are closed, and when the top rate is increased even modestly from its current level of 37 percent, then the total funds available for our proposal rises to at least $25 billion a year.

We do not believe in soaking the rich, but we do believe in asking them to do something that’s urgently needed and good. Think of it as a patriotic duty. The public interest would be well met by directing these dollars to America‘s accredited K-12 teachers, both the 3.3 million who teach in public schools as well as the 400,000 who teach in private schools. In other words, no teacher left behind.

Some might object to giving tax breaks to people who teach at private academies. But most private school teachers work for faith-based institutions, not the wealthy prep schools that affluent readers think about when they hear the words “private school.” In many cities, these faith-based schools are the only affordable alternative to poor public schools, and we don’t want to punish their instructors. . .

Continue reading.

The law would not affect government revenues at all—that is, it’s the opposite of an expensive program: it’s a program that pays for itself. Well, I can see that the ultra-wealthy will pay more in taxes, but they can afford it, and it is in the national interest to have have well-paid schoolteachers: improves supply quality.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 11:38 am

Thought-provoking video on obesity, diabetes, and diet—and why

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LowCarbUSA.com has a series of videos… well, here’s what they say:

Dr. Robert Cywes first spoke at our event in San Diego in 2018 and he was a huge hit.  Many people approached me saying it was the best presentation of the whole conference.  He states that his whole treatment philosophy is based on his understanding of obesity and diabetes.  We have embarked on a project over the next many weeks to capture everything that’s in his head in a series of videos called ‘Diabetes Understood’ which we then plan to turn into, what will be, an amazing book I’m sure. You can read more about him here.

I just watched the “Introduction” segment (see below) and I was struck at some of his insights. Watch just this first one and see what you think. And it’s worth sticking to it all the way through. Some interesting payoffs at the end.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 11:30 am

Secrets of a four-day week, from an owner who wants every company to try it

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Cassie Werber writes at Aeon:

The four-day work week is a dream which many full-time workers think they’ll never achieve.

Yes, the benefits—more time with kids, more exercise, the chance to volunteer or pursue passions—could be great, but so too could be the sacrifices: lower wages, lower status, a potentially stagnating career, and perhaps a loss of respect from one’s managers or colleagues. And that’s if workers are even allowed to consider cutting their hours.

The head of a New Zealand company which trialed and then adopted a four-day week offered to all its staff—with no wage cuts or additional hours on work days—says he knows how to make it work for any company. It needn’t lead to a drop in revenue, he says, and there’s no excuse not to try it. Just one thing: Don’t talk about it in terms of employee wellbeing.

It’s a productivity policy

Andrew Barnes, the founder and owner of Perpetual Guardian, a firm that helps clients manage financial estates, says he was on an airplane reading an article about productivity hacks and shorter hours at a British firm when he had a “Damascus-like moment” and suddenly saw how to go about implementing the idea at his own company. Soon after, he told his 240-strong firm that they’d start a trial of a four-day work week, which ran in March and April 2018.

Emily Svadlenak, who runs marketing and communications for the company, was in the room in early 2018 when the staff was informed. She said it went completely silent. “We did not see it coming,” she says. Of course, being the owner meant Barnes didn’t have to clear his decisions with anyone, but he says he did inform senior management it was going to happen before addressing the company as a whole.

After running the trial and reviewing the results, Perpetual Guardian in November 2018 adopted the policy in perpetuity.

Barnes says there are a few simple steps to follow to achieve a successful transition, and the cardinal rule is this: Focus on productivity, not wellbeing, when explaining the policy. A four-day week could make employees happier. But, even if that’s proven to be true—and even if it’s accompanied by evidence that a four-day week can improve or at least not hurt revenue—CEOs are always going to worry about how the bottom line will be affected. Barnes says he didn’t try to tell his teams how to work more productively in a contracted week: He asked them to tell him how they’d do it. If they could make a good case, he’d “gift” them a day off every week.

“We have no idea how to do this,” Barnes says he told his teams, with the result that they began to engage fully with the question. “We sat down with each team and we said, ‘Right, let’s agree what is the base of productivity that you’re delivering now,’” he says. “And then the deal was, provided you delivered on the productivity goals, you would be gifted a day off a week.”

