Latest Read: Keeping Up with the Quants

Have been looking forward to Tom Davenport’s Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics for longer than I care to admit. I throughly enjoyed his book Competing on Analytics all the way back in 2008. His followup Big Data@Work provides the same scope for business regarding the emerging era of Big Data.
Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics Tom has truly mastered the role of business analytics for well over two decades. He is acknowledged as revealing the path of metrics and just as important how success can be defined by adopting a mindset of analytics over intuition. It should be no surprise that I am a big fan of Tom Davenport.

Seems like a lifetime ago in the competitive and fast changing world of analytics. Quantitative analysis with a side of regression is not a diner order but a key skill to identify patterns in data.

An easy read with great common sense approaches for leaders to understand and professionals to embrace it proves not only how business gains insights but how to defend Kobe Bryant.

On the heels of reading Nate Silver’s bestseller The Signal and the Noise, Davenport reveals how quants have not only broken down NBA basketball defensive measures to each quarter when playing Bryant and the Lakers but how to guard him in a last possession game scenario.
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Latest Read: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution is the best book hi-lighting the impact Makers have established over the last five years. The Maker movement is growing due to the collision of powerful digital tools, the internet of things and cost effective manufacturing. As a child I always wished for these advanced tools to bring to life my ideas, inventions and the toys my childhood friends would talk about and dream about making.

Makers The New Industrial RevolutionMy ideas for creating art was always apart of my Saturday art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art. The drawings I kept of my inventions have all but disappeared.

This is where Makers: The New Industrial Revolution comes into focus for parents and educators today a generation later. What is making this possible? The industrial global supply chain has driven the cost of affordable powerful IoT including the new $5 Raspberry Pi Zero that will drive new innovations at incredibly efficient price points.

We should be careful at home because the world is embracing these technologies. Remember Anderson shares his belief that inventors and creative types are actually makers. Now this is happening on a truly global scale.

If the buzz of 3D printers and filament reels make your eyes glaze please remember that YouTube is the best example of Makers sharing their passion. Look at any dedicated YouTube channel – say woodworking- and you will find Makers creating and uploading passionate lessons regarding their craft. Look no further than Esty for a commercial success as a reseller of Maker’s crafts now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Simply unheard of just 5 years ago.
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Latest Read: Makers

Makers by Cory Doctorow is the fiction book about the Maker movement. Doctorow writes about two makers Perry and Lester who invent seashell robots that make toast or modified Elmo dolls that can drive a cars.
Makers by Cory DoctorowThe companies of Kodak and Duracell closed and their product inventories are absorbed by venture capitalists with a noted blogger along side writing the story of their new company.

The story goes kinda weird when Perry and Lester begin building interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts in the New World world.

But as they find success they suddenly find themselves on the defensive as a Disney executive plans an aggressive attack on the interactive rides by convincing police that Perry and Lester are actually using 3D printers manufacture AK-47s assault rifles. Kinda went off the deep end for me.

As much as I generally dislike fiction this is a title that is focusing on the Maker movement and I really wanted to see a creative story about the promise and implementation of makers shifting the economy in small steps from their home garage or workshop. My interest regarding digital fabrication machines including CNC milling.

If you are looking for a better understanding of the Maker movement in general I would strongly suggest Chris Anderson’s book Maker The New Industrial Revolution as the best and most inspirational text to see how Makers are shaping the world around you.

Latest Read: Making Makers

Making Makers is a wonderful book for parents and educators who are interested about how to guide their children to become “makers” to improve their live and chase their dreams and childhood curiosity.

Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of InnovationBy reading stories of noted inventors and creators you learn how important it is for children to become makers as the world is changing rapidly with advanced, personal, affordable technologies and why it is crucial to encourage today’s youth to be makers.

Lifelong creativity is a learned skill. The role of online learning communities today including eduX and Coursera have helped develop and establish tools to foster interests in topics explored in childhood. I believe this is a book every parent of a child should be reading today regardless of their age.

The role Makers will play in the immediate future are already being established. Again this is an opportunity for parents and educators to give their children a step up in developing new skills not only for school but also for their interests and developing new talents with friends or groups.

Maybe the most important aspect of the book is really all about how a parent can identify and foster the Maker inside their child. For many parents who have also become part of the content mindset and may have lost their way to reviving their own Maker experiences from childhood this serves as a guide to help further their own personal growth and redevelopment of their interests.

Maker Faire Saturday

littleBitsOur Saturday in Milwaukee included trips across town to maker faire events in both Brookfield and Mayfair. My son enjoyed making littleBits at Brookfield. However no Milwaukee area store held a Raspberry Pi meetup.

I was pleased to see much more products were in place at Brookfield across four spaces on both their first and second floor. Mayfair’s workspaces were on their second floor. Greenfield is a ground floor facility.

Barnes and Noble Maker Faire

This weekend Barnes and Noble is sponsoring nationwide an in-store Maker Faire. The greater Milwaukee area will see Mayfair, Greenfield, and Bayshore stores participating. The Maker Faire event actually starts on Friday. If your children are in school then prep them for all the events on Saturday and Sunday. There is a Raspberry Pi event on Saturday at 2:00pm.
barnes and noble maker faire Invite your children to meet their local leaders of the Maker movement. These are local people like your neighbors changing the way we learn, design, create and build the future. “Makers” are DIYers with a tech twist.

Get ready for a tech-educational expo, your children will see products like 3D printers, drones, robots and programming. YMMV. Barnes and Noble will provide the materials. Let your children dream up and create their own product. The only limit is their imagination.

