Pitches, speeches, articles, presentations. Get that piece of high-stakes communication done.
In this article, I share with you my experience in building a dynamic pricing system for a long-distance train company, and how we increased the number of seats sold without changing our timetables, nor lowering our average price per seat, by applying very basic principles of microeconomics.
This implementation also applies to any business in which the service it sells shares some characteristics with train seats, that is to say:
Working as a corporate innovation consultant, I am constantly confronted with the tension resulting from having to balance structure and flexibility. When innovating, surely, the more flexibility, and the bigger the canvas, the more freedom, the better, right?
Well, yes and no.
The following scene from Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance between a writing instructor and his student comes to mind. (Emphases are mine).
He’d been innovating extensively. He’d been having trouble with students who had nothing to say. At first he thought it was laziness but later it became apparent that it wasn’t. …
You may have heard a variation of this story before:
Alice, an author, deposits a $100 check she received as an advance for her next book in the bank. Brandon Baker takes that $100 out as a loan from the bank to buy flour for his bakery from Mary Miller. Mary takes the money, and pays Frank Farmer for what she owes him for the wheat. Frank then takes the hundred dollars, and pays Mike the mechanic for what he owes him for repairing his tractor. Then Mike takes the money, and pays $100 he owes Brandon for catering for…
It is said that King Carlos IV of Spain may have made the decision to send Francisco Javier de Balmis on the Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition of 1803 with his broken heart. Carlos’ beloved daughter Maria Teresa had died of smallpox, and the expedition was the first global immunization campaign waged by humanity.
Smallpox’s mortality rate of one-in-three among those infected made it a severely lethal ailment in Europe, but the pandemic was devastating in the Americas. The conquistadors had subjugated the natives with guns, steel, and germs to which they, in their isolation, had not developed genetic resistance. It…
I’m an introvert, and verily so. A test puts me at three standard deviations above the average person in introversion. If accurate, that would mean that I am more introverted than 99.7% of all the people who took that test. So, it was with great relief that I received the news of COVID-induced, social-distancing rules coming into effect at work. I was already working from home one day a week. You know, to do all the serious work that required deep thinking that I could not get around to doing whilst subjected to the constant din of the office. That…
Humanity’s ability to model worldly phenomena in unprecedented: Grow the supply of money, and you spur economic growth, though at the risk of inflation. Get in line of sight of at least two GPS satellites, and you can accurately triangulate your location anywhere on Earth.
Here’s another one: Pump carbon dioxide and methane into the air, and the sunshine trapped under the atmospheric greenhouse thus created will raise global temperatures.
Ironically, despite all our modeling prowess, the path ahead in our next century will not be an easy one to chart. The very same advances in science, technology, and economics…
The better I got at the viola, the worse I realized I was, says comedian John Oliver to Stephen Colbert in this interview. I know the feeling, brother. If life is a case study in ironies, then it is no surprise that comics are a well rich in pithy wisdom.
Acquiring knowledge is like blowing into a balloon. The more air you put in the inside, the more balloon surface you have coming in contact with its outside. Increased knowledge gives you a growing awareness of how much more knowledge you have yet to acquire. …
Jeff Bezos has added 70 billion dollars to his fortune since the start of the pandemic. While this is no doubt to no small degree thanks to the economics of the markets in which Amazon operates, it is also worthwhile to point out one aspect of the culture that Bezos has imparted to his management teams that make them particularly well adapted to virtual and remote work environments, and that is how he runs meetings.
Bezos’ famous three rules for running effective meetings are:
The two pizza rule is good for…
After experiencing consecutive waves of adoption of remote working practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the organizations that she worked with, corporate coach Alyxandra Savage detected an undercurrent of stress and anxiety developing among many of their employees.
It is now becoming clear how we may have underestimated the crucial role that in-person social micro-interactions play in the workplace in providing the context and mooring that are vital for office workers’ psychological security the initial implementations of remote work
By depriving employees from the subtle but continuous feedback that they received from these micro-interactions, social isolation can fuel…