July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Eat Your Vegetables

“Risk management is too negative. We’re focused on growing our business.”  – a startup CEO

A certain Captain Smith once entertained the same certainty about large pieces of ice at sea and ignored the potential effect. He was focused on getting to New York, but that focus didn’t help him much when he ran into trouble.

Preparation is [...]

The Long Drop From Nokia’s Burning Platform

Time will show how many people make it off Nokia’s platform – and how many of them get picked up.

Offshore oil rigs are dangerous places, not least because they combine being at sea together with highly combustible materials and heavy machinery. It’s the sort of work the people who write the warning labels on cold [...]

Throwing Good Money After Bad

When do you pull the plug? Part 2

 

Knowing when to walk away is important, and often I walk away long after it is wise to go. It took the abrupt realization that my startup had run out of money to realize that the time had come. We needed to put more money in to keep it [...]

When Do You Pull The Plug?

Knowing when to say when takes a little preparation

Someone asked me an excellent question the other day, “When do you know to give up?” It was a superb question and she touched on a key dilemma. We’re always taught to do our best, she said, and work until we achieve our goals, but sometimes success isn’t [...]

Walk The Talk

The unrehearsed contingency is not a contingency

Predicting the unexpected tends to be hard. It may seem obvious, but an absurd number of people think otherwise. Murphy has a thing or two to say on the subject and contingency planners often make a number of dangerous assumptions.

Don’t assume anyone has read the plan

Time is short and most [...]

“The Prospect of Hanging Concentrates the Mind…” – Samuel Johnson

Avon Barksdale on Managing Risk, Part Two

Avon Barksdale, the drug kingpin from HBO’s “The Wire“, was a man of many precautions, because his life and his freedom depended on them. Managing his risks effectively kept him free and alive – and enabled him to build an empire that made him fabulously wealthy.

Do not ignore failure

Most of us can limit [...]

Strange Notions

 
Sometimes our faith in an idea is wierd
My grandmother was a cultivated woman of many opinions, most of them strongly held, and some of them distinctly unusual. For many years she insisted on watching TV in the dark while wearing sunglasses. She kept her TV in the dining room for almost as many years and so she would sit at the [...]

“You’re Not Getting a New Bike”

Answers to questions you haven’t asked can speak volumes
 
I live in the middle of Copenhagen, where the best way to get from A to B is on a bike. A few years ago, I bought a new bicycle. A month later I was outside the shop asking the owner why the rear brake had gouged the frame.
 
“I don’t know”, [...]

Of Course You Can Trust Me

Probability vs. Vulnerability or “What if I trust you, but shouldn’t have?

Danish Amagerbanken went bust on Sunday, which is a drag. Their shareholders feel betrayed, as do their customers, and given that the regulators said it was stable, so should the rest of us. After all, if you can’t trust a Scandinavian bank regulator, who can [...]

Back Up? What Back Up?

It can be hard to face up to the obviously stupid things we do

The story goes that Saint Patrick was partway through baptizing an Irish king, when he looked down and noticed he had put the metal tip of his bishop’s staff through the poor fellow’s foot. When he apologized, the king replied that he had [...]