2014 Global CEO Survey

Twice as many CEOs believe the global economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared to those polled last year.

But it’s a fragile optimism, which has only led to a small rise in confidence about business growth prospects in 2014. And many CEOs remain very worried about over-regulation and the ability of governments to tackle debt and deficit levels. Yet — for now — serious global risks have been averted and CEOs are thinking once again about growth.

But finding that growth has gotten tougher.
Some emerging economies are slowing down and it’s become increasingly clear that they’re diverging in their fortunes as each faces its own unique issues. At the same time, advanced economies appear to be on the mend, although they too face challenges. It’s clear that CEOs are struggling to interpret these signals, with many concerned about sluggish growth in both emerging and advanced economies.

So how are CEOs responding to the changing global footprint?
Nearly one third say their main opportunity for growth lies in existing markets, compared to just 14% who say the same for new geographic markets. Many leaders are also reviewing their portfolio of top overseas markets. This year CEOs see the US, Germany and the UK as more attractive than some of the BRICS markets, compared to last year. And they’re turning to newer markets to find growth as well — in particular Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Older Mind May Just Be a Fuller Mind

By BENEDICT CAREY

People of a certain age (and we know who we are) don’t spend much leisure time reviewing the research into cognitive performance and aging. The story is grim, for one thing: Memory’s speed and accuracy begin to slip around age 25 and keep on slipping.

The story is familiar, too, for anyone who is over 50 and, having finally learned to live fully in the moment, discovers it’s a senior moment. The finding that the brain slows with age is one of the strongest in all of psychology.

Over the years, some scientists have questioned this dotage curve. But these challenges have had an ornery-old-person slant: that the tests were biased toward the young, for example. Or that older people have learned not to care about clearly trivial things, like memory tests. Or that an older mind must organize information differently from one attached to some 22-year-old who records his every Ultimate Frisbee move on Instagram.

Now comes a new kind of challenge to the evidence of a cognitive decline, from a decidedly digital quarter: data mining, based on theories of information processing. In a paper published in Topics in Cognitive Science, a team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases.

Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word. And when the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the aging “deficits” largely disappeared.

 “What shocked me, to be honest, is that for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults,” the lead author, Michael Ramscar, said by email. But the simulations, he added, “fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn’t need to invoke decline at all.”

Can it be? Digital tools have confounded predigital generations; now here they are, coming to the rescue. Or is it that younger scientists are simply pretesting excuses they can use in the future to cover their own golden-years lapses?

In fact, the new study is not likely to overturn 100 years of research, cognitive scientists say. Neuroscientists have some reason to believe that neural processing speed, like many reflexes, slows over the years; anatomical studies suggest that the brain also undergoes subtle structural changes that could affect memory.

Still, the new report will very likely add to a growing skepticism about how steep age-related decline really is. It goes without saying that many people remain disarmingly razor-witted well into their 90s; yet doubts about the average extent of the decline are rooted not in individual differences but in study methodology. Many studies comparing older and younger people, for instance, did not take into account the effects of pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, said Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford University.

Dr. Carstensen and others have found, too, that with age people become biased in their memory toward words and associations that have a positive connotation – the “age-related positivity effect,” as it’s known. This bias very likely applies when older people perform so-called paired-associate tests, a common measure that involves memorizing random word pairs, like ostrich and house.

“Given that most cognitive research asks participants to engage with neutral (and in emotion studies, negative) stimuli, the traditional research paradigm may put older people at a disadvantage,” Dr. Carstensen said by email.

The new data-mining analysis also raises questions about many of the measures scientists use. Dr. Ramscar and his colleagues applied leading learning models to an estimated pool of words and phrases that an educated 70-year-old would have seen, and another pool suitable for an educated 20-year-old. Their model accounted for more than 75 percent of the difference in scores between older and younger adults on items in a paired-associate test, he said.

That is to say, the larger the library you have in your head, the longer it usually takes to find a particular word (or pair).

Scientists who study thinking and memory often make a broad distinction between “fluid” and “crystallized” intelligence. The former includes short-term memory, like holding a phone number in mind, analytical reasoning, and the ability to tune out distractions, like ambient conversation. The latter is accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and expertise.

