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Decision Making

“We’ve always done it this way”

During my time in academia, I was appointed the chair of a faculty committee. When I took over as chair, the committee had a decades-old practice of holding meetings every month. Having sat through (more accurately, suffered through) these meetings as a junior committee member, I knew we could cut …

Be careful what you measure

During my time in academia, I was amazed by how much the U.S. News & World Report rankings influence decisions for both students and faculty. The Report, as you might know, ranks colleges and other degree programs in the United States. The rankings rely on a formula to determine which …

What you can learn from Netflix’s biggest mistake

Imagine a courtroom. There’s a prosecutor, a jury, and a judge. The prosecutor uses convincing evidence and polished arguments to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. The defendant has no lawyer. He’s not even allowed to present arguments. He sits silently as the prosecution paints …

The to-do list trap

When I first started writing Think Like a Rocket Scientist, my to-do list looked something like this: Call insurance company Submit tax form Order groceries Write book Inbox zero Clean desk “Write book” is by far the most important item here. The others have their place, but they won’t move …

Development Alchemy + Aim