Friday, January 2, 2015

cofounder wanted

1. what's your greatest weakness?

2. what is something you've learned in the past year?

3. what frustrates you most?

4. what are the 5 most important things to you?

5. you order two entrees and both arrive at the same time. one is served at 38F and the other 173F. which do you eat first?

6. what do you respect most about people?

7. what is 9*7?

8. who/what has most shaped who you are today?

9. how important is timeliness to you?

10. how punctual are you?

11. do you like pets?

12. where is your favorite place?

13. what is your favorite color?

14. what is your favorite ice cream flavor?

15. what is your favorite food?

16. what makes you happy?

17. what makes you angry?

18. what irritates you?

19. how would you spend a free day?

20. describe a perfect day.

21. are you vengeful?

22. you just won the lottery. what's the first thing you do?

23. what's the greatest adversity that you've faced?

24. how many hours do you sleep?

25. what's the weirdest thing you do?

26. what are your thoughts on boogers?

27. how adventurous are you?

28. how risk averse are you?

29. google or apple? alibaba or baidu stock?

30. you have $1 million to invest in the stock market; what do you buy?

31. you're wiping your nose in the middle of a meeting and a giant piece of snot ends up on your finger. what do you do?

32. saturday @ 4am, server crashes. what backups of the hosting and db are available and where are they stored?

33. you need to buy a vacuum cleaner and it's $139.99 at sears 8 miles away but $159.99 at target 3 miles away. which do you buy?

34. news at 10: zombie apocalypse. what do you do?

35. it's 6pm and you need to talk to me urgently. how do you reach me?

36. you need to set your scrolling timer to 13 minutes. it's currently at 47 mins.  do you scroll up or down?

37. you have to fart in the middle of a board meeting; what do you do?

38. what are 5 things you would never do?

39. friday 6pm: client expected a contract by 5pm, but you just received the final draft from counsel. you sign and need to send out for countersign. you notice a serious material flaw in the contract because you sent the wrong info to counsel. what do you do?

40. friday, 2am. what are you doing?

41. you have $250m to give to charity. what do you do?

42. you're in the middle of marrakesh on vacation. what gifts do you buy and for whom and what do you buy for yourself?

43. what's your greatest regret?

44. [wild card]

45. what's the difference among their, they're, and there?

46. what is your most valued possession?

47. if i were to come over to your place right this moment, describe to me what i would see.

48. you lose a bet in a drunken stupor and have to compete in a sahara dune buggy race. halfway through the race across 110+ degree desert dunes, you have to pee and you park your buggy. without thought, you take the keys and lose them along the way. what do you do?

49. correct the following sentence:
The purring noise of a cat, although most people think that cats purr because they are content, is actually involuntary and is not directly related with the emotion of the cat.

A) The purring noise of a cat, although most people think that cats purr because they are content, is actually involuntary and is not directly related with the emotion of the cat.

B) Although most people think that cats purr because they are content, the purring noise of a cat is actually involuntary and is not directly related with the emotion of the cat.

C) Although most people think that cats purr because they are content, the purring noise of a cat is actually involuntary and is not directly related to the emotion of the cat.

D) The purring noise of a cat, although most people think that cats purr because they are content, is actually involuntary and is not directly related to the emotion of the cat.

E) Although most people think that cats are purring because they are content, the purring noise of a cat is actually involuntary and is not directly related with the emotion of the cat.

50. An advertising executive must schedule the advertising during a particular television show. Seven different consecutive time slots are available for advertisements during a commercial break, and are numbered one through seven in the order that they will be aired. Seven different advertisements – B, C, D, F, H, J, and K – must be aired during the show. Only one advertisement can occupy each time slot. The assignment of the advertisements to the slots is subject to the following restrictions:

B and D must occupy consecutive time slots.
B must be aired during an earlier time slot than K.
D must be aired during a later time slot than H.
If H does not occupy the fourth time slot, then F must occupy the fourth time slot.
K and J cannot occupy consecutively numbered time slots.

What is one possible arrangement?

51. teach me something.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ebola: risk management, decision analysis, and science

risk management - at a minimum - is a function of probability and severity of outcome.  when it comes down to the actual algorithm, we're probably looking at dozens of variables.

but let's look at probability and severity.

let's take a certain news source's "minimal risk to Americans."

a 7 gene virus with up to 90% lethality.  pretty scary, but what does the WHO know.

now let's see how another major u.s. news source refers to the disease: "one of the most deadly diseases in the world."

odd. minimal risk x one of the most deadly should generally yield a high level of caution.  throw in no vaccine and no treatment and it gets a bit hairier.

maybe juggling nukes has a minimal risk of setting one off, and i hear they're a little deadly.  don't see anyone playing with those odds.  the problem with odds as low as 0.0000001% is that when you multiply it across populations of hundreds of millions or billions, it yields actual occurrences greater than 1.  unfortunately, i don't see the odds of a muck up being that low.

the problem with short term math is that a few hundred deaths are acceptable.  several thousand too.  people die every day.  the problem is that the trade off is simply commerce.  we're just price tags.  but only until banks realize that everyone dying = massive defaults.  idiots.

if the top risk manager, virologist, statistician, and computational epidemiologist in the world can come to an agreement, i'll hear it.  because it takes a highly specialized virologist who is extremely well versed in probabilities and epidemiology to issue a qualified opinion, no more.  the rest is noise, including this.

every time a news agency issues assurances, they should pass around a gun with a single round chambered and play roulette with themselves.  save for these guys:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

navigating a grocery store

i'm a little weird, we can agree to that.

