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Gregory Esau
Works at SmartSwarms Management and Consulting
Attended The School of Life
Lived in Vancouver
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Gregory Esau

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More Dog Piling on the Chinese Economy
It Never Gets Old
#thebigpicture   #smokeandmirrors  

More disentanglement of the myths and adoration that the Chinese economy was some kind of unstoppable force, some kind of miracle, some kind of magic the other baffoons in the Western world economies hadn't figured out. 
I haven't had this much fun since I stole borrowed the parents Impala at age 15.
 
I was incredulous in 1995, skeptical in 2005 (but at least impressed they had kept the charade going for this long), and now bemused as all the chickens are coming home to roost. 


The main argument that we hear against a China carry trade unwind is that the Chinese government will not let it happen and it has US$3.9 trillion in foreign exchange reserves to handle the issue.

It is astonishing how often this type of argument is repeated. It is worth keeping in mind that though China has these assets, it also has a whole lot more in liabilities – debts of close to US$24 trillion, up $15 trillion since 2008 alone. Thus these debts dwarf China’s foreign-exchange reserves. Note also the 3Q decline in reserves, which may be a portent of things to come.

Via +Jeffrey J Davis 
By John Richardson. MYTH No 1 about China is that the rise of its middle classes guarantees a prosperous economic future. No need for a Plan B we are told. Just follow the money by investing in lots of autos and other manufacturing capacity, often “high end”, and everything will be fine – along ...
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Gregory Esau

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Barclays, Banks
And Blockchain Evolution

More indicators it will be banks, and big banks at that, that will drive the adaptive evolution of the blockchain technology. 
For one, they understand better the problems that can be solved with blockchain for transactions, smart contracts, etcetera. 
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Gregory Esau

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Of Social Networks
And Engineered Serendipity
#smartswarms  

This can be tied together with two of my previous posts over the last 24 hours, combined into a "why you network" and "think like an owner" train of thought.  (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GregoryEsau/posts/7WXNs7ULGtb) and (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GregoryEsau/posts/iroJZLN5Msk) [respectively]. 

If we have a well developed mindset of why we network, a well developed network (what I would call a Smart Swarm), combined with the mindset of business ownership (we think of the broader implications of our role in a business, and take keen interest in other's roles), we are in a much better position to orchestrate serendipity, or, that is, to Smart Swarm

As Greg Lindsay does here, let's take a fresh look at what serendipity should be:

I believe there’s a third way between the diminishing returns of typical organizations and sheer luck. In Silicon Valley, they call it “engineering serendipity,” and if that strikes you as an oxymoron (which it is), perhaps we need to step back and redefine what serendipity means:

Serendipity isn’t magic. It isn’t happy accidents. It’s a state of mind and a property of social networks — which means it can be measured, analyzed, and engineered.
It’s a bountiful source of good ideas. Study after study has shown how chance collaborations often trump top-down organizations when it comes to research and innovation. The challenge is first recognizing the circumstances of these encounters, then replicating and enhancing them.

Engineering company "campuses" is one thing, albeit an expensive endeavor (it doesn't necessarily work), and there would be much to learn from here. 
The other is knowing how to cultivate and orchestrate your own Smart Swarms to capture the same benefits. 
I’d like to tell the story of a paradox: How do we bring the right people to the right place at the right time to discov…
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The Clash of Civilizations
Technology Meets Humanity--Amabot Edition

In 1996, Samual P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order hit the bookstores, and was one of (many) seminal books that helped me shape my worldview, with clues as to where things just might be going. (We'll set aside for another day as to how prescient that work was! [Quite, imo])
What Huntington missed was another emerging civilization, one with a near cultish obsession with machine, machine like efficiency and automation,  with a drive for empire not unlike most religious inspired civilizations.
The effects on humanity, society, and even the world order are arguably no less profound.

Is Amazon the tip of the iceberg? Is it our future? What's really happening at Amazon?  
 
What's Really Happening at Amazon?

The recent reports about Amazon's work conditions are disturbing, but I wanted to take a deeper dive into what I think is really happening at the company. At the heart of the problem is what I'm starting to now see as my new mantra on the effects of robotics, artificial intelligence and automation more generally on human work: 

Today, the role of human labor is to do the work machines have not yet learned.

This article started off as just a post here on Google+, but then I started going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, and fell into some conclusions that I think are pretty important about the relatively near-term future of human work. So this article is about Amazon because it's at the cutting edge of something bigger.

It's not a particularly optimistic take on where things are going, and I do think there are alternatives to the picture painted here, which I'd be happy to get into in comments. 

This one's hot off the press, and, I think, one of my better ones. 

#amazon   #automation   #technologicalunemployment   #robotics   #artificialintelligence  
Amazon's "Amabot" - humans doing the work machines haven't yet learned. The results can be dehumanizing.
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I'm with you, +Pontus Hammarbäck. Making the technology people-centric is important. It's challenging for a number of reasons, one of which that we need to specify which people. Right now, Amazon's technology is actually quite people centric, but the people it's built around are customers. 

