Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What you measure drives what you do

Sometimes we see a particular standard being used to measure quality. The result is that the provider begins to focus on that. For example, horse power tends to be the measure of performance for cars. Yet in fact, torque is a better predictor of acceleration (more important for most us in an age when top speed is academic). While many people can tell you the bhp of their car, few can tell you the torque, or even the units of measurement.

Similarly, most people judge the speed of their broadband connection by downstream speed. Few realize that in some situations, such as sending large files, or IP telephony, upstream speed is more important. As a result, few know the upstream speed of their connection, and few providers advertise it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Doctors the last hold-outs to the Internet

Today, we make airline and restaurant reservations online. We work with lawyers, priests, ministers and mullahs by email. Email and the web pervades our work life and personal lives. Except when it comes to doctors. With rare exceptions, you cannot make appointments online or ask questions by email, even though the evidence suggests that it improves efficiency as well as effectiveness. It seems that the structure and psychology of medicine drives it to waste time and money. Just one of the many things which has to change, but I wonder why the industry has this mindset.

I suspect that doctors are still very much of a producer driven mentality. While they do want to serve patients, they believe that they are the experts on how to do that, not the patients. Also, most doctors are not completely comfortable with technology.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Serious about energy policy?

We are so driven by preconceptions that we are moving too slowly towards a sensible energy policy. I have commented before about unwillingness and inability to make good decisions. Too many people have different opinions. Opinions arrived at without any objective analysis. The fact is that energy conservation is a must. We are running out of fossil fuel while the world, except Western Europe continues to accelerate its use of energy. Alternative sources each have disadvantages or risks, though many are less than coal or oil. Yet we have to pick one or more and make them safe and non-polluting.

Lobbyists tend to not allow this to happen, entrenched interests and people with their minds already made up. This must change.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Baby Boomers - a generation like no other.

This is the 40th anniversary of the release of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." I think many who are younger than the Baby Boomers do not realize how much has changed. All young people in the Western world eagerly awaited each new Beatles record - or the Who, or Jefferson Airplane. The entire generation too on the older generation with passion and energy which often turned into violence as in the Paris student riots. Anti-war protests were full of fury - not just in the US where the young faced being sent to Vietnam, but in other countries as well. Confrontation was the norm. Now I am quite prepared to recognize that young people today are just as intelligent, creative and involved as those of 40 years ago, but the group dynamic is different just as the Baby Boomers were different from their parents.