Monthly Archives: February 2020

EP41 Daniel Mezick on the Agile Organization



Daniel Mezick talks with Jim about how he got into business consulting & agile processes, what an openspace organization is & how it scales with business size/type, Jim’s experience with agile, how an agile scrum is structured, the value of DevOps & product managers, types of agile processes & common pitfalls, learned helplessness, what openspace technology is & how it works, managing ambiguity & change management, inviting vs delegating as a leader, understanding authority & its connection to complex system functionality, boundary management, semiotics, and more.

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Mentions & Recommendations

Daniel Mezick leads NewTech, a business management consultancy keenly focused on Agile transformation and Business Agility. He coaches executives and teams on how to get rapid, effective and lasting improvement. In his books and workshops, he teaches very specific ways to quickly and predictably get real and lasting results, by encouraging self-management at scale.


EP40 Eric Smith on the Physics of Living Systems



Multidimensional thinker Eric Smith has a wide-ranging talk with Jim about the origins of life, monetary systems, language & sustainability. Eric starts by sharing how geochemistry informs the origin of life topic, the dynamics of autocatalytic processes, how little we know about biological systems & what this might tell us about the Fermi paradox. The conversation then goes into the importance of institutions & a dynamic perspective on monetary systems, the subprime mortgage crisis, money substitutes & crypto. They then finish this chat by talking about Eric’s interest in linguistics & what it can learn from modern probability, key areas of focus for ecosystem sustainability, the challenge of reconciling ‘small local’ & ‘global policy’ approaches to sustainability, the role of civil society, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

D. Eric Smith received the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1993, with a dissertation on problems in string theory and high-temperature superconductivity. From 1993 to 2000 he worked in physical, nonlinear, and statistical acoustics at the Applied Research Labs: U. T. Austin, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 2000 he has worked at the Santa Fe Institute on problems of self-organization in thermal, chemical, and biological systems. A focus of his current work is the statistical mechanics of the transition from the geochemistry of the early earth to the first levels of biological organization, with some emphasis on the emergence of the metabolic network.


EP39 John Koza on Bleeding Edges



Multi-talented thinker & creator John Koza & Jim start by talking about what led him to create secure lottery ticket tech early in his career. They then go on to talk about how he got interested in genetic algorithms, his pioneering work in genetic programming, how powerful it is, and some of its stand-out applications. Lastly, John tells Jim what led him to create the National Popular Vote bill, how it works, its current state support, how it addresses the prisoner’s dilemma, the role partisanship plays, responses to common concerns about the bill, and more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

John R. Koza is Chair of National Popular Vote and a member of the Board of Directors. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan in 1972. He published a board game involving Electoral College strategy in 1966. From 1973 through 1987, he was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Scientific Games Inc. where he co-invented the rub-off instant lottery ticket used by state lotteries. In the 1980s, he and attorney Barry Fadem were active in promoting adoption of lotteries by various states through the citizen-initiative process and state legislative action. Between 1988 and 2003, he taught a course on genetic algorithms and genetic programming at Stanford University, where he was a consulting professor. He is lead author of the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote and originator of the National Popular Vote legislation. Koza has visited 29 states on behalf of National Popular Vote.