At to the apparent paradox of how the staff at Amazon can be working 80+ hour-weeks and still be efficient, that's what I was trying to address in the article in the "Dehumanization" section. 
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The K&D Sessions
Kruder & Dorfmeister

The legendary (within some circles) K&D Sessions. Hip music that defies categorization, although could loosely be put under Electronica if pressed. 
I'm feeling hip, so it's on the proverbial platter as we speak. (really an old Macbook Pro plugged into the stereophonic equipment)
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It grows, and grows on me, +Peter Feltham !

A burning question, +Joe DeBaisio .
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A Fascinating Look
Into The Design Process

As we may (or may not) know, design thinking is permeating into all levels of business thinking (some say to the point of saturation, but that was a post from last week). 
In my (not so humble) opinion, design thinking is making infecting different parts of the organization and its mindset for good reason. Design, is the difference. 
That was obvious, and evident to me through my thirty (30!?!) years in home building, much of that in custom. Good design matters, good architecture matters. It's the difference between a waste of 1.5 million, or a "Wow, man, your place is amazing!" 1.5 million. (arbitrary figure.)

So, lets assume design matters. If it does, and it does to you, this is a really neat look into the process of the new Google logos. 

Via +Denis Labelle 
At Google we say, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” With this in mind, we seek to design experiences that inspire and enlighten our users.
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Not only is this "Googley" it is quite plussable. :)) +Google 
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Gregory Esau

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A Win
Against Shoddy, Ill-Conceived, Inept, League Investigations

The league continues with it's unbroken string of demonstrations of how inept they are with investigating anything
+Business Insider  called the ruling "Shocking", but no, it wasn't shocking at all. What was shocking, that in an actual court of law, rather than the kangeroo court of the NFL hearing office, the um, "case" presented by the NFL was shredded by the judge, to the point where the NFLPA barely had to do anything. 

Any other ruling would have been a travesty of  justice and procedure. 

Goodall and the league office are utterly inept at understanding what it is they do, try to do, and mete out when it comes to drug use, domestic violence, or anything that requires nuance and ability to think. 
Goodall, need you be reminded, was trained as an "economist", so make of that what you will. 
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Gregory Esau

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The Knowledge Investor
Re-Framing The Relationship

I love it when someone, +Esko Kilpi in this mentally nutritious post, articulates something I've been perking away in my own mind, but couldn't cook it up for a serviceable, digestible way.

The new view understands firms as contextual interaction, rather than seeing them as entities outside of that interaction. Neither is it helpful anymore to prioritize financial investments above human capital investments. The knowledge-based view sees firms as continually evolving live networks of investments and interaction.

A knowledge worker is always an investor. This means that in practice we should not talk any more about the employer — employee relationship, when talking about knowledge work. Instead, it is an investment — investor relationship.

The challenge for the firm is to be inviting to as many contributions/ investments, as possible, from as many people as possible. Another difference from the industrial model is the growing need to cross-organizational and geographic borders when trying to optimally match tasks and skilled contributions. The form of a firm doing this resembles an Internet-based platform. Firms become multi-sided markets.

Now, in this following paragraph, comes the "money line":

It may be good news. The networked business increases its intellectual capital as the nodes of the network do the same. The network acts as an amplifier of knowledge. But the demands for the worker grow. Being skilled is not enough. The challenge for the knowledge worker is to take responsibility for the value and growth of her human capital and to plan her “investment portfolio” carefully. Work should always equal learning.

The crux of the biscuit (as Frank Zappa would say) is the vitality of this explicit understanding between the firm, and the value provider. And, for that matter, how the firm is designed. This has to be valued, and visualized via social network mapping and finely defined "data flows" for firm and value provider to fully realize and express the potential in this relationship. 
A firm is normally seen as an entity that is separate from its members. After specific financial investments have been m…
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Gregory Esau

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To Think Like A Leader
Think Like An Owner

In other words, understanding the greater context and consequences of your actions, beyond that of what you perceive of your role or job. 
In all of my years in the highly demanding world of custom homebuilding, where you live and breath your mistakes, and triumphs every single day (there is no place to hide in that world!), I tried to preach this to my crews and the people I worked with. For myself, I never saw myself as just a carpenter, or site lead, but as an orchestrator of a building process. I tried to work only with General Contractors who valued me as such (which was fewer than what one would think or hope!). 
While getting people on my sites to see themselves as an integral part of a business didn't meet my own expectations often enough, I never doubted the wisdom of the pursuit. When it did come together, it was the difference between joy and toil. And 'joy' was vastly superior in terms of quality and production. 

It sounds simple: “Think like an owner.” In fact, it is hard to do. It requires you to put yourself in the shoes of the decision-maker. You may realize that you prefer not to be in those shoes. There’s too much pressure; there are too many considerations; there are too many constituencies. With all the complexity, constant change, and myriad of issues in the modern world, it may be easier to rationalize more narrow thinking: Dammit, it’s not my job!

