Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ready Player One!

It's pretty rare to find a book that I truly enjoy reading.  This enjoyment can best be described by the feeling that I cannot put the book down and I must keep going.

That feeling was alive and well when reading Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline.

The book is fiction, but takes the reader through a great story, and, if you grew up in the 1980's, you will get an extra bonus - the feeling of nostalgia.   All of the great things about being a kid in the 80's will come back to life.

I won't ruin the story for you, but suffice it to say that this book took me to a similar place as when I read Snowcrash, by Neal Stephenson.

This is possibly the best book I have read in several years.  It's both easy going, and full of excitement.

Thank you, Sunil, for introducing this book to me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Are you Type I or Type X?

This book is well worth a read.  If you manage or lead people, learning about Motivation 3.0 may be the difference between success and failure.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Zero to One

I just finished reading Peter Thiel's book, Zero to One.  Overall I found it to be a unique point of view about startups, where new many new technologies are created.

While I felt his comments about Ayn Rand show a misunderstanding of her philosophy, I do believe Thiel's overall philosophical views are solid.  I share his perspective, that they way to fix many of our world problems is through innovation and invention.  Successive technologies that improve performance of existing technologies by 10X or better will be the path to human success.

The figures on new job growth and venture capital are staggering.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Big Data for Everyone

Interested in getting started with Big Data? Don't have a Hadoop cluster or Data Science team? 

Some very cool data science capabilities are available in preview from Microsoft:

Also - there is a great book by Microsoft to get you started on it:

Pluggable science technology with the full power of Hadoop and the R programming language!  It would have been great to have this when I was in Statistics graduate school.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Knowledge and Power: The Information Theory of Capitalism and How it is Revolutionizing our World by George Gilder

I read a great book recently that re-energized me and reminded me of where our economic growth comes from.  It reminded me of my favorite author, Ayn Rand, and her philosophy.  Atlas Shrugged is my favorite book.

George Gilder's "Knowledge and Power" is a great read.  Yes, he lost me in a few places, but he also connects many "new" dots together.  The concepts of Information Theory, and how that affects our economy, are superb.   The concept of knowledge as surprise, and how the stock market and SOX are "protecting" us from information, and therefore making the market unstable, are clear.

Our country is in a deep hole right now.  Sadly, most of our citizens lack an understanding of where our economic growth comes from.  We cannot spend our way into a better economy.

Forced income equality is economic destruction.  For some reason, this topic has become very "loud" lately.  "Atlas Shrugged" should be required reading for everyone in the USA.  Our economic system is capitalism, and we need to be reminded of what will happen if we forget the basics.  The basics are that we need a system where investments go to ideas that make our lives better.  People like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have made the world a better place, and deserve the incomes they earn.  They have devoted their lives to the betterment of mankind.

I will follow up on another book I am reading with Ayn Rand overtones.  Please read Gilder.  It is worth your time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Things I Learned from My Mom - Part II - Leave Your Comfort Zone to Grow

Today's post is on the need for change to achieve growth.

My mom grew up and spent her entire childhood on a farm in West, Texas.  Population ~2000.  As a child she told me there were times where they did not have indoor bathrooms.  In central Texas, she grew up without air conditioning.  For those of you who know Texas, that is a frightening thought, especially in August.

My mother left the safety of this bubble (small town, family farm) to move to Houston, "the big city".  She had very little money and only a few years of community college.  I was born in Houston because my mom wanted me to have more opportunities to be successful.  She wanted to have different experiences for herself as well.

West, Texas is still a small community.  There is a small community of people to interact with.  There are a lot of great things about living in a small town like West.  But, in Houston, I grew up with people of many different races and ideals - different ones from the small town.  I was exposed to computer software and developed my skills and had others to interact with.

I know my life would be different if my mom had stayed in West.

The biggest thing I learned from all of this is that you have to be willing to make changes, significant changes, if you want to grow.  It may mean living somewhere new, finding new experiences, and meeting new people.  Get outside your comfort zone.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Things I Learned from My Mom - Part I - Have an Optimistic Outlook on People

My mom passed away about 1 year ago.  I learned a lot from her.  Now it is one year out, and I have had time to reflect on the things that I learned from her.  I am going to break the things down into small posts.

Today's post is on how to deal with people you don't know.

Mom had an optimistic outlook on people.  She would talk to just about any person she met.  She gave people the benefit of the doubt.  She also never saw herself as better than others, from the person who delivered the newspaper to the person putting groceries in bags at the market or unpacking them to put them on the shelves.

She got to know all the people that were in the paths of her life.  She would take the time to talk to them and get to know them.  She had an innate trust in the "goodness" of people.  These people recognized her when they saw her and remembered her.  She had an impact on them.

My mom was from a small town, West, Texas (link, link).  There you got to know everybody - it was the norm.

What did I learn from this?

An optimistic outlook on people is a good way to go.  Even if some people are out to do us wrong, it is better to start the day with trust and optimism, it will take you a long way.

Also, there is something to be learned from everyone.  It doesn't matter what stage of their life they are in, or what their profession or economic status is.  You can learn from them.

Lastly, it can be really enjoyable to strike up conversations with people you don't know.  You might find something in common with them.  You never know until you try.