Tag Archives: information

All Information is Created Equal | Peter Mehit

We reward the right answer. Getting the right answer leads to correct decisions and actions. Being accurate and correct is a requirement of success. But sometimes our focus on getting the right answer blocks our discovering the wrong one. Sometimes, these wrong answers reveal weaknesses in our companies before they manifest as lost sales or unhappy customers.

Often, the people we work with are afraid to report information that doesn’t meet expectations. No one wants to be seen as a naysayer or as working against the team. People will bury negative information in details, ignore it or, worst of all, hide it. Yet, it is the information that we don’t expect that many times tell us what we really need to know.

Information designer Edward Tufte famously made the case that the PowerPoint presentations used to discuss the shuttle Columbia foam strike were actually the primary cause of the destruction of the craft on re-entry. Statements minimizing the risk appeared at the top of slides in bigger fonts, with the information, supported by many e-mails and conversations about the danger of returning with tile damage, appearing in smaller fonts at the bottom of slides. The unpleasant facts hid in plain sight and seven lives and a billion dollars were lost. To be clear, the PowerPoint slides only provide evidence of a culture that avoided unexpected or unwanted information.

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6 Ways to Transform Data into Information That Drives Decision Making | Allbusiness.com

Like most business owners and managers, you are likely inundated with oceans of data on a daily basis, yet not much of it helps you make decisions that improve results.The problem we all face is having too much data because we know that’s a good thing, yet very little of it enables effective decisions. Often, the data isn’t going to help you. Either it’s not the right kind of data or it isn’t compiled and analyzed properly.In other words, it isn’t Information — it’s just data. You need information for decision making.

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Who’s following you on Twitter or Facebook? Maybe CIA’s ‘vengeful librarians’ | The Washington Post

“But within an hour, it was all surging out on Twitter and Facebook,” the deputy director said. The CIA homed in on 12 to 15 users who tweeted situation reports and cellphone photos of demonstrations

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All Information Is Created Equal | Peter Mehit

We reward the right answer. Getting the right answer leads to correct decisions and actions. Being accurate and correct is a requirement of success. But sometimes our focus on getting the right answer blocks our discovering the wrong one. Sometimes, these wrong answers reveal weaknesses in our companies before they manifest as lost sales or unhappy customers.

Often, the people we work with are afraid to report information that doesn’t meet expectations. No one wants to be seen as a naysayer or as working against the team. People will bury negative information in details, ignore it or, worst of all, hide it. Yet, it is the information that we don’t expect that many times tell us what we really need to know.

Information designer Edward Tufte famously made the case that the PowerPoint presentations used to discuss the shuttle Columbia foam strike were actually the primary cause of the destruction of the craft on re-entry. Statements minimizing the risk appeared at the top of slides in bigger fonts, with the information, supported by many e-mails and conversations about the danger of returning with tile damage, appearing in smaller fonts at the bottom of slides. The unpleasant facts hid in plain sight and seven lives and a billion dollars were lost. To be clear, the PowerPoint slides only provide evidence of a culture that avoided unexpected or unwanted information.

Understanding that all data, including what you didn’t expect to find, is equal is one of the main lessons from the Columbia shuttle disaster.

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READ ME | Peter Mehit

We help people fix business problems . We design business structures for them. We help them secure funding and determine strategies for growth. All of these things have one thing in common: At some point, all of what is said is boiled down to words on paper. Needless to say, I do a lot of writing.

I work hard to keep things interesting. Since I can’t throw in a murder or other malfeasance to keep it interesting, I look at word choices. I try not to be repetitive.  Say something once, why say it again?

I block my writing in shorter paragraphs, since long ones tend to put people off. Shorter paragraphs are easier to skim, which is what most people do with business writing as they look for particular pieces of information.

Pictures do a lot to make writing easier to read. They’re little islands of distraction in a river of words. Serious journals dedicated to weighty matters rarely use pictures as they can indicate a bias on the part of the writer/publisher. But for most readers a thoughtful picture helps if it relates to the subject at hand. What doesn’t help is when I want to put four or five pictures on each page and use the words as filler.

As difficult as the writing process can be, it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. But rewarding for whom? At a recent presentation on social media, I heard that 90% of future web content will be video. Why?

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The World’s Best Infographics: A Sneak Preview of ‘Data Flow 2′ | Slideshows

For infographics and design nerds, there are few books as useful as Data Flow, a compendium of data visualization experiments ranging from the poetic to the absurd to the wonky.

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The Rosetta Project | Preserving Our Knowledge for Tomorrow

We are at, arguably, the zenith of the human experience. On every front of  art or science, both practical and theoretical knowledge built on thousands of years of human observation has accumulated into massive amounts of information stored electronically, magnetically or optically. Unlike the ancients who preserved their most valuable observations in stone, stable for thousands of years, or in books, which last hundreds, our information is stored in technology such as hard disk drives, compact disks or magnetic tape with typical lives of around 10, 15 and twenty years. In the event of a breakdown in society or technology, this information would be lost to future generations. The Rosetta Project is an attempt to develop storage that will last thousands of years while being compact.

Our first prototype of a very long-term archive is The Rosetta Disk – a three inch diameter nickel disk with nearly 14,000 pages of information microscopically etched onto its surface. Since each page is an image, rather than a digital encoding of 1’s and 0’s, it can be read by the human eye using 500 power optical magnification. The disk rests in a sphere made of stainless steel and glass which allows the disk exposure to the atmosphere, but protects it from casual impact and abrasion. With minimal care, it could easily last and be legible for thousands of years.

Learn About The Rosetta Project.