Since then, the trajectory of the policy has been swift, from idea, to trial, to implementation. The trial was lauded as a resounding success by the company in July 2018. Academics from Auckland University of Technology and the University of Auckland Business School, who helped design the trial, analyzed the data. They found that 78% of staff felt able to manage work and other commitments after the trial, compared to 54% before. Productivity increased by about 20% during the trial, while revenue remained steady.

Global interest in Perpetual Guardian’s experience has been intense. Barnes says he has appeared on Bulgarian television and Colombian drive-time radio, while the firm has received interested delegations from Japan, Korea, and France. Last month, Christine Brotherton, head of people and capability at Perpetual Guardian, visited the Wellcome Trust in London to discuss the experience, after the science funder said it was considering running a similar trial.

On Feb. 19, Perpetual Guardian is releasing a white paper which, Barnes says, will provide a toolkit for companies interested in running their own trial, and which will include details on how to write contracts and design a trial for a four-day week.

The “W” word

Of course, Barnes does talk about wellbeing. His point in emphasizing productivity is that in putting the onus on his teams to agree on their metrics and work out a strategy for achieving goals, he’s putting the power to make the policy work in their hands. The reward is a day off each week, but it’s also potentially a sense of much greater agency.

Barnes says the people who were most resistant were middle management. They’ve also been the people most deeply changed.

“If you’ve got a leadership team, the challenge that leaders have is that they then say: “I’ve been conditioned all my life that working longer equals working harder. And I am responsible for output,” Barnes says. “And so the people that are most skeptical about this are actually middle management, because they’re the people who are going to have to deliver on the policy.” Perpetual Guardian’s four-day week trial ended up exposing weak points in leadership, and improved staff engagement to the extent that middle managers found they could delegate more easily, Barnes says. “It actually opened their eyes to being a leader rather than a manager.”

Willem van der Steen is one such manager. At 44, he’s head of digital and IT at Perpetual Guardian and oversees a team of around 15 people, as well as contractors and interns. He says the change has been “fantastic” for his team’s need for flexibility. Company policy previously dictated that staff be present between 8:30 am and 5 pm, but that made no sense when digital problems often had to be addressed out of hours. Now his team members report on what they plan to accomplish in a given timeframe, but then set their own hours and are trusted to deliver.

“It’s almost like a social contract with the team and the rest of the business,” van der Steen says. One repercussion is that developers and other team members can’t simply show up, they have to deliver. “You can’t really hide anymore,” he notes. Another result is an improvement in “the simple things,” he says, like commuting outside of rush hour. Rather than take a day off per week, van der Steen takes several shorter days, picking up his eight-year-old son from school on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Svadlenak, meanwhile, is at a different stage in her career: Turning 24, she’s keen to use her Fridays for extra training. One day a month, she drives around 80 km from Auckland to the district of Waikato, where she’s involved with a group mentoring refugee girls.

What’s the catch?

Supposedly generous policies sometimes go wrong.

Continue reading.

See also “The Gospel of Consumerism,” by Jeffrey Kaplan, the describes what happened to an earlier initiative toward the four-day work week. And there are some very interesting link in the sidebar to that article. For example (and there are more):

Watch segments from the BBC documentary “The Century of the Self” and learn who originally masterminded modern consumerism — and why the phenomenon shows no signs of slowing. This fascinating and chilling film begins by chronicling the life and work of Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, the man behind modern public relations. Bernays used all manner of political propaganda, psychological manipulation, and celebrity endorsement to peddle his wares, control the masses, and build an empire on the profits. View the first three of twenty-four segments here:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 10:33 am

Theodore McCarrick was just defrocked by the Vatican. But is it justice?

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It’s a tricky business when the Catholic church tries to take on the role of the criminal-justice system: they are not set up for it, they do not have the remedies and resources for that role, and they are strongly inclined toward forgiveness, which resulted in the expansiveness of the pedophile scandal. The Church’s focus seems to have been on the perpetrators, with the victims left to fend for themselves, and the Church’s attitude was to forgive and protect the perpetrators, moving them to new locations and offering them new victims. That proved not to work, but really they don’t see to know what else to do.

