Michael Pollan: “It seemed so implausible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule, right, ingested in your body could transform your outlook on something as profound as death. That’s– that’s kind of amazing.”
My experiences with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) dates back to less-than-a-handful of high school and university “trips”. But I distinctly remember those experiences and they’ve had a profound impact on my perspective on life (for the better, I believe).
I fully support the research into treatment of addiction, anxiety, and depression with these treatments. I think it could be a game-changer for treating returning vets with PTSD.
I’d even go so far as to recommend therapeutic sessions to violent crime offenders before they are admitted into prison, as part of their sentence.
We all live with various levels of fear and anxiety. And our ego can be a sneaky devil at times. I’ve never performed a guided session like this with a trained psychologist, but I would be open to doing one, when it is legal, as a once-a-decade “check-up”.
We seem to be experiencing mental health challenges today and this is a treatment that we should definitely explore further.
I rarely read fiction books. When I read, I almost always read non-fiction books, in hopes of learning something new. I love to learn, so reading non-fiction is a labor of love. But, labor is labor, right?
My wife reads mostly fiction books. Every so often, she finds a book and she cannot put it down until she finishes it. I can probably count the times one one hand that that has happened to me. But it happened this weekend.
Dr David Sinclair is a Director at the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard. He’s a biologist and is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of aging (or anti-aging).
He released a book this month called “Lifespan: Why We Age — And Why We Don’t Have To”. I devoured it this weekend. I could not put it down. In fact, it’s probably one I’ll want to re-read some day.
I’ve been following Dr Sinclair for some time now, but he absolutely blew my mind with what he sees coming down the pike in the realm of anti-aging. I mean, I knew he was working on some interesting stuff in a quest to prolong a healthy life, but then he surfaced some next-level research that takes us into the world of Benjamin Button!
He makes a bold claim that Aging is a disease. And current science is — I hate to say wasting — but it is not optimizing resources by studying individual diseases. It’s like playing whack-a-mole. Dr Sinclair contends that many of these diseases that occur in “old age” are merely symptoms of aging. And there is a “cure” for aging.
I don’t want to ruin it for you, but holy crap, this possibility (imminent certainty?) really makes you think about the implications to society, to our planet, to humanity and Dr Sinclair touches on all of this.
It was awesome. I highly recommend!
If you don’t know who Dr David Sinclair is, here are resources to learn about him:
Headless CDP (Headless Customer Data Platform). Ever heard that term before?
Throw that into Google search. When I do, I get ads for CDP vendors (triggered from inclusion of term “cdp”) and ~75K non-relevant results.
This article is probably 3-5 years ahead if its time, but bear with me…
Let’s explore the history and recent evolution of the CMS (Content Management System). Many sources cite FileNet in 1985 as the first CMS. With the evolution of cloud and the proliferation of channels, CMS’s have evolved.
Most companies are now migrating towards a Headless CMS. Headless CMS is mainstream now; it has it’s own Wikipedia page and relevant Google results that go many, many pages deep on “What is a Headless CMS?”, “Why go Headless”, “Headless CMS vs. _________”.
The article ends with: “By allowing you to integrate with new technologies and applications as they come on the scene, a headless CMS is likely to be the longest-lasting solution in the history of content management systems”
Now replace the word “Content” with “Customer”. And replace “CMS” with “CDP”.
Imagine not having to worry about sending your data outside of your secured environments. Imagine adding as much data as you want, from any source, at your storage costs (no premium). Imagine experimenting and building models at your cloud computing costs (no premium).
They don’t call themselves a Headless CDP; after all, there’s no such thing.
But Syntasa addresses all the checks from the Headless CDP table above.
[UPDATE: January 2021]: Check out Conscia; it is a real Headless CDP
By allowing you to integrate with new technologies and applications as they come on the scene, a Headless CDP is likely to be the longest-lasting solution in the history of Customer Data Platforms.
Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycle has CDP’s coming off the Peak of Inflated Expectations and doesn’t forecast it reaching the Plateau of Productivity for ~2-5 years …perhaps when Headless CDP’s are mainstream? Hmmm…
Headless CDP isn’t even a term, but I bet it will be soon. The evolution is easy to see.
