#65

A business leader’s job is to create great teams that do amazing work on time. That’s it. That’s the job of management.
— Patty McCord, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

The Speed Dial - An abbreviated set of articles for the reader who has limited time.

How McKinsey Lost Its Way in South Africa
[nytimes]

When the godfather of management consulting landed its biggest contract ever in Africa, it made the worst mistake in its storied nine-decade history.



Ear Hustle (Voices from inside San Quentin)
[earhustlesq]

Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it.

 


The Cult of the Root Cause
[reinertsenassociates]

Invisibly embedded in this approach are two important assumptions. First, the approach assumes that causality progresses from root cause to final effect through linear chain of stages. Second, it assumes that the best location to intervene in this chain of causality is at its source: the root cause. Certainly there are many simple cases where both these assumptions are true; in such cases, it is indeed desirable to intervene at the root cause. However, these two assumptions are frequently wrong, and in such cases the five “Whys” can lead us astray.

 


Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test
[theatlantic]Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids' capacity to delay gratification

 


Management/Culture

How to Hold the Most Effective Meetings

[engineering.hellofresh]

People often think that the what that is said in a meeting is the most important, but I’ve found there are actually 6 key components of equal weight to satisfy for meeting productivity — what, why, who, when, where, how.

 


What Your Startup Can Learn from Astronauts, The Daily Show, and the Coach of the Boston Celtics
[firstround]

In this exclusive interview, the Originals and Option B author draws from his WorkLife podcast to spotlight lessons about four areas that are pivotal to any individual’s and organization’s success: creativity, criticism, trust and humility For each area, he also goes behind the scenes of the podcast, revealing his biggest personal takeaways, as well as valuable related advice that didn’t make it in the episode.

 


Development/Releases

Three-day no-meeting schedule for engineers
[medium]

It’s not a big revelation that software development requires long stretches of uninterrupted time to focus. As Pinterest has grown, we’ve noticed the number of meetings also has increased. Having so many meetings can fragment an engineer’s entire day, eliminating the stretches of uninterrupted time required to build software.

 


Blameless Incident Postmortems at Thumbtack
[thumbtack]

For people new to authoring an incident postmortem, the task may seem hard as it feels like an admission that something went wrong. However, a postmortem is not intended to place blame on someone. It is instead a way for the people involved and the team to learn how to not repeat it again, how to recover if it happens in the future, and to plan future action items to mitigate the risks.

 


Technical

H3: Uber’s Hexagonal Hierarchical Spatial Index
[eng.uber]

Grid systems are critical to analyzing large spatial data sets, partitioning areas of the Earth into identifiable grid cells.

 


A Word of Advice: Revamping Foursquare’s Tip Ranking Methodology
[engineering.foursquare]

A few months ago, we revamped our strategy to select the best tips for a given venue. Our new ranking model greatly improves on our prior approaches and leverages contextual, text-based and social signals , which allows us to select the tips that provide our users with the most informative, relevant, and high quality content. In this post, we’ll go over our new methodology as well as how the model’s introduction yielded significant positive results as measured by various A/B tests across different use cases.

 


How The New York Times Uses Software To Recognize Members of Congress
[open.nytimes]

Even if you’ve covered Congress for The New York Times for a decade, it can be hard to recognize which member you’ve just spoken with. There are 535 members, and with special elections every few months, members cycle in and out relatively frequently. So when former Congressional Correspondent Jennifer Steinhauer tweeted “Shazam, but for House members faces” in early 2017, The Times’s Interactive News team jumped on the idea.

 


News/Other

Ice Poseidon’s Lucrative, Stressful Life as a Live Streamer
[newyorker]

When your job is to constantly share your life, even your worst moments are an opportunity to please your audience

 


Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die
[bloomberg]

AI advances by the 'Medical Brain' team could help the internet giant finally break into the health-care business

 


How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country
[nytimes]

The group, the local chapter for Americans for Prosperity, which is financed by the oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch to advance conservative causes, fanned out and began strategically knocking on doors. Their targets: voters most likely to oppose a local plan to build light-rail trains, a traffic-easing tunnel and new bus routes.

 


Disposable America
[theatlantic]

A history of modern capitalism from the perspective of the straw. Seriously.

 


Math Bee: Honeybees Seem To Understand The Notion Of Zero
[npr]

Honeybees understand that "nothing" can be "something" that has numerical meaning, showing that they have a primitive grasp of the concept of zero.

 


Meet the guys who tape Trump's papers back together
[politico]

The president's unofficial 'filing system' involves tearing up documents into pieces, even when they're supposed to be preserved.

 


Maybe we can afford to suck CO2 out of the sky after all
[technologyreview]

A new analysis shows that air capture could cost less than $100 a ton.

 


The Belt and Road Bubble Is Starting to Burst
[foreignpolicy]

China's hasty international investments are beginning to drag down its own economy.

 


Digital Ambulance Chasers? Law Firms Send Ads To Patients' Phones Inside ERs
[npr]

Patients sitting in emergency rooms, at chiropractors' offices and at pain clinics in the Philadelphia area may start noticing on their phones the kind of messages typically seen along highway billboards and public transit: personal injury law firms looking for business by casting mobile online ads at patients.

 


Hamilton 68: tracking Russian twitter account to better understand their influence in US politics.
[dashboard.securingdemocracy]

Tracking russian influence operations on twitter

 


National Security Agency (NSA) security/motivational posters from the 1950s and 1960s
[governmentattic]

A digital/electronic copy of the NSA old security posters from the 1950s and 1960s.

 


Books/Podcasts/Videos

The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies
[goodreads]

A blistering critique of the forces threatening the American intelligence community, beginning with the President of the United States himself, in a time when that community's work has never been harder or more important

 


Dr. Max Roser: Our World in Data
[youtube]

Dr. Max Roser shares some basic statistics that describe living conditions currently and the direction of change that we have seen over the past few decades. Knowing the facts on global changes gives you the context for the daily news and allows you to make sense of new information that you learn.

 


Old NYC Union Guys Know How To Argue
[youtube]

I was the director and the sole cameraman of this documentary film in support of a local New York union. This shows a scene from an AFL-CIO “negotiation” with NY city officials regarding whether union drivers were needed on garbage trucks. I filmed this by myself and it was difficult to move around the room as a single cameraman. 1967 was a year where many people around the country were fighting loudly (verbally) with others who disagreed with them. About just about everything, especially the Vietnam War.

 


Every Detail of Grand Central Terminal Explained | Architectural Digest
[youtube]

Historian and author Anthony W. Robins and journalist Sam Roberts of the New York Times guide Architectural Digest through every detail of Grand Central Terminal. Our narrators walk us through the legendary structure from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Foyer through Vanderbilt Hall to the main concourse (and the famous four-faced clock). From there, we learn more about the underground walkways, whispering gallery, Oyster Bar restaurant, Campbell Apartment, Pershing Square, and more.