“In essence, what Ramscar’s group is arguing is that an increase in crystallized intelligence can account for a decrease in fluid intelligence,” said Zach Hambrick, a psychologist at Michigan State University. In a variety of experiments, Dr. Hambrick and Timothy A. Salthouse of the University of Virginia have shown that crystallized knowledge (as measured by New York Times crosswords, for example) climbs sharply between ages 20 and 50 and then plateaus, even as the fluid kind (like analytical reasoning) is dropping steadily – by more than 50 percent between ages 20 and 70 in some studies. “To know for sure whether the one affects the other, ideally we’d need to see it in human studies over time,” Dr. Hambrick said.

Dr. Ramscar’s report was a simulation and included no tested subjects, though he said he does have several memory studies with normal subjects on the way.

For the time being, this new digital-era challenge to “cognitive decline” can serve as a ready-made explanation for blank moments, whether senior or otherwise.

It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that you know so much.

http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/the-older-mind-may-just-be-a-fuller-mind/

How to Choose Your Teacher. Ask: Is it true?

I was recently watching the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament  as the various members and ministers, on both sides of the house, rose to speak during Question Time. I soon began to get that familiar feeling of disappointment and bewilderment at the quality of the level of discussion so typical of the Westminster system of debate. So I tried a simple metacognition experiment.

As each speaker made their claims and touted their party’s policies in the House (which would also be recorded in Hansard) I simply asked myself: “But, is it true?” “Is what you are now saying a genuine attempt at making a fully true statement?”. And then I gave that statement a ‘truth rating’ out of 10 … 1 being low and 10 being high. An an Elector of Australia I can safely assume this is my right to do so.

Rarely could I confidently answer, “Yes, that is true!” If I had to make a subjective guess I would say that more than 80% of their statements and claims were only half truths … at best. And, as the widely-quoted Yiddish proverb says A half truth is a whole lie.

(NOTE: This is a simple experiment for you to try for yourself. Tune in to, or go sit in, your local equivalent of the Australian Parliament and try this for yourself. If you like, you can post your results below. The same experiment could be used in other situations where the detection of half-truths is required. In the media there are many opportunities to do this in current affairs, business, politics and other programs and articles. Religious sermons, TV commercials, blogs and tweets may also provide useful opportunities to detect half truths. )

For the first time in history lies can travel at the speed of light.

In our exploding world of cybermedia with social media, photoshop, digital manipulation, phone-hacking and peer2peer messaging at the speed of light, I believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may be one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

I believe this challenge needs to be taken very seriously and could be considered to be of a threat level similar to that of lethal epidemics like Avian or Bird Flu. Many scientists share this view.

As an antidote, SOT has put forward a new thinking methodology to help meet this challenge. To follow on from the previous SOT thinking tools, thinking hats and brain software, this new tool is called: greyscale thinking: how to sort a truth from a lie.

What Makes A Great Teacher?

I was once contacted by a young man in London who is a teacher/coach and personal trainer/consultant. He is in the early stages of his career and he sought my advice. He asked me this question: What makes a great teacher? That is a very good question. It’s exactly the question he should be asking as he embarks on this vocation.

My response to him was this: While there are many things that can make a teacher a much better one there is one non-negotiable, one litmus test, which defines a great teacher. This test is about how the teacher’s performance stacks up to the BIG question: IS IT TRUE?

How to choose Your Teacher. Ask: Is It True?

Is what the teacher is teaching a TRUTH or a LIE? The answer to this question is what sorts out the frauds from the professors. If this test is passed then the teacher can be a great teacher if not then the teacher will always be a failure … in my view.

Making Claims

Anyone can make a claim. All sorts of claims are made in business, in science, in religion, in families, in governments, in education, in politics, on blogs and in the media. But is it a true claim? How closely does it correspond to reality? Or, is the claim a lie? How do we know? Does it even matter?

Yes. It does matter whether a claim is a truth or a lie. For example, many people believe things which are dangerous lies. These lies may have been protected from thinking for hundreds of years. These lies all have consequences which may range from deception to dementia to death.

Like a brainvirus, these lies can infect the brains of very young children. This is happening right now to millions of children as you read this article. I do believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

ACTION STEP: If you feel this is important (please don’t spam lists of people) but send this article on to a selected friend, colleague or family member who may find it useful.

Greyscale Thinking

To help meet this challenge I am introducing the idea of greyscale thinking (US grayscale). Greyscale thinking is simple, fast and scientific. Anyone, anywhere and anytime can use greyscale thinking to help sort out a truth from a lie.

Any child can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to kids by parents and by teachers. Any employee can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to employees by managers and business leaders.