Michelle Boorstein writes in the Washington Post:

In Catholic Church law, being forcibly laicized is sometimes called the death penalty for priests – a dismissal from the priesthood, a status change that is permanent, something that can’t even be said of excommunication. Even priests who request laicization are told to move away, and to not divulge what happened unless they have to, in order to avoid scandalizing other Catholics. No working in parishes, seminaries, Catholic schools. Your previous identity is wiped out.

At the same time, in the eyes of the church the mark of priestly ordination can never be removed. Something metaphysical changed then that can’t be undone. A Minnesota diocesan official who was laicizing a man still warmly reassured him, tapping his chest: In here, you’re a priest forever, the official said, a former church lawyer present testified in a 2014 affidavit. The man had abused women, including in the confessional, one of whom killed herself.

Theodore McCarrick is believed to be the first cardinal — a title he held until allegations surfaced last summer — laicized for sexual misconduct, and one of just six bishops accused of similar crimes and dismissed, according to the abuse-tracking group BishopAccountability. But in an era of rampant clergy scandals, when the words “bishop” and “cardinal” are being removed from Catholic fundraising drives in order to boost giving, experts predict many Catholics won’t see the rare defrocking as particularly weighty. Or as sufficient justice for McCarrick’s alleged victims.

“The reality is that, leaving aside the issue of embarrassment — and I’d be cautious on that — what difference does it make to McCarrick?” said Jennifer Haselberger, a canon lawyer who represented the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis until 2013, when she quit over what she described as the office’s mishandling of abusive priests. “Realistically when we think of justice, what will he experience? And he will know in his heart of hearts that he’s still a priest.

In fact there is a lot of debate in Catholicism about the value of defrocking abusive clerics, an action that is extremely rare, and somewhat new in Catholicism. Since the sex abuse crisis erupted in the early 2000′s, new fast-track legal systems created by Rome have led to more defrockings, and church leaders have wrestled with whether it’s wiser to keep abusers in-house, where they can be monitored closely, as well as whether Catholicism’s main business should be forgiving – not condemning. McCarrick’s high-profile defrocking has raised another question: Should the church’s legal system be focused less on the accused and more on restitution for victims?

“If we kick this person out, [and] he’s no longer on our books, what are we doing then? Are we just protecting the liability of the institution or are we doing justice?” said Kurt Martens, a canon law professor at Catholic University.

Haselberger suggested dismissal isn’t as crushing a punishment as it may sound for McCarrick, who was one of the most powerful, popular U.S. clerics until his case exploded last June. To her, the fact that rumors surrounding McCarrick’s conduct had been circulating for years before the public allegations surfaced is proof that the system is broken. She predicted he won’t suffer financially or go to jail and in fact could, given his previously high-profile as a do-gooder and fundraiser, come out of this viewed as a martyr by some. Many will continue to treat him as a priest, she said.

McCarrick and his lawyers haven’t commented since last summer, so it’s impossible to know how he feels about the penalty. Shamed? Justified? Wronged? But people who know him say McCarrick, now a frail 88, hasn’t seemed able to fully accept what’s happening. The former cardinal could still face civil suits.

But priests who have been forcibly laicized and canon lawyers who represent accused priests say laicization can elicit a wide range of reactions. To some it’s a kind of personal trauma, like being forcibly separated from your children. For people being crushed by a celibacy vow they couldn’t keep, it can feel like relief. Many say they still feel, act and sometimes are treated like priests, even if they can’t wear the clothes or perform the sacraments.

“I joined this men’s group, and three weeks into it, they all called me ‘Father.’ I asked why, and one said: ‘It’s what you are. It’s who you are.’ This is a lovely thing to hear. It’s painful but lovely. Whether they call me [my name] or ‘Father,’ both ways it’s a little bit of the knife,” said a man who was laicized several years ago after being accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he doesn’t want the accusations against him publicized, said he lost health care and other reimbursements owed to him by his diocese before he was laicized, has been professionally damaged by the allegation and is too young to start receiving his church pension yet. Among the biggest losses, he said, is being barred from celebrating Mass for himself every day, privately, which he could do for the years while he was suspended, before being defrocked. “That’s a big deal. [While celebrating Mass,] we believe the whole church celebrates with you, even if you’re alone, you’re still part of the community.”

