Posts Tagged ‘technology’

By Richard Martin

Fortune favours the bold. Not the timid.

We do ourselves a disservice if we don’t at least try to experiment with new technologies and new approaches. I ordered my first book on the topic of Bitcoin on Amazon on 28 Feb 21 (The Bitcoin Standard, by Saifedean Ammous), ordered a hardware wallet on Amazon on 19 Mar 21, then acquired my first BTC on a Canadian exchange on 23 Mar 21. It was only about $200 but it was enough to get started and to learn what it was all about. It’s funny what happens when you have skin in the game.

This has made me realize that I’ve taken this approach all of my adult life. I find the best way to learn is to invest a bit of resources and take it from there. If it’s not for me, the cost was minimal and bounded in time and space. I can move on having acquired more knowledge. If I continue to find value or be intrigued, I go deeper down the rabbit hole until I’m satisfied I’ve learned enough or want to go even further.

It’s the same with machine learning models like GPT and DeepL. I subscribed to DeepL after experimenting with the free version a bit and now use it for all my translation tasks. It’s almost perfect for English to French, less so for the opposite. But it’s great productivity boost. I can generate a reasonably accurate translation and take it from there. Now DeepL also has a writing engine as a beta and I’ve started experimenting with that.

I was wondering about how I could raise my productivity for cognitive tasks when I heard about GPT-4. I hadn’t paid much attention to ChatGPT before that, but version 4 seemed compelling. I invested a whopping $20 for a month of access and started experimenting with it. Is it perfect? No. Can it tell jokes like Seinfeld? Who knows and who cares. The important point is that GPT presents another opportunity to boost my productivity, save time and effort, and focus on more high-value areas for me and my clients.

But to get those advantages, it’s not enough to sit there and wonder how a new approach, technology, or product could be of benefit. We have to try it, or at least experiment a bit to see what it’s all about. And stop asking “what about this and what about that” type questions. There are ways to achieve this without betting the farm. Learn about them and start applying them.

Strategic Readiness Bulletin Number 2 – 8 September 2017

By Richard Martin, founder and president, Alcera Consulting Inc.

Richard Martin issues Strategic Readiness Bulletins on an as needed basis to clients, key decision-makers, and other influencers, to highlight recent or evolving risks, threats, and opportunities for companies and organizations resulting from chaotic change as well as international and national situations of a political, economic, technological, or social nature.

It was my great pleasure to interview Dr. Sean Maloney on 7 September 2017 on the topic of North Korea and nuclear weapons. We explored a number of issues and questions:

Copyright : Michael Borgers

  • Does North Korea really have nuclear weapons?
  • If so, what kinds and how many?
  • Is the threat credible?
  • What are the means of delivering these weapons?
  • Who is most threatened?
  • How can this threat be countered or deterred?

Sean is an international expert on nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy. As you’ll hear, he doesn’t just parrot what you hear in the media. I’m sure you’ll find it most enlightening, no matter what your interests and point of view.


Dr. Sean M. Maloney is a Professor of History at Royal Military College of Canada and served as the Historical Advisor to the Chief of the Land Staff of the Canadian Army during the war in Afghanistan. He previously served as the historian for 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, the Canadian Army’s primary Cold War NATO commitment after the re-unification of Germany and at the start of Canada’s long involvement in the Balkans. Dr. Maloney has extensive field experience in that region, particularly in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia from 1995 to 2001, where he inadvertently observed the activities of the Al Qaeda organization and its surrogates. His work on the Balkans was interrupted by the 9-11 attacks. From 2001 Dr. Maloney has focused nearly exclusively on the war against the Al Qaeda movement and its allies, particularly on the Afghanistan component of that war. He traveled regularly to Afghanistan from 2003 to 2014 to observe and record coalition operations in that country and was the first Canadian civilian military historian to go into combat since the Second World War. He has authored fifteen books, seven of which deal with the Afghanistan war, as well as the controversial Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Means, 1946-1970 and Learning to Love the Bomb: Canada’s Cold War Strategy and Nuclear Weapons 1951-1970.

You can find out more about Sean at his website

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc.



Brilliant Manoeuvre
You must shape the battlefield to create the conditions for your success.

If you’re passive, you get passed. You have to take the offensive in order to (re)gain the initiative and keep it. That is the essence of offense. But too many companies are content with the status quo and stay passive in the face of societal, economic, technical, and scientific change. Take life and health insurance companies. With all the medical and biotech innovations coming on line now and in the foreseeable future, they should be much more active in shaping the environment to their advantage. Instead, they are stuck within the same business model that has prevailed for decades: Wait till a new drug or procedure comes on the market, then determine whether it’s covered or not.

In the last week or so, I’ve read of new procedures and technologies that are enabling the growing of new organs from pluripotent stem cells; recreating tooth tissue and entirely new teeth from same; portable diagnostics in smart phones; and massively detailed images and 3D models of the brain. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Health insurance and life insurance providers should investigate these approaches to determine how to rein in health care and extended living costs. This could mean actively substituting higher performance procedures for lower efficiency and effectiveness ones. It could also mean taking an active role, with clients, in managing in their health and longevity. We don’t know the full extent of these changes and their effects, but they will no doubt lead to entirely new business models in insurance and health care, not to mention completely new businesses that don’t exist right now. What are you doing right now to shape this brave new world to your advantage, so you’re not stuck like a deer in the headlights?

You can’t just focus on what is in front of you at the present time. You must also watch the bigger picture in the future, assessing nascent and potential threats and opportunities as well as current ones.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
Use technology to move faster and make decisions faster than competitors.

Technology has always been a key factor in warfare. The side that is better able to exploit a new technology and do so faster and in greater numbers than potential or actual enemies will tend to prevail. The same applies in business. Technology is evolving at an accelerating rate. Visionary inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil calls this phenomenon the Law of Accelerating Returns. As an example, the speed and quality of genome sequencing basically doubles every year while the cost continues to drop rapidly. IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which last year won Jeopardy by beating the two best ever human competitors (with a score that surpassed their combined scores), is now being turned by IBM to the development of AI-based medical diagnosis. It is conceivable that within a few years we will have access to our own medical records and biometric information in a continual manner as well as near instant health monitoring and diagnosis. How will this change medical and healthcare practice? What does this mean for doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacies, pharma companies, and health and life insurance companies? If I were in these fields, I would be developing scenarios and finding ways to be at the forefront of technology and innovation so I could be in a better position to preempt competitors and occupy the rich economic terrain that will open up. I would be actively looking at the impact of technologies in all fields, even outside of my own, because new threats may arise or, more important, new opportunities WILL arise. I would want to be on the winning side by setting the conditions and shaping the battlefield to my advantage.

Be on the lookout for evolving technologies in all spheres of endeavour and seek ways to incorporate them into your business or to leverage them for competitive and strategic advantage.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.