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Necessary, but not sufficient

When asked “who created Apple?”, it’s tempting to say Steve Jobs did it.  The truth is that, although he may have been necessarily, he was not sufficient.

Similarly Bill Gates, who (as Malcolm Gladwell tells us in Outliers) experienced a unique confluence of circumstances that led to the founding of Microsoft.  Gates deserves tremendous credit, but alone he was not sufficient.

The brain likes to simplify, and history sometimes prefers to leave out the details for the benefit of a better story. Continue reading

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Towards two-marshmallow government

There’s a well-known psychological experiment, where children are offered a marshmallow, and told that if they could wait a few minutes before eating it, they’d get two. The kids who could handle the delayed gratification were more successful in later life.

I visited a city on the east coast of the US recently, and was surprised to see deteriorated infrastructure—cracking sidewalks and broken walls—right next to brand-new construction. On the plane back, my seatmate—a long-term resident—expressed her frustration with city planners. “They seem to have a bit of tunnel vision,” she explained, going on to say that the lack of a light rail and a downtown sports center were also symptoms of short-term thinking. Fearful of the construction impact, local residents voted these initiatives down.

Like the one-marshmallow kids, these residents weren’t able to envision a future in which a short-term cost led to a much greater long-term benefit. Continue reading

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Welcome to my blog!

So here we go…

Hi, my name’s Lorien Pratt, and I’m Chief Scientist and cofounder of Quantellia. As part of this work, I’ve been promoting decision intelligence in a number of ways over the years, including the DI scoop.it page, the Effective Decision Making LinkedIn group, the World Modeler blog , videos on the DI YouTube site, working with the Decision Intelligence Institute and more. In the last couple of months, I’ve realized, however, that there are hundreds of “nuggets”: experiences, stories, concepts, and the like, which fit better into a blog form.

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