30 septembrie 2008

un altfel de alfabet!

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" - aceasta propozitie foloseste fiecare litera a alfabetului odata si doar vocala e de doua ori. 

29 septembrie 2008

Bonusul de retentie - anacronismul pietei romanesti

In timp ce pe pietele americane citim despre stiri cu angajatii care primesc bonusuri de compensare pentru incetarea activitatii firmei, la noi, lucrurile sunt intotdeauna putin diferite. Sau doar putin intarziate?

Un articol, la care mi am adus contributia si eu, despre provocarile ridicate de retinerea fortei calificate in firma puteti citi in revista piata.

27 septembrie 2008

Pentru momentele in care crezi ca nu mai ai motive sa fi mandru ca esti roman!

UN excelent articol despre Cătălin Ţăranu care este campionul european en-titre la GO şi singurul jucător profesionist de rang 5 dan din Europa. Si e... român!

Puteti citi articolul in editia electronica a ziarului Adevarul aici.

26 septembrie 2008

MECE - angels of consultancy. the secular rank

MECE means for those who don't know: Mutually exclusive (for each other) and Collectively exhaustive (in terms of the hole). The concept is described by Barbara Minto in the Pyramid Principle and is it known to belong to one consulting company who developed the concept for explaining everithing one would need to know in terms of a functional structure and organiyational chart.

I would just ask it is not this the laic version of the apophatic and cataphatic theology version of knowing? I mean understanding God in a logical structure the the human mind would dare.

25 septembrie 2008

training philosophy

What I hear, I forget

What I see, I remeber

What I do, I understand.

cata diferenta intre asta si principiul scolii grecesti vechi de filosofie regasita la Noica: "In procesul de invatamant, nu se stie cine da si cine si cine primeste"

Si atunci as intreba: Cum se numeste ce stii ca stii inainte de a fi uitat dar si dupa ce ai uitat?

24 septembrie 2008

ce nu ati face pentru 50 de bani?

Am ramas surprins, sa vad zilele trecute la unul dintre magazinele de bricolaj ale capitalei, ce valoare are fisa de 50 de bani. Absolut toata lumea, care alminteri ar fi lasat carucioarele aiurea prin parcare, pentru simplu fapt ca au fost montate dizpozitive de legatura intre ele, care pot fi inlaturate pentru suma modica de 50 de bani, prefera sa aduca inapoi carucioarele la spatiul de depozitare. 
Asta in conditiile in care valoarea fisei de 50 de bani este extrem de relativa. Ce ai putea sa faci cu o astfel de fisa in Bucuresti? Nici macar la toaleta nu poti merge si mai nou nici macar o Eugenie nu iti mai poti cumpara. Eventual cateva pliculete de zahar sau restul rotunjit pentru vanzatoarea din colt sau o fisa pentru cantaretul de la metrou si cersetorul de la semafor.
Si totusi nici macar ciocoii noi  ai capitalei nu ar renunta la fisa de 50 de bani in favoarea unui "strange carucioare". 
Nu pot sa nu ma intreb, daca e atat de ieftin sa pastrezi ordinea in parcarea unui supermarket, ce ne lipseste pentru a pastra ordinea intr-un oras intreg sau in parcarile publice? Doar pretul corect?

23 septembrie 2008

the fourth quadrant - another perspective

There are just few days since the article of Nassim Taleb, THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS, was published on Edge.org. Plenty of replicas and reactions appeared all over the web. I just wonder if what he says has been perceived on the Europe banking environment as it is a true fact: you can’t predict, don’t fight (i.e. trade) with/against a number. 

I have learnt from the Romanian economy that numbers were always meant to be presented for official reports therefore it really didn’t matter how accurate they were. I would like to know how much would change this mentality the specific requirements based on Basel and SoX. Or what would be the next Basel? More restrictions and more supervisory regulations. 

One was saying once: what does a risk manager have to do for a living? And we are talking here about a very specific job, pretty well defined, that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Though we could say risks were always there no matter we were in Mediocristan or Extremistan. Nassim is making a point in saying “Alas, this category of blind users includes regulators and risk managers, whom I accuse of creating more risk than they reduce.” But as one CEO would say: more risk is more profit what should be than the working incentive for the risk manager? Should we worry about people that make a living out of numbers no one else would understand. If we don’t need them what would replace them?

