Newsletter – July, 2018

On My Mind
Congratulations to IBM for its Summit supercomputer which was recently named the world’s fastest computer according to a July 1, 2018 article on Page B5 in the Star Tribune. Some of the IBM employees who contributed to the Summit project are based in Rochester, Minnesota. This article had more significance to me because I recently read the book “The Superman” discussed below. The IBM employees are already working on how to go faster. Very inspiring!

Interesting Stories
Mastering the fundamentals matters! The University of Arkansas was one out away from winning the NCAA Division I College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska recently against Oregon State University (OSU) when an unfortunate “mistake” occurred. An OSU player hit a high foul ball and three Arkansas players converged on the expected landing site – and then the ball innocently dropped on the ground in-between the three Arkansas players. It looked like any of the three Arkansas players could have caught the ball if not for the heat of the moment confusion and poor communication. I’ve been in that situation before on the baseball field where each of the players involved thinks one of the other players will catch the ball only to have no one catch the ball. One convention I learned is that the outfielder running forward towards the ball takes the lead and yells loudly several times “I’ve got it!” and then catches the ball. This situation is common in baseball and success depends upon mastering one of the fundamentals of baseball. Long story short – OSU went on to win that game and the next game to become the Division I Champion. Mastering the fundamentals does indeed matter.

Company News
I presented on Big Data Strategy on June 5, 2018 at the Big Data Tech 2018 Conference conducted by MinneAnalytics. The schedule for the next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC events has been set: Introduction to Analytics & Big Data Course – July 11-12, 2018; Strategic Improvement Green Belt Course – Starts August 15, 2018; and the Strategic Improvement Black Belt Course – Starts August 21, 2018. Also, the 10th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 2, 2018 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The brochures are available on this website.

Intriguing Reads
I just read a riveting book by Charles J. Murray titled, “The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards behind the Supercomputer.” The author did an excellent job chronicling the early evolution of supercomputers while weaving in-and-out passages about Seymour Cray, Control Data Corporation, IBM, and others. I especially enjoyed learning about the new product (supercomputer) development process – the enormous investment of time and money and the intense pressure to rapidly invent new technology. If you want to gain insights into new product development and the genius of Seymour Cray, then this is the book for you.