Microecnomy

25 Life Lessons from Albert #Einstein

1. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.

2. Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

3. Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

4. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

5. A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.

6. Love is a better teacher than duty.

7. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

8. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

9. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

11. It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.

12. Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

13. Force always attracts men of low morality.

14. Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

15. A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.

16. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

17. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

18. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

19. Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

20. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

21. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

22. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

23. Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

24. Information is not knowledge.

25. Never lose a holy curiosity.

— Credits to avmedia.info/blog

einstein

Mind Theory

…the desire to find there three psychic agencies had been sparked by a diagram Freud published in the course of summarizing his new structural theory of mind, which he developed in the decade 1923 to 1933. That new theory maintained his earlier distinction between conscious and unconscious mental functions, but it added three interacting psychic agencies: the ego, the id, and the superego. Freud saw consciousness as the surface of the mental apparatus. Much of our mental function is submerged below that surface, Freud argued, just as the bulk of an iceberg is submerged below the surface of the ocean. The deeper a mental function lies below the surface, the less accessible it is to consciousness. freudstructconsc-2 Psychoanalysis provided a way of digging down to the buried mental strata, the preconscious and the unconscious components of the personality. Picture of Freud’s structural theory

freudstructconsc

What gave Freud’s new model a dramatic turn was the three interacting psychic agencies. Freud did not define the ego, the id and the superego as either conscious or unconscious, but as differing in cognitive style, goal and function. According to Freud’s structural theory, the ego (the “I”, or autobiographical self) is the executive agency, and it has both a conscious and an unconscious component. The conscious component is in direct contact with the external world through the sensory apparatus for sight, sound, and touch; it is concerned with perception, reasoning, the planning of actions, and the experiencing of pleasure and pain. In their work, Hartmann, Kris, and Lowestein emphasized that this conflict-free component of the ego operates logically and is guided in its actions by the reality principle. The unconscious component of the ego is concerned with psycological defenses (repression, denial, sublimation), the mechanism whereby the ego inhibits, channels, and redirect both the sexual and the aggressive instinctual drives of the id, the second psychic agency. The id (the “it”), a term that Freud borrowed from Nietszche, is totally unconscious. It is not governed by the hedonistic principle of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. According to Freud, represents the primitive mind of the infants and is the only mental structure present at birth. The superego, the third governor, is the unconscious moral agency, the embodiment of our aspirations. Extracted from: In the Search of Memory, Eric Kandel

kandel

Eric R. Kandel

Quality Services

The following text was extracted from the book “The Credit Union World”, by Wendell Fountain, emphasizing the significance of Quality in service provision and its basic components.

“High-quality member service is not difficult to deliver. It depends on the constraints which the employee has to operate within; those are usually imposed by management, and the attitude of the employee.

Attitude is one thing of which an employee has control. No one can take away a positive attitude; a person must be willing to give it up. If employees are taught and encouraged to follow the fundamentals, it is difficult to fall short in the member relationship management process. So much depends on training and the willingness of the trainee to internalize the significance of such a simple method. The better the training the more likely that service will be delivered properly. Members and other consumers have become so accustomed to mediocrity that excellent service is perceived to be exceptional, consumers get excited.

What credit unionists, at all levels, should want are excited members because of excellent service. Once excellent service becomes an embedded cultural process, members expect nothing less and that should be the goal of all credit union leaders and managers.

If credit unions just practice the fundamentals, by delivering excellent service, member relationship management should be a given.”

An interesting point presented in this very few lines. Basically, half the process is under influence of external factors, or physical constraints, and half is influenced by internal factors, mainly positive attitude.

I totally agree with it.

Given that a service is an intangible commodity, like computer software, what if we extrapolate this concept to software products and services?

A software program is like a living creature, it grows throw unpredictable paths while users interact with it, adding personal experience to the user interface. Some operations have to defend themselves from end-user “creativity” while others explore it as a potential value generator. So, the positive attitude might not be a matter of intelligence, sophistication or operational procedures, but also good and structured programming, well designed interfaces, rational layouts, communication and a few other nudges.

Software products has technological considerations like platform update or even structural upgrade of installed base– database, servers, networks, middleware, packages, clients, …,– as technology itself is a never ended product because Evolution never reach an end.

Add the fact that businesses are complex routines in most of the cases.
The divide to conquer approach doesn’t make thing easier, it only make things possible. For machines all things are mathematical operations, but for human intelligence, decode this assumptions in machine language is quite a challenge.

It might look that the comparison between quality service for the financial market and software products wasn’t so clear, but the point here is that complex things are derived from single activities, and this activities are basically a combination of physical constraints and positive attitude, for the best cases.

credunworld

IMB – O economista e os monopólios

IMB – O economista e os monopólios.

Value creation, a simple lesson

A lesson  I’ve learned from my finance classes, I relate to many aspects of my life:

Value; If you’re not building, you’re destroying it.

Makes a lot of sense.

Neutral is not a valid position in the game of value creation.

In the game of Value Creation; if you’re not Winning, you’re Loosing.

 

Do you agree?

The neagative aspect of the positive thing.
Part of the gap in the “jobless recovery” process will be covered by the educational system that the same technology is going to help to build.

The Intuitionist View

The rationalist assumption about our moral architecture are now being challenged by a more intuitionist view.

This intuitionist account puts emotion and unconscious intuition at the center of moral life, not reason; it stresses moral reflexes, alongside individual choice; emphasizes the role perception plays in moral decision making, before logical deduction.

In the intuitionist view, the primary struggle is not between reason and the passions. Instead, the crucial contest is within Level 1, the unconscious-mind sphere itself.

