Concepton

a device that is generating concepts


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To managers and decision makers – from a period of my Navy military service I know, that when you jiggle people permanently from one side to another, they are feeling nausea if they do not see the horizon.

And no, collective vomiting does not mean that the ship is moving.

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Annual pattern of jobs searching

Are you looking for a job? Most probably this is not a coincidence. Eventually there is a clear annual pattern in amount of people searching for new opportunities.

Here is a normalized relative pattern of amount of people searching for a jobs for a last decade.

Data is based on worldwide statistics based on millions of people and can be used as a model for Human Resource organizations, headhunters or just people that are part of the trend.

X-axis is weeks (1-52), Y-axis is growth in jobs hunting comparing to the average of the year.

X-axis is weeks (1-52), Y-axis is growth in jobs hunting comparing to the average of the year.

We see a nice and clear behavioral pattern that shows a gradual decline throughout the autumn to the annual minimum of job searches by the end of the year and the slight spike before holidays (people that remind that they need money for presents?). Then enormous spike to the annual maximum at the beginning of the year (motivation to change things in the new year? worldwide layoffs pattern?) and then spring decline followed by growth to a summer “hill”.

Same, but with average profile (Rsq > 0.8):

WW Job Search Profile

What can I say? In my company this profile would be one of base components of HR organization budget. I find it cool.


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Ropes and the Perception of Risk

Couple days ago I had an amazing experience at Kos Island (Greece) and tried a ropes course, where I had to pass through all the stages of the cool facility, going from one column to another over the ropes and bricks with increasing complexity. It looked like this:

DSC_1390a

Six phases x three wings x two levels i.e. 36 stages of fun and challenge for my equilibrium. Beyond the unique experience, I learned something very interesting from the instructor (on the pic above, he is at the middle stage, waiting for me).

After I have passed several stages, he said to me: “You know that there are three points of support, required for equilibrium here. One is the left leg, another is right leg, while the third is usually the hand.” Indeed, I have mentioned that to feel stable, I had to hold the rope (or anything else available) with (at least 🙂 one hand. “BUT the interesting part is that you DO NOT HAVE TO HOLD the rope. It is enough just TO TOUCH it. Even slightly with the side of the finger”. Obviously I have tried it and it was amazing! I could relatively freely walk while tip of the finger was touching the rope, and at the same time I could not walk from the moment after it was detached. So for me it was no more the holding rope, but just the reference point.

Immediately as an engineer I thought about the negative feedback that my brain required to do this task, I thought about sensing lines from power electronics, I thought about feedback in control system of my brain, I thought about continuity of nerve that is running from my finger to some place in the brain and realized that this third point, required for the equilibrium was not actually the finger itself, but that place in the brain that required this sensing for better control of my body.

Now I need to distinguish my experience from a single line “Tightrope walking” (funambulism) or slacklining where there are a totally different biomechanics and brain control of the balance.

tightrope-walker

I am talking about purely psychological effect of the fear of the failure where you can “easily” go at the height of half a meter and make not a single step at fifty meters. I am talking about effect that you slowly go two thirds of the path and then run freely when you see the end.

This was very much related to the work I am doing these days on Risk Modeling in Complex Systems generally and on Perception of Risk particularly. I shall release some interesting parts of the work here… By now, to touch the Perception of Risk model, I would like to mention two major components of the risk – Perception of the probability of failure and Perception of the impact of failure. Each of those components got multiple assessment biases and this is a whole separate talk by itself. In this case of equilibrium reference point, the signal in the brain was impacting the part, responsible for mitigation of the failure probability component of risk perception, since the impact of the failure was same. The mitigation was possible because of the constant signal to my brain that in case of loss of balance, would ensure that the hand is very close to the rope to catch it. If this is true, then the brain mapping (if it is going one day possible not in static lab conditions) of walking person at the same height with and without the finger touched, would show the area of brain that is responsible for the Perception of Probability component of risk, while the different heights would expose the area responsible for the Perception of the Failure Impact.

Interesting that once I passed some stage the second time it was much simpler to detach the finger and in some cases even not use the hand at all and stretch out my arms to increase the moment of inertia for better balance. It was nearly impossible for me to do it for the first time per stage due to the lack of risk assessment and perceptional bias (a.k.a. fear)))).


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Start-up failure #N

Lessons:

  1. Impossible to start something in parallel to the main work…at least if you are already 120% engaged, and you have a family, and if you would like to spend some time with them, and there are only 24 hours a day. So the only time that is left for the business is 11pm-3am (and if you have a wife, you cannot do this every day). #DrinkMoreCoffee #WorkOnTheWay #PracticeContentSwitch
  2. Hard to find good people for the team, but it is even harder to pass the routine. So the initial euphory is trending towards zero. Especially if you loose some money on the way. Search for the ways to keep motivation. #SelfDeterminationTheory #GetFunding #DrinkBeersMoreOftenWithTeam 
  3. Have a meaningful goal! Business that is there only to make money is likely to fail. We had an algorithm of revenue prediction that worked amazingly… most of the times. It is hard to convince yourself that you are doing money to invest in something that would matter in the next phase. #Purpose #MakeTheWorldABetterPlace #MakeValueNotMoney #AskWhyNotWhat

Purpose - Dostoyevsky

Ok… Now I am ready for the next stage and next mistakes… 🙂