The idea of greyscale thinking is: claim divided by questions equals truth or lie. This idea can be expressed as the formula c÷q=t>l.

This means that once a ‘claim’ is made it can then be subjected to ‘questioning’. Questioning reveals whether the claim is closer to being either a ‘truth’ or a ‘lie’.

Six True Questions
SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: The methodology of greyscale thinking is the cognitive skill or habit of putting a CLAIM to the SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

The answers to each of the 6 questions moves the CLAIM to and fro along the greyscale continuum: |  TRUTH – w? w? w? w? h? w? -  LIE |

______________________________________________________________________________________________

|       TRUTH                     –           –           –           –                     LIE       |

______________________________________________________________________________________________

The answers to each of the 6 questions indicate, on the balance of the evidence, whether the CLAIM is more likely to be a TRUTH or more likely to be a LIE.

MAIN POINT: You will have noticed we are saying “a truth” rather than “The Truth”. Searching for truth is a journey and not a destination. We are more concerned with being right than being righteous. No individual brain can ever contain perfect knowledge of all possible facts. No brain can ever know the contents of the other people’s brains who are also involved in the situation. No brain can ever have perfect ownership of The Truth. And, that’s the point.

The rule of science is that you can have a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow, and the best idea … never! Why? Because there are always more facts to uncover–more opinions, more priorities, more options, more consequences, more positives, more negatives, more objectives, more measurements, and more experiments that can be tested. History has shown this to be a truth.

It is the deliberate effort one makes to move closer to a truth and to move further away from a lie that produces all the benefits of greyscale thinking.

No claim should ever be protected from questioning

Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be illuminated, examined, investigated and accepted or rejected using the 6 true questions of greyscale thinking: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

What is greyscale thinking?
Greyscale (or grayscale) thinking is a tool for sorting out truths from lies.

What is Truth?
Truth is that which, on the balance of evidence, corresponds to reality.

There are two serious cognitive problems we need to solve to survive and prosper. Greyscale thinking is a powerful tool anyone can use for solving both these problems.

Problem One: How to know if a truth is really a lie (or a half-truth)?
Problem Two: How to know if a lie is really a truth?

What difference does it make?
The difference is an immediate increase in:
– your survival intelligence: your skills to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing environment, and
– your speed of thought: the speed with which you can escape from your current view of the situation in order to find a much better view.

How long does it take to learn?
It takes ten minutes a day, for ten days, to learn greyscale thinking. 10 x 10.

 

30 Years of Macintosh.

On January 24 1984 Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh. My friend, Peter Bensinger Jr, and I both went out and got one each on the day Macs were released in New York City.

I’ve been using Macs every day since then for 30 years. My Mac enabled me to put the School of Thinking online–the first ever online school. SOT is now 100% online and there have been many firsts since then including the world’s first MOOC.

However, it’s safe for me to say that if Steve Jobs hadn’t invented the Mac at that time, I would not have had the skills necessary to build the SOT as it is today. All thinking hats off to Steve Jobs! Here he is presenting his game-changing brainchild …

AUSTRALIA DAY: Meet Sir Lawrence Bragg: the greatest Australian you’ve never heard of

This Australia Day, enough with actors and sports stars. Researcher Cameron Turner says there is one Australian who deserves the accolades more than any other – and you’ve never heard of him.

crikey-logo Cameron Turner | Jan 24, 2014 12:50PM |

On Sunday we celebrate our achievements as a nation and our great compatriots, and since 1960 we have been giving out the “Australian of the Year Award” every January 26. Chief among the heroes who tug on our sense of national pride are sports stars, Hollywood actors and artists. Rarely at the forefront of the celebrations are the many great scientists and intellectuals Australia has produced.

The Australian gave the first and second places on its list of “The Greatest of All” 50 top Australians to Banjo Paterson and Sir Donald Bradman. The list contained 12 sportspeople, nine entertainers and only three scientists. Nowhere on the list was the scientist who is arguably one of the greatest of them all, but who is little remembered today.

Sir William Lawrence Bragg was born in North Adelaide in 1890. He is the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize, which he did at only the age of 25.

At 31 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, the oldest and most elite scientific society in the world – a qualification that, he said, “makes other ones irrelevant”. He would live through two world wars, and in 1941 he received the knighthood for his scientific contributions.

