Video Of The Week: Value For Many

Praveen sent me this TED talk by R.A. Mashelkar from TED India 2009. I just watched it and I agree with Praveen that its an important talk and an important concept. The video is, in typical TED fashion, only 20 minutes long.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave Pinsen

    This Paul Bruno comment about TED that I shared yesterday may be apposite.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Isn’t that the glass half empty perspective ?The glass half full perspective:If I had have been more educated to the impossibilities I would have never started ?Most of us have experienced that at some point !

    2. JamesHRH

      Hello, my name is VP Al Gore.I agree & I can present like a banditThe real key is the first 15 seconds: that is where the assumptions get past the audience. Once they agree with the premise, they are along for the presenter’s ride & the payoff we all know is coming.Its the assumptions that need inspection in TED talks: the framing of the talk or the ‘startling obvious conclusion’ from certain data that is presented in the first slide.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        You’ve got to be the wealthiest former VP ever, so: success.

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          Pioneers are so often dead wrong on their initial vision but they facilitate getting the conversation cranked up with passionate engagement.They also serve – who get the ball rolling!Why is America so consumed with personalized attacks and cynicism ?It serves no one well as it undermine constructive civil dialogue !Why should Gore be singled out for wealth villainization in a nation that worships personal wealth success ?

          1. Dave Pinsen

            I don’t have a problem with Al Gore’s wealth, per se, but there is something a bit unseemly about using connections built in public service to buck rake at such scale. Also, his hypocrisy – environmental scold with enormous , energy guzzling mansion, etc. – grates a bit.That said, I do respect how he got on the Apple train early.

          2. JLM

            .Al Gore leveraged his family business — looting the public till through faux public service — into personal wealth and riches.Along the way, he lost his soul, his wife and perhaps his mind.He is a phony, a poseur, a fakir and a naif.He is mired in the depths of poverty if your currency is character.JLM.

          3. JamesHRH

            That has it about right.Its like Larry Page looked across the BoD table and saw DoJ Firewall where his nameplate sat.

          4. sigmaalgebra

            > He is a phony, a poseur, a fakir and a naif.Ah, such high praise from such faint damnation!Now, now, now, his movie drew from some of the ice cores that showed temperature and CO2 concentration rising and falling together. Yes, the ice cores covered maybe 400,000 years.There was just one itsy bitsy tinsy winsy tiny little point: If look at the data carefully, then the CO2 levels increased about 800 years after the warming. So, his claim that the CO2 levels caused the warming is off by at least 800 years. Instead, clearly, the warming created more biological activity that created more CO2. The warming was from whatever cause but definitely not CO2.But, gee, I don’t want to nit pick! All Saint Laureate Al Guru wants us to do is to pay big ‘carbon taxes’, shut down most of the energy industry, have people in over half the US and all of Canada freezing to death in the winters, get rid of cars, severely restrict trucks, and generally shoot the whole US economy in the knees, gut, and between the eyes. All in the name of stopping sinful, evil humans (can learn about those in divinity school, even if fail out) that need severe retribution for their sinful transgressions and redemption only via sacrifice and suffering. Right? Am I getting this right?So, it’s an old ‘morality’ play and a flim-flam, fraud, scam. Looks like some divinity school taught that the Mayans killed people to pour their blood on a rock to keep the sun moving across the sky. So, if we will quit using carbon then we will keep the planet from overheating. How could that logic be wrong? I mean, do we really want to overheat the planet? We don’t? Then why are some people doubting the great Wizard Saint Laureate Al Guru? Don’t look behind that curtain!And Hillary is going along with it. And, let me guess, Hillary likes ObamaCare because it is so close to HillaryCare. And, Hillary, can we finally have some clear talk about Benghazi?Flim-flam, fraud, scam, shooting the US economy in the knees, gut, and between the eyes — why get so wound up; what’s not to like? After all, humans are evil, right?, and should suffer and sacrifice, right? Besides, if God had wanted people to live where there are cold winters, then he would have had them grow long, dense fur and hibernate, right?Oh, think of how lost we would be without the great, caring, fatherly wisdom of our hero Saint Laureate Al Guru!!!!!!