On the other side I will not cover the red line of the article which I really enjoy but I will stick with my questions around some points I am not sure I fully agree.

He says “my new mission is to build methods to turn lack of information, lack of understanding, and lack of "knowledge" into decisions”. I am looking forward to see that. But common sense would tell me that this is just another extreme of what we face today. Or is it the new petabyte management era?

Is it going Nassim to change the way we look at risks?

As he emphasizes “I have nothing against economists: you should let them entertain each others with their theories and elegant mathematics, and help keep college students inside buildings. But beware: they can be plain wrong, yet frame things in a way to make you feel stupid arguing with them. So make sure you do not give any of them risk-management responsibilities.” 

So the final question: Economists, if we don’t need them what would replace them?

22 septembrie 2008

terapie antistres

For that moment in the day, when you fell you don't have questions anymore. You just need something to enjoy! Listen with your heart!

ziua recunostintei si statistica

Un excelent articol al lui Nassim in revista EDGE poate fi gasit aici. Am sa revin in zilele urmatoare cu intrebari.

17 septembrie 2008

Superstitie si noroc!

Care este legatura dintre superstitie si noroc am intrebat-o azi la cursul de germana pe una dintre colegele mele din America. Desi nu a putut sa-mi raspunda exact care este motivatia care sta la baza raspunsului dat de ea, ea precizat ca ea nu este o persoana superstitioasa deoarece se simte norocoasa. Soarta, dupa cum a precizat mai tarziu chiar ea. 

Si totusi nu pot sa nu ma intreb care este legatura dintre noroc si superstitie. Suntem superstitiosi pentru ca nu avem noroc? sau pentru ca vrem sa fim norocosi? Care ar fi atunci deviation to the mean in cazul unei superstitii aplicate la o decizie de tranzactionare?

16 septembrie 2008

About motivating people...

Poate ca examenul final al unui CEO in momentul de fata ar trebui sa fie acela al unui echilibru in toate cele. Oricat de ciudat ar parea dar nu pot sa ma abtin sa nu ma intreb cum poti oare atinge perfectiunea intr-un mecanism economic oricare ar fi el, atat timp cat in propriul sau interior liderul organizatiei, «de facto» nu si a gasit linistea si de ce nu, un anume soi de armonie care sa-i permita intelegerea celor din jurul sau. Pana nu demult, comunistii aveau o teorie conform careia nu poate fi persona cu responasibilitati in conducere cineva care nu are stagiul militar satisfacut. Oricat de stupid ar fi acest demers initiatic, raportat la o societate complet desacralizata, dar deloc lipsita de mituri, cum a fost cea comunista, they got the point cum se zice. Poate ca standardele s-au schimbat, dar natura umana este aceeasi si nevoile ei s-au diversificat.

Cum poti prin urmare motiva oamenii daca nu le poti intelege nevoile si mai ales cum le poti intelege daca nu le ai?

Oare unde incepe toleranta si sfarseste leadershipul?

14 septembrie 2008

typical learning environment: shut up and listen!

I am reading Charles Handy "Understanding Organizations" and I got amazed by two things so far: the English language for business he uses (I must say that even for a non native like myself it sounds... nicer) and one of his approach to learning. In his view the learning process has 4 phases: Questioning, Conceptualization, Experimentation, and Consolidation. Based on my learning experience so far I figure out that nobody really enjoy questioning: either the teacher or the students. You just feel strange with your questions daring to challenge the conventional wisdom of "It is said that it's like this and that..."
So I admit I am in this first stage for some years now. And You know what? I like it! because what I found out in my daily experience: most of us don't like abstract ideas but learning experiences and conclusions coming from praxis and not from theory.

Don't you think on the other hand that this is the reason we lose now easier our beliefes ? facts are everything but aren't they just ideas about what we see and understand?

13 septembrie 2008

How many mobiles do you have?

