Category Archives: Decision Point

Is Your Boss a Psychopath?

by admin | October 18, 2013

I maintained at the time – and I still maintain – that if this CEO and others like him had been born to poor inner-city families, they would have become drug lords.They are smart, fearless, and they think the rules don’t apply to them.They wouldn’t work their way out of the hood by flipping burgers for minimum wage.

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Economist Hubris

by admin | October 16, 2013

Last November, I wrote a couple of blog entries entitled, “Everything We Know Is Wrong,” which were based on a presentation I made last year at the Decision Analysis Affinity Group (DAAG) conference. I’m going to be giving an updated version of that presentation at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) conference in Pittsburgh on May 21st as the keynote speech at the Division of Professional Affairs and Association of Women Geoscientists luncheon.

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Our All-Consuming Obsession

by admin | October 14, 2013

David Brooks of the New York Times wrote an interesting column back in February called, “Carpe Diem Nation” (I read it in the Feb. 13th edition of the International Herald Tribune; published on Feb. 11th in the NYTimes). In it, Mr. Brooks points out the extent to which the national attitude in the United States has shifted from one of sacrificing for the sake of a better future to one of sacrificing the future for the sake of a more comfortable present. I almost always find Mr. Brooks to be insightful; this time, his message is both insightful and disturbing. We are stealing from our children and grandchildren to maintain the lifestyles to which we have become accustomed.

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The Vanishing Middle Class

by admin | October 12, 2013

I just listened to an excellent piece on NPR Saturday morning while driving to the grocery store.

The reporter was a young woman (or a young-sounding woman, at least – after all, it’s radio) who had got wind of a city in the southern U.S. where a suspiciously high percentage of the population was on Disability Assistance from the government. This is a relatively poor town with one main industry – a fish processing factory – plus the usual collection of fast food places, corner gas stations, and the like.

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The 100% problem with the 90% solution

by admin | October 8, 2013

One of my favorite quotes is from a gentleman named Olin Miller:  “In order to be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.”  In almost all of my training courses, keynote speeches, and presentations, I include this quote on a slide near the end. I have been reminded of the … Continue reading The 100% problem with the 90% solution

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Desperately Seeking Signal (credit to Nate Silver for this title)

by admin | October 5, 2013

As part of my ongoing tours as a Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Distinguished Lecturer, I was in Bartlesville, Oklahoma a little while ago giving my presentation. My talk is about appropriate and inappropriate ways we can apply our risk tolerance when making strategic decisions on major projects. I spend some time talking about the statistical traps people sometimes fall into when analyzing uncertain opportunities (and let’s be honest – all business opportunities are uncertain).

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The Slow Motion Bike Race

by admin | October 1, 2013

In last year’s Olympic Games in London, I happened to catch the gold-medal round of the shortest sprint race in velodrome bicycle racing. The race is comprised of three circuits around the steeply banked 250-meter track, but only over the last two laps are the competitors racing in any recognizable sense of the word. Over … Continue reading The Slow Motion Bike Race

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Total Energy Consumed

by admin | September 30, 2013

I was part of a panel discussion on Nov. 28th at the Total Energy USA Conference in Houston. The idea behind the conference was to pull together people working in all different parts of the energy industry: oil & gas, wind, coal, nuclear, solar, hydro – a real “all of the above” conference. Unfortunately, the … Continue reading Total Energy Consumed

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Everything We Know is Wrong – Part II

by admin | September 26, 2013

I’d like to expand a bit on my last entry, which talked about some of the ideas I put forward in my presentation at the Decision Analysis Affinity Group (DAAG) Conference entitled, “Everything We Know Is Wrong.” Last time, I talked about the need for new metrics and wisdom when setting a course for the … Continue reading Everything We Know is Wrong – Part II

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Everything We Know is Wrong – Part I

by admin | September 20, 2013

Back in April, I gave a talk at the Decision Analysis Affinity Group (DAAG) Conference entitled, “Everything We Know Is Wrong.” One of the great things about DAAG is you can throw fairly provocative ideas out for everyone’s consideration without them thinking you’re crazy (well, maybe just a little crazy). I received a lot of good questions, feedback, and push-back, which was exactly what I wanted.

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