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IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before


Believe it or not there's a formula. Two formulas actually,
but they're both pretty simple, and together they're about
right for a five minute presentation. Make no mistake
though, doing something that has never been done before
is hard. Truly, if it was easy it would already be done.


                                               Brad Stenger
                                              June 10, 2010
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before


30 seconds … intro
60 seconds … formulas, two of them
90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism
30 seconds … summary
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

30 seconds … intro
60 seconds … formulas, two of them

   Compound Probability
     p(A and B and C and … ) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C) ...

   Expected Value
     E(X) =  x*p(x)
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

30 seconds … intro
60 seconds … formulas, two of them
   p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
90 seconds … applying the formulas in general

   Complexity & Difficulty

   Singles & Homeruns

   Process & Product
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

30 seconds … intro
60 seconds … formulas, two of them
   p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
   Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product
90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism

   Internet = Interdependencies

   Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

30 seconds … intro
60 seconds … formulas, two of them
   p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
   Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product
90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism
   Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface
30 seconds … summary
   Decision-making
   Preparation Minimizes Risk
   Awareness Maximizes Opportunity
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before


Believe it or not there's a formula. Two formulas actually,
but they're both pretty simple, and together they're about
right for a five minute presentation. Make no mistake
though, doing something that has never been done before
is hard. Truly, if it was easy it would already be done.


                                               Brad Stenger
                                              June 10, 2010

                                                              1
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

          Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before


          30 seconds … intro
          60 seconds … formulas, two of them
          90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
          90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism
          30 seconds … summary




                                                             2




I will be enrolling in the MSJ program at Medill in June,
  2010. Before working in Journalism, I worked in
  university technology transfer and have been
  assessing new technologies for 10+ years. Visit
  bradstenger.com if you're interested in seeing my
  complete bona fides.
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

          Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

          30 seconds … intro
          60 seconds … formulas, two of them

             Compound Probability
               p(A and B and C and … ) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C) ...

             Expected Value
               E(X) =  x*p(x)




                                                                  3




In general, probabilities multiply. With each additional
  first-of-its-kind element in a first-of-its-kind project,
  the probability of overall project success takes a hit.

Every situation is different. But again in general,
 something that's never been done before and has a
 low probability of success better have
 commensurately high potential value.

It's also wise to limit your downside, the negative
   expected value of undesirable, but still possible
   outcomes.

Probability => What's Possible => Expected Value =>
  What's Valuable
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

          Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

          30 seconds … intro
          60 seconds … formulas, two of them
             p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
          90 seconds … applying the formulas in general

             Complexity & Difficulty

             Singles & Homeruns

             Process & Product

                                                            4




Complexity: something with lots of project elements,
  each of them with a probability and potential value
Difficulty: factors which negatively affect probability for
  success
Singles: attempting new things that have reasonably
  high probability of success, but relatively low value
Homeruns: a new thing with high potential value, but
  relatively low probability
Process: I'd like to think it's as simple as great
  products come from great processes, but I suspect
  it's not that simple, b/c process is rarely simple.
  Keywords I listen for – transparency, lowest common
  denominator, invention.
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

          Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

          30 seconds … intro
          60 seconds … formulas, two of them
             p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
          90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
             Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product
          90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism

             Internet = Interdependencies

             Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface

                                                              5




Everything built for the Internet is beset by some
  unavoidable interdependencies.
Content, Business Model, Information Services, and
  Interface Design all represent opportunities to either
  positively or negatively differentiate a new Net thing.
Plug all of a journalism project's elements in each
  dimension into to the Compound Probability formula
  and success is inevitably a challenge.
Help to reduce risk comes in the form of frameworks,
  agile practices, APIs, strong design fundamentals,
  continuous improvement.
The tension is to seek challenges but not overdo it.
  Limit downside of failures with the value in learning
  from them. Remember though, if you're not failing
  you're not really trying.
IRE 2010 Lightning Talk

         Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before

         30 seconds … intro
         60 seconds … formulas, two of them
            p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x)
         90 seconds … applying the formulas in general
            Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product
         90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism
            Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface
         30 seconds … summary
            Decision-making
            Preparation Minimizes Risk
            Awareness Maximizes Opportunity
                                                             6




At some level it comes down to decision-making. ...