Canon law allows bishops to strip defrocked clerics of all financial benefits, though civil law requires they receive their pension once they’re vested. Deals vary; some receive nothing while others may negotiate for health care or education that will allow them to make a new career. Experts say diocesan legal officials like laicizing clerics because it relieves the organization of future liability.

According to BishopAccountability, more than 1,000 priests have been laicized in the past few decades for sexual misconduct, while of 99 bishops worldwide accused of similar crimes, just six were laicized. A new process the church created in the early 2000′s made it easier to remove priests, but still didn’t clearly establish rules around dismissing higher-up clerics.

Robert Ciolek is a former priest who the church paid a settlement, in part based upon his accusations that McCarrick pressured him into backrubs and into sleeping in the same bed when Ciolek was a seminarian and young priest in McCarrick’s diocese. Now a lawyer, Ciolek said the forced laicization undoubtedly must be “devastating” to McCarrick, who had built up decades “of administering the sacraments, hearing confessions and baptizing babies, marrying, forgiving people their sins, last rites. All that is gone….all the good he might have done, the church is taking away the core of his essence by laicizing him. But, make no mistake, based on the accusations against him, especially those involving sexual abuse of minors, it is fully deserved.”

Ciolek recalled the pain of petitioning the Vatican to approve his own request to leave the priesthood. He was already married and a father, but wanted to be formally released from his promise of celibacy, allowing his civil marriage to be recognized and thus be in good standing to receive the sacraments. He had to wait about 10 years and submit thick documents arguing, essentially, that it was a mistake for him to have ever have become a priest. In reality, Ciolek said he believes he was called to be a priest and loved being a priest, and might still be one if not for the Church’s celibacy requirement. He didn’t like having to put in writing that there was something flawed with his ministry.

Pat Noaker, who represents two men who say McCarrick abused them when they were minors, said neither of his clients feel celebratory about the laicization, though they may feel it’s merited.

“Both have hope the church can be reformed. That is unique. Most of my clients don’t have that hope. Both of them do,” he said. Asked if the outcome was justice, Noaker said: “Neither of these men had a particular result in mind. Having him laicized or otherwise, they didn’t care which avenue the Vatican chose – – they just didn’t want McCarrick using his power to have access to children.”

Laicizing a priest — whether by choice or not — doesn’t mean they aren’t still a priest; they are. It means they are free of the rights and responsibilities of the position. They may not present themselves as priests in their dress nor perform sacraments such as celebrating Mass or hearing confession. The one exception is that they are still obliged to hear the last rites of the dying if no other priest is available.

People choosing to leave or being forced to was exceedingly rare over the centuries, Haselberger said. Even in cases of priests suspended for abuse claims, she said, laicization was usually done at the request of the priest. The church was loathe to dismiss clerics. The big wave came after the second Vatican Council in the 1960′s, a series of meetings many expected to liberalize the church more and perhaps let priests marry. Disappointed changes weren’t made, many priests left and asked to be relieved of their celibacy vows. After a decade or two, Pope John Paul II stopped granting the petitions. . .

Continue reading.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 10:16 am

Why Ford Hired a Furniture Maker as CEO

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Jerry Useem writes in the Atlantic:

If, as ralph waldo emerson said, “an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man,” the story of the American economy can be told by the types of people who run its corporations. The early days of mass production belonged to mechanically minded men such as Henry Ford. The creation of mass markets called forth salesmen such as Thomas Watson Sr., whose faithful troops sang “Ever onward IBM!” After the conglomerate craze of the 1960s and ’70s, almost a third of CEOs hailed from finance and accounting backgrounds. Then a crop of technologists, such as Andy Grove and Bill Gates, arrived.

So it came as a surprise last spring when Ford Motor Company selected a chief executive who hadn’t been reared in Detroit and didn’t easily fit established CEO molds. He was a furniture maker. Jim Hackett, 63, is a product of Michigan’s other corporate cluster—the three office-furniture companies around Grand Rapids, including Steelcase, which Hackett ran for two decades.

