Sunday Reading: 16 May 2010

Here’s your Sunday reading for today, May 16th:

  • Better Off Deadbeat: Craig Cunningham Has a Simple Solution for Getting Bill Collectors Off His Back. He Sues Them. [dallasobserver.com] Now, I don’t think that suing fraudulent and/or abusive debt collectors isn’t altogether a bad thing. That said, it appears that Craig Cunningham and his cohorts have no intention of paying back all that they owe. If Cunningham was using the proceeds from the lawsuits to settle his outstanding debts, that would be one thing. But it doesn’t appear that’s what he’s doing. For more on this phenomenon, Rogers Cadenhead’s Workbench has similar coverage, with more links.
  • The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis [duke.edu]. This is a great story of engineers blowing the whistle on themselves, fixing the mess they made, and doing right by the customer and accepting the consequences. Own your failures.
  • The Devil at 37,000 Feet [vanityfair.com]. This is the story of Gol Transportes Aereos Flight 1907 and its collision with an ExcelAir-owned Legacy 600 private jet. In combination with the previous link, it’s important to note: in complex systems, one mistake is rarely fatal. Rather, it is a series of small mistakes, concentrated in a terrible cascade, that is deadly.
  • The little pill that could cure alcoholism [guardian.co.uk]. God forbid that we should try anything off-label with long-generic drugs. I’m not saying that Dr. Olivier Ameisen has cured alcoholism: complex diseases rarely have simple cures. This is, to me, more a story of how modern medicine is just as much about profits as it is improving lives.
  • The Oracle of Silicon Valley [inc.com]. Tim O’Reilly is the man, in my opinion. I am a huge fan of private businesses, because they are not driven by “returning value to the shareholders”. Sometimes, I think that venture capital and public offerings are the things that suck the very lifeblood out of companies with a distinct vision for their marketplace and customers. It’s obvious that people are in business to make money; money is not, however, everything. As anyone who’s spent five minutes looking at the stock market will tell you, this chase for the short-term valuation, the bump, is just chasing fleeting things. Let us build lasting things, things with value.