Over dinner with my former colleague ZZ in Changsha, he mentioned something that caught my attention. “You know in China, we have this saying: Tixi jueding suoyou de dongxi. The tixi decides all things.” I had to look up “tixi” (体系) in my Pleco Chinese dictionary first. “System; Setup” Pleco defines. ZZ went on to define his … Continue reading Tixi 体系
The hutongs north of Beijing’s Forbidden City have always been my favorite part of the city. Narrow alleyways, curving about, full of chaotic day to day life. Or so, that was my experience hearing my mother’s stories from the early 1980s (as a Hong Konger living in Beijing as it opened up), followed by my … Continue reading How Buildings Learn: Beijing Hutongs (thoughts on the unpublished chapter)
This year, I’ve been fascinated by Herb Simon. We’re on nickname terms, he and I. There is much that Herb Simon should be known for, including: Founding the Business AND Computer Science programs at Carnegie Mellon… and revamping the Psychology program, too Elucidating the concepts of satisficing and bounded rationality (which he won a Nobel for) Developing … Continue reading My mental ecosystem: this year’s lessons from Herb Simon
The following is an elaborated transcription from an in-person dialogue on Infrastructure. For a more navigable version of this content, see this Notion page. This session is going to be an open conversation. I’ll first seed it with my own thoughts from my own discipline, and will then open it up for others to share … Continue reading Dialogues on Infrastructure
These ideas are a Work in Progress, i.e. in full-on morphing form. If a systems perspective is not part of your DNA (quite likely), how do you instill rigor around systems thinking at your organization? It’s tough to do this when you’re in the weeds trying to make things happen, or when you’re in full “get-shit-done” survival … Continue reading How to build a Systems Lab? (work in progress)
What concepts from the early days of automation / systems thinking were tossed out because they were not economically / socially / technically feasible… at the time? What might be applicable today?
Or: The joys of being a Big Picture Guy As a young engineer, I was persistently frustrated by the antics of my resident “Big Picture Guy.” BPG oversaw one of my projects at the engineering design firm where I worked. It seemed — to early 20s me — that his business-focused mind could *only* dilate at the higher level. … Continue reading Hierarchic Span