Son of an equally decorated scientist, Sir William Henry Bragg, young William Lawrence Bragg made his first scientific contribution as subject, rather than experimenter. After William Lawrence broke his arm falling from a tricycle, his father used the recently discovered powers of X-rays to investigate the break; this was the first surgical use of X-rays in Australia.

A keenly interested scientific mind from an early age, Bragg spent much of his time at the Australian Astronomical Observatory, which his family played a part in maintaining, and collecting shellfish, discovering a new species of cuttlefish. At 14 he entered the University of Adelaide, where his father held a position, studying mathematics, physics and chemistry.

His father’s following academic appointment was at the University of Cambridge, and he took the family to England, where father and son made discoveries relating to X-rays that earnt them the Nobel Prize in physics in 1915, a year where they beat some tough competition in Max Planck – formulator of the field of quantum physics – and Albert Einstein.

One could be tempted to think that as a first-year research student Bragg took a backseat to his decorated father. Quite the contrary, Bragg’s biographer, Graeme Hunter, reports that it was the son’s insights that drove the research forward. It was in this time he formulated “Bragg’s Law”, which allowed the calculation of the position of the atoms within a crystal by examining the diffraction of X-rays.

Somewhat like examining the silhouette of an object by shining a light on it, X-ray crystallography allowed the atomic structure of various materials to be investigated; it is particularly useful in the study of metals and biological materials.

Bragg was one of that unlucky generation who twice had to endure total war. His research was halted, but his scientific acumen allowed him to avoid combat and contribute to the war effort by working on techniques to locate enemy guns using sound. His brother Robert wasn’t so lucky, dying in Gallipoli in 1915. For his contribution to the victory of the Allies in World War I Bragg received the Military Cross and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Having already achieved so much, when he returned to uninterrupted research after World War II he still had one major contribution to humanity to give. Bragg became interested in the application of his X-ray methods to the structure of proteins, and was in part responsible for creating a research group at Cambridge’s famous Cavendish Laboratory for their investigation.

It was during this time that the group’s research began the investigation of the structure of one protein in particular: deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. Bragg played an important part overseeing the research of the young Francis Crick and James Watson, who successfully identified DNA’s double-helix structure via X-ray crystallography. It was on the recommendation made by Bragg nine years before he died in July 1971 that the duo received their Noble Prize.

William Lawrence Bragg didn’t score runs for Australian or gain international acclaim in Hollywood. But he contributed massively to advancing scientific knowledge.

It’s hard to measure just the extend of the impact of Bragg’s work, but two quick examples: his method of X-ray crystallography was fundamental in the understanding of the properties of many chemicals, including silicon, which is the basis of modern computer chips; his contribution to the discovery of DNA unlocked the new field of molecular biology and all the discoveries and medical therapies that have come from that.

So take a moment this Australia Day to remember a truly great but little-remembered Australian.

 

CRIKEY: http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/01/24/meet-sir-lawrence-bragg-the-greatest-australian-youve-never-heard-of/

LECTURE:

For a beautifully presented lecture from the Royal Institution on how The Braggs’ work is foundational to so much modern science in chemistry, materials research and biology, sit back for an hour and enjoy …

The Game of Success

People who understand strategy are

the most dangerous weapons of all.

– Sun Tzu

 

IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit

WHAT IS SUCCESS?

There are two basic meanings of success:
1. You-Lose, and
2. I-Win.

You-Lose is the kind of success a boxer enjoys in an Olympic Champion title fight. For him to win the title – be Olympic Champion of the World – and collect the Gold Medal he has to see that the other fighter fails to win. This kind of situation is called, by games theorists, a ‘zero sum’ game and is where success for one player means failure for the other.

Backgammon is also a zero sum game as are Olympic sports and professional sporting competitions like cricket, football, basketball and baseball.

I-Win is more like what happens in life itself. At home (whether in a relationship between lovers or families), or at school, or at work, I can be successful by playing I-Win without anyone having to lose or fail.

– I-Win can happen without my mate having to fail.
– I-Win can happen without my customer having to lose.
– I-Win can happen without my neighbour having to suffer.

That is because in the ‘game of life’ there is always a third party which we will call The Banker.

When there is a banker who always pays out and collects after each encounter, two players can co-operate and laugh all the way to the bank. Mountain-climbing is a non-zero-sum game where I-Win can happen without my partner having to fail, or fall.