At Steelcase, Hackett became a devotee of an approach to product development known as design thinking, which rigorously focuses on how the user experiences a product. He forced Steelcase to think less about cubicles—its bread-and-butter product when he arrived—and more about the people inside them. Hiring anthropologists and sociologists and working closely with tech experts, he made Steelcase a pioneer in the team-oriented, open workspaces so common today. In effect, he transformed an office-supply company into a leader of the revolution in the way we work.

Furniture, of course, tends to stay put. But the leap to automobiles seemed less far-fetched once Hackett and I were sitting side by side in the foam-and-aluminum cockpit of a self-driving-car prototype in one of Ford’s Dearborn design studios. “We may have to leave that there,” he said, pointing to a notional steering wheel emitting a blue glow, “just so that you’re comfortable.” But the driver’s seat can swivel around—like an office chair, he noted. Hackett and I rotated so that we were facing two more Ford employees in the back seat.

The choice of Hackett to lead Ford confounded both those analysts who expected a dyed-in-the-wool carmaker and those who expected a high-tech hand to manage the company as cars morph into rolling computers. But his selection suggests a third way—which may, in fact, capture the times. We don’t live in the age of the automobile, or even the age of the computer. We live in the age of user experience.

Our lives are made up of human-machine interactions—with smartphones, televisions, internet-enabled parking meters that don’t accept quarters— that have the power to delight and, often, infuriate. (“Maddening” is Hackett’s one-word description for 90-button TV remotes.) Into this arena has stepped a new class of professional: the user-experience, or UX, designer, whose job is to see a product not from an engineer’s, marketer’s, or legal department’s perspective but from the viewpoint of the user alone. And to insist that the customer should not have to learn to speak the company’s internal language. The company should learn to speak the customer’s.

LinkedIn lists tens of thousands of UX job openings; the role has become a fixture on those year-end “hottest job” lists. If you want to study UX, you now have the option at some three dozen institutions in the United States, including Carnegie Mellon and the University of Washington. But Ford is one of the few major industrial companies in the U.S. to put a UX guru in charge.

At present, the question hovering over the car industry is basically whether high-tech entrants such as Tesla and Google can learn crankshafts and drivetrains faster than Ford, GM, and other carmakers can learn software and algorithms. But Hackett reflects Ford’s bet that the winner won’t be the best chassis maker or software maker, but the company that nails the interaction between man and machine. “One of the things that drew me to Jim was his commitment to design thinking, which puts the human being at the center of the equation,” Bill Ford, the company’s executive chairman (and great-grandson of Henry), explained to me.

The term UX originated in Silicon Valley. Don Norman, a UC San Diego professor and the author of the seminal book The Design of Everyday Things, worked at Apple during Steve Jobs’s exile in the 1990s. “I thought the quality of the Apple computer was going downhill a little bit,” he told me recently. “We’d reach the tail end of a project, and the engineers would have their say, the marketing people would have their say.” But no one at the table was advocating for the user. In 1993, Norman suggested to then-CEO John Sculley the need for “someone who took the overview of what it was like to use these machines.” He formed a UX office and styled himself as Apple’s user-experience architect.

The migration of UX thinking to other industries was accelerated by the Palo Alto design outfit Ideo, whose founder, David Kelley, helped design the first Apple mouse. It counted Medtronic and Procter & Gamble among its first clients. In the early 1990s, a 30-something Hackett visited Ideo as Steelcase was thinking of entering a new market. He described his experience there as “so profound” that three years later, Steelcase bought a majority stake in the company—in part to get full-time access to Kelley through an always-on video link.

Hackett retired from Steelcase in 2014 and spent 18 months as the University of Michigan’s interim athletic director (he is responsible for poaching the head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, from the San Francisco 49ers). In 2016, Bill Ford hired him to run the automaker’s nascent Smart Mobility subsidiary, which was tasked with rethinking from the ground up how cars would be driven, powered, and owned. Once again, Hackett turned to Ideo. The company had already been working with Ford as a client, but Hackett embedded its employees in Dearborn to jump-start a transformation of Ford’s culture.