Contrast: An example of Google’s amazing customer service
On Monday, Jan 7, 2019, I bought a round-trip ticket on united.com, as I’d done over a hundred times. It was a round-trip ticket from SNA-SFO for Thursday Jan 10, 2019 (first flight out in the morning, last flight back at night >> Reservation number DT5S2B).
I had a morning meeting in SF at 9:30am. The flight was scheduled to land at 8:23, but it usually lands earlier (as I mentioned, I’ve flown this flight many, many times).
This was a particularly important meeting, however. On Wed evening, I started to get concerned. Everything would have to be absolutely perfect for me to get to this meeting on time. I did not want to be late.
I explored what a car rental would cost to pick up at SNA and drop off at SFO. I could drive up Wed night and then just fly back Thurs. Car rental was only $35! I decided to do that to keep my mind at ease.
The meeting goes well and I carry on with my day. Again, I’ve flown this flight back many times as well and I’m Pre-Check, so I plan my arrival at SFO at 8:00pm; plenty of time.
Except, hmm, “My reservation can’t be found”.
How Customer Service Handled my Situation
I talk to a United agent. Apparently, since I skipped my morning flight, United cancelled my entire reservation. I had no flight back home! If I wanted to get on the flight, I’d have to buy a new ticket!
I skipped the morning flight. I did not ask for a refund. Don’t you guys, as a policy, oversell flights? Free money for you.
I’m calmly ask: “Your policy is to cancel my flight back without any notice to me?”
“That’s our policy, sir”, I’m told.
“Then, please refund me for the 2nd leg – that you cancelled without notifying me – and you can use those funds to buy the new ticket.”
“Sorry, you’ll have to call to book a new reservation. And you’ll have to request a refund through our website”
By this time, it’s about 8:10pm. The flight is boarding…
What I Did
It’s 8:30pm. There were no other flights out that night on other airlines. So, I did what I did the previous night. I rented a car to drive back home.
Having slept very little the previous night (from driving up) and enduring a long day, I was exhausted. But what choice did I have? I wanted to get home to my family.
I rented a car and started the drive down. It was dark and foggy a lot of the way. A lot of the time, I couldn’t see more than 20 ft in front of me. I had to stop several times to take cat naps.
I managed to get home safely at ~5:00am. What would normally be a 5.5 hr drive, it took me 8 hrs because of my breaks to sleep. Ugh.
Customer Service – 2nd Chance
On the drive home, I called United Customer Service. I asked to speak with a supervisor. I wanted to give them an opportunity to make good. My expectation was an apology and a refund.
Instead, all I received was a terse, “It is clearly stated in the policy”.
“Do you actually read the terms and services on websites”.
“Yes, I do sir”.
“So you’re saying that there is nothing you can do. I had to rent a car and drive in the middle of the night. I am never going to fly United again. You are losing a customer for life. You’re okay with this?”
“There’s nothing I can do”.
“Bye Bye, United”.
I then turned to Twitter and vented, tagging @United. They actually responded. Through private messaging though, they couldn’t call me. And they simply pointed me to the refund page on the website.
About an hour or two later, I called United back. I asked for a Supervisor. But got directed to the same one as earlier.
So frustrating. I’m done with United.
I will do everything I can to never fly United again.
Firstly, it’s an absurdly dumb policy!
Secondly, how am I supposed to know that they’d cancel?
This totally ruined my night. But I could imagine grander scenarios where this really really screwed someone else.
I went on United.com and started to book a flight. I had to see where this policy is stated.
The Terms and Conditions at the bottom are trivial.
There is a link for “fare rules and restrictions”, but look at this gobbly-goop. I mean, c’mon! A. Who’s going to click on this link? B. How is one supposed to decipher this?
So, I called United again. I wanted to find out where this policy existed.
I shared my story with the call center agent. I was very calm and apologetic to her, but I was adamant that she find me where this policy is stated.
I walked her through the booking process. We couldn’t find it.
She put me on hold.
“It’s stated on your receipt, in your email confirmation”.
I find the email: “It is? Okay, I have the email. Show me where. Show me where it states that if I don’t show-up, you cancel my whole itinerary”.
“Uh, please hold on again”
Several minutes later, she comes back: “It’s stated in Contract of Carriage”.
She comes back again: “It’s on the website on the link at the bottom of the site”.