LMSaaS

Over breakfast this weekend at a popular farmhouse two high school teachers sat next to me to discuss how their respective LMS solutions made teaching difficult. Both were from wealthy suburbs outside Milwaukee. What really peaked my interest was hearing how one spent over 45 minutes trying to add polling for in-class feedback.
LMSaaSI helped lead the adoption of a Moodle LMS at a private Wisconsin college in 2007 that is still in use today and also had the pleasure of attending a conference at UW-Madison with Martin Dougiamas the founder of Moodle.

Yet over that breakfast I was intrigued by their difficulty with all things LMS for the upcoming school year. Frustration ranged from how one teacher received no LMS training (poll example above) while the second teacher spoke about her district migrating to a new LMS vendor over the summer.

Of course no technology discussion can avoid a teacher mentioning K12 servers going offline for hours during the school day making their teaching even more difficult. Seems like teachers have a lot to confront on a daily basis in delivering education to a classroom of twenty plus students. A local LMS run from an empty closet is no longer acceptable.
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Latest Read: A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam

Lewis Sorely’s effort in A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam is a good summary how Creighton Abrams altered the American war effort after succeeding William Westmoreland. Westmoreland executed a war plan from LBJ based upon large battalion strategies that were successful fighting World War II and Korea.
A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in VietnamThe Viet Minh proved to the French their war was a new type of war. The NVA understood America’s superior firepower and technology could overwhelm their efforts. But for the Viet Cong and NVA this enemy was another war in their long quest for national liberation.

To a larger extent the second indochina war was a war against Diem, the U.S. appointed, French-educated Catholic leader. America selected him to rule a highly corrupt, agrarian and Buddhist society.

Abrams inherited the same political handcuffs trying to pursue the enemy into Laos and Cambodia. LBJ’s Vietnam was a war that limited what American forces could accomplish. American politicians never permitted a ground attack above the 17th parallel. It is disheartening to understand Abrams was not in command control of all US military forces. The Air Force and Navy did not report under his chain of command at MACV.

Abrams clearly understood the role of American forces after Tet. He shifted from large engagements with the NVA to re-establishing protected hamlets and securing the South against Viet Cong guerrillas.

The CIA’s William Colby and US Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker worked with Abrams to develop a very effective approach to both the military and political infrastructure in South Vietnam. To a great extent this helped turn the tide of the war somewhat in America’s favor.
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Reading Lewis Sorley’s A Better War

Lewis Sorley wrote A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam taking a position that the US won the war in Vietnam. This is proving to be a different twist to the war from the American point of view. His focus is only on America’s efforts after Westmoreland departed.
A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and the Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in VietnamThis book has been viewed as an attempt to portray America’s great success led by Creighton Abrams against the Communist NVA and the Vietcong. The suggestion left to the reader is the US actually won the Vietnam war.

This has proven controversial to say the least. The early chapters lay out the shifting role between Westmoreland and Abrams, the role of LBJ and the emerging leadership of CIA’s William Colby and Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker.

To Sorley’s point by switching quarterbacks at the beginning of the fourth quarter the US was able to score a great number of touchdowns. Yet the score after three-quarters was already too deep to overcome. This will prove to be a very interesting read nevertheless.

Latest Read: Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!

Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast! falls into the must read category for leaders of any organization. Actionable Intelligence is in the Lean model well beyond the vanity metrics that so many leaders have embraced. Lessons on implementing a secure framework comes from lessons including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Lifetime Brands and the CIA. Yes the CIA.
Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!Reading this book I have found tested lessons by Keith B. Carter regarding the lack of Actionable Intelligence in many organizations. The start always seems to be the lack of organized data and determining which is the most pressing to actually use in order to be successful in a fast changing world.

Maybe his most powerful work revolves around how executives at any company (or university) even question the value of actionable intelligence regardless of the tools already in place. Too many silo examples reinventing the wheel while overlooking the need to understand their own data reporting methods.

Sustaining delivery of actionable intelligence by the evolution from Dashboards to Cockpits. IMHO to many university leaders are just beginning to understand the Dashboard and their tools miss the Cockpit opportunities.

Business lessons alone describe how to mine actionable intelligence prove the validity of this book. Lessons from Estee Lauder include how the company was able to leverage secure data reporting in order to adjust following the powerful Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And in some ways Carter points to a crisis in order for executives to embrace actionable intelligence:

People do not trust data, they trust other people and their opinion of the data. So when the data owners, the people who input the data and/or use it, raise their hands and say, “This data is good; I trust it,” that will make it more likely for other people in the organization to believe it. It also means that it’s clear. It’s not just that they trust it from the point that 1 + 1 = 2. It is also clear how the data has to be used, and the definition of the data is clear.

Carter helps breakdown the old data principle “People don’t trust data – they trust other people.” Its true. Estee Lauder’s use of actionable intelligence is such that every organization should be striving towards in order to stay competitive.

Latest read: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

Every company and school needs to add Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems to their mandatory reading list.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsVajay Vaitheeswaran really understands the need for innovation, change and embracing new ideas in order for America to survive and thrive into the future.

This is especially true for those in aging markets like the auto industry and higher education.

Need, Speed, and Greed is divided into three sections: Why Innovation Matters, Where Innovation is Going, and How to win in the Age of Disruptive Innovation.

This is cover-to-cover reading for everyone. I really looked deeper at the closing chapter Can Dinosaurs Dance. While applied to the American auto industry, think about the strides made by Elon Musk and Google, the application of dramatic change fits quite nicely into many universities around the country.
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