“When you are employed, hence dependent on other people’s judgment, looking busy can help you claim responsibility for the results in a random environment.” (Black Swan The impact of highly improbable)

Vi se pare cunosocuta imaginea? In aeroporturi si in anumite birouri si inatalniri ? Sa fie doar complexul (de supravietuire) angajatului care poarta in mana o hartie oriunde si oricand merge printr-o institutie ? Sau e doar dorinta ascunsa a tututoror de a parea mai importanti decat suntem? Cate telefoane mobile aveti?

11 septembrie 2008

my trend is his friend...

Singurul lucru cert despre orice trend este ca la un moment dat va fi reversibil, (i.e. this is why I love black swans). Si cu toate astea o stiinta intreaga se invarte in jurul lui a prognoza care va fi trendul maine. Am descoperind pornind la drum cu intrebari despre tot si toate, din orizontul de preocupari pe care le am acum, ca exista prieteni care cultiva spiritul trendului si incearca sa explice viitorul prin paternurile trecutului. Un astfel de blog il puteti gasi aici.

Nu pot sa nu ma intreb insa ce s-ar intampla daca toata lumea ar cumpara out-of-the money?!

10 septembrie 2008

Ein Man ein Wurst!

No post yesterday. I am Bavaria and yesterday I did the supreme blasphemy ordering just wine for a typical Bavarian food. As good as it is the wine without so much of marketing as the local beer receives I wonder if shall I come back for Oktoberfest to really give a chance for the Wheat beer?

8 septembrie 2008

Where is the logic fallacy? One’s quest for the logic of GO…

Whomever played Go at least once knew the beginning. Masters from 7 Dan would tell you about the end. Those two perspectives are coming along well as the logic would bring the student at the same table with the master. I never realized that playing Go you can look at the same problem from two perspectives until I run into the writing of Solomon Marcus (Paradigme Universale III Jocul - Editura Paralela 45)! E.g. solving it trough induction as a beginner without experience and making a lot of inferences about the next move to do (i.e. getting lost in the details of local tactics)  or better as a master having the move as a necessary step to accomplish the strategy of the game he knew from the beginning. 

What makes the difference between the master and the neophyte in business strategy? Should that be just experience? Or is it abduction principle to thank for?

2009 - End of the risk management theory as we know it and beginning of the Black Swan era?

The real value of the services without any obvious value added to a process (e.g. administrative for most of the business and in this particular case risk management for most of the institutions involved in financial business) can be perceived just when delivery fails. This is the case now with the financial industry and one of its services: risk management.

Nothing could be more convincing for the public opinion that RISK MANAGEMENT is a NEED than this financial turmoil we are facing now. Regardless of how much the risk minds would conference about it and how challenging risk managers can be for the ´growth of their organizations the theory and the contemporary practice is by far outdated. As Nassim Taleb challenged the financial community with its Black Swan theory, nothing will be the same, and nothing could be taken for granted anymore. So, where to place the bet, if investment theory lacks of forecast certitudes?

The time has come to move onto a new era. I just got to know that Nassim is working on paper to answer to my question: After Black Swan what? Shall we count along the risk milestones of the Harvard Business Review, this month issue, another one with Black Swan era?

Risk Management Milestones according to HBR September: 

"1952: Mean variance (aka modern portfolio theory) - Harry Markowitz

Late 1950s, early 1960s: State preference theory - Kenneth Arrow, Gérard Debreu

1958: “Indifference theory” - Franco Modigliani, Merton Miller

1960s: Capital asset pricing model (CAPM) - William Sharpe et al.

1973: Options-pricing model - Fischer Black, Myron Scholes, Robert C. Merton

1976: Arbitrage pricing theory - Stephen Ross

1977: Underinvestment problem - Stewart Myers, Clifford Smith, René M. Stulz

1979: Binomial option pricing model - John Cox, Stephen Ross, Mark Rubinstein

1993: A framework for risk management including hedging - Kenneth Froot, David Scharfstein, Jeremy Stein"

6 septembrie 2008

Don’t mess with mathematicians!