Blackjack at the casino is a non-zero-sum game and a novice player can always be spotted because they do not yet understand the difference between playing You-Lose and I-Win with their fellow players, against The Banker.

In a non-zero-sum game there are only consequences.

The Banker always pays and always collects according to how you play the game or, more precisely, according to which strategy you choose.

There are many strategies in the game of life and some succeed more than others but there is only ONE dominant strategy which ALWAYS succeeds in beating any other strategy.

It is The #1 Law of Success and the one we’ll explore in this masterclass.

THE GAME

Here we explore a new zero sum game to mimic life and called The Game. Those who become skilled in this simplest of all games will become skilled in the #1 Law of Success which is more successful in life than any other strategy. In The Game the Banker makes the following payoffs:

NICE/NASTY: Banker Pays WINNER 1 million points.
NASTY/NICE: Banker Fines SUCKER 200,000 points.
NICE/NICE: Banker Pays Both 600,000 points as REWARD
NASTY/NASTY: Banker Fines Both 20,000 points as PUNISHMENT

Game Theory and Personal Relationships

OK. What’s the science behind all of this? The Game has its biological origins in what scientists now call Game Theory.

We see how succeeding in life–survival & making a living–is largely a strategic matter.

Success in life consists of how well we manage the unfolding series of encounters with others. How we manage our personal relationships. It is a pity that so very little attention is given to this on the school curriculum. How much more valuable and useful in life would a subject called ‘Personal Relationships’ be compared with other subjects, most of which information can be found on Wikipedia.

Personal relationship management in Game Theory is based on how we choose our strategy for each face-to-face encounter. In each encounter we can cooperate and be NICE or we can defect and be NASTY. We see examples of those who always play NASTY, others who always use NICE and still others whose strategy is a mix of NICE and NASTY.

We are introduced to the Rules of The Game and also to the risks and rewards of life which are represented by REWARDS and PUNISHMENTS: a series of points paid out or deducted as fines which the Banker always pays out after each encounter or round of the game. We are now ready to play and try out different strategies. With instant feedback from the Banker we soon see that there are always four inevitable outcomes which, in Game Theory, are called: The Winner, The Sucker, The Punishment and The Reward.

THE WINNER
TACTIC – AVOID THE TEMPTATION TO WIN
The Temptation to Win is one with which we are all familiar. Exemplified so well by Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street, this tactic is all about Victory. It’s the I-Win-You-Lose philosophy where for you to win the other loses; you beat the opponent, you conquer the adversary. “Greed is Good” is the motto of this strategy and in the Game it is the strategy where the other played NICE and you played NASTY.

He becomes the Sucker and you become the Winner. Your Temptation to Win has paid off and you collect the Banker’s highest payment, 1 million points. The Skase’s and Bond’s of the eighties were high profile players of the Temptation to Win strategy and the Adlers, Vizards, Pratts and Rineharts may be more recent examples.

The chance of having the biggest possible payout attracts many people to this NICE/NASTY strategy called the Temptation to Win. It seems, intuitively, to be the best strategy and in Game Theory it’s called ALL NASTY or always play NASTY. If life consisted of only one round or one encounter, it would be the one to always use. But life is unfolding. There are many encounters and repeated rounds in the game of life. We see that this iteration of the game, its repetition, soon shows Temptation to be a flawed strategy with only short term gains and much greater long term losses.

WHY WINNERS ALWAYS END UP SUCKERS
All Winners eventually become Suckers and Suckers always suck. The reason for this is because ‘what goes around comes around’ and ‘those who live by the sword die by the sword’. If you are NASTY to me in this round, then you can be sure that I will be NASTY to you in the next round. This is how the Temptation strategy, which seemed so attractive in Round I, always becomes a problem to the Winner in later rounds when revenge is sweet and the other side gets their ‘payback time’.

In Game Theory, the sure knowledge that there will always be ‘payback time’ in future rounds of the game is called The Shadow of the Future.

This Future Shadow is the key to the game. Only those who understand this inevitable cybernetic feedback feature of the game can have access to the most successful strategy of all which we call the #1 Law of Success.

The problem with the Temptation strategy is that its short term upside is soon diminished by the long term downside. This is why obsessed Winners eventually become losers.

THE SUCKER – WHY SUCKERS ALWAYS SUCK
The Sucker is the biggest loser of all in the Game. You become a Sucker when you play NICE and the other plays NASTY. You get ‘caught with your pants down’ and you’re ‘a sitting duck’. The Banker saves his biggest fine for the Sucker, a hefty 200,000 and it’s called the Sucker’s Payoff.

