Expected value is a wonderful topic. Easy enough to learn in an hour, but complex and applicable enough to keep you interested for years.

As someone who’s always in search of the answer, always trying to synthesize (or let’s be honest, over analyze!) a dataset into meaning, EV has become my sliderule, toolbox, and IDE, letting me input the right parameters to spit out an objective solution.

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There’s a wonderful, free, blogging platform out there in Medium. Yet I shake my fist and defy it every week as I choose to write here. Why? A friend recently asked this in so many words.

The Medium option has never quite appealed to me although I’m not exactly vehemently against it either. So I took him up on his recommendation and cross-posted my recent post about Product Managers and Business Analysts over on Medium:

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This post should have been written a few weeks ago…

With the travel-heavy Thanksgiving Holiday I couldn’t escape people talking about their plans to listen to Serial while on the road to visit friends & family.

Actually, if I’d waited just another week back in September I’d have had another podcast to add to my list. But now this post feels a little late to the (podcast listening) party.


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We’re coming up on our six month anniversary since BlueFletch moved into our new digs at Southern Dairies.

The overwhelming response has been positive so I wanted to share what we did, what’s worked well and what hasn’t.

Welcome to BlueFletch

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  • Large, clean and crisp signage (thanks to FASTSIGNS Atlanta)
  • Dogs encouraged, but also taking precaution to reduce legal liability
  • Tore out the outdated secretary desk so Lauren isn’t stranded by herself all day

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Technology and government don’t always mix.

After all, I recall registering BlueFletch a few years ago and the Georgia Secretary of State website recommend I use Netscape to complete our corporate registration (and yes, this was after 2008).

At the 2014 Great Wide Open conference Clay Johnson touched on this government technology gap a bit during the keynote. As he continued, one chart from his presentation has stuck with me over the past few weeks.

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and now the day of Catalyzing concluded with  Crowds.

Amy Baxter

Pain, Empathy, and Public Health

  • People commonly associate pain with the Doctor’s office – take a second and think about how backward of a concept this is
  • There is an ongoing erosion of empathy in medicine
  • Making health care more accessible means many things, one of which is making health care an experience people don’t fear

One of Amy’s visuals showed a crazy increase in the amount of vaccinations delivered through shots now vs 20 years ago. I apologize if I missed her saying this, but I want to know why this is the case. What are the alternatives (e.g. oral doses) and why aren’t they more common?

Mary Frances Bowley

On the Brink

  • 100 girls are sold for sex in Atlanta every night
  • One a girl joins the sex trafficking industry, the average life expectancy is only 7 years
  • This quote stuck out – “men order girls like food on a menu”
  • Yes, this dark world does exist and these girls need our help

As Mary put bluntly, this is a very ugly subject, but also one that needs to be acknowledged. Her program is helping these girls break free from the trafficking. I wasn’t clear though – are these girls being held against their will, or do they simply feel entrapped in this lifestyle they’ve been drug into?

Lisa Earle McLeod

The Triangle of Truth

  • Compromising during negotiation is just “chip trading”
  • A compromising mindset focuses on what’s already on the table; you no longer consider the full realm of possibilities
  • During conflict, let go of your own ideas and invite the other side to find a solution with you that is better than anything on its own

Neale Martin

Why TED Talks Don’t Change Your Life Much

  • Thinking about something vs. doing it are wildly different things
  • Being inspired isn’t enough; you must trick your unconscious mind into behavioral change
  • Thoughts are weak; behaviors are strong
  • If you want to change the world, GO! It’s your turn…

Appropriately placed at the end of the day. And talk about a link-bait headline!

Jokes aside, what good is going to a TED event if you’re not going to learn something that you can then apply once you leave? Neale had a very practical TED talk that prescribed three steps for actually making a behavioral change based on what you learned today:

  1. Develop a reliable, repeatable trigger for behavior change
  2. Create initial early success and power reinforcement
  3. Repeat until it feels normal, or until not doing it feels abnormal


Moving on after Cities and Creativity, the third session explored Classrooms.

Marshall Seese Jr

Connecting Beats

  • When people are presented with too many options they shut down and don’t choose anything (agreed! If you’ve ever been to Which Wich you know the feeling)
  • Constraints actually guide creative freedom
  • Their site – http://www.mashupdj.com/ – is a gateway drug to creativity
  • Next time, think about what you can do to encourage creativity

A bit ironically I had trouble getting started on the MashupDJ site. I was hoping to create my own mashup but am not finding any recognizable songs so am not sure if I’m doing something wrong.

To the point about this site becoming a gateway drug to creativity, I wonder how long the creativity lasts. Is this true creativity they’re fostering, or just a fad? To take the drug metaphor further, does this leave newly developed creatives wanting more?

Aurora Robson

Trash + Love

  • Exercise you can try – next time you’re cleaning a local park/riverbed/etc, take 1 piece of trash with you and create something new with it (that can’t be confused with art)
  • She’s turned this into a short course that any school can implement – Project Vortex
  • The value of something is merely perception – in her case, waste – so shift your perception of waste

Aurora had a bit different aspect “recycling”, although I’m not sure she’d even call it that. It’s no longer about re-use, but re-purposing. The concern I have is that in a certain (somewhat pessimistic) light, we’re essentially just relocating the waste. While it’s of course better to get it out of our oceans and rivers, it’s still something that’s not going to biodegrade quickly.

This sculpture consists of Plastic debris (PET), rivets, tinted polycrylic, + mica powder.


Daphne Greenberg

Do We Care About Us?

  • Low adult literacy impacts all of us
  • Takes great courage to enter an adult literacy program

Wanda Hopkins-McClure

Re-Imagining the Teacher

  • Great teachers encourage risk and failure
  • “Just” is a very diminishing word; e.g. “I’m just a Teacher.”
  • Educators need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs
  • Teachers want to connect and learn to co-create solutions for much needed educational reform – help them do so

What’s come of her work? What are some of the by-products that’ve come out of the EdCamp she started?

George Yu

Measure Anything, Anywhere

  • Sensing feeds knowledge, which in turn feeds action
  • Measuring feeds monitoring, which in turn feeds sharing
  • There’s an incredible amount we can learn about the environment around us that our bodies can’t sense

George’s Node Kickstarter is a “powerhouse” of sensors. Brett’s ordered one for the office so we’ll get a hands-on look shortly. But how do you separate the signal from the noise? If you’re goal is to Measure Everything, how do you turn it into something meaningful without drowning in data?

And I’ll wrap up next time with the last session of the day – Crowds.