This view starts with the observation that we all are born with deep selfish drives–a drive to take what we can, to magnify our status, to appear superior to others, to exercise power over others, to satisfy lusts. These drives warp perception.

These deep impulses treat conscious cognition as a plaything. They not only warp perception during sin; they invent justifications after it. We tell inaction had it coming; that the circumstances compelled us to act as we did; that someone is to blame. The desire pre-consciously molds the shape of our thought.

But not all the deep drives are selfish ones, the intuitionist stress. We are all descended from successful cooperators. Our ancestors survived in families and groups.

Humans also possess a suite of emotions to help with bonding and commitment. We blush and feel instantaneous outrage when we violate social norms. We feel instantaneous outrage when our dignity has been slighted.

In humans, these social emotions have a moral component, even at a very early age. These sort of moral judgments are instant and emotional. They contain subtle evaluation. As we’ve seen so often in this story, the act of perception is a thick process. It is not just taking in a scene but, almost simultaneously, weighing its meaning, evaluating it,  and generating an emotion about it.

from The Social Animal, David Brook.
Chapter 18, Morality.

Emergent Systems

Through most of human history, people have tried to understand their world through reductive reasoning.

That is to say, they have been inclined to take things apart to see how they work. As Albert Láslo Barabáse write in his influential book Linked, “Reductionism was the driving force behind much of the 20th century’s scientific research. To compreend nature, it tells us, we must dechiper its components. The assumption is that once we understand the parts, it will be easy to grasp the whole. Divide and Conquer; the devil is in the details.

Therefore, for decades we have been forced to see the world through its constituents. We have been trained to study atoms and superstrings to understand the universe; molecules to comprehend life; individual genes to understand complex behavior; prophets to see the origins of fads and religions.” This way of thinking induces people to think they can understand a problem by dissecting it into its various parts. They can understand a person’s personality if they just tease out and investigate his genetic or environmental traits. This deductive mode is specially of conscious cognition–the sort of cognition that is linear and logical.

The problem with this approach is that it has trouble explaining dynamic complexity, the essential feature of a human being, a culture, or a society. So recently there has been a greater appreciation for the structure of emergent systems.

Emergent systems exists when different elements come together and produce something that is greater than the sum of their parts.

Or, to put it differently, the pieces of a system interact, and out of their interaction something entirely new emerges. For example, benign things like air and water come together and sometimes, through a certain pattern of interaction, a hurricane emerges. Sounds and syllables come together and produce a story that has its emotional power that is irreducible to its constituent parts.

Emergent systems don’t rely upon a central controller. Instead, once a pattern of interaction is established, it has a downward influence on the behavior of the components.

For example, let’s say an ant in a colony stumbles upon a new source of food. No dictator ant has to tell the colony to reorganize itself to harvest that source. Instead, one ant, in the course of his normal foraging, stumbles upon the food. Then a neighboring ant will notice and that ant’s change in direction, and than a neighbor of that ant will notice the change, and pretty soon, as Steven Johnson puts it, “Local information can lead to global wisdom.” The entire colony will have a pheromone superhighway to harvest the new food source.

A change has been quickly communicated through a system, and the whole colony mind has restructured itself to take advantage of this new circumstance. There has been no concsious decision to make the change. But a new set of arrangements has emerged, and once the custom has been set, future ants will automaticaly conform.

Emergent systems are really good at passing down customs accross hundreds or thousands of generations. As Deborah Gordon of Stanford discovered, if you put ants in a large plastic tray, they will build a colony. They will also build a cemetery for dead ants, and the cemetery will be as far as possible from the colony. No individual ant worked out of the geometry. In fact, each individual ant may be blind to the entire structure. Instead individual ants followed local cues.

There are emergent systems all around. The brain is an emergent system. And individual neuron in the brain does not contain an idea, say, of an apple. But of the pattern of firing of millions of neurons, the idea of an apple emerges.

The Social Animal, chapter 7, Norms

The Rationalist Version

Of course these management whizzes did not come into being by accident. John Maynard Keynes famously wrote that “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” People of modest human understanding were the slaves of a long philosophic tradition. This tradition,rationalism, tells the story of human story of the progress of the logical, conscious mind. It sees human story as a contest between reason, the highest human faculty, and passion and instinct, our animal natures. In the upbeat version of this story, reason gradually triumphs over emotion. Science gradually triumphs over emotion. Science gradually replaces myth. Logic wins over passion.

In Classical Greece and Rome, according to this narrative, the party of reason made great strides. But after the fall or Rome, the passion reasserted themselves. Europe fell into the Dark Ages. Education suffered, science lay formant, superstition flourished. Things began to pick up again during the Renaissance with the developments in science and accounting. Then, during the seventeenth century, scientists and technologist created new forms of machinery and new ways to think about society. Great investigators began to dissect and understand their world.

The methaphor, “the world is a machine,” began to replace the mepaphor, “the world is a living organism.” Society was often seen as a clock with millions of moving pieces, and God was the Divine Clock-maker, the author of an exquisitely rational universe.

Extracted from The Social Animal, David Brook

The Insurgency

“The great business sage Peter Drucker said that about a third of the business decisions he observed turned out to have been right, another third turned out to be minimally effective, and another third were outright failures.

In other word, there is at least a two-thirds chance that what what you have done is wrong or largely wrong. We believe our achievements are great because we want to believe we are great. We want to preserve our own  egos, so we’re spinning ourselves.

But the truth is life is about to producing failure.

We only progress through a series of regulated errors.

Every move is a partial failure to be corrected by the next one. Think of it as walking. You shift your weight off balance with every step, and then you throw your other leg forward to compensate.”

The Social Animal, David Brooks