Yet, there are those who actually play a strategy called ALL NICE or ‘Always play NICE’. These Suckers always suck. They actually reward Temptation. They make it intelligent behaviour for the other to always play NASTY and collect their 1 million prize. In Darwinian evolution, Suckers are altruistic and help other members of the species to pass on their genes to the next generation always at their own expense. In biology, Suckers always suck, they die a Darwinian death.

THE BLIND SUCKER
In a sense, all Suckers are blind. That is, they are blind to consequences. They cannot see the Shadow of the Future. They fail to understand the impact of payback time. The greedy Sucker who gives her savings to the Get-Rich-Quick-Merchant is blind to the consequences. The Bloody Idiot (portrayed so effectively in TAC ads) who drinks then drives is a blind Sucker. The smoker who heeds the Marlboro man but not the Cancer Society is a blind Sucker. Blind Suckers who stay blind always end up losers.

THE RIGHTEOUS SUCKER
This is a fatal disease. Most Righteous Suckers die. They may die in battle or are put to death at the whim of their victorious Winners. They are conquered and crushed by their opponent. Many Righteous Suckers are suffering from PTV, the Plato Truth Virus. I have written in depth about PTV in Software for Your Brain.

PTV causes the host brain to believe that they are ‘uniquely right’, that they have a certain and absolute ‘truth’. Righteous Suckers have usually contracted PTV through any religious or political movement which claims to be the ‘True Religion’ or the ‘Right Majority’. They also are blind to the Shadow of the Future. Some become martyrs, others become dictators. All end up dead. Suckers always suck.

THE SAD SUCKER
We have all been Sad Suckers and hopefully we learn from the experience. The Sad Sucker played NICE and was tricked. The Sad Sucker played NICE on the understanding that the other was going to play NICE too. He was wrong. She was sucked in. Each reader will have his or her own bitter memories of childhood abandonment, broken trust, emotional betrayal. The young draftee who returns from Vietnam to find no welcoming parade, no grateful public is a Sad Sucker. The faithful wife who trusts her unfaithful husband is a Sad Sucker.

Children are often Suckers because they are so vulnerable and trusting. Whether they trust the pedophile who offers “to take them to mummy” yet is their mortal enemy or their older sister who always takes the bigger slice of cake, children are often suckers.

The important point about the Sad Sucker is to learn from the experience. Children grow up and become players in the Game of Life. They can then choose whatever strategy they wish. They don’t have to remain Sad Suckers and fortunately, most don’t.

THE PUNISHMENT – ALWAYS PUNISH WINNERS
The Game always punishes winners. Whatever the outcome of today’s round there will always be future rounds to play and that’s where the Winners get punished. Because the game of life is unfolding it is a cybernetic or feedback loop.

There are many rounds of the game and each player has multiple encounters. There’s always a payback whether you call it karma or feedback or revenge or reprisal or reciprocation or retaliation. This brings us to the best strategy of all:

tit4tat

HOW TO PUNISH WINNERS
Tit-for-tat means payback. The Dutch call it ‘dit vor dat’ and the French ‘tant pout tant’. Caesar called it ‘quid pro quo’. To Shylock it was a ‘pound of flesh’ and the Hebrews called it ‘an eye for an eye’. In the Game it is NASTY/NASTY. If you play NASTY then I’ll play NASTY, too. The Banker calls this The Punishment and both players are fined an inconvenient 20,000. But, wait a moment, how can this be the #1 Law of Success? Surely not! It seems very wrong and counter-intuitive.

In both the Game and in real life this is the best strategy of all yet it is one which has a very poor reputation because it is so widely misunderstood. tit4tat is usually considered childish at best and uncharitable, even heartless, at worst. Yet it is the fairest strategy of all and, as it turns out, the most successful strategy in life and, therefore, the only one which qualifies as the #1 Law of Success.

In Game Theory, t4t or thetit4tat strategy is also called the NICE Strategy and has two basic rules:
1 Always play NICE first, then
2 Always match the other’s play thereafter.

In other words, you start by playing NICE then whatever move the other plays, you match it. If he plays NASTY then so do you. If she plays NICE, you play NICE. You never cheat and you never waver.

