On My Mind: The stock markets have been quite volatile the past few months making for an emotional roller coaster ride for investors. The value of an investor’s nest egg can increase significantly one day resulting in feelings of security and confidence only to have the value of the nest egg decrease significantly the next day resulting in feelings of fear and despair. Variation can affect feelings. Fortunately, there are several statistical techniques that can help people learn from—and in some instances rationally predict—variation. Moving Average Charts, Statistical Control Charts, and Auto-Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) Models can be used to generate insights into the variation associated with performance metrics. These techniques are not easy for novices to apply, but once mastered through diligent study and the use of a statistical software package like Minitab, they can enlighten the user and reduce anxiety through improved decision making. Happy investing! Interesting Stories: It doesn’t take long for a reputation to be destroyed . . . just ask Carlos Ghosn who was the super star head of the Renault/Nissan/Mitsubishi automobile alliance. He remains detained in a Tokyo jail cell while investigations in France and Japan continue into his pay and business practices. The evolving story is complex because it spans multiple countries (France, Japan, Brazil, Lebanon, and Holland) and involves arcane accounting laws. The latest rumor is that Renault paid for Ghosn’s lavish wedding which he is now offering to pay back. One of the most intriguing aspects of the case has been the revealed differences between the French and Japanese business and legal cultures. It will be interesting how this plays out, but it looks like the Renault/Nissan relationship is on shaky ground. Company News: The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses for the Winter/Spring time frame are the following: Basic Statistics & Analytics will be held February 12-13, 2019; Creating High-Performing Work Teams will be held February 26, 2019; Implementing Process Management will be held March 20-21, 2019; Leading Rapid Action Projects will be held April 11-12, 2019; Strategy Tools for Strategic Improvement will be held April 30, 2019; Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts May 6, 2019; and Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts May 20, 2019. The brochures for these courses are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. Intriguing Reads: I thoroughly enjoyed The Deep Learning Revolution book by Terrence J. Sejnowski. We hear so much about AI these days and yet a good operational definition seems to be missing. What is AI? This book details the historical evolution of AI using amazing pictures and easy-to-understand language. I especially enjoyed the two chapters on The Age of Algorithms and Inside Information. If you were to read only one book on AI, then you might consider this book being the one.