Books (with sprinkling of articles & podcasts) that have stuck with me throughout 2018 Scale by G West Engineering Systems by O de Weck, D Roos, C Magee Thinking in Systems by D Meadows How Buildings Learnby S Brand Pace Layering article by S Brand Sciences of the Artificial by H Simon Computers and the World of … Continue reading My 2018 reading list
Something I’ve been struggling with lately is: how does one best “package” their efforts to demonstrate what they’re thinking, working on, achieving? I don’t mean in the sense of a resume or elevator pitch. I mean, how do we point to the ongoing outcomes of our efforts, even when those efforts are still in progress? … Continue reading Should I be writing more?
Rough notes from a weeklong revisit to China: Beijing, Wuhan, Changsha, Kunming. Mix of travel tips and reflection, with summarizing thoughts at end. Written with the understanding that these stories are indicative, not representative. For context: I lived in Wuhan 2009-2010 and Beijing 2010-2014. The highspeed rail makes this journey in ~6 hours CITY-CENTERED THOUGHTS … Continue reading TRIP NOTES: CHINA [Dec 2018]
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in Beijing as it opened up), followed by my … Continue reading How Buildings Learn: Beijing Hutongs (thoughts on the unpublished chapter)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
On Infrastructure The Temple of Heaven, a favorite site for a kid living in 1990s Beijing, captured my imagination with its careful construction. Working in 2007 as an engineering intern with Washington State’s Dept of Transportation— cataloging old boring piles for Seattle’s (only recently completed) waterfront viaduct revamp— drew my attention to the behind-the-scenes efforts … Continue reading Making infrastructure sexy
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?