There are several outcomes for those who use this strategy. Obviously, you always punish Winners. Whenever a Winner plays NASTY you ALWAYS play NASTY, you ALWAYS punish NASTY with matching NASTY. That’s what is meant by ‘an eye for a eye’ but there’s more to Tit-for-Tat than just returning NASTY with NASTY. Tit-for-Tat also means you ALWAYS return NICE with NICE!

This always leads to NICE/NICE. The Winner soon realises that to play NASTY will immediately produce the same retaliation so that he is virtually playing NASTY on himself. To win the 1 million, he has to achieve NASTY/NICE and he now understands that, in Tit-for-Tat, he never can. In Tit-for-Tat there are only two possible outcomes, NASTY/NASTY, the Punishment which will cost him 20,000 every time. Or, NICE/NICE.

This paradox is the nut of the masterclass and takes a little getting used to. The members must fully come to grips with this insight: that tit4tat or an eye for an eye always ends up leading to NICE/NICE.

It is hard for the Western mind to grasp simply because we have been taught that ‘turn the other cheek’ is the better strategy. It isn’t. Turn the other cheek always leads to NICE/NASTY because if one is always going to be NICE then the other is rewarded more for being NASTY than for being NICE.

THE REWARD – ALWAYS REWARD NICE GUYS
NICE/NICE is called The Reward in Game theory. NICE/NICE is when both players play NICE and the Banker pays out his second highest payment of 600,000 to each player. It’s not a million but it’s a very nice reward. Only tit4tat/t4t can produce this outcome. If the players are intelligent and are not Suckers who are blind to the Shadow of the Future then there is nothing to stop them playing NICE/NICE in every round of the game and picking up their Reward of 600,000 points every time. This is the I-Win-You-Win philosophy and ALWAYS scores the highest points. t4t is the ultimate strategy and those that ALWAYS play t4t, or NICE/NICE, will ALWAYS be successful in life. Win/Win is the #1 Law of Success.

HOW TO REWARD NICE GUYS
Tit-for-Tat is how you reward a nice guy. When he or she plays NICE you always play NICE. You NEVER play NASTY. You NEVER yield to the Temptation to Win the million. You build trust and you ALWAYS both succeed.

In selling, the traditional American model, which I have called oldsell is the Temptation strategy. Close the sale and win! Contrast this with the newsell model which is based on the relationship of trust built up by the NICE/NICE strategy. The Chinese use this model (Confucian) and have been much more successful at selling for a much longer period of time than Americans.

CONCLUSION: t4t IS THE #1 LAW OF SUCCESS

This masterclass offers participants a unique strategy called t4t. t4t is the #1 Law of Success. t4t is a counter-intuitive but very powerful strategy to help you to succeed in the unfolding Game of Life. Whenever you decide to use the tit4tat strategy you:

Always REWARD NICE tit4tat – (NICE/NICE)

Always PUNISH NASTY tit4tat – (NASTY/NASTY)

Always avoid the TEMPTATION to WIN – (NICE/NASTY)

Always avoid the SUCKER’S PAYOFF- (NASTY/NICE).

 

IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit
IF tat THEN tit


(These notes are from The Advanced Strategy Masterclass with Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson © 2014).

Explainer: what are memes?

By Sean Rintel

Nothing defines our use of the internet as clearly as the concept of the meme (pronounced “meem”).

Every day, millions of people laugh at LOLcats, dog shaming, and music videos without music, while others mock injustice, support marriage equality, poke fun at NSA surveillance, or call out racism.

Virally shared “nuggets of cultural currency” such as these are examples of “memetics”, an important mechanism of meaning that pre-dates the internet but is now central to the the internet’s rising creative comment culture.

 

LOLcats pre-dated the Internet. The left image was taken by Harry Whittier Frees in 1905. The right is ‘Happy Cat’, the first LOLcat, from 2007 Wikipedia / Something Awful / Author

 

Wow history

Early in the 1920s, the biologist Richard Semon used the term “mnemes” in theorising biologically inheritable memory.

Richard Dawkins, in his 1974 book The Selfish Gene, took a different tack, shortening the Greek term “mimÄ“tḗs” (imitator) to coin “meme” as a cultural analogue to the biological gene: a “self-replicating unit of information”.

 

Yo Dawg; Yo Dawg Dawkins. Know Your Meme / Author

 

Genes, Dawkins argued, are subject to the forces of evolution: variation, mutation, competition and inheritance.

On similar principles, certain ideas seem to rise and fall in cultures; the base concepts of art, religion and politics are memes, as are more fleeting trends, fads and fashions.