It helps to know what you're dealing with. Preparation,
   as in knowing technical and design details, makes it
   more likely that bad decisions can be ruled out more
   quickly.
The answers to most questions are out in the world,
   and not necessarily in your head. Awareness, as in
   knowing or learning where solutions already exist,
   solutions that can turn unknowns into knowns, it
   saves time/money/effort.
One big thing to remain aware of, especially for the
   Internet, is how something scales up.
Base decisions on guesses instead of evidence, and
   success depends on luck.

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Ire 2010 final

  • 1. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before Believe it or not there's a formula. Two formulas actually, but they're both pretty simple, and together they're about right for a five minute presentation. Make no mistake though, doing something that has never been done before is hard. Truly, if it was easy it would already be done. Brad Stenger June 10, 2010
  • 2. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism 30 seconds … summary
  • 3. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them Compound Probability p(A and B and C and … ) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C) ... Expected Value E(X) =  x*p(x)
  • 4. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty Singles & Homeruns Process & Product
  • 5. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism Internet = Interdependencies Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface
  • 6. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface 30 seconds … summary Decision-making Preparation Minimizes Risk Awareness Maximizes Opportunity
  • 7. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before Believe it or not there's a formula. Two formulas actually, but they're both pretty simple, and together they're about right for a five minute presentation. Make no mistake though, doing something that has never been done before is hard. Truly, if it was easy it would already be done. Brad Stenger June 10, 2010 1
  • 8. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism 30 seconds … summary 2 I will be enrolling in the MSJ program at Medill in June, 2010. Before working in Journalism, I worked in university technology transfer and have been assessing new technologies for 10+ years. Visit bradstenger.com if you're interested in seeing my complete bona fides.
  • 9. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them Compound Probability p(A and B and C and … ) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C) ... Expected Value E(X) =  x*p(x) 3 In general, probabilities multiply. With each additional first-of-its-kind element in a first-of-its-kind project, the probability of overall project success takes a hit. Every situation is different. But again in general, something that's never been done before and has a low probability of success better have commensurately high potential value. It's also wise to limit your downside, the negative expected value of undesirable, but still possible outcomes. Probability => What's Possible => Expected Value => What's Valuable
  • 10. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty Singles & Homeruns Process & Product 4 Complexity: something with lots of project elements, each of them with a probability and potential value Difficulty: factors which negatively affect probability for success Singles: attempting new things that have reasonably high probability of success, but relatively low value Homeruns: a new thing with high potential value, but relatively low probability Process: I'd like to think it's as simple as great products come from great processes, but I suspect it's not that simple, b/c process is rarely simple. Keywords I listen for – transparency, lowest common denominator, invention.
  • 11. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism Internet = Interdependencies Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface 5 Everything built for the Internet is beset by some unavoidable interdependencies. Content, Business Model, Information Services, and Interface Design all represent opportunities to either positively or negatively differentiate a new Net thing. Plug all of a journalism project's elements in each dimension into to the Compound Probability formula and success is inevitably a challenge. Help to reduce risk comes in the form of frameworks, agile practices, APIs, strong design fundamentals, continuous improvement. The tension is to seek challenges but not overdo it. Limit downside of failures with the value in learning from them. Remember though, if you're not failing you're not really trying.
  • 12. IRE 2010 Lightning Talk Doing Things That Haven't Ever Been Done Before 30 seconds … intro 60 seconds … formulas, two of them p(ABC) = p(A) * p(B) * p(C), E(X) =  x*p(x) 90 seconds … applying the formulas in general Complexity & Difficulty, Process & Product 90 seconds … applying the formulas to journalism Content + Biz Model + Info Service + Interface 30 seconds … summary Decision-making Preparation Minimizes Risk Awareness Maximizes Opportunity 6 At some level it comes down to decision-making. ... It helps to know what you're dealing with. Preparation, as in knowing technical and design details, makes it more likely that bad decisions can be ruled out more quickly. The answers to most questions are out in the world, and not necessarily in your head. Awareness, as in knowing or learning where solutions already exist, solutions that can turn unknowns into knowns, it saves time/money/effort. One big thing to remain aware of, especially for the Internet, is how something scales up. Base decisions on guesses instead of evidence, and success depends on luck.