March 2011

Approximately correct strategy

by Limbic on March 31, 2011

Jason Bates (@JasonBates) tipped me off about the concept of “Approximately correct strategy”, from an interview with by Dick Harrington (former CEO of Thomson Reuters) by HBR columnist Anthony Tjan:

Recently, I had dinner with Dick Harrington, former CEO of Thomson Reuters

We talked about his three most significant lessons learned over his very successful 25+ year career as a Fortune 250 executive.

Dick Harrington (DH): First, you have to have an “approximately correct” strategy — you have to know where you are going, but directionally correct is the key. Two, you have to be highly focused and intensely execute that strategy by motivating and aligning the troops you have. And three, it always comes back to the customers and the fact that you have to manically know your customers and drive everything from that.

TT: Nicely done. So let’s start with the first point. People often worry about architecting a perfect business plan or strategy and then get lost in the minutia. How do you know when you are “approximately correct,” as you say?

DH: You want to be approximately correct instead of precisely incorrect. There is a point at which additional information or research will not change the basics of your strategy. When you get your strategy there, you have to “Nike it” – you just do it. If you continue to refine and refine, you’ll never get into action, and the incremental value of research just won’t be worth the time and money. Schedule time frames and be religious about them to launch, get feedback, and see if the strategy is acceptable to the customer or if you need to adjust.  



The Widow’s Son by Mary Lavin

by Limbic on March 29, 2011

[Another one in my drafts folder since March 2011]

One of my favourite stories from Mary Lavin, one with two endings, online here



How to ask for things

by Limbic on March 29, 2011

Solid advice:

You can maximize your odds of getting what you want by minimizing the work the other person has to do to help you.

From: Unschooled » Blog Archive » How to ask for things


Do you have a Catfish in your tank?

by Limbic on March 29, 2011

Photo by slappytheseal . Click for original.

Or are you the Catfish?

“Vince Pierce: They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They’d keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cod in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin.” – From “Catfish” (2010)


Dreaming dogs

by Limbic on March 29, 2011

“There’s a whole lot of things you don’t know, like what a dog dreams, you can make up that he dreams about chasing rabbits but you don’t know if there are rabbits in there or not and he can’t tell you, can he?” – Felix (played by Robert Duvall) in Get Low.

From: Review: ‘Get Low’ |


…then have no fear…


From: YouTube – Northface Giggles (Lupe Fiasco + The XX) – Robotic Pirate Monkey


How Anonymous hacked a major security firm

by Limbic on March 11, 2011

Ars Technica has a fascinating inside story of how Anonymous hacked security firm HB Gary, after the security firm vaunted that it was about expose members of the group.

It is a tale of wincing humiliation for HB Gary, security experts who allowed themselves to be utterly humiliated by an attack that not only compromised their website, but led to their entire e-mail archive being published online, many of their core company servers being completely compromised and terabytes of backups deleted.

It is a genuine cautionary tale. Their folly was not merely taunting capable and motivated adversaries, but rather of not following security best practices, which as experts, they know well.

Read on…Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack


The  20 year anniversary of the Rodney King beating had me thinking about the subsequent 1992 LA riots that broke out the following year, after the police officer who beat him were acquitted of any crime.

At the time I was absolutely horrified by the attack on Reginald Denny on the first day of the riots. If you have seen it, it is unforgettably terrible. A rioting mob pulls him out of his truck and beats him mercilessly. They jump on his head and throw pieces of masonry on him.

Based on that attack – where the mob was black and the victim white – I presumed the majority of people killed and injured would have been whites.

Surprisingly, of those killed, the majority were black. It may be that the majority of those injured where white or Hispanic, I could not find any statistics.

Here is a page with a breakdown of deaths, what we know the circumstances, and the victim’s race.


RIP Dora

by Limbic on March 2, 2011

Dora – my 2006 model15″ MacBook Pro, RIP

On Sunday night my long-time computing companion Computadora aka Dora lost her battle against Logic Board disease.

She was the best laptop I have ever owned. 5 years of perfect service, day and night.

Adiós Dora…(and hello new MacBook Pro 2011 edition!