 

First day on the Internet Kid; Doge; First day on the Internet Doge. KnowYour Meme / Author

 

Such replication

Not all memes are successful, and even “new” memes often bear traces of those that have passed.

Nor are memes static — rather they have three properties by which they evolve existing variations:

  • Intertextuality. Memes reference other memes or other concepts, e.g. the Joseph Decreauxmeme mashes up 18th century art and imagined vernacular with gangsta rap vernacular.
    Joseph Decreux 18th Century-Rap mashup meme: Know Your Meme

     

  • Indexicality. An element in one meme can be used to comment on many situations. “Exploitable” memes such as Disaster Girlcan be overlaid on to any picture of a disaster.
    Disaster Girl exploitable; Original exploit; Disaster Girl at the London riots. Know Your Meme / Author

     

  • Templatability. Memes have recognisable structures with spaces for new content, e.g. “I am in your base, killing your doodz” becomes “I am in your [Noun 1], [Verb-ing] your [Noun 2],” to be reused in multiple contexts.
    Original Know Your Meme / Author

     

A meme may be created by an individual or an institution deliberately (many marketing companies now strive to create viral content) or, as often as not, an accidental image, turn-of-phrase or concept will be exploited by a savvy netizen (as was the case for Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe).

So internet

Genes rely on their hosts for transmission, and memes are no exception: in creating the internet it turns out that we have developed the ultimate meme hothouse.

In danah boyd’s terms, the internet is a “networked public” that has four features highly conducive to making and spreading memes:

  • Replicability. Digital objects are infinitely reproducible and exploitable across a range of platforms.
  • Searchability. Finished versions of memes as well as raw materials and templates are easily found.
  • Scalability. Digital objects are created for a particular audience but with the knowledge that they can spread to an unknowably large audience wherever the internet is available.
  • Persistence. Although individual digital objects may not last as long as analogue objects, they are infinitely transferable and storable in many locations.

 

You’re doing it wrong. funnyjunk

 

Variations on a theme is the name of the game with memes, as attested to by the huge number of memes posted every day at user-generated content sites such as 4chan and Reddit, and categorised at sites such as the Cheezburger Network.

Engines providing both the raw materials and editing capabilities to rapidly produce new instances of common memes have even been developed at sites such as memegenerator.net and imgur and Cheezburger’s Rage Comic LOLBuilder, so that even the technically-challenged can use a meme to express something — as long as they understand the template.

 

Keep X and Carry Y original; Keep X and Carry Y used correctly; Keep X and Carry Y used incorrectly. Know Your Meme / Author

 

You can even find sites such as Know Your Meme that actively track, research, and report on the genealogy, forms, and popularity of memes.

Much important

One might be forgiven, at this point, for wondering why memes matter beyond entertainment.

Understanding memes is an important way to keep a finger on current trends or the appeal of long term trends, but more importantly memes tell us about new literacies, how people understand crises and how they attempt to effect social change through movements such as Occupy and Anonymous, so-called slacktivism, or electoral engagement.

 

2013 Australian Commonwealth election anti-Coalition memes: Australia needs Tony Abbot / Tony Stark fake newspaper front page; Lampooning the Coalition’s NBN policy. Google Images

 

User-generated content is the key concept here because memes are indicative of a change from last century’s passive read-only culture to an active read-write or produsage-oriented culture, in which very few resources are needed to broadcast a message to the entire world—as Cory Bernardi has discovered.

Petty as they may seem, then, memes have value and we must protect them as a form of expression when governments and corporations attempt to chill fair use of “copyright” materials via treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

 

Anti-TPP image that Wikileaks used to publicise its leak of the secretly-negotiated IP chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Google Images

 

Sean Rintel is the current Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

What keeps CEOs awake at night?

This is a basic question I keep asking my CEO clients and I have done so for several decades. What keeps you awake at night?

It’s interesting to note that CEOs of medium to large companies (1000+ employees) are usually pre-occupied with finding solutions for the same 4 or 5 problems.

In 2013 the top five CEO problems were:

1. innovation and creating new customers

2. getting and keeping people engaged in their work

3. global uncertainty and the unexpected

4. shareholder returns and capital issues

5. global expansion and growth.

These show a mix of the macro business environment which a CEO does not control, and company-specific challenges that require thoughtful CEO solutions with better strategic allocation of resources.