Yes, it is your job, if you want to be a leader. If it frustrates you, or makes you agonize, or even creates a heightened level of stress for you, then you need to get used to experiencing those feelings. The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at doing it. I would urge you to begin to believe and internalize the view that thinking like an owner is central to your effectiveness in your job. Thinking like an owner means getting to conviction. “Conviction” is meant to describe a threshold level beyond which you feel a high level of confidence about what you truly believe should be done.
Owners consider the broader needs of the business.
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You Reap
What You Sow

I keep wanting to like Uber the service, as, in principle, I like the model. Except Uber the company keeps playing like total dickheads. 
This could have been, should have been a win-win between a network of independent contractors, and an organizing body. Instead, it's the early 20th century all over again, in this case pitting service providers and technology and marketing providers against one another. 

I do get that Uber doesn't want to get locked into people as drivers model, and their longterm plan is driverless cars, but that reality is ten years out, at least. 
I'm not a rose-coloured-glasses-idealist, but I would like to think there was an arrangement that would have worked well for all parties in this "sharing economy". 

But Judge Chen notes that “there is inherent tension between this argument and Uber’s position on the merits” because Uber itself has treated the drivers as a uniform class by deeming every one of them to be a contractor. “Despite Uber’s argument to the contrary, there are numerous legally significant questions in this litigation that will have answers common to each class member that are apt to drive the resolution of the litigation,” Chen wrote.
Class certification does not mean that drivers have won. A jury trial will still determine whether Uber drivers meet the legal definition of employees – in which case the company would owe massive amounts of back pay to all eligible drivers – or not. And Chen did not give the drivers everything they wanted. The judge rejected class status for drivers’ claims involving Uber policy around reimbursing expenses like gas, tolls, and the cost involved in a canceled fare.
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+Gregory Esau Touche'
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Where This Goes, I Don't Know
But This Isn't An Issue That Is Going Away

Bravo to Will Smith and the people behind Concussion for bringing a very serious issue to the big screen. 
Via +Brad Esau 

CONCUSSION is going to piss off the NFL. We should not try to pretend otherwise. Moreover, there is no concession we could make short of agreeing to cancel the project entirely that could possibly satisfy them. Our strategy should thus be based on the assumption that we are going to be facing a powerful adversary that may try to prevent the movie from being made—and, failing that, to ensure that as few people as possible see it or take it seriously.
It's based on a true story — which the NFL tried to cover up.
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Indeed, +Gregory Allan .
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Abnormal
Is The New Normal

We've had dry summers before, but nothing like the one we just had. 
Windstorms. What's normally reserved for November, hits us in August. Saturday here in Vancouver, man, it was insane!
The really sad part was losing so many urban trees. 

“We’re starting to see weather we’ve never seen before, patterns that are not as predictable as what people who have been around a long time get used to seeing. We have good weather service information. This unpredictable stuff that is coming along that is causing a lot of trouble, not just for us, is very difficult to anticipate,” he said.

Martell isn’t the only one thinking that way.

Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver’s deputy city manager, views the windstorm as just one weather event in a summer that has “climate change” written all over it.

“If you look at the summer as a whole, this will go down in history as the first summer Vancouver really experienced climate change,” he said. “Think about air quality problems due to the extreme fires, the drought, the water shortages, extended periods of heat and then followed by extreme storm events. All we’re missing here is very high water levels.”

Johnston said the city has been predicting this kind of unusual weather for a while. In 2012 city council approved a “climate adaptation strategy” that called for changes in how the city plans for extreme weather events. It began planting different types of drought-tolerant trees as part of its 2020 Greenest City plan.

That effort had little impact on Saturday’s windstorm. The city immediately lost more than 500 street trees, many of which were weakened by the summer’s drought. Many more may be found to be damaged in post-storm inspections.

Both Martell and Johnston said the drought dried out roots, branches and leaves, creating the opportunity for trees to topple and branches to land on electricity lines with impunity.



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Windstorm+shakes+foundation+Hydro+weather+prediction+system/11330841/story.html#ixzz3kVhGmop5
 
The surprise windstorm that bashed the most densely populated areas of British Columbia on Saturday and created the largest single outage in BC Hydro’s history was largely unforeseen until it was almost upon Metro Vancouver.
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oh sad!
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Consulting. SmartSwarm Management and Consulting
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Are you kidding? I'm a generalist and continual learner.
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  • SmartSwarms Management and Consulting
    Founder, present
    I use the collective intelligence in business environments and networks to "Swarm" problems, create opportunities, to advance businesses and organizations towards continual adaptation.
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Vancouver - Victoria - Mission, B.C.
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Smart Swarming The Future of Organization
Introduction

SmartSwarm Management and Consulting

Better Perspectives
Better Decisions
Better Context
Complex Problem Solving
Engagement
Leadership
Ecosystems

I use Google Plus as social media, to stay informed, to connect with collective intelligence, and keeping my perspective broad. 
I post to inform, broaden perspective, occasionally amuse, and to offer glimpses into my life and city. 
Bragging rights
I build things.
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Education
  • The School of Life
    Experience/ Trial and Error, 1959 - 2011
  • mission senior secondary
    1975 - 1977
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