Could technology ultimately replace or displace many human workers?  Historically, economists tend to think that the effect of technology on employment is net positive.  Recent evidence by McAfee and Brynjolfsson at M.I.T. suggest otherwise.  The found that technology has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them.  Extracting cause and effect is very tricky. Some economists disagree with McAfee and Brynjolfsson’s conclusion.  However, few can argue that human cannot compete with machines on routine tasks.  For tasks that follow specific rules, computers are already…Continue Reading “Will AI eliminate your job?”

Innovation is a frequently used buzzword these days.  It is an important concept for fast changing industries such as technology.  It also finds its way into other industries, which are not thought to require much innovation.  Commercializing a new idea allows a company to provide a differentiated product and experience to customers.  Unique product positioning is a powerful strategy to capture value.  The million dollar question obviously is how organizations drive innovation.  The topic keeps a lot of pundits and professors busy.   In my experience,…Continue Reading “The Kayak Way”

Google is famous for its reliance on data and analytics to drive decisions.  Google’s approach makes perfect sense in areas such as online advertising where large quantity of data is readily available for analysis.  Recently, it even applies the methodology in decisions traditionally reserved for humans: recruiting and organization development.  Numerous articles have already been written on the subject as recruiting and organization decisions can impact company performance tremendously and millions are spent by organizations to gain a competitive edge.  Logically, they are also utilizing…Continue Reading “Data Driven VC Investment Decision”

Peter Bregman wrote a thought provoking essay on leadership in the HBR blog.   Woody Allen once said 80% of success is about showing up.  Bregman’s analysis is covering the remaining 20%.  It is essentially about maximizing one’s impact at any given moment.  He gave a good example about someone who regularly runs on the track mill.   Obviously, running on the track mill is much better than not exercising.  However, this approach could be far from the optimal impact one can attain.  Has he considered other…Continue Reading “Most Powerful Use of Time”

To be successful, one has to optimize the utilization of scarce resources.  Half a century ago, computers were slow.  Computer programs were typically run in batches and programmers were limited to a fix allotment of computing time.  Today, computing power is a commodity.  Almost everyone owns multiple “intelligent” devices which are essentially computers packaged into different form factors.  The byproduct of cheap computing power and ubiquitous communication is that people are flooded with emails, twitter feeds, instant news update, etc.  Importantly, many of these devices…Continue Reading “Managing Attention”

Peter Orszag, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget for President Obama opined on Bloomberg why we have so many college graduates driving taxi.  It is an excellent question.  Anecdotally, Orszag seems right.  I definitely have met highly educated taxi (and Uber) drivers before.  To back up his claim, Orszag cited some research, including work by Richard Vedder at OSU.  Vedder and his colleagues have done extensive research on the commoditization of college education over the last half century. President Obama and…Continue Reading “Taxi Drivers with College Degrees”

Most M.B.A. programs spent a fair amount of effort in collecting and publicizing the employment outcome of their recent graduates.  Potential students can find top employers, top industries, salary statistics, and other useful employment data points. These reports are helpful for incoming students to estimate their earnings potential upon graduation.  Further, they can also steer students with specific career interests to different schools.  Working experience is typically a requirement for most M.B.A. programs.  As such, in addition to paying for hefty tuition fees, M.B.A. students…Continue Reading “Product Label on Education”

Biography is my favorite reading genre.  I can learn a great deal about how different people think and see a different worldview without getting out of the house.  You can also see they made different decisions throughout their life. The biography of Sonia Sotamayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, offers an interesting decision about career choice.  She came from a very humble background in the Bronx (Co-op City – I knew a thing a few things about the Bronx as my wife and I…Continue Reading “Contrarian Career Move”

Every student spends considerable time on various writing assignments.  Yet, only a small fraction of the population writes consistently after they leave school.  Eileen Chang, one of the best Chinese writers in modern era, expressed the following opinion on writing (translated from Chinese). “Most people who reach middle age have some interesting real life experience, and possess unique perspective on humanity.  However, most do not bother to write them down and their insights are lost forever.  Some possess quote-worthy wisdom of life.  Others may just…Continue Reading “Writing Things Down”

I am sucker for good speeches. Couple years ago, I came across a very good commencement speech by Toni Morrison.  This is an address to the 2011 graduates of Rutgers University.  There are three main points that are worth discussing: “You are your own stories. Although you don’t have complete control of the story of your life, you can create that story.” Pursuit of “meaningful” life instead of “happy” life “Every true heroine breaks free from his or her class” First point was very powerful,…Continue Reading “Write Your Own Story”