Struggling With Some Decisions

So I’ve been helping some family members with some really big decisions lately. 


As we all know, there are pros and cons to every alternative. 


I remember how you can diagram decisions out like the branches of a tree with probabilities for each branch to try and get to the highest value decision. 


The problem is we don’t know everything that may happen down the road or even know the probabilities for each possibility–or as they say:

We don’t know what we don’t know.  


So it’s hard to make a great decision and not second guess yourself.

Well, what if…


You can “what if” yourself to sleepless nights and death and never decide or do anything meaningful. 


We have to make the best decisions we can usually with limited information. 


Using gut or intuition is not a solution either–those can end up being very wrong especially when we let our raw emotions dictate. 


So I do not take decision-making for myself or helping others lightly, especially my family. 


I want to protect them and help them make good decisions that will bear fruit and joy down the road. 


I definitely don’t want to waste everyones time and efforts and lead them or myself down a dead end or worse off of a cliff.


In the end, we have to turn to G-d and whisper:

Oh G-d, please help us to make the right decisions, because only you know what the results will be from it. 


And so, I am definitely whispering!


At the same time, we need to move forward and not let fear and doubt get in our way of living. 


Yes, we have to be prudent and take calculated risks (everything worthwhile is a risk), but also, we have to look at the potential rewards and the costs for these (every decision is an investment of time and resources) and then just try our best. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who Took The Cheese?

So this is a photo from today in the cafeteria of the mac and cheese. 


What I see without fail, day-in and day-out ,is that the people take the yummy crispy cheese off the top of the mac and cheese. 


The result is that just a few people get all the cheesy cheese from on top and everyone else is left with the noodles underneath.  


So for cheese sake, why do they do it?


– For the Love of Cheese – People simply love melted cheese so much, they’ll do anything to get more of it.


– Because They Can Take Cheese – People take the best part, the crispy cheese on top for themselves, because they can and there is only benefits to themselves and no adverse consequences if they do it. 


– They are Very Hungry for Cheese – People take the cheese because they are so famished, only the cheese on top can satisfy their hunger pains. 


– Sense of Cheese Entitlement – People have a sense of entitlement for themselves, and if there’s cheese to be had, they they are entitled to it.


– Cheese Narcissism – People are innately selfish for cheese and they will take and take and take until there is no cheese on top for anyone else. 


– Anti-social Cheese Behavior – People have anti-social personality cheese disorder, so they can’t help but take all the cheese. 


– Not Enough Cheese to Go Around – People feel their is simply not enough cheese to go around; in other words cheese is a scarce resource, which makes it a valuable cheese commodity to scoop up for themselves. 


What is really funny-sad about this whole cheese situation is that every day the food service seems to put out the same leftover mac and cheese with a fresh topping of the cheesy-cheese on top, only for it all to be taken off again–cheesy day after cheesy day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nimbyism By All

So I learned a new word this week:


Nimby, which stands for:


Not 

I

M

Back

Yard


It refers to people who object to and don’t want something unpleasant or dangerous in their neighborhood. 


Prisons

Homeless Shelters

Garbage Dumps

Radioactive Waste Sites

Oil and Gas Pipelines

Noisy Railroads

Polluting Factories

Adult Entertainment

etc. 


Yes, society as a whole apparently wants or needs these things, but the individuals just want to see it someplace (anyplace) else. 


People want the benefits, but don’t want the costs and risks associated with these things near them. 


The problem is when everyone feels this way then you are left either choosing somewhere despite the nimbyism protests or you have to locate them in remote places that are not always functional, fair or efficient for society. 


Perhaps this is where incentives or compensation comes in for people to get in order to “put up” with the placement of things in their backyard that they rather not have there. 


Is that what it means that nimbyism aside, “everyone has their price”?


(Source Photo: here with attribution to creative2/usa)

Technology Easy Sell

Benefits and Risks
Technology is not like buying a time share, thank G-d. 



We examine the costs and the benefits, and it either works and provides us a tangible competitive benefit or it doesn’t.



“You can’t be competitive without modern technology, you’ll simply be out of business.”



At the end of the day, you don’t want to be sold a worthless bag of goods from a no good (not genuine) salesperson. 



Read about it here in my new article in Public CIO. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Go Safe or Go For It?

In_it_to_win_it

I came away with some thoughts on risk taking watching this scene from the movie “Lies and Alibis.”

The girl says: “Simple is boring.”

The guy answers: “Boring is safe.”

The girl responds: “Safe is for old people.”

(Note: nothing personal here to the elderly. Also, hope I didn’t get the who said which thing wrong, but the point is the same.)

