Beware the platform business

Here’s Ben Parr: If you want to build a multi-billion dollar business, you can’t just build a product: you need to build a platform. That was my major takeaway from the news that Spotify is launching an app platform. It’s in its infancy (thus why journalists are rightfully bashing it), but it’s the start of a transformation …

How to sell your journalism

I’m not a fan of paywalls and have written against the Times’ in particular, but this ad is fairly moving. It captures quickly and simply both in image and text why you should read The New York Times. Because there are unbelievably important things happening in the world, and because you need to expand your …

Willpower and belief

I’ve blogged a bunch now about Roy Baumeister’s work on self-control, including the idea that willpower is finite in the short-term, and is depleted throughout the day as you use it. So I feel compelled to post this NYT op-ed claiming something quite different. I don’t know who’s right, but here’s the gist: In research …

Don’t blog on an empty stomach

http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf (The clip above covers some basics of mental energy and depletion.) The alternative title for this post was “I’m hungry; you’re wrong.” I’m not sure which is better… In any case, consider this bit from Kahneman: Resisting this large collection of potential availability biases is possible, but tiresome. You must make the effort to …

Algorithms and the future of divorce

In Chapter 21 of Thinking, Fast and Slow Dan Kahneman discusses the frequent superiority of algorithms over intuition. He documents a wide range of studies showing that algorithms tend to beat expert intuition in areas such as medicine, business, career satisfaction and more. In general, the value of algorithms tends to be in “low-validity environments” …

Open source and inequality

I finally got around to this piece at The Atlantic “Why Workers Are Losing the War Against Machines”, by two MIT professors who’ve written a book on the subject. It’s a good piece focused on three disparities: 1. High-Skilled vs. Low-Skilled Workers 2. Superstars vs. Everyone Else 3. Capital vs. Labor I want to focus …

Fight bias with math

I just finished the chapter in Kahneman’s book on reasoning that dealt with “taming intuitive predictions.” Basically, we make predictions that are too extreme, ignoring regression to the mean, assuming the evidence to be stronger than it is, and ignoring other variables through a phenomenon called “intensity matching.”  Here’s an example (not from the book; …

Why we need journalists (good ones)

I’m in the middle of Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. From Chapter 16: Nisbett and Borgida found that when they presented their students with a surprising statistical fact, the students managed to learn nothing at all. But when the students were surprised by individual cases – two nice people who had not helped – …

Why ThinkProgress needs a Technology channel

ThinkProgress.org is losing one if its major voices – blogger Matt Yglesias – to Slate, which is as good a reason as any for me to lay out an idea I pitched on Twitter a few weeks ago. As ThinkProgress (TP from here on) considers how to make up for the traffic Yglesias will inevitably …