“This is what we call the design gap,” Hackett told me, pointing to the space between two lines on a graph he’d sketched for me on a whiteboard. One line ascends—this is a company’s skill at making things, which goes up over time. Below it is a descending line, representing a company’s understanding of the customer’s experience. This, he said, can decline over time, as a company loses sight of the problems it’s in the business of solving. The design gap may be noticeable when the job is, say, building a marginally better tailgate for the Ford F‑150. But it becomes positively yawning when your industry is so thoroughly turned on its head that you’re forced to ask some basic questions: Do people want to own their cars or share them? Drive them or have them driven? The flood of new technologies makes everything possible.

Without a clear compass, the tendency is to add features willy-nilly. Seats that monitor your heart rate! A light-up reminder of the infant in the back! They sound nifty in theory. But the result, Jim Baumbick, one of Ford’s product-management chiefs, told me, is that you are “in effect passing decisions on to the customer.” Overloading the dashboard with too many doodads requires the driver to do the hard thinking about what she needs while on the road. At the same time, it burdens the company with producing all these options. “We need to give customers a narrower set of choices,” Baumbick said. Figuring out the right choices is the trick. And it’s not simple.

The language of design thinking can sound hopelessly abstract to the uninitiated. “I think it’s fair to say that in the first part of Jim’s tenure, there were a lot of quizzical looks,” Bill Ford told me. “We’ve tended to be an insular company in an insular town.” One of Hackett’s early projects as CEO—designing a new HMI (industry-speak for “human-machine interface,” or the controls in the cockpit)—almost failed before it really started. “The first four days, we were going nowhere,” Darren Palmer, Ford’s head of global product development for electric vehicles, told me. A team of about 20 had been sent off-site. “People were talking and just not understanding each other,” Palmer said. A phrase like feature set meant one thing to an engineer, something different to a programmer, and something different still to a marketing executive. “Cats and dogs fighting against each other,” was how Phil Mason, the on-site team leader, described it to me. “After about four days, they said, ‘Hold it. This just isn’t working.’ ”

As a last-ditch effort, the team members were told to give up trying to devise a new set of features for drivers. Instead, they were to go home, reflect on complaints they had about their own cars, and return with stories. These ran the gamut from “I’m on a camping trip and there’s no charger! What’s my backup?” to “On a date night, I can’t be bothered with the navigation system.”

“It helped everyone realize they were speaking a common language,” Palmer said. The exercise also produced a common finding. As drivers, “people want their stuff,” Mason said. “If they use Spotify, they want to use Spotify”—not a carmaker’s alternative system. “More than anything, they want to use their own digital ecosphere. Or else they’re just going to stick the phone on the windscreen.”

This was a profound realization. “The phone was considered an accessory you brought into your vehicle,” says Ideo’s global managing director, Iain Roberts. “Now I think the relationship may have flipped—the vehicle is an accessory to the device.” That’s the kind of insight that previously would have surfaced late in the design process, when the company would ask for customer feedback on a close-to-finished product. Discovered early, it put the team on a path to build a prototype that was ready in an unheard-of 12 weeks.

That kind of speed, Hackett argues, is achieved only by taking things slowly at first. The idea is that you’ll end up spending less time redoing things—or designing features that people don’t want at all. “Often the ideas we have are completely wrong,” Palmer told me. “So we can kill ideas very fast, too.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 8:55 am

We seem to have been misled about dietary fiber

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Not maliciously misled, but human nutrition is just hard to understand. I watched this 23-minute talk this morning with great interest, and I’ve updated my general advice concerning diet.

Dr Paul Mason obtained his medical degree with honours from the University of Sydney, and also holds degrees in Physiotherapy and Occupational Health. He is a Specialist Sports Medicine and Exercise Physician.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 8:49 am

Zi’ Peppino and the Old Style: Fantastically good shave

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The green tobacco fragrance, I’m told, is the fragrance of the tobacco flower. It certainly is not the fragrance of cured tobacco, but might brighter and lighter—and altogether pleasant.

My RazRock Italian-flag synthetic made an exceptionally good lather—this really is an excellent soap—and the RazoRock Old Type easily produced a perfectly smooth result, with pleasure.

A splash of Zi’ Peppino aftershave, and the weekend begins.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 February 2019 at 7:38 am

Posted in Shaving

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