Take-a-way: Very often in life we aren’t sure whether to take a risk or not. Is it worth it or is it reckless? And we have to weigh the pros and cons, carefully!

– We have to ask ourselves, where’s the risk and where’s the reward?

We have to decide whether we want to try something new and accept the potential risk or stay stable and go safe with the status quo that we already know.

At times, staying with a bad status quo can be the more risky proposition and change the safer option–so it all depends on the situation.

– We also have to look at our capabilities to take chances:

For example, in terms of age appropriateness–it can be argued that younger people can take more risk, because they have more time to recover in life, should the situation go bad.

At the same time, older people may have more of a foundation (financial savings, built-up experience and education, and a life-long reputation) to take more chances–they have a cushion to fall back on, if necessary.

– In the end, we have to know our own level of risk tolerance and have a sense of clarity as to what we are looking for and the value of it, as well as the odds for success and failure.

It’s a very personal calculation and the rewards or losses are yours for the taking. Make sure you are ready to accept them!

Finally–always, always, always have a plan B. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Understanding Risk Management

Managing_risk

Information Security, like all security, needs to be managed on a risk management basis.

This is a fundamental principle that was prior advocated for the Department of Homeland Security, by the former Secretary Michael Chertoff.

The basic premise is that we have limited resources to cover ever changing and expanding risks, and that therefore, we must put our security resources to the greatest risks first.

Daniel Ryan and Julie Ryan (1995) came up with a simple formula for determining risks, as follows:

Risk = [(Threats x Vulnerabilities) / Countermeasures)]  x  Impact

Where:

– Threats = those who wish do you harm.

– Vulnerabilities = inherent weaknesses or design flaws.

– Countermeasures = the things you do to protect against the dangers imposed.

[Together, threats and vulnerabilities, offset by any countermeasures, is the probability or likelihood of a potential (negative) event occurring.]

– Impacts = the damage or potential loss that would be done.

Of course, in a perfect world, we would like to reduce risk to zero and be completely secure, but in the real world, the cost of achieving total risk avoidance is cost prohibitive. 

For example, with information systems, the only way to hypothetically eliminate all risk is by disconnecting (and turning off) all your computing resources, thereby isolating yourself from any and all threats. But as we know, this is counterproductive, since there is a positive correlation between connectivity and productivity. When connectivity goes down, so does productivity.

Thus, in the absence of being able to completely eliminate risk, we are left with managing risk and particularly with securing critical infrastructure protection (CIP) through the prioritization of the highest security risks and securing these, going down that list until we exhaust our available resources to issue countermeasures with.

In a sense, being unable to “get rid of risk” or fully secure ourselves from anything bad happening to us is a philosophically imperfect answer and leaves me feeling unsatisfied–in other words, what good is security if we can’t ever really have it anyway?

I guess the ultimate risk we all face is the risk of our own mortality. In response all we can do is accept our limitations and take action on the rest.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to martinluff)

To Follow Or Not To Follow

Theskystallione

Twitter is a great streaming feed for news and information, but what you get depends on who you follow.

While Twitter does provide suggestions based on whether they are “promoted” or who you already follow (i.e. follow Joe because they are “followed by” Julia), it doesn’t tell you a lot of information about them except their Twitter handle, short profile, location, basic stats, etc.
A new service called Twtrland helps you decide who to follow by providing lot’s more information and displaying it in an organized fashion–simply plug in the Twitter handle you are interested in knowing more about and you get the following:
1) Basic Info–Picture, profile, stats on follow/follower/tweets
2) Top Followers–Let’s you know who else (from the who’s who) is following this person.
3) Advanced Stats–Provides measures on how often he/she gets retweeted, tweets per day, retweets, etc.
4) Graph of Content Type–Displays in pie chart format the type of content the person puts out there: plain tweets, links, pictures, retweets, replies and more.
5) Samples of Content by Category–Examples of this persons tweets are provided by category such as: famous words, plains tweets, pictures, links, retweets, and mentions.
I like the concept and execution of Twtrland in organizing and displaying tweeters information.  However, I cannot really see people routinely taking the time to put in each Twitter handle to get this information.  Making a decision a who to follow is not  generally a research before you follow event. The cost-benefit equation doesn’t really make sense, since it doesn’t cost you anything to follow someone and if you don’t like their tweets, you can always change your mind later and unfollow them if you want.
Overall, I see Twtrland more as a profiling tool (for research or interest) by getting a handy snapshot of what people are doing/saying online in the world of micro-blogging, rather than a decision support system for whether I should add someone to my follow list or not.
(Source Photo: Twtrland Profile of Sylvester Stallone, Rocky!)