That Decisive Qualitative Edge

So I am reading this book called “Israel’s Edge.”


It’s basically about their elite genius program, “Talpiot,” in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  


Each year the program accepts only the top 50 out of 100,000 graduating high school students for a 9-year commitment. 


There are the mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists that help give the IDF the cutting edge in military R&D and other innovations. 


These are the brain trust behind Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and Trophy tank active protection system and many more both military and industrial advances. 


This program was born after the almost disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War where Israel misjudged the intelligence and the advances in their enemies capability and almost lost the war. 


I like the philosophy of General Yitzhak Ben-Israel who understands the importance of challenging the status quo and looking differently at critical situations and avoiding confirmation bias:

My method is not to look for supporting evidence. I look for refuting evidence…you see one white swan, then a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. You still can’t conclude that all swans are white…nature builds us to be inductive, to make generalizations from past experience…this standard way of scientific thinking can be limiting and destructive.”

Instead we must be continuously curious, think outside the box, be creative, and innovate. 


Especially, where we don’t have a quantitative advantage like with Israel surrounded by many enemies, then we must rely on a very sharp qualitative edge. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Tyson’s Corner Wall Art

Thought this was cool at Tyson’s Corner Mall in Virginia. 


Create your own wall art. 


People passing by in the mall, just pull over and start drawing with their fingers in these cool colorful shiny sequin tiles. 


One way moves the sequins to one color and the other direction to an alternate color. 


Some people went up to draw and then took a picture of themselves next to their artwork. 


Everyone loves a little creativity (even in between shopping). 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I’m reading called “Like Dreamers.”

An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.


Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 


And while they say a lot…


There may not be a lot there. 


New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking–that’s like a desert!


In Yiddish (and it’s always funnier in Yiddish), we say:

A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.


Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:

Say a little, and do a lot. 


Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.


It’s at that time that you better be listening.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is Beer A Color?

So thought this was an interestingly funny flip chart. 


It’s titled “Colors”.


And it has the typical ones you’d expect: blue, red, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, grey, brown, and tan. 


But thrown into the mix is beer (and Summer)–maybe these go together! 


Perhaps, someone had a little too much beer when asked about colors.


On second thought, maybe beer is a color.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Architecture, Washington DC

Check out this beautiful exterior architecture.  


This fine exquisite pattern is all around this building by Metro Center. 


I think this must’ve been restored over the last few years, because I don’t remember it being this colorful and awesome in the past. 


Civilization can still create some amazing works…whether technology, medical cures, and even beautiful pieces of artwork. 


Now we just need to proceed with the positives of creativity and productivity without destroying ourselves with indifference, dysfunction, and mismanagement in the process. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:


“But we’ve always done it that way.”


They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.


One day, her daughter asked, “Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?”


The mother answers and says because “My mother always made it that way!”


So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.


Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, “Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?”


And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, “Because, we didn’t have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!”


Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on “asking why.”


Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ship+ In A Bottle

You ever wonder how they build that big ship in that little bottle. 


Someone needs very dexterous hands and a lot of patience to put the pieces through the opening of the bottle and assemble the ship inside. 


But this second grader, Dylan Yasseri, upped the game on this whole concept and imagined a whole beach in the bottle. 


The sand, ocean, sky, birds, crabs, fish, umbrella, and even the shack (snack?) bar!


This is one reason that kids are so awesome–their purity of heart and their endless imaginations make almost anything possible.


The fantasy becomes the reality. 


The colors are magical too here. 


If adults could maintain even half the heart and creativity of our children–oh what a world it could be. 😉


(Source: Andy Blumenthal Photo of Dylan’s beautiful painting).