          5. SubstrateUndertow

            Tell us what you really think !Keep your window of doubt wide open, even your most sacrosanct conclusions should never be elevated to a status level above “working conclusions”. That window of doubt is your portal to freedom from self delusion. Enlist and develop your “third eye” to police that window as if your life depended on it.

          6. sigmaalgebra

            Such caution and desire to filter out nonsense is much of why I majored in math with nearly a major in physics.Maybe you are entertaining that Al Guru might actually be right. Well, too much of what he has said, e.g., due to the 800 years I mentioned, is flatly wrong and will never be right. But maybe you believe that maybe he might be right about humans causing global warming or climate change to a significant degree now and for the rest of this century.Am I convinced he’s wrong? No.Why? Because my view is, and I recently discovered that Freeman Dyson has much the same view, that no one knows what the heck will be the effects of humans and their use of carbon on the climate. No one knows. Really, no one has much more than a weak little hollow hint of a tiny clue.Why? Because we know too much: We do know the crucial science of physics and chemistry. And that science gives us essentially only ‘differential’ information. E.g., we have the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid flow. We have lots of cases of diffusion. We have quantum mechanics and Schroedinger’s equation. We have Maxwell’s equations. These are all differential equations, that is, say what will happen in the next instant given a lot about this instant.Right: At least as a first approximation, all that differential science boils down to energy balance, right? Right. But calculating that energy balance pushes us back into the differential equations.And for just one, the Navier-Stokes equations are math from Hell. E.g., quickly we encounter turbulent flows, and there, in the famous words of Groucho Marx, we are “Stuck-o. Oh how you can get stuck-o”.Make some progress with the Navier-Stokes equations and can pick up a prize of $1 million from Clay Mathematics in Boston. Will likely also get an Abel Prize. I got accepted to graduate school at the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown and went for an interview to check out if I wanted to go. There I got some advice, “Stay away from the Navier-Stokes equations.”. The advice is still good.So, the only science we have for predicting global warming or climate change is to take the differential equations and solve them, for all the surface of the earth, including land, water, and air, for, say, 100 years. Basically we are doing detailed weather prediction for 100 years. Why? Because that’s all the science gives us.So, we know the equations and know how to program them. So, it’s all just a small matter of software and computer time, right? Wrong! Quickly the solutions go unstable in the sense that small changes in the initial conditions too soon give large differences in the results. So, second cut, we need to take a simple random sample of likely initial conditions and get a probability distribution of results. Too much computing. We don’t know how to do that yet.So, net, we can’t do anything very serious with science to say what the weather will be on Christmas day 50 years from now or what the average global temperature will be 50 years from now.Then the real problem gets still more difficult: Once there are some significant changes, some biological systems will respond, and we have no science, differential or otherwise, to predict the response.Net, we just don’t know, and our best science can’t tell us yet.Maybe we can guess that if we light a candle, then we will warm the planet, but here we are guessing, and we can’t really do the calculation in detail over long intervals of time.But there is one thing I do know: Essentially everything Al Guru says about climate is either clearly wrong, e.g., the 800 years, or not supportable by anything like current science.Next, I would feel like a gullible fool if I took Al Guru at face value; I would be letting myself be manipulated. That is, just because the science is not clear, I would be letting myself be exploited, be towed around by a string through my nose, for some totally non-scientific reasons.

          7. SubstrateUndertow

            Agreed, the sheer complexity of the biosphere as an emergent complex organic living system dwarfs our present ability to model it in any meaningful way.Maybe that implies good risk management should error on the side of caution, given the stakes at hand ?

          8. sigmaalgebra

            “Risk management”? What Al Guru et al. are proposing might or might not help the planet but definitely would devastate the lives of many humans on this planet. Humans are part of the “biosphere”, too!

          9. jason wright

            if your currency is character. i like that.

