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Kanri Yakyu

Literally, "controlled baseball."

If you're playing this way, it's by the numbers. The manager tells you precisely what to do, and you do it. There are algorithms for when to bunt, for when to throw a ball. And there is no room for surprise. It is ground out (not a pun), controlled and predictable.

Kanri yakyu will often get you into the playoffs. It rarely means you're going to win the big games, though.

The secret is being able to play this way when you need to, but being brave enough to leap when it's least expected. Just like your career.

Cracking the pottery

For every post that makes it to this blog, I write at least three, sometimes more.

That means that on a regular basis, I delete some of my favorite (almost good) writing.

It turns out that this is an incredibly useful exercise. I know that there's going to be a post, every morning, right here. What I don't know, what I'm never sure of, is which post.

I find that it's almost essential to fall in love with an idea to invest the time it takes to make it good and worth sharing. And then, the hard part: deleting that idea when it's just not what it could be. Too often, organizations are good at the first part, but struggle with the second. And so we defend expired business models, support the status quo and have a knee-jerk inclination to preserve what we've got.

When you get in the habit of breaking your own pottery, it's a lot easier to ask, "what if?" If you know that it's okay to break it later, it's a lot easier to fall in love with it now.

Have you been to this meeting?

If there were evil people in the room, it would actually be easier to swallow. But everyone thinks they're doing their part, playing their role, doing their job…

My take is that the responsibility lies with the marketer who didn't say 'no' before the meeting was called. We owe it to our work and to the people who pay us to stand up (often) and say, "no, sorry, I won't do that."

Just because you have a budget doesn't mean you ought to be hiring people for the project.

Maximizing the value of worry: Snowden’s new project

At a recent conference, I was talking with Ed Snowden about the range of data that's now available, not just to the government, but by extension, to servers in the cloud. We got to thinking about just how much worry is wasted.

Combine this with Google's work on the self-driving car,

and with the increasing use of wearable computers,

and home monitors and videocams…

It turns out that we've been spending countless hours worrying about the wrong things.

It's pretty clear what the next opportunity is. Today, Ed has given me the okay to announce that he has received $15 million in funding to launch a new startup: Worry.com (not ready for sign ups yet, but he wanted to announce this at the beginning of April because the space is about to get crowded). He and his partners already have a spokesperson.

Worry is the very first technological solution that maximizes the benefit of mankind's oldest task: anxiety.

The Worry app is a front end to a sophisticated, cloud-based trouble-recognition system. Using Bayesian probability as well as advanced Fourier transforms and Markoff chains, the backend of Worry will monitor and calculate what really matters—the things you can't control that somehow are a better use of all the time you're spending trying to change things merely by thinking and worrying about them. (I didn't understand all of this at first either, but Snowden is pretty smart, and explained it to me).

Imagine taking everything the web knows about you, including the content of your web history, your emails, your reading habits and more… then integrating that with real-time video cameras and GPS tracking… then adding to that what your friends, rivals and colleagues are saying about you (not just in public, but behind your back).

Using this flow of data, the Worry app computes the things you ought to be worried about. For example, instead of needlessly wasting time worrying about a random event like being bitten by a brown recluse spider, the Worry GPS system can point out that based on where you are, you'd be better off worrying about a different, unpreventable event like being killed by a fire hydrant flying through the air or perhaps by an angry rooster wielding a knife. The Worry app will alert you to that, which dramatically increases the effectiveness of your worrying. 

Even better, the new Worry watch (sorry, I should call it wearable tech) will alert you in case you stop worrying. During worrying downtime, the watch will vibrate, indicating the most likely uncontrollable scenario on your horizon, so you can begin cycling through your anxiousness. 

Instead of spending time fruitlessly fretting about things that are extremely unlikely to happen, or worrying about whether your friend Sue was offended by what you said last night (he looked it up: she wasn't), now you can experience failure in advance on issues that are actually more likely to happen. Worry about the right stuff. 

Your sleepless nights will now be more productive, because you can be sleepless about the right things.

In addition to Mr. Snowden, board members include pioneers Cory Doctorow, Stewart Brand and Pema Chodron. Matt Cutts has agreed to leave Google to run their SEO efforts. Stay tuned!

Look for them to launch in about a year…

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