Oren Etzioni got mad once when he paid the most expensive ticket among all the customers of one flight. The inspiration coming out of this madness lead him to invent a system based on an algorithm to calculate when is the moment to buy the cheapest flight. See more about on the web site reshaped by Microsoft.

I just wonder where are all the mathematicians from Bucharest to help us out to calculate when is the best time to leave from home by car to avoid traffic jams. 

5 septembrie 2008

Aren't we all nuts?

"Adaptarea normala omului obisnuit, cu bun simt, bine adaptat presupune o respingere continua, incununata de succes, a unei parti din continuturile profunde ale naturii umane, depotriva volitive si cognitive. Buna adaptare la lumea reala inseamna fracturarea persoanei." A. Maslow about Creativity in 1958, speech held at the East Lansing, Michigan.  Sorry for not having the original version, the basic idea is that the process of adjusting to the real world can break apart our being.

Strange thing how the history of mankind preserve into the future labels and biases about previous thinkers. I would have believed for all my life that Maslow is just the one who invented “the carrot” of modern civilization and HR departments.

So I would ask the nut: who is the fool?

New sales controlling hot topic: How much are we allowed to ask for?

The question will not be anymore: How much a product will cost? but how much is allowed to cost?

Sound perfect rational nevertheless as Dan Ariel mentioned in one of his books Predictably Irrational the price is not set up by the economic law of Supply and Demand. The price is set up by the anchors. Anchor is something that the buyer uses as references in comparison to the new offer.

E.g. I am offering you a flat on the Moon for 1million €. Suppose that you might have an interest to go there once in a while or you just take this as an investment. The buying process will start immediately after the following offers for sales are going to be higher than this one. Marketing strategist for consumer goods and FMCG know that very well.

So, I would ask just this: How much could be allowed for the price of the crude oil? 

4 septembrie 2008

My question is my life!

Around so many of my certainties I got always the feedback: how can you be so sure about everything? I couldn’t answer but: [I believe it’s so. I feel it]. And you might not believe me, but most of the time I was right. 

Tough, getting the same question every day I said to myself that one could start to wonder as a kid, by  thinking through the eyes of an adult. 

Let’s see what the marvelous question can do!

small is the new big... mirror?

Some of the Seth Godin’s new Myths out of the "Small is the new big" on which I have some doubts. 

 “Customers have more power than ever before

Treating them like they don’t matter doesn’t work.”

Except if you live into a growing economy of one emerging market with the lack of competition!

Could it be the rule: we don’t care because nobody else cares either?

 “Multiple channels of information mean that

is almost impossible to live a lie.

Authentic stories spread and last.”


Except if you don’t know how many channels need to trust one. 

Could it be that the time to check the true will bring the petabyte decision making system closer to our habits than ever?


 “The ability to change fast

is the single best asset

in a world that’s changing fast”

Except that creation ended up into the 8th day of our Creation. Is there anything new indeed around?


"Blogs matter. If you want to grow you’ll need to touch the information hungry, idea sharing people who read (and write) them."

 Except that there are so many of them and just few are counting. 

Are they so important for our generation (civilization)?


"There are no side effects. Just  effects.

Indulge short attention spans."

Except that is not because cause of you. 

Could it be the last karmic chain to be broken this way?


Aretha was right. Respect is the secret to success in dealing with people.

Except Aretha is not Seth.


Do something that matters.


Petabyte era - who's going to decide?

An interesting debate started from the article of Chris Anderson regarding the Petabyte Age and the end of the science done as it used to be done before. Since 1975, the suffix “peta” means the length of 1 billiard (1 000 000 000 000 000), so what we are facing now is the overwhelming world of  information. There is plenty of data that are just waiting to be categorized and analyzed. Experiments to gather data in order to prove the evidence of one theory are obsolescent. The future seems to be for the pigeons clusters as Google machine sort it out. 

My personal believe is that the first impact of such theory would come in place first to the management concepts. Try to imagine a world-wide organization gathering into the internal systems information and data from all over and try to imagine how a manager could cope with all the unnecessary information. How this new world of petabytes of information will change the way the economical decisions are going to be taken from now on? Is it going to be a human approach or super extra faster computers?