          10. JLM

            .Nice turn of a phrase — wealth villainization. I have shoplifted this phrase for future use pretending it is my own.Wealth villainization is class warfare in a see through wrapper. It is very, very effective.One sees a successful person and becomes livid with envy. Same person asked if they could or would do what it takes to earn that wealth would say — let me get back to you.Guys like Pres Obama who received extraordinary opportunities now believe their handpicked handmaidens are all entitled to extraordinary outcomes.By promising and proselytizing about those outcomes they rally the least accomplished, most dependent and woefully ill-informed to their cause.Unfortunately, they come armed with the same vote as an accomplished voter.We are at all time high in confusing outcomes with opportunities and it is not an accident. The American Dream is still alive and well but has been mugged and mocked because it still requires one to get up early, stay late and work on a few weekends.The leaders of this cause could not ever get near the paywindow in an honest endeavor.JLM.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Or, I just set up fake straw men and tear them down….

    3. LE

      This goes along with a comment that I made the other day about judgement and learning over time.As anyone who has ever read a story in the newspaper about something that they know a great deal about will tell you, there are always problems with the info that they can pick out. [1] In a sense it becomes infotainment (for lack of a better way to say “info” and “education”) more than anything else. Meaning it has some value but not necessarily what someone thinks the value is.Over time of course if you know something about the subject matter you can read these articles and more or less gain something from even inaccurate writing. Because you know what is correct and what isn’t. But if you know nothing at all or near nothing you are in no position to do so. Especially if you happen to be particularly naive in the way you look at things. [2][1] Of course it could also be the “ask 10 doctors get 10 different opinions”[2] I’ve described this to people as “the guy in college who seems so wise and all knowing to the naive freshman girl”. He speaks of thing she has no clue about and it’s easy to sound intelligent when you are talking about something the other person knows nothing about. This of course happens with more than just freshman and of course girls.

  2. Rachel

    I see 4 kids on that scooter. Therein lies a much bigger problem than the cost of a car.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      One man’s problem is another man’s social security insurance !Yet another chicken or egg problem !

  3. Richard

    What does Social mean? Tech for Social Innovation or Tech for Social Networking.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Nice from Wiki…It always refers to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntaryIn other words And not Or !

  4. jason wright

    i don’t have a car and i don’t want one.value for many is also a cost for many. the environment will not sustain the $2,000 car, but that won’t be reflected in Tata’s balance sheet.

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      Marxist 🙂

      1. jason wright

        moi?enlightened dictator 😉

  5. Subi

    yuhuu and another indian using a motorized wheelchair

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      ? ? ?

  6. Jayadev Gopalakrishn

    The Nano was an amazing innovation, no doubt. However its positioning as the One Lakh (~USD 2000) car was a massive failure because the aspiring lower middle class did not want to ‘upgrade to cheap’. (The company has now turned around the positioning to appeal to college-going students with the new ‘Awesome’ tag). Lesson: ‘Value’ perhaps does not lie in being cheap/affordable alone and there are other intangibles at play. Marketers struggle to find that balance; the failure of iPhone C being another recent example.

    1. JamesHRH

      Jayadev – terrific post. The product vision does not always correlate to the most appropriate market positioning.

    2. jason wright

      the iphone C was marketed as value, but the price was not value.

  7. William Mougayar

    It’s true that you’ll likely find lots of better value/price ratios in developing countries where the relative cost of everything is much lower.Re: Convex leadership as making parallel lines meet. That’s an interesting concept, but isn’t metaphorically similar to “connecting the dots”?

  8. SubstrateUndertow

    Great video – Thank You Fred !It seems to me he is trying to redefine Gandhi’s legacy:as a form of “Social-Capital”that reframes/extends the concept of a “Business Model” beyond its corporate roots.humanity – societies – nations – taxpayers – workers – organizations – families – individualsAll these volitional-entities can reap massive benefits by formalizing their individual/collective goals around an explicitly stated “Business Model” in order to compete more effectively with the “Corporate-Business-Models” that are presently being allowed to run the table unchallenged by the legitimate “Business Model” interests of all other individual/collective social stakeholders.