but in my quasi-ideal world, there's an app that lists where everything in a grocery store is.  amazonfresh is a bit more ideal, but i like to get things myself.  google glass integration, and i know where i'm headed.

back to reality, here and now.

i've decided to use the same algorithms i use when driving to navigate through grocery stores.  i don't do well with crowded aisles, slow checkout lanes, poor efficiency, etc.

so depending on the time of day, the day of the week, i make my usual assumptions.  about who's in the store, what they're there to buy, etc.

mentally map out what i need to get, zip through aisles that shouldn't be occupied, or minimally so, grab what i need to in sequence, and head straight to self checkout.

ideally, everything would be nfc tagged and i could just set my basket down, run some sort of biometric scan - or this - and out we go.

next stop, john lert.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

farting in a bell jar

27 hours into transit, i had an epiphany at 39,000 miles above average low and high tides.  bored out of my mind and tired of sitting, i started staring out into space, literally, computing atmospheric escape velocities in my head.

i realized that even with some atmospheric escape and other exchanges, earth is fairly self-contained, a bubble if you will.  so i wondered why, if we live in a bubble, people would be so reckless of what we do in this bubble.

and i think it's because we don't see most of it.  we produce an average of 4.3 lbs of waste a day, and it's carried away dozens or hundreds of miles away.

we turn on our taps and water instantly gushes out.

we flush our toilets and our poo swiftly swirls out of sight and smell.

we consume an average of 4.7 lbs of food a day with hardly a clue as to where most of it comes from.

but imagine living inside a small bell jar.  you would probably be fairly mindful of the food you grew, the waste you created, how you process the waste, the proximity of your waste from your food, the quality and quantity of your water, and your overall resources.  i bet you'd devise some sort of sustainable system because you have nowhere else to go.

and i sure as heck bet you'd be really cautious of farting.  so why aren't you as mindful about the waste you create?  sure, we live in a slightly larger bell jar, but we sure as hell have nowhere else to go unless i missed some monumental discovery in my last hour of slumber.


I'm very much a variates and analytics kind of guy. Decision science excites me, among a hundred other topics. I operate under the premise that everything can be optimized with the right data.

At any crossroad, I make extensive decision trees and it seems that people can generally see the gears turning in my head. It becomes problematic when I decide to include dozens if variables because the permutations become immense. So my quick answer becomes maybe, much to your frustration.

So after reading this epic article - - I've decided that if I can't give a resounding yes in the first 5 seconds, we default to the negative.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


i have qualms about my amazon prime membership.

2-day shipping is a luxury.  i'm fairly impatient so i like to get things quickly.  i'll certainly trek over to the store and pay the premium to have it in my hands sooner.

but it's not about membership cost.  the problem is moral hazard.

there's no additional cost to me ordering 10 items all separately through amazon prime.  but there's a significant increase in waste.  packaging, shipping costs, wages, fuel, etc.

just because we can afford things, doesn't mean we should waste them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear humans,

You live in structures that took thousands of years to get right, and that's still improving every day.  You drive vehicles that have patents dating back no more than two centuries, comprised of about 1,800 pieces of fabricated materials - and with a new substance created every 2.6 seconds, you can bet those parts will all be changing.  Your lives depend on devices that hit the market no more than a decade ago.  On average, you spend 8 hours in front of a screen plugged into processing units, hardware, and an internet, all hardly 50 years old.  Then you follow it up with 5 hours in front of a fabricated box with fabricated shows subsidized by ads - also completely fabricated - of fabricated goods.  Even cakes which after hundreds of years, we've figured out how to cut properly, or better.

Everything is a fabricated system, improving by the minute.

We have the fit, the pedantic, the beautiful, the industrious, and the entrepreneurs.  Each have fabricated their own systems.  The brainless - sorry, fit - created absolutely random games and leagues, systems of athletics, rules, rankings, and so on.  The pedantic continue to perpetuate academia.  New disciplines, more papers, research, degrees upon degrees, meritocracy.  The beautiful and popular wait tables in LA and act and model in their spare time.  The industrious work like dogs, doesn't matter where you put them.  Then there's the entrepreneurs.  They'll fabricate their own rules and break all the other ones.  They'll figure it out.  They'll fabricate industries to which academia will respond by molding people in a way they think fits.  Fabricated systems, fabricated industries, fabricated technologies, fabricated economies, etc.

Rather than whittle branches into spears and go out and collect shrubbery, we've decided to create a system that's easier for us.  Systems based on meritocracy and aptitude, finesse, or hustle.  Figure it out and play - you were born pooping and sucking at life so I believe in you - or find an alternative.

But guess what; this system continues to evolve at an alarming rate akin to Moore's law in some proportion to the adoption and permeation of technology.

Your kids will undermine everything you know.  Your 3 year-old knows how to use your iPad better than you do.  They will code better than you do.  They will drop out of top schools, sit around in hoodies, and build entire empires sitting in front of a computer screen.

Notice how none of this requires finesse and a spear.

Evolution.  It's a function of technology, but you can choose to ignore it.  But don't be alarmed when you're completely sidelined and useless.

So continue to sit back and b*tch and moan.  I'm sure technology will wait for you.  I'm sure time will somehow slow down while you figure it out.  I'm sure the planet will stop blowing through space at 66,000 miles an hour while you get your bearings.  Maybe you can ask gravity to pause for a moment while you're at it.

If you can't stop for innovation, it will not kindly stop for you.  Survival of the adaptive.