And yes, there it is. A link at the bottom of the page to the Contract of Carriage.
A couple clicks through and you do see that Rule 5C:
So, yes, technically it’s there.
It’s still an absurd rule!
But really, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
HOW THE FUDGE AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THIS?!!!
Do they really expect people to follow this labyrinth to understand all these little policies, rules, and/or regulations?!
Let me share a recent experience with Google…
Customer Service Done Right
I bought a pair of Google Pixel Buds last April.
In December, I accidentally left them in a pocket and they wound up in the washing machine and dryer. Argh! Totally my fault.
I called Google Support.
I explained what happened and just asked, “What does my warranty cover? Is there anything you can do?”
My expectation was that this was NOT covered under warranty. Honestly, I was just hoping for a discount code to buy a replacement pair.
Google’s answer (paraphrased): “Sir, unfortunately, this situation is not covered under warranty. But, here’s what I’m going to do for you. As a one-time courtesy, I’m going to send you a new one, but you have to send me yours back. I will charge you, but once we receive your returned (broken) ones, I will refund the charge”.
“Oh WOW!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!”
Know what I bought myself for Christmas?
…A pair of wired Pixel Buds, a Google Hub, and a couple Google Minis.
Google empathized with me and demonstrated that they value me, as a consumer. I’m grateful for it and am more than happy to continue to be a Google customer and use their products and services.
I have a family of five. I travel somewhat frequently for work.
United, you lost me by your horrible business practices.
I (and we) will no longer be United passengers or consumers.
In Football, QBs & RBs get all the glory, but they are nothing without their Offensive Line. In Advanced Analytics, Data Scientists capture all the headlines, but the Data Engineering team is quietly of one of the most important pieces of an Enterprise.
You want to be Data Driven? …you need Data.
Quality Data Data that can be trusted and governed
And available when needed
A Data Scientist can build the most valuable model, but it is always dependent on the data.
As teams evolve to adopt many multiple AI/ML models that depend on the same underlying data, the data pipeline(s) becomes the critical path of the business.
A strong Data Engineering team can make a huge impact on a Data/Decision Science team. Conversely, they can also create a huge drag.
The longest cycles in a ML project is the data wrangling and the production-ization of a model. Data Engineers have the opportunity to drastically reduce these areas and free the Data Scientists to focus on what they do best.
The best QBs take care of their O-Line and are known for giving extravagant gifts (cars, watches, etc.). Data Scientists aren’t star QBs making tens-of-millions, but a simple “Thank You” and acknowledgement of appreciation this holiday season can go a long way!
These victories are to be celebrated as great feats of technology and advancement, until one day… :/
In this competition, lawyers we’re given 5 NDAs to review and identify 30 legal issues.
Humans averaged 85% accuracy rate; AI achieved 95 percent accuracy.
AI also achieved 100% accuracy in one contract, whereas which highest-scoring human lawyer score was 97%.
So, the tech works, but what is the business case?
Human lawyers took an avg of 92 minutes; AI completed the task in 26 seconds!!!
That is at least several hundred dollars of savings.
I’m not a lawyer, but if I was, this isn’t something that I’d be concerned with at all. I’d welcome this with open arms and run to this now, as a potential competitive advantage to provide a better service at a lower cost to my clients. In theory, I’ll be able to serve more clients as well and/or be able to devote more attention to higher valued services.
As a consumer, I’d look for lawyers that have adopted this kind of technology because I will feel more confident in the quality of the service. And presumably, the service might be a little cheaper (relative to others’ that don’t leverage technology).
60 minutes lead story this week was about a whistleblower that came forward with evidence of sexual abuse allegations going on in the churches in Buffalo for decades and the leaders knew about the incidences, yet kept looking the other way.
I’m not religious, but clearly these leaders are serving themselves and not serving their people.
This problem seems very pervasive in Buffalo. Is it pervasive throughout other parts of the country as well? I don’t know, but my suspicion is yes. If it were just a region, then it would be easy for the Vatican to purge one region.
The fact that this has gone on for decades and that there are so many cases, makes me believe that this is institutionalized. Were they abused themselves as children in the church? Do these men then seek priesthood in order to put themselves in a position of power over kids to abuse them?
Doubly so when it comes from people who are supposed to be the “holiest of holy”