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fred – Good to raise such an important topic.In a world where most people cannot afford electricity to read by, the vast majority of the “first” world cannot be bothered to switch off a light switch when they leave a room.Cheap energy insulates us from poverty (it is why we fight wars).Meanwhile we “need” exercise to burn off excess food, we “need” yolk free omelettes to lower cholesterol.We even need salt reduced breakfast cereals but only 85 years ago when Gandhi broke the salt laws it was because a whole nation could not afford a tax on salt.Simply we are spoiled.In the west we do not need just social engineering, we lack need, because we no longer understand it.But the needs exist – we only need to acknowledge it.

    1. JLM

      .I agree more with you than you do with yourself.The reason Putin is on the prowl?We have become soft. We cannot even rise to our own defense. It is too messy.Don’t get me wrong, we will bomb someone or invade lesser countries. Even Putin does this.What we cannot do is to take off OUR shirts and go kick a tyrant’s ass. Sic semper tyrannis.We took a pretty good swipe at evil in WWII and in 3.5 years made the world a little better place. The leaders of that time would look at current leadership and demote them all to corporal.We are pampered and complacent and will cough up our lunch money.You cannot be a world leader if you sing soprano.JLM.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        I feel a quotation coming on…(And I know you are going to love it !)”People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws;and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose,will always be dangerous.”The Works of the Right Hon. Edmund Burke (1899),Or even better – from the same sage and @JLM:disqus I would love to hear what you think of this …”Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites,— in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves.Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters”

        1. JLM

          .The notions of liberty, freedom, justice are what make America and we have imported those ideas from the world as we are a nation of immigrants. We have stolen those ideas from the best men and women in mankind.While I am wandering through despair right now, I am confident we will get it right eventually. America still has institutions which produce men and women of character.This tape is something I contributed to producing. It gives me great hope for the future of America and our will to fight for those noble concepts and, most importantly, to win.…This is what is baked into my DNA and I am proud to have weathered the course.As Stonewall Jackson said: “You may be whatever you resolve to be.”JLM.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            @JLM:disqus you see the notions of liberty, freedom and justice as not being fundamentally American per se. – and I acknowledge that America has institutions forged by the pursuit of these. (And why not be proud of that?)However “to win” is an objective for these concepts rather than for nations. So it is not for America to dominate (The two are necessarily mutually exclusive – with domination can be no liberty), but rather to encourage these values to emerge and be nurtured universally.So while a sword rattling Putin disgusts me, ( and a return to an expansionist pseudo-Soviet politics horrifies me and is more dangerous to global stability than many observers credit) I would oppose the US attempting to police the world – they cannot and will not – It has been and will be their undoing.So though our aims may be different, the underlying character of what we value highly is doubtlessly similar. Finding it and noting the necessary humility to both support freedom and liberty while not being seduced by self-righteous thought to define a personal view of justice may be the hardest battle.

  10. jason wright

    Google’s Project Ara could be value for many, and kill the iphone.…i love the idea that i could slide my identity module out of one hardware form factor and into another.

    1. JamesHRH

      That is really interesting. Its like a LIttle Bits phone.

      1. jason wright

        it’s super interesting, and i’m expecting to see the return of Fred’s kitchen table and black hoody very soon 🙂 i feel he’s gonna want one so bad.

    2. Emil Sotirov

      This is just amazing… a total and wonderful anti-Apple… one of those things that keeps you young and fascinated with people and the world. I love it.

      1. jason wright

        it’s just great.does sir require a tablet experience? here’s the elongated screen module. just slide it in and thumb away.

    3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Oh My Word ! – This opens up so much disruption

      1. jason wright

        new paradigm. the MDK is such an opportunity.

  11. Peter Andruszkiewicz

    This video resonates well with me and I am getting really excited about the future of the word’s economy!